Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Even though I live in San Diego California, I still love preparing hands-on winter activities and love a winter unit. Today, I have lots of Montessori-inspired winter activities along with a new winter pack (subscriber freebie at LivingMontessoriNow.com)!


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. 

Montessori Shelves with Winter Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Winter Themed Activities 

You’ll find Montessori-inspired winter 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) 

Go to my Free Winter Printables and Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities post at Living Montessori Now for the free printables and activity ideas you see on the collage and shelf above!

Free Montessori-Inspired Winter Pack

Montessori-Inspired Winter Pack

Montessori-Inspired Winter 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, 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).

More Winter Resources, Including Many Free Printables

Amazon Affiliate:

Be sure to go to my Free Winter Printables and Montessori-Inspired Winter Activities post at Living Montessori Now for lots of free printables and activity ideas!

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start! :)

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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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Montessori-Inspired Months and Seasons Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Even though I can't believe it'll be a new year soon, I'm excited to share some new months and seasons activities today ... perfect for a new year! I also have a Montessori-inspired months and seasons pack (subscriber freebie at LivingMontessoriNow.com)




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 Month and Season Themed Activities

You’ll find Montessori-inspired months and seasons 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. On the top shelf, Sunshine Makes the Seasons and Weather and the Seasons focus on science and the seasons. The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day is part of a fabulous series of musical books. The child presses musical buttons to hear parts of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

You could mix your month and season themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special month and season themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves at the beginning of our unit have a mixture of skill levels mainly from preschooler through early elementary. 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.

Montessori Celebration of Life Activity with Months and Seasons and Sunshine Makes the Seasons Book

Montessori Celebration of Life Activity with Months and Seasons and Sunshine Makes the Seasons Book

Free Printable: Free sun printable from Clker.com
Free Printable: Month Labels by Ms Amy’s Learning Toolbox at Teachers Pay Teachers
Free Printable:  Seasons Cards by MOMtessori Life at Teachers Pay Teachers (seasons labels are optional for the birthday ceremony)
I also printed out the photo of the layout from our Montessori birthday celebration at home. (See details there as well.)
You'll need a candle to represent the sun. (I used an LED candle as a tradition, especially for safety when I have toddlers around. Preschoolers can use a real candle with close supervision or an LED candle.) You'll also need a Montessori globe or another type of globe to represent the earth. A Multicraft tray works well for most activities.
This activity can be used as an extension activity for a Montessori birthday. It can also be a New Year's activity to celebrate the earth's birthday!

Activity Making Montessori Birthday Candle Wheel


Activity Making Montessori Birthday Candle WheelFree Printable: Montessori Birthday Candle Wheel by Amanda of Barley and Birch at Teachers Pay Teachers (with directions at Barley and Birch)

This is a fun idea for a craft for an advanced preschooler on up. You can use a toilet paper tube or a paper towel tube cut to the length you wish for the candle. I printed out the photo from Teachers Pay Teachers to use as a model. For children, I just have them use cardstock and not add the cardboard pieces.

If you have younger children, you could make the model yourself using the printable with cardstock and cardboard pieces. It could even be used for the Montessori birthday celebration.

Salt and Glitter Snow Writing Tray with Months m and Seasons s Cards

Salt and Glitter Snow Writing Tray with Months f and Seasons s Cards

Free Printables: Months letter m and seasons letter s for 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)


You'll see a variety of simple letter writing trays in my previous unit study posts. I often 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 recently purchased this lovely spelling/alphabet tray from FamilyTreeWW on Etsy. Zoey recently turned 6 and is focusing on spelling a lot. She needs more room for writing longer words. We're also working on cursive. So I'm showing an example of how you can use the font cards to focus on both manuscript and cursive writing.

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.

Matching Manuscript and Cursive Months and Seasons Alphabet Cards

Free Printable: Months and seasons alphabet cards in manuscript and cursive (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)

The months and seasons alphabet cards have a months and seasons wheel that has the abbreviation for each month along with colors showing the months for each season.

Zoey has really enjoyed this activity. I used it originally with a cursive tracing board. I got the 2-sided version (with capital letters on one side and lowercase on the other), since capital cursive letters aren’t commonly seen on written materials.

