Friday, October 12, 2007

Fabulous Halloween Ideas!!

Handprint Spiders
Paint palm and four fingers of child's hand with black paint. Put hand down on paper with fingers spread to make 4 spider legs. Paint again. Turn paper around and put palm over same area, but fingers facing the opposite direction. This looks nice as a block on a Halloween quilt.

Spider Web
Cut about 16 slits around the edges of a brightly colored paper plate (orange, lime green). Tape a long piece of black yarn to the back of the plate. Then weave the yarn back and forth across the plate's front to form a web. Tape down in back and accent the web with a spider ring.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

More Links thatn I know what to do with!
new stuff every month plus you can sign up for the newsletter and the first one of every month has a link with a code to get a free e-book.
sign up for a free account and there is a freebie every week. tons of stuff to download free monthly printables free lesson plans to can specify downloadable resources
new free downloads almost daily thousands of things here as well ...I don't yet have a membership but hope to eventually a few free resources free samples, I sent this link through the group a few weeks ago christian based site but it has tons of links/info tons of links
fun stuff to print more printable fun stuff math science sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly downloads says up to 9 yo but lots of links that can be used for older ages as well lots of pdf files to download the main site but you can go to to download a ton of pdf files
Create free educational worksheets such as flashcards, game boards, and quizzes to print directly from your browser. Simply choose a word list and an output style,2081,1,00.html tons of pdf samples of scholastic books free sample files great site...sign up for the stuff weekly ..also has a theme units section that you can get tons of links and printables from looks to have lots of stuff...haven't checked it out yet but have seen it recommended numerous times over the years I have been on-line for the beginning reading ...many available in French and Spanish as well as English so could be used to help teach one of these languages even if not a beginning reader last updated in 2002 but still many valid links lots of math games but you don't want to give them your e-mail addy according to the mcafee site advisor they are very "spammy" free e-books nutrition & food safety
the last 2 are good for a unit study or whatever on New Jersey animal coloring pages with info on the animals health tsunami & earthquake coloring book go to the education section...some of the books have previews and you can print the pages for younger kids mostly for younger kids but older ones may like the wildlife coloring pages for younger kids scroll down to the different cd's for sale...each one has free samples...again for younger kids anyone else have a child that likes dragons? anyone interested in learning Chinese? more fun stuff for those little ones learning to write

Montessori Books by Maria

The Montessori Method 1909
Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook 1914
The Advanced Montessori Method Vol. II (The Montessori Elementary Materials) 1916
The Advanced Montessori Method Vol. I (Spontaneous Activity in Education) 1918
The Child in the Family 1936
The Secret of Childhood 1936
Education and Peace 1949 - as above - these were presented in the 1930s
Education for a New World 1946
To Educate the Human Potential 1948
Discovery of the Child 1948
From Childhood to Adolescence 1948
The Absorbent Mind 1949
The Formation of Man 1950

in addition to those Books by Maria Montessori:

The Advanced Montessori Method ,(India) 1949
The Advanced Montessori Method, (London) 1913
The Child in the Church, (London)1930
To Educate The Human Potential, (India) 1950
Education For a New World, (India) 1948
The Montessori Method: Scientific Pedagogy as Applied to Child Education in the "Children's Houses". (New York) 1912
Peace and Education, (Geneva) 1932
Pedagogical Anthropology, (New York) 1939, (London: 1936)
The Reform orf Education During and After Adolescence, (Amsterdam-AMI) 1939
The Secret of Childhood, (New York) 1939, (London: 1936)
What You Should Know About Your Child, (Ceylon) 1948

The Appendix to the 1957 edition Standing book also lists Books About the Montessori Method,Montessori Periodicals dating from that time (1962), Montessori Societies, Montessori training colleges, and Training Courses Which are Recognized.
Please look to the right side of the blog list for links to some of these books offered free online.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Unrestricted Freedom?

Unrestricted freedom. It's almost a matter of consequences. You have the freedom to choose whether to brush your teeth or not...but if you choose not to you will get cavities and have to go to the dentist and it will be expensive...and on and on....


without it ....

no freedom.

