Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Autumn Adventures in Hands-On Science with Exploration Education

Maria Montessori knew that children would tire of memorizing facts and learning about scientific concepts that seemed vague or difficult to comprehend.    Without the relevance of seeing how science can actually relate to everyday life, children can become disinterested and disengaged from this discipline.  Therefore, home and school educators are continually searching for ways to make this subject exciting and meaningful.   They want exercises that are easy to present, easy to understand and encourage the student to engage in further independent reading and study.    Exploration Education meets these goals and more by specializing in a unique science base hands-on curriculum that can be tailored to meet the student’s needs.   See http://www.explorationeducation.com for complete details.

 
You can access the following free hands-on activities that you can use right now and in the months

 
Money to Burn
Push or Pull
To Float, or not to Float
Air Lift
One turn deserves another
Floating Eggs
It’s Needling Me
Optics
Plastic Milk
Soap that grows
The Invisible Leash
The little big bounce
Can do
Speed boat soap
The Flame Proof Balloon
I can’t take the pressure
Static Charge
Needle proof balloon
Simply Sound
Heat Transfer, thermodynamics, and a rubber band
To view these activities please visit:
Exploration Education Activities.

 
Some of these activities can be downloaded into .pdf format. See below.


AMC Summer Hands-On Newsletter
AMC Fall Hands-On Newsletter
AMC Spring Hands-On Newsletter

Be sure to stay tuned to Montessori21stCentury for the unveiling of the winter hands-on newsletter where you will find an additional activity in .pdf format from Exploration Education.

Finally, don’t forget to enter the special AMC 25th Anniversary Drawing.  To see the list of prizes available visit Montessori 25th Anniversary Drawing.

To enter the drawing, please visit AMC Online Resource Directory  Scroll to the bottom and complete the entry blank.
 
Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
www.amonco.org

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Setting Up The Classroom for Success

The classroom environment provides the foundation for all the learning that will take place in the school year.  A pleasant, comfortable location with good organization, friendly interactions, and caring attention gives children their best chance to grow both personally and academically.

 

Whether this is your first year teaching or homeschooling, or your twentieth, you may find some helpful ideas in the following links

 

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“Getting to know you” tips for teachers and students

 

Starting a new schoolyear and meeting a new class group can be a challenge for both students and teachers.  Get off to a good start with these free tips, activities and lesson plan ideas.

 

Scholastic.com’s “Getting to Know Your Students http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/getting-know-your-students

 

Educational Leadership’s “How to Get to Know Your Students” http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb12/vol69/num05/How-You-Get-to-Know-Your-Students.aspx

 

UALR’s Getting Acquainted Activitieshttp://www.ualr.edu/blstanford/id18.htm

 

Sugardoodle’s “Get to Know You Games”http://www.sugardoodle.net/Get%20to%20know%20you%20games

 

Good Character.com’s Friendship Lesson Planshttp://www.goodcharacter.com/YCC/BeingFriends.html

 

NAMC’s Friendship as a Theme in the Montessori Classroomhttp://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/06/focusing-on-desired-behavior-montessori-friendship-theme.html#.UfexiW3wb1A

 

NAMC gives advice on various behavioral problems. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/05/behavioral-challenges-montessori-class-gluing.html#.UfezPm3wb1A

 

Classroom set-up and dynamics

 

These two articles present tips and techniques for creating a Montessori classroom, either in a traditional setting http://www.amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori/Montessori-Classrooms.aspx

 

or in your own home. http://thelittlelist.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/setting-up-a-montessori-classroom-at-home

 

Bright Hub Education describes some of the components of a positive learning environment.http://www.brighthubeducation.com/classroom-management/13907-creating-a-positive-learning-environment

 

Teaching with Cents has some cute and clever ideas for do-it-yourself classroom tools and organizers. http://teachingwithcents.com/7-tools-for-classroom-set-up-and-organization

 

Georgette Baker from Cantemos suggests a relaxation exercise for the classroom. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

 

Learning styles

 

It is always important to remind ourselves that children are individuals with their own learning styles and aptitudes.  When we work with those natural tendencies and abilities, children flourish and growth is fostered.  

 

For whole body learners, tactile-kinesthetics, and basketball lovers of all learning styles,  Mariaemma from Coaching for Learning Success offers a fun basketball memorization game. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

 

Get off to a fresh, positive and organized start this year, and here’s to great relationships, great personal growth, and great academic progress!

 

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Accentuating Autumn with Some Innovative Lesson Planning Ideas

With autumn approaching, it’s time to review what’s new and relevant for the autumn months.

