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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Liven Up Your Literature Lessons with Culinary Creations

Foster your child’s interest in cooking by adding some sparkle to your child’s summer reading list.  First, visit your local library and compile your selected booklist.    If you experience some problems developing a list or finding books that relate to both cooking and literature, ask the reference librarian to assist you.  As you know, many libraries now have an interdisciplinary loan program in place.  Therefore, books that belong to other library systems other than your own may be sent to your local branch for you borrow.

You can also refine your search by using your favorite search engine. Type in the keyword phrase children’s literature and recipes.  If you don’t see any titles that interest you, visit PBS Bookfinder, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or literatureplace.com and search for books using keyword phrases mystery and cooking,  social studies and cooking  or type your own special keyword combination into the search box.

The following three books represent a sampling of some of what you will find on your quest.  A synopsis of each is provided so that you will have an idea of how cooking and literature can be creatively combined in children’s literature.

Blue Schwartz and Nefertiti’s Necklace: A Mystery with Recipes by Betty Jacobson Hectman

Readers 10 and up will be intrigued with the main character Blue Schwartz.  She is bright, spunky, imaginative and very conscientious.     In order to build her savings account to purchase what she needs, Blue babysits for the children of an esteemed professor.

Blue is well loved by the professor’s children, often creating culinary delights that are offbeat, but delicious.   In her spare time, Blue’s eyes are glued to a television cooking program, as she is always eager to try the new recipes she discovers with her family, friends, and classmates.

As this fast paced story unfolds, Blue is soon accused of stealing a prized ancient Egyptian necklace owned by the professor.  She is given a short time frame in which to return the necklace or face the consequnces of being reported to the police.  Faced with this real threat, Blue is forced to assume the new role of a sleuth, in a desperate attempt to find the real thief.

This action packed story will engage even the most reluctant reader.    Upper elementary and middle school students will identify with Blue’s struggles to balance her school and home life, in addition to facing and solving the ongoing challenges of preteen life. Not many preteens or teens will face a predicament that is as extreme as Blue’s, but the story does provide for some interesting and useful problem solving techniques.

Blue’s culinary creations are mentioned throughout the story and the actual recipes are located in the back of the book; the titles alone will spark some interest in the young reader wanting to try at least one – Oatmeal Cookies for People Who Don’t Like Raisins, Nutty Popcorn Balls, Blue’s Bean Blizzard – and more.

The Coming to America Cookbook: Delicious Recipes and Fascinating Stories from America’s Many Cultures by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond

This book is actually a collaborative effort of a registered dietitian and cooking instructor.  Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond span the globe to find recipes that represent a good cross-section of food indigenous to many cultures.  The authors present an interesting factually based overview, sprinkled with trivia and vocabulary about each of the countries selected.  After children read and learn about each country, they can try their hand at cooking up some scrumptious meals that are common to that region.  Every recipe we tried was delicious; our taste buds were in seventh heaven, experiencing the new spices and seasonings used in the recipes.

Many cultures are represented throughout the book – Ethiopian, Nigerian, Chinese, Turkish, Indian, Brazilian – and many more..     Educators will appreciate the introductory section of the book which presents the tools of the trade and safety rules associated with cooking.

Tasty Bible Stories A Menu of Tales & Matching Recipes by Tami Lehman-Wilzig

This book was a big hit with my fourth grade student.  Her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when the book was initially presented to her early last year.   The attractive artwork displayed from cover to cover sustained her interest.

An interesting summary of selected Old Testament Bible stories is presented.  The recipes chosen correspond to the food mentioned in the story.  For example, the recipes for Baked Apple A Lá Mode and Fresh Figs and Sour Cream follow the story Eve: The Apple of Adam’s Eye.   Fresh Herb Mezzle, Persian Rice and Persian Kebab recipes compliment the story about Queen Esther.  These are just two of many clever examples of how literature and cooking can be combined.

