Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
So this is what you have coming home this week and I have told the children that they may wish to keep the seeds for the spring and plant them in the garden at home. The coriander seeds may be used to for cooking right away. You may want to crush them a bit first. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Over the last few days, I have had the privilege of watching the most beautiful mentoring unfold in the classroom. I am watching as the young children are taking out their new work and are practicing it and then I watch as they show it to the older children. What has been cool is that the older children are watching and listening and then offer to show it back to the child. That is exactly what was happening with the sandpaper letters. When we teach the children their numbers, we do it by touch and sound. One of the first things we do is ask them to wash their hands to sensitize their fingers for the touch experience. We then introduce the numbers, one at a time, in groups of three and show the child how to trace the letter. The act of tracing the letter is about helping them make that mental experience with the number. So, while we are tracing the number, we are also saying, "this is five." This is what I saw unfolding at this table on this particular morning. In the above picture, the child in pink is the older student and the child in purple is the new child. That is one of the most beautiful things about a Montessori classroom. It's the mentoring and how those relationships carry through that make it all worth it.
I have also included a bit of work here as I am sure your children are coming home with beautiful handmade bracelets everyday. It is actually their math work and this is how we have it set up. The yellow cards are called "recipe cards" and have the order in which the children are to choose their ingredients to make their bracelet. I have it set up so that three children at a time may make one. They gather their items in the small wooden bowl. Along with their recipe card, they take their bowl and "ingredients" and proceed to a table to make their bracelet. So much fun to set this up for the children -- and even more fun to watch them count and make!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
It is amazing to me what Ms. Melanie comes into work with! Sunday evening while I was prepping sunflower seed heads she was putting a basket of tiny coloured shot glasses together. I thought at first we might be mixing some drinks, but than I realized it was for the light table (kidding about the drinks). I love how the light reflects through the coloured glasses and so do the children. There has been much exploration going on at the light table and I am glad for it. We have this beautiful table and I often seem at a loss for how to use it or what to put on it. I am open to suggestions for sure. We do have some cool x-rays that we will be getting out soon but for now it is all about colour and building. Have any ideas about using the light table? I would love to hear them!
Monday, September 19, 2011
What a way to kick start the week. Yesterday, my family went to the valley to net our grape vines and I noticed the largest Sunflowers I have ever seen in the garden. I asked if I may help myself to the seed heads and was given the go ahead. What a score! It was a moment of brilliance for sure.
Last night I went into the school and dried the seed heads in the oven for a while at a low temperature. Mostly I was wanting to make sure there were no creepy crawlies. After I was certain they were bug free I set one up on a independent working station with a set of small tweezers and a bowl for collection. I can not tell you how much fun this work is and how soothing it is to pick away at something. This work is so popular I am kicking myself for not bring back eight seed heads. I smell another trip to the vineyard this weekend to collect more. The second seed head went to rest at the nature table until I noticed it was being picked at and so I put it away. I need to make sure everyone gets to have a turn with this work.
I simply love this work for so many reasons. The first is that the children are getting a serious workout with their hand and tweezing which is great for the ones with a weaker pincer grip. Secondly, we are learning about the life cycle and and the collection of seeds for the next growing cycle. I will put some of these away to dry out and plant in our garden out front.
I had the children empty the full seed bowl into the bowl at the art table so that we can continue to make our Sunflowers. If I had only known I would never have bought sunflower seeds last week for this art project!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today I was cleaning out and sorting through the work in basket and I noticed the beautiful paintings waiting to be wrapped up. I also noticed how the paintings were a refection of the art table activity this week. Normally, we do not see the children painting specific things at the easel until much later in the year. Mostly, the children are painting with an idea and blending colors. It is hard at this age to actually painting an object or paint what is in your mind. So imagine my surprise when I happened upon these beautiful paintings of rainbows. I love how very different each of these paintings are and how each child used such care with their brush and painted their version of a rainbow. Paint is an amazing meduim for which children can be so expressive. I say, bring on the paint!
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The day was simply lovely today! I really hope that you are able to get that feel from these pictures I am posting this evening. I walked around when I was aloud to and snapped quickly and quietly. I felt special when I was asked repeatedly, "Can I work with you Ms. Michelle."
The returning children seemed blissed out and so happy to be back in their groove.
Today was an exceptional start to the school year. All this makes me feel like we did a great job with orientation. Working with the tears and calming fears and being extra tender. The tricky ones were not tricky today and seemed to blossom with each transition and new thing.
Even puppy got cast aside because my friend was too busy with water , sponges and a garlic press. So much work and so little time!
Some just needed to pour water and play in bubbles and reconnect with old friends at the sensory table today.
Some really enjoyed washing up after refreshment. I love that I never have to wash these dishes anymore!
and sorting rubber bands by length was super important to this little friend. I watched and watched, so amazed by your children. Great first day! -m