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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Spring Forward with Hands On Lesson Planning

Please visit for the updated 2013 issue!


Heidi Anne Spietz


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:   

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:

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

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. , , and

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.

For more presidential lesson ideas, read “It’s Time to Think Outside the Box and Kindle, Too!” from, with its suggestions for studying Thomas Jefferson.  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.

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17

Visit these links for lesson and craft ideas for the “greenest” spring holiday!  and  

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.  

For long-lasting Easter fun outdoors, Jan from Garden Artisans shares a cute Hippity Hoppity Bunny Topiary project here:  

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!  

Find more Easter inspiration at the following sites. ,  and

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:  

For introduction or reinforcement of Spanish language lessons, check out the offerings from Cantemos  and Professor Toto  

For Spanish-speaking students or those learning Spanish, check out our 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. , /, and /

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.

These websites provide some additional ideas for crafts and decorations.  and

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”.

Find more information on the history of this day of remembrance, at:  and  


For more seasonal and holiday observances for educators, visit:  and

For more about holidays, in a convenient monthly chronology, see Rae from The Creative Process’s “Monthly Observances and Notable Dates”.

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‘Tis the Season to be Selling with Creative Phrasing

Use the lesson below to show upper elementary and middle school students how creative word phrasing and holiday selling are linked together.   Build vocabulary and increase verbal skills and logical thinking with these unique puzzles.

‘Tis the Season to be Selling
By Alan Stillson, Copyright © 2011

One method of boosting sales during the holiday season is with letter play.  You change one letter in a well-known holiday season phrase and it plugs your business.

Here’s an example:
You own a wedding chapel.  You change “We wish you a merry Christmas” to “We wish you a marry Christmas.”

Try to find a letter change in the bold word to plug each of these businesses:

BUSINESS                                                   HOLIDAY SEASON PHRASE

Boxing arena                                    ‘Twas the night before Christmas
Florist                                              Had a very shiny nose
Health food store                              Joy to the world
Sporting goods                                  It came upon a midnight clear
Tanning salon                                   The twelve days of Christmas
Optometrist                                       The eight days of Hanukkah
Plumber                                             The values of Kwanzaa
Transmission shop                              A partridge in a pear tree

Stumped?  Send Alan Stillson an e-mail at to ask for the answers.

Alan Stillson is the author/co-author of printed puzzle books, an e-book of brainteasers and a musical that will be showing in June and July.  Please click onto for details. Please feel free to share this message.

Happy puzzling and Seasons Greetings,

Alan Stillson

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Refocusing on Reading and Writing

As you and your students switch gears from summer leisure into the increased structure of the school year, you will want to refocus on the basics.  Here are some interesting and helpful resources to add to your reading, writing and spelling lessons.

If you need ideas for your reading program, Rita Arpaia of is debuting a new and improved version of their Bookfinder search tools in September.  Start With The Winners will allow even more convenient access than ever before to Literatureplace’s comprehensive list of award-winning children’s books. Find out more at:

Elaine from Kimbo offers a Literature Link Activity to the book The Mitten by Jan Brett.  For more free activities for The Mitten and other Jan Brett books, visit and . For more literacy-related products from Kimbo, visit their site:

The Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting System offers an easy-to-teach and easy-to-learn writing method for students of all ages. Find more information, plus a link to free instructions and patterns at

To give older kids a tune-up on various word skills, check out Alan Stillson’s Middle School Word Puzzles at and Find more free sample puzzles for children and adults, or order Alan’s books, at Stillsonworks.

Find a wide variety of spelling lesson resources at,,, and


For more information and resources for reading, writing and spelling—

Find more book lists appropriate to your needs and school/family values and priorities:

Access interactive spelling and vocabulary exercises at

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