Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bits and Pieces.....of material!

Looking around one of our classrooms the other day, I was reminded of how many materials (activities) are composed of teeny weeny pieces.  Then I was reminded - by the site of a brand new map, how many of those teeny weeny pieces go missing over the course of the year, so I thought it warranted a blog post.

Let's use this little piece as an example.  Seems harmless enough, doesn't it?  If it came home in a your child's pocket, it might not be seem that important.  Nay Nay!

 This little bead on a wire is a very important part of the math area in every classroom from Primary to Upper Elementary.  It can be found in the teen beads, the snake game, the bead stairs, and the bead chains, to name a few.

It is one.  The number from which most counting beings   Taken in context, that little red bead is very impressive and teachers notice pretty quickly when one goes missing.

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Then there are the map pieces.  Some of them are very small and easily tuck into a pocket or lunchbox.  For instance, this is Sierra Leone although without the puzzle map of Africa, most people (including me) would have a difficult time figuring that out.

Map pieces are very difficult to replace and some children don't like working with one that has too many missing countries.

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Then there are pieces like this.  A seemingly innocuous blue plastic triangle.  (I had one of the students put his hand beside it for size reference.)

It is the adjective symbol and without it, elementary students would not be able to parse sentences. (Well, they would but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.)  Below is a picture of the grammar box with all the grammar symbols.  Lots of little pieces to go missing.

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Some of these little pieces fall victim to a child's sense of order.  For example, years ago, as I was straightening up the shelves, I discovered that the no. 1 tile was missing from the addition strip board.

I searched high and low for days and sent messages home to the parents.  In the meantime, one of the six year olds made a replacement tile out of blue construction paper so he could use the material.  By the end of the month, I had reconciled myself to the loss.

However, as I was making the monthly change of the art cards I found the missing piece. Some little person had decided that the  blue tile belonged behind the art card in the plastic frame.  Mystery solved!

So, if any bits and pieces come home with your child from Montessori school, please bring them back.  You could be saving an entire country!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's almost that time again!

Another summer has flown by and it is almost time to start a new school year.

The teachers have been very busy making sure the materials and classrooms are all neat and tidy for the students.

(I must point out that just after I took this picture, the teacher giggled and said "Are you taking a picture of my bells all out of order?"  I made a note to myself to say that this picture was taken after the second day of orientation.)

Our new middle school teacher returned from her amazing adventure at Hershey Montessori School to spend many, many hours getting the new classroom ready for our first 'batch' of middle school students.

And we've already had the first two days of orientation for the new Casa students.  A few years ago, we changed the way we introduce new children into the Casa program.  Instead of bringing them in two by two a few days after the beginning of school, we now invite only the new children to spend two days with their teachers before school starts.  This allows the teacher to show them the basics such as where the washrooms are, how we handle snack, how to roll a mat, how to take and return work from the shelves, etc.  It also gives the new children space to get to know the classroom, the teachers and make a new friend or two.

I am very much looking forward to the coming year and wish everyone the very best year yet!

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