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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

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 Amazon.com by visiting

http://www.amazon.com/Montessori-Resources-Complete-Materials-Teachers-ebook/dp/B00YGCAUXA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440271433&sr=8-1&keywords=Montessori+Resources++Kindle

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Painted Kitchen Trivet Craft Project

FunFelt
Copyright 2002-2015
All Rights Reserved.
Website http://www.funfelt.com

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 http://www.funfelt.com/

Receive additional creative lesson planning ideas by visiting

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_fall_handson.html

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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 http://www.amonco.org/montessorijuly4th.html for details.

Heidi Spietz
American Montesori Consutling
http://www.amonco.org

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Seashells by the Seashore

Seashell Unit Study

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

https://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/seashell-unit-study/OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sizzling Summertime 2015 Lesson Plans

SUMMER KITE FLYING

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.

GO AHEAD….MAKE SOME MUSIC THIS SUMMER

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 Kidsongs.com.

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 Kidsongs.com 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.

EASY, BREEZY, SIZZLING SUMMER RECIPES

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 http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

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. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

SPECIAL MOTOR SKILLS OFFERING

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 http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf by clicking here.

SUMMER SCIENCE

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 http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf 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 http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

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 http://www.amonco.org/summer5/montessori_summer5.pdf

Rae, from Creative Process, shares a leaf print activity that combines the study of botany with art. To access this information, visit http://www.amonco.org/summer4/montessori_summer4.pdf

Richard, from the Montessori Materials LORD Company, is offering FREE reading books, and a Montessori land and water labels http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Easily create a seashell unit study. Quickly locate links to seashell classification materials and other resources by visiting http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf

GARDENING GALORE

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.

MONTESSORI MATH

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.

GAME TIME!

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 http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

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 literature.com show you how. Point your browser to http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf Read Rita’s other articles and learn more about how literature.com’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 http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf Part I of her article, you will learn about the books selected by the AMC resource participants.

In http://www.amonco.org/summer4/montessori_summer4.pdf 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 http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html

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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Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part 2

Sara L. Ambarian

Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved

Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html

Summertime means something different to each of us, depending on our ages, backgrounds, and interests, and even the regions where we grew up. What is fun and fulfilling to me or my family might not appeal to you or the children in your lives at all.

Frankly, I think that is part of the beauty of summer. It is a time which is much less “externally” scripted for many of us, allowing us – and the children in our lives—to write our own scripts, set our own priorities, chase our own muses, choose our own adventures. As fun as that is, if you look back on your own childhood summers, you will probably realize that a lot of your leisure time was actually very productive time for learning about yourself and the world around you, as well.

“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

Maria Montessori

We asked the American Montessori Consulting Primary Recommended Resource Center partners http://www.amonco.org/resource_topic.html to share with us some of their favorite summertime memories to get you in the mood for planning your own summer activities and adventures.

Travel—

Gari Stein from Music For Little Folks (http://www.little-folks-music.com ) remembers summer road trips, a favorite of many families.

I didn’t take too many summer vacation, as I went to camp; but I remember when I was younger, we would drive to visit my sister at camp. It was special because my grandmother came with us, and I can’t remember any other time she came joined us on vacation We drove from Michigan up to Algonquin Park, Canada. This was before the interstate and often traffic would be so backed up, we would get out of our car, and walk around right on the highway. I remember it so vividly. Another part of fond travel memories are the sing-a-longs, especially when the five of us were packed into a sedan driving to Florida. Singing our hearts out and arguing over the correct words. Making fun of those out of tune. Those are the best memories ever.

Elaine Murphy from Kimbo Educational (http://kimboed.com ) also chose a car trip as a favorite summer memory.

My favorite vacation was a long, long road trip I took with my daughter and 3 granddaughters two summers ago. We drove thousands of miles to visit historical sites in the East. Since the girls are home schooled the purpose of this trip was for them to not only read about history, but to truly experience these important and famous places where history occurred.   Our stops took us to Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Philadelphia, New Jersey battlefields, Sturbridge Village, and Boston. It was not always easy to drive long distances each day, but it was actually much better than I expected it would be. “Are we there yet” is just not in the girls’ vocabulary, thank goodness. We sang often, listened to music, took in the beauty of our country and enjoyed the abundance of its wonders.

