Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jumping Into Fall: Pumpkins & Spiders

The Fall theme continues at preschool with pumpkins and creepy, crawly spiders!  Last week we learned about the parts of a pumpkin as well as the life cycle of a pumpkin.  I used the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin 3-part cards from Montessori For Everyone along with the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin bracelet idea from Making Learning Fun.  The kids really got a kick out making the bracelet -- even the boys!

Here's a picture of the way the Pumpkin Life Cycle Bracelet work was set up:

I also added some fun, pumpkin - themed practical life works:

Spooning plastic pumpkins.  I found the pumpkin bowls in the Target dollar section and the plastic pumpkins at Michael's.

This is a fun jack-o-lantern buttoning work.  The kids button the felt shapes onto the stuffed felt pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern face.  This work I made myself!  And, the kids love it!

This is tonging pumpkins. 

This week we are learning about spiders. Although, I still have quite a few of the pumpkin works still out on the shelves!  For the spider theme, I made my first purchase from Montessori Print Shop!  I purchased the spider parts 3-part cards!  I put them together with a book called Spider Names and a magnifying glass.  The kids can look at the different spider parts on the 3-part cards and then try to find them on the spiders in the book.

Here are some spider practical life works:

This is tweezing spiders.  This has been very popular!

And spooning spiders!

I also added a sifting spiders (I didn't take a picture of this one).  This idea came from Living Montessori Now.   And, since the kids enjoyed the "Squirrel Acorn Counting Book" with the plastic acorns and stuffed squirrel so much, I found a spider counting book at Hubbards  Cupboard (I had to add little spiders printed from Word to the book so that kids who do not recognize numbers yet could still do the work) and added some small plastic spiders.

This week I also added spindle boxes and spindles and spider counting cards & counters to the math area.  I do not remember where I found the spider counting cards because I have had them for several years now.  But, they would be simple enough to make, even in Word.

I have been waiting for a good opportunity to start the physical science album, and last week that opportunity finally arrived!  Friday we did the Matter lesson (solid, liquid, gas).  Below is a picture of the matter tray:

I also made a work to go with the tray.  I had a bowl of wooden spools (solid), a pitcher of water (liquid), and a bowl of air (gas).  I gave each of the kids a paper bag with the word matter written on the outside.  They filled small Glad containers (the same as the ones above) -- one with water and one with air.  They each also got a wooden spool.  I printed out clear labels with the words: solid, liquid, and, gas for each of the kids.  They stuck the appropriate label on the solid, the liquid, and the gas.  This was a huge hit!  Almost all the kids made a Matter bag -- there was a line waiting to do the work!

I am linking up with Living Montessori Now for Montessori Monday!

Montessori Monday

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jumping into Fall!

I have been so busy with preschool and home life that I did not have a chance to blog last week.  I guess it's good that I'm busy, but I missed being able to share what I was up to last week at my preschool!  So, I'm going to try and squeeze the last couple weeks into one blog.

In an attempt to make it easier for me to complete my blog each week, I am going to just post pictures of the work we are doing in the classroom, and not of the kids actually doing the work (at least for the time being).  It takes me a long time to go through and block out all of the kids faces -- which adds a significant amount of time to the whole blogging process.

So, here we go!  This month our general theme is "Fall."  We are learning about the signs of Fall, apples, pumpkins, spiders, and Halloween.

Here is the work I've added to the shelves this month so far:

I added the knobbed cylinder blocks #'s 2 and 3 and the corresponding yellow and green knobbless cylinders.

This is a leaf shadow match that I found at Homeschool Creations.

This is a visual discrimination work -- the child must find and circle the picture in each row that is different from all the others.  I also found this at Homeschool Creations.  I laminated the paper and provided and dry erase marker and eraser so that many children can do this work over and over again.  The kids have really enjoyed this work!

This is Fall leaf pin pushing.

This is a Fall tree tear or cut work.  The kids color the tree trunk, cut or tear (depending on ability) the Fall colored paper strips and glue them to the tree.  The tree pattern is from Making Learning Fun, but I do not remember which theme it is found under.

These are the ever popular sticky-back foam leaves and leaf stencils, which I added to the art area.

Here is the art shelf.

I just added playdough to the classroom today!  There are large leaf, apple, and acorn cookie cutters and small leaf and acorn cookie cutters along with rolling pins.  This work is set up for two kids to use at the same time.  The playdough I made with a recipe from My Montessori Journey.  I added apple pie spice to it and it smells amazing!  This table was never empty throughout the entire class period!

This is an adaptation of a one-t-one correspondence work.  The child places one leaf in each section of the tray.

This is the "Squirrel Acorn Counting Book" from the Free Printables section of Child Care Land.  I added some plastic acorns that I bought at Micheal's and a small stuffed squirrel.  The kids count the plastic acorns along with each page in the book.  This has been a very popular work as well!

This is a Scarecrow numerical order puzzle from Homeschool Creations.  The kids put the numbers in order to create the final finished puzzle seen in the picture below.

Completed Scarecrow numerical order puzzle.

This is a Fall patterning work also from Homeschool Creations.  The kids complete the pattern using the small cards in the metal dish.

This is a book called "Falling Leaves" from Making Learning Fun.  It is a Fall leaf color book.  I have the example book for the kids to refer to as they color their own book.  I also have the color words in each book underlined in the color that they represent.

