This morning, the boys were playing with some math manipulatives (not "playing" math - using the manipulatives as weapons in a Star Wars action figure war), and somehow, we managed to sneak some "math" into their play. The above photo is what our Kindergardener did with his chips (its hard to see in the photo, but the numbers are written on the paper and he put the matching number of chips on it). Our third grader made a long "chain" of chips, the counted it and wrote down the total number (sorry - no photo of that one - they turned into weapons again before I could snap, lol). Even though our 3rd grader is beyond really requiring counting practice, he still enjoys it and I think its good for them to practice things below their "grade". For N, it encourages him (he is really easily discouraged when he doesn't already know something or when he gets things wrong) plus, it helps with "fluency" just like reading below grade level. (jumping down off soap box :o)
This photo is of our Kindergardener's word box. Both boys have one. We put the words they recognized easily on cards and file them in the box alphabetically. Sometimes we just flip through the box and read the cards. Other times, the kids make up games to play with the cards, re-file them alphabetically, make easy sentences with them, etc. We started using this idea when I read about it in a book called Real Learning in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss. Great book! We are slowly incorporating many of her ideas - slowly (when I try to make them do too many planned "fun" learning activities, they stage an attempted coupe - not a fun time for the family, lol). They learn so much better, and much more enthusiastically, when I just stay out of their way. Your library might have her book, or if you are interested in buying it, you can click on my Amazon link in the side bar.
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