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Celebrate Spring with Some Fun Educational Nature Activities

Nature’s Workshop Plus! 

Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved.

Website:  http://www.workshopplus.com/

Spring! What a wonderful time of the year. The sunshine becomes warmer, dormant grass awakens from its necessary winter nap,  trees seem to wake up and wave hello to all who take notice, and life springs from nearly every place we look.  We also get to experience the spring rains which boost the season into its new identity. Your students might like to start a nature journal during this season.  There is so much to record!  Here are a few ideas.

  1. Begin by noting the daily weather patterns and discuss how it relates to the greening of the grass. Make a grid in the journal and record the daily temperature, rainfall quantities, amount of sunshine, types of clouds, etc. Reinforce the journal concept with a study of cloud formations.
  1. Sketch a tree and the growth of its leaves. Look up the scientific name of the species and record it in the journal along with its common name.  Leave space in the journal for revisiting that section during the season and resketch the leaves as they grow.  Once the leaf is full grown, leave enough space for a sketch of the colorful Fall leaf. You could even begin a leaf collection of several species beginning with the smallest leaves in the Spring and ending with a colorful Fall collection.
  1. Record beautiful poetry about the spring season in your journal.  Perhaps adding appropriate Scripture, personal thoughts, and beautiful artwork could complete each entry.
  1. Plant seeds and record their growth.  Small children love to plant bean seeds.  Plant the bean seeds in a glass jar so that the growth is visible. They grow quickly, and the seeds are so large that the shoot, growing up, and the root, growing down, are very easy to see. Draw the growth stages in your journal. Label all parts of the plant. Older students might like to plant flower and vegetable plants.  Record the growth data in your journal using Metric measure. Keeping careful records now allows the children to gain experience in recording data.  Once they enter into the upper level sciences, lab reports will be required.
  1. Have an insect section in the journal.  It wouldn’t be Spring and Summer without our little “friends”.  Again, look up and record their scientific and common names, draw the species, label its parts, record where the insect lives, and what it eats. Study the metamorphosis of the insect.  Does this species experience complete or incomplete metamorphosis? Draw its life cycle. Start an ant farm and observe the diligent activity of the ant. Observe in nature or via video a butterfly leaving its chrysalis. The video “City of the Bees” examines the life of the honey bee.  This video shows the inside of the hive, how the bees gathers nectar, how the bees communicate, and more.  It is fascinating to watch. Don’t forget to serve toast and honey!  Using colorful photographs as your guide, sketch the bees and their hive into the journal. Label as mentioned before.
  1. Begin a rock collection.  Draw what you see.  Hand magnifiers or stereo microscopes allow for more detailed viewing. I haven’t met a child yet who didn’t have a touch of “rock hound” him or her! This activity just about requires a field guide for proper identification.  A beginner guide works better for children than an overwhelming larger volume which might be harder to use.
  1. Go on a nature hike and record what you do and see.  Take a pair of binoculars for bird watching.  Make sure to begin a bird section in your journal.  They are so beautiful.  Set up a bird feeding area in your yard and keep a field guide handy for quick identification. Learn the common birds of your area.

These are just a few ideas for you nature journal.  Allow your imagination to help you plan.  Your children might enjoy this activity better if they can decide which area in their journal to develop first. Always include art and poetry in the journal. Supply your students with a set of colored pencils, drawing pencils and a good eraser. One thing we have found is that children don’t want to “mess-up” a page in their journal, so we recommend that each page be completed in a loose leaf format then placed in a binder when the child is satisfied with the page. If you use a binder with a clear plastic cover, the students can decorate a page and insert it into the cover for a custom look!  For upper elementary and middle school students, look up the taxonomy of the species being studied and note it in the journal. The more you do toward preparation for high school biology the better.

