Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Sights and Smells of the Season

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

Sights—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some general still life resources:

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

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

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

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

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

Smells—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Montessori Springtime Nature and Science Activities

Spring is an excellent time to get the children in our lives interested in and excited about science and nature.

Last year we interviewed ornithologist Sanford R. Wilbur for some tips about how to start children out in the engrossing activity of birdwatching. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have any previous “birding” experience in order to help kids with ornithological studies.  Mr. Wilbur makes it fun and easy with his suggestions. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Dale Gausman from the North American Montessori Center gives more useful suggestions in his article, “Introducing a Bird Feeder”. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Spring weather is often perfect for burning off some energy and getting some fresh air while kite flying.  It is a fun hands-on activity with great science and exercise opportunities. Check out our information and links in “Up, Up, and Away – The Art and Fun of Kite Flying”, as well as our seashell classification activities (another fun spring science project) here: http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Another classic outdoor activity for kids (and adults) is blowing soap bubbles. It’s an inexpensive, simple activity that teaches some interesting lessons about gravity, light waves, hydrogen bonding and other chemistry and physics concepts. It’s also an activity that is beautiful and entertaining.  Add a younger sibling or family dog to the scene, trying to catch the bubbles, and you really have some fun! For more ideas and some recipes for making your own bubble solution, visit these websites: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html and http://www.bubbleblowers.com/homemade.html

Indoors or out, photography can provide the basis of many engaging and educational hands-on activities, when you choose age-appropriate equipment.  Rae from Creative Process suggests some interesting photography projects in her “Picture-A-Day and Time Lapse Photography Idea”.  http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

 

For a great round-up of nature-oriented educational activities, be sure to read the listing from Diana Nuack of Nature’s Workshop Plus, available here: http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Need more spring activity ideas? http://www.activities-for-kids.net/spring-activities-for-kids.html

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When the outdoor fun is finished, there are lots of ways to expand on what you learned.

John Grunder from Exploration Education has shared two great science experiments.  “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE!” teaches Bernoulli’s principle in a fun and easy way with common household items.  His “Needle-Proof Balloon” experiment teaches about molecular bonds. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

It is useful and easy to reinforce science and nature themes through both fiction and non-fiction reading.  Frances Hodgson  Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” is an especially appropriate subject for spring reading, because the garden and the children both transform and “bloom” as the book proceeds.  For more outdoor-oriented fiction,  many of the titles suggested by Sara L. Ambarian for summer reading would also be good inspiration for spring nature science projects and exploration.  http://www.amonco.org/Classic.pdf  Find some fun spring poetry here: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/spring/poem/index.htm

Back in the house or classroom, why not try the map of the world project from Draw Your World’s Marie and Kim to help students process and understand scale and geography.  http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf

Have fun this weekend, checking out these wonderful resources.

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