Saturday, 27 April 2013

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J Summary (4Y1M18D) - Language Development




J loves books. Daddy noticed some mornings, J would take out a book and sit on his own to "read" it, while waiting for Daddy to get ready to bring him to kindergarten. I had to thank my friend, for it, because she encouraged her daughter to have own time and read on her own. I think J got this idea from her. J is not reading the words in the book yet, but he is reading the pictures and trying to associate the story with the words.

During bedtime, Daddy read J a book meant for 8-10 years old, full of text, and not many pictures, which in my opinion was very boring and too difficult for J's age. But Daddy felt that J was ready. To my great surprise, J was very passionate about it, giving his full concentration and demonstrated a good grasp of the whole story, understanding everything and laughing at the right places. J could also follow Danish theatre, and enjoyed Danish theatre very much, since he was 2 years old (which was very unlike Daddy and I). His Danish is on par with his peers, and perhaps ahead in reading among boys his age. But that is not the case for Chinese and English, although he loves Chinese and English books as well, and is selecting a variety of them each evening. Following Daddy's success with the Danish books, I will try to increase the level of difficulty of the Chinese books that I am reading to J.

Because J's Danish is doing very well, the kindergarten teacher stopped providing Danish workshop to J, and gave the slot to weaker children. It is a pity for J, but we are happy with his Danish progress. So now, we will only have to rely on Daddy to continue to read Danish to him.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

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Montessori Activity: Telling Time

IKEA Dekad Alarm Clock 49 DKK

Age: From 4 years old

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Materials:
1. 1 old-fashion alarm clock
2. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Show your child how to read the current time e.g. 8 o'clock.
2. Turn the alarm clock 8 times, and tell your child that when the hour hand turns 8 times, it will be morning 6 o'clock.
3. Turn on the alarm and tell your child that you have set the alarm to ring in 10 hours' time.

Additional Information:
J is very interested in telling time. With the timer that I use since he was a baby, he understood the concept of 5 minutes to 1 hour, as I set the time to 5 minutes and waited together with him until it rings. However, the timer could not allow us to set it to 10 hours. So J asked for an alarm clock.

IKEA is probably the best place to find a functional clock that shows the numbers clearly, thus good for teaching aid, and if the child breaks it, you will not feel heart pain :-) After a great day at the farm for Økodag, Daddy and I brought J to IKEA and he chose the alarm clock  himself. It is very cheap - 49 DKK (there is a cheaper one that costed only 8 DKK, but it didn't appeal to J).

So it will be our Montessori lesson this evening.

The link belows show many other varied way to teach children time which I will try sometime when J is older around 5 years old:

http://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Kids-to-Tell-Time

We also bought a big clock for teaching him time, which costed only 15 DKK from IKEA:

IKEA Rusch Wall Clock 15 DKK


Saturday, 13 April 2013

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Montessori Acitivity: Measure & Draw Lines with Ruler



Age: From 4 years old

Activity Duration: 5 - 10 minutes

Objective(s):
1. To provide a systematic way of learning to draw straight line.
2. To provide opportunity for practising pencil grip.

Materials:
1. 1 ruler
2. 1 pencil or pen
3. A few strips of paper
4. 1 tray

Directions:
1. Show your child how to measure an equal space between 2 lines and draw a line with a ruler.

2. Encourage your child to try.

Video Demonstration:

Here is a video demonstration of line drawing:


Additional Information:
I was preparing strips of paper with lines for cutting activity and J was very eager to draw the lines with the ruler. We turned it into a Montessori style line-drawing activity. J (4Y1M8) could do it rather well. He could now hlep me prepare the cutting activity by drawing the lines to be cut.





Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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Montessori Activity: Transferring Rye Grains



Age: From 3 years old

Activity Duration: 5-15 minutes

Preparation Time: 3 minutes

Objective(s):

1. To train the child’s fine motor skills - also pincer grip when picking up spilled rice.
2. To teach the concept of empty and full.

