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Spring Forward 2015 with AMC Lesson Planning

I recently revised and uploaded the new 2015 AMC Montessori Lesson Planning Springtime Newsletter. To see the contents of this newsletter please see below.

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

Peruse through the entire lessons.

Then, download the new AMC Montessori Hands-On Creative Lesson Planning Newsletter. You can also access this newsletter by visiting http://www.amonco.org and clicking on the new eBook Library.

Below, is just a partial listing of the offerings included in the newly uploaded AMC Montessori Spring Hands-On Newsletter.

Part I – AMC Spring Newsletter

Sandy R. Wilbur answers general as well specific questions which will help you to understand the benefits of bird-watching with children. You’ll learn how to get started, what types of products to buy, and what pitfalls to avoid, to name a few. Sandy is also sensitive to the concerns educators may feel about presenting lessons on this topic

Montessori Dianne Knesek reminds us that numeration is the basis for all math concepts. An important aspect of that understanding is the ability to sequence numbers from least to greatest. Exercises are very easy to make.

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The Language Salons are the brainchild of Director François Thibaut, who’s been a foreign language teacher since the late 1960’s. Thibaut’s best known for founding the renowned Language Workshop for Children and the Cercle Franco Americain French of Adults program in 1973. Read about this program in Part I of this newsletter.

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Part II – AMC Spring Newsletter

Rae continues to show us why we should visit the Creative Process website. Her innovative ideas will greatly add to your spring lesson planning.

Dr. Borenson shares some free Hands-On Equations® Basic Algebraic Concepts.

 

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Montessorian Richard Lord offers free Downloadable “Simple Reading Books” & Free Geography Set of Land and Water Form Cards.

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Learn also how to make a flannel board from Fun Felt.

Part III – AMC Spring Newsletter

John shares his entertaining as well as educational activities entitled “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE and The Needle Proof Balloon.”

Nan shows us how to make some delicious peanut fudge. See how you can plan extension lesson exercises combining handwriting, cooking and illustrating!!!

Does your middle school student enjoy participating in fun, challenging puzzles? Are you looking for some activities to help your student prepare for the ACT or SAT?

In honor of two major spring holidays, Alan Stillson, the author of Middle School Word Puzzles, invites you to find these words and expressions that are related to Easter or Passover. Alan also offers some fun, challenging food puzzles for middle school students. Check out the new free samples from Alan’s newest book, Brain Warmer Uppers, as well.

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It’s Time to Think Outside the Book and Kindle, Too! Curious? Read this section to find out how you can use the creative ideas of Rita Arpaia from Literatureplace.com in your home and school classrooms right now!

Part IV — AMC Spring Newsletter

Dale Gausman, from North American Montessori Center, offers the timely Introducing a Bird Feeder and Making Grass-Eggshell People. You will also found three additional outstanding Montessori extension exercises – My Family Tree,  Marble Design Paper, and  Montessori Easter Activities: Ukrainian Easter Eggs in Culture and Science Curriculum with free .pdf downloads – all offered by NAMC.

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Part V – AMC Spring Newsletter

Marie and Kim illustrate how drawing helps children develop a mental map. Discover a Montessori extension exercise that is designed for age group 5 to 95. :)

It’s time to get up and “move” with Go Green!, a brand new CD form Kimbo Educational http://kimboed.com/gogreen.aspx#.UtRAIvZVe0e “GO GREEN! Caring About Our Earth contains song about playing outdoors, recycling, planting a garden, stopping pollution, and more inspire children to connect to the Earth and encourage them to be responsible for the Earth. Action fun and singable songs motivate children to be involved and to be aware of the outside world

Look for the Guide/Extension Activities by Dr. Pam Schiller in this section of the newsletter.

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Find the lyrics and directions for the song, “The Alphabet March and Match”, by Pam Schiller, Ph.D., from the new Kimbo Educational CD release, Move and Learn.

The focus of the song is on letters, which aids in literacy knowledge. Move and Learn is a unique resource, providing 17 guided, action-packed educational songs, featuring concepts and skills that are necessary for every child to learn, including numbers, colors, literacy and more.

