At the end of the third month of school my classroom is running like a well oiled machine. Children are advancing nicely in math, reading, and their social skills. Dana, Kathleen, and I are pushing for more “Thank Yous, Pleases, and You’re Welcomes.” When we call a name we are expecting a “Yes, Ms. Kathleen or How can I help you Ms. Dana?” rather than “What? or Ya?” I want to tell the parents of the older children in the classroom… “Be Proud!” They are taking a leadership role like I’ve never seen. They are helping younger children and helping each other with more challenging work. I wanted to once again thank Dana and Kathleen for their hard work and dedication. They step up and just do what needs to be done without me asking.
After learning about the five major classes of animals at the beginning of the month, we looked at some creepy crawlers. We studied insects and arachnids. These were the first animals that were not classified as vertebrates instead are called invertebrates. We discovered most have an exoskeleton. We now know insects have six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen and arachnids have eight legs. Also, students learned all bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs!!!
Next, the class went back in time and studied dinosaurs. We learned the names of 5 dinos (T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and Brachiosaurus) and if they were meat eaters (carnivores) or plant eaters (herbivores). We learned when they lived and I introduced the phrases “extinct” and “fossils” what they meant. We read “Dad is a Dinosaur”, and Dinosaurs go to School”
We then learned about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. Students worked on a craft where they wrote what they were thankful for on feathers. The feathers were put on turkeys that we placed on the bulletin board. Hand print turkeys and pilgrim hats were also made for the holiday.
Our final week in November, which was a short week, I managed to slip in a “lesson” on Buckeye Football. It was appropriate since “THE GAME” was that Saturday. If your child hears someone shout O-H they will give a resounding response of I-O! They know Hang On Sloopy is the official rock and roll song of Ohio and will yell O-H-I-O and do the hand gestures as they sing the song. We watched several Ohio State Buckeye video highlights and the children especially loved “Script Ohio” 42-41 Go Buckeyes!!!
We spent the majority of our group time together in December practicing for our Christmas program. Our little reindeer performed nicely. My big reindeer did a fantastic job getting our students ready for the show!
We can count to ten in 15 different languages. We can count in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, and Korean.
The kindergarteners are learned how to tell time. We ended our section of telling time by learning how to tell time to the minute. We have done many worksheets, use flashcards, and use a toy clock with moveable hands to help us learn to tell time. Then we delved into everyone’s favorite thing…money. We learned about coins. What they look like and how much they are worth. The kindergarteners learned how to count coins when presented with multiple coins of different denominations. We went over bills including the ever elusive two dollar bill. We ended November with learning the parts of plants, flowers, and leaves. In December the kindergarteners discovered the ruler. They first learned to measure lines in inches and centimeters and ended up measuring things around the house.
The kindergarten class can count to ten in 17 different languages… English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, and Polish.
“It is so quiet in here. It is so calm.” This is what I have been hearing teachers and parents say about my room. Usually it takes several months for my room to become normalized but this year it was on it’s way to being normalized within a month of school starting. I credit those around me for the earlier than usual success. Miss Kathleen and Miss Dana are wonderful teachers and work well with the students. They are fun yet firm and know how to handle difficult situations well. When I mentioned “those around me” I didn’t only mean the teachers but I want to give credit to the older students and the leaders of the room. They are showing the newer/younger students how to work with materials and are guiding them through the classroom.
Children love animals, and I enjoy teaching them about different types of animals. This month we started by discussing mammals. I chose mammals because we are mammals. We learned that mammals have hair or fur, are born alive, and drink mother’s milk when first born. We learned that mammals are warm blooded (their body temperature remains constant) and that they are vertebrates (have spines). We learned that dolphins and whales are mammals and that the bat is the only mammal that can fly.
Then we slithered our way into discussing reptiles. We came to the conclusion the snake is the most popular reptile. We learned reptiles are cold blooded, vertebrates, lay hard shelled eggs, and have dry scales. The children enjoyed seeing our own albino garter snake and a visiting black garter snake. The geckos were just as appreciated.