Materials:

1. 1 cup filled with rye grains
2 canister jar
3. 1 spoon
4. 1 Tray

Directions:

1. Demonstrate to your child by pouring rice from the cup on right hand side into the cup on the left hand side.

2. Encourage and let your child try it.

Additional Information:

J (2Y1M5D) tried this activity this morning 10 April 2012, while I was busy preparing his breakfast, but it lasted only 5 minutes, before he started declaring "Mommy, I have finished". And it was not as if he has perfected scooping - there were rye grains spilled on the tray (although he could pour his own milk every morning well without spilling). I would have like him to last longer now at the age of 4. While putting back the tray, he spilled all the grains! That means cleaning!!! Fortunately, the thought of it as another opportunity for practical life activity took away my dread of having to bring the vaccuum cleaner out. I took out the vaccuum cleaner and J and I enjoyed the cleaning up. In fact, he enjoyed using the vaccuum cleaner more than transferring the rye grains.

Boy, it was 2 years ago since I first put out the pouring tray. It brought back fond memories. It has been quite some time since I did practical life activities with J, as I was busy compiling Maths lesson plan and doing them with J. Yesterday, I tried this with more interesting items so that it is not an "old" activity.

I am kinda paranoid. When I am doing academic activities with J such as Maths, writing, etc. I worry that I am too academic-focused, and not giving him a good grounding in practical life skills (one which I did not have growing up in academic-focused Singapore).

When I focus on practical life skills, I worry about not being rigorous enough with the academic pursuit to give him a good head start. Arrrhhhhh.... I am a very insecure mom, be it with child's education or parenting.

A friend of mine told me that perhaps it is too young to start writing practice with J. Sometimes, he is not holding his pencil perfectly correct. At times, he is leaning his head a little too down when writing. It is important to have correct pencil holding when a child is young, my friend told me, which I agree. And posture is very important too. J is leaning towards the worksheet too much, my friend told me.

In times like this, it is comforting to run to Daddy for a second opinion, who is usually more objective and less of a worrier than Mommy. So I asked him every now and then, "Am I pressuring J too much? Am I killing his joy for learning? Am I doing the right thing with these activities to train his concentration and ability to complete a task? etc. etc." Daddy assured me that J seems to be loving his homework, and willing to do it, and that I am not pressuring J at all with the academic work that I am doing. Of course, I tend to see the places he needs to improve - for example, I think he should be more focused and last longer in an activity. Of course, he is still quite a typical boy, compared to girls his age, Daddy reminded me. And I trust Daddy's judgment more than anyone else.

Anyway, I am bringing back practical life activities, and going at a more relaxed pace with the academic (if I can help it)... I don't want to take away J's childhood at such a young age.

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Montessori Elementary Maths vs Singapore Maths

Here is an interesting post comparing Montessori Elementary Maths with Singapore Maths (equivalent to primary school in Singapore and grundskole in Denmark):

http://theadventuresofbear.blogspot.dk/2012/04/why-we-are-not-doing-montessori.html

It would be good to have both elements for variety I think, a bit of Montessori for the concrete experience, but incorporating worksheet-based Singapore's Maths for the rigorousness it provides. And ultimately, it depends on the child's inclination and each family's need.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

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Montessori Activity: Story-Telling From A Suitcase



Age: From 3 years old

Objective(s):
1. To cultivate reading habit

Materials:
1. 1 story book: Little Red Riding Hood
2. Puppets (Little Red Riding Hood, Granny, Wolf, Hunter)
3. 1 small suitcase

Directions:
1. Read the story-book to your child with the puppets.
2. Encourage your child to "read" the book and tell a story using the book.

Additional Information:
I learned this activity from J's kindergarten. J (4Y1M4D) brought home a suitcase with the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. He was so excited and wanted Daddy to read to him yesterday evening, but we did not have the chance. This morning, he took the suitcase and took out the book. Then he started telling the story by looking at the picture. Here is a video of J telling the story of Little Red Riding Hood, which he learned from his kindergarten, thanks to his kindergarten's teachers :-)He told the whole story 3 times. I recorded it on the video on the third time.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

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Montessori Apps




This is a work-in-progress. I am compiling an on-line Montessori Apps for iPad. No, I haven't started them with J yet, and don't have any intention yet until he is through with the physical curriculum with the physical Montessori materials. Montessori materials are very expensive, so for those who do not have the budget nor the space for physical Montessori materials, the apps developed by these developers are ideal. Just search for them in itunes. Some are for free.

