Saturday, October 29, 2011

October is (almost) Over!

October's the month,
When the smallest breeze,
Gives us a shower of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down.
October is red,
And golden, and brown.

The children in my class have been learning this poem throughout the month.  They so enjoy our poetry basket and take pride in reciting the words with their friends!  In fact, we have been taking turns as circle time reciting the poem in front of our classmates.  What a joy it is to hear the voices of children sharing poetry together!  :)  Here are some photos to share of our poetry basket in use as well as a collection of pictures from this past week.  Enjoy!

Reading and "performing" our October poem.

Building and exploring with blocks.

Looking at a set of our Geography Cards for the continent of Asia.

Exploration with the Constructive Triangles.

Artwork with chalk pastels - I love how the t-shirt was an source of inspiration!
Animals of the World.

Making paper-plate Jack-O-Lanterns to go with our song.
Writing three letter phonetic words with the Moveable Alphabet.
Extension work with the Number Rods and Red Rods.
Practical Life:  Spooning decorative wooden spheres.

Initial sound game using fun objects.

Tracing Sandpaper Phonograms.
Finding objects from the environment to match the with the Second Color Tablet Box.

Labeling the continents on the Puzzle Map of the World.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nature Walk Collage

Look what we made with our finds from an autumn nature walk after school!  This is really so simple but quite possibly the most beautiful way we've brought the outdoors inside:

Baskets filled with autumnal treasures, collected by the children...
The simplest loom ever made (in less than a minute!):  Cardboard from a frozen pizza snipped at the edges with scissors.  Yarn pulled from the top of the stash in the closet, taped on the back and wrapped through the slits...

Arranging the treasures...

And the finished creation hanging in our classroom for all to admire.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"A Funny Sight in the Window"

During this time of year, I love teaching my students this traditional German folk song about a Jack-o-lantern:

Jack-o-lantern, Jack-o-lantern,
You are such a funny sight!
As you sit there in the window,
looking out at the night.

You were once a yellow flower
Hanging on a sturdy vine.
Now you are a Jack-o-lantern,
See the candle that shines!

I appreciate how the song sheds light on the life cycle of a pumpkin, which is another topic of learning these days.  To go along with the song, I put together a simple craft activity which the kids have been enjoying in the classroom.

Paper plate Jack-O-Lantern.

Here are the materials on a tray at a table with an art mat.
I demonstrated the process at circle time and set up the materials at a stationary table, rather than on a shelf.  This was simply because I ran out of shelf space and had nowhere else to put it!  I find, however, that a lesson placed at its own table generates a lot of activity in the classroom - everyone wants to do it! :)  Now, we have our own "funny sights" for our classroom windows!

Our Jack-O-Lanterns "looking out at the night." 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

There's a Hum in the Classroom...

...and it is the marvelous sound of a busy group of children! 

Working with the Brown Stair.
Polishing glass.

Learning to button with the Large Button Frame.

Working with the Teen Board and Beads to understand number quantity and symbol.

Extension work with the Pink Tower and Brown Stair

The child doing the activity in the previous picture wanted to draw and color the structure which was built.  In this photo, he has set up the necessary materials for drawing and coloring. 

By the time he was finished, there were six pieces of paper taped together!  : )

Exploration of shapes with the Constructive Triangles Box B.
Learning letter sounds with writing practice using the Sandpaper Letters.

Shades of colors with the Third Color Tablet Box.

Peg Board:  I enjoyed observing the child in this photo because he was so meticulous in the placement of each peg.  Additionally, he would slide his finger across the line of pegs each time a new peg was added, similar to the movement used in the use of the Red Rods.

Touch Boards:  Practicing tactile discrimination and visual tracking (left to right) while enhancing the lightness of touch necessary for writing.

Drawing faces on a pumpkin!
Walking in, "The Maze," an extension of the Red Rods.

And, I'll leave you with proof that my students are always showing me new ways to see things:

A beautiful sight on our Metal Inset shelf.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Language Training

This post, from Montessori Print shop, illustrates the importance of language training in the Montessori setting.  Please take the time to read this informative description!  Also, if  you are a parent of one of my students, you might be seeing some of the  featured "Imagine" photo cards as part of some writing exercises in the near future.  Enjoy the read!

Vocabulary enrichment material in our classroom used for Language Training exercises.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Have You Seen the Pumpkin Elf?

 OK, so there is really no 'Pumkin Elf,' but I wanted to add some festive interest to our outdoor time in the late mornings...  I thought it would be fun to hide mini pumpkins around our play area - in the branches, under some large rocks, in the wonderful little nooks that nature creates... and see what would happen. 

To the delight of my bewildered, yet laughing students, the pumpkins were quickly discovered and became wonderful invitations to creative play:

They were gathered...
...and counted.
Some were buried under  mounds of dirt...
...while others were placed in "pumpkin houses."
We were surprised to see that some crows had already been feasting on these treasured finds and talked about what is inside of pumpkins.  Also, we decided to leave them outside so that we can play with them some more and have the chance to observe changes over time...

By the way, I am not planning on telling them who left the pumpkins - I want their imaginations to do part!

Montessori Monday Link-Up

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Busy Hands, Busy Minds...

"The hand is the instrument of the mind."  - Maria Montessori

Making a collage from our pin-pushing shapes - pumpkins.

Introduction to the Decimal System:  Golden Beads

Introduction to numbers 11-19:  Here, the child has learned 11, 12, and 13.

Creative, self-expression with chalk pastels.

Practical Life:  Tweezing plastic spiders, fine-motor development.

Golden Bead materials:  The children have counted out the nine units, nine tens, nine, hundres and one thousand.  Then, I asked them to bring me a certain quantitiy, i.e. three units, or five tens... on their tray.

This month, the children have been painting with the color orange.  Read this previous post about painting with one color.

Free-form shape and pattern exploration with pattern blocks.

A Montessori favorite (and necessity!):  Opening and Closing excersice.

Art Card Games:  Close Up.  The child matches a close up section of a famous piece of art to its full image.

Extension work with the Botany Cabinet:  Pin pushing the leaf shape, gluing onto paper, and writing its name.

Exploring concepts of geometry with the first box of Constructive Triangles.  Learn more about this material in this post.

Learning to fold with the Folding Cloths.

Practical Life:  Polishing Leather - I am always amazed how the children never tire of polsihing lessons...!  :-)

Three Part Cards:  Continents