Nature journaling will also require nature studying.  The “Handbook of Nature Study”, by Anna Botsford Comstock, http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=734&idcategory=0  is an excellent resource for a teacher or parent who needs to know more about topics in nature.  The book was originally published in 1911 and contains 887 pages. It is divided into 4 major sections: The Teaching of Nature Study, Animals, Plants,and Earth and Sky.  It is a store house of information to help you teach you children/students about nature.  Please see.http://www.workshopplus.com for information about both this book.

handbook-of-nature-study_1706_general

Below are some additional resources that you can use for your spring lesson planning.  You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser.

Garden Pirate

http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4069&idcategory=0

Make the world a little greener by depositing seed “bombs” in forgotten outdoor spaces. Using fun shape molds, you can cast seed bombs from fast-growing flower seeds, growing medium, plaster gypsum, sand, and water. Once the seed bomb shapes have dried and hardened, they can be distributed in appropriate outdoor places. After a while, a beautiful cluster of flowers will explode in those spots. Learn about botany, flowering plants, seeds, nature conservation, tree planting, and more.

gardenpirate1_45_general

Nature Kaleidoscope- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=3127&idcategory=0

A make-your-own kaleidoscope kit.

nature-kaleidoscope_944_general

Hanging Bird Feeder Kit- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=3893&idcategory=0

Adults and children will enjoy building this old fashion, hanging bird feeder.

Deluxe Insect Collecting Kit- http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4166&idcategory=0

tweberhangingbirdfeeder_662_general

This  Deluxe Insect Collecting Kit includes a 12 x 18 inch insect display case, professional grade 10 inch Safety Glo insect net, foam spreading board, 100

Love Plant (Great for Mother’s  Day!  http://www.workshopplus.com/ProductCart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idproduct=4176&idcategory=

loveplantgrowing(1)_1831_generalThese carefree plants are easy and fun to grow and will thrive in any terrarium.

With so much to see and do this Spring, don’t forget to take time for simple, peaceful, observation. Children need quiet time in their lives to reflect, think and form opinions about life. They can learn form observing nature, listening to nature, studying nature, drawing nature, planting, being outside, getting dirty, splashing in a creek, and chasing butterflies! If we can teach them to enjoy these lovely God-given gifts, we are giving them an enormous gift that no mass media gimmick can ever match.

Blessings to you,

Diana Ruark

Nature’s Workshop Plus!

For free catalog or more information:

(888) 393-5663

http://www.workshopplus.com/ 

All resources mentioned in the article are available through Nature’s Workshop, Plus.

Editor’s Note: For additional springtime articles, lesson plans, recipes and more, please visit http://www.amonco.org/montessori_spring_handson.html

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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.

 

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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.

loveplantgrowing(1)_1831_general

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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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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Decorating the Holiday Table with Your Child

Tis the season to apply Maria Montessori’s Practical life Exercises to decorating the holiday table.  For starters, children can learn how to properly fold and place the napkins on the table.  See  http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/11/montessori-practical-life-activity.html#.UnPdiiRpet8  NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog.

table+set                                                From NAMC Montessori Teacher’s Blog

Find an NAMC lesson presentation for holiday flower arranging by visiting http://www.amonco.org/winter1/montessori_winter1.pdf

Nan Barchowsky, a recognized handwriting expert, offers some valuable tips on how to improve your child’s handwriting.  See http://www.bfhhandwriting.com/blog/    Nan’s program is used by countless schools and homeschoolers.  See http://www.bfhhandwriting.com  for details.  Even in this “electronic age”, handwriting is an essential communication skill.  To improve comfort and coordination, Nan Barchowsky of Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting suggests “A Bit of Yarn for a Good Pen Hold”. http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori_summer2.pdf

Find instructions for making some beautiful hoilday place cards by visiting http://inmyownstyle.com/2012/11/holiday-table-place-cards-made-with-paper-bags.html

Here are some other sites to explore.

http://momitforward.com/kid-friendly-craft-thanksgiving-turkey-place-card-holders