Montessori Apps:

Rantek Inc.
Montessorium
L'Escapadou
MontessoriTech
VirtualMontessori
MontessoriOnline
Our Montessori

Numerals & Counters

http://youtu.be/SG7lk2y4ABM

Odd & Even Numbers

http://youtu.be/Hx9LIUMdXX8

Short Bead Stairs

http://youtu.be/W2yc6HWLL9M

Decimal System - Place Value

http://youtu.be/zBNTSz-GXxc

Bead Stairs - 1-100

http://youtu.be/T9kN4PQVfUk

Addition with Golden Beads

http://youtu.be/M6AZ7PnZFek

Stamp Game Addition

http://youtu.be/h01nTysf4j8

Stamp Game Subtraction

http://youtu.be/VFUUL-hMoKE

References:
http://mariamontessori.com/mm/?p=1375
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndnPuT0IfGM
http://www.adigitalkindergarten.com/2011/03/teaching-tools-montessori-apps.html
http://www.ikidapps.com/2011/10/best-montessori-apps.html
http://www.mobilemontessori.org/
http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/08/dev-lescapadou/
http://lescapadou.com/LEscapadou_-_Fun_and_Educational_applications_for_iPad_and_IPhone/LEscapadou_-_Educational_Apps_for_Kids_on_iPhone_and_iPad.html
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fraction-factory/id320616509?mt=8
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/middle-school-math-lessons/66730-free-itunes-download-fraction-factory-teaches-math/
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/weekly-ipad-apps-selection-montessoribased-learning-for-kids-2210987.html
http://montessorihome.com/
http://www.montessoriathomebook.com/Home.html/2012/03/08/ipad-apps-picks-pans/
http://www.awwwards.com/apps/montessorium-s-educational-apps-for-kids.html
http://montessorium.com/
http://www.montessoriathomebook.com/Home.html/2013/05/19/an-apptivities-experiment-in-learning-to-read/
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Some Good Christian Children's Songs and CDs


I have been wanting to find fun and christian songs in a CD for children, but so often they had been disappointments. I have bought some from Amazon and some from Singapore, but I haven't quite like them. The singing in the CDs often sound aweful, kinda tacky and give me goosebumps (after spending so much money!). So I was really happy when I bought this book and CD called "100 Prayers God Loves to Hear" and listened to them. The children's singing in the CD was delightful and tastefully done.

And J loves it too. He will turn the page to each devotion page that accompanies each song, and dance with it. He will point his fingers to the text and try really hard to read them. This evening, we listened to the CD, and danced together. It was really nice that as J grows older, more and more, J and I can sing praises to God together, mother and son :-) J loves singing now, and he begins to sing along, actually singing the words. So that was a development and one that is very joyous to see :-) We still pray that one day, Daddy too, would truly praise God together with us. This has been J's bedtime prayer.



The disadvantage is that it does not come with lyrics, which is quite a disappointment. However, the style and melody of singing from the CD appeals to me, and so I will live with it. I will try to write down the lyrics myself one of these days.

Here are some informative reviews from Amazon:

"Each page has a 1-3 sentence story, a prayer that goes with the story, a Bible verse that goes along with them, AND in the corner is a notation of the recommended song to go along. The book includes 2 CDs with 50 songs each, so the notation not only gives the title, but indicates which disk and which track carries this particular song. These songs are a combination of familiar and new praise songs, and are easy for children to follow and learn."

"The kids loved this book! I enjoyed that it has 100 different prayers/songs to use in prayer. Rejoice! ; This book rocked because it had age appropriate praise. Some children may be in the preteen category and don't/cant relate to praise written for adults. The illustrations were also beautiful. "

I bought this book and CD from Tecman Christian Bookstore in Singapore, but it is also available from Amazon:


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Montessori Activity: Bead Stair 20



 Age: From 4 years old

Activity Duration: 30 minutes

Objective:
1. To teach counting and number recognition

Materials:
1. Colored Bead Stair
2. 2 ten-bars
3. 1 worksheet
4. Color markers
5. 2 felt cloths

Directions:
1. Place the Bead Stair in order on a felt cloth to the left of the worksheet.

