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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Growing Seeds and Squirmy Worms!

As I promised last week, I am posting pictures of all of the seeds we have been planting and how they are growing.  Most of the seeds we planted are growing, although some did not...

These are the seeds from our seed matching work and all of the different bean seeds I happened to have in the classroom.  The 4's class kids were so excited about planting seeds that I had to keep trying to come up with more to plant!

Here are the grass seed characters we made in both classes:

And, here are the basil seeds we planted in the 4's class:

And, the lima bean seeds from both classes - some grew, some did not...

And, although I do not think they are growing, the worms in the worm farm have certainly been making trails...  You can see where the dark soil has been "trailed" through the sand - that's where the worms have been traveling along!

That's it for today!  Please check out my "Lesson Plans to Pots and Pans" FB page for more ideas for your classroom!