Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control

Today during Circle Time, Miss D and the kids talked about the final three Fruits of the Spirit: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They discussed these qualities and what they mean, and then they reviewed all nine fruits. She and the kids also said the Fruit of the Spirit poem from Monday. (And I forgot to mention that on Tuesday, during Music Time, Miss D led the kids in this Fruit of the Spirit song by Steve Green.)

During Independent Work time, Miss D's son finished up his paper weaving project...

...while my 4-year-old presented the brown stair to the 2-year-olds:

They had a lot of fun trying to build a tower with the brown stair...

...and then they got out the pink tower and tried a couple extensions:

Hey...'d that get in here? ;) (As I was uploading pictures to Blogger, I selected everything with today's date and unintentionally uploaded this picture - I couldn't bring myself to delete it. This is my seven-month-old :)

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, just in case you missed it, Stephanie at Montessori Free Fall has pictures of some beautiful brown stair/pink tower extensions. I haven't had a chance to present these extensions yet, but I plan to soon.

Miss D's son, my daughter, and I played the Bank Game today for the first time, and they absolutely loved it. (My daughter kept saying, "Let's do another one!") I used Elizabeth Hainstock's book as my guide for this activity, and here's how it went: We created a supply mat with about a gajillion units, ten bars, hundred squares, and thousand cubes. Then I handed the kids a tray and asked them to load it with as many beads as they liked. We took the tray to a separate mat, where we sorted the beads (starting from right to left) into units, tens, hundreds, thousands. Then we started counting units. Each time we got to ten units, we took them to the supply mat (the Bank) and traded them in for a ten bar, which we added to the ten bars on our mat. We did the same thing for the hundreds and thousands. When we had exchanged everything at the bank, we counted each category and assigned the appropriate number cards:

Wonderfully (and inadvertently) enough, we eventually did a number where we had zero hundreds - we had exchanged them all for thousands.

When it came time to count everything up and assign number cards, the kids kept asking, "But what about the hundreds?" I just said, "There are zero hundreds." (Montessorians out there, was that the right way to explain it?) When we assembled the 7000, the 60, and the 2 to make 7062, they were awed by the zero in the hundreds place (and so was I, frankly! I know I've said it before, but Maria Montessori was a genius.).

After we finished with the bank game, my daughter and Miss D's son worked on this puzzle, and then it was time for Arts & Crafts. I didn't get any pictures of this, but the kids decorated a bear with the nine Fruits of the Spirit, and Miss D and Miss C used it as an opportunity to review all nine fruits.

We closed with the "L" Bible verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Patience, Kindness, and Goodness

Miss K couldn't be with us today, so Miss D led Circle Time. She continued with Miss K's theme for the week, "The Fruit of the Spirit," which comes from this verse:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22 - 23

Today Miss D focused on patience, kindness, and goodness. The kids glued these three fruits into the basket they started yesterday, and then Miss D read them the Fruit of the Spirit poem from yesterday, too.

The batteries in my camera weren't charged, so no pics from today. However, Miss C's son worked with the cornmeal tray and the sandpaper numerals, the fabric box, and the metal insets. Miss D's son did the Thanksgiving matching cards from Montessori for Everyone, domino math, and the hundred board. My daughter did the hundred board with Miss D's son, bead sequencing, the pumpkin lifecycle cards from Montessori for Everyone, and she also pin-punched a leaf. Miss D's 2yo did bead sequencing. My 2yo did the cornmeal tray, and later her big sister presented color box 2 to her!

Finally, we closed with the "L" Bible verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

I can't believe we're already on the letter L! It has been amazing to see the kids' retention as we learn these verses. The older kids can recite each verse by heart, and even the little kids can recite some of them (particularly the shorter verses, such as, "A soft answer turns away wrath," "Even a child is known by his deeds," and "Do all things without complaining or disputing.").

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Fruit of the Spirit

On Monday during Circle Time, Miss K introduced this Bible verse to the kids:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22 - 23

Before she read them this verse, she presented the kids with two bananas - one perfectly ripe and yellow, and one rotten and brown. She asked the kids which banana they would want to eat, and of course they all picked the ripe one. Then she explained that life is like those two fruits: on one hand, we have people who do bad things and make us feel sad; on the other hand, we have people who do good things like helping others and being nice to others. She asked them, "Which fruit do you think God wants us to be, the rotten banana or the ripe banana?"

Next she explained that God wants us to be good fruit, to treat other people kindly and do things that make God happy with us. Then she read them the verse, and she and the kids talked more in depth about the first three fruits: love, joy, and peace.

