Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Christmas Coasters Tutorial

“I am SOOOOO behind on my Christmas sewing!! ARGH!!!!! I have so many things that I need to make!! I need a longer day, people.

After I dragged out my Christmas decorations I realized that I realllllly needed something for people to put their drinks on, water rings make me crazy. So I decided to whip up a couple of coasters and then I decided to add a mug rug.

This is so fast. I mean SUPER fast. Like 10 minutes for a few of them fast.

You can even use up scraps! Perfect!!!” From Stacey Sews and Schools


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Apple Angel Food Recipe

Conceptual Learning

Copyright 2011 – 2015

All Rights Reserved.


Recipe Submitted by Montessorian Dianne Knesek

Apple Angel Food

Prepare angel food cake batter.

Mix in 1/2 lb of pecans.

Pour into angel food cake pan.

Slice a couple of Granny Smith apples on top.

Bake as directed.


With spatula, loosen cake from sides

Place on platter and invert

Serve and enjoy!

About Conceptual Learning

Conceptual Learning Materials has introduced several new series into the Insights into Math Concepts line.

To ease the children into more abstract fraction work, we have introduced “Fraction Match,” a series of 15 matching exercises that include graphics, verbal expressions, and fraction symbols for various configurations. These include numerators of one, numerators greater than one, fraction of a set, improper fractions, mixed numbers, fractions on a number line, equivalencies, and simple addition of fractions. The work is appropriate for students in 2nd through 4th grades. Other recent fraction releases include “Fraction Operations” which focuses on addition & subtraction of unlike fractions. “More Fraction Operations” includes multiplication and division of fractions and mixed numbers as well as a comprehensive overview of all fraction operations. Previously released fraction series include “Fraction Concepts,” “Fraction Line and Labels,” and “Fraction Order.”

Three levels of time have also been introduced. The incremental matching cards encompass time to the hour, half hour, quarter hour, five-minutes, and time intervals of varying difficulty.

“Introduction to Decimals” has been expanded to include mixed rounding and as well as operations involving one and two-place decimals. Previously released decimal series include “Decimal Line and Labels,” “Decimal Order,” “Advanced Decimals, ” as well as “Decimal/Fraction Equivalencies.”

Please contact us for a new catalog and be sure to visit

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Dianne Knesek

Editor’s Note:

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Sewing a Friendship Quilt

Activity Submitted by Dale Gausman of the

North American Montessori Center

Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved. Dale Gausman, NAMC


Tray containing: darning needle and several straight pins in a pincushion; embroidery thread in assorted colors; fabric scissors; fabric paint; tacky craft glue; pencil or chalk. Basket containing: Pre-cut felt rectangles 9 x 12 inches (23 x 30 cm) in different colors, two per student; pre-cut fabric squares 3 x 3 inches (7.5 x 7.5 cm), four per student.


  • Most Montessori teachers present this activity in Years 1 and 2. This activity can take place over several days. • In advance, send a note home asking parents to donate scraps of colorful fabric such as cotton to be used for the friendship quilt.
  • In advance, cut the donated fabric scraps with pinking shears (zigzag scissors) into 3-inch (7.5-cm) squares, enough for four per student.
  • In advance, place items on the tray and place the tray on a shelf. Place the felt rectangles and the fabric squares in a basket on the shelf next to the tray.


  • Announce that students will have an opportunity to make something beautiful using cloth and a needle and thread.
  • Go to the shelf and choose two felt rectangles and four fabric squares from the basket, place them on the tray, then bring the tray to the worktable or mat.
  • Explain the activity: The students will sew a colorful quilt, which is called a friendship quilt because a group of friends make it together.