Rules do not curb freedom, they set the stage for freedom. Without them we cannot choose anything. In order to drive we have to follow the rules of the road...or we lose our right to drive.
With a child that is of "school age" certain things need to be learned. Now, it is our responsibility to make that work as attractive as possible and as easy a task as possible with supplying the child with the tools necessary to learn. But the option not to learn is not an option. The contract is not ridgid...if done right, it should reflect where the child children (beyond pre-school) we often don't know what is the best for us. That is why we have parents, teachers, etc.

I tell parents that freedom and chaos are two different things. If I had unrestricted freedom I would work in my art studio all day long and miss out on building relationships with people. Freedom to me is being able to choose for myself what is right as long as it does not cause others negative impact. A list/contract just keeps us focused on where we are and where we are going. I don't believe that beyond pre-school children know what is best for them at all times. They are old enough now to become influenced by

Montessori liberty does not mean we do what we want when we want to!

If you have an older child that chooses practical life activities all the time, that child is just staying comfortable and safe. New work to some children and people is uncomfortable. We need to make it as exciting as possible.

My son, who is now 28, was a real handful when we transitioned him from Montessori to middle school. The teachers kept at him to read Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. We were called into the school office to have a conference. There was my husband, myself, my child, two teachers and the Principal. After the "he won't do what he is suppose to speech" I asked them if they asked my child why he didn't want to read the book. They said doesn't matter he has to. I said to my child, "Why don't you want to read the book" and he said..." I read it twice when I was 6 years old, give me a test and I'll proove it".

When we got home, I sat my child down and we had a talk. I told him in a perfect world this situation would not have happened. In Montessori school it didn't....but in life as you get older it does. Sometimes you have to do the work to get to where you would rather, let's go get Tom Sawyer and then we will get some books you want to read. The teachers will be happy and so will you.

Now later in life my son taught me mom that sometimes you have to find out what the game is and the rules and then play it, so you can get on with your passion in life. This child's yearly income at 19 years old is more than I'll ever see." - Karen, Montessori Teacher

Karen offers Classes on various yahoogroups. She is incredibly experienced, informed and will answer any and all questions. Her classes are very very inexpensive and you also get manuals that are easy to follow, written, photos of the work, classmate support, and ideas on extensions. Her information is on the main page under Montessori Education

Contracts - More Tips

Children can't wait until they are old enough for "contracts".

This is how they work for me and other Montessorians that I have known....

You sit down either Friday or early Monday (I prefer Friday afternoons) The first thing you do is prepare for this Thursday so that you have a list of where the child is in all areas in the present. You start by asking the child how they have felt about their work this ask leading questions like are you happy with how your report is going for you? Do you need help or do you have any questions? Etc. Use statements like, "You must be proud of yourself for having finished that job!" Then say "Now, let you and me figure out what exciting work you will be doing next week". Then go down the list of math what did you do this week? What do you think you should do next week? Oh, I know you say you don't like why don't we figure out what you need to do to get through them! I know you like games...I have a pie game that you might like and that will help you learn fractions! Do you think you would like to try that? Great! and so the end you you get to choose 3 works that you would like to'll get things like basket making, drawing, woodworking, etc. The child then has a list on a clipboard which is also used as a portable desk. They take it with them and cross off as they go or write questions and notes.
This is for a weekly contract.

For older children, do the same thing, only start each morning off with a short meeting with each child and do a daily contract. - Karen, Montessori Teacher

My children's work plans always had the days of the week listed across the top and the subject areas down the side. For a 3-5 class I would list Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Science, Culture, Language, and Art. The teachers I have seen use this allow the child to pick a lesson (or 2) from each subject that is appropriate for the level they are working. After finishing each of these, they can do whatever they like within their remaining time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Contract Work

This too is an area that I find hard to explain to people who do not understand Montessori. Again I use a quote from Avery who had nailed it on the head:

"My students set weekly goals.

The younger students have a chart that they fill in indicating the number of works in each area they plan to do for a week. This helps them reach areas that they know they would like to avoid, as well as give them a written plan that can help keep them from wandering through the week.

