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Animals in the Winter – Links for a Unit Study

Find the links you need right here for a complete unit study on Animals in the Winter. 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.

What happens to animals as it becomes cold outside?

Animals in Winter – Explains hibernation, migration and adaptation.
Animals in Winter Scavenger Hunt

How do animals prepare for winter?

Winter Animals
Acting Out How Animals Survive in the Winter
Animals in Winter

Why do birds fly south in the winter?

Why Birds Fly South for the Winter

What is hibernation?

Hibernation
Animals Themes
Mrs. Jones – Hibernation
Groundhogs Day – Waking Up from Hibernation
Mammals Middle School – Lessons for Middle School Students

How do bears and badgers spend the winter?

Wildlife in Winter
How Do Animals Spend the Winter
Winter

How does the color white help animals in the wintertime?

Arctic Animals of Alaska
More About Camouflage

Where do the insects go in the winter?

Where do all the insects go in the winter?

How do fish survive in the winter?(Compare and Contrast)

Where do fish go in winter?
Fish in Winter – Lesson and Resources
Birds in Winter Lesson Plan

How can you help birds in the winter?

Inexpensive Tips for Helping Birds in Winter
Helping Birds Survive Winter in Your Backyard
Helping Birds Survive a Harsh Winter

Let’s Write, Discuss and Talk About Animals in the Winter

Winter Teaching Ideas
Animals in Winter
Hibernation Background Information and Activities
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade(Part I)
Write Your Own Books – For K – 3rd Grade (Part II)

Visit American Montessori Consulting and look under New and Notable for other unit studies. Copyright 2007-2015 American Montessori Consulting

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Creative Christmas and Hanukkah Lesson Planning Ideas

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to focus on Christmas and Hanukkah lesson planning.  Below are some unique reading books, resources and additional holiday hands-on activities:

Christmas Homeschooling Activities, Books, Crafts and Printables List

“I thought that I would put together a list of  Christmas homeschooling resources. I have seen a lot of great stuff floating around the web lately.  🙂  A lot of these things can be found on my Pinterest boards.”   For details, please see http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/2012/11/christmas-homeschooling-activities.html  Stacy Sews and Schools.

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Carols for a Kids Heart

“No other time of the year is filled with as much excitement and gleeful expectancy as Christmas, and no one seems to enjoy the season more than children. Christmas is a time for making memories. And musical memories are one of the most precious gifts we can give the children we love.
Authors Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth offer some of their favorite Christmas carols in this collection for children to cherish. This treasure book will give your children a special vision of the true meaning of Christmas.
Let the children you love celebrate the joy and warmth of Christmas with heartwarming stories and singing along with Joni, Bobbie, and the children on the enclosed richly orchestrated CD.

In this third volume of Hymns for a Kid’s Heart, Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth collaborate to help you teach twelve classic Christmas carols to the children you love. With richly orchestrated music, true stories, prayers, and Scripture, Christmas Carols for a Kid’s Heart will feed your child’s soul during the Christmas season.
Passing along a favorite Christmas tradition has never been easier or more fun. This yuletide collection features twelve timeless and traditional Christmas carols with delightful stories from the Bible, devotionals, simple piano music, guitar chords, and beautiful original illustrations by Sergio Martinez.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
—2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)”   For details, see http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com/christmas-carols-for-a-kids-heart/

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Color the Classics Christmas

“Where did we get our Christmas carols? Why did it take 4 men 115 years to write “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing?” Your kids (as well as yourself) will discover the origins of the Christmas carols. How long did it actually take to compose “Messiah?” This Christmas remember the carols that honor Christ! With the carols playing in the backround, your children will color the illustration while you retell the carol’s story. This is a great family holiday activity to start shortly after Thanksgiving. How the Program Works -Have the child start coloring or painting an illustration. -Take the information from the book that describes that illustration and retell this information as a story. -Play the music that belongs to the illustration. -Have the children finish the picture. This multi-sensory approach will lock the experience in your child’s mind. The original purchasers of these books have the right to reproduce the illustrations for use with their own children only. (Total time for Christmas CD: approx. 45 minutes)”  Purchase from http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=2730&idcategory=0  Nature’s Workshop Plus!

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My Little House Craft Book

“Eighteen projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” stories. Laura and her family had to make the most of their own household items, using whatever materials were available. All you need to get started are a few simple supplies, and you’re on your way to making fun and useful pioneer crafts you’ll enjoy. A few of the crafts explained in this book are Charlotte’s straw hat, Mary’s Christmas tassels, Ma’s button lamp, Mary’s beaded bracelet and ring, Ma’s embroidered pillow-sham, baby Carrie’s button string, Laura’s corncob doll, and Ma’s prairie garden. 64 pages, paperback, 8”x10”.”