Please click on the following links for free lesson planning information:

Free Fall Lesson Planning

Free Fall Art Lessons for Montessorians

The Three R’s for Autumn Lesson Planning

Around the World in Food and Culture

Refocusing on Reading and Writing

Time to Tune Up on Math

Starting the School Year Right Back-to-School Ideas for the Montessori School and Home Classrooms

A Bilingual Spanish/English Unit Study About Plants

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The Three R’s for Autumn Lesson Planning

Reading, writing and arithmetic are the building blocks of our children’s education, so it’s always worth spending a little extra energy in finding fresh and engaging materials on those subjects.  It is especially appropriate as we start the traditional school year to provide extra review and practice to make sure students are “tuned-up” and ready to work after the summer holidays.

Check out the links below.

General lesson plan ideas

Ten Things to Remember When Presenting Montessori Activities. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/07/ten-things-to-remember-when-presenting-montessori-activities.html#.UfQIqFNVevs

Point your browsesr to Montessori Classroom: Activity Ideas for the First Day of School  http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2008/08/montessori-classroom-first-day-of.html#.UfQJkFNVevs

Check out this round-up of lesson plans and activities on a variety of subjects.

http://k6educators.about.com/od/lessonplanheadquarters/Lesson_Plan_Headquarters.htm

Only Passionate Curiosity has compiled an extensive list of free homeschool curriculum resources, including pre-K through grade 12.

http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com/free-homeschool-list

HomeschoolViews links to a wide variety of free unit studies, administrative helpers, activities and fun items to print out for homeschool and other educational uses.

http://www.homeschoolviews.com/resources/printables.html

EverythingHomeschooling has another large listing of free homeschool lessons.

http://www.everythinghomeschooling.com/free.aspx

Autumn-themed unit studies/academic lessons

HotChalk’s Lesson Plans Page provides an extensive array of links to lesson plans, videos and other resources related to the seasons.  Check them now for autumn ideas, and bookmark them for later in the year.

http://lessonplanspage.com/seasonal-lesson-plans

You’ll find seasonally-themed ideas and much more at the Activity Idea Place. http://www.preschooldirectory.123child.com

Hands-On Autumn Adventures gives ideas for autumn weekend and school day outings, as well as other related activities.

http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

Free reading resources

Need some new book adventures?  Here are several good lists of K-3 reading books (and some higher grades, too).

https://www.literatureplace.com/

http://school.familyeducation.com/summer/reading/38769.html

http://txesla.net/gradesk3.html

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr244.shtml

The Lord Equipment Company’s Simple Steps Reading Series combines phonics and sight word practice with an opportunity to create your own book as a student project or gift for a child. 

http://www.lordequip.com/parables/parable.htm

Montessorian Cathie Perolman offers her HANDS-ON PHONICS program from Joyful Noise Prodcutions.   http://www.shop.joyful-noise.com/HANDS-ON-PHONICS_c19.htm

Writing resources

Montessori Mom shares instructions for making and using a Montessori Movable Alphabet. http://www.montessorimom.com/moveable-alphabet

Access a free Montessori blue line paper PDF here.

http://www.lordequip.com/images/bluelines.pdf

Find out more about  the Barchowsky Fluid Handwriting technique.

http://www.bfhhandwriting.com

You’ll find lots of free handwriting practice sheets at these links.

http://www.softschools.com/handwriting/alphabets

Draw Your World combines art with writing and spelling practice.

http://www.drawyourworld.com

For older students, here are some free typing resources.  http://www.typingweb.com and http://www.typing-lessons.org

Word puzzles and games (Grown-ups will enjoy some of these, too!)

Enjoy these free Montessori educational bingo games. http://www.amonco.org/montessori_grammar_bingo.html and

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

Word search, crosswords, hang-man and more make it fun to practice spelling and comprehension.

http://www.funenglishgames.com/wordgames.html

http://www.primarygames.com/puzzles/word_searches.php

http://www.wuzzlesandpuzzles.com (Math puzzles here, too.)

Try out Alan Stillson’s Middle School Word Puzzles here: http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf and here: http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf

Math practice and puzzles

You will find a variety of mathematics lesson ideas for K-5 students at Kids.gov.

http://kids.usa.gov/math/index.shtml

HomeschoolMath.net lists resources from kindergarten all the way through high school. http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching

Math.com’s “Teaching Math at Home” listings concentrate on inspirations and ideas and on-line courses. http://www.math.com/parents/homeschool.html

Check out math curriculum ideas listed by grade level.

http://homeschooling.about.com/od/currmath/qt/mathcurriculum.htm

Enjoy some free samples of Dr. Henry Borenson’s Hands-On Equations. http://www.amonco.org/creative3/montessori_fall3.pdf

Try out this math sequencing exercise from Conceptual Learning.  http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf

If math seems difficult or stressful for your students, perhaps you will find some inspiration in this interesting blogpost on “unschooling” math. http://www.ordinarylifemagic.com/2012/03/unschooling-tools-math-play.html

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Whatever strategies you implement, here’s hoping that your students get a great start on their academics this year!

