Saturday, September 29, 2012

Montessori in Action

It appears that the class is settling in and there is no doubt about it - Montessori is in action!   We are at the beginning of our journey, and some days are smoother than others, but I am encouraged by the progress we have already made.  Here are some pictures to share from this week:

Exploring the Land and Water Globe.

Understanding the concept of 'zero' and numbers to nine with the Spindle Box.

Introduction to the Decimal System Cards.

Counting the Decimal System Cards.

Pink Tower exploration.

Learning about odd and even numbers with the Cards and Counters.

The Bow Tying Frame.
A variation of the Number Rods and Cards.  Here, the student is using a smaller version of the Number Rods - a meaningful point of interest which makes the work "new" again.

Look at this giant sunflower one the students brought in from their yard!  The children very much enjoyed exploring this tremendous specimen.

No caption necessary - this picture speaks for itself!!! :)  A true 'Montessori' moment...
Number writing practice on the chalkboard.

Exploring magnetism.

Writing words with play dough.

Fine motor practice and creative expression with our collage/gluing activity.

A Sensorial lesson with the Color Tablets Box 1.

Counting by tens with the Tens Board.
Painting with water on rocks - this pre-writing exercise has fast become a classroom favorite.

Number writing practice with the Sandpaper Numbers.  Here,  the other numbers are turned over because  we were playing the 'knock-knock game."  The child knocks on the back of a Sandpaper Number and turns it over to reveal the number...

Decimal System Cards and Golden Beads.  Here, the child has retrieved five tens and seven units and is in the process of counting them on her tray.

Metal Polishing activity.

A lesson with the Touch Boards.  This material promotes lightness of touch needed for writing as well as helps train the eye in moving from left to right in preparation for reading and writing.

Direct preparation for writing with the Metal Insets.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Honor of Peace Day

Last Friday, September 21, marked the occasion of International Peace Day.  As peace is an everyday component of our Montessori classroom, I wanted to be sure to mark this special event with a meaningful activity.  We read the book, Peace Begins With Me, a wonderfully simple representation of how peace begins with each of us - a perfect introduction for our new classmates and a pleasant reminder for returning children.
Available from Montessori Services.
We talked about the dove as a symbol of peace and I showed a prepared canvas with an outline of a peace dove.  This, I explained, is going to be our classroom symbol of peace and each child can make a promise for peace within oneself and with each other by placing a series of thumbprints inside the peace dove.  Each child's name is written underneath and after they have made their promise for peace, they make one more thumbprint above their name.  I saw this idea on Pinterest last year, and knew it would be the ideal group project at the beginning of the year.  What a beautiful way to encourage the formation of our classroom culture while celebrating Peace Day!

Our book and canvas.
As the children arrived in the morning, I had them come to table where I had set up the canvas with a selection of paints.  Each time, a small gathering of children came to watch as their classmate made a "promise for peace" and made their thumbprints in the peace dove and above their name.  It was heartwarming to hear others remark, "Thank you for your promise for peace," as each child finished.

Promises for Peace
There are no words for such beauty!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Coffee Filter Earth Art

The children have been intrigued by a current Art activity recently presented to them having to do with our geography lessons .  We have been learning and discussing the Earth and began our study with the Montessori Land and Water Globe.  I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I had to try it in my class.  As with most Art lessons, I demonstrated the sequence of steps at circle time and then placed the necessary materials on the shelf for the children to complete independently.

Basket of coffee filters, tray with spray bottle filled with water, jar with green and blue marker with pencil for writing name, and small cloth.

The child brings the materials to the workspace and colors land and water for their Earth.

Lastly, they use the sprayer to spray three times onto the coffee filter.  I was very careful to demonstrate the correct amount of sprays and the kids are following through wonderfully - so far, no stray spraying...! :)

Coffee Filter Earth Art in our hallway.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Little More Progress

This week, a persistent cold took over our classroom and we had lots of kids out on various days.   I hope it soon will pass and we will all be together again!  As seen from the pictures, however, we were still an active bunch with many new lessons presented and familiar ones practiced.  The children are becoming more comfortable with choosing their activities independently - now, we are working to be sure the materials are always replaced in their original places. Here are just a few photos:

Many children are wanting to complete the Polishing Leather lesson!   I appreciate how this simple lesson promotes so many critical skills such as concentration, coordination, order, and pride in one's environment.

Easel Washing:  another wonderful  Practical Life lesson, and the kids so enjoy it! 

Tactile discrimination with the Fabrics lesson.

Exploring dimension and size with the Knobless Cylinders.

The Mystery Bag - another engaging Sensorial lesson promoting tactile discrimination skills.

An older student working with the Trinomial Cube.

The Hundred Board

Preliminary Practical Life lesson:  Opening and Closing

Look at how carefully this mat is being rolled up!

Math work with the Number Rods.

"These two are the same!" with the red and green Knobless Cylinders.

Learning about the Earth with the Land and Water Globe and play dough.  

Lining up the Brown Stair prisms.

Concentration and fine motor skills are practiced with this colorful weaving activity.

A sensorial lesson with the Geometric Demonstration Tray.

Sandpaper Letter practice.

Fine motor development and music appreciation with a winding music box.  This particular music box plays a very familiar tune, Mary Had a Little Lamb.  I thought this recognizable song would help some of our new friends feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.  What pleasant background music for our room! :)    

Letter writing practice on the chalkboard.

Math work with the Golden Beads

Matching number cards to the Number Rods.

Number writing practice on the chalkboard.

More Sandpaper Letters.

Letter matching and fine motor practice.

A 'sneek peek' at our current group project in honor of International Peace Day on Sept. 21, 2012.   I will share more about this next week! :)