Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Setting Up The Classroom for Success

The classroom environment provides the foundation for all the learning that will take place in the school year.  A pleasant, comfortable location with good organization, friendly interactions, and caring attention gives children their best chance to grow both personally and academically.

 

Whether this is your first year teaching or homeschooling, or your twentieth, you may find some helpful ideas in the following links

 

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“Getting to know you” tips for teachers and students

 

Starting a new schoolyear and meeting a new class group can be a challenge for both students and teachers.  Get off to a good start with these free tips, activities and lesson plan ideas.

 

Scholastic.com’s “Getting to Know Your Students http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/getting-know-your-students

 

Educational Leadership’s “How to Get to Know Your Students” http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb12/vol69/num05/How-You-Get-to-Know-Your-Students.aspx

 

UALR’s Getting Acquainted Activitieshttp://www.ualr.edu/blstanford/id18.htm

 

Sugardoodle’s “Get to Know You Games”http://www.sugardoodle.net/Get%20to%20know%20you%20games

 

Good Character.com’s Friendship Lesson Planshttp://www.goodcharacter.com/YCC/BeingFriends.html

 

NAMC’s Friendship as a Theme in the Montessori Classroomhttp://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/06/focusing-on-desired-behavior-montessori-friendship-theme.html#.UfexiW3wb1A

 

NAMC gives advice on various behavioral problems. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/05/behavioral-challenges-montessori-class-gluing.html#.UfezPm3wb1A

 

Classroom set-up and dynamics

 

These two articles present tips and techniques for creating a Montessori classroom, either in a traditional setting http://www.amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori/Montessori-Classrooms.aspx

 

or in your own home. http://thelittlelist.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/setting-up-a-montessori-classroom-at-home

 

Bright Hub Education describes some of the components of a positive learning environment.http://www.brighthubeducation.com/classroom-management/13907-creating-a-positive-learning-environment

 

Teaching with Cents has some cute and clever ideas for do-it-yourself classroom tools and organizers. http://teachingwithcents.com/7-tools-for-classroom-set-up-and-organization

 

Georgette Baker from Cantemos suggests a relaxation exercise for the classroom. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

 

Learning styles

 

It is always important to remind ourselves that children are individuals with their own learning styles and aptitudes.  When we work with those natural tendencies and abilities, children flourish and growth is fostered.  

 

For whole body learners, tactile-kinesthetics, and basketball lovers of all learning styles,  Mariaemma from Coaching for Learning Success offers a fun basketball memorization game. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

 

Get off to a fresh, positive and organized start this year, and here’s to great relationships, great personal growth, and great academic progress!

 

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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. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/07/ten-things-to-remember-when-presenting-montessori-activities.html#.UfQIqFNVevs

Point your browsesr to Montessori Classroom: Activity Ideas for the First Day of School  http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2008/08/montessori-classroom-first-day-of.html#.UfQJkFNVevs

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

http://k6educators.about.com/od/lessonplanheadquarters/Lesson_Plan_Headquarters.htm

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

http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com/free-homeschool-list

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.

http://www.homeschoolviews.com/resources/printables.html

EverythingHomeschooling has another large listing of free homeschool lessons.

http://www.everythinghomeschooling.com/free.aspx

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.

http://lessonplanspage.com/seasonal-lesson-plans

You’ll find seasonally-themed ideas and much more at the Activity Idea Place. http://www.preschooldirectory.123child.com

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

http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

Free reading resources

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

https://www.literatureplace.com/

http://school.familyeducation.com/summer/reading/38769.html

http://txesla.net/gradesk3.html

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr244.shtml

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. 

http://www.lordequip.com/parables/parable.htm

Montessorian Cathie Perolman offers her HANDS-ON PHONICS program from Joyful Noise Prodcutions.   http://www.shop.joyful-noise.com/HANDS-ON-PHONICS_c19.htm

Writing resources

Montessori Mom shares instructions for making and using a Montessori Movable Alphabet. http://www.montessorimom.com/moveable-alphabet

Access a free Montessori blue line paper PDF here.

http://www.lordequip.com/images/bluelines.pdf

Find out more about  the Barchowsky Fluid Handwriting technique.

http://www.bfhhandwriting.com

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

http://www.softschools.com/handwriting/alphabets

Draw Your World combines art with writing and spelling practice.

http://www.drawyourworld.com

For older students, here are some free typing resources.  http://www.typingweb.com and http://www.typing-lessons.org

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

Enjoy these free Montessori educational bingo games. http://www.amonco.org/montessori_grammar_bingo.html and

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

Word search, crosswords, hang-man and more make it fun to practice spelling and comprehension.

http://www.funenglishgames.com/wordgames.html

http://www.primarygames.com/puzzles/word_searches.php

http://www.wuzzlesandpuzzles.com (Math puzzles here, too.)

