Friday, 25 December 2009

Knitting projects

The recent snow and cold weather has triggered off my knitting addiction. For some reason knitting seems to have a 'warming' effect on me even before I wear the finished projects. So here's what I've been knitting:

Wrist warmers for a friend at school following this free pattern. Very easy and straight forward to make. The only problem I encountered was that each one was a different colour. I didn't realise that the yarn I used had a long colour repeat. So i ended up knitting four and I will give the two best ones to my friend and keep the rest.

A purple scarf made from my favourite yarn that had been lurking in my drawers for 3 years. I already have a pair of wrist warmers made from this yarn and I have a purple coat that matches. So all I really need now is a perfect purple scarf and I'll be feeling very happy with myself. I used this lace scarf pattern which is very simple and straight forward. Perfect for knitting on the train or when watching TV.

And of course a project for Little-N, mini wrist warmers to match a hat of his. I made it in about 20mins and he loves them :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Annabel has kittens

Annabel [my cat] had four kittens on Thursday :) it was an amazing and exciting experience and I was there to share it with her and help her through the labour. Little-N was hovering around and kept asking 'Is there another one yet?'. He is soo excited and wants to hold and carry them, but I've explained that it's better he doesn't touch them just yet.
He described the newborn kittens as SPLAT cats because they couldn't stand and had their legs stick out from the sides. The above picture was taken immediately after birth. I was amazed at how Annabel knew exactly what to do, what a change form the pedigree Persians we used to have that needed a midwife to help with the deliveries.
This picture was taken the next day. Annabel is hugging her kittens. SO cute!
Here all the kittens were trying to feed. I'm a bit worried about the black kitten, it seems to get pushed out of the way.

A few cupcakes to celebrate!
This picture was taken today and again Annabel is hugging her kittens. How cute! They've already grown since yesterday!!! I'm a bit worried that the cold will effect them, it snowed for two days and its freezing! I've put a hot water bottle in their box for extra warmth but they don't seem to go on it.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Practising Spelling

Little-N has been practising his spelling words. He is finding sight words quite challenging. So I came up with a practice activity.
In my classroom I have 6 sets of sight words that cover all the 100 most common words. At first the boxes are only used for recognition of the words and I teach new words using the 3-period-lesson. Little-N successfully recognised all words by the end of the last school year. Once a child has completed a few boxes we begin to learning the spellings for these words. The practice activity goes as follows.
The child takes the moveable alphabet and a box of sight words to a mat. The child takes out one sight word. Reads it and then places it upside down on the mat. The child then builds the word from memory using the moveable. Once the child has built the word, they turn over the word card to check if they have used the right spelling. If the spelling is correct the child takes another word and begins to spell that. If the spelling is incorrect the child changes the letters on the mat to the correct spelling. Then the child can move onto the next word.

This activity really really helps with spelling and can be done with any words that the child is finding difficult. Having the word cards on the mat gives the child a sense of security and reduces the chances of failure. The child is gradually beginning to hold words in his memory. Eventually when the child's memory has increased, he can place the words on a mat across the classroom and build it with the moveable alphabet on another mat further away. This way the child will have to keep the spelling in his memory for a longer period.Does anyone else have any activities that help with learning irregular spellings?

Cup Cakes and biscuits

Lately I've been spending more time baking. I think I'm addicted to decorating cup cakes and I'm looking for any excuse to make some. Here are a few pictures of my recent creations.

I made these cup cakes as a surprise for the 40th birthday of a teacher at school. As you can see the theme was pink and white. I wanted to come up with a variety of designs [as I try to have more fun]. The centre cupcakes are piped with coloured butter cream. The stars are cut out from fondant and letters piped on. Everyone loved the rose design. Apparently they DID taste as nice as they looked. Yum yum

I was experimenting with cookie cutters and techniques when making these biscuits. Each one was decorated differently.
I think the hearts look super cute.
This heart is made with a puzzle cookie cutter. Its so cool. We had to fiddle a bit to get the pieces fitting together.

These are a few more butter cream cup cakes.
A whole box of them going for a delivery.

I made lots of fondant flowers and added a little edible pearl for detail. I'll be storing them in a box and using them when needed.
And finally a chocolate cake that I helped my sister make. We covered it in butter cream and then decorated it with fondant pieces. I'm really getting into this cake decorating thing. There are a few cake decorating courses on near me and as soon as a find the time I'll enrol on one. The best thing about my baking addiction is I take everything to school and share it with the staff. That way I don't have to do all the eating and I make loads of friends!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Paper Star Book

Recently I made paper star books with my children at school. They're really easy to make and the children only have to know a few basic folds to make one. Here is a mini [not so good] tutorial:

What you need:

Square pieces of paper [for the above book I used 10]

2 square pieces of card that are cut to the size of your folded paper



and Cello tape

Step 1: Fold a square piece of paper in half on both sides. Unfold. Turn the piece of paper over so that you can see the back of the previous folds and fold diagonally once. Unfold. Turn over.

Step 2: hold the paper so that the diagonal fold is horizontal and the bottom point is towards you. Next squish in the to horizontal points so that it looks like the above and squash it down into a square. Yes I know my instructions are not so good so you can follow the instructions here. You need to fold all your square papers as above.

Step 3: Cut out two pieces of card that are a few millimetres bigger than your folded paper squares. You can cover the card with wrapping paper on one side.

Step 4: Using Cello tape stick the string to the card as above so that it runs through each piece of card [corner to corner] and leave about 4 inches on either side.

Step 5: Stick a folded square to the card so that the open corner is lined up to the corner with the string.

Step 6: Stick your other squares on top, making sure that they all open up in the same direction. Once you have stuck down all your squares, stick the second piece of card on top.

In the background of the picture above you can see all the squares that have been folded. This book was actually made by one of my 9 year old students.

The strings are to hang the book as decoration or to tie the book closed. You can open each page in the book and write in it, then fold it closed again.

I know this tutorial isn't all that great and I'm not sure whether its actually clear enough to follow. If your finding it difficult leave me a comment and I'll answer it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

: )

On the 30th of November I had my Montessori 6-9 exam. I was so nervous!!! But yesterday I was told that I HAVE PASSED. It feels so good :)
Now I just need to complete my teaching practice/intern to upgrade my certificate. Hopefully I'll get it done by September 2010.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Parents Evening and a Money Activity

Only one more week of school left until the holidays. As the first term comes to an end I find myself feeling very content and happy that it has gone so well. There have been a few usual hiccups here and there but overall the children have done great. Last night was the parents evening and it was lovely to show the parents all the work the children have done. I've worked so much this term its unbelievable. I'm looking forward for the holidays to unwind and relax. But I also have a lot of work to do as I have several Montessori related projects that I need to work on.

This term has again proved to me that the best thing you can do as a Montessori teacher is to ' Follow the child' and 'believe in the child's learning capacity'.

And just before I end this post, I'd like to share with you one of the money activities that I do for children who are finding it difficult to understand the value of each coin. Basically we start at 1p and I ask the child to put the correct quantity for it in unit beads. Then we do the same for the 2p and 5p. For the 10p the child will place a ten bar, for 20p 2 ten bars and 5op five ten bars. Next they will place a hundred square for £1 and 2 hundred squares for £2. Using the beads helps children to visualise how the value of the coins increase although the sizes of the coins don't.