Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We've Gone Around the World

One characteristic of a Montessori setting is the mixed age group,  which gives the opportunity for students to remain in the classroom for up to three years.  This allows for increased continuity throughout the years both for the child and the teacher.  It has been two years since we first started our continent studies with North America.  That same year, we also learned about Europe and Asia.  This school year, we continued these units with Africa, Antarctica, South America, and Australia.  Many of the lessons from these units of study can be found under the  label Geography in the sidebar on the left of the page.  Recently, I decided to purchase the following book for our classroom as I knew it would be a fitting culmination to our continent themes (and when I discovered the book promotes the use of cursive writing I just couldn't resist!):

Around the World from A to Z by Christina Cheung and Han Tran; Illustrated by Tong Wu
The illustrations are dynamic, engaging, and appealing to adults and children alike.  Of course, the cursive component is outstanding and I very much appreciate the explanation in the front cover:

"The book approaches language learning as a holistic process that combines letter formation and pronunciation with cultural awareness and mindful thought.  Careful penmanship and cursive writing not only refine motor skill from shoulder to fingertips, they also help to sharpen thought formation and brain development.  More specifically, cursive writing has been shown to stimulate brain synchronicity: the physical act of fluidly connecting letters coordinates the visual right wide of the brain and the verbal left side."

To read more of this explanation, see close-ups of the illustrations, and get a sense of the meaningful text in the book, please look HERE.

Needless to say, this is the perfect book to end our year together (and to have in our classroom for years to come)!  For a culminating lesson, I put together the following booklet making activity:

The materials at a table:  The labels are to make cover for the booklet - My Book of Continents and a place to write a name.

Each page has an outline of a continent...

…to color and label.

The last page with a map of the whole world.

(I can't seem to remember the source for the booklet - if anyone knows please let me know so I can include it in the post.  Thanks!)

UPDATE:  Please find a link to the source of the booklet pages HERE.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Nearing the End of the Year

Here is a collection of two weeks worth of photos from our classroom.  We have have been preparing an event for Father's Day and enjoying the general activity that happens at the end of the year.  The growth of the children always amazes me and their progress in our classroom motivates me as I begin planning for next school year.  I am looking forward to our last week together in the classroom as we prepare for the end of another fruitful year.

Child-Sized Masterpieces - matching artists by similar painting.

Writing practice:  tracing with chalk.

An extension activity with the Geometric Cabinet shapes:  matching shapes with their corresponding cards.

Practicing buckles with the Buckle Frame.

Reading practice - matching CVC words to pictures.

Caring for indoor plants.

Visual discrimination of size with the Knobless Cylinders.

Labeling odd and even numbers with the Cards and Counters activity.

Puzzle Map of Oceania and learning the names of Australian territories.

Writing a story with the Small Moveable Alphabet.

Squares of numbers:  Chain of Seven

Addition with the Stamp Game.

Number writing practice on the squared chalkboard.

June calendar work.

Carefully sewing a house.

Animals of the World sorting.

Numbers 1-25 with the Math Step Board.

Writing practice with Marker Paper.

Exploring and creating shapes with the Constructive Triangles.

Building and making patterns with the Pink Tower and Brown Stair.

Lupine art work.

Teen numbers with the Teen Beads and Boards.

Multiplication with Bead Bars.

Writing 'ar' words with the Small Moveable Alphabet and recording on paper.

Exploration of size and dimension with the Sensorial materials.

Addition facts with using the Addition Strip Board.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lupines, Lupines, Lupines!

June is a lovely month in our area with the blossoming of a coastal Maine symbol - the beautiful lupine plant.  We always take the time to read a favorite story which enchants the children each year,  Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney:

To go along with the same theme, the children were introduced to an art activity to make their own thumbprint lupines.

White paper cut lengthwise; green paper folded with cutting lines for leaves; tray with green crayon, jar containing pencil, scissors, gluestick; small tin which contains dampened sponged with purple paint.

The child gathers materials and brings them to a table.  Next, a green line is drawn on the white paper and the leaves are cut out.  

The leaves are then glued to the bottom...

and thumbprints are added.

Of course we have to have lupines for flower arranging too!