Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice

Today we read my favorite book about the first day of winter, called The Shortest Day:  Celebrating The Winter Solstice.  I love how it told of the different ways the world has celebrated and recorded this particular seasonal change.  The illustrations were beautiful, and there are actual experiments noted in the back, like measuring the length of a shadow like the Chinese did over 3,000 years ago.

We were lucky enough to have a dusting of snow, and a snowball fight!

We sang the Birthday Celebration song, with a twist ending for today.  If you have a candle and a globe, you can travel while you sing.  Be sure the child only travels 1/4 of the way around the sun, one trip around would be one year.

The Earth goes 'round the sun
The Earth goes 'round the sun

It takes twelve months, fifty-two weeks, three hundred sixty-five days.
And now it's winter (we ring a bell, our favorite from the Christmas Tree).

Here is a link to a wonderful site about this day:


Shaving Cream Fun

We love this!  Simply squeeze some while shaving cream (we like the pretty scents) onto a tray and add a few drops of gel food coloring.  A fun sensorial experience.  When the shaving cream dried out, it kept its shape, and made lovely colors on the paper.

src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/4972834400_a736e62039_m.jpg" alt="Artists and Art" />

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Environment (as it evolves)

I realized that I have not posted pictures of our little classroom yet.  We do not have all of the typical Montessori materials, yet we have what we need as this room is not our child's only school experience.  The collection will build over time, I'm making new things every week.  It is very different from school, as the classroom areas are mixed, yet ordered.  This is was is out every day, but I often pull out items for special occasions or unit studies. 

View from the child's level

view from my height

This is where we keep puzzles, and our sets basket

Under this couch we keep the movable alphabet (so the tots don't tear it apart).  I keep special books out, relative to the time of year on the ottoman.  Looks like I left my water on the floor...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mama Stories: Following The Child

The one thing all Montessorians have in common is that they "Follow The Child" in their teaching and in their parenting.
Just recently, I was happy I listened to my instincts and followed my child.  One of my tots is terrified of man dressed as Santa.  Happy from a distance, a wave at the mall has her enchanted.  However, she snuggled in tight to Daddy when it was her turn.  I know many parents that would have her 'toughen up' and just sit for the picture.  I do not feel for my child that is was worth it.  Little Sarah was just as happy to wave from afar, and our listening to her request saved her the stress of being frightened for a simple photograph.  She is still talking about how amazing it was for Santa to wave to her!  That was one parenting moment where I followed my child.  On the way home, we were both thankful that we knew enough to let her be.  How about you?
Feel free to comment here and share your Follow The Child story.

Versatile Blogger Award!

Award Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.  Thank you, Leann at Montessori Tidbits!
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (in no particular order…)
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.
7 things about myself

I love my new school so much I keep pinching myself, is this real?
If one more stranger asks me about my twins, I may pass them a pamphlet on zygosity.
I get so much stress relief from making new materials, there goes yoga!
I should probably get back into yoga.
My children are so different from one another, it is such a gift.
I want Santa to bring me a laminator, really- I've been good all year.
I'm thankful for my parents, the best babysitters in the world.

And now passing it on....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Print Shop Giveaway!

This is exciting.  Montesssori Print Shop is hosting a giveway at their site!  Simply comment at the link for a chance to get a pdf worth $300.

Click Here:  Montessori Print Shop Giveaway

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fantastic Friday

Update:  This post as been featured on Living Montessori Now!!

We were so excited to have some Christmas items on our shelves this week!  The first thing she did is ask for a photo with her shelf.  I love Friday afternoons, because big sis and I are alone (and snuggling) while the twins are napping.  The top is a baster transfer, with water.  Color wheel watercolor transfer, link below.  Montessori Pink level word work, with our new movable alphabet.  Such focused work!

The color wheel work is free!  Visit the blog,  Mama Jenn.

After naps, Bean showed the tots what was new.  We found snowflake transfer, water squeezing, and a new open and close activity- full of holiday cheer!!

