Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Celebrate American Montessori Consulting’s 25th Anniversary

Enter the American Montessori Consulting Drawing and Win Prizes (Click Here.)

1st Place AMC Montessori Winner Prizes Include:

Preschool Gym CD (Making Fitness Fun For 3 -5 Year Olds from Kimbo Educational)

$25.00 Gift Certificate from (Draw Your World)

Potholder Loom (Makes 2 Beautiful Potholders) from (Bountiful Spinweave)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Creepy Critters from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Tongues, Tails, and Scales from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Wild Wetlands from (Coyote Creek Productions

Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 5 (Animals of the Rain Forest) from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 5 (Plants of the Rain Forest) from (Coyote Creek Productions)

(Hands-On Equations Learning System(from Hands On Equations)

Reading, Writing and Spelling in Spanish II from (American Montessori Consulting)

2nd Place AMC Montessori Winner Prizes Include:

The More We Get Together from (author Gari Stein)

Montessori Writing Center Sequence Set from (LORD Company)

$50.00 Gift Certificate from (Conceptual Learning)

Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 1 (Easy Watercolor Techniques) from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 2 (Easy Art Projects) from (Coyote Creek Production)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Born in a Barnyard from (Coyote Creek Productions)

 3rd Place AMC Montessori Winner Prizes Include

Inspirational Art Cards from (Birdcage Press)

Quick-to-Knit Scraf Kit from (Bountiful Spinweave)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Animals and Man from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 4 (Felt Pen Fun) from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Reading, Writing and Spelling in Spanish II from (American Montessori Consulting)

4th Place AMC Montessori Winner Prizes Include:

 Potholder Loom (Makes 2 Beautiful Potholders) from (Bountiful Spinweave)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Wild World Habitats from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Animals of the Amazon from (Coyote Creek Productions)

5th Place AMC Montessori Winner Prizes Include:

 Art Lesson for Children with Donna Hugh Volume 3 (More Fun with Watercolors) from (Coyote Creek Productions)

Animal Safari (A Learning Journey) Exploration Dinosaur from (Coyote Creek Productions)

(Click here) to enter the drawing!!

Join the Montessori for the 21st Century E-mail List (Subscribe Now)

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

http://www.amonco.org

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Plan Ahead! Part I

 Part 1—Daily Almanac and Observations, plus Miscellaneous Learning Resources

“If you have no idea where you want to go, it makes little difference how fast you travel.”  Italian Proverb

As summer winds down and autumn studies loom, now is the time to start (or finish) researching and planning fresh lessons and routines for the coming school year. 

A good place to start looking for ideas and resources is this list: http://www.amonco.org/directory.html  Also, the internet is full of good ideas and resources for classroom activities and lesson plans.  The following are just a few ideas you might consider out of the almost unlimited possibilities.  Happy planning!

Daily almanac and observations–

Day, date, time, sunrise, sunset, length of the day, phase of the moon, current weather conditions, forecast weather (short and long-term), upcoming celestial events, and important events on this date in history are only some of the types of daily information and observations your students might enjoy researching and recording to start each day. 

Keeping a journal of this sort of information can be interesting and informative. It can provide good practice for spelling and handwriting. It also adds some routine and structure to the school day. If you keep the journal, it can also provide conversation starters and teachable moments when comparing past data with current data (especially weather observations) in successive years.

http://www.timeanddate.com

http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-current.html

http://www.historyorb.com/today

To record your own daily weather observations all you really need are an outdoor thermometer, a window or door to check current sky conditions, and a notebook.   You can also easily find the daily forecast on-line on a local news site or by typing in your city or zip code (for the US) here:  http://www.weather.gov

However, if you want to get into more depth, look for inexpensive “weather stations” (digital or traditional) which include other instruments like barometers (to measure barometric pressure)  and hygrometers (to measure humidity), or which record the high and low daily temperatures. Nature’s Workshop Plus! sells an economical weather station with a thermometer, hygrometer, and barometer http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=2113&idcategory=0  , and the Farm Country General Store has a variety of interesting weather books. http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com

You can also look for (or sometimes construct your own) rain gauges, weather vanes, windsocks and other instruments to help students understand and evaluate atmospheric conditions. Some students love the extra data they can gather from this sort of instrument. The following article by Geoff Jenkins of the Royal Meteorological Society in the UK has many inspiring ideas and tips for home and school weather observation.  http://www.rmets.org/sites/default/files/pdf/simweameasurements.pdf

The famous Old Farmer’s Almanac has a website which provides lots of interesting information, including weather forecasts.  Be sure to check out their articles on predicting the weather, and maybe have students try their hand at a forecast! http://www.almanac.com/weather

For an example of a very detailed daily weather report, check out the Appalachian Mountain Club’s forecasts for local recreational enthusiasts.  Perhaps one of your students would like to report specialized details like ground/trail conditions, or might think of their own weather-related observations to record. http://www.outdoors.org/recreation/tripplanner/go/pinkham-washington-weather.cfm

For daily weather stories and facts, check out The Weather Notebook. http://www.weathernotebook.org The archives of this National Public Radio show produced by New Hampshire’s well-respected and historic Mount Washington Observatory provide nine years’ worth of brief, interesting weather stories. These free, easy-to-access tidbits of history and information would dovetail well into a morning Pick a year and the current month, then look for today’s date for a topical weather story.