Then Miss K read a poem to the kids to help them remember the fruits of the Spirit:

The fruits of the Spirit are peace, joy, and love.
All these things come from God above.
We can't have them, just trying on our own.
But if we stay close to Jesus, watch them grow!
Two more fruits are being patient and kind!
Treat others this way, and no one will mind.
One more fruit is the one of goodness.
Trying on our own just gives us stress!
Being faithful is doing what you say.
God helps us be faithful if we pray.
Another fruit is the quality of being gentle,
Not being harsh or judgmental.
The very last one is self-control,
Letting Jesus shine through me - that's my goal!

Finally, Miss K had the kids glue that day's three fruits into a fruit basket.

New on the shelves this week: paper weaving. I had a bunch of cutting strips left over from this cutting activity, and I didn't want to waste them. I used these instructions to set up a simple paper weaving activity, which was very popular:

For PE, Miss D brought in bowling pins and a (plastic) bowling ball, and she turned our kitchen into a bowling alley - how fun! She taught the kids how to set up the pins (in a nice 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 triangle that would make Maria Montessori proud ;)...

...she taught them how to hold the ball...

...and then she taught them how to roll:

A spare!

We closed with the "L" Bible verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Let your light so shine before men that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Friday, November 14, 2008

Geometric Solids Matching Cards

OK, I think I've finally figured out how to use to upload files, and I'm going to give it a shot. I created a series of images to go along with the geometric solids - you can download the file by clicking here. I printed these out, cut them up, and then laminated them using a Scotch Thermal Laminator I bought brand-spankin' new for $10 (!!) off craigslist.

To use these, the child lays the geometric solids across the top of a mat, and then matches the pictures underneath the appropriate solid:

I didn't have any kind of reference to go by when making these cards - I simply looked around Google for things that were the correct shape. I tried to find six images for each solid, but I had trouble finding that many for the triangle-based pyramid (only found two) and the ovoid (only found four). If you have any ideas for those solids, please let me know and I'll update the file and upload it again.

I hope this is useful - I'd love to hear any comments anyone has!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Fun with Fall Leaves

On Monday, the kids wrote a Fall poem with Miss K's help. I didn't manage to write it down that day, but the poem was an integral part of Circle Time again on Wednesday:

An Ode to Fall :)

Fall is a time for long-sleeved shirts,
Fall is a time for falling leaves,
Fall is a time for a pumpkin patch,
Fall is a time for jackets,
Fall is a time for Thanksgiving,
Fall is a time for warm hats.

Miss K came back to class armed with pictures that matched the words in the poem, and the kids took turns reading each line and matching the pictures to the words:

Next, Miss K led the kids in a sorting and counting activity. She and the kids sorted a big pile of leaves by color...

...and then counted how many they had in each category and graphed the results into a bar graph:

Independent Work time was more chaotic than usual, because the two-year-olds came in right away, before everyone else was settled. In the future, I'll definitely make sure to have the older kids focused on their own work before the 2yos come into the room, because they definitely require management. One new item of note, though: Miss D's daughter worked with this beautiful Thanksgiving-themed matching activity that I downloaded for free from Montessori for Everyone (thanks!):

For Arts & Crafts, Miss K led the kids outside to collect a few more leaves, as well as a mum flower for each child. Then, using paper plates with the middle cut out, the kids glued the leaves all around the edges to make pretty Fall wreaths. I have to say that I thought the results were just lovely:

We ended the days with the "K" verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Keep your tongue from evil," Psalm 34:13.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Fall Poem

Miss K's Circle Time theme for this week is Fall. She asked the kids to come to class with some leaves, and then they spent a long time looking at their leaves, comparing and contrasting them, counting the number of points on each leaf, etc. Then she taught the kids a little more about Fall and about why leaves change colors and fall off. Finally, she and the kids talked about some of the characteristics of Fall, and they all worked together to write a Fall poem. Miss K hand-wrote the poem on large sheets of paper, and she used the exercise as an opportunity to review the connection between letters and their sounds. It was a really nice activity for the readers and pre-readers alike, because it was a creative writing exercise for the readers as well as a lesson on the connection between letters/words/sentences for the pre-readers. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the final poem, but I'll try to get a copy from Miss K and update the post.

New in the classroom this week? Pin-punching:

Miss K's daughter worked so diligently on this! She also built "towers" with the golden bead material:

I was able to give her a three-part lesson on the beads before she moved on to building more towers:

My daughter did the sandpaper numerals and cornmeal tray...

...and the 3-D Feel & Find puzzle with Miss D's son:

Miss D's son also did bead sequencing and domino math:

Miss C's son did the pink tower/brown stair extension...