Decorative Thanksgiving Turkey Place Card Holders

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2fnohSFZcY

Homemade Christmas Place Cards – YouTube

http://www.imagitek.com/xmas/crafts/

Christmas Place Mats

http://www.imagitek.com/xmas/crafts/basket.html

Candy Basket

http://ministry-to-children.com/christmas-crafts/

Free Christmas Craft Ideas for Kids

http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/20-gorgeous-holiday-table-settings/pictures/index.html

20 Gorgeous Holiday Table Settings

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-christmas-tree.html

Origami Christmas Tree

http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-modular-holiday-wreath.html

Origami Holiday Wreath

http://stacysewsandschools.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/christmas-homeschooling-activities-books-crafts-and-printables-list/

Christmas Homeschooling Activities, Books, Crafts and Printables List

http://www.bountifulspinweave.com/kids-page.php#.UoGcRI6R-lI

Pot Holders

http://www.amonco.org/holidaycrafts.html

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Have fun exploring these activities with the children and teens in your life!

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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Algebra Made Simple with Hands-On Equations

“Your child has a much greater capacity to learn math than he or she ever thought possible! And I can prove it.” – H. Borenson – Inventor of Hands-On Equations

Learning algebra is critical for student success in school and work in any technical field. But there is another reason for students to begin learning real algebra at an early age. When an 8-year old can understand and solve algebraic equations that are not normally presented until the 7th or 8th grade, the student feels EMPOWERED.

Empowerment is critical.  We cannot succeed in any endeavor if we think “It’s beyond me” or “It’s not in my genes”. It’s not just kids. Many adults think, “I am simply not good at math. Neither were my parents.”

When an 8- to 10-year old child succeeds with algebra, a whole new mental landscape opens up. The child sees that he or she has a far greater capacity to succeed in math then they ever thought possible. This change in self-perception is the single greatest benefit of using Hands-On Equations. Algebraic equations and verbal problems no longer cause an immediate mental block. Instead, the student now knows that he or she has the skills to tackle the problems and be successful. (Hands-On Equations is equally valuable for middle school and older students as well, particularly if they have had difficulty with traditional approaches to algebra.)

HandsOn.doc Consider an equation such as 4x + 5 = 2x + 13. Here is Eric, age 8, solving the problem in this video solution. (He is showing the solution on the Teacher’s Demonstration Scale, which is not part of the Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set. However, it is easier to see the solution that way.) As you watch the video you will get the sense that Eric understands every step of the solution process.  There is nothing about this equation or its solution that Eric finds mysterious.

That is the key! Our goal is to enable students to see that math makes sense. It is logical. It is not a set of rules to memorize without knowing where those rules come from or what they mean. And, amazing as it sounds, Eric learned to solve this equation in just three lessons! This is testimony to the remarkable teaching methods developed by Dr. Henry Borenson, who received a patent for Hands-On Equations.

HP-DVD

You are encouraged to participate in a FREE Hands-On Equations Introductory Webinar. The next one is scheduled for Thursday, July 31, 2014 from 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EDT.

The Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is ideal for home use. It includes the Hands-On Equations Instructional Video Manual (from which the above video clip was taken).  Every one of the 25 lessons of Hands-On Equations will be demonstrated for you or your child by either Eric, Molly (age 11) or Dr. Borenson.

Also included in the Deluxe Home Set is the Introductory Verbal Problems Workbook, which contains some 80 verbal problems. For example, problem #61 asks, “The length and width of a rectangle are 2x and x + 1, respectively. If the perimeter of the rectangle is 38, how long is each side?” Using two pawns to represent the length and a pawn and 1-cube to represent the width, we can consider the semi-perimeter of 19 to get the equation 2x + x + 1 = 19, where x is the name of the pawn.

You may download the Fun Way to Learn Algebra app for free for your IOS, Android or Kindle Device at the App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Hands-On Equations 1, 2 and 3 are also available.

For more information about Borenson math products and workshops, please visit the website at www.borenson.com or take a look at this brochure.

