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Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part I

Article by Heidi Anne Spietz

Looking back on your childhood, do you remember a specific summer that really stood out from the rest? If so, do you remember what made it so special?   My hope is that the vacation ideas, booklists, hands-on lessons, crafts, recipes and other activities listed in this summer newsletter http://www.amonco.org/montessori_summer_handson.html will provide the ideas needed to make this summer a treasured set of lasting memories.

In the first part of this two-part article, five of the AMC resource partners, http://www.amonco.org/directory.html who contributed to the richness of this newsletter, have been kind enough to share some of their favorite childhood vacation memories. Take a moment now to get to know each of these professionals on a more personal level.  Hopefully, the experiences shared will provide some insight on what specific childhood summer vacations really stand the test of time.

Edith Cooper, Owner of http://www.coycreek.com/ Coyote Creek Productions reflects on a special summer vacation that has had a long-lasting effect.

Magnificent waterfalls, beautiful horse trails to ride, stars to watch in the night sky: such pleasure! What more could an eight-year-old child be given? That first camping trip to Yosemite gave me much more: it forged a lifelong love of art and brought me a friendship that has lasted a lifetime.

I knew that my father was a career silkscreen artist, since I often “racked” the prints he made in his San Francisco studio, in order for the prints to dry before he could add more colors. But for the first time, on that camping trip with my father, mother, and older brother, I watched him draw from life, and the pencil and ink drawings he made of “my” pony graced every home I had throughout the years until they were lost in the crash of a moving van. But art—lost and found—was always with me. And long after that trip to Yosemite, after I had left my work as a catalog librarian, I formed a company to produce instructional videos for children. Our first productions were six videos of art instruction for children.

For some us, a favorite winter rather than summer vacation comes to mind. This is especially true if the temperature outside feels more like summertime.   Dale Gausman, Founder of http://www.montessori-namta.org/ North American Montessori Teachers’ Association shares just such a vacation.

My grandmother took my sister and me on our first vacation when I was in grade three. She invited us to go with her to visit my aunt in Los Angeles for two weeks over the Christmas holidays. It felt like an adventure to take the train for two days, and I was excited to leave behind Vancouver’s rain for the California sun.

I don’t remember much about the journey itself. I am sure that I watched towns flickering past us through the window; the occasional cow or horse standing in the fields; and the rugged coastline coming back into view as we reached California. But as a young growing boy, my interest laid primarily in food, and that is what I remember when I think of our train ride.

My grandmother brought all of our food for the two-day train trip in a small suitcase. There were no hot meals or sweet treats from the dining car. Instead, when we were hungry, my grandmother would pull out the suitcase, pop open the latch, and hand out the carefully wrapped meals that she had prepared. The only deviation from her suitcase was on our last day, when she bought us a can of hot tomato soup from a vending machine. I still remember the warm, homey aroma of that soup and how delicious it was.

Staying in Los Angeles, we naturally made a day trip to Disneyland, and my sister and I had a fantastic time. My favourite ride was, without question, the go carts. As an 8-year-old boy, it was amazing to me to be able to whizz round the corners and hammer down the straightaways at top speed. It was definitely a highlight of my trip.

Another highlight, and one that has made a lasting impression on me, was listening to my aunt read to us all every evening. She chose to read us The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. If an experience was memorable to you as a child, it is likely to be just as memorable to other children. I learned from my aunt and read the same book to my son when he was 8 years old. I believe he was just as enthralled as I was. 

Elaine Murphy, http://kimboed.com/ Kimbo Educational reflects on a summer vacation filled with experiential experiences.

I spent one glorious summer at a day camp called “Candy Mountain” when I was just 10 years old. Of course, we campers sang that fun song over and over, but we never tired of it. I learned so much that summer. The “candy” was really an opportunity to gain some independence, grow creatively, get stronger physically and make new friends. I had never been away from home, even for the daytime hours, and I was shy and a bookworm. My parents didn’t ask, they just sent me and said have a good time! I didn’t know any other children and I would rather have read my books curled up on my front porch. I changed that summer and came to realize that there was a big world out there that I wanted to be a part of. I could do it, and I learned to love life to its fullest. It was a set of experiential lessons about nature, art, planting, sharing and caring for our environment, teamwork and more. It was not just a vacation. My parents got more than their money’s worth by investing in me that summer.

Nan Barchowsky, Founder of http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/ Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting shows us how gardening can help children develop small hand muscles, as she looks back upon her own special childhood summers spent with her grandmother.

When I was a little girl I spent my summers at my grandmother’s home. She had a garden and grew beautiful flowers. I loved Nanny, my grandmother, very much, but when it came to her garden she was strict. I wanted to be with her in her garden, and I wanted to help. I thought I could pull some weeds, but she disagreed! Not in my garden she said! She feared I would pull up her flowers. How was I to know the difference between a valued plant and a weed?