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Part VI – AMC Spring Newsletter

Dr.Borenson, from Hands-On Equations®, offers more samples of algebraic concepts.

Download free French and Spanish songs with translations from Professor Toto.

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Part VII- AMC Spring Newsletter

Ruth shares a needlepoint lesson which is designed for students 12 years and older.

Marjorie shares a classical music lesson plan for springtime from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.

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Download the new, free “Anti-gravity water – is it possible? science activity from Exploration Education.

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Don’t forget to read Part VIII – AMC Spring Newsletter

Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington

Montessorians will appreciate the imaginative George Washington lesson planning ideas that author Sara Ambarian has provided. Traditional colonial recipes are featured and can easily be incorporated into Montessori’s practical life exercises. Sara has done an excellent job of presenting sufficient information about this subject, without bogging down educators with too much data.

Diana, from Nature’s Workshop Plus, knows that we are all looking forward to the beauty of spring, so she showers us with some springtime nature activities that are sure to be enjoyed in any Montessori environment.

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The late Montessorian Kathy O’Reilly uses eggs as the focus of food related exercises. Her multiple subject integrated approach is supplemented with a Booklist for additional extension lessons.

This post contains only a very small sampling of what is offered in this newsletter.All of the lessons contained in the newsletter are free of charge. Visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html to download the newsletter in .pdf.

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz
http://www.amonco.org
Celebrating 27 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century

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Montessori Lessons to Jumpstart 2016!

Happy New Year!!

Below are links to jump start your Montessori lesson planning for the new year.

Many of these lessons are free!

Getting Ready for a “New” Year

Animals in the Winter Unit Study Free Lesson Plans

Valentine Day Links

Montessori Winter-Themed Activities from NAMC Part I

Montessori Winter-Themed Activities from NAMC Part II

Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

Beginning a Spring Garden at Home or School

Spring Tea

Year End Activities

Draw Your World Lesson Plans

Children’s Books for Summer Reading – Part II

Bird-watching with Children

Monthly Observances and Notable Data

Science Activity “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE!”

Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington – lesson planning ideas

Valentine Origami Art & Math Activities

A Movie About Maria Montessori Worth Watching

AMC Montessori Winter Hands On Lessons

Hands-On Interdisciplinary Learning

Winter Science Links

Want more?? Click on the links below for additional free lessons and articles that are available only at the amonco.org website :

Italy – Links for a Montessori Unit Study

A Maria Montessori Movie Worth Seeing

Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

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

The Human Cardiovascular System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Cardiology Terminology

The Human Nervous System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Let’s Go on an Animal Safari – See Part VII

More in store for you in 2016!

Visit www.amonco.org often throughout 2016 to discover new Montessori lesson planning.

Enjoy!
Heidi
http://www.amonco.org

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2014 Winter and Holiday Lesson Planning for the Classroom

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Winter and the holidays are now just around the corner, and once again, the AMC resource participants have not let their readers down. Many of the participants have contributed outstanding lesson plans, recipes, crafts and other interesting activities that you can use right now in your school and home classrooms. Below, are just some of the highlights of what you will find in this issue.

Part 1

See http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

In Part 1 you will discover the following:

Rae, from the Creative Process, has offered numerous free activities that will spark the imagination of your students: Scribble Designs, Masks and Mask Making, A Sharing Food Unit Study, Teaching Alternative Energy Ideas, and some timely information to help you get ready for a “new” year will all add some zip to your winter lesson planning.

The North American Montessori Center (NAMC) offers a blog filled with Montessori activities for school and home school educators.    See the end of Part I to discover the Montessori Magnetic Chips, Snowman Picture and Christmas Flower Arranging activities.

Part II

See http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

A yummy Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cutouts is a delicious treat that you will want to include for your holiday celebrations.

Nan Barchowsky has generously contributed her Big Numbers Writing Activity. Receive directions and templates for a writing activity that you can use right now with your children.

Why not have some hands on science fun this winter? John, from Exploration Education, introduces the “Air Lift” and “To float, or not to float?” science activities.

Next, turn your attention to creating some integrated social studies lessons by using the Christmas in Australia unit study.

Finally, try your hand at making a delicious crustless pumpkin pie.

