Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peace Day

Last week, our class began working on a collaborative art piece in honor of International Peace Day (September 21st).  For many of our students, this is a new topic and certainly an abstract idea to begin comprehending.  One of the most important concepts we try to incorporate is the idea that peace begins with each of us and how we can work together in our own classroom to help make a more peaceful world.  Our circle time discussions have been guided by the following two books:

We discussed how the dove is a symbol of peace and the children looked for doves in our classroom.  We have a couple of Picasso prints, a few collaborative art projects from previous years (HERE as well), and numerous other places in our classroom with this special symbol.  It was meant to be that the collaborative art project for this year's class turned out the way it did:

"Peace is Filling the World with Love"

A close up of the dove - We did not plan this, but noticed that the space left over once all the children had placed their handprint inside the heart resembled the outline of a dove!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

If we were a symphony orchestra, we're getting warmed up.

When I step back and observe the classroom, I get the distinct feeling that what I see is only the very beginning.  This is followed by an even stronger feeling that once all is in place and operating smoothly, we will have the effect of a full symphony orchestra - working harmoniously and beautifully together.  We are almost there...

Matching numbers and sequencing with the Math Step Board.

Many of our new students are utilizing the First Color Tablet Box.  

Addition work with the Math Drawers.

A wonderful fine-motor lesson for many hands in our classroom - placing rubber bands around the box.

Transferring water into a divided tray with a baster.

Transferring water with a baster.

Counting, quantity, and understanding of zero with the Spindle Boxes.

Number writing practice mastery on the squared chalkboard.

Carefully putting away the color tablets - one from each pair goes to the top of the box and the other one goes to the bottom of the box.

Letter sounds with the Language Step Board.

Sensorially exploring the the Puzzle Map of  North America.

Pairing the Smelling Bottles by aroma.

Building a tower with the Knobless Cylinders.

The children enjoy working in pairs to match these animal cards.

Exploring the Continents Globe and learning the names of the continents.

Writing practice on the chalkboards.

Number writing practice with Sandpaper Letters.

Taking turns reading and acting out our 'September' poem.

Reading color words and matching them to corresponding color tables.

Creating a collage with the open ended art materials.

Working with the Brown Stair.

Using two Cylinder Blocks at a time for an added challenge.

Comparing size with the Knobless Cylinders.

Tracing shapes with the Geometric Demonstration Tray.

Matching cards with an autumn theme.

Teen numbers with the Teen Beads and Boards.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Open-Ended Art

It has been important to me that the art activities and lessons available to our students remain as open-ended as possible to foster creativity and understanding of differences.  In the past, I have always spent a great amount of time preparing individual art lessons for the Art Shelves in our classroom.  With the majority of our students being so new to the classroom this year, I wanted to leave the art activities as open-ended as possible.  To that end, we have dedicated the entire bottom portion of our Art area for open-ended activities:

Open-ended art supplies:  assortment of a papers; collage materials; tray with crayons, colored pencils, markers; tray in back with scissors, glue stick, glue sponge, and glue bottle.  Barely seen in the far right are two trays which can be used for collecting various materials.
I envision this space to be constantly changing based on the needs and interests of the children.  In the past, I have noticed that a challenge arises for children if they have an idea to pin push the shapes of a botany puzzle, or wish to trace and color the cubes of the Pink Tower - we did not necessarily have the materials on the shelves and the children would then have to ask an adult for any needed materials.  Having these readily available on the Art Shelf will eliminate this problem and enhance the children's independence by allowing them to carry out their ideas without much help from an adult.  

For those of you who may be wondering, the top shelf of the Art activities include the following:  play dough, kinetic sand, clay, paper cutting, and pin pushing.  Also, I do still plan to periodically introduce seasonal, process-oriented projects but wanted to have these open ended materials available to the students at any time.  I look forward to seeing the creations and watching them create extensions with the Montessori materials.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

And, the Lessons Continue

As one might imagine, we have been giving lessons, lessons, and more lessons.  It has been exciting watching the children's use of materials expand each day.  Our observations are helping us know where to guide the children and support their needs.  I love watching our classroom become so active!

Writing preparation and tactile discrimination with the Touch Boards.

Promotion of CCIO (Concentration, Coordination, Independence and Order) with the Leather Polishing activity.

Early reading practice.

Building concentration,  coordination of movement, and visual discrimination with the Pink Tower.

Careful exploration of the Brown Stair.

The ever popular rock painting pre-writing activity.

Still practicing lining up with these bears!

Number writing practice with the Sandpaper Numbers.

More sensorial work with the Red Rods.

Hand washing practice at the Hand Washing Table.

Golden Bead decimal system work: Counting the thousand cube with the hundred square.

Practicing buttoning with the Button Frame.

Developing the pincer grasp and visual discrimination of size with a Cylinder Block.

Number Rods and Cards.

Counting the decimal system.

Working with the Second Color Box.

Tactile discrimination with the Fabrics lesson - pairng various textures by touch (with eyes closed or with blindfold).

Number writing practice with Sandpaper Numbers and the squared chalkboard.

Caring for our classroom plants.

Forming an understanding quantity with the Number Rods.

Sounding out three letter phonetic words with the Moveable Alphabet.

Careful paper cutting practice.

Pairing primary and secondary colors with the Second Color Tablet Box.

Creating a collage with the cuttings from scissor practice and learning how to use a glue bottle.

Numbers 11-19 with the colored beads.  

Transferring with a small spoon.