Monday, July 13, 2009
Below is Carissa making a flower and Enzo making a smiley face.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Although I haven’t gotten around to posting all this time, we have maintained our weekday routine. Our ”school class sessions” are Monday through Thursday in the late mornings, where we spend 1-1/2 to 2-1/2hours (depending on what kind of mood the kids are in). We don’t have formal class time on Fridays, instead we visit our local library for pre-school story time, a craft, and each of the kids gets to check out one book for the week. After the library, we visit one of the local parks on the way home. We have quite a few parks to choose from so the kids enjoy visiting the different playgrounds and also seem to get pretty excited about what snacks I pack for us.
A lot has gone on in the classroom since our last post but since I cannot manage to cover everything, here are some of the highlights...
RJ received THIS stringing/beading set for his birthday, and it has been a fun addition to the shelves. Initially the boys would get sidetracked and start racing cars throughout the classroom (instead of stringing), but now they enjoy stringing and parking all the cars back in the basket without too much distraction.Another activity that has been enjoyed the last few weeks is a water transfer activity using a turkey baster. This is the first water activity that I have made available for the kids indoors so I was a bit nervous about the possible spills but it has turned out well. Enzo is trying if for the first time in the picture below.
Language materials have also recently been added to the classroom. I decided to follow the method used by My Montessori Journey, a wonderful blog written by a Montessori preschool teacher. This blog is very well organized and is great at thoroughly explaining many Montessori activities. Anyhow, her language system which divides the alphabet letters into three groups is explained on THIS POST. We are currently learning the red letters and are working on “r” and “m”. Here is a sample of the sandpaper letters and little sound books that I made.
Here is CC showing the front of the little “m” sound book and saying “mmm”.On the picture below you can see CC writing the letter “r” with her finger on a sand tray (our version of the sand tray is actually a zen garden that I purchased at a yard sale for $1). In the background of the picture you can see RJ on the floor. On this particular day he laid around a lot while chewing on his blanket to sooth the teething)
In addition to having the letter/sound materials available in the classroom for the kids, we are also regularly reading the “My Sound Box” books that I found at the library. These books have been a good way to reinforce the sounds that we are learning in the classroom outside of the classroom setting.
CC has known the alphabet letters for some time now. She easily learned the sounds and was interested in writing before she turned three (pre-Montessori). She now sort of legibly writes most of the alphabet but only in Upper Case. Although she already knows the sounds, our new language materials have introduced an opportunity for her to learn the lower case letters and how to correctly write each letter. Enzo currently only recognizes a few of the letters of the alphabet so I am looking forward to finding out how our new language activities help him learn sounds.
RJ had a wonderful birthday. His birthday was on a Friday and we did our usual Friday routine of attending story time at the library and visiting one of the local parks. The kids and I visit the playground at the park next door almost daily. But RJ’s birthday was a treat for them because we visited a much larger playground with swings, 5 slides to choose from and a rock climbing wall. I guess it was a usual Friday but we did mention the fact that is was RJ’s birthday throughout the day, we sang Happy Birthday to him and RJ practiced saying that he is now Two years old.
In the evening, Grandma brought over pizza, chicken and a delicious ice cream birthday cake.
It was a great party! More birthday party pictures can be found HERE.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This is Enzo’s fourth week with us, and as expected he is fitting right in. He looks forward to our class time and aside from easily being distracted (must be a boy thing) he has adjusted well to our classroom and home environment.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
We also made some simple tissue paper flowers, I found the idea on this website. CC and Enzo each worked on three flowers. They initially had a difficult time twisting the stems but eventually got the hang of it. RJ tried making one flower but quickly lost interest and decided he would watch instead.
Hope you all have a Happy Mother's Day!
Monday, May 4, 2009
When CC and RJ woke up I told them that Friday was a special day and that it was going to be a day full of fun and celebration of children and books. And when Enzo joined us, we informed him about our fun day planed. Just knowing that Friday was a special day put the kids in an extra good mood.
