Posts Tagged ‘Montessori’

Sunshine boy(4) was struggling with his pencil today. He kept changing his mind about what direction some of the numbers went in. He wanted to list his numbers from 1-10 but that darned pencil was giving him trouble.


We threw away the pencil…into the pencil box…


whipped out the GREEN pipe cleaners!

I took out a green writing board I had purchased years ago from one of the homeschool “schools” ..maybe Our Lady of Victory… This board has lines for writing that allow the chalk to create 2″ high letters.

With the pipecleaners in hand, we shaped each number from 1-9 cutting where necessary. (a nail clipper is the best tool for that sticky job) We made them on the green board so that we could match the top, medial and bottom lines. (using a fingernail to bend the pipecleaner in the appropriate places) We then lined up our finished projects on the board and traced them one at a time with our fingers and then did the Handwriting Without Tears method of “Wet, Dry, Try”

“You will write the first model of the letter using a very small piece of chalk. Use the same language you used when building the letters on the mat as you show your child how the letter is formed on the slate. Your child will then “wet” over it with the small sponge, then trace over it again with a wet index finger. You then have your child “dry” the letter with a small piece of paper towel by tracing over it in the same stroke order that you wrote. Then the child “tries” to write the letter independently. “

(BTW Handwriting Without Tears has some other great hints and tricks for learning letters and numbers on the same page)

We “played” at that for awhile then whipped out…

the poker chips!

Sunshine boy lined up the numbers across the table leaving ample room between each one. We then placed the appropriate number of poker chips under each number pairing them in twos with the odd numbers being left alone in the leftmost position without a “partner”. He calls this the even-odd game.

Then he stacked up the groups of chips and placed the pipecleaner number atop each stack that represented that amount. We then lined up the stacks like stairs and the numbers took turns walking up and down the stack counting forwards and backwards till they all had their turns…(complete with sound effects of course)… and giggled when there were ZERO stairs to climb!

I loooove the way he smiles after this kind of “play”. Learning without frustration leaves him with such peace and a really wonderful smile that would make your heart melt.

I plan on making a home made batch of play dough next week so we can rope more letters and numbers into shape. When I get the courage up that is. Learning is a messy business! ;o)

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I was playing letter games with my Sunshine Boy (4yo ds) this afternoon. I noticed that he was struggling to write his letters today in a booklet we created. He has the general idea, but his motor skills just aren’t there yet and I observed that he hesitates to recall how the letter is properly made..ie where it starts and what direction to go in….

I invited him to work with the sandpaper letters, but as I did so, I thought that he was really looking for something more creative. As I guessed, he declined using them.

So I sent one of my dds in search of a big box. Taking a quick survey of what was around me so that I would not lose my audience, I then whipped out the rod track for the wooden Cuisenaire Rods(ruler no where to be found, of course ;o) and I drew large penmanship lines across the box so that they wrapped completely around it on the standing faces. I then took a colored pencil and wrote the whole alphabet in large letters on those lines being careful not to run out of box before I ran out of alphabet. I then took one of my favorite educational items which my ds calls a “spooker” (meaning anything that has the ability to poke) (of course you and I would call it a golf tee) and I “spooked” (poked) each letter making them bumpy. I made a bigger poke where the letter started and all he had to do from there was to follow the dotted line. Dot-to-dots being his favorite pastime as of late, this was definitely “him”.

I then pulled out some of the Moncurebooks (that he loves so much) from the shelf and read several of them with him. These books are special. There is a book for every letter of the alphabet (except the last 3 letters which are in the same volume). In each book, the main character is always “little (letter of the book)”. This character has a box and decides to fill it with items that start with that letter. Instead of saying, “little i has a box….”, I would say, “little iuh has a box…”, making the story more phonetic. I would even ask him what little iuh’s (speaking the short vowel sound of i) OTHER name was. Of course, he knew that! It was (the long vowel sound) I!

And so we played. We played a listening game where we listened to ourselves saying each word, carefully trying to determine where we could hear the letter we were seeking (such as the letter i) in the beginning, the middle and the end of words. If my son missed one, I would say that I tricked him and he would erupt in fits of giggles. We felt where the sound was made in our mouths so we could “feel” it better when it would show up in the words we spoke.

Later, I handed him this box that I made. I said to him “How old are you?” He giggled”Oh, you know! FOUR!” And I then instructed him to find four objects in the room and place them in the box for our game. Most of them were train related…LOL

He brought the box back to me and I told him to choose an object, hold it up and say its name. Next, I told him to listen to the first sound he heard and feel how that sound was made in his mouth. I then told him that listening and feeling would lead him to the two clues he needed to find the correct mystery letter of the sound at the beginning of each word. When he discovered the mystery letter he was to point to it on the box and trace it with his first two fingers saying the sound as he did so.

Worked like a charm. Even my 2.5yo dd played. Developmentally she was not ready to determine first sounds. She is in the stage where she is identifying objects. She thinks it is funny when I point to the first letter in her name and tell her it is the first letter of her name. She laughs and says, that not me! Smart kid.

There is much fruit to be had in desperation. Desperation, however fleeting, was the mother of invention of a mysterious box that held the keys to learning today. I made my own”manipulatives” that were custom made to suit my young audience. It fed my “inner mommy” with warm and fuzzy feelings, so to speak. (Translation = it was a fun creative outlet.)

If you will pardon the pun….Sometimes…you just HAVE to think Out of the Box!

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