Saturday, 30 August 2008

Another T-Shirt

Another attempt at freezer paper stencilling. To make the T-shirt special I stencilled one of Little-N's favourite road signs.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Great Idea: Eyeball stick

I just saw this great idea at My Montessori Journey so I made one for Little-N. He is using it to help him read the words in his books!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Preparing my class for the new school year

I have been really busy at school preparing my class and the early childhood class. There is an endless list of things to do!!! My class is taking so much time because all the materials are new and I have to make many of them. Over the next week I am hoping that I find time to photograph each shelf and explain what I have for the children. I have made many PDF files for both the early childhood and 6-9 class, I hope to start an eBay shop probably at the end of September. I'll post about it when it is ready. But for now I better go and cut the laminated sheets of new materials!

Glitter Playdough

Little-N made some glitter playdough. I set up the materials with the correct measuring cups in front of each ingredients and let him do all the rest.Here is the recipe i used :
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
1 tsp of cream of tartar
1/2 cup of water [don't use all at once add as needed]
Food colouring
Lavender oil
Oil [I don't always put this]

I will use all the photo's I took to make an instruction card for Little-N or the children at school to use independently.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Hundred chain

I have been away for a few days and unable to post. I'm glad to be back and be able to share Little-N's learning with everyone. School is about to start and there are many preparations to do.
Here are pictures of Little-N working with the hundred chain. He still needs a bit more practice with this. The arrows make it fun for him, but counting can get boring after a while. I think it will be a while before I attempt the Thousand chain!
The chain next to the 100 square to show Little-N that they are the same.
Laying out the arrows.
Labelling the beads.

Bracelets activity

This is the threading activity that I have for Little-N. He helps with sorting the beads, then I provide some elastic that perfectly fits my wrists and he makes all sorts of wonderful bracelets. This activity is addictive and the result is always beautiful. I usually wear the bracelets he makes and that encourages him to make more.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

New curtains

I haven't been able to go into school much these past few days. I have been overloaded with trying to plan and organise a 3 day creche program. There was a lovely surprise when I went to school last Thursday: NEW CURTAINS! I asked a couple of time for the classes curtains to be changed to something simpler and more cosy. I love new curtains, they're perfect. It really adds a golden feeling to the class.

On the left under the curtain you can see a wooden dolls house, that's used for the grammar materials. I'll write about the other materials once I finish setting the whole language area.

Although I will be teaching in the 6-9 classroom, I still have to help with the setting up of the 3-6 class. One area that I wanted to redo was the cultural area. Previously the children were going onto the later cultural materials too early, because they were not ready for the materials they were being presented to they developed a bored attitude to learning. I decided to have a good look at the cultural sequence for materials. Many colleges follow different sequence, in the end I decided to use the sequence from my first Montessori college [MCI] and the years of experience i had. We have decided that the cultural materials will start with paring activities. On the shelves above we have pairing fruit, pairing berries, pairing flowers, pairing animals and pairing trees. The 2.5yr old will start with these and learn the names of all the fruits, plants, trees or animals. We will also add in some concrete pairing activities. Next we will have the zoology puzzles for the different parts of each animal and terminology cards that go with them. Next the child will go onto life cycles and then classification of the animal kingdom. I want the children to do all this before going onto the globes and puzzle maps. Its essential that the child has a good understanding of the world that they can see around them and experience everyday before teaching them about continents. That's all I can write about now, once the shelves are all set up I'll take pics and explain the sequence more.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Egg tray activity

I was flicking through some pictures of the old school I worked in and came across this. This is an 'Egg tray activity' I came up with while setting up Montessori in a school in Egypt. The children loved it to bits.
At home you can use a regular egg tray [instead of the plastic one] and ping pong balls [ or real eggs if you want to be brave]. Show the child how to take an egg [or ball] from the basket and place it carefully in the top left hole. Its important to emphasis left to right and top to bottom movements when presenting to a child.
The older children also liked this activity, they would make patterns with the eggs [balls] and sometimes write letters.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Bead keyring

The other day my nephews and niece came to visit. While I was showing my niece how to make a beaded star one of my nephews [2 years old] decided that he wanted to have a try. Obviously a star will be too complex so I came up with this beaded keyring. It turned out really cute so I thought I would share this with everyone. To make one you will need beads and metal rings [the ones you find in stationary stores and are used for folders].

A few great finds..

I found two great materials at Tesco, they're not strictly Montessori but can easily be used in a Montessori way.
The first is a magnetic map of Europe, it comes with a set of magnetic flags and magnetic labels for all the countries and cities in Europe. Little-N loves working with this. I decided that I will introduce him to 5 flags at a time.

The second is a a squared magnetic board that comes with small magnetic number tiles. These can be used for Addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Little-N will use this with the Montessori beads when he doesn't want to write. I was hoping that they would have magnetic numbers from 1 -100 [perfect for hundred board] but they didn't.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

From Hungry to Hungary

This is why I love Montessori Homeschooling. Yesterday morning Little-N was asking for his breakfast the conversation went something like this:

Little-N: I'm hungry

My mum: Your from Hungary?

Little-N: No I am hungry.

Me: Did you know there is a country called Hungary.

Little-N: Ha Ha no there isn't

Me and my mum: Yes there is....

And that is how a project starts. You follow the child and seek those precious moments to inspire him into learning.

So we got out the atlas. Look Little-N what does that say 'h...u...n...g...a...r..y' 'Hungary'. Checked what continent it's in and looked at some pictures from the country. Then Little-N decided to make a flag. Out came the paints and a flag appeared. This is a learning experience that will last with him for life, he will always remember those colours he painted, and the continent he found the country on!
Each day in a child life should be a day full of learning and wonder!

2nd Blog award!

