Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Oooh, what is this?"

This was a day of creative geometry - mostly. I brought out the isoscelese triangles that I printed out sometime last month. Sean had gone into another room and came back to find the triangles on the floor. "Oooh, what is this?" he said. I said, "Let's see."
He created a figure out of them and said to me and an imaginary audience, "would you like to raise your hand if you have a question about this?"
I raised my hand and asked some questions. Turns out the figure was a robot, that could transform, so the triangles that were the feet could flip and instead of having the point, could have the short side down, etc.
I started to feel that pang of, "This is not what the material should be used for," however, I didn't have a real plan for the use. I wanted him to explore with them, find things he could make with them, and how certain things wouldn't work with them. So I let him go, and he seemed so satisfied with his work and interested in using them that I decided it was best to encourage him to continue.
I asked the question, "What shape are they?" He said "Triangle." I asked what type of triangle, and that led to looking at some types of triangles and finding that they were isoscelese. (I have these in three-part cards, along with the other shapes, hexagon, etc.)
He decided this robot should have a friend, so he took our change jar and used coins to create a figure with a head, arms, and legs.
He is mesmerized by money these days. He loves to handle the coins.
Yesterday he used the jar of change to count by 5s, 10s, 1s, etc. and he has learned how many quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies it takes to make $1. On that project, I was completely out of the picture because I was on deadline and working. He periodically reported to me his conclusions, "We have 100 pennies, so we've got a dollar!" or "There's 100 cents in dimes, there's a dollar," and I would ask, "So how many 10s does it take to make 100?"
We went through the "ai" words today, which he pretty much breezed through. I have them printed and cut out into little cards. I will present a different work with those that will include the symbols for the parts of speech, which I hope will reinforce the learning of the "ai" sound, and take it a step up in the spiral of learning and incorporate grammar.  He loves playing our word game. I'll say, "Can you give me a noun that rhymes wiiiiith....__?" It is his favorite game. We play that one in the car. We also change it up and use verbs.
He is very interested in cursive letters. I have those in a moveable alphabet, but they are just cardstock. I still have to get a suitable box for those too. I think I will try to find them larger, or try to make my own, so he can continue to trace with his finger.
Snakes and other reptiles and spiders, frogs, etc. are still the main research topic. His reading is improving, but he still enjoys recognizing the snakes from the pictures in the books. He can tell if a snake is a Python, a Boa, or a Viper, etc. by looking at it. He sometimes asks to get on the computer to do some research. I stand with him by the chair as he searches Google, and Youtube to see videos and pictures of snakes. Yesterday he wanted to look at Green Tree Pythons. He typed in "pithon," and then caught himself and said, "wait, that's not right," and deleted it and spelled it correctly. I don't correct him unless he asks me.
Probably not the typical spelling word on the first grade spelling test list, but there you go.
And I find it interesting, because Google will bring up a page with a suggestion of, "did you mean..." with a correct spelling. Not sure what Maria would say about it, but I think Google has an interesting way of gently correcting in a sort of self-correcting way. I'm sure some would argue it also would not encourage kids to get it right because Google will just do it for you. So far, I don't see it that way.
I did realize that though he loves books, and enjoys reading, we don't really have "readers," for him-- those children's books for early readers, etc.
We just recently started getting Easy Readers from the library. I wanted to see what level he is at according to their standards - i.e. Level 1 K-1st grade, etc.
He is easily reading Level 2, in some of the books. We got a couple of Level 3 just to see, because I like to have tiny bit below level, at level and above level so he can see where he is and where he wants to be.
I feel like I'm always at least a couple of steps behind. I'm trying hard to let him lead, but I have days of panic and guilt thinking he, and especially I, haven't done enough.

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