28 September, 2010

Let's go to the hop!

Sooooooo . . .

My lovely friend Leann at Montessori Tidbits, is hosting a blog hop!  Fun!  This is a way for many people to share what items they have (and what items they especially love) in their continent boxes.  If you have continent boxes, or you would like to start some, please "hop" on over and join us!

Link here to the blog hop!

Here is Leann's schedule of what continent box information you should share on your blog and when:

Sunday, October 3:  The World (general globe or world map posts)
Monday, October 4:  Africa
Tuesday, October 5:  Europe
Wednesday, October 6:  Asia
Thursday, October 7:  Australia
Friday, October 8:  Antarctica
Saturday, October 9:  South America
Sunday, October 10:  North America

Well, I have to get to work on this myself, so if you don't hear from me before then, I'll certainly see you at the hop!

22 September, 2010

World Peace Day!

So, I have mostly recovered from yesterday's fun and frivolity at our school's celebration of World Peace Day!  Our preschool led the parents, faculty and staff, and students in a brief prayer service. We also then led a sort of procession outside to see all the beautiful "pinwheels for peace," which were created by students in grades PS - 4.

The pinwheels blew around and around, sending their messages and prayers of peace worldwide!

Our peace day prayer service was lovely, or at least I thought so!  : )  My students read aloud from Somewhere Today: A Book of Peace and the other Preschool class said "Peace" in 9 different languages!    We also sang "We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing."  Lovely!

Speaking of lovely, check out what they did at my friend Robin's school!  The students and teachers made this peace sign, and flew their pinwheels for peace!  So cool!

The other loveliness that occurred in my life on World Peace Day, connected me to a dear friend whom I've never even met!  The great group of women with whom I did the summer continent swap, kindly agreed to do a sort of round robin "peace card swap."  The idea was that each person would send a peace card to one other person in the group, and then we could document where wishes of peace were traveling!  So, it was to work like this:  Indiana to Florida, Florida to Quebec, Quebec to Ohio, Ohio to Tennessee, and Tennessee back to Indiana!

So I sent this little card off to Florida, last week.  I knitted (with my daughter's help) a small square of lovely blue bamboo "silk" which we then tied to an ocean colored square of paper.  To finish it off, we added a wee sprig of lavender and a small piece of tree bark.  

And, HERE is what I received from my fabulous friend, Sandra!  She and her daughter water colored the card and decorated it with flower petals!  Beautiful!  Thank you Sandra!!!!! : )
Happy Peace Day, everyone!

18 September, 2010

Leonardo would have liked continent swaps!

Why the secret smile?  Well, I guess she is just pleased that people still want to learn about her and the artist who painted her so beautifully, Leonardo da Vinci.

If you want to teach children about Leonardo, there are so many activities and books you can use.  I especially love Katie and the Mona Lisa, by James Mayhew.  It includes paintings by many artists, but the two main characters in the story are Katie (of course) and also Mona Lisa!  My daughter especially seemed to enjoy "getting to know Mona Lisa" a bit, in this book.

 I wanted to share another of my favorite Leonardo learning games.  I created it for the summer continent swap!  It's a matching game.  I got the idea to create it from an amazing learning guide I picked at The Louvre.  I call it Leonardo da Vinci(s)  I Spy Game. 

 To play this game, you will need copies of all the cards and clues, a small mirror, and a magnifying glass.  After you print out all the cards and clues and cut them out, you will probably notice all the clue information is written backwards.  This is one of many techniques Leonardo da Vinci used in writing his notebooks, trying to keep them secret.  To decipher the clues, your child will need to hold them up to the mirror.  Once she figures out what she is looking for, she can use the magnifying glass to find the tiny objects from each of Leonardo's works, and match them to the paintings.  Fun, right?  And by the time your child is finished she will have closely examined some Leonardo da Vinci's most famous works!

If you would like to download this game, please click here!

I hope you and your child (or your students) enjoy it!

16 September, 2010

HALT, and take care of yourself

So much of what I work on, with my own children and the children in my class, is related to "taking care of yourself."  This idea (hopefully) comes through in all aspects of the classroom, from small works with tweezers  to lessons about famous artists.  At the beginning of each school year however, I do find some specific focus about care-taking is important and necessary.

At the start of a new school year, I always find it necessary and also thrilling to work with the three year olds.  Frequently a whole new world is revealed to them as they discover how many things they can do for themselves!  Some examples this year have included . . .

1.  emptying rocks from shoes
2.  putting on and velcro-ing shoes
3.  eating apples - with the skins!
4.  peeling Clementines
5.  wiping up spilled water
6.  blowing noses
7.  pouring water

(And that is not including any of the many discoveries that have occurred during worktime!)

These seemingly small things are huge accomplishments for the new students, and they are so excited to see what they can do alone!

We read this book and the children loved it!

Now we have moved our group focus to "how to take care of yourself on the inside."  That is, we have been working on how the children can take care of their feelings as well as their bodies.  To do this, we started with HALT!

I told the children, "HALT is what you should say whenever you find yourself feeling a bit grouchy."  The children can use it as a check of what they need to fix about any given situation.  As in . . .

Hmmm.  Am I really upset about something that happened or is it just time for a snack?  

After looking at each of these 4 possible reasons for a problem, the children can then work on solving the problem.  We have some solutions ready made and available in the classroom.  

Hungry?  A hungry child can head over to the food work desk, and fix a small snack. 

