Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Recently we added the Bindeez activity to our creative area. This is similar to 'Hama beads' that are used to make designs and then you iron to join the beads, however with the Bindeez you don't need an iron, just water. The activity consists of: a tray, a small bowl to hold the balls, a Bindeez tray and tweezers. The child choose a template from the drawer and then uses the tweezers to place the balls in the correct place on the Bindeez mat. Once the child has finished his design, he takes the spray bottle, fills it and then sprays the design. We then leave them overnight on the window sill to dry.

We keep the extra templates, refill balls and spray bottle in a little drawer on the shelf where the activity is kept. We also made some 3-D designs with them. The pictures are of Little-N working hard with this activity.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Its snowing outside!

Its been a long time since I last blogged. We've been very busy with moving houses. All the packing, unpacking and putting up Ikea furniture. The time goes past so fast I didn't realise how long I haven't posted for. Me and Little-N are now on a very needed half-term holiday. I haven't planned much for this week although I do hope to take him to a Zoo and perhaps a castle.

This morning I woke up to frosted grass, its delightful to see the winter slowly crawl its way in [its actually snowing outside right now]. I have many idea's for knitting projects for this year. On my list for Little-N are: Aran Jumper, hooded cardigan, 2 hats, vest tops and a nice pair of warm sock. I decided to spoil myself this year and knit myself a few things [usually i knit for other people and freeze instead] I'd like to knit myself a scarf, a long warm cardigan, wrist warmers, leg warmers, a cable hand bag and a shawl that I have already started [and will post abt soon].

I'm looking for science resources for some of the projects I'll be doing with the children over the next few months. I came across this great website that seems to have many amazing resources. I can't wait to order!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Knitting at school

As i mentioned in an earlier post, I use every spare moment I have to knit. I am currently knitting a pair of socks for myself using a toe - up pattern. I keep my knitting on a shelf at school and whenever I have a second or two I knit a bit. Right now I am 3/4 of a way through one sock [all knitted at school in the workcycle]. The children love it when I knit and they have all placed orders for socks and hats [not sure how i will get out of this one]. I will upload a pic of the socks when I finish them.

Monday, 13 October 2008

The lesson that hurts

Sadly, today the school hamster 'Lilly' past away. It was a sad morning for the whole school. We gathered for a group meeting where we discussed with the children that Lilly's time with us had ended and she has now left this world to go to a better place. The looks on the children's faces were so touching. We discussed how everything living has an end and gave examples of flowers that die, fruits that rot and pets that pass away. We asked the children what they would like to do with Lilly now that she is dead, Little-N suggested that we bury her in the garden. So we did, we placed her in a cardboard box, dug a hole, everyone said goodbye and she was gently placed in her grave. Each child got a pebble and we decorated her grave with it. On the last pebble we wrote ' We will always miss you Lilly'. The older children were tearful, the younger children didn't quite understand. Some children asked what will happen to her, will the worms eat her? will a stag beetle break her box? will she feel hurt? today was a sad learning experience for each one of them.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

It's getting cold....

So Winter is obviously on its way and the cold is slowly creeping in. When its cold I get into knitting mode. Usually I never dress Little-N in any knitwear unless its handmade. Each winter he gets new hats, jumpers and cardigans. I knit all winter until the weather starts to get warm.

Last winter I made Little-N this aran jumper
I made it without a pattern, all in one piece from top down on circular needles. Luckily it was too big for him last winter and it fits beautifully this winter.

To start this winter off I knitted him this hat:
Again without a pattern, I wanted something that will keep his ears warm and that little bit of his neck covered. I wish I had time to type up the pattern so that I can share it with everyone, at the moment I don't SORRY!
A friend asked me: 'When do you knit? you haven't got any time!'
Answer: I knit in the school meeting every morning, while everyone is discussing the day, my needles are racing. I have a knitting project I keep in my class and whenever I have a chance between presentations and observations I sit on a chair and start knitting. The children love this and many will choose to watch me knit. Each lunch break you'll find needles in my hand and many days I'll prefer it over food. I knit if I'm on the train and I knit when I am stressed and need to calm down. Yes, I am addicted especially when its winter.

Recycled Autumn Tree

As I was eating a Ferrero Rocher a great idea came to mind. The golden wrappers were to good to just throw away! I just brought a leaf shape paper cutter and I was sure that the golden wrappers would make great leaves.
I doubled the Ferrero Rocher wrapper and punched loads of leaves out. My mother then got out a marzipan bar that was covered in red foil, of course I pinched the foil and punched some leaves out of that too. I used an old brown envelope for the background, using a black pen I drew an outline of a tree. I then randomly stuck the leaves on using PVA glue.


Earlier I posted about pattern blocks. The other day a child made this pattern with the them, I cant say anything except for its amazing!

My Little Knights

Lately Little-N has had a fascination with dragons, as usual he spread his interest and all the boys started to get obsessed with dragons. As a montessori teacher I try to take every opportunity to extend their learning so from dragons we have go on to study history, geography and language. Now we are working on a project of Castles and knights [and dragons of course]. We started with the story of St George and the dragon, which lead us to knights and then to Castles. Now were planning a trip to visit a castle.

During a project, I sometimes simply open up an encyclopedia and read from it or let them read it if possible. I don't always have a plan for what I'll do next, then children work that all out without any help from me. So as I was reading about castles one child said he wanted to make a castle: great opportunity for me to bring in lessons about land and human needs. Another child was so fascinated by knights and he wanted to know how they're different from modern day soldiers. And then of course they all decided they have to be knights.

This week we made shields. We looked at different designs and each child picked their favourite [Little-N's with a dragon of course]. Here are some pictures of how we made the shields. Next week we will be making swords!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Pattern Blocks

Pattern Blocks are one of my favourite additions to a Montessori class. So much learning can take part when playing and making patterns with them. In my 6-9 class I have a tub of pattern blocks that the children can get out and make patterns with. Usually a child would be introduced to this activity when they have completed the early sensorial materials. With the older children we use the shapes to see how each shape fits together. First we start off with seeing how 1 shape can fit together and what patterns can be made using one shape. Next we see what shapes we can make from putting other shapes together. As the child progresses through the Montessori materials he will learn to measure the angles and calculate how many shapes are needed to complete a particular angle or fill an area. I also love the workbooks with designs that the children can copy with the pattern blocks, Little-N used to spend lots of time making patterns but is no longer interested in making any patterns.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Great Lesson 3: Fundamental Human needs

For my training course I had to make a timeline to use with one of the Great lessons. I chose to make the Golden timeline that can be used for Great lesson 3, 4 and 5. This timeline is made up of 23 pieces of gold A4 card, each piece represents a quarter of a century. The timeline starts at 3500 BCE and goes all the way to 2000CE.

When using this timeline for Great lesson 3 the children can study the following civilizations: Early Egyptian, Ancient Greek, Roman Empire, Dark Ages, Medieval Times, Enlightenment and Modern Times. The child will study the fundamental human needs and see how each civilization met each need [More about fundamental needs in another post if i find the time!].

I made the transport cards [one of fundamental needs] these cards show how transport developed through time and changed with each civilization. The first picture above shows the cards I made: 1. Picture card 2. Label and 3. Information card . The second picture shows the folder I made to keep them in.