Generally, we don’t have class time on Fridays, we take the morning off from “school work” and spend time at the library instead… Our usual Friday activity was a perfect way to kick off Children’s/Book day. The kids enjoyed the “Fire Engines” themed story time and craft that was planed for that day.
I also took advantage of the kids’ joyful mood to suggest that we borrow Spanish books from the library that day. The kids happily followed me away from this brightly decorated, children’s section of the libraryto this very isolated corner of the library where the Spanish children’s books are found.
After the library, I took the kids to a different playground than the one we usually visit. The kids had a great time exploring the different, larger playground, and I enjoyed taking many pictures. Those interested can view more pictures HERE.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I color coded the activity since the keys are so similar in size. Once the kids get the hang of it, I plan to remove the stickers and hope that they are able find the correct key by trial and error. I also plan to change the way the activity is presented once it loses its novelty. I introduced this activity to CC, RJ and Enzo as a group because I knew they would all be interested in working on it first. Once they each practiced working on one of the locks and keys, I told them that the activity would be available on the shelf so that they would all have an opportunity to try all three of the locks. You can see CC working with the locks and keys below.
They all enjoyed working on the new activity today. RJ had a difficult time getting one of the locks to close but I think he will improve with practice.
Another activity the kids enjoyed today was riding stick ponies after class today. (Thanks grandma=)
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
However, soon after starting their activities I noticed that the kids weren’t really in the mood for work today. CC was getting discouraged and kept saying “I can’t” (to simple tasks that she can normally complete). RJ spilled pasta and did not want to pick it up. And Enzo quickly lost interest in the beading, which he normally patiently completes. There have been days when one of the kids is disinterested in class but with a little encouragement and extra attention those days usually work themselves out. But since all three kids seemed to be in cahoots today I decided to cut our class session short and head to the park.
A windy day was also a perfect opportunity for some kite flying. The kids had fun taking turns holding the kite, watching it fall and yelling “Fly Dora, fly”.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The last time the kids played a game CC did not enjoy the experience. She did not want to run for the ball and she sat out most of the game. By the way, she wasn’t the only one that did not truly enjoy the game; there were other kids that shed tears when they weren’t able to get the ball or make a goal.
Here are pictures from today’s class. She was in a better mood and (with a little gummy bear candy enticement) she did great during the game. She did not score any goals but she got an “A” for effort. Mom and Dad were very proud!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This is a video of RJ, an impatient 23-month old, working on a color sorting activity (one that CC uses tongs with). Up until today, RJ would randomly place the pom poms without seeming to be aware of the colors. Today, I noticed that he was attempting to name the colors while picking up the pom poms so I decided to join him. I started by placing one pom pom of each color in the cups and he quickly caught on. I didn’t think about getting the camera until we were almost done, so by the time I started recording you will notice that he is distracted and more interested in showing off for the camera than on the activity. But I decided to post it anyway because I think Dad would enjoy watching.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Eventually we made it to the classroom where we first had to work through a disagreement that started when everyone wanted to use the same maraca for our rug time songs. After singing we learned about Earth day. I didn’t go into too much detail about the earth. I read a book about the earth and we went over ways that we can help take care of the earth, “our home” and keep it clean.
During the rest of the class session, there were a few distractions, but the kids eventually settled down and I was able to capture all the kid absorbed in individual work!
Lo is working on foam beading, RJ is filling the bank with (plastic) coins, CC is comfortably working on a number/counting puzzle, and Enzo is hammering.
After class today, the kids worked on an earth day activity. Here are the finished products.
