Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Missing teeth!

Little-N is loosing all his teeth!

Montessori I SPY sound game

Before introducing your child to the sandpapers it is extremely important to work with the Montessori 'I spy game'. The 'I spy game' helps to make children aware of the different sounds in a word. The game is played at various different levels, level 1 is very concrete and the child will work through the levels until they are able to identify all the sounds in a given word. Here is a quick description of how to present this activity.

Materials needed:
-A special box
-A few objects that start with clear sounds, make sure the child is familiar with the names of each object [for this example I have a dog]
-Mat for table
Take an object from the box and place it on the mat. Say 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with 'd' 'd''. Make sure that you say the sounds correctly, it should be short 'd' and not 'da'. Since there is only one object on the mat the child will be able to succeed and reply 'dog'. Reply 'I spy dog' and emphasis the 'd' in the word. Put the object back in the box and take another object, repeat the activity for the other object. You can continue this game with as many objects as the child needs. I've had children play this for 20min and more.

Do not move onto the next step until you notice that your child is becoming aware of the initial sound in each word. This may take days, weeks or months. Be patient and continue, change the objects and change the placement of the objects to keep it interesting.


By now the child should have developed some awareness of the initial sound in a word. On the mat place two objects with contrasting initial sounds. Say to the child 'I spy with my little eye something on the mat beginning with 'mm' 'mm'. The child now has to choose between the two objects on the mat. If the child has mastered level 1 hopefully they are able to distinguish the sounds and choose the correct object. If the child chooses the wrong object, in this case the dog simply reply ''d' dog, I spy something beginning with 'mm''.
Continue working with two objects at a time. As the child succeeds at the activity gradually increase the number of objects.

Level 3: In this activity you use the environment [room, car, garden]. Choose a sound that represents more than one item in the environment, for example book, basket, ball. Say 'I spy with my little eye many things that begin with 'b'. Encourage the child to find as many objects as possible.

Once the child has mastered this step then they are ready to start the sandpaper letters. The I spy game doesn't end here, continue to work through the different levels, it is still very important that you do this as this will help your child to isolate each sound in a word and ensure that they will be able to successfully work with the pink series and moveable alphabet later on.

Level 4: Now we are focusing on the ending sound of a word. It is easier to limit you objects to three letter phonetic words like dog, cat, pot.
Place two objects on a mat that begin with the same letter but end in different letters for example peg and pin. Say, 'I spy with my little eye something on the mat that begins with 'p' and ends with 'g''. Usually the child will not get this first time, if the child chooses the pin say 'Yes pin begins with 'p' but I spy something the begins with 'p' and ends with 'g'. Lets listen the the ending sounds, p i n, p e g. Then repeat I spy....'g'.
Once the child has mastered this level they will be able to identify the beginning and ending sound of a word.

Level 5: Once level 4 is mastered play the 'I spy game' with the middle sound. This can be very difficult, make sure you have three letter phonetic objects and help the child to sound out the word.

Please note that during these activities you do not show or teach the letter symbols, this activity is an auditory activity and the child should focus on hearing the sounds in a word. If you do the letters at the same time then they child is likely to get confused.

Begin presenting the sandpaper letters after the child has mastered level 3, but do this as a separate presentation/activity.

Do not get frustrated and stressed if the child is not mastering any of the levels, you can continue with each level as long as the child is happy and interested. If the child is unhappy or uninterested it may be because the child is simply not ready. In that case the best thing you can do is put the activity away and try again in a few weeks. But do try it again as this activity is extremely important for many of the later activities in the language area.

If you have an older child who is having difficulty spelling phonetic words, work through this activity and increase the difficulty by having objects with similar sounds like 'b' 'p'.

Those of you who I am helping through your home-schooling journey, try level 1 and 2 and then report back to me on how the activities went!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Pink tower and broad stair

Here are some ways that Little-M built the pink tower with the broad stair.

New addition: Aslan

Although I already have four of my own cats I could not resist having one of Annabel's kittens. I fell in love with this kitten: Aslan right from the beginning. He's grey, fluffy and so clever! There is something special about grey tabby cats, clever, affectionate, cute and funny. I was really worried about how my four other cats would react to a new addition, thankfully it all went well.

Tinkerbell [above] and Smittens [below] are Aslans sister and brother from the previous litter. Tinkerbell immediately took the role of a mother, cleaning him and teaching what to do. Smittens took the role of a big brother protecting him and playing with him. I didn't expect my cats to react to him in this way, as you can see from the pictures Aslan is very comfortable in my home.

He follows me round the house all day and sleeps besides me in bed at night. He is always climbing onto my lap where he manages to get under my top and falls asleep. And as I write this he is nibbling and licking my hand as if he knows this post is all about him!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Developing concentration, going back to the beginning

As I mentioned in a previous post one of my newer pupils Little-M needed many activities to develop his concentration and coordination. Although Little-M is 5yrs, I decided that the best way to do this was to go all the way back to the beginning. I started by introducing the early practical life and sensorial materials. Yes that means that at 5 he worked with the pink tower and even spooning exercises. I took him through the activities at a quicker pace then one would working with a younger child. Here are pictures of some of the activities he worked with.

Working with these activities were very beneficial for him, his concentration increased, coordination developed and he learn the gentleness and precision that one must work with when doing an activity. Going through these simple activities also ensured that he doesn't have gaps in his learning and that he has developed a stable foundation to build upon.

Some parents may have view his work as unimportant or time wasting, however Little-Ms mum was fully supportive. Now that he has completed many of the early activities he can now move onto more complex tasks and benefit appropriately from them.

If your starting Montessori with an older child it is always a good idea to take the time to go all the way back to the beginning and work with the early activities no matter how simple they appear to you. It is also the indirect aims of each activity that we hope the child will acquire and these will ensure that your child does better in the later activities.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Studying the Earth

This is the latest activity that I made for Little-N. With this activity he learnt about the different parts of the Earth.
To demonstrate this activity I made a globe from a plastic sphere container that came with Little-N's socks. I painted it from the inside, starting with the land and then covered it with blue for the ocean. I then made two holes at the north and south pole so that I can fit a skewer through it.

First I explained to Little-N that the earth spins but it doesn't just spin anyway, it spins on an axis. I explained that we can imagine this axis as a straight line going through the earth. We placed the skewer through the earth and Little-N span it towards the east. Next we covered the north pole and south pole.
I placed the skewer in foam so that it supports the Earth with a tilt and I explained to Little-N that the earth axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees. I then drew a line on the globe with a board pen at the equator and explained to Little-N that this is an imaginary line.We then looked at the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.
Here are the cards that I made for Little-N to match. I have put them up for sale in my Lulu shop here.

On another day we revised the previous lessons and I went on to draw the lines of latitude and longitude on the globe. We also covered the major circles of latitude. This time I made the information cards differently, I wrote them as quiz cards so that Little-N had to use his understanding of this activity to match the cards.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Land and water on a map

After working with the land and water globe this student went on to do a simple activity where he first colours the land with a brown wax crayon and then paints the water on top.

Land water and Air: Animals and transport

Transport by land water and air.

Animals from the land water and air.

After working with the land water and air activity I have created extension cards for the children to work with that focus on transportation and animals that are found in land water and air. I have uploaded the file so you can download them here.

Presentation of Day and Night

A picture taken while presenting day and night to Little-N.

Home made Montessori bead cabinet

I've finally finished making my bead cabinet. I used scrap wood that I took from an old chest of drawers. It is narrower than the usual cabinet and I have hung the short bead chains instead of lying them on the shelves. I am hoping to add another shelf at the top to house the bead cubes.