Thursday, 22 December 2011

Semi Precious Rocks





Little-N has developed a huge interest in semi-precious rocks and gems.  He started to collect rocks and gems and I was amazed at how quick he was able to build a collection from little gifts from friends and family. We bought him these books and he has read them cover to cover.


Little-N used the books to identify his small collection of rocks. I came across this amazing precious rocks,  gems and minerals magazine collections which I bought him as a gift. Each fortnight Little-N receives a magazine with a rock or gem. The collection is brilliant, the stones are huge and the magazines are so informative. So far Little-N has received gold, amethyst, rose quartz, blue agate, desert rose, obsidian and geode.


He started to look into birthstones and was eager to identify everyone's birthstone. I made him these birthstone cards.



When Little-N gets interested in a subject he becomes totally obsessed. He sat and research each rock making what he calls 'fact files' about each rock. He drew picture after picture of different rocks. He started to talk about crystal shapes and taught himself the names of different mineral crystal shapes. I printed him a set of cut out crystal shapes that he could assemble himself. I also made him colour coded name cards so he can sort and name the shapes. This is how he set up his work:



My husband took Little-N to the natural history museum where he had the opportunity to see and identify many precious rocks and gems. 



Little-N's favorite precious stone is diamond, he asked if I could buy him some but I told him he'll have to wait till he's older. His next favorite is emerald and he is eagerly awaiting the emerald magazine that comes with his collection.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Update on Little-Ns education

Managing a new Montessori school is a lot more work then I initially thought. The school has taken up all my time which means that unfortunately I am unable to prepare and work with Little-N. Little-N is still pretty much homeschooled, or perhaps unschooled is a better way of explaining his education at the moment. Little-Ns week goes something like this: Mondays he goes out on trips with my husband, Tuesdays- Thursdays he comes to school with me and Fridays he goes for prayer with my husband.  

My school does not have 6yrs+ facilities, but I have set up a little area for him, in which he has access to a selection of resources and books. Since I don't really have much time to prepare work for him, he spends the days at school reading and pursuing his burning interests. He is now in charge of his learning and it's been amazing to see what he is able to do and how he has furthered his development without any help from me. The last three months have really shown me the independence and autonomy that Montessori has allowed Little-N to develop. The Montessori education has prepared Little-N and helped him to acquire important skills that he needs for learning, and now that he's been set free he's blossoming and flying through learning.

I've been taking pictures of his work and over the next weeks I'll be posting his work so you can have a look.


Friday, 14 October 2011

Flower Arranging

Everyday we have a vase full of fresh flowers on display in the Practical Life area.

Below the vase we have a flower arranging activity which is basically a tray that contains various small vases and a pair of scissors.
Children are shown how to take a vase, fill it half way with water and use the scissors to cut the flowers they would like in their vase.

Here is an example of a four year old's flowers. Very nice!

The child can then take their vase to the table that their working at and put in the top left corner of their table. Having flowers at a child's table makes such a difference to their concentration and well-being.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Months of The Year

Last week Little-N was working on learning the spellings for the Months. I have a simple activity in which he places the months around the sun to represent our earths orbit of the sun. I have posted about this before here.

After making sure he knows all the spellings we moved onto looking at the abbreviations for each month and the numerals which can be used to represent the month.

The file for this activity can be downloaded for free from my shop.http://thelearningark.com/content/months-year

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Washing Tables

This week I set up two washing tables for the children. One table is for washing hands and the other is for washing the dirty cloths from polishing and cleaning activities. Here are what the tables look like:

Hand washing table:
Cloth washing table:
The older children in the classroom have really enjoyed working with these activities. They have developed a sense of responsibility for the cleanliness of the classroom and have spent a lot of time on the cleaning activities in the class.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Start of a New Montessori School

Finally I have found the time to blog! I've worked my entire summer, day and night setting up and preparing a Montessori school. With the help of many volunteers and parents we managed to have the school ready for it's opening on the 12th of September.

I wanted the start of the school to be smooth and tranquil allowing the children, parents and staff to have a peaceful time to settle in. To achieve this we decided to stagger our intake over a period of three weeks, starting with the oldest children. This allowed each group of children to bond with the staff and settle in the environment before the next group started. The youngest children started at the beginning of this week, this was the group I was most anxious about as some of the children have just turned 3. Amazingly our week ended with a classroom of happy and peaceful children.

