Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Monday, 29 December 2008
Even Annabel [the cat] enjoyed it.
Little-N choose coordinating colours and when finished doing all the patterns he could fit on a single piece of paper, he cut them out and we made window hangers.
Friday, 12 December 2008
These are extremely simple to make. All you need is lots of strips of papers varying in width slightly and some glue. You can find a tutorial for the star folding here and here. Make as many stars as you wish, then stack them and secure with a little glue. We told the children that all they need to do is build it like the pink tower. With the large tree we added some glue, glitter and golden foil. Don't you think they look great??
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Friday, 5 December 2008
I designed a sheet with shapes that I can print off for the children to cut out. You can print the sheets from here. Each page needs to be printed on a different colour card inorder to have a multi coloured star. The cutting needs accurate cutters and great fine motor skills, so if the children aren't quiet ready for that then get an older child to help you cut a prepare them for the younger children.
Once all the pieces are cut, you simple start sticking them into place. Start with the octagon and then stick the small triangles around it and finally the large kite shape. Little-N found the shape arranging very easy and was very happy with his end result. We added some glitter and text to finish it off.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
You can find out more about the EYFS here.
The Qs are in green.
What would you do next?
Next I would give Little-N the choice to further his study about Europe by going through the European folders. These folders are a bit like the continent folders except each folder would be about a country in Europe. The folders would contain basic information about the country and a few pictures or postcards.
Or.. I would invite him to work with the flag pin board where he will place the correct flags for each country in Europe. He already knows this comes next so I wouldn't actually have to invite him.
Or.. I would see if he was more interested in working with maps from other continent. I think that's where he's going as he has already learnt many countries from around the world.
At what point, as a directress do you step in to say "The next thing you could do is....."
I try not to step in and say anything, he knows what materials are available and each time he goes to work on a map he can see the countries folders, the pin map and the other continent maps. So he indirectly knows what he can move onto, eventually when he feels he is done with the Europe map he will take out another piece of material and ask me if he can do it. Sometimes he doesn't even ask he just does it and surprises me. The key is to let him direct his learning and not me, self chosen activities are what leads to great achievements. If I feel a child is lost and unable to guide himself then I would say something like 'would you like to try this?' 'shall I show you how to use this?'. Also if a child is unable to figure out when they have had enough with an activity I might try to redirect their thoughts allowing them to decide if they need to move on or not, but this hardly happens.
If there is something that I need a child to work on or a new activity I need to present I would invite them to work with me with it or ask them if I can write it on their daily plans. Usually they agree and would come to me and say 'What work is this, can you show me it.'
and how do you encourage the child to engage and when do you back off?!
I'll be honest here, it depends on what activity it is that they need to engage in. I understand how difficult the EYFS can be and the strange requirements it has. The children in my class are self directed, I had one child who wasn't for a long time but due to the ground rules and work of other children he seemed to find out where he wants to go. Since I have a small class size , the children quickly pick up on each others interests, so when Little-N was interested in dragons, castles and knights, so was everyone else. This helps to keep the children who dont know what they want, engaged in activities, Little-N is a big trend setter by the way.
As for backing off, I try to do that as much as possible. For montessori to work properly, for the children to really absorb the learning they need to be the active ones, sailing the boat as I put it. I'm just there helping them out. I try not to correct errors, for example the other day one of the children was working on the table of subtractions, instead he added all the numbers!!! I left him, when he finished and was checking his answers he realised what mistake he made. HE simply added a line to made the minus sign a plus sign. The next time he was working with subtraction he said to himself 'this is subtraction not addition'. You have to believe that the children CAN do it, you have to think it in your head and say it to your self. Children pick up on our negative thoughts and know when we don't think they know something, consequently they'll think they don't know.
Some reception aged children are unable to sail the boat, so for them I would offer more guidance but be very in tune with them so that I can help them work out what they want to learn.
I am very interested in this as we are balancing Montessori with EYFS and this can be the hard bit!!
