Thursday, October 30, 2008

What we've been up to - October 27-30th

Transferring with a spoonTransferring with tongs
pumpkin counting
another student doing the spooning activity
doing the necklace work
button collage
letter and object matching

Our Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Every year for the last three years, we have gone to a pumpkin patch, that is actually not a real pumpkin patch, but instead a bunch of pumpkins in the front of a local church. We go to it because it is close, and they have good pumpkins for a good price, and because it is usually so cold that we just hurry and grab a few pumpkins and head back for doughnuts and cider. Well, this year was no exception. It was overcast, very windy, and cold. So we hurried and picked out some pumpkins and went back for doughnuts and cider. But Mrs. F managed to get a few pictures of the day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Field Trip to the Fire Station

We went to one of our local fire stations on October 17th.

But before we went, we saw a movie called Sparky's ABCs of Fire Safety.

Flower drew a picture of Sparky.
Here we are in the watch tower room with the public safety officer.
A fire fighter showed us what he looks like with all of his gear on.

Another fire fighter showed us about the equipment on a fire engine.

A fire fighter showed us some of the equipment on the ambulance.

We got to meet Sparky! It was so cool!

Thank you to everyone at the fire station for a great tour and teaching us about fire safety!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Practical Life?

Usually, we go outside for recess, but when it is too cold or too rainy, we stay in for recess. The children can pick playing with trains or cars, playstands (for making tents/forts), dolls, or dress up. On this particular day, the children were doing dress-up, when it all of a sudden turned into something more.
I'd like to bring you the first ever wedding at Montgomery Academy.
The bride and groom
The bridesmaid

A flower girl

The officiant

The ceremony

And the kiss

I use mostly a montessori-curriculum but

there are many things that I love about other methods - I love the nature study from Charlotte Mason, the history studies from Classical, the natural, wood, and rhythm of Waldorf, and the art and projects from Reggio Emilia. I recently devoted a whole bookshelf to art supplies in the classroom, and the children are free to pick from it during work time. We also have an easel for painting, and a chalkboard.

One of the ideas in the Reggio Emilia philosophy is that children have one hundred languages, most of them that are not written and spoken in the traditional way, but in more of an artistic way, that they use to express themselves and to learn things. Here is part of a poem by Loris Malaguzzi, one of the main proponents of the Reggio Emilia philosophy in the 20th century.

The child is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred
always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling
of loving
a hundred joys
or singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

— Loris Malaguzzi

The Hundred Languages of Children Exhibit

I know that sometimes it may seem like the children are bringing home endless amounts of art. But it isn't just bits of paper and glue. It is also a record of how they are learning and acquiring knowledge.
-Mrs. F

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts about being a teacher

When the adult can no longer be surprised and enthusiastic
about what children do, then the role of the teacher is over for that

The problem, then, is to become aware of what is
happening right under our eyes.

— Loris Malaguzzi

This thought embodies why I became a teacher, although I didn't see this quote until recently. I have always loved teaching children because I get such a sense of joy that I get see children as they are learning things and that I get to see that look on their face when they figure something out. Thank you to all my students, past and present, for the joy you bring me.

-Mrs. F

Friday, October 17, 2008

What we've been up to lately

Flower did 3 part landform/waterform cards

Geoboard - a new work, and lots of students pick this and make all kinds of shapes

Dry pouring

Sequence Cards

Play-doh. Always popular!

Shucking Corn. Living here in the midwest, it is pretty easy to get corn to shuck.

Free art.

Flower making a Ancient Greek-style pot

Super enjoying outside time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

3rd Grade - October 13th - 17th

Columbus Day

Literature – Little Women
Language – Poetry for Young People page 9. Answer the following questions in your sketch book - How does Carroll feel about the soup? How do we know? Choose one word from the poem and write the word you chose, and write a synonym (a word that means the same thing) for it in your sketch book.
Math – Math-U-See
Music – Music 3 part cards for Brass Instruments
Geography – Do 2 pages in your Map workbook.
Zoology – Label the parts of the horse
Art – Study the 8 kinds of brush strokes used in Chinese Art and practice all 8 in your sketch book.
PE – Trampoline
Main Lesson – Read the Warlord’s Beads book.

