Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cursive, Spelling, Fractions....Oh My!

We are in the school home stretch now that it is May. There are a few areas that T needs to work on before we stop for the summer.

Last year, T really struggled with his penmanship. It took him so long to write anything down and it was really hurting his ability to express himself in writing. In Montessori, we allow for phonetic spelling to give the child the ability to write down their thoughts without worry of spelling. I have allowed this phonetic spelling until now because it really helped him to grow in his writing ability and also his penmanship. Now that he is finishing his second year of elementary, I feel that he needs to start focusing on proper spelling an sentence structure in his writing. His penmanship has improved greatly, and we have decided to start cursive as well.

In his work with cursive, he has become interested in Calligraphy. He checked out a few books at the local library and we picked up a simple cartridge style Calligraphy pen for him at an office supply store. 1, 2, 3 Calligraphy by Eleanor Winters

Our classroom Language shelf got a small makeover to accommodate his new works. I removed the metal insets, which he doesn't need anymore. B hasn't started using them yet, and when she does, I'll need to put them on a lower shelf anyway. The grammar, sentence analysis box and cursive sandpaper letters on the left have been out for a while.

On the right, Montessori blue lined paper, on top of that is a sample of the cursive alphabet for him to use as a reference. On the left, a spelling workbook that we picked up at a used book store (used as a supplement) and under that, a Choose your Cursive Challenge worksheet.

On the left, I left out the metal inset paper and pencils because we are still using these for fraction work. Below them, Dictionary Research cards  , a Children's Dictionary and a Dictionary workbook.

Fractions are something T has worked with before, but we are working on advancing through addition and subtraction of fractions right now. He has been enjoying using his Wrap-Ups when he doesn't want to do a full lesson.

If you haven't used Wrap-ups before, you should give them a try. They have 10 plastic cards that you wrap a string around as you answer the problem. For fractions, it starts with the picture on the left and the corresponding fraction written on the right. They are self correcting too! Once the child finishes his work, he flips it over and there are lines on the back that show where the string should be when it is done correctly. As long as no lines show, they got all the answers correct.

T has also been using his Multiplication Wrap-Ups to get faster with his multiplication tables.

Today we had a little fun with fractions and graphing using M&Ms candy. We just took a regular size bag of M&Ms and poured them into a bowl. T sorted them by color and counted how many of each there were. He used graph paper to make a bar graph.

We then determined what fraction of the whole bag each color was. There were 23 pieces so we concluded that 23/23 = 1 whole.

T added all of the fractions together to determine that they do, in fact, equal 23/23. Then I gave him a few addition problems which he could do because they had a common denominator. After he did a few addition problems, he tried a subtraction problem. Then he wanted to eat some M&Ms so we took 23/23 - 2/23 and found it to equal 21/23. Once we got to think point, he "needed" to eat that candy so we talked about reducing until they were gone.

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