For the first time ever, Dora wanted to work with the geometric cabinet. The geometric cabinet is actually considered a sensorial material in Montessori education. It teaches visual discrimination, while also working on the pincer grasp, and introducing children to geometric terms. Dora has not wanted anything to do with the geometric cabinet, until this week. She breezed through the first drawer, but had some problems with the second drawer, as illustrated in the photo above (she doesn’t understand why I don’t want her just to force pieces into their spaces, my method seems so fussy and time consuming!). Even after struggling with the second drawer, she wanted to do more, so I brought out the third drawer, which was pretty challenging for her. We only worked with putting the pieces back into their spaces and using general terms (for instance, I used the term “triangle” for all of second drawer, instead of terms such as “isosceles triangle” or “obtuse triangle”).
It took a bit of encouragement on my part,
but Dora finally agreed to work with the teen boards. I used the beads in conjunction with the boards, as this was really an introduction lesson (I had presented the teen boards to her before, but she totally forgot everything, since she has not wanted to work with them in so long). She grasped the pattern of the teen boards, but I’m still not sure she understands the “one and ten makes eleven” concept (I don’t want to give the impression that I am worried about it or pushing her to learn it quicker).
She also worked with the wooden counters and cards. She knows most of her number symbols, but is confusing the pairs “2” & “5” and “6” & “9”, which seems pretty age appropriate. She is easily able to count, with one-to-one correspondence, up to ten.
She also worked with the spindle box some. The spindle box is easier than the wooden counters and cards, however, as two being next to one and so forth gives her some guidance, so she doesn’t confuse the symbols.
I also gave her the very first introductory presentation to the blue and red counting bars. She was much more interested in these than the long red rods. I could see that the gears were spinning in her head when I showed her these rods. Clearly, they presented a new concept to her, though I am not sure what it was (I didn’t show her that the one rod with the nine rod equals the ten rod or anything of that sort).
Finally, we completed grading all of color box 4. Honestly, this gave me a headache! I have always had good vision, but maybe my color discrepancy skills aren’t what they should be, because I had a really hard time sorting the browns and purples. I cannot imagine doing color box 3, which has seven grades of each color! Of course, I didn’t buy the highest quality color tablets, so maybe that was part of the problem… The color variances look more obvious in this picture than they did when we were working with them.
It was a good week overall in regards to Dora’s using the Montessori materials. It is all beginning to click with her and she is asking to use the materials on the weekends too! I really enjoy seeing her make the connections between one activity and another. I doubt I will ever give any thought to switching to a different method of teaching math until she is in middle school. I really wish I had used the Montessori method with Gohan. I greatly suspect that if he had been taught with Montessori materials from the beginning, it would have saved him a lot of frustration. As is, I am giving great consideration to buying the fraction circles for him. He has memorized how to work with fractions, but the fraction word problems in pre-algebra are tripping him up. He is not understanding when he is supposed to multiply or divide with fractions. For instance, if he got a problem that said, “Johnny took 2/3 of the apples and Mary took 3/4 of Johnny’s apples, what fraction of the apples does Mary have now?” he would not know if he should multiply or divide the fractions. When I was in pre-algebra, I was just taught that the word “of” means to multiply when working with fractions. So, I’d know that in order to solve the above problem, I’d multiply 2/3 x 3/4, just because of the word “of”. That is not exactly a true understanding of what is happening and I’d like for Gohan to have a better understanding of how fractions work.
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