Ten Black Dots

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So I put into play another one of the projects from Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder yesterday. The morning was full of doctor’s appointments, two of them, so I packed up an activity bag for Emily – books to read, the Kurio, and the elements we needed to make this little book.

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The author recommended reading Ten Black Dots Board Book, which we did, and then we followed her suggestion and made our own 10 Black Dots book.

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The main emphasis is on introduction to numbers, which Emily doesn’t need. She’s currently recognizing numbers up to 100 (give or take some confusion at times), and this hones in on number recognition from one to ten.

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So…why did I decide to do this exercise? Several very important reasons…

  1. To get further book-making practice under my belt and Emily’s. We aren’t used to doing this, but I think that book-making is an amazing tool. Already she has mentioned several times during the other book-making adventures that we needed to share them by reading them to Daddy or to her friend Brooklynn.
  2. Start off easy. Emily has shown reticence in a number of areas – reticence to read, to draw, to write. I feel like in some ways, we need to build this from the ground up, but in ways she finds interesting, yet not too challenging. Challenging can come later, slowly, integrated in as she feels more and more comfortable.
  3. Encourage creativity and thinking. Emily is creative and thoughtful. She has amazing ideas about things, and I learn more each time I work with her. Some of the ideas she had for this book showed that. However, there is always room for improvement, for all involved.
  4. It provides a learning record. What have we learned? When did we learn it? How far have we come? This helps both of us. A year from now she can look back on where she was and see progress, reinforcing the certainty that with practice and action she improves and learns with each activity she does.

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Emily still doesn’t want to draw much. She only drew one of the four “soldier boys”…

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I found this configuration of five dots into a caterpillar rather ingenius, especially when she drew the antennae as if we were viewing from above…

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Dave watches the sci-fi tv show Fringe. I’m wondering if this is where she got the sixth finger idea from!

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The Ten Black Dots Board Book book had a snake. But Emily decided we needed a “snake-shaped paint pallette.”

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On most of these entries, I have written her descriptive words verbatim…

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We copied the piggy bank in Ten Black Dots Board Book for this one. That’s actually my drawing, she flatly refused to draw a pig and insisted I do it. As I said, she is quite reticent. It is something we will continue to work with.

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I was actually quite impressed with her ideas here. She decided to make the dots in the shape of the number 10. She placed all of the dots herself, it’s a little wonky, but you get the idea.

As I said above, little steps. She enjoyed the process from beginning to end and that was far more important than getting things perfect or having her draw and write everything. I’ll keep working at it.

Update: Also, an update on coin recognition. It took a while, but Emily now correctly identifies all the basic coins (quarter, dime, nickel, penny) and remembers the worth of all of them except for the quarter.

Emily: That’s worth 55 cents, right?
Me: Close, it’s 25 cents.

We were at a rent-ready cleaning and she was picking up coins off of the floor and enlisting my help to count with them. I showed her some different techniques for adding the coins up. She ended up finding $1.07 in change. Later she initiated a discussion on comparisons. “So how many of this would it take to buy a house?” I pointed to the small pile, “Imagine one thousand of those piles. Put them all together in a big pile, and then have one thousand of those BIG piles, and then you would have enough to buy a house.” (an inexpensive house, that is)

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