Part III

See http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Receive a direct link to a Montessori Napkin Folding exercise courtesy of the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). Children will enjoy this practical life exercise as they participate in preparing the holiday dinner table for guests.

Nothing smells better during the cold autumn and winter months, than walking into a room filled with the smell of baked apples. The Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples recipe submitted by NAMC is sure to delight your family and friends.

Dale has also shared the Montessori Button-Buddy and Acting Out How Animals Survive Winter exercises. This latter exercise will greatly aid children in their understanding of hibernation, adaptation, and other key science terms. Receive step-by-step instructions on how to present these lessons, plus extension exercises for further applications.

Richard, from LORD Company, has uploaded some various Montessori related free materials for you to use in your school and home classrooms. You will also find two geography-based resources in this section of the newsletter. Download a free set of Land and Water Forms Cards from LORD Company. Birdcage Press has provided an amazing set of materials that can be used for a unit study about ancient Egypt.

Are you looking for something different to bring this year to your favorite annual holiday potluck?  Let Sara Ambarian walk you through the steps to creating a delicious Ginger Turkey Salad.  Just click on the link above to get the recipe and additional accompanying information.

Part IV

See http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

The Scented Basket project, contributed by Mariaemma of Coaching for Learning Success, provides an opportunity for your students to learn more about art, and they will end up with a special holiday gift in the process.

Dianne, from Conceptual Learning, provides yet another tasty Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares treat that will be enjoyed by guests at your holiday parties. Dianne has also contributed some outstanding Montessori Math Sequencing lessons in .pdf Elaine, from Kimbo Educational. Kimbo has a number of multicultural CDs and songs. In this section of the newsletter, you will find some lyrics from Kimbo Educational’s new Hanukkah and Chinese New Year CD. You will also receive some valuable resource lesson planning information for the Chinese New Year.

Dr. Borenson, from Hands On Equations, has once again contributed a free hands-on algebra activity. In Part IV, you will also discover more about the free Montessori Animals in the Winter unit study. Hands On Equations has recently unveiled some exciting new algebra program apps for the Android, iPad and iPhone! See Part IV for details.

Are you tired of including the same holiday side dishes to your holiday meals?  Why not try some additional new recipes this year?  Let Sara Ambarian show you how.  Check out her Zesty Cranberry Relish and Cheesy Baked Cauliflower recipes here in Part IV, plus other new tasty recipes that have been added to other sections of this newsletter.

Part V

See http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Have some fun with words pertaining to food this winter! Alan Stillson has generously contributed to yet another edition of the Montessori seasonal newsletter. See this section to access the free Middle School Word Puzzles by Stillsonworks.

The Handprint Towel activity is a wonderful hands-on project, with the dual effect of doing something truly meaningful with children and helping them to create a gift with lasting memories. The younger set will also enjoy Karen’s special Pumpkin Pie Scented Playdough recipe.

Ligia, from Childsake, submitted an easy to make, delicious Holiday Cheesecake. Yum!!

Next, get ready for some sizzling science with The Little Big Bounce Science Activity!

Finally, Montessorian  Dianne Knesek has generously shared some Montessori math based lessons that your children are sure to enjoy!.    You can find instructions to downloading some of her free “Exchanges” and “Roman Numerals” activities by clicking on the link above.

Part VI

See http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Another recipe that is sure to delight the chocolate lovers in your family is Farmer’s Favorite Fudge recipe, courtesy of Farm Country General Store.

Gert, from Kimbo, shares her personal holiday favorite recipe for our special winter issue. Read the history of The Grandma Cake – A Celebration Tradition and encourage the children in your life to make their own special Grandma Cake.

Elaine, from Kimbo Educational, makes informal entertaining quick and easy with her delicious Spinach Dip Recipe. Elaine also provided a literature link activity for Three Little Kittens.

Alan Stillson has included an interesting holiday-themed song from his hit play, I Remember Lou.

Now, for some soapy science fun!!! You read that right. John, from Exploration Education contributed a free Soap That Grows lesson in .pdf which contains all of the illustrations, pictures and detailed lesson plans you need to make this activity a success.

