Thursday, November 13, 2008

Numbers and Matching

Perhaps you've noticed I haven't been posting daily logs. The honest truth is that my brain thinks that Exam Week is planning week. And I've been trying to rethink how I do my logs, anyway. Do I really need daily logs? In the past, when I've tried alternatives I've found that I DO need them to keep my brain from free-floating off into planning-land and forgetting about the inconvenient necessity of actually DOING my plans. But I am considering alternatives, still.

I mentioned that I wanted to think through what I'm doing with the little ones during this week. Aidan is a natural Montessori child. Not only is he special needs (I wish I had a better term than delayed and more targeted than special needs), which puts him in Montessori's original target classroom, but he LOVES matching, sorting, and that kind of thing. I suspect he loves it because it fills a developmental need. He is working hard to transition from straight concrete to concrete-operational, and he seems to find symbol-based manipulatives a valuable transition device.

We have an old bingo calling board from a multiplication bingo game and Aidan has been matching the numbers to the spaces on the board.... so much so that the calling board is getting shredded. So I decided to make him some numbers on Monday. I used to have a pdf set of numbers from 1-100 that I downloaded from somewhere but I couldn't find it online this time. Anyway, I did want to color-code them by tens to give him visual clues. So I made my own -- number cards up to 100 (PDF). I also made a set in grayscale.

I printed them out and backed them with posterboard and sealed them with clear contact paper (my laminator broke and anyway, I find I like the feel of contact paper so much better than laminating plastic). Aidan hovered over me the whole time I was making them and set right to work. But I need to make a board that shows him where to put them properly. I just gave him the rest of the poster-board for the time being -- he likes to have a board to frame his work.

He took this picture himself.

Now if you look at the gif below that shows what the PDF looks like, you will see how differently Paddy learns from Aidan. Paddy saw me making the numbers on a Word document, and wanted to try it. So I emptied the Microsoft template, leaving only the frame, and he built it up again from scratch. Not only did he type in the numbers in order from 1 to about 40 (before he got bored) but he color-coded them by tens just as I had done.

If I did Montessori with Paddy I would have to focus on creative things, like this, and on sensorial/practical life activities, because he can use some help with those types of things. He could probably benefit from some tracing activities, too. His fine motor lags behind his conceptual thinking as it tends to with all my kids.

Resources for the Future:

I found this neat Practical Homeschooling site with explanations of the Pink Level that made sense to me, and some visuals and even downloads.

I am so NOT a Montessori type mother so it is a bit of a stretch for me to wrap my brain around these things, but Aidan gets a lot of use out of the things I find and make for him so I'm trying.

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