Monday, April 6, 2015

Letters & Numbers

As we're winding down the first year of DJ's preschool, the work is all about letters and numbers. He still occasionally chooses cylinder blocks, geometric solids or lacing cards but those seem to be more like downtime for him rather than real, challenging work. In addition to the official school time work, I hear DJ counting his toys during playtime and he's analyzing the sounds in every word throughout the day... t-t-tiger, scared-d-d-d.

The letter sounds we have left are mostly the green double letters. For SH I have shoe, syringe, shark, shovel, sheep, shell and fish. I don't have an Alphatales book for SH so I made my own using a cheesy story from the book The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. I learned about this book from my favorite blog, What Did We Do All Day. While she had the talent to draw her own pictures, I'm scouring google images for clipart to match the story.

Since I am teaching DJ to write using cursive, I made the decision that any printed material I make will be in cursive to increase his exposure to it. Generally cursive would only be for writing and all printed material would be in print. I'm doing these books very quickly. One or two pictures per page, printed on regular copy paper, cut to size and stapled on the side. Easy peasy.

For OR, I have orca, ornament, orange and orangutan, the last being just a picture I printed from the Internet. I also pulled the gorilla from our G box to highlight the OR sound in the middle of a word.

I believe U is the last single vowel sound we have. The objects are umbrella, underwear, umpire and Uncle (a picture of DJ's uncle). This is also the first time I've used the spinner-speller that he got for Christmas from his Grandma Kay. He has all 5 of them, one for each vowel and he's getting to the point that he now recognizes all of the letters on them even though he still can't read the words.

For G, we have goat, glasses, gorilla, gift, game, grill (a lego piece), ghost and guitar. As with all of the sandpaper letters, we only teach one sound, in this case hard-g and don't yet talk about this letter also making a soft-g (or j) sound. This is proving to be a little difficult because DJ is noticing, and recognizing, letters everywhere. As we were working with G for the first time, we were sitting next to his box of Wedgits and he says, "Hey! There's a big-'guh'! What does that say?" Heh. Wedgits is a J-sound. Oops.

DJ easily counts to 10 now and recognizes each quantity in both length (Number Rods) and pieces (Spindle Box) but he STILL skips 7 more often then not. Argh! In this photo, he's matching various styles of numbers. He lined the white cards and wood squares up together and now he's running to the refrigerator to find number magnets that are all mixed up, upside down and combined with letter magnets. It was my first real inclination that he's truly recognizing the number symbols.

After that he traced all of the sandpaper numbers. He loves to do this but it's a struggle to get him to trace sandpaper letters. I'm glad to be using a "follow-the-child" plan because I can't imagine trying to force him to study something he's not interested in. He's just way too stubborn! Heh.

Continuing our work with the Number Rods, I set them out in random order. He's finding the number squares from the sofa one at a time, bringing them back to find the matching rod. Whether he selects the right one or not, I always say "count to be sure" so he gets a lot of practice counting and he corrects himself without me having to intervene.

After that we did the Spindle Box again. DJ will NOT do this work himself. As long as I'm the one moving the sticks, he's willing an eager to count through them with me. And he LOVES the zero slot. He points out over and over, "this one means NO sticks because it's zero". So on my checklist - Concept of Zero - done!

Finally I presented the Cards & Counters activity that he got for Christmas from his Grandpa Dennis. I had no idea at that time that he's be using this just 3 months later. Math doesn't usually START until 4 years old and he's not 3.5yo yet but he's crazy for counting so I'm following his lead.

The counters in this activity are placed in a specific pattern under each card, in pairs of two with a single counter in the middle for each odd number. This is the lesson where the child learns even versus odd numbers. I told DJ he knew which number was odd because the last counter was an "odd man out." This was really disturbing to him. He insisted they all had to have a friend. Haha. He finally soothed himself by saying the odd man could be friends with the two above it. Whew.

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