Purchase from http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=2180&idcategory=0 Nature’s Workshop Plus!

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The Farolitos of Christmas 

“With her father away fighting in World War II and her grandfather too sick to create the traditional luminaria, Luz helps create farolitos, little lanterns, for their Christmas celebration instead.”   Please see https://www.literatureplace.com/Books/Farolitos+of+Christmas/  Literatureplace.com for details.

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 James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

“Warm and joyful tales from the memoirs of Yorkshire, England veterinarian, James Herriot. In addition to his well-known 5-book series, All Creatures Great and Small, he also authored 8 children’s books. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children contains his complete set of 8 children’s books in one large, beautifully illustrated volume. Each story features adorable animals, pleasant townsfolk, and all the warmth and good humor that have made his stories so beloved the world over. You and your children will be captivated by the beautiful, realistic artwork which makes the stories come alive and sweeps you away into the English countryside! The 8 stories are entitled: Moses the Kitten; Only One Woof; The Christmas Day Kitten; Bonny’s Big Day; Blossom Comes Home; The Market Square Dog; Oscar, Cat About Town; and Smudge, the Little Lost Lamb. This collection of stories is especially good for reading aloud with your little ones gathered around looking at the pictures! Enjoyable for the entire family. 250 pages, hardcover, 8 1/2″x10 3/4.”  Purchase from http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=537&idcategory=0  Nature’s Workshop Plus!

 

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A Christmas Carol Study Guide

“The classic Christmas story of greed, cold-heartedness, and redemption. Scrooge is content with his life of work and petty self-interest–or he would be if he were content with anything. Scrooge begrudges anyone a morsel of joy or happiness even himself. That is until three Christmas spirits force him to see what his actions have done to himself and others, and reawaken him to the commandment, “Love your neighbor.” A novel rich in literary technique. Setting: London, 1800s

Progeny Press study guides include vocabulary, comprehension, analysis and critical thinking exercises. They also contain questions on Biblical principles and other activities related to the story. An answer key is included. ”

Purchase from http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=EIE&Product_Code=ACCSG&Category_Code= Excellence in Education.

A Christmas Carol

Christmas Songs Made in America

“Here is a treasury of stories about Christmas songs written in America from its founding to the Civil War and from the depths of the Great Depression to the brink of prosperity. For decades, songwriters and lyricists have used popular, folk, rock, sacred, and country music to celebrate the season’s heartfelt cheer. Some were written for Broadway, others for Hollywood. Some entertained children, others set a romantic mood. Some grew from the chains of slavery, others from the joyous freedom of faith. If there’s a story to tell about a Christmas song, you’re likely to find it here.”  Purchase from http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=EIE&Product_Code=CSMA&Category_Code=

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Feliz Navid, Christmas Carols in Spanish

“Celebrate the Christmas season while you learn your favorite carols in Spanish.

Perfect for the whole family to sing along and learn. The Teach Me…Christmas title is a bilingual celebration of Christmas traditions in Mexico through the magic of song. The beautifully illustrated book will teach the reader about the rich heritage, culture and beliefs of Mexico during this delightful season. Narrated and sung in Spanish along with an English version and translation.”  Please see http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/feliznavidad

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Feliz Navid, Christmas Carols in French

Sing Along and Learn Christmas Carols in French
From Teach Me Tapes

“The Teach Me…Christmas title is a bilingual celebration of Christmas tradition in France through the magic of song. This beautifully illustrated book will teach the reader about the rich heritage, culture and beliefs of France during this delightful season. Narrated and sung in French along with an English version and translation.

Classic songs for the holiday, perfect for all ages to sing and learn French.”
Visit http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/frenchchristmas for more details.

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Christmas Felt Advent Calendars, Felt Board Stories and Activity Books

“Start a new tradition with the children in your life using Story Time Felts unique Christmas felt products. Help children get ready for their favorite holiday with our traditional felt board stories, or reinforce skills with our activity felt books. Our felt fabric advent calendars help them count down to Christmas and make great gifts for children and adults alike!

We’ve found that when adults and children tell felt stories, it brings them closer together as they listen to the story, touch the soft felt pieces, and interact with the felt board. With Story Time Felts products, story time is together time. What better time to bring closeness to your family than Christmas!”

Purchase from http://www.funfelt.com/christmas.html

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Hanukkah Activities and Resources for the Montessori Classroom

The following is from the NAAMC Montessori Teacher Training Blog:

“When I taught in an elementary Montessori classroom, one of my Jewish students enjoyed giving a lesson to the class for every Jewish holiday. The best part of the lessons was her personal and personable approach to storytelling. Her classmates were completely engaged, asked tons of questions, and other, shyer, Jewish students would eventually join her in giving the lesson. I would recommend starting with your Montessori students and their knowledge for these kinds of lessons. You can supplement their lessons with your research and experiences, books and activities.”  To read the post in its entirety, please visit http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/12/hanukkah-in-montessori-classroom.html

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Check back frequently to this blog for some additional winter and holiday creative idea lesson planning ideas in the weeks to come.

