Category Archives: montessori

Montessori at Home! Review and GIVEAWAY

Feeling lucky? St Patricks Day is the perfect day to win a giveaway!!

For those of you that have followed my blog for awhile you know that I absolutely LOVE the Montessori approach to teaching young children. The materials, the structure, the scope/sequence of activities… it makes my teacher heart sing! During the beginning stages of my Montessori experience I was on my own reading books from the library and googling Montessori activities and lessons to do with my toddler. While I found there were some good resources, I still felt like I had no clue what I was doing.

Until I had the opportunity to read John Bowman’s Montessori at Home! book.

It is a one-stop shopping Montessori experience. John explores the world of Montessori by first explaining WHAT the Montessori approach is all about. Things like the three step lesson, how to choose activities for your child, and preparing/displaying/demonstrating learning materials. This was SO helpful for me as I was starting out!

After thoroughly introducing the Montessori approach, John lists several activities for the following areas:
Everyday Life
Sensory
Science
Mathematics
Reading and Writing
Digital Life
Art and Music
Geography and Culture

This section of the book is filled with so many wonderful and detailed ideas to teach your child. Many of these activities use everyday items, which is great for those of us on a budget! When I first was given a hard copy of John Bowman’s book last year, I marked so many pages of ideas and lessons to do with my little girl that my book ended up looking like this:

If THAT didn’t convince you that this book is incredible, check out this list:

Top 10 Things I LOVE about Montessori at Home!

1. John Bowman was actually a preschool Montessori teacher and director. He also started three Montessori preschools! With those qualifications, I KNOW that he is very familiar with the Montessori method and the best way to teach it.

2. Montessori at Home has is a very well-rounded resource when it comes to Montessori activities. It doesn’t just focus on sensorial activities or Maria Montessori- it has it all.

3. It is a very easy read with lots of pictures. There are also links to other materials- which makes having an eBook very convenient.

4. Did I mention there are lots of free printable materials at the end of this book? So you can start your Montessori experience right away!

5. I love the appeal this book has to ALL of us working with kids- whether you are a daycare provider, preschool teacher, tutor, home teacher, or a parent/grandparent. We can all read and glean ideas to better help our children understand their environment and master skills such as reading and math. And there is such a variety of activities that I am positive you will find ones that work for you and the children you work with!

6. As mentioned earlier, there are massive amounts of ideas. Many of these are collected from other amazing Montessori teachers and moms found in the blogosphere! I can tell that John has spent hours researching engaging activities and quality lessons for his book.

7. This is a GREAT resource for Montessori beginners- like me. I don’t feel like I have to spend hours googling the different aspects of Montessori because it is all found here!

8. I love the fluid organization of this book. It’s easy to locate information and the sequence of materials is logical and practical.

9. It is now available on pdf! Which I love for two reasons: first, there is no wait time for the book to come in the mail, and second, I can use my pdf reader to bookmark pages so I’m not going through as many post it notes! You can always print the book once you have received the pdf.

10. The price is CRAZY good! It only costs 8.95! An amazing deal if you think about how much it would cost to send your child to a Montessori school!!

I also have to add that our Montessori Jar is included in this book which I am pretty excited about!

Montessori at Home is partnered with another amazing site: Montessori Print Shop. This site has over 1,000 Montessori-based pdfs- some are free while the rest are available at a very reasonable price. There is a special bundle of resources that include activities from most areas of the Montessori at Home book.=”clear:>

GUESS WHAT??? Two lucky readers will get:

A free copy of the Montessori At Home! Second Edition eBook from John Bowman
The Montessori at Home! bundle of 21 printable materials from Montessori Print Shop.

And GUESS WHAT else? EVERYONE who enters will win a free download of the Mom Bloggers Talk Montessori eBook. Pretty cool!!

Want to win? Here’s how:

Leave a comment and tell me your favorite learning activity you do with your kids!

You might be wondering, can I have extra entries? Why of course! (Just leave an additional comment for each of these)

Like the Home Teacher on Facebook
Like Montessori at Home! on Facebook
Like Montessori Print Shop on Facebook

Good Luck! The giveaway ends one week from today- Saturday, March 24, at 11:00 P.M. (Mountain Standard Time)

Good Luck! This is an amazing giveaway and I can’t wait to see who wins!

