May 30, 2007

Feeling a little tipsy

A few quick, helpful tips ...

#1 - Hot glue gun + bottom of math charts = less slippage and less frustrated children.

Dots of hot glue around the edges of the chart give just enough "tack" to keep it from sliding off to Timbuktu with the littlest bump from a sleeve. And life is SO much better when your blue and red strips are not unwittingly strewn across the floor!

#2 - Round the corners of your cards. This can go for any vocab/reading classification cards that are used frequently in the classroom. Rounding each corner (with scissors after lamination) helps when the children are replacing the cards in their pouch - corners are less likely to get caught and bent in the process.


May 28, 2007

Peacocking About

Allow me this little post to show you some of my recent non-Montessori plumage ....
(Click on photos to enlarge.)
My entry for this contest made using Simplicity pattern 4017 ....
Fruit of an entire weekend spent appliquéing and hand-embroidering.A happy skirt made with Anna Maria Horner's new fabric line, Chocolate Lollipop. Inspired by the book, Sew You. (A MUST READ for those of you interested in learning how to sew your own clothes!)

Isn't my husband such a good sport, getting the cruddy camera to perform for this little photo shoot? What a gem. (The husband, not the camera.) :)

Hope you folks in the US of A have enjoyed your three-day weekend!


May 26, 2007

Saturday Song - Tue Tue

First off on today's blogging agenda, I wanted to address some technical difficulties associated with these song clips. If the clips do not show up in your side bar under the title "Songs to Sing with Children," you are missing a plug-in that you will have to download. It might look like a green puzzle piece when you scroll over the empty space under the title. Click on it and it will guide you through the simple downloading process. If for some reason you are unable to download the plug-in, you can always listen to the files by clicking on the blue "View my Files" box in the side bar. Click once on the icon you want to listen to under "Songs for the Classroom" and the song will play - no need to download it to your computer first. Hope this helps!

And now for the big news ...In honor of the centennial celebration of the town of Creel, we were treated to a wonderful choral concert featuring a very well known children's choir from Morelia (in the south of Mexico.) It was a VERY big deal, as such concerts are rare in our little town in the sticks. We encouraged the parents at my school to bring their children. Many attended, as well as some of my students who graduated last year. Well, you won't believe what happened. The choir did a bit of a 'round the world tour, singing songs from various continents. When the director told us that they were going to sing a song from Africa, one of my students told me "Tue Tue is from Africa!" (Tue Tue is a classroom favorite.) And then the choir started singing Tue Tue!!! Words are not sufficient to describe the excitement and surprise of my students in attendance. Here's a really poor, flash-less photo to prove it:And that wasn't it! They also sang La Bamba, another favorite of my children. Wow. My children ran up to me after the concert and, with beaming little faces, told me "They sang our songs! They sang our song from Africa! And La Bamba! Those our our songs!" I thought to myself ... how interesting that they always refer to the songs as theirs. For me, this just further solidifies my believe in the importance of exposing children to different music from around the world at a tender age. The wonders of the absorbent mind allow the child to internalize everything, from language and song to movements and attitudes, and make it 100% theirs. Music from other lands is no longer strange. If they have the opportunity to try on clothing from other lands, it is no longer strange. Same goes with food. If these cultures are no longer strange, but rather interesting and exciting, so are the people who belong to the cultures. This is how to nurture compassionate, future citizens of the world. I blogged more about this idea here. So get to downloading the world music files if you haven't already. With that, I'll leave you with the song that caused all the uproar among my students - Tue Tue, a nonsense song from Ghana.

Tue tue barima tue tue
Tue tue barima tue tue
Abofroda, ama dawa dawa tue tue
Abofroda, ama dawa dawa tue tue
Barima tue tue .... tue tue.

Consider adding two claps after the first and second lines. This song can also be sung in a round.


May 23, 2007

Geometry cabinet photo matching

right-angled scalene triangle




My wonderful head of school, Adriana, recently put together a set of photo matching cards for the geometry cabinet. The idea is to have several photos of each geometric figure in the cabinet, so you can rotate them to keep it challenging. On a large rug, lay out the cards right-side down, with enough space beneath each row to accommodate the inset. Turn over the first card and go find the corresponding inset in the cabinet. Easy peasy. (Giving the presentation, at least!)

Along with the photos compiled by Adriana, I have been searching high and low on my favorite stock photo site and Flickr. I have made available to you all of the photo files I have found thus far. (Click on blue "view my files" button in the side bar. They are in folders "Geometry Cabinet Matching Cards and Geo cab photos.) Consider it a base set ... I plan on adding to it whenever I see a nonagon, more decagons, etc. Another suggestion is to cut out photos from magazines when you happen upon that cherished nonagon!

