Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Number Rods

I neglected my number rods because i thought its purpose was only to teach the child numbers from one to ten. Until, i read Leptir's blog! I never knew the extra lessons such as additions, that came with this material! I was inspired!

First, we determine the number on each rods. I then began my additions activity.

10 + 4 =?

I started by asking N to pass me 14 rods. Of course, he looked confused. I instructed him to hand me rod number 10 and 4. I joined the two rods together and we counted the total number which was 14. I told N 10 and 4 makes 14! He was amused! He quickly returned the rods and waited anxiously for my next instructions.
I asked for 19, 11, 12 etc, he was quick to catch the concept and handed me the correct number of rods. :)

Next, i showed him other additions. I took number rod 2 and 3 and joined them together to make 5. I placed the number rod 5 above the 2 joint rods and showed him that they were the same (length). From here, he has learnt and remember that 2+3=5! We also dabbled with 5+4=9.

 As an impromptu, i showed N a 'trick'. First, i laid the rods according the height/numerals.

I took 10 and 1 to make one rod (which makes 11), 9 and 2 to make another rod (to make another 11), 8 and 3...so on. With this, we made a block! We did over and over and each time i would recite, 10 + 1 = 11, 9+2 also equals 11...etc.

I had much fun with this. THank you Leptir once again! Do hop over to her site, she has given a comprehensive tutorial on this activity!

I have to add this, you really don't need a montessori material to do this. Don't spend that unnecessary money ( i only realised this AFTER i bought my set). You can do this activity EASILY with Lego sets too- just make sure you build them in alternate colors (blue, red, blue, red etc). Otherwise, there are many free downloads you can print. Granted they might not be 3 dimensional, but i feel if its able to bring the message across accurately, that's fine!

Some serious thoughts...

I shared my blog with a few friends and uploaded a video on Facebook showing N reading a book. While i received compliments, i also realised a couple of my mother friends felt guilty and lousy after reading and watching my internet spaces. They began to feel like they are not doing enough for their kids. :(

And that is exactly why i kept my blog anonymous and i didn't tell all my friends about my blog (nor what i do with N at home). Well if you are one of those moms, this is address to you.

I admit, N cognitive skills are more advance then some of peers- but that's really just about it. There you are fretting how far behind your 3 year old (academically) is from mine, but here i am worrying about how far my 3 year old is lagging behind in terms of his speech and social developments. You feel lousy when you read my blog about how fast N is learning, i feel lousy when i read your updates on facebook about how your child say something that throws you off your chair or when i see your child conversing so well with adults (something i rarely experience). So there, we are on par.

I don't know which is better. To have a child with average developments or one who is cognitively strong but poor in the remaining areas. Sometimes i think its the former, because you know your child is right on target on his milestones & really, you have nothing to worry about.

What i am saying is, i set up this blog to journal down only N's learning. So what you read here is really only one side of the story, there are areas where N needs alot of improvements. It just so happens that N learns well academically.

If his interest was in Arts, this blog would be about the crafts we do at home. If its about music, you bet there will be lots of musical notes on this blog. Your child has a different talent from mine, nurture her strengths instead of keeping your eyes on the strengths of other children (that's what i tell myself too!).

So please, don't let me or N or this blog make you feel any lesser as a mother because i know that feeling and its not nice. Like i told a friend, focus on your child's improvements and not on how far he is from his peers. That's how i keep myself positive with N's speech and social developments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Year End Report card

I recently had a parent-teacher meeting with N's school teachers. Although i met his directress and mandarin teacher separately, they both have very similar feedback.

Both said, N is academically capable. The mandarin teacher said N's memory is excellent, being able to learn new words almost instantly. She actually gave 100% marks to N for reading and even said no one in the school has this score except him. His directress said N is beyond his age requirement. During the mid year report, she said she doesn't think there's anyone in the school who could out beat N. She also said she didn't need to present new reading activities to him. Instead, he'd read the descriptions on his own and could correctly match them to the pictures.

However, there comes a down side. Because he learns so fast, he gets bored easily. The mandarin teacher has a fix curriculum each week. By early week, N would have learnt all the new words. Hence by mid week, there's nothing for him to do except to revise and revise. This made him bored and loose focus & interest. His directress also said that when asked to revise his work, he'd present sloppy work- even though he knows his stuff very well.

The mandarin teacher said N is very hungry to learn and constantly asks for new words/activities to keep him interested. She is concern if we keep on teaching him like this, he may not have anything new to learn in Primary school (exactly what my Mother in law has said!).

I have also expressed to them that I'll be withdrawing N from Montessori school next year. Both are concern if N would be able to fit into the main stream. They notice N needs alot of hand holding/personal attention and if left alone he may be neglected. He is not one who would express his needs to the teachers and could easily be overlooked in the sea of children.

Overall, i am satisfied with the feedback. N is learning well and is not causing trouble in school. Although, i am now concern if he is able to keep focus & interested once i enroll him to the main stream. That said, i am more determine to send him to a non-Montessori school. I am curious to know if N can cope and also i think i had better send him to main stream early to give him more time to adjust for Primary school. Well, i will never know unless i try.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thousands, tens and ones

Following his counting spree, I decided it was time to show N what 100 & 1000 really means.

First, i took out the unit beads and arranged them like so

I prepared number cards, 1000, 100, the 10s (10-90) and unit cards (1-9)

I showed N what the numerical of 1000 and 100. When he could identify the two, i laid the cards over each other such that it makes a number in thousands. Here, we made 1140.

N had to bring the correct number of beads according to the numeral we made. Here, its 1144. He had to take out the 1000 beads (the big block on the extreme left), 100 beads (the square shaped in the middle), 40 beads (the 4 ten string beads) and 4 beads (the grey beads at the extreme right).

We played around a few numbers and N had much fun with this! I think he got it too! Whoop!

All about reptiles again...

Continuing from our lesson on reptiles, i wrote on cards what each of the reptile eats. To help N identify who eats what, i also wrote the answers behind each card. I asked him to read aloud each label and to determine who 'said' that.

Seriously, i have no idea where this particular type of activity is heading. Sometimes i wonder how these general knowledge would be of any help to N in the future. Its not like we need this information in our everyday lives. Or if he'd even remember!

That said, i still think such activities help to sharpen certain skills in N. Somehow it has helped him learn how to listen, retain and re-process the data that has been given to him. I believe his ability to process things taught to him quickly was somewhat hone by these activities. Hence, i am just going to do what i do and hope someday he'll find these information useful. Even then, we'll just enjoy the journey of learning!

Learning about Poly...gons

Although i have previously taught N polygons using the flashcard method before, but i don't think he was able to differentiate the shapes. It is quite hard to tell the polygons apart without counting the number of sides they have.

Hence, we are re-visiting our polygon materials with a twist.

This time i got N to count the number of sides each polygon have. I prepared word cards of the names of each polygon and the number of sides they have.

N had to match the word labels after determining how many sides each polygon have and what their names were.
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