Our school is being moderated this year for the EYFS and I am so happy. It gives me the chance to prove to our borough that Montessori is the best. As montessorians we have everything in place to easily complete the EYFS we just need to work on the paper work, cross referencing and child profile. I don't actually teach the reception aged children, Little-N is the only reception aged child I have, however he already has scores of 8 and 9 in most area's except for the writing. Due to the nature of my work I have a responsibility to make sure the teacher who is working with the reception children does her work properly.
We don't separate the EYFS from the Montessori, instead we cover everything in the work cycle using the Montessori materials. We have all the Montessori materials and activities mapped to the development matters and EYFS scales. So we actually only do Montessori, but we use the EYFS and DM terminology to show inspectors that we have covered everything and more. The key to the EYFS profile is in your observations, you have to really dissect them, squish out all the proof an observation holds and then link it to the scales on the EYFS document. Once you have done that you'll feel much better.
I hope this helps, and if you have any more Qs then plse leave a comment and I'll be more than happy to share what we do.
He then turned over the question card to see if he got his answer correct... and he did this time.
You can download the cards for this lesson from here. It contains a few equation cards that the children can work through when doing addition with the golden beads. Make sure you glue the correct answer cards onto the back of the questions.
Friday, 28 November 2008
The children in my 6-9 class love to play games together and so I try as much as I can to create games that are in line with the curriculum, giving them the chance to practice, extend their learning and learn from each other. Here the boys are playing the addition game with two dice.
Basically its a box with two dice. The children take turns rolling the dice and then they add up the numbers and write the question on the squared paper. The paper is just long enough to keep them engaged for long enough that they actually practice their mental addition. In case you didn't know most children develop their own unique way of doing mental addition, so this game has given them a great opportunity to share how they work out the total of two numbers. The other day I walked into the class to find 6 children playing this at one time, all at different levels. It was so cute to see them come together and support each other.
This game can also be used to do subtraction and multiplications.
You can use 2 dice, one green for units and one blue for tens to do sums with 2 digit numbers. The colouring matched with the colouring for the Large Number cards used with the golden beads.
Yes Little-N has finally decided to document his thoughts and write a few things here and there. It feels great, Little-N isn't that little anymore, he's reading and writing. Now.. I know his letters are back to front and a mix of capital and lower case, but its a good start one that I will have to react to in a Montessori way so that he independantly improves his writing.
By the way, in case you want to know, he's working on the Antarctica folder. He chose a few pictures and stuck them in his book and then labeled them. I find that having colourful real picture ready for children to work with really helps inspire the children and sets off sparks. The 8yr old I have at school, choose some picture from Australasia, she researched about them and wrote up the information. Her and Little-N worked side by side for about and hour on this project. Its amazing how 4 years difference doesn't seem to be a problem when the children are in the right environment. She helped him with his writing and he helped her with her spelling.
At school today some of the children constructed 3D geometric shapes from print outs that I got from here. This is an extension that I do with the children when they are working with the geometric solids. These pictures are of Little-Ns work and I am happy that his addiction to cutting made it possible for him to be very accurate with his cutting, I'm surprised he didn't accidentally snip off a corner.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
If anyone is wondering where to get these tables from: they are just regular bed tables.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
Saturday, 15 November 2008
When we got back, some of the children made autumn mobiles using the things they collected. On Monday I hope to have a leaf rubbing activity set up for the children using this idea.
Many thanks to everyone that left a comment on my earlier post about comments. It's great to know that there are people out there that enjoy reading my blog!
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
While I was searching I came across this blog with a beautiful crayon art piece. I would love to try it sometime.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
The children already know that it takes one whole year for the earth to go around the sun as they do this in the birthday walk. After recapping on that I explained that the year is split into 12 months, what month is it now? what month was it last month? when is your birthday? We discussed a bit about the months that they knew and then we counted them.
I lay out a felt sun, then I lay the months around it. As we laid the months out, we sang the months song. The children loved it. Next I turned over the cards to check if I had them in the correct order. I wrote numbers on the back, so that when a child works on this independently they can check their own work and correct if necessary. The children love how the months look like the rays of the sun and even the youngest of children stopped for a peep. I also printed the 'Months of the year' cards from ‘Montessori for everyone‘, when the children get bored from using the plain cards they can practice with these. My cards are colour coded by season as this project will gentle turn into a project about the four seasons.