On the chalkboard

On the coffee table” gives a glimpse into one facet of our school, here's another dimension.



Both the eldest girls have memorized a full octave on the staff.  We use the chalk board and flash cards, adding one note at a time.  Kendra went through the note flash cards first this morning and was holding her breath through Kaira's turn.  (Since BOTH girls have to get all the previous before adding another.) To Kendra's relief, Kaira got them all, so we added the next note up–another “D”.


Kendra is learning her 9 chart in Math (Professor B Style). (8+1, 7+2, 6+3, 5+4, 4+5, 3+6, 2+7, 1+8; 9-8, 9-7, 9-6, 9-5, 9-4, 9-3, 9-2, 9-1)


The little staircase was a visual for counting by 2s, and we are learning about nouns in First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. They are loving this. Kendra's recitation of “The Caterpillar” today was so sweet. She's doing well on inflection. 

The Caterpillar

by Christina Rosetti


Brown and furry

Caterpillar in a hurry

Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk.


May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you

Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly


2 thoughts on “On the chalkboard

  1. Thanks for the look into your “classroom” Dell! I love the math visual – wish I’d had it when my kiddos were little.


  2. We live similar lives!!! Holly’s doing that poem right now in FLL and just put her musical alphabet skips on the staff this week. She’s also learning her table of 9s etc… in math – fun!!!

    Here’s a fun way to put notes on the staff.
    1. Memorize the “musical alphabet” up and down. My students say this fast during their bow “ABCDEFG” on the way down and “GFEDCBA” on the way up!(I also make an index card for each letter – like a Montessori, moveable musical alphabet. I start with left to right like the keyboard and move to up and down like the staff. I call it making a “musical alphabet ladder.”).
    2. Next, we practice starting on C and say, “CDEFGABC” and make a corresponding “ladder.”
    3. The next step is to practice alphabet skips. We move every other card over so that they form two staggered rows. We say the letters in one row at a time. We practice skipping and saying note names on the piano too.
    4. Next, we whisper every other letter. AbCdEfGaBcDeFgA (whispering the lowercase letter).
    5. Once they can say every other one without whispering away from the keyboard and cards I teach them the middle C line. We then start at C and skip up the treble staff. They get it right away – fun!
    6. Using flashcards in order comes next – going up the staff skipping on the lines first follwed by the spaces when the lines are solid. I also have them write the names of the notes on the lines on manuscript paper for fun.
    7. I teach them the G line through the “G clef treble clef” and the F line through the dots of the “F clef bass clef.” This helps the activity be a bit self correcting. I usually highlight the g line in the treble clef in orange, middle c is green, and the f in bass clef is purple. I drop the colors later.

    I developed this system on my own, but found that Bastien’s Very Young Pianist works really well along with it!

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