The kids learned to read guide books and maps and helped choose where we would stop and stay. They learned to cooperate and share. After the trip they were able to apply their newly acquired knowledge and extend their experiences in a myriad of ways.

Some of the top favorite songs we sang, “On the Road Again”, “Let’s Go Riding in the Car-Car”, and “This Land is My Land” helped make the miles pass more quickly. These Kimbo singalong songs from Car Songs, Favorite Songs for Kids, and Songs About America were fun and often the break we needed when the highways were boring and tedious.

We also took stretch breaks with Kimbo fitness CDs such as Cool Aerobics for Kids and Catch a Brain Wave Fitness Fun. At night we relaxed with exercises from Yoga for Kids or Yoga and You, and we fell peacefully to sleep with quiet music from Sweet Dreams, knowing we were making lifelong learning opportunities and memories from this special summer vacation.

On a road trip, there’s always something new around the next bend, if you are looking for it.

Some parents hesitate to take their children on long driving trips, but many families find them delightful.road

The keys to happy and enjoyable car trips (and indeed, most successful travel with children) are preparation and engagement.

You should carefully choose your destinations, based on the interests, ages and attention spans of the people on the trip. Consider learning something about your destinations ahead of time and/or bringing some additional background or supplemental information along on the trip. Plan the itinerary trying to allow for unexpected problems or inspirations, as well as fatigue (of adults or children). Be sure to bring (or know your options for) timely meals, snacks and cold drinks, because being hot, hungry or thirsty will dampen the spirits of the most-intrepid travelers.

Try ahead of time to also manage your expectations. Not every stop in every outing will be a home-run with every member of your group. Sometimes the best thing about a trip is just getting away to see something new together. Also remember, if you take a child somewhere to “edify” them, but aren’t able to be enthusiastic about it yourself (unless it was the child’s idea to visit in the first place), often neither you nor the child will enjoy or benefit from the experience.

On the other hand, I have seen situations in which a child seemed not to enjoy an outing which they later remembered with fondness for decades. So, if no one’s having any fun, you might shorten your visit, re-arrange your itinerary, etc.; but don’t automatically assume that a visit has been a failure just because you aren’t getting immediate overwhelming enthusiasm. Sometimes children (and adults) need to let thing sink in a little before they make a final assessment of the value of an outing.

You also cannot always predict how a child will most enjoy a trip. Some children are happy to sit in the backseat and look out the window and just see what’s there. Some children will be more interested if they know the route and have a map with which to follow along. Other children appreciate you pointing out things they might have missed and commenting on them.

I know a lot of us are used, now, to keeping kids entertained with computer games, iPods, and on-board DVD players. For a real family adventure, however, I think that there are big potential benefits to leaving them behind or limiting their use, in favor of one-to-one personal interactions and discussions.

Arts and crafts are a favorite leisure pursuit for many children and families. It is probably no surprise that Kim Stitzer, co-author of Draw-Write-Now (http://www.drawyourworld.com ), and her family are among them.

We rarely took summer vacations, but we did have a morning summertime activity—drawing and writing together after breakfast—which became a special summertime routine and memory for our family.

We cleared the breakfast dishes to do a DRAW WRITE NOW drawing together. I sat between my two kids as we focused on the subject —i.e. dog, tiger, house. I pointed out the shapes and lines in the subjects as they made the drawing on their papers. After the subject was completed, I’d get up and wash the dishes while the kids created a background for their drawings. It was nice to be close enough to watch their ideas go on paper, yet enough removed so that I was out of the process.

After I was done in the kitchen, we moved on to working on writing. Most of my attention was directed toward my 5-year-old as he was learning the basics of letter formation and spacing. I modeled a simple short sentence as he copied it on his own paper. My 7-year-old worked more independently, writing a story about her drawing. Some days, if it seemed like her writing had gotten messier, I’d ask her to simply copy the sentences in the lesson, focusing on making her writing look as nice a possible. After writing, we all moved outside for playtime. Sometime before lunch, we came back inside, eager to color our pictures.

Almost all of us have pencils, crayons, markers, paints, paper, and other art supplies around our homes. Bringing them out or just making sure that they are available when inspiration strikes can be a very economical and open-ended source of summer fun for children of a wide range of ages.

