Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Math Club Session 1 - Place Value

This year I'm doing an after school Math Club with four children grades 4-8 who don't go to my school -- and don't have access to the Montessori math materials at home -- and are struggling a bit in math and need support.

The Montessori manipulatives are wonderful for introducing math concepts but they can also be used remedially with children. Children who need to see and hear the concepts explained in a different way, or who need more practice but with work that feels fresh and interesting, really respond well to the Montessori approach, especially if they learn best by being able to explore the math concepts physically through manipulating materials or benefit from the visual support of the color coding cues for place value.

Here is the plan for Session 1 (Sep 5) plus some additional resources:

Infinity Street

    Here is a helpful blog post for the Infinity Street lesson.

    We have houses and mailboxes up to septillion, and slips of paper with the names of all of the families up to novemdecillion:


    This list of family names is also a fantastic extension for children who are learning about prefixes! I like to give them the slips of paper after septillion and have them figure out how to put them in order.

    Of course you can connect it to geometric shapes. I have also found Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss to be extremely useful in this lesson, especially for sliding under the radar the prefix < sex > as representing six (trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet, octet, nonet).

    It's also a nice time to actually explain that September / October / November / December used to be months 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 (as would make sense with their prefixes) but are now months 9 / 10 / 11 / 12.

    The Story of Clocks and Calendars

    by Betsy Maestro

    Other books that could work well to introduce the Infinity Street lesson are Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert E. Wells and Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford.

Dice Game

    Instructions for the Dice Game are in my How I Teach Place Value blog post from Sep 2020.

    For this game, I like to use a ten-sided die.

    I also like to have 8 1/2 x 14 inch paper for this game. Long paper is nice if you have a child who wants to play a round with a lot of digits!

    For more practice in reading big numbers, I VERY highly recommend A Million Dots by Sven Völker.

    I teach children to use a two-step process to read really big numbers! First, you orient yourself as to which family is which. To do this you begin at the right. The family all the way to the right will always be the simple family. The one to the left of it is the thousands, the one to the left of that is the millions, etc.

    To actually read the number you will begin at the left. Read the number that is all the way at the left just like it's a "regular" number and then when you get to the comma say the last name of that family. Then read the next portion just like it's a "regular" number and when you get to the comma say the last name of that family.

    Twenty-nine million three hundred sixty-five thousand one hundred ten.

    Note: The simple family has no last name. You just say the number. That's what makes it simple!

Color Coding

    More explanation of the color coding in Montessori, and pictures, are in my Place Value and Redwood Trees blog post from Nov 2022.

    There are lots more notes on Place Value on my Place Value page. This is traditionally introduced in Waldorf in grade 2 in the Column Algorithms block (it is not common to incorporate the Montessori materials into the Waldorf environment, but I do).

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Monday, August 28, 2023

The Paddington Books by Michael Bond

On my website's Kindy & Bridge page I've been keeping a list of all the bedtime chapter books Zac and I have read so far, from age 3 to now.

Our August 2023 book was A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond and Zac just loved it! He wants to read the entire series so now I am researching all the books. We have seven so I'm pretty sure I have the full list, but I'd like to check and I'd also like to read them in the correct order. Here goes:

Book 1:
A Bear Called Paddington (1958)

Book 2:
More About Paddington (1959)

Book 3:
Paddington Helps Out (1960)

Book 4:
Paddington Abroad (1961)

Book 5:
Paddington at Large (1962)

Book 6: Paddington Marches On (1964)

Book 7:
Paddington at Work (1966)

Book 8: Paddington Goes to Town (1968)

Book 9:
Paddington Takes the Air (1970)

Book 10:
Paddington on Top (1974)

Book 11:
Paddington Takes the Test (1979)

Book 12:
Paddington Here and Now (2008)

Book 13: Paddington Races Ahead (2012)

Book 14: Love from Paddington (2014)

Book 15: Paddington's Finest Hour (2017)

As it turns out, you can also get a complete boxed set of all 15!

The Classic Adventures Of Paddington Bear: The Complete Collection

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

It's Monarch Time!

Zac has been checking the swamp milkweed in our Pollinator Garden carefully and this morning discovered three fifth instars. So we brought them in and set up the big glass terrarium which is their usual indoor habitat.

Note: If you don't do this, your caterpillars will disappear! Stage 5 cats move fast, eat a tremendous amount, and then walk as far away as possible and climb high before finding a hidden spot to form their chrysalides. A chrysalis on the milkweed plant would be obvious and easily susceptible to predators.

Monarch Life Cycle

We've raised monarchs in our homeschool for several years. In 2022 we had 15 caterpillars become 15 healthy butterflies. Here are my previous notes:

Laurence Pringle's book makes a wonderful bedtime read aloud. It's amazing! It is by far the best chapter book for learning about monarchs; the best picture book, in my opinion, is Monarch and Milkweed by Helen Frost.

It's extremely important to disinfect your habitat and milkweed tubes and rack before you raise caterpillars again the following year. PLEASE do that! Here are the best notes I've found on disinfecting caterpillar cages.

Note: Our aquarium/terrarium is 24 inches long, 12 inches wide, and 17 inches high. It has a specially made wooden lid, which my friend Lou made years ago when we designed it to be a habitat for my Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. It has four handles to make it easy for two children to lift up together plus a big mesh panel for ventilation. The caterpillars love it and often form their chrysalides on the underside of the lid (only on the wood, never on the mesh)!

When we use this as an aquarium for tadpoles, I take out the piece of mesh and put in a different piece of mesh that has a hole in it for the airstone.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!