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Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part 2

Sara L. Ambarian

Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved

Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html

Summertime means something different to each of us, depending on our ages, backgrounds, and interests, and even the regions where we grew up. What is fun and fulfilling to me or my family might not appeal to you or the children in your lives at all.

Frankly, I think that is part of the beauty of summer. It is a time which is much less “externally” scripted for many of us, allowing us – and the children in our lives—to write our own scripts, set our own priorities, chase our own muses, choose our own adventures. As fun as that is, if you look back on your own childhood summers, you will probably realize that a lot of your leisure time was actually very productive time for learning about yourself and the world around you, as well.

“We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”

Maria Montessori

We asked the American Montessori Consulting Primary Recommended Resource Center partners http://www.amonco.org/resource_topic.html to share with us some of their favorite summertime memories to get you in the mood for planning your own summer activities and adventures.

Travel—

Gari Stein from Music For Little Folks (http://www.little-folks-music.com ) remembers summer road trips, a favorite of many families.

I didn’t take too many summer vacation, as I went to camp; but I remember when I was younger, we would drive to visit my sister at camp. It was special because my grandmother came with us, and I can’t remember any other time she came joined us on vacation We drove from Michigan up to Algonquin Park, Canada. This was before the interstate and often traffic would be so backed up, we would get out of our car, and walk around right on the highway. I remember it so vividly. Another part of fond travel memories are the sing-a-longs, especially when the five of us were packed into a sedan driving to Florida. Singing our hearts out and arguing over the correct words. Making fun of those out of tune. Those are the best memories ever.

Elaine Murphy from Kimbo Educational (http://kimboed.com ) also chose a car trip as a favorite summer memory.

My favorite vacation was a long, long road trip I took with my daughter and 3 granddaughters two summers ago. We drove thousands of miles to visit historical sites in the East. Since the girls are home schooled the purpose of this trip was for them to not only read about history, but to truly experience these important and famous places where history occurred.   Our stops took us to Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Philadelphia, New Jersey battlefields, Sturbridge Village, and Boston. It was not always easy to drive long distances each day, but it was actually much better than I expected it would be. “Are we there yet” is just not in the girls’ vocabulary, thank goodness. We sang often, listened to music, took in the beauty of our country and enjoyed the abundance of its wonders.

The kids learned to read guide books and maps and helped choose where we would stop and stay. They learned to cooperate and share. After the trip they were able to apply their newly acquired knowledge and extend their experiences in a myriad of ways.

Some of the top favorite songs we sang, “On the Road Again”, “Let’s Go Riding in the Car-Car”, and “This Land is My Land” helped make the miles pass more quickly. These Kimbo singalong songs from Car Songs, Favorite Songs for Kids, and Songs About America were fun and often the break we needed when the highways were boring and tedious.

We also took stretch breaks with Kimbo fitness CDs such as Cool Aerobics for Kids and Catch a Brain Wave Fitness Fun. At night we relaxed with exercises from Yoga for Kids or Yoga and You, and we fell peacefully to sleep with quiet music from Sweet Dreams, knowing we were making lifelong learning opportunities and memories from this special summer vacation.

On a road trip, there’s always something new around the next bend, if you are looking for it.

Some parents hesitate to take their children on long driving trips, but many families find them delightful.road

The keys to happy and enjoyable car trips (and indeed, most successful travel with children) are preparation and engagement.

You should carefully choose your destinations, based on the interests, ages and attention spans of the people on the trip. Consider learning something about your destinations ahead of time and/or bringing some additional background or supplemental information along on the trip. Plan the itinerary trying to allow for unexpected problems or inspirations, as well as fatigue (of adults or children). Be sure to bring (or know your options for) timely meals, snacks and cold drinks, because being hot, hungry or thirsty will dampen the spirits of the most-intrepid travelers.

Try ahead of time to also manage your expectations. Not every stop in every outing will be a home-run with every member of your group. Sometimes the best thing about a trip is just getting away to see something new together. Also remember, if you take a child somewhere to “edify” them, but aren’t able to be enthusiastic about it yourself (unless it was the child’s idea to visit in the first place), often neither you nor the child will enjoy or benefit from the experience.

