Monday, July 23, 2012

My Kinetic Learner, His Blocks, and Sharing

A model of the digestive system he did all on his own.

A song he wrote for God.
Builder Boy is a kinetic learner. He learns best when he can physical move something, put something together to solve a problem or learn something knew. If he hears something he likes he goes straight to his wood blocks on the play table and starts acting out what he just learned with the blocks to cement it in his mind. This is how he processes things, and because he does do it with a lot of things he remembers a lot of things. One time Principal Daddy was watching a documentary about salt; how they mine it, storing things in salt mines, desalination of sea water through reverse-osmosis, the molecular composition of salt, and it's effect on the body and blood pressure. Builder Boy was in the room playing, but we didn't think he was paying any attention. But a week and a half later I noticed him playing with his blocks, talking about salt. He showed salt moving through blood vessels (he also talked about cholesterol, but he called it "oil.") He showed salt moving along a conveyer belt in the mine and processing plant. He showed the desalination process. He even said "let's look in side the salt" and lined up his blocks like the molecules in a square crystal structure. It clearly works for him.

Making letters from blocks.
We are using the Garanimals ABC Number and Animals Blocks (they're cheaper at Walmart.) This is great for Builder Boy because he can play making words. He can physically put them together. Anytime he hears a new word he wants to learn he puts it together with his blocks. Once he's put the word together a few times, he knows it.

And of course he builds really tall towers and interesting architecture with his blocks. A day does not go by where he does not play with his blocks. Even when watching tv he is acting out the story with the blocks. After a reading lesson, after a math lesson, etc. he is working things out with his blocks.

I don't know how he got it that high without a stool!
The problem is that he is not an only child. Early Bird wants to play with what his big brother wants to play with. And they seem incapable of sharing. They fight over the blocks Early Bird is not a kinetic learner. He is an auditory/visual learner. But he loves making words as much as Builder Boy does. For them letters and and words are just as much as toys as trains and stuffed animals. They play with them, have fun with them, never thinking that they're "learning'' or "practicing." But there never seem to be enough when they both want to play with them. I have bought two sets of the Alphabet Blocks! But Builder Boy never wants to share more than just a few, and no vowels (he pulls those out right away to make sure he has them.) I am struggling with an appropriate punishment for them not sharing. With most things if they are not sharing it gets taken away and not played with for a while. But I cannot do that with something that is so necessary to Builder Boy's ability to process things! I have magnetic letter tiles I picked up at the thrifts store, a great Tub Of Letter Tiles I got on, magnetic letters from Walmart, and the Fridge Words Word Builder. It never seems to be enough! What ever they are given, the fight over them! (I've tired giving them each different sets of letters with varying success.) I am at my wit's end. I do not know what to do. How do I punish them for wanting to have enough letters to make the words they want? How do I punish them for playing with words? If someone reading this has the answer, please let me know!

(All the projects pictured he did on his own, on his own initiative. This is his creative outlet. This is how he best expresses himself. The few times I have taken the wood blocks away as a punishment I feel like I'm taking away his voice, his ability to understand things. Thankfully he also has plastic duplo blocks to play with, but he doesn't have as many, and it's not really the same thing.)

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