  • Take the felt rectangle from the tray and place it on the worktable, then choose one of the fabric squares and place it on one of the corners of the felt rectangle.
  • Remove two straight pins from the pincushion and hand them to you.
  • Demonstrate how to pin two sides of the fabric square securely to the felt rectangle, by placing the pins approximately 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) from the edges of the fabric square. Remove two more pins, then pin the other two sides of the fabric square to the felt.
  • Choose one color of embroidery thread, and with the scissors, cut off a piece of thread that is about 16 inches (40 cm) long.
  • Demonstrate how to tie a knot at the end of the thread, and thread the other end through the eye of the darning needle.
  • Demonstrate how to begin sewing around the edge of the small square, about 1/3 inch (.8 cm) from the edge. Pull the needle through one corner of the felt rectangle and fabric square, being sure the knot is on the underside of the felt.
  • Demonstrate how to make a running stitch by pulling the needle and thread up and down through the fabric in a straight line (the same stitch used for the hand puppet).
  • Demonstrate how to tie a knot on the underside of the felt once the fabric square is sewn on, then cut the thread and stick the needle back into the pincushion.
  • Remove the straight pins from the fabric and stick them back into the pincushion.
  • Pin and sew on the remaining three fabric squares on the other three corners of the felt rectangle, and tie knots on the underside of the felt after each square is sewn on. Use different colored thread for each square, thus giving students more practice threading the needle and tying knots.
  • Explain that this rectangle with four fabric squares sewn on it will be just one piece of the friendship quilt.
  • Bring a new felt rectangle from the shelf, this time choosing a different color.
  • Trace your hand on this felt rectangle, using a pencil or chalk, then using the scissors cut out the hand pattern.
  • Glue it in the center of the piece of the friendship quilt with tacky craft glue.
  • Write your name in fabric paint on the piece of the friendship quilt (see following image).
  • Place the friendship quilt piece in a safe place to allow the fabric paint to dry.
  • Encourage the students to make their own personal piece of the friendship quilt, as demonstrated.
  • Agree on a day by which everyone will have their pieces completed, so that the students can move to the next step in sewing a friendship quilt.
  • Remind the students to place all material back neatly on the tray when they are finished, and then to put the tray in its proper place on the shelf. Designate a storage area for all the completed pieces, and ask the students to place their pieces in this area.


  • Once the fabric paint is dry, invite the students to bring their pieces to the work area. Explain that all the completed pieces will be sewn together to make the friendship quilt.
  • Invite the students to lay their completed felt rectangles on the work area, so that they join like a patchwork quilt.
  • Demonstrate how to pin the rectangles together, then sew the rectangles together using an overcast or a zigzag stitch. Sew small sections of the quilt together at a time, or the quilt may become hard to manage. (It is recommended that the teacher pin and sew the quilt pieces together.)
  • Remind the students to clean the work area, place the material back on the tray, and return the tray to its proper place on the shelf when they are finished the activity.
  • When the quilt is finished, invite the students to display the quilt in a special place in the classroom for everyone to see.

About North American Montessori Teacher Training Center (NAMC)

  • Infant/Toddler (birth- 3 years)
  • Preschool/Kindergarten (3-6 years)
  • Lower Elementary (6-9 years)
  • Upper Elementary (9-12 years)

Flexible, Affordable, Manageable

Providing Montessori distance education training since 1996, NAMC is proud to have graduates working in Montessori environments throughout North America and around the world.

Beautiful, full color albums incorporate years of research to save valuable time as you attain professional Montessori training. Classic Montessori training is enriched with contemporary ideas and proven educational activities to give you lifetime teaching resources — all at a reasonable price, in a user-friendly presentation. For complete details visit

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Montessori Resources 2015 Kindle Version is Now Available!

Whether you are looking for Montessori apparatus to purchase for your classroom or suppliers of Montessori materials for home use, you are likely to find just what you need in Montessori Resources. You’ll find reviews of highly recommended resources and products designed for preK and K through grade 10, tips on how to use the resources in a Montessori setting, information on where to buy supplies for integrated lesson planning, recommended computer software and sites where you can get free lesson plans and resources online.

Download directly at by visiting

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Painted Kitchen Trivet Craft Project

Copyright 2002-2015
All Rights Reserved.

Craft Submitted by Karen
The following is an idea which appeared in a past issue of Karen’s newsletter, FunWithFelt – #16 Home Made Holiday Gift Ideas.

Gift Idea: Painted Kitchen Trivet

Materials: 12″ tile Acrylic paint, 1 or more colors Paintbrush, Sheet cork

Rubber cement

I did this with my oldest daughter and it was a big hit! Take a 12″ square plain or solid colored tile from the hardware store, and some acrylic paint   (I used a black tile with gold and silver paint!). Have the child paint designs onto the tile and paint his or her name and the year. Bake the painted tile in the oven 15-20 minutes (read paint bottle for directions).
Glue sheet cork (available at hardware stores) to the bottom of the tile with regular rubber cement or cork cement.

This makes a beautiful trivet that can be given as a gift and used at those holiday meals. The baking makes the paint permanent and resistant to heat. Everyone we gave these too are still using them 6 years later! By the way I did this when my daughter was only 18 months old, sitting in her high chair painting (with me
carefully monitoring!). Her art was very abstract, and the grandparents loved it!

This project would be equally well received by an older child who could be more detailed in their design, perhaps painting a picture, or patterned design. Have fun with it!

