Friday, November 28, 2008

I Went Walking (a story basket)

Using the board book: I Went Walking by Sue Williams, I created this story extension for the toddler language shelf; I didn't intend for it to be used right there on the shelf but so be it. The kiddos really enjoy this book, much like Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear. They like to hear it read again and again and are very knowledgeable about the order in which the animals appear. It was a fun and easy language work for me to pull together (once I found the animals). I happened to find the animals needed at our local toy store, but you could draw or color copy the illustrations, laminate them and use those too. Happy crafting.
So far my holiday creations have been limited to felt wreaths and birds...I will post photos soon. What are you making?
PEACE to all,
Happy Thanksgiving!
Montessori Mama

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


PARENTise ... great new resource for parents.

a quote from another blogging Mama:
"I can't tell you all of the times that I have wished there was a place to go ... to get TRUSTED advice from other parents on what classes or programs are worth the money ... somewhere to read what another mom thinks about the new pediatrician that just came to town ... a website where I could go to find out who the best of the best are when it comes to photographers."

PARENTise is here!

The folks behind PARENTise believe that parents are the experts when it comes to their children. As you know I believe that we parents are our child's first teachers. When I was approached to share a review of their site I was certainly out of my element, but as I investigated it I discovered many useful pieces of information and I think you might find it helpful too.

PARENTise is a free service that offers parents a centralized location to read and write reviews on services that they have used, or are interested in using with their children.

Here is the idea: YOU write reviews about the services and such that you have knowledge about ... other parents write reviews about the services they know about ... and from these reviews a comprehensive, all-in-one-place location for reviews parents can trust is created.

You can view the ratings and reviews by zip code, you will be just a couple of clicks away from finding out just where to spend your time and money.

Also! The folks at PARENTise are hosting 14 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS!!! Visit the PARENTise site (you'll need to complete a very short registration process)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

From You, I Receive, to You I Give, Together We Grow and From This We Live

I have been thinking allot lately about Giving and Receiving as the holiday season approaches. It's a difficult time of year for many people and although I know I should be able to ignore the pressures of this capitalist society we here in the US are part of, I still struggle with this. I say to myself every year around this time:
"This year we are going to have a hand made holiday! No store bought gifts, only things made by our family to give to our family." and then....
something happens and before I know it, I'm running around, like all the other busy people, to the shopping centers and on-line I'm placing orders for items where time is RUNNING OUT for heaven's sake! I feel like Animal from the Muppets by the time the holiday actually arrives.
It's part of the reason I enjoy teaching at a Montessori school. When I enter, I feel safe and secure and I know just what is expected and generally what will happen. Even around this busy time of year. The end of Novemeber brings Stone Soup (or fruit salad if you work with toddlers) and December brings a focus on light, peace, and the gift of giving back to the community. In the past I have written in detail about this season. I invite you to look back and read some of these past posts.
Stone Soup
Yummy Soup
What I'm Thankful For...
Festivals of Light
Gift Wrap
Seasonal Scissor Fun

In the next few weeks I will continue to share about what my class is up to but I am making a promise to myself today to create something for someone I love, each day until the winter Solstice arrives. I intend to share my creations with all of you and I look forward to hearing your ideas. I know this is nothing new for allot of you crafty people out there in blog world, but it is for me. I hope my kids understand when there are no store bought gifts. I worry people's feelings will be hurt, but I believe this is the best way for our family. Times are tough all the way around this big beautiful world, and there just never seems to be enough money to pay for everything. We are blessed in so many ways, and spending too much energy or time focusing on what we don't have, will only distract from the riches we do possess.

So, enjoy one another and your creative gifts!
In PEACE and with THANKS,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy

Here are some photos from my Stone Fruit Salad lesson. They seemed to enjoy the story although it was a bit long to hold their attention. We followed up the story with a craft of gluing fruit shapes onto a bowl. These are now on display as you walk into the classroom with the characters of the story. A note to parents went home yesterday with the children saying what fruit they offered to bring in on Monday. Mallory and I will bring in some fruit, yogurt and granola also and of course the STONE. A special stone fruit salad feast will take place (just like in the story). The children will prepare the fruit for the salad: they will slice bananas and cut apples, pull and wash grapes, drain and rinse the canned peaches, they will set the tables and fold the cloth napkins.(and I will share the photos!)
Thanks for reading as always!
PEACE to you all, Montessori Mama

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Sun Will Come Together....someday

