Friday, October 26, 2012

Home Made Fun

         Home-made Playdough - I found this recipe on the internet.  My mom always made us playdough when I was a kid but she used cream of tartar. I haven't been able to find that. What I really like about this recipe was that I could use lemon juice instead of the cream of tartar.  Here is the recipe:
1 c flour
1 c water
2 tsp of lemon juice
1/4 c of salt
2 tsp of oil
Mix together, should look like pancake batter.

Separate into bowls for the number of colors you want to make.  I made two colors with the amounts in this                                           recipe. Each girl got 1/2 a color for their own use and it was plenty.

Add as much food coloring as you like to each bowl to get the color you wish. ( I did green and orange to make pumpkins for Halloween.)

One color at a time, pour mixture into a sauce pan and heat on medium for 5-10 mins until it balls up.  If it is really sticky, keep cooking. It may still be a little sticky but should get less as it cools. It will be hot!!!

Place on a plate to cool. Then it is time to play!

A few notes:  Do NOT get it wet or it will get very sticky and make a huge mess. It will get on your hands so if you need to wash them in the middle of playing be sure to dry them extremely well.

If the playdough does get a little wet or just gets really sticky, you can add a small amount of flour to the work surface and roll the ball of playdough in it.  Be aware if you use too much flour it will dry out and get hard.

Store in an airtight container like a baggie. It will still eventually get hard, but it's easy to make so throw it out and make some more.

To get the remnants off of the work space, it will stick to a work space so choose your work space carefully, rub your hand over the playdough stuck to the surface to ball it up and then use the big ball of playdough to pick up the little pieces.

Sorting and Opposites

              I cut and colored the pumpkins and cut out the fence and glued them all to a green paper. Then I put one large pumpkin at the top and one small pumpkin at the bottom for examples.  Next I picked a pumpkin, varying the order and used a glue stick on the back to make it sticky.  I asked Gosling if it was big or little and Where does it go? She then placed all of the pumpkins in the correct spot all by herself. I was one very proud Mommie!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wet Pouring
We moved on to wet pouring this month. It's nice and hot outside so any spills will quickly dry. I added 1 drop of blue food coloring to 1/4 cup of water, just to make it even more inviting.
In May I put out a flower shaped ice cube tray with one yellow pom pom that fit in each flower.  She used her fingers to pinch the pom poms out and then put them back.  This month I put blue pom poms into a starfish shaped ice cube tray. I increased the level of the skill by adding tweezers for her to use to pick up the pom poms.

Since June is beach weather I decided on a beach theme this month.  It only took Gosling a few minutes to find the new box full of sea shells, star fish and coral.  She takes them out, one by one, investigating as she goes, then she puts them back in the box.  These are real items so being gentle was something for us to work on. Her favorite item is the star fish, partly because she knows it's name and partly because it feels so neat.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I saw this on Facebook this morning.  I've decided I'm going to hang it in our home school room as a reminder to me more than as a reminder to the girls.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Edible Rosary

I saw this on someone else's blog this morning and had to share. It's made of raisins and grapes with a cookie cross of course. The blog is called Catholic Icing and the owner said that her sister, Stephanie, made these. Funny that her sister is Stephanie. I saw that as a sign! I will be doing this in the future.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Knobbed Cylinders Teach About Size

I introduced Gosling to a new Montessori activity today. It is called "knobbed cylinders."  It was designed for the study of size. The knobs at the top of the cylinders allow for her to practice the "pincher grasp" which she will need later for writing.  There are 4 blocks of knobbed cylinders.  I started with the easiest one. (I am also using the "toddler sized" version.)  There are 5 cylinders in the first block, each is has different diameter but the same length.  They are set in order from largest to smallest or vice versa. I modeled for her how to remove each of the cylinders and place them above the block.  After taking all 5 cylinders out, I modeled how to put all 5 cylinders back in, pinching each one by the knob and placing it back in the correct hole in the block.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Montessori is all About

Here is a wonderful video that can help explain what Montessori is all about.  It is called "Building the Pink Tower."                