Part VII

See http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

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. Another new recipe added to this issue, Bauernfruhstuck, (German Farmer’s Breakfast), is presented by Anna and Wolfgang.

Take a stroll from Germany to France to discover a light and fluffy French favorite.  Professor Toto offers the French Crepes recipe which will tie right in with an existing Montessori curriculum.   This practical life exercise can be used as part of a unit study about the French culture; or, it could also be used for specific multicultural celebrations.  Last but not least, this dish would be a scrumptious addition to any holiday meal.

Rita, from homeschool.literatureplace.com, has written an interesting article for homeschoolers.  Historical Fiction: Where Fact and Fiction Merge Planning a New Literature Program for Your Child will be a boon for parents who have been searching for ways in which to select and organize their booklists.

Music lovers will appreciate the winter-themed music lesson planning ideas featured in this section of the newsletter.  .The Winter by Vivaldi unit study can be used in conjunction with art, science, existing music and geography activities, to name a few.

Please see http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
to view this entire lesson plan.

Now that you have some new lesson plans, delve in and begin to put some extra sparkle into your school and home school settings. I wish you a fun-filled winter.

Visit American Montessori Consulting and look under New and Notable for additional articles and free lesson plans.

If you are looking for service oriented projects, please visit Community Service Projects for the Upcoming Holiday Season

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 26 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century
http://www.amonco.org

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Summer is Coming! – Let’s Celebrate

As we approach the first day of  summer, take time now to focus or refocus on the summer months ahead.  You’ll discover why these links are well worth a second look.

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

AMC Montessori Summer Hands-On Learning Newsletter

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/experiencing-fine-art-in-person-with-your-children/

Experiencing Fine Art in Person with Your Children

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/indoor-activities-to-get-you-out-of-the-sun/

Indoor Activities Get You Out of the Sun

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/family-fun-and-outdoor-science-pursuits-a-%E2%80%9Cnatural%E2%80%9D-combination/

FAMILY FUN AND OUTDOOR SCIENCE PURSUITS: A “NATURAL” COMBINATION

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

MONTESSORI LESSONS -A Gardening Unit Study (With the Focus on the Summer)

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/innovative-montessori-music-for-the-summer/

Innovative Montessori Music for the Summer

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2008/07/montessori-summer-activities.html

Montessori Summer Activities: Woodworking

I wish you and your family a very blessed upcoming summer.

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Explore the Beauty of Autumn through the Arts

The exciting colors and interesting silhouettes of autumn can be very inspiring creatively; and arts and crafts projects and musical interludes can provide students with a welcome break from their re-immersion into academics during the back-to-school season.  So be sure to take some time to explore the resources and opportunities available to help kids explore the beauties of the season with arts, crafts and music.

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General free art resources

Dick Blick’s free art and craft ideas

http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/grade-level/k-4

Montessori On a Budget’s listing of free Montessori art downloads http://www.montessori-on-a-budget.com/2011/03/friday-free-downloads-montessori-art.html

Miscellaneous autumn-themed arts and crafts

Squigly’s autumn arts and crafts ideas

http://www.squiglysplayhouse.com/ArtsAndCrafts/Holidays/Autumn.html

My Blessed Life links to 12 fall kids’ crafts.

http://myblessedlife.net/2011/09/fall-kids-crafts.html

Personalize your classroom with a Friendship Quilt, a project from Dale Gausman at NAMC. http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf

Leaf art and crafts

The contributors to the ProTeacher Collection share many interesting autumn leaf and related autumn projects and lesson plans. http://www.proteacher.org/c/100_autumn_leaves__fall_art_projects.html

Here are 25 crafts using or replicating autumn leaves. http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/09/25-leaf-crafts

Turn autumn leaves (or prints of them!) into butterflies.

http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/2012/09/butterfly-leaves.html

Autumn Colors Tissue Paper Art Project http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf

Here is a very striking, but fairly simple, watercolor technique using actual leaves as templates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwBM11Wmpo0

For more ideas, look at these professional artists’ and photographers’ autumn compositions.

