Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Some old favorites

I'm terribly late in writing this post. It should have been written at the end of last week but I just didn't feel like it. So thank you for waiting patiently!

Since there wasn't anything new on the shelves last week, DJ selected some old favorites. The Land & Water forms hadn't been touched for months but he started off the day with an eager "let's do these!" I was impressed with how much he remembered. He still can't say isthmus, but then I can't either. I had also made a point of telling him a peninsula was like a thumb of land sticking out in the water, so he always holds his thumb up to the picture to help him remember the name. We also made some more homemade playdough so he could re-create several of the shapes.

Next we worked with the Number Rods again and for once he was focused enough to count them all, pointing to each section from 1 to 10. He's still shaky on 7, 8 & 9 but he's getting there. After counting through each segment, I laid them out and asked him to bring me the "3 Rod". Of course he had to use the car to help him find the right one. After finding the 3 Rod, I asked him for the 5, which he also found but then didn't want to do anymore.

After his success with counting the Number Rods, I introduced the Sandpaper Numbers to him. He is still really young for this work as it usually doesn't start until age 4 but he's been teaching himself to read numbers so I figure he might as well do it with the materials we have. As soon as he saw the sandpaper cards, he wanted to use the sand tray too.

We did 0, 1, 2 & 3. DJ already knew the symbols for all of these except for zero, which I don't think I've talked about yet. He was able to write 0 & 1 very easily but struggled with 2 and was too frustrated to try 3. I've noticed that he doesn't seem to have much spatial awareness when it comes to writing even after correctly tracing. He actually prefers me to talk him through the shape as he writes, which so goes against all the advice from Montessori instructors who all say to be as quiet as possible so the child can focus on the movement of the hands. But I'm beginning to wonder if he's not a visual learner and needs to hear it.

After the Sandpaper Numbers, DJ selected another activity that had been collecting dust on the shelf, Color Box 3. DJ had mastered Color Box 2 (matching pairs of 11 colors) months ago, but he had never shown any interest in grading the colors from dark to light - until now. In this photo you can see he has the purple shades set out randomly and he's selecting the darkest one. After setting that one aside, he went back to the remaining 6 and selected the darkest again.

I was really surprised by his concentration on this task. He did all of purple and orange and most of green. You can see in the photo that the 3rd purple should probably be switched with the 4th, but I did not correct him. (Heh, don't you love his hair?  He hates for me to brush it!)

Next he selected an old favorite and we reviewed the Binomial Cube. He finds this fairly easy to do so it went pretty quickly but it was a good refresher.

Then we moved on to the Trinomial Cube. This one is quite a bit more complex and he usually just dumps it in a big pile and finds it impossible to put back together. This time I convinced him to take each layer out one at a time and line them up into three rows. Then I showed him how to use the pattern on the lid to guide him in putting each layer back together. I helped him a lot on the bottom and middle layers. The video that comes next shows him completing the top layer.

He doesn't get it entirely correct, he has two pieces switched. But I love how he starts out talking himself through it and then gets really quiet as his concentration kicks in. And of course his satisfied cheer at the end and his request to take a picture of his work is just so sweet.

After all that hard work, DJ needed to take a break so he selected this lacing work. The card had already been laced by me so he sat and worked through un-lacing it, which is actually the more challenging task.

When he finished lacing, he pulled out his new Guidecraft Feel & Find set. The Montessori Sensorial albums include activities using "Stereognostic Bags". These are a series of bags with various objects, starting with cubes & rectangular prisms and working up to a mystery bag with random objects. I had been deliberating with myself for awhile on how I was going to make these activities. The first complexity was that I couldn't find anywhere that sold simple cubes & prisms. And then I didn't know where to find the bags. They would be easy to make but I don't sew so not easy for me. All the while, I had this Guidecraft product in my Amazon wishlist. Recently I wanted to buy an add-on item that required at least $25 in my cart so I decided on a whim to go ahead and buy this. Wow, was I amazed by the quality of the pieces! They are thick, solid pieces of wood, with good, solid matching cards. They range from simple shapes like squares & circles to complex shapes like people, animals and trees.

I started DJ with 3 simple pieces. I had him familiarize himself with them before covering his eyes. Then he put on the blindfold and I handed him one of the three for him to identify. At first he would feel it, take the blindfold off and then tell me what it was. Lol. But with some prompting he was able to identify all the pieces I handed to him.

Finally he selected this Color Wheel activity that I made for a toddler busy bag exchange almost 2 years ago. This has been a really worthwhile activity to have on the shelf. At first, when he wasn't even 3 years old he had to work hard to learn how to clip the clothespins. Then he learned how to match the colors, which he does very easily now.

And finally this week, he began matching the numbers on the back of the wheel! Look at that look of consternation on his face. He still has a lot to learn from this very simple homemade activity.

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