Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Animal of Europe and Animal Sorting

A variation of a lesson on the Geography/Science shelves is this Animals of Europe activity which is similar to the Animals of North America lesson found HERE.

Animals of Europe
This is the second in the series of cards from the seven continents.  I thought it would be interesting for the children to be able to sort pictures from the two continents we have covered thus far - North America and Europe.  I simply prepared the cards used to make the booklet pages (cut and paste activity) on a tray for the children to read and sort:

Continent labels and cards prepared on a tray.

The completed activity.
It is my plan to add additional cards with animals from other continents as we study the continents throughout the remainder of the year.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Peace Is In Our Hands"

We've tried to remain very conscious of these words while working together in our classroom this week.  The Kindness Wreath is filling up and our Gratitude Jar remains a focal point of the classroom.  Here are some pictures of activities to share:

Glass Polishing

Feeling differences in temperature with the Thermic Tablets.

Matching scents with the Smelling Bottles.

Writing practice.

Drawing a picture for Story Writing.


Primary and secondary color matching with the Color Tablet Box 2.

Letter sound/symbol stamping work.

More writing with the Moveable Alphabet.

Learning to cross-stitch.

'Peaceful' words.

Enjoying the rock painting activity.

Trinomial Cube

Exploring shades of color with the Third Color Tablet Box.

Writing practice at the easel.

Some additions to our classroom reading selections...

...and guiding words for all of us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Match It Back!

One essential component of a Montessori environment is the replacement of materials once a child has finished an activity.  Putting away one's materials is the last part of the child's work cycle throughout the Montessori work period.  For some of the children in my class, I've noticed that while they are putting the materials back on the shelf, they might not necessarily end up in the same spot.  This presents a challenge in the classroom because others might not be able to later locate a specific lesson.  In my classroom this is particularly evident with the lessons of Practical Life.  To bring more awareness to the replacement of materials in their proper spots in the classroom, I made up a simple game to play at circle time called, 'Match It Back."  It is so simple, but the children have responded well to it.

'Match It Back' set up on the rug.
Once the children are all gathered around the circle, we placed three small mats on the rug.  Then, I placed one item on each mat, making sure that the items I chose were familiar to all of the children.  Next, I called one child by name to pick up an item (I named each item - a great language reinforcer too!) and sit back down with it.  When three children had been called and had retrieved their item, I invited all the children to chant, "One, two three, match it back!"  At this point the three children walk to place their item exactly where they found it.  Once everything is back in place, I switch the placements and the game is repeated until everyone who wants a turn has one.

We used these items the first time we played this game, but it can easily be adapted to create more of a challenge.  For example, I plan to use items from a similar group such as three different Color Tablets or Geometric Solids - the possibilities are endless.  Also, the game can be played with more than three mats for added memory work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Staying on our (my) feet...

...otherwise I could get "knocked down!"  While we have been busy with our regular lessons and activities since our return from the winter vacation earlier this month, I have noticed somewhat of a change in our classroom.  Speaking in general terms, because not all students are affected, but it just seems as if some of my kids are forgetting things - big things like how to speak to each other with kindness, how to be patient, how to show that we care about the people and things around us...  I am so thankful that we have implemented the Kindness Wreath as it has turned out to be a very meaningful point of interest and remembrance for the children.  But oh my goodness!  These are the things that really weigh on me because first and foremost, my wish is for our classroom to be filled with a caring harmony and sense of peace!!!   There is a part of me that knows it is not really as bad as I think it is - it's simply that I have very high expectations and when something does not go according to plan, I tend to over-analyze and blame myself...  "It must be something that I am doing wrong..."    Needless to say, I have found myself  analyzing many aspects of the classroom (as any teacher does at given given point in time....).  I have concluded it is more important for me at this time to be spending more time developing our classroom culture of understanding, kindness, and compassion rather than diving into new individual lessons.  Interestingly, I found myself with far fewer pictures from each day's activities as we are spending more time cultivating a more harmonious culture in the classroom - something that does not happen in a matter of days or weeks.  Nevertheless, here are some pictures that I was able to take throughout the week depicting snippets of activity throughout the learning environment.

The bells - listening.

Color Mixing.

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

Tape resist snowflake painting.

Counting, cardinality, odd, and even numbers with the Cards and Counters.

A fun lesson following and stamping the letter 'p' - the baby polar bear finds its mother at the end...

An extension with the Solid Cylinders - two at a time.

Parts of the Leaf botany puzzle with control mat.

Constructive Triangles - Second Box.

'Peace' cards - the word 'peace' in different languages.

Exploring length with the Red Rods.

Pink Tower/Brown Stair work.

Opening and Closing Boxes

Writing practice:  'Wet, dry, try.'

Decimal System Cards - "Can you show me six thousand?"

Matching the Geometric Solids to their cards.

Three-Part Cards: Continents

Extension work with the Knobless Cylinders.

Binomial Cube
Smelling Bottles

Numbers 1-100 with the Hundred Board.

Continent Cards - Europe.

Refinement of the baric sense (weight) - feeling 'heavy' and 'light.'

Caring for plants with the plant washing tray.

More writing practice with the "Wet, Dry, Try" method.

Snowflake tracing - prewriting practice.

Many children are still enjoying this rock painting activity.

"Snow" poetry reading with manipulatives.

January calendar work.

Counting, cardinality, odd/even numbers with the Cards and Counters.