Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

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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Learning is a Picnic! Part Two-Adventures and Activities

“The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.”  Plato

A picnic is a wonderful opportunity for both children and adults to observe and enjoy nature.  While you eat, as well as before and after your meal, it is fun to keep your eyes and ears open for wildlife, insects, changing sky conditions, and more. 

If you are new to birdwatching, or want some kid-friendly tips, please refer to Sanford R. Wilbur’s “Birdwatching with Kids” interview. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Birdcage Press also offers a fun card game and book set, Backyard Birds, which you could use in conjunction with your birdwatching adventures. http://www.amonco.org/summer5/montessori_summer5.pdf  

For younger kids and hands-on explorers, botany might be a more rewarding pursuit than bird or wildlife watching.  You need almost no equipment, you don’t need to stay quiet, and your subjects will not fly or scamper away while you are studying them! Make sure you are familiar with poison oak, poison ivy, stinging nettle or any other plants in your area which students should not handle.  Then, get more study ideas from Sara L. Ambarian in her article, “Nurturing Budding Botanists”. http://www.amonco.org/Botanists.pdf

“Whole body learners” (for more, see http://www.amonco.org/summer5/montessori_summer5.pdf ) might really “dig” geologic explorations. Examining soil and rock formations often requires a lot of walking around and getting your hands dirty. Don’t think that you need to have a location with really dramatic geologic features like boulders or cliff faces in order to have a rewarding geology adventure. You can learn a lot from looking at variations in the color and texture of soil or gravel areas, the sizes and composition of rocks along a river bed, the shapes of surrounding hills or mountains, etc. Visit the following website from Rochester, New York, for some fun ideas to get kids started enjoying rocks and minerals. http://rochester.kidsoutandabout.com/content/getting-kids-rockhounding  

Geology enthusiasts will also enjoy the Hobby Lobby story found here: http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf .

Another great way to enjoy a day outside is to immortalize it in art. Before going, you might invest some time preparing with an art study program like that found in Coyote Creek’s video series “Drawing Nature”. http://www.coycreek.com/drawingnaturevol2drawinglessonsforbeginners.aspx

Other fun outdoor activities that give children an opportunity to move around and might be appropriate for your picnic location are kite-flying and beachcombing. Find lots of ideas and resources on these subjects in “Up, Up and Away—The Art and Fun of Kite Flying” and “Classified Seashell Activities and Resources”. http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf

For learning opportunities involving weather and sky conditions, check out these informative links from the National Weather Service. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/?n=teacher

When you’re done eating and exploring, you may want to make a memento to remember the outing. This site has some fun outdoor crafts listed in their sections for “backyard”, “beach craft”, “camping and picnic”, etc. http://familycrafts.about.com/od/summercrafts/a/summermn.htm

Here are a few other selected outdoor craft ideas for students young and old: 

Tree Rubbings Collage http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Tree-Rubbings-Collage.html

Pretty pencil pinwheel http://crafts.kaboose.com/pretty-pencil-pinwheel.html ,

Fun Floral Straws http://www.marthastewart.com/355464/fun-floral-straws?czone=holiday/sixty-days-of-summer/party-ideas&center=276964&gallery=275330&slide=355464

Families or other groups can extend the outdoor fun, and help a good cause, too, by joining the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout.  Find out more about the program at: http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Great-American-Backyard-Campout.aspx

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Exploring Holidays and History

 

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

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

Black History Month – February

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

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

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

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1809

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

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

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

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

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

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17

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

Easter, April 8

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

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

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

Find more Easter inspiration at the following sites.

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

Cinco de Mayo, May 5

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

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

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

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

Mother’s Day , May 13

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

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

Memorial Day, May 28

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

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

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

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

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Making Geography Come Alive in the Classroom

The Staten Island Montessori School course of study recently culminated in an international festival. To read this inspiring article, please
click here

For additional integrated unit study lesson planning ideas to use in your school or homeschool, please visit Montessori Unit Study Featuring Italy

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
http://www.amonco.org

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Montessori 2011 Summer Hands On Lesson Planning is Here!!

Just released! Click on the hyperlink to view the new

2011 AMC Montessori Summer Hands On Newsletter

Table of Contents

Part I

Up, Up and Away – The Art and Fun of Kite Flying
Classified Seashell Activities and Resources
Make a Band
Coffee Can Drum
Yogurt Container Shakers
Wind Chime Keys
Math Equations Activity
IT’S A WRAP – Making Beautiful Gift Boxes
Mother’s Day in the Montessori Classroom
Discovering the Tradition of the Dragon Boat Festival
Making Rhythm Sticks
Friendship Salad
Spring Tea

Part II

Hobby City – Fun for Free This Summer
Classified Seashell Activity Exercises
Stalactites and Stalagmites
Summer Fruit, Cheese and Meat Kabobs
Inequalities – Pre Algebra Lessons
Basketball and Whole Body Memorizing Activity
Watermelon Blueberry Banana Split
A Bit of Yarn for Good Pen Hold
A Page for the Letter O
Unit Study of the Nervous System

Part III

How to Play the Kazoo
Static Charge Science Activity
Floating Needles
Invisible Leash
Art for the Garden
Recipe for Onion Pie
Activities for Celebrating ‘America Through Song’
Special Summer Food Fun – Word Puzzles for Middle Schoolers
Celebrate the Letter “B”!
Bicycle Boogie
Body Sounds – A Fun Musical Activity
A Gardening Unit Study (With the Focus on Summer)
Nurturing Budding Botanists (Learning and Teaching the Basics of Plant Science)

