Saturday, December 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Inuit Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

We loved our previous Arctic animals unit. There are so many areas to explore in the Arctic. Today, I'm sharing a new Arctic unit with Montessori-inspired Inuit activities using free printables. I also have a new Montessori-inspired Inuit pack (subscriber freebie) for you today! 



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 Inuit Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Inuit Themed Activities 

You’ll  find Montessori-inspired Inuit themed numbers, letters, and 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 always have related books available throughout a unit. I have a number of Inuit books this unit, including Living in the Arctic (Rookie Read-About Geography) and The Inuit (True Books: American History). The open book is Maps, the favorite map book of my 5-year-old granddaughter, Zoey.  

Zoey also loves our globe. It's a combined world globe and a constellation light globe and nightlight. We use this globe when we want to do a more detailed study of a country or region. 

On another shelf (shown in the photo below with Zoey), you'll see The Top and Bottom of the World (Rookie Read-About Science), The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale, and Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Winds Blow (a fun sing-a-long book). We're enjoying all the books for our Inuit unit. 

On the top shelf here, I also have a basket of free printable Arctic vocabulary word  cards, including Inuit words by LaMonica Smith at Teachers Pay Teachers. We'll use them for reading and scavenger hunt activities using some of our Safari Ltd. and Schleich Arctic figures. 

You could mix your Inuit-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special Inuit-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves 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.

Salt Writing Tray with I for Igloo and oo Phonogram in Igloo

Salt Writing Tray with I for Igloo and oo Phonogram in Igloo

Free Printables: I for Igloo in manuscript, D'Nealian, or Cursive and "oo" igloo font cards  for igloo salt writing tray (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. Since salt looks somewhat like snow, I just used plain salt for this month's writing tray. 

I have a variety of writing trays and ways to introduce phonetic sounds in my unit studies. Check out my other unit studies for lots of ideas for presenting phonics activities using my subscriber freebies. 

If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers

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

Safari Ltd Arctic Figures with Montessori 3-Part Cards

Safari Ltd Arctic Figures with Montessori 3-Part Cards Free Printable: Arctic 3-Part Cards  (to match Safari Ltd. Arctic TOOB) by MontessoriSoul 

This is an easy activity to prepare if you have the Safari Ltd. Arctic TOOB.  It used to have 12 figures, but now it has 10, so I used the 10 figures along with the matching 3-part cards from MontessoriSoul. I placed everything on a Multicraft tray

You could use these materials in a variety of ways. I previously used them in an Arctic sensory bin.

Inuit Pin Poking and Design Activity

Inuit Pin Poking and Design Activity Free Printable: Multicultural Coloring Page - Inuit from Education.com 

Free Printable: Inuit Pattern from Pattern Universe 

Pin poking is a great activity for preschoolers ... wonderful for both fine-motor coordination and concentration. And kids tend to love it, too! I simply printed out both printables and added the Wood-Handled Puncher from Montessori Services (Read the push pin warning and why I recommend using the wood-handled puncher.) 

I also used the Felt Pad from Montessori Services. (Note: The Montessori Services felt pads are now black so they don’t get dirty as easily.) 

You could have the child color the Inuit coloring page from Education.com and then punch out and design the clothing and face for the Inuit image on the right.

Inukshuk Paper Craft and Rock Design

Inukshuk Paper Craft and Rock Design Free Printable: Inukshuk Paper Craft from DLTK's Crafts for Kids (This includes a page of colored paper rocks to fit the outlines.) 

The inukshuk stone sculptures are fascinating to study, and this work is a great extension. There's a short description on the paper craft itself, although you can read more online about an inukshuk

The craft is a simple cut-and-paste craft. You could add to the activity by going on a nature walk to find flat rocks that would work for making and remaking an inukshuk. We had some flat polished rocks that Zoey loves, so I added some to the tray in similar shapes to the paper craft image.

Arctic Yoga Cards 

Arctic Yoga Cards Free Printable: Iqaluit, Nunavut Arctic Animal Yoga Poses by Megan's Creative Classroom at Teachers Pay Teachers 

This is super easy to prepare! I just printed out the cards and placed them in a Montessori Services basket. I love that the cards not only show the yoga pose but also tell a bit about the Arctic animal, place, or object.

Static and Dynamic Addition Game Using Inuit Number Cards and Montessori Golden Beads

Free Printables: Spinner and Inuit Doll Numbers (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) 

You can read about other work Zoey and I have done with static and dynamic addition here. For many of our themed addition activities, we've done simple addition counting objects or using matching Montessori bead bars. 


