Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

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

 

 

Leave a comment »

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

Leave a comment »

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.

Photo__28

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.

 

SmartBoard-1

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

childrens_furniture_index_feature4

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.

538610_10150620814211362_1030989436_n

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.

themes2

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.

loveplantgrowing(1)_1831_general

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

Leave a comment »

Community Service Projects for the Upcoming Holiday Season

This holiday season bring some extra joy to friends, family members and strangers. We all know that a homemade gift comes right from the heart and is cherished by the receiver for years to come. Start now by looking at the projects I have selected from Pinterest

For additional ideas, please also see February Community Service Projects

Enjoy! 🙂

Heidi

amonco.org

Leave a comment »

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

Leave a comment »

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

* * * * * *

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

Leave a comment »

Seashells – Links for a Montessori Unit Study

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Below, are links for a complete summer seashell unit study. These PreK and K-8 links will lead you to articles, hands-on activities and other exercises that are compatible with the Montessori classified reading cards, phonics, grammar, creative writing, science, social studies and other extensive lesson plans found in Montessori lesson planning

Montessori Classified Reading Cards and Other Aids to Learn About Seashells

http://www.seashells.org/
Classifying Seashells

http://www.netposterworks.com/science/aquatic/shells.html
Shells & Conchology Educational Posters

http://www.netposterworks.com/science/aquatic/crustacea_mollusks.html
Crustaceans & Mollusks Educational Posters for Science Classrooms, Homeschoolers

http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewprd.asp?idproduct=33&idcategory=0
Seashells of the World

http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewprd.asp?idproduct=6&idcategory=0
Seashells of North America

http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewprd.asp?idproduct=2615&idcategory=0
Take a Beach Walk

http://www.seashell-collector.com/
Seashell Collections

http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/shells.htm
Fun with Seashells

http://www.nsta.org/publications/press/extras/seashell.aspx
Comparing Seashells

http://www.montessorimaterials.org/science/crustaceans.pdf
Crustaceans – Free Montessori Cards for Classified Exercises

http://www.justmontessori.com/blog/seashells-and-starfish/
Seashells and Starfish – Integrated Montessori Learning

http://www.ehow.com/how_2984_collect-seashells.html
How to Collect Seashells

http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/seashell-identification/
Seashell Identification

http://www.seashells.org/alltheseashells.html
Seashell Identification guide

http://desertcrafter.blogspot.com/2012/03/sea-shells.html
Sea Shells (Plus Free Printables)

Sensory Exercises/Motor Development Involving Seashells

http://ourgoldenapples.wordpress.com/2005/10/12/montessori-tray-seashell-sorting/
Montessori Tray, Seashell Sorting

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/06/mystery-bag-in-montessori-classroom.html#.uaodiutvevs
Seashells in the Mystery Bag

logo3c_new-1

California Seashell Company – Click Here for Seashell Collections and Seashell Resources

Music, Literature and Art Lesson Planning Sites about Seashells

http://theguilletots.blogspot.com/2011/06/sea-shells-all-around.html
Montessori Seashell Crafts

http://www.ehow.com/info_8050905_ideas-seashell-crafts.html
Ideas for Seashell Crafts

http://seashellcrafts.net/seashell-crafts-for-kids/
Seashell Crafts for Kids

http://summer-vacation.holidayscentral.com/kids-and-crafts/seashell-pencil-holder-craft#.uao0qetve0c
Seashell Pencil Holder

http://www.mamaandbabylove.com/2013/02/18/shells-and-the-reluctant-crafter/
What Do You Do with 1,000 Shells?

http://www.kidskonnect.com/subjectindex/15-educational/science/406-shells.html
Shells – Kids Konnect (Many links to seashell website for interdisciplinary study)

http://nicadez.blogspot.com/2012/08/seashells-by-sea-shore.html
Seashells by the Sea Shore!

http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/summer-beach-artscraftideaskids.html
Summer &; Beach Crafts for Kids: Ideas for Summer Arts and Crafts Projects

http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/large-seashell-kid-projects-9683.html
Large Seashell Projects for Kids

http://www.seashells.org/legend.html
Legend of the Sand Dollar

http://www.ehow.com/info_8644317_activities-teach-students-seashells.html
Seashell Literature

http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-crafts-activities/117286-two-sea-shell-poems-and-crafts/
Crafts and Poems for Preschooler

http://schoolhouseteachers.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Shell-Metaphor-Poem.pdf
Shell Metaphor Poem

http://seashellmusic.com/?page_id=128
Video Tutorial – Sea Shells

http://seashellmusic.com/
Sea Shell Music

http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~kkkrickel/topic.html
Seashells Mapping – Language Arts