Part IV

Lesson Plan for the Water Music – Alla Hornpipe
Oh How I Love Italy – Music, Art, Food Seasoned with History and Geography
Notable Teachers
Leaf Print T-Shirt
Calendar Activity Ideas
Teacher as Curator – Setting Up a School Gallery
Sharing Food, Food in Art
Tree Name Word Puzzle
Draw Your World Swan Lesson Plan

Part V

Recipe and Craft from Cantemos
Chocolate Dance
Squiggly Worm/Gusanito (Finger Play and Recipe)
Octopus Napkin Holders
Great Craft Idea for Father’s Day
Cooperative Games
Vignettes ~ Stories About Renaissance and Impressionist Artists
(Botticell, Fra Angelico, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael)
Classic Nature and Outdoor Adventure for Kids and Families

Part VI

Three Recipes ~ Treasure Chests, Pirate Ships and Canonballs
Gardening Activities for the Summer Months
Gingerbread Muffins by Montessori Teacher Cathie Perolman
Changing a Flower’s Color by Montessori teacher Dale Gausman – NCME
Making a Simple Friendship Bracelet by Montessori teacher Dale Gausman – NCME
Bicycling for Education – Part I
Bicycling From Gettysburg Battlefield to Washington D.C.
A Trip to the Aleutian Islands
Article/Lesson Plan ~ Howls With Owls
Article ~ Taking your class on a literature journey?

Part VII

Working with Notations – A Math Activity
Fun With Language Links
Free Reading Activity
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Farm Country’s Cornbread Recipe
Green Smoothies
We’re Going Places (Literature Resources – Dr. Seuss)
For Teachers and Parents – A Must Read Article
Interdisciplinary Math and Music Activity for
ECE and Elementary Children
Middle School Word Puzzles
Let’s Go on an Animal Safari!

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

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Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

On July 19, 2008, I attended a very interesting program, sponsored by the Long Beach Public Library, which featured how to grow plants year round. Lonnie Brundage, 1st Vice President, of the Long Beach Community Garden http://lbcg.org, spoke at length about the history and function of the Long Beach Community Garden, the individual member’s role in starting and maintaining a successful garden plot, plus provided excellent gardening information that we all can use. I wish that all who are reading this article could spend an hour listening and learning from this gifted educator.

According to Lonnie, almost every school in Long Beach has a garden. The County of Los Angeles has promoted this. Gardening provides children with an opportunity to make some general analogies. For example, Lonnie uses gardening as a tool to help young children see and compare the gardening cycle with the human life cycle. Children see a small bud beginning to grow. A comparison can then be made to the growth of a human baby. A baby and a young plant both need to be nurtured and protected from harm. “Children can see the life cycle. They then understand death,” Lonnie said. She added, “It doesn’t take a lot of space to grow your own garden. Just a lot of love.”

Why not take some time this week to plan and start your very own small garden. Besides growing your own plants in a backyard setting, according to Lonnie, you can start your garden at your school or in your apartment. She also feels that a garden would be a good library project.

Space doesn’t have to be an issue. Sone individuals use buckets and such. You can grow your garden in a bag of compost! Just cut an X in the bag and place a tomato plant inside. Cut another X in the bag and repeat by placing a tomato plant or some other plant inside. Just add water and fertilizer, and of course maintain with water. Lonnie has coined this type of gardening as a ‘pillow garden’. Isn’t that a clever idea? When the nutrients are spent, just discard the bag and start again.

Individuals purchasing a plot at the Long Beach Community Garden http://lbcg.org become well informed about the dos and don’ts of maintaining their plot. Each new owner must attend an orientation where he learns about the natural habitat and how a balance is achieved and maintained. The new owner learns about the foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, opossum, hawks, rats, mice and other critters residing at the Long Beach Community Garden and the checks and balances that are used to make certain that the environment remains biologically homeostatic. “We encourage people to be as natural or organic as possible,” Lonnie said.

During the presentation, Lonnie reommended the UC Davis website and encouraged people to read the How to Manage Pests in Gardens and Landscapes article found there. I visited the website and could readily see why she mentioned this invaluable resource.

For those living in or around Long Beach, California, who will be starting their gardens this month,
Lonnie suggests planting tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumber or corn. If you live near Long Beach, California the LBCG Plant Calendar will be useful. Visit http://lbcg.org and click on the Plant Calendar hyperlink. For people living outside of California as well as outside the United States, please visit the AMC Montessori Fall Newsletter Scroll past the information about fall and winter cooking. You will easily be able to locate many links to vegetable charts, planting resources and fall/winter meal preparation.

To receive general information about the Long Beach Garden Association, please visit http://lbcg.org If you will be visiting Long Beach, California this summer or at some point in the future, visit http://lbcg.org for tour information.

The Garden Artisans website and the AMC Montessori Fall 2007 Hands On Lessons Part I newsletter also offer readers a wealth of additional gardening information.

This blog contains multiple free Montessori lesson plans, reviews and more. For a small sampling click on the links below:

The Sensitive Period for the Acquisition of Language

Walking the Line: Montessori Style

Homeschooling? Feeling stressed out? Let me offer a few suggestions…

Enjoy! 🙂

Heidi
http://www.amonco.org

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