Saturday, September 28, 2013

Tiny Reminders

I will admit that it was a bit of a roller coaster week - some days seemed perfectly fine while other felt somewhat disjointed.  Next week (and beyond, I'm sure), we will be working on building the children's sense of independence and the notion that they do not have to rely on adults for the choices they make in the classroom.  This is a huge concept and ironically, I truly believe that any change that has to occur must stem from the adults.  For example, how often do we 'swoop in' to help children in need rather than giving time for them to fix something for themselves?  How often do we automatically respond with an answer instead of providing an opportunity for children to discover the answer on their own?  In order to help facilitate these ideas, I have found myself reversing questions back to the children.   If a child asks me, "Ms. Sasha, can I do this work?" I simply repeat the question - "Hmm, can you do that work?"  Or if someone asks, "Ms. Sasha, where is my work plan?" I would only say, "Where is your work plan?  By allowing the children time to think about their own questions, I feel they will be building their sense of independence and the idea that they are in charge of their own actions.  It is also important that children receive similar opportunities in the home setting, which is why parents have a role in this too!
Despite the couple of 'rocky' days (and when I say 'rocky', it really was not that bad - I just have high standards!), we enjoyed many special moments together...

Practicing transferring pom poms with chopsticks.

'Peace' cards - matching.

Developing understanding of the decimal system and quantities with the Golden Beads.

How the children love this painting lesson!

Counting seven thousand with the beads and reading the symbol with the cards.

Practicing movement for writing with the Metal Insets.

A beautiful flower arrangement adorning a table.

Beginning sounds of words/pictures with the Moveable Alphabet.

Counting and number practice with the Short Bead Stair.

Plant/Animal sorting.

Exploring teen numbers with the Teen Bead Hanger.

Place value and number recognition with the Teen Beads and Boards.

Building words with the Moveable Alphabet.

Pink Tower/Brown Stair connections.

Tactile discrimination and writing preparation with the Touch Boards.

Division with the Stamp Game.

Tracing and coloring extension of the Cards and Counters.

Linear and skip counting practice by tens with the Hundred Chain.

Early work with the Pink Tower.

Counting unit beads into the palm of a friend's hand, "so they won't roll away."

Taking time outdoors...

to find joy in tiny things!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Peace Cards

In recognition of International Peace Day last week, I put together a new lesson for our Peace Table.  This lesson includes a set of beautiful cards with the word, 'Peace' in various languages.  I obtained these cards several years ago and have kept the file on my computer but cannot remember where I got them!  If any of my readers know where these came from, please let me know so that I may link to the proper source.

I have had one set of cards out for quite some time, but noticed that the children did not use them regularly.  Since I still had the file on my computer, I decided to turn the lesson into a matching activity and printed out another set of cards in a smaller size.

A set of large Peace cards and a silver dove, which I explained is a symbol for peace. The decorative container holds the set of small card for matching...

...the small size of the cards is a great point of interest for the children!
Here, a student is laying out the cards, getting ready to match the smaller cards to the large ones. 
The cards have been more actively used now that there is a fun matching component to the lesson.  I have also heard several children remark, "These are so beautiful!"

One of my readers found the link to the Peace Cards!  You can find them HERE.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Feeling More Like November!

The classroom is functioning quite smoothly and the amount of work being completed is quite astonishing given that we have only been in school for three weeks.  It really feels as if we are further into the school year - I attribute this to the fact that we have such a large number of second and third year students this year.  Next year, I'm sure will be quite different as we will have mostly new students - so I will enjoy this while it lasts! :-)  Some photos of activities from this week:

Writing practice with the Sandpaper Letters.

Practical Life:  Spooning and sorting beads by color.  The tiny spoon is a big point of interest for the children!

Fine motor development: placing rubber bands around a box and the removing them.

Scissor practice:  cutting on a line.

Care of Self:  Snap Frame

Care of Self:  Buckle Frame

Strengthening the muscles of the hand for writing using the Metal Insets.

Fine motor development - using a clothespin to transfer feathers.

Quantity and counting - an early lesson with the Number Rods.

Exploring shapes with the Constructive Triangles.

Counting by tens with the Tens Board and Beads.

Quantity and number symbol combined with Number Rod and Cards.

Initial sounds with the Language Step Board.

How the children love this activity!  Filling water to the line with a baster.

Reading and acting out of the 'September' poem.

A grammar presentation with the Article Box...

...and working independently with the labels.

Practicing tying bows with the Bow Tying Frame.

Initial sounds and symbols work - matching pictures to their corresponding beginning sound.

Building words with the Moveable Alphabet - this student wanted to write them  down on paper as well.

Careful work with the Pink Tower.

"This is seven tens, it has one zero," with the Decimal System Cards.

Reading color words.

Feeling for varying weights with the Baric Tablets.

Writing numbers on the chalkboard.

Color Box 1:  Matching colors.
This painting lesson remains in perpetual use throughout our mornings!

Building handwriting skills with the Metal Insets.

We also spent time talking about International Peace Day and will continue the discussion into next week.  Peace education in our Montessori setting is integrated throughout the curriculum and is a part of our daily classroom activities.  Like last year, the class is planning another collaborative art project in conjunction with Peace Day - we hope to begin working on the art piece next week!