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This blog captures the musings and anecdotes of the daily life of a Malaysian who is now living in Melbourne, Australia.

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Montessori: Long Rods lesson presentation

Today, ZJ, the youngest boy in class (only about 2 years was absent today).

JW, the boy with ADHD is no longer attending school.

In a way, it does makes things easier. Not just for us, the teachers, but for the child himself as well.
The school is not able to provide for the child's developmental needs, nor does it have the staff to provide the personal and individualised learning program for the child. To do so, would be detrimental for the child's self esteem, especially if the teacher has not had the experience nor knowledge in dealing with such a child of such circumstances. It would be better if the child found a school which was appropriately trained to support and guide these children with such a learning disability.

I was feeling a bit of trepidation to start again on the Long Rods presentation. Not to mention the fact that Mandy is keeping my Sensorial File, and there is no way I can actually contact her to get my file back, neither through e-mail, nor cell.

Activity: Long Rods

Reasons: To work with the long rods (1-5 or 6).
- To revise the activity with the children. To ensure that the children are familiarised with the first 5 or 6 rods before moving on the rest of the rods.
- To ensure that the children keep repeating the exercise, so that they would not forget what they have learnt, and the duration of time between the lessons given are not too distant in between.
- To revise the concepts of "long" and "short".
- To work from the longest rod to the shortest rod.

Implementation:
I placed about 5-6 of the rods on the mat and did the lesson lesson individually with Joyce first.
Since the rods not only involved the visual sense, but the kinaethestic and stereognostic sense as well, I showed Joyce how to feel the rods using the two fingers if she had difficulty telling the length of the rods.

The week before, when I did the lesson, she was complaining that "it was too difficult!" and went off in a huff! This time I broke the lessons into smaller steps, and she was able to do it. After which, the rest of children from class came out and joined us at the mat.

I repeated the presentation twice. I gave the children verbal guidance to help them compare and pick the longest rod. Although it was only 5 rods, it seemed like too many rods for the child to compare, so I placed 3 contrasting rods of length side-by-side each time to help the children accentuate the length of the rods for the children to see.

The children who could more or less arrange the rods in sequence from the longest to the shortest in the first try itself were Nicholas, Zhi En, Seen Yan, Cheng Wei, and even Jasper!
The rest who could only do it after observing the rest do were Qing Zhe, Annette, Monnaesh.
Could not arrange even after observing: Guo Xuan. Nico & AiLin ran off after first attempt!
Did not attempt at all: Angel.
Although some of the children were busy not watching the lesson, they seemed to have no trouble arranging the rods, whereas there are the rest, or some who were observing the lesson in progress, yet still did not know what to do when it came to their turn. I was amazed! Cant really fathom how that happened.

Evaluation:
Practice makes perfect. Perfect practice makes prefect.

Ok, it was an overlook on my part to give the children too many rods at one time at the previous Long Rods lesson. Well, this time, I was a bit more vary about repeating the same mistake, so it was good that I made sure that it doesn't happen. But mistakes are there to help us learn. That's why it's called mistakes!

Perhaps I was a bit more paranoid this time around. However, paranoid is good, and it is better to be prepared than not. I would have to repeat this exercise many many times before the children are actually able to internalise the concept. I reckon that his exercise is much harder than the Number Rods, as Number Rods are compartmentalized with alternating blue stripes, whereas the Long Rods really require the children to feel, look, compare and measure the length before arranging the rods.

The children will take some time to do fairly well in the exercise, as I have been not been doing that many sensorial lessons, but focusing on lessons on other areas, such as threading beads and binka cards.
The children have much more interest in threading beads than doing the Long Rods (anytime from what I can judge!), and they like to take that particular exercise from the shelves themselves without my asking them in the mornings when they come in.

Arranging the Long Rods still needs participation and verbal guidance from a directress to help scaffold their learning at this age level. Besides, I won't let the children work with this lesson independently as they may start fighting with each other, and it is better that the children work as a group, as they can observe and learn from one another when the others work with it. That way, I don't have to keep repeating the presentation and tire myself each time!

The children are learning number 13 this week, and have not as much trouble counting as measuring.
I have to keep remembering Montessori's concept, go from where the child is, and move from easier to advance, and break up the learning process into smaller steps. This applies not only to children, but even for adults as well! But keep practising and they will know eventually, and it is just a matter of practising.

Personal Learning: Keep on practising with the children regularly.

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