Next, We hopped into our discussion of amphibians. We all agreed that the frog was the most popular amphibian and that amphibians are cold blooded and vertebrates. We also learned their skin is moist and soft and they can live on BOTH land and water. Amphibians lay eggs, these eggs have no shell but are like jelly. The children were encouraged to look for our Pac Man Frog and our Eastern Toads in our nature center.
After learning about amphibians, we swam to our friends called fish. We learned that fish are cold blooded (their body temperature changes to the temperature in their environment) and are vertebrates. We learned that most fish have scales, gills and fins. Some fish lay eggs and some fish are liver bearers (babies are born alive). We introduced a new word, “habitat”. This is where something lives and the fish’s habitat is the water. The children were thrilled to learn that the shark is a fish.We then flew with the animals called birds. Birds have feathers, are warm blooded and are vertebrates. All birds lay hard shelled eggs and have wings. All birds have wings but some birds are flightless (cannot fly) such as the penguin, ostrich, and emu.
At circle time we count to ten in different languages. We now know how to count to 10 in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, and Romanian.
KindergartenDuring Kindergarten Lesson, students learned about landforms. Ask them what the definition of a lake, island, bay, peninsula, gulf, harbor, cape, isthmus, straight, chain of lakes, and archipelago. We went over telling time to the hour, half past, and quarter after. Your kindergartners now know how to count to ten in, English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, and Tagalog.
After what seemed to be a very short summer break it was good to get back in the classroom and start teaching. I do miss the Alumni, eager to get to know the new students, and get reacquainted with the returning students. It is amazing how students change over the summer. Some are more mature and some look as if they grew six inches!
The first two weeks we went over the ground rules of the classroom. We reviewed the “big four” rules. Walk in the classroom: because if you run, fall, and hit your head on a table, chair, or the hard ground; which would win, your head or the super hard table? That’s a no brainer, pun intended. Keeping your hands and body to yourself, use your listening ears, and be respectful in the classroom. We focus on being kind to others and respecting the materials.
We then explored the subject of healthy habits. Washing hands and our bodies, exercising, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep were needed to keep a healthy mind and body, although we can have specific training to have even a better body, as for the mind we can find resources online for example the power of your subconscious mind pdf show you the best techniques to improve your mind power. Healthy habits created a good segway to the introduction of the food pyramid. We learned what the food groups were, what foods were in each food group, and servings of each.
The next week we took a look at what was living and non living. It was pretty easy to identify what was living and non living but we went a step further and determined what characteristics were needed to be labeled living. Reproduction, growth, taking in nutrients (eating), and exchanging gases (breathing) were the four categories we reviewed. We discovered that the children were living but Mr. John’s shoe was not. A chair was non living and so were Ms. Dana and Ms. Kathleen before they get their morning coffee!
We kicked off the Kindergarten season with a dose of Geography. They learned about the seven continents, fun facts about the continents, and a few countries in each continent. They are very familiar with the cardinal directions, the equator, the prime meridian, and the hemispheres. They even know the North America is in the North Western hemisphere. We then looked at our home state of O-H-I-O and the surrounding states (their abbreviation and nickname). PA-Keystone State, WV- Mountain State, KY-Bluegrass State, IN-The Hoosier State (what in the world is a Hoosier?) and that…(sigh)… state up north MI-The Wolverine State. Ask your child all about Ohio! The cardinal is the official bird, scarlet carnation the official flower, lady bug is the official insect. I see a consistent theme of red! Even tomato juice is the official drink! We are the BUCKEYE state and for some reason they got the impression the only college football team that matters is THE Ohio State Buckeyes! The official rock and roll song is Hang on Sloopy performed by the McCoys in 1965. Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy Hang On… O-H-I-O, YA!
This title is just a little bit of cheekiness and a lame attempt at political satire on my part. HEHE. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll notice I stay clear of the subject of politics. Actually, this babbling will have nothing to do with politics but thoughts about the Montessori classroom and my belief in HOW GREAT it is!
When I first was introduced to the Montessori philosophy I thought to myself… The students will run a muck. There is no organization. There will be no discipline. In my head were thoughts of a wild chaotic classroom where the children are CRAZY!
