Wednesday, December 18, 2019

At Quinpool this Fall

This Fall in our Quinpool classroom, our classroom community has been focused on exploration and creating.    

Many of the children have been interested in the new Lion King Movie so we have extended this into an exploration of the continent of Africa.   We have been talking about the animals in Africa. 

Inspired by the Lion King

Exploring Africa on the Map

Artist Study on Georgia O'keeffe
We have been exploring Color and texture in art.  We have used different materials and tools to make art such as paint, markers, pastels, clay, play dough and natural materials like sticks and leaves.

Making at with the Sensorial Materials

Digging into Clay
We have been using tools like hammers, tongs, screw drivers, spoons, pitchers and writing implements.

Secret spaces in the Trees
Outside we have  been playing in a natural setting building and making designs with loose parts we find around us like wood cookies, sticks and buckets.

It has been a fun time of exploration and creativity.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Montessori Moment

{Montessori moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

About Those Golden Beads

 Our children are lucky.  They get to spend time with beautiful materials in a beautiful space.  I have always been enamoured with the golden beads.  In my early days when I was learning to become a Montessori teacher I spent a lot of time with the golden beads.  The bead cabinet in my training classroom was all made of glass.  They were shiny. The glass beads cool to the touch, and they made a beautiful sound when they clinked together.  I was desperate to have glass beads in my own classroom one day and I promised myself I would.  That was until I learned how impractical they are and how often they get dropped and break.  I still would have committed to them except replacing glass beads is impossible.  The beads would have to be taken apart and rewired.  We have all the golden bead material in our classroom.  It's not glass, it's plastic but it is still beautiful and the children are equally drawn to it.  Getting to work with the golden beads represents growth and new responsibility in the classroom.  It is regarded as 'big' work.  
Teaching the names of the powers of ten
In this presentation my friend Edward is learning the names, 'unit' , 'ten', 'hundred' and 'thousand' in association with the quantities.  We work towards understanding the value of one, ten, a hundred and a thousand by sight, feel and weight.  This is a three period lesson that is given to the child.  The beads are brought to the table on a tray and laid out in order from left to right. 
Collecting hundreds from the bead cabinet 
As an extension of this work, after I have already given the initial presentation.  I like to have the child go to the bead cabinet and math shelf to build their own set.  I find the concept really lands with the child when they can count and see ten units makes a ten and ten tens makes a hundred and ten hundreds makes a thousand.  In this photo,  that is what my friend Edward is doing.

The purpose of this exercise is help the child understand the decimal system by showing that after nine a new category or power of ten is created.

Another exercise that happens during this period is the teaching of the written symbol for the powers of ten.  We have beautiful wooden number cards one, ten, one hundred and one thousand.  The numerals from one to nine are in green (ones), ten to ninety in blue (tens), one hundred to nine hundred in red (hundreds), one thousand to nine thousand in green (thousands).

The child will then practice laying the number cards out in the correct order from left to right and when confident they will then be invited to add the quantity to the number as shown in the picture below.  This is such an "aha" moment for the child to see the written number and quantity together.  We call this work the 'Bird's Eye View'

Adding golden beads (quantity) with number

Bird's Eye View
 My friend Edward, is immensely proud of his work as he should be.  This work took the better part of the morning to do and his commitment and focus was unwavering.  

*Please note ~ Permission was granted to post pictures of my friend Edward for this post. It is our policy to always protect children around social media and if I post pictures of our classroom I will never post anyone's face without permission from parents.   

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Montessori Moment

{Montessori moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Running for Others, Running for Terry

 We had our Terry Fox Little Fox Run last month.  The children were so excited.  I set up the course at Ardmore park inside the basketball court.  It was especially fun to get everyone together for a team bonding/building time and celebrate an important cause.  Our combined effort raised over $2300.00 for the Terry Fox Foundation this year.

the children were excited.  I had a warm up play list that may have included the theme song from Rocky.  There was laughter, running, tears, water stations and popsicles to finish up the event with and greater than all of that, there was such a feeling of Community at our run this year.    Thank you to all our parents and caregivers who helped to make that all come together!

Monday, September 23, 2019

New Beginnings

Fruit stamping at the Art Table
We have started a new year.  

I love the beginning of a new year.  I love that it is full of possibilities and fresh starts.  This feels like a big year for me.  It's the first time in five years we've had a big shift in staffing.   This shift feels good.   There is a new energy in our classroom.  It's infectious and so much is happening both on the Montessori working front but also creatively.  Teachers are making new materials for the shelves.  

There are a lot of Grace and Courtesy lessons happening right now also.  Lessons on how to receive something and say,"Thank you" and how to ask for something and say "Please".  The best, most positive way to effect change is to model it and be open to all the ideas and possibilities.  

So I am watching and listening.  I am listening to our children, and listening to our teachers.  This past year I was taking a management course at a university.  I learned so much, especially about leadership and what a leader looks like.  I am excited to mentor my new teachers.  But most of all I am excited to teach leadership in my classroom.  One of the biggest parts of a Montessori classroom is the mentoring that happens.  The older children naturally mentor the younger children.  We don't call this out and say it is mentoring it just happens very naturally.  It is a beautiful thing to watch unfold. 
Parts of the Sunflower

Fall arrived today; it was the subtlest of shifts.  That same sublet shift is starting to happen in our classroom. We are hearing: "I am bigger" / "I can do more" / "I want to do it myself" / "I want to be the leader" / "Show others how to do it" / "Let them know they can do it their own way."

I've never been more excited about all that I see and hear unfolding around me.  It's going to be a fantastic year!

Table Scrubbing
"It is necessary for the teacher to guide the child without letting him feel her presence too much, so that she may always be ready to supply the desired help, but may never be the obstacle between the child and his experience". ~Maria Montessori