Thursday, 25 July 2013

Making Butter ~ Inspired by Literature

At our little yellow school, we love books!  Our personal library has more books than I care to admit, yet we are continually acquiring more.  You can never have too many books!  From old classics such as Where the Wild Things Are and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, to new classics such as The Paper Bag Princess and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, there is a feeling of comfort in being surrounded by great literature.

This year, our students could not seem to get enough of our collection of 'My First Little House Books'.  Some of them are pictured.

My First Little House Books are based on the Little House on the Prairie series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The books are about Laura's childhood memories of being part of an American pioneer family in the 19th century.  (Those of us of a certain age will also remember the television series which aired for nine years beginning in the 1970s.)   My First Little House Books allow the youngest readers to share in the adventure of Laura's life on the prairie.  Time and time again, our students wanted to hear about Laura's family - Pa, Ma, her big sister Mary, her little sister Carrie and their good old bulldog Jack.

In one of the books, Mary and Laura help Ma make butter with the churn.  The children were absolutely fascinated by the process of making butter. 

Mary using the butter churn.

Inspired by Mary and Laura, we decided to make our own butter.

We put some whipping cream into a jar.

Then we all took turns shaking the jar.

It is almost done, just a little more shaking.

Now it is all done!  We spread some of the butter on bread.  It was yummy!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Practical Life Materials - Dressing Frames

The Large Button Frame

The Large Button Frame is part of the Practical Life area of the Montessori classroom.  These activities are the first activities a child is introduced to when they begin their Montessori education. These activities - pouring, sweeping, hanging clothes on a hook, setting out a place setting and many more - allow the child to try doing the things they see the adults around them doing.  These activities fall into three categories.  The Dressing Frames fall into the category of Care of Oneself or Self Development.

The purpose of the Button Frame is to help the child develop co-ordination and independence.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Oh, The Things You'll Learn ~ A Conversation with a Five Year Old

One of the wonderful things about a Montessori environment is that each day is unique.  You never quite know what the day will bring,  what questions you will be asked or the new things you will learn.   

The following is a very informative conversation between myself and five year old J. that took place in April.

J:  My mom and dad told me that we are going to go to Paris this summer.  It will be the first place I visit in Europe.  

Mrs. P.That is very exciting.  I have been to Paris.  It is beautiful.  You can visit the Eiffel Tower.

JOh, I can't wait to visit the Eiffel Tower!  My mom says our airline will be Air France, but I don't want to fly with Air France.

Mrs. P.Which airline do you want to fly with?


Mrs. P.I believe that Qantas only flies in and out of Australia.

JOh.  Australia is very far away from France.  That would be the longest flight ever!

Mrs. P.Yes, that would be very long.  Why do you want to fly with Qantas?

JBecause Qantas is the number one airline on the top 100 list of the safest airlines in the world!  Air France is #10.

Mrs. P.Well, that is a very good reason.  I can see that you have quite a problem.  Do you remember any of the other airlines in the top ten?  Maybe one of those would fly to France.

JOh yes.  Singapore Airlines is #2.  Then Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qatar.

Mrs. PI don't think any of those would work.  What about number 6?

JI totally forgot number 6 and I forgot 7 all the way to 9.

Madame D. had a question for J.

Madame DI am going to Vancouver next month on Air Canada.  How safe is it?

JOh, not so so safe.  Air Canada is #19.  If the number is low, that is safe.  If it is high, not so safe.

A fellow student asked about West Jet.

JWest Jet is #23 or #24.  Not that safe.

She also asked about Sun Wing as she flew to Cuba on Sun Wing.  He wasn't sure about Sun Wing.

He then informed us that Hong Kong Airlines is #12.  #21 is Korean Air, #23 Phillipeans and #47 is Olympic Air.  It flies to the Olympics.  #50 is Jet Star. 

Mrs. P.Jet Star?  I've never heard of that.

JI knew I found an airline that you never heard of!  I am going to try to remember 6, 7, 8 and 9 now.

He walked around the room a few times and came back.

JI can't remember.

Mrs. P.J., how do you know all of this?

JI watch the videos on You Tube!  But, don't watch the videos that say "Top 10 Airlines".  Those ones are not true.  It has to say "in the world".

He promised he would go home and watch the videos again to find out the names of the airlines he couldn't remember.  He will tell me the names on Monday.  

On Monday morning, J. came in with the following three lists for me.

When I asked why all the lists were different, he said it was because they were different years.  As I said, you just never know what fascinating things await you each day.  This is very valuable information indeed!