Enjoy!
Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
www.amonco.org

 

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2014 Winter and Holiday Lesson Planning for the Classroom

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Winter and the holidays are now just around the corner, and once again, the AMC resource participants have not let their readers down. Many of the participants have contributed outstanding lesson plans, recipes, crafts and other interesting activities that you can use right now in your school and home classrooms. Below, are just some of the highlights of what you will find in this issue.

Part 1

See http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

In Part 1 you will discover the following:

Rae, from the Creative Process, has offered numerous free activities that will spark the imagination of your students: Scribble Designs, Masks and Mask Making, A Sharing Food Unit Study, Teaching Alternative Energy Ideas, and some timely information to help you get ready for a “new” year will all add some zip to your winter lesson planning.

The North American Montessori Center (NAMC) offers a blog filled with Montessori activities for school and home school educators.    See the end of Part I to discover the Montessori Magnetic Chips, Snowman Picture and Christmas Flower Arranging activities.

Part II

See http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

A yummy Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cutouts is a delicious treat that you will want to include for your holiday celebrations.

Nan Barchowsky has generously contributed her Big Numbers Writing Activity. Receive directions and templates for a writing activity that you can use right now with your children.

Why not have some hands on science fun this winter? John, from Exploration Education, introduces the “Air Lift” and “To float, or not to float?” science activities.

Next, turn your attention to creating some integrated social studies lessons by using the Christmas in Australia unit study.

Finally, try your hand at making a delicious crustless pumpkin pie.

Part III

See http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf

Receive a direct link to a Montessori Napkin Folding exercise courtesy of the North American Montessori Center (NAMC). Children will enjoy this practical life exercise as they participate in preparing the holiday dinner table for guests.

Nothing smells better during the cold autumn and winter months, than walking into a room filled with the smell of baked apples. The Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples recipe submitted by NAMC is sure to delight your family and friends.

Dale has also shared the Montessori Button-Buddy and Acting Out How Animals Survive Winter exercises. This latter exercise will greatly aid children in their understanding of hibernation, adaptation, and other key science terms. Receive step-by-step instructions on how to present these lessons, plus extension exercises for further applications.

Richard, from LORD Company, has uploaded some various Montessori related free materials for you to use in your school and home classrooms. You will also find two geography-based resources in this section of the newsletter. Download a free set of Land and Water Forms Cards from LORD Company. Birdcage Press has provided an amazing set of materials that can be used for a unit study about ancient Egypt.

Are you looking for something different to bring this year to your favorite annual holiday potluck?  Let Sara Ambarian walk you through the steps to creating a delicious Ginger Turkey Salad.  Just click on the link above to get the recipe and additional accompanying information.

Part IV

See http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

The Scented Basket project, contributed by Mariaemma of Coaching for Learning Success, provides an opportunity for your students to learn more about art, and they will end up with a special holiday gift in the process.

Dianne, from Conceptual Learning, provides yet another tasty Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares treat that will be enjoyed by guests at your holiday parties. Dianne has also contributed some outstanding Montessori Math Sequencing lessons in .pdf Elaine, from Kimbo Educational. Kimbo has a number of multicultural CDs and songs. In this section of the newsletter, you will find some lyrics from Kimbo Educational’s new Hanukkah and Chinese New Year CD. You will also receive some valuable resource lesson planning information for the Chinese New Year.

Dr. Borenson, from Hands On Equations, has once again contributed a free hands-on algebra activity. In Part IV, you will also discover more about the free Montessori Animals in the Winter unit study. Hands On Equations has recently unveiled some exciting new algebra program apps for the Android, iPad and iPhone! See Part IV for details.

Are you tired of including the same holiday side dishes to your holiday meals?  Why not try some additional new recipes this year?  Let Sara Ambarian show you how.  Check out her Zesty Cranberry Relish and Cheesy Baked Cauliflower recipes here in Part IV, plus other new tasty recipes that have been added to other sections of this newsletter.

Part V

See http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Have some fun with words pertaining to food this winter! Alan Stillson has generously contributed to yet another edition of the Montessori seasonal newsletter. See this section to access the free Middle School Word Puzzles by Stillsonworks.

The Handprint Towel activity is a wonderful hands-on project, with the dual effect of doing something truly meaningful with children and helping them to create a gift with lasting memories. The younger set will also enjoy Karen’s special Pumpkin Pie Scented Playdough recipe.

Ligia, from Childsake, submitted an easy to make, delicious Holiday Cheesecake. Yum!!

