Monday, July 23, 2012

Poetry Baskets: Winter

I finally got around to finding, typing, and adding pictures to some more poems for the poetry baskets that I would like to incorporate into the curriculum this coming school year!  So, here you go:




If you did not see my original post about Poetry Baskets, you can find it here.  There are also some helpful links to other blogs with info about making poetry baskets.

I am busily preparing for the coming school year!  It will be my second year using a Montessori-based curriculum at my preschool and I am very excited about it!  Currently I am working to complete my curriculum calendar for the year, which includes monthly themes (previously I have done weekly themes), holidays we will learn about and celebrate, field trips, and pretend play area changes (I have chosen to keep my pretend play area even though you would not find this area in a traditional Montessori school), and info about school breaks.

In the past I have not planned out field trips or the pretend play area ahead of time.  My preschool is a co-op, meaning parents not only help in the classroom, they also take on a job.  Planning field trips and changing the pretend play area are both parent jobs.  However, I decided that if I have a general plan for field trips and pretend play area changes already made up, it will make things a little more straight forward for the parents in charge of these jobs.

That's it for today!  Sorry for not having any pictures again - during the school year it is much easier for me to actually have pictures to post than during the Summer when school is not in session.

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

Montessori Monday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Poetry Baskets: Fall

Last year one of the ideas I found while looking around online was setting up poetry baskets in my classroom - something I have never done before.  What is in a poetry basket, you may ask?  Well, inside a poetry basket you will find:

1) A poem, typed or neatly written, with pictures/graphics to go along with key ideas in the poem.
2) Objects that match the pictures/graphics on the typed poem.
3) A pointer to point to the words in each poem.

There are several blogs that have pictures and ideas for poetry baskets online:

Living Montessori Now

My Montessori Journey

Chasing Cheerios

Counting Coconuts

So, this is what I have been working on the last couple of days - finding poems, typing poems, and adding pictures to the poems.  I decided to do poems by month - so one new poem each month.  The September and October poems are the same as those used at the My Montessori Journey blog and found at the CanTeach website.  For the November poem, however, I went with a different poem, also found at the CanTeach website.  Below are links to all of the poems with pictures that I have made using Microsoft Word:




I have not yet found objects to go with each of the poems.  Once I finish finding, typing, and adding pictures to poems for the whole school year (through May), I will post pictures of the poems with the objects that will go with them.  Until then, sorry, I do not have any pictures.  However, if you visit the blogs listed above, you will find some great pictures of the objects others have used to go along with the poems.

That's it for today!  I will post the remainder of the monthly poems as I complete them!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Resale/Yard Sale Finds: Part 2

I know I said I would post the rest of my yard sale finds last week, but I just didn't have a chance.  So, I'll play catch up this week!

Aren't these neat tongs?  There are so many things that the kids could use these to pick up for a practical life work!

A simple small metal pitcher.  I don't have any metal pitchers yet, so this will be a great addition to my practical life pitcher collection!

Isn't this a neat tray for sorting!  I think it will be great for a Fall math, sensorial, or practical life work!

Look at this collection of small vases I found!  I thought they would be great for pouring work or even for flower arranging with really small fake flowers!

I bought these specifically to use as smelling jars.  I am planning on painting the outside of three of them blue and the other three red, like the kind you buy from a Montessori supply store.  Or, I might cover them with blue and red fabric, we'll see...

This is for pouring work.  I think the little lid will add another interesting aspect.

I love the natural appeal of these wooden bowls!  There were actually a lot more that I could have bought, but I decided I needed to limit how many, so I went with just four.  These have so many uses!

I bought these to use as pencil holders.  My daughters Montessori school has little glass containers like these at the easel, etc. as pencil holders.  I thought this was a great idea, so when I found these, I thought they would work perfectly!

Simple plastic tongs.

A child-size wisk.

Two bags of tiny sea shells.  These have so many uses - art, math, practical life, sensorial (sorting), etc.

These are just cheap foam number puzzles.  I bought them so that I could use the numbers for numeral and counter math work.

I looked all over for this exact thing last school year around Valentine's Day and couldn't find it.

Great little set for pouring work.  There are actually three cups in the set, but I missed one when I took the picture.

A simple ladle spoon.

Well, that's it for my resale/yard sale finds so far this Summer.  I plan to do more shopping throughout the Summer!  One of my favorite things to do is shop at resale stores and yard sales!

I am linking up with Montessori Monday!

Montessori Monday

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Resale/Yard Sale Finds: Part 1

I know I have not blogged in a couple weeks.  I am amazed at how busy I am over the Summer when I am not working!  Between a family vacation and my daughters 3'rd birthday, I just have not had any time to sit down and write for a while.

During my family vacation, I hit some resale stores and some yard sales - and came back home with a LOT more than I left home with!  Some stuff is just stuff for my family, like luggage, clothes, dishes, etc.  But, most of what I found is for school!  So, I thought I'd share some of my awesome school finds with you all!