On the other hand, I have seen situations in which a child seemed not to enjoy an outing which they later remembered with fondness for decades. So, if no one’s having any fun, you might shorten your visit, re-arrange your itinerary, etc.; but don’t automatically assume that a visit has been a failure just because you aren’t getting immediate overwhelming enthusiasm. Sometimes children (and adults) need to let thing sink in a little before they make a final assessment of the value of an outing.

You also cannot always predict how a child will most enjoy a trip. Some children are happy to sit in the backseat and look out the window and just see what’s there. Some children will be more interested if they know the route and have a map with which to follow along. Other children appreciate you pointing out things they might have missed and commenting on them.

I know a lot of us are used, now, to keeping kids entertained with computer games, iPods, and on-board DVD players. For a real family adventure, however, I think that there are big potential benefits to leaving them behind or limiting their use, in favor of one-to-one personal interactions and discussions.

Arts and crafts are a favorite leisure pursuit for many children and families. It is probably no surprise that Kim Stitzer, co-author of Draw-Write-Now (http://www.drawyourworld.com ), and her family are among them.

We rarely took summer vacations, but we did have a morning summertime activity—drawing and writing together after breakfast—which became a special summertime routine and memory for our family.

We cleared the breakfast dishes to do a DRAW WRITE NOW drawing together. I sat between my two kids as we focused on the subject —i.e. dog, tiger, house. I pointed out the shapes and lines in the subjects as they made the drawing on their papers. After the subject was completed, I’d get up and wash the dishes while the kids created a background for their drawings. It was nice to be close enough to watch their ideas go on paper, yet enough removed so that I was out of the process.

After I was done in the kitchen, we moved on to working on writing. Most of my attention was directed toward my 5-year-old as he was learning the basics of letter formation and spacing. I modeled a simple short sentence as he copied it on his own paper. My 7-year-old worked more independently, writing a story about her drawing. Some days, if it seemed like her writing had gotten messier, I’d ask her to simply copy the sentences in the lesson, focusing on making her writing look as nice a possible. After writing, we all moved outside for playtime. Sometime before lunch, we came back inside, eager to color our pictures.

Almost all of us have pencils, crayons, markers, paints, paper, and other art supplies around our homes. Bringing them out or just making sure that they are available when inspiration strikes can be a very economical and open-ended source of summer fun for children of a wide range of ages.

Lois from Bountiful Spinning, Weaving and Knitting (http://bountifulspinweave.com) shares her experiences with another interesting arts and craft project — sharing her love of weaving and the joy of design with her granddaughter.

Arts and Crafts—

Our granddaughter, Kaitlin, spends a lot of time with us in the summer. In 2009, I taught her how to weave on a Schacht 10” Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom. Rigid Heddle looms are quick to set up and quick to weave on.

I took her out to my warehouse and opened up 2 big bins of yarns for her to choose from. She choose 3 colors and designed the stripe pattern herself! We warped up the loom together, and she wove her scarf while I wove a scarf on my Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle loom. We had a marvelous time. We did some of our weaving out on the deck. It is fun to weave and spin outside, so it was really nice that the looms are so portable.bountiful_summer

This was just her second time to weave! It was the 40th Anniversary year for Schacht, and Schacht had a weaving and spinning contest in conjunction with their big anniversary celebration. Kaitlin went to the celebration with us and got to see her scarf up on display along with all the other lovely projects that were submitted. I am very proud of her weaving and designing abilities! It is great to be able to share my love of weaving with her.

Kaitlin’s pattern is up on our website here: http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/Rigid-
Heddle-Weaving-Patterns.php

Textile arts like sewing, knitting, crocheting, weaving and embroidery are a natural for summertime. The more-flexible scheduling suits these projects which often take more than a weekend for children. In summer, you can both retain and promote continuity with an on-going textile endeavor, encouraging kids to spend a little time working on it every day or two. As Lois mentioned, you can sometimes take your projects outdoors to enjoy the fine weather, or you can use them as a quiet, cool indoor pursuit that gives children a break from the heat and busier outdoor activities.

