2014 - All Wrapped Up

When I began this blog back in June I really wasn't sure where it would take me and how long it would last.

To be honest I am still finding my feet and trying to balance work, family, life and my desire to share. Some days I feel I would like to start fresh and I reflect on what that might look like and whether or not I would let this stand or take what I am happy with over to a new venue. Other days I feel the process is what it is and things are starting to take shape and I should let things be.

Behind the scenes I have a long list of draft posts ranging from theory based discussion (e.g. Montessori & Steiner Compared) to classification of botany and zoology. Some are half written, some are just two lines of notes. Something to work on in my spare (ahem) time.

I want to say a big thank you to Living Montessori NowWhat DID We Do All DayMaking Montessori Ours, Study at Home Mama, A Montessori Lexicon, The Learning Ark, Rogue Montessori, Vibrant Wanderings and my readers and followers for your support.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Parts of a Fruit - Parts of the Pear

I mentioned in an earlier post I am in the process of going through my albums and updating some materials.

I am rather pleased with my new parts of the fruit nomenclature and definition cards that in the spirit of Christmas giving I thought I would share them.

I have created two sets - one with the traditional yellow edge for fruit (ready to put onto green card) and one with out. Because I have put everything into the one file (nomenclature, definitions and blackline sheet) the file is on the large side (1MB) - you REALLY need a smaller file let me know through the contact form.

I have also made the cards with a choice of titles - either "parts of fruit" or "parts of a pear" - your preference.

For the file with the traditional yellow border click HERE.
For the file with a plain border click HERE.

I will look forward to sharing photo's of these in action along with a control booklet in the new year.

Happy Holidays!

Linking to Montessori Monday 

Montessori Monday

Vocabulary Building

Spelling words should definitely be student driven, and many of my colleagues like to balance a selection of student driven words with words that are immediately meaningful to them - words from their prepared environment.

This integration of language and all of the other learning areas is a fundamental aspect of the cosmic curriculum at work. No learning area is in isolation of another, they are all connected, and language is the key to all learning.

I have created some cards with vocabulary words from the various learning areas to incorporate into the classroom. They could be printed onto coloured card, but I prefer plain white for spelling. Although they are grouped by learning area, I am taking a selection of words from each area based on what various children in the class are working on and placing them on the shelf (I have a box earmarked to house them in but I am also considering a clear canister for this purpose as well). Alternatively they could all be put in a large jar, like fishbowl words, for children to choose freely.

A fun activity, especially as a start of the year team building exercise, is to take a selection of words that would be good to act out, place them in a jar or box and invite the children to play charades.

These lists are primarily targeted for upper elementary, but lower elementary children may also benefit from incorporating these words into their spelling repertoire. I think the children also benefit from this as it may act as a form of revision and can lead to discussion and spark a re-interest in some learning areas.

Please note in the biology set that both protista and protoctista appear - please choose according to which your class follows.

Language list, Math list, Geometry list, Biology list, History list and Geography list

What do you do in your elementary learning environment to enrich spelling and vocabulary?

Collective Nouns

Sometime after discussing concrete and abstract nouns, and possibly even after discussing masculine and feminine nouns, the child can be introduced to collective nouns.

Invite the child to identify an object (have something prepared that you have several of) and briefly revise nouns and how everything has a name.

Then introduce the collection of items.

Some children may want to keep going with this work as they may enjoy matching the collective noun with the noun.

You can find my collective noun cards HERE and in list form HERE. You could use the list as the control of error (alternatively you can write the animal type on the reverse side of the animal card before laminating).

I think it is also important, either in the same lesson or in a follow up, to illustrate that collective nouns are not limited to animals (although they are often the more interesting examples). There are fleets of ships, bouquets of flowers, bunches of bananas and so forth. The children often have a lot of fun exploring the language of collective nouns and many will want to research more examples.

You may also be interested in THIS POST

External Parts of the Body

I am getting closer to finishing this series of materials (external parts of humans) and in the grand scheme of things it may feel insignificant, and possibly nowhere near as exciting as some of the other work to be found in the 6-9 classroom. Yet it is important as it lays the foundation for the internal parts of humans, which comes after and in greater detail in the 9-12 classroom.

The external parts of the body would be the starting point of this work, while the other sets (e.g. parts of the arm, parts of the face, parts of the mouth, etc.) follow this work and the child goes into more focus.

I have noticed that the six years olds entering the class are keen to get to the internal organs, especially when they see the 3D model and how the older children take out the organs and put it back together like a puzzle. Ultimately a lot of this work should be revision, consolidating concepts the child already knows.

I have created three part cards outlining twelve main parts of the body. I have them in black and white and in red highlight.

I have also created a labelled chart and a mute chart to accompany the cards that I am sharing here.

Updated 10/6/2015 - I have taken the time to tidy up the image used for this material, I first drew it during my training, so you can now find the labelled and mute chart HERE. I will also update the three part cards when I find time.

I find a manikin from the art area can also add an extra element to the initial lesson and follow up work.


Linked to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now

Multiples of Numbers

When learning various aspects of numbers (e.g. factors, multiples, prime numbers, lowest common multiples, etc.) and moving from the concrete towards the abstract, the Multiples of Numbers chart is introduced.

By this stage the child has mastered skip counting and for the most part knows their times tables.

The first presentation includes bead chains and arrows.  