2. Place the two 10-bars on the felt cloth to the right of the worksheet.

3. Say: "20+1 gives you 21" and place the red bead on the second felt cloth to the right side of the 10-bar.

4. Invite your child to count the beads starting with the 10-bar "1,2,3,4,5...20" and end with the red bead as "21".

5. Point to the bar and show your child to skip count: “10, 20” and end with the red bead as 21.

6. Encourage your child to color the red bead on the worksheet with red color marker.

7. Encourage your child to trace or write the number 11 on the worksheet and say: "2 and 1 makes 21".

8. Encourage your child to count the bead he has colored on the worksheet.

9. Remove the red bead and return to a box or bag.

10. Invite the child to proceed onto the next bead (green beads) and repeat the exercise until the entire worksheet is colored.

11. When reaching 30, transfer the 10-bar from the cloth on the left to the on the cloth to the right and encourage your child to skip count: “10, 20, 30”. Encourage your child to verify the answer by counting the beads.

12. Repeat the exercise on another day for 40, 50… until all the worksheets to 90 have been completed.

Additional Information:
Continuing with the good momentum from yesterday, J (4Y0M30D) tried this today 3 April 2013. We did it in Mandarin. He counts much better in Mandarin than in English. He completed the worksheet for 21 to 30. I think it gave him a more concrete understanding of the quantity 21-30. It has been a good session today.

I like Brilliant Minds Montessori Maths Curriculum for its simplicity and clarity. It is a good and systematic way to teach counting and number recognition.

References:
Brilliant Minds Montessori Maths Curriculum






Tuesday, 2 April 2013

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Montessori Activity: Teen Bead Stair



Age: From 4 years old

Activity Duration: 30 minutes

Objective:
1. To teach counting and number recognition

Materials:
1. Colored Bead Stair
2. 1 ten-bar
3. 1 worksheet
4. Color markers
5. 2 felt cloths

Directions:
1. Place the Bead Stair in order on a felt cloth to the left of the worksheet.

2. Place the 10-bar on the felt cloth to the right of the worksheet.

3. Say: "10+1 gives you 11" and place the red bead on the second felt cloth to the right side of the 10-bar.

4. Invite your child to count the beads starting with the 10-bar "1,2,3,4,5...10" and end with the red bead as "11".

5. Encourage your child to color the red bead on the worksheet with red color marker.

6. Encourage your child to trace or write the number 11 on the worksheet and say: "1 and 1 form 11 (describing how numeral 11 is written)".

7. Encourage your child to count the bead he has colored on the worksheet.

8. Remove the red bead and return to a box or bag.

9. Invite the child to proceed onto the next bead (green beads) and repeat the exercise until the entire worksheet is colored.

Additional Information:
J (4Y0M29D) tried this today. At 4 years old, he is much more matured and sensible now, and could complete the worksheet at one go - counting, colouring and tracing the numbers. It took us 30 minutes today. He is also more motivated to trace the number. He tried very hard to write the number, without tracing them, but he could not. He is also a lot of settled down as he counted the beads. It had been a good session. But not every day is like that. There are ups and downs.

References:
Brilliant Minds Montessori


 

Monday, 1 April 2013

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Montessori Activity: Rainbow Name



Age: From 4 years old

Activity Duration: 5-10 minutes

Objective(s):
1. To teach the child to write his own name in a fun way.
2. To provide a varied way to practise letter-writting.

Materials:
1. A few magic pens - those color changing markers are the most fun, that will change colour as white is added on
2. 1 piece of paper with your child's name written on it with a pencil for him to trace.

Directions:
1. You can prepare this beforehand, but you can also write your child's name on the spot with him, as he gets to see how each letter is written.

2. Encourage him to trace each letters a few rounds so that it become very colorful.

Additional Information:
J (4Y0M27D) has started to show some real interest writing his name. I think he got inspired by the children at the church's Sunday School, who are writing their own names. I tried to introduce this activity a few months ago, but he wasn't interested in writing. So I think it is a good time to re-introduce this activity.

Yesterday, J started to write his own name during Sunday School, and really motivated to do so, this time around. However, he got the "s" inverted and has difficulty writting "a". So I think tracing his name will help him get the right practise.

The color changing markers are also available from Amazon:




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