 There was a solution! Nanny measured off a small space in the garden that was all mine. She suggested some flowers, and we agreed on Johnny-jump-ups and English daisies. I planted them; they grew. Weeds grew too, and I gently pulled them out so that I would not disturb the flowers. I could be with Nanny and have fun in my very own garden at the same time.

Gari Stein, Fonder of http://www.little-folks-music.com/ Music for Little Folks, reflects on the summers she spent at Camp Arowhon and the lasting friendships she made at camp.

I was extremely fortunate, for many summers to go to Camp Arowhon, in Algonquin Park Canada, nestled in a pristine wooded environment surrounded by water. Once we traveled by train, plane or bus, hearts beating with anticipation, we excitedly entered camp in shifts on the camp boat fondly called the ‘Lizzie”. Children coming together in friendship and fellowship that for me spanned from a junior camper to a senior counselor. 

Tomorrow, we will be focusing, in more depth, on the impact that travel, arts and crafts, local resources, science and nature can have on planning your own summer activities and adventures.  Stayed tuned for  Summer Fun Makes for Summer Memories – Part II

Enjoy!

Heid

 

 

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Nurturing Budding Botanists – Learning and Teaching the Basics of Plant Science

Copyright 2011 -2015

by Sara L. Ambarian

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

Science study can be one of the most fascinating aspects of our children’s schooling, due to the incredible diversity of scientific subjects and the wide variety of hands-on activities which can be related to each. Late spring and summer is a great time to take your scientific endeavors outdoors and take advantage of the vast laboratory of nature. An especially interesting and broad branch of science for summer study in the outdoors is botany.

What is botany?

Botany, according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the bflower_botanist_1ranch of biology that studies plants, their life, structure, growth, classification, etc.” Delving deeper into specifics, the Botanical Society of America http://botany.org/bsa/careers/what_is_botany.php tells us that “plants” have been generally thought to include “a wide range of living organisms from the smallest bacteria to the largest living things ‑ the giant sequoia trees. By this definition plants include: algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants.” However, the Society states that modern scientists theorize that bacteria, algae and fungi are not part of the plant kingdom, though they continue to be studied/taught about within botany classes. For basic botany education, you probably won’t have the resources (or your students the interest) to worry too much about these tiny organisms, one way or another.

What do botanists do?

Like other biology careers, botany is a general discipline that covers many more specific studies and specialties. Someone educated as a botanist might study plant anatomy, plant reproductive biology, ecosystem ecology, paleobotany, plant care/cultivation, botanical education, or any of a wide variety of other specialized fields. They may work indoors or outdoors, in a wide variety of work environments– in a laboratory, in a greenhouse, at a botanic garden, at a museum, for a government agency, for a private company, etc.

For more on what botanists do, where they work, who they work for, etc., see:

http://www.forestinfo.org/discover

(This page also has links to information on some other interesting outdoor careers, as well.)

For an interesting table showing different specialties in the botanical field, see The Botanical Society of America, at:

http://www.botany.org/bsa/careers/bot-spec.html

Also visit The Botanical Society of America’s career page, which has interesting stories from actual professional botanists:

http://www.botany.org/bsa/careers/

Why teach or study botany?

There are many reasons to teach or study botany. Every child has plant materials of some sort available for study, even if it’s only sidewalk weeds, houseplants, or cut flowers and/or vegetables from the grocery store. Plants are intricate organisms which can provide many fascinating study opportunities; but unlike animals, they stay right where you left them. Because of this, plants are easier for young children to examine and identify. Also, you can theoretically observe them over an extended period of time.

Changes in growing plants are generally fairly obvious and easy for even small children to observe and compare. For example, growth from a seedling and other changes in size, development of flower and/or leaf buds, blossom drop and fruit development, and seasonal foliage color changes are all obvious processes anyone paying attention can follow. Older children can delve deeper into botany through more complex subjects like habitat and plant reproduction.

Studying plants also often brings up interesting lessons in the behavior of insects, birds and mammals, since we’re all interdependent on one another.

Getting started.

Don’t feel overwhelmed about trying to teach botany even if you do not know much about the subject yourself. It is a big and complex study, and you are not going to send your students out ready for university research projects. All you should really be aiming for at the start is to get the kids interested by presenting one or two small botanical lessons… and it does not take much preparation to be able to do that.

Below are some simple ideas for botanical explorations. Each of these is a manageable lesson, both for you to teach and for your students to learn. They each also touch on one aspect of botanical study which could inspire your students to pursue additional information and other lessons, of your or their own design.

Learn some basics, print some diagrams, and view some photos.

