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Monthly Archives: January 2017

蒙特梭利 活動注音盒 可列印

為了孩子用Livable Montessori 的連結做了活動英文 printable small moveable alphabet之後,因為沒有找到可列印的活動注音,所以在這裡做了檔案,有兩個版本。放在網路上給需要的人使用(按version字可到下載的google drive連結)。

Version 1 / Version 2:

兩個版本差異在字型。因為在看Livable Learning 英文的 printable small moveable alphabet 時讓阿諾選了他喜歡的字體,想說若做中文注音,也可以有選擇。

這個活動注音盒主要用來拼字,對於前置語言建構已經有一定基礎,且還無法寫注音,不過會認單注音(可以用砂紙注音板 or 其他)讀拼一起的注音,的孩子可以開始嘗試的活動。可以用一寫小物品,或圖卡,先做兩個注音、且ㄧ的拼音練習。一開始為了能維持孩子的興趣,用玩玩,鼓勵的心態,是不糾正錯誤的喔!如果孩子沒興趣,可能時機不對,可能帶領的方式提不起興趣…多方權衡一下。

以下我也分享其他地方看到別人做的注音材料:

  • 砂紙注音製作:四個中文媽媽在聖地牙哥的部落格大方分享的檔案, 這個可列印版本是鏡像的,也貼心的做得很省紙!貼砂紙背面剪比較方便。據說要用3M砂紙240號或者油漆行正常砂紙180號,沙子才夠細緻,適合幼嫩的小手描摩。這個砂紙注音,可做起頭音或尾音的小物件盒(剛開始一次擺出最多介紹/擺出兩、三個!不要擺出太多!孩子往往因為太多選擇而反爾不去碰。)砂紙注音我還沒有做,但已經看定用紙博館的藝術色卡,是硬的且色澤飽和,但不是塑膠的所以可能無法忍受風吹日曬。不過我覺得觸感上質感好。
  • 大的活動注音盒Caroll Wang 有推薦這個磁鐵的。我其實很希望找的原木且沒有磁鐵的(可以自己漆的那種),不過磁鐵的好處是可以在垂直面上操作,而幼兒很多有垂直面操作(繪畫,Michaelangelo躺著畫天花板)的肢體需求。(看完這個webinar: Building Fine Motor Skills 才發現幼兒出現“畫牆壁”這樣的行為時,不能說動機是『調皮』,可能身體上有這樣的需求,可以考慮在牆壁上貼紙滿足)
  • 小活動注音盒(就是我提供的檔案)我是用key way 40 格的(格子可以自己活動調整,超方便!)我個人覺得家庭用的用厚一點的卡紙印就好了,畢竟不是開學校好幾屆的學生要用,沒有必要去裱褙。沒有塑膠的重量,至少卡紙比起裱褙來說也比較不滑。

至於教學方式,許多有愛心的前人分享過,我這個中打又慢又辛苦的就不用重新發明輪子來詳述。:)

