Easy DIY Place Value Mat

Place value mats are often used with the Golden Beads and Stamp Game to help organize the materials.  I wanted something simple and easy but more than just paper.  After a bit of thought I came up with this.  I made two.  The mats I got from the Dollar Store for $3 each.  I already had the white acrylic paint (Dollar Store paint) and the fabric paint (Walmart) and the masking tape.

IMG_1105

First I put the tape on the mat to define where the lines would go.  Then I used the paint and a paint brush to paint a line down the edge of the tape on the carpet.

IMG_1108

After that I used the fabric paint to write the numbers at the top and let dry.  And voilà!  All done.

IMG_1107

Advertisements

Multiplication

After addition with the golden beads, Pumpkin 1 wasn’t keen on subtraction, so on consultation with other Montessori moms, I introduced multiplication.  Multiplication?  For a 4 year old?  Yes!  Multiplication is only the addition of the same number multiple times.  Usually this is done in the Montessori classroom with a group of children.  Since we don’t have a group, I used little peg people.  I thought that would make it more fun for her.

IMG_1092

After giving each “person” the same amount.  We added it all together.

IMG_1091

Who knew multiplication was so simple and fun?  Pumpkin 1 didn’t want to try it again so I made it more engaging by appealing to her sense of imagination.  We said the golden beads were treasure each person had and we had to figure out home much they had altogether.  After the second calculation she told me the people were tired and needed to go to sleep.  Oh well.

We actually had a really good work session today (in between Pumpkin 2 throwing things, climbing on me and treating me like a jungle gym while I tried to work with Pumpkin 1).  He always wants to be a part of everything but he’s still in a key time for gross motor skills.  I really should put an oval line on the floor.  I wish I had a balance beam.  He did work for a bit on the Animal and Plant sorting cards.

Pumpkin 1 did some Pink Series writing and reading.  I’ve put all the materials for the Pink Series in tackle boxes.  She’s good at writing with the moveable alphabet but she still really struggles with sounding out.  She’ll say the sound of each letter but when she puts it together will use different letters or say what she thinks not what she read.  She is really good at sight reading and knows a lot of words that way so she gets frustrated at having to sound out, she wants to just memorize every word.

We did the life cycle figures and read the little life cycle books, Pumpkin 2 sat on my lap to listen.  Then the two of them worked on patterning with the math link cubes, Pumpkin 2 just did whatever Pumpkin 1 told him.

 

After that Pumpkin 1 did the North America continent map with flags, and matched the objects in the continent box with the cards.  We also read the little book about North America and she looked at pictures of Banff Park with the ViewMaster.

Then that I suggested lunch but she wanted to do the Flag Map.  Somehow, the key I made, is lost but she remembered almost all the flags and even corrected me when I confused the Algerian flag with Pakistan’s.

It’s great when we have a good work session, especially since yesterday’s was a bust.  I just need to find more for Pumpkin 2 to do.

What We’ve Been Up To.

Pumpkin 2 is growing up fast.  Not only is he potty trained day and night, he no longer sucks his thumbs (thanks to some applications of juice from our Aloe Vera plant) and he no longer has a nap.  The no nap has meant huge changes to our daily schedule and including him in “school time” now.  It has also meant a lot of changes for me to figure out how to work with both of them but, it has been going better than I expected.  It’s also had benefits as the day can be more relaxed since we don’t have to make sure nap time is on time.  Yesterday he preferred to dump the shapes from the pattern pictures everywhere and to make the coloured peg people crash into each other, but he is also having periods of work too.  Here’s him sorting Plant and Animal Cards.

IMG_1045

We’ve been doing music as a group activity.  We match bells and then work on rhythms.  Rhythm is way too advanced for Pumpkin 2 but it’s something he wants to be a part of.  They really like this drum I got from Amazon.  Pumpkin 1 has been resistant to learning rhythm but she needs to for her piano lessons so the drum was a great motivation.  We did have a good talk about how to treat the drum (I could just see Pumpkin 2 trying to stand on it) and it’s kept up high to only be used with me.

