Monday, 28 March 2011

Beyond Schooling

I have been listening to this great series of lectures by John Taylor Gatto and Hamzah Yusuf Hanson about educating children. I have really found them beneficial and would advise everyone out there to listen to them. Here is a link to some of it on youtube.

Friday, 25 March 2011

New school opening

A new Montessori school is opening up near my house and I have joined them as a Montessori consultant. The school aims to be an authentic Montessori school and I am really honoured to be part of the team. They will start with ages 3-6years and gradually build up to a primary school.
Sunday was our open day and this is the Montessori table that we had set up for the parents to get an idea of what materials we will have in the school.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Cats caught something interesting

The other day my cats were acting strangely in the garden, it looked as if they were chasing a beetle or something. After a little while my cat Olly ran into the garden with something large hanging from his mouth. Initially I thought he'd caught a mouse. He dropped it on the floor and in front of him was a huge frog. He picked it up again and started to run away from me and the frog screamed!!! I managed to stop Olly and he dropped the frog. Before I could get there, we had a frog playing dead on the grass and 4 cats ready to pounce on it.

I managed to shoo the cats away and Little-N went looking for a box. We picked up the frog [using a spade] and it started hoping again. Little-N was delighted. We bought it indoors for safety and observation. Little-N looked up and found out that is was a British common frog, just like the frogs we raised last year, but this was much much much larger. We kept it for a few hours, in which Little-N decided to do a research paper on him. We later released him safely in a relatives garden [with a frog pond] far away from my cats.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lots of weaving

In my classroom I have taken away the early practical life activities and started to put more advanced work. I started the class with simple practical life activities for a reason you can read about in this post and this post. I no longer need the simple activities any more, but practical life is still equally important for older children. Over the next few weeks I will be adding many interesting advanced practical life activities, some indoors and some outdoors. I will try to post about as many as I can.

To start off, weaving has been a big hit with the boys. The first picture shows a circular weaving loom, I like this as it is short and simple so a child could maybe finish it in a day or two. This loom makes really cute weaved circles perfect for coasters. I bought mine for 20p but I am sure that you can easily make one at home.

This is a wooden weaving loom that I bought for £1 and its perfect. Really well made and simple to work with. One of the older boys [8yrs] sat and weaved for 30mins! We haven't completed a mat yet, so I am excited to see their faces once I take the mat of the loom.

You can easily make a loom and I blogged about the ones I made years ago here. These are nice because each child can have their own loom. Unfortunately only a few children actually finished their work, so we had many unfinished looms in the classroom. The wooden loom pictured above is for collective work, all children get to do a bit and when its finished we will use the mat in my classroom.

Years ago we also made felt weaved mats which the children took to display at home. The instructions for them are here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Boys with long hair, what is the problem?

I've been growing Little-Ns hair for most of his life. Occasionally I will give it a cut, not too short, but then I always leave it to grow again. He does have very unusual hair! It only looks neat if its very long or very short. I love it when its long, I love to play with it and curl it round my fingers. You may have noticed in his recent pictures that he is always wearing a hat, he does that for two reasons, one is that we are growing the front so that he can brush it to a side, and as it is still not long enough it gets in his eyes. A lot of people [family] have been commenting on his hair saying that he is now too old to have long hair. Some people have even said he looks like a GIRL!!!! I'm not sure whether I should cut it or continue growing it! He will be seven next month and I need to make a decision soon! What do you think?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Telling the time and free downloads

The other day I put up a new analogue clock in the kitchen. All the other clocks around the house are digital. I asked Little-N to tell me the time and he couldn't!!! I was sort of shocked as he could tell them time very well more than a year ago and even though most of our clocks are digital he still sees analogue clocks around and about. I don't have all the Montessori clock materials in my new class [I had to leave those in the school I used to work in] so I quickly made some of my own materials to do with Little-N.

I did a quick hand made clock search and saw this great idea at The Homeschool Den. I decided to make my own version of it where Little-N can write the numbers. I have laminated it and he writes on it with a chinagraph pencil so that it can be reused. I also made a control version and a to and past time version. You can download them for free here.

I also made him these clock cards where he matches the times. At first he uses it with the control cards [at the top]. He can also use the handmade clock above to check his answers.
Next he uses the cards without the control as shown below.

And when he's finished he uses the control cards to check his answers.

I made these cards for o'clock times, quarter past times, half past times, quarter to times and minute times. You can get the o'clock cards for free here. The other cards are available for download here. I have made them with colour coding but left the separate words and clocks without colour coding so that all cards can be used together at the end of the lessons for a huge clock matching and sorting activity. I also made blank card for the children to write the time on or to use with digital cards.

Here is an old post for another activity that I did when helping children to understand how tell to the time.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Recording Temperature

Thanks to everyone who left me a comment on my last post, your support and encouragement is much appreciated. Now that my class is set up I can work on more projects with Little-N, here is our latest. I got Little-N a window thermometer and he is recording the temperatures throughout the day.

I made him this little chart to record the temperatures and we will use the information form it in later project. Using a thermometer has broadened Little-N's understanding of negative numbers.

Monday, 7 March 2011

My Classroom Has Been Moved

Finally we have a classroom again. I didn't realise how many resources I had for my class until I moved! I had more than 14 large boxes packed with materials and it took hours and hours to unpack everything. I still have many other things that need sorting and plenty to print and make, but for now my classroom is functional. Here are some photos...

The shelves to the right of the picture are for mathematics materials, beside them is my home made bead cabinet and to the left of the photo is the sensorial and geometry shelf. I am reducing the sensorial materials and replacing them with geometry materials. Some of the sensorial materials are used again for 6-9 yrs geometry.

The shelf in the centre of the picture is for language materials, it contains the sandpaper letters, moveable alphabet, pink, blue and green series.

This shelf is the grammar and word study shelf, I still have to print many materials for it.

This is the science shelf.

Here is the geography shelf, it contains all the maps, continent boxes, globes, pin maps, and other geography related materials.

Here we have the library which is far too small to fit all our books in, so I have put the rest of our books in Little-N's room and we will rotate the books. Beside the library is the advanced practical life shelf, I am still adding materials to it. All the simple activities have now been removed as the children have mastered them.

I need to buy new tables and chairs that are larger than the ones in the photographs, but I am finding it very hard to find individual wood tables at a reasonable price. I may have to make them myself.

I wish my classroom was bigger so that we can have more shelves and more children. At the moment this size is suitable for 5-6 children but we will see how it goes once the children join.

Let me know what you think of my class.