Saturday, January 17, 2015

More on St. Isaac's Cathedral

Some of my readers may recall the post about our visit to St. Isaac's Cathedral last week.  Imagine my delight to find a beautiful set of matching three-part cards of churches and cathedrals in the classroom:

Matching cards each with a labels including the name of the cathedral its architect.
My daughter saw this and exclaimed, "Oh, I've been there!"
Each set has the control of error on the back of the cards.
I have a feeling that I will be scouring the book stores and buying postcards in sets of two for lots of material making!  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Montessori in St. Petersburg

My daughter and I have had the privilege to begin spending our mornings at the beautiful International American Montessori School in St. Petersburg.  After the hustle and bustle of getting school on the metro and city life in general, what a sense of peace it brings me to be in an authentic Montessori environment!

There is nothing quite like seeing the Pink Tower to bring a sense of normalcy and belonging - especially for a child.  The night before our first day of school, my daughter asked me if her new Montessori school would have one.  It was not surprising that this became her mission - to find that Pink Tower!

Mission accomplished!

Now, for revisiting a favorite extension.

And of course, her favorite, the maze with the Red Rods!
I am sure these Sensorial activities brought my daughter (and me!) a needed sense of normalcy amidst this new life experience overseas.  For this, I am very grateful and remain in awe of the range and scope of the Montessori method of education.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

Hands On Learning: St. Isaac's Cathedral

My oldest son is interested in architecture, and being that we are in St. Petersburg, what better way is there to promote this interest than to bring it to life?

Working on a 3D puzzle of St. Isaac's Cathedral.

Visiting the cathedral, the largest in St. Petersburg and fourth largest in the world.  

The dove at the top of the dome - to give some perspective, the wingspan measures 1.6m!

Climbing our way to the top...

…and enjoying the view of the city - Admiralty and Winter Palace.

A memory to last a lifetime.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In St. Petersburg

We have made it to our destination and are having a grand time settling in.  Our first night in the city was Orthodox Christmas Eve, so we took the opportunity to visit Kazan Cathedral.

Christmas Eve at Kazan Cathedral.
Nevsky Prospect and the entire city is illuminated with exquisite holiday lights for Christmas and New Year's.  What a special time of year to arrive in this city!

My boys in front of Dom Knigi, 'House of Books', glittering with lights.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Spas na Krovi, just across the way.
We are enjoying exploring our new surroundings and look forward to more excursions.  More photos to come!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

On Our Way

It is hard to believe that the New Year is upon us - what a superb start to the school year we have a had!  Each day, I am continually amazed at the growth and progress my students have made.  During my daily observations in the classroom, I find myself thinking, "Wow, these kids have come so far!" as they push in their chairs, put away their lessons, find new ones, and even fold (yes, fold!) various towel and carefully roll mats…  I can see how much the children care about their environment and take pride in their own achievements.  It brings me much joy to spend my days with them- which is why it is with mixed emotions that the time has come for my departure from the classroom.

As you may be aware, my family is to embarking on a temporary overseas move to St. Petersburg, Russia and we are set to depart in a few short days.   While I am filled with excitement and gratitude for this opportunity for my family, I will truly miss my students, our classroom, and the comfort of our growing trust with each other.  I am confident, however, that the foundation we have started to build during the last few months will continue to grow and the children will flourish with this strong beginning in place.  Also, it brings me much peace of mind to know that most of my students will be returning next year!  Based on the projected enrollment for next year, we will have a seasoned classroom with a majority of returning students.  Needless to say, I will be looking forward to returning to a full classroom filled with familiar faces! :-)

Even though I know everything is "in good hands," at school, it is still very difficult to leave!  During my family's stay in Russia, however, I will be a visiting teacher at the International American Montessori School in St. Petersburg.  I am looking forward not only to gaining new insights into the Montessori method of education, but also to bringing new ideas and a fresh, global perspective back to my own classroom.  While I plan to continue posting on this blog, time will tell which direction it will take - hopefully it will present a balance of both school and family experiences while abroad.  

Despite predictions of snow and ice on this end and major flood warnings on the other, we are on on our way!  Next stop:  St. Petersburg, Russia!

Friday, December 26, 2014


It seems I have forgotten to share these photos from the last couple of weeks prior to Christmas break.  There seemed to be a lot of language work out and a few of the children began working with a new set of language phonogram cards (see photo towards end of post).   We also were busy preparing small gifts for the children to bring home for the holidays (and I never was able to get a photo of them!).  In any case here are some classroom photos from before the break:

Organizing materials for the the Metal Polishing activity which build coordination, concentration, independence , and order.

Learning the names of the parts of a flower with a Botany Puzzle.

Writing words with the Moveable Alphabet and making sure the letters are placed on the line.

Matching circles from the Geometric Cabinet to their corresponding cards.

Exploring shape and form with the Geometric Solids.

Transferring pom-pons by size.

Linear counting and number symbol recognition with the Hundred Board.

 Sequencing numbers with the  Math Step Board.

Pre-writing and Sensorial work:  Tracing leaf shapes from the Botany Cabinet.

Working with the Puzzle Map of North America to learn the names of countries.

Langauge development:  Holiday themed matching cards.
Building the Pink Tower.

Number Count and Sort

Phonogram work with three-part matching cards.

Enjoying our poetry basket, "Christmas Wreaths."

Exploring the book Around the World From A to Z and tracing letters.

Skip counting by 3's with the Short Chain of Three.

There has been a lot of map making lately!

Language:  Initial sounds

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Collaborative Art - Short Bead Stair: Number Two

Earlier this school year, our class began a year long process of creating art collaborative art pieces based on the Montessori math material called the Short Bead Stair.  In this material, the numbers 1-9 are represented by specific colors that correspond with all other Montessori math lessons.  I invite you to read more about it in the post about our art project for the number one.  The following photos depict the process we used to create the art work for the number two which we completed this week:

First and second days - shades of green.

Third day:  beads, pom-poms, and straw pieces that have been cut to smaller bits.

Close up after day three - very fun!
Day four:  glue and glitter.
So much texture...

Number Two:  Short Bead Stair
Eventually, we will have each of the numbers represented by a collaborative art piece.  We plan to display them down a long hallway which we use on a daily basis to walk to and from our outdoor play area.  Won't it be fun to count forwards on the way out and backwards on the way in as we walk through the hall…?!