IMG_1043

Pumpkin 1 is working on linear counting.  She got bored with the Golden beads so I thought it best to take a break and work on something new.  It worked because she was interested in them again the other day.  I also found out that you don’t have to do subtraction with them before multiplication and since she wasn’t keen on subtraction, multiplication will probably be the next step.

These are the Teens boards I printed off and laminated from Montessori Print Shop.  I put some velcro on them because I think it makes it more fun and eliminates the frustration of accidentally shifting the cards.

IMG_0974IMG_1037

We’ve been learning about Vertebrates and the types of Vertebrates and I got a skeleton of a pigeon on huge discount from Affordable Montessori.  The kids were fascinated.  Pumpkin 1 is holding a laser light I was using to point out the spine or Vertebrate.  I thought they’d be scared of it but I guess they haven’t been exposed to the idea of skeleton’s being scary.  Pumpkin 1 as been asking a lot of questions about the body and so I plan to do a unit study on the body soon.

IMG_1044

Here she is sorting out the Types of Vertebrates cards I made.

IMG_1046

I also got these from Amazon and the kids love them.  They’re quite fun and were cheaper than X-Rays of bones.

Pumpkin 2 is my cuddly boy.  He’ll sit on my lap for hours if he could.  It’s funny because he can be so full of energy, literally bouncing off the walls (yes literally, he loves to crash into them and fall on the floor) but he’ll sit so nicely on my lap and just look at a book or play with cars or watch his sister.  I try to soak it up as much as I can because I know it’s not going to last forever, but I also need to get things done.  It’s such a difficult choice, snuggle him a little more, or get to the list of things I need to do.  I usually pick snuggle.

IMG_1050

10 Sums

Pumpkin 1 wanted to do an activity with the glass gems so I set up this.  She wanted to do it over and over.  I’d put some gems on the board.  Then she’d have to add the right number bar.  I’d write it on the chalkboard.  She’d add the rest of the gems to equal 10 and the number bar and I’d write it on the chalkboard.

45

12417600_10156509541700046_6459677799441936881_n

Introduction to Addition

So our new math materials from IFIT arrived quicker than I expected.  I was very happy with the quality.  I’ve always been happy with my purchases from there.  Pumpkin 1 was excited to use them.  I realized after that I should have done the change game before addition, though it’s not necessary.  However now that we’ve done addition I think I’ll stick to static addition (no carrying) and then introduce changing once she’s confident with addition.  I’m planing to teach her to add from left to right than right to left since that’s how you use the soroban.

IMG_0906

So first we did two amounts on different mats.  The wooden cubes and squares and the large and one of the small number sets are all from IFIT>

IMG_0907

Then we moved all the materials onto one carpet to “add” them together.  It’s such an ingenious way to teach addition and really gives a child the concrete, hands-on experience of it.

IMG_0909

I’d been struggling on how to move forward with language and the moveable alphabet with Pumpkin 1.  Someone suggested trying the Montessori Pink Series.  I downloaded the card set for free from The Helpful Garden.  It went over really well.  Pumpkin 1 was really into writing the words.  I think it helped to have them sorted by the vowel.  It was too hard for her to hear the different vowels so this way it’s easier for her to break down the word to write it.

IMG_0910

Later I caught her trying to sound out words in a learning to read book.  We’ve looked at the books before but she hadn’t figured out the concept of sounding the words out so I put it aside.  It’s exciting that she’s transferring the knowledge to other areas.  It’s hard to trust the Montessori process because it’s different than what’s traditionally done, but it really works!

 

Golden Beads

So Pumpkin 1 is finally ready for the Golden Beads now that she is confident with her numbers up to 10.

IMG_0833

I started off with giving her the beads and telling her the names.  I find she doesn’t remember words quite a quickly as she did when she was 2 and 3.  I suppose she’s past the sensitive period for language.

Next I gave her the number cards 1000, 100, 10 and 1 and we matched them up.  I made my own Golden beads because 1) I wanted to save money and 2) I wanted to do them in two shades to show the 5+ in line with the RightStart Math approach.

It’s not hard to make your own materials.  You need round faceted beads (not perler, if they’re not spheres they won’t make squares), stiff wire, mesh frame (from the dollar store), wire cutters and needle nose pliers.

