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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

4th of July Montessori Unit Study

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

Visit July 4th Montessori Unit Study for details.

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

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

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

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

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

Science and Social Science Lesson Planning for Elementary and Middle Students

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

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

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

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

Montessori 4th of July

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

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

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

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Sizzling Summertime 2015 Lesson Plans

SUMMER KITE FLYING

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

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

GO AHEAD….MAKE SOME MUSIC THIS SUMMER

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

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

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

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

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

EASY, BREEZY, SIZZLING SUMMER RECIPES

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

Encourage children to try making some new recipes this summer! Make lunchtime interesting by including some rollie poultries and stuffed apples into your meal planning. See http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

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

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

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

For a festive change, create your own hot dog buffet and serve some fudge cupcakes for dessert. Then, cool down your lazy afternoon with some delicious green smoothies. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

SPECIAL MOTOR SKILLS OFFERING

Are you looking for an additional aid to help inspire good penmanship? Nan Barchowsky may have just what you need. Check out A Bit of Yarn for Good Pen Hold http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf by clicking here.

SUMMER SCIENCE

Begin the summer science learning adventure with hands on fun. Children will discover how to change the color of a flower and how water travels up plants by participating in the Changing a Flower’s Color activity submitted by Dale Gausman. See http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf for details.

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

Invite children to vicariously go on an animal safari! To access resources for a unit study, visit http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Children marvel at identifying the different birds that they encounter at the park, beach or even in their backyard. Find out how Backyard Birds can be incorporated into your ornithology presentations by visiting http://www.amonco.org/summer5/montessori_summer5.pdf

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

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

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

GARDENING GALORE

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

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

MONTESSORI MATH

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

GAME TIME!

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

Stillsonworks offers more unique puzzles designed for middle school students. Try your hand at the free exercises included by clicking here Access additional FREE puzzles for children/teens by visiting http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

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

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

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

Are you taking your class on a literature journey? Why not start with the classics. Let Rita Arpaia of literature.com show you how. Point your browser to http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf Read Rita’s other articles and learn more about how literature.com’s resources for your school and homeschool libraries.

Sara Ambarian has written a two part article which will further help you with your selection of children’s books. In http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf Part I of her article, you will learn about the books selected by the AMC resource participants.

In http://www.amonco.org/summer4/montessori_summer4.pdf Part I read about community recommendations. This balanced article is sure to help you select just the right books for your school and homeschool classrooms.

If you would like to view the complete table of contents of the newsletter, or you have experienced any difficulties accessing the links above, please visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html

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

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Holiday Food Fare

Children often look forward to entertaining guests and welcome the opportunity to be included in helping with holiday meal preparations. With that in mind, parents can enlist the help of their children in making some or all of the recipes listed below. Click on the selected links below to locate the direction(s) of the recipe(s) that interest you.

Gingered Turkey Salad
http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf
The variety of ingredients provides an interesting lesson in the origins and forms of food; and little hands could help with the mixing and serving.

gingered_turkey
More Autumn and Holiday Salad Recipes
http://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/autumn-and-holiday-salads/
This holiday season, introduce some new salads into your holiday menu planning.

Applesauce
http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf
This recipe contains a Montessori presentation of making applesauce.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins
http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Use this Montessori presentation for making delicious apple-cinnamon muffins.

Holiday Turkey Meatballs
http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Serve as an appetizer or as a main entree

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

cheesy
Holiday Stuffing
http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf
This is a hearty staple for any holiday meal.

Spinach Dip Recipe
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
Whet the appetite of your guests with this delicious dip.

Zesty Cranberry Relish
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf
This recipe includes a no-knife version for younger children.

zesty_cranberry
Holiday Side Dishes
http://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/autumn-and-holiday-side-dishes/
Here are some more easy, nutritious and festive side dishes for the holidays! You will even find some gluten-free side dishes. With adult supervision, children can make some of the delicious dishes!

Christmas Tamales and Sauce
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
These tamales freeze wonderfully in large ziplock bags, and the sauce freezes well, too, making them perfect as a hearty and quick casual Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner

tamales
Crêpes Recipe For Children
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
This recipe is an easy and fun activity that you both will enjoy.

German Farmer’s Breakfast – Bauernfruhstuck
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

Aebleskiver – Danish Pancake
http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
Children can participate in separating the eggs, measuring and mixing the ingredients.

Pistachio Poppy Seed Cake ~ A Miami Favorite
http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf
You family will love the green cake!!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
This is a very simple recipe that very young children can help to prepare

pumpkin_pie
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cutouts
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
It is fun to trace around their hand to make cookies for
other relatives, even though they look like catchers’ mitts after they bake.

Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples
http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf
Delicious with whipped cream, yogurt or sour cream on the side.

Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf
Nuts, graham crackers and chocolate pudding al rolled into deliciousness!

Holiday Cheesecake
http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf
Be creative and decorate with berries and a little powdered sugar for a winter holiday winter cake or use blueberries and strawberries for an American motif.

Farmer’s Favorite Fudge
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
This recipe is sure to delight the chocolate lovers in your family,

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf
Serve alone or with whipped or ice cream. Either way, it’s delicious!

Lithuanian Cranberry Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf
Depending on age, children can participate, supervised by adults.

Apple Angel Food Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
This is a delicious treat that friends and family will enjoy.

Oma’s Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
Try this German recipe and discover a light, tasty dessert that will be enjoyed by family and friends.

Filipino Leche Flan
http://www.amonco.org/creative08/montessori_fall8.pdf
Try this alternative to the traditional flan recipes.

Enjoy! 🙂

Heidi

http://www.amonco.or

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2014 Winter and Holiday Lesson Planning for the Classroom

main_winter-1

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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Holidays and Observances

There are lots of interesting holidays and observances to learn about and celebrate in the upcoming months.

These sites include a variety of holiday and observance listings for the United States and worldwide.

http://www.calendar-365.com/holidays/2013.html

http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/multicultural-winter-holiday-celebrations

http://www.rochester.edu/diversity/calendar.html

http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-multicultural-australia/calendar-australia/

 Students may enjoy this simple overview with graphic presentation about holidays in America and how they are established.  http://www.wvu.edu/~exten/infores/pubs/fypubs/503.wlg_addendum.pdf

Rae at Creative Process shares some interesting additional background on the origins of holidays. http://www.netposterworks.com/holidays/index.html

Here are some lesson ideas for winter holidays from Scholastic. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/celebrating-holidays-classroom

Teachers and parents will find many interesting multicultural education resources to enhance your holiday studies here. http://cybraryman.com/multicultural.html

* * * * * *

November 22, Thanksgiving Day—The historians at Plimouth Plantation share the origins and development of Thanksgiving as an American holiday. http://www.plimoth.org/learn/MRL/read/thanksgiving-history  Also, enjoy “The Thanksgiving Song” from I Remember Lou by Alan Stillson http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

December 9, Hanukkah— Learn more about this important Jewish holiday. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/History.shtml

December 25, Christmas Day—   Students can investigate the religious and secular traditions of this beloved holiday, both in America and in other countries, with these resources.

http://www.allthingschristmas.com/traditions.html

http://www.christmasnightinc.com/Nativity-Story-c114.html

http://www.infoukes.com/culture/traditions/christmas/

http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/irishchristmastraditions.htm

http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas-world/africa.html

http://www.ompersonal.com.ar/omchristmas2/christmas.htm

http://www.amonco.org/2fall_winter2001.html

http://www.amonco.org/1fall_winter2001.html

 

Also, check out “Winter and the Season of Giving” in the Montessori Classroom http://www.amonco.org/winter8/montessori_winter8.pdf

December 26, Kwanzaa— Here is an overview of the origin and traditions of this African-American holiday. http://www.theholidayspot.com/kwanzaa/history.htm

January 1, New Year’s Day 2013—Learn how people celebrate New Year’s around the world. http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/newyears.asp  Also, students can follow the time of New Year’s celebrations around the globe with this fun website. http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/multicountdowna.html

January 21, Martin Luther King Day—Enjoy these lesson plans and links from Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. http://www.nps.gov/malu/forteachers/lessonplansandteacherguides.htm

Black History Month, February—Check out these links for Black History Month. http://www.factmonster.com/spot/bhm1.html

February 2, Groundhog Day—You can find lots of interesting Groundhog Day facts and a live streaming video here. http://www.groundhog.org

February 12, Lincoln’s Birthday—Find out more about our 16th President. http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/alincoln.html

February 14, Valentine’s Day—Find some theories about the origins of this holiday, as well as craft and activity links here. http://holidays.kaboose.com/valentines-day/history/val-history.html  

February 18, Presidents Day and Washington’s Birthday—Learn more about the man who is called “The Father of His Country”. http://www.mountvernon.org/meet-george-washington  

March 10, Daylight Saving— The history of Daylight Saving Time is really rather fascinating.  Why not take a little time to discuss it with your students. http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving   Older students (and teachers or parents) may also enjoy this in-depth and interesting look at the evolution of the idea. http://www.seizethedaylight.com

March 17, St. Patrick’s Day—For a little Irish perspective on “the wearing of the green”, enjoy the articles and recipes here. http://www.irelandforvisitors.com/articles/st_patricks_day_in_ireland.htm

March 31, Easter—Enjoy a look at Easter 2012 celebrations around the world. http://abcnews.go.com/International/slideshow/celebrations-easter-world-16082460

April 1, April Fool’s Day—Explore some theories and fun facts about the history of this “foolish” holiday. http://www.april-fools.us/history-april-fools.htm

April 22, Earth Day —You’ll find many interesting Earth Day lesson ideas for all ages here. http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson174.shtml

Let’s celebrate!

