Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December in our School

Letter Search
-Helps with identifying letters and reviewing their sound

Pine Tree Section with Magnifying Glass
-The kids LOVED looking at this section of a tree to see the tiny rings up close. It also inspired them to take the magnifying glass all over the room and "inspect" other things.

"Gingerbread" Houses
-I think they ate more than they actually brought home.

Mini Tree Trimming
-This is another handwriting practice sneakily disguised as a fun holiday game. This work had a line for it almost everyday it was out. Later, we added a star for the top and little plastic candy canes.

Bell Walking
-With this game the kids take the bell and try to walk around the whole room without letting it ring. It is a classic Montessori exercise in control of the body, and lets them focus on what quiet really means.

Pom Pom Transferring
-This gives the kids practice in control of arm movement and completion of a task.

Ribbon Weaving
-This one is great for developing their ability to follow series of directions. I showed them first saying "up, down, up, down" out loud as I did it and it was fun to see their little faces try to remember the pattern as they sat down to weave. It is also great work for their little finger, hand, and arm muscles.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

November/Autumn Works

This is just some of what went on in our class in November.

Watercolor Turkeys

Autumn Sensory Box

Leaf Sorting

Leaf Stringing

Turkey Buttoning

Pumpkin Counting

Saturday, October 16, 2010

For the Parents

We are working on R A F M. In Montessori, we work on learning the sound of the letters first. It is easier in the long run to make the transition to reading if there isn't as much "translating" going on in their heads. The child who learns the names of the letters first thinks "OK, that's an R....What sound does R make? rrrrrrr. Oh thats right." The goal is for them to see a letter and automatically think of the sound. Some of the kids already know the names of the letters. When we review letters they say, "Oh thats M." I always say "Yep, and the sound it makes is mmmmm." Just to bring the focus back to it's sound. They are really quickly learning these sounds and we will be making sound books soon to bring home and show off all they have learned.

Spontaneous Montessori

This didn't happen in the preschool, but I couldn't help but share :) I love the way Montessori had the insight to design the materials that children crave to develop skills. They love to practice so much they find ways to practice on their own.
This is my 16 month old son. He found a zip tie on the floor of the garage, inserted it into a hole that was juuuussst the right size. I wish I caught a picture of the smile on his face when he put it through the first time! He did it over and over and over and over. To some adults this might seem like a waste of time, but THIS is the work of childhood. He is developing hand eye coordination and manual dexterity needed for handwriting and all other manual skills. His focus and concentration are improving AND he is gaining self esteem from the thrill of independent accomplishment.

Random Awesomeness

These kids really just blow me away. The way the Montessori materials let you peek into their thought process and almost WATCH them learn is so awesome to me.

October/Pumpkin Works!

Spooning/ Transferring Black Beans
I found the Jack-O-Lanterns at a thrift store. The spoon is from a restaurant supply place, and so is the dish it's all in. This is great for concentration, manual dexterity, and practice completing a task from beginning to end.

Tweezing Spiders
I got this shot when one of the kids was working with it, so I missed the green tweezers that go with it :) But the idea is to pick up the plastic spiders (which I cut off of rings) and place one in each pumpkin with the tweezers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Apple Printing

Our last apple themed project for this year was apple printing. We cut open an apple, which gave us the chance to talk about all the parts of an apple. We also had Parts of an apple nomenclature cards to go on the language shelf after we saw the real thing. After we talked about it, and all got a chance to touch, we dipped them in paint and made prints. I think the kids had more fun with the process than the product!

Friday, September 10, 2010

September Apple Themed Work

For September I put together a few apple themed practical life exercises and art projects.

This is an apple apron I sewed from this pattern in like 20 min. (thanks to some help ;) )
I plan on using it for red play dough spiked with lots of glitter and apple pie spice. Smells SOOOO good! make sure the kids know NOT to eat it :)
This would also be good for an apple cutting exercise.

This is apple tweezing with learning chopsticks from Montessori Services. The apples are erasers from the teacher supply store. The tray they are transferred into is a paint palate. I had the litte crate leftover from a Melissa and Doug toy I bought for my kids. I thought it was perfect with the apples!

This is another version of apple tweezing/transferring. I found the apples at the thrift store, I'm sure you can get them at any art supply place. They have little stems that stick out the top. They are perfectly tricky for grabbing with the toast tongs, which I also got from Montessori Services.

This is a fun glue-ing activity. In most Montessori classes I have seen, the art projects are set up with a finished example and all the supplies. I haven't found the space to do that yet, so we do our art projects as a group.

This is an apple tree I drew freehand and then made copies. The "apples" are label stickers from the office supply store.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ball Shoot

This is what we did for an "opening activity" last week. I got this idea from Family Fun magazine. I bought three 8ft lengths of flexible air ducts and stuck one end through the railings in our deck. Then added 12 or so little white practice golf balls (the kind with holes in them.) The basket at the bottom was for gathering the balls and bringing them back to the top again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What's on the Shelf

We have already been in session for 2 days, I wanted to show close-ups of our shelves all set up for the beginning of the year.

This is the Practical Life Shelf:
From Top Right to Bottom Left:
A sushi mat to help practice rolling up work mats. A change sorting activity. Cutting.

Apple Tweezing. Pouring colored rice. Opening containers and black felt mat to spread them out on.

Infant/Toddler "Works." Horizontal Post. Peg board. Three Circle puzzle.

There are two reasons I have a few Infant/Toddler works out. 1-My one year old will be joining us after the first week. 2-Kids (especially the younger ones) like to refine skills that they have long since mastered. It helps them validate old skills and move onto the next thing.

This is the Sensorial Shelf:

Color Boxes 1 & 2. Animal sorting puzzle with bag to reach into and find shapes. 2 of 4 Knobless Cylinders.

Color Paddles. Red Rods.

Pink Tower. 2 of 4 Knobbed Cylinders.

This is the Math Shelf:

Geometric Solids and Blindfold to guess which shape by touch. Really cool Tag counting, peg drop.

Tree with 10 "apple" stickers to fill up the tree. Spindles.

Red and Blue Rods. Sandpaper Numbers.

This is the Language shelf:

Metal insets for design (I have not added colored pencils yet.)

Sandpaper letters. (We are beginning with r a m and f.) Some Pre-Reading matching Puzzles.

Moveable Alphabet.

This is the Reading Corner:

Look back for changes as we move through the year!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rice Dying

The other day we decided to dye rice for our first days drop off activity. We are going to make a Rainbow Rice Sensory table for the kids to play with and (hopefully) make saying good-bye to parents a little easier.

We started by putting plain long grain white rice in gallon baggies.
We poured in some food coloring and a few teaspoons of rubbing alcohol to make the colors vibrant. There was no real measuring going on. If you don't put enough in, all the rice wont be colored, so add more. If you put in too much you will get awesome color, it will just take a lot longer to dry. I used food coloring that was purchased at a restaurant supply store, so it was super strong.

Then I let my "little" toss the baggie around until all the rice was fully covered in beautiful, yummy, colorful colors!

I let the rice dry in the opened, upright baggies for a few days. If you want them to dry faster, lay the rice out on a tray in the sun.
I will post action shots of the rainbow rice table on Monday after the new preschoolers have had a chance to check them out!
This is my classroom. I have been working at getting it just right all summer.