To connect with Story Time Felts, please visit

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Accentuating Autumn with Some Innovative Lesson Planning Ideas

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Summer Reading Ideas for 3rd and 4th Graders

Originally posted on Montessori21stCentury's Weblog:

The following is from Modern Montessori at Home by Heidi Anne Spietz.  Coypright 2007.  All rights reserved.

            “Now that your child has become more proficient in reading and writing, more avenues than ever are open to him. If your child is a reluctant reader, you may try scheduling a few field trips to whet his appetite for wanting to know more about a given subject. For example, if you live in the Southern California area plan a visit to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This large museum houses an exquisite rock, mineral, and gem collection, Americana memorabilia, a dinosaur exhibit, marine life exhibit and a botany exhibit to name a few. Luckily, the California Museum of Science and Industry is housed next door and many people go to both museums during one visit.

            People living in the eastern part of the United States have a plethora…

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4th of July Montessori Unit Study

Below, are links for a complete unit study on the upcoming 2015 4th of July. These PreK and K-10 links will lead you to articles, hands-on activities and other exercises that are compatible with the Montessori classified reading cards, grammar, creative writing, art, social studies and other extensive lesson plans.

Visit July 4th Montessori Unit Study for details.

Below, are links for a complete unit study on the upcoming 2015 4th of July. These PreK and K-10 links will lead you to articles, hands-on activities and other exercises that are compatible with the Montessori classified reading cards, grammar, creative writing, art, social studies and other extensive lesson plans .

Montessori Classified Reading Cards and Other Aids to Learn About the 4th of July

Presidents of the United States – Pictures to Color- Compare and Contrast
(Make a Book)
Presidents of the United States – Matching Picture Exercise
Annie’s 4th of July Symbols & Things Page

4th of July Language Lesson Planning for Elementary and Middle Students

4th of July Word Searches – Easy Difficulty
4th of July Word Searches – Medium Difficulty
More 4th of July Word Searches – Easy Difficulty
More 4th of July Word Searches – Medium Difficulty
US and State Capitals Crossword Puzzles
July 4th Independence Day Vocabulary Puzzles and Exercises
Middle School 4th of July Extension Exercises
AMC Holiday Montessori Grammar Bingo and Extension Exercises
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade(Part I)
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade (Part II)

Science and Social Science Lesson Planning for Elementary and Middle Students

Colmpare and Contrast the 4th of July With Other Holidays/
(Scroll down until you see El Gito de Dolores vs 4th of July)
Declaration of Independence Biographical Information
The Declaration of Indpendence – Key Historical Figures, Study Questions and More
Secondary Level
The Declaration of Independnece
Multi-disciplinary Lessons for Elementary Students
America the Beautiful
Multi-disciplinary Lessons for Elementary Students

Additional Extension Exercises – Let’s Write, Discuss and Talk About the 4th of July Holiday

Middle School 4th of July Extension Exercises
Conduct an Interview with the President!
Annie’s 4th of July Symbols & Things Page in Spanish
Visit American Montessori Consulting and look under New and Notable for other unit studies.

4th of July Links to Party Ideas, Recipes, Safety Tips and More…

Montessori 4th of July

Some of the unit studies and articles you will find include:
A Maria Montessori Movie Worth Seeing
Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert
Montessori Service Community Projects
Healthy Nutritional Tips for 21st Century Families
AMC Holiday Montessori Grammar Bingo and Extension Exercises
Apples and Oranges – Links for Montessori Unit Study
Study of the Human Respiratory System – Links for Montessori Unit Study
Medical Terminology – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Visit for details.

Heidi Spietz
American Montesori Consutling

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Seashells by the Seashore

Seashell Unit Study

Find the resources you need to create an interdisciplinary study about seashells.   See DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sizzling Summertime 2015 Lesson Plans


Learn how to make and fly a kite in your neck of the woods.

Planning a trip to Southern California? All the fun is not necessary had at the amusement parks. Take a side trip to Seal Beach, a quaint beach town, that has much to offer. While there, you won’t want to miss the monthly Seal Beach Kite Club meetings. Click here to see what the city of Seal Beach has in store for you and your family. Then, venture to Hobby City for some additional free hands-on fun.


Learn how to make a band in minutes. Yes, you and your children can make a coffee can drum and yogurt container shakers by following the easy instructions provided by

Montessorian Dale Gausman will show you how to make and introduce rhythm sticks in your school and home classrooms. Click here for details.

The Blow Ye Winds , Paddle Wheeler and Erie Canal – and Wabash Cannonball are free extension activities from the guide written by Dr. Kathryn A. Short, for Kimbo’s CD release: “Songs About America,” Celebrating America Through Song.. See Kimbo for details.