Lois from Bountiful Spinning, Weaving and Knitting (http://bountifulspinweave.com) shares her experiences with another interesting arts and craft project — sharing her love of weaving and the joy of design with her granddaughter.

Arts and Crafts—

Our granddaughter, Kaitlin, spends a lot of time with us in the summer. In 2009, I taught her how to weave on a Schacht 10” Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom. Rigid Heddle looms are quick to set up and quick to weave on.

I took her out to my warehouse and opened up 2 big bins of yarns for her to choose from. She choose 3 colors and designed the stripe pattern herself! We warped up the loom together, and she wove her scarf while I wove a scarf on my Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle loom. We had a marvelous time. We did some of our weaving out on the deck. It is fun to weave and spin outside, so it was really nice that the looms are so portable.bountiful_summer

This was just her second time to weave! It was the 40th Anniversary year for Schacht, and Schacht had a weaving and spinning contest in conjunction with their big anniversary celebration. Kaitlin went to the celebration with us and got to see her scarf up on display along with all the other lovely projects that were submitted. I am very proud of her weaving and designing abilities! It is great to be able to share my love of weaving with her.

Kaitlin’s pattern is up on our website here: http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/Rigid-
Heddle-Weaving-Patterns.php

Textile arts like sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving and embroidery are a natural for summertime. The more-flexible scheduling suits these projects which often take more than a weekend for children. In summer, you can both retain and promote continuity with an on-going textile endeavor, encouraging kids to spend a little time working on it every day or two. As Lois mentioned, you can sometimes take your projects outdoors to enjoy the fine weather, or you can use them as a quiet, cool indoor pursuit that gives children a break from the heat and busier outdoor activities.

Local resources—

Even very small communities usually try to offer these kinds of opportunities for local children and families to enjoy. Check with your local library, parks and recreation facilities, children’s clubs and afterschool programs, churches, and even community colleges for classes, camps and other fun and educational summer activities for a variety of interests and ages.

Science and Nature—

You can also find interesting programs and resources when enjoying the great outdoors and famous historical sites.

The U.S. National Park System has junior ranger programs at many of their sites, as well as distance activities children can enjoy. Because of the variety of scenic, historic, and recreational sites within the system, they could appeal to a wide variety of students. You can find a list of participating sites at: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm

The U.S. Forest Service also offers fun activities through their Junior Forest Ranger and Junior Snow Ranger programs. The Adventure Guide is also offered in Spanish. http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/conservationeducation/smokey-woodsy/junior-rangers

Maria Montessori once said, “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.” Summer is a great time to let our imaginations go with non-traditional scientific adventures.

John Grunder of Exploration Education http://www.explorationeducation.com shows us “Can Do!”, an easy experiment which illustrates concepts of balance and center of gravity. This is a quick, fun lesson you can do with children (and adults) of any age and anywhere you might enjoy a canned drink, including a summer picnic.

Fogirl_summerr more science ideas for picnics and other outings, check out these lesson plans.

North American Montessori Center suggests this outdoor science activity for preschoolers– Montessori Twos Activity and Presentation: Observing Nature Close Up

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.ca/2010/06/montessori-twos-activity-observing.html

See, also:

http://www.lessonplans.com/ext-resource.php?l=http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/UnitPlan/2954.htm

http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/activities-games-and-crafts/easy-outdoor-science-projects

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/easy-outdoor-science-activities-for-kids.htm

If your summer plans include an amusement park, older and/or bolder children can experience physics concepts first-hand while riding rollercoasters and other thrill rides. Review these concepts before you go for a better understanding of how the attractions work and what the forces are that you feel as you ride.

http://www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics/coaster.html

http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/211_fall2002.web.dir/shawna_sastamoinen/roller_coasters.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/structural/roller-coaster3.htm

Working Together—

Less time in structured activities for school and other pursuits, plus longer sunlight hours and generally more-favorable weather, means summer often offers more opportunities for families and friends to work together on special projects. It is also always a busy time for outdoor chores in rural areas, especially if those areas experience cold, snowy winters.

Montessori practices emphasize learning by doing, and there always seem to be a lot of interesting things to do in the summer.

Rae from The Creative Process (http://www.netposterworks.com ) grew up on a farm, and her summer memories mostly revolve around helping her parents with farm chores.

