Sunday, April 26, 2015

Atrium day



Kui is sick today so the boys and I had a nice atrium day today.   Ok, so there are only a few presentations that are usable for the moment, but hey....we had a productive morning.  Bubs worked with the altar while I presented the Good Shepherd to Nito.  He is a little young for it, but has yearned for it alongside Bubs for quite some time so I thought I would give it a try.

(Cue the sad music.......)  Well, the sheepfold is no longer a fold, but rather a green pasture with a few stepping stones along the way.  My darling Kui did point out to me that the rocks didn't stay well in the first place.  Don't you love how kids are so blunt?  If you remember my previous post about the Good Shepherd, I did mention that we would see how long it would hold up.  Kui had a good suggestion on how to make a new one with peg dolls and rope.  Maybe she saw the crushed look on my face and was trying to help.  Anyway.....Nito did sit through the presentation nicely, but interrupted to tell me that I wasn't taken the sheep out of the sheep fold correctly.  Pardon (with a French accent).

The sheepfold has not been destroyed yet.
Wait for it......
Let the destruction begin!

Bubs worked nicely with the altar and proceeded to give me the Body and Blood of Christ with his paten and chalice.  I think he was more excited to light the candle and use the snuffer to be honest.  However, It was a good review of why we are using the white altar cloth (celebration for Easter season) and a great language lesson for the names of the objects on the altar.

The boys soon moved on to different materials.  Nito did the language cards for and Bubs decided to join in with him. 


Nito pointing to the alb.  I need to also get my Priest Vestments work up and running.
Then Bubs moved to the Preparation of the Cruets work.  (Who doesn't like pouring wine into small cruets over and over and over again?!). Soon he will be moving on to the Preparation of the Chalice material.  He is very excited about that.  Nito will just continue to watch on the sidelines for now, but as the months go by I will show him a few things here and there.  If only I could finish my chasubles for the Liturgical Colors presentation then Nito would have something else to work with and it also involves singing which brings toddlers great joy.

Bubs preparing the cruets.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bells - The Matching Game


Bubs really loves the bells.  However it is quite a pity that I have to shoosh him as often as I do because Anto is sleeping.  Then when he's awake I completely forget.  It's like Bubs and Nito decide to be in an orchestra or on a drum line right when I lay Anto down to sleep.  Let me tell you, Nito's favorite instrument are the cymbals (bam bam bam bam bam as he marches through the classroom!). Oh, but he stays right on the walking on the line tape!

Ok, back to Bubs and the bells.  He has already done the first presentation of matching three bells.  We are now doing one of the first games.  The child is supposed to place one rug in an area of the classroom and another rug somewhere else.  This creates movement for the child and makes it a little bit harder for them to match the correct sounds.  For Bubs' case, he stayed on one rug and I stayed on the other.  He would bring his bell to me when he found the match.  He tends to get discouraged easily so I wanted to make sure it stayed fun and exciting for him. I wanted him to feel like it was "doable".  (I also selfishly wanted him to work with these darn things because they took a long time to make!).  I even had my mom spray paint the bells while I was pregnant to avoid fumes.  It was quite interesting trying to get enough paint to coat the original colors of the bells.  If you want to cut costs, you can find a good tutorial here for making your own bells. I recently got the additional 5 chromatic bells (sharps and flats), but have not painted them yet.  You can see them in the picture at the top of the post.  They are quite colorful!

So I would ring one brown bell three times and then Bubs would have to ring each bell until he found the right match.  Once he found the correct match, he would bring it to me and put the matching white and brown bell in the upper left hand side of the work rug.  

Bubs chose to pull the little rocking chair over to sit in while he was working.  He also wanted to be crammed over in the corner next to the atrium materials.  What are ya gonna do?  He was working right?
Of course Nito had to be right there helping me ring the bells and line them up.  Bubs was not a fan of him "helping" with his work.  As long as Nito got to help me ring the bells on my rug he was ok and we were able to get through the presentation without a tantrum.  Phew!

