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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.

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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.

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

A make-your-own kaleidoscope kit.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Spring into Reading, Writing and Other Expressions

Good language skills are important for children, both for learning and for self-expression.  Children are especially receptive to language-related learning during what’s called the “sensitive period of language” between birth and about six years old.  (For more on this subject, please see: http://www.amonco.org/spring6/montessori_spring6.pdf )

Take advantage of this absorbent period of your students’ lives with lots of time in conversation and reading aloud.

Poetry has interesting rhythms and repetitions to engage and enchant young listeners.  Look for poetry books in your local library, or get started with some spring-themed poetry here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poems/spring/

For more read-aloud fun, look through these suggestions of spring-themed books.

http://www.readingrockets.org/articles/books/c346/

http://theoaklandjournal.com/childrens-book-reviews/spring-chrildrens-book-reviews/

http://suite101.com/article/5-spring-themed-books-for-children-a95709

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/526716-may-2011-spring-time-theme-master-list-and-general-discussion

Combine reading and writing practice in a non-traditional way with Nan Barchowsky’s “Make Your Own Illustrated Favorite Foods and Recipes Notebook”. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

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For another educational “twist”, consider these biography projects that aren’t traditional informational narratives, in “It’s Time to Think Outside the Book and Kindle, Too! from Literatureplace.com.  http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Additional new resources to look at include:

https://www.literatureplace.com/Start_with_the_Winners/awards_institution.asp  Link to Institution Awards

https://www.literatureplace.com/Start_with_the_Winners/awards_yrc.asp   LInk to Young Readers’ Choice Awards

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On a related subject, check out these non-traditional book report ideas which give students options in how they share their impressions of the books they read.  http://ksumail.kennesaw.edu/~jcope/Eng3391/ABRIdeas.pdf

http://teachnet.com/lessonplans/language-arts/more-ideas-than-ever-book-reports/

Have some fun making books with the children in your life.  For details, see http://www.amonco.org/fall_sup1.html

Anytime is a good time to reinforce children’s interest and proficiency in language skills, so why not try something new today?!

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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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Celebrate Spring with Fresh Arts and Crafts Projects

The colors and images we associate with spring are delightfully inspirational for creative projects. Why not celebrate the season with some fun art and craft projects and studies!

Make a lovely picture (and write a story, too) with Draw Your World’s free swan drawing lesson. http://www.drawyourworld.com/blog/swan-lesson-draw-write-now.html

draw_write_now_6

Even young students can try Mr. Kindergarten’s umbrella painting as a rainy day art project. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDH4VUoYzFI

A teacher or parent can treat students to cute Easter-themed face paintings with these easy instructions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9FuKVr_MKg

Find a wide variety of miscellaneous arts and crafts for spring at these sites.  http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/spring/art.htm

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/spring/

http://www.thecraftycrow.net/easter/

For a fun craft project that then becomes a fun learning tool, check out FunFelt’s instructions for making your own flannel board.  http://www.fun-activities-for-kids.com/how-to-make-a-flannel-board

flannel-board-wrap-front

Ruth Dilts Design offers free needlepoint coaster instructions for children. These would be a fun project for a Mother’s Day gift, or to use for an Easter gathering. http://www.amonco.org/ruthdiltsdesign1.jpg

For inspiration (or maybe to display and sell some of your own work?) check for spring arts and crafts festivals in your area.  http://www.festivals.com/arts_crafts_collectibles.aspx?cid=3

The Easter story has been the inspiration for many old and famous artworks.  View a variety of Easter-inspired pieces, as well as some holiday history and some other fun links, here: http://incredibleart.org/links/easter.html

A Ukrainian Easter tradition is pysanky, detailed decorated Easter eggs created using a traditional wax-resist method. This is truly art on an egg, and has a long historical tradition. http://www.pbase.com/m4/eggs&page=all  Older children and adults can try their hand with these free instructions, and learn more about the origins and symbolism of the eggs. http://www.learnpysanky.com/

Peter Carl Fabergé was a very talented jeweler who is most famous for beautiful egg-shaped artworks made for the last two czars of Russia. See some of his most famous works here: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/pics-the-best-of-peter-carl-faberges-exquisite-eggs/262919-11.html

Now that you have been inspired, create some spring-themed art of your own!