Top 6 Incredible Artworks Made from Autumn Leaves

http://inhabitat.com/top-6-incredible-artworks-made-from-autumn-leaves

Dan Bacich’s leaf paintings

http://www.autumnleavesart.com/paintings.php

Miscellaneous autumn art examples at Fine Art America

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/autumn+leaves/all

Here are some examples of the autumn nature photography of Alexander MacPhail, from a hike on Mt Passaconway and the Sandwich Range, New Hampshire.

http://whitemountainsojourn.blogspot.com/2012/10/9-29-12-mt-passaconway-sandwich-range.html

Apple art and crafts

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on drawing a red Delicious apple, with an in-screen “draw while you learn” feature. http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/2011/10/how-to-draw-realistic-or-cartoon-apples-with-easy-step-by-step-drawing-lesson

This is an interesting time lapse of an artist painting a still life with apples.  It contains rather advanced shading, but could still inspire students with new ideas for techniques to try. Students may also get a kick out of comparing the original apples that inspired him with the finished product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7WtTtaEems

Easy Apple Crafts for Kids

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/08/easy-apple-crafts-for-kids.html

Crafty Crow’s apple crafts

http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2011/09/apple-crafts.html

Video: How to Craft Apple Stamps

http://www.howcast.com/videos/343105-How-to-Craft-Apple-Stamps

For some additional apple themed lesson planning, peruse through the unit study Hands-On Autumn Adventures – Autumn Leaves, Pumpkins, and Apple Classification Harvesting Activities and Unit Studies  http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

Need a little more inspiration?  Why not bake Oma’s Cake, a German recipe using pears or apples, and let the fruity, cinnamony fragrance stoke your autumn spirit! http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf

Pumpkin art and crafts

Even your youngest students can have fun, with your help, making adorable fingerprint pumpkins. http://www.billybear4kids.com/Learn2Draw/FingerPrints/Pumpkin.shtml

Simple Kids’ Crafts breaks the process of drawing a pumpkin down into very simple steps. http://www.simplekidscrafts.com/?z=summer-drawings-how-to-draw-a-pumpkin

Whether for carving or just on paper, these cute jack-o-lantern face ideas will get kids inspired to expand their own pumpkin caricatures. http://www.how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com/drawing-pumpkin-faces.html

Combine some really fine watercolor art techniques with color theory, art appreciation, literature, and Canadian geography in this well-presented pumpkin art lesson for young children. http://www.scs.sk.ca/van/inventions%20articles/inventions%20articles/Giant%20Pumpkins.pdf

Now that your students are comfortable with their shapes, why not try sculpting some of these traditional autumn motifs in sandable, paintable/stainable home-made wood dough? Richard from The Lord Company shares a recipe and instructions. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf

Music and poetry

Get into the spirit of the season with fun autumn songs and rhymes!

NIEHS’ Kids’ Pages:  Songs

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs

Early Years Experience’s Songs and Rhymes Page

http://www.bigeyedowl.co.uk/show_songs.php?t=50

Preschool Express’ Music and Rhyme Station

http://www.preschoolexpress.com/music_station.shtml

Go more in-depth with Classical Magic’s lesson plans revolving around “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.  http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf

There are also a number of neat YouTube videos like this one that use Vivaldi’s “Autumn” as the background music for beautiful scenes of grape harvests, mushrooms growing in the woods, autumn foliage, and more seasonal sights your students might enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uaVhKocqPw

For more suggestions of classical pieces children might enjoy, as well as ideas for getting students involved with the music, check this blogpost.

http://www.prekinders.com/classical-music

Want to get more hands-on? Anna from Wood, Etc. shares instructions for making a Zebra Stick Craft. http://www.amonco.org/creative08/montessori_fall8.pdf, and Lois from Bountiful Spinweave, shares instructions for making the Broken Rib Scarf with Seed Stitch Border. 

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It is a common theme in literature and poetry that autumn is a sad time of year, and although many writers have lauded autumn  in their own ways, http://www.livinglifefully.com/fall.html , perhaps Samuel Taylor Coleridge explained the beauty and spirit of autumn the best.

Why is it that so many of us persist in thinking that autumn is a sad season?

Nature has merely fallen asleep, and her dreams must be beautiful

if we are to judge by her countenance.