Their goals are approved by a teacher- mostly to ensure that they reach a variety of subjects and so that they will choose challenging work. It also ensures a one-on-one meeting with a teacher in which they have the opportunity to say something like, "I'm really into this math you gave me right now and I think I want to do 5 works in that area this week. Can I just do 1 or 2 grammars while I'm so excited about this math?" (Don't we wish they all spoke this way to us? But often when I listen to their enthusiasm it sounds like this to me!) They carry their goal sheets on a clipboard to every work they do. As they complete each work they note it on the goals sheet.

It's been a lifesaver- they set their goals and create their own work plan. Then I don't feel as though the work is teacher-directed, but I have some measure of accountability too. At the following goals meeting the students bring both their completed goals sheets to us and their new goals sheets to us and we use the old ones to see what adjustments should be made on the new week's goals sheets. We can then use the completed sheets to make notes in our records about lessons they had and whatnot.

It works very well and is helpful given that we have 4 teachers in the classroom- this is very user-friendly. We also do a lot to make our works sequential and labelled with numbers and letters so that the emergent readers don't struggle with what to note on their goals sheets. For instance, upon completing an addition card the student may write: + #15. Grammar may be N #4 for noun 4. Makes it easy.

My older students do the same thing only in a notebook that they keep to cut down on paper and xeroxing. I think it is a good life skill to be able to plan and organize your work for the week and create a system that will help guide yourself through it." - Avery

This is it in a nutshell! Thank you Avery for your expertise.

I meet with the boys as I do "my lesson planning", I say this loosely of course...LOL They tell me what they like what they don't, I explain what they need to know and ask how they would like to learn it. Of course in the back of my head I have the presentations lined up for the month and note what materials will need to be made to facilitate their goals. I always have a wealth of books on the subjects for their choosing. We write down 4 weekly goal sheets and revise it as we go along. (With the 2 little ones I have to do things in monthly increments to make my life easy during the week.) Then they choose how they get it done. One son wants it broken down in daily bits 1 subject a day, the other does the week in subject increments, such as, he will get on a roll and do 2-3 days of language on one day and then math on another.

We have the weeks of "down time" where our week is full of co-op classes or other obligations and those are our free choice weeks. I observe their choices which are oddly enough the 3-6 material but as Montessori said.....Children need to revisit the old material and trust that they are getting something new from it or reinforcing something old.

The last thing we do are independent studies that end in a presentation for the family. It is so delightful to see how different the "props" are, from subject to subject and child to child.

Montessori Elementary Homeschool Environment

I have had many people ask me about what is the Montessori elementary home school environment? I share with you what others have been able to say much better than I could....

"In a home school situation you will delight in the wonders of the elementary curriculum which sparks the imagination and unfolds the child's natural motivation to learn.

Begin with the Great Lessons and pick up the strands for language, math, physical science, history, etc. Your child's delight will guide you to the appropriate lessons. Your child's reluctance or hesitations will guide you to find alternate ways to spark imagination and interest, inspire confidence, etc.

Trust yourself to observe your child to learn what motivates, captures attention, inspires concentration, and truly develops human potential. Going to the library together to check out books on the curriculum topics will be great fun and keep the curriculum fresh even as it develops the love of reading and knowledge and comfort using the library. Take field trips to the natural history museum and other museums.

Goal setting is a practical life lesson in itself. You will know when it is appropriate to change the timeline of a goal....when your child has finished early, shows mastery of a topic, has a new passion or interest that leads from one goal to another more appropriate, when an interest deepens and takes longer than anticipated...or when a topic is challenging and requires 'backing up' or 'delaying presentation'...follow the child. Teach your child accountability that has flexibility. Teach your child to honor herself and discover the secret of childhood. " - Robin

Robin said this so eloquently and it is one I use for inspiration. I do on occasion feel I am behind on the materials and I tend to hold things up until they are no longer of any interest. So change is good.

Other recommendations for success:
Keeping a daily log
Teach organization
Set weekly goals, approve them with the Educator and write them down on a check off sheet
Use study guides
They set their goals and create their own work plan

Pictures of Montessori Homeschool Environments. They are WONDERFUL!!