Thursday, February 25, 2010

Preschool: The Science Shelf

On the preschool shelf, I usually have something out from botany and something out from zoology. Sometimes, I have a science tray out with something about ecology or earth science or astronomy, etc.

Here is a picture of the Science Shelf -

The wire shelf is from Target (in the laundry section).

Close up of the 1st shelf.

The puzzle is from Montessori N' Such.
The sheet next to it is from Freebies section of
Montessori N' Such. I print them out, color them,
laminate them, and use the as control sheets.

I've had these MNS puzzles (both the botany and
zoology) for many years, and they have
held up very well. (I also use these puzzles with
the early elementary homeschoolers, but on a
more advanced level.)

Next to the puzzle are flower books.
One is from Scholastic (A First Discovery Book),
and the other one is a Dover sticker book.
I have many of these Dover "Learning About"
sticker books. The preschoolers seem to enjoy
the small size of these books.

Close up of the second shelf.
Three part cards about flowers from
Montessori For Everyone.
Types of Flowers from MOE.
More of the Freebie sheets, but these are
printed on regular paper, and used as coloring sheets.

Zoology puzzle from Montessori N Such.
Freebie sheet from Montessori N Such.
Books about birds including an Usborne Spotter's
Guide to Birds of North America,
and a Dover "Learning About" sticker book.

3 part bird cards from MOE, Types of Birds
(I'm not sure where I got these? Anybody know?)
and more Freebie coloring sheets.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Heard from Flower this morning . . . .

as she was working on Timelines from 1000 - 501 BC.

"You know, this work is much less boring than I thought it was going to be."

I was glad to hear it.


I'll have a longer detailed post or two about preschool (one about what we do for science for sure, since I've already got that one done, and then probably one about what we have been up to) and one about home school (probably about one about science, and one about poetry maybe) soon. We've been busy and then sick, so my blogging dropped off a bit there.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What We We Were Up To: Homeschool - Late January

Well, this picture shows a little of everybody -
tots, preschoolers, and homeschoolers
Jelly Bean working on the Idaho Quarter

Helper working on a page for his Music Notebook.
We are currently studying Mahler out of
Story of Orchestra.

Flower working on India out of
A Trip Around The World.
The Olders are currently studying
Asia. We use several different
resources for our continent studies.
This book is just one of the things
that we use.

Scooter working on weaving a potholder.
We were studying about N is for Navaho
in our M is for Masterpiece book, and it
discussed how they wove blankets. I decided
we weren't quite up for weaving blankets,
and we had this on hand. All the children
enjoyed this project.

Dissecting Flowers.
This project was a BIG hit.
(Project taken from Apologia Botany)

Creating lava to learn about Venus' surface.
(Project taken from Apologia Astronomy)

Working on Math flashcards with each other

Dying items like the Ancient Phoenicians
(Project taken from Story of the World 1)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What We Are Up To: Preschool - First Week of February

It isn't uncommon to see a little dancing during work time

And it usually makes me smile to see it

Our masks that we used while reading The Mitten.
I printed these off of Jan Brett's website a few years ago.

Tonging "snowballs"

I got this Snowman Pre-Writing sheet from
Confessions of a Homeschooler

Looking at a Dover Sticker book about

Working on Opening/Closing
Even though most of the students are
around 4 years old, this activity is always
popular. I switch the containers occassionally,
but it is generally out on the shelves.

Working with the Nature Box.
I put a collection of shells in at the beginning
of February. We don't live by the beach
and it is still definitely cold and snowy
here, but I thought it would be nice
to have something to remind us of the sun.

Painting with red paint at the easel.

Using hearts instead of spindles

Sorting by Color

Saturday, February 6, 2010

It seems that everyone in the Montessori blog world is talking alphabet . . .

I recently made a change to how I had been doing the letters. I had originally been using the ideas/order that is presented at My Montessori Journey. The problem was that I was ALSO introducing a letter of the week (starting with "a" at the beginning of the year), and it was generally different than the ones we were working on with the Red/Yellow/Blue scheme. It was just getting too confusing.

So I've made a decision - we are going to drop the Red/Yellow/Blue scheme. I understand that presenting the letters to the children in the order that they are in the alphabet probably really isn't the best way to introduce them. But it is the way that is working best for these children this year.

I am, however, using similar resources found at My Montessori Journey (particularly from KidSoup) combined with ideas that were contained in the language album from the Montessori Online Training Course that I am taking - particularly the idea of Sound Boxes, although I keep all the items for the Sound Boxes on my newly named Letter Shelf. (What DID we do all day is taking the course too, so that is why some of our resources look similar.)

Here is my new Letter Shelf:

The top of the Letter Shelf -
number of the month, shape of the month
and letter of the week.

Picture of the whole Letter Shelf

Cards that go with our Alphabet Song.
(on the first shelf) See next photo for more explanation.

We sing our Alphabet Song (not the traditional one. The tune is "Twinkle Twinkle" and it starts with the letter sound, then letter name, and then the object presented. So for A, it is a (as in in appple), A (as in ate), Apple, buh, B, ball. kuh, C, cat, duh, D, dog. )

For the current letter of the week:

We learn the sign language sign for that letter and a sign language word that starts with that letter.

We do the letter of the week with the Leap Frog Fridge Magnets and sing along.

We review our letter of the week poster and letter of the week words from KidsSoup.

These sheets are on the Writing Shelf for the letter of the week.

Find the Letter learning page from KidsSoup

Write/Trace the letter from KidsSoup

Trace words that start with that letter from KidSoup

There is also a letter coloring sheet on the Art Shelf for the letter of the week.

