Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back from Break ...

I spent most of our spring vacation as unplugged as possible. I am slowly easing back into a regular routine. Here are some activity pictures snapped just before break.

Collage materials with the last remnants of winter...


Phenomes and spelling work.

The sound /n/ is typically spelled in two ways n or kn.

The drawer is filled with samples of words with the sound /n/ spelled both ways.
No and Know, Not and Knot, Now and Knit, etc.

So far I've put out:


/n/ --n or kn

/c/ --k, c, or ck

/f/-- f or ph

/sh/ --sh, ti, ci

/g/ or /j/-- g

/n/ or /ng/ --ng

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Moment To Relax

This year we have quite a few children in our classroom with special sensory needs. We recently put a basket of massage tools out on our shelves and presented the tools with a very brief introductory lesson. What a hit! All of the children love taking a break from their work to sit quietly on a mat for a moment of relaxation. I've also been spotted on occasion using this material to work out some stressful kinks in my neck after a long day of paperwork or paying bills.

Thank You

As some of you know, I am still new to the blogging world. I can't even put into words how blessed and empowered I feel when I able able to connect with fellow Montessorians around the world. Thank you for your support, your inspiration, and your patience. I so easily loose track of time when reading some of my favorite blogs and then, when my husband makes me turn off the computer and go to bed, I can't sleep because I'm so inspired by what I've read. On those days when my "bucket" feels empty I turn to fellow bloggers for perspective and to be refilled with hope, passion, and commitment for this Montessori journey I am on, we are on. Thank you for walking beside me for a little way on this path.
A special thank you to Montessori Mum for the Kreativ blogger award.

It's incredibly powerful to be connected to so many creative Montessorians around the world.

I am passing on this award to the following blogs who inspire me along my journey:

Montessori Mama

Sew Liberated

Maya Made

My Montessori Journey

The Moveable Alphabet



Sunday, April 5, 2009

Inch by Inch, Row by Row, Come and Watch Our Garden Grow

Wow, March certainly came in like a lion for us, roaring in more ways than just weather. For the last few weeks our children and teachers have been struggling with bouts of colds and viruses making it hard for me to find time to post to our blog. Fortunately March left like a lamb and hopefully left us all strong and healthy.

We welcomed April with the groundbreaking of our new school garden. How exciting!

Our ultimate goal is to connect children with the earth creating a 'seed to plate experience'. Since we are a year round Montessori School we can enjoy our garden throughout it's most productive time through the summer. More details on the garden will be posted on a separate blog soon.

In the classroom we are preparing work related to the season and our garden.
We have garden themed three part cards, matching, and science activities.
Just a personal note on making activities: Technology is wonderful. Downloading images, printing, and lamination are tools that were not available when I first started teaching so I really appreciated having these resources available to me now when I make my own materials. That said, I feel very strongly about balancing modern computer created plastic coated materials with hand made materials. There is a texture, a quality, a depth, and an energy to a hand made material that cannot be captured in something mass produced. I realize a card that is not laminated may only last one season, but that is part of the beauty of a hand made material. I also allow the children watch me make the materials. It includes them in the process and helps them value the effort that is invested in making an activity.
Here are two activities I recently put out on our shelves. The first is the life cycle of a pumpkin, a three part card activity I downloaded. The second activity is the parts of a seed sequencing work that I hand painted with acrylics on a parchment-like card stock. FYI the hand painted cards only took about 20 minutes to make and the printed cards took about the same amount of time to print and laminate.

Here is our seed sprouting experiment. We have eight trays. Each with a different combination of seed, soil, water, and light (we choose to keep air as a constant for this experiment).

As an art history and cultural studies unit we are studying the work of Andy Goldsworthy. We have photographs of his work, matching cards, and sequencing cards. We have been making our own sculptures using natural found materials from the grounds around our school. We will also be taking a field trip to visit Cornell's Lab of Ornithology's Sapsucker Woods. Andy Goldsworthy created a sculpture in the woods.

Our language area has been quite popular since we refreshed our initial sound activities with new objects and pictures.
I am always searching for interesting and appealing objects for the more challenging sounds like Q, U, Y, X, Z. Any suggestions?

Our metal inset area has also been quite popular.
TIP: I found these shoe storage racks work great as shelves for the insets. They are the perfect size and height. I think they are sold in home improvement stores as part of closet storage systems.