Local resources—

Even very small communities usually try to offer these kinds of opportunities for local children and families to enjoy. Check with your local library, parks and recreation facilities, children’s clubs and afterschool programs, churches, and even community colleges for classes, camps and other fun and educational summer activities for a variety of interests and ages.

Science and Nature—

You can also find interesting programs and resources when enjoying the great outdoors and famous historical sites.

The U.S. National Park System has junior ranger programs at many of their sites, as well as distance activities children can enjoy. Because of the variety of scenic, historic, and recreational sites within the system, they could appeal to a wide variety of students. You can find a list of participating sites at: http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm

The U.S. Forest Service also offers fun activities through their Junior Forest Ranger and Junior Snow Ranger programs. The Adventure Guide is also offered in Spanish. http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/conservationeducation/smokey-woodsy/junior-rangers

Maria Montessori once said, “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.” Summer is a great time to let our imaginations go with non-traditional scientific adventures.

John Grunder of Exploration Education http://www.explorationeducation.com shows us “Can Do!”, an easy experiment which illustrates concepts of balance and center of gravity. This is a quick, fun lesson you can do with children (and adults) of any age and anywhere you might enjoy a canned drink, including a summer picnic.

Fogirl_summerr more science ideas for picnics and other outings, check out these lesson plans.

North American Montessori Center suggests this outdoor science activity for preschoolers– Montessori Twos Activity and Presentation: Observing Nature Close Up

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.ca/2010/06/montessori-twos-activity-observing.html

See, also:

http://www.lessonplans.com/ext-resource.php?l=http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/UnitPlan/2954.htm

http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/activities-games-and-crafts/easy-outdoor-science-projects

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/easy-outdoor-science-activities-for-kids.htm

If your summer plans include an amusement park, older and/or bolder children can experience physics concepts first-hand while riding rollercoasters and other thrill rides. Review these concepts before you go for a better understanding of how the attractions work and what the forces are that you feel as you ride.

http://www.learner.org/interactives/parkphysics/coaster.html

http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/211_fall2002.web.dir/shawna_sastamoinen/roller_coasters.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/structural/roller-coaster3.htm

Working Together—

Less time in structured activities for school and other pursuits, plus longer sunlight hours and generally more-favorable weather, means summer often offers more opportunities for families and friends to work together on special projects. It is also always a busy time for outdoor chores in rural areas, especially if those areas experience cold, snowy winters.

Montessori practices emphasize learning by doing, and there always seem to be a lot of interesting things to do in the summer.

Rae from The Creative Process (http://www.netposterworks.com ) grew up on a farm, and her summer memories mostly revolve around helping her parents with farm chores.

As the eldest child, and with no brothers, I was called on for a variety of farm chores that seemed to me, at the time, to fill hours. When I was quite small I was an excellent deliverer of messages – either fetching my Dad from the field, or if I happened to be with him when a piece of machinery broke down, heading back to the house with instructions for calling the farm implement store for the availability

I was also put on a tractor, charged with keeping the wheels straight, so my dad could “pick stones” and put them on the slow moving wagon. I think “picking stones” was a Michigan thing – the glaciers of 14,000 years ago seemed to churn to a stop in mid-mitten, dropping their load of small, and not so small stones, right on my folks’ farm. They had to be taken away so the crops could grow. My dad had been doing it his entire life, starting out alongside big work horses when he was a child. Eventually my sister was big enough for the steering straight task and I got to help pick stone. What a thrill!

Another necessary task was weeding the bean field. That meant walking the rows of young bean plants with a hoe and chopping out ragweed and pigweed before they damaged the crop….One summer our folks “paid” us for farm work. The deal was the profits from one acre of beans for each of us, we could choose which status of a part.variety and the time of sale. I had rapt attention on the radio for the farm report that fall. I knew exactly which kind of bean had produced the highest yield per acre and had calculated what I thought might be the top price. So when that price was announced one morning I hollered out “SELL!” My dad did. He sold his, too, for what turned out to be the high price for the season.