I got the idea and earth template here. However, instead of gluing construction paper cut outs as recommended I decided to have the kids paint. The idea was to use green paint for the land and blue paint for the sea but everyone ended up just mixing the two colors together. Nice effect I think. The hands are cutouts of each child’s actual hand print.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Enzo is a new “student” to our home school. He is almost three years old and is new to the Montessori environment. Today was actually his second day in the classroom but I did not get a chance to post about his first day last week. On his first, we spent most of our classroom time in orientation mode introducing Enzo to “rug time” and the classroom basics (learning how to roll a place mat, how to carry work to and from the shelves, classroom rules...). I haven’t encouraged any specific activities for Enzo yet, I have been mostly observing to learn more about him. He seems to know most of his colors but not his numbers or letters yet so I am looking forward to what’s ahead.
Here are a few of today’s highlights.
Enzo worked on this color sorting activity for the first time today. I think he was initially drawn to the actual toys but quickly understood the concept of color sorting and he named most of the colors correctly. Enzo had a hard time maneuvering the tongs and would use his free hand to place the toy in the tongs. I did have to persuade him to continue to try using only the tongs but it wasn’t until CC volunteered to show Enzo how she uses the tongs that he got the hang of it. I guess her demonstration was more successful than mine.This next picture really put a smile on my face.
A general note on “Practical Life” activities / message to Enzo’s parents:
The practical life activities that you will see Enzo working on may seem simple, however activities like pouring, using tongs, spooning and the delicate handling of materials are designed to help with concentration, hand-eye coordination, small muscle control... These exercises are also preparatory for further activities to come, including the handling of a pencil that will be needed for writing in the future. I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse at what your son is up to!
Monday, April 20, 2009
CC and RJ got to spend a fun day with Dad, who managed to get both kids dressed, fed, and out of the house (impressive=). Dad said that RJ was “an angel” today but CC not so much. She tried to complicate things in the morning by requesting that Dad comb her hair into three ponytails and wanted to wear a pull-up (she has been out of diapers for a year). I guess eventually he convinced her not to wear a pull-up and they were able to leave the house to visit with Grandma and Great-Grandma today! I’m sure the kids had a wonderful time with Dad and Grandma today, but when I arrive back at home I found a sad looking wild-haired CC and an emotional RJ. Awww, I missed them!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Since RJ’s spill got the attention of CC and Lo, I decided to present it as a group activity and it turned into a fun game for the kids. I demonstrated the process first and then CC, RJ and Lo took turns sweeping. They first spilled the beans from the container onto the tray (the kids would say “oh no, I spilled the beans”). The goal is to sweep all the beans in the square, so that they can then more easily sweep the beans onto the dustpan (not an easy task for any of the kids initially). And eventually all the beans get poured back in the container.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
During our rug time Lo enjoyed playing the maracas and eagerly joined the singing of unfamiliar songs, even the Spanish ones! After our rug time we gave Lo a mini-tour of our classroom and CC helped me go over some of our classroom rules.
The first activity that Lo chose to work on was the transfer/spooning of pasta. Initially, Lo did taste the pasta and said that he was going to mix it and take some to CC and RJ. But after I explained the activity and a gave him quick demonstration, Lo easily completed the task with only a few spills.
The activity that CC is smiling at below is new. It is a very simple color pencils and erasers matching activity that I had in mind to help RJ work on his colors. Unexpectedly, it was more appealing to CC and Lo today.
Overall, I feel that Lo did well in the classroom and enjoyed working on many activities. He did seem to want to rush through activities so that he could move on to the next one. And he did not repeat any one activity in particular. I believe this might be the case because our classroom set up is new to him (he normally attends a traditional preschool). I am curious to find out how the next couple of days go.
After our class session the three kids and I enjoyed playing outside, blowing bubbles, coloring, drawing and chalk writing.
Later Tuesday evening…
The following has nothing to do with home school or Lo’s first day, but since I also took these pictures today, I thought I would share them as well (and I know Dad will enjoy them).
CC and RJ started a gymnastics class three weeks ago. CC has taken this class in the past and she is loving it as usual, and RJ is adapting well. He does get distracted now and then, but his attention span is improving each week.