Friday, September 25, 2015

Week 3: Mostly Geography

This was an epic week for DJ as his Grandpa Dave bought him his first peddle bike as an early birthday present. He's had a strider balance bike for two years that he rides like a pro. He is so ready for a "real" bike. His favorite part? The bell on the handlebars, of course.

This week also started with me doing a lot of work on Monday that left DJ to entertain himself. Forgive the mess in the living room. It's common for him to strew chaos when I'm too busy to redirect him. I don't usually take pictures of this, but I couldn't help capturing this shot of DJ working with the South America map. He chose to build the map outside of the puzzle frame. Traditionally DJ won't work with these maps without my involvement so I'm glad to see his budding independence. He also doesn't know that building the map outside the frame is described as a lesson in my Montessori albums. He just came up with the idea on his own.

And it is officially official now, DJ is learning Tae Kwon Do. He really needs this. DJ is very intelligent and extremely strong-willed. It is taking all I have to direct him to be peaceful. I am looking forward to this program working with me to teach him self-control of his emotions.

Although it's been awhile since we've worked with the Number Rods, DJ has been spending a good amount of time working out basic math facts in his head. He'll make up songs about "1 and 2 make 3" and "2 and 2 make 4". So when it came time to do school on Wednesday, I brought out the number rods and showed him again how he can use them to work out all the ways to add two numbers to make a third, larger number. He enjoyed this activity a lot.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but he has the 6 bar in front of him. He then stacked the 3 on top of it and realized he didn't have another 3 to fill the gap. So he took the lesson to the next step and filled it in with the two and one. "3 and 2 and 1 make 6". Wow, slow down little man. This is really the first time I've wished I had a set of "table-top number rods" that come in pairs so you have 2 of each length. Maybe I'll make them for him.

When he'd worked with this activity long enough to want to start playing, I pulled out the Teen Board and suggested he work with that. He is SO close to being able to count to 20 but almost always skips 12 & 13. But, as he's been doing recently, he refused and said it was too hard for him. Argh. So I told him to choose something to do for school.

He chose, for the first time in a LONG time, the land & water forms. As soon as he started pouring the water, our cat, Molly was really interested. Lol. The forms we had already prepared were lake, peninsula, gulf, straight and isthmus. Somehow our island had disappeared. So I put our clay in the oven to soften it enough to make a new one.

In the meantime, DJ began matching the cards to each shape and also finding examples on the Australia Control Map. In this photo, he has the peninsula card and is pointing to Eyre Peninsula in Southern Australia. (Yes, I looked up the name of the peninsula on Wikipedia).

Once the clay had softened enough, we made a new island and then two new forms, Archipelago and System of Lakes. He was really intrigued with the word Archipelago and he repeated each part, syllable by syllable until he could say the whole word. And then he immediately forgot how to say it. I do that with hard words too.

DJ liked the Archipelago so much that he even made his own a couple of days later, despite the clay having cooled off and being too hard to really work with. But when I said to his dad, hey, DJ made an archipelago, he replied, no I didn't, I made a bunch of islands. Hah!

DJ finished the school day with some "easy" work. He doesn't need to use the Color Box 2 as he knows all of his colors really well, but he likes to play with the tiles. I used it as an opportunity to teach him the colors of the rainbow. It hadn't ever occurred to me to teach that before but in his Tae Kwon Do class, the instructor had them do an activity where they had to stack colored plastic cones in the order of the rainbow. About half the class, mostly the 5 year olds, already knew the order but poor SJ had no idea what she was talking about.

Finally, he worked with the tessellated shapes from his Melissa & Doug pattern boards. Ever since I introduced the first Constructive Triangle box, DJ has been noticing shapes within shapes everywhere. I used this activity as a chance to remind him of the word trapezoid. As I was showing him the trapezoid I pointed out that it had two parallel lines on the top and bottom but the sides were running towards each other. Then I put my fingers along both sides and DJ says, "If the sides kept going, they'd meet at the top and it would be a triangle!" Wow. I had never noticed that. So I placed the small green triangle at the top of the trapezoid, and sure enough, a trapezoid is just the base of a triangle with the top cut off. Weird!!

A couple of days later I wanted to do school again with the hopes of keeping up with my goal of two days per week. DJ wasn't really into it. But he did ask to work with the South America flags. The cards he has in front of him are pictures of the capital cities on one side with the country name, capital city name and country flag on the back. DJ selects a toothpick flag, then I find the matching card and point out the country on the map for DJ to stick the flag in. Then we talk about what we see in the picture, mountains, oceans, parks, statues, tall buildings, etc. I bought the toothpick flags of the world on Amazon. I was confounded today to discover that I don't have flags for Guyana, Suriname or French Guinea but I DO have a flag for Trinidad & Tobago! Really?

So that was week 3. DJ still has zero interest in any language works although I did read about 5 books to him today. I did get him to pull out the Movable Alphabet at one point, but he did what he usually does...string a bunch of consonants together and ask me what it says. When I suggested he thinking of a word to write he said, "This is too hard" and put it away. Well, maybe next week.

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