Try out Alan Stillson’s Middle School Word Puzzles here: http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf and here: http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf

Math practice and puzzles

You will find a variety of mathematics lesson ideas for K-5 students at Kids.gov.

http://kids.usa.gov/math/index.shtml

HomeschoolMath.net lists resources from kindergarten all the way through high school. http://www.homeschoolmath.net/teaching

Math.com’s “Teaching Math at Home” listings concentrate on inspirations and ideas and on-line courses. http://www.math.com/parents/homeschool.html

Check out math curriculum ideas listed by grade level.

http://homeschooling.about.com/od/currmath/qt/mathcurriculum.htm

Enjoy some free samples of Dr. Henry Borenson’s Hands-On Equations. http://www.amonco.org/creative3/montessori_fall3.pdf

Try out this math sequencing exercise from Conceptual Learning.  http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf

If math seems difficult or stressful for your students, perhaps you will find some inspiration in this interesting blogpost on “unschooling” math. http://www.ordinarylifemagic.com/2012/03/unschooling-tools-math-play.html

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

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Summer is Coming – Part I

Many of us have wonderful memories of our childhood summers and/or look forward to the summer fun with our own children, grandchildren, or other young people in our lives.  There is certainly no question that the summer months are full of possibilities, both for fun and for learning.

The AMC Resource Partners shared some of their favorite summer memories, from childhood and now, in “Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories”. http://www.amonco.org/summer8/montessori_summer8.pdf  In this article, you will also find tips for successful road trips, accessing junior ranger and other summer programs, encouraging creative pursuits and cooperative projects, and more.

Check out these websites for some interesting general summer lesson planning resources.

http://www.educationworld.com/holidays/archives/summer.shtml

http://busyteacher.org/classroom_activities-vocabulary/holidays_and_celebrations/summer-activities/

http://www.proteacher.com/160023.shtml

If you are looking for some engaging summer reading, review Children’s Books for Summer Reading,  Parts 1 and 2.  http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf and http://www.amonco.org/summer4/montessori_summer4.pdf

Summer can also be a relaxing time to work on creative writing. Here are some ideas, if your students need a little nudge of inspiration to get started.

http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjhol/a/sumwrit.htm

http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/writing-activities/summer-writing

http://suite101.com/article/summer-writing-ideas-for-kids–books-journals-and-games-a218728

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8LaCTimmHFZakhhMHh5NzE3VkE/edit?pli=1

Shopping, cooking, chores, travel, and many other activities offer great opportunities to practice and put to use the math concepts learned during the school year.  For more-structured summer math fun and practice, check out these free resources.

http://www.homeschoolmath.net/

http://www.kidzone.ws/math/

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/math/printable/50722.html

Dr. Borenson and Dianne from Conceptual Learning each share some additional Montessori-appropriate math here: http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf  and here: http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

If outdoor dining is part of your summer schedule, you might enjoy another look at last summer’s “Learning is a Picnic” resources. https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/learning-is-a-picnic-part-two-adventures-and-activities/

Stay tuned.  Summer is Coming- Part II will be unveiled next week.  🙂

 

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New Beginnings

“From small beginnings come great things.” Proverb

Spring is a time of beginnings, for all living things. Children and adults can engage together in this exciting season of rebirth– observing the growth and celebrating the feeling of renewal.

Baby Animals and Insects are Born

The animal world is full of activity in the spring.  New arrivals include many more species than the chicks and bunnies we think of in connection with Easter.

