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Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Spring Forward 2015 with AMC Lesson Planning

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

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

Peruse through the entire lessons.

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

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

Part I – AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

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

french-language-classes-new-york-city

Part II – AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

 

SmartBoard-1

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

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

Part III – AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

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

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

brain

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

Part IV — AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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Part V – AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

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

KIM9318CD

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

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

KIM9325CD

Part VI – AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

watchandlearn1

Part VII- AMC Spring Newsletter

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

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

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

ExplorationEducationAD

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

Celebrating the Personal Life of George Washington

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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Bird-watching with Children

Copyright 2015

Are your kids (and you) starting to get spring fever? Are you anxious to get outside and enjoy nature? Many areas of North America have had pretty severe winter weather, and for many of us, it likely is not over yet. One fun way to enjoy nature year-round is by bird-watching and/or bird feeding. Actually, February is National Bird Feeding Month, and it’s a great opportunity to encourage your family’s awareness of the birds all around us.

For tips and ideas to get you started, American Montessori Consulting talked to Sanford R. Wilbur, a retired wildlife biologist specializing in ornithology (the study of birds) and a lifelong recreational bird-watcher and outdoor enthusiast. Mr. Wilbur is also a father and grandfather who has had plenty of experience “birding” with children of all ages. We hope you enjoy the information he shared with us.

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AMC: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us about bird-watching today. For families that are looking for engaging and educational science and nature experiences for their children, why would you recommend bird-watching, specifically?

Sanford Wilbur: Given that it’s a good thing to get kids outdoors, bird-watching is an especially good way to do it. Studying any group of animals can be fun, but watching and studying most groups is not easy on a casual basis. For instance, mammals are familiar to everybody and they’re easy to be interested in, but we usually see wild mammals by chance, rather than by planning. That’s because a lot of them are most active at night, or in the very early morning or late evening, and most of them are very secretive. Amphibians, like frogs and toads, are favorites with kids because of their looks and activities, and they are sometimes very colorful and make wonderful noises. Unfortunately, you can usually only find a couple of common species in any given area. There are jillions of insects but, except for butterflies, it takes an expert to get very far beyond the basics of bees, beetles, dragonflies, and such. Insects and amphibians are also hard to see outside the main spring-summer period.

On the other hand, birds of some kind are around all year, and in almost every environment. Most areas have a variety of species, which adds to the fun of identifying and keeping lists of what you see. Birds are often bright-colored; you can often tell the males and females apart by their color (which is not true for most groups of animals); their singing makes them visible and helps identify them at certain seasons; and their seasonal flocking habits make them very noticeable and interesting.

 You can watch birds on your back porch, in a city park, on a wildlife refuge, or combined with other activities like hiking, camping, bicycling, etc. You can also watch for other kinds of animals or look at plants on a bird-watching outing. About the only things you can’t do while trying to watch birds are riding motorcycles, shooting guns, and yelling.

bird_watching

AMC: You’ve said that we can probably find birds in any location or season. What sort of equipment or information do families really need to get started?

SRW: Bird-watching is a fairly simple hobby, and inexpensive. The only real need is for each person to have binoculars, and for someone in the group to have a bird identification book. Binoculars for beginners don’t have to do more than provide a little magnification, so you can buy very inexpensive ones until you know whether this is a hobby that’s going to last.

 AMC: Excuse me for interrupting, Mr. Wilbur, but could several people share one pair of binoculars, if necessary?

SRW: Sure. If you’re watching a pond full of ducks, you can pass the binoculars around, and everybody gets a look. But birds in bushes or hawks flying overhead often don’t stay in one place very long, so some might miss out if their turn doesn’t come in time. But we’ve often shared binoculars in our family on all-day hikes or other times when only one pair was available.

AMC: You also mentioned needing a bird book to help with identification. Can you tell us more about what to look for?

