Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Strong Start to the Year

Seen around the classroom over the past two weeks: 

Carefully matching each piece from the Trinomial Cube to its corresponding color and shape on the lid.   

"It has five hundreds and 8 units - 508!"

Counting and naming the tens on Tens Board.
"…Fifty, and one more ten makes sixty…"

Practicing counting with number symbol recognition using the the Tens Board.
"One ten and six units make sixteen."

Combining two sets of Solid Cylinders for a new variation.

Spelling practice with the Small Moveable Alphabet.

Matching varying sizes of circles from the Geometric Cabinet...

…and then making a booklet with them.  The child traces the circles, cuts them out, and glues them onto paper creating a booklet. 

Caring for our environment by washing the polish cloths.

Understanding the concept of zero and quantities with the Spindle Box lesson.  

Cutting paper strips to refine motor skills and prepare for future art activities.

Dynamic addition with the Golden Beads.
"Oh, I see!  It's just like the exchange game!" speaking of  exchanging for the next higher category.

Carefully placing the next largest Pink Tower cube.

Enjoying the Nuts and Bolts activity.

The Addition (or Positive) Snake Game allows the child to explore various ways to make the sum of ten.  

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

Reading practice using the Phonetic Object Box language lesson.

Using a squared chalkboard to practice writing numbers.

Static addition with the Stamp Game.

Learning to fold with the Folding Cloths lesson.

The children have shown lots of interest in washing the polish cloths!

Concepts of quantity with the Number Rods.

Dynamic addition with the Stamp Game.

Spelling practice with puzzle/sight words.

Carefully adding the smallest Pink Tower cube to the top.  Notice the child standing behind watching with his hands folded - we have been talking about the importance of only watching and not touching others' work.  

Reading practice with short vowel sounds using the Vowel Tree.

Number writing practice with Sandpaper Numbers.

Exploring combinations of ten with the Addition Snake Game.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Peace Day Art and Song

International Peace Day was celebrated globally last Monday.  On this day each year, our classroom celebrates by creating a collaborative piece of art.  Once completed, these pieces remind us that each of us has an important role and we can each be a peacemaker.  Here is a series of photos showing the process of our collaborative art for this year's Peace Day:

"Light a Candle for Peace"
by Shelley Murley

Light a candle for peace,
Light a candle for love,
Light a candle that shines
All the way around the world.

Light a candle for me,
Light a candle for you,
That our wish for world peace
May one day come true.

Sing peace around the world,
Sing peace around the world,
Sing peace around the world,
Sing peace around the world!

Listen to this song we learned HERE

Thursday, September 17, 2015


We began our self-portrait lesson with a word-study and talked about the definitions of ‘self’ and ‘portrait.’  Some conclusions made by the children after this discussion:
“It means when an artist makes a picture of themselves.”
“It can be with paint or drawing.”
“It can be with clay.”

Next, we looked at two examples of famous artists’ self portraits and discussed the details:
Vincent Van Gogh
Frieda Kahlo  
The children noticed facial features, hair color, jewelry, and that these portraits included only the face, neck, and shoulders.

Then, the students were introduced to the materials and shown the steps to create their own self-portraits.  Using a mirror for reference, the children worked with a quiet intensity to include details of their own unique features in their drawings.

A mirror, felt tip pen, and paper were the only materials necessary. 
  I had asked our Assistant teachers to write down any comments the children made during their portrait making process to have a source of documentation.  We noticed, however, a quiet contemplation from the children as  they completed their self-portraits.  They thoughtfully peered in the mirror, noticed the details of their own images, and carefully added them to their drawings. Here are a few examples:

These portraits remind as that we can celebrate each other’s uniqueness while being active members of a community in our collaborative classroom.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

First Days Back

To say the children were ready to get back to their lessons during these first days of school would be an understatement.  The children amazed me with their knowledge and readiness for lessons.   The newest members of our group are fortunate to have so many role models to learn from and are becoming more confident in their choices each day.  My observations have given me a clear direction of how to guide the students - just keep going, because they are ready!

Our new set of nesting dolls from Russia was in use as soon as the classroom door opened on the first day of school.
Child:  "Is this a new one?  Where is the crack?!  There's no more crack!" speaking of the cracked wood of the old set.

Exploring concepts of height with the Knobless Cylinders.

Sewing activity with the lesson from the first sewing drawer.

Transferring with a spoon, a preliminary Practical Life lesson.
Child:  "This spoon is shiny.  I have brown rice at home."

This student completed the Maze with the Red Rods as one of her first choices upon entering the classroom after summer vacation!

Letter writing practice with Rainbow Letters.

Solidifying place value with the Golden Beads and place value mat.

Using the Short Bead Hanger to match quantities and number symbols.
Child:  "Look, I mixed them up.  But they still match.  Wait, this one is five and it's blue."

Using the Moveable Alphabet to write phrases and record/illustrate them on paper.

Visual discrimination of size with the Pink Tower.
Child:  "This one is next.  It's getting taller."

Noticing the puzzle (sight) words in the transferring activity.

Working with the Solid Cylinders.

Pre-reading:  "Go-Togethers"
Child:  "Squirrels like nuts.  Mmmm!"

Teen number quantity and symbol with Teen Boards and Beads.
Child:  "Seventeen.  This one is going to be seventeen!"  while counting the beads.

Learning about odd and even numbers using the Cards and Counters activity.
Child:  "This one's even because my finger goes through [the counters]." 

Spelling words with the Small Moveable Alphabet.
Child: "Did I spell it right?  Let me check my list!"

Counting the units during the 45 Layout.

Introducing articles 'a' and 'the.'
Child:  "I use 'a' when there is more than one in a group and I use 'the' when there is only one."  

Building and refining writing skills with the Metal Insets.
Child:  "Look, I did it!  I made a circle."

Static addition with our Math Drawer activity.

Letter writing practice on the chalkboard.

Using the Red Rods to enhance visual discrimination of length.

Writing practice with the Sandpaper Letters.
Child:  "Oooh, I like tracing this one! 'M,' 'm,' 'm.'"

Enjoying a lacing card while building coordination and fine motor skills.

Using  mirror to complete a self portrait.

Using letter stamps to spell words from the 'Language' Works word list.

Using 'Language Works' - reading, writing, and spelling practice.

Grading shades of orange with the Third Color Box.
Child:  "I think this one is lighter.  Look I did it!" 

Sensorially exploring the Binomial Cube.

Using our Reading Drawers to practice reading and writing three letter phonetic words.