2017 Jan 21st Knox playing with the home-made small moveable alphabet 阿諾玩英文活動拼音盒:

edit: 感謝文婷老師指點,檔案少了ㄗㄘㄙ,還有自己沒有搞懂一聲,已補上。

I think I know some underachieving verbally gifted children…

Just came across this helpful article to considering motivation for some children in classroom management/design, shared by the Ultimate Montessori Parents Guide:
https://www.verywell.com/underachievement-of-verbally-gifted-children-1448965
Signs of verbally gifted children: higher competency in language than peers, easily acquire language, good ear for sound of languages, good at manipulating symbols (letters), can often be heard ‘playing’ with language. – making jokes with language, experimenting with sound (making nonsense sounds), getting rhymes and poetry quickly…etc.
    Aside from this, very young children also have a sensitive period (Montessori) for language that makes it easier for them to absorb languages.
Takeaways from that article:
   1. Verbally gifted children tend to be holistic learners – they want to see the big picture (why should I learn this?) before getting details esp. cosmic education>
2. Because of need for holistic learning and challenge, tend to see rote memorization as pointless. This will present as saying something is ‘hard’ when they mean that something is ‘boring and uncomfortable to learn – tedious’ (not necessarily beyond the child’s capability, as we adults would define the word ‘hard’).
3. For the sake of challenge (to stay interested), these children will often choose difficult tasks over easy ones at the risk of getting a lower grade. Thus presenting with underachievement.
4. Tend to want to be able to be in charge of their own learning (intrinsically motivated)
     Note: being verbally gifted is only one aspect of a child so one verbally gifted child will appear different in temperament and other capabilities than another child. Something I have noticed about gifted children is that their learning often appears asymmetrical – this includes not being very good at certain things, can sometimes present with behavioral issues (due to asymmetry), and does not necessarily follow learning scope & sequence because some things are ahead of others (such as Montessori found that children can often write before they can read. A gifted child may be ready to learn reading before they are able to write, due to under-developed fine motor that is related to their focused interest on non-fine motor related areas.)
     For example, today I noticed a child in the class I am teaching practice at who, for an almost 4 year old, is showing pretty good mastery of the moveable mandarin alphabet (bopomo), compared to peers. I do not think he has enough control for writing yet but he is definitely good at blending. This is one of the children (most of them tend to be boys!) who at various other times can present with behavioral challenges. Could this because he is undershooting in certain areas? Something to find out!
     Another child I know who I realize is verbally gifted (Has high attention span for being read to compared to peers. Can memorize picture book dialogue upon first being read to. Will make puns with words. Easily find and fills in gaps when reading things that rhyme, likes to find new ways of doing things) – keeps complaining and avoiding language work, will dither when working with language. I believe this is because the way these particular language works are presented with limited scope, and the children have been constrained not to use them in a spontaneous way. However, to teachers to follow clear scope & sequence, this child can seem to have ‘not yet mastered’ more basic concepts, and so can be held back because teachers want them to finish one step successfully before moving on to another. While the child is one who seeks novelty and challenge.
     So I think for this child : 1.material for earlier steps needs to be regularly refreshed so child will be interested in working with ‘old’ concepts in new ways. 2. Occasional bridge work (forays) into more advanced work should be used, and allowed, but not to the point that child is introduced too early and frustrated. 3. Sometimes it is okay to experiment so child can see value of earlier work as foundation. 4. Freedom and opportunity for initiative should be allowed. The need for creativity can be satisfied with other materials/activities if purposeful use needs to be maintained for certain materials.

     It is possible for Montessori schools and teachers to accommodate for the needs of gifted children because the inherent philosophical learning environment design allows individualization. However, it is also possible for Montessori teachers to miss these positive aspects and potentialities of a child’s learning. So I really love all these new studies coming to the fore that explore differentiated learning needs!

shame and growth for the young child – some reflections

I found this in my notebook from September 28th, 2016. I felt this was a good summary (if you can call it that, ha.) of the information I had been accumulating at that time and my synthesis of it regarding creating a positive environment.

In retrospect, I had been a bit harder on Quin due to our experience with her brother. In all fairness, her brother had had more of his needs satisfied as he went from 2 y/o to 3 y/o as, in my hopes of staving off jealousy of his baby sister (Quin), our daily activities were centered around His needs, whilst Quin was largely along for the ride. I was still relatively inexperienced back then with the 2nd child, and as a SAHM, barely having time to myself for reflection, my growth was not as well-rounded as I might have hoped.

I am considering this today due to an observation for assignment that I had conducted, hoping to identify the cause of Quin’s exclusion when a girl who had just turned five comes over to play. In my search concerning the social development of children I came across these passages from Tina Bruce, Carolyn Meggit and J Grenier’s 2010 Child Care and Education:

From 2 to 3 years

  • The child quickly become frustrated – for example, when something does not go well. The child needs a great deal of support from adults (…)

We had speculated that Quin’s personality was coming to the fore when she started throwing tantrums shortly after age two. She was previously a fussy baby but I understood it to be due to indigestion, if not colic, that settled down prior to age one. Often the tantrums were over things perceived out of order, but more often it appeared to be over doing things that she had previously been capable of doing, if not of trying. This was frustrating for me, for I felt that to do things for her would spoil her for doing things for herself. I see now that I had not accessed more specific information regarding her development, for the same textbook mentions:

From 1 to 2 years

  • The toddler loves to do things for him or herself.

As Quin had not yet developed much social interest before, she was content to attempt things driven by her inner guide (Montessori). However, at age two, in between the development of social awareness and drive for independence / autonomy came an awareness of her need for assistance. And when I insisted that she try for herself, she would have a melt down. In retrospect, I feel that I could have been more immediately helpful, as these past few months I have discovered the beautiful side of her personality when we are more supportive of her emotional needs.

This discovery was preceded by a change in my own approach, which (sad to say) came not from the natural maturation of my parenting abilities, but from a crisis in our relationship that arose from MY mistaken approach to her. In this situation, Quin had been, for half a year at least, not wetting her bed and what we considered potty-trained. The bed-wetting then started again. We had her go to potty before bedtime and placed the potty close to her room so she might access it in the night if she needed. We reminded, reasoned and remonstrated. To no avail. The atmosphere in our home was becoming toxic.