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An Autumn Recipe and Special Savings to Start the Day

As the weather cools down, many of us will spend more time in the kitchen.  We’ll be making the usual family favorites as well as trying different recipes that are eye-catching. As mentioned in other posts here, meal planning and preparation open up the door to interdisciplinary learning experiences.  Although cooking and baking are part of Maria Montessori’s practical life exercises, math, chemistry, reading and art are all intertwined in culinary creations, as well. 

The AMC Fall 2012 newsletter http://www.amonco.org/montessori_fall_handson.html contains a nice variety of recipes to try.  The winter edition will feature additional winter ones, as well.  Below, is a sneak preview of what to expect in this upcoming issue.  

Wood Etc. Corp.

Website: http://www.woodetccorp.com

Recipe Submitted by Anna & Wolfgang

German Farmer’s Breakfast
bauernfruhstuck

A good lunch or dinner dish. Serve with a green salad and
bread.4 medium potatoes
4 strips bacon, cubed
3 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
½  teaspoon salt1 cup cooked ham, cut into small cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon of chopped chives

Boil unpeeled potatoes 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water, peel, and set aside to cool.
Slice potatoes. In a large frying pan cook bacon until transparent.
Add the potato slicesuntil lightly browned.

Meanwhile blend eggs with milk and salt. Stir in the cubed ham.

Cut the tomatoes into thin wedges: add to the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes in the frying pan.
Cook until the eggs are set. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve at once.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Special Limited Time Offer from Wood. Etc

Wood, Etc. www.woodetccorp.com is currently offering a special fall promotion. Receive a savings of 40% to 50% off selected storage, lockers, dramatic play and book displays. See www.rdsschoolfurniture.com for details.

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 24 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century
www.amonco.org

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Chemistry Meets Practical Life Exercises, Arts and Crafts

Liquid Starch, Cornstarch and Epsom Salts–

Chemistry meets practical life exercises, arts and crafts

Activities that use simple household items or ingredients can be fun and  educational. A lot of these activities combine multiple layers of learning, as well as elements of investigation or creativity.

Explore the versatility of some common household items with a sampling of art, craft and practical life activities using liquid laundry starch, cornstarch, and Epsom salts.

From gooey play slime and tasty pie filling to gracious holiday gifts and perky starched curtains, Sara L. Ambarian shares a wide variety of fun and practical projects for children and adults of all ages.

To access this article, please visit  http://www.amonco.org/liquid_starch.pdf

Have fun!

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Some 1999 Fall Lessons and Resources Revisited – Part I

Are you looking for additional Canadian Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and other worldwide autumn/winter holiday lesson planning information?  If so, you’re likely to find some of  what you need in the original AMC 1999 autumn issue.  This issue, located at  http://amonco.org/fall99.html , has just received a facelift.

Put some spice in your pumpkin presentations by perusing through this issue. Locate a special pumpkin unit study that can be easily adapted for either a Montessori school or home based classroom.  If you are currently creating your own fall themed classified reading activities, check out the pumpkin based investigation link.  Jot down the types of activities you wish to use for your classified reading presentations.  With your list in hand, you can quickly and easily make an interesting pumpkin classified reading card activity that your students are sure to appreciate.

                

Help children experience the majestic beauty and meaning of this upcoming season.  Participating in hands-on exercises involving autumn leaves,  analyzing and creating fall themed poems, and investigating and using Thanksgiving recipes from the past, helps students truly experience just some of what autumn has to offer.

This 1999 issue http://amonco.org/fall99.html also contains lesson planning for several upcoming holidays including Christmas and Hanukkah.   All dead links have been removed and new ones with fresh autumn themed material have been added.

Many of the older AMC issues are in the process of receiving a facelift, so stay tuned for more fall and winter based resources in the weeks to come!!    🙂

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

Celebrating 24 Years of Serving School and Home Educators

Montessori for the 21st Century

http://www.amonco.org

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Plan Ahead! Part I

 Part 1—Daily Almanac and Observations, plus Miscellaneous Learning Resources

“If you have no idea where you want to go, it makes little difference how fast you travel.”  Italian Proverb

As summer winds down and autumn studies loom, now is the time to start (or finish) researching and planning fresh lessons and routines for the coming school year. 

