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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Introducing the Montessori Decimal and Fractions Equivalence Matching Sets

Decimal and fraction equivalence matching sets are sometimes difficult for children to conceptualize.  In the article below, Montessori teacher Diane Knesek shares some free hands-on lessons that you can use right now in your school or home classroom.

Decimal and Fraction Equivalence Matching Set by Dianne Knesek

Students learn that there are different ways to write the same value. For example, one out of ten can be written as thconceptual_learninge fraction.   We usually read this as one tenth. Another way to write one tenth is .1, sometimes read as point one. It is not unusual to see this also written as 0.1 because there are no units and one tenth. Actually, writing fractions as base-ten decimals is a very easy way to work with them because operations are based on the same principles as operations with whole numbers.

Maria Montessori devised an entire series of exercises based on a color-coded place value system and that illustrates that working with decimal fractions is very similar to working with base ten whole numbers. Hands-on materials include color-coded beads, cubes, decimal board, decimal cards, and stamp game variation. These are all excellent in helping the student discover the value and relationships of decimal fraction hierarchies as well as operations with decimal fractions.

After the student has worked with the appropriate level of hands-on materials, he or she may follow up with Conceptual Learning Material’s “bridging” materials. One very popular series is the ten-exercise Decimal – Fraction Equivalence matching set. Decimal/Fraction Equivalence  Instructions and two sample exercises can be found by visiting

Conceptual Learning Materials’ decimal series emphasizes concepts and applications. Other sets in the series include Decimal Cards, Decimal Introduction, Decimal Number Line and Labels, Decimal Order, Percent, and Advanced Decimals.

For additional Montessori math products and resources, please visit  Conceptual Learning Materials.

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Montessori Lessons to Jumpstart 2015!

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 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 2015!

Visit often throughout 2015 to discover new Montessori lesson planning.


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2014 Winter and Holiday Lesson Planning for the Classroom


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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, 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
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

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Algebra Made Simple with Hands-On Equations

“Your child has a much greater capacity to learn math than he or she ever thought possible! And I can prove it.” – H. Borenson – Inventor of Hands-On Equations

Learning algebra is critical for student success in school and work in any technical field. But there is another reason for students to begin learning real algebra at an early age. When an 8-year old can understand and solve algebraic equations that are not normally presented until the 7th or 8th grade, the student feels EMPOWERED.

Empowerment is critical.  We cannot succeed in any endeavor if we think “It’s beyond me” or “It’s not in my genes”. It’s not just kids. Many adults think, “I am simply not good at math. Neither were my parents.”

When an 8- to 10-year old child succeeds with algebra, a whole new mental landscape opens up. The child sees that he or she has a far greater capacity to succeed in math then they ever thought possible. This change in self-perception is the single greatest benefit of using Hands-On Equations. Algebraic equations and verbal problems no longer cause an immediate mental block. Instead, the student now knows that he or she has the skills to tackle the problems and be successful. (Hands-On Equations is equally valuable for middle school and older students as well, particularly if they have had difficulty with traditional approaches to algebra.)

HandsOn.doc Consider an equation such as 4x + 5 = 2x + 13. Here is Eric, age 8, solving the problem in this video solution. (He is showing the solution on the Teacher’s Demonstration Scale, which is not part of the Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set. However, it is easier to see the solution that way.) As you watch the video you will get the sense that Eric understands every step of the solution process.  There is nothing about this equation or its solution that Eric finds mysterious.

That is the key! Our goal is to enable students to see that math makes sense. It is logical. It is not a set of rules to memorize without knowing where those rules come from or what they mean. And, amazing as it sounds, Eric learned to solve this equation in just three lessons! This is testimony to the remarkable teaching methods developed by Dr. Henry Borenson, who received a patent for Hands-On Equations.


You are encouraged to participate in a FREE Hands-On Equations Introductory Webinar. The next one is scheduled for Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EDT.

The Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is ideal for home use. It includes the Hands-On Equations Instructional Video Manual (from which the above video clip was taken).  Every one of the 25 lessons of Hands-On Equations will be demonstrated for you or your child by either Eric, Molly (age 11) or Dr. Borenson.

Also included in the Deluxe Home Set is the Introductory Verbal Problems Workbook, which contains some 80 verbal problems. For example, problem #61 asks, “The length and width of a rectangle are 2x and x + 1, respectively. If the perimeter of the rectangle is 38, how long is each side?” Using two pawns to represent the length and a pawn and 1-cube to represent the width, we can consider the semi-perimeter of 19 to get the equation 2x + x + 1 = 19, where x is the name of the pawn.

