Well I have taken a ton of pictures this week and we have gotten alot done with 5 days of school! So I have decided that I will post them in one good LONG post! 🙂 So kick back and have a cup of coffee (tea, water,soda…whatever)! Here is what we have been up to discovering this week!
Today I have to say was another day that I really didnt want to do any school work! In fact I was wondering if we would not do any formal school work and just do christmasy things! However, as the girls played, they eventually ended up starting to work on their own! Bunny started exploring with magnets and Pup was drawing a tide pool! So off we went to do some more work downstairs! While they worked, I prepped for our redo of the first great lesson! We told the story again, and as before, it was really fun for the girls! Bunny loved it and was very interesting to see how she was interested in the particles. She redid the settling of the elements a couple of more times! She was really interested in them and in the volcano. I am hoping that redoing the Great Lesson with help jump us into some of the awesome follow up work that can follow this story! We are going to keep with this lesson for the next month or so depending on how the holiday goes!
Today we did our last of the Great Lessons! I was already for the this one, I had the timeline, I made the charts, and everything was set! What I didn’t prepare for was the math that the kids were going to want to do with all the old numerals! 🙂 I was kept on my toes writing problems out for them to write in roman numerals, Babylonian symbols, and Chinese numbers! They loved it! It was alot of fun! And to think I thought that this would be one of the more boring lessons! 😉 Here is some picture from out work!
Today we got back into some of our great lessons! I presented the fifth great lesson about communication and writing! Our friends came over and it was a great time as usual! The kids liked the story and they were really interested at looking at all of the different ways that letters have evolved over time! We talked about how different people found different ways to record the information Some made dyes and paper, some carved it into stone, and some pressed it into clay! This of course led them to think about how they could make some ink of their own. I stopped them since we didnt have the time to boil things down into ink, but I suggested that they could use clay to write the way other people did! They loved the idea and we studied some samples before we got to work! They did a great job working on trying to duplicate the marks! It led us to think about how hard it was for them to write things down and we talked about how they must have had to write very carefully and neatly!
Today we did the First Timeline of Humans. I was really excited about this since it is something that Bunny has been thinking about. Now, unlike the timeline of life, I didnt make this one despite my best intention. I really just ran out of time and energy to get it done in time. So I bought one from Alison’s Montessori. This one is a very nice timeline, but I think that I like the other one from Montessori Services, but the price difference it what changed my mind. However, the one I bought is really great. It is made from a recycled plastic paper that is waterproof, washable, fade proof, crease proof, and well everything proof! The colors are really great too. Plus I like that there is research info right one the timeline! The only thing that I like on the other one better is the fact that there are not very many pictures of the early humans. I think that this is a good thing especially as Bunny get older since she can use her imagination more, but right now, she really likes to see things! So I am thinking that I will need to get some of the research cards next order! 🙂 But today I presented it, and the kids really liked it. I suggested they draw some picture or think about what they think a early human would have done. They did a little bit, but I think that I really need to have some research card to help them think about what information to find. Does anyone have any good ones? (I am out of money for right now)! Here is some pictures of their work!
Today we did a follow up to the third great lesson, the hand chart. This is a long piece of black material (about 10 ft) that has a strip of red materials at the end and the picture of a hand in the middle. The point of the material and the discussion is to give the child the impression of how long humans were living, learning, working, and changing, before they even began to write things down! This led to some discussion about the tools and things that the early humans created and learned about. There were some pictures drawn and some reading done! After a little bit, Bunny had the idea of going outside and doing things a prehistoric man may have done. All the kids thought that was a fun idea. I offered to find something for them to try building a shelter with branches (I needed to trim the Butterfly bush anyway)! They thought about how to build a fire out of stick, but I drew the line at that! So off they went to build a shelter and make a camp! They had a hard time putting something together and it was interested way for them to understand just how hard it was for the early humans to live with whatever they could find!
