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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another Use for Command Cards!

I love command cards (and problem cards). They are a wonderful way for a child to think about the knowledge they have learned or practice a skill. 

But, what do you do with them after the child gets weary of that work and is ready to move onto something different?

I put particular sets of cards up for a couple of weeks, then I pull them back out one at a time to serve as a review of the subject matter to keep it fresh in their brains.

Here is how I do it......

I place a card in a placecard holder and put it in a spot for a "daily morning review". My children have small notebooks where they record the answer to the command/problem cards each day.
They LOVE writing in their little notebooks!

If you "like" Montessori for Learning on Facebook,  you can access my Beginning Word Problem Card Set for FREE! (Click here!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

FREE Life Cycle of a Butterfly 3-Part Cards

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July! We have been having a sweltering heat wave, so ours was toasty! My husband had to work, so it was up to me and the kiddos to celebrate the 4th together. It was a little more difficult this year due to the heat. Many activities were cancelled. The one community picnic that we found last year was quite smaller this year (also due to the heat). We played 3 of the 5 games they had available and decided to go have lunch together. 

While sitting at lunch at McDonald's (I know the horrible place that has dangerous food- but my philosophy is that we all know it is bad for you, so don't eat there often and make it a treat once every month or two) and keeping watch over the happy meal toys while the kiddos took turns in the restrooms, I thought, "this is pretty skimpy" - I have to do more to make this a memorable day for all of us (we are also under a fireworks ban so we really didn't have anything else "fun" planned for tonight).

I browsed the web for some interesting science experiments. It seemed suitable that I search for "exploding" experiments since it was the 4th. I found a  few rocket-making sites and an "exploding colors" video. I have actually done these experiments with my Montessori class when I taught at the Montessori school, but my brain seems to draw a blank for ideas when I am out and about for some reason. These sites are the ones I bookmarked to use: (awesome for surface tension!)

I also thought that it would not be suitable to just go out and play without once again remembering why we celebrate the Fourth of July. I want my children to respect the people of the past and to appreciate what they gave up for us.So, I decided to run to the bookstore (always one of our favorite places) and I found these 2 wonderful books:

We took them home (after I purchased them of course!), read them, discussed them and I answered as many questions as I could. 

Then, after dinner, it was time for some exploding fun! Our surface tension experiment went off without a hitch... we poured our milk, added our food coloring (red and blue of course!) and then added our drop of food coloring to a toothpick and WAAAALAAA..... the kiddos thought I was so brilliant to be able to do this! Then I explained surface tension and then I got bumped down to pretty smart....

I'm afraid I do not have pictures of us actually setting off our bottle rockets, just the initial photo of our materials. Since it was exploding, I was the main one "setting it off" so there was no one left to snap the photos.

It took a few tries to get the baking soda and vinegar mixture just right, it wasn't perfect by any means - but I do think we created some fun memories!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Story Cubes

I love summertime. I love the extra flexible time to spend with the kiddos. We take extra trips to different parks, play in the sprinkler, and take time to catch the early "kidsfest" movies once a week at a discounted price. They are older movies that are out on DVD, but we like to go eat some popcorn and have the theater experience.

Although it is a more relaxed time of the year, I still like to do things that keep our brains active. One of my favorites is playing Story Cubes.

It is a game where you roll a set of dice and you create an original story with the pictures that are displayed on the dice. You could make a cheap version by cutting pictures out of the newspaper or magazine, or even writing words on a slip of paper and draw a few out of a bag and create a story with those words.

I like this one because it was easy and it does have pictures if you have a non-reader, or beginning reader. It includes all age groups. I also liked it because it was only about $7 at our local bookstore and I had a coupon and a gift card for that store :). That means it was a brain-game ready-to-go ----- no preparation necessary!

We have had some pretty interesting stories and great laughs so far with this game. It is small and very portable so you can take it with you to doctor's appointments or anywhere you are going to have a wait. It is so much better than having the kiddos on electronic games and is a real bonding experience for the family. 

