Nov 3, 2008

2 weeks in one


Since I was out of town last weekend, and didn't get a chance to post, this is probably going to be a little long, and full of pictures. I hope you don't mind. :)

The kids are really enjoying this new style of school. It is fun to watch them gain confidence daily in what they can do. I am surprised at what Abbie is able to do. Activities that I would never have offered her, she chooses and accomplishes now that they are available to her. This method also cuts down on my prep time and they are actually getting more variety of activities because I can get in a "rut" for a week or two, but they have a whole box of various projects that they can choose from in that time.

I know just enough about Montessori to know that I am not doing this correctly. I use words when I present a material, and we are not going in the Montessori order, nor are we going to use many of the materials since they are way beyond our budget, but the kids and I are both enjoying the independence fostered by this method.

What we do: the kids get out their mats and I help them put them in the right spot on the floor. I empty all the stuff out of the box on the floor between their mats and they choose whatever they want to work on. I do make them "finish" an activity before they put it away. Well, mostly, anyway, there are a couple things that are so over Abbie's head that I let her do her own thing with them and put them away whenever she is done. One of the drawbacks to having kids of different ages working together, I guess. :)



Anyway, back to what we have been doing these past two weeks...


Alex is the only one of the three really ready for this activity. He needed help, but he was finally able to match both pictures and both letters (upper and lower case) by beginning sound. The other two kids take it out of the bag, look at it, and stick it back in the bag.

These are body part cards that I made for Abbie. She is pointing at her nose to show me the card she has is the nose card.


Here, Daniel is playing with the flannel graph set I made. He is singing 5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate, and acting out the song.

Alex is matching a pattern. I traced shapes on a strip of card stock, then cut out the same shapes. I made him put the matching shapes under the strip instead of on top of the shapes. As soon as he gets this down, I will make him put them down in order from left to right.

Daniel playing with an hourglass. This is just a "fun" activity that I tossed in their box. There are no "rules" to this. And oddly enough, they usually just pick it up and put it back right away!


Abbie loves spooning glass pebbles from one cup to another. She always winds up pouring at some point, though.

Daniel is quite good at clipping on the clothespins. I need to pull out my activities for this skill.

Abbie, on the other hand, still puts them on backwards.



Leaves in a bag. I have laminated paper ones, sandpaper ones and ones I bought at the Dollar Tree for a sensory experience.


One day, I gave them a rubber ball in a little jar with a lid. They worked on screwing and unscrewing the lid, taking the ball out, and putting it back in. They also enjoyed shaking the ball inside the jar.


A few days later, I added a toilet-paper tube to this activity. Abbie loved putting the ball in the tube. I showed her how to pour the ball from the jar into the tube and back again. Next, I will add another jar so they can use the tube to pour from one jar to the other.


Abbie likes this matching exercise. I traced the shapes of these plastic shapes on a piece of paper and they just put the shapes in like a puzzle.


Abbie likes the pattern blocks, also. The boys rarely pick them. They seem to prefer the more structured activities.



This is another favorite of Abbie's. She does a wonderful job matching the bears to the correct color card. I work with her on this one, naming each color, since "blue" is the only color she can name.

I made this face matching puzzle for Abbie, but she never chooses it. Daniel likes it because he knows it is his and Abbie's faces.

This is not a favorite. These are foam animals, that they can sort by color or by animal type. But they don't choose it hardly at all, so I think it will soon go away.


This, however, is much enjoyed. They pour beans from one cup to the other. The tray is to catch the inevitable spills. This is one of the Montessori activities that I follow the "rules". I always set it up where they work from left to right.


Here, you can see how Abbie feels about bean pouring.



I made colored Popsicle sticks for color matching. I only let Daniel keep out the colors he could name. Abbie enjoys this one, too.



This 3-piece puzzle has been in the family since Kaytie was tiny. All the kids have loved playing with it. Making it a part of school has made it more special. I'm going to miss it when Abbie outgrows it.

And finally, here is our pumpkin transfer. This is one of their most chosen activities. In fact, there is often a waiting list for this. They are supposed to use tongs to transfer the pumpkins from the leaf plate to the cup. Abbie tried to figure out the tongs, but quickly resorted to this...


Daniel, however, went from this...


to this...



to this...

very quickly.

He got so good at it that he used the tongs to pick up the cup to pour the pumpkins back into the plate!
We also are doing lots of reading, of course, and playing on Starfall.com
For more Totschool posts, go here.

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