Tuesday, February 26, 2008

phonics and falling rice

Phonics. There are so many ways and methods to employ when teaching a child about the sounds that the alphabet makes.

Today, I chose to use a few of Maria Montessori's methods for teaching a child to read and write (this is one of the many beauties of homeschooling, that is to say that one can choose whichever method suits each individual child best). Nicolas is 4 and for about the last six months, has fallen into a love affair with writing. He is at the "Mommy how do you spell _____?" age and I am eager to help encourage him on his road to reading (for most children, writing comes before reading, am I right here?).

When learning to identify a letter, number, leaf, wildflower or whatever it is a child is learning to identify, I find Montessori's Three Period Lesson to be so wonderful. If you are interested, you can read more about it here.
Instead of having him write in pen and paper today, I let his finger serve as his "pen" and a tart pan filled with rice serve as his "paper". This way, he could include several of his senses in this writing experience (sense of touch is huge here!).
After we talked about the letter "A" and "a", we went on to talk about the sound that "A/a" makes. I said, "A, as in apple". He said, "A, like apple" and then added and "A, like Adeline". So sweet. Adeline is my sister's soon-to-be-born baby girl, Nicolas' newest cousin!

I then left him alone to play in his tray of rice and just sat back to catch a few sweet moments....

Here he is just feeling the rice and letting it fall (yes, it did fall all on the floor, and I am just fine with that. It seem for me, that any mess associated with a learning experience is totally acceptable!!).
Nicolas then started drawing other letters and pictures in the rice. The shape below was described to be "You Mom!".

"The environment itself will teach the child, if every error he makes is manifest to him, without the intervention of a parent or teacher, who should remain a quiet observer of all that happens."
- Maria Montessori


Jackie said...

learning is fun! what a good idea...

Amanda L. said...

awesome! Good job Nicolas! That whole rice idea is great. I can see how the texture of it would be enticing for 4-5 year old boys! Adeline is such a beautiful name...love it!

Anonymous said...

The rice/texture component is a wonderful sensory experience for the letters and so important! At the school I am at we start with wooden shapes (straight lines and big and small curves) to create the letters, the kids then trace the letter (which is made with varying textures such as felt, velcro, etc. to increase the tactile input to those little fingers). The kids have the most fun making a huge mess and creating letters out of funny foam (or unscented shaving cream) on their desktops as well. Another big thrill I have been doing is hiding the letters in a big bin of kidney beans or rice and having them find a small wooden letter as part of a "treasure hunt" and then writing the letter on the chalkboard. I think I have more fun with it than they do! I think it's great you are making this so much fun, wish I could be there to play with you.
: ) XXOO, Chrissy

Charles & Rebecca said...

I love the idea of using all of our senses for learning. The kids have tables at school that teach the same way - I have to admit I am little jealous that they didn't teach us with these methods but as kids we learned this on our own. It's nice to see Nicolas (and all your kids)enjoying their educational experiences.

sorichfamily said...

i loved reading this entry! i could almost imagine how great it would FEEL to write in that rice!! what a wonderful idea! i will really have to try that someday with Matilda. and i love those eeboo cards...i have been wanting those for a LONG time...maybe when the time is right.

ps...Nicolas is so sweet and clever...he looks like he had a wonderful day!

Nesting Momma said...

so sweet! I just love this method of teaching!!