Math Related Seashore Resource Links for Elementary and Middle School Students

http://livingmontessorinow.com/2011/06/28/montessori-at-the-beach-numbers-and-counters/
Montessori at the Beach;: Numbers and Counters

http://www.maa.org/publications/periodicals/loci/seashells-the-plainness-and-beauty-of-their-mathematical-description
Seashells: The Plainness and Beauty of their Mathematical Description

http://www.nsta.org/publications/press/extras/seashell.aspx
Seashell Anticipation Guide

http://www.monroemontessori.com/content/classes/math%20word%20problems%203rd%20gr.pdf
Math Story Word Problems

Science Related Seashell Links for Elementary and Middle School Students

http://www.ehow.com/list_6495742_science-projects-seashells.html
Science Projects on Seashells

http://liveandlearnfarm.com/tag/elementary/
Homeschooling on the Beach – Part I

http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/writing_bug/writing-bug-if-seashells-could-talk.shtml
A Seashell Lesson: Writing for Detail and the Scientific Process

http://www.scholastic.com/magicschoolbus/games/experiments/seashells.htm
Seashells by the Seashore

http://66.147.244.213/~njseagra/images/education/lessonplans/seashell_mapping.pdf
Seashells Mapping

http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewprd.asp?idproduct=234&idcategory=33#details
More Fun with Nature (Section about Seashells)

http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/products_id/1599
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mad-about-shells.html
Mad about Seashells

http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/product_info.php/cpath/14/products_id/1599
Seashells, Crabs and Sea Stars

http://www.schoolmasters.com/categories/productdetails.cfm?product_id=11394&category&bc2=2&div=sc
Seashells of North America

http://www.schoolmasters.com/categories/productdetails.cfm?product_id=05444&category&bc2=2&div=sc
Seashells of the World

http://www.nsta.org/publications/press/extras/seashell.aspx
Seashell Q-W-L Chart

http://www.ehow.com/list_6495742_science-projects-seashells.html
Science Projects on Seashells

http://www.educationworld.com/a_tsl/archives/05-1/lesson030.shtml
A Seashell Lesson: Writing for Detail and the Scientific Process

http://thehomeschoolscientist.com/sea-shell-identification-lesson-2/
Seashell Identification Science Lesson

For additional Montessori lesson planning, please visit
http://www.amonco.org/
American Montessori Consulting

Enjoy!
Heidi Anne Spietz

2 Comments »

Winter Learning and Fun — Indoors and Out

Winter can be a fun and exciting season for a wide variety of learning opportunities, if you are practical, flexible and enthusiastic.  There is no need for children or adults to feel penned-in or bored during the winter months.  Just switch your priorities, as folks have done through history, to make the most of both the time indoors and the recreational possibilities outdoors while they last!

In winter I get up at night

And dress by yellow candle-light.

In summer quite the other way,

I have to go to bed by day.

Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Indoor activities—

Be ready for blustery days and long winter evenings with a stockpile of fun activities like these mazes, coloring pages, crafts, games, stationery and more.

http://www.busybeekidscrafts.com/Winter-Activities-for-Kids.html

http://www.primarygames.com/seasons/winter/winter_fun.htm

http://prekinders.com/winter-theme

Special academic exercises can also provide fun and challenging indoor diversions.  Diane from Conceptual Learning shares “Exchange” an interesting math exercise for ages 5-7. http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Here are a variety of fun, warm indoor activities to consider. http://voices.yahoo.com/fun-indoor-winter-activities-keep-kids-warm-knitting-760361.html?cat=25

Cooking is definitely a great way to learn, have fun, and keep warm at the same time. Ethnic foods, comfort foods, and baked goods are all especially enticing and interesting when the weather turns cooler.

