Sunday, January 31, 2016

Golden Bead Addition

I apologize for not posting this sooner.  I think I uploaded the pictures and then life happened and I completely forgot.  Nonetheless, here is some info on Bub's bank game work.  He has since moved on through subtraction and is currently working on Golden Bead Multiplication which I presented to him today. 

The picture turned out darker than anticipated with the green felt.  I think you can still see the addition sign and equation bar.

I recruited Kui to be Bubs' partner since at that time I only had one primary child.  Here they are gathering their beads to form their number.
More gathering.

After the beads were both gathered, he puts his beads on one rug to "put them together" to find the total.  He was quite excited to see how large of a number he had once he put everything together. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Families of Musical Instruments

These are by far the boys favorite thing to do in the classroom.  I need to expand the material and add more information about each, but time is never on my side. 
I made these in my toddler training about 5 years ago.  My trainer, Judy Orion, does a lot of work in Japan and came across someone who made these beautiful and simple cd's for her toddler environment.  Each cd consists of an instrument by itself and then that instrument played within a musical piece.  The child tries to identify that particular instrument in the piece.  It makes for quite the fun game.  (I really think the true reason the kids like these is to hear the woman speak Japanese in between the pieces!)  Hey, if this is how I get a second language in there, great!! Ha  Our Swahili practice is pretty dead.  Hopefully they will get enough from their dad in that area.
We have four musical families represented below.  It is not a complete list.
Percussion Instruments include the xylophone, bass drum, snare drum, timpani, and the cymbals.
Stringed Instruments include the harp, double bass, violin, cello, guitar, and piano,
Brass Instruments include the French horn, trumpet, tuba, and trombone.
Woodwind Instruments include the piccolo, recorder, bassoon, clarinet, flute, and oboe.

Here are the boys listening.  They usually raise their hand when they hear the instrument on the case.  If you look closely, Bubs is holding the case for the bass drum. (Gotta love Montessori and the idea of dressing yourself at a young age.  Anyone else notice Nito's shirt is inside out?)

Here is a close up of one of the cd cases.  I just found the pictures online and printed the labels from a word document, then glued them to a blank cd holder.  You can buy a pack of these at Wal-Mart inexpensively. 
Kui loves to listen as well, but I expect more from her.  She should be able to identify the instrument with little difficulty.  She has worked with these for a few years.  She does extended work with the history behind the instrument families and the additional instruments that belong to each family.  The list we have is limited, but a great start for those young eager listeners!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

History Question Charts

Well what do ya know?  I stumbled across this draft buried in my files somehow!  I thought I would complete it and get it posted for those who are curious as to the follow up from this post. 

This picture show how the charts stack nicely for a shelf.  It is hard to see in this picture the size of the individual charts.  See below for more pictures.
We have really been diving into SOTW (Story of the World) lately.  I think it has to do with how much I love it and how it flows across the different subject areas very well.  My only drawback is that I can't keep up with all of the library books needed for additional reading!  Our library doesn't have every book so I have to wait a day or two for them to get it from another library.  Kui is really enjoying it though. 
The following pictures are the History Question Charts from the Keys of the Universe (K of U) album that I use for Elementary.  My Boys Teacher at her blog has a great explanation on these charts and a description of how Maria Montessori has encouraged drawing while listening to history by the use of audiobooks.  SOTW has this option.  I currently use the book (because I had no idea that the audiobook would be such a great idea).  I know that Kui would thrive off of that because she begs me for SOTW almost daily.  She also reads so many history books from the library and is learning so much just through that. 

Unfortunately, the four colors that came in the pack of foam board were not ideal.  The blue is very dark.  Kui can see the questions when she is close up, but it is a little challenging.  I will have to search for another color and make this one over before Bubs moves up.  Let me add that to my ever growing to do list!
 The picture below shows Kui using her library books to help her answer some of the questions about Egyptians that she learned about through SOTW.  She was not a fan of how many questions were on the charts, but was excited when she started figuring out the answers and understanding how it all worked together.

The picture will enlarge when you click on it.  She places her index cards under the individual questions.  Sometimes there are no answers and the resources that she has does not give them to her.  She just moves on.
One thing that I am realizing is how many more resources we need in the classroom.  I am trying to incorporate as many books, encyclopedias, etc. to help with her additional research, but am finding it hard.  We want her to know how to use "old fashioned ways" of finding the answer to things instead of typing it in Google.  (Like her teacher does!)  Please comment if you have any suggestions.  Right now we only have a few types of dictionaries, an atlas, and an encyclopedia. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Well, we have established a new rule for the school week now that we have moved.  Our atrium day will now be Friday mornings since the environment is upstairs.  We will see how it goes.   Fridays are always a little bit slower anyway.  Their teacher has run our of steam by the end of the week.  This is why it is also our art day in the afternoon. 

The atrium is still a work in progress.  There are only a few things out on the shelf, but it is enough to get into the routine of doing it every week.  Plus the children use the materials, especially from the altar, every morning for morning prayer before we start school. Now that we are back at it again, it will inspire me to make more materials for the environment.  I am currently working on the Priest's Vestments material.  I will keep you posted on that. 