Monarch butterfly life cycle as photographed for the Chicago Nature Museum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AUeM8MbaIk

Here a stick insect emerges from his egg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiV-DsfoJwA

At the Seymour fish hatchery in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, salmon eggs wiggle out of their eggs to become alevin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgp6OjpfrQo  For more on the fascinating life cycle of a salmon, check out this informational page from the hatchery. http://seymoursalmon.com/lifecycle.php

Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings is a delightful story of a family with babies.  If you don’t have access to a copy, here’s a nice reading of it, on-line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0fQpliJJQI

This short video shows a baby robin hatching from its egg. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDKgLfWheoI

ZooBorns is a blog which shows the photos and stories of animals born at accredited zoos and aquariums from all around the world.  There is always a cute new addition.  http://www.zooborns.com/

Just for fun, here are some cute baby animals sure to make students, parents and teachers smile. http://thedesigninspiration.com/articles/70-cutie-baby-animals-bring-your-a-good-mood/

Seeds Sprout and Buds Blossom

One of the main things we all think of in spring is the growth and rebirth of the plant world, and there are many ways students can use and hone their science and observation skills in the springtime.  Both nature study and gardening offer opportunities to learn about the life cycles of plants.

Enjoy these neat time-lapse videos of seeds sprouting.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d26AhcKeEbE , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKx4ZwoJqXY  , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nvAzt9sWIg , and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN8c_X0LNcg

Fruit trees bud out and bloom.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQyvRtyhMfA . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdpDkulqQ9U , and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-6dQvOSYmI

Even the lowly dandelion, spring and summer scourge of the suburban lawn, takes on rare beauty when we concentrate on its complex composite flower opening in the sun and closing with the dusk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrUdOYZfV4I

The Beauty of Pollination shows hummingbirds, butterflies, bats and other creatures helping to pollinate a variety of flowers.  (If you have a good internet connection, check out the HD version link on this version. It’s beautiful!) http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/xHkq1edcbk4?rel=0

How a Plant Grows is just one interesting book on the life cycles of plants. http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=605&idcategory=0

natures_workshop

If your students will try their hands at growing their own plants, here’s a quick overview of the differences between hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seeds, including a little information about genetically-modified seeds. http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetable1/f/Heirlooms.htm

In the past few years, all around the world, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the comparative merits and problems of open-pollinated vs. hybridized seeds, including a lot of controversy over genetically-modified (GMO) seeds.  Wherever you stand on this complex issue, it involves an interesting mix of scientific, medical, philosophical and ethical considerations which students can research and ponder for themselves.

New Scientist offers a round-up of interesting articles both for and against genetically-modified foods/seeds. http://www.newscientist.com/topic/gm-food

This article from Clemson University gives a fine overview of what constitutes an heirloom seed and how seeds are saved in home gardens. It also lists and describes some famous heirloom varieties. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/hgic1255.html

One of the neat things about heirlooms seeds is that children can grow the same seeds as children from a hundred or more years ago and/or children from other countries/continents.  Heirlooms allow us to combine horticulture with history (and sometimes geography). They also often have interesting sizes, shapes, colors and flavors which may not be commercially profitable but may be especially fun or interesting for children.

Here are just two of the many dependable heirloom/open-pollinaed seed companies with a wide variety of interesting vegetable and flower seeds: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds http://rareseeds.com/  and Seed Savers Exchange http://www.seedsavers.org/

The Littlest Learners Start Strong

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays over, it is a great time to have preschoolers make some of their own new beginnings, too.

Books make great “gift” additions to Easter baskets.  Find a great assortment of early learning books at Farm Country General Store. http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/index.php/cPath/7

farm_country

Little ones with visual and physical learning styles may especially enjoy these free video resources.

Here’s a cute version of the traditional ABC song.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCDxiJm-FX4

KidsTV123 has a cute alphabet song with graphics that show many examples of every letter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_-lz2BI2Co

This interesting video tries to help kids learn the alphabet in 15 minutes.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyBuYclBSwI

Help toddlers learn their colors with these cute videos.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arU-AxEVsi8 and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHer1peKX88

Sing along and fill in the blanks with “Heads and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_0HWkYnJ20

Early number and counting lessons.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsKpazuC0RY , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5Ak50dFse8 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO1K1bspH_8 , and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iOrTsCpemo

This is a short overview of Montessori theory and classroom activities from Australia.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZLq5Uttq8M

Although not Montessori-specific, for some interesting information and examples of language skills are connected to the daily life and learning of preschoolers, check out Language for Learning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AL1IDGCVAo

Happy Spring!

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