Technical Difficulties

Something happened. I'm not sure what, but I will be working over the holidays to restore what I can from back up.

In the mean time I hope everyone has a safe and happy holidays.

2015 Reflection & Gratitude

I am in disbelief that 2015 is drawing to and end! It has certainly been an interesting year and I am grateful to those of you who taken the time to check out the blog. I hope that you have found some inspiration or something of use here. To think this time last year I was going to call it quits on the blogging front!

I did not quite accomplish what I had hoped this year (I mentioned my goals for 2015 in this post) - but I hope that next year gives me the opportunity to head in this direction. There are changes afoot in my personal life, so it will be interesting to see how they will impact my blogging.

Thank you to my readers and supporters - I enjoy getting your feedback and reading your comments.

I would like to give special thanks to the following blog's for their support and inspiration during the year.

I Believe In Montessori

The Learning Ark

Making Montessori Ours

Living Montessori Now

Mama's Happy Hive

Gift of Curiosity

What DID We Do All Day

A Life Sustained

Child Led Life

Christian Montessori Network

Welcome to Mommyhood

Suzie's Home Education Idea's

Every Star Is Different

Study at Home Mama

A Montessori Lexicon

Our Montessori Life

No Greater Honors

Montessori on a Budget

Teaching From A Tacklebox

And everyone at The Montessori Blogger's Network

Grammar Printables

I have put together a list of all my free printable's for the parts of speech and grammar work from my posts (and a few new ones too) for easy reference.

     common/Proper Nouns sorting cards (*new)

     Collective Nouns 

     Plural Nouns (boxes 1 - 3 are free)

Introducing the Article

Introductory Adjectives (*new)

     Also the Detective Adjective Game
Introductory Verbs

     More Verbs (including 'is' and 'are')

     Also Shades of Meaning (synonym studies through verbs)

Introductory Adverbs

Introducing the Pronoun

Introducing Conjunctions


Grammar Symbols to print and use for symbolic grammar work 


Affordable Grammar Materials:

Pop over to my TeachersPayTeachers store for these affordable grammar materials.

Imaginary Island

Building upon and expanding the child's knowledge of geography concepts, the Imaginary Island is a wonderful example of cosmic education at work as it incorporates geography, maths, mapping, language and a whole host of other applications, depending on what other activities are included. This allows the child to make connections and discover for themselves the interconnectedness of our world.

This work is highly engaging - employing the child's knowledge and imagination simultaneously. Some children are happy to just draw their islands but I have found by adding the element of modelling it with clay or play-dough can add an extra dimension or engage those who are reluctant to explore this work.

We recently used a grid to model our islands on, which provided an opportunity for a couple of students to practice their recent mapping and coordinate skills.

The squares are 4 cm x 4 cm which allows the child to draw a copy more accurately to scale on a sheet of paper with grid squares of 2 cm x 2 cm (I have a file for you to download that you can find for free HERE). After creating the A3 (4 cm x 4 cm) grid I laminated it.

Once the child is happy with their island they can draw it onto their A4 paper grid.

The 'original' Imaginary Island (Tim Seldin's) is a great guide to helping the child think about various aspects of their island. You can also find other sample lessons if you Google "imaginary island" but, in my opinion the original outline to be the best and most comprehensive.

I was hoping that we would put our topographical mapping skills to use with this work and make the models more three dimensional - perhaps next time.

Collective Noun Cards

I was feeling inspired recently and thought that perhaps I could put some of my images to good use.

I created some collective noun matching cards, where the child/children can match the written collective noun to the picture. You could make them as three part cards or simply match the the written card to the picture. You could also make a control set or booklet

I used these the other day with one of my tutoring students who thoroughly enjoyed them, so I am looking forward to introducing them to some of my other students in the near future.

You can find a free sample of 6 cards HERE.
For the full set of 16 cards go HERE.

I have previously posted about collective nouns HERE.

The Interjection

The last of the basic parts of speech lessons! Full disclosure - this is a bit of a rushed post as I have had several requests for the word cards.

For the lesson have strips of sentence paper, a black pen and a gold pen.

Write a simple sentence without the interjection and have the child read it aloud. Then add the interjection and have them read it again.

Discuss the difference in between the two versions.

This is a great way to bring more drama into the classroom as the children can act their interjection word cards for each other and have a lot of fun exploring this work verbally.

