March 29, 2016

This week, we're focusing on numbers 11-20 -- identifying them, focusing on rote counting, and beginning to understand place value. When children have been identifying two-digit numbers, they sometimes read them as "a one and a three," so we are working with the children to learn how to read, or identify, these numbers, and to develop an understanding of each digit. We've been using the Montessori Bead Bars and Unifix cubes to work with these larger numbers this week. The Bead Bars are a work that we had out in the classroom earlier in the year--they are designed to help children understand the abstract concept of place value by showing groups of tens and ones using different colored beads on wire bars. We had been using the bead bars with number tiles, encouraging children to count the number of beads and match it to the right number tile. This time, we introduced the golden bead bars to help us with counting and place value. Each golden bead bar has ten beads, and so children have been forming numbers 11-20 using golden bead bars to represent a group of ten and a different color bead bar for the ones. It's amazing to see how complex, abstract concepts can be illuminated with the right material--with the bead bars, children are quickly putting together the golden tens bars with the colored ones bars to make each number, implicitly showing that they understand place value. We'll be working on 11-20 for the next couple weeks, and look forward to delving deeply into number and counting with the Purple Room children.