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Sights and Smells of the Season

Winter and the holidays bring many beautiful things to see, many wonderful things to smell, and many happy traditions and memories to share.

Sights—

If you cannot get outside (or you live in a temperate climate) share the beauty of the season with your students through some gorgeous winter photography. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/23/45-winter-wonderland-photos

http://www.squidoo.com/winter-pictures

There are many lovely winter scenes in fine art, as well.

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O134147/snow-scene-children-leaving-school-oil-painting-vautier-benjamin

http://www.oilpaintingfactory.com/english/Search.aspx?key=snow%20winter

It can be fun to have students express their own winter visions through photography and/or art.

If you have access to appropriate camera equipment for the ages of your students, why not let them try their hands at some winter photography. Most of us, young and old, have admired the famous photographs of the National Geographic Society.  This short article lets us learn from the professionals how to take better photos of people, animals and nature. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/activities/moreactivities/photography101/

For other creative media, some students will have plenty of ideas from their own imagination. If students need more inspiration, have them go outdoors (if practical), look out a window, or look through a book or magazine or on-line.

Students can share their vision of a perfect winter day with this easy but versatile painting lesson.  http://www.deepspacesparkle.com/2009/01/22/winter-scene-drawing-and-painting/

You could also encourage students to present their winter scenes with collages or textile artwork.  (Textile art needn’t be an elaborate appliqué or quilting project. Very attractive scenes can be made with cut-out pieces of felt glued to a felt or paper background, for example.)

Here is a nice example of a winter landscape simplified into a quilt. (Be sure to scroll the slide show both ways for more interesting landscape quilts, both simple and complex.) http://quilting.about.com/od/picturesofquilts/ig/Art-Quilts-Gallery/Solitude-Landscape-Quilt.htm

This is a good explanation of the process of simplifying a photo or live scene into graphic basics for paper or textile interpretation. http://www.quiltingdaily.com/blogs/quilting-daily/archive/2010/08/03/how-to-make-a-landscape-quilt-the-easy-way.aspx

This short tutorial does not show collage/textile landscape examples. However, it gives a good explanation of the elements of landscape art and how to simplify them.  http://www.slideshare.net/ms_slu/collage-landscapes

Here are some links for fine art paper, multi-media, mosaic, and fabric/quilt landscape techniques and examples for more ideas and inspiration.

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/winter+abstract+landscape/canvas+prints  http://lonecrowart.blogspot.com/2009/05/abstract-landscape-collage-steps.html

http://sandrameech-art.blogspot.com/2011/01/images-in-landscape.html

http://pinterest.com/kathadill/landscape-art-quilts

http://www.mosaicart.us/#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=0&p=0&a=0&at=0

If your students are not excited about landscapes, why not try some seasonal still life art or photography using holiday food and/or decorations?

Here are some general still life resources:

http://www.art-is-fun.com/still-life-paintings.html

http://www.nga.gov/kids/DTP6stillife.pdf

http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/drawing-lessons/nature-drawing/drawing-still-lifes.html

http://painting.about.com/od/artistreferencephotos/ig/Reference-Photos-Still-Life/

Find out more about food in art through history from Rae at The Creative Process. http://www.netposterworks.com/resources/curideas/sharing_food.html

Smells—

Some Texas middle and high school students share their favorite smells in this article.  Perhaps you can have students write or tell you about their favorite smells. http://www.valleymorningstar.com/articles/smell-96788-favorite-world.html

Start your youngest students exploring and identifying scents with the Smelling Bottle exercise for preschoolers from Dale at NAMC. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

You will find a variety of experiments for various age groups which focus on our sense of smell here.

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments/smelltaste.html

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/chsmell.html

http://www.cln.org/themes/smell.html

Scent Baskets from Mariaemma at Coaching for Learning Success are an easy craft and decorating project in which all ages can participate.  http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

FunFelt Scented Playdough Recipe combines a favorite activity with favorite aromas of the season.  http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Cakes and other goodies baking in the oven are always welcome smells in our homes. Gert Kimble of Kimbo Educational shares her traditional family recipe for Grandma Cake, which she has baked over 400 times for holidays and other celebrations.  http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Ginger is a lovely, warming smell in the winter. Try these Ginger Coconut Baked Apples. http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Another favorite winter spice is cinnamon.  Find a variety of cinnamon –spiced recipes here: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/herbs-and-spices/spices/cinnamon/top.aspx