Happy to be linked up with:

Living Montessori Now

No Time For Flash Cards

Friday, December 3, 2010

Metal Insets, Lesson and Suggested Order

Metal Insets
General~ Language
Specific~ Motor Preparation

  Two trays of geometric shapes
  Ten metal insets and frames
  Three pencils
  Metal Inset Paper

Development of eye hand coordination
To gain mastery over control of small movements
Develop control of a pencil
Develop a geometric sense
Stimulate artistic sensibilities
Develop ability to a plan a design

Preparation for writing
Indirect preparation for geometry


  Chalkboard activities
  Practical life and sensorial activities



First year Montessori student


Presentation of Lesson

  Choose tray, three pencils, paper, and metal inset frame and bring to table
  1.  Trace the inset holding the inset with sub dominant hand, stopping at the point in which you began (2 o’clock)
  Use both sides of the paper
  2.  Draw lines inside top to bottom and then left to right
  3.  For Cursive preparation, start at the top and go to the bottom, tracing along the inset line before going back up again

Work of the Teacher
Points of Emphasis
  Begin with circular shapes
  Show a good pincer grip
  Start at 2 o’clock
  Hold inset or frame with sub dominant hand
  Reinforce top to bottom and left to right



  Color of pencils
  Shape you choose

Points of Interest

  Tracing a shape
  Colors of pencils
  Making a design

Work of the Child
Points of Conscious
  Pressure of pencil
  Writing is a mechanical skill


Control of Error

  Frame and inset


  Change colors

  Change shapes
  Use the blue inset to trace instead
  Turn the shape
  Make a book
  Sewing the design

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lessons Last Week

Our time has been very spontaneous around here!  They say, "I want to work."  And off we go!!  This may be my longest post this year!

The tots are loving matching these days.  This work is really for big sis (thus the appeal) for initial sounds, but we find a good purpose for picture to picture matching.  I love watching them work together.

I took this photo while playing I Spy with Bean.  She likes playing this in the car, too!  Makes the trip to ballet a little more purposeful!   Pictured here, we did this for the initial sounds /h/, /r/, and /m/.  Below is the lesson, from my album. 

I Spy With My Little Eye
General~  Language
Specific~  Oral/Auditory Development

3 little objects

Direct~  To enjoy the sounds of our language.  To become aware that words are composed of sounds.  To listen for the sounds in words.
Indirect~  To hear the component sounds of words
Sounds games


First year Montessori student

 Presentation of Lesson

Invite the child, and tell them the name of the game
Lay the three items out on the workspace horizontally
“I spy with my little eye, an object that begins with the sound ___”
Continue with all three
Invite the child to repeat
Return work to shelf

Work of the Teacher
Points of Emphasis
Saying I spy with my little eye an object that begins with ___
Pronounce sound correctly and clearly


Name of the game
Name of the objects
Points of Interest
I Spy Game

Work of the Child
Points of Conscious
Words begin with sounds
Words are made up of sounds

 Control of Error

Another child


Change objects

Playing the game outside and inside the classroom with the environment
Ending sounds
Middle sounds

On black Friday, we stayed home.  It was wonderful, and we got a lot of work in.  I introduced the winter sets basket.  It certainly called to them!!!  

We also got our tree this weekend.  I gave Bean a lesson on how to water it.  She was concentrating so hard in this picture.  What a big job!

To learn the names of the letters in her name, I made this work from our movable alphabet.  I simply traced her name, colored it in, and kept the letters in this cute little bag.  Even her sisters tried it!

Peanut loves her knobbed cylinders.  They will most likely stay out year round because of their popularity and the fact that sensorial is the basis for so many other areas.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Displaying Children's Art

I have been reading a ton of Reggio books lately, and my favorite idea for my home is showing the child's art in a beautiful way.  It is helping with the refrigerator clutter, too!  The first photo's frames are from IKEA, and there is no glass!  The second photo shows an art hanger from Land of Nod.  They love their art gallery!!!