This is an "Apples" book from Making Learning Fun.  It is about the different colors apples come in.  This work is set up similarly to the "Falling Leaves" book.

This is a Parts of an Apple work.  There are parts of an apple 3-part cards from abc teach and below those is a 3-part tray that had a whole apple in the first section, half an apple cut lengthwise in the second section, and half an apple cut width wise in the third section.  I will be adding fresh apples every day.  There is also a small magnifying glass so that the kids can take a closer look at the parts of an apple.

These are my own homemade dressing frames!  The velcro dressing frame is on the left and the snapping dressing frame is on the right.  The kids did not really get into the velcro dressing frame -- I think it was just to easy.  But, I did have several kids try the snapping dressing frame.

This is an idea I found several months ago on the My Montessori Journey blog.  There are fake fabric leaves with small slits cut into the middle of each.  The ribbon has a button sewn to each end.  The child takes the button on the end of the ribbon and strings it through each leaf.  This is a great variation of a buttoning dressing frame!

This is an idea I found on the Quiet Book blog.  The tree is made from the pattern included on the blog and with green and brown felt.  I sewed snaps onto the tree and the opposite side of the snap onto each of the six apples.  The kids can then button the apples onto the tree.  This is a great alternative to the snapping dressing frame!

This is a Fall spooning work.  The child uses the spoon to pick up one plastic acorn at a time and more it to the orange leaf bowl.  I found the leaf bowls in the Target dollar section and the acorns at Micheal's.

This is a dry pouring work using the cherries from the game "Hi Ho Cherry O."  I cut the stems down on each cherry to make it look like an apple!  The small pitchers are from Meijer.

My 4-year-old class has been delving right into sandpaper letter sounds.  To go along with the sandpaper letters I have been working on putting together some letter sound bins for each of the letters.  This is definitely a work in progress!  So far I have a bin for each letter (purchased at the Dollar Tree), a letter/sound card printed/laminated/cut out for the front of each bin, a small "Really Useful" brand box with letter/sound objects for each letter/sound, and some old school letter books that a wonderful former co-op family gave to me just today!.  The letter/sound cards are from the subscription area of Montessori For Learning.  The sandpaper letters are not in the bins yet because I am still using them mainly at the letter/sound table with the kids. 

Here is a picture of the sound bins that are out right now:

Also out on the shelves this week (and last) are the insets for design along with colored pencils stored in small glass baby food jars.  I put this work away before I had a chance to take a picture of it -- my 3-year-old class has not yet had a lesson on these materials and so they are put away before the start of each 3-year-old school day.

Well, there you have it folks!  We have definitely been busy at preschool the last couple weeks!  I will be adding more work to the shelves every day, so I'll post again next week with the new additions!

I am linking up with Montessori Monday through Living Montessori Now and One Hook Wonder.

Montessori Monday

Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting into a Montessori "Groove!"

I just finished up my second week of preschool! During this week I have definitely learned a lot -- and I think the kids have too! One of the things I have learned is that since I am only one person, I am limited in the number of material lessons I can give during one class period.

This limitation has brought me to the realization that I must give initial lessons on most materials during the large group Circle Time. Up until this point I have shown the kids what new materials were out in the classroom and then left it up to them to come and ask me for lessons on the materials. Although the kids have really been responsible in asking for lessons on new materials, I can only give so many lessons at one time and in one morning.  And, since I was spending so much time giving lessons on materials, I did not have time to observe the kids working or begin things like sandpaper letters -- which is very important!

So, as I stated earlier, I will give initial lessons on most materials during large group Circle Time. Then, I will be able to give additional lessons on these materials as they are needed and also have time to observe the kids in their work and start on some individual/small group language lessons during work/play time.

I tried this new approach today in my 4's class and it worked very well! So, next week I plan to start the sandpaper letters with the kids! I am really excited to see how the kids respond to these!

This week I added even more materials to my preschool classroom. The theme is "All About Me and My Family," so many of the materials are related to this theme.  Here are some of the materials I added:

I am incorporating an "Artist of the Month" this year.  This month is Thomas Gainsborough.  These are the two prints of his that I have out in the classroom: "Pinkie" and "Blue Boy."  He is known for painting portraits on landscapes.

Body Part 3-part cards

Shape Person craft

Bead Stringing

Pin Pushing: person

Growing Up sequencing activity.

Body Parts patterns
Red Kobless Cylinders
Sponge Squeezing: This was a huge "hit" with the kids!  And, yes, I realize that the sponge is on the wrong side of the tray... I accidentally put it there when I took the picture...
Baster: This was another huge "hit" with the kids!
I also added the Red Rods this week, but the picture I took of them disappeared into cyber space...

Here are some pics of the kids using the new materials this week:

Growing Up sequencing

Bead Stringing

Pin Pushing - person

Shape Person craft

Body Parts 3-Part Cards


Sponge Squeezing

Red Rods: Doesn't he look proud!

Red Knobless Cylinders: This is not the presentation I gave on this material, but this is what most of the kids did when they tried it themselves!

Body Part pattern
I'm really getting excited to start our Fall theme unit!  But, we have one more week of "All About Me and My Family" this week.  The focus will be more on families this week.  And, then on to Fall!  I have so many fun activities and materials ready for our Fall unit!

I'm linking up with Living Montessori Now and One Hook Wonder for Montessori Monday.


Montessori Monday