Plant anatomy and terminology are both easy ways to introduce botanical ideas to students. The following links, and many other resources, can get you started.

Dictionary of botanical terms plus an encyclopedia of plants and flowers:

http://www.botany.com /

Parts of plants, with fun activities at some of the links:

http://www.botanical-online.com/lasplantasangles.htm

Find information about local wildflower varieties online at a site like this:

http://wildflowerinformation.org

Beautiful botanical macro photography:

http://www.botanical-online.com/macrofotografiaangles.htm

Borrow a book.

Head to your local library and see what it has to offer. You will probably find some simple books for young readers, some flower or tree identification field guides for your area, as well as books on more specialized botanical subjects. Let the selection give you inspiration. Later, if your student(s) enjoy their initial botanical studies, you may want to invest in a couple of (new or used) botany-oriented books.

Learn the local dangers.

Every environment has its hazards, whether it is your own home or classroom or a vast natural wilderness. It is just common sense.

For example, in many areas, gardeners know that sheltered areas behind plants often harbor black widow spiders; so it is wise to keep your eyes open as you explore. Depending on your region, you might have a number of other insect dangers (or at least annoyances) to plan for as well. Mosquitos, ticks, deer flies and other biting bugs are often out enjoying the summer weather at the same time you are, so take appropriate precautions with protective clothing, repellents, etc.

Flower32In California, a spring botanical phenomenon that brings many visitors out of the city, the blooming of the California poppies, is often accompanied by the spring “wake-up” of local rattlesnakes. Especially dangerous is the Mojave green rattlesnake, which is an odd gray-green color which sometimes blends into the gray- or blue-green foliage of the poppies. Every year, folks plunge out into the vast fields of orange blooms, as if it is the poppy field in Oz, with no thought to what might be hidden beneath. Unfortunately, sometimes people or dogs are bitten by rattlers, when sticking to the trails and/or watching where they put their feet could let them enjoy the gorgeous display in safety.

In some areas, you will want to be alert for bears if you go berry picking (an interesting and literally rewarding type of botanical study).

Even dangers from other plants can potentially put a damper on your botanizing adventures. Be sure that you and the children are all familiar with poison oak (western US)/poison ivy, stinging nettle, poison sumac, and any other local plant irritant.

http://www.ehow.com/how_2285113_avoid-poisonous-plants-backpacking.html

Also, if you plan to pick any wild edibles, like berries, be ABSOLUTELY sure that you know what you will be gathering, that it is safe to eat, what other local plants might look similar, and that you are legally allowed to gather it in the location where you plan to do so. Children must be seriously admonished not to pick or eat ANY other plant material they find, and young children must be very closely monitored, so keep your adult-to-child ratio as close as possible for the safest outing.

Don’t let potential dangers deter you from exploring. Just do some research so you and the students know what to expect and where to use caution.

Get up close and personal.

At botanic gardens, preserves and national parks, nature study is strictly “hands-off”… take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints”… a good policy due to the volume of visitors. However, in a schoolyard setting, home garden, or on national forest/Bureau of Land Management area, judicious hands-on opportunities can be had. Many children will respond more readily to the study if they can actually handle, dismantle and analyze a flower or leaf or two up close; so this is a great option when it is available.

Flowers, leaves , bark (and/or parts thereof) look even more interesting when seen under magnification. Many botanical details are big enough to see well with limited enlargement. So, take a magnifying glass with you; or if allowable, bring home one or two small specimens to analyze in greater detail under a home microscope. Check these links out, too.

Instructions for viewing dyed onion skin cells under the microscope (a very cool experiment!):

http://www.crystal-clear-science-fair-projects.com/plant-cell-science-project.html

An interesting sequence of photos of bamboo examined under a microscope:

http://www.powerfibers.com/Bamboo_under_the_Microscope.pdf

Some really wild autofluorescent plant cell photography you have to see to believe:

http://www.olympusconfocal.com/gallery/plants/index.html

If you can’t go out, find specimens at the grocery store or nursery, or in the kitchen.

You can also study domesticated flowers you could buy cheap in bouquets at the grocery store or in pots from a home improvement store or nursery. No one will care if you tear these apart to analyze their anatomy, and a mixed-variety supermarket bouquet will provide plenty of specimens for several students to study several different types of flower.

You can also do botanical analyses on your vegetables before you eat them. What part of the plant do you eat? Can you see the rest of it (i.e., carrot tops, pea pods, green onion roots)? Do you know where/how the plant grows? You can make many interesting botanical observations and discoveries about if you look at skins, leaf veins, seeds, husks, etc. Then you can eat what is left of your experimentation.

Growing edible sprouts is another great way to do kitchen botany. For more information, check out the Sprout School pages at SproutPeople.org:

http://sproutpeople.org/sprouts.html

Get creative–

Artistic/creative kids may enjoy flower/leaf pressing, or might learn more if they draw, paint or photograph botanical specimens.