Amazing Etsy Find, Scoop and Rainbow Balls

I just love this. I'm always on the hunt for inexpensive, quality toys and materials. Teaching and mothering, I don't always have the time to make everything from scratch.  The girls all went right to this. This Etsy shop is Waldorf based, the items are lovely.  I asked for an extra bowl for Montessori Transferring. Here is the link; Blackbeary Mountain

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hand Turkeys

We are opting for some hokey holiday art!  Hey, we live in Massachusetts not far from where the Pilgrims had the first thanksgiving.  We HAVE to make hand turkeys, right?

The girls got a huge kick out of painting on their own hands, and it was so fun to get messy!  We worked right on the kitchen floor for easy clean up.  The photos tell the story....

Size, Shape, and Color Sorting

This is the remainder of the insets I purchased from Discount School Supply. I saw that they came in three sizes and put them together for this sorting work for sensorial. She is sorting the color, the shape, and the size. The labels read: Small, Medium, Large. Red, yellow, blue. More labels with the shape's name will come out later on. When laid out, it was so beautiful. She liked how long it was, showing that it was even longer than her body in this photo.

Here is the link to my original post with Metal Insets :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Solid Watercolor (Almost forgot we have those!!!)

I had some alone time with my twin tots this weekend, and we had some serious fun!!  We must have 20 paintings while I was making dinner Saturday.  Here is what the set up looked like, and how Sarah created.

Artists and Art

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Control Of Error, Pouring

One of my favorite things within Montessori is the built in control of error.  For my little tots, it's most prevalent now in Practical Life.  They adore anything involving water, as all little ones do, so the pull towards water pouring is strong.  The control of error for water pouring is water on the tray (or in the picture here, on the floor, on the sleeves, on the table).  The key here is to teach the lesson carefully. Also, keep in mind that exploration happens and spills are okay and need to be handled with love, care, and kindness.  Teaching the child how to handle their own messes effectively is one of the main aims of practical life.

From my album..............NAME OF ACTIVITY:  WATER POURING

General:       Practical Life
Specific:        Physical Skills- Pouring

*  Tray
*  2 glass pitchers of equal size
*  Colored water (on left, filled ¼ way)
*  Little Towel

Direct:            Coordination, Concentration, Independence, and Order
Indirect:         Mastering pouring from one pitcher to the next.  (one to one pouring)

Preparation: Tray carrying, dry pouring.

AGE:              First year Montessori student.

*  Grasp pitcher on the left with the dominant hand.  
*  Place subdominant hand under the spout.
*  Looking into the center of the pitcher, pour slowly and steadily
*  Wait for the very last drop to go in.
*  Wipe the spout with cloth.
*  Repeat several times, depending on the child/children to decide how many times.
*  Tidy the work.  (Check for spills, and wipe.)

Points of Emphasis:
*  Placement of hand on pitcher, with fingers under the handle and thumb on top.
*  Be sure to wait for the last drop.
*  Pour with the spout.
*  Wipe spout.
*  Pour slowly and steadily.
*  Lift pitcher above empty pitcher for pouring.

*  Spout
*  Idea of Full and Empty
*  Idea of Slow and Steady
*  Color of the water

POINTS OF INTEREST:  Attractive materials, sound of water.

Points of Consciousness:  The arms, wrist, and hand control the pitcher.  The spout makes it easier to pour water.

CONTROL OF ERROR:  The amount of water the teacher prepares the work with is geared toward the success of the child.  Spilled water on the tray can be wiped up with the little towel or sponge. 

VARIATIONS:  Changing the tray, water colors, or pitcher.

EXTENSIONS:  Change pitcher size, or add more water.   Pouring can be done in cooking and snack preparation, garden care, and science experiments.  Pouring can be done between vessels varying in size and shape.  Adding more vessels can make pouring more challenging.

Talk about the ground rules for the colored water, and also how the teacher created it.