SRW: There are quite a few field guides available now, and most are pretty good. Bird species are quite different in different parts of the country, so just be sure yours either covers the whole United States or is a version that fits your locality. A new bird guide might cost $20 or so, but since birds look the same today as they did twenty years ago, you don’t necessarily need to invest in a new book right away. You can probably pick up a very serviceable used copy of a good guide for your area for a few dollars. I think I’ve been using some of my guidebooks for 30 or 40 years, and they still work just fine.

AMC: How about borrowing a bird guide from the local library? Would that be a practical idea?

SRW: That would be a reasonable way to start getting an idea of the birds in your area before you actually go out looking for them. But once you get outdoors, you need your own copy. That way, you won’t worry about the book getting dirty (almost a certainty), or of getting its pages bent when you take it in and out of your jacket. With your own copy, you might even want to jot some notes beside the pictures of birds you see, something you wouldn’t do with a library book.

 AMC: That’s why they call them “field guides,” right?

SRW: Exactly. You can bird without carrying a guide with you – and you probably will, sometimes, as you get better at knowing what to look for on the birds you see -but it’s a lot easier to look in the book just after you see the bird, rather than trying to remember later on what you saw. If you do see a bird when you don’t have a bird book with you, try to pay attention to details and remember them as best you can. Carrying and jotting in a note book can help you remember such things as the color of the head or the way the bird held its tail. Between your memory and your notes, you can sometimes visualize a bird you see well enough to do the identification when you get to where you can look it up.

AMC: If you’re going to wait until you get home to do the identification, how about looking for bird identification information on the internet?

SRW: There are some sites with identification search engines and photos of common birds, but often a field guide is easier to use, especially for beginners. Guides are designed to group similar birds together in pictures, making it easier to compare the sometimes small details that differentiate one species from another.

 AMC: Isn’t it confusing to sort through all those different birds in the book?

SRW: Not necessarily. Birds come in a wide variety of basic sizes, shapes and colors, but those characteristics help you narrow down your search. After noticing the obvious differences, you can quickly learn to look for specific things. Most good bird books will direct your attention to characteristics like the color of the bird’s throat, the color of the rump, the size and shape of the bill, whether the bird twitches its tail or not, if it goes down tree trunks rather than up, etc. It really doesn’t take long to start homing in on those features, rather than just looking at the bird.

 If you’re starting out not knowing birds yourself, you could feel intimidated trying to help others learn. But, remember, even though there are over 500 species of birds in the United States, there are probably not more than 25 or so common ones in any given area. And you already know a lot of types of birds, even if you don’t think you do. Most everyone recognizes crows, robins, blackbirds, doves, sparrows, hawks, woodpeckers, and “sea gulls.” Many of the birds you see are going to look similar to some of these that you know. With a very little study of a bird guide covering your region, you will find that although there are 50 “sparrows” in the country, only two or three of them will be found in your area or in the type of environment you will be looking in. Twenty hawks become only one or two you’re likely to see; most areas won’t have more than one type of dove or quail, etc.

AMC: That makes sense, and it seems like knowing that would help children stay interested and not get frustrated by feeling there is “too much” to learn. Can you give any additional tips about how to get the most out of our bird-watching adventures, especially now while winter is still hanging on?

SRW: Right now, most of our bright-colored northern birds are wintering in Mexico and Central America. The biggest flocks of waterfowl have gone south to coastal Texas and Florida, and the valleys of California. But, no matter where you live, there are still birds around, and this is the time of year for backyard bird feeding. Not only is it fun to see what you can attract to your house using different kinds of food – millet seed, sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet – but a bird feeder gives one of the very best chances for seeing birds up close. Kids can get really interested in birds that come to a feeder close to a window, where even without binoculars you can often get good looks at a number of different species. This might prove to be motivation to get them out on walks farther afield as the weather improves. Winter bird feeding can often be exciting for adults, too, because providing feed when natural foods are scarce can attract unusual birds to the “easy pickings” along with the common residents.