...and the sandpaper letters and cornmeal tray:

Miss D led the kids in PE (they stretched and did some warm-up exercises, and then they had some fun with the parachute before kicking soccer balls through cones and into a net), and then we did the "K" verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Keep your tongue from evil," Psalm 34:13.

Tuesday is Veteran's Day, and we don't plan to meet. We'll be back on Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Counting up the Votes

Today I revealed the results of our class election for president. I showed the kids how many votes each candidate got, and then we discussed whom our class had "elected." Then I showed the kids how many votes the candidates got in the country-wide election, and we discussed the results.

I gave the kids a very basic lesson on a few different forms of government (democracy, dictatorship, monarchy) and explained that the United States is not actually a democracy but a constitutional republic (yup, had to consult the hubby on that one - gotta love it when you're learning right along with your preschooler! :), and then I gave a very brief explanation of the electoral college. I showed the kids a map of the US and explained that a majority of the people in the blue states had voted for Sen. Obama, and that a majority of the people in the red states had voted for Sen. McCain.

Then I explained that Sen. Obama is not actually our president yet, but that he's our president-elect and will be inaugurated in a special ceremony on Jan. 20, 2009. Next, Miss K (who couldn't be with us again today because her 9-month-old has been very sick :( ) sent me a very nice activity called "Meet Our New President-Elect," and we learned more about Sen. Obama, his wife and family, where he grew up, etc. We also learned about our new vice president-elect, and we talked about what a vice president does. Then we had a little fun looking at pretty pictures of the White House, where our new president and his family will live.

During our "Meet the President" activity, I pulled out the map of the United States, and we found Hawaii (where Sen. Obama was born), Kansas (where he grew up), Illinois (where he served as Senator), and Delaware (home of Sen. Biden). Both my daughter and Miss D's son wanted to work on the map when we started independent work:

Having the map of the US out encouraged Miss C's son to do the map of North America again, which he finished before moving on to the constructive triangles. I presented them to him, and then he said he wanted to do something else. He put them away all by himself, which in and of itself was completing the activity - love it!

Miss D's son worked with the addition strip board again...

...and then he did Sound Box 3 from Laura's system. He got the box out, which is labeled on top, and then he pulled out the corresponding sandpaper letters himself (I don't have my letters organized next to each box like Laura does because I don't have the room right now). Even though he used upper- and lowercase letters, I really admire the initiative he took here:

The two-year-olds joined us again today. Miss D's daughter did bead sequencing (she was able to follow a pattern card - I was amazed!), bear sorting, and water transfer:

My daughter did the nuts and bolts activity, the 3D Feel & Find puzzle, water transfer, and the sound boxes:

For Arts & Crafts, I gave the older kids a copy of the electoral map, and they used it to color their own maps of the United States red, blue, or gray (if a state was still undecided):

This was a great extension of the United States puzzle they had just completed, and although I didn't plan for the day to go this way, all of our activities flowed extremely well from one thing to the next.

We closed with the "J" verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life,'" John 14:6.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Today during Circle Time our class held its own version of the presidential election. Miss K (who couldn't be with us today but who still sent me a lesson plan - thanks!) created ballots for the kids, and I used a sheet to turn our Learning Tower into a private "voting booth":

We all stood in line, and everyone (moms included) took a turn voting for their choice for president. I explained that voting is a very private right and responsibility, and that, while we are free to discuss our choice with other people, we have the right to keep it secret as well. We all cast our ballots into a very sophisticated ballot box...

...and tomorrow during Circle Time I will reveal the class's choice for president, as well as the country's choice. The kids loved voting, and Miss K even thought to create "I Voted" stickers for everyone!

Today Miss C's son worked with the sorting bears, a new nuts and bolts activity that I saw on itty bitty love (thanks so much for this simple yet appealing activity! Everyone chose this today)...

...color box 4...

...and bead sequencing:

My daughter worked with the Healthy/Not Healthy sort that Miss K created last week, the nuts and bolts activity, and the addition strip board:

Miss D's son did bead sequencing, metal insets, the nuts and bolts activity...

...and the addition strip board:

He was reluctant to do this at first because he didn't want to have to write down his answers, but the draw of doing addition (he loves math) helped him overcome his pencil-shyness.

Miss D's daughter chose the nuts and bolts activity, wooden cylinders...

...and water transfer with a medicine dropper and funnel:

My 2-yo chose the wooden cylinders, water transfer...

...spooning/pouring split peas...

...and the nuts and bolts activity (did I mention this was popular?):

Miss D led everyone in Music today (including a song she made up about voting, to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat": Vote, vote, go and vote, go and vote today; Cast your vote, do your job, it's the American Way!).

We closed with the "J" verse and story from My ABC Bible Verses: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life,'" John 14:6.