Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Making Montessori Fit

I have been doing a very open form of Maria Montessori's educational method with my son.  I have many Montessori materials and albums with lessons.  I worked in a Montessori school which wasn't really wasn't a very traditional Montessori school, but I did learn a lot about what to do and what not to do.  We are not purist with Montessori at home.  I tend to try out the curriculum and adapt it to fit my son's needs.  Some parts of Montessori work for us some ideas do not.  I love the math materials and how the learner is followed and is hone to become self directed.  I do pay attention to scope and sequencing but do not follow it religiously as my son is far below his grade level due to his impairments.  We do what we can and try to stick to the over all philosophy, using the materials and lesson but doing things on a different time scale and adjusted my son's learning needs.
Some of the materials that have worked best for him are the math manipulatives.  He love the division board.  Not the beads and tubes long division work, but the lower lesson work.  He says it helps him understand and see it.  He also likes the hundred board and bead work with all the bead materials.  We do an eclectic self directed form of the 3 hour work time.  We take sensory breaks and recess and being as we are at home schooled sometimes my son's work lays our for days till he does it or not.  We recently added up all the squares and figured out how much they came too, also the cubes of our bead cabinet were added up.  If my son makes his own lesson up I follow.  He is learning when he plays with the Montessori Math materials.  I find my son will stay engaged with these materials for long stretches with fewer breaks.  They work interest him.  He needs encouragement and prompts but he is accurate and likes to line things up and index his toys so it makes sense that he would like Maria's materials that are methodical and progressive and follow a sequential pattern.  You get the concept with these manipaultives.  They have been teaching children all over the world for a long time.
division board and tiles with control
It's isn't just the stuff that makes me like Montessori, but it helps.  Sensorially enchanting, engaging neurological materials are useful for small motor work and development as well as cognitive comprehension.  I   love how they educate to a child's organic intelligence and never dumb it down.
We also use  all the other Montessori subjects as well often using  the three card lessons and 5 card lessons. These have helped my son so much with reading comprehension because he is interested in reading about this material. He loves non-fiction and the cards are perfect for his attention span.  He loves science lessons and the physical science materials. Also the geography research materials have motivated him to learn.  I read to him out-loud many of the ETC Montessori upper elementary cards as they are written far above his reading ability.  I am a firm believer and living proof that if you read to a child who cannot read for themselves at their comprehension level for whatever reason, they will eventual become readers themselves.  You fall in love with learning and then push yourself to read. Eventually you figure out decoding and become fluent or you learn about books on tape and libre vox and just soak it up another way. One of my favorite quotes is by Oliver Sacks who said at a conference I watched at MIT that- "We are hard wire to adapt."   I find it true and that we are innovative and resourceful in how we adapt and what we use for tools.  I am extremely dyslexic and am a vicarious reader. My Mother read to me for hours each night and for years.  She made me want to know what was in books.  I have a hard time reading small print these days as my visions even with new glasses is horrible for up close. I do it though, large print, computer aids, love listening to books on audio recordings too.
Measurement cards ETC Montessori.
The Pythagoras Board
The Pythagoras Board is one of Conor's favs.  It helps him nail those trick multiplication facts.  Something that is very hard to do.
Geometry Work

We still use the triangle materials for Geometry.  I bought a set of upper elementary advance geometry lessons and task cards and they will be a challenge for us for a while.
My favorite the study of the world and cultures.  He likes the science side of it more.  Below is Conor sorting through some more materials from ETC Montessori on Biomes.   We recently have purchased some materials for Biomes lessons from Waseca Montessori.  This company is a small non profit that makes some beautiful materials that I fill so blessed to get.  I will add a page on Biomes as we are about to go into this subject and stay in this unit for the rest of the school year and summer classes.
I have zoology and botany materials to feed into the biomes so it will tie it all together.  I'm really excited about this unit and how Conor will like it and be effected by it.  He is self directing to illustrate and make books of many of the cards we work with.  Creating his own materials is such a measure of learning it is thrilling for me as an educator.  Some Montessori teacher do not like the 3 and 5 part cards.    They work well for us.  I think there is a useful thing about picking up the cards and crossing over the medium of the brain in hand to hand cross cortex matching and organizing.  The trays that come with some cards help with the executive functioning skills of this work.  I do not have any trays like this but need some.

No comments:

Post a Comment