Ask the child to lay out the chain of five and lay out the arrows. Have the child read the labels. Explain to the child each number has a special name, it is called a multiple. These are the multiples of five. 

Ask the child to show you a number, e.g. 35 - ask how many fives are needed to make 35 and count them. Do this again with some other numbers.

On another occasion explain to the student that you are going to make a record of all the multiples of 2.

Starting at 1, count 1,2 and circle 2 with a coloured pencil (I like to stay with the bead colours) and continue 1,2 and circle 4 and so forth until you reach 100.

Once the child has done a single page for each number over time and has had a lot of practice, she can then go on to do multiples of numbers for two different numbers on the one sheet.

Eventually the child will build up to finding the multiples for all of the numbers 2 - 10 on one sheet. It is important to leave this exercise until last as you want the child to build up to the discoveries they will make in the relationships between numbers.

You can download the multiples of numbers sheet HERE.

The Great River

A friend of mine requested a copy of The Great River Chart from our training the other day. When I pulled it out I realised it was a black and white one and quite blurry so I decided to recreate it.

I have made a blank (mute) chart:

Continent Pockets & Research Cards

Today I have been making pockets for research cards that I have started making.

First I have taken thick paper (100gsm - but you can use what ever you think your laminator is capable of handling) and folded each piece about a thumbs space less than half (this will make sense when you see the finished product).

Shades of Meaning - Introducing Synonyms

After the introduction of the verb, the child can be introduced to synonyms. This is a more exact form of the 'command' games the children are familiar with.

A box labelled 'Synonyms' or 'Shades of Meaning' is introduced. Inside the box are several bundles of verbs, each bundle contains a series of verbs similar in nature, hence "shades of meaning" as the child develops a sense of awareness in differentiating subtle differences in similar words.

Geometry & Ancient Languages

One thing I have noticed with the AMS geometry albums that I have seen - and please correct me if I am wrong! - is that they do not seem to use the geometry cabinet for the study of plane figures. This is the traditional starting point of geometry work in the 6-9 classroom.

Aesthetics and the Prepared Environment

During my training and studies one thing that really stuck a chord with me personally about the prepared environment was the idea of aesthetics.

Upper Primary classroom courtesy of Lincolnshire Montessori 

     "The child should live in an environment of beauty"
                                                        - Dr Maria Montessori

Continuing with Fractions

Following on from my previous post on introducing fractions, the next key experience covers the concept of the whole - moving from the concrete experience of the golden bead representing a whole to the red circle as seen in the fraction insets.

The child should spend time labelling the fractions circles.

The Adjective and the Detective Triangle Game

Following the key adjective lesson there are a variety of activities that the child can undertake, including the Logical Adjective Game, to cement their understanding.

The Detective Adjective Game (some refer to it as the Detective Triangle Games) is another activity that also consolidates the concept of the adjective and it can be used in a variety of ways. The initial presentation of this material is given by the teacher. It highlights the importance of adjectives and speaking precisely.

This first presentation is as a group activity and is suitable for children who have had experiences with the adjective and have discovered the seven triangles of reality through their geometry work.

It begins with the teacher/directress asking, in a lively way, a child for a triangle. The child may hand the teacher a medium triangle, and the teacher responds by saying "no, I did not want a medium triangle" and then all the medium triangles are taken away. The teacher then asks another child for a triangle, who may hand over an acute isosceles triangle to which the teacher responds "no, I did not want an acute isosceles triangle" and so forth until there is only one triangle left on the table.

Hope4Me has a printable version  of the Detective Adjective Game (two in fact, one which is in colour ready to print and another template which can be printed onto coloured card - they can be found here) along with a control chart.

I have made some word labels in both print and cursive. They can be used as a matching activity or as a language activity, I have also seen some people use them like command cards. You could have children taking turns in reading the labels and finding the correct triangle.

There are many possibilities and it is always interesting to see how the children utilise them. The children can also use them to practice their grammar symbols by writing out the cards and drawing the symbols above.

It is an excellent cross-curricula activity, it is fun and gives the brain a good work out! It can even be a bit of a tongue-tie for me :)

You can find my PRINT labels HERE.
You can find my CURSIVE labels HERE

Introducing Fractions

After the key lesson for introducing the concept of fractions we then go on to start providing the language aspect.

For this presentation I use a narrow strip of black paper, labels for 'denominator' and 'numerator' and corresponding number and word cards. I also like to write on strips of paper at the conclusion of the lesson.

Firstly we explain to the child that there are two parts of the fraction to understand. The number under the black line is called the denominator. The denominator is the family name - it tells us how many members belong to that family.

The numerator is above the line and tells us how many of the family are present.

We then produce the corresponding numeral over the denominators:

We then continue with the rest of the three period lesson by asking the children to show the denominator, asking what numerators do, etc. To finish we show the child how we write these:

Revision of this lesson is required before moving on to the next presentation.

You can find a PDF file of the labels that can be used for this lesson, and any extensions, here. After this lesson the children can practice matching them and even writing them if they like.

I hope to make some booklets soon that I can share with you all :)

Introducing the Article

Introducing the definite and indefinite articles with the use of objects.

It is important with this initial lesson, as mentioned in previous posts, that we handwrite the words in front of the child - a black pen and a red pen are required for this presentation. Have a variety of objects on hand for the lesson: