Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Photos from the Classroom

I'm sitting here on a beautiful Wednesday, organizing and putting away some of my fabulous new classroom materials. The kids are at the Farm having a wonderful time, the baby is napping, and I am happy as a clam, deciding how to store the Flags of the World material. Luckily, I already owned a Seven Tier Horiziontal Desk Organizer and so that will be perfect. One shelf for each continent! Montessori color-codes the continents (of course) and so the labels for each shelf will match that continent's color.

Children are introduced to this color-coding system with their second globe in the Primary classroom. The first globe is simply a sensory experience of land vs. water, with blue for water and brown sandpaper for all the parts of our planet which are land. The second globe shows the land masses with their continent colors. From there, you can take the children into biomes and then into political maps.

In case you are curious, here are the shelves for my Flags of the World work. Your home continent is always presented first:
    Montessori continent colors
    North America & Caribbean - orange
    South America - pink
    Europe - red
    Africa - green
    Asia - yellow
    Australia & Oceania - brown
    Antarctica - white
In case you are a parent of a child in my class and are super-curious about what Montessori materials I have (and what's on my wish list), I have a blog post about that very topic, which I update every time I make a purchase.

In the spirit of getting organized, I also wanted to post some pictures from our first three weeks of school. Enjoy!

    the blue jay feather ground up... reveals nothing but brown specks!
     
    blending primary colors to make secondary colors

    an older friend and a younger... enjoying an apple at the Farm

    each monarch butterfly heads for freedom (and stops to enjoy the milkweed outside our window)




    beginning math work with place value:  units, tens, hundreds, thousands
    building a beautiful construction with the golden bead material, and then calculating its value


    putting together pendulum kits for students to take home

    using the dice game to practice making numbers to the thousands place with the stamp game material



    investigating one of our simple machines:  the screw


using the Montessori grammar stencils to symbolize the parts of speech in a sentence


archery lessons at the Farm



drafting illustrations and summaries of each of our Simple Machines for the main lesson book


 
enjoying a visit with special guest Dav Glass from HackSI


the wheel & axle... sure makes work easier!


This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Simple Machines Week Three

We had a very busy week three! Here are some of the highlights:

Welcoming another new student to our group!

Circle Time including Story Starters in a Jar, Jamie York math workbooks for the middle schoolers, Skill Cards

  • Skill #8 - Offering Help to an Adult
  • Skill #9 - Asking a Question

Virtue of the Week: Cleanliness
Our book describes three categories of cleanliness. These are personal hygiene, thinking good thoughts, and admitting when you are wrong.

As part of practicing Cleanliness, each child also chose a recipe to make. Of course, we had to wash our hands, wash our produce, and clean up the kitchen afterwards. We had a great time and got to eat lots of yummy food! More recipes to come... and we are really enjoying my two new children's cookbooks: Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook by Mollie Katzen and the (vegan) The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth by Ruby Roth.

  • "Icy Strawberry Slush"
  • "The Un-Stick in the Mud Chocolate Smoothie"
  • "Made in the Pan Chocolate Cake"
  • "Button Cupcakes"

We read a fun book about being stuck in the mud before enjoying our chocolate smoothies on Tuesday: Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by Lynn Plourde.

continuing with the Bridge to Terabithia literature circle for the older children (chapters 7-9), reading personal chapter books in SSR

starting our Philosophy Club, which will meet on Tuesday mornings, with an introduction to Philosophy (Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids by Marietta McCarty) and the life of Socrates (Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates by M.D. Usher)

receiving Philosophy journals, discussing Good Conversation (and the rules of a Philosophy discussion) and The Examined Life, the story of Plato's Cave, listening to Haydn's Symphony #22 and drawing an idea (kids shared that they drew "love and healing," "the beginning of time," "Plato's Cave," and "what is Philosophy")

  • Rule #1 - never interrupt anyone who's talking, no matter who it is
  • Rule #2 - never laugh at what anyone says unless you are sure they meant it to be funny

introduction to the essay writing curriculum for the older children: The Elegant Essay: Building Blocks for Analytical Writing, essay writing assessment activity for homework (Goal Setting Essay)

new individual lessons including weaving on the tapestry loom (a collaborative tapestry showing a cave full of stalactites and stalagmites), a new educational game (Labyrinth), understanding place value with the Montessori Golden Bead work (including building elaborate structures with the golden beads and then calculating the value of our buildings and then making that number with the Stamp Game) and the Dice Game (and making our numbers with the Stamp Game to see who won), reading assessments, types of sentences, Titanic Math computation practice, fraction terminology, review of converting decimals to percents, and figurative language

a great Special Guest -- Dav Glass of HackSI -- who generously donated two Circuit Scribe Kits to our classroom. These kits are a way to make electrical circuits using a special pen which has a conductive ink... because it has actual silver in the ink! You DRAW the circuits freehand! It's amazing!

reading the biography of a famous architect and innovator (The World is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter)

and, of course, lots of fun with Simple Machines!!!

we revisited the Lever, since we had a new student, and we discovered that Zac can lift me, even though I am an adult and he is only two years old

then we went on to the Pulley (the Block & Tackle from Nova Natural was a huge hit and we installed it in the magnolia tree without any trouble, and we also made the Cable Car Kit which went well with The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch by Ronda Armitage)

when we studied the Wheel & Axle the children worked together to design Balloon Powered Cars

the Inclined Plane, Wedge, and Screw are all related and so we did them in the same day. One of my favorite activities for the Wedge is to examine the tip of the nail and see how it is designed... then to hammer a nail into a board. THEN I take a nail and break the tip of it off in a vise and the children have to try to hammer it in. They can feel how much more difficult it is!

My Science Club kids will be doing Simple Machines next week. This week when we met on Thursday afternoon, they heard the biography of Galileo (from Mathematicians Are People Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians), then we followed it with making our own homemade thermometer (which worked amazingly well and only required an old soy sauce bottle, a clear straw, food coloring, water, rubbing alcohol, a Sharpie, some clay, ice cubes, a teakettle of hot water, and a bowl in which to place the bottle) and seeing how a Galileo thermometer worked, then doing Pendulum experiments (also inspired by Galileo), and then playing with Oobleck (because the kids have requested some sensory play).

The pendulum experiments were simple and fun, although time consuming. Check out the link for some nice kid-friendly exerpiment instructions. I just taped a pencil to the top of my chalkboard and then we used the chalkboard itself and some chalk to make the marks for angle of release as well as to record our data. You need a pencil, a chalkboard, a long piece of string, an S-hook, a bunch of assorted washers, and a stopwatch.

I sent home Pendulum Kits (string, S-hook, washers in a Talenti container) with the Science Club kids who wanted to keep on experimenting at home, and also kept the data up on the chalkboard to share with my regular homeschool class on Friday, since they had also heard the biography of Galileo. I made extra Pendulum Kits for those kids who wanted them as well.



This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!