For a full introductory lesson take a look at the Language album at Cultivating Dharma

Interjection cards are HERE.

Follow Elementary's board Montessori Language Arts on Pinterest.

Continent Cards

I have been working on a lot of different projects lately - between school commitments, tutoring and assisting my own children with their learning I have been making a variety of materials, clip art and resources.

I am pleased to share with you my continent cards. I was using another set but I was keen to update "Australasia" to "Oceania".

I hope to share some photo's of them in action some time soon.

You can find the file HERE for free.

Linked to Montessori Monday

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Exploring Fungi

Mushroom research and activities

We had an earnest talk about the importance of not touching mushrooms, toadstools or any other fungi in nature as it often requires an expert to identify different fungi correctly.

We examined the different parts of the mushroom and discussed how the partial veil breaks when the mushroom is ready to produce spores.

I made labelled and mute charts available along with nomenclature cards with definitions for exploration and revision.

Links for my materials are at the bottom of this post.

Spore prints

We made spore prints of some mushrooms. This gave the children an idea of just how many spores a mushroom can release.

You will need:
  • Some mushrooms (not button mushrooms) with healthy, large gills.
  • A piece of smooth paper - you can use coloured paper and lay a few mushrooms out in an interesting pattern/arrangement
  • A bowl large enough to cover the mushrooms laid out on the paper
  • Fixative for after (leave the mushroom under the bowl for at least 24 hours)

You can see a tutorial HERE.

I was hoping to make these paper mache toadstools, but we ran out of time so I will bank it for next time.

Mould research and activities

Again we discussed the importance of safety when dealing with mould, including washing hands and not putting anything mouldy near your face.

We have started doing some experiments with bread mould. Firstly we sealed pieces of bread in zip lock bags. We ran two concurrent experiments - dry bread versus wet bread and dark environment versus light environment.

We observed the colour of the mould and charted its growth each day - keeping a log for recording the changes and growth.

It was interesting to watch the change once the mould became visible. We were careful to put each sample back exactly the way we found it - this led to the discovery of dry window sample was growing mould on the underside of the bread only (hence the above pictures being label down).

I created some materials for expanding on some of the aspects of mould. I am sharing these for free.

FREE mould labelled and mute charts can be found HERE (includes a set with the US spelling of 'mold')

If you would like to use my FREE observation sheet, it is HERE, I also have another generic one HERE.

You can find my mushroom nomenclature and definition cards HERE and the labelled and mute charts HERE. I have also made a definition booklet which is available HERE. Or buy the whole bundle HERE.

For other resources and extension ideas take a look at my Mycology Pinterest Board

Follow Elementary's board Mycology on Pinterest.

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Studying Sharks

There has been some interest in sharks around here lately.

We looked at some shark cards that I found at the Natural Beach Living blog, which you can find HERE - there are some other fun activities to be found on that post as well. You can find more shark picture cards at Every Star Is Different, you can find them HERE.

There was some research and discussion about the parts of the shark and types of sharks.

I have previously shared my parts of the shark nomenclature for free HERE.

I created some great white shark taxonomy cards for an older child, which put all my zoology drawings to good use.

I am offering this file for FREE for a LIMITED TIME - you can find the file HERE. 

We used them with my free taxonomy title cards which you can find HERE.

I also have mute and labelled charts, definition cards and master sheet available HERE. (Note the nomenclature cards are also bundled with this pack)

It was great to see some of my reluctant readers with books open!

Montessori Monday

Follow Elementary's board Zoology Round-up on Pinterest.

Looking at Leaves

We had some excited children make a discovery whilst observing leaves in the garden. 

The children noticed that two leaves connected to the petiole from underneath. These children had discovered something completely for themselves, and were showing intense interest in learning more. 

They couldn't agree on the shape of the leaves so I suggested that perhaps there were some materials that might help with that.

I had some laminated leaves from last autumn in the cupboard that I got out for them to compare as well.

There was some animated discussion about the different shapes and so we have organised a lesson for tomorrow about leaf blades (which I wasn't planning on giving until next term - but follow the child).


You can find my FREE leaf shape nomenclature cards HERE.
You can also find my FREE mute and labelled charts HERE.

Linking to A Little Bird Told Me and  Montessori Monday

Montessori Monday

Follow Elementary's board Botany Round-up on Pinterest.