Miscellaneous learning resources—

Core academics are always an important part of lesson planning, and they can also be subjects that are hard to keep fresh and interesting for students. Look now for free lessons and curriculum plans like the following.

General curriculum resources. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers , http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=109114 , http://www.galileoeducation.org/Homeschooling.html ,

Daily quick facts and short exercises can be a fun way to help students learn new information and practice skills they are learning.

Free daily math problem for grades 1-8. http://www.mathbuddyonline.com/common/mbqad.html

SuperKids offers a free “word of the day” as vocabulary boosters for students from upper elementary through high school. http://www.superkids.com/aweb/tools/words/wod.shtml 

Sciensational has free daily science and math facts. http://www.sciensational.com

For older children, more advanced students, or kids who really want to test their intellectual limits, try these sites with more-advanced daily challenges. http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday , http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/sat-question-of-the-day  , http://www.imo-official.org/problems.aspx

This article explains how you can use the “word a day” strategy to teach or learn foreign languages and provides links for nine languages plus sign language. http://www.childrenlearninglanguages.com/Vocabulary_and_LanguageSkills/Word_of_the_Day.html

Also, look around for open-ended materials that encourage a creative use and/or lot of interaction, like this cool writable globe from Schoolmasters Science. http://www.schoolmasters.com/categories/productDetails.cfm?product_ID=16685&div=sc&category&bc3&details You could start your year’s geography study with this blank globe several different ways, depending on the age and skills of your students.  With very young students with limited geographic knowledge, you could only mark countries, oceans, etc., as you study them.  With older students, you could have them do a “challenge” attempt at naming the countries; and then spend the rest of the year researching the countries and landforms they did not know initially.

If your lesson plans for the year ahead include any sort of science, art, or other “fair” projects, you may find the following article from Catholic Homeschooling Resources inspiring.  It describes their Annual Project Fair, and shares some interesting ideas for project types, as well as fair organization

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Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting Unveils New Apple App

Nan Barchowsky recently shared the following with AMC:

Learn and teach handwriting with phonics, an app designed by a Handwriting Specialist and an Early Childhood Specialist. The purpose of Letters Make Words is to help beginning writers develop good handwriting habits for all academic and adult needs, and to learn basic phonemes.

The first screens offer suggestions of how to use Letters Make Words. Then letters are presented. The user can select any letter. Each one comprises a complete unit of instruction for that letter, a warmup pattern, the letter and a word to trace and to sound out. When a letter has a different sound depending on its usage in words, choose from either of two words. The next screen has three words to sound out with a silly sentence for the child to write on paper.

A friendly voice coaches the child to finger trace with the index finger, thereby encouraging good pencil/pen hold when actually writing. It’s the index finger that should push a pen to make marks with the greatest ease of movement.

Lowercase letters are featured. An app for capitals and numerals will follow soon. Lowercase are the ones we most need when we write, and are the easiest to form.

Letter-related warmup patterns start each unit to help the child with formations.Starting points and directions for strokes are clearly defined, graphically and by the audio that guides a child through all finger tracing and pronunciation.

Letters are designed for ease of writing and legibility. Reversals (b for d, etc.) are never an issue with the formations used in this app.

If you are affiliated with a school and would like a free review copy of Letters Make Words, please contact Nan at info@bfhhandwriting.com for the code. Note that Apple offers a discount on multiple orders
Nan Barchowsky
http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/

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Make Your Own Illustrated Food and Recipes Notebook

The following was submitted for the AMC Montessori Spring Hands On Newsletter by Nan Barchowsky.

“Make handwriting practice personal! Make it part of your everyday pleasure. If you enjoy good food, try this. Collect recipes. Get a notebook and practice handwriting with a list of your favorite foods and favorite meals. Then, fill your notebook with recipes. Illustrate them too!

Here’s just one recipe. Visit http://www.amonco.org/Recipe.pdf to view this yummy Peanut Fudge Recipe. See how you plan extension lesson exercises combining handwriting, cooking and illustrating!!!” It’s one of many ideas for handwriting practice on the CD in BFH, a Manual for Fluent Handwriting.http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/ For additional free lessons from the AMC Montessori Spring Newsletter, please visit AMC Spring Hands On Montessori Newsletter

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