There aren’t many cuisines that are heartier or more satisfying than Germany’s.  Get started with Anna and Wolfgang’s easy recipes for a German Farmer’s Breakfast (bauernfruhstuck)  and German Potato Soup (kartojelsuppe). http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf Find more great German recipes here:  http://www.kitchenproject.com/german/german_food_recipes.htm

You might also enjoy these other resources for more cool weather recipes.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/comfort-foods/package/index.html

http://www.joyofbaking.com/

When it’s too cold or wet to have outdoor adventures, reading is always a cozy activity.  Spark children’s imaginations with exciting fiction.

Rita from Literatureplace.com submits some ideas in “Fables, Myths, and Legends:  The Origins of Today’s World Cultures”.  http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

For more on how to incorporate children’s literary heroes and heroines into lesson plans, check out this interesting article. http://www.educationoasis.com/bc/articles/exploringheroes.htm

This article from the UK discusses the decline in knowledge of and interest in classic children’s fiction. If classics are, by definition, the “standard” by which other literature is judged, is it not a shame that many young people are no longer being exposed to these timeless works and characters? http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/closing-the-book-on-classic-childrens-literary-heroes.html

In the following article, famous UK authors share their favorite literary characters. Many of these are from adult books, so they aren’t necessarily all pertinent or appropriate for discussion with your students.  However, some of the authors do cite children’s literature.  This can help start a conversation about how many adults still value many of the same books your students are reading now, as well as how a love of reading can last your whole lifetime. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-100-favourite-fictional-characters-as-chosen-by-100-literary-luminaries-526971.html

Winter is also a great time to explore the arts.

Here are 10 great tips for getting children interested in classical music. http://www.bachtrack.com/for-kids-top-tips

Marjorie Kiel Persons’ Classical Magic and Back-to-Bach http://back-to-bach.com/ materials add  lyrics to classical pieces to help children engage with and remember the music.  She also offers many lesson ideas relating to Vivaldi’s “Winter” and other classical pieces.  http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

Want more ideas?  http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Introducing_Arts/

 

Outdoor activities– 

When it is time to explore and “shake out the sillies”, bundle up and head outdoors.  You will find lots to see and do!

Here are a list of varied winter activities for families, inside and out. http://stayathomemoms.about.com/od/activitiesandfun/tp/Winter-Fun-For-Kids.htm

If you live where there is snow that stays a long time, make it a family project to clear a network of paths so kids, adults, guests, and even pets can get their daily exercise without getting super-snowy.  This cute family video gives you a tour of the pathway network in their yard.  They seem to be having lots of fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrPEi8m7aO8

For more outdoor fun ideas, check out these snow day activities! http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/outdoor/snow-activities-kids/

To keep things as fun as possible (because no one wants to be too cold), here are some tips for staying warm when enjoying the outdoors in winter. http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/toasty-tots-keeping-kids-warm-in-winter

The Iowa Department of Public Health, Healthy Child Care Iowa, provides a useful and interesting matrix for parents and child care providers to gauge the safety of outdoor activities in different weather conditions. http://www.in.gov/fssa/files/weatherwatch.pdf

Many cities in wintery areas have informational websites with winter recreational and safety ideas.  Do an internet search for one near you for more inspiration and resources.

Even in severe winter areas, winter can be an interesting time to start or continue nature journaling. Bare tree branches and smooth snowbanks can provide a good background for children to see wildlife, and paying close attention to your local winter landscape makes the beginning of spring growth and activity even more exciting. Slower changes during winter may also make it easier to get some students into the habit of noticing the details of the environment around them.

The Smithsonian Institution has some helpful hints to help get you started.  http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/journals/smithsonian_siyc_fall06.pdf

Animals have many interesting ways to keep warm, survive and find food during winter weather conditions which are too harsh for humans.  What better time to discuss these special strategies and physical features than when you are outside in the cold yourself. Children may be able to better put themselves in the animals’ place, because although the students can go inside to warm up, animals cannot.  Get the conversation started with information from Dale Gausman’s “Acting Out How Animals Survive Winter” http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf  and the Animals in Winter Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

Visual learners will especially enjoy this neat video from New Hampshire Public Television, which shows naturalists looking for tracks and other evidence of animal presence in a snowy woods.  http://video.nhptv.org/video/2238002342/

Remember, there is lots of life and learning to experience, indoors and out, all winter long, if you plan to enjoy it!

The world is so full of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Leave a comment »

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!

Leave a comment »