Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Continent outline cards

Once the child can name the continents on the continent globe and continent map I introduced them to the plain continent matching cards. All the continents are coloured orange, the child can no longer use the colour coding to name the continents. Some children are very good at this and can already distinguish the continents by the shape and outline, other children find it very difficult. If the child doesn't know a continent I'll guide him to get the continent globe and look for the continent with the same outline and shape. Once the child can recognise all the continents by the outline they will be able to use other globes and atlases with ease.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Yoga at school

In the Early Childhood class we have a Yoga book the children can take independently to exercise with. In the pic Rose is trying out some Yoga Positions, she usually does this first thing in the morning.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Third week of school...

Today is that start of the third week of school. The journey from Early Childhood to 6-9 Montessori is slowly starting to look a lot clearer. It has been a busy and hectic few weeks! But the big change is over and I am feeling that I can now start to relax. I am more confident, knowing that I will be able to handle the change well. School went so well and smooth today as if i was running a class with little angels.

I started the day with individual meetings with each child. I discussed with them: ' What would you like to work with?' and 'What would you like to learn?'. Rose and Lion were able to make great choices and both were so eager to make sure I filled their daily plans with activities. They made Wise choices for their activities and I was very pleased and relax to know that they are REALLY starting to take charge of their own learning. Rose chose some very long activities, I knew it would be very hard for her to complete all of them today so I tried to persuade her otherwise how ever she answered ' It will be hard but I will do it, I will'. Fox however is still confused in what he wants to learn so I am slowly guiding him hoping he will soon know how to make his own choices.

I have decided to make Tuesdays and Fridays afternoon work cycle a time for science experiments. I will focus on presenting activities based on a science theme and then place them on the shelf were the children can freely choose and work with each activity. I will start with experiment on Magnetism and will post about this weeks experiments later on.

Little-N has settled well in his own class and seems to have developed a cute bond with his teacher. It is hard for both of us to be separated in the workcycle as we have always enjoyed working together and I know his learning style so well that I can tell from the look in his eye if he has understood or grasped a new concept. I hope that his teacher picks up on his desire to learn and allows his imagination to always flow.

My plan for the next few week is to take it easy, follow the children and work on that endless list of materials I need to make!!!

Practice makes perfect

This is a picture of Rose [5yrs] working with the binominal cube, she did it 13 times in a row. Each time she was extremely excited and so thrilled when she completed it. It was amazing to watch her and each time she build the binominal cube she learnt something new.

Repetition is not a waste of time it is a key to the child's learning in a Montessori classroom. Often children will repeat the activity time after time until their inner need for the process of that activity has been fulfilled. Repetition helps to reinforce neural connects.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Daily Plans

An interesting difference between the 3-6 and 6-9 Montessori class is the way a teacher gets a child to work and progress in the materials. Now that the child is older, he is given more of a responsibility towards his own learning. This week I introduced the children to their daily learning plan. Every morning I sit with each child and we discuss what work should be done during the day. I then write down the work on the child's daily plan and the child uses that to see what work he is supposed to do. Some of the activities are new presentation so the child will call me to show him what to do. Other activities are just practicing or repeating things they have already been shown. Once the child has completed the work he can colour in the activity so that I know that it has been done. At the end of the day or beginning of the next day I review the daily plan and we discuss the materials and if anything needs to be repeated.
Here is a picture of the daily plans at the start of the day. Fox [5yrs] decided that it will be a good idea to stick it to the wall, the other children copied him and so now we have a daily plan wall. Here is the picture of the daily plan towards the end of the work cycle. The children have enjoyed working and scribbling off the completed work. This really helps them to develop a sense of responsibility for their own learning and achievements. It is also a great tool to develop the skill of time management.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Mint Tea Activity

I have shown the children at school how to make their own mint tea. Usually when we have guest a child would offer to make mint tea for them.The child goes into the garden and picks some fresh mint leaves, s/he washes them and prepares the mugs. I put the kettle on and pour the hot water for the child. They then have to walk very carefully with a hot mug of mint tea [great practice for coordination]. In the picture Little-N is sitting at the snack table with a cup of tea he made for himself!!

Radish cutting

Last spring the children planted radish seeds in the garden. Now that the radish plants are fully grown the children are free to pick the radish and prepare it to eat. In the pictures 'Lion' [5yrs] picked a radish, tore off the roots, washed it to get all the mud off, then washed the sink to clean it from the mud. Next he got his chopping board, plate and knife and chopped the radish into bit size pieces. He then helped a younger child with another radish. He and a younger child sat happily at the snack table eating radish that they have grown, washed and cut independently.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Magnet Building

Here is an activity that is popular with the older children. This is a Magnetic building set where the child has various metal pieces that s/he places on a magnetic plate to build with. The children have made many interesting construction, my favourite is this tractor built by FOX [5 years].

First week at school

The first week of school is over. Each day has been a trial, seeing how things will work and what needs to be changed. Both I and the children have to adapt to the changes. Initially we planned to allow my children to move freely between the Early childhood and Elementary classes however after a day of trial we realised that it will not work. It is better for my children to be in the older class and to spend the whole work cycle there. They will only go to the Early Childhood class to get materials that they need [that we don't have in our class] or to help or teach a younger child. I tried this for Thursday and Friday and it worked well, the children spent a lot of time learning, repeating old activities and taking part in small group work.

I have realised that the Elementary class is very different from the Early Childhood class mainly because the children and their needs are very different. The challenges have changed and I can already see where we will face difficulties. The older children are more independent, opinionated and daring. This year will be a big learning curve for me as I move from the environment and materials I know so well into a Elementary class that is all new and materials that are challenging even to adults. I have heard that not all Early Childhood Montessori teachers will make good Elementary teachers, I hope I have what it takes to succeed at this. I am excited I know this will be a fun year!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Language Area

My language area is almost ready. I took some photo's to show everyone. Due to limited space I only have a small section of the materials out. I plan to change the materials as the children progress.

On the top shelf [to the left] is a small wooden wall shelf that fitted our reading books perfectly. It contains the sight word boxes, basic grammar boxes and two reading series. One set is phonetic for the phonetic readers. The other set is a sight based reading series [Oxford Reading Tree]. Above the wall shelf unit is a box of context cards that goes with the Oxford Reading Tree.

To the right of the wall shelf are two paper files which contain assorted paper [Square paper, plain paper, sugar paper, card, lined paper, dotted paper...]. To the right of that are jars of stationary and beautiful beaded baskets that contain other useful stationary.

Here is a close up of the stationary section. The jars contain, pencils, rulers, pens, pencil colours, felt-tip pens, gel pens and crayons. The baskets contain glue sticks, rubbers, sharpeners, a stapler and staples, rubber bands, paper clips, pins and various other bits and bobs. I do not have a creative area, the children will have to go to the Early childhood class to get the creative materials they need to use.

Back to the first picture: On the next shelf [To the left] I have the Blue reading series, this shelf is pretty stuffed but I honestly don't have more space to put the materials. The shelf contains blue boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, blue lists, blue phrases, blue booklets and blue cards.

Below this shelf I have the capital sandpaper letters and a basket for matching small and capital letters. Next to this is the box of grammar symbols and another grammar box.

The shelf to the right has the green series materials. Many phonogram boxes, phonogram sandpaper letters, phongram lists and the small movable alphabet.

I am hoping to get throught these materials soon so that I can remove them and replace them with more advanced materials. The children I have are 5 years and are pretty much still on the Early Childhood curriculum for language.

The Orchid: A beautiful orchid that makes us smile as we work. She sits perfectly on a corner shelf where she happily watches us work.