Monday, January 26, 2009

Last Week in Spanish


Last week in the primary classrooms I added another part to the "Pin Pon" song. I talked about the song in this post. I taught the first part before Christmas break and now the second half after Christmas break.

I am reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar "La Oruga Muy Hambrienta" this week so to learn the fruits mentioned in the book I had a basket with one fake fruit of each (apple, strawberry, orange, plum, and pear) and we sang "Pasame la manzana, pasame la manzana, pasame la manzana, pass me the apple". This comes from the CD Sold On Spanish. As we sang the song we passed the fruits around the circle. I took the opportunity to ask "what is this fruit?" and "what color is this fruit?"

Lower and Upper Elementary

In these classes we will begin playing the game "Guess Where?" in a few weeks.
The game is played like battle ship. You place your family in rooms (mom in upstairs bath, dog in downs stairs bedroom, etc...) and then try to guess where your partners family is located. First person to get them all wins! To prepare the students for this game we have started to learn "the family", "la familia".

On the shelf the students have 3 part cards for the family members and worksheets to write down the names (sister - hermana, grandmother - abuela, etc...). This work was already on the shelf when I came to this school. Here is a post about what is on the Spanish Shelf.

In upper elementary we began writing sentences like "My mom is Mary.", "My dad is Joe." and answer to question "Where is Mom?" "Mom is upstairs" "Mom is downstairs".

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spanish has started again!

This past week we began Spanish again at the Montessori School! It is great to be back and the kids did not forget a thing!!

Primary and Elementary:
I brought in a new CD "Sold on Spanish". We began with a new good morning song from this CD, talked about the calendar and learned a Days of the Week Song. Here is a website with the Days of Week song to the Adams Family Tune. The only thing is that I start with Monday instead of Sunday. We then sang the song about the Colors from the "Sold on Spanish" CD. With the primary class we went around the circle and said what color our shoes were, practiced some of our old songs and learned a new good bye song.

In the Elementary and Upper Elementary Classroom we played charades with the Tengo Expressions and I brought a new charades, "Estoy" - "I am". Here is the worksheet that each student gets (Estoy Worksheet) and then I cut this worksheet into strips for the children to pick from and act out.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Geography Training Part 6: Land and Water Forms

The first lesson on land and water forms is the fundamental concepts. These are not scientific works. The important aspect in this work is that the land and water forms are presented in pairs. The child can see that one landform is obtained from the portion that has been removed from the other.

Here is a picture of our instructor and some of my class members making the land and water forms.

Allow children to make the land and water forms in containers using clay and then have them fill them with water. With the land and water forms we are at the sensorial level. These should not look realistic and should not be used with any little objects like trees, plants, etc... It is very important that the children get to work with their hands and create their own land and water forms and not just watch the teacher do it.

Our instructor.

The second lesson would be the paper lesson. The children can cut the land forms out of sand paper or brown paper and glue them on top of blue construction paper.

1. The child creates all eight land and water forms from paper and labels them.
2. The child generates a definition for each land and water form or develops a few sentences about the land and water form.
3. The child organizes 1 and 2 above into a booklet.
4. Introduce other land and water forms: cape and bay, Archipelago and Chain of Lakes
5. Work with the Land and Water Form Mat from Waseca.

Landform Mat from Waseca

Nomenclature Cards. Island, Lake, Peninsula, Gulf, Isthmus, and Strait
You can download these cards along with definition cards for free at montessorimaterials.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Childs Area in every room of the house

My children have an area for them in every room of the house. I believe I read about this in the book Montessori Play And Learn: A Parent's Guide to Purposeful Play from Two to Six by Leslie Britton. Many times my children like to be in the area of the house where I am. Having the children's items in each room allows for them to work and allows me to get ready in the morning, work in my office, cook and clean. My children help with many activities like cleaning and cooking but sometimes that is just not what they want to do at that moment therefore I provide other things for them to do. Items on these shelves, just like items in their play room change often. Just moving something from one room to another gets the children's interest back on the item.

Here is a picture of what I have in the living room for the kids. There are games, puzzles and two books. These items just got switched out and most of it came from Christmas presents. The items in the living room are items that we do as a family(twister and table games) and some things they can do on their own(like puzzles and games).

Here is a picture of what the kids have in my office/craft room. Currently I have crayons, paper, scissors, glue, craft ideas that my 5 year old can do on his own or with little help, puzzles, and games. Their items share space with some of my books and files.

