The Work Plan

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Writing at the Easel

I am still working hard on saving money for Montessori training certification. In the meantime I have been focusing on accrediting my home based preschool. The first thing in this process that I want to tackle is improving our environment. I have been making various blueprints of how I want our preschool/elementary classroom to look. Fortunately for me the kids are respecting each others' work space and are now at the point where they habitually ask for lessons on work, and respect the hands off the work approach until the lesson is given. This helps me to bring them all together now which will allow a more attractive work space for them, and more room.

Once a child starts writing there is no stopping them! They absolutely love inventive spelling. In fact I wholeheartedly agree to have the child read their own writing before formally introducing reading to them. It seems that all(4 yr olds) of the children here are entering their sensitive period for language.

Our easel has proven to be an invaluable tool in allowing the children to follow their interest at a whim.

   Some choose to use the Sandpaper Letters to practice letter formation.  

 Maddux loves to trace the Sandpaper Letters and say the sound while writing.

    (you can see some of the work to be done to prepare the environment with x marking the spot)
The children also enjoy using the easel for drawing pictures to tell a story.

While adjustments are being made to the environment the easel offers plenty of open ended writing to still continue.                                                                          

Monday, November 26, 2012

Festive Work

Things are getting busier here!! Which is always good news:) One of the things that has changed is that I don't really have to change out any materials on the shelves often. They are taken to the traditional Montessori materials. I try to save my material making time for extensions or flat out inspiration.

One of the things that I think I will always do is add some Christmas Spirit to our days. We always have a tree set out to decorate.

 I do change up the ornaments to keep the surprise element for the kiddos. This work is done by everyone from the youngest " preschooler" being two to the oldest being fourteen. It is a well received work here.

          The collage tray gets transformed to a lot of glittery paper shapes.      
       Here I just changed out beans for ornaments.

                     Using tongs to transfer bulbs.

I thought I share this photo too because there's nothing like a new pack of freshly sharpened colored pencils.    

Linking up to Montessori Monday.                                                                       

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How They Have Been Learning To Read

I have had an opportunity to review the PAL: Reading and Writing program from Institute for Excellence in Writing as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. This program is amazing and it has a lot of Montessori principles incorporated in it. I have been using the program with Janessa who is in Kindergarten and she loves it. The other children have shown interest in doing this work too. 

Maddux is four years old and has looked forward to reading time while using this program.
                             His handwriting is improving.
                          This letter booklet is from the The Helpful Garden
 Maddux's love of sounds is growing..

 Maddux is having so much fun playing the games and doing the cut and paste activities that he hasn't realized he is reading sight words and vowel diphthongs too.

I am able to still follow the child while using this program. For example Maddux and I do one lesson in two days, this is what works for him. I would not recommend using this with a child who has not done a large amount of early reading activities. I found this series Early Math and Language Skills written by Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings to be really helpful in making sure that those activities were done with the child before introducing them to the program. To read my full review of the PAL: Reading and Writing program go here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Counting Number Rods and Cranberries

Last year Maddux was my wanderer in the classroom. Paying close attention to his classmates work, but not choosing any work for himself. This year he started out staying busy in the Practical Life area and now he is breezing through the tradititional Montessori lessons.

 He loves to lay out the Number Rods from longest to shortest and then begins counting them one by one. He starts with Number Rod 1, because he says it is the shortest and then counts them all. He is still working on identifying some numbers but any day now he'll get it.

 Being a wanderer has helped Maddux out tremendously. Maddux is familiar with the presentations and knows exactly what work he may be interested in me showing him. He remembered the cranberry work I had in the Practical Life area last year and went bananas when he saw a pail of them next to the Sandpaper Numbers. Maddux knew just what to do because he has been wandering  observing the classroom for a long time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pink Tower: Cut and Paste

There is one material here that gets used daily by all The Pink Tower. It is definitely in need of some paint. In a way I like it like this. Its just one of those things that grows on me and I have made a lot of good memories with the Pink Tower. If you hop over to The Helpful Garden you can download this cut and paste activity to add some more fun to this beloved work.
                    A proud owner of the Pink Tower!!

 Mia had a blast with this work and now she is becoming an Architect of the Pink tower and Brown Stairs. The Helpful Garden also has a cut and paste activity for the Brown Stairs. If you haven't visited this very resourceful blog you are in for a treat. Warning!! Before visiting grab your favorite beverage, stock your printer with ink, turn on your laminator, and enjoy. This wonderful lady has been such a blessing!!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Number Cups: Counting Dinosaurs

I was reminded of this activity that I have on the shelves that I haven't shared yet by this Montessori Monday post written by Deb at Living Montessori Now. Deb shares how she used Dinosaur Toobs in all sorts of inspired Montessori activities.

I didn't use the Dinosaur Toobs for this, because I have them on the shelf being used for other activities. Deb is hosting a giveaway for the Dinosaur Toobs and if you don't already have them, I highly recommend you get them if you happen to have a Dinosaur Lover in your life. I simply brought packages of Dinosaurs from the Dollar Store and placed them in our counting cups.

       I placed number stickers on the outside of the cups.

I added in counting strips that I downloaded from Playful Learning where I got the idea from for this work. The strip helps the child with one to one correspondence as well as putting all of the dinosaurs back into the correct jars while working on number recognition.

 I have the number cups for numbers 1-10 in baskets. Sometimes the children like to stack the cups in number order too:)

The children are really engaged in this work, they love to count dinosaurs. I am linking this post to Montessori Monday                                                                           


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Practical Life Fun Challenge

We have a new practical life work that has been getting a lot of attention. The kids have been whisking away making bubbles. They definitely worked hard with the whisk and have graduated to making bubbles with a hand held mixer.

 This mixer presents a fun challenge to them. It requires using both of their hands and getting a wrist workout.
 They are having so much fun making bubbles and have been very successful.

This is how I have it set up on the tray.

I found this mixer at a garage sale this past summer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Sneak Peek

 The kids here have been very straight forward in telling and showing me what their interest are. Just when an older child walked away Maddux took a sneak peak. Look at him, a natural microbiologist as he turns the focus wheel. He loves what he saw!! I gotcha Maddux!! Stay tuned.                                                            

Monday, November 5, 2012

Preschool Prehistory

The kids here have enjoyed our circle time activities immensely. They have learned to identify important history concepts such as What is today? What was yesterday? and What day will it be tomorrow?  Also they have been paying close attention to what the older students have been doing with their Time Line of Life activities. I thought it would be fitting to add some Dinosaur fun to their day.

Here are a few activities that I added to the classroom to jump start this interesting time in history.

You have to start out with a good book right? When I saw the new 20th Anniversary of Dinosaurs Before Dark in full color I knew I had to introduce them to the Magic Tree House books. They are going to love it, the pictures are fantastic! The chapters are short and sweet.

 Our Dinosaur Dig. Individually they will dig out the skeleton of a T-Rex and together we will put the bones together to build it.
 Adding some science in and review of solids, liquids, and gases they will erupt volcanoes with vinegar and baking powder and match dinosaurs.
 Weighing rocks. The scale isn't heavy at all, they will still be able to work on a mat or table and discover some amazing rocks along the way.

 I plan to reintroduce the Baric Tablets, just maybe with weighing rocks they might become interested in this material again.

If everyone brings in their pictures this week we will also make personal time lines. I think we are going to have some fun with this. I'll be sure to post any new work we add to our studies. By the way this is my 500th post!! I am glad that I have continued this journal of our classroom fun.

I am linking this post to Montessori Monday.