As the eldest child, and with no brothers, I was called on for a variety of farm chores that seemed to me, at the time, to fill hours. When I was quite small I was an excellent deliverer of messages – either fetching my Dad from the field, or if I happened to be with him when a piece of machinery broke down, heading back to the house with instructions for calling the farm implement store for the availability

I was also put on a tractor, charged with keeping the wheels straight, so my dad could “pick stones” and put them on the slow moving wagon. I think “picking stones” was a Michigan thing – the glaciers of 14,000 years ago seemed to churn to a stop in mid-mitten, dropping their load of small, and not so small stones, right on my folks’ farm. They had to be taken away so the crops could grow. My dad had been doing it his entire life, starting out alongside big work horses when he was a child. Eventually my sister was big enough for the steering straight task and I got to help pick stone. What a thrill!

Another necessary task was weeding the bean field. That meant walking the rows of young bean plants with a hoe and chopping out ragweed and pigweed before they damaged the crop….One summer our folks “paid” us for farm work. The deal was the profits from one acre of beans for each of us, we could choose which status of a part.variety and the time of sale. I had rapt attention on the radio for the farm report that fall. I knew exactly which kind of bean had produced the highest yield per acre and had calculated what I thought might be the top price. So when that price was announced one morning I hollered out “SELL!” My dad did. He sold his, too, for what turned out to be the high price for the season.

I gathered eggs and walked down the lane to the back pasture to bring the cogames_summerws up for milking in the afternoon, too . I really don’t remember doing much in the garden, other than eating a tomato straight off the vine.  Preserving food, however, would turn into everybody helping to cut corn kernels off cobs.  It’s summerunder the big tree with not quite enough breeze to shoo away the flies attracted by the sweet juice, canning tomatoes and string beans.

My grandmother had suffered a stroke, so sometimes I would be with her during the day. I could help her to the bathroom, get something to drink, change the channel for the Tigers baseball game, and call if we needed more help. It was this grandmother who taught me to spell “cat”, “dog”, and “wagon” (I liked that big word!) She also helped me learn numbers. I wrote 1 through 1000 and then sent the pages in a letter to Aunt May. There certainly was a blending of sitter and sittee….

It wasn’t all “work” . We did manage swimming lessons, and sometimes I would go with my Mom, a teacher, to her summer school classes at Central Michigan University. I also polished off all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Boxcar Kids, and moved on to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Whether you live in the country or the city, or somewhere in-between, I am sure that there are many summer chores and projects in which you can involve the children in your life. Whether it is gardening, home improvements, cooking, or something as simple as doing a jigsaw puzzle, these experiences teach practical life skills. They also teach the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from working together to accomplish a common goal.

* * * * * *

Generational interests vary and times change. However, I think that all of us, whatever our age, enjoyed many of the same basic summer opportunities: exploring new places or new experiences, having time to loaf or to dream or to recharge from the busy school year, and spending more time with family and friends. I hope that this upcoming summer includes whatever blend of these pursuits will make the best summer memories for you and your students.

Read the other parts of this creative hands-on lesson planning newsletter by visiting

 

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html

 

Don’t forget to read the companion newsletters.  Just visit:

 

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_fall_handson.html

 

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_winter_handson.html

 

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html

 

 

 

 

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Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part I

Article by Heidi Anne Spietz

Looking back on your childhood, do you remember a specific summer that really stood out from the rest? If so, do you remember what made it so special?   My hope is that the vacation ideas, booklists, hands-on lessons, crafts, recipes and other activities listed in this summer newsletter http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html will provide the ideas needed to make this summer a treasured set of lasting memories.

In the first part of this two-part article, five of the AMC resource partners, http://www.amonco.org/directory.html who contributed to the richness of this newsletter, have been kind enough to share some of their favorite childhood vacation memories. Take a moment now to get to know each of these professionals on a more personal level.  Hopefully, the experiences shared will provide some insight on what specific childhood summer vacations really stand the test of time.

Edith Cooper, Owner of http://www.coycreek.com/ Coyote Creek Productions reflects on a special summer vacation that has had a long-lasting effect.

Magnificent waterfalls, beautiful horse trails to ride, stars to watch in the night sky: such pleasure! What more could an eight-year-old child be given? That first camping trip to Yosemite gave me much more: it forged a lifelong love of art and brought me a friendship that has lasted a lifetime.

