Friday, March 23, 2012

Sponge Bob Square Pants reinvents the Fabric Box!!

There are some Montessori materials which hardly get any attention from the children. I mentioned to you the Geometric Solids and what I did to remedy this problem (see the post here). I had the same dilemna with our Fabric box.

wire connector

The Fabric box belong to the Montessori sensorial materials. The Fabric box contains a selection of different fabrics: silk, cotton, wool, linen etc... all cut to exactly the same size. There are 2 swatches of each of the fabrics for pairing. Tge fabrics are laid on the table and are mixed. The child closes his eyes, is given one fabric, holds it with 2 hands at the edge and feels the texture between the index finger and the thumb. The child needs to pair each fabric with his eyes closed. This is a great exercise to develop the child's language but also to stimulate his interest in texture in the environment. However, the children haven't shown much interest in the Fabric Box this year. I have never used a blindfold before and I  thought that the use of one might become a point of interest for the children. I suddenly remembered that my daughter Nel had a "Sponge Bob Square Pants" night blindfold and I went to get it... Well, MY OH MY!... They have now to wait for their turns to have a go at the Fabric Box..... It was such a simple change, so basic, so easy. Why didn't I think of it before?????

More Easter activities....

Here are a few more of the Easter activities we have on our shelves:

This Math activity helps the children to reinforce their knowledge of numbers 1-10. I made these cute little egg jigsaws last year.  I printed some backgrounds and cut them out in the shape of an egg. Each egg is cut into halves. I placed white stickers on one half. I wrote the corresponding number on the other half (from 1-10). Finally, I laminated all the pieces . The children have to count how many stickers there are on one half and match it to the right number. What is the control of error? once they have matched 2 pieces, they turned them over and check if the printed patterns are identical.

When the child is emptying the basket, he/she must place all the halves with the stickers and the numbers facing up.

Then the child proceeds to count the stickers...

.... and matches the half with the stickers with the corresponding half. He/she turns the full egg with the pattern facing up. This is what it looks like when the exercise is completed:

Here is a cutting activity I used last year too. I created some strips with Easter patterns. The children must cut along the lines and then use the glue stick. This is actually quite a popular exercise at the moment.

Of course, I have also added the activities we had on our shelves last year. You can see them here and  here. Still more to come. So keep in touch...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Getting ready for Easter

Another 2 weeks and we will be starting our Easter break!!! I can't believe how fast it's going!! The children have been waiting for me to put up our few Easter decorations up and when they came today, they were delighted to see our Nature table decorated with a few rabbits, a miniature Easter egg tree, chicks, egs etc.. And did I think of taking a photo? Nope..... I will do it tomorrow. Promise! However, I took a few pictures of the new activities on our Practical Life shelves.

This 1st activity is soooo cute! I found the 2 egg holders and the fork/spoon on sale in a thrift shop a few month ago and I had to get them.. Straight away, the children were attracted to this material and they never stoped commenting on how real the egg holders looked!! This is just another spooning exercise but it is so popular!! It can be a bit tricky as the spoon the children are using is flater than normal spoons, which means they have to have a very steady hand in order to avoid spilling any of the Easter decorations I placed in the egg holders.

Here, we have a transfering exercise using tongs (the children transfer little wooden Easter decorations: rabbit, chicks..)

I added a lot of exercises with tongs to develop their fine motor skills. Here is another one:

And another one. I am using a rubber duck that comes straight from  America ( my dear friend Karen from Little Acorns.. Check out her blog: it is absolutely ind utterly brilliant.. and inspiring!)

And finally, I have added an activity using glue. The children use the strips of colured paper provided, add glue and stick Easter decorations onto their strip. Eventually, I will show them how to make patterns too.

I have a few more things I want to share with you... keep in touch!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mother's Day....

