Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Bear Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Bear themes are so much fun, whether they're Brown Bear, Brown Bear themed, Teddy bear themed, or featuring any of the beloved bear characters from literature. But a real bear unit can be fun, too. Kids are generally fascinated by bears, and hibernation is a great theme for fall and winter. 




At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free bear printables featuring real bears. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired bear pack). Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free bear printables to create Montessori-inspired activities. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities. At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you). 

Montessori Shelves with Bear-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Bear-Themed Activities  

My shelves with bear-themed activities include a free bear culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired bear numbers, letters, spinners, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I always have related books available throughout a unit. I absolutely adore the National Geographic animal books. There are a number of awesome National Geographic bear books to choose from. I included  Bears: Polar Bears, Black Bears and Grizzly Bears (Kids Can Press Wildlife Series) on my introductory bear shelf. I have lots of fictional bear books in our book baskets and on our book shelves. 

My 4-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves puzzles, so I have a giant world foam puzzle with 54 pieces in a large basket (not shown in my photos). That's great for using with Safari Ltd. or Schleich animals. 

When Zoey was younger, I used the puzzle that I have displayed for  animal geography. I don't think it's available any longer. For home use, I don't use the Montessori continent puzzle, which is a bit too large and impractical. I like to get world puzzles that are less expensive and can be changed according to Zoey's developmental level. 

I have a few Schleich bears as an introduction. (I'm collecting Schleich animals for my two grandbabies who will be born in the next few months!) 

You could mix your bear-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special bear-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them.

Bear Culture Card (on Shelf Introducing the Bear Theme)

Bear Culture Card with Bears Are Curious Book and Schleich Black Bear  

I'm happy to share with you this awesome hand-painted bear culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce a bear unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free bear culture card here

The description says: “Bears are omnivores that eat berries, honey, nuts, fish and other mammals. In the winter they dig holes to hibernate in.” I displayed the card with a Schleich North America sloth bear and Bears Are Curious book (especially good for toddlers, young preschoolers, and beginning readers).

Matching Animals of North America Cards with Safari Ltd. Animals Animals of North America Cards with Safari Ltd Animal Figures Free Printable: North American Mammal Cards from Welcome to Mommyhood 

I used mainly animals from the Safari Ltd. North American Wildlife TOOB. I just used a bamboo paper plate holder for the materials.  Bamboo paper plate holders are inexpensive and work well for a number of activities. 

Matching North American Animal Silhouettes with Animal Pictures Matching Silhouettes to Animals of North America  

Free Printable: North American Animal Silhouettes from Imagine Our Life 

This couldn't be much easier to prepare. I just printed it, cut it out (rather than having the child draw lines to match the animal and silhouette), and put it in a Montessori Services basket. 

Letter Z Object Basket with Mystery Bag and Blindfold Letter B Object Basket with Mystery Bag and Blindfold  
Free Printables: Bear Letters for Letter B Object Basket (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 


Using the Letter B Mystery Bag and Blindfold to Identify Objects Starting with the /b/ Sound



We used a Montessori mystery bag and blindfold for interest and to work on the stereognostic sense. I got the basket, mystery bag, and blindfold from Montessori Services. I don't put this out each unit, and Zoey loves when I do use it. 

Letter B Sand Tray 

Free Printables: /b/ is for bear in manuscript, D'Nealian, or Cursive for Letter B Sand Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I added a Safari Ltd. bear for interest. 

Tray for Making an Animals That Hibernate Mini-Book Tray for Making an Animals That Hibernate Mini-Book  

Free Printable: Little Book of Animals That Hibernate from Lil’ Country Librarian 

I just used a Multicraft tray and a few office supplies for the book. Zoey was very drawn to this work and loved the book she made. 

Bear Puzzles Bear Puzzles  

Free Printable: 4 Bear Puzzles from Polar Bear Pack (now a subscriber freebie) from Blessed and Happy Home 

You'll also find some free bear puzzles on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

These are simple puzzles that work well for a young preschooler. For Zoey, I mixed up four puzzles in the Montessori Services baskett so that she can sort them out before putting them together. 