By scouring the web, you can find additional ways to incorporate cooking into your summer lesson planning curriculum.  See the following links for additional resources:

http://www.dltk-bible.com/recipes.htm

Bible Recipes

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/life/handstand-kids-chinese-cookbook-29382.html

Handstand Kids: Chinese Cookbooks

http://blog.pockettales.com/post/15027197534/weekend-fun-cooking-with-childrens-literature

Weekend Fun: Cooking with Children’s Literature

http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/3137

Cooking Up U.S. History

http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/3138

Cooking Up World History

http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/929103

Eat Your Way through the USA

May your child’s culinary adventures this summer be filled with fun.  🙂

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

http://www.amonco.org

Celebrating 24 Years of Serving School and Home Educators

Montessori for the 21st Century

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Learning is a Picnic!

Part One– Preparation, Refreshments, and Safety

“The first duty of an education is to stir up life, but leave it free to develop.” Maria Montessori

With warm weather and summer holidays from the traditional school year approaching, many of us start looking for ways to enjoy ourselves outdoors.  A perennial favorite summer pastime is picnicking; and with some forethought, you can plan an outing that is both recreational and educational!

Planning and preparation–

Children of all ages can help with both planning and preparations for a picnic. These activities help children practice important daily life activities, and they also give them a sense of involvement in and anticipation of the event.

Generally speaking, you will need to consider the date, the time, the location, your mode of transportation, the number and ages of participants, the menu, and activities in which you might participate during the outing.  You will also need to think about the equipment and supplies you will need both for transportation and service of the food and for the comfort and safety of the participants. 

Keeping a running list of items to buy and/or pack to which you can add things as you remember them can be a big help.  If your students help you pack, you can have even early readers find and check off each item on the list as they carry it out to the car, put it in the picnic basket, etc.

For ideas about picnic planning, check out “Year-End Activities: A Family Picnic” from Dale at North American Montessori Center http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf  and these other resources.

http://www.everythingmom.com/activities/picnic-ideas-how-to-plan-a-picnic.html, http://www.eatingoutloud.com/2009/06/how-to-pack-plan-a-picnic.html, http://www.keepyourcooler.com/planning-the-perfect-picnic.html

Refreshments—

Part of the fun of a picnic is loosening up the routines of more-formal meals. Jaye from Creative Care craft kits is completely in the spirit of both picnicking and Montessori daily life exercises with her self-serve Hot Dog Buffet. She also suggests a great carry-around dessert, Grandmother’s Oatmeal Cookies. Find them both here: http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Tara from the Lord Company shares a make-ahead main dish recipe, Rollie Poultries. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf These tasty treats are easy to transport and serve cold, but could also be re-heated in foil or a dutch oven, if your picnic plans will include a campfire or barbecue grill.

Another fun hands-on recipe to make before the picnic is Summer Fruit, Cheese and Meat Kabobs. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf  This simple, but appealing snack from Dianne at Conceptual Learning provides an opportunity for even very young children to participate in meal preparations. (For the youngest kids, consider shorter toothpicks/skewers to suit both their shorter attention spans and their less-developed dexterity.)

Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus! provides a sweet and nutty carry-along dessert with her Stuffed Apples recipe. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Lois Scarbrough appeals to the chocoholics in your picnic party with Fudge Cupcakes.  http://www.amonco.org/summer4/montessori_summer4.pdf

For a backyard picnic, try Kathy O’Reilly’s Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split. This recipe wouldn’t travel well, but it includes great ideas for student involvement and expanded study and discussion for a schoolyard or backyard picnic setting. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

Getting dirty is part of the fun of picnicking, so how about bringing along some homemade cinnamon rolls with lick-your-fingers icing, like these from Larry of Farm Country General Store? http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Have an adventurous crew attending your picnic? Check out Fun Felt’s pirate-themed snack recipes. http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf

Need more picnic food ideas?