A good place to start looking for ideas and resources is this list: http://www.amonco.org/directory.html  Also, the internet is full of good ideas and resources for classroom activities and lesson plans.  The following are just a few ideas you might consider out of the almost unlimited possibilities.  Happy planning!

Daily almanac and observations–

Day, date, time, sunrise, sunset, length of the day, phase of the moon, current weather conditions, forecast weather (short and long-term), upcoming celestial events, and important events on this date in history are only some of the types of daily information and observations your students might enjoy researching and recording to start each day. 

Keeping a journal of this sort of information can be interesting and informative. It can provide good practice for spelling and handwriting. It also adds some routine and structure to the school day. If you keep the journal, it can also provide conversation starters and teachable moments when comparing past data with current data (especially weather observations) in successive years.

http://www.timeanddate.com

http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-current.html

http://www.historyorb.com/today

To record your own daily weather observations all you really need are an outdoor thermometer, a window or door to check current sky conditions, and a notebook.   You can also easily find the daily forecast on-line on a local news site or by typing in your city or zip code (for the US) here:  http://www.weather.gov

However, if you want to get into more depth, look for inexpensive “weather stations” (digital or traditional) which include other instruments like barometers (to measure barometric pressure)  and hygrometers (to measure humidity), or which record the high and low daily temperatures. Nature’s Workshop Plus! sells an economical weather station with a thermometer, hygrometer, and barometer http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=2113&idcategory=0  , and the Farm Country General Store has a variety of interesting weather books. http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com

You can also look for (or sometimes construct your own) rain gauges, weather vanes, windsocks and other instruments to help students understand and evaluate atmospheric conditions. Some students love the extra data they can gather from this sort of instrument. The following article by Geoff Jenkins of the Royal Meteorological Society in the UK has many inspiring ideas and tips for home and school weather observation.  http://www.rmets.org/sites/default/files/pdf/simweameasurements.pdf

The famous Old Farmer’s Almanac has a website which provides lots of interesting information, including weather forecasts.  Be sure to check out their articles on predicting the weather, and maybe have students try their hand at a forecast! http://www.almanac.com/weather

For an example of a very detailed daily weather report, check out the Appalachian Mountain Club’s forecasts for local recreational enthusiasts.  Perhaps one of your students would like to report specialized details like ground/trail conditions, or might think of their own weather-related observations to record. http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/go/pinkham-washington-weather.cfm

For daily weather stories and facts, check out The Weather Notebook. http://www.weathernotebook.org The archives of this National Public Radio show produced by New Hampshire’s well-respected and historic Mount Washington Observatory provide nine years’ worth of brief, interesting weather stories. These free, easy-to-access tidbits of history and information would dovetail well into a morning Pick a year and the current month, then look for today’s date for a topical weather story.

Miscellaneous learning resources—

Core academics are always an important part of lesson planning, and they can also be subjects that are hard to keep fresh and interesting for students. Look now for free lessons and curriculum plans like the following.

General curriculum resources. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers , http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=109114 , http://www.galileoeducation.org/Homeschooling.html ,

Daily quick facts and short exercises can be a fun way to help students learn new information and practice skills they are learning.

Free daily math problem for grades 1-8. http://www.mathbuddyonline.com/common/mbqad.html

SuperKids offers a free “word of the day” as vocabulary boosters for students from upper elementary through high school. http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/words/wod.shtml 

Sciensational has free daily science and math facts. http://www.sciensational.com

For older children, more advanced students, or kids who really want to test their intellectual limits, try these sites with more-advanced daily challenges. http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday , http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day  , http://www.imo-official.org/problems.aspx

This article explains how you can use the “word a day” strategy to teach or learn foreign languages and provides links for nine languages plus sign language. http://www.childrenlearninglanguages.com/Vocabulary_and_LanguageSkills/Word_of_the_Day.html

Also, look around for open-ended materials that encourage a creative use and/or lot of interaction, like this cool writable globe from Schoolmasters Science. http://www.schoolmasters.com/categories/productDetails.cfm?product_ID=16685&div=sc&category&bc3&details You could start your year’s geography study with this blank globe several different ways, depending on the age and skills of your students.  With very young students with limited geographic knowledge, you could only mark countries, oceans, etc., as you study them.  With older students, you could have them do a “challenge” attempt at naming the countries; and then spend the rest of the year researching the countries and landforms they did not know initially.

If your lesson plans for the year ahead include any sort of science, art, or other “fair” projects, you may find the following article from Catholic Homeschooling Resources inspiring.  It describes their Annual Project Fair, and shares some interesting ideas for project types, as well as fair organization

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