Thursday, February 27, 2014

Math Facts: Addition/Subtraction

Recently, I put together a new Math activity highlighting basic addition and subtraction facts.  I am hoping to reinvigorate some math lessons through the use of this material as my observations in the classroom tell me some children might enjoy a little variation - in other other words, we need to "spice things up a bit!"

I have re-arranged some materials in the math area and added this set up at a table, against a wall.   Each drawer contains ten small, identical items such as stones, acorns, shells, beads, etc.  On the top left a small box holds addition equation "tickets" (with sums no more than ten).  The box on the right holds subtraction equation "tickets."  The decorative wooden sphere contains small number stamps which the children may use for recording their work.

Addition:  To complete the  activity the child choses a drawer and a ticket, and places the manipulatives accordingly.

To find the sum, the items are counted into the remaining space.  I do not have a picture of the recording sheet, but at this time, the child could record his/her work on paper.
Subtraction:  To complete the activity, the child first places the corresponding minuend in the first box.  

Then,  the corresponding subtrahend is counted into the second box, leaving the difference in the first box.  Again, work can be recorded by writing out the equations or using number stamps.

I tried to tone down the utilitarian look of the drawers with natural elements - I think it worked because it looks so inviting and lovely in our classroom! :-)
And, while I was rearranging things, I took the opportunity to unpack and place some newly acquired Math materials in their new "home":

Due to limited space for additional math shelves, I converted our window still  - much better than having it crammed on the existing shelves (and there was really no other place to put those beautiful  fraction circles)! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On the Shelves: South America

Upon return from our February vacation, we are enjoying some new lessons on the shelves having to do with a new unit of study - South America.  Here are a few pictures to share:

Practical Life: dry transferring activities

Practical Life: wet transferring activities

A close up of a spooning lesson:  Check out the hand painted  toucan!    This lesson uses coffee beans for transferring.

Sorting red and black beans.

How perfect is this small dish during for our South American studies?  It is filled with small, pink beads to place around the tray using tweezers.  (Pink corresponds to the color of South America on the Montessori globe and maps.)

A fun cube puzzle with a tropical theme. 
We will also be introducing the children to some new art activities which I will post about soon.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

A New Favorite Pastime

A couple of months ago I discovered loom knitting.  My son received a loom as a gift on Christmas and I took it upon myself to figure out how it worked so that I could show him…   It turns out I am quite addicted to this new pastime.  I find it the most relaxing activity and I so enjoy working with my hands to create "something out of nothing."  And can you even imagine the gift-giving possibilities?!  Here are a few pictures of what I've been working on:

This is the loom (and the very first scarf I ever made!).

I am so enamored with this new hobby that I created a Pinterest board for new ideas as well as a board of all my projects.   If interested, you can see the rest of my projects HERE.

Happy Knitting! :-)

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine Miss

Well, this weather pattern is one for the books...  We have yet another snow day and therefore have missed our Valentine celebration.  We will however, be sure to mark the occasion upon our return to school after next week's February vacation.  In other February news, we were able to celebrate the 100th Day of School with some fun activities this week:

100 dots for the 100th Day of School!
The 100th day of school would not be complete without someone completing the Hundred Board.

Coloring  a 100th Day crown (the children cut these out and we stapled them to a strip to make hats).
Coloring the flag of Russia in honor of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Teen numbers - quantity and symbol with the Teen Beads and Boards.

Exploring shapes and patterns with the Constructive Triangles (Third Box).

Matching words to pictures.

Olympic Rings coloring.

Dynamic Addition with the Golden Beads.

An interesting Pink Tower/Brown Stair exploration.
Prewriting - tracing shapes from the Geometric Cabinet.
Building a pagoda using the Red Rods and Number Rods.
Watercolor hearts.
Love this extension work with Red Rods and Number Rods!
Writing sight words with the Small Moveable Alphabet.
Writing sentences.
Exploring geometry by sliding the blue triangles to form new shapes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Olympics

We have been enjoying some special coloring activities thanks to the current Olympic Games.  Since I know the Russian language, I showed the children how to write 'Sochi' and 'Russia' using the Cyrillic alphabet:

Olympic Rings coloring activity.

Flag of Russia coloring.
My students are fully enjoying this opportunity and it has been a pleasure watching them write these words in Russian!  :-)

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Olympic Torch

I wanted to mark the event of this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia with a special activity in the classroom.  Thanks to Trillium Montessori's wonderful resources, I was able to introduce the children to this topic using the Olympic cards found here.  We talked about the Olympic torch as a symbol of the games and the following craft was introduced (another super idea from Trillium Montessori!):

Olympic Torch materials:  brown paper with torch outline, black paper, pencil, scissors, pieces of tissue paper, glue, brush.  (I purposefully chose to use my Russian dish set to house the materials… )  :-)

After cutting out the torch outline, pieces of the tissue paper are glued to make flames.

This activity has certainly generated lots of excitement about the Olympics!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Another active week!  We are enjoying some new lessons on the art shelves in preparation for Valentine's Day.  Having so many hearts around reminds us about our friendships with one another and ways we can be helpful and kind to each other.

Painting at the easel -  new colors were recently added along with white paper.

Writing words in play dough using letter stamps.

Drawing with oil pastels.

A Valentine - themed Opening and Closing activity.  Each heart shaped box contains an eraser - a fun point of interest for the children.

Beaded hearts.

Sensorial exploration.

A new calendar for the new month (and recording it on paper).

Valentine drawing sequence.

Writing sentences with the Small Moveable Alphabet.

Using the Short Chain of 6 - comparing the square of 6 to folded up chain (underneath).  This material concretely shows six sets of six and helps to prepares the child for multiplication.

Working with the Spindle Boxes - this lesson beautifully demonstrates the concept of zero.

Using the Language Step Board to practice middle sounds of words.

This student decided to copy the words from our Peacemaker Cards - what a great handwriting lesson!

Caring for our classroom and placing flower arrangements on tables and shelves .

Writing words on rocks with water.

Quantity and symbole with the Teen Beads and Boards.

Reading sentences.

Painting hearts with watercolors - beautiful!  (We will be saving these for a group project to be completed later.)