Next, get ready for some sizzling science with The Little Big Bounce Science Activity!

Finally, Montessorian  Dianne Knesek has generously shared some Montessori math based lessons that your children are sure to enjoy!.    You can find instructions to downloading some of her free “Exchanges” and “Roman Numerals” activities by clicking on the link above.

Part VI

See http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

Another recipe that is sure to delight the chocolate lovers in your family is Farmer’s Favorite Fudge recipe, courtesy of Farm Country General Store.

Gert, from Kimbo, shares her personal holiday favorite recipe for our special winter issue. Read the history of The Grandma Cake – A Celebration Tradition and encourage the children in your life to make their own special Grandma Cake.

Elaine, from Kimbo Educational, makes informal entertaining quick and easy with her delicious Spinach Dip Recipe. Elaine also provided a literature link activity for Three Little Kittens.

Alan Stillson has included an interesting holiday-themed song from his hit play, I Remember Lou.

Now, for some soapy science fun!!! You read that right. John, from Exploration Education contributed a free Soap That Grows lesson in .pdf which contains all of the illustrations, pictures and detailed lesson plans you need to make this activity a success.

Part VII

See http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

As the weather cools down, many of us will spend more time in the kitchen. We’ll be making the usual family favorites as well as trying different recipes that are eye-catching. Another new recipe added to this issue, Bauernfruhstuck, (German Farmer’s Breakfast), is presented by Anna and Wolfgang.

Take a stroll from Germany to France to discover a light and fluffy French favorite.  Professor Toto offers the French Crepes recipe which will tie right in with an existing Montessori curriculum.   This practical life exercise can be used as part of a unit study about the French culture; or, it could also be used for specific multicultural celebrations.  Last but not least, this dish would be a scrumptious addition to any holiday meal.

Rita, from homeschool.literatureplace.com, has written an interesting article for homeschoolers.  Historical Fiction: Where Fact and Fiction Merge Planning a New Literature Program for Your Child will be a boon for parents who have been searching for ways in which to select and organize their booklists.

Music lovers will appreciate the winter-themed music lesson planning ideas featured in this section of the newsletter.  .The Winter by Vivaldi unit study can be used in conjunction with art, science, existing music and geography activities, to name a few.

Please see http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
to view this entire lesson plan.

Now that you have some new lesson plans, delve in and begin to put some extra sparkle into your school and home school settings. I wish you a fun-filled winter.

Visit American Montessori Consulting and look under New and Notable for additional articles and free lesson plans.

If you are looking for service oriented projects, please visit Community Service Projects for the Upcoming Holiday Season

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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Crafting the Winter Weekends Away

Brrrrr… . Now that we are in throes of winter, some families choose to spend the weekends snuggled in their warm homes reading their favorite book or finishing a craft project.    Why not make some lasting memories in the process?

Knitting, needlepoint, embroidery, crocheting, woodworking and other such activities serve multiple purposes and can be enjoyed by all. 

The benefits of crafting stretch far beyond just making memories.  First, young children receive practical life applications as well as learning how to combine colors and textures.  Second, crafting gives family members an opportunity to share a creative experience.   Third, we all know that you can’t put a price on the value of  handmade gift.  Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are not far off, so, let’s examine some of the homemade gifts that can be used for these occasions.

 Knitting and Crocheting Resources 

 Whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional your first stop should be to the How to Knit and Crochet Learning Center http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/learn-home.html

You will find most of what is needed here – from the basics to a discussion forum where you can ask questions, look for project ideas and share the fun. You will also discover links to free projects.


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Additional free knitting patterns are available at: http://crafts.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Free_Knitting_Patterns_for_Children  –

Bountiful Spinweave http://www.bountifulspinweave.com also offers fun and unique projects for children and teens.   Be sure to check out their beautiful selection of yarn for your knitting and crocheting projects, http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/yarns.php#.UPROneiR3UQand free patterns at Bountiful Spinweave Free Patterns http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/patterns.php#.UPROZ-iR3UQ

To see some of the crochet projects completed by the children at a Montessori school visit the Seattle Montessori Blog entries  Crochet! http://seattlemontessorian.blogspot.com/2009/10/crochet.html and French Knitting and Pom Poms http://www.howwemontessori.com/how-we-montessori/2012/04/french-knitting-and-pom-poms.html .

Since the price of yarn can be quite expensive, it’s always best to check the bins and discount tables at your local crafts or yardage store for bargains.  If it’s too cold to venture outside, visit Closeouts from Bountiful Spinweave http://www.bountifulspinweave.com

You can also find out more about fibers, books, spinning and weaving by visiting http://www.bountifulspinweave.com

 Needlepoint and Sewing Resources

 Have you admired those who create beautiful needlepoint masterpieces, but felt too timid to try to make one?  The sites below offer clear instructions for beginners and offer many interesting projects for children.

