Friday, September 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Owl Unit Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I'm in love with owl activities for fall. My 3¾-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, is now, too! I just put out the new activities for our owl theme, and they've been an instant hit. 

At Living Montessori Now, I have a long list of free owl printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired owl pack, which even has an "ow" phonogram page. Here, I'm sharing ideas for using free owl printables to create Montessori-inspired activities. 

You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing. You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities

At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).   

Montessori Shelves with Owl-Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Owl-Themed Activities  

My shelves with owl-themed activities include a free great horned owl culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired owl numbers, letters, spinners, and more (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I have a number of owl books, both nonfiction and fiction, for our owl unit. We always enjoy the National Geographic Readers, such as this month's Owls. There's also a large amount of easily understandable information in Owls by Gail Gibbons. I have some fiction books featuring owls in our book baskets. 

Free Printables: Owl Poems and Songs from Owl Babies Lesson Plans and Lapbook at Homeschool Share and Owls Rhyme Song from KidSparkz. I placed these on a wooden tabletop easel on the shelf. 

You could mix your owl-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special owl area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. Many of the activities can be adapted for a variety of levels. 

If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, simply rotate them. 

Great Horned Owl Culture Card (on Shelf with Owl Books)

Great Horned Owl Culture Card with National Geographic Kids Owls Book I'm happy to share with you this awesome hand-painted great horned owl culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce an owl unit. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free great horned owl culture card here

The description says: “The Great Horned Owl is a bird of prey known as a raptor. It flies silently and only hunts at night.” 

Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names Basket Free Printable: Owl Color Matching by Exceptional Kinders at Teachers Pay Teachers 
Free Printable: Color Matching Cards from Montessori Print Shop 
Free Printable: Spanish Color Matching Cards from Homeschool Creations.

I put the cards in a small willow basket.

Laminated Montessori Print Shop color matching cards are all that are needed for color box 1 and 2 for a homeschool or many preschools. You really don't need to purchase Montessori color tablets, especially for home use. You can find presentations for introducing Montessori color tablets in my DIY Color Tablets post at Living Montessori Now.

It's great to have at least one Spanish activity out. National Hispanic Heritage Month started today, which is another good reason to focus on helping children learn to speak some Spanish.

Owl Color Matching and Spanish Color Names

This activity can be used for a variety  of levels. Young children can work on learning both the English and Spanish color names, while older children can work on learning the Spanish color names if they don't already know them. 

Owl Opposites Game Owl Opposites GameFree Printable: Owl Opposites from 1+1+1=1 

This is a super-simple activity to prepare. The cartoon characters are obviously not realistic, Montessori-style images. They're just silly, though, and my granddaughter loved them. 

I made a game where we went through each card, saying, for example, "Light and heavy are opposites." Then I had Zoey do a scavenger hunt (such as bringing me something light and something heavy) or performing the actions on a card (such as moving slow and then moving fast). Zoey laughed a lot during the game and wanted to repeat it as soon as we were finished. 

Letter G Object Basket Letter G Object Basket Free Printables: Great horned owl card in manuscript, D'Nealian, or Cursive for Letter G Object Basket (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

It might seem odd to emphasize /g/ when owls are the theme. I didn't want to use the short or long /o/ sound for owl, so I instead used /g/ for great horned owl and then had a separate activity for the "ow" phonogram. In my /g/ basket, I had a sandpaper letter g, goose (Loosy the Canadian goose Beanie Baby), glass, golf club, golden bead, gorilla, and guitar. 

Owl and "ow" Phonogram Sand Tray Owl and "ow" Phonogram Sand Tray Free Printables: "ow" owl font cards (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. I often color salt with food coloring, but this time I just used some sand and a twig from a tree for the writing instrument. For interest, I added the snowy owl from the Safari Ltd. Exotic Birds TOOB

I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children.

Counting and Stringing Owls Game Counting and Stringing Owls Game  
Free Printables: Owl Numbers and Owl Spinner (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For this activity, I used Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup to hold 10 Owl Antique Silver Tibetan Style Charms Pendants (surprisingly inexpensive), and a pipe cleaner for the owls to make the necklace. 

Counting and Stringing Owls to Make a Pipe Cleaner Necklace

Zoey just laid out the number cards in order and then spun the spinner. First she got 5, then 9, and then 10. She didn't want to stop until all the owls were on her necklace. She loved the necklace and wore it until it was time to go home. Then she wanted to take it home. She was finally persuaded to keep it at Grandma's house to do again! 

Owl Number Mazes Owl Number Maze Tray  
Free Printable: Owl Themed Number Mazes by Grace n Giggles at Teachers Pay Teachers 

This was another simple activity to prepare. I used a Multicraft tray and a Bambu condiment cup to hold the number of small glass gems needed to complete the maze. I like that the maze doesn't just have a simple maze. It requires some problem solving. There are also a number of different mazes: 1-10, 1-20, 1-30, counting to 50 by 2s, and counting  to 100 by 5s. 

I had Zoey place a gem on each number she used in the maze. 

Owl Name Recognition and Building, Reading Activity, or Spelling Activity 
Proud of Her Owl-Themed First and Last Name Work

Free Printable: Owl Customizable Name Plates by Pigtails and Pollywogs at Teachers Pay Teachers 
Free Printable: Owl Letter Match by Jennifer Hier at Teachers Pay Teachers for Name Writing 

I love the owl customizable name plates because they're so versatile. You could use it for introducing a child's first name. Zoey is comfortable with her first name, so I included first and last name. For older children, you could individualize reading or spelling words for them to focus on\

More Free Owl Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free owl printables from around the blogosphere: Montessori-Inspired Owl Unit with Free Printables and Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables. 

Don't miss my earlier owl post here at PreK + K Sharing: Montessori-Inspired Owl Activities Using Free Printables.

Helpful Animal Classification Posts

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Happy fall!
Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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