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.
CC and I decorated eggs while Dad took RJ out for some ‘boys’ time.
CC was very proud of our final product.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Before learning about Montessori education, I will admit that most of my house cleaning happened while the kids were playing in another room or watching television. Although my kids have always been eager to try to help me, I used to find distractions for them so that I could get things done faster. Now Post-Montessori, I don’t necessarily go out of my way and suggest that my kids help me with housework, but if they say they want to help then I try to find a way to include them. Yes, everything takes longer to complete but the kids get such joy out of helping that it’s definitely worth it. Plus, they are learning to be more responsible for their rooms rather than having me pick up after them. Here are a few of this week's highlights…
While cleaning their rooms, CC and RJ (mostly CC) helped me with sorting clothes and organizing toys and books. CC practiced folding clothes, and when RJ would get distracted and try to start playing with CC, she would say, “RJ, it’s not playtime it’s cleaning time”.
CC and RJ now help take out the trash by taking out the recycle trashcan. We talk about what is recyclable and what isn’t. It takes a long time but they seem to like the challenge of getting all the recyclables in the tall trashcan.
This week, CC also started helping keep their small dining table clean. I filled a small spray bottle with non-toxic cleaner (which I watered down to be extra safe), and she now sprays and wipes down the table after messy meals.
Monday, April 6, 2009
RJ then moved on to some hammering.