I knew that my father was a career silkscreen artist, since I often “racked” the prints he made in his San Francisco studio, in order for the prints to dry before he could add more colors. But for the first time, on that camping trip with my father, mother, and older brother, I watched him draw from life, and the pencil and ink drawings he made of “my” pony graced every home I had throughout the years until they were lost in the crash of a moving van. But art—lost and found—was always with me. And long after that trip to Yosemite, after I had left my work as a catalog librarian, I formed a company to produce instructional videos for children. Our first productions were six videos of art instruction for children.

For some us, a favorite winter rather than summer vacation comes to mind. This is especially true if the temperature outside feels more like summertime.   Dale Gausman, Founder of http://www.montessori-namta.org/ North American Montessori Teachers’ Association shares just such a vacation.

My grandmother took my sister and me on our first vacation when I was in grade three. She invited us to go with her to visit my aunt in Los Angeles for two weeks over the Christmas holidays. It felt like an adventure to take the train for two days, and I was excited to leave behind Vancouver’s rain for the California sun.

I don’t remember much about the journey itself. I am sure that I watched towns flickering past us through the window; the occasional cow or horse standing in the fields; and the rugged coastline coming back into view as we reached California. But as a young growing boy, my interest laid primarily in food, and that is what I remember when I think of our train ride.

My grandmother brought all of our food for the two-day train trip in a small suitcase. There were no hot meals or sweet treats from the dining car. Instead, when we were hungry, my grandmother would pull out the suitcase, pop open the latch, and hand out the carefully wrapped meals that she had prepared. The only deviation from her suitcase was on our last day, when she bought us a can of hot tomato soup from a vending machine. I still remember the warm, homey aroma of that soup and how delicious it was.

Staying in Los Angeles, we naturally made a day trip to Disneyland, and my sister and I had a fantastic time. My favourite ride was, without question, the go carts. As an 8-year-old boy, it was amazing to me to be able to whizz round the corners and hammer down the straightaways at top speed. It was definitely a highlight of my trip.

Another highlight, and one that has made a lasting impression on me, was listening to my aunt read to us all every evening. She chose to read us The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. If an experience was memorable to you as a child, it is likely to be just as memorable to other children. I learned from my aunt and read the same book to my son when he was 8 years old. I believe he was just as enthralled as I was. 

Elaine Murphy, http://kimboed.com/ Kimbo Educational reflects on a summer vacation filled with experiential experiences.

I spent one glorious summer at a day camp called “Candy Mountain” when I was just 10 years old. Of course, we campers sang that fun song over and over, but we never tired of it. I learned so much that summer. The “candy” was really an opportunity to gain some independence, grow creatively, get stronger physically and make new friends. I had never been away from home, even for the daytime hours, and I was shy and a bookworm. My parents didn’t ask, they just sent me and said have a good time! I didn’t know any other children and I would rather have read my books curled up on my front porch. I changed that summer and came to realize that there was a big world out there that I wanted to be a part of. I could do it, and I learned to love life to its fullest. It was a set of experiential lessons about nature, art, planting, sharing and caring for our environment, teamwork and more. It was not just a vacation. My parents got more than their money’s worth by investing in me that summer.

Nan Barchowsky, Founder of http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/ Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting shows us how gardening can help children develop small hand muscles, as she looks back upon her own special childhood summers spent with her grandmother.

When I was a little girl I spent my summers at my grandmother’s home. She had a garden and grew beautiful flowers. I loved Nanny, my grandmother, very much, but when it came to her garden she was strict. I wanted to be with her in her garden, and I wanted to help. I thought I could pull some weeds, but she disagreed! Not in my garden she said! She feared I would pull up her flowers. How was I to know the difference between a valued plant and a weed?

 There was a solution! Nanny measured off a small space in the garden that was all mine. She suggested some flowers, and we agreed on Johnny-jump-ups and English daisies. I planted them; they grew. Weeds grew too, and I gently pulled them out so that I would not disturb the flowers. I could be with Nanny and have fun in my very own garden at the same time.

Gari Stein, Fonder of http://www.little-folks-music.com/ Music for Little Folks, reflects on the summers she spent at Camp Arowhon and the lasting friendships she made at camp.