Happy Teaching!

DIY Light Box and Teaching Ideas

Oh, the wonder and magic of playing with light! I have wanted to make a light box for awhile, and I finally set the goal and got it done. I had no idea that there was SO many different (and educational!) things you could do with light!

Light Box Materials:
Clear plastic under-the-bed Rubbermaid container
2 fluorescent lights

To make the light box, I just turned the Rubbermaid container upside down with the 2 lights inside. It isn’t anything fancy- but it was SO easy!!

Light Box Manipulatives:
Colored accent gems, transparencies (teaching manipulatives I used with an overhead projector), dry erase marker & sheet protector, geometry mirror, microscope slides & magnifying glass

There are tons of different ways to play with a light box. I am going to list some of our ideas- enjoy!

Science:
Pull out your old microscope slides! A light box is a perfect way to view ’em! It’s also a great way to view x-rays.

Looking at a fruit fly with a magnifying glass and our new light box

Math
We made lots of designs with pattern blocks. Boo and I also played and sorted money, made shapes with our geoboard, spun the colored spinner, and created symmetrical patterns with our geometry mirror. With the exception of the mirror, the rest of our math light box manipulatives are old overhead projector teaching materials. And since overhead projectors are on their way out in lots of schools, I bet you could snatch some of these up for a great price.

Geoboard designs and colorful spinners
Geometry mirrors- they are such a fun math manipulative! It’s a great tool for teaching symmetry!
Playing and sorting dollars and coins
Art
We used our pattern blocks to make colors. It was a fast way to show that yellow and blue make green! 
Literacy
I grabbed a dry erase marker and a sheet protector and Boo and I had fun reading words! We played a simple game where a predator was trying to get Boo’s stuffed animal and so we had to read the clues to figure out who he was and what he intended to do if he caught us. 
Reading and writing words
And of course, we did a LOT of free play.

Boo playing with 2 geometry mirrors and accent gems

A big source of light-play inspiration goes to Play at Home Mom– she has some “bright” ideas on her blog! 🙂
I would love to hear about your light play! Now to figure out how to make a “Lite-Brite” with our new box….
Happy Teaching!

Montessori Jar: Cleaning Pennies

Boo and I have been a slacking in doing our Montessori Jar since we moved in December (OK, truth be told we had been slacking WAY before our move, and most of the activities that were in her jar mysteriously disappeared only to be found smushed in her plastic vanity drawer where they are at this very moment). Needless to say, I am excited to be back in the Montessori activity game!
I found the cleaning penny idea at The Science Explorer. We set to work gathering the materials- 20 dull and dirty pennies, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, clear shallow bowl, and 2 paper towels labeled “Rinsed” and “Not Rinsed” (the website suggests doing activities with nails and bolts- we just stuck to the pennies).

Gather your materials. I just love the little Rudolph face in the background! She was our little cheerleader during the activity:)
Stir salt in the vinegar until its dissolved. This was a great time to discuss with Boo what “dissolves” means.

Take a penny and dip it halfway into the vinegar and salt mixture. Count to 10 and…

Half of your penny is clean! So cool!!

After doing this a couple times (since it was super exciting for both of us), dump all your pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture.

After 5 minutes, take half your pennies and put them on the “Not Rinsed” paper towel.

 Take the other half of your pennies and rinse them well. Place these on the “Rinsed” paper towel. And now it’s time to wait.

After one hour, the “Not Rinsed” pennies will have a nice blue tint to them! The reason is that the copper atoms are joining with oxygen atoms and chlorine atoms from the salt.

This was a super easy science experiment that Boo and I both enjoyed. We just love science around here!!:)
Happy Teaching!

DIY Montessori Number Beads

A couple of days ago, my daughter dumped an entire bag of plastic pony beads all over the craft room floor. Normally I would have been eager to clean them up quickly and put them away, but I was in a good teachery mood and turned this mess into a learning experience! Boo wanted to know how many beads we had. A lesson objective was planned- organize beads in groups of 10 and then count by 10s to see how many beads we had all together.