Download The Number Eating Alligator from and discover how these songs can be incorporated into your ECE and elementary math and music lesson planning. Click here for details.

Marjorie Kiel Persons presents two marvelous integrated lessons for your summer music presentations. – Water Music Alla Hornpipe by George Frideric Handel. and Oh, How I Love Italy ? Music, Art, and Food seasoned with History and Geography See Click on this link to access both lesson plans.


Dale Gausman, owner of the North American Montessori Center, shows how children can plan, prepare, and execute a Spring or Summer Tea. Dale’s Friendship Salad makes a perfect addition to the Spring Tea menu or any other event planned for the upcoming months. Click here for details.

Encourage children to try making some new recipes this summer! Make lunchtime interesting by including some rollie poultries and stuffed apples into your meal planning. See

Learn how to present an authentic Montessori food unit study featuring the yummy Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split recipe.

DIanne Knesek, Montessori teacher and owner of Conceptual Learning, shares a mouth watering Summer Fruit, Cheese, and Meat Kabobs recipe. Visit this link for complete information

Planning a unit study about pirates? Try these three pirate snack ideas – Treasure Chests, Pirate Ships and Cannonballs, all of which, can be easily integrated into any pirate unit study. Click here to access the recipes.

For a festive change, create your own hot dog buffet and serve some fudge cupcakes for dessert. Then, cool down your lazy afternoon with some delicious green smoothies.


Are you looking for an additional aid to help inspire good penmanship? Nan Barchowsky may have just what you need. Check out A Bit of Yarn for Good Pen Hold by clicking here.


Begin the summer science learning adventure with hands on fun. Children will discover how to change the color of a flower and how water travels up plants by participating in the Changing a Flower’s Color activity submitted by Dale Gausman. See for details.

John, from Exploration Education, presents an excellent, fun-filled simple and effective activity about static electricity is for children six and up. Click here for details.

Invite children to vicariously go on an animal safari! To access resources for a unit study, visit

Children marvel at identifying the different birds that they encounter at the park, beach or even in their backyard. Find out how Backyard Birds can be incorporated into your ornithology presentations by visiting

Rae, from Creative Process, shares a leaf print activity that combines the study of botany with art. To access this information, visit

Richard, from the Montessori Materials LORD Company, is offering FREE reading books, and a Montessori land and water labels

Easily create a seashell unit study. Quickly locate links to seashell classification materials and other resources by visiting


Summer gardening can be especially meaningful if you plan ahead. A Gardening Unit Study (With the Focus on Summer)Montessori Lessons will provide the info you need to customize your garden lesson planning. Find the gardening resources and lesson plans now, so that you embark on your summer gardening journey when late May arrives.

In Nurturing Budding Botanists – Learning and Teaching the Basics of Plant Science, author Sara L. Ambarian has provided the indepth botany lesson planning information and resources needed Click here for details.


Receive some free hands-on algebra exercises designed by Dr. Henry Borenson See Hands On Equations for details. Check out DIanne Knesek’s Montessori problem solving lessons by clicking here.


What type of learner is your child? Mariaemma, from Coaching for Learning Success(tm), has the resources you need to discover the answer to this question, plus she has generously contributed her Basketball and Whole Body Memorizing Activity. Access this information, as well as The Whole Body Learner – Gifted for Moving! article by visiting Click here for details.

Stillsonworks offers more unique puzzles designed for middle school students. Try your hand at the free exercises included by clicking here Access additional FREE puzzles for children/teens by visiting

Be sure to check out the cooperative games by Rae from Creative Process. (Click here for details.)

THIS and THAT…. Additional unique, creative lesson planning info.

Rae from Creative Process generously has provided the following free activities], articles, and lesson plans: Calendar Activity, Teacher as Curator : Setting up a School Gallery and Sharing Food, Food in Art? Access this information by clicking here

Are you taking your class on a literature journey? Why not start with the classics. Let Rita Arpaia of show you how. Point your browser to Read Rita’s other articles and learn more about how’s resources for your school and homeschool libraries.

Sara Ambarian has written a two part article which will further help you with your selection of children’s books. In Part I of her article, you will learn about the books selected by the AMC resource participants.

In Part I read about community recommendations. This balanced article is sure to help you select just the right books for your school and homeschool classrooms.

If you would like to view the complete table of contents of the newsletter, or you have experienced any difficulties accessing the links above, please visit

Now, with these fun activities, recipes and lessons, you are set to make this summer the best yet!

Heidi Anne Spietz

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