I was extremely fortunate, for many summers to go to Camp Arowhon, in Algonquin Park Canada, nestled in a pristine wooded environment surrounded by water. Once we traveled by train, plane or bus, hearts beating with anticipation, we excitedly entered camp in shifts on the camp boat fondly called the ‘Lizzie”. Children coming together in friendship and fellowship that for me spanned from a junior camper to a senior counselor. 

Tomorrow, we will be focusing, in more depth, on the impact that travel, arts and crafts, local resources, science and nature can have on planning your own summer activities and adventures.  Stayed tuned for  Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part II

Enjoy!

Heid

 

 

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Nurturing Budding Botanists – Learning and Teaching the Basics of Plant Science

Copyright 2011 -2015

by Sara L. Ambarian

http://www.condortales.com/bridestouch.html

Science study can be one of the most fascinating aspects of our children’s schooling, due to the incredible diversity of scientific subjects and the wide variety of hands-on activities which can be related to each. Late spring and summer is a great time to take your scientific endeavors outdoors and take advantage of the vast laboratory of nature. An especially interesting and broad branch of science for summer study in the outdoors is botany.

What is botany?

Botany, according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the bflower_botanist_1ranch of biology that studies plants, their life, structure, growth, classification, etc.” Delving deeper into specifics, the Botanical Society of America http://botany.org/bsa/careers/what_is_botany.php tells us that “plants” have been generally thought to include “a wide range of living organisms from the smallest bacteria to the largest living things ‑ the giant sequoia trees. By this definition plants include: algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants.” However, the Society states that modern scientists theorize that bacteria, algae and fungi are not part of the plant kingdom, though they continue to be studied/taught about within botany classes. For basic botany education, you probably won’t have the resources (or your students the interest) to worry too much about these tiny organisms, one way or another.

What do botanists do?

Like other biology careers, botany is a general discipline that covers many more specific studies and specialties. Someone educated as a botanist might study plant anatomy, plant reproductive biology, ecosystem ecology, paleobotany, plant care/cultivation, botanical education, or any of a wide variety of other specialized fields. They may work indoors or outdoors, in a wide variety of work environments– in a laboratory, in a greenhouse, at a botanic garden, at a museum, for a government agency, for a private company, etc.

For more on what botanists do, where they work, who they work for, etc., see:

http://www.forestinfo.org/discover

(This page also has links to information on some other interesting outdoor careers, as well.)

For an interesting table showing different specialties in the botanical field, see The Botanical Society of America, at:

http://www.botany.org/bsa/careers/bot-spec.html

Also visit The Botanical Society of America’s career page, which has interesting stories from actual professional botanists:

http://www.botany.org/bsa/careers/

Why teach or study botany?

There are many reasons to teach or study botany. Every child has plant materials of some sort available for study, even if it’s only sidewalk weeds, houseplants, or cut flowers and/or vegetables from the grocery store. Plants are intricate organisms which can provide many fascinating study opportunities; but unlike animals, they stay right where you left them. Because of this, plants are easier for young children to examine and identify. Also, you can theoretically observe them over an extended period of time.

Changes in growing plants are generally fairly obvious and easy for even small children to observe and compare. For example, growth from a seedling and other changes in size, development of flower and/or leaf buds, blossom drop and fruit development, and seasonal foliage color changes are all obvious processes anyone paying attention can follow. Older children can delve deeper into botany through more complex subjects like habitat and plant reproduction.

Studying plants also often brings up interesting lessons in the behavior of insects, birds and mammals, since we’re all interdependent on one another.

Getting started.

Don’t feel overwhelmed about trying to teach botany even if you do not know much about the subject yourself. It is a big and complex study, and you are not going to send your students out ready for university research projects. All you should really be aiming for at the start is to get the kids interested by presenting one or two small botanical lessons… and it does not take much preparation to be able to do that.

Below are some simple ideas for botanical explorations. Each of these is a manageable lesson, both for you to teach and for your students to learn. They each also touch on one aspect of botanical study which could inspire your students to pursue additional information and other lessons, of your or their own design.

Learn some basics, print some diagrams, and view some photos.

Plant anatomy and terminology are both easy ways to introduce botanical ideas to students. The following links, and many other resources, can get you started.