After my daughter used tongs to place beads on a picture frame we had lying around, we started making number bead sticks. I grabbed some pipe cleaners, cut them in half, and added 10 beads to each pipe cleaner. SO EASY! To tie of the end, just twist the wire until the beads can’t come off. We had a great time adding beads and tried our hand at simple patterns. This was also a great fine motor skills activity.

There were a couple things I would have done differently during this activity. First- instead of just doing 10 sticks, I would have made 1-9 sticks as well.
And just like the Montessori number beads, I would have color coded each number stick. For example, all the 10 sticks would be blue beads, all the 9 sticks would be brown beads, etc.
Lucky for you, I quickly whipped up an example!

Happy Teaching!

I am linking up this post to Every Day Math Play at TeachPreschool

Human Body: Lymphatic System

What child isn’t fascinated with germs? Today we talked about the lymphatic system- more specifically how our body gets rid of those germy bugs!

Disclaimer: I am not in the medical field and I hope what I am teaching my daughter is somewhat accurate!! Ha! 
We looked at the lymph nodes in our human body encyclopedia (my daughter refers to the nodes as “beans”, which makes sense because they are so small!). We talked about white blood cells: how they are the guys that fight the germies and that some of these cells are stored in the lymph nodes.  
I then had a visual to show my daughter why lymph nodes get swollen. We inserted white blood cells (aka cotton balls) into the lymph node (aka balloon). The more white blood cells, the bigger the balloon got! 

We then pulled out our body chart.  Lymph nodes were added using green thumbprints- and although they are found throughout the entire body, we just stuck them in a few spots.

We couldn’t forget to add white blood cells- little dots of white paint with a q-tip.

Boo decided it was time for a break…..

 Then it was back to work taping on the lymph vessels using green embroidery floss.

The last thing we added was the spleen. We talked about how one of the jobs of the spleen (referred to as the “big bean”) is to store extra white blood cells. We might go back tomorrow and actually paint some cells on the spleen!

Boo and I played a quick game of Germ Attack… germs entered various parts of the body and the white blood cells (cotton balls) raced along the lymph vessel to attack the germs!

We tried watching the Once Upon a Time video on the lymphatic system– but we only got through the first part (it’s a three part series). This would be much more entertaining for an older child!

Here is a closer look at our body with the lymphatic system:

For more ideas check out my Pinterest board on the human body:

Happy Teaching!

Cultural Activities- More on Montessori

I started writing a series of posts on Montessori and only recently realized that I had never finished…oops! I was originally going to do separate posts for Science and Culture and I don’t remember why. From what I remember from David Gettman’s book Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives culture includes science (please correct me if I am wrong.. it’s been over a year since I read the book!)

David Gettman suggests the following sequence for teaching culture. Included in the list are some activities that I have found online. Enjoy!
Period One:
Period Two:
Period Three:
Period Four:
Period Five:
  • plant life cycles- online tutorial for kids on the plant life cycle- from seed to dispersal. Youtube also has several different time lapse videos of seeds growing that are pretty cool!
  • time line
Period Six:
  • reading classified cards in geography, nature studies, and history 
  • fact books from the library
Period Seven:
  • definition stages of classified cards in geography, nature studies, and history
  • field nature observation work
You must check out this detailed scope and sequence of geography pdf. It is amazing!
Happy Teaching!

Gift Opening Practice

Like many of you, I want my daughter to be gracious and kind. Especially when given a gift. To avoid any potential acts of ingratitude during her birthday party, we practiced opening presents. It was a totally fun game and it provided my kiddo with the learning experience I desired! This would be a fun activity to do with your kids right before a birthday, Christmas, or other times of gift exchanging!

My daughter had a surprise party with some of her stuffed animals in attendance. Each animal brought a gift (misc toys found in her playroom).