This is a kaleidoscope that can be changed according to themes, seasons, etc.!  I was so excited to find it!  I have not looked at it very closely yet, but it looks like you can fill the end with small objects as well as change out the outside of the scope.  I thought this would be great for a seasonal basket or table - which I'd like to incorporate into my classroom this coming school year!

Ok, this may not seem so awesome, but for me it is!  Every year I do a unit on the 5 senses and this is the book I like to read when we talk about the sense of sight.  But, I did not have the book and always found myself looking for it at the library at the very last minute.  Now, I have it!

I found this book about the human body.  But, I did not buy it for the book, I bought it for the inserts on the inside of the book of the human skeleton and the human organ systems - with all parts labeled.

These are just old calendars I found - I decided to start collecting them so that I can use them for photographs of different subjects, etc. in my classroom.

This is just a Children's Picture Atlas.  I thought I could use it when we do geography lessons.

I thought this would make a good work for the beginning of the school year.

These are small fabric flowers that I thought could either be used for art, practical life, or even counting.

Anyone remember this from school?  I sure do!  Every math teacher I had, had one of these for drawing different size circles & angles on the chalkboard.  I am always trying to find the right size circular container, etc. to trace to get the size circle that I need - now I can just use this to make any size circle that I want!

Well, that's it for today!  I will post more of my school finds in the next couple days or so.

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

Montessori Monday

Monday, May 28, 2012

Band-aides aren't just for boo-boos!

So, recently my Froggy Boots has been obsessed with putting band-aides on owies (her word for scrapes, cuts, boo-boos).  This only came about when she got a blister from her shoe when we went to the Toledo Zoo recently and I put a band-aide on it when we got home.  Since then she finds every reason in the book to put on a new band-aide.  She has practiced this skill so much, in fact, that she can take the band-aide out of the box, take it out of the wrapper, and put it on all by herself!  She has even searched me over for owies and put band-aides on me!

Well, this got me thinking about how much I loved using band-aides when I was a kid.  I remember putting them on my mom all the time and when we ran out of band-aides, she'd let me use tape instead - I know, brave mom to let her child put tape all over legs, arms, etc!  Then I started thinking about how to turn opening band-aides into a practical life work for school and this is what I came up with...

I used Microsoft Word's "shape" maker to make small red circles in a grid pattern on the paper.  I made several different grids for different size band-aides.  The objective is to open the band-aide box, take out a band-aide, take the wrapper off the band-aide, put the band-aide neatly over a red circle (boo-boo), and repeat until all circles (boo-boos) are covered with a band-aide.  The grid can also be cut into strips instead of using an entire sheet of paper.  I have the band-aide grid papers I made available for free download under the "Montessori Downloads" tab on the top of my blog and by clicking here for the small grids or here for the medium grid.  I will try to add large grids soon!

As long as I'm writing about band-aides, I might as well add my "How Many Band-aides Counting Book."  It is available for free download here under the "Montessori Downloads" tab at the top of my blog.  It is exactly what it sounds like - a front cover that says, "How Many Band-aides Counting Book," and pages with numbers 1 through 5.   The child simply sticks the correct number of band-aides on each page.  I have done this with my 3's class in the past and you could add more pages with higher numbers for kids who are ready for higher numbers.

Well, that's it for today!  New Blog Update:  I have my header made and am currently trying to get it to fit properly on my new blog - for some reason this has become quite a challenge...

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

Montessori Monday

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wrapping Things Up!

This was our last week of school, as I already have mentioned in previous posts.  Every year I plan a special party for the last day of school.  In the past we have had camping parties, Hawaiian Luau parties, etc.  This year we had a picnic party!  The parents brought in finger foods and blankets and we had a picnic together.  The 4's class picnic ended up having to be inside because it was really windy and chilly that day.  But, the 3's class was able to eat out on the lawn!  Here are some pictures of our fun:

4's Class picnic inside.

3's Class picnic outside.
The official last day for my 4's class is also graduation day!  It's a day of mixed emotions for everyone - kids, parents, and ME!  The kids are excited to move on to Kindergarten!  But, I often hear from parents that the kids think I am going to continue to be their teacher in Kindergarten - so sweet!  For parents, it's another milestone reached in the lives of their kids.  For me, it's knowing that I've done my job as a teacher in preparing each child, the best I can, to enter into the big world that awaits them in Kindergarten and beyond.  But, even more than that, it's knowing that I have instilled a love of learning in each child and that this will hopefully continue throughout their lives.  And, as I let each child go on his/her way, I always send a little piece of my heart with them - a piece that I can never get back, but that will be filled with fond memories instead.  That's something that never gets easier - even after so many years!

Below are a few pictures from graduation.  I was not able to take a lot since I was very busy actually "graduating" kids, but there are a few.

Check out this cake that one of my awesome parents made!  There is a cake ball topper with a graduation hat for each of the kids and the initials of the school on the front of the cake - YCP (Ypsilanti Cooperative Preschool).
Here is a picture of the inside of the cake - it's a rainbow!  Isn't this the most awesome cake ever!?
A piece of the amazing rainbow cake!  It tasted even better than it looked - which is hard to do since it looked so amazing!
Here is a picture one of the kids made for me!  She wrote the words all by herself!
After the festivities were over and everyone went home, I set to work finishing up putting things away for the Summer.  Which basically means I piled everything on the counter so that when the parents move the furniture to have the carpet & floors cleaned, nothing gets lost, damaged, etc.

