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.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Children In Need

Yesterday was the 'Children in Need' day. We arranged a sponsored dress up for the children at school to raise money. To make things a bit more tasty and to get a bit more money out of people I made these yummy Pudsey bear cupcakes. They sold out straight away. It was really fun making them, but took quite a long time! I think I have found myself a new obsession and I'll be making more cupcakes on the weekend for one of the teachers 40th birthday.

Friday, 20 November 2009


Recently one of my older students wanted to work with the detective adjective game [shown in the picture at the end of this post] which is a grammar activity but the child must know the names of all the triangles to work with it. Last term she tried to learn the triangles by doing a three-period-lesson with the geometric cabinet, but she couldn't get it and quickly lost interest. After reading the geometry manual at Cultivated Drama I decided to teach this differently.
I began by asking the child to construct three triangles with the geometric stick material. The first triangle was made from 3 pieces of the same size, we spoke about how all the sides are equal. Then I asked the child to construct a triangle with 2 sides the same and one side different. Thirdly she made a triangle with all the sides different. We then did a three-period -lesson and after the final period I questioned her 'Why is this an isosceles?', 'Why is this a scalene?', 'Why is this an equilateral?'. We then labelled them. To ensure that she fully understood, I got her to draw the three triangles in her book, write the names and a description for each.

The next day I checked if she could remember the names for each triangle. Next we did the same thing for the angles. We used the geometric sticks and placed a pencil in the end hole and drew three angles. We did a three-period-lesson, labelled them and recorded them in her book.
We then got out the geometric cabinet triangle tray. She sorted the triangles according to the names and then sorted those by the angles. She did it well!
You can't really see the labels in this picture but the top labels say, 'right angled', 'acute angled' and 'obtuse angled'. The labels on the right say 'isosceles triangle' and 'scalene triangle'.
The next day I asked her if she wanted to work with the triangle terminology cards. First she matched them with the control cards, then she matched them without. Here is a link for these cards I made if you want to download them.
Next she made a triangle chart all by herself. She traced around all the triangles in the geometric cabinet and cut them out from blue paper. She stuck them on her chart in the correct places.

Finally she was ready to work with the 'Detective Adjective Game'. She was thrilled!
I love how children in a Montessori classroom can work day after day, hour after hour to achieve a certain goal they have without giving up. This story is just one example of the many that happen daily in a Montessori setting.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Geometirc Stick Material

I have always been fascinated by the Montessori geometric stick material and it's many uses. We couldn't buy it because it's very expensive, so I decided to make my own set. It's very easy, I cut card to the correct sizes and used a hole puncher to make the holes. I then laminated everything. The only problem I am having is finding a suitable storage box, so for now they live on a tray.
Montessori Spanish has a few good post about this material.

In this picture one of the children was using the material to learn the names of the different triangles. I like the fact that the child can easily see which sides of each triangle are different and which are the same. And so making it easier for them to recognise and name each triangle.

Countries, Capital Cities and Flags Sheets

Map work is still very popular with all the children in my class. Many have learnt all the countries in Europe and know their capital cities and flags. As an extension to the pin maps I made a little sheet for the children to record their knowledge on. It's very simple and the children are enjoying it, so I thought I'd upload it to so that you can use it too. If you would like to download it click here.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Finding The Rhythm

I can't believe that its been so long since I blogged! This month I have been extra busy for three reasons. Firstly I am doing a Degree in Montessori which will finish Summer 2011. It's been keeping me very busy as I am now back to essay writing, background reading and researching. Secondly I will be taking my Elementary Montessori exam this November and I'm not quiet sure if I'm ready for it :(. Thirdly I am working many more hours at school than I ever did in my life. With all these things keeping me busy I'm finding it hard to find a much needed rhythm and balance between work, studying, Little-N and personal time. Don't worry tho, I will continue blogging and as soon as I find my rhythm I will once again share with you all the amazing things the children are doing at school this year. There really is so much more going on at school the children have not progressed but they have LEAPED and we are only 6 weeks into the school year! Anyway I'll be back soon that's a promise.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Parts Of The Tree

This is the work of one of my 6-9yrs children, she spent a whole week working on this doing bits here and there. She traced around each piece of the tree puzzle and then carefully cut them out. She then stuck them in her science book, where she made a little pocket to hold labels for each part of the tree. I think it looks amazing!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

World Animal Week

Last week was world animal week and we had loads of exciting activities planned for the children.