I gathered eggs and walked down the lane to the back pasture to bring the cogames_summerws up for milking in the afternoon, too . I really don’t remember doing much in the garden, other than eating a tomato straight off the vine.  Preserving food, however, would turn into everybody helping to cut corn kernels off cobs.  It’s summerunder the big tree with not quite enough breeze to shoo away the flies attracted by the sweet juice, canning tomatoes and string beans.

My grandmother had suffered a stroke, so sometimes I would be with her during the day. I could help her to the bathroom, get something to drink, change the channel for the Tigers baseball game, and call if we needed more help. It was this grandmother who taught me to spell “cat”, “dog”, and “wagon” (I liked that big word!) She also helped me learn numbers. I wrote 1 through 1000 and then sent the pages in a letter to Aunt May. There certainly was a blending of sitter and sittee….

It wasn’t all “work” . We did manage swimming lessons, and sometimes I would go with my Mom, a teacher, to her summer school classes at Central Michigan University. I also polished off all the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Boxcar Kids, and moved on to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Whether you live in the country or the city, or somewhere in-between, I am sure that there are many summer chores and projects in which you can involve the children in your life. Whether it is gardening, home improvements, cooking, or something as simple as doing a jigsaw puzzle, these experiences teach practical life skills. They also teach the satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from working together to accomplish a common goal.

* * * * * *

Generational interests vary and times change. However, I think that all of us, whatever our age, enjoyed many of the same basic summer opportunities: exploring new places or new experiences, having time to loaf or to dream or to recharge from the busy school year, and spending more time with family and friends. I hope that this upcoming summer includes whatever blend of these pursuits will make the best summer memories for you and your students.

Read the other parts of this creative hands-on lesson planning newsletter by visiting

 

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

 

Don’t forget to read the companion newsletters.  Just visit:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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Creative Music and Art Spring Lesson Planning

Spring is literally days away, so take a moment now, to look through your upcoming lesson plans for the months ahead.   Do some of your art and music lessons seem stale?  If so, read below.  Even if you think you have everything perfectly planned, you will want to peruse the following resources.  You may just find some unique ideas or resources that you might want to use this springtime.

 Music and Dance Resources

Have you thought about teaching dance to your toddler and preschool age children?  If you experience trepidation at the thought of doing this, fear no more!!  Gari Stein will fearlessly take you through the steps needed to feel confident while making the dance presentations.   In no time at all, you will be confident in teaching your students dance steps for May Day and other springtime celebrations. .  See “What? Me Teach Dance?” http://www.little-folks-music.com/what.htm  to get started today.

May Day Related Dance and Music Resources

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/mayday.htm May Day Traditions and Customs in England

 http://www.pecentral.org/lessonideas/ViewLesson.asp?ID=10049#.UycpgV5aO0c May Day Dance Lesson Ideas Preschool – Grade 5

More Montessori Spring-Themed Music Lesson Planning Ideas

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Spring Song

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Signs of Spring

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Sounds of Spring

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

The Seed Story Play

http://handsonhomeschooler.com/2013/08/music-discovery-tables-for-kids.html

Music Discovery Tables for Kids

http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/beethovenswig4

Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies

beethovenswig4

Each of the Beethoven’s Wig CDs has featured a new twist and Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies is no exception, as it celebrates classical music for dance. Included are pieces written for the two-step, ballet, waltz, polka, minuet, rondeau, habenera and march. Creator-lyricist Richard Perlmutter has widened his focus on the classics to include such notable composers as Scott Joplin and John Philip Sousa along with favorites like Bach, Tchaikovsky and Strauss.

http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/267

Best Loved Stories in Song and Dance

http://kimboed.com/babyballetcd.aspx#.UyctT15aO0c

Baby Ballet

A wonderful introduction for children to the world of ballet, designed for ages four through six. Complete barre and center work. All tracks have repeats. Plies, Tendus, Coupe Passe, Grand Battement, Port De Bras, Saute, Spring Points, Chasse and more.