Visit Embroidery for Children – Save the Stitches http://www.nordicneedle.net/guides/stitching-techniques/embroidery-101/embroidery-for-children/ and How to Needlepoint http://www.needlepoint-for-fun.com/how-to-needlepoint.html

Receive a free Beginning Cross Stitch and Continental Stitch for Making Coasters by a visiting http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf   These coasters make a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

The Stacy Sews blog is filled with ideas that you and your children can do together this winter. Pont your browser to The Forty Minute Tote Bag http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2012/6/3/mollys-sketchbook-the-forty-minute-tote.html and http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/christmas-in-july-a-book-cover-tutorial/Christmas in July – A Book Cover Tutorial. 

 Woodworking Resources

Woodworking projects take on a whole new meaning when older children and teens help out.    Most projects, at some point, must be finished outside, but there are a few on the lists below that can be completed indoors.

Here are sites to explore:

http://www.absolutelyfreeplans.com/PROJECTS%20FOR%20CHILDREN/projects_for_children.htm Projects for Children

 http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Basic-List-of-Hand-Tools-Needed-For-Kids-to-Get-Started-in-Woodworking&id=728003 A Basic List of Hand Tools Needed for Kids to Get Started in Woodworking

 http://www.thewoodbox.com/woodcrafts/box/bxbasicinfo.htm The Basic Wooden Box

 http://www.finewoodworking.com/woodworking-plans/article/kids-woodworking-projects.aspx Kid’s Woodworking Projects (For ages 7 and older)

All Art Supplies.com www.allartsupplies.com/ carries a wide range of art supplies for those interested in painting a design on their creation.

Nature’s Wokshop Plus!.com http://www.workshopplus.com/ offers the Wikki Stix Creativity Kit in which children can make wooden shapes, frames plus other interesting projects. 

Care and Concern Crafting

 For an activity that you can make for shut-ins,  please visit

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/montessori-february-community-service-projects/

                                                       Community Service Projects

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 For more creative fun visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_library.html and click on the free hands on lesson planning idea-planning newsletters.

Happy Crafting!

 Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

http://www.amonco.org

Celebrating 25 Years of Serving School and Home Educators

Montessori for the 21st Century

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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

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Holidays and Observances

There are lots of interesting holidays and observances to learn about and celebrate in the upcoming months.

These sites include a variety of holiday and observance listings for the United States and worldwide.

http://www.calendar-365.com/holidays/2013.html

http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/multicultural-winter-holiday-celebrations

http://www.rochester.edu/diversity/calendar.html

http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/a-multicultural-australia/calendar-australia/

 Students may enjoy this simple overview with graphic presentation about holidays in America and how they are established.  http://www.wvu.edu/~exten/infores/pubs/fypubs/503.wlg_addendum.pdf

Rae at Creative Process shares some interesting additional background on the origins of holidays. http://www.netposterworks.com/holidays/index.html

Here are some lesson ideas for winter holidays from Scholastic. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/celebrating-holidays-classroom

Teachers and parents will find many interesting multicultural education resources to enhance your holiday studies here. http://cybraryman.com/multicultural.html

* * * * * *

November 22, Thanksgiving Day—The historians at Plimouth Plantation share the origins and development of Thanksgiving as an American holiday. http://www.plimoth.org/learn/MRL/read/thanksgiving-history  Also, enjoy “The Thanksgiving Song” from I Remember Lou by Alan Stillson http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

December 9, Hanukkah— Learn more about this important Jewish holiday. http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/History.shtml

December 25, Christmas Day—   Students can investigate the religious and secular traditions of this beloved holiday, both in America and in other countries, with these resources.

http://www.allthingschristmas.com/traditions.html

http://www.christmasnightinc.com/Nativity-Story-c114.html

http://www.infoukes.com/culture/traditions/christmas/

http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/irishchristmastraditions.htm

http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas-world/africa.html

http://www.ompersonal.com.ar/omchristmas2/christmas.htm

http://www.amonco.org/2fall_winter2001.html

http://www.amonco.org/1fall_winter2001.html

 

Also, check out “Winter and the Season of Giving” in the Montessori Classroom http://www.amonco.org/winter8/montessori_winter8.pdf

December 26, Kwanzaa— Here is an overview of the origin and traditions of this African-American holiday. http://www.theholidayspot.com/kwanzaa/history.htm

January 1, New Year’s Day 2013—Learn how people celebrate New Year’s around the world. http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/newyears.asp  Also, students can follow the time of New Year’s celebrations around the globe with this fun website. http://www.timeanddate.com/counters/multicountdowna.html

January 21, Martin Luther King Day—Enjoy these lesson plans and links from Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. http://www.nps.gov/malu/forteachers/lessonplansandteacherguides.htm

