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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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Fun With Numbers

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Mathematics need not be an intimidating subject.  Although some of us are naturally more gifted with a talent for number-related exercises than others, these essential life skills can and must be mastered, at least at a certain level, by all children, if they are to function successfully in their adult lives.

An important step in that mastery for many students is building math confidence from a young age.  Math confidence starts with numeral familiarity, and it can further be built by including fun and interesting numeral and math activities daily throughout a child’s life.

As parents and teachers, we need to look for ways to keep numbers prominent in children’s lives, and to help children have both daily successes and daily play with numbers and math.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

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Elaine from Kimbo gets the fun started with their “Numeral Dance” activity.  Children from ages 4 to 8 spin, twist, shimmy, shake and act out other motions as they sing along and display their assigned number. http://www.amonco.org/summer3/montessori_summer3.pdf

Dianne from Conceptual Learning has shared some great interactive math exercise pages from their problem-solving program.  Each problem includes three steps: 1) a question,  2) a number sentence or strategy, and 3) an answer.  The three sections can be used together, in a sort-and-match exercise; or the questions can be used for independent problem solving, with the other two sections providing a double-check on the process and answer.

Dianne also presents some useful pre-algebraic problems for your students in her “Inequalities” exercises. Find them both here: http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

Borenson and Associates present three algebraic activities for your students to practice.  http://www.amonco.org/summer/montessori_summer1.pdf

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Looking for more ideas?  Check out these ideas for children of all ages and learning styles.

Students who learn by sight and hearing may enjoy counting songs and videos. You can find many of them free on-line, like these:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxPfPyYp84E, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk9Yt1PqQiw&feature=relmfu , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2naWinUSf6w&feature=related , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbHBYGY2fs0 ,

For older students, here is a really cool math “magic trick” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVx9xfOl10o&feature=related .

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has a fun website for kids called “Kids’ Zone” which includes interesting poll questions, quizzes, graphs and other free activities related to statistics and probability. http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/index.asp

Cooking can provide great opportunities for students to practice math skills.  Halving or doubling recipes, making substitutions, converting from standard to metric (or back), and many more common kitchen operations can help children with math mastery.  The links on this page provide lots of measurements and proportions you can use to explore math in the kitchen.  http://www.outofthefryingpan.com/math

If you would enjoy a math project you can eat, 1-2-3-4 Cake is a delicious traditional yellow pound-cake-type recipe.  You may have a favorite version, and you may find other versions if you look; however this one is fairly standard.  It’s also a good choice because it sticks to the number pattern fairly very closely (which is especially important if your students tend to be very literal, as some children are.)  This recipe is often baked in a loaf pan, like other traditional pound cakes. It also tastes delicious with a teaspoon of  lemon or vanilla extract added. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:1-2-3-4_Cake

Not a big baker?  Here is another simple number-oriented recipe that is hot and hearty for the whole family. 1,2,3,4,5 Chinese Spareribs have a sweet and sour flavoring that’s sure to please. For this traditional cut-rib recipe, ask your butcher to cut your ribs in thirds when you buy them. (Small children especially love the little ribs’ size.) http://www.recipejoint.com/recipe-meat/1-2-3-4-5-chinese-spareribs.php If you have older students who are working on fractions and/or might enjoy a zestier rib, make these additions to the recipe above: 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, ¼ teaspoon black pepper (coarse or fine ground), and 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder.

For a different kind of “hands-on” number-oriented recipe, how about making a batch of rolled spice or sugar cookies, and cutting them out in the numerical shapes?  You can use pre-made or home-made paper stencils and cut the shapes (carefully) with a paring knife, or you can look for number-shaped cookie cutter sets like these. http://www.cheapcookiecutters.com/collections/number-cookie-cutters

Encourage students with interests in arts and crafts to get creative with numerals and math.

You can make your own math games at home from common household and craft items. http://childparenting.about.com/od/makeathomemathgames/Make_at_Home_Math_Games.htm

For more number-oriented crafts and activities for young students, visit: http://www.education.com/activity/kindergarten/math

Needle arts like hand-sewing, cross-stitch, embroidery and needlepoint, provide both good practice for hand-eye coordination and constructive, creative practical life skills. Very young children can be taught simple needlework techniques, and those techniques can be one more way to familiarize them with numerals (and letters.)

Stitching alphabet and number samplers is a very old tradition which can be fun for modern children as well. http://www.powys.gov.uk/index.php?id=2156&L=0  This webpage for the Samplers International exhibit, now closed, at the Benton County Historical Society and Museum in Philomath, Oregon, shows a variety of wonderful and inspiring samplers, both historical and modern. http://www.bentoncountymuseum.org/samplers

Here are some interesting tips for teaching needlework to young people. http://www.needlework-tips-and-techniques.com/teaching-needlework-to-children.html http://www.shakespearespeddler.com/teach.html

These pages provide some good free resources on basic needlework stitches and techniques. http://www.bhg.com/crafts/embroidery/basics

This one is very detailed and also has tips for left-handed stitchers! http://inaminuteago.com/stitchindex.html

This one is video for visual learners! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7wiR1-2U0I

Does a sampler project sound too complex? Stamped cross stitch is a good beginner project for young needleworkers—and parents or teachers who are inexperienced in the needle arts—because the size and location of stitches is visually provided. Beginners need only to cover each “x” with embroidery floss.

Here are two cute examples of stamped cross-stitch items with numerals on them. This baby bib pair features numbers and letters in a fun design. http://www.123stitch.com/cgi-perl/itemdetail.pl?item=K72918

This set of quilt blocks includes both the letters A, B, and C and the numbers I, 2, and 3 with cute baby animals, which can be made into a baby blanket, throw blanket or wall hanging. You could also split the 12 blocks between 6 students, giving each one ABC and one 123 block to complete.  http://www.123stitch.com/cgi-perl/itemdetail.pl?item=K021-1368

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Hands On Equations Program for Montessorians

The Hands-On Equations Program is one of the featured prizes in the AMC Special Montessori September and October Drawings. Please see http://www.amonco.org To enter the drawing, please visit http://www.amonco.org/directory.html

Attend one of the upcoming Hands-On Equations webinars to learn more about this wonderful product. See Workshops for details.

This webinar will provide an overview of Hands-On Equations. Participants will gain an idea of how equations are represented and solved and how the concepts are applied to the solution of verbal problems. We will show how the game pieces are used to represent equations such as:

4x + 3 = 3x + 9
2(x + 4) = x + 10
5x + 2(-x) + 3 = x + 9
2x = (-x) + 12

In addition, we will provide a glimpse of Hands-On Equations can assist students in solving verbal problems such as:
Three times a number, increased by 2, is the same as the number increased by 10. Find the number.

Eight years from now, Tom will be 4 years older than twice his present age. How old is he now?

By participating in this introductory webinar, participants will understand how Hands-On Equations can be of value to them in introducing their students in grades 3 – 9 to basic algebraic concepts. Full-length webinars and full-day workshops are available to provide educators with in-depth training

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