In late March, I had the great opportunity to attend the American Montessori Society’s annual conference in Dallas. It was wonderful, inspiring, overwhelming and so busy! It was hard to figure out where you wanted to be, because there was too much to see and to hear.
One day my coworkers and I wandered into a session labeled “Teacher Networking”. AMS had invited local Montessori teachers to set-up some of their best and most interesting works — it was like a live Pinterest. This is where I met Loree Birkenback, head of St. James Episcopal School in Dallas, and saw her Fundamental Needs of the Worm work. She was kind enough to allow me to recreate it at my school, and post it here to share with you all. She also forwarded me her original extension printables (What do worms need? and papers for measuring worms), and you may download the PDF’s here (Earthworm documents). I have made a few changes to the lessons to make the lessons fit my school and my group, but for the most part it stayed the same. Continue reading
I love lessons that, at their essence, require no materials — just some space and the children. Lessons that are the fundamentals to the Montessori classroom, but by Spring, can often be forgotten by both the children and the teachers.
This week I made an effort to play the Silence game at group and to reintroduce individual silence works as materials on the shelf.
Why silence? Can’t you just tell the class to be quiet? Dr. Montessori’s main goal in her education philosophy is the development of internal discipline and self-satisfaction. Bringing the entire class to self-imposed silence, everyone working together to a common goal, is a beautiful thing. As she said in her essay from 1930, Continue reading
Do you know what happened the other day? I realized I have blogged at montessori works for a year! Now that deserves a celebration. I think I will have some cake and a glass of wine, but I also have something for you (if cake and wine are not your thing).
I have put together a collection of five Schleich animals, a red deer, badger, white stork, red fox, and Scottish highland cow. All materials are brand new. To go with the objects I created four different pictures of each animal, and one information card for each animal (24 cards total). The pictures and information cards are mounted on red cardstock and are laminated and read for use in your class or home!
My very first blog post, almost a year ago, was about making bread in the classroom. I was so nervous hitting the publish button, I thought “who’s going to care about making bread in a Montessori classroom?” You know what, there were plenty of people who cared, and I discovered that I enjoyed sharing my ideas and love of Montessori, and hitting that publish button!
In the late fall our school always uses the For Small Hands (from Montessori Services) as a fundraiser for materials. It is always a great resource for parents to pick up a few stocking stuffers and support the school at the same time.
I pined for this grain mill for years. It is a beautiful, sturdy, real piece of machinery. It is practical and purposeful. It is deeply satisfying work. I knew it would be the perfect addition to our already established bread making and butter spreading works. It was the one item that I requested we purchased with the money we earned from the fundraiser, and I am so glad that we did. Continue reading
Color mixing works are always a hit in the classroom. We progress through all these variations during the year, because while it seems like a simple concept, it truly is something that takes children years to fully internalize color mixing. And, while I didn’t plan this, with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, what better time to have a little rainbow fun!
We use four main lessons for color mixing, one group lesson and three individual works. The group lesson is the introduction, and usually the best place to start. The following is roughly the order we progress through during the year (of course this year we mixed it up, so it doesn’t really matter.)
Presidents Day is coming up this Monday, traditionally, it is a day to celebrate Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays, however, this year I decided to celebrate it in a more inclusive way by focusing on all the Presidents that appear on common coins and bills.
I prefer my works to start at a very concrete (real) place. Children are familiar with money, it is common and known to them. We build on this concrete foundation by providing a range of images, concrete to abstract – pictures of money, real photographs of the Presidents, paintings of the Presidents, statues, and monuments. Since many of these paintings and statues are not familiar to the children in our class, I have color-coded the cards so it is a self-correcting and independent work. Continue reading