Black History Month, February—Check out these links for Black History Month. http://www.factmonster.com/spot/bhm1.html

February 2, Groundhog Day—You can find lots of interesting Groundhog Day facts and a live streaming video here. http://www.groundhog.org

February 12, Lincoln’s Birthday—Find out more about our 16th President. http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/alincoln.html

February 14, Valentine’s Day—Find some theories about the origins of this holiday, as well as craft and activity links here. http://holidays.kaboose.com/valentines-day/history/val-history.html  

February 18, Presidents Day and Washington’s Birthday—Learn more about the man who is called “The Father of His Country”. http://www.mountvernon.org/meet-george-washington  

March 10, Daylight Saving— The history of Daylight Saving Time is really rather fascinating.  Why not take a little time to discuss it with your students. http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving   Older students (and teachers or parents) may also enjoy this in-depth and interesting look at the evolution of the idea. http://www.seizethedaylight.com

March 17, St. Patrick’s Day—For a little Irish perspective on “the wearing of the green”, enjoy the articles and recipes here. http://www.irelandforvisitors.com/articles/st_patricks_day_in_ireland.htm

March 31, Easter—Enjoy a look at Easter 2012 celebrations around the world. http://abcnews.go.com/International/slideshow/celebrations-easter-world-16082460

April 1, April Fool’s Day—Explore some theories and fun facts about the history of this “foolish” holiday. http://www.april-fools.us/history-april-fools.htm

April 22, Earth Day —You’ll find many interesting Earth Day lesson ideas for all ages here. http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson174.shtml

Let’s celebrate!

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Practical Life Lessons for the Holidays

Holiday events provide a wealth of opportunities for children to practice their practical life skills. Of course children should be reminded of the basic grace and courtesy skills if they will be guests or hosts (if you will entertain at our home).  However, do not forget other activities which are natural practical life lessons, as well.  Choosing, washing, and donning holiday clothing are all good self-care activities. Straightening the house for guests or before putting up holiday decorations teaches care of the home environment.  Participating in decorating activities and/or food preparation gives the child a sense of their part in the event, as well as a chance to practice toward mastery of these household skills.

In guiding children through the many interesting activities and chores of the holiday season, remember the words of Maria Montessori “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” We all need to develop a sense of mastery and confidence, and these experiences when we are young provide the foundation for lifelong self-esteem and self-reliance.

Please enjoy the following practical life lesson resources.

* * * * *

North American Montessori Center has provided a whole array of interesting holiday-themed activities that help children practice many different skills. Don’t miss the interesting and versatile Furoshiki fabric package wrapping instructions, the cute cinnamon-scented gingerbread men project, the counting exercises, flower arranging, and more.

http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Find another nice activity  that is appropriate for the holidays in their Napkin Folding Exercise.  http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/11/montessori-practical-life-activity.html

For more general information on day-to-day mastery opportunities, NAMC offers a very useful listing of Practical Life lessons here: http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2008/07/montessori-practical-life-at-home.html

Fun Felt’s Handprint Towel craft/gift project is a nice way to combine a fun craft with an item that can be used during daily activities.  http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf

Kimbo’s Self-Regulatory Exercises use music to help young children learn to concentrate and control their own bodies. http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

Manners are the building blocks of the characteristics of grace and courtesy mentioned in the NAMC 3-6 Classroom Guides (http://www.montessoritraining.net/classroom_guides/default.htm). Find many manners books at Farm Country General Store.  They have a wide selection for different ages and personalities. http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com

Another important life skill for children to practice around the holidays is writing “thank you” notes. Find some good hints on the subject here:  http://www.drdaveanddee.com/thank.html and http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art37036.asp

Working together as a family is also a practical life exercise. Find suggestions for modeling positive perspective, gratitude, generosity, and more in Rethinking Holiday Priorities During Tough Times by Sara L. Ambarian.  http://www.amonco.org/winter8/montessori_winter8.pdf

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Winter Science and Technology

Every season brings its own opportunities and inspirations.  Winter is a great time to delve into complex subjects and practice new skills through books and technology, because it may be more enjoyable to stay indoors more of the time than in other seasons.  It is also an opportune time to study scientific phenomena which are related to or only occur during the winter months.

