As mentioned in recent posts DJ has been crazy about math lately. Last week, he selected the Pink Tower for the first time in a long time so he could count the number of cubes. As he was putting it away, he had the largest cubes on the stand and he stacked a few of the smallest cubes in his hand. I asked him how many cubes were on the stand and he said "six". Then I asked how many were in his hand and he answered "four". Finally I asked how many would be on the tower when he added the 4 cubes to the 6 and he immediately said "ten".
Later, he began lining up his cars to count them and declared that he had 7. I asked him how many he needed to have 10 cars. He looked at me for a moment, ran to his box and said "I think I have 3 more in here!"
It's a gradual start but addition is beginning to make sense to him!
On another day, I put together a quick math activity that I thought he'd be all over but he wanted nothing to do with it. Instead, he ran to his phonetic "Spinny Spellers," selected one and said "Let's write this word!" He was pointing to HOT, which he can't read yet but he recognizes all of the letters. So we pulled out his Movable Alphabet and he began writing the words.
After the second word, he said he didn't want to do the next one but instead wanted to write "Uncle Colin". I helped talk him through the sounds in both words (although he kept insisting it was all one word) but he identified each sound, found the corresponding letter and placed them in order. Wow!
And then, to my surprise, he began "reading" each letter sound back to himself. It looked sort of like he was sounding out a word he was trying to read, even though he can't actually read yet. But that's exactly how this method works. Thinking up words to write (encoding) is easier than reading words someone else wrote (decoding). With more writing practice like this, he'll eventually discover he CAN read. And then they'll be no stopping him!
Speaking of writing, DJ is finally making sense of writing letters in the sand tray! (This is a letter b). For awhile there he seemed to have a real disconnect between tracing a sandpaper letter and recreating it in sand. He'd trace it with no problem but then would sit his finger in the sand and ask me to tell him "which way to go". It frustrated him so much that he began to make up his own squiggles and then demand I tell him which letter it was. You have to love the creativity that comes from deciding that designing your own alphabet would be easier than learning the existing one!
Continuing with his writing practice, I convinced DJ to work on tracing the Metal Insets again. He had been avoiding them because he was frustrated with the difficulty of tracing the inner blue shape. So today I suggested he just trace the outer pink frame and he ended up doing all but three of them!! You'll notice though that he's still insisting on holding his pencil really high up. I've tried to get him to use the shorter Crayola pencils we have but he much prefers these Prismacolor pencils and I just can't get myself to cut them short.
When DJ first selected the Metal Insets this week, he wasn't thinking of writing practice. Instead he wanted to count all of the frames and shapes and he was happy to discover there were ten of each. Gradually DJ is discovering a secret plot of the Montessori sensorial materials -- many of them come in quantities of ten, a subtle introduction and reinforcement of our base-10 decimal system.
In other news, DJ is still working on putting the Trinomial Cube puzzle together. This one is still quite a challenge for him.
And finally, DJ helped me put this Color Box 3 pattern together which the albums call a "sunburst" but DJ has declared it is a ferris wheel. I started the pattern and used the nonagon from the Geometric Cabinet to space out the spindles. (Ok, I confess, I started with the heptagon at first either forgetting there were 9 color sets of that a heptagon only has 7 sides, I'm not sure which). Anyway, once I started the pattern, DJ quickly took over and ordered all of the color sets from darkest to lightest. It's the first time he's done that! I would have shown pictures of him doing the work, but he was *ahem* naked at the time. Getting clothes on him is still a challenge! (By the way, don't be tricked by the photo, the 2nd gray tablet is not out of order, it's just glare from the window. There are some significant downsides to using an iPhone for blog photos!)
So, there you go... this is what "school" looks like when I'm actively NOT teaching him. And I didn't even write about all the things he's done that I didn't get pictures of - work with the bells, his near constant sound games practice, the incredible "machines" he's building with his Legos or the detailed stories he tells of how those machines work.