Although you can purchase (or build) a fancy press, flower or leaf pressing can be done by placing specimens between waxed or parchment paper within the pages of a large book with other books or heavy items stacked on top. (The paper will keep your pages clean from pollen or moisture.) Leaves are usually easy to just lay flat. Flowers often look nicer with some attention paid to how you spread petals, bend stems, etc., to try to get the finished flattened flower to reflect the fresh appearance of the specimen. Experiment with more than one specimen, if practical, to see what looks the most attractive. The length of time it takes for the specimens to flatten and dry will vary based on the thickness and moisture content of the specimen, the amount of weight used, and the humidity level of your surroundings. Fully-dried pressed leaves and flowers can be kept as keepsakes or used in art projects. If they are exposed to a lot of sunlight (and as they age, generally), they may lose a lot of their original color. However, kept dry in the dark, they stay beautiful an amazingly long time.

Very young artists can observe and reproduce a flower, leaf or vegetable with the most basic elements of color and shape. Pink, red, white, yellow, purple, or orange flowers may have nearly watercolor gradations of hue and shade; but for the littlest children, just picking a corresponding color crayon, pencil or marker is a lesson. In analyzing shape, help them focus on the overall outline and basic composition. An open rose is a wavy spherical shape. A violet or viola has five petals little ones can count. Most carrots are basically a long triangle (though French and baby varieties are sometimes more oblong and rounded).

Older or more experienced student artists can explore shading, striping, spots, proportion, individual plant/flower parts, and even details as intricate as leaf veining or hairy stems. You may be surprised at the details different children will notice and choose to reproduce. We often each see something slightly different even when we view the same item. That is one of the exciting things about doing nature study with a buddy or in a group. Their choices of media will also affect the level of nuance and detail that is possible. Black-and-white pencil or ink drawings are great for fine details. Colored pencils (especially the kind that smears with water) are an easy and neat way to mix colors to show subtle gradations, even if sketching out in the field. Watercolors can give even more fluid color transitions and sometimes even capture the effect of the moisture and luminescence of some plant materials.

Plant photography can also run the gamut from a simple “wide” shot of a field of grass or flowers, to a cameo of a single pretty blossom, to a very “tight”(“macro”) photo of a vegetable’s seeds, the texture of a piece of bark, or the sticky pistil and pollen-covered stamen in the center of a flower. Again, each child will see something different, and both age and technical experience can often play a part in both their approach and their results; but it’s all another way of viewing, experiencing, and remembering what they’ve seen. Make sure that they know how to operate the camera, turn them loose, and see what they see.

Planting seeds, in more ways than one.

Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to get children interested in botany is through gardening. Whether you plant a windowsill herb garden in pots, a sidewalk strip of annual flowers, or a dozen varieties of vegetables, helping with a garden gives children a wide variety of botanical experiences. They experience seed sprouting. They can learn about the nutrients and environmental factors plants need to grow. They can examine their plants in great detail. They can see the formation of fruit/seeds. They will probably also see pests and diseases that affect plants. If the plants flourish, they have a crop of herbs, flowers, fruit or vegetables to enjoy. If they don’t, trying to figure out why can provide interesting lessons as well. Do try to include some easy-to-grow varieties, to increase the chances of success; but emphasize the process (rather than the results) all along the way, so you do not miss out on the unexpected “teachable moments”.

However you choose to introduce and/or pursue botany with children, you are helping them better understand the world around them. You may also be planting the seeds of curiosity, opening up new avenues of inquiry and interest. It is always interesting how often learning one piece of information will spur you to think, ask or study about related subjects. So you never really know where the simple introductory lesson you teach might lead your students. The good news is that there is a whole summer ahead to find out!

You can also access this activity in

I will leave you with one more activity suggestion (the easiest one yet!) Play this fun flower match memory game!

http://www.prongo.com/match/flowers.pl

Please see http://www.condortales.com/bridestouch.html to learn more about the author.

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

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

 

 

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Celebrate Spring with Some Fun Educational Nature Activities

Nature’s Workshop Plus! 

Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved.