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Spring is the best time to study songbirds because they are in their most colorful plumages, and the males are actively singing, which helps you spot them. Unfortunately, spring is the worst time for bugs in many parts of the country, something that needs to be considered to keep the experience for kids (and you!) from being a discouraging one.

Summer still gives you a lot to see, but you have to work harder than in spring. The males have quit singing, and the pairs are spending a lot of time quietly on their nests. It takes more effort to spot them in the leafy summer foliage, too. Most birds are not very interested in the winter bird feeder fare of seeds and suet, because there is plenty of natural food. But hummingbirds quickly find feeders filled with sugar water, and putting out some orange halves often attracts bright-colored orioles, tanagers, or grosbeaks. Summer is also a good time to go to marshes, where you can see broods of baby ducks and geese – almost always a hit with children.

In fall, the highlights for birders are the big migrations of waterfowl, hawks, shorebirds, and warblers. Particularly in the Northeast, there are designated hawk watching spots where you can sometimes see hundreds of hawks passing overhead in a few hours. Federal and state wildlife areas are particularly good for seeing major flights of ducks and geese. Some forested areas and beach headlands can have big flights of migrating warblers and vireos, but they are in their dull fall plumages and are difficult to identify. It can still be exciting to see the large numbers, even if you can’t identify them all.

In general, you can watch waterfowl, shorebirds, herons, hawks, etc., any time of the day. Songbirds are most active in the early morning; depending on the region of the country, the woods can seem pretty quiet after 9 or 10 in the morning.

AMC: Thank you very much, Mr. Wilbur. We appreciate your time and information.

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More ideas for bird-watching information:

National Wildlife Refuge System

http://www.fws.gov/refuges/

National Wildlife Refuges are excellent destination for watching birds and other wildlife. Many are located in rural areas, but almost every bigger city has one relatively nearby. Most have modest entry fees, if any, and offer lots of interpretive signs, leaflets and lists to help you enjoy the areas. Many also offer driving tours, hiking trails, and other recreational opportunities.

Mr. Wilbur recommends this informative article on birding with children. You’ll find many ideas and tips here:

http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1975.html

General information about bird identification:

http://www.birding.com/bird_identification.asp

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center’s “Tools for Learning About Birds:”

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/ident.html

Bird identification search engine:

http://identify.whatbird.com/mwg/_/0/attrs.aspx

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Sanford Wilbur is retired after nearly 37 years with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He still watches birds, and has written several books on birds and other wildlife. He and his wife live in Oregon. Please visit the following links for additional information about the author and his resources:

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

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

http://www.condortales.com/

Read the other parts of this creative hands-on lesson planning newsletter by visiting   http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html

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December Learning Adventures for Children

December is a month where traditions and learning activities go hand in hand. Here are some ideas to help you with your lesson planning. http://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/december-learning-adventures-for-children/

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Holiday Food Fare

Children often look forward to entertaining guests and welcome the opportunity to be included in helping with holiday meal preparations. With that in mind, parents can enlist the help of their children in making some or all of the recipes listed below. Click on the selected links below to locate the direction(s) of the recipe(s) that interest you.

Gingered Turkey Salad
http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf
The variety of ingredients provides an interesting lesson in the origins and forms of food; and little hands could help with the mixing and serving.

gingered_turkey
More Autumn and Holiday Salad Recipes
http://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/autumn-and-holiday-salads/
This holiday season, introduce some new salads into your holiday menu planning.

Applesauce
http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf
This recipe contains a Montessori presentation of making applesauce.

Apple-Cinnamon Muffins
http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Use this Montessori presentation for making delicious apple-cinnamon muffins.

Holiday Turkey Meatballs
http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf
Serve as an appetizer or as a main entree

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf

cheesy
Holiday Stuffing
http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf
This is a hearty staple for any holiday meal.

Spinach Dip Recipe
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
Whet the appetite of your guests with this delicious dip.