Some gifts were good- like her favorite dinosaurs or pillow pet.

the “good” gifts

Others were not so good- rolls of toilet paper and random food storage items from our pantry.

the “not so good” gifts

We sat in a circle and one at a time each animal would give their gift. Boo would open the present, say one thing she liked about the gift, and “thank you”. Even when the gift was not so good.

I love Boo’s facial expression when she received dry soup mix from her unicorn!

The day of the birthday party came- and my daughter got lost in the excitement of all the presents- but I think she was as gracious as a 4 year old could be with a stack of so many fun toys to play with! This is one reason I LOVE opening gifts throughout the entire day instead of one fast paced session. 🙂

This unhappy tiger was tuckered out from opening gifts.

Happy Teaching!

Big Pumpkin Printables

One of our most favorite Halloween stories EVER is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. We have probably read this book at least 50 times this year (if not more!) We love the silly storyline, the flow of the text, and the lessons on cooperation. Those who embrace literacy know that when you find a book you love, you just don’t read it… you celebrate it! 
I put together some fun learning activities that go along with Big Pumpkin that I wanted to share with you. Just click on the titles of each activity to download the file. Enjoy!!

Big Pumpkin nomenclature cards– This was one of our favorite activities! Recently we tried our hand at some pumpkin nomenclature cards, and while they were fun- they were also frustrating (lots of words that looked very similar, small font, too many cards). This time we played it like a game.

First, my daughter picked three cards (with both pic and word) from the pile.  It was her idea to turn the cards face down- to give it an element of surprise.  She also wanted to sit on her pink stool during the game which meant a lot of bending down…silly girl! Then she found the picture card match. The last step was to find the word match. I love that she had the decision power to pick her cards. And there were less cards to match. And of course it went with one of our dearest Halloween books!

To make the game- print out two copies of both sheets. Cut out the pics and words together on one copy, and cut the pics and words separate on the other copy. Then you are ready to find the matches!

Big Pumpkin pocket chart cards. This is a great way to look at how individual words make up a sentence as well as becoming familiar with punctuation (we had fun reading sentences with a “period” voice and an “exclamation point” voice). My daughter was able to switch out the witch/ghost/vampire/ and mummy cards on the chart as we talked about each of the characters trying to get the pumpkin off the vine.

Story summary paper book– Just a simple retell of the story as a printable book. There are no pictures so your kiddos can create their own illustrations!

Trace & Write word boxes– These boxes are great for kids learning to correctly write short and tall letters. I created these pages to go with Big Pumpkin because handwriting is a big focus of our “school time”.

Halloween Word Ladder– A very simple word activity where the word “bag” changes to “cat” (one letter at a time) in just two steps! Like I said, very simple….

Retell cards (no file here, go to the clipart site to download images and print)- I am in LOVE with the cutest Halloween clipart from Phillip Martin. It is adorable! Not only have we used it in our activities above, but I printed out each of the images on card stock as a visual aid while telling the story. (It’s destiny that Phillip Martin has super darling clipart for all the characters of Big Pumpkin!)

Fun story retell with pumpkin basket, paper bat, ghost potato head, and witch, vampire, and mummy rubber duckies. And the Little People house is the witch’s house, where she goes to make the pumpkin pie. 🙂

Happy Teaching!

Halloween Montessori 3-Part Cards

From the time I first learned about Montessori nomenclature 3-part cards, I have wanted to try them with my daughter. For those that don’t know, this is an activity where kids take one card with both a picture and word label, then find and match the picture card AND the word label card. A great way to get kids looking at word similarities and differences. And I thought what better way to sneak in some learning then during a Halloween game! 

I searched online for free Halloween 3 part cards. I was lucky enough to find these pumpkin cards from Kidsparkz. While they were made for a concentration activity, they work great as nomenclature cards! I just printed two copies and cut the words and pictures apart on one of the sheets. Very simple. We did this activity as part of our pumpkin day festivities, and while it was a little difficult because we had never done anything like this before, my Boo did a great job. Hint: for those kiddos trying this activity for the first time: start with a small amount of cards. Please learn from my mistake!