And then I read about a Taiwanese mother’s experience with her son’s poop situation, and her detailed use of the Kazdin method. I started preparatory work to apply this method (explain and send reference to husband, buy book on kindle and start reading…) and in my approach I started to change my attitude towards the accidents. We got training pants and when she had an accident we did not emotionally react to the situation, but tried to be supportive. “You can do better next time.”

It particularly struck me at this time how she would : 1. Pretend that it hadn’t happened and insist that it was not wet. 2. Later on, in the process of recovery, look at us very sadly and with some fear when she discovered that she had wet her bed again.

For 1. I realized that it was a protective mechanism. She was lying because she wished it were not true. Having read the article about children and lies beforehand, I understood that children (prior to about 5 or 6 years old, when they begin to be able to fantasize), are not capable of willfully lying. What we thought were lies were actually wishes, and often responses to environmental pressures that they were incapable of resolving. I was sorry that I had put my daughter into such a situation where she had to deny reality in order to cope.

For 2. I saw that she felt shame for having peed her pants. For young children, shame is always an emotion that arises from social referencing – they are learning what is considered unacceptable (lower status behavior) from the reaction of others. While it serves useful for their socialization, our experience proved that it did not help her control her bed wetting. Only served to demoralize her.

Shame is now known as a less effective emotion for behavioral change (growth), particularly for young children. The attendant pressure from shame promotes cortisol, which is shown to inhibit the establishment of neural connections. In converse, dopamine is shown to be effective in helping neural plasticity, which is the ability for the mind to change – learning! It is therefore true that happy children learn best.

While it is possible for some behavioral changes to occur through shame, it is usually more possible through individuals who have better control of themselves, and have a social interest in the matter (ex: teenagers want to fit in). But such a change comes at a cost, a social cost – in giving the individual a sense of inferiority, which predisposes the individual to later ‘bullying’ others in oblique or overt ways in order to regain a sense of self-esteem.

I personally believe shame as an incentive also has costs in preventing someone to fulfill their full potential in development and learning, so that the individual presents with an inferior sensibility. I am inclined to believe this in my observation of cultures (or meta-cultures within larger cultures, such as individual family units) where shame is used as the main tool to inspire behavioral change. The children present as disoriented, or lacking initiative, often frivolous and inefficient, and appear to express below the intellectual capacity of their age group.

When such is removed, the rebound is impressive for young children, as I had observed when I changed my own reaction to Quin’s bed-wetting. Being more neutral concerning the situation, and positively noticing times when she showed behaviors we approved of. It was amazing how, when we stopped noticing it and instead bolstered her self-esteem by noticing her other capabilities, how much she blossomed! She became more vocal, lively, and within two weeks had stopped wetting the bed! Without my even implementing the Kazdin rewards chart system! (which, btw to all behaviorists out there, is meant to be applied ONLY as a temporary support to chronic situations.)

The recent observation showed me something further in her development.

First off, background info: Quin had just turned 3. I observed that Quin had been excluded from the older two children’s play, largely because, developmentally, her play had yet to reach the give-and-take socio-dramatic play level that the other children reveled in. Moreover, the other two children were using English, a language Quin was less expressive in (compared to Mandarin).

But Quin did show an interest in other children playing with her.

From 3 to 4 years

  • They begin to be interested in having friends. (Bruce, Meggit & Grenier, 2010)

As was apparent when she said “But no one is playing with me!” and when she would follow the other children around, and stand there staring at them play. She might have known the words for requesting to join their play, but she was not able to yet utilize it (3rd period in the three period lesson, Montessori). So even if I told her it she is unlikely to be able to use it organically.

At one point she was invited to pull a cart with the other children sitting down. She made a masterful effort, grunting as she tried very hard to pull the heavy cart.

What surprised me when seeing this was how, usually, she would throw a tantrum immediately after she tried and didn’t succeed. This told me that Quin is now able to subsume her own frustration for a greater interest. In this case, social – the opportunity to play with others.

It had come to my attention that after her 3rd birthday, there were less incidences of tantrums over things she wishes we would do for her. It hadn’t entirely gone away yet. But it is a worthy lesson for me to understand that, as much as she has her own personality and always shall, having a meltdown all the time is not an aspect of her TEMPERAMENT, but a developmental phase. It is necessary that I understand their stages and continue to view the children in the most positive potential light possible, so that I do not prove an obstruct to their growth (Montessori).