Zesty Cranberry Relish
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf
This recipe includes a no-knife version for younger children.

zesty_cranberry
Holiday Side Dishes
http://www.pinterest.com/amcmontessori/autumn-and-holiday-side-dishes/
Here are some more easy, nutritious and festive side dishes for the holidays! You will even find some gluten-free side dishes. With adult supervision, children can make some of the delicious dishes!

Christmas Tamales and Sauce
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
These tamales freeze wonderfully in large ziplock bags, and the sauce freezes well, too, making them perfect as a hearty and quick casual Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve dinner

tamales
Crêpes Recipe For Children
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
This recipe is an easy and fun activity that you both will enjoy.

German Farmer’s Breakfast – Bauernfruhstuck
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf

Aebleskiver – Danish Pancake
http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf
Children can participate in separating the eggs, measuring and mixing the ingredients.

Pistachio Poppy Seed Cake ~ A Miami Favorite
http://www.amonco.org/winter2/montessori_winter2.pdf
You family will love the green cake!!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
This is a very simple recipe that very young children can help to prepare

pumpkin_pie
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie Cutouts
http://www.amonco.org/winter7/montessori_winter7.pdf
It is fun to trace around their hand to make cookies for
other relatives, even though they look like catchers’ mitts after they bake.

Ginger-Coconut Baked Apples
http://www.amonco.org/winter3/montessori_winter3.pdf
Delicious with whipped cream, yogurt or sour cream on the side.

Nutty Chocolate Pudding Squares
http://www.amonco.org/winter4/montessori_winter4.pdf
Nuts, graham crackers and chocolate pudding al rolled into deliciousness!

Holiday Cheesecake
http://www.amonco.org/winter5/montessori_winter5.pdf
Be creative and decorate with berries and a little powdered sugar for a winter holiday winter cake or use blueberries and strawberries for an American motif.

Farmer’s Favorite Fudge
http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf
This recipe is sure to delight the chocolate lovers in your family,

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf
Serve alone or with whipped or ice cream. Either way, it’s delicious!

Lithuanian Cranberry Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative6/montessori_fall6.pdf
Depending on age, children can participate, supervised by adults.

Apple Angel Food Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
This is a delicious treat that friends and family will enjoy.

Oma’s Cake
http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf
Try this German recipe and discover a light, tasty dessert that will be enjoyed by family and friends.

Filipino Leche Flan
http://www.amonco.org/creative08/montessori_fall8.pdf
Try this alternative to the traditional flan recipes.

Enjoy! 🙂

Heidi

http://www.amonco.or

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

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

Here is a sampling of what you will find:

Free Diagrams for Classified Reading Cards

Lesson Plans About Digestive Function

A Study of the Digestive System for Secondary Students

Gastrointestinal Terminology Pronunciation

Additional K – High School Respiratory and Cardiovascular Lesson Plans

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz

American Montessori Consulting

http://www.amonco.og

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Upcoming Southern California Kite Flying Events

Greetings Family and Friends.

 

I have the privilege of telling you that while the rest of the country starts cooling down, Kiting in Southern California is heating up!

 

4 unique events are happening and I will assure you that each will bring you great joy.

 

#1

 

The 17th Annual Japan America Kite Festival rolls into Seal Beach, next Sunday the 20th. Besides the glorious displays of flying fabric, sport kite demos and international culture, there will be expanded entertainment and one of the latest food crazes, Ramen Burgers. And again this year, FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE will be offered, as the parking lot gets full early in Seal Beach.

 

#2

 

It was a decade ago that the Japan America Society jumped in to help us grow this event. We obviously can not thank them enough for their efforts and support. If you’re not familiar with them, they are one of those organizations that works tirelessly throughout the year putting on events to educate and entertain people of all ages, regardless of heritage. On the evening of Wednesday, October 23rd, you have the chance to wine and dine with Kite Master Mikio Toki at Mattel Headquarters in El Segundo. World class kites and world class food. This is a one of a kind event and you don’t want to miss out. I hope to see you there.