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Time For Easter

Gosling has wanted to "play" with this bunny since my mom brought it to me last year.  This year she is using it for Object Transfer, moving the eggs from the clear tray to the bunny tray and back again.  One issue I have had is that she likes to open the eggs and then she gets frustrated when she can't put them back together.  I think I might glue them shut.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dry Pouring

For the month of March I introduced "dry pouring." Usually this is done with rice, beans etc. but being that Gosling is starting early, and I didn't want a huge mess to clean, I decided to go with small colored pom-poms.  This has worked really well for her. She pour the pom-poms from one measuring cup into the other and back again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Montessori Materials

      Montessori Materials can be very expensive.  Traditionally they are made of wood and are very high quality.  But many of the materials can be made at home and the same goals can still be achieved.  That being said, there are a few materials that are just not cost or time effective to make yourself.  One material I recently purchased is the Pink Tower. This is a sensory activity that teaches order, big, bigger, biggest, small, smaller, and smallest. Of course since all Montessori leaning is child guided sometimes other lessons can be learned as well.
     When the Pink Tower arrived I opened it and set it out in our "classroom."  The next time Gosling was in the room, it was the first material to which she went. I wonder if it was the beautiful pink color which drew her attention.  At any rate, she immediately picked up the smallest pieces and walked off with them.  I realized that we were going to need some boundaries or the pieces would soon disappear and although I shopped around and got a good deal on these materials, I do not want to have to buy replacement pieces!  So, I took out a piece of white contact paper and stuck it onto the shelf where I am storing the Pink Tower.  Then I traced each piece first in pencil and then in pink marker. This now gives Gosling a place to put the pieces when she uses the Pink Tower.
     At the moment she is still bringing the pieces to me, but it is the beginning of a learning process.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Transferring Objects

     Last fall our family when to St. Louis to visit some of the cousins.  It was a wonderful trip and we saw many historical sites. But of the most remembered moments for me was each evening Gosling (then 16 months) would get down the shoe box of pencils, pens, crayons and markers and transfer these objects into another box. She just sat down and did this on her own. This is why I love Montessori's teachings. I can see why she the activities that are taught, are taught. They truly follow the way a child thinks and learns.
     So, for Gosling's first Montessori learning center I made a Valentine box of transferring objects. She is supposed to transfer the objects from the box to the tray, one at a time, and back again. So far, she does great transferring the objects to the tray, but each time I demonstrate how to put the objects back in the box she grabs them out of the box and puts them back on the tray as fast as I can put them in the box. This is funny because she had no problem going back and forth on her own.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why Montessori

     My first experience with Montessori was when Goose was 2 years old.  There was a Montessori School down the street from our home and I was going back to work as an Elementary School Teacher. The school took children from 8 months up to what would equal 4th grade. Several neighbors children attended and it had a wonderful reputation. Honestly, I had no idea what Montessori was all about at the time, but I knew Goose was learning a lot and was even invited to start Kindergarten at the school at the age of 4 years 2 months. She loved her time there.
     Unfortunately, soon after she started the Kindergarten program we moved out of the area.  At that point, I kept her home with me until she started Kindergarten, the following fall, at the local public school. It was a very good school, a CA Distinguished School, but we quickly found that it wasn't the right school for Goose.
     Never in all my years of teaching public school, a full decade at that point, did I think that I would home-school my children. But at this point I saw no other option.  Luckily for us we found a hybrid charter school.  Goose attended a Montessori program for the first three days of the week and home schooled for the last two. This was perfect!  I could get my feet wet home schooling and she could enjoy 3 days of Montessori which she had thrived in before.
     Her Montessori Teacher was amazing and since I was interested in leaning about Montessori I began working as a classroom aide. At the end of that school year I was hired as a new 6-9 teacher and started my 6-9 Montessori training through North American Montessori Center.  This is an on line program with beautiful color photo manuals.  I was very lucky because I had a wonderful Montessori mentor at work to guide me through the "learn as you go" process. 
     After finishing my 6-9 training I really wanted to take the 2-6 training but couldn't afford the program at NAMC.  Somehow in my web surfing I came across Karen Tyler's program -World Wide Montessori On line.  This program is created for home schooling parents and current Montessori teachers at a very affordable rate. The course does not take the place of a certified Montessori teacher training school, but it was perfect for my needs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who are Goose and Gosling

     My 10 1/2 year old daughter is Goose.  When she was a baby I started calling her "Silly Goose." Eventually that shortened to Goose and the name has stuck.  I am the only person she lets call her Goose though, not her Dad or Grandparents or friends.
     About two years ago we had a surprise for Goose.  After many years of waiting and hoping and praying we found out that Goose was to be a big sister.  At first she wasn't too sure that this was such a great idea. But now that Gosling is 18 months old, Goose is finding out that being a big sister can be a lot of fun, especially when your little sister looks up to and loves you as much as Gosling obviously loves Goose! So far, we don't actually call Gosling, Gosling. She hasn't really acquired a nick name as of yet. But it sounded cute for the blog, so I went with it.