Website:  http://www.workshopplus.com/

Spring! What a wonderful time of the year. The sunshine becomes warmer, dormant grass awakens from its necessary winter nap,  trees seem to wake up and wave hello to all who take notice, and life springs from nearly every place we look.  We also get to experience the spring rains which boost the season into its new identity. Your students might like to start a nature journal during this season.  There is so much to record!  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Begin by noting the daily weather patterns and discuss how it relates to the greening of the grass. Make a grid in the journal and record the daily temperature, rainfall quantities, amount of sunshine, types of clouds, etc. Reinforce the journal concept with a study of cloud formations.
  1. Sketch a tree and the growth of its leaves. Look up the scientific name of the species and record it in the journal along with its common name.  Leave space in the journal for revisiting that section during the season and resketch the leaves as they grow.  Once the leaf is full grown, leave enough space for a sketch of the colorful Fall leaf. You could even begin a leaf collection of several species beginning with the smallest leaves in the Spring and ending with a colorful Fall collection.
  1. Record beautiful poetry about the spring season in your journal.  Perhaps adding appropriate Scripture, personal thoughts, and beautiful artwork could complete each entry.
  1. Plant seeds and record their growth.  Small children love to plant bean seeds.  Plant the bean seeds in a glass jar so that the growth is visible. They grow quickly, and the seeds are so large that the shoot, growing up, and the root, growing down, are very easy to see. Draw the growth stages in your journal. Label all parts of the plant. Older students might like to plant flower and vegetable plants.  Record the growth data in your journal using Metric measure. Keeping careful records now allows the children to gain experience in recording data.  Once they enter into the upper level sciences, lab reports will be required.
  1. Have an insect section in the journal.  It wouldn’t be Spring and Summer without our little “friends”.  Again, look up and record their scientific and common names, draw the species, label its parts, record where the insect lives, and what it eats. Study the metamorphosis of the insect.  Does this species experience complete or incomplete metamorphosis? Draw its life cycle. Start an ant farm and observe the diligent activity of the ant. Observe in nature or via video a butterfly leaving its chrysalis. The video “City of the Bees” examines the life of the honey bee.  This video shows the inside of the hive, how the bees gathers nectar, how the bees communicate, and more.  It is fascinating to watch. Don’t forget to serve toast and honey!  Using colorful photographs as your guide, sketch the bees and their hive into the journal. Label as mentioned before.
  1. Begin a rock collection.  Draw what you see.  Hand magnifiers or stereo microscopes allow for more detailed viewing. I haven’t met a child yet who didn’t have a touch of “rock hound” him or her! This activity just about requires a field guide for proper identification.  A beginner guide works better for children than an overwhelming larger volume which might be harder to use.
  1. Go on a nature hike and record what you do and see.  Take a pair of binoculars for bird watching.  Make sure to begin a bird section in your journal.  They are so beautiful.  Set up a bird feeding area in your yard and keep a field guide handy for quick identification. Learn the common birds of your area.

These are just a few ideas for you nature journal.  Allow your imagination to help you plan.  Your children might enjoy this activity better if they can decide which area in their journal to develop first. Always include art and poetry in the journal. Supply your students with a set of colored pencils, drawing pencils and a good eraser. One thing we have found is that children don’t want to “mess-up” a page in their journal, so we recommend that each page be completed in a loose leaf format then placed in a binder when the child is satisfied with the page. If you use a binder with a clear plastic cover, the students can decorate a page and insert it into the cover for a custom look!  For upper elementary and middle school students, look up the taxonomy of the species being studied and note it in the journal. The more you do toward preparation for high school biology the better.

Nature journaling will also require nature studying.  The “Handbook of Nature Study”, by Anna Botsford Comstock, http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=734&idcategory=0  is an excellent resource for a teacher or parent who needs to know more about topics in nature.  The book was originally published in 1911 and contains 887 pages. It is divided into 4 major sections: The Teaching of Nature Study, Animals, Plants,and Earth and Sky.  It is a store house of information to help you teach you children/students about nature.  Please see.http://www.workshopplus.com for information about both this book.

handbook-of-nature-study_1706_general

Below are some additional resources that you can use for your spring lesson planning.  You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser.

Garden Pirate

http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4069&idcategory=0

Make the world a little greener by depositing seed “bombs” in forgotten outdoor spaces. Using fun shape molds, you can cast seed bombs from fast-growing flower seeds, growing medium, plaster gypsum, sand, and water. Once the seed bomb shapes have dried and hardened, they can be distributed in appropriate outdoor places. After a while, a beautiful cluster of flowers will explode in those spots. Learn about botany, flowering plants, seeds, nature conservation, tree planting, and more.

gardenpirate1_45_general

Nature Kaleidoscope- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=3127&idcategory=0

A make-your-own kaleidoscope kit.

nature-kaleidoscope_944_general

Hanging Bird Feeder Kit- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=3893&idcategory=0

Adults and children will enjoy building this old fashion, hanging bird feeder.

Deluxe Insect Collecting Kit- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4166&idcategory=0

tweberhangingbirdfeeder_662_general

This  Deluxe Insect Collecting Kit includes a 12 x 18 inch insect display case, professional grade 10 inch Safety Glo insect net, foam spreading board, 100

Love Plant (Great for Mother’s  Day!  http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4176&idcategory=

loveplantgrowing(1)_1831_generalThese carefree plants are easy and fun to grow and will thrive in any terrarium.