Angry?   Our class read When Sophie Gets Angry, Really Really Angry and has strategized a few ways to deal with anger.  These include the option to go outside and run, hit pillows, or simply walk away from the situation.  We have also been working on what words children can use when telling someone how they have upset them.

Lonely?  We also strategized a few ways to deal with this.  The children agreed if they were feeling lonely they could talk to a friend.  I also think the more the children get to know each other, the more they will be able to notice each others' moods and empathize.  

Tired?  A tired child may head over to the DEAR bathtub to rest or quietly look at a book.  

All of these solutions and strategies will  obviously continue to progress as the children get a bit older and our class and classwork evolves.  But I am delighted to have the basics of HALT in progress. 

06 September, 2010

Labor Day

Hi all,

I must still be feeling Waldorf-y because this is how I spent a couple of hours today.

Sort of cute, right?  : )

They are supposed to be Fall fairies or gnomes - of sorts.  They will go onto our nature table along with a very cool dollhouse tree house, which my dear friend Susan gave me.  It is missing a few pieces, but still generally looks like this:

I also have a few knitted items to add to the nature table.  (These are mostly little things I made with left over scraps of Fall colored yarn.)  I will be interested to see what the children come up with tomorrow.  Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have photos of a fun Fall tree house with Fall fairies and furniture, and . . . happy children!  : )  

Follow up:  The children seemed to enjoy this, but maybe I had a bit too much "stuff" out - too many tree blocks, pinecones, acorns, rocks etc. so the table got a little crazy.  Ah well.  My CPST and I created a scene after school today, and we had lots of fun.  Maybe our scene will inspire more (and hopefully slightly less wild) fun next week.

Further update:  All seems to be going swimmingly, at our nature table!  Yesterday, 2 of my students had  a ball recreating the story of Little Red Riding Hood.  

05 September, 2010

Oooh la la la! I love music!

Hi everyone!  If you are following this blog, thank you so much!  I appreciate your patience as I learn how to work out just how everything works!  And to say thank you in another way, I have an oh-so-lovely (according to me anyway) set of musical cards.  Oooh la la la!  Get it?  : )

This is a set of cards showing the C major scale (starting with middle C) for both the treble and bass clefs. Each note has a corresponding color and follows the rainbow in terms of order.  For example, D notes are orange, in both the treble and bass clef cards.  The only note that has 2 colors is the C itself because it starts and ends the scale.  (So in each set of cards, one C is purple and the other is pink.)

This is page 1 (of 5)

I am planning on using these cards in my classroom, when we start talking about classical music, probably in about a month or so.  

I would like to work on making cards for the other major scales too, if any of you would use them.  Leave me a note in the comment box if you would like a specific scale, or maybe you would prefer info cards about sharp and flat notes etc.  

Well anyway, I hope you enjoy these!  : )  And thanks for being oh-so-lovely readers!

01 September, 2010

Feelin' Waldorf-y

So I have been feeling a bit Waldorf-y, lately and I've been perusing one of my favorite books!

Yup, here it is . . . Beyond the Rainbow Bridge!  It is an amazing book for parents and teachers alike!

I am also a HUGE fan of Waldorf toys!  I use natural materials in my classroom and my home, whenever possible, and I try to encourage my children and my students to do plenty of imaginative play!

Some of my children's creations

I also adore Waldorf dolls!  Not only are they beautiful, but they are also so soft and smell like the wool with which they are stuffed.  Lovely!  My grandparents brought one for me from Germany, when I was a child, and I remember it so fondly!  Her name was Heidi.  So now it is nearly my youngest daughter's birthday, and I am working on getting her a Milly Molly Mandy (one of her favorite books) Waldorf doll.  Here is the doll that I love and adore!   It is handmade by a surely lovely woman in rural Wales,  Laura.  Please check out her work on Etsy, on "Buttercup and Bird!"   It is wonderful! You may click on the caption below to visit her store.

I found this on Etsy!  Adorable!

I would love to order this doll, and then make a Milly Molly Mandy dress (pink and white striped) for her.  We'll see what I can come up with!  : )  Oh, you don't know Milly Molly Mandy?  Please run (do not pass go, do not collect $200) to your local library, and check out The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley.  My daughter's favorite chapter is the one about MMM's pet hedgehog!

This is a color version of MMM, but it shows her dress very well!  : )

My latest (completed) Waldorf-inspired creation is a series of alphabet cards.  Every teacher at our school is required to have the alphabet on display, and I confess to not being a fan of premade teacher supply store alphabets.  I therefore spent some time this summer creating this set of cards.  I have a lowercase set and an uppercase set, in a cursive or a printed font.  I also have a set (in the printed font) that has both the lower and upper case letter on the same card.

Example!  : )

I printed a set of these cards, and hung them on the wall of my the classroom.  I would like to lower them and hang them in a location for my students to use, perhaps later in the year.  For now, however, they look lovely and I have had so many compliments on them!  : )

I put these sets of cards on box.net.  Please feel free to download and use them, in your home or school classrooms.  I found all the lovely watercolor background images online, free!  Thank you to all the many artists who freely share their work!  If you do share these cards with friends or on your own blog, please link back to me, so they can come and visit my blog too.  I am pretty new at this blogging thing, but more followers means more encouragement for me - to teach and learn more - and blog about it more too!  : )

Printed font, lowercase letters are found here!
Printed font, uppercase letters are found here!
Cursive, lowercase letters are found here!
Cursive, uppercase letters are found here!

And here's one more semi-Waldorf inspired file download.  They actually look more like they were inspired by vintage wallpaper.  Well, however I was inspired, feel free to use these number cards.  : )