Dynamic Addition Work Using Inuit Number Cards and Montessori Golden Beads

This time, Zoey just used the golden beads. I had her count the units and then exchange them for a ten when they reached 10. Zoey and I love these little Inuit male and female doll number cards! They add interest to addition practice.  
Of course, you can use the number cards for a wide variety of activities, depending on your child's age and ability level. Again, just look at my previous themed posts for lots of ideas.

Nunavut Territory Study and Booklet Making

Free Printables: Nunavut map, flag, official bird, and official flower printables from KidZone 

I'll be rotating the shelves to add this activity soon. I love the KidZone activities for helping the child learn about the Nunavut Territory in Canada. When the child is finished with the pages, you can easily put them together into a book using a binder ring or ribbon.

Free Inuit Printables for Preschoolers-First Graders

Montessori-Inspired Inuit Pack

Montessori-Inspired Inuit Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, Phonogram Work, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber)


...and get free geography album, Mom Bloggers eBook, and monthly subscriber freebie! I respect your privacy

More Free Inuit Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free Inuit printables from around the blogosphere: Free Inuit Printables and Montessori-Inspired Inuit 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.

All My Arctic and Antarctic Activities and Resources

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 winter!
 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 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Christmas Story and Dance Activity

Cheers! 🎄

I have a special blog post today.  I wrote a short (247-word) Christmas story for Susanna Leonard Hill's Holiday Writing Contest for children's writers.  Since this blog is about dance and movement, I have also created a movement activity for children three to six years old, to go along with the story.

I hope you enjoy reading the story Sparkle the Snowflake, and then dancing the story with your little ones!






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Sparkle the Snowflake

by Connie Bergstein Dow

Everyone knows that no two snowflakes are alike, but Sparkle was extra special.  She shone and shimmered a little brighter than all of the other snowflakes that lived in her cluster of clouds.

Sparkle and her snowflake friends had an important job to do.  They were to fall to earth on Christmas Eve. They would cover the hills and trees, and especially the rooftops of the houses, so that Santa and his reindeer would leave their footprints on the rooftops for children to see on Christmas morning.

The snowflakes were busy the day before Christmas.  They carefully planned their journey from the clouds. They practiced floating and staying together so they could create a beautiful snowfall that evening. 

Sparkle and all of the other snowflakes snuggled deep into the billowy clouds to get some rest before the busy night.  Soon, Sparkle woke up and looked around in alarm.  It was almost midnight!  “Wake up!” Sparkle called. Then she soared from cloud to cloud, making sure that every snowflake was ready.

Just in the nick of time, they slipped from the puffy clouds and began to twirl and dance in the chilly night air.  The snowflakes landed gently, and waited silently.  When the sun peeked over the hill, the snowflakes heard children laughing as they ran from their houses and saw the glistening snow.  Little did the children know that the snow that had greeted them this Christmas morning was all thanks to Sparkle, the shiny little snowflake.     



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Here is a lively and playful creative movement activity for 3-6-year-olds 

*If available, play some holiday or other music for background as the children dance. 

*Optional props: "snowflakes" --  shower scrubbies or netting strips tied together




Dance the Story of Sparkle the Snowflake



Imagine you are a little snowflake.  What shape are you?  Now try a different one. And now one more.  Which do you like best?

Now think of what it would be like to practice your snowfall,  floating softly through the sky.

Snuggle deep into your cloud.  Pretend to drift off to sleep, thinking of something you like about the holidays, and imagine your are dreaming.  Wake up quickly, sit up, and show what your face looks like when you think you have overslept. Hop out of your billowy cloud as fast as you can!

Soar from cloud to cloud, waking up all of your snowflake friends. Now, imagine you are ready to fall to the ground.  Slip out of your cloud.  Dance in the cold night air!  Twirl, swirl, tumble slowly and quickly, get blown by the wind from side to side, up and down, around and around. Finally, you float gently to the ground.

Now imagine you are one of the children in the story.  Run out of your house, see the snow, and jump up and down.  Play in the snow! 

Have an imaginary snowball fight!  (Use optional snowflake props here). Make footprints in the snow.  Now, imagine you are sledding down a steep hill.  Fall out of your sled at the bottom of the hill and land in the soft snow.

 Roll snowballs and make a giant snow person.  What does it look like?  Now, imagine you are the snow person.  Make yourself into a snow person shape.  Uh-oh -- the sun comes out!  What happens?  Slowly melt to the ground.

