February, 2017

John Kotradi

Making Montessori Great Again:

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.

 

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                                                          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 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.

 

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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.

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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.

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                                                                          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.

 

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                                              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.

 

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Learning about the skeletal system

 

We had a former student, Anna F. read to our classroom her favorite book with seventeen stories about pirates.

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                                                                           Alumnus reader

Cultural Subjects:

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).

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Chore time

 

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 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.

 

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                                                                    “Willing Volunteer”  😉

 

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                                                                     “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! 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!

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