Hope you and your children enjoy!


May 21, 2007

You never know exactly what we want

My husband grew up in an Irish-American household. Whenever any of his relatives from Ireland visited, he was always perplexed by their habits. Apparently, whenever offered anything, especially food, they vehemently refused. After several attempts at serving them, the food was finally plopped on their plates and they went about eating it voraciously!

Yesterday he made me laugh by saying that "Montessori teachers are like Irish house guests. You never know exactly what they want." He then continued, "I never know when to throw something away ... now I always have to think ... could this be made into something useful for the classroom?"

Good boy. It is true that we Montessorians have a penchant for jumping up and down at the sight of some seemingly useless object. For example, today I just about shrieked with giddy-ness when I saw these treble clef, wrought iron napkin holders at the tiny general store in Creel.

I bought three! Lord knows I have a ton of music materials to display on my shelves.

The Montessori Mantra:

small pitchers
and cards,
Oh My!

May 20, 2007

The Song Part 3 - Doña Cigueña

Last weekend I was traveling, and yesterday I was, well, I guess I just forgot! So here you have it ... another song to sing with your children. The audio file is available in the side bar - just click once on the title to listen.

Pssst! Don't forget to sign up for the Miniature Object Swap by the end of today!

Doña Cigueña, pico colorado,
una patita se ha quebrado.
Por eso camino con mucho cuidado,
un pie al suelo y el otro levantado.

Madame Stork, colorful beak,
she has broken a leg.
She follows this path with much care,
one foot on the ground and the other raised.

Obviously the translation is not so catchy. This song is an "active" one. I call on a child, and then begin singing the song. While I'm singing, the child hops on one foot behind the children seated in a circle, and when the song is finished, he returns to his spot. I usually call on three or so children in one sitting, then move on to the next song. This way, they know that not everyone will get a turn. Although the song is cute, I can't imagine repeating it upwards of twenty times!

By the way, it would be prudent to have a grace and courtesy lesson on how to hop on one foot around the group! This is a fun lesson to give.

May 16, 2007

Mexico Findings and Miniature Object Swap

We're back from our whirlwind trip to Mexico City. Hope you enjoyed the pics! Here's a few classroom goods that I picked up at various markets around the city. If you ever find yourself in the there, be sure to check out the Coyoacan and Lagunilla markets on Saturdays and Sundays.Click on the picture to enlarge. I found some great children's outfits, along with THE BEST child-sized sombrero, for my continent-classified clothing/dress up. The girl's dress is hand-embroidered in typical southern Mexico style. And a mini woven poncho for boys! Other knick-knacks are: two sets of small pitchers for pouring exercises, a hand-painted seed shaker (traditional percussion instrument,) a blue tile tray and matching set of small bowls for spooning, a collection of miniature food made from painted clay for use in sound games, a few baskets, an Aztec clay flute from Teotihuacan, a few small spoons, and a traditional doll for the North America continent box.

We zoomed around at lightening speed through the markets and historic sites ... not to mention trying to keep up with the night life of our single friends! At 26, Patrick and I are old and married, and not used to crazy dancing. I think I'll spend the next few days sleeping. Ha! If only. I have parent/teacher conferences in the afternoons until the end of May. Material making is going tortoise-speed.

In the meantime, I thought I'd organize another swap. Our last swap is over -- all of the packages have been mailed off. Please allow 4-6 weeks delivery time, as your package might be arriving from overseas. Thanks to all who participated, and I hope you enjoy your ethnic children's clothing!

The theme for this swap will be Miniature Objects for Sound Analysis.

Here are the rules of engagement:

1.) Each participant needs to email me by Sunday, May 20 at montessorirevolution(at)gmail(dot)com
and give me the following information:
a.) the mailing address where you wish to receive your package. This could be your home address, your school's, or a post office box.

2.) By Tuesday, May 22, you will receive an email from me letting you know where you will be sending your package. You will be sending one package to one person - postage could be international, so keep this in mind if you want to participate.

3.) Prepare your package.
a.) Send 5 miniature objects that can be used for Sound Games to your swap partner. Please, avoid plastic unless the object is super cool. The objects can be former key chains, doll house furniture/items, hand-made, blown glass, clay, etc. Use your imagination!
b.) Include a short note in the package introducing yourself, your Montessori background, school, family, etc.

4.) Send your package by June 2. In exchange, you will be receiving your own package shortly from another Montessorian.

5.) Email me and let me know that you have mailed your package! This will allow me to monitor who should be receiving a package when, and will help the sender know when to check on their sent package to see if it could have gotten misplaced en route.