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4th of July……Lessons, Crafts, Recipes and More!

For complete 4th of July info, please see

4th of July – Let’s Get the Party Started

American Montessori Consulting Facebook

Patriotic Themed Literature and Music

Sara Ambarian’s
Independence Day Recipes

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

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Children’s Books for Summer Reading – Part I

Sara L. Ambarian

Copyright 2014

All Rights Reserved

Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html

Children’s Books for Summer Reading:

Part 1–Resource Partner Picks

Article by Sara L. Ambarian

As parents and educators we all understand both the importance of reading and the potential for engagement which can be found in the pursuit. This potential is even more impressive when students have choices about what books they will read.

Many of us remember the excitement of “library days” in school, with the whole collection available to us, and the decision of what to read next all ours to make.  Many of us have retained that excitement into adulthood; so a trip to the library, book store, on-line vendor, or even our own home book collections feels like the beginning of an adventure for which we are completely in the driver’s seat.

If we can help the children in our lives develop that same enthusiasm and curiosity, we have given them a priceless, life-long gift.

In addition, Maria Montessori said, “The first essential for the child’s development is concentration.  The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” 

Both listening as someone else reads aloud and spending independent time reading can be very effective activities for allowing children to develop concentration.  In our modern, fast-paced, over-stimulated world, it is harder—and more important—than ever to help children learn this skill.  Reading time (whether in a group or solo) can put the brakes on a busy world, as well as opening up many new horizons for our children and students.

With summer reading season coming up, we asked the American Montessori Consulting Primary Recommended Resource Center partners http://www.amonco.org/resource_topic.html to share with us some of their favorite children’s books. Here are the recommendations and some comments of the business people who responded.

* * * * *

Gari from Music for Little People, http://store.musicforlittlepeople.com/info.html , likes the following books, which unsurprisingly involve singing and movement.  She recommends: 

A, You’re Adorable by Martha Alexander—“Once the adult and child know this song well, the child can sing the letter and the adult answer, and vice versa.

[If you’re not familiar with the song by Sam Lipmann, Buddy Kaye, and Fred Wise that inspired this board book, you can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TyQlIatSJ8&feature=related  ]

This Little Chick-by John Lawrence—“This can be sung to the tune of ‘Mulberry Bush’.”

Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown—“This book suggests lots of movement. Have the children do the different movements and the control is, ‘now run back to me’, etc.”

* * * * *

Larry and Karen at the Farm Country General Store, http://www.homeschoolfcgs.com , suggested several well-loved series which could provide many hours of happy reading over the coming summer.  

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Henry and Ramona series by Beverly Cleary

* * * * *

Ligia from Childsake said it was not easy to decide on just a few favorite children’s books.  The ones that came to mind, however, were these:

Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet

Flute’s Journey by Lynne Cherry

Tree of Life by Barbara Bash, which tied in her estimation with

Alejandro’s Gift by Richard E. Albert

To find more of Ligia’s recommendations of books about nature and the environment, visit her website, which includes about 400 more titles. http://www.childsake.com

* * * * *

Kathie from INSTA-LEARN, http://www.insta-learn.com , like many of us, remembers many happy times reading – and re-reading—favorite books to her own children. These were her family’s most memorable:

Peeping Beauty by Mary Jane Auch

The Easter Egg Farm by Mary Jane Auch

Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman

Dumbstruck by Sara Pennypacker and Mary Jane Auch

* * * * *

Stephanie from Professor Toto, http://www.professortoto.com , remembers reading and enjoying these books during her own childhood. 

The Madeline Series by Ludwig Bemelmans

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Choose Your Own Adventure books (Various Authors)

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Dark Crystal by A. C. H. Smith

The Berenstain Bears Series by Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Fear Street & Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

* * * * *

Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus, http://www.workshopplus.com ,  recommends the following classic stories, especially as read-aloud books. 

Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland by Mary Mapes Dodge

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Rascal by Sterling North

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

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Rita from Literature Resources Online, LLC, https://www.literatureplace.com ,has shared a 65-book list of award-winning fiction books which she calls “Today’s Classics”. Find that list here: http://www.amonco.org/summer6/montessori_summer6.pdf

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Georgette of Cantemos Bilingual Books and Music, http://www.simplespanishsongs , recommends the following stories:

As the grandmother of four children under the age of 6, I love to read to them the book, Everybody Poops, by Taro Gomi. It results in giggles, but also in engrossed listeners. This book is used in Japanese schools; and it informs children that creatures that eat, poop. Some do it in the water, while on the move, in diapers or in the toilet. It is educational not only because it makes a body function a normal topic of conversation, but it includes drawings of wild animals and their names. My grandchildren, clamor for it, sit close, laugh and learn. Ah, if every learning experience were that fun! This book can be used for kindergarten through 6th grade.

Lucas and His Loco Beans, by Ramona Winner, is a story about a boy whose grandfather shows and explains about Mexican Jumping Beans. This educational story is written in rhyme and introduces Spanish words. It also gives a complete explanation of how a moth lays her eggs in a flower, and the larva end up in the seeds. The feeding of the larva is what causes the motion of the bean. This book is good for kindergarten through 6th grade.

You can also check out Georgette’s own chapter book, Andy and the Gold Mine. Here is a description of the book in Georgette’s own words, and an activity she has provided for your students. 

Andy and the Gold Mine introduces California gold mining in a true story adventure. Ten year old Andy spends summers in Randsburg, CA. One year, after a harrowing encounter with a rattlesnake in an abandoned mine, Andy finds the Butte Mine. Jake, an experienced miner shows Andy how to crush rock and rinse the powdered stone to find the specks of gold. Students can be shown where Randsburg, CA is, and learn about a town that had one of the most abundant gold mines of the time.

The story ends with young Andy, taking his gold dust to the General Store. The store manager pockets the gold vial and puts a few coins in the register. A complete discussion about honesty can be started or students can speculate about what really took place.  Ages 8-11

ACTIVITY- students could each bring in a rock about the size of their fist, sit out in the playground, crush the rocks with rubber mallets (while wearing protective glasses), put the powder in Styrofoam bowls with water, swirl it around, allowing the large sediment to settle to the bottom and experience the type of work done by young Andy who in the end (with much trial and error) did find some gold dust.

Read the second part of this two part article by pointing your browser to

AMC Montessori Summer Hands-On Newsletter Part 4

 

About Sara L. Ambarian

Copyright 2014

All Rights Reserved.

Website: http://condortales.com/bridestouch.html

Sara L. Ambarian is an author, designer, illustrator, wife and mother with professional and personal experience in a wide range of subjects, including: arts and crafts, fashion, weddings, homeschooling, cooking, nature, and travel.

With summer reading season coming up, we asked the American Montessori Consulting Primary Recommended Resource Center partners http://www.amonco.org/resource_topic.html to share with us some of their favorite children’s books. Here are the recommendations and some comments of the business people who responded.
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Creative Music and Art Spring Lesson Planning

Spring is literally days away, so take a moment now, to look through your upcoming lesson plans for the months ahead.   Do some of your art and music lessons seem stale?  If so, read below.  Even if you think you have everything perfectly planned, you will want to peruse the following resources.  You may just find some unique ideas or resources that you might want to use this springtime.

 Music and Dance Resources

Have you thought about teaching dance to your toddler and preschool age children?  If you experience trepidation at the thought of doing this, fear no more!!  Gari Stein will fearlessly take you through the steps needed to feel confident while making the dance presentations.   In no time at all, you will be confident in teaching your students dance steps for May Day and other springtime celebrations. .  See “What? Me Teach Dance?” http://www.little-folks-music.com/what.htm  to get started today.