After I was finally done making 8 more 100 squares and 8 more 10 bars I introduced her to how numbers are formed.  The decimal system or place value is the next step in Math in Montessori and it’s a little different than what’s done in the main stream.  This is because children like to work with large quantities, the child’s absorbent mind and his sensitive periods for order, language and refinement of the senses.  The bead material is very sensorial, the child can see the difference between 100 and 1000.

IMG_0825

This was really fun.  I love how hands on it is and how the child can actually see and feel the amount.  It allows Pumpkin to have an understanding of place value that she wouldn’t have grasped otherwise.

The next step is supposed to be done another time but I find you can often combine presentations in home schooling because it’s so 1 on 1 and since she was really engaged I thought it was good to take advantage of it.

IMG_0827

So I lay out numbers and then she put out the amount of beads to match.  Then she wanted me to lay out the beads and she find the numbers.  She liked it that way better and we worked on it for quite a while.

Next she asked about 0.  First I lay out beads with no thousand cube and she wanted to know why we don’t put a 0 before the 100.  I was really surprised though when she asked about doing a 0 in the other numbers.

IMG_0829

She caught on right away how to write the number with 0 in it and wanted to pick different place values to have 0.

We didn’t do the names of the 10’s numbers.  Instead I called them 2 ten, 3 ten.  The traditional names will come later.

When she was tired of the Golden beads she asked to use the Addition Strip board I had gotten in the mail the day before.  I had worked with her on it after we opened it but realized she just wasn’t ready and it was too abstract but she begged to do it today.

The reason I got the board is because I’ve been really interested in the Japanese Abacus called the Soroban.

Using an abacus requires knowing the sums that equal 10 really well.  This is also part of the RightStart Math curriculum and so the addition strip board is a good way to work on this.

First I said she had to show me she know how to add beads together on the abacus to make 10.  After she did some I went and got out the Addition Strip Board.

IMG_0830

She was able to do it but I could tell she didn’t understand the concept so I had her match two strips on the board and then do those numbers on the abacus and that did help but then she discovered something neat….

IMG_0832

The Math cubes fit perfectly on the board!  This was great because it really helped her see the concept.  She could see the amount of cubes and then count out how many more she needed to add.  I think we will use it this way for now.

She worked for a long time today.  It’s fun to see her learning and as someone who hated Math in school, I love the way Montessori is done, making Math easy to understand and fun.

 

Affordable Alternative to the Constructive Triangles

81lY8R3c1OL._SL1500_

These shapes from Learning Resources are a great alternative to the rather costly Montessori Constructive Triangles.  They don’t have all the same shapes but they have other ones (circles and 1/2 and 1/4 circles) and enough shapes that I think the few missing ones aren’t a big deal.  You could make them yourself with laminated paper or cut them from heavy plastic of some sort. The quality is great (nice and thick) and they don’t have sharp edges

IMG_0728

These have the added bonus of being able to use them with a light table and they can be used as a sort of tanagram to make pictures with.  Tanagrams have been shown to improve a chid’s math thinking.

Make-a-tangram

The set can be purchased at amazon.ca 

7173j50sqqL._SL1500_

Montessori Inspired Math

Pumpkin 1 is just starting to be ready for math at almost 4.  Majority of children aren’t ready for math until that age as their brain hasn’t developed that somewhat abstract thinking skills needed for math.  Math has always been a difficult subject for me but I love the Montessori method of math since it’s so hands on it makes it much easier to understand.

We’re doing a combination of Montessori and Right Start Math.  You can read about the Right Start Math approach here and here.  And a video review by another homeschooling mom here.

Since I still want to use many of the Montessori math materials I am creating my own bead bars, chains and cubes with the Right Start principle of 5+.  Here is what my beads look like.

IMG_9049 IMG_9052

So you can see for 6 it’s 5 dark and 1 light.  9 is 5 dark and 4 light.  The 5+ concept helps children to visualize the number.  You can visualize amounts up to 5 but after that you have to group them in your mind to be able to visualize.

Today I was working on helping her understand that the beads and the abacus are the same.