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Easter-Themed Montessori Lessons and Links

As Easter nears, here are some fun and educational ideas for students young and old.

Get in the swing of holiday lessons with some Easter and Passover vocabulary practice from Stillsonworks’ Middle School word puzzles. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Georgette Baker from Cantemos tells you how to make a fun and festive hat from newspaper or butcher paper, as well as an easy tie-dye Easter egg project. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Another way to create bright, beautiful and artistic eggs is with Doc Hinkle’s Original Paint-On Egg Coloring Kit.  This American-made kit has been fun for children 5 and up since 1893.  http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/Catalog/Food_&_Candy/Easter_Treats/Doc_Hinkle_Egg_Coloring_Kits_%28Set_of_2%29/H3006

While eggs are on kids’ minds (and often on sale!), why not use eggs for some fun kitchen science. You will find lots of great ideas in the late Kathy Reilly’s “Exploring Eggs: Food-Related Activities”. http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Are Hot Cross Buns a tradition in your household? If they are, or if you would like to start including them, Joy of Baking has a history, recipe and how-to video to help you get started. http://www.joyofbaking.com/breakfast/HotCrossBuns.html

Mary Ann Esposito’s Ciao Italia also offers a similar presentation for casatiello, a traditional Neapolitan meat-and-cheese-stuffed Easter bread with whole eggs baked in. What child would not be fascinated by that? http://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/20/2020/neapolitan-stuffed-easter-bread

If Easter brings you some warm weather, why not try your hand at some home-made ice cream? Try Ron from Intelli-Tunes ‘ “Home-Made Ice Cream in a Bag for Two”, which uses common household items and some people power to churn up this cool treat. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf  If you like, you can top it off with “Hot Fudge Topping” from a yummy recipe submitted by Larry at Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf

Looking for a fun holiday outing? If the weather cooperates, how about some kite-flying? Get more ideas in “Up, Up, and Away: The Art and Science of Kite Flying”. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

If there’s no wind, or your students like a more scientific, less-active outing, get some great ideas from Don and Diana from Nature’s Workshop Plus’ “Delighting in Discovering Little Things”. http://www.amonco.org/creative/montessori_fall4.pdf  You could also pack a new field guide into their Easter basket to help get them started on their observations. http://www.workshopplus.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=19

What better time is there than Easter to discuss concepts of peace and harmony? Rae from The Creative Process helps you get the conversation started with Edward Hicks’ well-known painting, “The Peaceable Kingdom”. She also shares some great resources for studying and enjoying flowers in art. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Need some special goodies as holiday treats or to fill up your Easter baskets? In these tough economic times, how about making your plans include some home-made goodies, thrifty substitutions, and goods manufactured right here in the United States?

Nan Barchowsky’s Peanut Butter Fudge is a yummy, family-friendly treat which also comes with handwriting practice. http://www.amonco.org/Recipe.pdf

Not a peanut butter fan? How about trying your hand at “Farmer’s Favorite Fudge” from our friends at the Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/winter6/montessori_winter6.pdf

For more ideas for making goodies for and/or with children, check out these websites: http://www.candyusa.com/FunStuff/ForKids.cfm , http://allrecipes.com/recipes/holidays-and-events/easter/candy/top.aspx,  http://www.homebaking.org/index.html (great educator resources here) ,http://www.chsugar.com/familyfun/baking.html ,

For unusual and nostalgic candies, check out Victory Seed Company’s Old-Time Candy Store. From wax teeth to sassafras candy to Teaberry gum, they have many fun varieties; and profits from your purchase go to support the preservation of rare and heirloom seed varieties.  http://www.victoryseeds.com/candystore.html