The activity ends with a free dance to music.  Prompt the children to dance about ideas from the Sparkle the Snowflake story, the imaginary playtime in the snow, and anything else they like about winter. Use the props again if you have them.  Ask the children to throw them up in the air all together at the end of the dance to make a "blizzard."




*



Keep on dancin', and enjoy the holidays,

Connie

www.movingislearning.com

MOVING IS LEARNING!


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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Montessori-Inspired Peace Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I love the Montessori emphasis on peace education. I typically have a peace tray on my shelves each month. This month, I'm doing an entire peace unit. Our world needs more peace, and we  need to do our part to help the children of the world grow up to be peaceful adults. 



At Living Montessori Now, you'll find free peace printables. I'll be adding free mindfulness printables throughout the month as well. 

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 Peace Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Peace Themed Activities 

You’ll  find Montessori-inspired peace themed numbers, letters, and 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 always have related books available throughout a unit. I have a number of beautiful peace books this unit, including What Does Peace Feel Like?, Peace is an Offering, and Peace

One of my favorite peace books is the gorgeous National Geographic book A Little Peace. It has stunning photographs throughout with just a few meaningful words. At the end are the pages you see open on the right side of the top shelf. Those pages tell about each photograph and where it was taken. My continents globe is from Kid Advance on Amazon. 

You could mix your peace-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special peace-themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves 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.

Peace Books and Peaceful Character Work

Peace Books and Peaceful Character Work


Free Printable: Peaceful Character from Montessori Print Shop I

love that the 6 pillars of peaceful character are respect, caring, fairness, responsibility, trustworthiness, and citizenship ... the same as the Character Counts 6 pillars of character. So this work is easily adaptable for children at a variety of ages worldwide. 

This was so easy to prepare and is very adaptable. I simply printed out the materials and placed them on a Multicraft tray. Because my 5-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves small books, I made the 6 pillars descriptions into a little booklet using a binder ring. I added crayons so she can color each part of the hand after writing the words according to the character trait listed on the control chart.

Children Around the World Sorting Activity

Children Around the World Sorting Activity 

Free Printable: Children Around the World Cards from I Believe in Montessori at Teachers Pay Teachers 

These beautiful photographs of children around the world can be used for a variety of levels. Toddlers can use a few at a time for a simple matching activity. Preschoolers can sort the cards by continent. Kindergarteners and early-elementary-age kids can find the country of each child on the globe. There are labels at the end with the country names. I'm planning to add the appropriate country name to the back of each card so that we can do some extra work with identifying countries.

P is for Peace Sand Writing Tray

Free Printables: Peace Symbol Letters for peace writing tray (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 sand tray (see middle shelf above), 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 had gotten some lovely white sand for making kinetic sand and other projects. I used that sand to make it more like a peace garden. 

I also used polished stones for letter building. Zoey loves these stones, and they give it more of a meditative feel. I added the wooden stick from our wood tracing board for letter writing, although a tool isn't necessary. 

 If you would like help with introducing phonetic sounds, introducing objects with sounds, or beginning phonics in general, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics with Preschoolers.

Peace Word Analysis and Word Building with Phonogram Cards and Movable Alphabet

Peace Word Analysis and Word Building with Phonogram Cards and Movable Alphabet  

Free Printables: “ea" peace phonogram cards and "ce" peace phonogram 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) 

Free Printable: "ea" Sound with Letters from MontessoriSoul 

Free Printable: Hard and Soft C and G Posters (reduced in size) from Make, Take and Teach 

"Peace" is a tricky word for young children to analyze. So I made two phonogram cards. You can introduce "ea" and/or "ce" (soft c). For this type of work, Zoey will read the "ea" booklet. Then she'll read the words on the soft c card. After that, she'll build the word "peace" with the movable alphabet. 

I have a post and video on how to introduce words starting with phonograms, even with very young children. There's an explanation of soft and hard c on the free printable. It's fine to use that explanation for the soft c.

DIY Dove Cards and Counters

Free Printables: Dove Numbers (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 love making DIY themed cards and counters to introduce odd and even and add interest and variety to cards and counters. I found these mini doves to add interest. You need exactly 55 buttons if you want to do the numbers and counters 1-10. The package contains 144 doves, so there are many for other activities, too.

Dove Cards and Counters Layout 

For Zoey and other kids who are already comfortable with symbol and quantity, I’ll typically use the cards and counters for hands-on addition, subtraction, and other mathematical operations. (See some of my other themed posts for ideas.) But sometimes I like to use the odd and even labels that are in our peace pack. The doves would be fun for addition and subtraction because some could "fly away" for subtraction, etc.