May Day Related Dance and Music Resources

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/mayday.htm May Day Traditions and Customs in England

 http://www.pecentral.org/lessonideas/ViewLesson.asp?ID=10049#.UycpgV5aO0c May Day Dance Lesson Ideas Preschool – Grade 5

More Montessori Spring-Themed Music Lesson Planning Ideas

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Spring Song

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Signs of Spring

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

Sounds of Spring

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-29-day-2/

The Seed Story Play

http://handsonhomeschooler.com/2013/08/music-discovery-tables-for-kids.html

Music Discovery Tables for Kids

http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/beethovenswig4

Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies

beethovenswig4

Each of the Beethoven’s Wig CDs has featured a new twist and Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies is no exception, as it celebrates classical music for dance. Included are pieces written for the two-step, ballet, waltz, polka, minuet, rondeau, habenera and march. Creator-lyricist Richard Perlmutter has widened his focus on the classics to include such notable composers as Scott Joplin and John Philip Sousa along with favorites like Bach, Tchaikovsky and Strauss.

http://www.singnlearn.com/Item/267

Best Loved Stories in Song and Dance

http://kimboed.com/babyballetcd.aspx#.UyctT15aO0c

Baby Ballet

A wonderful introduction for children to the world of ballet, designed for ages four through six. Complete barre and center work. All tracks have repeats. Plies, Tendus, Coupe Passe, Grand Battement, Port De Bras, Saute, Spring Points, Chasse and more.

season_sings

http://kimboed.com/seasonsings.aspx#.UycuKl5aO0c

New!  Season Sings

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall -30 active songs from Hat & Jacket, Pants & Boots to Jump in Puddles, Spring Flowers, 10 Little Goblins. All fun and developmentally appropriate for early childhood teachers & kids! 29 songs

 http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf

GO GREEN! Integrated Action/Music/Literature Activities

Download free French, Spanish, German, Italian and
Chinese songs with translations

http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf

Art Resources

Draw some life into your springtime cart lesson planning projects

Your first stop should be to Excellence in Education.

http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=EIE&Category_Code=ARTSUP

EIE Art Supplies

EIE

http://www.excellenceineducation.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=EIE&Category_Code=CRFT

Crafts Kits and Supplies

Springtime and Holiday Art Lesson Planning Resources

 With Mother’s Day and summer camp just around the corner, it’s time to think of some fun group craft projects.  Bountiful Spinweave offers pootholder looms, backstrap looms, and knitting kits etc.    See http://bountifulspinweave.com/kids-page.php#.UyczuV5aO0c

sch_mini_loom_sm

http://prekandksharing.blogspot.com/2013/05/montessori-inspired-flower-math-activities.html

Flower Activity

http://beautifulsunmontessori.blogspot.com/2009/04/color-theory.html

Color Theory

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2011/04/studying-artists-and-their-works-in.html#.Uydb315aOvs

Studying Artists and their Works in the Montessori Classroom

http://www.justmontessori.com/montessori-curriculum/week-31-day-5/

Mondrian Art

http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Crayon Resist Projects

http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Flower Themes, Flowers in Art Picture-A-Day and Time Lapse Photography Ideas

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2009/04/easter-and-springtime-integrating.html#.UydaZV5aOvs

Easter and Springtime Activities

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/03/montessori-easter-activities-ukrainian-eggs-pysanky.html#.UydbJ15aOvs

Montessori Easter Activities

http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Making Grass-Eggshell People

http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Marble Design Paper

http://montessoritraining.blogspot.com/2013/04/adding-new-works-to-montessori-environment-spring.html#.Uyda0F5aOvs

Nature Art

Looking for some additional interdisciplinary spring themed lesson planning ideas? Please see https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/spring-into-reading-writing-and-other-expressions-2/ Spring into Reading, Writing and Other Expressions.

Enjoy!
Heidi Anne Spietz
www.amonco.org

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Let the Games Begin!