This is a very busy week end for all of us as tomorrow we celebrate St patrick and on Sunday, it's Mother's Day. We were very very busy in class this week, getting ready for it all. The children were very excited about creating something special for their mam. This is what we did:

The children had to glue the lollipop sticks in place, bepatient and let them dry. Then, they had to paint them and learnt to be a bit more patient!! In the meantime, I took individual pictures of them all, printed and laminated them. Finally, the chidren got to choose some little decorative accessories and glue them upon  their picture frame. I added some magnets in the back for mammies to be able to stick the photos of their little ones directly on their fridges.

And the chilren also made cards for their mams.

A bit of pre-cut coloured paper.

The children glued them inside a heart shape traced on a pink card.

Cute, isnt'it?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Working hard here!!

I thought I would put together a few photos again to show you all what the children are working on in our classroom at the moment. So here it goes:

  •  Literacy
Children learn at different pace and while some children are still struggling to recognise their own name among others, others are able to write theirs all on their own. Different activities are being provided for each individual child to help him progress at his/her own pace (I refer you here to all of our literacy activities). Here are a few activities I wanted to share with you today:

Sandpaper letter and our salt tray

This activity requires the child to find the letters of his/her name and stick them all in sequence on a coloured card:

  •  Maths
In Maths, some children have been introduced to new materials, bringing them forward in their learning of the numeral system (again I apologise: some of the photos came upside down and I can't sort the problem out!!):

In the following photos, the child is introduced to the units, the tens, the hundreds and the thousands using the Three Period Lesson (this is..., Show me... and What is this?). This exercise not only introduces the child to big and small quantities but also gives him/her a visual representation of bigger quantities.

The golden bead material

"This is 10..."

"This 100.."

"This is 1000..."

Here we are working with the counting rods to introduce the child to the concept of adding. This activity provides a controlled exercise for teaching number bond.

First, I ask the child to lay one set of the small rod on the top left corner of the mat and to lay the other set on the top right corner of the mat. I then give the child a sum: 3 + 2. I show him how to take the rod representing 3 from one set and the rod representing 2 from the other set. Both rods are laid side by side horizontally in the middle of the mat. I shows how to count the sections on the rod to make 5. This is a great oral sum exercise.

To practice number 1-9, the children use the Hanging bead stair. The child counts the beads on each bar, places them in sequence and finds the corresponding numeral cards or vice versa.

Here is another exercise with the short bead stairs. I use it to teah the children the concept of "taking off" (i-e subtracting). The child must build the bead stairs first in a triangle at the top of the mat. I then give him an operation (6-2 =?). The child takes the lilac bead bar (representing 6) and counts back starting from the right. I show him/her how to cover 2 beads and invite him/her how to count how many beads are left to find the answer.

Who said there was no snake in Ireland?

Next Saturday is Patrick's day!! The kids are so excited about going to the parade.... In the meantime, we have talked a lot about St Patrick and what he means to Irish People. And this is one of the crafts we did together:

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How two little cuties learnt to say sorry....

The other day, 2 little boys (2 brothers) arrived to preschool a bit late... Their Mam explained to me that they had got into trouble when they decided to crumble their dad's newspaper and tear it all in pieces!!! Dad hadn't even read it yet! Needless to say their Mam asked them to tidy up their mess and to put it all in the fire place... What did they do right after tidying up when Mam wasn't looking anymore? They went back to the fireplace and got the newspaper out, together with all the ashes!!! Monkeys!!!!! Their Mam told them they 'd better find a way to apologise to their dad when he would come home from work.. The 2 boys ket looking at their feet the whole time their mother was talking to me.. It was so cute!

So Rachel and I thought they could make a card to say sorry.. Rachel got a brilliant idea. She got some old newspaper, cut out a heart, crumbled the page and the cut out hearts. The boys glued the hearts on a folded A4 page, and signed their names inside the card.

Could you stay mad at them?  Their dad apparently couldn't!!!

What 's new in our classroom?

Here are a few pictures of what has been going on in our classroom over the past 2 weeks:

  • Working with the Seguiun Board A and the short bead stairs to teach numbers from 11-19

  • Using the Maths rods and numeral cards to reinforce number recognition and associate quantities with written symbols

  • Working on life cycles