Monday, October 15, 2012

How Far Can I Move?

Our educational version of "Mother, May I?"

As a child, I loved playing the simple game of "Mother, May I?" For those that may not know or remember this game:  The players lined up at the starting line while a selected player was "Mother." Each player in turn requested how many and what type of steps he/she could take. We had fun kinds of steps. I remember the best was an alligator step. For us in our neighborhood, this meant stretching out flat on our tummies and reaching our hands over our heads (and opening and closing them - like the mouth of an alligator). The furthest point we could reach is where one alligator step would take us. Mother could give consent, refuse our request, or change it. Mother always wanted to keep all players in her good graces, as next she would be just a player.

Our educational version:  How Far Can I Move?

Jacob loves to play this game. He is waiting to hear the spelling word Grandma has for him. He knows that if he can't spell the word on his own, Grandma will help him sound it out - reminding him of phonics rules we are currently drilling. 

Today we are drilling the sound of /k/ at the end of words. We are learning that it is spelled ck after a short vowel sound and ke after a long vowel sound.

Jacob is asked to spell "duck."

 After Wesley spells "cake," he gets to take a giant step. He is determined to catch up to Jacob.

One especially nice thing about this game is they always get to take some kind of step after a turn. Grandma is in control and gives big steps for words spelled with no help, or extra difficult words. Also, Grandma is able to keep the game rather even and that is important to these two competitive boys. They are cousins. Jacob turned 6 in September and Wesley will be 6 on Christmas Eve.
They are fairly even in most of their subjects, so we play this with lots of different skills:

Addition facts
Simply story problems
Subtraction facts
Coin counting (I show flash cards I have made)
Time (I have a clock - I move the hands to different times)
Reading words....or sentences (on flash cards I made)

Almost any skill is possible. I could ask questions for our history or science units, or the literature we have been reading.

Diana, age 3, is able to play the game with her oldest brother, Douglas, age 9.  Today I gave them words to spell. While she spells words like flag, slip, and dunk, Douglas spells screeched, heartened, and weathered.

Diana plays this game the same way she attacks all of life - full of flair and drama.
Douglas is determined to make the most of

his "giant step."

Cousin Aaron wanted to play, too. He is 3, and just learning his letter sounds so Grandma gave him a sound and he supplied the key word to go with it. He takes a "giant step" mimicking Douglas.

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