With so much to see and do this Spring, don’t forget to take time for simple, peaceful, observation. Children need quiet time in their lives to reflect, think and form opinions about life. They can learn form observing nature, listening to nature, studying nature, drawing nature, planting, being outside, getting dirty, splashing in a creek, and chasing butterflies! If we can teach them to enjoy these lovely God-given gifts, we are giving them an enormous gift that no mass media gimmick can ever match.

Blessings to you,

Diana Ruark

Nature’s Workshop Plus!

For free catalog or more information:

(888) 393-5663

http://www.workshopplus.com/ 

All resources mentioned in the article are available through Nature’s Workshop, Plus.

Editor’s Note: For additional springtime articles, lesson plans, recipes and more, please visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html

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Spring Forward 2015 with AMC Lesson Planning

I recently revised and uploaded the new 2015 AMC Montessori Lesson Planning Springtime Newsletter. To see the contents of this newsletter please see below.

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

Peruse through the entire lessons.

Then, download the new AMC Montessori Hands-On Creative Lesson Planning Newsletter. You can also access this newsletter by visiting http://www.amonco.org and clicking on the new eBook Library.

Below, is just a partial listing of the offerings included in the newly uploaded AMC Montessori Spring Hands-On Newsletter.

Part I – AMC Spring Newsletter

Sandy R. Wilbur answers general as well specific questions which will help you to understand the benefits of bird-watching with children. You’ll learn how to get started, what types of products to buy, and what pitfalls to avoid, to name a few. Sandy is also sensitive to the concerns educators may feel about presenting lessons on this topic

Montessori Dianne Knesek reminds us that numeration is the basis for all math concepts. An important aspect of that understanding is the ability to sequence numbers from least to greatest. Exercises are very easy to make.

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The Language Salons are the brainchild of Director François Thibaut, who’s been a foreign language teacher since the late 1960’s. Thibaut’s best known for founding the renowned Language Workshop for Children and the Cercle Franco Americain French of Adults program in 1973. Read about this program in Part I of this newsletter.

french-language-classes-new-york-city

Part II – AMC Spring Newsletter

Rae continues to show us why we should visit the Creative Process website. Her innovative ideas will greatly add to your spring lesson planning.

Dr. Borenson shares some free Hands-On Equations® Basic Algebraic Concepts.

 

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Montessorian Richard Lord offers free Downloadable “Simple Reading Books” & Free Geography Set of Land and Water Form Cards.

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Learn also how to make a flannel board from Fun Felt.

Part III – AMC Spring Newsletter

John shares his entertaining as well as educational activities entitled “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE and The Needle Proof Balloon.”

Nan shows us how to make some delicious peanut fudge. See how you can plan extension lesson exercises combining handwriting, cooking and illustrating!!!

Does your middle school student enjoy participating in fun, challenging puzzles? Are you looking for some activities to help your student prepare for the ACT or SAT?

In honor of two major spring holidays, Alan Stillson, the author of Middle School Word Puzzles, invites you to find these words and expressions that are related to Easter or Passover. Alan also offers some fun, challenging food puzzles for middle school students. Check out the new free samples from Alan’s newest book, Brain Warmer Uppers, as well.

brain

It’s Time to Think Outside the Book and Kindle, Too! Curious? Read this section to find out how you can use the creative ideas of Rita Arpaia from Literatureplace.com in your home and school classrooms right now!

Part IV — AMC Spring Newsletter

Dale Gausman, from North American Montessori Center, offers the timely Introducing a Bird Feeder and Making Grass-Eggshell People. You will also found three additional outstanding Montessori extension exercises – My Family Tree,  Marble Design Paper, and  Montessori Easter Activities: Ukrainian Easter Eggs in Culture and Science Curriculum with free .pdf downloads – all offered by NAMC.

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Part V – AMC Spring Newsletter

Marie and Kim illustrate how drawing helps children develop a mental map. Discover a Montessori extension exercise that is designed for age group 5 to 95. :)

It’s time to get up and “move” with Go Green!, a brand new CD form Kimbo Educational http://kimboed.com/gogreen.aspx#.UtRAIvZVe0e “GO GREEN! Caring About Our Earth contains song about playing outdoors, recycling, planting a garden, stopping pollution, and more inspire children to connect to the Earth and encourage them to be responsible for the Earth. Action fun and singable songs motivate children to be involved and to be aware of the outside world

Look for the Guide/Extension Activities by Dr. Pam Schiller in this section of the newsletter.

KIM9318CD

Find the lyrics and directions for the song, “The Alphabet March and Match”, by Pam Schiller, Ph.D., from the new Kimbo Educational CD release, Move and Learn.