Copywork – Old Testament
Literature – Little Women
Language – Rough draft for fairy tale using look up words.
Math – Math-U-See
Music – Practice recorder
History – Read an Ancient Greece book
Botany – Do Botanical information for Flower Fairy “T”
Art – Watercolor Tutorial
PE – Tae Bo
Main Lesson – Read a book from the Main Lesson basket

Literature – Little Women
Language – Write a different "T" Flower Fairy poem
Math – Math-U-See
Music – Recorder
Geography – State Quarter - California
Zoology – Watch Mammal DVD
Art – Free Art
Main Lesson – Read Living Math book
PE – Tae Bo

Copywork – Old Testament
Literature – Little Women
Language – Write a final draft of fairy tale
Math – Math-U-See
History – Ancient Greece – Do project
Botany – Read next page in Shanleya’s book
Practical Life – Sewing – Do mending/hand sewing
Music – Practice Recorder
Art – Recreate Chinese Art
PE – Tae Bo
Main Lesson – Read Living Math Book

Preschool - October 13th - 17th

Practical Life
Three Finger Grasp - Spooning

Color Box #1
Sandpaper Shapes - Triangle

Adult/Baby Farm Animal Cards
Along the Alphabet Path “T”
Nursery Rhyme – Little Miss Muffet
Sandpaper Letters & Red Series - T Lesson (4s)

Writing Letters in Cornmeal
Metal Insets (4s)

Stories about Fire Fighters/Fire Safety

Trees – Leaf Puzzle & 3 part cards

Mammal - Horse Puzzle & 3 part cards

North America – Continent Box

Number 1
Sandpaper Numerals (4s)

Listen to Handel
Listen to Thrift Fairy song

Museum ABC – T
Art Project – Leaf Rubbing
Playdoh - Orange

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Reading Baskets

We have a number of reading baskets around our house. Two of them are actual baskets. About 6 years ago, I got an inexpensive coffee table and end table from Big Lots (they were on sale for $25 for both. They are laminate, and six years later, have their share of evidence of lots of children in the house.) The coffee table has three slots for baskets, and the end table has one slot. Now, three years before, I had ordered a set of Pottery Barn baskets in a honey color. The first set that they sent smelled strongly of gasoline. I called to see if that was normal, and they said that sometimes the stain has an odor to it, but that they would send me a new set. I asked if they wanted me to return the first set, and they said I could keep them. Well, I asked my mom if there was anyway to salvage them, and she said to try spraying some polyurethane spray on them. It worked like a charm, and there was no more odor, and I had four baskets for the price of two. Still, I did pay $35 for two. When I got the tables, I found the PB baskets that were in various rooms in the house, and tried them in the tables. It was a perfect fit - almost like they came together. I joke that the baskets cost more than the tables!

Anyway, the coffee table baskets hold puppets and a wood train set, and a Mr. Potato head, but the end table basket is for Flower's history books and her art study and music study books. Right now, she is studying Ancient Greece, Chinese Art, and Handel.

Here are the books in her basket:

  • The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong
  • Liang and The Magic Paintbrush by Demi
  • Handel by M.T. Anderson
  • Handel and the Famous Sword Swallower of Halle by Bryna Stevens
  • Olympic Games in Ancient Greece by Shirley Glubok & Alred Tamarin
  • The Greek News by Anton Powell & Philip Steele
  • The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki
  • The Robber Baby: Sroies from the Greek Myths by Anne Rockwell
  • The Hero and the Minotaur
  • Spend The Day in Ancient Greece by Linda Honan
  • The Traveler's Guide to Ancient Greece by Fiona Macdonald
  • The Usborne Illustrated World History: The Greeks
  • What Do We Know About The Greeks? by Anne Pearson
  • The Parthenon by Peter Chrisp
I also have a basket in the preschool classroom that has our reading books for the month. I generally have some sort of theme. Last week, I read books about squirrels and leaves. This week, I'm reading books about fire fighters and fire safety. Next week, we will read about pumpkins, and the following week, we will read about scarecrows, autumn, and the Statue of Liberty's birthday.

Here are the books in the preschool reading basket:
  • Nuts to You! by Lois Ehlert
  • Fall Leaf Project by Margaret McNamara
  • I am a Leaf by Jean Marzollo
  • The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin by Beatrix Potter
  • Chipmunk at Hollow Tree Lane
  • Big Fire Trucks by Joanne Barkan
  • Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons
  • Fire Engines by Anne Rockwell
  • I Can Be A Fire Fighter by Rebecca Hankin
  • The Fire Engine Book (A Little Golden Book)
  • From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
  • The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
  • Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
  • Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell
  • The Little Scarecrow Boy by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Night the Scarecrow Walked by Natalie Carlson
  • Every Autumn Comes The Bear by Jim Arnosky
  • A Picnic In October by Eve Bunting

Then I picked up a wood magazine holder and a wood box at a garage sale recently. Here's pictures of them.

