Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 11: Golden Bead Division & More

I presented Golden Bead Division to DJ this week. I had been most nervous about this operation and I don't know why because it seemed DJ understood it better than any of the others. I started by having him roll the place value ice to choose the starting quantity. He first rolled 9,290 so I began to use my calculator to figure out how to adjust it to a number evenly divisible by 3. But before I finished, DJ picked up the unit dice and said, "I'm going to change this to 7 because I don't want 0." Hah! Lucky me, 9,297 IS divisible by 3.

DJ then built the number with number cards and golden beads. I guess I took this picture before he had all 9 thousand cubes in place. I set out 3 of his monster trucks and told him the pile of beads was a great treasure and the trucks were going to share it evenly. If there is anything a preschooler understands it is equal shares.

We started with the thousands and gave each truck a thousand cube until they were all gone and each truck had 3. Then I pointed to the 2 hundred squares and I asked DJ how we were going to share them with the trucks. If we gave 1 to the blue truck and 1 to the orange truck, we wouldn't have any to give to the gray truck and that wouldn't be fair. DJ wasn't sure at first what to do so I asked him, "Is there any way we could cut this hundred square up to share it?" He got a bright look on his face and said, "Yeah! We could exchange it for tens!"

After exchanging the 2 hundreds for 20 tens, DJ went about distributing the 10-bars one at a time. After he had distributed 27 of them, I stopped him and pointed out that he only had 2 more. So he exchanged those for 20 unit beads and finished the distribution.

At the end, I asked him if he thought each truck got them same amount. He was sure they did but I suggested we count anyway. So we counted each of the three sets, confirming they all had 3,099 beads. We made that number with the small number cards and I reiterated that 9,297 divided by 3 is 3,099.

DJ is definitely getting the hang of working with the Golden Beads. It won't be much longer that he'll be ready to move on to the Stamp Game but at that phase, he will begin writing his answers so we need to practice writing his numbers more before we move on.

In the meantime, DJ is still working on counting to 100. He has begun counting to himself for fun up to 49 so he is getting really close. I might decide to introduce the 100 chain to him in the next couple of weeks.

On the writing front, DJ chose to write our cat's name this week with the movable alphabet. Her name is Molly, but I often call her "Molsey" as a pet name. Of course, phonetically DJ would write that as "molzee". This is a perfect example of my struggle with the cursive movable alphabet. I am very glad that I chose to teach cursive to DJ, but I do not like the fixed lead lines on the letters of the movable alphabet. In this example, the ending line of the o does not connect to the beginning of the l. That drives DJ crazy and he ends up twisting the letters at odd angles to force them to connect. That is why I lined up the word "molzee" along the bottom of the lid to show him that the letters would sit along a straight line. But then when he wrote the word "big" he did the same thing with the b & i, twisting the letter i to force them to connect. DJ asked me to write the word "house" so I lined that one up properly but I do feel for him and his desire to make it work.

On the advise of the Montessori teacher that wrote the albums that I use, I printed a set of "phonetic command cards". These are action words that are spelled phonetically. This allows an early reader to read the card and do the action so you can see if they are understanding what they are reading without the pressure of asking them to read it to you.

I got the list that I used from the Helpful Garden but I typed them into Word myself so I could use the cursive font. I also did only a red border instead of solid red cards to save on ink. This list includes words like sit, run, dig, ask. As I was laminating the card, DJ took an immediate interest and started sounding out some of the letters. I reminded him how he could put the sounds together to make a word and he read sit & dig. Then he tried to read ask but even with putting the sounds together he couldn't figure out the word, which frustrated him so he quit trying.

After cutting out 2 of the 10 pages of cards, I left the rest to finish later since it was apparent DJ didn't want to try to read them right then. But, he DID want to cut them, so he took up the scissors and actually cut the remaining 8 pages of cards! I was cringing at his lack of perfection, but he actually did a really good job. As he was cutting, I held up a few cards asking him what the starting sound was. In doing that he was able to read a few more like nap, hop & cut. So as I suspected he is able to do some reading as long as he has enough confidence to try.

In other news, DJ is back to working with the Knobbed Cylinders again! Except this was not during school time. He has started selecting early sensorial works throughout the day just to do them, not because I'm telling him it's school time and he must choose something. I came downstairs from taking a nap yesterday and found him setting in the middle of all 4 cylinder blocks working happily.

When he had put the last of the 40 cylinders in the block I heard him say "Huh?" in a confused tone. If you look closely at the 2nd picture above you'll see that DJ is looking at the block on the lower right. The 4th smallest cylinder is too short for the slot it's in. DJ had just noticed this and was wondering how that happened. It didn't take him long to figure it out. If you look at the block on the lower left, you can see that the 5th cylinder is too tall for its slot. He hadn't noticed the mistake right away but the self-correcting nature of the Knobbed Cylinder Blocks worked perfectly and he didn't need a teacher to tell him there was an error, nor how to fix it.

After completing the basic Knobbed Cylinder work, DJ then pulled out the Knobless Cylinders and first put them in each corresponding Cylinder Block and then stacked them. It was his idea to use the upside down boxes as a flat base to stack the more difficult colors on because the carpet was too unsteady. It took him several tries to get the tall, thin red cylinder to stay on top of the red tower and he was so proud of himself when he did it!

Then he started to put the colored cylinders back in the boxes and I was SO proud to hear him counting the pieces as he did. I'm always paranoid that we'll lose a piece so I make sure to count all 10 before putting the lid on. This is the first time I've seen DJ do that check himself.

Here is another work I found left out overnight as I came downstairs one morning. I had made this template for DJ ages ago and he had never shown any interest before. He also played with the Rough & Smooth Boards again this week, although I didn't get a picture of it. He just randomly pulled them off the shelf and then started teaching his dad about the different grades of roughness.

And here are a few more random shots of DJ's school work this week:

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