The focus of the song is on letters, which aids in literacy knowledge. Move and Learn is a unique resource, providing 17 guided, action-packed educational songs, featuring concepts and skills that are necessary for every child to learn, including numbers, colors, literacy and more.

KIM9325CD

Part VI – AMC Spring Newsletter

Dr.Borenson, from Hands-On Equations®, offers more samples of algebraic concepts.

Download free French and Spanish songs with translations from Professor Toto.

watchandlearn1

Part VII- AMC Spring Newsletter

Ruth shares a needlepoint lesson which is designed for students 12 years and older.

Marjorie shares a classical music lesson plan for springtime from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.

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Download the new, free “Anti-gravity water – is it possible? science activity from Exploration Education.

ExplorationEducationAD

Don’t forget to read Part VIII – AMC Spring Newsletter

Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington

Montessorians will appreciate the imaginative George Washington lesson planning ideas that author Sara Ambarian has provided. Traditional colonial recipes are featured and can easily be incorporated into Montessori’s practical life exercises. Sara has done an excellent job of presenting sufficient information about this subject, without bogging down educators with too much data.

Diana, from Nature’s Workshop Plus, knows that we are all looking forward to the beauty of spring, so she showers us with some springtime nature activities that are sure to be enjoyed in any Montessori environment.

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The late Montessorian Kathy O’Reilly uses eggs as the focus of food related exercises. Her multiple subject integrated approach is supplemented with a Booklist for additional extension lessons.

This post contains only a very small sampling of what is offered in this newsletter.All of the lessons contained in the newsletter are free of charge. Visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html to download the newsletter in .pdf.

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz
http://www.amonco.org
Celebrating 27 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century

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Montessori Lessons to Jumpstart 2016!

Happy New Year!!

Below are links to jump start your Montessori lesson planning for the new year.

Many of these lessons are free!

Getting Ready for a “New” Year

Animals in the Winter Unit Study Free Lesson Plans

Valentine Day Links

Montessori Winter-Themed Activities from NAMC Part I

Montessori Winter-Themed Activities from NAMC Part II

Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

Beginning a Spring Garden at Home or School

Spring Tea

Year End Activities

Draw Your World Lesson Plans

Children’s Books for Summer Reading – Part II

Bird-watching with Children

Monthly Observances and Notable Data

Science Activity “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE!”

Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington – lesson planning ideas

Valentine Origami Art & Math Activities

A Movie About Maria Montessori Worth Watching

AMC Montessori Winter Hands On Lessons

Hands-On Interdisciplinary Learning

Winter Science Links

Want more?? Click on the links below for additional free lessons and articles that are available only at the amonco.org website :

Italy – Links for a Montessori Unit Study

A Maria Montessori Movie Worth Seeing

Gardening Year Round – Tips from an Expert

AMC Holiday Montessori Grammar Bingo and Extension Exercises

Apples and Oranges – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Study of the Human Respiratory System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Medical Terminology – Links for Montessori Unit Study

The Human Cardiovascular System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Cardiology Terminology

The Human Nervous System – Links for Montessori Unit Study

Let’s Go on an Animal Safari – See Part VII

More in store for you in 2016!

Visit www.amonco.org often throughout 2016 to discover new Montessori lesson planning.

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

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Decorating the Holiday Table with Your Child

Tis the season to apply Maria Montessori’s Practical life Exercises to decorating the holiday table.  For starters, children can learn how to properly fold and place the napkins on the table.  See  http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/11/montessori-practical-life-activity.html#.UnPdiiRpet8  NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog.

table+set                                                From NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog

Find an NAMC lesson presentation for holiday flower arranging by visiting http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Nan Barchowsky, a recognized handwriting expert, offers some valuable tips on how to improve your child’s handwriting.  See http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/blog/    Nan’s program is used by countless schools and homeschoolers.  See http://www.bfhhandwriting.com  for details.  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

Find instructions for making some beautiful hoilday place cards by visiting http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/11/holiday-table-place-cards-made-with-paper-bags.html

Here are some other sites to explore.

http://momitforward.com/kid-friendly-craft-thanksgiving-turkey-place-card-holders

Decorative Thanksgiving Turkey Place Card Holders

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2fnohSFZcY

Homemade Christmas Place Cards – YouTube

http://www.imagitek.com/xmas/crafts/

Christmas Place Mats

http://www.imagitek.com/xmas/crafts/basket.html

Candy Basket

http://ministry-to-children.com/christmas-crafts/

Free Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/20-gorgeous-holiday-table-settings/pictures/index.html

20 Gorgeous Holiday Table Settings

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-christmas-tree.html

Origami Christmas Tree

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-modular-holiday-wreath.html

Origami Holiday Wreath

http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/christmas-homeschooling-activities-books-crafts-and-printables-list/

Christmas Homeschooling Activities, Books, Crafts and Printables List

http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/kids-page.php#.UoGcRI6R-lI

Pot Holders

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

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Have fun exploring these activities with the children and teens in your life!