This coming spring, light up your hands-on lesson plans with games.  See how easily games can be used with many of your existing Montessori presentations.    Take a moment now to look at some resources you may not have even considered.  You’ll notice that I have included a short quoted snyopsis in each of the recommended resources below.  Hopefully, this will save you time, as you search for the perfect games to add to your existing curricuum. 

Spring is the the perfect time to prevent lessons about nature and the environment.  Montessori Muddle has some innovative ideas of how to introduce games and other actiivities into the ecology and food-web presesntations. http://montessorimuddle.org/tag/environmental-science/  

Make the study of food chains come alive with Ampersand Press Nature’s Food Chain Game.  “Step into the forest and discover the fascinating world of natural food chains.  Cards represent animals and plants that are found in the forest.  Each card lists what the animal eats and what it is eaten by.  The game works just like the natural food relationships in the forest with players “eating” and being “eaten” just as they would be in the wild.  Rules include several versions to play.” 

Perhaps you are in the process of presenting lessons on biomes, as a logical extension of the Montessori Land and Water Form http://www.lordequip.com/land water.php exercises.   If so, consider the ones offered by Ampersand Press.  Children are offered 7 ways to play the Onto the Desert Game.   “Take a wild trek onto the desert.  Beautifully illustrated cards represent plants and animals that are found in the desert.  Element cards represent the powerful forces of nature.  Reveal the awesome balance of nature as you follow the chain of life in the desert.”  See http://www.ampersandpress.com/page2.html  for additional information. 

G300OntoTheDesert

For additional wildlife and nature extension exercises, visit Birdcage Press http://www.birdcagepress.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=3

 There you will find a collection of “wild card” games and book sets that are known to increase, memory, concentration, reading, visual processing and strategic thinking.  Topics include the following: North American Birds, Backyard Birds, Baby Animals Around the World, 52 Amazing Places National Parks, Dinosaurs, For the Love of Dogs, For the Love of Cats, North American Mammals, Bugs!,  and Who’s Hiding?

501-2T

Childsake also offers many excellent educational resources for those preparing presentations about the environment.  One book that is ure to catch your eye is the  Eco-Fun: Great Projects, and Games for a Greener Earth.

 In the forward to his book, scientist David Suzuki writes, “This book contains activities that will help you see and experience the world in a different way, bring you into contact with nature, and remind you that you are a child of the Earth.” Through a variety of fun-filled and intriguing eco-related activities, he encourages readers to get to know their world by working with air, water, soil, energy, plants and animals. The projects, experiments and games help understand the various elements, their role and interconnection as well as show how they are being damaged by recent human activity. This collection includes projects to create miniature forest ecosystems, make recycled paper and a veggie chili, measure air pollution and create a solar water heater, build wormeries and worm composters and make “green” household cleaners.  See http://www.childsake.com for additional information. To order, visit http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1550548239/childsake

Let’s not forget the younger set.  Fun Felt offers a nice selection of felt activity books that can be used in conjunction with games for preschoolers.  Fun Felt’s Toggle Books are 8.5″ x 11″ felt covered hard adventure books with interactive felt figures that teach early learning skills, similar to file folder games preschools use. “They are named Toggles because the book has a wide seam and folds in either direction!  Each set comes with felt covered book, felt figures, lessons, worksheets, activities, and reproducible art.   Perfect for the car, quiet time, and centers at school!”  Currently, Fun Felt is offering the following environmental themed books: Bees and Hives, Dino Days, Ducks on the Pond, and In the Jungle Toggle Books. To view the complete selection, visit  http://www.funfelt.com/toggles.html

funfelt

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 conatins 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. The resource guide, by Dr. Pam Schiller, includes creative activities and 2 literature links per song, that reinforce the important purpose of this kid-friendly, Earth-friendly, CD. The Wind; I’m Going To Plant a Garden; Cultivate, Germinate, Irrigate, Relocate; It’s Everyone’s World; My Kite; My Chance To Dance; My Brother, The Whale and more.”