After tracing the letters on the tracing board, Zoey places the manuscript letters in alphabetical order. Then she matches each of the cursive letters to the manuscript letters. Now we've added the wooden cursive movable alphabet letters as well.

We’ve been using a traditional small wooden manuscript movable alphabet, although we’re now working with the cursive wooden movable alphabet. There are a number of price ranges available. You can find more movable alphabet resources in my “Inexpensive and DIY Movable Alphabets” post.

Seasons ea Phonogram Card and Booklet

 

Free Printables: “ea" seasons phonogram card (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: Green Series ea Letters from MontessoriSoul (Print two sets if you want to use the pictures for movable alphabet word building.) This is so easy to prepare, yet it isolates the ea phonogram very well. 

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

Seasons Sorting and Reading Activity in English and Spanish

Seasons Sorting and Reading Activity in English and Spanish 

Free Printable: Four Seasons Cards from My Montessori Family at Teachers Pay Teachers (This is editable, so I changed the names of the seasons to start with lowercase letters.)

Free Printable: Bilingual Seasons of the Year Printable from Tales of a Crafty Mom

Free Printable: Four Seasons Sentence Sort by The Real World First Grade at Teachers Pay Teachers

This is super easy to prepare. Just print and cut out the printable pages. Laminate if desired. 

With toddlers, we'll just use the photo picture cards to discuss seasons. Toddlers on up can learn the Spanish names of the seasons. Children who can read can learn to read and write the Spanish names. They can also read and sort out the four seasons sentences.

The Turning of the Year Book with Months of the Year Picture and Word Sort in English and Spanish

The Turning of the Year Book with Months of the Year Picture and Word Sort in English and Spanish

The Turning of the Year by Bill Martin Jr. is a Montessori-friendly book that's a good introduction to the months of the year.

Free Printable: Months of the Year Cards from Montessori for Everyone

Free Printable: Months of the Year in Spanish by The Williams Sisters at Teachers Pay Teachers

Free Printable: Interactive Notebook Spanish Months by Christina Cantrell at Teachers Pay Teachers

I display the cards simply in a Montessori cards display box (which I love and often use.)

This activity is best for children who can read well, although younger children can be taught the names of the months in Spanish. For this activity, the child could lay out the pictures with English words first and then match the two sets of Spanish words. Add a colored dot or another control of error to the back of each card for a self-correcting activity.

Seasons Greater Than, Less Than Activity with Snowflake and Bead Bar Manipulative

Seasons Greater Than, Less Than Activity with Snowflake and Bead Bar Manipulative

Free Printable: Seasons math cards 1-20 plus greater than and less than 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)

You could do an activity similar to the duckling greater than, less than activity I shared previously using bead bars. For this activity, I added acrylic snowflakes to match the climate in many areas right now. You could vary this activity according to your season at the time.

I used bead bars from the decanomial box. (My bead bars, which I love, are from Alison’s Montessori. You can get bead bars on Amazon, although I haven’t personally used materials from those companies.)

Cutting and Dressing Activity with Paper Dolls for the Seasons

Cutting and Dressing Activity with Paper Dolls and Clothes for the SeasonsFree Printable: Paper Dolls for the Seasons from Royal Baloo

This is such a simple activity to prepare ... and it's lots of fun! If you have a preschooler with advanced cutting skills or an older child, you can just print out the pages and place them on a tray similar to mine. If your child is younger, you can cut out the paper dolls and clothing. Then your child can dress the doll or dolls for the season.

Free Months and Seasons Printables for Preschoolers Through First Graders

Montessori-Inspired Months and Seasons Pack 

Montessori-Inspired Months and Seasons 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, 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).

For more free months and seasons printables, see my post at Living Montessori Now with Free Months & Seasons Printables and Montessori-Inspired Months & Seasons Activities.

More Months and Seasons Resources




Have a wonderful holiday season and New Year!

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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Friday, November 15, 2019

Montessori-Inspired Woodland Animal Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

Woodland animals make a great unit in the fall or winter. I have lots of free woodland animal printables and activities today, including a Montessori-inspired woodland animal pack (subscriber freebie at LivingMontessoriNow.com)! 



