The Work Plan

Monday, August 19, 2013

Friday Five:Science Edition


The science works always get a lot of attention. Most of the time the work is rotated about every six weeks, they like to take their sweet time investigating, and digging deeper with the materials. I am sharing five of what is the current favorite science related activities on our shelves right now, in no particular order.


1. Snap Circuits! When the primary students were given an opportunity to have a go at this they went bananas! They were successful too.                   
                                                           

2. Our Observation and Weather station

                            

3. Our book with matching animal objects.


4. Investigating Magnets.


5. They always look for more information on their topic of interest with the Let's Read and Find series. I am fortunate to have all of the books in this series after purchasing them over the past ten years.


To see more Friday Five Science Favorites pop over to Montessori MOMents.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Five: Practical Life Edition


 I am getting so inspired with Lori's Friday Five over at her blog Montessori MOMents, I have already linked up once today with my children's favorite five advanced practical life activities, but I am on a roll with this and I thought I would share what is the latest favorite practical life activities among the primary students right now.

                                                                               
                           
1. Packaging eggs. Oh how they love this! They have no idea that they are building their concentration skills up and gentle touches have been reinforced, they haven't cracked an egg yet!

                                                                                     
2. Making a necklace. An oldie but a goodie! This work is always available on the shelf year round. I just replace the type of beading and it is used.

                                                                                   
3. Independent Snack Time. Making jelly sandwiches was well received.

                                                                            
                            
4. Mastering scooping with task cards. Which leads to another practical life lesson in sweeping for some:) and some exploratory sensorial skills too.

                                                                                 
5. Learning to use a rolling pin with play doh and a cookie cutter. Again this activity is always a winner.

I hope you have enjoyed this Friday Five: Practical Life Edition you can pop over here to get some more ideas for your practical life shelves.

Enjoy the sunshine!

From Sandpaper Letter to Zoology



Today was the second day of Primary Class which only meets two days a week from 9-12 pm.  I was awe struck by a child that I had only met once before. He wasn't really interested in anything else but the Montessori materials, particularly the language materials. It was amazing how he navigated his way in the environment and took full advantage of every. single. second. of his time. We ended up doing three language lessons and a zoology lesson on his very first day.

It went something like this......

Child: Can you tell me what this is (holding the sandpaper letter "t")?
                                             
Me: Sure!  Let's go dip our fingers into our special bowl that helps sensitize our fingers.

Child: O.K.

Me: These are our Sandpaper Letters and we use these to help us learn our letter sounds. This letter makes the sound "t" (as I demonstrate how to trace the sandpaper letter with my fingers).
                                                                 

    Your turn.

Child: "t" (while tracing the sandpaper letter)

Me: Can you tell me the name of this? (I asked the child while pointing to the sandpaper letter)

Child: That  is "t'.

We return the Sandpaper Letter.

Child: Can I play with this?(as he is picking up the entire set of phonetic sound drawers:)

                                                                       
I then precede to show him that there are many different drawers and I can show him what is inside one the drawers.

Me: Can you point to the "t" drawer?

Child: Here it is! ( he is totally excited that he recognized "t")

We named the objects first, and then he became mesmerized by the tadpole. Our initial sound lesson was put aside to discuss more about tadpoles. Which led us to the zoology area, discussing the life cycle of a frog.

                                                                           

I was able to capture the photos because I am cool like that (just kidding). LOL. Really though, I have mastered the art of using the camera to document work in the classroom. But it still wouldn't of happened if he didn't repeat all of the works three times, and loves to have his picture taken which could easily be another post in which I share how we learned about my camera that I wear during our morning line time. Digital Photography is on everyone's to do list at the Studio!

                                                                         


He also worked with the salt tray, and told everyone a story about a caterpillar while putting on a show. I also learned that his favorite color is red, and he explained to his friends that the red mat is the only mat he would like to use.





Sunday, June 23, 2013

Art Labs For Little Kids



Some time in the near future I will be offering art classes to children 3-6 years old. At first I was going to outsource and hire a teacher that had more experience and talent to lead the classes.

                                                                               
After browsing through the library and bookstore I found exactly what I was looking for. Art Lab For Little Kids written by Susan Schwake makes teaching and exploring art with children easy peasy. The book is broken down by units.

Unit 1- Dedicated to setting the stage for art. It details how to organize art space, what materials are essential, and the positive attitude you need to possess to explore art with little ones.
Unit 2-  Drawing
Unit 3- Painting
Unit 4- Printmaking
Unit 5- Sculpture
Unit 6- Mixed Media

There are 52 lessons that are beautifully detailed along with stunning photos of the lesson unfolding. There are suggestions to extensions to the lessons that allow older children to be involved in the lesson as well. Each lesson highlights an artist too. I feel so confident in giving lessons to art classes to young children since reading this book. I highly recommend it! 

I'll be sure to share the fun when our classes begin.

Another note, this is just my opinion not intended to serve as a review of the book as we haven't completed any lessons. Just something I wanted to share just in case there is anybody else that feels that they can't teach art because of lack of experience or talent.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Just One of the Many Reasons I Love Implementing the Montessori Philosophy

In a environment where the Montessori philosophy is being implemented, a child isn't forced to learn your way of teaching things for the entire group, but the prepared environment sets the individual child up for success with self correcting materials (not necessarily authentic Montessori Materials). The materials are chosen carefully and are often created by the child's teacher who observes them closely.

 So if a child isn't interested in using these materials for beginning language skills.
                                                                 


There is an activity still available to meet the needs of the individual.
                                                                             

Watch out Ya'll Maddux is falling in love with writing.

I don't think you can find such a wide range of materials in traditional settings to meet the same goals as you can in a Montessori Prepared Environment.

 Just Sayin:)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Landforms

My little friend Maddux who is 4.5 is getting his work on this summer and loving every minute! Many of the things that he wasn't interested in at all in the Fall he is gravitating too. One of them is our land forms.

                                                                   

His favorite landform is the Island. Maddux could play with the Island landform all day and night if he could.

                                                                         
I bet you can imagine his delight when he was shown how to make his very own to take home.

This has led to so much playful learning which is developing his sense of the world.


                                                                     .


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where Did All Of The Leaves Go?

If you haven't witnessed the life cycle of the butterfly first hand I strongly suggest that you do. It is so much fun and the learning that the kids get from observing this miracle is unbeatable to any book on the subject.

                                                                               
When the first child witnessed all of the leaves were gone from the milkweed plant he was upset and thought someone had destroyed the plant. It took an older child to calm him down by explaining that the caterpillars ate the leaves. At first he didn't accept the explanation, but after I suggested to the older child to read the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle to him, Maddux the younger child gleamed with excitement. 

Now Maddux is interested in learning how to grow a milkweed plant, luckily we have some seeds. I love how learning about insects, specifically butterflies is leading Maddux to make connections in the Botany area.  Stay tuned!