The magazine holder hold the books for our science topic for the month. These books live on one side of the couch, and everyone - preschool students and my children are free to read them at any time. In October, we are studying about bees.

Here are the books in the science "basket":

  • Fiona's Bee by Beverly Keller
  • The Bee Sneeze by Beverly Keller
  • Magic Schoolbus: Inside a Beehive
  • The Honeybee in the Meadow by Christopher O'Toole
  • The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre
  • The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons
  • Busy, Buzzy Bees by Allan Fowler
  • Bees: A First Discovery Book
  • Ant and Honey Bee: What a Pair! by Megan McDonald
  • Buzz by Janet Wong
  • Beekeepers by Linda Oatman High
  • Bees! by Elizabeth Winchester
  • Honeybees by Joyce Milton

The wood box holds the books for the topic that Flower is studying for her Main Lesson. Right now, she is studying about Mathematics.

Here are the books in the Main Lesson "basket":
  • Multiplication Made Easy by Rebecca Nelson
  • Multiplication On The Farm by Jennifer Roy
  • Anno's Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno
  • Can You Count To A Googol? by Robert Wells
  • Mummy Math: An Adventure In Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Archimedes by Susan Keating
  • The Librarian Who Measured The Earth
  • The Warlord's Beads by Virginia Pilegard
  • Make Four Million Dollar$ By Next Thursday by Stephen Manes
  • On Beyond a Million by David M. Schwartz

The books about fire fighters and fire safety are Super's books, but all the rest of the books are from the library. On the last Wednesday (my planning day) before the end of the month, I search for books for all the topics for the next month at the two local libraries. I generally have to go to both libraries to get all the books that I need/want. There are always books that I want that are checked out, but there are always books I take my children on the following Saturday to both libraries and they do a variety of activities at the libraries while I look for the books. Both of the libraries have very kid-friend, separate children departments, and so I am able to look for the books while still keeping a close eye on the children. I buy a few books that we MUST have, but otherwise, we use the library to help us save money. We all really enjoy our Library Day and we are reminded monthly that the library is such a fantastic resource.

- Mrs. F

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here is what we have out on the preschool shelves for October

Practical Life

  • Whole Hand – Large Tongs
  • Wrist Turning – Dry Pouring: Pitcher to Pitcher
  • Three Finger Grasp – Spooning
  • Care of Indoor – Sweeping
  • Care of Outdoor – Sweeping
  • Care of Self – Large Button Vest
  • Food Preparation – Slicing Vegetables


  • Knobbed Cylinder #1
  • Block Tower
  • Brown Stair
  • Color Box #1
  • Geometric Solids
  • Knobless Cylinder #1
  • Tactile Boards


  • Memory Language Cards
  • Seasonal Matching Cards
  • Sequencing
  • Opposites
  • Metal Insets
  • Leap Frog Letters
  • Sandpaper Letters
  • Sound Cards
  • Sound Object Boxes
  • Sound Books


  • Weather
  • Horse Puzzle
  • Different types of Leaves cards
  • Different types of Mammals cards
  • Horse 3 part cards
  • Horse sticker book
  • Leaf Puzzle
  • Leaf 3 part cards
  • Leaf sticker book


  • Atlas
  • Children Like Us Book
  • Land and Water Globe
  • Continent Globe
  • Land, Air and Water cards
  • North America Continent Box
  • Continent Map Puzzle


  • Sorting/Classification
  • Sequence/Patterns
  • Sequence/Seriation
  • Number Rods
  • Sandpaper Numbers
  • Numerals and Counters


  • Clay
  • Playdoh
  • Cutting Leaves
  • Art Project - Changes weekly. This week - Leaf Rubbing
  • Crayons
  • Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Painting

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some pics of the last couple of weeks

Super doing our weekly art project - idea came from this website
Flower did the art project too, although her picture is a little more elaborate

A friend working on clay and another friend working on the art project

Working on sponge squeezing

Making Stone Soup - everyone brought something to put in.
A friend is putting pasta into the pot

Putting her snips of paper in an envelope

putting numerals in order

Making "L"s out of play-doh
(picture taken from the other side of the table)
Doing the geometric shape matching cards

writing in cornmeal - after two weeks of being out, this is still a popular work

painting - another popular activity

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pictures from our September Field Trip

We went to a local apple orchard. We had so much fun! All the preschool kids and their moms came (along with a little sibling) as well as Flower and her Tuesday School friend.

Going Up . . . .
playing with a kitty

going down the zip line

picking an apple

a student picking apples with her mommy

Flower by the pumpkins

Super on top of a tire
One of the preschool moms with a future student!