I often start our weekly school time by asking DJ to "choose something to do." This week his answer to my question was the 45 Layout - again. DJ first did this work back in June 2015. This is a BIG work for a little person. It involves laying out all of the 1 to 9000 number cards along with corresponding Golden Beads. Sometimes called the "Bird's Eye View," the purpose is to give a very tangible experience of the size difference between "1" shown by one little bead and "9000" shown by a tower of nine thousand cubes.
Not only did DJ choose this work on his own, he completed it all by himself, with some help from his little blue construction truck. I was encouraged by the diligence with which he counted out each category from beads to bars to squares to cubes. It's not just a matter of counting to 9 for each category. He had to count out 1 bead, then 2 beads, then 3 beads, etc until he has distributed a total of 45 beads into 9 separate cups. That takes patience!
When he had finished the 45-Layout, I brought out the stamp game again. We have been working on writing numbers, but when we tried the last time, DJ was confused and tried to insist that he HAD to write all the zeros in a 4 digit number so 4,321 was written like 4000-300-20-1. So this week I rolled the place value dice and laid out the appropriate stamps. Then I had DJ read the number to me.
Next, instead of going straight to the paper, I brought out the large number cards and had DJ select each of the cards. I pointed out all of the zeros to him before asking him to do the "magic slide" to reveal the number.
Finally, DJ wrote the number 5,815 both on the paper and the chalkboard. DJ does really well writing numbers with chalk but he has trouble when writing on the paper. I'm not sure if it's the small size on the paper or the feel of the pencil or what, but I had him do both chalk and pencil for the practice.
Next I pulled out the movable alphabet and practiced writing some words with DJ. As much as he excels at math, DJ is stagnant with his language work. I've noticed lately that he has a really hard time identifying the middle sounds in words, especially when it's a vowel. I'm not sure if he's just forgotten since it's been so long since we worked on the sound games or if he never really got it to begin with. So I purposely chose three words that had the same beginning and ending sounds but different middles. Bell, ball & bottle. Phonetically they would be /bel/, /bol/ and /botl/. DJ did this work with me and he was occasionally really trying, but it was like pulling teeth. He would much rather be doing just about anything else.
So I made sure we ended on a positive note by doing some map work. On a whim, we decided to trace the world map puzzle pieces and color them in. I was incredibly surprised by how much DJ enjoyed this! I traced North & South America while DJ drew Europe, Asia, Africa and 2 Australia's. And I was very embarrassed to realize that I had flipped North America around before tracing it. The part touching South America is actually the western tip of Alaska. Oops!! But lucky for me, DJ didn't notice. He did, however, notice that Europe, Asia & Africa aren't actually separate continents. As he was placing the puzzle pieces on the paper to trace he exclaimed, "Hey! These are all really one big piece!"
DJ then finished off the week with a belt test in TaeKwonDo. He was promoted to a white belt with a green stripe. While some kids might find belt tests to be stressful, DJ absolutely loves the limelight. He really enjoys showing everyone what he can do. It's great that he loves TKD so much because he's getting so much more out of it than just how to kick. His "Little Dragon's" class is much more about how to behave in class than it is about martial arts. DJ really needs to be held to that standard. And the best part is DJ thinks he's just having fun!