You may download the Fun Way to Learn Algebra app for free for your IOS, Android or Kindle Device at the App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Hands-On Equations 1, 2 and 3 are also available.

For more information about Borenson math products and workshops, please visit the website at or take a look at this brochure.

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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.

AMC Montessori Summer Hands-On Learning Newsletter

Experiencing Fine Art in Person with Your Children

Indoor Activities Get You Out of the Sun


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

Innovative Montessori Music for the Summer

Montessori Summer Activities: Woodworking

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

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Let the Games Begin!

This coming spring, light up your hands-on lesson plans with games.  See how easily games can be used with many of your existing Montessori presentations.    Take a moment now to look at some resources you may not have even considered.  You’ll notice that I have included a short quoted snyopsis in each of the recommended resources below.  Hopefully, this will save you time, as you search for the perfect games to add to your existing curricuum. 

Spring is the the perfect time to prevent lessons about nature and the environment.  Montessori Muddle has some innovative ideas of how to introduce games and other actiivities into the ecology and food-web presesntations.  

Make the study of food chains come alive with Ampersand Press Nature’s Food Chain Game.  “Step into the forest and discover the fascinating world of natural food chains.  Cards represent animals and plants that are found in the forest.  Each card lists what the animal eats and what it is eaten by.  The game works just like the natural food relationships in the forest with players “eating” and being “eaten” just as they would be in the wild.  Rules include several versions to play.” 

Perhaps you are in the process of presenting lessons on biomes, as a logical extension of the Montessori Land and Water Form water.php exercises.   If so, consider the ones offered by Ampersand Press.  Children are offered 7 ways to play the Onto the Desert Game.   “Take a wild trek onto the desert.  Beautifully illustrated cards represent plants and animals that are found in the desert.  Element cards represent the powerful forces of nature.  Reveal the awesome balance of nature as you follow the chain of life in the desert.”  See  for additional information. 


For additional wildlife and nature extension exercises, visit Birdcage Press

 There you will find a collection of “wild card” games and book sets that are known to increase, memory, concentration, reading, visual processing and strategic thinking.  Topics include the following: North American Birds, Backyard Birds, Baby Animals Around the World, 52 Amazing Places National Parks, Dinosaurs, For the Love of Dogs, For the Love of Cats, North American Mammals, Bugs!,  and Who’s Hiding?


Childsake also offers many excellent educational resources for those preparing presentations about the environment.  One book that is ure to catch your eye is the  Eco-Fun: Great Projects, and Games for a Greener Earth.

 In the forward to his book, scientist David Suzuki writes, “This book contains activities that will help you see and experience the world in a different way, bring you into contact with nature, and remind you that you are a child of the Earth.” Through a variety of fun-filled and intriguing eco-related activities, he encourages readers to get to know their world by working with air, water, soil, energy, plants and animals. The projects, experiments and games help understand the various elements, their role and interconnection as well as show how they are being damaged by recent human activity. This collection includes projects to create miniature forest ecosystems, make recycled paper and a veggie chili, measure air pollution and create a solar water heater, build wormeries and worm composters and make “green” household cleaners.  See for additional information. To order, visit

Let’s not forget the younger set.  Fun Felt offers a nice selection of felt activity books that can be used in conjunction with games for preschoolers.  Fun Felt’s Toggle Books are 8.5″ x 11″ felt covered hard adventure books with interactive felt figures that teach early learning skills, similar to file folder games preschools use. “They are named Toggles because the book has a wide seam and folds in either direction!  Each set comes with felt covered book, felt figures, lessons, worksheets, activities, and reproducible art.   Perfect for the car, quiet time, and centers at school!”  Currently, Fun Felt is offering the following environmental themed books: Bees and Hives, Dino Days, Ducks on the Pond, and In the Jungle Toggle Books. To view the complete selection, visit


It’s time to get up and “move” with Go Green!, a brand new CD form Kimbo Educational   “GO GREEN! Caring About Our Earth conatins 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. The resource guide, by Dr. Pam Schiller, includes creative activities and 2 literature links per song, that reinforce the important purpose of this kid-friendly, Earth-friendly, CD. The Wind; I’m Going To Plant a Garden; Cultivate, Germinate, Irrigate, Relocate; It’s Everyone’s World; My Kite; My Chance To Dance; My Brother, The Whale and more.”



Look for the Guide/Extension Activities by Dr. Pam Schiller in the soon to be released AMC Montessori Spring Newsletter. 

 As you can see, movement and Montessori go hand in hand. 

Let’s look at two rather unique resources you can use in your school or home classroom. 