Check out these Independence Day recipes from Sara L. Ambarian. http://www.amonco.org/ambarian4thofjuly.html

Make finger food a learning experience! You can use this fun alphabet sandwich idea with cold sandwiches just as easily as with the suggested grilled cheese.  http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesandevents/kids-crafts/article/grilled-cheese-alphabet.html

Here is a cute gallery of picnic food recipes great for visually-oriented picnic planners. http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/picnic-gallery-889045/view-all

You’ll find some wonderful, simple recipe ideas here, in the UK Guardian newspaper’s article, “101 Picnic Recipes: Ready in 20 minutes or less”. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/aug/17/recipe.beef  Not only are the recipe ideas interesting and inspiring, learning the British terms (like “beetroot” and “aubergine”) and spellings offer students another layer of learning.  These suggestions are especially appropriate for older students and enthusiastic, creative budding chefs, because only ingredients and basic preparation instructions are included.  No measurements are provided, which allows you and your student(s) to experiment with taking a recipe concept and designing your OWN recipe.  Exercises like these in the kitchen are invaluable to young cooks, because they tap into thought processes and creativity that following a specific recipe does not.  They also allow for additional record-keeping and analysis.

Safety—

Introduce some kitchen science concepts for older students by reviewing these picnic food safety guidelines. These are both great overviews from university food departments—the first short and fairly simple, the second more in-depth for your more scientifically-minded students. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/consumers/index.cfm?articleid=153&parent=1 http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/foodsci/ext/pubs/picnic.html

If your picnic plan includes a campfire, be sure to review some basic fire safety guidelines with your students before you go.  This list of rules from a Canadian Girl Guides leader is excellent (and she has some other great outdoor fun ideas, as well)! http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/firerules.htm

Check back to this blog next week, to read the second part of this two part article.

However, before you point your browser to another website,  glance to the right of this page, to check out some of the current top posts on the Montessori for the 21st Century blog..  🙂

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Take a Tour of Italy – Montessori K-6 Unit Study

The AMC Montessori Italy Unit Study has just been updated for 2012. Visit Montessori Italy Unit Study to access the links listed below.

These PreK and K-8 links will lead you to articles, hands-on activities and other exercises that are compatible with the Montessori classified reading cards, phonics, grammar, creative writing, science, social studies and other extensive lesson plans found in Montessori at Home, Modern Montessori at Home and Modern Montessori at Home II books.

Links for Learning the Italian Language

Beginning French Lessons (Use the Materials for Lesson Presentations in English, Spanish and Italian)
Beginning Italian – Learn the Parts of a House
Beginning Italian – Colors
Teaching Children Italian: Parts of the House
The Alphabet: Teaching Children Italian Part 2
Numbers: Teaching Children Italian Part 3
Parts of the Body: Teaching Children Italian
AMC Montessori Grammar Game (Customize to Present Grammar in Italian – Free Game Templates Included)
Download a Free Italian Song

Links to Italian Art, Art History and Renaissance Fashion

Art Projects for Elementary Students on Da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci Drawings
Art Appreciation for Preschool and Elementary Children
Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Hands On Michelangelo Projects
Italian Renaissance Costume Construction (for Older Children and Teens)
An Easy Italian Renaissance Gown
History of Italian Art
Italian Art & Italian Craft
Montessori Renaissance Art Presentations
Renaissance Art of Italy
Classroom Drawing and Painting Supplies for Your Art Prsentations

Links to Music of Italy

Oh How I Love Italy – Music, Art, Food Seasoned with History and Geography
Vivaldi’s Musical Activities and Lessons for The Four Season
Italian Music Terms
Music Unit Study (William Tell Overture Finale by Gioachino Rossini) Ages 5 – 7
Music Unit Study (William Tell Overture: Finale by Gioachino Rossini)Ages 8 – 10
ITALIA – Musical Instruments Museums in Italy
Montessori Renaissance Music Presentations
A Brief History of Italian Opera – Listen to the Audio

Geography and Social Studies Links

Free Blank Outline Map of Italy
Maps of Italy (for Classification and Matching Exercises)
Italy: Monuments Past and Present
Italy, Rome & Roman Culture Educational Posters
Italy Timeline
Rome – The Late Republic
Italy: History, Geography, Government and Culture
Great Italians in History
A History of Italy
History of the Italian Language
A Maria Montessori Worth Watching

Italian Recipes

Apple’s Manicotti (Watch as Apple leads children through the recipe process)
Sara’s Antipasto Salad Recipe
The Italian Chef
Easy Italian Recipes
Giada De Laurentiis Recipes

Let’s Write and Discuss

Italy Around the World
Roman Food- History for Kids!
Androcles and the Lion Fable
Androcles and the Lion Felt Board Story
WebQuest for Kids
Visiting Rome with Your Kids
Visiting Italy with Children
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade(Part I) – Create a booklet about Italy)
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade (Part II) – Create a booklet about Italy

To access this unit study please visit Montessori Unit Study

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

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Easter-Themed Montessori Lessons and Links

As Easter nears, here are some fun and educational ideas for students young and old.