As I quickly discovered the students almost immediately start to choose work on their own, work well with others, and work well by themselves. The teachers have a detailed plan of what the students are to be presented, or need extra work on. So, there is a method to the Montessori madness! No other learning environment will you get children at 3 years of age having the freedom to choose their own works or the older children taking on leadership roles. The great Montessori environment is an amazing thing.
My Breakfast Club taking over my seat
Classroom News: We all returned to school after a well rested winter break. Due to the long break we did a refresher week covering the classroom ground rules. We went over the four basic rules of: 1) No running in the classroom. We do not run because we can get hurt or hurt someone else. 2) Use our listening ears. The students pay attention to the teachers during line time and before cleaning the room with the special vacuums, read more about what we use here. Important robot vacuum comparison are made and information is shared during line time and listening is a sign of respect and courtesy. 3) Keep our hands to ourselves. We do this to honor other student’s personal space. In addition, we do not hit, punch, push or do anything to physically hurt other students. 4) Respect others. This is basically being nice to your fellow students. Use nice words, smile instead of giving mean faces, sharing, and helping those in need.
Handsome guys Cheesecake smile
We also talked about family (since we spent so much time with them over the holidays). We talked about our mom and dad and what we call them (Mommy, mama, daddy, and papa). We also have grandparents that we call yaya, papu, oma, papa to name a few. We told stories about our aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course our brothers and sisters. We determined that pets are part of our family even though they are not human.
Elephant exercise My Snack Pack
To honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we learned a bit about his life and his accomplishments. The students became actresses and actors as they recreated Rosa Parks making her stand on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The students enjoyed playing the part of the bus driver, Rosa Parks, “the mean guy”, a police officer, Martin Luther King Jr., and passengers on the bus. We discussed our differences such as skin color, eye color, hair color, and gender. Then we discussed how we are similar. We talked about our differences. We talked about if someone with red hair wouldn’t be allowed to do art “just because” they have red hair or if anyone who had blue eyes would have to go to a different classroom with less materials, broken crayons, or no books “just because” they have blue eyes. To illustrate this, I had only boys fetch the chairs for the skit and brought that to the attention of the class. We had some very sad girls…. I did let the girls take the chairs back after the skit.
Anyone can sit anywhere. Thank you Rosa Parks
We started to learn about our body and how it works. We learned about our five senses (touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste). Did you know you can “feel” with any part of your body? We hear loud noises, quiet noises, high and low noises. We need light to see and if we close our eyes we can’t see. There are good smells like cinnamon, vanilla and bad smells like a dirty diaper and vinegar. My favorite was the taste test where we tasted sweet (sugar water), salty (potato chips), sour (pure lemon juice), and bitter (unsweetened baking chocolate). The children enjoyed “most” of the tastes.
Taste test (dark, unsweetened baking chocolate)
We ended the month about learning more about our body. We looked at the skeletal system and if we didn’t have a skeleton we would be one messy blob on the ground.. We learned the skull protects our brain, the rib cage protects our lungs, and the spine keeps us sitting and standing straight. We learned technical terms for our arms, leg and our digits which is a funny name called phalanges. We brought our life sized foam puzzle into our room. His name is Elvis because we learned about the pelvis and it was a cool rhyming name.
Learning about the skeletal system
We had a former student, Anna F. read to our classroom her favorite book with seventeen stories about pirates.
During line time lesson we can count to 10 in twenty three different languages (English, Latin, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic w/Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Irish, Kiswahili, Welsh, Dutch/Flemmish, and Serbo-Croation).
BFF’s working together
Academic Enrichment Group Time | Kindergarten -with Mr. John
This month we started our section in Math. We learned about the unit (ones), ten, hundred, and thousand columns. The kindergartners composed numbers, and were introduced to addition with and without carry overs.
Cultural Subjects: We can count to 10 in twenty four different languages (English, Latin, Sign Language, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic w/Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Irish, Kiswahili, and Welsh Dutch/Flemish, Serbo-Croatian, Cebuano, and Malay).
