Thursday, February 9, 2012

Abe Lincoln's Hat

Presidents Day is around the corner. It's always fun to uncover some new and interesting tidbit about these figures that we've visited so many times in the past. Like Abe Lincoln storing important papers in his hat, or George Washington using tricks to win battles during the Revolutionary War.

It's also a good chance to have a lesson on observing the features on faces. We use a portrait. We start by talking about some of the different shapes of faces; square, round, oval. I demonstrate a drawing, voicing my thoughts as I determine the shape of the face, then the size and placement of eyes, nose, mouth and hair. I'm not great at drawing, so my demo doesn't intimidate. In fact it demonstrates the ability to laugh at oneself. Both these drawings were done by 5 year olds. The one has a little hat made with a half circle and a rectangle of black paper pasted onto it.

This is a small hat the children can make. Use black construction paper. Make the rectangle about 3 inches instead of 2 5/8 inches wide in order to be able to cut tabs in the top also. Bend the top tabs inward. Use paste to attach the small circle for the hat's top. The slightly curled up sides on the hat brim will give it the well worn look of Abe's own hat.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Demonstration Montessori Elementary Classroom | American Montessori Society

This will be exciting to see. It will be a 6 to 9 year old age group at the American Montessori National Conference in San Francisco this March.

Demonstration Montessori Elementary Classroom | American Montessori Society

I hope some of you can get there. The workshops will be terrific.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

We're looking forward to a wonderful year of the dragon. Clean homes with blooming flowers in vases will bring good fortune through the year.
Firecrackers were invented in China. They are lit throughout the 15 day festival.
Here is a nice little string of paper firecrackers to make.

First, give each child a pretzel stick (not to eat just yet!), several pieces of red paper that are about 3 inches by 5 inches and a 2 foot piece of string.
Roll a piece of the red paper around the pretzel stick. Tape it.
Use a small awl and piece of carpet felt from a paper punching activity to punch a hole through the center of the tube (firecracker).

Tie a knot at the end of the string. Push the other end of the string through the hole in each "firecracker" to make a "string of firecrackers"!
Hang them around the room.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You can't dampen these spirits!

Although these girls are clearly happy to be back, the rainy days were a fitting start to the school year that came on the heel of a sudden change in our administration. After a frantic August dealing with business related surprises, with the help of devoted parents and friends, the school days, now, are sunny, inside and outside.
Mrs. T used the opportunity to introduce cloud types to the class. This is a good site for planning a lesson on cloud types.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

waves of whales!

We've been reading about the whales in the sea and using our whale models that are to scale with each other. The children painted these whale cutouts to look like their corresponding models. With the help of their teacher, several children figured out the size of a person next to the whales. That inspired some to improve upon the scene by drawing and cutting out people to swim among the friendly giants. And hearing about the practice of whaling for blubber and whale meat prompted the addition of "no whaling" signs to be posted in the ocean!

And whenever I teach about whales (especially the blue whale) who swim in the northern ocean hunting for plankton to sweep into their baleen-filled mouths, we talk of the blubber that insulates the whales from the coldness. I always have this little demonstration ready for them :
Put a lot of vegetable shortening in a heavy plastic quart bag. This will be the whale's blubber. With your hand inside another heavy plastic sandwich bag, push into the shortening-filled bag to form the shortening into a 1 1/2 inch wall under and on all sides of your hand. Make sure no shortening oozes out of the top of the bag or gets on your hand. Remove your hand, leaving the bag inside the bag holding the shortening.
Have a large bowl of ice cubes and water ready. Each child puts a hand inside the clean bag stuck into the shortening bag. You place their hand in the bag in the "blubber" inside a half gallon plastic bag (to make sure no water gets inside their hand or the "blubber"). Now push their hand in the bag in the "blubber" in the large plastic bag down into the ice water. Surprise!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Every year at this time, it's exciting to see the 6 and almost 6 year olds discover that they really can write. For some it takes a bit of nudging. To those who are intimidated by the task of writing about something, I tell them to just write whatever they are thinking at the moment. Likewise, to those daunted by the request to write a sentence, I say that any thought that is in their head is likely to be a sentence. This relaxes them from the initial panic we often see upon suggesting this activity. The result is empowering. Suddenly there are little authors everywhere avidly writing story after story.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring fun

Another great idea from Play Based Learning. The children can also make their own garden supports with the plastic pipes and connectors.