Letter Coloring Sheet from KidsSoup
(3rd sheet on the right on the blue shelf)

There is also a sandpaper letter by the sand tray at the Sensory Table for the letter of the week and there is a cookie cutter out at the play-doh table for letter of the week. I got the letter and number cookie cutters from Michael's. It came in a big container with all the letters and numbers. LOVE IT.

For the rest of these activities, I have two letters out - the letter for current week, and the letter for the previous week. These are held in the Letter Shelf.

Alphabet flashcards that show the capital and lowercase letters together (on the 2nd shelf. The Flashcards came from the dollar section at Target last fall.)

(On the 2nd shelf - these objects are in a plastic card file box)

Letter Cards from KidsSoup
(bottom shelf - in right blue container)

Inside of Little Letter Book

Outside of Little Letter Books - Little Letter books from KidsSoup
(on bottom shelf - left blue container)

The pictures in the Letter Cards are the same pictures that appear in the Little Letter Books.


So far, LOVING the new system. The children are really learning the letter sounds and they enjoy doing many of the activities.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Homeschool Learning Areas

The homeschoolers school upstairs in the morning. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out where to store their materials, because our dining room is open to the living room, and the kitchen is not an eat in kitchen. But schooling in the dining room was really the only option, so I tried to find a storage solution that wouldn't take up too much room, and that the toddlers would get into (much, anyway LOL) and that wouldn't look too bad and that wasn't too expensive. I ended up going with the itso storage system from Target. It is in the corner of the dining room. (The homeschoolers do history, reading, writing, spelling, and grammar upstairs.)

Starting from the bottom left cube - Our "mailbox",
and the grammar boxes. (there is a shelf in this cube.)
The upper left cube - the green half drawer has the
grammar solids,the grammar wooden symbols,
and a dictionary. (there is a shelf in this cube.)
The two small green tubs have art supplies in them.

On top of this cube, there is a 3 drawer unit with writing,
handwriting, and reading comprehension books.
The green tub on top of this has craft supplies,
and on the very top is office supplies.

On the bottom right, there are history "notebooks" -
1 inch binders with lined paper and page protector sheets.
In the cube above on the right, there are are language notebooks,
each "notebook" has dividers for spelling, writing, grammar, etc.
Then there is another 3 drawer divider with spelling workbooks,
then copy paper, then envelopes & stamps.
The green tub on top is the "inbox", and there is a
dry erase board on the very top.

Now, we go downstairs to the what we refer to
as "The School Room." The room is 9' x 10'.
We do Afternoon School downstairs. The subjects we
do in the afternoon are Math, Art, Music, Poetry, and Geography.

These are what we call the "Free Time" Shelves -
There are Tangrams, a couple looms, Draw Write Now books,
Dominoes, Origami, Wood Models, Music Cards, Art Cards
Money Cards, Guitar Book

These 3 drawer units are on top of a bookcase
that is to the left of the Free Time Shelves.
These contain the Math Books, and Math flashcards,
protractors, etc.
On top of the these are some tubs with painting supplies
(poster and watercolor)

To the left of that bookcase is the Culture bookcase
(There are also the Math U See blocks in this bookcase.)
On top is Botany information - Botany cards from
Montessori for Everyone, The Handbook of Nature,
a Viewfinder with Astronomy reels, an Usborne Astronomy book,
Astronomy cards from Montessori for Everyone, planet models, etc.

Same bookcase - Math U See blocks,
Base 10 blocks, Math Cards, Asia flag cards,
US Flag cards (from Montessori For Everyone
Continent/US Kits)
Various Atlas books and Asian Animals and Plant Cards
(MOE Asia Continent Kit)
Map Control Sheets from Montessori N Such for
all continents, And wooden maps (I have US,
North America, and World- from Montessori N Such)

Bookcase to the left of Culture Materials -
This bookcase contains reference materials.
On top of the bookcase are the general art materials -
markers, pastel crayons, beeswax crayons, Crayola crayons,
colored pencils, watercolor pencils, charcoal, modeling beeswax,
and modeling clay.

To the left of the reference bookcase is the table -
This is our former dining table. There is our jumbled Inbox
(we did go through and file/toss most of the items), Science notebooks,
and lined paper, copy paper, pencils, a water bottle, etc.
There is an egress window in this room, and we get quite a bit of
natural light. The older homeschoolers generally sit here.

To the left of the table, the Picture Book
bookcase. These books are actually for Preschool
Story Time, but this room is the best place to store them.
I keep Picture Books for the month in the Preschool Area.
On top of the bookcase, there is a CD Player and
a file folder holder. There is a file for each homeschooler
and for Super (my preschool-aged son.)

To the Left of the Picture Book bookcase
is a closet. This closet stores all my
craft and sewing supplies. We also usually keep maps
on the door.

To the left of the storage closet are the two desks.
I got these for free last summer - they were set out for
garbagecollection at a home in my neighborhood.
I got our currentdining table for free at the same place.

Actually, the only furniture I purchased in the room was
the Culture bookcase, which I bought at a garage sale
last summer for 50 cents. Everything else was given to me
or already had in the house.
In fact, many of our curriculum books were also "lent" to
us this year from a couple homeschoolers who weren't using
those books this year or books that I used last year with Flower.

So there is the room.

There are a few things not pictured in this post.
In the Downstairs post, in the homeschool room picture,
you can see a bench. We didn't have anywhere else in the
house for it,and so it ended up in here, and I generally sit there.
I also have a Rubbermaid tub that sits on the floor that
contains the Apologia books, and the Art, Music, and Poetry books.

Next Post - The New Preschool Language Area!