 

#3

 

Kids and Kites…They go together. On Saturday, November 9th, we’ll be at the grand reopening of Horseshoe Lake in the County of San Bernardino, near Victorville and Hesperia, off I-15. This will be the first of what will hopefully become an annual event. Expect Show Kites, Sport Kite Demos, Kids Craft Kites and Flying, Tail Chases, Candy Drops, Kite Hospital, Vendor Lesson Area and a Kite Shop Vendor. I’ve been to the site and you will be hard pressed to find a better venue for this type of event.

 

#4

 

An event in the works at the Pasadena Museum of History. Wednesday, November 20th kicks off “Kites, Wings & Other Flying Things. This will be an ongoing exhibit of the history of flight within the Pasadena area as well as soup to nuts kiting. This display and related functions will run through the middle of April, which happens to be National Kite Month. I am directly involved in it and I am beyond words as to the honor and cool factor of yet another one of a kind presentation that this is becoming. As we get closer, I’ll have more information for you.

 

There you have it. I know we’re all busy. Try to crowbar in some kite time. It’s good for you.

 

Best Wishes and Winds,

 

 glen

 

 Glen E. Rothstein – Director – Region 12

 

American Kitefliers Association

 

www.aka.kite.org

 

https://www.facebook.com/akasocial?fref=ts

 

To learn more about kite flying, read Up, Up and Away – The Art and Fun of Kite Flying AMC Montessori Summer Hands-On Newsletter Part I – American …

 

Heidi Spietz

 

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Explore the Beauty of Autumn through the Arts

The exciting colors and interesting silhouettes of autumn can be very inspiring creatively; and arts and crafts projects and musical interludes can provide students with a welcome break from their re-immersion into academics during the back-to-school season.  So be sure to take some time to explore the resources and opportunities available to help kids explore the beauties of the season with arts, crafts and music.

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General free art resources

Dick Blick’s free art and craft ideas

http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/grade-level/k-4

Montessori On a Budget’s listing of free Montessori art downloads http://www.montessori-on-a-budget.com/2011/03/friday-free-downloads-montessori-art.html

Miscellaneous autumn-themed arts and crafts

Squigly’s autumn arts and crafts ideas

http://www.squiglysplayhouse.com/ArtsAndCrafts/Holidays/Autumn.html

My Blessed Life links to 12 fall kids’ crafts.

http://myblessedlife.net/2011/09/fall-kids-crafts.html

Personalize your classroom with a Friendship Quilt, a project from Dale Gausman at NAMC. http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf

Leaf art and crafts

The contributors to the ProTeacher Collection share many interesting autumn leaf and related autumn projects and lesson plans. http://www.proteacher.org/c/100_autumn_leaves__fall_art_projects.html

Here are 25 crafts using or replicating autumn leaves. http://www.remodelaholic.com/2012/09/25-leaf-crafts

Turn autumn leaves (or prints of them!) into butterflies.

http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/2012/09/butterfly-leaves.html

Autumn Colors Tissue Paper Art Project http://www.amonco.org/creative5/montessori_fall5.pdf

Here is a very striking, but fairly simple, watercolor technique using actual leaves as templates. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwBM11Wmpo0

For more ideas, look at these professional artists’ and photographers’ autumn compositions.