Dictionary of botanical terms plus an encyclopedia of plants and flowers:

http://www.botany.com /

Parts of plants, with fun activities at some of the links:

http://www.botanical-online.com/lasplantasangles.htm

Find information about local wildflower varieties online at a site like this:

http://wildflowerinformation.org

Beautiful botanical macro photography:

http://www.botanical-online.com/macrofotografiaangles.htm

Borrow a book.

Head to your local library and see what it has to offer. You will probably find some simple books for young readers, some flower or tree identification field guides for your area, as well as books on more specialized botanical subjects. Let the selection give you inspiration. Later, if your student(s) enjoy their initial botanical studies, you may want to invest in a couple of (new or used) botany-oriented books.

Learn the local dangers.

Every environment has its hazards, whether it is your own home or classroom or a vast natural wilderness. It is just common sense.

For example, in many areas, gardeners know that sheltered areas behind plants often harbor black widow spiders; so it is wise to keep your eyes open as you explore. Depending on your region, you might have a number of other insect dangers (or at least annoyances) to plan for as well. Mosquitos, ticks, deer flies and other biting bugs are often out enjoying the summer weather at the same time you are, so take appropriate precautions with protective clothing, repellents, etc.

Flower32In California, a spring botanical phenomenon that brings many visitors out of the city, the blooming of the California poppies, is often accompanied by the spring “wake-up” of local rattlesnakes. Especially dangerous is the Mojave green rattlesnake, which is an odd gray-green color which sometimes blends into the gray- or blue-green foliage of the poppies. Every year, folks plunge out into the vast fields of orange blooms, as if it is the poppy field in Oz, with no thought to what might be hidden beneath. Unfortunately, sometimes people or dogs are bitten by rattlers, when sticking to the trails and/or watching where they put their feet could let them enjoy the gorgeous display in safety.

In some areas, you will want to be alert for bears if you go berry picking (an interesting and literally rewarding type of botanical study).

Even dangers from other plants can potentially put a damper on your botanizing adventures. Be sure that you and the children are all familiar with poison oak (western US)/poison ivy, stinging nettle, poison sumac, and any other local plant irritant.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2285113_avoid-poisonous-plants-backpacking.html

Also, if you plan to pick any wild edibles, like berries, be ABSOLUTELY sure that you know what you will be gathering, that it is safe to eat, what other local plants might look similar, and that you are legally allowed to gather it in the location where you plan to do so. Children must be seriously admonished not to pick or eat ANY other plant material they find, and young children must be very closely monitored, so keep your adult-to-child ratio as close as possible for the safest outing.

Don’t let potential dangers deter you from exploring. Just do some research so you and the students know what to expect and where to use caution.

Get up close and personal.

At botanic gardens, preserves and national parks, nature study is strictly “hands-off”… take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”… a good policy due to the volume of visitors. However, in a schoolyard setting, home garden, or on national forest/Bureau of Land Management area, judicious hands-on opportunities can be had. Many children will respond more readily to the study if they can actually handle, dismantle and analyze a flower or leaf or two up close; so this is a great option when it is available.

Flowers, leaves , bark (and/or parts thereof) look even more interesting when seen under magnification. Many botanical details are big enough to see well with limited enlargement. So, take a magnifying glass with you; or if allowable, bring home one or two small specimens to analyze in greater detail under a home microscope. Check these links out, too.

Instructions for viewing dyed onion skin cells under the microscope (a very cool experiment!):

http://www.crystal-clear-science-fair-projects.com/plant-cell-science-project.html

An interesting sequence of photos of bamboo examined under a microscope:

http://www.powerfibers.com/Bamboo_under_the_Microscope.pdf

Some really wild autofluorescent plant cell photography you have to see to believe:

http://www.olympusconfocal.com/gallery/plants/index.html

If you can’t go out, find specimens at the grocery store or nursery, or in the kitchen.

You can also study domesticated flowers you could buy cheap in bouquets at the grocery store or in pots from a home improvement store or nursery. No one will care if you tear these apart to analyze their anatomy, and a mixed-variety supermarket bouquet will provide plenty of specimens for several students to study several different types of flower.

You can also do botanical analyses on your vegetables before you eat them. What part of the plant do you eat? Can you see the rest of it (i.e., carrot tops, pea pods, green onion roots)? Do you know where/how the plant grows? You can make many interesting botanical observations and discoveries about if you look at skins, leaf veins, seeds, husks, etc. Then you can eat what is left of your experimentation.