Okay, y'all ... fill up my inbox! This is an easy and fun swap, so I expect a lot of participants!


May 13, 2007

Mexico City Snapshots

Snapshots of Mexico City and its surroundings

Wood stove at our friend's ranch in Hidalgo
Anyone know the name of this flower/vine?
The Sun Pyramid - Teotihuacan. Bet you didn't know that I'm taller than it! :)
The lowering of the flag - Zocalo (Mexico City's main plaza)
Aztec dancers in the Zocalo
One of many markets
The murals of Diego Rivera at el Palacio

May 10, 2007

Leaf Shape Cards

Today we're heading off to Mexico City for mini-vacation! I thought I'd leave you with some photos of my current materials project:

Hand-embroidered felt pouch for my leaf shape cards, which I bought at Montessori for Everyone.
I'm not quite done. I still need to finish the blanket stitch on the back panel and attach a loop and button closure. (I found some great leaf buttons at Craft Connection.)

I'll be back on Tuesday night, so don't expect to hear much from me until then! I hope to be having lots of fun and to be thinking about Montessori not-so-much. Everyone needs a break once in a while! Happy Mothers Day to all.


May 7, 2007

Butterfly 3-part cards and reading classification

If you haven't already, check out Karla's photos at our Yahoo group (the brown box in the side bar.) She's put together a really great "Days of the Week" reading classification exercise, along with a control of error accordion booklet.

Also, a BIG THANKS to Helga for sending me some beautiful butterfly 3-part cards to share with the rest of you! I have uploaded them (as a Word file) to my files under Classified Cards - Butterflies. Click on the blue "View My Files" box to access and download.

Keep the great ideas coming!


May 5, 2007

Saturday Song - Sur le Pont d'Avignon

Sur le Pont d'Avignon - On the Bridge of AvignonHearkening back to my days studying abroad in France, I present to you one of our classroom favorites:

Sur le pont d'Avignon
l'on y danse, l'on y danse.
Sur le pont d'Avignon
l'on y danse tout en rond.

Les messieurs (mesdames) vont comme ci,
et puis, vont comme ca.

Sur le pont d'Avignon
l'on y danse, l'on y danse.
Sur le pont d'Avignon
l'on y danse tout en rond.

I didn't include the translation in the audio file (which you can access by clicking on the title in the "Songs to Sing with Children" box in the side bar,) but here it is in case you're interested:

On the bridge of Avignon
we all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of Avignon,
we all dance there in a ring.

The gentlemen (ladies) go this way,
and then, go that way.

We accompany this song with motions. The children stand in a circle and we all hold hands, swaying slightly during the refrain. During the verses, when it says messieurs, the boys bow when we sing "comme ci" and "comme ca." The girls curtsy when we sing "comme ci," "comme ca."

Curious about this famous bridge? Check out this Wikipedia article.

Have a great weekend!


May 3, 2007

A Little Bit of Everything

Lots of ideas swirling around in my head. House guests. Parent-teacher conferences. Another head cold. So here's a post that reflects my current mental state - lots of ideas and hardly any organization!

View Master "Around the World" slides and view finder found on Ebay = Geography folders extension. Search for these old slides on Ebay and organize them by continent, much in the same way as the continent folders. But these are in 3-D! In my house, we are all quite twitter pated (reference Bambi if your eyebrow just went up) with these slides and my antique View Finder. I can only imagine what it will be like once I put it in the classroom! Just have to make little folders for the slides and increase my slide collection. Just. Maybe after P-T conferences!

Recently, Montessori By Hand was included in a helpful list posted by Lori of Montessori for Everyone at her blog. Called Montessori Basics 3: Ultimate Guide to Online Resources, it features links to all kinds of Montessori and educational websites organized by category. Check it out!

Tie One On's new apron gallery is up! My little "Watering Plants" apron is featured. Make sure to send in photos of aprons you've made to Tie On On - and post them on our very own Handmade Montessori Materials Flickr group. Let the apron inspiration roll!

Are you familiar with Kids Craft Weekly? If not, familiarize yourself! This is a great, bi-monthly newsletter put out by a mom of young children. She has some really great ideas - a great way to keep your art shelf fresh and interesting. One caveat - be sure the craft is doable without adult help. Some of her ideas are heavy on adult guidance, and not what we really want in a Montessori environment. Think "help me do it by myself," a favorite quote from our favorite lady.

And a purely crafty announcement, Anna Maria Horner's new line of fabric, Chocolate Lollipop, is now available. I'm drooling. And yes, I already ordered some. Must ... have ... fabric. Are there any support groups for this kind of addiction?

Back to the crazy life.