season_sings

http://kimboed.com/seasonsings.aspx#.UycuKl5aO0c

New!  Season Sings

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall -30 active songs from Hat & Jacket, Pants & Boots to Jump in Puddles, Spring Flowers, 10 Little Goblins. All fun and developmentally appropriate for early childhood teachers & kids! 29 songs

 http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf

GO GREEN! Integrated Action/Music/Literature Activities

Download free French, Spanish, German, Italian and
Chinese songs with translations

http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf

Art Resources

Draw some life into your springtime cart lesson planning projects

Your first stop should be to Excellence in Education.

http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=EIE&Category_Code=ARTSUP

EIE Art Supplies

EIE

http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=EIE&Category_Code=CRFT

Crafts Kits and Supplies

Springtime and Holiday Art Lesson Planning Resources

 With Mother’s Day and summer camp just around the corner, it’s time to think of some fun group craft projects.  Bountiful Spinweave offers pootholder looms, backstrap looms, and knitting kits etc.    See http://bountifulspinweave.com/kids-page.php#.UyczuV5aO0c

sch_mini_loom_sm

http://prekandksharing.blogspot.com/2013/05/montessori-inspired-flower-math-activities.html

Flower Activity

http://beautifulsunmontessori.blogspot.com/2009/04/color-theory.html

Color Theory

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2011/04/studying-artists-and-their-works-in.html#.Uydb315aOvs

Studying Artists and their Works in the Montessori Classroom

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-31-day-5/

Mondrian Art

http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Crayon Resist Projects

http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Flower Themes, Flowers in Art Picture-A-Day and Time Lapse Photography Ideas

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/04/easter-and-springtime-integrating.html#.UydaZV5aOvs

Easter and Springtime Activities

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/03/montessori-easter-activities-ukrainian-eggs-pysanky.html#.UydbJ15aOvs

Montessori Easter Activities

http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Making Grass-Eggshell People

http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Marble Design Paper

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/04/adding-new-works-to-montessori-environment-spring.html#.Uyda0F5aOvs

Nature Art

Looking for some additional interdisciplinary spring themed lesson planning ideas? Please see https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/spring-into-reading-writing-and-other-expressions-2/ Spring into Reading, Writing and Other Expressions.

Enjoy!
Heidi Anne Spietz
www.amonco.org

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Spring 2015 – It’s Time to Head Outdoors

“In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and a sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.” John Milton, Tractate of Education

Spring is a season of transitions in the world around us.  Changing weather conditions, migrating birds, growing vegetation, and other natural occurrences make it an exciting time to get curious and go outside to see what is going on.  Here are a few ideas that you will want to use within the next few months.

Try this fun spring activity, “Watching Spring”, from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  http://www.dnr.state.md.us/cin/pdfs/Watching_Spring_Activity.pdf

You will find lots of fun ideas for family fun in the spring here:

http://stayathomemoms.about.com/od/activitiesandfun/u/spring-activities.htm

http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/activities-games-and-crafts/spring-fun-activities-list

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/03/50-simple-outdoor-activities-for-kids.html

Nature’s Workshop Plus! also offers some great ideas for how to “Celebrate Spring with Some Fun, Educational Nature Activities”.  http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Compare and contrast spring and summer & fall and winter in North Carolina Forests.  Learn more by visiting Farm Country General Store http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/1367

Traditionally, families have often spent outdoor time together in spring flying kits. If it’s been a while since you have tried this activity, get into the spirit with “The Art and Fun of Kite Flying”. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

For an outdoor science activity that doesn’t demand a lot of equipment or a high fitness level, check out Sanford R. Wilbur’s “Bird-watching with Children”. Birdwatching also allows children to practice being patient and quiet.  http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Looking for a place to get close to nature?  America’s national forests are a great place to have fun and get away from town for a few hours or a few days.  Many locations are still free! Find areas to explore and activities to pursue in your own state, or plan a trip to a neighboring region here: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml

Spring is coming, if it hasn’t arrived yet where you live, so banish your own – and your students’ — winter blues with some time enjoying the outdoors and nature!

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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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An Autumn Recipe and Special Savings to Start the Day

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

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

Wood Etc. Corp.