A lot of time, effort, research and skill was put into the design and layout of the classroom to provide the best environment for the children. I haven't got photos of the whole classroom to share however I do have a photo of one of my favorite features: the child sized sink. With the help of two handy parents, we managed to find away to install a kitchen sink at the perfect height for children. I set the sink area up with all the necessary tools needed for children to independently wash their own dishes, this has become one of our most loved activities.

Now that things have settled and calmed I hope to post regularly about our environment and experiences. I'll also be posting about Little-Ns work and homeschooling.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Little-N's beanstalks

This summer Little-N has been enjoying the garden. Here are some photos of the beans he planted:

Little-N noticed how the beans bent towards the sun.


When the plants were big enough we planted them in the vegetable patch with some bamboo sticks.


The beans grew very quickly.


Little-N enjoyed searching for the beans and picking them.


He washed and cut the beans.


He cooked them with some garlic, butter, salt and herbs.


And proudly served it to us for dinner.
He has kept some beans for drying out and planting next year.

Little-N was so happy to completed the the cycle of cooking by planting, caring, picking and cooking.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Times Tables


Little-N has been working on his times tables. The Montessori curriculum has plenty of activities to help practice the times tables. We chose the three times table and worked with the following activities.

Multiplication with the bead stair. He wrote out his own question cards, with answer cards and a control of error on the back. He uses his cards to play a memory game.



Multiplication board.


3 bead chain and writing the number sequence.






Multiplication chart looking at the three times table.


Written multiplication chart.


3 times table on the hundred chart.


Multiplication on the peg board.

A few years ago Little-N worked with these materials to gain an understanding of multiplication. He has now revisited the material to help him with memorisation of the times tables.
Once he is confident with the three times table, we'll choose another one and work with the materials again.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

New Job

Remember the post I wrote some months ago about the Montessori pre-school I was helping set up? Well initially I joined the team as a consultant, but things have changed. I am now the pre-school manager. This is a position that I swore I'd never accept, it's a big responsibility and a lot of work, however after working with the team for months and seeing their eagerness to make the school perfect I realised that I could do more to help create a school that will be amazing and touch the lives of many children.

I've spent these last weeks preparing mountains of paper work for Ofsted [official body for inspecting school]. Ordering and buying and materials to set up the classroom and preparing training session for teachers. I am lucky to be part of a wonderful team of teachers, all coming with years of experience and amazing talents. Everyone is working to the same goal, creating an outstanding Montessori school that will not only change the lives of children but also change the community.

I was extremely nervous about my suitable persons interview with Ofsted [official body for inspecting school] in which the inspector grilled me for more than three hours asking many difficult questions. But I was glad to know that it's hard for people to get a job as a manager and Ofsted are thorough in insuring that people in these positions are good people with sufficient experience. Today we received the glad news that I have passed the interview and we have got registration certificate.

This summer will be spent setting up the school, making resources and ensuring the the school is ready for September. I have stopped my homeschooling classes that I run from home. Having a full-time job in September will mean that I can no longer homeschool Little-N :( . I will set up my classroom in the school so that he can come in to the pre-school and continue his learning with me.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Winner of Pink Series Giveaway

After consulting with the true number selector [at random.org] the winner of my Pink Series giveaway is.....

Linda
Congratulations!
Linda: I have emailed you, please reply so I can send you your files.

Thank you to everyone who entered, sorry you didn't win :( I'll be hosting another giveaway soon so keep a look out.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Montessori Pink Series & giveaway


Here is a quick overview of the Pink Level [stage one] literacy materials often used in Montessori classrooms. All the words in the pink series consist of two or three letters phonic words typically in the letter format CVC [consonant, vowel, consonant]. All letters in each word must be completely phonetic and represent the sounds learnt with the sandpaper letters. Some words such as car, are three lettered CVC words but are not phonetic so be careful to make sure words are completely phonetic. Before starting with the pink series children must have completed the previous activities I post about before here.

Pink Box 1:
Materials:
A box of six phonetic objects at pink level
Moveable alphabet and mat

The child chooses an object, identifies the sounds in the in the word, gets the correct letters from moveable alphabet and builds the words on the mat. At this stage we do not get the child to read back the words they have built.

Pink Box 2:

This is used exactly the same way as pink box 1 but the child has a box of six pictures instead of objects.


When the child has worked with pink box 2, you can begin working with rhymes. Make a letter combination with the moveable alphabet e.g 'at', the child can place letters in front of 'at' to see what words can be made that rhyme with 'at'.