Growing edible sprouts is another great way to do kitchen botany. For more information, check out the Sprout School pages at SproutPeople.org:

http://sproutpeople.org/sprouts.html

Get creative–

Artistic/creative kids may enjoy flower/leaf pressing, or might learn more if they draw, paint or photograph botanical specimens.

Although you can purchase (or build) a fancy press, flower or leaf pressing can be done by placing specimens between waxed or parchment paper within the pages of a large book with other books or heavy items stacked on top. (The paper will keep your pages clean from pollen or moisture.) Leaves are usually easy to just lay flat. Flowers often look nicer with some attention paid to how you spread petals, bend stems, etc., to try to get the finished flattened flower to reflect the fresh appearance of the specimen. Experiment with more than one specimen, if practical, to see what looks the most attractive. The length of time it takes for the specimens to flatten and dry will vary based on the thickness and moisture content of the specimen, the amount of weight used, and the humidity level of your surroundings. Fully-dried pressed leaves and flowers can be kept as keepsakes or used in art projects. If they are exposed to a lot of sunlight (and as they age, generally), they may lose a lot of their original color. However, kept dry in the dark, they stay beautiful an amazingly long time.

Very young artists can observe and reproduce a flower, leaf or vegetable with the most basic elements of color and shape. Pink, red, white, yellow, purple, or orange flowers may have nearly watercolor gradations of hue and shade; but for the littlest children, just picking a corresponding color crayon, pencil or marker is a lesson. In analyzing shape, help them focus on the overall outline and basic composition. An open rose is a wavy spherical shape. A violet or viola has five petals little ones can count. Most carrots are basically a long triangle (though French and baby varieties are sometimes more oblong and rounded).

Older or more experienced student artists can explore shading, striping, spots, proportion, individual plant/flower parts, and even details as intricate as leaf veining or hairy stems. You may be surprised at the details different children will notice and choose to reproduce. We often each see something slightly different even when we view the same item. That is one of the exciting things about doing nature study with a buddy or in a group. Their choices of media will also affect the level of nuance and detail that is possible. Black-and-white pencil or ink drawings are great for fine details. Colored pencils (especially the kind that smears with water) are an easy and neat way to mix colors to show subtle gradations, even if sketching out in the field. Watercolors can give even more fluid color transitions and sometimes even capture the effect of the moisture and luminescence of some plant materials.

Plant photography can also run the gamut from a simple “wide” shot of a field of grass or flowers, to a cameo of a single pretty blossom, to a very “tight”(“macro”) photo of a vegetable’s seeds, the texture of a piece of bark, or the sticky pistil and pollen-covered stamen in the center of a flower. Again, each child will see something different, and both age and technical experience can often play a part in both their approach and their results; but it’s all another way of viewing, experiencing, and remembering what they’ve seen. Make sure that they know how to operate the camera, turn them loose, and see what they see.

Planting seeds, in more ways than one.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to get children interested in botany is through gardening. Whether you plant a windowsill herb garden in pots, a sidewalk strip of annual flowers, or a dozen varieties of vegetables, helping with a garden gives children a wide variety of botanical experiences. They experience seed sprouting. They can learn about the nutrients and environmental factors plants need to grow. They can examine their plants in great detail. They can see the formation of fruit/seeds. They will probably also see pests and diseases that affect plants. If the plants flourish, they have a crop of herbs, flowers, fruit or vegetables to enjoy. If they don’t, trying to figure out why can provide interesting lessons as well. Do try to include some easy-to-grow varieties, to increase the chances of success; but emphasize the process (rather than the results) all along the way, so you do not miss out on the unexpected “teachable moments”.

However you choose to introduce and/or pursue botany with children, you are helping them better understand the world around them. You may also be planting the seeds of curiosity, opening up new avenues of inquiry and interest. It is always interesting how often learning one piece of information will spur you to think, ask or study about related subjects. So you never really know where the simple introductory lesson you teach might lead your students. The good news is that there is a whole summer ahead to find out!

You can also access this activity in

I will leave you with one more activity suggestion (the easiest one yet!) Play this fun flower match memory game!

http://www.prongo.com/match/flowers.pl

Please see http://www.condortales.com/bridestouch.html to learn more about the author.

Read the other parts of this creative hands-on lesson planning newsletter by visiting

http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html

 

 

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