Kui and Bubs are working with the Good Shepherd.  Thankfully she can read to him while I was working with Nito.  Plus, it helps them to work together and she loves to work with materials that aren't necessarily age appropriate for her!  Oh, btw....for those of you who have followed me from the beginning, the Good Shepherd sheep fold is holding up fairly well.  We have lost a few rocks along the way, but for the most part I try to keep it concealed from T-Man.  It is not ideal to keep the two sheepfolds stacked on top of each other, but you have to adjust the environment for your needs.  You can read the original post here.

Nito is working with the chasubles.  I have yet to finish sewing them along with the gold trim around the collar, but they are still usable for now.
I was presenting "Preparation of the Cruets" with Bubs during this shot.  (It involved wine so I had to watch him carefully!)  Kui did well working with Nito and he knew all of the names of the articles of the Mass. 
Did anyone notice the crooked cross on the tabernacle?  It just goes to show you how lame I am when I am making these materials.  I was prepping stuff quickly the night before.  T-Man had ripped the cross off when we were at the other house.  I found it in one of the boxes so I glued it on and let it dry for a little bit laying flat. perfectionist self (or should I say OCD self) didn't want to leave it on the kitchen counter to dry so I put it in its place on the shelf with the ciborium in it.  Clearly it wasn't completely dry because when I walked downstairs in the morning I see a crooked cross.  Do you think that I can just pop it off and re-glue that bad boy?  I don't think so.  It's on there like I used super glue!  Kui said that I will just have to wait for T-Man to rip it off again and then glue it properly.  (At least they can deal with their mama's craziness!)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

School days.....

Wow!  Let's just say a huge hiatus makes the little worker bees come out.  Or the fact that the materials all seem new and exciting since they are in a new classroom.  Same material, different shelf?!  Who knew!  I think the routine has been so good for the kiddos and they are thriving well.  It has been good to get back to the routine.  We have spent the week reviewing materials and will get back up and running with presentations next week.  This tired mama has to get her act together as well!

Oh, did I forget to mention that on day 2, I had to rearrange about half of the classroom?  I have posted some new pics below.  Day 1 was sort of a disaster with T-man's materials around the corner from the rest of the classroom and well, away from me.  So....I moved his materials right by the large table and he has been much happier and I can actually work with the other kids without him hanging on me begging for some mama lovin.  I'm not sure why I didn't foresee that issue when I was setting up the classroom, but some things you can't figure out until the kids start working in the environment I guess.

Here is the new toddler section.  Sorry the sun is really shining in.

New location for primary and elementary materials.

Below are some pictures from the last few days of school.  Kui was sick one day so there are fewer pictures of her work.  The boys were pretty productive even though their teacher is a little less motivated with the oldest child out of the environment.  For whatever reason, she keeps me motivated. Ha!

T-man working with the three-colored dowels.

Nito is helping Bubs with a review of the bank game.  Bubs is a little more encouraged when he has a partner.  The blessings of having multiple children!

Nito mastering the binomial cube.  He is eagerly awaiting his moment to get his hands on the trinomial cube that his big brother does.

Nito sorting buttons.

Ahhh......the trinomial cube.

Bubs enjoyed using these cubes to make words.  I think now I can get him to use them more often which will help with learning his phonograms.  You can see that there are a few in the pic.

Nito using watercolors.

Bubs doing the sunburst with the color tablets.

Kui working with the centesimal frame.  She uses the fraction insets to determine percentages.

Bubs working on handwriting.

The two youngest at their best.  Being loving!! (ok and a little playful).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Our New Classroom!

Finally, the move has happened and our classroom is setup.  We will start school tomorrow after having a much longer than anticipated hiatus.  I'm sure there will be tweaks and changes along the way, but for now I am just happy that it is functional for those kiddos to get back to work.  Did I mention that the lack of routine is making them bonkers?!  (Therefore me too!)  Bubs actually told my husband the other day that he hopes we never move because it would make him so sad.  My husband asked why and Bubs said that he just loved school so much and wouldn't want to have to move it again.  I'm pretty sure that motivated me last week to kick my booty into high gear and get that classroom up and running. 

This is part of the primary materials.
The original layout of the basement changed drastically when our huge tv and couches did not fit snugly in my ideal location.  Rather, they are taking up much of the open floor space I dreamed over while we were packing.  However, I think I managed to make it all work and I am pleasantly surprised with how much natural light comes in through the windows.  We have two large windows along with large windows on the two doors that lead outside.  There are a few areas that we need to have lights on to brighten it up a bit, but overall, we can use natural light and not feel like we are in a bunker. 

T-man's area

More T-man materials

This is the view when you come around the corner from the stairs and walk into the basement.

Primary and Elementary materials.  Kui will be using our old dining room table so that she has more space to spread out. 

This is the most awkward spot in the basement (my dream for the tv and couch).  I think it will work out ok and I think the bead cabinet will survive better far away from T-man. 

I managed to have T-man with an area all his own which is very exciting.  He got the short end of the stick in our old house and I'm sure he will thrive in his new space.  Plus this is where my official AMI training is.  The other environments are integrated a little, but I tried to keep Primary materials separate at least for Nito's sake since he is pretty new to the scene.  I had to get a little creative with space, but overall I feel like it will be functional.  The couch area will turn into a good little corner to read or just snuggle with the kiddos during school. 

Please feel free to leave me comments or feedback on how I could improve certain areas.  It is still all a work in progress.  This is only the 2nd year of trying this Montessori thing at home!  Enjoy the pictures.