If your students doubt that cooking can appeal to both our eyes and our nose, look at this cute Christmas-themed veggie plate! http://inspiredatmyisland.blogspot.ca/2012/09/lunch-love-part-iii-veggie-licious.html

For a lovely scent in your home or classroom that doesn’t require cooking (except if you choose to dry your orange peels in the oven), consider having students mix up a spicy potpourri.  This recipe is especially good for younger children, because there are no essential oils or toxic ingredients.  It also has rich, festive scents that would make it a nice holiday gift. http://www.ehow.com/how_8244416_make-potpourri-spices.html

Hope you enjoy many wonderful sights and and smells this winter season!

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Get in the Spirit — Gathering and Giving

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond…”

― Jessy and Bryan Matteo 

Autumn brings many opportunities to celebrate and show appreciation. Hospitality and generosity are important virtues to help children develop at a young age, and they make holiday gatherings and gift-giving and –receiving situations much more enjoyable for everyone.

It is healthy for children to help plan, set-up, and cook for gatherings, so they learn the effort that goes into (and the pleasure that can be derived from) serving others and making them feel welcome. Children’s natural creativity and enthusiasm in the preparations can also add a lot of charm to an event. 

You can also reinforce positive attitudes about patience, thrift and the satisfaction of a job well-done by encouraging children to make and give home-made presents rather than store-bought items. 

Children sometimes need specific guidance about proper behavior in social situations, which you can provide through practice and also good role modeling.

With a little planning, patience, creativity, and perhaps some of the ideas below, hopefully everyone will enjoy the celebrations of the season—and the lessons they teach.

Party preparations and decorations– 

If little ones have trouble remembering all that belongs on the table, you might download a cute free placemat which shows a proper casual place setting. http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2011/05/dinnertime-doodle-mats-ssg-idea-16.html or try your hand at some more decorative, but still instructional, mats like these. http://simplekids.net/learning-to-set-the-table

Why not try some fancy napkin folding to dress up your seasonal table? For paper napkins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG-cG939aR4 For cloth napkins. http://bumblebeelinens.com/napkinFolding.php

Have students channel their arts and crafts talents into projects like these that can double as party decorations, place mats, and other theme-setting items. http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/fall

For lots of cute decorating ideas and planning tips for sharing Thanksgiving festivities with children, check out Thanksgiving Kids. http://kidsparties.about.com/od/thanksgiving/tp/ThanksgivingHub.htm 

Combine nature study with homemaking with inspirations from these free fall party centerpieces and other decorating ideas from Chickens in the Road.  Show your children that you don’t have to be fancy to be festive. http://chickensintheroad.com/house/crafts/how-to-decorate-for-an-autumn-party-for-free

Here are cute tablecloth and trivia ideas for family dinners from Rachel Hollis (though the garland made of book pages seems like it might send a rather mixed message to young people).http://mychiclife.com/2012/02/26/nate-berkus-family-style-entertaining/ 

Turn cheap, flimsy window screening in festive leaf shapes http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/autumn-leaf-craft.html

Later in the season you could make cute Snow-Covered Pine Trees http://www.amonco.org/creative3/montessori_fall3.pdf

Home-made gift ideas—

Hostess gifts are a gracious gesture in a hectic world. Some of these are simple enough for children to help make. http://momadvice.com/blog/2009/12/a-round-up-of-homemade-hostess-gifts 

A wide variety of gift projects using many different skills and techniques. http://www.llemonade.com/gifts.html 

Here is a great round-up of easy gifts kids can make from the UK’s Activity Village. http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/gifts_kids_can_make.htm 

Mix-in-a-jar recipes are fun gifts to make with children of all ages because there is no cooking required. Many recipes make enough to keep some and give some as gifts; but if one you like does not, have older kids do the math to make a larger batch! http://marymae.tripod.com/jarlinks.htm , http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/christmas/gifts , http://www.mixesinajar.com

Introduce students to the concept of felting wool with this Felt Ball Ornament project and some other felting activities. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf 

Use a tile, paint, and some cork to make a Kitchen Trivet. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf

Learn to needlepoint with a continental stitch on plastic canvas.You can make very attractive coasters with these instructions for students 8-12 years old. http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf

It’s not too early to start work on home-made gifts for Christmas, either. http://spoonful.com/christmas/homemade-christmas-gifts

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

Putting on our party manners—

Here are lots of good ideas for helping children know how to behave in a variety of social situations. http://childcare.about.com/od/behaviors/a/manners.htm , http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/1132 , http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/25-manners-every-kid-should-know-by-age-9-2480238.html

“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”

― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

Enjoy your holiday gathering and giving!

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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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