Saturday, December 12, 2015

I Didn't Forget...

I've just been catching up.  It's been way too long since my last post, but I wanted you to know that we are still here and moving right along!  Speaking of moving, one of the reasons why I haven't posted in a bit is because my family recently moved to a new home.  While we are thoroughly enjoying our new home, it does mean a new (much longer) commute for me to school.  As you might imagine, we are all getting used to a new daily rhythm of life with my kids attending a new school and everything that a move entails…
With all this change occurring at home, thankfully things at Montessori school have remained the same!  I will share with you some recent pictures from our classroom.  The children continue progressing in their lessons while practicing those all-encompasing Grace and Courtesy lessons.  Here a few snippets:

Finding sums of 14 with the Addition Strip Board.

Making an archipelago with clay.

Counting the thousand cube with the hundred square.  "They're all together to make a thousand!"

Writing words with the Moveable Alphabet.

"This is two-thousand, four hundred, twenty-three."

Memorizing addition facts with the Addition Charts.

Exploration with the Red Rods and Knobless Cylinders.  "It' s a Christmas tree!"

Learning about and naming the layers of the Earth.

Coloring the flag of Russia.

Memorization of addition facts.

Playing a game and learning the names of different igneous rocks.

'Jingle Bells' with the bells - how lovely!

More music with the Melody Harp.

Comparing three sets of Knobless Cylinders.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Another Two Weeks and Counting

The past two weeks have been shorter due to a teacher workshop day and a holiday.  The weeks just seems to be flying by and our lessons in the classroom have been nonstop!  Most mornings go by so quickly that near the end, I realize that not many photos have to taken and I have not had many chances to document activity on Montessori Compass, the program we use for recored keeping.  Just as importantly, however, I am enjoying the small moments with my children (the students in my classroom will always be "my children…") - like when they smile and and say, "I really like this lesson," with the Stamp Game.  Or when another child masters the Sandpaper Letters and has a new lesson with the Moveable Alphabet, feeling so proud and accomplished.  Even when there are a few tears at drop off and another child offers a tissue with some encouraging words, "It will be ok.  Sometimes I miss my mom too…"  These are the moments that are the hardest to document, but the easiest to hold in the heart!
Here are some pictures I did manage to take over the past two weeks.  We also had a trumpet demonstration by my son who visited the classroom one day.  It was a day that not many pictures were taken, so unfortunately I do not have any to share of it.  Additionally, one of the children had a family member visiting from Alaska who was able to visit us and share about life in faraway state.
Gaining an understanding of teen numbers with the Teen Bead Hanger.

An indirect preparation to multiplication - grouping like numbers and finding their sum with the Addition Snake Game.

A set of table top Number Rods and Cards - just a a bit of variety.

Setting up corresponding quantities and learning about odd and even numbers with the Cards and Counters lesson.

Reading practice with the Vowel Tree.  Here the student was exploring various letter combinations to see if they made words.

Recording work from the Short Chains - practicing linear and skip counting as well as multiples of numbers.

Using a Geography Booklet to record findings.

Practicing writing Puzzle Words (or sight words).  This student has decided to write each word  in different colors,  once in print and once in cursive.

Counting teen numbers and making corresponding number symbols with the Teen Beads and Boards.  This lesson also introduces children to the concept of place value.

Reading three-letter phonetic words using three-part cards.

More work with the Addition Snake Game - the child is using a variation to check one's work by grouping like numbers together.  It worked out well - 44 matched up just right!

Exploration of size and dimension using the Pink Tower.

Looking at various pictures in our Continent Folder for South America.

Pairing primary and secondary colors with the Second Color Box.

Sensorially exploring the Binomial Cube.

The sum during a Dynamic Addition lesson with the golden beads.

Spelling practice with 'e' words from the Language Works program.

An extension activity with the Cards and Counters lesson.  The children enjoy coloring and writing the corresponding quantity and number symbols.

Addition with the Stamp Game.

Matching objects to their shapes.

Sounding out and writing words with the Large Moveable Alphabet.
Discovering how triangles can join together and make new shapes using the Constructive Triangles.

Using number "tickets" to make quantities for teen numbers.

Enjoying the watercolor art activity.

One of the children had a family member visiting from Alaska and she came to speak to our class.  It was a lovely, engaging visit which prompted active use of our Puzzle Map of North America.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mindful of Grace

Polli Soholt (2015) elegantly describes the word grace and its significance in the classroom:

"The dictionary definition of grace is…elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.  It is clear that grace requires refinement of movement and, with repetition; the children acquire grace by eliminating all superfluous movements.  The presentation [of a lesson] offers an introduction for the children, and practice allows the children to become proficient with the particular movements required of the skill.

Grace in integrated into all of our presentations for the children.  We demonstrate in the way we carry materials, demonstrate materials, and move in the environment.  Many of the preliminary exercises assist in the development of grace.  Standing, rolling a rug, carrying a chair, all require the development of grace.  Maria Montessori observed the important role that movement plays in the children's development.  In addition, she writes about the connection between the movements of the body and the activity of the mind.  In the Absorbent Mind she states,

'To give them their right place, man's movements must be co-ordinated with the centre - with the brain.  Not only are thought and action two parts of the same occurrence, but it is through movement that the higher life expresses itself'" (p. 56).

Soholt, Polli.  (2015).  The NAMTA journal: The art of Montessori grace and courtesy.  Living grace and courtesy in primary, 40(1), 51-61.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Week the Small Moveable Alphabet Dropped…

Another eventful week in the classroom for sure!  Here is a sampling of photos to share:

Counting and number sequencing with the Math Step Board.

Tracing 'm,'  "Oooh, I like this one.  It is so big and fun!"

Combining letter recognition with its sound using the Language Step Board.

Matching number cards to their corresponding Number Rod.

Paring the Sound Cylinders by sound...

…and checking to see if matched correctly.

Laying the the counters out for the Cards and Counters activity, "I see that six has three sets of two!"

Preparing the hand for writing by practicing lightness of touch with the Touch Boards.  This lesson also allows the child to distinguish smooth and rough textures.

We use items from around the classroom in our Memory Game of Numbers lesson.  This encourages students to pay close attention to where items are located and allows them to practice returning them to where they belong at the end of the game.

The children were introduced to this matching activity depicting scenes from St. Petersburg, Russia.  My students are very much interested in knowing about where I spent my time last year and are eager to learn about Russian culture and language!  

Comparing diameter and height with the Knobless Cylinders.

Using the Addition Snake Game to explore combination of ten.

Practicing using glue brush by making name collages.

Teen Bead and Boards.  This child remarked, "The ten is like teen!"

Mastering the Short Bead Hanger.

Introduction to the Grammar Symbols (article,  adjective, noun) with a Farm lesson.

And let's not forget that this happened - not once...

…but twice!