Today was really a great school day! It was great in the fact that it didnt happen at home! It didnt happen or even start in the school room! It was all inspired by Bunny’s looking through the fossil book! She found a picture of an Amber fossil and wanted to know what it was. We read all we could about it in the book, but she still wanted to know more. Like Where is amber found, and what kind of trees made it? We found out that conifer trees were the trees that secreted the resin that formed amber. I also found out that sap and resin are not the same thing! All of this reading led us to start studying conifer trees! Using the plant kingdom work from Montessori for Everyone, we talked about where conifer trees were in the classification chart and then I pulled out the free plant book they offer and we read the first few pages that talked about vascular and non-vascular plants and flowering and non flowering plants. She thought it was cool and we started to put all of the information on paper.
As she narrated her report to me, we thought of some more questions and I thought that this was the perfect time for a going out/ nature walk! So we packed up and headed out to investigate conifer trees and absorb the fall weather! Our first stop was a beautiful board walk that has some other nature trials off of it. Unfortunately, the trails were closed due to bow hunting season, so we headed out to another park!
We got to wander around the forest for a while and found some very pretty things for our nature tray! We didnt however find any real pine trees until the end of our walk. When we did, we explored the sap that was dripping on them (read we were covered in it) and we really looked at the bark and needles. Bunny was excited that she can now identify a conifer by the bark. She learned so much by touching and looking the tree! One of the questions she had when we were researching, was how did the seeds come out of a pine cone. So we sat there and pulled on apart! We found, what she thought was how it happened. There is a small thin piece that layers on the top side of each ridge of the pine cone (there maybe more technical terms for this, I guess we need parts of a pine cone cards). This thin layer is what holds the seed. When the ridges open, the thin layer with the seed falls out! With all of this work that Bunny is doing, I didnt forget about Pup! I talked with her a bit about the parts of a plant! Tomorrow I plan on using our botany puzzles to help her learn them!
So there you have it! Work is happening here in a rather organic child led way right now and I love it! The only thing is that I worry since we didnt do math or anything else that we are going to fall behind. I know that this is what Montessori is all about, a child getting so involved in research that they touch on a bunch of other things through it. It is working, but its hard to trust! However, I love that it can happen and that I have the chance to give these days to my girls to learn! Happy Schooling!
Today we had the third great lesson, the coming of humans! This third lesson is a more of a story/ discussion about the creation of man. This went SUPER well. Everyone was talking and contributing ideas to the idea the humans were created different then the animals. We talked about how God created Humans with the ability to think about things, to love everyone, and to have hands to make things. It was very interesting to see how interested they were in talking about the things that this included. They seemed to really connect with the idea of man’s special gifts! There was also alot of discussion about some books and shows the kids had seen about how apes turned into men. We talked about how in their early days, humans may have been covered in hair like an ape, but they always were humans. God had created them differently and even though they may have looked different, they were always special! This work, while it spurred alot of good discussion, they really didnt have alot of research work. They did have fun together though! Next week I will show them the first timeline and I sure that is going to spark some more good talk and thinking!
Well today we did the follow ups from Great Lesson Two, the black strip! I had planned to do the third great lesson, but then I knew that doing the black strip with the kids was just too good to pass up! They LOVED it! I told the story and unrolled it in the classroom, then we took it outside! I think that they were really impressed with how long it really is and how very little time that humans have been here! They were SO excited to stretch it all out down the sidewalk and I know that it left an impression! The older girls even decided that they wanted to measure how many of their feet long it was ( 109 in you were wondering). I also did a quick presentation on the Clock of Eras. This wasnt so exciting, but after our presentation, they all did get to work! However, what they did was mostly other Montessori work! 🙂 I did quite a few presentations on some of the other works in the classroom and it was fun!
Today we had our second Great Lesson and it was really great! This lesson uses the Time Line of Life to help show the kids how much life has changed since it started as a small drop of jelly. The Time Line serves as a point of research as they start to have questions that they want know about. It is a very large and it was fun to see them so impressed with all the animals and plants that were on the timeline. I made ours and it was a TON of work. I really do think that I may buys the set next year if I have money. But in the mean time this one worked well! I also wanted to find a way to send it home with the kids that joined us so that they can keep researching. So…with a couple of nights of hand drawing, I was able to make a small printable version of the tradition Time Line of Life! I am of course going to share this with you today! You can download it HERE! We had the same group as last week and I was super impressed with all the great work that they did together! I love that they are able to work together to find out new information! Here are the pictures of all the work that they did today!