 

General science activities—

 

Teachers share a variety of winter science projects here: http://www.proteacher.net/discussions/showthread.php?t=69293

 

For preschoolers: http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/winter/science.htm

 

For more miscellaneous lesson ideas, check out these resources: http://voices.yahoo.com/outdoor-fall-winter-science-activities-crafts-for-4276665.html , http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/k_2theme/winterfun.htm , http://nstacommunities.org/blog/2011/02/09/winter-science-activities

 

Get more ideas for outdoor science activities from this informative article from the Worcester (Massachusetts) Telegram & Gazette, “Winter is perfect bird-watching weather”. http://www.telegram.com/article/20110106/NEWS/101060635/1011

 

For high-quality equipment and resources to help you go in-depth in wide variety of science subjects, check out Schoolmasters Science. http://www.schoolmasters.com/scienceMenu.cfm?div=sc   

 

Weather-related subjects—

 

Start your meteorological studies with this article on understanding winter weather subjects. http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wwinter0.htm

 

From the BBC, watch “How do you survive in the coldest place on Earth?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11875131

 

While you are learning about extreme temperatures, perhaps you or your students missed this story about the interesting controversy over the world’s hottest recorded temperature. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/13/13845024-death-valley-recognized-with-posting-worlds-hottest-temperature-99-years-later?lite

 

For more information on low and high temperatures around the world, this site has many interesting facts and links. http://www.mherrera.org/temp.htm

 

Enjoy these interesting videos about and images of ice and snow.  

 

Time lapse footage of ice forming on a window in Fairbanks, Alaska. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMVxTqP13OE

 

The BBC presents The Secret Life of Ice (four 15 minute parts) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUdGr9AAHxE&feature=relmfu

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMTCiSoDA2g&feature=relmfu

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfS8asm8ONU&feature=relmfu

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NeIAeEzc1M&feature=relmfu

 

Here you will find pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about snow crystals, with lots of beautiful photos, from CalTech’s Dr. Kenneth G. Libbrecht. http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/  This article from the Billings Gazette features an interview with Dr. Libbrecht and many interesting snowflake facts. http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/article_770d7e8e-024a-11df-8ce4-001cc4c03286.html

 

Look at ice a different way with Exploration Education’s “To Float or Not to Float” experiment. http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf

 

Don’t live in an icy area?  This is an informative article with many representative photos of the various types of “temperate” climate. http://phillipshs.wcpss.net/Earth_Sci_pdf/Temperate%20Climates.pdf

 

This page from the University of California Museum of Palentology about the forest biome (and more) is also packed with great information. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/exhibits/biomes/forests.php

 

Astronomy—

 

Some folks dream big dreams during long winters. The Swedes have created an amazing astronomical map that spreads across their entire country.  Check out the Swedish Solar System. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/10/world-largest-scale-model-of-solar.html  What big project might you dream up this winter?

 

Between storms, winter skies can be very good for astronomical observations. This informative web “tour” from 45 degrees North Latitude will get you and your students excited about bundling up and checking out your own night sky. http://my.execpc.com/60/B3/culp/astronomy/Winter/winter.html

 

For more ideas, equipment and resource materials for exploring the night sky, check out the extensive astronomy section at Nature’s Workshop Plus! http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=2

 

Learn new computer and technology skills on your computer—

 

Find free on-line typing lessons (plus much more, check the side bar). http://www.free-training-tutorial.com/typing-tutorial.html

 

Miscellaneous on-line computer tutorials and resources (many are free). http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Jefferson_HS/lscomp.htm

 

http://www.homeschoolinginthebluegrass.com/freeonlineresources.htm

 

http://tomsmerk.com/explore/learn.html

 

Get young kids playing chess.  http://www.chesskids.com/newcourse/index.htm

 

For parents and teachers—

 

If your students are using the internet unsupervised, you may be interested in these lessons in on-line safety.  http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafetyforkids

 

This article discusses some of the uses, advantages and a few disadvantages of technology in homeschooling. http://homeschooling.about.com/od/computersinternet/a/technology.htm 

For more about technology and homeschooling, take this interesting Discovery quiz. http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/homeschool-technology-quiz.htm

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Get in the Spirit — Gathering and Giving

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water -it will make ripples throughout the entire pond…”

― Jessy and Bryan Matteo 

Autumn brings many opportunities to celebrate and show appreciation. Hospitality and generosity are important virtues to help children develop at a young age, and they make holiday gatherings and gift-giving and –receiving situations much more enjoyable for everyone.

It is healthy for children to help plan, set-up, and cook for gatherings, so they learn the effort that goes into (and the pleasure that can be derived from) serving others and making them feel welcome. Children’s natural creativity and enthusiasm in the preparations can also add a lot of charm to an event. 

You can also reinforce positive attitudes about patience, thrift and the satisfaction of a job well-done by encouraging children to make and give home-made presents rather than store-bought items. 

Children sometimes need specific guidance about proper behavior in social situations, which you can provide through practice and also good role modeling.

With a little planning, patience, creativity, and perhaps some of the ideas below, hopefully everyone will enjoy the celebrations of the season—and the lessons they teach.