 

Help your students see, explore and appreciate the beauty of this magical season through the arts!  Refer back to this post during the next few weeks to see how you can infuse some of these creative ideas into your existing curriculum.

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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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Music Lesson Planning Ideas for Spring 2013

“Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body.”    Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

Music, like spring, can make us feel rejuvenated and joyful.  Add music to your daily learning for fun and for many other wonderful benefits.

Get in the spirit of one of the most-beloved spring activities with this sing-along from Mary Poppins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt_J-xU5qOI

If you want to go really in-depth in the atmosphere of the season, check out Classical Magic’s musical lesson plan for Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf

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Present lessons comparing Renaissance with the Baroque Period by visiting http://www.amonco.org/spring2002_1.html

Combine music with multicultural studies by teaching your students songs in languages other than English, with Cantemos www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf  and Professor Toto. http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf  Professor Toto®

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Present the instruments of the orchestra using free Montessori instrument nomenclature cards. http://countingcoconuts.blogspot.com/2010/12/instrument-nomenclature-cards.html

For a selected selection of instruments for children see http://www.themusichouse.com/musich/kidsdirectory.htm

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You can find lots of informative and inspirational free instructional videos on-line, which can let children (and adults) explore a variety of musical concepts without a large initial expense.  Just search your favorite video site for “learn to play [insert instrument]”, :”learn to sing”, etc. 

There is ample evidence that the inclusion of music is beneficial to children’s overall educational experience and performance.  Explore these links for more details.

http://whatdidwedoallday.blogspot.com/p/montessori-music.html

http://www.paulborgese.com/report_benefitofmusic.html

http://www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy/12benefits.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOM8Z2UQKR4

Finally, this article from Scientific American explores what we know (and what we don’t) about how listening to and/or making music affects our minds.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=musics-effects-on-the-min&print=true

Happy Lesson Planning!

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Winter Learning and Fun — Indoors and Out

Winter can be a fun and exciting season for a wide variety of learning opportunities, if you are practical, flexible and enthusiastic.  There is no need for children or adults to feel penned-in or bored during the winter months.  Just switch your priorities, as folks have done through history, to make the most of both the time indoors and the recreational possibilities outdoors while they last!

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Indoor activities—

Be ready for blustery days and long winter evenings with a stockpile of fun activities like these mazes, coloring pages, crafts, games, stationery and more.

http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Winter-Activities-for-Kids.html

http://www.primarygames.com/seasons/winter/winter_fun.htm

http://prekinders.com/winter-theme

Special academic exercises can also provide fun and challenging indoor diversions.  Diane from Conceptual Learning shares “Exchange” an interesting math exercise for ages 5-7. http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Here are a variety of fun, warm indoor activities to consider. http://voices.yahoo.com/fun-indoor-winter-activities-keep-kids-warm-knitting-760361.html?cat=25

Cooking is definitely a great way to learn, have fun, and keep warm at the same time. Ethnic foods, comfort foods, and baked goods are all especially enticing and interesting when the weather turns cooler.

There aren’t many cuisines that are heartier or more satisfying than Germany’s.  Get started with Anna and Wolfgang’s easy recipes for a German Farmer’s Breakfast (bauernfruhstuck)  and German Potato Soup (kartojelsuppe). http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf Find more great German recipes here:  http://www.kitchenproject.com/german/german_food_recipes.htm

You might also enjoy these other resources for more cool weather recipes.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/comfort-foods/package/index.html

http://www.joyofbaking.com/

When it’s too cold or wet to have outdoor adventures, reading is always a cozy activity.  Spark children’s imaginations with exciting fiction.

Rita from Literatureplace.com submits some ideas in “Fables, Myths, and Legends:  The Origins of Today’s World Cultures”.  http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

For more on how to incorporate children’s literary heroes and heroines into lesson plans, check out this interesting article. http://www.educationoasis.com/bc/articles/exploringheroes.htm

This article from the UK discusses the decline in knowledge of and interest in classic children’s fiction. If classics are, by definition, the “standard” by which other literature is judged, is it not a shame that many young people are no longer being exposed to these timeless works and characters? http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/closing-the-book-on-classic-childrens-literary-heroes.html

In the following article, famous UK authors share their favorite literary characters. Many of these are from adult books, so they aren’t necessarily all pertinent or appropriate for discussion with your students.  However, some of the authors do cite children’s literature.  This can help start a conversation about how many adults still value many of the same books your students are reading now, as well as how a love of reading can last your whole lifetime. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-100-favourite-fictional-characters-as-chosen-by-100-literary-luminaries-526971.html

Winter is also a great time to explore the arts.

