Thursday, May 30, 2013

Student Rights and Responsibilities

There are established limits of behavior which enable a number of children moving and working in close proximity to do so in harmony.  In our Montessori classroom, children may move about freely but not run or push.  Children are encouraged to speak softly and respectfully but never shout.  When children finish their work, it must be returned to the shelf in proper order, and in its proper place.  The following table illustrates how children’s rights and responsibilities  are nurtured, developed, and supported in our Montessori environment:

Children are free to work with any material displayed in the environment that they have had a lesson.
Children must use the material respectfully.  They must not harm the material, themselves, or others.  The material may not be used in a way that disturbs the activities of others in the environment.
Children may work on a table or mat, whichever is suitable to the work chosen.
Children may not work at or on a shelf because it would obstruct access to the other students in the classroom.
Children have the freedom to use the room as their needs dictate within the constraints of the rules.
Children will restore the environment during and after lessons.  Children are responsible for mopping spills, rolling up mats, pushing in chairs, and returning work to their appropriate spots on the shelves. 
Children have the right to work undistracted by others.  They may initiate, complete, or repeat an exercise as many times as they would like.
Children do not touch the work of others without invitation to do so.  Children are not allowed to interfere with other’s learning cycles.  If a child must leave a work temporarily, he or she may continue at a later time with confidence that it will be left as is.
Children have the right not to join a group activity.  They may continue working with individual lessons during group activities or may stand apart as an observer of group activities.
Children are not allowed to interfere or disrupt an activity they have chosen not to join.  This teaches responsibility to the group.
Children have the right to work alone.
Children are not forced or encouraged to share their work.  With appropriate materials and reasonable respectful ground rules, sharing becomes as part of the natural process.  Generosity of spirit develops from within as the child matures with a sense of self, grounded in confidence and security.
Children have the right to do nothing.  Invariably in ‘doing nothing,’ the child is learning through observation, thinking, and resting.
Children’s idleness is not allowed to disturb or distract others in the classroom.

We encourage parents to both understand and honor the concept of the child’s rights in the in context of their responsibilities.  We encourage parents to foster the Montessori concept of Rights and Responsibilities by recognizing them when they appear at home.  Furthermore, parents can honor their children by acknowledging, respecting, and incorporating what they may be sharing with you about their academic and social learning in school.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 'Glue Sponge' and Mosaics

Recently, the children have been using a new gluing technique to make mosaics with small, colorful, paper tiles.  It appears the major point of interest is the use of a glue sponge, which is simply a water- dampened sponge with glue inside of a small container:

Glue Sponge - the child simply presses the small tiles gently on top of the glue sponge and presses the tile onto paper.

We have been using this new technique to make vibrant mosaics.  Here is a photo of the activity set up on the shelf"

Bowl with paper mosaic tiles; paper (I used pieces of oak tag left over from another lesson); tray with pencil, small dish; glue sponge; art mat.
To complete the lesson, a child places some mosaic tiles into the small dish, takes a piece of paper, and brings the materials to a table.

Here, the student has gathered the materials and is in the process of making a mosaic using the glue sponge.

Here are a few fun mosaics to share:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Moving Forward

We continue moving forward in our classroom...  Several students have entered the realm of math operations with the Golden Beads.  Others have mastered sound recognition and the tracing of cursive Sandpaper Letters.  More students have begun exploring the Sensorial materials in new ways - how exciting!  As in the past weeks, the number of photos is limited as I've simply been taking fewer pictures.  Nonetheless, here is a collection from this week:

Static Addition with the Golden Beads.

Color matching and fine-motor development with paperclips.

Writing practice with Sandpaper Letters.

Cards and Counters extension - tracing the number and coloring the counters.

Metal Insets:  two shapes and two colors.

Exploring with the Pink Tower, Brown Stair, and Red Rods.

Shells and sea glass for making mandalas.

Number writing practice.

Walking the maze with the Red Rods.

More Sensorial exploration!

Living/ Non-Living sorting cards that correspond to the cut and paste activity.

Weaving ribbons.

Numbers 1-10 with the Short Bead Stair.

Writing practice with the Botany Cabinet shapes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


The following is an extension activity based on our Living/Non-Living science lesson on the shelf.  It allows students to practice classifying objects and reading the word while promoting fine-motor and cut/paste skills:

Copies of Living/Non-Living items - This paper was given to me last fall by the kind teachers at Kennebec Montessori School who gave me a copy when I visited during a workshop; green construction paper folded in half.

The completed activity.
This lesson has been in active use since it was introduced last week.  It has been a joy watching the children complete the process and hear them exclaim, "I did it!" when they have finished.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just Glimpses

We've been busy with a wave of new lessons happening in the classroom.  I also noticed  the revisiting of several materials that have not been used in a while.  Here are some glimpses of of classroom life from this past week:

Number writing practice on the chalkboard.

Visual discrimination of size with the Knobless Cylinders.

Working with the Trinomial Cube.

Decimal System counting with the Golden Beads.

This child is building with the Brown Stair blindfolded.

A variation of the Binomial Cube - building outside of the box.

Feeling varying weights with the Baric Tablets.

Static Addition with the Golden Beads.
Months of the Year.

Fine motor development.

Multiplication facts with the Multiplication Bead Board.

Tracing the Botany Cabinet shapes.

Counting by tens with the Tens Boards.
During circle time, we wrote these lists of Living and Non-Living items based on the lesson found on the shelf.  Afterwards, several students set up the work at a tray-table and proceeded to write a list for themselves.

Transferring practice with some small, fish-shaped, colorful erasers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Outdoor Loom

A couple of weekends ago, I was busy in our play yard putting together a project I've had in mind for some time.  The weather has been warming up, the buds are blossoming, and the wild forget-me-nots and dandelions bring delight to the children running in the field.  It is the perfect time of year for an outdoor loom where the children can display their treasured finds from nature:

Built with branches and twine between two trees...
Working together...
Only the beginning...
I look forward to watching the children work together on our outdoor loom!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Still Here!

I realize I've been a bit sporadic with the camera lately - we've had many activities happening in the classroom and sometimes it's just hard getting to the camera.  Earlier this week, we were busy making muffins and fruit kebobs to host mothers for 'Muffins for Mom,' which took place later in the week.  It is hard to believe we are now in the home stretch of the school year!  Here are some photos from this week:
Making muffins for our 'Muffins for Mom' event.

Shades of pink with the Third Color Tablet Box.

Addition Facts with Addition Chart III.

A variation with the Solid Cylinders.

Writing practice - Months of the Year

Building words with the Small Moveable Alphabets.

Matching number symbol to the word and recording the work on paper.

Counting a ten bead bar with a unit bead.

Writing practice with Metal Insets.

This student  decided to dew a flag of Japan using the materials in our Sewing Drawers.

Making a collage from paper cutting strips.

Decimal System Cards and Golden Beads

Numbers 11-19 with the Teen Beads.

'Starburst' with the Constructive Triangles (Box C).  This students slid every other triangle saying, "Odd, even, odd, even..." sliding on the even - similar to the Cards and Counters math lesson.

Story writing with the Moveable Alphabet.

Pink Tower/Brown Stair exploration of size and dimension.