Get in the swing of holiday lessons with some Easter and Passover vocabulary practice from Stillsonworks’ Middle School word puzzles. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Georgette Baker from Cantemos tells you how to make a fun and festive hat from newspaper or butcher paper, as well as an easy tie-dye Easter egg project. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Another way to create bright, beautiful and artistic eggs is with Doc Hinkle’s Original Paint-On Egg Coloring Kit.  This American-made kit has been fun for children 5 and up since 1893.  http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/Catalog/Food_&_Candy/Easter_Treats/Doc_Hinkle_Egg_Coloring_Kits_%28Set_of_2%29/H3006

While eggs are on kids’ minds (and often on sale!), why not use eggs for some fun kitchen science. You will find lots of great ideas in the late Kathy Reilly’s “Exploring Eggs: Food-Related Activities”. http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Are Hot Cross Buns a tradition in your household? If they are, or if you would like to start including them, Joy of Baking has a history, recipe and how-to video to help you get started. http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/HotCrossBuns.html

Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia also offers a similar presentation for casatiello, a traditional Neapolitan meat-and-cheese-stuffed Easter bread with whole eggs baked in. What child would not be fascinated by that? http://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/20/2020/neapolitan-stuffed-easter-bread

If Easter brings you some warm weather, why not try your hand at some home-made ice cream? Try Ron from Intelli-Tunes ‘ “Home-Made Ice Cream in a Bag for Two”, which uses common household items and some people power to churn up this cool treat. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf  If you like, you can top it off with “Hot Fudge Topping” from a yummy recipe submitted by Larry at Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf

Looking for a fun holiday outing? If the weather cooperates, how about some kite-flying? Get more ideas in “Up, Up, and Away: The Art and Science of Kite Flying”. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

If there’s no wind, or your students like a more scientific, less-active outing, get some great ideas from Don and Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus’ “Delighting in Discovering Little Things”. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf  You could also pack a new field guide into their Easter basket to help get them started on their observations. http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=19

What better time is there than Easter to discuss concepts of peace and harmony? Rae from The Creative Process helps you get the conversation started with Edward Hicks’ well-known painting, “The Peaceable Kingdom”. She also shares some great resources for studying and enjoying flowers in art. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Need some special goodies as holiday treats or to fill up your Easter baskets? In these tough economic times, how about making your plans include some home-made goodies, thrifty substitutions, and goods manufactured right here in the United States?

Nan Barchowsky’s Peanut Butter Fudge is a yummy, family-friendly treat which also comes with handwriting practice. http://www.amonco.org/Recipe.pdf

Not a peanut butter fan? How about trying your hand at “Farmer’s Favorite Fudge” from our friends at the Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

For more ideas for making goodies for and/or with children, check out these websites: http://www.candyusa.com/FunStuff/ForKids.cfm , http://allrecipes.com/recipes/holidays-and-events/easter/candy/top.aspx,  http://www.homebaking.org/index.html (great educator resources here) ,http://www.chsugar.com/familyfun/baking.html ,

For unusual and nostalgic candies, check out Victory Seed Company’s Old-Time Candy Store. From wax teeth to sassafras candy to Teaberry gum, they have many fun varieties; and profits from your purchase go to support the preservation of rare and heirloom seed varieties.  http://www.victoryseeds.com/candystore.html

Still looking for more sweets and goodies? http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/easter-keep-it-made-usa , http://www.americansworking.com/candy.html , http://www.b4usa.com/category/candy-2

The Peterborough Basket Company has more than 150 years of history weaving baskets in  Peterborough, New Hampshire. If you want to invest in a basket that will be useful after Easter, or perhaps become a family heirloom, these baskets are gorgeous and sturdy, and they support a historic American business. http://www.peterborobasket.com/c-11-easter-baskets.aspx

You will find lots more thrifty and creative ideas for Easter baskets and fillings here: http://www.livingonadime.com/easter-basket-ideas , http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf000796.tip.html, and http://www.stretcher.com/stories/01/010402g.cfm .