IMG_0680

She has always loved the hanging bead stair since she was little.  If you don’t have one I highly recommend it.  Today she was actually counting the beads past 5.  Usually she just rhymes the numbers off without 1 to 1 correspondence after 5 but today she insisted on counting every bead bar carefully.  When you start to worry as a mom that they’re not getting something, just give it time.  A few weeks older can make a ton of difference.

We’ve also been working on some geometry.  Today we did triangles and quadrilaterals.  Pumpkin 1 loves this geoboard from Discovery Toys and I do too.  It’s huge so it’s easy for her fingers to use, unlike the smaller ones.  I made triangles and quadrilaterals on it and she’d tell me which it was.  She also likes to just make pictures with the elastics.

IMG_0682

Last week I was teaching her (and learning myself) the different types of triangles.  The geoboard was also perfect for this.

IMG_0573

Pumpkin 2 likes to use the other side which is the Giant Pegboard.  Toddlers love to fit things in holes.  You can also do colour and shape matching and patterning and counting and so much more.  It’s just so versatile. You can purchase one for your family here:

http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/stores/pumpkinsandme/AMCA/product/Giant-Pegboard,621.aspx#sthash.PnGUdXcA.dpbs

IMG_0572

We’ve also been doing shapes on the light table.  I use this set of shapes on it and we put them together to make other shapes.  They’re like mini constructive triangles.

IMG_0672

I’m really enjoying homeschooling in math because of the awesome manipulatives available.

How to make a Montessori Math Bead Cube

I’ve started making my own Montessori math bead materials.  They are quite an expensive purchase and you can save money by making your own, though it’s a huge undertaking.  Pumpkin 1 won’t need most of the bead materials for a year or more but I thought I’d get started making them now.  One of the reasons I wanted to make my own is I want to adapt them to the RightStart concept of 5+.  So after the 5 bead bar, I’m doing 5 dark beads followed by however many light beads.

IMG_9050

Faceted beads are the cheapest.  You need to use beads that are spheres, not pony beads or else you’ll get rectangles and prisms not, squares and cubes.  I purchased my beads from here.  I hunted around online for hours and this was the best prices which shipped to Canada.  Shipping was steep (I ordered all the beads I’d need to make everything, so it was a heavy box) at $50 but it was still overall cheaper than any other site.  I ordered the tools, round nose pliers and cutters from Fire Mountain Gems and the wire and jump rings from there.  However the wire wasn’t right.  The first time I didn’t realize the lower the gage number the thicker the wire.  But when I did order 16 gage wire, it was super soft and pliable.  My husband then got me wire from the hardware store, 18 gage and nice and stiff.  I ordered 8mm beads which are the perfect size.  You could go up to 10mm too, but I wouldn’t do 6mm.  I’ll make a separate post of how many beads you need to do the RightStart Math inspired method.

It’s not hard to catch on how to make the bead bars, however, I don’t recommend trying to cut wire the right size first.  It’s easier to thread the beads on the wire first, make the loop and cut the other end leaving enough for the second loop.  Then you’re not wasting wire judging the size wrong.  As for the squares and cubes, it did require a little more figuring out.  I knew to use the mesh canvas which I got at the dollar store from this blog but her math calculation for the size of the canvas confused me.  It’s basically, you need to leave a gap between each bead, so if you’re doing the 5 square you’d cut 9 holes out – bead, gap, bead, gap, bead, gap, bead, gap, bead (you only need gaps between beads, not on the ends).

IMG_9052

This is the same for the cube only you do it length by width.  There are some other tricks I picked up.  I made a video of how to make a bead cube that I hope will help give a visual.  (The sound quality isn’t too great, it makes me sound like I lisp lol)

Here’s the finished cube

IMG_9060

IMG_9062

The pictures kinda make the beads look cheap, which they are, but they actually look kinda pretty.  Pumpkin 1 and my daycare child really prefer them to the ones I bought.

RightStart Math

I’ve been looking into Right Start Math which was designed by a Montessori teacher.  It’s really fascinating and I love the concept of 5+.  I’m planning to get the curriculum and use it in combination with Montessori.  I’m making my own bead materials in the 5+ fashion (5 dark, however many  light, in the Montessori colours).  I’m thinking of making my number rods as suggested in this power point presentation.  It’s fascinating, I recommend you take some time to click through it.