I can't believe this but yesterday I got nominated for another blog award by Jo from A bit of This and A Bit of That, thank you so much Jo you made my day!!

I will pass the award onto the following blogs:

Adventures of a Montessori Mama this is a GREAT blog

There you go seven more great blogs!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Grammar: Adjectives

Here are pictures of Little-N working with Adjective box 1. The presentation is the same as Noun box 1 except you explain what an adjective is. Little-N read the adjective cards and then found an object that fits the adjective. He has a set of dragons that come in kinder eggs, he wanted to you them for all the adjectives. Mummy this dragon is sad, this dragon is bad!

This dragon is red!

Learning Log

I would like to share with you my secret in homeschooling. I'm the type of person that likes to see progress and I like to have some form of reference for Little-N's learning. Years ago when I was only homeschooling I made a learning log.

In Montessori you don't really plan learning, instead you follow the child's interest and decided on suitable activities by observing the child. I designed this learning log where I note down what Little-N has been doing over the past week. The columns are for the different areas of learning and the rows are for the days of the week. Each time he does an activity I note it down in the correct box. I try to make sure that 3 days don't pass without making sure he has done something in each area [except for those days when he is obsessed with one area of learning]. If I find that he isn't learning in a particular area I look and the materials and see if there is something I can change about them to interest him. Maybe the activity is too easy, maybe he already knows this, it might be to hard or not interesting. I then play around with the 'purpose' of the activity and see if I can find another way of getting Little-N interested in that area. It is important to look at the child's holistic learning every once in a while.
The Learning Log should be made to fit your child's needs, so if you have a 2.5 yr old then add extra columns for 'Grace and Courtesy' and perhaps change literacy to language and then note down language development. For my older children at school I will use a more complex Learning Log that covers the different area's of mathematics [Operations, writing, geometry] and literacy [ Grammar, reading, writing, spelling]. We send these learning Logs to the parents once every 6 weeks.

I can't find a way to easily upload files on my blog so that you can download them. So if you want this Learning Log [1 page] then let me know and I'll be happy to email it.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Beaded stars

Yesterday Little-N and I made a beaded star. This is a bigger version of the stars I make with smaller beads.

You need:
About 70cm of wire
About 45 beads

Step 1

Twist the end of the wire so that the beads do not fall off.
Thread 10 beads on the wire.

Thread the wire through the first bead to make a circle.

Step 2

Thread 4 beads on the wire, then thread the wire through the 4th bead again so that it makes a loop over the bead.

Step 3

Thread 3 beads on the wire.

Thread the wire through the 3rd bead on the ring made in step 1. This makes the first point of your star.
Continue with step 2 and 3 until you have 5 points.

To finish twist the the start and ending piece of wire together. Little-N added his star to a key ring.

Freezer Paper Stencil

Finally I had a go at freezer paper stencilling. Little-N loves rockets, so I drew one and followed Laura's tutorial at My Montessori Journey. Its really fun, but I had a problem with the red paint being too runny and it leaked under the stencil. I used tulip fabric paint. Little-N was so excited that he smugged the paint when i wasn't looking. I'll add some other stars to hide the smug marks.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Straw Shape Activity

Little-N had a go with the straw shape activity I saw at Sycamore Stirrings. At first he was struggling to get the shapes to stay together but eventually he got the hang of it.

I used a sorting dish to separate the straws according to size.
I made that pyramid to show him what he can make.He made these shapes and various others.

He then decided he had to make a house for his dragon. I helped him with the roof bit!

Road Signs Memory Game

Little-N's new interest is in road signs, he wants to know what they all mean and he tries to make up his own. His favourite is the red circle with a diagonal line through the middle. When he is angry with someone he'll say 'I'm going to draw a circle with a line in the middle and write your name so it means you cant come in'.
Here is the road sign memory game I made. I only did a few signs to start off with and it looks like I will be making more soon! If anyone wants to make this let me know and I will email you the file.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Look what I found in the storeroom

While I was looking for some mathematics materials in the schools storeroom I came across a big box that had 'Nienhuis' written on it. I asked the head teacher and she said she didn't know about it, so I went ahead and opened it. I found this amazing cultural material.

This is the map of Europe. It has a set of flags for each country and another 2 sets of flags one with the countries names and the other with capital cities. The set included three control charts for the flags, countries and cities. The school bought it years ago and forgot about it!! How I don't know! If I owned this it would be in my living room where everyone can see it!!

I also found another flag material. Can you believe it?? Two master pieces in one day. This one is the World flag map. It has about 36 flags from around the world. The school got this from Absorbentminds sometime last year.

Finally I have my own classroom!!!

Our Early childhood class was very very spacious and we need an extra room for our older children. The builders came in and built half length walls to section off part of the early childhood class. Now we have an extra room :), it will be our first Montessori 6-9 class. The room is quite small [but hey its better then nothing] and we will start off with three 5 1/2 year old children.

To the left of this picture is the rest of the early childhood class.

Here is the class from a different view. The bottom left corner is where the door is.

There was lots of cleaning and reorganising to do. I had to remove all the early childhood materials from the shelves and then bring in the 6-9 yrs materials.

I only managed to set up the mathematics and cultural areas.

The 6-9 Mathematics area has so much materials I ran out of space !! I haven't even got the bead cabinet yet and there's no where to put it!

Here is the cultural area, its full of maps and maps and more maps. I am so excited that this year I will be teaching something new! I still have other materials to add in the cultural area but i haven't made them yet.

The curtains need changing and those stickers on the windows need removing. I decided to buy an Orchid to put on the corner shelf between the windows.

Over the next week I will be adding in a creative , sensorial, advance practical life and language areas. The nice thing about my class is that it is still attached to the early childhood class, the older children can go between classes as they wish. The younger children can come in to observe or ask for the help of the older children. More about my class later!