Handwriting Enrichment -with Ms. Kristen
During the month of January, the Kindergarten students learned the proper formation of I-T. They also began to work on copying sentences in cursive. Some of the journal questions we answered were, “ Who is our new president?” , “ What city do you live in?”, and “ What is your middle name?”. These simple questions gave the children a chance to practice their letter formation that they have been learning since the beginning of the year! I am so proud of the progress our young writers have made!
Reading Group | Kindergarten -with Ms. Kate
For the month of January the children read two stories called Lion At School, and Coyote Rides The sun. After we read both stories we went over any vocabulary the children weren’t certain of or they have never heard of. The children them completed an assigned drawing that allows them to record their early responses to the selection. When the children choose their illustration , they are visualizing the characters and setting of the story. Throughout our readings we lead our at home discussions, and created a song that was based on the story Coyote Rides The Sun. The class brainstormed together about why they might wake up before dawn. Is it because they are going on a trip? Is it a special holiday? Below is the class song they created together. Enjoy!!
Early Morning Song
Awake in the hour before dawn,
Awake in the hour before dawn,
So I can get to school on time,
So I can open presents on Christmas day,
So I can look for Easter eggs,
So I can go downstairs and have some peace and quiet,
So I can watch t.v.
So I can catch a plane to Disney World,
So I can pack up for the beach
Awake in the hour before dawn.
Science Enrichment by Ms. Kathleen
Leak Proof Baggy: What happens when we poke holes with a pencil in a baggy filled with water? Plastic bags like these are made out of our favorite materials, polymers! Polymers are long chains of individual molecules, called monomers. when you puncture the bag with a sharp pencil, you’re separating polymer chains without breaking them. The long chains of molecules than squeeze in tight around the surface of the pencil, preventing any sort of leak. The Children really enjoyed pencil after pencil being poked through the ziploc plastic bag without any leaks.
Biodegradable Packing Peanuts: What happens when you put them in a pitcher of water? These packing peanuts are made from Starch, with a lot of air pockets. The Starch peanuts once wet dissolve in water just like sugar does. the children loved saying Abracadabra as Mr. John put the peanuts in water and they disappeared.
Absorption, Wet Paper Towel Verses Wet Diaper which will hold more water? Mr John poured water all over a paper towel and a baby diaper and hung them both over his head, the wet paper towel dripped all over him and the diaper filled with water did not. This is because inside the baby diaper there are molecules called polymers inside, They are the small crystal like substance inside the diaper. A polymer that hold a large amount of water is called a gel, gel absorbs a solvent or water. This why the paper towel did not hold the water but the diaper did. All the children squealed with delight as Mr. John’s head got all wet from the soggy paper towel.
“Willing Volunteer” 😉
“Unwilling volunteer” 🙂
Music Enrichment by Ms. Sabrina
Peter and The Wolf are back! We are learning the characters of the story, as well as the instruments involved. The children are internalizing the story well. They can tell what characters and what instruments are entering the story. The children have such great listening skills! Another listening game was also played is called Cat and Mouse! The children listened well to directions, and did what was asked skillfully. They loved performing an emotion in the song with the maracas as an instrument! Music is always so much fun with Ms. Lisa!
Art Enrichment by Ms. Ame
January has been cold but Miss Michele’s imagination has been on fire! Miss Michele has started one of her most creative projects of the year! Miss Michele was able to search for and acquire some extra art supplies from wordtree.io, where students learned many different things, including the importance of marketing art, which can be done in different kind of advertising, from TV ads, billboards, or even online that people do online using resources from companies as The Indexer online. They even went on a field trip! The first week the students learned about mythical creatures and took 3 different animals(one mammal, one reptile and one with wings) and created their own animal on paper! The students first sketched their animal with a pencil and then colored it in! The next week, the students used their drawings and used foil to create a base for a model of the creature! This was a little tricky for some of the younger students but all the students worked hard! After they had made the base, they then covered the foil with a white clay. They added small details like legs, eyes, mouths and wings. Miss Michele is going to bake these creations and then next month the students will decorate them! Thanks Michele for another great start to the year!