Saturday, February 21, 2009

busy hands

I've received a few questions about when to teach what, so I thought I'd include some descriptions of the lessons in this week's busy hands post. Hope it makes some degree of sense! :)

transferring beads with tweezers
materials: dish for beads, beads, tweezers, soap saver (?) - can be found at dollar stores or here
purpose: coordination and control of movement, indirect prep for reading, writing, & math
age: the child in this photo is 4, but a 3-year-old with strong fine motor skills could do it, too
control of error: dropping the beads

counting to 100 on the 100 board

materials: board with 100 squares, squares labeled 1-100, muffin tin for storing number squares in sets of 10 - I think this lesson could be made at home, but check it out at Alison's here
purpose: to count to 100 with numerals (abstract), I usually present this lesson to children who have already been counting to 100 in a concrete way (for example, counting the 100 bead chain), this lesson also provides an opportunity for the child to see numeric patterns
the child in this picture is 5-years-old
control of error: the child uses the 100 board control to check her work

building useful words
materials: the moveable alphabet, a lined board (homemade)
purpose: the child practices building, reading, and writing high frequency words that are not pronounced phonemically (for example, is, has, the, are)
the child in this photo is 5-years-old
control of error: teacher or control card

counting stars 1-9

materials: Usually, we do this lesson with wooden numerals and 56 ever changing objects, but I noticed over at My Montessori Journey that sometimes she makes her cards to coordinate with her theme. I thought I'd give it a try, and it's been a huge hit! I painted the numbers with white paint on black construction paper. The stars are from Discount School Supply, here.
purpose: This lesson provides practice in the association of quantities and symbols 1-9. I present this lesson to children who are able to make 1-1 correspondence when counting, and have mastered the numeral rods, sandpaper numerals, and the spindle box. The child must be able to lay the numeral cards out in the correct sequence, and then count out the corresponding quantities of stars. This activity also requires organization!
the child in this photo is 4-years-old
control of error: too many stars left over (or not enough) in the end, in the photos, this lesson is being done on a table (happens here sometimes), but is much nicer on a rug with lots of room

experimenting with the pink tower
and the broad stair

materials: the pink tower and the broad stair
purpose: this is a lesson extension, children are able to discover similarities and differences between the two materials
the child in this photo is 4-years-old
control of error: none... maybe visual disharmony

metal insets
materials: metal insets - check them out at Nienhius here, paper cut in 5x5 inch squares, pencil holder, long, sharp colored pencils
purpose: This lesson is the first official writing lesson. The child must have the coordination and control to use a pencil to do this lesson. The metal insets have both an inset and a frame. The child learns to trace the frame first. When presenting the lesson, I carefully model picking up the pencil with my non-writing hand and positioning it in my writing hand. Also, the metal insets are supposed to mirror the shapes of the letters, so keep that in mind while you trace. :)
the child in this picture is 3-years-old
control of error: the frame may slip and the pencil may waver, resulting in visual disharmony of the outline

Metal insets are NOT an art lesson,

but they can still be beautiful!
Aren't these a riot?!


  1. Are ther supposed to be links? I wanted to check some of themout but they weren't working for me. Love your site!!!

  2. This post is so wonderful! Thank you!!

  3. hey there! You have a wonderful blog.... thank you so much for stopping by mine! xo

  4. You are the champion! Really! Thank you so much for taking your time to explain the activities and even share with us the resources you use. You are one of the kind!

  5. Great post! Thank you for sharing ang for visiting my bloggy. I love yours as well so I'll keep stalking you. Ha!


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