Finally, visit  http://fromthesheepfold.blogspot.com/2011/05/practical-life-exercises-for-easter.html to see the practical life exercises in the Good Shepherd Atrium for Easter.

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Spring Forward with Hands On Lesson Planning

Please visit https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/spring-forward-2013-with-timely-lesson-planning-ideas/ for the updated 2013 issue!

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz
http://www.amonco.org

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Montessori Style Spring Kitchen and Garden Sciences

Basically everything we cook in the kitchen is an experiment –or potential lesson– in science. Even kitchen “failures”, such as burned or moldy foods, can provide interesting “teachable moments”, if you are in that mindset.  Food preparation is also an invaluable practical life skill for nurturing the bodies and souls of ourselves and those around us. The more children understand both the science and art of cooking, and the more comfortable and familiar they become with kitchen and garden activities, the better able they will be to master and enjoy this important part of daily life.

For some children, formal experiments may be more interesting that “regular” cooking.  For some fun study ideas about eggs, refer to Kathy O’Reilly’s “Exploring Eggs—Food Related Activities” here: http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Eggs are a very interesting and versatile food and science object.  Find more experiments using eggs below. http://www.hometrainingtools.com/kitchen-science-newsletter/a/1295/ http://www.sandiegozoo.org/education/science_eggs_float.html, http://www.homebaking.org/KitchenScience.pdf and http://www.twohelmets.com/2009/08/eggs-and-copper-bowls-kitchen-science.html

You can also have lots of fun and scientific learning with ice cubes.  The fine folks at Fun Felt share quite a few ideas here: http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Some students will find recipes more inspiring than experiments, often because of the incentive of eating the results. (I think most of us can understand that!)  If the children in your care are so inclined, try some of these fun recipes.  “Fresh Off the Cob Casserole” or “Hot Fudge Topping” from Larry at the Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf  “Home-made Ice Cream in a Bag” from Ron at Intellitunes http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf and Nan Barchowsky’s “Yummy Peanut Butter Fudge” http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Between activities, help children keep track of their cooking projects and practice their penmanship at the same time with Nan from Barchowsky’s Fluent Handwriting’s project idea, “Make Your Own Illustrated Favorite Foods and Recipes Notebook”. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Gardening can be a useful and enjoyable extension of both cooking and other kitchen sciences. Garden Artisans’ Catherine Hartridge offers many good ideas to help you get started gardening with children. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Dale Gausman from North American Montessori Center also provides some additional neat insights on gardening with children in his article, “Spring Is Here – Planting a Flower Garden”. http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf

If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can still try some indoor gardening.  Look at Dale’s cute “Grass-Eggshell People” project. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Perhaps the easiest indoor gardening of all is growing edible sprouts.  There is no soil or fertilizer to handle, and you need only very basic, inexpensive (or sometimes free) equipment. Sara L. Ambarian gives you the details you need to get started in her article, “Home-grown ‘Fast Food’ for Busy Families”.  http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Find more useful tips and ideas for gardening with children at these sites.

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/spring-is-here-time-to-start-your-school-or-home-gardening

http://www.kidsgardening.org/

http://www.whitehutchinson.com/news/learnenews/2009_june/article103.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

 

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Exploring Holidays and History

 

Spring brings many special holidays and historical events to enrich our homes and classrooms. Enjoy these resources to help your students understand and explore these interesting observances.

For a round-up of various links for January and February lesson plans and ideas, visit: http://www.amonco.org/jan_feb_celebrations.html   

Black History Month – February

Black History Month, observed in February since 1926, provides many interesting opportunities to explore history, culture and food.  The Creative Process can get you started with their “Celebrate Black History Month” page, linked here: http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

You will find more information, resources and recipes in the links below.