Website: http://www.woodetccorp.com

Recipe Submitted by Anna & Wolfgang

German Farmer’s Breakfast
bauernfruhstuck

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

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

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

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

Special Limited Time Offer from Wood. Etc

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

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

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Plan Ahead! Part II

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

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

Arts, crafts and music—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gardening, science, and outdoor adventuring—

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professional development—

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Grammar, Writing and Word Play

 The language arts provide the foundation of a student’s ability to express themselves effectively, both through speech and in writing.  As parents and teachers, we are wise to continually look for new and engaging ways to help keep the children in our lives sharp in language-related abilities.

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Even in this “electronic age”, handwriting is an essential communication skill.  To improve comfort and coordination, Nan Barchowsky of Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting suggests “A Bit of Yarn for a Good Pen Hold”. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

Richard, from the Lord Company, has shared some free writing downloads. Students trace words and numbers and also fill in corresponding figures in the appropriate colors. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Nan Barchowsky has also shared “A Page for the Letter O”. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

AMC’s “Montessori 2012 Summer Olympics Grammar Bingo” game is a fun way to combine an exciting international event with some solid academic practice. This versatile free game download can also be customized to other themes and even learning a second language. Follow the links here: http://www.amonco.org/summer3/montessori_summer3.pdf

Let your 8-14 year old students test their knowledge of sports and skill at word play with some Stillson Works Middle School Word Puzzles examples. http://www.amonco.org/summer7/montessori_summer7.pdf

Unscramble some summer food words with more Stillson Works Word Puzzles which can be found here: http://www.amonco.org/summer3/montessori_summer3.pdf

For more free grammar and writing resources –worksheets, games, quizzes and more—for students young and old, check out these sites:

http://prek-8.com/english

http://www.eduplace.com/kids/hme

http://www.findingdulcinea.com/guides/Education/Elementary-School-English.pg_00.html

http://www.internet4classrooms.com/lang.htm

http://www.time4writing.com/free-writing-resources

http://www.dailygrammar.com/index.html

http://lessons.englishgrammar101.com/EnglishGrammar101/Foreword.aspx

http://www.ihbristol.com/learn-online/exercise-general.php

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Let’s Celebrate Summer

Please visit https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/lets-celebrate-summer-part-i/ to access the updated 2013 version! 🙂

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

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Fun With Numbers

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Mathematics need not be an intimidating subject.  Although some of us are naturally more gifted with a talent for number-related exercises than others, these essential life skills can and must be mastered, at least at a certain level, by all children, if they are to function successfully in their adult lives.

An important step in that mastery for many students is building math confidence from a young age.  Math confidence starts with numeral familiarity, and it can further be built by including fun and interesting numeral and math activities daily throughout a child’s life.

As parents and teachers, we need to look for ways to keep numbers prominent in children’s lives, and to help children have both daily successes and daily play with numbers and math.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Elaine from Kimbo gets the fun started with their “Numeral Dance” activity.  Children from ages 4 to 8 spin, twist, shimmy, shake and act out other motions as they sing along and display their assigned number. http://www.amonco.org/summer3/montessori_summer3.pdf

Dianne from Conceptual Learning has shared some great interactive math exercise pages from their problem-solving program.  Each problem includes three steps: 1) a question,  2) a number sentence or strategy, and 3) an answer.  The three sections can be used together, in a sort-and-match exercise; or the questions can be used for independent problem solving, with the other two sections providing a double-check on the process and answer.

Dianne also presents some useful pre-algebraic problems for your students in her “Inequalities” exercises. Find them both here: http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

Borenson and Associates present three algebraic activities for your students to practice.  http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf

* * * * *

Looking for more ideas?  Check out these ideas for children of all ages and learning styles.

Students who learn by sight and hearing may enjoy counting songs and videos. You can find many of them free on-line, like these:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxPfPyYp84E, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9Yt1PqQiw&feature=relmfu , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2naWinUSf6w&feature=related , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbHBYGY2fs0 ,

For older students, here is a really cool math “magic trick” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVx9xfOl10o&feature=related .

