April 07, 2010

Montessori Moments: sound games

See what I mean?  Today has flown by!  I couldn't let it pass without a quick little post though, could I?

Today's Montessori Moment is brought to you by the letter...

Just kidding!  It's brought to you by all the letters, well, actually their sounds.

Montessori is quite clear on language development: first sounds, then letters.

From such an early age, children are constantly internalizing things they see and hear to eventually be analyzed, processed and organized into a clear understanding.  As Montessori is all about a sense of order, the process of identifying sounds, sorting them and then eventually giving them a phonetic symbol, or letter makes complete sense.  

Bear is firmly planted in the categorizing stage right now.  It began with the environment around him and while that still holds true, his interest in letters has skyrocketed.  I think it's due mainly to the fact he sees them in books and knows they hold meaning.

So what's a Mama to do? 

The Montessori Method advocates to "follow the child".  Bear is expressing an interest in letters so... as relaxed as possible, I've begun to guide him.  And you know what?  He's loving it.  

It all began with Champ actually (man, he's getting a lot of print time this week!).  We have a funky shower curtain with weather patterns on it and he and Bear used it to discuss some letters they saw.  Once we realized Bear was holding on to those "lessons" and beginning to point out letters in books, I got my act together so we could focus more on the sounds to at least compliment what they were doing in, um, the shower.

"The Sound Game" is simply composed of ziplock bags which contain objects representing the same sound.  I do have letters marked on the front of each bag, but that's more for me than Bear.  So in the W bag, you would find tangible examples of the sound (this is kind of a poor example since the digraph wh is included, but at the time, I couldn't find other "w" sounds in the house.  I'm working on it!):

                   (wheels, woodpecker, watch, wood and whale)

We have 5 bags right now and I will continue to add new sounds at a very r.e.l.a.x.e.d. pace.  The sound bags we do have are some of the easier ones to identify- no Q or X just yet!!

I introduced the "Sound Game" using the suggested Montessori 3 period lesson method and now Bear and I either review the bags together, or he chooses to pull them out and work with them on his own.

For Easter, I strayed a bit from Montessori's theory and created "Sound Eggs":


1 egg for each letter of the alphabet and a corresponding object inside each egg to represent the sound.  This is where true to heart Montessorians might turn awayQuite a bit of my kindergarten teacher days remain with me, so I decided to trust my instinct regarding Bear and go ahead and write the letters on the eggs.

So far our experience with sounds has been calm and enjoyable.  If things begin to change, then we will drop further pursuits.  What we are doing is certainly not true Montessori, but it's working for us and I offer it up to you because when the times right, maybe it will work for you too.


Colleen said...

I've never been a one method only kind of . So I think you should take what you love about Montessori and add the other things that you love and think will work, mix them together into your own personal life curriculum. (I'm with you on letting them see the letter in correspondence with the sounds... it only makes sense.)

Make sure you hang onto these bags for the next kid... you don't want to have to do all this hard work all over again!

Oh... and I offer you a picture of my daughter, Quincy to add to your "Q" bag. :o)
Queen, quilt, quail, and quince are good words too.

Colleen said...

Girl! is the missing word in that first sentence. Dang cybersitter blocks that word. Ticks me off to no end!!! I have to turn the ever watching stupid eye of cybersitter off just so I can type that! ERRRRGH!

Emmy said...

Hey if he is interested in the actual letters too it definitely will not hurt to teach him those too. What a great idea with the eggs, so so clever!

Leslie said...

i love montessori...it was so amazing for my daughter...so amazing that i never found anything i liked better for my son. it gave me so many wonderful ideas...like this one.

Jennifer Campbell said...

What a wonderful Mama!!! It is so much fun seeing how much kids do pick up when it is just given to them... ex. my kids are working on or past what I am doing in kindergarten because they are exposed to it... I am still struggling with some of my kdg friends to get these things!

Mrs. Bird said...

Cool! I could write and write on Montessori...no matter *how* many times I tell the kindergarten teachers that I'd rather they knew all their sounds and not the letter names....let's just say it doesn't happen. I never taught the letter names exclusively when I taught Montessori pre-school...Brooklyn knows A, U, and B. Not a bad start! One fun activity I did/do is: I bought a hanging shoe organizer with clear pockets. I put one letter in each one, omitting some of the more obscure letters like x and q....and I have a box with all sorts of objects. The kids love sorting them. I mix up the letters from time to time so they don't just memorize where they go...

Pam said...

The importance of distinguishing sounds is so very important and so very overlooked! Funny, it is the basis of following directions, learning speech and oh amazingly enough - reading ...............awesome things you do, my friend!

Shell said...

Such a cute idea!

Caroline (Frogmum) said...

It's always good to go with the flow of the child ~ I've not yet known any of my children to conform to a 'method' :D Sound like Bear is one bright little man!

Rhonda Moon said...

That's a great idea. I recently did a term paper over Maria Montessori. She was way ahead of her time. The first female doctor in Italy. She gave up her practice to help/study pre-schools in the ghettos. I think her methods are some of the best.

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