Bubs was very proud once he found all of the matches.  We repeated about three more times before....let me think....oh snack time!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Since the beginning of the year, the kiddos have always loved the poetry folder.  I had a compilation from my teaching days and basically started with that.  We got a new book for Christmas and they have really enjoyed that.  We even did a poetry recital for all of my family on Christmas day.  We spent a lot of school days preparing for that!  By the way....don't you love how kids perform so well for you in the comfort of their own home, but freeze like icicles when it's "Showtime" (insert jazz hands!). It was definitely an amateur recital, but it was good exposure for them.  Kui needs to come out of her shell a little more and not be so timid.  Nito just flat out refused to say anything (even though he was the cutest one during practice) and Bubs clung to Kui's side like she was a lifesaver ring a lifeguard throws to you at the beach.  
The Frog on the Log by Ilo Orleans 
This was Nito's favorite poem to do.  For the younger ones, well Kui enjoyed it too, we would make up hand motions to help remember the words.  It is quite funny to see them hopping around the living room like a frog.  It usually got a little out of control so I eventually made them each stand on a work rug and told them that their hopping or big body movements needed to stay confined to their rug.  Well don't you know that the elementary child had the great idea to combine all three rugs together to create a much bigger space to spread their wings!
The past few months have been more focused on Kui and poem memorization.  She will learn more about the parts of a poem and the different kinds next year.  I just don't have the time to delve into the differences between haikus, sonnets, and riddles.  Not to mention the rhyming that is needed as well!  Maybe she is deprived, but I'm almost certain that she will not be tested on poetry on her standardized test next week.  (Yikes, next week!)  Let's pray that her teacher has taught her enough to pass the 2nd grade.  

Kui rewriting a poem.  Good chance for her to practice her cursive!



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Grammar boxes!!

WHAT. WAS. I. THINKING.  Man oh man are these things time consuming to put together.  I will admit that they are well worth it, but take a lot of time.  I ended up going for the less expensive route and making my own "boxes".  I was not willing to shell out the $$ for these at Montessori Outlet.  I actually went to Walmart and bought fishing tackle boxes and then used felt to color code them to match the cards.  See below.

 I then printed the cards from Montessori Print Shop.  I labeled each card according to the correct grammar box, laminated, and cut the cards out.  I do have to mention that it was worth the investment for a paper cutter after boxes and boxes of laminated sheets needed to be cut.  (I wish I knew my friend, Rachel, who offered to do cutting for me back when I made these.  It would have saved me a lot of time!)


Sample of the preposition grammar box with all of the cards in it. 

There are 8 grammar boxes for the child to get through, ideally before the age of 8.  They include article (noun is mixed in this one),  adjective, verb, preposition, adverb, pronoun, conjunction, and interjection.  Kui is on the second to last one so I'm hoping she will make it to the last one before the year is over.  We started over with the first one at the beginning of the year for a refresher.  It turns out though that it was more new information than an actual review for her!  I'm glad I didn't rush her.  She has been diligently working through them.  She has actually caught on to the color coding system and uses that to "cheat" when she is finding her grammar symbols. 

The grammar symbols are color coded to the cards for each part of speech.  For example, the red circle is for verb.  The child can think of it as a ball which is always moving and the verb in a sentence is for the action.  The boxes also include command cards along with experiments for the child to use and learn examples of words for a particular part of speech.  They are actually pretty cool and we have a lot of fun doing them.

The idea behind the boxes is for the child to read the large card which has two sentences.  The child finds each word, according to the part of the speech, and places it in the correct order in the sentence.  Then the child does what the sentence says.  ("Stack the small cube on top of the large cube.")  This sentence has a variety of parts of speech including adjectives and a preposition.  Then the second sentence will have a few words that are different that the child has to switch out.  When the child does the physical action of the card, it helps them to remember the different parts of speech easier. 

Sample sentence written out with the individual cards with grammar symbols on the top. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sand tray

We dabbled with the sand tray last week.  Bubs really took to it well and has chosen it from the shelf consistently everyday.  Surprisingly he has only used it once for making pictures and there has been a minimal amount of sand on the floor.  Now....let's cross our fingers that it stays that way because Nito sits ever so closely to Bubs' table and watches rather intensely.  I occasionally hear "This is my work Nito NOOOOO!!"  Then I wait for the loud crashing sound of sand and the tray hitting the ground.  Yet to happen, but prepared nonetheless.
I started him on the sand tray to try to encourage his use of the good ole moveable alphabet.  Geez, he just doesn't like that thing.  (I guess you can't expect him to love every material.)  It has seemed to work though.  I thought maybe if he started writing out the letters then he would want to try to make words with the sounds.....well my thought was wrong.  At least for now, he just wants to make the letters in the sand.  I did just order him some language objects to create a phonetic box so I am hoping this will help.  Stay tuned for that post. 
In Montessori, the sand tray is used as a preparatory work for the child who has become interested in writing.  Now, Bubs did great writing his numbers straight from a chalkboard to paper.  However, he is struggling with the letters.  We also start with cursive in Montessori.  There is a great layout of the steps for the sand tray at Info Montessori.  She breaks it down and shows the progression from the sand tray to the chalkboard.  Then once the child is comfortable, he can move to writing on paper.

Yay, he made "cat".  Now he didn't want to put all of the sounds together, but at least it's a start. 

See the empty chair where Nito hovers?!?  During the photo, of course, he was asking to see the picture.
Then he just started pulling random letters from the sandpaper letters.  I was actually impressed at how well his letters came out.  It is quite different in sand versus on paper with a pencil.