Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Another 'Africa' Lesson: Sand Map

Here is an activity the children were enjoying prior to this week's vacation:

I happened to have a container of green craft sand and wanted to use it while our class is still interested in learning about Africa.  For any readers who may not know, green is the color of Africa on the Montessori globe.  For this reason, many of the items in our Practical Life lessons are green to correspond with the colored Montessori globe and the continent of Africa.  I decided to put together the following lesson as I know my students will enjoy the opportunity to work with glue in a novel way while identifying Africa on the globe and map.

The materials on the art shelf:  White papers with the shape of Africa; green tray with pencil, brush, jar with glue, flip-top jar filled with green sand; white tray.

Once the child brings the materials to a table, he/she writes their  name on the back of the paper.  Next, the brush is used to apply a layer of glue to the inside of the shape of Africa.
I like this jar for the sand because of the small spoon which can be used to scoop the sand and place on the the glue….
…like so.  When the sand is applied, the excess is shaken off  on the tray.

Africa sand map.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Two Weeks and a Vacation!

The following photos have been collected over the course of the last two weeks.  Recently, I have been taking more time recording my observations (and taking notes) rather than taking photographs.  For this reason, there generally fewer pictures to share.  In any case, I do enjoy documenting classroom activity through photos and they provide a valuable corresponding resource for my observation notes.

In other news, our school is not in session during the week of Thanksgiving.  As I am typing this, it is occurring to me that I never got a picture of the students reciting our "Thanksgiving" poem using the poetry basket which they children have very much enjoyed.  Also, our school took part in a food drive for a local shelter as well as collected toys for Boston Children's Hospital toy drive.  This has been a wonderful source of meaningful conversation with the children about giving and gratitude as we approach the holiday season.  Many thanks to my staff for organizing these community service projects!

And now, onto a much needed break…  Happy Thanksgiving!

Lining up the red and green Knobless Cylinders and comparing their heights.

Working sensorially with the Binomial Cube

Refining handwriting skills with the Metal Insets using a more advanced approach - two shapes and two colors.

Exploring shapes with the second box of Constructive Triangles (blue).  Here, the child is sliding the triangles to create new shapes.

Reading cards (CVC words) from our Reading Drawers.

Using grammar symbols with the preposition lesson.

Practicing ending sounds of words with the Language Step Board.

Dynamic Addition with the Stamp game.

Tactile discrimination and writing preparation with the Touch Boards.

Animals of Africa:  Reading and writing with the Object Tray.

Exploring shades of color with the  Third Color Tablet Box.

Number writing practice.

Memorization of addition facts with the Addition Strip Board.

Writing practice with the Sandpaper Letters.

Using picture cards to write CVC words with the Moveable Alphabet.

Using number labels (on table) to make teen beads on the Teen Bead Hanger.

Division with the Division Board.  Here the student has set of the divisor (4) on the board and and counted the dividend (32) into the bowl.  Now the beads are distributed equally among the four skittle.

Reading: Practicing blending sounds with the Vowel Tree.

Painting at the easel.

An extension lesson with the Cards and Counters - tracing the number and coloring the counters.   This activity can be found HERE.

Using the Puzzle Map of the World and learning the names of the continents.

Writing the words from the Reading Drawers.

Using a damper to stop the sound while playing a bell.
An addition lesson with the golden beads and decimal system cards.

Tracing shapes with the Geometric Demonstration Tray.

Sounding out and writing words with the Moveable Alphabet.

Practicing sight words with the Small Moveable Alphabet.

Feeling varying weights with the Baric Tablets.

Beginning reading practice with the Mac and Tab series.

Pink Tower/Brown Stair - so fun!
A sign of what has been and what will  come….!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Numbers 1-10 Sort and Count

Many of our students are working on solidifying concepts of quantity and corresponding number symbol.  The early Montessori math materials highlighting these concepts include the Spindle Boxes, Cards and Counters, and Memory Game of Numbers.  Recently, I put together a new lesson that combines sorting, counting, number symbol recognition, and odd/even numbers.

Numbers 1-10 Sort and Count
The clear box contains interesting items from nature including acorn caps, small rocks, shells, pinecones, etc.  Each group of items represents one number.  For example, there are two pinecones, three chestnuts, four stones, five pieces of sea glass, etc.  I made the number cards with sticky-backed numbers used for making signs and marking addresses from the hardware store.
I  have chosen to present this lesson after the Cards and Counters and before the Memory Game of Numbers.  To complete the activity, the child should already be able to count out a certain number of objects and be able to lay them out without the use of a control.

After the child sorts the items, he/she retrieves a number card and reads the number.  Next, the child  finds the group of items corresponding to the number symbol on the card.  Then, he/she places the items underneath, similar to the way the counters are placed in the Cards and Counters activity.  Some children may wish to place the numbers in order - the child in this picture chose not to.  One of the first things this student noticed while placing the items was the visual cue of an odd or even number.  While placing the seven small pieces of wood for example, the student said, "This number is odd!"  I appreciate how this concept is reinforced from the previous lesson with Cards and Counters and how the children have made this connection on their own.
The completed lesson.
Just for fun and variety, the back of each card has the same number of circle stickers so the child can check their work - if they have counted correctly, all the circles will be covered.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Africa Studies: Masai Necklaces

As we have been learning about the continent of Africa, many of the students have remarked at the beautiful beaded necklaces of the Masai people of East Africa.  We read about them and have seen pictures in a couple of different books (see below).  I thought the children would really enjoy making their own Masai necklaces.  We talked a lot about patterns with color and shape:

A paper plate Masai necklace along with a picture from our book about Africa.
Here is the activity on the shelf with another book which highlights the Masai people and their beaded jewelry.
A closer look at the illustration…  Just beautiful!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mini Looms and Late Autumn

These crisp, November mornings afforded us the opportunity to explore the outdoors and take in the fine beauty of late autumn:

We discovered the beauty in past blooms .
Throughout our walk, we collected small, dried flowers (and other interesting items) in our collection basket...

And weaved them into mini looms - a big thank you to the parent volunteer who made the looms! :-)

The children loved making their late autumn displays.

They remind us of the turning seasons,

and that winter is not too far behind.

Bringing the outdoors in - so beautiful, we had to hang them up!