Still looking for more sweets and goodies? http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/blog/easter-keep-it-made-usa , http://www.americansworking.com/candy.html , http://www.b4usa.com/category/candy-2

The Peterborough Basket Company has more than 150 years of history weaving baskets in  Peterborough, New Hampshire. If you want to invest in a basket that will be useful after Easter, or perhaps become a family heirloom, these baskets are gorgeous and sturdy, and they support a historic American business. http://www.peterborobasket.com/c-11-easter-baskets.aspx

You will find lots more thrifty and creative ideas for Easter baskets and fillings here: http://www.livingonadime.com/easter-basket-ideas , http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf000796.tip.html, and http://www.stretcher.com/stories/01/010402g.cfm .

Finally, visit  http://fromthesheepfold.blogspot.com/2011/05/practical-life-exercises-for-easter.html to see the practical life exercises in the Good Shepherd Atrium for Easter.

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Spring Forward with Hands On Lesson Planning

Please visit https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/spring-forward-2013-with-timely-lesson-planning-ideas/ for the updated 2013 issue!

Enjoy!

Heidi Anne Spietz
http://www.amonco.org

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Montessori Style Spring Kitchen and Garden Sciences

Basically everything we cook in the kitchen is an experiment –or potential lesson– in science. Even kitchen “failures”, such as burned or moldy foods, can provide interesting “teachable moments”, if you are in that mindset.  Food preparation is also an invaluable practical life skill for nurturing the bodies and souls of ourselves and those around us. The more children understand both the science and art of cooking, and the more comfortable and familiar they become with kitchen and garden activities, the better able they will be to master and enjoy this important part of daily life.

For some children, formal experiments may be more interesting that “regular” cooking.  For some fun study ideas about eggs, refer to Kathy O’Reilly’s “Exploring Eggs—Food Related Activities” here: http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf

Eggs are a very interesting and versatile food and science object.  Find more experiments using eggs below. http://www.hometrainingtools.com/kitchen-science-newsletter/a/1295/ http://www.sandiegozoo.org/education/science_eggs_float.html, http://www.homebaking.org/KitchenScience.pdf and http://www.twohelmets.com/2009/08/eggs-and-copper-bowls-kitchen-science.html

You can also have lots of fun and scientific learning with ice cubes.  The fine folks at Fun Felt share quite a few ideas here: http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf

Some students will find recipes more inspiring than experiments, often because of the incentive of eating the results. (I think most of us can understand that!)  If the children in your care are so inclined, try some of these fun recipes.  “Fresh Off the Cob Casserole” or “Hot Fudge Topping” from Larry at the Farm Country General Store. http://www.amonco.org/spring7/montessori_spring7.pdf  “Home-made Ice Cream in a Bag” from Ron at Intellitunes http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf and Nan Barchowsky’s “Yummy Peanut Butter Fudge” http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Between activities, help children keep track of their cooking projects and practice their penmanship at the same time with Nan from Barchowsky’s Fluent Handwriting’s project idea, “Make Your Own Illustrated Favorite Foods and Recipes Notebook”. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf

Gardening can be a useful and enjoyable extension of both cooking and other kitchen sciences. Garden Artisans’ Catherine Hartridge offers many good ideas to help you get started gardening with children. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Dale Gausman from North American Montessori Center also provides some additional neat insights on gardening with children in his article, “Spring Is Here – Planting a Flower Garden”. http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf

If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can still try some indoor gardening.  Look at Dale’s cute “Grass-Eggshell People” project. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf

Perhaps the easiest indoor gardening of all is growing edible sprouts.  There is no soil or fertilizer to handle, and you need only very basic, inexpensive (or sometimes free) equipment. Sara L. Ambarian gives you the details you need to get started in her article, “Home-grown ‘Fast Food’ for Busy Families”.  http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf

Find more useful tips and ideas for gardening with children at these sites.

https://montessori21stcentury.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/spring-is-here-time-to-start-your-school-or-home-gardening

http://www.kidsgardening.org/

http://www.whitehutchinson.com/news/learnenews/2009_june/article103.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

 

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