Here is my four seasons mat. Confession time: I am not someone who normally sews.
I mean other than the occasional Halloween costume {that usually falls apart by the end of the evening}...I'm just NOT someone who sews. But seeing all of the creative and talented folks on-line who are using felt to create amazing toys for children, inspired me! And we needed a birthday something for our classroom celebrations.
This photo was taken before completion and now this somewhat completed four seasons mat is already being used with the children's birthday celebrations in the classroom. They seem to like it! We made up a simple & short song to go along with it. Here it is:

Four Seasons Song (tune: Twinkle, Twinkle)
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
There's FOUR seasons,
Count them all:
1, 2, 3, 4

There are also laminated labels provided that the children assist with laying out. (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) I'm hoping now that I've found my camera I can capture the mat being used and share that with you.
The following is the song we use for our birthday walks. What song to you use?
This is a sign language song I discovered while searching the web a while back.
The children really seem to enjoy it. It's tune is the same as the traditional Happy Birthday song.

"We celebrate your birth,
and your place on this earth,
may the sun, moon and stars
bring peace where you are."

Happy Birthday to you!

Stone Fruit Salad
By Jennifer Howard

Two friends went walking,
And happened to meet,
both were very hungry
and wanted to eat.

Together they had
NOTHING to share,
Their tummies were empty
It just wasn’t fair 

One had a stone,
the other a bowl,
one was a mouse,
the other a mole.

“I know,” said Mole
“We could ask at each house”
“For fruit, for our salad?”
said small & shy Mouse

“Yes” said Mole
“Just one little part,
one berry, one slice,
a gift from the heart”

So they went hand in hand,
to every last house,
Mole asked politely,
“Please?” said friend Mouse.

But no-one had fruit,
to offer the pair,
not even one berry,
NO ONE would share.

The two sad friends,
sat down on a rock,
they were both still hungry,
neither one could talk

“I’ve got it!” said Mole,
“I’ve got a plan!”
“We’re sure to make salad,
just as fast as we can!”

“With my large bowl
and your small stone,
We’ll make enough salad
to feed every home!”

Mouse was curious,
how could this be?
So she watched and she waited
and she started to see.

With the stone and the bowl,
There would soon be salad to share,
“We’ll show them,” said Mole
“It feels good to care!”

“Fruit Salad we’ll make,”
Mole said with a grin.
“Put the stone in the bowl Mouse,
it’s time to begin.”

“Delicious Fruit Salad to EAT!”
Mole called down the street.
Mouse stood behind him,
with the empty bowl at her feet.

“Made from a STONE, it is said,”
“this fruit salad will be
the BEST fruit salad ever eaten
by you or by me!”

The animals they came,
from each and every house,
wanting taste the Stone Salad,
made by Mole and by Mouse!

“When we made this the last time,
wasn’t there a slice of peach?”
Mole ask friend Mouse,
“Yes, a piece of peach for each.”

“And I seem to remember,”
Mole said to Mouse
“EVERY animal gave fruit.”
“Yes, fruit from each house”

“So what will YOU give?”
Mole said to the crowd
“a GRAPE!” said the Pig
(and he was so proud).

“We’ll share some apples.”
Said Bunnies One, Two and Three
“they are ripe and red,
just picked from the tree!”

Soon others were shouting out
What THEY wanted to share,
Two mangos, 6 blueberries,
and the cat gave a pear.

Mole winked at Mouse,
“I knew this would work.”
“You were right,” said Mouse,
please hand me a fork.”

The whole town enjoyed
Stone Fruit Salad that day,
Because Mole and Mouse shared,
and showed them the way.

Mole and Mouse were hungry,
and now they are not,
they are thankful,
you see, for the food that they got.

If YOU made Stone fruit salad today,
What kind of fruit
would YOU bring,
and what words would YOU say?

You should say, “PLEASE”
and especially “THANK YOU”
You could share just one grape,
Or a bunch if you want to.

Sharing, you know
Is NOT easy to do,
But if you share what you have,
You will feel good too!

If each one of us,
gave just a little bit,
more of us would have enough,
that’s all there is to it.

The End
[more illustrations to follow]
Thank you for reading this.

Shoe Box Doll Houses

My Assistant Mallory created these shoe box houses for our toddler friends to play with. I adore them and so does Little One! This little boy (in photo) took the toy house to a table with some wooden animals and became completely engrossed in his play. He was unaware of me snapping photos of him.

YES! I found my camera! Oh happy day. I have allot to share but am running out of time to share it. Life has become increasingly busy these days. I know you can all relate. Working full time, three kids, creative aspirations...