Do you have any favorite family games that you like playing in the summer to keep the brains active?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What is that used for? Practical Life and First Aid

I have been looking for a way to organize our first-aid supplies for a while. I wanted a place where we could access it anytime. My first choice was one of the bathrooms, but with so many of us in the house, it seems as if they are occupied just when we need to access the supplies. I tried to place them under the kitchen cabinet in a tub, but the kids had to dig through items to get to a band-aid when needed.

 I finally settled on mounting a pocket organizer in the laundry room where everyone could access it. Every time I did laundry for the next few days, I patted myself on the back for finally solving my problem.

Everything was in plain sight and easily accessible.This was a positive, but I also saw how it could cause some issues too. It hadn't occurred to me until this moment that so many supplies looked so similar. I saw an opportunity for a practical life lesson. 

I placed all the topical application items on the table. I called each child individually to study the items more closely.  I had each of them read the words on the label (great for expanding the vocabulary). We discussed what each of the words meant (i.e. antiseptic, antibiotic, etc). We discussed the proper use of each item - for cuts, burns, stings, washing small wounds, etc.)

We used a rendition of the  "three-period" lesson method. I pointed to each of the item and they told me the use of each item. I mixed the arrangement of the items and then asked the use of each item again. I then posed questions to my children, "if  I am stung by a bee, which would I use", "if my nose is stuffy, which would I use", etc. 

I also reiterated and stressed very firmly that they are not to use any of the items without informing me first. We discussed that although these items are in our first aid kit to help us, they can still be dangerous if not used properly. We flipped each of the tubes over and looked at the warning signs and also discussed how misuse could be dangerous.

I have to admit that these type of lessons are my favorites - they are practical, require no preparation, and I know that they are gaining knowledge that they will use throughout their adulthood.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ordinal Numbers

We have been working with ordinal numbers for a couple of days. Ordinal numbers are something that we use quite often and it has been introduced naturally in our daily lives. 

With three children, it is quickly realized what first, second, and third mean in our world. Who gets to have the "first" chocolate milk served to them tonight at dinner, who gets to go "first" or "second" spraying the hose on their siblings after I disconnect it from the sprinkler - the daily practical application of ordinal numbers in our life is endless.

Our problem, was that we rarely get past "third." In order to expand our basic understanding of ordinal numbers, I created an Ordinal Number work set where ten cute little animals are waiting in line for ice cream. Arrows with the ordinal number words are to be placed under the correct position of the animals waiting in line.

My little bit had a lot of fun with this activity as she is an avid animal lover. It was also an opportunity to read the ordinal word numbers.

To download this Montessori material  set click here.

 I am linking to One Hook Wonder for Montessori Mondays!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Counting Money and Rounding Change to the Dollar

We have been practicing with money lately. It has become an interest in our house. I have allowed some household "jobs" to become paid jobs. For example, folding and taking care of your own laundry you do at no cost. Also, a certain amount of towel laundry, dishwasher unloading, etc. is not paid either. However, in order to teach giving, saving, and spending, I had to allow a certain portion of work to become "commission" jobs. 

I don't pay a lot per job as I want to instill the discipline of waiting and saving for something they want. Rather than being able to spend ten dollars on an item each week, I want it to take them at least a month to save up that amount. Because of this, they are interested in organizing and checking on their money at least once a day. 

I used this opportunity to review rounding money to the nearest dollar with my oldest child and introduce it to my youngest. While we were out "window-shopping" for items that can become savings goals, we talked about how useful rounding and estimation is when purchasing items. We began talking about how $0.99 is pretty much the same as $1.00 and $2.99 is practically $3.00. 

To assist my youngest to practice this skill with a hands-on activity, I created a "Rounding Number Line" where she would be able to practice counting change and then deciding if it is closer to 0¢ or $1.00.

We place the number line on the table and then gather our pile of nickels and dimes. She places the "Round to 0¢" and "Round to $1.00" heading cards to the right side of the number line. She then choses a "cent" card which displays different amounts ranging from 5¢ to 95¢. She decides which column they should be placed. She can check her work with control cards.You can download these free Montessori materials here.

The good thing about this work, is that you can also use it as a simple practice in counting out money. Save the rounding label cards and just have your child either count out the amount shown on the number line from left to right or choose a "cent" card and place that amount above the label on the number line.

This lesson is linked to ONE HOOK WONDER and MATH BOX from love2learn2day