Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wow! The weather outside is frightful. But the class has been delightfully understanding about not being able to play on the icy playground. The children are always so busy that lunchtime arrives before we realize that we haven't been out on the playground.

We did have a lot of fun learning about the Native Americans. The class discovered how easily fiber (twine) can be cut by laying it down on a stone then pounding it with another stone. That is how they cut the twine to sew their little canoes together. Then they each made a little clothespin Indian Brave and Squaw. Many brought in shoe boxes to create a diorama of a village. They cut, colored and pasted trees for a forest around their villages. With sticks glued around the edges of the box they made a fence to keep out the wild animals. Some made a longhouse and many made teepees to shelter the clothespin natives.

Everyone fashioned pots out of red clay. Next we'll try making coil pots.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Oh my, it's been two weeks since I last posted! I've had a little too much on my plate lately.
The class has been buzzing along. During one morning, a large, but dead, evergreen tree in front of our classroom windows was cut down. We all enjoyed watching this amazing feat. Upon completion, one of the tree specialists came to our door with a question. As soon as we opened the door, one of our boys greeted him with a loud and hearty "Good job!".
The children are wonderful. They're all so eager to learn. Right now we're on Thanksgiving break. I hope everyone is having a lovely time with their families, small or large.
We used the story of the first Thanksgiving to look at the lives of the early Native Americans. In the coming week or two we'll have fun experiencing some aspects of the Native American way of life. We'll find out what they ate and wore, where they slept, how they played, learned, spoke and how they made things without metal tools. I can't wait!
But in the meantime, here is somebody labeling and drawing all of the geometric solids. Good job!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Leaves - everywhere!

Leaves have been falling for several weeks. Using a child-sized wheelbarrow and rakes the children eagerly keep the playground fairly clear of them. Although our unusually warm days have past and long pants are now worn. Mrs. T took this photo. I love the play of warm sunshine with the shadows.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Please enjoy this article reprinted with the permission of The Montessori Initiative:

Compassion and Peace
Despite its global nature and the fact that Montessori is continuing to add schools and students on almost every continent, not every month brings us items that qualify as "News". However, there is still plenty of information that we can share with you.

On his recent visit to the United States, the Dalai Lama spoke at the University of Indiana to a filled basketball stadium. "We must teach our children with compassion," he said. "As a child, I learned more from the teachers that taught me with compassion and a smile than I ever did from those that taught with a frown." He went on to stress, "Through that example, our children will learn compassion and they will learn to apply compassion when dealing with others. With compassion, we can learn to understand one another and appreciate our differences rather than become afraid of them. Compassion is the first step towards 'internal disarmament'. When we can disarm ourselves, we can learn to concentrate on disarming the world we live in. It is too late for our generation. Our generation's responsibility is to the children. We must teach the children with compassion so that they will learn compassion. With compassion, they will work to solve the problems that we cannot. With compassion they will work on the problems that are manmade. They will care about global warming and they will work to turn the tide. They will care about human suffering and they will work to turn the tide. With compassion they will understand that we all have a shared responsibility to one another. Eventually, when enough have learned compassion, we will have peace." [We have edited his comments in summary].
The Dalai Lama could have been a Montessori teacher. Maria Montessori made it clear in her writing that through education of the child comes peace. That is why compassion and a global understanding of our world is such an important part of every Montessori students learning. Dr. Montessori wrote the first "Rights of the Child" for UNESCO. Those rights are all based on compassion. As Montessorians, we continue to teach with compassion to our students. As adults, we must remember it when we deal with one another.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crazy for Cursive

A lot of our older boys and girls have got the cursive bug. They've been hammering us with daily requests since September to teach them this and that letter in cursive. It's wonderful to see so many children independently and enthusiastically directing their education. the skill of forming the letters correctly isn't always easily mastered. But these children practice willingly and on their own. They forge ahead, writing spelling words, rhyming and singular and plural exercises in cursive even though it isn't required. Every day is a treat.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Snacks, a Fire Truck and Paper Mache

For starters, a big "thank you" to all of you parents for sending in good, healthy snacks for the class. We've had fruit, cheese, crackers, carrots with dip and and a great snack mix made by one of the boys. His mother sent in cups for serving it, all the ingredients, the recipe and a big bowl. Her son loved mixing the pretzels, cereal, raisins and M&Ms (it's o.k. to cheat once in a while) for his classmates.

Yesterday, our Deputy Fire Chief, a Fire Marshall and a real fireman brought a pumper truck to the school for a great demonstration of the gear and equipment used to fight fires. Unknowingly, the camera card in my camera was full. So I didn't get any pictures. Darn.

But the class loved the demo and showed quite a degree of knowledge about smoke detectors and the "stop, drop and roll" rule. One even correctly identified the huge tool that's used to cut open cars in emergencies. Then they made their own pictures of the big red fire truck.

Since our class has been discussing the earth, inside and out, many of the children chose to make a paper mache model of it. We talked about its inner core, outer core, mantle, crust and plates. We saw pictures of volcanoes forming mountains and how millions of years ago, the continents were joined. From here we'll explore the periods of dinosours, then the separate continents and more land and water forms.

We used clean plastic dome tops saved from a summer of smoothies and iced teas to paper mache for each earth half. The children are happy to put recyclables (paper, plastic, cardboard) in the bins and re-use some nonrecyclables in projects.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Currently, some popular activities in the classroom are making numerous shapes with the wood triangles, putting together the puzzle maps and using the cursive sandpaper letters then practicing, practicing and practicing writing them.

Pictured is a clever invention that I spotted under construction one day. "What is it?" I asked. "A web shooter" was the answer. Of course.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Here is one of our girls using the beads to complete some addition problems. Also pictured is one of our classmembers punching out a bay after finishing the lake and the island. There is always so much going on. We certainly won't run out of pictures.

This morning while working with one of the teachers, an astute young boy said,
"Look at my blisters. They're from climbing.
My Grandma said, 'This one popped'. But I didn't even hear it!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"I could do this all day long."

Yes, that was said by one of our class's many lively boys. He had just been shown the Bank Game and was happily taking turns with a classmate being the banker, then a customer.

A few days later on the playground, one of our boys announced "There's a tarantula over there!". Considering that our school is in the Northeast, one of our teachers investigated. Just as thrilling to the children was the fact that the little creature was a daddy-long-legs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

sewing buttons?

As usual, the day passes quickly. Another lovely birthday celebration with muffins and 5 trips around our "sun" in the center of the circle of children.
There's quite an interest in learning to sew a button onto fabric. It's become popular to use that skill to decorate one's own shirt, jumper or shorts with some of the many buttons in our button bowl. I love the children's creative ideas for the buttons!
They are also having fun using the hundreds, thousands, tens and units bead material, punching out land and water forms, making words and practicing reading skills.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Our First Day

On Tuesday, 22 eager little people brought our classroom to life.
Returning students excitedly met up with old friends then happily met our new classmates. New students began absorbing the casual yet structured atmosphere of a Montessori classroom. Children explored the shelves for new and familiar materials. The class was busy. We're off to a good year.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Our first day is almost here

It's been a busy week. We're arranging materials on the shelves and making fresh, new word cards for the geometric shapes and our huge collection of picture cards and objects. Our director is swamped with taking in and getting out all the necessary forms. I'm really looking forward to meeting the class next week.