Nov 10, 2008

what's new

In the interests of brevity (you would thank me profusely if you but knew) I will only share the new stuff we tried this week. Go here to read about the "old" stuff. :)

I made this some time ago, but wanted to make sure that Daniel could manage the clothespins before I put it out. It is a simple concept, he just matched the colors, but the challenge of the clothespins draws him back to this. I just colored the pins with markers, and glued a strip of construction paper onto a box-top so it would be nice and sturdy.

I used magnetic letters to trace on strips of card stock. They simply match them. Alex has mastered this to the point he does all 3 names at once, and is working on doing them in left-to-right order.

They practiced sweeping jewels into a square. I used tape, but it did NOT work well, next time we try this, I will use puff balls and chalk to make the square.

Abbie had trouble getting the hang of this. She kept trying to stick the jewels into the bristles of the brush so they would go where she wanted them to go!

The older kids just had to try this, too. So after they swept them into the square I gave them a dustpan and a bucket.

Alex struggles with this, but he keeps choosing it, and he makes steady progress. He can now ID all five numbers, but still has trouble counting out the correct number of pumpkins.

Here, I found this fun idea. So I made up my own scavenger lists, words for the kids who can read, pictures for the ones who can't (don't laugh at my awful artwork! lol) I put the lists on clipboards and off they went...

The purple team. Their clothing was totally unplanned. :)

The orange team. (and Abbie)

Abbie was kind of on her own team. Instead of helping the boys, who were actually doing a great job on their own, she just kept bringing me random toys. Even confused, she had a good time.

This was the most impressive... without any help from me, they found 5 things made of wood.

I found these cool dressing bears at Target for $2.50. The kids love playing with them, although Kaytie actually gets the most out of them. (That's what I like about having the kids so close together, the toys are almost always "1-size-fits-all". They might play with it a bit differently, but they all play with it!)
This was a favorite activity. The boys used tweezers to transfer the pompoms.
And Abbie, after a few moments of frustration, finally consented to use her hands. Now, I hide the tweezers whenever she chooses this.

She was also trying to get away with putting out one or two, then saying "Done!" and putting it away. So I started handing her them one by one, and naming their colors. That helped keep her attention.
I put out our apple sorting game, which garnered a little interest, but not much. :(
The ABC puzzle went over well with Daniel, but both Abbie and Alex had trouble with it.
I added a card to the pattern blocks and lo and behold! The boys chose them!
Scissors and strips of paper held Abbie's attention for awhile. Her only achievement, however, was crumpled paper.
Daniel did but little better, and Alex wasn't interested at all.
This is, hands-down, Abbie's favorite. She sets out the cards all by herself now. And she loves trying to name the colors. She usually matches three bears and then wants to put it away. I have to keep an eye out to catch her in time to get her to match the last two bears.
Abbie also enjoyed squeezing the leaf shaped sponge, but I couldn't the boys to try it at all.
This was a BIG BIG hit. I got the idea here. And put it together at once. Popcorn in a bowl (with a LID) and two trucks that Daniel got for Christmas last year. Both are metal and have working parts so the kids loved it. Abbie played with it for about 5 minutes (a record for her)

and Alex enjoyed it for a little bit longer

But once Daniel got a-hold of it, he wouldn't let it go. He scooped, dumped, drove, dug, and played with it until I had to make him put it away so we could have lunch. And it's been weighing on his mind ever since.

So I'll leave you with this: What happens when Abbie is pouring beans and I take my attention off of her for approximately 5 seconds. sigh. She did pick them all up though.

For more Totschool posts, go here. And please pray for Carissa and her family. They are really struggling right now.


Carisa said...

I LOVE what you are doing now with your little ones, such wonderful ideas! I bookmarked this post so I can record these great ideas in my tot school list for Kyler. I like your turn towards a more Montessori approach and it seems to be working well with your kiddos too.

You are such a great momma!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! You have inspired me!

One More Equals Four said...

Sounds fun! You are doing a great job...much more fun than me, I'm afraid!

jennwa said...

They all sound like great activities.
I saw the sweeping exercise at another blog and I did it in my 2 year old pre school class and they loved it.
I will also be using some of your great ideas. I really love the clothes pin and tweezer activities.
Thanks for sharing.

Charissa said...

I am just starting to give CC (15 months) some "work" and have been frustrated at how quickly she loses interest. Knowing that 5 mins is a long time for a 21 month old helps. How much do you force her to "finish up". Great adaptation not using the tweezers!

Jamie said...

Just recently came across your blog. Love what you do for totschool. I have a daughter who is couple of months younger than your youngest and so I think I will steal a few ideas -:). Had a question - did you make the pattern cards for the pattern blocks or did you buy them? Thanks

The four little penguins say: said...

Thank you all for your encouraging words. We are not "good" Montessorians, but we are definitely enjoying this style of school.
Charisa, I've been pondering a post to answer your question.
Jamie, I bought those cards at our local Teacher Resource store, but I googled "pattern block cards" and came up with lots of online sites where you can buy something similar. :)

Kerri said...

I love the sweeping game. DS has a little broom like that, but I had never thought of a game with it! Your blog is new to me, but I will be back!

Meredith said...

Such great stuff going on here, what a delightful family! Many blessings!


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