Here are 10 great tips for getting children interested in classical music. http://www.bachtrack.com/for-kids-top-tips

Marjorie Kiel Persons’ Classical Magic and Back-to-Bach http://back-to-bach.com/ materials add  lyrics to classical pieces to help children engage with and remember the music.  She also offers many lesson ideas relating to Vivaldi’s “Winter” and other classical pieces.  http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

Want more ideas?  http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Introducing_Arts/

 

Outdoor activities– 

When it is time to explore and “shake out the sillies”, bundle up and head outdoors.  You will find lots to see and do!

Here are a list of varied winter activities for families, inside and out. http://stayathomemoms.about.com/od/activitiesandfun/tp/Winter-Fun-For-Kids.htm

If you live where there is snow that stays a long time, make it a family project to clear a network of paths so kids, adults, guests, and even pets can get their daily exercise without getting super-snowy.  This cute family video gives you a tour of the pathway network in their yard.  They seem to be having lots of fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrPEi8m7aO8

For more outdoor fun ideas, check out these snow day activities! http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/snow-activities-kids/

To keep things as fun as possible (because no one wants to be too cold), here are some tips for staying warm when enjoying the outdoors in winter. http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/toasty-tots-keeping-kids-warm-in-winter

The Iowa Department of Public Health, Healthy Child Care Iowa, provides a useful and interesting matrix for parents and child care providers to gauge the safety of outdoor activities in different weather conditions. http://www.in.gov/fssa/files/weatherwatch.pdf

Many cities in wintery areas have informational websites with winter recreational and safety ideas.  Do an internet search for one near you for more inspiration and resources.

Even in severe winter areas, winter can be an interesting time to start or continue nature journaling. Bare tree branches and smooth snowbanks can provide a good background for children to see wildlife, and paying close attention to your local winter landscape makes the beginning of spring growth and activity even more exciting. Slower changes during winter may also make it easier to get some students into the habit of noticing the details of the environment around them.

The Smithsonian Institution has some helpful hints to help get you started.  http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/journals/smithsonian_siyc_fall06.pdf

Animals have many interesting ways to keep warm, survive and find food during winter weather conditions which are too harsh for humans.  What better time to discuss these special strategies and physical features than when you are outside in the cold yourself. Children may be able to better put themselves in the animals’ place, because although the students can go inside to warm up, animals cannot.  Get the conversation started with information from Dale Gausman’s “Acting Out How Animals Survive Winter” http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf  and the Animals in Winter Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Visual learners will especially enjoy this neat video from New Hampshire Public Television, which shows naturalists looking for tracks and other evidence of animal presence in a snowy woods.  http://video.nhptv.org/video/2238002342/

Remember, there is lots of life and learning to experience, indoors and out, all winter long, if you plan to enjoy it!

The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Plan Ahead! Part II

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” Napoleon Hill

Here are some more resources and ideas for extended lesson plans in other subjects.

Arts, crafts and music—

If a subject is new to you or beyond your personal experiences or education, why not invest in a specialized curriculum.

Coyote Creek offers several sets of art lessons.  Their “Art Lessons for Children” contains six volumes; so if you bought the whole series, you could plan to explore approximately one volume per month for a traditional school year, or one every two months for a full-year’s art instruction. http://www.coycreek.com/artlessonsforchildrensixvolumeseriesondvd-2.aspx

Harrisville Design’s WoolWorks Curriculum for grades 3-8 offers 12 lessons which help you use fiber arts study to reinforce math, social studies, science and other academic subjects.  http://www.harrisville.com/woolworks.htm

Beautify your whole year with handwriting practice and/or calligraphy lessons.