Top 6 Incredible Artworks Made from Autumn Leaves

http://inhabitat.com/top-6-incredible-artworks-made-from-autumn-leaves

Dan Bacich’s leaf paintings

http://www.autumnleavesart.com/paintings.php

Miscellaneous autumn art examples at Fine Art America

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/autumn+leaves/all

Here are some examples of the autumn nature photography of Alexander MacPhail, from a hike on Mt Passaconway and the Sandwich Range, New Hampshire.

http://whitemountainsojourn.blogspot.com/2012/10/9-29-12-mt-passaconway-sandwich-range.html

Apple art and crafts

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on drawing a red Delicious apple, with an in-screen “draw while you learn” feature. http://www.drawinghowtodraw.com/stepbystepdrawinglessons/2011/10/how-to-draw-realistic-or-cartoon-apples-with-easy-step-by-step-drawing-lesson

This is an interesting time lapse of an artist painting a still life with apples.  It contains rather advanced shading, but could still inspire students with new ideas for techniques to try. Students may also get a kick out of comparing the original apples that inspired him with the finished product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7WtTtaEems

Easy Apple Crafts for Kids

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/08/easy-apple-crafts-for-kids.html

Crafty Crow’s apple crafts

http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2011/09/apple-crafts.html

Video: How to Craft Apple Stamps

http://www.howcast.com/videos/343105-How-to-Craft-Apple-Stamps

For some additional apple themed lesson planning, peruse through the unit study Hands-On Autumn Adventures – Autumn Leaves, Pumpkins, and Apple Classification Harvesting Activities and Unit Studies  http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

Need a little more inspiration?  Why not bake Oma’s Cake, a German recipe using pears or apples, and let the fruity, cinnamony fragrance stoke your autumn spirit! http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf

Pumpkin art and crafts

Even your youngest students can have fun, with your help, making adorable fingerprint pumpkins. http://www.billybear4kids.com/Learn2Draw/FingerPrints/Pumpkin.shtml

Simple Kids’ Crafts breaks the process of drawing a pumpkin down into very simple steps. http://www.simplekidscrafts.com/?z=summer-drawings-how-to-draw-a-pumpkin

Whether for carving or just on paper, these cute jack-o-lantern face ideas will get kids inspired to expand their own pumpkin caricatures. http://www.how-to-draw-cartoons-online.com/drawing-pumpkin-faces.html

Combine some really fine watercolor art techniques with color theory, art appreciation, literature, and Canadian geography in this well-presented pumpkin art lesson for young children. http://www.scs.sk.ca/van/inventions%20articles/inventions%20articles/Giant%20Pumpkins.pdf

Now that your students are comfortable with their shapes, why not try sculpting some of these traditional autumn motifs in sandable, paintable/stainable home-made wood dough? Richard from The Lord Company shares a recipe and instructions. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall2.pdf

Music and poetry

Get into the spirit of the season with fun autumn songs and rhymes!

NIEHS’ Kids’ Pages:  Songs

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/songs

Early Years Experience’s Songs and Rhymes Page

http://www.bigeyedowl.co.uk/show_songs.php?t=50

Preschool Express’ Music and Rhyme Station

http://www.preschoolexpress.com/music_station.shtml

Go more in-depth with Classical Magic’s lesson plans revolving around “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.  http://www.amonco.org/creative7/montessori_fall7.pdf

There are also a number of neat YouTube videos like this one that use Vivaldi’s “Autumn” as the background music for beautiful scenes of grape harvests, mushrooms growing in the woods, autumn foliage, and more seasonal sights your students might enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uaVhKocqPw

For more suggestions of classical pieces children might enjoy, as well as ideas for getting students involved with the music, check this blogpost.

http://www.prekinders.com/classical-music

Want to get more hands-on? Anna from Wood, Etc. shares instructions for making a Zebra Stick Craft. http://www.amonco.org/creative08/montessori_fall8.pdf, and Lois from Bountiful Spinweave, shares instructions for making the Broken Rib Scarf with Seed Stitch Border. 

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It is a common theme in literature and poetry that autumn is a sad time of year, and although many writers have lauded autumn  in their own ways, http://www.livinglifefully.com/fall.html , perhaps Samuel Taylor Coleridge explained the beauty and spirit of autumn the best.

Why is it that so many of us persist in thinking that autumn is a sad season?

