I stayed up late last night (my own fault for being excited about my kids' learning) reading the language and mathematics albums I got from Montessori Print Shop.
I am a bit confused about the starting point with the little guy. He hasn't experienced a lot of the pre-reading and pre-writing. He wants to write like his sister, and I guess he is in two different stages. I am doing everything I can to accommodate his needs AND his interests. The album is helping me prepare, and present activities.
From the album, we worked with image cards. We named them, mixed them, and he sorted them. He had clothing, animals, and transportation. The important part for us was the time spent together developing his vocabulary. We talk about colors, his own clothes, animals and their sounds, even about the vehicles he saw during our trip. He enjoyed learning new vocabulary.
Then we did the three period lesson on the letters m, u, and t using the sandpaper letters. I find it odd, but he really loves washing his hands to be ready! He traced the letters with his eyes closed making the sounds. Then we played a game from the language album. I took all the sandpaper letters he knows (a,i,o,u,m,t), and I asked him to take a specific one to place somewhere in the room. Just like with the number rod, we were very quiet and sneaky. He placed the new letter (t) under his sister's chair. They both laughed about it.
Here he was placing letter m in the calendar pockets. He also placed letter i in the bathroom =P
He brought them back as I call them and successfully named the sound each one of them make.
Once he was comfortable with all the letter sounds, we moved to the sound objects and the letter stories. These are his favorite materials in the room. Here letter m: mariquita, medicina, mesa, máquina de coser, maleta, mujer, muñeca, mariposa, m.
Letter u: u, uniciclo, uno, uvas, unicornio, Ursula.
His new sound T: tigre, toalla, tazón, tostadora, tiburón, toro, tijeras, tucán.
In his composition book, I had the three consonants from today. He added stickers following the letter forming direction. For m he had stickers of the Mexican flag and Mapaches (Raccons). For u he used footprints (hUellas: the h is silent in Spanish). For t he used stickers of the Tierra (earth).
He wrote the letters next to his work. I love his u and m!
Finally he transferred buttons just because he wanted to.
During the little guy's presentations, the big girl was listening to a story, and writing on her journal. She was determined to draw the cow milking carousel. It took her a while but she was satisfied with her work (sorry, no pictures).
When the little guy started to place stickers, and was happy on his own, the big sister and I got to work on the cursive sandpaper letters. Her pen friend from France wrote his whole letter to her in cursive. She liked it. She asked me to teach her cursive writing. I was going to do it anyway, but having it come out as her request is sooooo much better! Luckily, I already had the material at hand.
First she paired the letters to the characters who taught her the sounds: king u, queen a, princesses o and i, and prince e. It turned out great since the characters have the letters in cursive already and their hands show her where their letter formation starts and where it ends.
Then she asked to traced the sandpaper letters with her eyes closed like her little brother had done earlier. between you and me here, she is just a step ahead of me requesting things I am about to offer to her!
Then, off course she had to try them on paper. It was very easy. After years of teaching cursive to third graders, I have never seen a child take to cursive writing as easily as she did today.... I was so wrong at teaching it before!
Then, I challenged her to write all the vowels together as a family. This is to introduce the cursive style of writing without any stops. She absolutely loved it. I did the first line, we did the second one together, and she did the rest on her own.
Finally, she asked about the rest of the letters. I showed her the letter, and she look for the letter character. We had a great time paying extra attention to the arms of the characters to match them with the letters. Following the advice from the Language album, I asked her to name something that started with the sound of each letter. She only needed to think about the letter story to remember plenty of examples. She noticed that a few character letters were not present in the sandpaper set. My cursive sandpaper letters are from the English alphabet. Her characters are from the Spanish alphabet, and include ñ , ch, and ll.
I live for mornings like today! I feel lucky to be able to guide my children at home!