Matching Numerals with Miniature Bears and Bead Bars Matching Numerals with Miniature Bears and Bead Bars  

Free Printable: Bear Numbers (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

This activity uses a piece of felt for a table mat and bead bars from the decanomial box in a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup (what I used here) or  Montessori Services basket. (My bead bars, which I love, are from Alison’s Montessori. You can get bead bars on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used materials from those companies.) 

I also added 20 Safari Ltd. Good Luck Mini black bears. I was lucky to find them at a great price in an outlet store. I would also have been happy using fish (something bears like to eat) for the counters. I still have the silver fish from our penguin theme, so I would have used those.

Layout for Bear Number Cards, Miniature Bears, and Bead Bars

You could make a game using one of the spinners from our subscriber freebie or you could play it like a card game. I like to mix the cards up, turn them over, and have the child draw a card.  The mini bears are laid out and then the bead bars to represent the number drawn. 

Hibernation, Migration, and Adaptation Activity Hibernation, Migration, and Adaptation Activity

Free Printable: Animals in Winter: Migration, Hibernation, and Adaptation (subscriber freebie) from The Natural Homeschool 

This was another super-easy activity to prepare. It just requires the printables and some office supplies. Hibernation, migration, and adaptation are great concepts for children to understand. 

More Free Bear Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free bear printables from around the blogosphere: Free Bear Printables and Montessori-Inspired Bear Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

HELPFUL ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION POSTS

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Have a great rest of the month!
Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Moon Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Space activities tend to be popular with preschoolers, and  many preschoolers find the moon especially fascinating. Today, I'm starting a special moon unit with lots of hands-on moon activities and printables. 



At Living Montessori Now, I have a long list of free moon printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired moon pack, which even has an "oo" phonogram page). Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free moon printables to create Montessori-inspired activities. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you). 

Montessori Shelves with Moon-Themed Activities

Shelves with Moon themed Activities 

My shelves with moon-themed activities include a free moon culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired moon numbers, letters, spinners, and and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

I added our well-loved Hugg-a-Moon from the Pocket Hugg-a-Planet Earth and Moon. I have a number of moon books, both nonfiction and fiction, for our moon unit. Gail Gibbons' books have lots of easily understood information. That's also true for The Moon Book. I added The Moon and So That's How the Moon Changes Shape! to the shelf. I have some fiction moon books in our book baskets. 

You could mix your moon-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special moon area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them. 

Moon Culture Card (on Shelf with Hugg-a-Moon and Moon Books)

Hugg-a-Moon, Moon Book, and Moon Culture Card  

I'm happy to share with you this beautiful hand-painted moon culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce a moon unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free moon culture card here. The description says: “The Moon orbits the earth every 27.3 days. It has lower gravity than Earth does but it still affects the tides here on Earth.” 

Doodle on the Moon Activity Doodle on the Moon Activity 
Free Printable: Doodle on the Moon from Mr Printables 

Free Printable: Trip to the Moon Cards from Every Star Is Different 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft tray and crayons for doodling on the moon. I printed out the small printable moon that's tray-sized. There's also a medium-sized moon or a large-sized moon for wall use. I added the trip-to-the-moon cards as inspiration for drawing. Later in the month, I'll add a new box of 64 crayons for more inspiration. Who can resist a new, large box of crayons?!

Phases of the Moon Pin-Punch-and Paste-Activity (or Phases of the Moon Cut-and-Paste Activity) Phases of the Moon Pin-Punch-and Paste-Activity  
Free Printables: Phases of the Moon Pages from Homeschool Clipart. There are some great phases-of-the-moon printables available online. I chose this one because it has printables for a variety of levels. 

For this tray, I used Montessori Services’ wood handled puncher to make a pin-punch activity along with glue to make it a pin-punch-and-paste activity. You could add scissors to make a cut-and-paste activity. I printed the phases of the moon page at 85% so that the moons would fit perfectly on the Phases of the Moon Chart. If you have the child punch around the white moon shapes only, they can be glued to the Phases of the Moon Chart to create the moon as seen in each phase. 

M is for Moon Sand Writing Tray

M is for Moon Sand Writing Tray  

Free Printables: M for moon in manuscript, D'Nealian, or Cursive for Letter M Sand Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though.

