Monday, September 22, 2008

Back Up to Speed

Today we were very excited to welcome Miss D and her gang back to the classroom. They missed two weeks of school after Miss D's two-year-old fell and broke an arm. After a successful surgery, they were back and ready to get to work!

Miss K's Circle Time theme for the week is Understanding the Calendar. Of course, she leads the kids through the calendar each morning, but this week she's walking them through an entire year. She pointed to our classroom calendar (which shows only one month at a time) and explained that September has 30 days; then she showed them a yearly calendar and explained that each year has 12 months, each of which are made up of 28 - 31 days.

She explained that January 1 is always the first day of the year, and that December 31 is always the last day of the year. Then she helped the kids find today on the calendar, and they counted how many days remain in this year. She also took the names of the twelve months off of the classroom calendar and mixed them all up, and then she and the kids put them back in order. She sang the "months of the year" song with them to help them know the proper order.

We continued with our practice of putting a snack in the classroom after Circle Time and letting the kids help themselves when ready. This past Saturday was my daughter's fourth birthday, so today I prepared a special snack for the occasion: chocolate chip muffins and grapes. Not surprisingly, as soon as Circle Time was over, everyone wanted to eat! They ate their snacks, cleaned up, and it was time to get to work.

For our group presentation, we played "I Spy," which is used to teach kids that words are made up of sounds. I showed the kids some painted wooden objects that I got at a local craft store (man, pig, dog, sun, bus, hat, pot, hen, etc.), and then I said, "I spy something that begins with the sound /m/, /p/, /d/," and so on. The kids took turns identifying the objects and flew through this. Next I said, "I spy something that ends with the sound /n/, /s/, /t/," etc. Again, flew through this. Next, "I spy something that has the sound /a/, /o/, /e/ in it," etc. They had to think a little harder about this one, but they nailed it. The next step will be to introduce them to the letters that make these sounds. (They know most of this stuff, but I want to start at the beginning to make sure we don't skip over anything. And, they seemed to enjoy the game.)

Next the kids played this sensorial game.

Miss C's son playing 3D Feel & Find

We laid out the wooden plates (for lack of a better word) on a table and put their corresponding puzzle pieces into a bag. The kids took turns feeling the engraved/debossed part of the wooden plate, and then they reached into the bag with their eyes closed to try to find the matching puzzle piece. The surprised looks on their faces when they got a match were priceless!

The cutting activity from the very first week of school continues to be a big crowd-pleaser... tomorrow I plan to put out this activity (thanks again to Laura at My Montessori Journey!).

In the pictures above, I just love the look of concentration on everyone's faces! Miss D's son (on the left in the group photo) worked so hard at cutting right on the line every time! The picture also shows my daughter doing the domino addition activity from last week.

As I mentioned, my oldest daughter had a birthday on Saturday, so we celebrated with school friends today. You can read all about a Montessori-based birthday celebration here, so I'll spare you all the details and simply say that my daughter was thrilled to get to walk around the sun four times!

We closed our classroom time with the letter "D" verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Do all things without complaining and disputing," Philippians 2:14. Then, we took advantage of the beautiful weather we're having and headed to a little playground that's just up the street from our house. It was a good day!

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