The Learning-Success™Institute continues to offer products and services that bring out the star in every child!  Kids who are tactile-kinesthetic,whole body learners, and/or like basketball will love the Basketall & Whole Body Memorizing activity.  Check out this free game and activity by pointing your browser to summer2.pdf

Combine movement and music with the Music for Little Folks resources.  Gari Stein offers many different types of resources plus  a complete curriculum package for those preschoolers. Click on  to learn more about this fun movement activities and songs, as well as additional products and resources.

Did you know that you could easily integrate a “game” into your Montessori reading music presentations?   Read the post  on What DID We Do All Day?  to access the lesson plus discover additional fun Montessori music based activiities found at this blog.

Why not create some Montessori math games using the following resources?

The LORD Equipment Company offers a free curriculum guide for the Money and Math Bank Game.

“From an early age, children are fascinated with money a they see the interchange at the grocery, at the bank, and changing hand a part of day to day transaction.. They observe with fascinaIon the feeding of money to countless machine that produce treasure of candy, drinks, gum, and game that challenge youthful energy at mega pizza parlors. This high interest factor suggest a natural learning opportunity, capitalizing on children’s enthusiasm. Money become a natural tool for their practice and exploration of basic math and economic concepts.

The Curriculum Guide for the Money and Math Bank (M&M Bank) s designed to be used in classrooms, club groups, faith based programs, or a a family project.  The M&M Bank is an instructional tool for teaching children basic concept about money and the economic fundamental of spending, saving, invesIng, and giving.” 

For complete information about the Money and Math Game please visit    To download the curriculum introduction and lessons, please visit   You can view students working with the Money and Math Bank game by visiting

If you are looking for a new math app, check out the newest one from Hands-On Equations   Download the free lite version called The Fun Way to Learn Algebra for the Kindle   “Post a comment and rating on the Amazon Appstore, copy your comment to and we (Hands-On Equations) will gift the Hands-On Equations app of your choice.”

 Visit the Homemade Montessori blog for some additional ideas to use with your existing Montessori math curriculum. 

The Winter 2014 Olympics, allow children to watch thousands of athletes engaged in competition in a friendly, uplifting environment.

To help reinforce this cooperativeness of the Olympics use the Cooperative Games Lesson Ideas from The Creative Process.  “Cooperative games provide a shared experience of problem solving and achievement, and thus encourage repeat experiences throughout life.”

By using the The Everybody Stand Up (or Sit-Down) Together  and Arm Wrestling for Raisins,   children learn the art of cooperation.  Interesting enough, theses games were played at the World Celebration Camp, an off-shoot of the World Peace Celebration

Whether you are tutoring in a one-to-one learning environment or  presenting lessons in a classroom setting, chances are using one or more of these recommended games will add a new dimension to your lessons.  In so doing, you will be helping to make your student(s) learning experiences more meaningful. 

Heidi Anne Spietz

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The Three R’s for Autumn Lesson Planning

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

Check out the links below.

General lesson plan ideas

Ten Things to Remember When Presenting Montessori Activities.

Point your browsesr to Montessori Classroom: Activity Ideas for the First Day of School

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

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

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

EverythingHomeschooling has another large listing of free homeschool lessons.

Autumn-themed unit studies/academic lessons

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

You’ll find seasonally-themed ideas and much more at the Activity Idea Place.

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

Free reading resources

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

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

Montessorian Cathie Perolman offers her HANDS-ON PHONICS program from Joyful Noise Prodcutions.

Writing resources

Montessori Mom shares instructions for making and using a Montessori Movable Alphabet.

Access a free Montessori blue line paper PDF here.

Find out more about  the Barchowsky Fluid Handwriting technique.

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

Draw Your World combines art with writing and spelling practice.

For older students, here are some free typing resources. and

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

Enjoy these free Montessori educational bingo games. and

Word search, crosswords, hang-man and more make it fun to practice spelling and comprehension. (Math puzzles here, too.)

Try out Alan Stillson’s Middle School Word Puzzles here: and here:

Math practice and puzzles

You will find a variety of mathematics lesson ideas for K-5 students at lists resources from kindergarten all the way through high school.’s “Teaching Math at Home” listings concentrate on inspirations and ideas and on-line courses.

Check out math curriculum ideas listed by grade level.

Enjoy some free samples of Dr. Henry Borenson’s Hands-On Equations.

Try out this math sequencing exercise from Conceptual Learning.

If math seems difficult or stressful for your students, perhaps you will find some inspiration in this interesting blogpost on “unschooling” math.

* * * * * *

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

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Let’s Celebrate Summer

Please visit to access the updated 2013 version! :-)

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 25 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century

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