Try the Barkowsky Fluent Handwriting system to help students learn neat and attractive handwriting. Also, as a fun combination of practice and creativity, have students try some calligrams—artful shapes made of handwritten words.  http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf

To get even more creative and ornamental, why not introduce on-going calligraphy lessons? Calligraphy teaches coordination, neatness and attention to detail, plus it can be a very useful life skill.  It’s also an “art”/aesthetic outlet that may appeal to students who don’t consider themselves “traditionally creative”, because it is based on set rules and patterns, but allows for individual interpretation and technique. You can find an assortment of calligraphy instruction materials at the Farm Country General Store link below, or at your local library. http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=calligraphy&x=6&y=8

For more fun art lessons which combine the coordination skills for drawing and writing, be sure to visit Draw Your World. http://www.drawyourworld.com  Also check out their “Draw Write Now” book series for grades 1-8 and other art and handwriting materials in their on-line store.

Dale from North American Montessori Center’s “Friendship Quilt” project http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf  is a fairly short craft/sewing project. However, after students complete this quilt, perhaps they would be interested in collaborating on additional quilts.  There are many charity organizations that look for donations of blankets or quilts. You will find some here. http://familycrafts.about.com/od/craftingforcharity/Crafting_for_Charity.htm  A quilt could also be an attractive raffle or fundraiser prize.  Once students feel a sense of confidence from the first quilt, having them help make an additional quilt or two (perhaps with varying decoration techniques to introduce new skills) will help them develop more of a feeling of mastery. Repetition builds familiarity. If you make a quilt for charity, you might also get students interested in other charity craft projects, as well.

If musical studies are part of your year-long lesson plans, you can find musical instruments, sheet music, CDs, and more at TheMusicHouse.com. http://www.themusichouse.com , and a wide variety of music-oriented curricula and activities at Sing ‘n’ Learn. http://www.singnlearn.com

Gardening, science, and outdoor adventuring—

Rae from The Creative Process offers autumn planning tips in her Gardens for Schools. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf   She also has lesson plans and curriculum resources for a classroom “Plant a Tree” project. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf

Exploration Education offers year-long science curricula appropriate for both traditional and homeschool environments for students from kindergarten through 10th grade. http://www.explorationeducation.com

The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, offers two free curricula—one for K-3, another for 4-8  http://www.elephants.com/curriculum.php

The Minnesota DNR has a great round-up guide to curricula and projects for a wide variety of science and outdoor subjects. Some are state-oriented, some are national. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/education/activity_guides.html

Nature journaling is a great year-long project which can be enjoyed by students of all ages. Because they are open-ended and potentially unstructured, each student can record new concepts, observations, and inspirations in their own way and at their own level. One student might write descriptions of what they see. Another student might sketch plants or landscapes. A third might (if observing nature in a place where it is permitted) gather leaves, feathers or other natural materials to identify and/or remind them later of things that they saw. If students have access to cameras, some might want to shoot and add printed photographs. Just make sure that the students have regular outdoor time, direct and encourage observation and identification, and see what your students decide to record. The following article has some good information and ideas to get you started.  http://covenantfamilytutorial.blogspot.com/2010/09/nature-journaling.html

Maybe this is the year to invest in a microscope http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=30 , grow an insectivorous plant http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=2105&idcategory=36 , or set up a bat house http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=829&idcategory=0 . Nature’s Workshop Plus! has all those items and many more. Be sure to check their clearance items for some excellent deals on science and art products. http://www.workshopplus.com  You can also find high-quality science equipment at Lab Essentials. http://www.labessentials.com

Professional development—

You can also get a good start on your year’s strategies and goals with some professional perspective and enrichment.

Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis and Victoria Kindle Hodson of LearningSuccess Institute have lots of good information and ideas for teaching children of all ages, personalities, and abilities. You can get a good idea about the kind of information they have to offer by listening to some interesting past interviews Mariaemma has posted on their site. http://learningsuccessinstitute.com/radioshows.html

North American Montessori Center also offers professional development courses.  See http://www.montessoritraining.net

Bookmark this post, and Plan Ahead! Part I so that you can refer to this resource information throughout the school year. 🙂

Stay tuned for more lesson planning ideas and resources that will be published in the weeks to come.

 

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