this practical life

New school year, new blog name!

Welcome to this practical life, formerly known as montessori works. Thanks for checking in with me over the last few months, since I did of fall off the edge of the blog world. Once I finished Sewing in the Montessori Classroom I thought I would take a little break — well, that turned into a few months — but now I am back.

I know many people were interested in a PDF version of my book, you can buy it here for $9.99.

Looking forward to sharing many ideas and projects with you this coming year!

 


Sewing in the Montessori Classroom is here!

I just came back from a wonderful and inspiring weekend at the American Montessori Society Annual Conference in Philadelphia. It was great to meet and talk with so many Montessori enthusiast!

I took 20 copies of my book so I could share it with people who have been instrumental in both my early and current Montessori journey. It was so very exciting to hand someone a book and say “I wrote this book, and I want to give it to you!”

Speaking of which, I wrote this book, and I want to share it with you! All of you have been so important to me these last 2 years (is this blog really almost two years old?). It is currently only available in hardcopy. I am going to have the Kindle and the PDF version set up in the next few days.

Sewing in the Montessori Classroom: a practical life curriculum

I am beyond thrilled to share this journey with you all, thank you.

 

 


Montessori Snowflake Bentley Activities

I was trying to do my best to encourage it to snow this winter, I can’t believe it, this might be the first time in the 12 years I’ve lived in Charlottesville, that it hasn’t snowed (this post has been sitting one my computer for two weeks, since then two snows have come and gone!).

Montessori snowflake matching work

So, while I was still holding out for the fluffy white stuff (and really, the snow day that accompanies it) I did a little two-day unit with my kindergarteners about snowflakes.

We started by reading the ever wonderful book Snowflake Bentley. The first day I read just the story. The second afternoon, I had the children retell me the story, and then we read the facts about Snowflake Bentley, which are sidebars on most of the pages in the book.

Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Book)

Since I’m not always the most prepared teacher, during my lunch break the day I wanted to present a new material, I went to make these lovely snowflake matching cards available from Laura at My Montessori Journey. Whoops, I didn’t realize that they were not available to download from her blog, and was supposed to email her ahead of time for the file. Trying to recover, I did a quick google search, a couple of test prints, and came up with the following two sets.

Montessori snowflake matching work

Mine are slightly different from Laura’s, I don’t have one large control card, rather I made all of my separate. You can download my cards here, or be sure to email Laura at My Montessori Journey for her less slapdash version! Click to download the Word version of these snowflakes here. You can resize the smaller snowflakes, I tried a few different sized before I found what I like

Finally, each kindergartener made their own snowflake. We started with three pipe cleaners (because snowflakes usually have six arms) and twisted the pipe cleaners together. Most of the children were able to do this independently, some still need a little help.

Then we tied a string to the snowflake, and to a popsicle stick, and placed them in a cup of Borax solution. We added about 3 tablespoons of Borax per cup, and then stirred in hot water.

Montessori snowflake matching work

The snowflakes sat over night, and by the next afternoon, each kindergartener had their own snowflake! I am terrible at final product pictures, but the snowflakes did turn out pretty well. It was great to talk about how they were each similar, but unique — just like real snowflakes!

I have some exciting news to share later this week, stay tuned! Sign-up to receive montessori works post by email!


useful phrases for working with children

I collect phrases. When I hear a string of words that resonates, I try to capture them in my mind or on paper. We are constantly trying to find the words to use with children — words that set limits, words that encourage, words that include.

useful phrases for working with children

 

During my school’s work week, while carpet was being installed in my class, I chatted with the teachers and administrators — what are some of your favorite phrases to use with children?

Here are 13 phrases, covering general interactions, alternatives for “good job”, conflict resolution, and the big one, redirection and limit setting. As you can see, most of them don’t just tell, rather they engage the child, help the child recognize their needs, and give the child the opportunity to be a problem solver. It’s not “Carry the tray right”, we say “Remind me, how do we carry a tray?” By engaging the child with these underlying ideas, we are giving them autonomy and a sense of control, rather than being controlled and just telling them what to do.

General

I see. . . or I notice. . .

Phrases that help redirect behavior and set limits

Remind me. . . (where you should be) (how we carry a tray)

What can you say?

You are showing me. . . (that you are not being safe with the scissors)

What would be a safe way to do that?

I found something that belongs to you! (usually a work that is left out, a jacket on the floor)

Would you like ______ or _______, you choose. (Would you like to put on your pjs or brush your teeth first? Would you like to put away the puzzle or the art work?)

Conflict resolution

Tell me a way that you would like me to help.

How can we work to solve this problem?

What do you need to feel better?

Words that encourage and recognize effort

It looks like you really enjoyed that work.

Tell me about your work, what’s your favorite part?

That’s a tough one, but I think you can work it out.

What are some of you favorite phrases? Leave them in the comments so we can all share!

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