On Tuesday the children had bear day. Each child brought in their favourite teddy, they then had a group session all about bears.

On Wednesday we had a bake sale to raise money for animals. The children baked cakes and we encourage parents to come in and buy them.
My class made simple coloured cup cakes and decorated them all individually. It's fun cooking with them and I am planning to do so once every month.

The ladybird and bee cakes were made by my sister. They sold out really quickly, she also made tiger and monkey cakes but they were all gone by the time I got my camera out.

The tray on the left are the cupcakes that were made by my class.
On Thursday the children came in dressed up as their favourite animals. Little-N was a lion, I couldn't find him a costume anywhere so together we made him one from felt the night before. We also invited a lady from the WSPA to come in and talk to the children about endangered animals. They all enjoyed the week so much! This year we are planning to do a lot more of these weeks focusing on different topics.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Life Science files

I just wanted to let everyone know that I have just uploaded to My store some of the life science materials that I posted about last month.

I also wanted to thank everyone for their comments. I absolutely love comments and I appreciate every one that you leave. This month I have been very very busy and have hardly had the time/energy to reply and I'm very sorry for that. I promise you all I'll be back in action very soon [as soon as I get myself organised].

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

I love awards

A while ago I received two blog awards :), many thanks to those who nominated me!

The first award is from Leptir:
Rules for the award- Tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true. Tag ten people with the award, and be sure to let them know they have been tagged (a quick comment on their blog will do). Don't forget to link back to the blogger who tagged you.

So here are ten things:
1. I just started a Montessori degree course today
2. I'm a vegy
3. My favourite colour is purple
4. Last week I left school after 6 every day
5. I'm about to start a research project about handwriting
6. I believe 100% in the montessori method, no one can even try to convince me that something is wrong as I have an answer for everything!
7. I used to do a lot more crafts and art, slowly the time for these things have vanished
8. I don't have a sense of smell
9. Little-N looks just like me when I was 5 :)
10. I drive a VW

I would like to pass this award onto the following blogs

The second award was from Spors in the Desert

Saturday, 19 September 2009

First week of school

School reopened and we have had a wonderful very busy week!
I'm so happy that the week went well [I panic a few days before school starts], the children went straight to work and everyone continued as if they have been here all throughout the summer.

This year I have 6 children ranging from the age of 5.5 to 9. We decided not to take on any new children and instead focus on giving these six children 100%.

Day 1 started with a recap of the responsibilities of the class. We have three responsibilities :
1. To respect the environment, each other and the materials
2. To choose suitable work and complete the activities
3. To prevent disturbance

Once the children were reminded of their responsibilities they were allowed to freely choose work. Most children immediately went to the library and looked at the new books we had. Some children got out the maps and another decided to start the school year with a poem.

Last year was very free and easy going, this year I plan to have a bit more structure. The day schedule is as follows

9.00 the children arrive and go straight to the garden. At this age the children come to school full of energy and have lots to say to each other. In the garden, I get them to run around and chat as much as they want so that when we come into the class everyone is calmer and ready to work.

9.30 The children come into the class and we have the morning group. Each morning my group is different, I usually do three things. An action activity, a grace and courtesy lesson, and a little talk about something interesting that is relevant to that day. The group lasts 15-20mins.

9.45 The children set off to work. Some of the children are working from individual weekly plans which I plan with them on Mondays. The other children are working from daily plans which we plan daily. The children can freely choose any activity in the class whether its on their daily plans or not, but they must complete the work on their plans. I check their plans regularly to ensure that everyone is on track. The children are allowed to take their activities to the garden and work, but during the workcycle the children can not run, climb or use the slide in the garden.

12.30 - 1.30 The children tidy the class, check everything is in order and then prepare for lunch. After they eat their lunch they can run around in the garden and play games.

1.30 The children come back inside the classroom for a short group [5mins] and then everyone returns to work.

2.45 The children tidy up and do their cleaning chores.

3.00 Everyone gets ready to go home, except Little-N who always stays late with me as I finish things off

So far this schedule is working great, but I am prepared to change it as needed. A Montessori teacher should always be ready to adapt and change her class to suit the children's needs.

Now for the interesting part, a few pictures of work that I managed to capture during the week:
Sanding the wooden beams in the garden. We purposely left these poles un-sanded so that they children can do them.
Little-N feeling Autumn, working with the leaves cards that I got from
Recap on Grammar work.

These children chose to research about parrots.
Working with the parts of a volcano cards.
Map of Europe work.