Sunday, November 27, 2011
In this picture you can see a beautiful symbol on the mantle. We were told that the original owner was a Waldorf teacher and that she use to host the children she taught in the house for special times. The place felt magical and it was the right place for six Montessori Teachers to get together and connect not only on a personal level but also to reconnect with some of our materials and work.
Many new Montessori Teachers do not have to make their material anymore and in Ms. Wendy's case she also had to type up the paperwork to complete her work. Can you imagine? She typed and she confessed to us that it took her forever because she wasn't much of a typist!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
My voice carries, especially when I am enthusiastic about something. I have had to learn to lower my voice and soften my tones. In fact because I have had to learn it myself I know that this is a learned skill. The first time I saw the silence game I didn't know if I liked it or not. I wasn't sure if it was developmentally appropriate. I'm starting to learn differently. The silence game is when the teacher announces to the class that we are going to try to move around the classroom without making any noise. Often a “silence” sign is hung on the wall or a candle is lit. I think it is a good thing for children to know that they can control their bodies and voices. I am noticing lately that when I attend workshops or meetings there are often people having side conversations when the instructor or members of committees are trying to talk.
Perhaps because of the digital age we have become “constant communicators.” We are always in touch. We are always replying. What we seem to be doing very little of is listening. And by listening I don't just mean listening to others I mean being still and listening to those sounds that come out of the silence. Sometimes at the beginning or end of circle I will say “Close your eyes and listen, when you hear something put up your hand and I'll ask you what you hear.” Some hear teachers talking in hushed tones, some hear dishes rattling, cars going by, the door opening or even a monster, or a bear.... My point is, the opportunities that come from stillness are endless. Sometimes we play the silence game where we move around the classroom using quiet bodies and voices. The children can sustain this for up to 5 minutes. It doesn't sound like a lot but it takes a great deal of control. A favorite game that I often play at the end of circle when we are transitioning into hand washing and lunch is the Secret Agent Game. I take out a chalk board and tell the children that they have to watch for their name and if they miss it they will have to wait for it to come up again during the game. They become very focused on this game and not only are they practicing attending they are also recognizing their own name in print.
Another game I play is before circle I will call my group one at a time using a whisper. Because they are interested in hearing their name they listen very quietly. We sometimes also play the quietest quietest game where the children get ready to go to the playground as quietly as they can and the children who were really really quiet get to choose their partners. This is a powerful incentive for some of the children.
We do not expect utter silence in the classroom all the time . Children at this age are learning how to communicate and they need to talk and use language. The reason we do silence exercises with the children is because it is important for the children to know that they have the ability to control the sounds that they make. I also stress (every single day) that we live in a community and that some of our friends are concentrating and that we should talk in our quiet indoor voices. I also invite them to practice talking in a small voice. ex. “Show me how you say “Hi” in a quiet voice. When we go outside however we make it clear to the children that they are “Allowed to be loud.” ~Ms. Melanie
Monday, November 21, 2011
Ok so the giveaway for November is not ONE but TWO advent calendars! Just in time for the start of December. One is a project for you and your child to make together and the other one is handmade by me! The handmade one is a surprise so you will not see it until I post the winners. So get busy and start commenting!!
Turns out some people are having a hard time posting to this post. Keep trying though and send me a note by email and I will add you to the draw. ~m
Thursday, November 17, 2011
How's your week been?
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Yesterday, was a day filled with number work. I had the chance to work with six different children and they all went for math work. This first piece of work shows a child working with the hundred board. She is counting and arranging her numbers 1 through 100. There is a control in this work in that the board she is laying her number tiles on is already numbered so she has to match them and place them. We will be turning the board over to the blank side and the new challenge will ordering the numbers without the control chart. This is a big bit of work in that it takes a long time to complete. It requires lots of patience and concentration.
Also got the chance to present new work myself today. I love this part of the classroom and it is nice when I get to just be and work with the children. I have a friend who had mastered the teen bead hanger and so I gave the presentation to the decimal system. I showed one, ten, hundred and thousand. I also placed the number cards and had her build her own Thousand, hundred and ten using the golden bead material from the bead cabinet and bank box. My friend really enjoyed this work and I can see that in no time at all we will be moving along into the bird's eye view game and the bank game.
I also got to practice number rods with P, and spindle boxes and cut out numbers and counters with AB. It was a lovely morning.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
My girl has a special space dedicated to her seasonal treasures. It is called our nature table and she has made a space in her bedroom for it under her window. This space holds all the things she has found that are near and dear to her and it is changing all the time based on what she finds and needs to keep.
Encouraging a love of our natural environment is really important to me and so we will always have this space in our home.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Congratulations to Kelley Lewis, she is our October winner of, Do Unto Otters and Have You Filled a Bucket Today! Please see me to collect your books.
Our Give away for November will be a handmade Advent Calendar by yours truly. What a great way to welcome in December and count down the days to Christmas! As soon as it is complete I will post the picture. I do like the idea of it being a surprise though!