KIM9318CD

 

Look for the Guide/Extension Activities by Dr. Pam Schiller in the soon to be released AMC Montessori Spring Newsletter. 

 As you can see, movement and Montessori go hand in hand. 

Let’s look at two rather unique resources you can use in your school or home classroom. 

The Learning-Success™Institute continues to offer products and services that bring out the star in every child!  Kids who are tactile-kinesthetic,whole body learners, and/or like basketball will love the Basketall & Whole Body Memorizing activity.  Check out this free game and activity by pointing your browser to http://www.amonco.org/summer2/montessori summer2.pdf

Combine movement and music with the Music for Little Folks resources.  Gari Stein offers many different types of resources plus  a complete curriculum package for those preschoolers. Click on http://www.little-folks-music.com/CDs.htm  to learn more about this fun movement activities and songs, as well as additional products and resources.

Did you know that you could easily integrate a “game” into your Montessori reading music presentations?   Read the post http://www.whatdidwedoallday.blogspot.com/2013/03/montessori-music-reading-music.html  on What DID We Do All Day?  to access the lesson plus discover additional fun Montessori music based activiities found at this blog.

Why not create some Montessori math games using the following resources?

The LORD Equipment Company offers a free curriculum guide for the Money and Math Bank Game.

“From an early age, children are fascinated with money a they see the interchange at the grocery, at the bank, and changing hand a part of day to day transaction.. They observe with fascinaIon the feeding of money to countless machine that produce treasure of candy, drinks, gum, and game that challenge youthful energy at mega pizza parlors. This high interest factor suggest a natural learning opportunity, capitalizing on children’s enthusiasm. Money become a natural tool for their practice and exploration of basic math and economic concepts.

The Curriculum Guide for the Money and Math Bank (M&M Bank) s designed to be used in classrooms, club groups, faith based programs, or a a family project.  The M&M Bank is an instructional tool for teaching children basic concept about money and the economic fundamental of spending, saving, invesIng, and giving.” 

For complete information about the Money and Math Game please visit http://www.lordequp.com    To download the curriculum introduction and lessons, please visit http://www.lordequip.com/images/MMbank.pdf   You can view students working with the Money and Math Bank game by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2JQ0ai9x8I

If you are looking for a new math app, check out the newest one from Hands-On Equations http://borenson.com   Download the free lite version called The Fun Way to Learn Algebra for the Kindle http://www.amazon.com/The-Fun-Way-Learn-Algebra/dp/B00H3DSEKU/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390673188&sr=8-2-fkmr0&   “Post a comment and rating on the Amazon Appstore, copy your comment to info@borenson.com and we (Hands-On Equations) will gift the Hands-On Equations app of your choice.”

 Visit the Homemade Montessori http://homemademontessori.blogspot.com/2008/12/math-games.html blog for some additional ideas to use with your existing Montessori math curriculum. 

The Winter 2014 Olympics,  https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/2014-winter-olympics-lesson-planning/ allow children to watch thousands of athletes engaged in competition in a friendly, uplifting environment.

To help reinforce this cooperativeness of the Olympics use the Cooperative Games Lesson Ideas from The Creative Process.  “Cooperative games provide a shared experience of problem solving and achievement, and thus encourage repeat experiences throughout life.”

By using the The Everybody Stand Up (or Sit-Down) Together  and Arm Wrestling for Raisins, http://www.netposterworks.com/resources/curideas/cooperative-games.html   children learn the art of cooperation.  Interesting enough, theses games were played at the World Celebration Camp, an off-shoot of the World Peace Celebration http://www.creativeprocess.net/peace/

Whether you are tutoring in a one-to-one learning environment or  presenting lessons in a classroom setting, chances are using one or more of these recommended games will add a new dimension to your lessons.  In so doing, you will be helping to make your student(s) learning experiences more meaningful. 

Enjoy!
Heidi Anne Spietz
www.amonco.org

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