Nature has merely fallen asleep, and her dreams must be beautiful

if we are to judge by her countenance.

 

Help your students see, explore and appreciate the beauty of this magical season through the arts!  Refer back to this post during the next few weeks to see how you can infuse some of these creative ideas into your existing curriculum.

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Autumn Adventures in Hands-On Science with Exploration Education

Maria Montessori knew that children would tire of memorizing facts and learning about scientific concepts that seemed vague or difficult to comprehend.    Without the relevance of seeing how science can actually relate to everyday life, children can become disinterested and disengaged from this discipline.  Therefore, home and school educators are continually searching for ways to make this subject exciting and meaningful.   They want exercises that are easy to present, easy to understand and encourage the student to engage in further independent reading and study.    Exploration Education meets these goals and more by specializing in a unique science base hands-on curriculum that can be tailored to meet the student’s needs.   See http://www.explorationeducation.com for complete details.

 
You can access the following free hands-on activities that you can use right now and in the months

 
Money to Burn
Push or Pull
To Float, or not to Float
Air Lift
One turn deserves another
Floating Eggs
It’s Needling Me
Optics
Plastic Milk
Soap that grows
The Invisible Leash
The little big bounce
Can do
Speed boat soap
The Flame Proof Balloon
I can’t take the pressure
Static Charge
Needle proof balloon
Simply Sound
Heat Transfer, thermodynamics, and a rubber band
To view these activities please visit:
Exploration Education Activities.

 
Some of these activities can be downloaded into .pdf format. See below.


AMC Summer Hands-On Newsletter
AMC Fall Hands-On Newsletter
AMC Spring Hands-On Newsletter

Be sure to stay tuned to Montessori21stCentury for the unveiling of the winter hands-on newsletter where you will find an additional activity in .pdf format from Exploration Education.

Finally, don’t forget to enter the special AMC 25th Anniversary Drawing.  To see the list of prizes available visit Montessori 25th Anniversary Drawing.

To enter the drawing, please visit AMC Online Resource Directory  Scroll to the bottom and complete the entry blank.
 
Heidi Anne Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
www.amonco.org

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The Natural Benefits of an Active Life

Anyone who has watched healthy children acting naturally has probably noticed how active they are.  They wiggle, fidget, roll around, jump up and down, charge, tumble, wave their arms, and generally just move with the verve and enthusiasm of youth.

Montessori classrooms allow students more physical freedom than traditional classrooms; but with the sedentary trend in leisure activities, it is especially positive for teachers and parents to encourage both children’s spontaneous physicality (at appropriate times) and more-organized physical activities

Below you will find both ideas for specific activities and information about the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.

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Games and Physical Education

Younger kids often enjoy specific games, and these can be lots of fun for the whole family (or neighbors and/or friends) to play together. Perhaps you remember some from your childhood, and you can share those.  If you don’t (or if you cannot remember all the rules), check out this fun site, Games Kids Play.  http://www.gameskidsplay.net/

For some general P.E. ideas for home or homeschool, these articles have some great suggestions.

Simple Homeschool’s “Physical Education for Homeschooled Teens” has ideas for the whole family.

http://simplehomeschool.net/physical-education/

Brain Pop, Jr.’s Exercise page

http://www.brainpopjr.com/health/bewell/exercise/grownups.weml

These are some specific physical education exercises. http://teachers.net/lessonplans/subjects/physical_education

NAMC gives instructions for a full day of fun and games, during a Harvest Festival. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.ca/2008/10/montessori-harvest-festival.html#.Ufe2Dm3wb1A

Health and Nutrition

Here you will find some health, exercise and nutrition lesson plans.

Kids.gov’s “Exercise, Fitness, and Nutrition” lesson plans http://kids.usa.gov/grown-ups/lesson-plans/exercise-fitness-and-nutrition/index.shtml

 Gari Stein offers many different CDs, classes and more.  Visit  http://www.little-folks-music.com/background.htm  and look to the left of the page to see the complete list of music, dance and other fun activities and services available from the Little Folks Music website. 