Pink Box 3:
Materials: A box containing six objects and matching word cards.

This will be the child's first presentation in reading. The child should arrange all the objects on a table mat in a horizontal line. The child will then take one word, sound it out and blend the letters to read the word. The child then places the word underneath the correct object.

Alternatively, the teacher or parent can write the words on a slip of pink paper instead of providing a printed card.

Pink box 4:


This is used the same as pink box 3, however pictures are used instead of objects. The child is gradually working towards more abstract reading, with only pictures and words.

As the child progresses I will begin to make the boxes more complex by placing pictures that begin with the same letter.

Pink Card:


This is used for further practice with blending and is very similar to pink box 4. The words are kept in an envelope on the back of the card.

Pink box 5:

This box contains six words printed on paper and folded into quarters. The child should take a paper, unfold it, read the word quietly to themselves and then place in on the lid of the box. To make this activity exciting, I use pink level verbs e.g. 'hop'. The children work with the box as a group, one child will take a word, read it silently and then do the action. The other children have to guess what word the child had.

Pink lists:

Here the child will begin reading more words with less visual clues.

Sight words:
Once the child has worked with the lists, begin presenting the Sight words. These should be presented using the '3 period lesson'. It is extremely important at this stage to be consistent with presenting the sight words, I will usually do this daily, presenting individually to each child that is ready. By learning the sight words at this stage, the child will be able to move onto reading phonetic books with ease. You can print a list of sight words here.

Pink Phrases:

Here the child will begin to read simple strings of words. This activity is done in preparation for reading sentences.

Capital letters:

In order to progress further in reading, the child will now need to recognise the capital letters. I have a post about presenting these and free download for the file here.

Pink Sentences:
Here the child will begin to read sentences. This activity is done in preparation for reading books. Explain to the child that a sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop. The child should name the sight words and sound out the phonetic words.

Pink Level Books:
After working with the sentences children can begin reading pink level books. These are books that only contain sight words and pink level words. I have an old post here about the books I used with Little-N, it is really hard to find good books at this level, I have not yet found a series of books that I am completely happy with. If you know of any please let me know. In the meantime, my mother will be writing a series of books to be used with the pink series. I will post about the books once she's completed them.

Now for the giveaway...

I sell a download for the complete pink series materials in my shop. Since I am posting about the pink series here, I would like to giveaway a set for free to one of my readers.

The set includes:

- 36 word cards to match to your own objects
- 48 pictures with 48 word cards to match
- Printable moveable alphabet
- 24 secret words
- 4 word cards [each contains six pictures and six words]
- 16 word lists
- 16 phrase strips
- 12 sentence strips

You can read more about the set here.

To enter the giveaway, simply make sure you are following my blog and leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave a contact email if it does not show up on your profile or blog.

If you would like more than one entry to the giveaway then..
-Sign up to my shops newsletter and leave a second comment [Sign up at the bottom of shops home page]
-Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a link in the comment

Please note that the winner will receive a email with the downloads for all the PDF files. You are welcome to enter wherever you are on the globe.

This giveaway will end on Friday the 24th of June 2011. The winner will be selected by a random generator and I will update this post for the winner on Saturday and email the winner. If for some reason I can not contact you or, you do not get back to me within one week of the giveaway closing I will choose a new winner.

Good Luck!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Writing A Secret Code

The other day Little-N sat quietly at the dinning table writing something. He was being very secretive. He then explained that he was writing a secret code! He said that when he needs to keep a secret he'll write it in code so no one can read it. He reminded me of myself! Little-N doesn't know this but when I was younger I too made up a code with a friend and till now I'll use it when I need to make note of something secret. I'm amazed that out of nowhere he came up with this code and actually used it too.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Little-N has been reading...

A few months ago I wrote this post. Some of you suggested some great books [THANK YOU] I went ahead and bought the ones I could. Here's what Little-N has been reading:

Tales from Rumi, he loves this book! It contains small stories that convey moral and spiritual lessons. We decided to have a discussion after each story to insure that Little-N has taken it all in.

Little-N loved these. I gave him the books one at a time and he sat and read them from cover to cover.


One morning I came downstairs and found Little-N weeping. When I asked him why, he replied sniff sniff ''Charlotte died!'' sniff sniff

He read this book so fast and then asked for another one. I told him that was it for the day, so he read it again!

I'm going to the library tomorrow to see if I can get hold of some other books by E.B. White.

If you know of any more good books for Little-N please let me know, your suggestions are appreciated!