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/blackhistorymonth-htm , http://seasonal.theteacherscorner.net/black-history-month , http://www.thinkfinity.org/?q=black-history-month , and http://www.soul-food-advisor.com/black_history_month.html

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1809

There is no question that Abraham Lincoln is one of the most famous and most admired presidents of the United States.  Many states no longer observe his birthday as a separate holiday; but his life, accomplishments and assassination are at the heart of one of the most complex and pivotal eras of American history.  President Lincoln’s life and career make an excellent basis for unit studies. Explore these interesting websites for more information.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/abrahamlincoln , http://www.nps.gov/abli/index.htmhttp://www.civilwarhome.com/lincolnbio.htm , and http://www.primaryteachers.org/abraham_lincoln_unit.htm

George Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1732 (Presidents’ Day observed February 20, 2012)

Sara L. Ambarian helps us get to know the man who is called “the Father of our Country”, with information about George Washington in her article, “Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington”. You’ll find additional educational links about our first president at the end of the article. http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

For more presidential lesson ideas, read “It’s Time to Think Outside the Box and Kindle, Too!” from Literatureplace.com, with its suggestions for studying Thomas Jefferson. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf  You can also enhance your studies of government and politics with a batch of the famous, traditional and tasty Senate Bean Soup, from Dale and Rita at North American Montessori Center. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17

Visit these links for lesson and craft ideas for the “greenest” spring holiday! https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/st-patricks-day-crafts-origami-and-more  http://www.fastq.com/~jbpratt/education/sstudies/geog/stpatricks.html  and http://www.edhelper.com/st_patricks_day.htm  

Easter, April 8

Georgette Baker from Cantemos offers some fun projects for Easter and other spring holidays.  Check out her festive hat and easy tie-dye instructions. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf  

For long-lasting Easter fun outdoors, Jan from Garden Artisans shares a cute Hippity Hoppity Bunny Topiary project here: http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf  

Bake up an interesting Italian tradition with Mary Ann Esposito’s Neopolitan Stuffed Easter Bread.  If desirable, you could make it easier, more economical and/or more kid-friendly by replacing the fancy imported meat and cheese with meat or cheese of your choice.  It might also be more kid-friendly if you dice the meat and cheese a little smaller than Ms. Esposito does in the tutorial.  The recipe is full of interesting Easter symbolism, and what child wouldn’t be fascinated (as Ms. Esposito was herself) by the whole raw eggs baked into the bread! http://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/20/2020/neapolitan-stuffed-easter-bread  

Find more Easter inspiration at the following sites.

http://www.preschooleducation.com/aeaster.shtml , http://www.bobsedulinks.com/easter.htm  and http://www.holidays.net/easter/index.htm

Cinco de Mayo, May 5

Cinco de Mayo is not, as sometimes assumed, Mexican Independence Day (a separate holiday which is celebrated on September 16). It marks the Battle of Puebla in which Mexican troops defeated French troops. Find out more at: http://www.mexonline.com/cinco-de-mayo.htm  

For introduction or reinforcement of Spanish language lessons, check out the offerings from Cantemos http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf  and Professor Toto http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf  

For Spanish-speaking students or those learning Spanish, check out our Unit Study Lesson Plan About Mexico in Spanish. https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/a-unit-study-lesson-plan-about-mexico-in-spanish

For more lesson ideas and some recipe ideas for Mexican food to make, check these interesting sites.  http://seasonal.theteacherscorner.net/cinco-de-mayo/ , http://recipesource.com/ethnic/americas/mexican /, and http://www.mexicanrecipes.org /

Mother’s Day , May 13

Parents and educators are always looking for ideas and resources for the popular holiday, Mother’s Day.  Dale Gausman from NAMC lists some books and ideas in his article, “Mother’s Day in the Montessori Classroom”. He also provides some lesson plan ideas for older students.  http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf

These websites provide some additional ideas for crafts and decorations.  http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/mothers-day-crafts/  and http://www.divinedinnerparty.com/mothers-day-ideas.html

Memorial Day, May 28

Memorial Day is a solemn, but potentially important holiday with which to acquaint children at age appropriate levels. NAMC’s Dale Gausman discusses the history of and Montessori perspective for teaching about Memorial Day in his “Montessori Curriculum Ideas for Memorial Day”. http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf

Find more information on the history of this day of remembrance, at: http://www.history.com/topics/memorial-day-history  and http://virtual-markets.net/vme/memorial/dvm_mem.html  

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For more seasonal and holiday observances for educators, visit: http://www.netposterworks.com/holidays/index.html  and http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays

For more about holidays, in a convenient monthly chronology, see Rae from The Creative Process’s “Monthly Observances and Notable Dates”. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

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Georgette’s Coconut Macaroons Recipe

1/2 cups Marchino Cherries cut in quarters
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1 BAG OF flaked coconut about 2 1/2 cups
Pre heat the oven to 300°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, mix vanila, coconut and can of condensed milk. Mixture should be firm. Shape cookie into ball shapes. Place a piece of cherry on cookie. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the surfaces are golden brown.
Cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Copyrighted 2011
Georgette Baker
Cantemos
Spanish Songs for Kids

Spanish songs for Kids was created to document traditional songs and finger plays from Mexico and other Spanish speaking countries. My name is Georgette and after living in South America for 23 years, most of the kid’s songs I could remember were in Spanish but I was sketchy on the lyrics and the music. Here I have compiled stories, preschool songs, traditional songs and games on Cd’s, all are English Spanish and many come with accompanying books! Share with your children your fun, favorite songs of yesteryear. Let’s sing! Cantemos!

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Sara’s Holiday Stewed Fruit Muffins

Stewed Fruit Muffins
Sara L. Ambarian

These rich, aromatic muffins are delicious with an autumn or winter breakfast, or as a slightly-sweet accompaniment to a holiday dinner or buffet.  Makes 12 regular or 18 small muffins. /

Stewed Fruit–
1 cup mixed dried fruit (or any combination of dried apples, apricots, peaches, pears, prunes, raisins, brown or yellow raisins, cranberries, and/or sour cherries)
–pack the whole fruit in the cup to measure, then chop into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4- 1 cup water (depending on how soft you want your fruit, use more water for softer fruit)
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, optional

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan, and cook at a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir frequently initially, then constantly as the liquid absorbs, until the fruit is rehydrated to your desired consistency (approximately 10-20 minutes.)  Set aside to cool at least 15 minutes, before adding to muffin batter, or store in refrigerator up to several days.  (This recipe also makes a nice topper for oatmeal or ice cream, and can be doubled to make a simple side dish/condiment for pork or poultry.  For a topping, you may prefer to add the optional brown sugar. Serve warm or cold, as desired.)

Muffins–
1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or buckwheat flour
1/4 cup flaxmeal, optional
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil

cinnamon-sugar, “Sugar in the Raw”, or decorative coarse sugar sprinkles, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well.  Combine egg, milk and oil in a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup, and beat egg lightly.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, then pour in egg mixture all at once.  Stir together until just moistened and fully mixed.  Do not over beat. Batter should be lumpy. Gently fold in cooled stewed fruit.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling only to 2/3 of capacity.  Sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar or decorative sugar, if a glazed top and sweeter muffin is desired.  Bake 20-25 minutes for standard-sized muffins, 15-17 for small muffins.  Serve warm or room-temperature, as desired.  Makes 12 standard or 18 small muffins.  Warm muffins are delicious with butter, or with butter and apple butter if you like a sweeter muffin.

Variation: You can make a similar muffin using 1 to 1 1/2 cups packaged mincemeat in place of the stewed fruit; however, the resulting flavor is a little more “grown-up”.

Enjoy!

About Sara L. Ambarian
Copyright 2011
All Rights Reserved.
Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html
Sara L. Ambarian is the author and illustrator of /A Bride’s Touch: A Handbook of Wedding Personality and Inspiration/.  Sara is also a designer, wife, and mother with professional and personal experience in a wide range of subjects, including: arts and crafts, fashion, weddings, homeschooling, cooking, nature, and travel.

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Practical Life Lessons for the Holidays

Please see https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/practical-life-lessons-for-the-holidays-2/ for updated 2014 lesson planning ideas!

Enjoy!

Heidi

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