Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Volcano 3-part cards

I just found some Volcano 3 part cards that you can sample (for free) from the NAMC blog

Sunset & Tigers

We had a fun few days away with family. We went to a Tiger Park & I practised using the 12 x digital zoom! There was lots of nice meals, lots of children running wild together. Early mornings on the beach & afternoons watching the sun set. Perfect :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I heart vacuuming ;)

Look what I turned around to while I was vacuuming this morning! The cord had magically twisted itself into a love-heart. Cute, huh?!

Parts of a Fish

I am considering buying the New Child Montessori Curriculum & have been trialling it at home by using their sample pages & at the moment we are looking at this day with a focus on The Ocean. There is so much to cover for each 'day' so really it will probably cover a week for us!

I have pulled out a big basket of relevant books from our own collection & this morning I put together a cool Parts of a Fish activity based on this fish image which I Google-d.

I printed out a Control card from photo-paper & mounted it, then made some 'puzzle' pieces with the named parts from another print on photo-paper, cutting them out & labeling them on the back of each piece. Finally, I printed out some extra copies for us to colour & label for ourselves.

It was just Hug & I working today but I will do a simplified version of the colouring with Lovely & hope to make some Nomenclature Cards for the Parts of a Fish too. I must start a account so that I can share some of the materials I'm making :)

P.S Jennie at Our Montessori Story is thinking about the same curriculum. Is anyone using it already?

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Hug's been working on

Okay, I'm putting a Montessori tag on this post but let me start by saying (for anyone who might read this & not know) that this is certainly not traditional Montessori! But, I am incorporating Montessori principles & it's quite an interesting take if I do say so myself :)

I had asked Hug to count something the other day using these flat glass beads we are using as counters. When he had all of the counters out (it was about 28 I think) I showed him that if we started grouping the piles into 10's we would find it very easy to count them... 2 piles of 10 with 8 remaining. I got out the Tens Board (which matches our homemade Teens board) to show him how this would be written. Well, he started grouping them into these 10's triangles.  

I was kinda excited & he wanted to make patterns with his 10's triangles & then we would work out how many counters he had used by counting the triangles. This was a bit of a breakthrough because he wasn't very taken by the lego Ten Bars we made even though he loves lego!

In this photo he had decided that he wanted to create a *huge* triangle. He happened to be only 4 rows along when he asked me how many glass beads were out already & my first response was that it was too many to count - before I realised that there were actually 10's triangles hiding in there & we got out some wool to thread between each one so that they could be counted.

Here, I used blue wool to show where we reached 10 triangles (making 100) &  that were then left with one 10's triangle and 8 units remaining. Totaling 118. I think I need to make up the Hundreds & Thousands cards now.

I'd love to know what any trained Montessori teachers would make of this but we had lots of fun & certainly went further into Hug's understanding of Maths in a very hands-on way so it felt like a very successful morning.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Lovely's been working on

Easter Friday in Chinatown

We went to a Vegetarian Tea-House in Chinatown for our dinner on Easter Friday!

It's a sweet & cheap little place with a fabulous secret...

... this crazily amazing grated ice (read: it's like soft-fallen snow!) dessert. Oh my, it's soooo good! 

Here are the munchkins, watching the magic happen. It's a bit tricky to see but there is a man (you can see his hand) using the ice-crusher behind the counter. 

The boys rarely have had the opportunity to be a city at night & we stopped on the way back to our hotel to visit a cathedral lit up for the Easter Friday service. Beautiful. 

Kapla wooden blocks

While we were away over Easter we discovered Kapla wooden blocks from France!

I've not ever seen them before in Australia but our hotel had a children's play corner full of them. They're the simplest building blocks I've ever seen! - just wooden planks all identical in size made to a magic 1:3:5 ratio which makes them amazingly versatile...

And, look at the wonderful things that you can create with them!

Loving it. If only we had some at home :) 

I was just looking at the French website and was amazed at how Montessori it all sounded. I quote "The child builds to build himself". Wow! Sound familiar?! You can read more here about the pedagogical value of the blocks... I could quote everything from this link but shall leave you to look if you're interested. I also came across an American website

This is a little friend of ours - clearly in the sensitive period for order, oui?  :)

Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Love and understand the Universe...

"It is not enough for the teacher to love the child. 
She must first love and understand the universe. 
She must prepare herself, and truly work at it"

Maria Montessori

Friday, April 17, 2009

Parents Workshop with Tim Seldin

I have just had the wonderful experience of attending a Montessori Parents Workshop with Tim Seldin! It was a 4-hour-long open discussion with only about a dozen parents & I found it full of insights.