I also found some Halloween cards that would work well as nomenclature 3 part cards from Have Fun Teaching (don’t you love the name of the site!) This link will take you to all their holiday cards- so if you want to do Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, St Patricks Day, Easter, or birthday 3-part cards…. this is the site for you! The only thing with these cards is that they are designed differently than the typical Montessori nomenclature cards. Instead of the word label being directly below the picture, it is found to the right of the picture. BUT I still think they will work just fine. I don’t think the Montessori police will come after you if the activity looks a little different…..


Check out The Little List for more sites with free nomenclature 3-part cards! I especially like the farm cards from Montessori Moments.


Happy Teaching!

Montessori Apps

I wanted to compose a list of some Apple apps (iPad/iPod/iPhone) that are based on the Montessori approach. The true Montessorians will argue that technology shouldn’t replace the kids using actual manipulatives… and I have to agree. There is something about holding the shapes in your hands, touching the different sides of a geometric figure, or feeling the scratchy sandpaper when tracing letters. With that said, I am in love with most of these Montessori apps. They make learning mobile and more activities are available for those of us with limited space. My daughter loves most of the apps we have played with and to me that is SO important. I want her to learn, but I don’t want her to hate the learning process!
I divided the apps into Montessori categories. Some of these apps we have, others we have only played with the lite versions. If you have any Montessori apps that you would love to add to this list, please let me know!

Sensorial:

Pink towers: This is the one app on the list we don’t have. It seems pretty cute, but at this time it isn’t something I am interested in purchasing.

Pink towers and brown stairs lite: My daughter has enjoyed playing with the lite version of this app. Like with all these apps, there is a hands-on experience that is missing. However, it is a good app for teaching sorting small to large and following pictorial instructions. I am happy with the lite version.


Math:
Intro to numbers: This app has gotten great reviews. It also has a wonderful look and feel about it, but it doesn’t provide that all important tactile experience. I am sure that actually handling the Montessori manipulatives would be much more engaging and educational! With that said, it is an app that I would recommend to anyone teaching their child number recognition.
Math cabinet (free with ads): We have played with the lite version. If you can handle the ads, it’s a pretty good app for teaching number recognition. I would definitely check this app out!

Geometry cabinet: This app is great at teaching a variety of shapes with a Montessori-like approach. Not quite Montessori because it is without the tactile experience (which is the case with all these apps).I love that this app doesn’t dummy down the shape names… My biggest complaint is that the puzzle is put together in the same order every time, which means my daughter has the order of shapes memorized instead of the shape names.
100s board lite: This app is a little above my daughter’s head. I like the concept of this app, especially that your little one can see visual patterns in our numbers (such as counting by 10s starting at 1: 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, etc.). We have played with the lite version and will definitely be purchasing this app in the future!

Reading:

Intro to letters: This app has stellar reviews. It is a good app for teaching letters and sounds. However, I am not 100% impressed. The digital sandpaper letters just don’t give you that hands on experience. I might like it more if my daughter didn’t know her letters and sounds already. However, I do love that it teaches phonograms.
Alphawriter: This is my favorite reading app because the child can explore the sound of letters and some vowel and conosonant digraphs. Not my daughters favorite, but from one educator to another I love it! A great app for making words, sorting words and sounds, and writing sentences.

Montessori Crosswords: This is a strong spelling based app. I love that there are different levels that will provide my daughter with a longer experience spelling and reading words. Although my little one is great at spelling three letter words (and this app provides practice with them) her attention span is a little short for this app. I am sure we will get many hours of spelling practice with this app in the future!


Culture:
Geography Puzzle: I have to say this is one of my daughter’s favorite apps. She is very curious about states and this is a simple yet educational puzzle. This app doesn’t randomize the order of adding pieces to the puzzle. I also wish you could just explore the puzzle by clicking and removing a few pieces at a time. The eastern states are very hard to see as well. But taking all that into consideration,my daughter has learned from and loves this app!



As I have said many times throughout this post, none of these apps will give you the real hands on Montessori experience. But for those with limited space or like learning on the go- these apps are great!

Happy Teaching!

I didn’t receive any compensation for reviewing these posts other than the happy feeling of seeing my daughter learn and grow!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...