 

The American Heart Association’s “Elementary Lesson Plans”

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Educator/FortheClassroom/ElementaryLessonPlans/Elementary-Lesson-Plans_UCM_001258_Article.jsp

NAMC’s “Nutrition is Part of the Prepared Classroom”. http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/06/nutrition-part-of-montessori-prepared-environment.html#.UfeysW3wb1A

Kimbo Educational has a whole series of  “Sing-A-Song & Dance Along” products to get little kids moving and learning at the same time.

http://kimboed.com/aerobics.aspx

Kimbo also offers the brand NEW Preschool Gym CD.  See http://kimboed.com/search.aspx?find=Preschool+Gym+CD

Older students may be familiar with the terms “aerobic” and “cardio” used in reference to exercise, but do they really know what they mean?  Check out these pages about aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic exercise for definitions, examples, and explanations of the health benefits of each type.

Georgia State University’s “Exercise and Physical Fitness Page”

http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwfit/aerobice.html

SparkPeople’s “Reference Guide to Aneaerobic Exercise”

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1035

To explore this subject in more depth, check out the Human Cardiovascular System Unit Study. http://www.amonco.org/montessori_heart_unitstudy.html

Hiking

Autumn can be a very appealing season for outdoor activities.  Most areas in the northern hemisphere have a mix of cooler and warmer days, with lots of brisk breezes to keep you invigorated.  In the fall – or during any temperate weather–  hiking is great exercise for all ages, an inexpensive activity, and a wonderful opportunity to chat, observe nature, and learn together as a family or group.  If they are introduced to hiking in a gentle and enjoyable manner at a young age, many children grow enjoy this healthy pastime more and more as they grow.

The Washington Trails Association shares some helpful hints for hiking with children in these two articles. http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/resources-for-families/how-to/tips-for-hiking-with-kids  and http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/how-to/keep-kids-adults-entertained-on-trail

It’s also important, especially with young children who are new to hiking, to remember Maria Montessori’s words. “But the child does not want to get anywhere; he just wants to walk, and to help him truly the adult must follow the child, and not expect him to keep up.” The activity, the movement, the sights and sounds are likely to be the main draw for young children. Goals, destinations and pace can come as an added interest later, if the child learns to enjoy very informal and spontaneous outings first.

Besides just the joy, new horizons and adventure provided by hiking, scientists are beginning to study the actual physical health benefits of this activity. Some of their findings are really fascinating! http://www.psmag.com/health/for-good-health-take-a-hike-3862

Gardening

Whether you choose to grow ornamentals, vegetables or fruit, gardening provides not only interesting agricultural and botanical lessons, but also provides a gentle, enjoyable and healthy source of exercise and fresh air.

This article lists some of the major health benefits of gardening. http://www.bordbia.ie/aboutgardening/itsgardentime/pages/healthbenefits.aspx

Rae from The Creative Process provides some interesting ideas about gardens for schools. http://www.amonco.org/creative01/montessori_fall1.pdf

This lengthy PDF expands on the subject of planning and sustaining a school garden. http://www.ecoliteracy.org/sites/default/files/uploads/getting-started-2009.pdf

The broader benefits of exercise

Most of us feel good when we participate in healthy activities we enjoy, but scientists and health experts can give us reasons why, as well as listing benefits which extend far beyond the playground, trail or garden. 

“How Physical Activity Benefits A Child’s Mental Development”

http://www.howtolearn.com/2013/05/how-physical-activity-benefits-a-childs-mental-development

Dr. Mercola explains how exercise benefits children’s brain function.

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2012/01/20/physically-active-children-perform-better-academically.aspx

 

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So, maybe we should all take a page from the natural inclinations of childhood, and both encourage and participate in some sort of joyful, healthy movement every day, staring this autumn!

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