Hundred Chart Counting to 100 and Skip Counting Work with Peace Symbol Charms

Hundred Chart with 100 Silver Peace Symbol Charms for Counting to 100 and Skip Counting Free Printable: Hundred chart from Creative Family Fun 

I found these pretty vintage antique silver alloy peace symbol charms (100 pieces) inexpensively on Amazon. I like to use printable hundred charts to extend Montessori hundred board work. They're also wonderful for skip counting as well as adding and subtracting practice.

Filling Hundred Chart with 100 Silver Peace Symbol Charms

Zoey loved the little silver peace symbol charms and had fun counting to 100 while she placed a symbol on each square.

Counting by 5s to 100 with Silver Peace Symbol Charms

Then she enjoyed skip counting with the peace symbol charms. She used them to skip count by 2's, 5's, and 10's. It was a great activity!

Peacemakers Cards or Booklet

Free Printable: Peacemakers Cards from Natural Beach Living 

The cards on the bottom right of my shelves (see above) are some inspirational peacemakers (including Maria Montessori) and short biographies of each. 

This is very easy to prepare. You can use these for matching or make a booklet like I did.

Montessori-Inspired Peace Pack (Living Montessori Now Subscriber Freebie)

Montessori-Inspired Peace Pack


Montessori-Inspired Peace Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, Phonogram Work, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox if you’re already a subscriber)


...and get free geography album, Mom Bloggers eBook, and monthly subscriber freebie! I respect your privacy

More Free Peace Printables

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free peace printables from around the blogosphere: Free Peace Printables and Montessori-Inspired Peace 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.

More Peace and Mindfulness Activities and Resources

I'm including mindfulness activities because feeling peace within is a great step toward expressing peace toward others.
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!

Have a happy holiday season!

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 43 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Anti-Aging Effects of Dance!

Hello!


One of the things I often blog about is the benefits of dance, for children and adults. When I come across some interesting research, I like to pass it along. Much of the information for this post is from: https://blog.frontiersin.org/2017/08/29/dancing-can-reverse-the-signs-of-aging-in-the-brain/


Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld,  the lead author of this recent study, is based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, in Magdeburg, Germany. Several previous studies have shown that physical exercise has an anti-aging effect on the hippocampus region of the brain, an area that controls memory, learning and balance.  

Dr. Rehfield's new study compares two basic but different forms of exercise -- dancing versus endurance training -- undertaken by elderly volunteers (with an average age of 68), for 18 months.  The outcomes show that both can have an anti-aging effect on the brain, but only dancing corresponded to a noticeable difference in behavior.  This difference is attributed to the extra challenge of learning dance routines. 

The study compared volunteers who either took an eighteen-month weekly course of learning dance routines, or endurance and flexibility training.  Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain. But the group who danced weekly, with changing routines, rhythm, patterns, and steps, in order to challenge their memories, showed a noticeable difference in balance.  Dr. Rehfield says "I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age."




I will add my two cents here from my long career of teaching dance.  When you are learning a new dance -- line dancing, square dancing, hip-hop, folk, zumba, ballroom,  ballet, etc. -- your brain and body are working together in a variety of ways. First, there is the basic learning and then memorization of steps.  But where are you in space? Which direction do you go with the steps?  What is the count of the music you are dancing to, and how do the steps synch with the music? What are the music cues you are listening for? What is the rhythm of the steps? 

And there's more! Where are you going in relation to other people who are dancing with you? How do you interact with them, and when?  What do the arms do while the legs are doing the different steps? What patterns do you recognize in the steps, that might help you remember the sequence? Do any of the steps repeat? How? Do they repeat in the same way, or in a different direction, different count, different rhythm?  


This is a lot to think about!




There are so many factors involved in learning a dance. But the challenge is worth it.  Once you have learned a dance, you have the satisfaction of performing it over and over, and knowing you have accomplished something that can be difficult at first. The good news is that it does get easier with practice. So whatever form of dancing you find that you enjoy, stick with it, and according to study after study,  both your body and your brain will benefit.
















Moving Is Learning!














Keep on Dancin',


Connie

www.movingislearning.com

#cbergsteindow

Check out Connie's upcoming picture book at:
 https://www.freespirit.com/early-childhood/from-a-to-z-with-energy-connie-bergstein-dow-gareth-llewhellin
 http://movingislearning.com






































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