Thursday, 27 February 2014

In The Classrooms With......Our Five Year Olds ~Part 2

Here is Part Two of our post discussing the work our five year olds are doing in our classrooms. These pictures were taken during January and February.  Please note that although these children are in their third year of the Montessori casa (preschool) curriculum, they are of Senior Kindergarten age.

Skip Counting with the Bead Chains

The Bead Chain Material is part of the Montessori casa and lower elementary curriculum.  It is in constant use by children in their second and third years of the casa curriculum. Each of our casa classrooms contain the Bead Chain Material.  It is quite an investment, and an integral part of the program.

This is a picture of the Bead Chain Material Cabinet. 

The Bead Chain Material Cabinet

This material illustrates the squares and cubes of numbers from 1 to 10. The chains sitting on the shelves illustrate the squares of numbers while the hanging chains illustrate the cubes of numbers. 

A Close Up of the Shelves

The top shelf of the cabinet holds boxes which contain colour coordinated numbered arrows for the squares (short boxes) and cubes (tall boxes) of numbers. The child must be familiar with numbers 1 to 100 for the short chains and 1 to 1000 for the long chains.

The Boxes Containing Numbered Arrows

This material is used for many different purposes in the Montessori casa (preschool) classroom and in the lower elementary classroom. Children often begin work with this material at the age of 4. 

At the simplest level, it is a counting exercise to practice the order of numbers. That after 39 comes 40 etc.  At the next level, this material illustrates skip counting, counting by ones, twos, threes, etc. all the way up to counting by tens.  Towards the end of the casa program and in the lower elementary, this material is indirect preparation for the memorization of the multiplication tables.  This material also illustrates the squares and cubes of these numbers and their relationships with each other.

S. and A. are working with the cube chain of five.

The Multiplication Bead Board

Multiplication work is always a favourite activity in our classrooms. There are many materials that are used for multiplication in the classroom - the golden beads, the multiplication bead bars, the bead chains, the stamp game and the multiplication operations boards. The clear favourite is the multiplication (bead) board.  (Please note that multiplication is part of the grade three Ontario Mathematics curriculum.)

The multiplication (bead) board is a square wooden board with one hundred little dimples carved into the wood in rows of ten. Across the top of the board are the numbers one to ten. There is a small grooved circle to the left of these numbers in which a small red marker rests when not in use. Halfway down the board on the left hand side is a little slot for a number card to be slid into. A cut out circle window allows the number to be seen. The white cards are numbered one to ten. There are also exactly one hundred small red beads for counting.

Before I get to how this material is used, it is important to discuss the language used. It differs slightly from more traditional methods. The language is the key. Instead of saying multiplication is two times four, we would say that multiplication is a number taken many times. In this way, we would say two taken four times.

So how does this material work? When this material is introduced, the child would be given a multiplication booklet consisting of ten pages. Each page illustrates a multiplication table one to ten.  In the photographs, Z. is working on the Multiplication Table of 5.

Five year old Z. is working with the Multiplication Bead Board

In the following photograph she is working on five taken eight times (5 x 8). The side window has the number five in it to indicate it is the five times table. She begins by setting out five beads under the number one. They then she sets out five beads under the number two and then the number three etc. 

The Multiplication Table of Five
Next she counts all the beads laid out and write her answer, five taken eight times equals forty.

The answer is written in the Multiplication booklet.

Z. has completed a Multiplication booklet and is also working with the other multiplication materials.  She so enjoys this work that most days she comes in to school asking if she can work with it again, and she often does.  When the Arithmetic materials are this inviting, the children seldom develop the Arithmetic phobias that many adults have.

Singular and Plural

The Montessori Language curriculum is rich in attractive materials and exercises that help the child build the skills needed for oral language, written language and reading.
A range of materials and exercises will be explored in future posts regarding the work of our three and four year olds.

The five year old child is in their last year of the Montessori casa curriculum and is able to read and write small sentences and stories.  The child is now on the path to reading with interpretation and analysis.

The Singular and Plural work is part of Grammar.  There are many singular and plurals in the English language.  The "add s" box is the first box introduced to the children.  In addition to introducing the child to singular and plural, it is a reading exercise.  The material consists of a black box containing individual cards and multiples of objects.  There are also two heading cards (singular and plural).   The object cards are black as they are nouns.

The heading cards are laid out and read to the child (singular and plural).  All of the singular cards are under singular and all the plural cards are under plural.   The child selects a singular card and places the corresponding object next to it. The child finds the same card in the plural pile and places the corresponding objects next to it. 

A. setting out the singular and plural objects.

All of the objects and cards have been set out.

 Once all of the cards and objects have been set out, the cards are examined and questions are asked about the cards.  The child will recognize that an s was added to words when we have more than one object.  The teacher will explain that this is one of the ways of making plurals.  This work is also revisited in the Montessori early elementary as part of the study of the Grammar Boxes.

The child may choose to write the words.  Our five year old girls love to print and draw pretty pictures.  A. wanted to make a book of the singular and plural work.

Making a Singular and Plural Book

A.'s Beautiful Work

This is just a sampling of the work the five year olds are doing.  In the Classrooms With......Our Four Year Olds coming soon.