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 Woodland Animal Themed Activities

Montessori Shelves with Woodland Animal Themed Activities

You’ll find Montessori-inspired woodland animal 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. On the top shelf, Whose Tracks Are These? A Clue Book of Familiar Forest Animals for some animal track inspiration and Animals in the Forest (Where Animals Live) for basic information about forest animals. 

On the right side of the shelf ( book on a wooden cookbook holder), I have DK Smithsonian Picturepedia (beautiful photos and a fabulous reference book I use for many, many units!). 

You could mix your woodland animal themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special woodland animal themed area something like the one pictured. My shelves at the beginning of our unit have a mixture of skill levels mainly from preschooler through early elementary. 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.

Whose Tracks Are These? Book with Woodland Animal Track Stones and Animal 3-Part Cards

Whose Tracks Are These Book with Woodland Animal Track Stones and Animal 3-Part Cards 
Free Printable: Winter Adaptation 3-Part Cards from The Silvan Reverie 

There are 8 double-sided stones in the Let's Investigate Woodland Footprints set. To start our unit, I just put out 6 of the stones along with the matching 3-part cards. 

I display them simply on a Multicraft tray with the added Montessori cards display box (which I love and typically use for all my 3-part cards now).
 Woodland Footprints Double-Sided Stones with Woodland Animal 3-Part Cards

Later on, we'll be using homemade playdough (this recipe minus any food coloring) to make footprints with the stones. I also plan to use the free animal tracks memory game printable to make an animal tracks memory game with wooden circles.

Forest Words Booklet


Picturepedia Forest Pages with Forest Words Booklet 
Free Printable: Forest Words Booklet (Forest Picture-Word Cards) from PreKinders

This is next to the open Picturepedia book on the top shelf. It’s so easy to prepare! Just print and cut it out. The printable even has places to punch holes to make a booklet using a binder ring.

Salt Writing Tray with Fox f and x Font Cards and Safari Ltd. Fox Figures

Salt Writing Tray with Fox f and x Font Cards and Safari Ltd Fox FiguresFree Printables: Fox letters f and x for 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)

You'll see a variety of simple letter writing trays in my previous unit study posts. I often 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 recently purchased this lovely spelling/alphabet tray from FamilyTreeWW on Etsy. Zoey recently turned 6 and is focusing on spelling a lot. She needs more room for writing longer words. We're also working on cursive. 

So I'm showing an example of how you can use the font cards (I included both f for the beginning sound of fox and x for the final sound of fox). for letters or words. To add interest, I included Safari Ltd. red fox and Arctic fox figures.

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.

Matching Manuscript and Cursive Hedgehog Letters with Cursive Movable Alphabet

Basket with Hedgehog Manuscript and Cursive Alphabet CardsFree Printable: Hedgehog movable alphabet cards in manuscript and cursive (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) 

Zoey really enjoys this activity. I've used it with a cursive tracing board. I got the 2-sided version (with capital letters on one side and lowercase on the other), since capital cursive letters aren’t commonly seen on written materials. After tracing the letters on the tracing board, Zoey places the manuscript letters in alphabetical order. Then she matches each of the cursive letters to the manuscript letters. 

We’ve been using a traditional small wooden manuscript movable alphabet, although we’re now working with the cursive wooden movable alphabet. There are a number of price ranges available. You can find more movable alphabet resources in my “Inexpensive and DIY Movable Alphabets” post

Matching Manuscript and Cursive Hedgehog Letters with Cursive Movable Alphabet

Squirrel and Acorn Division Activity


Acorn and Squirrel Division TrayFree Printable: Squirrel Numbers and Division Equation Symbols (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 also printed out 10 squirrels. (You could print out whichever squirrel you prefer.) When we lived in Colorado, our yard and neighborhood was filled with scrub oak. I saved a bag of the acorns and used 20 for this. 

Solving a Division Equation by Dividing 20 Acorns Between 2 Squirrels 
I asked Zoey to divide 20 acorns between 2 squirrels, saying "1 for you, 1 for you..." until they were all divided equally. After completing that equation as shown above, she worked out the equation for 20 divided by 10 using 10 squirrel pictures. It was a great visual of the differences in equations.