Moon oo Phonogram Card and Booklet
Moon oo Phonogram Card and Booklet 

Free Printables: "ow" owl font cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

Free Printable: Green Series Phonogram Long oo with Pictures and Words from MontessoriSoul I love the simplicity of this! It was so easy to prepare, yet it isolates the oo phonogram very well. I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children.

Moon Bingo Phases-of-the-Moon Bingo Free Printable: Moon Bingo by Stevie Snee at Teachers Pay Teachers 

This activity uses a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup  to hold glass gems that are used as markers. You can focus more on 3-part cards for phases of the moon, but I love making games whenever possible. 

My 3¾-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves games, so they keep her attention very well. There's a helpful page with information about phases of the moons to go with the Bingo cards. 

Moon Spinner Activity with Bead Bars - Counting or Addition Moon Spinner Activity with Bead Bars - Counting or Addition  
Free Printables: Moon Numbers and Moon Spinner (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber)

This activity uses a piece of felt for a table mat and bead bars from the decanomial box in Montessori Services baskets. (My bead bars, which I love, are from Alison’s Montessori. You can get them on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used materials from those companies.)

Moon Spinner and Bead Bar Matching Activity

There isn't a specified way to do this activity. You could have the child simply spin the spin and lay out the matching bead bar and number card.

Moon Spinner and Bead Bar Addition Activity

Or you could have an addition activity. This layout is one possible way to lay out the addition work, although you might prefer a different layout. 

Moon Bank with Coin Poems and Sorting Activity Moon Bank with Coin Poems and Sorting Activity  
Free Printable: Coin Poems from Buggy and Buddy. This isn't actually a moon printable, but I love how well it works with the moon bank for teaching preschoolers about money. 

Because Zoey loves the moon and piggy banks so much, I got her the National Geographic Glowing Moon Money Bank. I used a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup to hold 10 pennies, 10 nickels, 10 dimes, and 10 quarters. 



Zoey sorted out the coins onto the page (she chose to stack them) while I read the matching poem. Then she put all the coins in the moon bank. At another time, we'll talk about how much money ten of each coin makes. 

More Free Moon Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free moon printables from around the blogosphere: Free Moon Printables and Montessori-Inspired Moon Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

More Astronomy Posts and Resources

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Happy moon watching!


Deb - Siganture

Deb Chitwood








Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Golf Ball Painting

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

It's Scott from Brick by Brick. I love to repurpose materials—use materials in ways different from their intended purpose.

We love to paint in my classroom. And we love to paint with all kinds of things besides brushes. Last summer, in our Art Camp, we painted with golf balls...on a canvas...and made lasting wall art.

First, tape pieces of cardboard around the canvas. The cardboard should extend a few inches above the canvas surface, to keep the balls from rolling off and away. If you have a box that is the same size as your canvas, just nestle the canvas in it. I didn't have that, so we taped pieces to create our own "box."

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

Pour paint into shallow containers. Roll the balls in the paint and use a spoon to transfer the coated golf balls onto the canvas. Then children can pick up the box and rotate it back and forth to move the balls around the canvas. If the canvas is large, children can stand on either end of the canvas and work together to move the balls. (Check out the process in this post.)

Golf Ball Painting (Brick by Brick)

Adding layers and layers of paint creates a really interesting design. The paint we used was a little thick, so the golf balls created interesting texture in addition to the colored designs. We passed our masterpiece on to a special leader to hang in her office. Or you could give the painting away as a door prize or as part of a fundraiser.

Or hang the masterpiece in your classroom to showcase the talents of your artists.


Visit my Dollar Store and Dumpster Pinterest Board and my blog for more repurposing ideas.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Amazing Effects of Art on the Brain

Happy Fall!


I have written many times about the benefits of dance, from its accessibility; to development of social and emotional skills; to development of coordination, body awareness, discipline, correct posture, balance, flexibility, and strength; to teaching academic subjects kinesthetically; to simply allowing children the opportunity to experience the joy of movement. 

Many of these same benefits to other art forms.



