Friday, November 30, 2012

Eleves and all things Merry

 It's fair to say we are in full on holiday mode at the school now.  The new thing for me this year was the discovery of Elf on the Shelf.  How did I not know about this?!!  Turns out this is a very old tradition.  Ms. Deanna informed me that she has an elf that goes on her Christmas Tree from when her husband was a boy and it is this Elf on the Shelf.  So imagine my surprise when one of my children came to school to tell me all about his elf at home.  The Elf sits somewhere in the house and watches you all day to make sure you are being good and then at night he fly's back to the North Pole to report to Santa on your behaviour.  While your sleeping the Elf comes back and finds a new place to sit and watch.  You can't touch the Elf or it will lose it's magic.  So, I thought we should have our own Elf at Maple Tree.  I bought three actually.  One for each campus and one for home which I didn't actually need because my daughter likes coming down to the classroom to check on him.  I am sure your hearing all about the elf .  I introduced our Elf through our yoga class by telling a story set to yoga poses and Music and we ended the class by reading the story and setting our Elf up on the shelf.  Here's the tricky can't forget to move the Elf or the jig is up.  So set a reminder on your phone!!  It is very sweet to watch the children walk up to the Elf and tell him what they want for Christmas.  I also love watching the search for him each morning.  What to do if your child touches the Elf?  Check out this Sweet Solution to see what this mom did when her daughter touched the Elf.  I also read that one mom got a note from Santa saying the elf that her son touched just made it back to the North Pole because he was so weak and had to stay in the Elf hospital for a few days to recover before he could come back to their house.  The mom said the look on her child's face made her feel bad.  I don't know I think it's good for children to respect and take rules seriously.
 Anyway, it's a sweet idea and it feels magical.  We are gearing up for more magical stuff in the weeks to come.  Our nature table is slowly making a transformation.
 The children have started making sweet snowmen thumb print gift tags.  Save them all and use them on your gifts going to family and friends.  just wait there is still so much more to come.
Metal Inset trees and snowmen

Pin Pushing Christmas trees

Don't you just love all the Merry Making?

~Ms. Michelle

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sending Ice to Africa

 I just love a crisp walk around Long Lake this time of year.  Yesterday though, it wasn't part of my plan for the day.  My day started like many do, arguing with my daughter about why she had to go to school.  Poor thing is missing her Montessori environment.

So like any good mom I made a deal.  The deal was if she went to school I would come and get her at lunch and we would take our dog to Long Lake at lunch time for a big walk.

She was in and so was a friend of hers!
 The girls made quick time eating up their lunch in the car on the drive to Long Lake.  All the while talking about how they needed to be quick so they would have lots of time to play.  I hadn't planned even to blog about this except that as I watched them play I realized how happy they both were finding sticks to break up ice.  They also climbed rocks and poked around in the woods.  Neither of them needed anything more in that moment.  It was pure bliss.

So this is what they were doing...
They were breaking up ice to make an ice table and then I was told they were sending the ice off to Africa by throwing it in the lake.  The lake current would carry it away to Africa because it is so hot there and they would need it.  There was such a sense of purpose in this work or play.  I did not have the heart to tell them the ice would just melt and not make it to Africa.  I was just taken in by it all and it really was lovely to watch unfold.
Ice Tables

Breaking Ice Up
 In the past I have spoke of natural play spaces for children.  It really is important for children to feel a connection with the earth and the natural world.  How can we ask them to take care of it when we are gone if we don't foster that love early on?  I must admit, it was a great way to spend lunch time. ~Ms. Michelle

Sending Ice to Africa

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Week...

 This week I have been doing some letter recognition with my language sensitive children.  The urge to work with the large movable alphabet is so great these days and so we are doing just that!  The last few days I have had some of my children who are getting ready to head into pink reading boxes work with the large movable alphabet.

I would hand each child a letter and give them the sound and send them off into the classroom to find an object to match the sound.  This was fun and interesting.  I had to encourage some children to think outside the box and look in cabinets and through materials to bring items.  Funny how Montessori children are so sensitive to everything having its place in the classroom.  I really had to say, "its ok to bring a metal inset for the sound m".
In this picture wood was brought for "w" bear for "b" nut for "n" and tile for "t".

Fox for "f", Racoon for "r", Pink for "p" Owl for "o", Red for "r" and Metal inset for "m".

 I cannot express to you how much I love exploring art with your children!  They embrace many mediums and truly love this part of their day.  The poppies that are being drawn and painted this week are simply stunning!

Please think of a way to use these beautiful pieces of art that are coming home. ~Ms. Michelle

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Georgia On My Mind

 It's true, I am thinking about Georgia O'Keeffe.  Leading up to this month, I knew we would be looking at her art and talking about poppies.

I love to study artists with children.  It leads into lovely art projects and beautiful discussions.  Today, I read Through Georgia's Eyes .  Reading this book to the children today brought out wonderful conversations on her art and what they saw when they looked at it.  Some of the comments were, "I see an ice monster" for one of the abstract pieces.  "I see the sun and mountains".  We talked about how sometimes we can see many things when we look at a picture for a long time.  We talked about how Georgia knew she wanted to be an artist for a long time but wasn't allowed because she was a girl.  We talked about her strength and determination.

There is a lot that is beautiful in our classrooms this week.  Make sure you take time to notice the beauty in it all.  ~Ms. Michelle
Georgia O'Keefe Art Cards with Labels

Cloud Work

Tissue paper poppies

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Journey to Candy Land

 Lately the children have been making wonderful line drawings with markers at the art easel.  It is amazing how drastically a different medium can change how children create.  The children seemed to delight in creating elaborate drawings with markers.  As much as they love the paints painting doesn't seem to lend itself to detail like markers.

I was very intrigued by the side by side drawing that these two girls were working on this week.  They spent a great deal of time on these drawings that they call “Candy land”  If you look closely at “G”'s drawing you can see her Grandmother at the top of Candy land blowing bubbles with bubblegum.  I loved the process that these girls went through to create their pictures because they talked about it, they collaborated but they still had very unique drawings and I could clearly see each child's idea of what “Candy land” would be like. 

 K” was also working very hard at the easel that day and here I managed to zoom in on his picture of a “Boy playing the piano.”

Ms. Misook had her portrait drawn by “A”  Notice the matching shirts!
~Ms. Melanie

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Business of Bones

 The business of bones is funny.  At least I can say that now that we are in our fourth week with our girl and her SECOND broken arm in a year!

One of our Dad's offered to come in a cast arms for the children and talk about bones and why you would need a cast.  It was so much fun and it tied in beautifully with our class looking at X-rays of the human Skeleton.

 Dr. M put plaster on arms while the children generally played in the water and watched the process.  I think Dr. M had as much fun as the children that day.  One after one they all lined up to have a cast put on their arm.

Once the casting was done, we drew and signed each others cast!
Then they were cut off and saved to go home and played with.

 As an extension on this work, I set up x-ray making at our art table.  What fun!
And so, my girl didn't think it was so rough to have a broken arm.  After all you get to be an artist 24/7 if you want!