Party preparations and decorations– 

If little ones have trouble remembering all that belongs on the table, you might download a cute free placemat which shows a proper casual place setting. http://www.positivelysplendid.com/2011/05/dinnertime-doodle-mats-ssg-idea-16.html or try your hand at some more decorative, but still instructional, mats like these. http://simplekids.net/learning-to-set-the-table

Why not try some fancy napkin folding to dress up your seasonal table? For paper napkins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG-cG939aR4 For cloth napkins. http://bumblebeelinens.com/napkinFolding.php

Have students channel their arts and crafts talents into projects like these that can double as party decorations, place mats, and other theme-setting items. http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/fall

For lots of cute decorating ideas and planning tips for sharing Thanksgiving festivities with children, check out Thanksgiving Kids. http://kidsparties.about.com/od/thanksgiving/tp/ThanksgivingHub.htm 

Combine nature study with homemaking with inspirations from these free fall party centerpieces and other decorating ideas from Chickens in the Road.  Show your children that you don’t have to be fancy to be festive. http://chickensintheroad.com/house/crafts/how-to-decorate-for-an-autumn-party-for-free

Here are cute tablecloth and trivia ideas for family dinners from Rachel Hollis (though the garland made of book pages seems like it might send a rather mixed message to young people).http://mychiclife.com/2012/02/26/nate-berkus-family-style-entertaining/ 

Turn cheap, flimsy window screening in festive leaf shapes http://www.crafts-for-all-seasons.com/autumn-leaf-craft.html

Later in the season you could make cute Snow-Covered Pine Trees http://www.amonco.org/creative3/montessori_fall3.pdf

Home-made gift ideas—

Hostess gifts are a gracious gesture in a hectic world. Some of these are simple enough for children to help make. http://momadvice.com/blog/2009/12/a-round-up-of-homemade-hostess-gifts 

A wide variety of gift projects using many different skills and techniques. http://www.llemonade.com/gifts.html 

Here is a great round-up of easy gifts kids can make from the UK’s Activity Village. http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/gifts_kids_can_make.htm 

Mix-in-a-jar recipes are fun gifts to make with children of all ages because there is no cooking required. Many recipes make enough to keep some and give some as gifts; but if one you like does not, have older kids do the math to make a larger batch! http://marymae.tripod.com/jarlinks.htm , http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/christmas/gifts , http://www.mixesinajar.com

Introduce students to the concept of felting wool with this Felt Ball Ornament project and some other felting activities. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf 

Use a tile, paint, and some cork to make a Kitchen Trivet. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf

Learn to needlepoint with a continental stitch on plastic canvas.You can make very attractive coasters with these instructions for students 8-12 years old. http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf

It’s not too early to start work on home-made gifts for Christmas, either. http://spoonful.com/christmas/homemade-christmas-gifts

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa

Putting on our party manners—

Here are lots of good ideas for helping children know how to behave in a variety of social situations. http://childcare.about.com/od/behaviors/a/manners.htm , http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/1132 , http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/25-manners-every-kid-should-know-by-age-9-2480238.html

“Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”

― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

Enjoy your holiday gathering and giving!

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An Autumn Recipe and Special Savings to Start the Day

As the weather cools down, many of us will spend more time in the kitchen.  We’ll be making the usual family favorites as well as trying different recipes that are eye-catching. As mentioned in other posts here, meal planning and preparation open up the door to interdisciplinary learning experiences.  Although cooking and baking are part of Maria Montessori’s practical life exercises, math, chemistry, reading and art are all intertwined in culinary creations, as well. 

The AMC Fall 2012 newsletter http://www.amonco.org/montessori_fall_handson.html contains a nice variety of recipes to try.  The winter edition will feature additional winter ones, as well.  Below, is a sneak preview of what to expect in this upcoming issue.  

Wood Etc. Corp.

Website: http://www.woodetccorp.com

Recipe Submitted by Anna & Wolfgang

German Farmer’s Breakfast
bauernfruhstuck

A good lunch or dinner dish. Serve with a green salad and
bread.4 medium potatoes
4 strips bacon, cubed
3 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
½  teaspoon salt1 cup cooked ham, cut into small cubes
2 medium tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon of chopped chives

Boil unpeeled potatoes 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water, peel, and set aside to cool.
Slice potatoes. In a large frying pan cook bacon until transparent.
Add the potato slicesuntil lightly browned.

Meanwhile blend eggs with milk and salt. Stir in the cubed ham.

Cut the tomatoes into thin wedges: add to the egg mixture.
Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes in the frying pan.
Cook until the eggs are set. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve at once.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Special Limited Time Offer from Wood. Etc

Wood, Etc. www.woodetccorp.com is currently offering a special fall promotion. Receive a savings of 40% to 50% off selected storage, lockers, dramatic play and book displays. See www.rdsschoolfurniture.com for details.

Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Celebrating 24 Years of Serving School and Home Educators
Montessori for the 21st Century
www.amonco.org

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