Woodland Footprints Double-Sided Stones with Woodland Animal 3-Part Cards

Free Printable: Animal Tracks Puzzles by Tara from Embark on the Journey for Free Homeschool Deals 

I just used 7 of the puzzles (7 woodland animals) for this activity along with Safari Ltd. figures. I used figures for the activities here from the Safari Ltd. North American Wildlife TOOB and Nature TOOB

Matching Safari Ltd Animal Figures with Woodland Animal Footprint Puzzles

Free Woodland Animal Printables for Preschoolers Through First Graders

Montessori-Inspired Woodland Animal Pack

Montessori-Inspired Woodland Animal 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, 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).




Have a wonderful start to the 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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Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween movement ideas, a dance story, and a short Halloween story!

Hello and Happy Fall,

Here is a playful movement lesson plan based on the classic picture book Barn Dance! by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, along with a Halloween-based warm-up and a very short original story!



Halloween Warm Up and the
Barn Dance! Dance Story


WARM UP


The children will make up movements for the Halloween characters below. Ask them to stand in a circle. Begin with "Bat,"  ask the children to move away from the circle like a bat, and then back to their spots in the circle. Continue this same exercise through the list:

Bat
Scarecrow
Rolling Pumpkin
Robot
Black Cat
Falling Leaf
Outer Space Alien
Spider
Take suggestions from the children for more ideas, and continue this activity as long as the children are engaged.


 BARN DANCE! DANCE STORY

*A special thank-you to Kathleen Smith, fellow creative dance teacher, who introduced the ideas for this lesson plan to me.*




Materials:  

  • The book Barn Dance! by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • Lively musical selections, such as a classical piece, and blue grass instrumentals
  • Optional props (1 per child): 
    • Sparkly/swirly streamers (crepe paper or fabric)
    • Bandannas
    • Orange paper plates


Instructions for presenting the dance story:

Read the book aloud to the children. Ask the children to spread out in the space.

Retell the story through movement, using the following movement prompts. Allow the children to explore each one until you move on to the next one.

It is a very quiet, clear night. Lie down and listen to the night sounds. Now wake up, stretch, tiptoe to the window, and sneak outside.  (Note:  remind the children this is a pretend story, and they should never sneak out of the house!)

Now let's dance about the night: the sparkly stars, the floating clouds, and the wind!  (play classical music selection, and pass out swirly streamers if you have them)

Listen!  The scarecrow is calling all of the animals with his music. How does a scarecrow move? Let’s move like the scarecrow. Can you play a pretend fiddle, like the scarecrow?

Now move like the animals who were following the scarecrow to the barnThere were horses, sheep, cows, pigs, raccoons, foxes, rabbits, chickens, skunks, and crows!  (play a bluegrass piece)  

Help the children put on bandannas, give everyone a "pumpkin" paper plate, and instruct the children to go to a corner of the room to hide (like the little boy in the story), asking the children to cover their faces with their paper plates. One by one, call the children's names. When you call a name, instruct the child to put her "pumpkin" down, run and jump over the apple barrel, and go back to her hiding place.  

Now ask them to all come out together and spin around like the pigs (play another bluegrass piece). Finish this section by asking each child to make a shape like a dizzy pig, and turn off the music.

Now grab a pretend apple!  It's time to go home! Do you hear the rooster crowing? That means the sun is coming up.

Walk quietly up the stairs, and sit on your bed. Take a bite out of your "apple." Was it a dream, or did the barn dance really happen?



And now, for a short (97 words!) Halloweensie story:

                     
             



                Prelude


Oh my deary, time to get ready.
What shall I wear to the Hallow’s Eve Ball?

My crookedy hat,
my raggedy gown, 
my tappity boots
for my clackity dance. 

My face will be painted a ghastly green,
with lumpity warts on full display. 

My scraggledy “do” I’ll primp and prime, 
with cobwebs twisted and tangled and tied.

And what shall I bring?
My cleverest spells, 
my gnarliest broom,
my trickedy, terrible, powerful wand.

The finishing touch:
My stinkedy, horrible potion perfume.
A little dab here, a little glop there, 

and I’ll be the smelliest of them all!








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