Mallory made this gem by painting a shoe box inside and out. She made one box for each season. This one is summer. Isn't she amazing!? I am so blessed. And so are the kiddos in our class. Thank you Mallory for being you!

Last night was Opening Night for The Sound of Music at my oldest son's high school. He had a small part in this year's production but he did very well in it. I was proud of him and so impressed with ALL the kids involved. The star of the show was the young lady who played Maria, she was fabulous! I briefly spoke with her mother during intermission and it was really very sweet. She was beaming and rightly so! I wanted to be near her to soak it all in, her pride in her daughter's efforts, her joy for her daughter's shining moment. It was beautiful.

Middle Man is still sick with a fever/sore throat virus and is expected in rehearsals for Wind in the Willows this afternoon. Send him a healing hug please.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Take Care

Here Little One cares for our solo classroom plant. (Before his arm mis-hap) The spray bottle is a favorite of his. A green thumb I am NOT; but having more than one plant to care for is I'm wondering, what types of plants do you have in your classroom/home that your children care for?

Another question:
Does anyone use a beginner reader series they would recommend?

On another topic, many thanks for all the emails and comments I received from folks lately! Sharing your stories of homesickness with me and sending me words of comfort, helped me remember I'm not alone. Thank you for your kindness.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In a NUTTY Shell

Okay so October (usually my favorite month of the year) stunk. I'll TRY and be brief because as regular readers know, I tend to well, not be.
So, 'Bigger Than Me' after just two weeks of having his driver's permit, crashed my new caravan (new to in has yet to be paid off) NO ONE was hurt which is, of course, the good thing. Second, Little One and Middle Man were wrestling on the sofa, flipped off and Little One ended up on the bottom of the heap. We, THOUGHT, he just had 'nurse maid's elbow' but two doctor's and specialist later it seems the bone just above his wrist is cracked. NOT BROKEN but a little bit cracked. (also a good thing, well it could be worse)Anyway, with all of this stressed, I have a pain in my neck that worsens with each day that passes. And I hope I am not sounding too pathetic here, but I miss my mom. I moved too far away from home to raise my family I've decided. Although I LOVE my community and wouldn't change a thing about my place of employment, my kid's education, or my distance from 'convenience'; I do miss my family. As the holidays approach I feel sadness about being so far away. This recent Halloween photo of Middle Man (the orangutan) friend Stella (the beautiful bee)and Little One (the not so small mouse prior to breaking his arm)makes me smile. It's laughable how serious they all look being so goofy!
Anyway, November is off to a good start and I have a positive outlook about this winter. I'm just a bit gloomy tonight, missing my family and wishing they were closer. I've been fooling around with the colors of my blog background, but now I'm done.
I'm closing with a photo of one of my toddler friends who must have been watching me when I was too lazy to been down to wipe up a spill!!! Caught on film, my two year old friend here decided to 'clean up' her mess using the method I demonstrated! I'm embarrassed and once again I become the student. I won't be lazy again, little eyes are always watching...I am the role model, demonstrating desired behavior and in this case, the undesired. OOPPSS!!

I hope YOU all had a wonderful October and are feeling joy in the amazing historical political happening! No matter your political preference, this election has proven to be one that will be remembered. GO OBAMA!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What We've Been Up To: Practical Life

Here's a quick pic of Little One washing the door to our classroom. So often the windows, mirrors and doors are covered with hand prints and mouth marks (mostly from Little One). Today I thought I'd ask for helpers to help me clean these surfaces; several of my young friends were more than thrilled to oblige me. Tomorrow I think we will scrub the chairs. Purposeful work is very satisfying, especially to this two year old.

Other practical life activities my busy boy is 'into' presently are:

Feeding the birds (this involves carrying a large bin of bird seed from one end of the classroom to the other...which is his favorite part of the process)we are very fortunate to have a bird feeder that is attached to the glass of one of our windows. Our classroom is on the second floor and the window is just above floor level, so the children can lay on their tummies to watch the hungry birds to enjoy our daily offering. More about this soon...

Pushing Pipe Cleaners Work
There are 55 holes in the top of this seasons shaker ($1.89 local discount store). There are 55 pipe cleaners (27 cut in half + 1 half) provided (various colors). Lots of concentration is required to stay with this activity to its completion, most often one child will begin it and many others will follow adding a few colors here and there(some not-yet-two friends will remove the pipe cleaners).
Happy Creating!
PS I hope all had a happy and safe Halloween.

Where in the World?


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