Here is a picture with items in the dinning room. It does not show another shelf I have with paints, markers, paper, Play-Doh and some other craft items. I currently have two shelves in the dinning room. This room is next to the kitchen so if I am in the kitchen it is easy for me to go back and forth between the dinning room and living room to help with activities.

I also have a shelf with toys in the Master Bedroom. The Master Bedroom is across the office so some of the office items come into the Master Bedroom and vice versa. When my children where babies I also had a basket with items in my Master Bathroom, and a low cabinet in the kitchen with plastic bowls, tops, spoons, etc...

If you have kids that can read it would be great to have a basket of books in every room, specially in the rooms where you spend a lot of time in the morning (kitchen/bedroom/bathroom) so that as you are getting ready in the morning they are reading!

N From The Learning Ark told me she has encyclopedias in her kitchen, so Little N reads them in the morning when she is spending time in the kitchen. What a great idea!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Geography Training Part 5: Study of Flgas

Activities with the flags may be divided into three levels.

I. Flag Parts - Classified Nomenclature for parts, simple nomenclature for the flags of continents.

II. Flags in relationship to geography - Pin Maps

III. Flags of each country - the meaning, traditions and customs of flags.

This is a picture of the Pin Maps. The flags are made out of metal. There is a flag with the name of the country, the capital, and the countries flag.

The 3 part board to the right of this picture is a students research. To the right is a World Map that has been laminated, small flags were printed and laminated and Velcro tabs used to match the flag to the country. This can be an alternative to the pin maps.


These are memory cards of children from around the world dressed in native costumes. Each card has the flag of the country and a child with a native dress. I will find out this weekend the name of the game. I did not write it down.

Ideas for Flag work:

1. Make a Flag puzzle: Laminate a small flag of the United States and cut it's parts and place on the shelf for the students to place back together again. They will have to pay attention to see what color stripe comes first.

2. Have the students create a Flag Book for each continent.

3. Make up some kind of game where the students get a stamp in their passports when discovering each country and it's flag. Enchanted learning has passports to print.

4. Make 3 part cards and definition cards.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Organizing our home in 2009

Since we returned from our trip, my husband and I have been decluttering and organizing our home. We do this often since my husband loves an organized house and I've become to love it! My poor husband, the super organized and clean person, married the total opposite. With lots of patience he has converted me and now I sometimes go overboard :-).

I purchased a label maker this past month and have been labeling and organizing everything!!! I love my label maker. I can't believe I have never owned one! I have to admit, having an organized home make life so much easier and saves lots of time.

We went through all bathroom closets/drawers/cabinets, all bedroom closets, kids rooms, we moved my son to my daughters room and made my sons room a play room and re-organized my office/craft room.

Here is a picture of things we donated. I forgot to take a picture of what came out of our master closet and things we took to grandma's. A few more bags and boxes. We do have a system where we have one ongoing bag in all closets to put things through the year that we want to donate (clothing/items we no longer want or fit). Any time I put something on the kids that no longer fits, it goes straight into the bag. This keeps their closets and drawers clutter free.

Here is the kids in one room. The kids love this arrangement. They are sleeping much better. My son was very unhappy in his room because it was noisy since it was close to the street. All of the different noises scared him. This room has absolutely no toys. Just a few books. It feels very peaceful and quite since it is at the back of the house. He told me that I could sell his room :-)!!!

Here is the play room. We went through the toys once. I feel that we need to go through them one more time. When we go through the toys we make three boxes (trash, donate, grandma). Trash are things that are broken or have missing pieces and cannot be fixed. Donate are items the kids have outgrown. Grandma are items that the kids have lost interest in but I know they will play with again if in a different home!! My kids have a room just for them at their Grandmas, my mom, who lives very close to us. I have already changed the play room and it has only been a few days. I'll write more about that later.

Here is a picture of how I organized all of our gift wrapping supplies. The supplies are kept in an armoire in the office.

I love my label maker!! As you can see, I divided all gift wrapping supplies into boxes so I can easily pull out what I need for the gift giving occasion. I have one box for Christmas ribbon and labels. One box for Christmas Bags and Boxes. One box for all other ribbon. One box for kids birthday bags and one box for adults birthday bags. One box for tissue paper and one box for medium and small boxes. The large boxes and large bags are not in boxes.

We had organized and decluttered our kitchen before Christmas so that was one less room to do!