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has a fun website for kids called “Kids’ Zone” which includes interesting poll questions, quizzes, graphs and other free activities related to statistics and probability. http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp

Cooking can provide great opportunities for students to practice math skills.  Halving or doubling recipes, making substitutions, converting from standard to metric (or back), and many more common kitchen operations can help children with math mastery.  The links on this page provide lots of measurements and proportions you can use to explore math in the kitchen.  http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/math

If you would enjoy a math project you can eat, 1-2-3-4 Cake is a delicious traditional yellow pound-cake-type recipe.  You may have a favorite version, and you may find other versions if you look; however this one is fairly standard.  It’s also a good choice because it sticks to the number pattern fairly very closely (which is especially important if your students tend to be very literal, as some children are.)  This recipe is often baked in a loaf pan, like other traditional pound cakes. It also tastes delicious with a teaspoon of  lemon or vanilla extract added. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:1-2-3-4_Cake

Not a big baker?  Here is another simple number-oriented recipe that is hot and hearty for the whole family. 1,2,3,4,5 Chinese Spareribs have a sweet and sour flavoring that’s sure to please. For this traditional cut-rib recipe, ask your butcher to cut your ribs in thirds when you buy them. (Small children especially love the little ribs’ size.) http://www.recipejoint.com/recipe-meat/1-2-3-4-5-chinese-spareribs.php If you have older students who are working on fractions and/or might enjoy a zestier rib, make these additions to the recipe above: 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, ¼ teaspoon black pepper (coarse or fine ground), and 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder.

For a different kind of “hands-on” number-oriented recipe, how about making a batch of rolled spice or sugar cookies, and cutting them out in the numerical shapes?  You can use pre-made or home-made paper stencils and cut the shapes (carefully) with a paring knife, or you can look for number-shaped cookie cutter sets like these. http://www.cheapcookiecutters.com/collections/number-cookie-cutters

Encourage students with interests in arts and crafts to get creative with numerals and math.

You can make your own math games at home from common household and craft items. http://childparenting.about.com/od/makeathomemathgames/Make_at_Home_Math_Games.htm

For more number-oriented crafts and activities for young students, visit: http://www.education.com/activity/kindergarten/math

Needle arts like hand-sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlepoint, provide both good practice for hand-eye coordination and constructive, creative practical life skills. Very young children can be taught simple needlework techniques, and those techniques can be one more way to familiarize them with numerals (and letters.)

Stitching alphabet and number samplers is a very old tradition which can be fun for modern children as well. http://www.powys.gov.uk/index.php?id=2156&L=0  This webpage for the Samplers International exhibit, now closed, at the Benton County Historical Society and Museum in Philomath, Oregon, shows a variety of wonderful and inspiring samplers, both historical and modern. http://www.bentoncountymuseum.org/samplers

Here are some interesting tips for teaching needlework to young people. http://www.needlework-tips-and-techniques.com/teaching-needlework-to-children.html http://www.shakespearespeddler.com/teach.html

These pages provide some good free resources on basic needlework stitches and techniques. http://www.bhg.com/crafts/embroidery/basics

This one is very detailed and also has tips for left-handed stitchers! http://inaminuteago.com/stitchindex.html

This one is video for visual learners! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wiR1-2U0I

Does a sampler project sound too complex? Stamped cross stitch is a good beginner project for young needleworkers—and parents or teachers who are inexperienced in the needle arts—because the size and location of stitches is visually provided. Beginners need only to cover each “x” with embroidery floss.

Here are two cute examples of stamped cross-stitch items with numerals on them. This baby bib pair features numbers and letters in a fun design. http://www.123stitch.com/cgi-perl/itemdetail.pl?item=K72918

This set of quilt blocks includes both the letters A, B, and C and the numbers I, 2, and 3 with cute baby animals, which can be made into a baby blanket, throw blanket or wall hanging. You could also split the 12 blocks between 6 students, giving each one ABC and one 123 block to complete.  http://www.123stitch.com/cgi-perl/itemdetail.pl?item=K021-1368

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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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