Tim has an amazingly rich Montessori heritage... he attended a Montessori school from 2 until he was 18 that had been founded by his mother, I believe, before eventually taking over the school himself as headmaster. Today, he's the head of the International Montessori Foundation & author of a number of books like 'How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way' (btw, apparently his publisher insisted on that title & he really doesn't like!) and 'The Montessori Way' (co-authored) which I just bought a copy of. I had seen it online, not knowing much about it, but when I actually saw it I realised what a treasure-trove of information it is. It's unlike any other Montessori book I've come across. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Earth Foil Wrapped Chocolates

I'm starting to look at the Montessori geography work with my boys & I'm sure that these Earth Balls would be a big hit with my little learners!

p.s Hope you had a Happy Easter! We had a great trip away. Pix to come :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Those eggs...

Okay, so even I thought I'd finished with my Easter posts but then I saw these pix & I just had to add them!

 The eggs we used were laid by the chickens at our friends house where we were staying over the weekend & the boys got to feed the chickens & collect the eggs all by themselves. They loved it! 

Over the same weekend I was reading the *amazing* book' A Montessori Mother' (more to come on this wonderful book or look it up on Google Reader if you can't wait :) and reading about the importance of the children being responsible for the welfare of animals and plants. Fascinating stuff. 

But. back to the eggs...

One proud Mama hen.

Hug finds an egg.

Hanging by the coop :)

Easter Activity | Real chocolate eggs!

** Please consider kitchen hygiene, make sure you keep them in the fridge and eat them within 24 hours if you make these **

So, this might be a crazy idea!

But we had some of that delicious organic milk chocolate left over from making the bunnies... & it occurred to me that it would be lots of fun for the boys to have a real egg filled with chocolate on Easter morning.

I blew out, washed & dried some eggs (in the sun to make sure they were clean & dry). 
Melted the chocolate.
Put some masking tape over the small hole at the top of the egg & tipped it upside down...
And attempted to get that chocolate in! 

It wasn't as easy as one would think. Here I am taking a photo of myself trying to get it in with a funnel. Put down the camera Amber & focus ;)

The funnel was a bit of a messy disaster (not that I was complaining about being covered in chocolate! yum.) but I eventually discovered that it was quite easy to use a piping bag.

So, they're in the fridge now & I had thought to try to 'mend' the hole at the bottom with some tissue paper or the like but I think that I'll just sit them in an egg carton, or some of our colourful cracked shells

What will they be like? I can't see why they won't be fabulous but seeing that they're still to be tested I can only advise you to recreate them at your own risk ;)  I shall report back after the "big day".

Easter Activity | Stuffing an egg!

Inspired by Val at Homeschooling in the Rose Garden I decided to try & stuff some blown eggs with the little Easter gifts that I had bought for my boys. The gifts are a little wooden hand-painted chick (for Lovely) and a bunny (for Hug). I've had my eyes on that bunny for months!

First I blew out, washed & dried the egg shell. Then I stuffed the egg with some spun wool to make the chick cosy. Here she goes!

The bunny was too big to actually fit into the egg so he's sitting in a little egg shell & wool nest. I applied a transfer as a finishing touch to the chick-filled one. Too cute, if I say so myself :) 

The gifts then snuggled into a pair of Beatrix Potter mugs with some extra wool & some of those chocolate speckled eggs for company.

I actually thought I'd bought 2 Peter Rabbit mugs but one seems to be Jemima Puddle Duck. Oh well, it matches the chick at least ;) and fingers crossed there won't be any complaints.

Happy Easter!

Easter activity | Transfers onto plain eggs

When I bought the eggs dyes I also found these gorgeous bunny & chicken transfers. You just soak the transfer like a kid's tattoo & apply it to the egg.

So, today, while both boys were at school (& I could/should have been either washing a mountain of washing or attending to a myriad of other things that one can only do when munchkins are happily occupied) I found myself doing this & finalising their Easter gifts. Craziness ;)

Easter Activity | Our colourful eggs

Here are our finished rainbow eggs! The boys polished them with a little olive oil. 

And one of our sweet little cracked babies. I really love these! I didn't have any of those little chicks that you can buy so I've just put in these puff balls for now.

And some mini chocolate speckled eggs

In a basket on the kitchen table :) 

Easter Activity | Colour mixing masterclass!

So... we still had more left-over dye! 

Hug set to work mixing them all together until he had a variety of dark concoctions.

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