Here is the counter with all of the materials piled neatly out of the way.
Of course, since it is the end of the year I had a *few* things to take home with me!

My pile of stuff to go home...  Notice the beautiful flowers, cards, etc. in the front from my wonderful preschool families!
And, one of my wonderful families had this sign made for me!  I am going to find a special place in my classroom to hang it!

I am going to keep it in the wrapper until next school year so that it stays clean, etc.  I can't wait to hang it up!

I learned a lot this year - about Montessori, about how to make it work in a co-op setting, about how kids learn best, and about myself.  Here are some things I learned this year:

* I learned that there really is no "wrong" way to "do" Montessori - as long as you are following the children.

* I learned that a child's ability to learn lies in the same place as their interests.

* I learned that "Montessori" is not about having certain materials, but about having materials that interest a child and bring about a child's natural drive and ability to learn.

* I learned that working individually with children brings about a greater understanding of each child's abilities and interests - something that is not possible when working with groups of children.

* I learned that children gain much more knowledge when they are given the opportunity to choose the work that interests them.

* I learned that children learn when they are ready to learn, no sooner!

* I learned the names of all of the geometric solids - and so did many of the kids!

* I learned that I have a LOT more to learn!

Well, those are my final thoughts for this school year!  I am already starting to prepare for the 2012-2013 school year and will be posting new ideas I have, etc. on my blog throughout the Summer.  I have some ideas for new practical life work for next year - inspired by my own Froggy Boots' current obsession with band-aides!  And, I want to incorporate the "peace table" into my classroom next year, among other things.  So, keep an eye out for my future posts!

I will also continue to keep you all updated on the transition to my new blog.  I have decided on a name and am working on the new layout and trying to come up with a new header and button.

I am linking up with Montessori Monday via Living Montessori Now and Teach me Tuesday via Preschool Powol Packets!

Montessori Monday

Teach Me Tuesday at Preschool Powol Packets

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Special Guest!

This week was our last week of preschool for the school year!  I can't believe it went by so fast!  For our last week, I was very excited to welcome one of my former preschool parents as a special guest.  Her name is Keri Middaugh and, as I previously posted on my blog, she recently wrote her first children's book called My Detroit Garden!  Below is a picture of her book:

Keri came to our school, read her new book to the kids, talked a little bit about books, and then did a seed planting activity with the kids!  Below are some pictures of our time with Keri:

Reading My Detroit Garden!

Planting seeds!

Choosing seeds to plant!

Planting seeds
We had a great time!  And, it was really neat that the kids had the chance to meet a real author!  

If you would like to read more about Keri, please visit her blog at  And, her book is available for purchase directly from the publisher at  It is a wonderful book that would make a great addition to any child's or teacher's library!

Today I am linking up with Homeschool Creations - Preschool Corner:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Field Trip to the Farm!

Last week we took our final field trip of the year - to Domino's Farm!  The kids had a blast!  Here are some pictures from our trip:

We went on a hay ride!
Froggy Boots did not have school that day, so she came along for the trip too!
We saw cows...
and more cows...
and horses...
ans goats... and more cows!
We learned about many different farm animals, including rabbits...
alpaca... and many more!

The kids had lots of questions!
And, they payed close attention to the lesson!
We even got to see a chicken fly!  You can barely see the blur up near the rafters of the barn.
We spent some time looking at all or the other animals in the barn and outside the barn!

And fed the goats lots and lots of carrots!
And the bunnies too!
I really like the alpacas - they had sort of a "poodle" hair cut which was quite funny!
There were pigs too!
The kids really like the bunnies!
And the bunnies really like the kids!
There was also an albino peacock!
Check out those feathers!

We had a great time at the farm!  And, it was a great end of the year field trip!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably noticed something different about my photos this time - the addition of a water mark!  I was lucky enough to be one of 20 winners in the Living Montessori Now Pearl Mountain Image Converter giveaway!  So, I decided to give it a try!  And, it worked great!  I uploaded all the photos into the software, created the water mark, and the software put it on all of the photos all at once!  I have not tried out any of the other features of the software yet, but I will soon!

I also wanted to give a heads up to all of my regular readers that I am making plans to create a new blog with a new name that is more descriptive of what I write about.  In other words, the new blog will have the word Montessori in it somewhere.  I may start a secondary blog to write about my family life, but that is not on the top of my list right now.  For now I will just be focusing on getting my new Montessori based blog up and running.  I am hoping that by making this change I will be able to draw more of an audience from the Montessori community as well as making my blog more attractive to advertisers with products related to Montessori and education.   I'll give more details as I come closer to making the switch!

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

Montessori Monday

And Teach Me Tuesday via Preschool Powol Packets!

Teach Me Tuesday at Preschool Powol Packets