Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Montessori Activities

I'm constantly adding and adapting the activities Ella does for school. Here's some of the newer stuff...

This is a practical-life activity. Essentially, she's learning to use tongs to transfer an item (in this case rocks!) from place to place. She soon figured out that she could get more if she sort of "scooped" up as many as she could before closing the tongs together.

This is a colour-sorting activity, which could fall in the category of "sensorial" or "finger dexterity."

For a long time Ella's favourite colour was blue (it's now green), and she still always begins with blue if green isn't an option.

I'm not 100% sure yet, but I suspect that my greatest challenge is going to be making mathematics fun and interesting. We've used the small number rods (pictures previously, but not in use), but in order for Ella to do it, I need to be completely with her, helping, showing, and creating games in order to keep her even semi-interested. Since until now that has been our only math-oriented activity, I've added my version of the spindle box. It was very easy to make. I got a few long, thin dowels and had Dad cut them into 5-inch lengths (45 spindles are needed for the activity), and sanded them. Then, using a "snap together" desk organiser that I got at the Dollarama ($1 for three parts, I needed ten, so I bought 4 - anyone need 2???), which didn't snap together very well! So I glued them together in two sets of five (easier to move, and takes less space), and using a thick permanent marker, I made the numbers 0 through 9 at the ends of each section. She's either not "up" to doing it on her own, or is not able to maintain interest in it on her own yet, though. So we're doing it as a game and we take turns putting the correct number of spindles in each section. I try to be sure that I alternate between doing the even and odd numbers.

She does really well until about 5 or 6, and then (quite honestly) I think she gets bored and doesn't bother really trying to do it correctly anymore. Math just doesn't have the fascination for her that other subjects seem to. I can't really blame her; neither of her parents were fond of math either!


That is to say, our anatomy lesson - which (strangely enough, lol...) is anatomically correct! (To see the "nudity" you may have to look closely).

I got this anatomy layer-puzzle at one of my favourite toy stores, Hot Toads! (you can peek at my links, if you want to see other great stuff). I never have enough money when I go there. They are primarily an online store, but they do have a small store in Oromocto, New Brunswick, and the owner really knows his stuff. It's put out by Beleduc-Hape Toys.

This was an excellent activity. The bottom layer is the skeleton, then organs and systems, musculature, skin/nude, then dressed. As she did the puzzle, we talked about what the different parts were called and what they were for in a fairly informal manner. She did catch a lot, because I over heard her explaining to her grandmother that the skeleton was bones inside you and those are you "hard parts"!

Perhaps our favourite subject of all - geography! We're doing world continents. Ella adores maps and globes, and I've always like geography and cultural studies. I've made some "Antarctica" cards that we play with, and we're still planning an "Antarctic Expedition," which will take place in a snowy, barren location (maybe our back yard!). I had been hoping to do it tomorrow, but the weather might be against us. Freezing rain - yep, okay, they've got THAT in Antarctica, but by noon it's supposed to be just plain rain, and that will be wet and miserable. I need a cold day for it, not a wet one!

Ella had a surprise visitor - Nanie! Mum, being off from school (yea March Break!), came down to see Ella at her school, and to play. Every time Ella takes a piece out of the puzzle and lays it on its corresponding "shadow" above the written name of the continent, she'll say, "This is _____" (fill in the blank with whatever continent it is). She doesn't get them all right yet, but when she's stumped, she looks up at me and says, "I can't bemember this one!" and I'll tell her. She'll then repeat the name and continue. When re-assembling the puzzle, she also says each name.

She was so proud of herself - she got them all out, on the right shadows, and said all their names correctly when showing Nanie! Nanie (being a typical grandmother) was pretty proud too!

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At 11:01 p.m. , Blogger Janis said...

The little ponytails/pigtails are ADORABLE!!! Oh, I miss my Ella... give her a big hug from me! And yeah, I kind of miss you too! I can't wait to visit "school" when I come home!

At 11:26 p.m. , Blogger HomeSchooler said...

She's all about having braids, just like "Anne Charlie" (Anne Shirley of "Anne of Green Gables" fame).

At 7:57 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the braids too. And your Mum's scarf.

The math will come eventually. The key is to keep doing little things and not to get frustrated.

At 9:27 a.m. , Blogger Shannon said...

Just found your blog! Love the Mont. activities you are doing with your daughter. I am definitely going to "borrow" your continent matching idea! My 3 yo will love this one!

I also wanted to mention that in the book "Basic Montessori", David Gettman does not even have children start any math activities until the 3rd period. So her boredom may just be that she is not ready to do the math yet.

Now, having said that, my DS never picks the math activities himself either. However, he can count to 20 and is very good at Math. So with him I just do math things outside of school time. We count steps, flowers, marbles, hot wheels, just about everything. We locate shapes and try to do math when ever we can. He loves it and never notices!

Thanks for the ideas, so far. Can not wait to keep reading your older posts to get more great ideas!

At 10:04 a.m. , Blogger Family Of Five said...

Where can I get one of those body puzzles and world puzzles???

At 6:58 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love your blog. i am a little overwhelmed by it all. but i really really appreciate, your "day in the life" examples. thank you so much.

At 1:28 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences...It's been a pleasure taking a look at your site. I'm hoping to get organised enough to start some of my own activities with my kids at home now...where did you find the "world continent" puzzle? I have a Melissa and Doug American States one...but am looking for a world one...


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