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 26 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century
http://www.amonco.org

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Study of the Human Digestive System – Links for a Montessori Unit Study

The K-12 links found by visiting http://www.amonco.org/montessori_medical_digestive.htm will lead you to articles, hands-on activities and other exercises that are compatible with the Montessori classified science reading cards, creative writing and other extensive lesson

Here is a sampling of what you will find:

Free Diagrams for Classified Reading Cards

Lesson Plans About Digestive Function

A Study of the Digestive System for Secondary Students

Gastrointestinal Terminology Pronunciation

Additional K – High School Respiratory and Cardiovascular Lesson Plans

Some of the lessons will be useful for postsecondary students as well. When I taught medical terminology at the college level, I divided the presentations into the basic study of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots and suffixes and then proceeded to have the students focus on the study of a body system, i.e. digestive, circulatory, etc.

Each week, I initially spent some time on the review of basic roots, prefixes and suffixes. The students practiced pronouncing the words and combining the basic roots with different prefixes and suffixes to form new words. So that the students could fully appreciate the topic at hand, we used diagrams, audiovisual aids and discussed medical laboratory tests, x-rays and clinical applications where the medical terms would be used. The students then independently studied diagrams and a select a list of relevant medical terms matched to the body system or medical topic being presented.

Flash cards work well in helping to learn the new language. This is particularly true for students who are now older but worked with the classified reading cards when they were younger. A concentrated study of the Greek and Latin word elements is also useful for those preparing to take ACT and SAT tests.

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

http://www.amonco.og

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Summer is Coming! – Let’s Celebrate

As we approach the first day of  summer, take time now to focus or refocus on the summer months ahead.  You’ll discover why these links are well worth a second look.

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

AMC Montessori Summer Hands-On Learning Newsletter

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/experiencing-fine-art-in-person-with-your-children/

Experiencing Fine Art in Person with Your Children

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/indoor-activities-to-get-you-out-of-the-sun/

Indoor Activities Get You Out of the Sun

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/family-fun-and-outdoor-science-pursuits-a-%E2%80%9Cnatural%E2%80%9D-combination/

FAMILY FUN AND OUTDOOR SCIENCE PURSUITS: A “NATURAL” COMBINATION

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

MONTESSORI LESSONS -A Gardening Unit Study (With the Focus on the Summer)

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/innovative-montessori-music-for-the-summer/

Innovative Montessori Music for the Summer

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2008/07/montessori-summer-activities.html

Montessori Summer Activities: Woodworking

I wish you and your family a very blessed upcoming summer.

Heidi Anne Spietz

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Spring into Reading, Writing and Other Expressions

Good language skills are important for children, both for learning and for self-expression.  Children are especially receptive to language-related learning during what’s called the “sensitive period of language” between birth and about six years old.  (For more on this subject, please see: http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf )

Take advantage of this absorbent period of your students’ lives with lots of time in conversation and reading aloud.

Poetry has interesting rhythms and repetitions to engage and enchant young listeners.  Look for poetry books in your local library, or get started with some spring-themed poetry here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poems/spring/

For more read-aloud fun, look through these suggestions of spring-themed books.

http://www.readingrockets.org/articles/books/c346/

http://theoaklandjournal.com/childrens-book-reviews/spring-chrildrens-book-reviews/

http://suite101.com/article/5-spring-themed-books-for-children-a95709

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/526716-may-2011-spring-time-theme-master-list-and-general-discussion

Combine reading and writing practice in a non-traditional way with Nan Barchowsky’s “Make Your Own Illustrated Favorite Foods and Recipes Notebook”. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

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For another educational “twist”, consider these biography projects that aren’t traditional informational narratives, in “It’s Time to Think Outside the Book and Kindle, Too! from Literatureplace.com.  http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Additional new resources to look at include:

https://www.literatureplace.com/Start_with_the_Winners/awards_institution.asp  Link to Institution Awards

https://www.literatureplace.com/Start_with_the_Winners/awards_yrc.asp   LInk to Young Readers’ Choice Awards

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On a related subject, check out these non-traditional book report ideas which give students options in how they share their impressions of the books they read.  http://ksumail.kennesaw.edu/~jcope/Eng3391/ABRIdeas.pdf

http://teachnet.com/lessonplans/language-arts/more-ideas-than-ever-book-reports/

Have some fun making books with the children in your life.  For details, see http://www.amonco.org/fall_sup1.html

Anytime is a good time to reinforce children’s interest and proficiency in language skills, so why not try something new today?!

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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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