I have also written about the benefits of dance on the brain.  I am excited and amazed at all of the positive news that comes out virtually every day on this subject.  I am devoting this blog to a very interesting one that just came out a few days ago:


This is Your Brain on Art (link below), by Sarah L. Kaufman, Dani Player, Jayne Orenstein, May-Ying Lam, Elizabeth Hart, and Sally Tan, published September 18, 2017, in The Washington Post.  Complete with beautiful music and video, this article explains "how the new field of neuroaesthetics is probing the relationship between art and the brain."  

Some of the authors' findings include:


  • Art provides social connection, which is a key function of our brains 
  • The value of and need for story-telling
  • How our brain and sensory system react to movement
  •  "The logic of art is a neural turn-on"  


Intrigued?  You won't be disappointed.  The article takes you through the story of Swan Lake, with videos of gorgeous dancing and the lovely music of Tchaikovsky in the background, as it explains why exposure to art is so important for the development and maintenance of a healthy brain. 



Click below to visit this fascinating world:


This Is Your Brain on Art                      Enjoy!





MOVING IS LEARNING!
Keep on Dancin',

Connie


https://www.scbwi.org/members-public/connie-dow

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Singing and Dancing Back To School!

Everybody clap your hands!
It feels good to be back to school:  familiar routines, new little friends AND the joy of introducing them to my musical world!  I’m Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup –Active Music for Active Learners!

The start of a new school year is exciting for some children, scary for others.  It takes all our best teaching techniques, patience and empathy to get everyone moving forward positively.  Moving – that’s the operative word for this month’s blog!

Stamp your feet!
Music & Movement can be the perfect distraction for children to forget their worries and join in.  Or not – some may watch at first.  It’s been my experience that if I wait, give them an encouraging nod and smile, wait some more – they DO get the confidence to get up and move.

I start with a Welcome/Hello song.  Then do a zipper song with sitting movements (“Sticky Bubble Gum” is always a big hit!)  Then – LET’S GET DANCING!

Jump up high!





Here’s one of my favorites: “Everybody Clap Your Hands!”  I learned it from the legendry Ella Jenkins.  She doesn’t claim to have written it – “It’s just an old, old song,” she told me.  But it’s transformative – no child can resist it!  There’s nothing really to teach – just follow the instructions built into the song.
 
NOTE:  Be sure you do the song, too!  Model participatory behavior.  Hear the song clip HERE.  It's track #4.

LYRICS:     Everybody clap your hands
                 Everybody clap your hand
                 Everybody, come on and clap your hands!

Turn real slow!
V.2   Stamp your feet!

V.3   Jump up high!

V.4   Turn real slow.

V.5   Wiggle around!

V.6   Clap and stamp! (2 things at the        same time!)

V.7   Clap, stamp & turn (3 things!)



V.8   Sing – with your tongue sticking out (4 things!):
        "Everybody sing along!"
Sing...with your tongue sticking out like this!
Put your tongue back in!

Yup – it gets really silly at the end with tongues wagging as you sing, clap, stamp and turn around!  That’s the fun of it – and school should be FUN!

NOTE:  Take a second to have everyone put their tongues back in – tap your fingers to your lips.  It’ll make everyone smile!

Need a Welcome/Hello song?  More starter movement songs?  
Check out my blogs:
December 2016:  Welcome/Bienvenidos!
August 2013:  Sing Your Way Through the First Week of School
August 2014:  Start School Singing: Week 2!
August 2016:  Back to School Singing!
March 2016:  Thumbs up for “Singing in the Rain!”

OR go to the archive on my website’s
Song Of The Month page for:
August 2011:  “Hello Everybody, How Do You Do?”
January 2011:  “We Like to Say Hello!”
August 2007:   "Sticky Bubble Gum"
November 2006:  “The Wiggle Song!”

And finally – I am sorry to have been absent from PreK and K Sharing for so many months.  The surgical repair of my hip’s labrum meant changing priorities in order to meet classroom, concert and professional development commitments.  But I’m back – almost 100%!  Please contact me if you’d like me to come to your school, library, church or conference.  I’m in Chicago, but I travel all over the world to bring developmentally appropriate music & movement to those who work with young children!


Yours for a Song!
“Miss Carole” Stephens

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