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Let’s Celebrate – keeping traditions alive in a virtual world! June 1, 2020

Filed under: community,Community Building,Montessori education,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 10:34 pm
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We did it! We graduated 30 students in three virtual ceremonies attended by family members from across the USA and the globe. Teachers delivered gift bags to every graduate the day ahead of the ceremony, containing graduation caps, diploma, a peacock feather and books.

Parents sent in cute photos that were put into a PowerPoint for a virtual procession, to be screenshared while Pomp and Circumstance played. It was so fun to watch the graduates reactions as they saw their photo show up on the big screen!

We tried to replicate our traditional ceremony because many of this year’s graduates had watched their older friends in their Montessori class graduate in previous years, and they knew the program – procession in wearing caps, Pomp and Circumstance, welcome speech, and the story of how peacock feathers became a traditional gift for graduates of the Montessori School of Pullman (To remind them that they should all be proud as peacocks of their growth, leadership and friendship over their years at Montessori). This was followed by individual comments by the teacher, sharing the strengths and gifts each child brought to the community. Each graduate received cheers, applause and Zoom reactions! We ended with a living room dance party to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

It was a group effort. Best comment, “Our graduation was so much fun – we had photos, peacock feathers and a living room dance party!” We certainly made the best of a challenging situation. I also believe that we can always learn and grow from challenging situations – for sure, from now on, we will have some virtual aspect of our graduation ceremonies so that distant family members can join in, from wherever they are in the world. It was a joy to see grandparents cheering for their grandchildren!

Congratulations, graduates! The event brought us excitement and happiness!

As well as graduation, we have also celebrated birthdays online via Zoom. Again we tried to replicate our traditional event, but added some fun collaborations that were made possible via Zoom. Families screenshared photos as they told the story of the birthday child’s life, or they held actual photos close to the computer camera! We sang the traditional Montessori birthday song as the child carried a globe, or a ball (whatever was available to represent the Earth) around the sun. We sang the Happy Birthday song, and the child blew out the candle. The elementary aged students loved to send birthday messages via the chat feature, and we also collaborated via google docs on a birthday card that was screenshared at the event, and then sent to the child’s family. We also captured the event in a few screenshots to be shared with the family. And as it was a party, we usually ended with a living room dance party – that is becoming a new tradition!

As a staff we have enjoyed a surprise baby shower, and a going away party via Zoom. It is vitally important to maintain connections, relationships and celebrate important events during this period of social distancing. If you doubt its importance, just take a look at these smiling faces!

When it comes down to it, this is all about maintaining relationships!

 

Virtual Montessori in the time of Covid-19 May 24, 2020

This is guest blog by Michelle Ulgasan , better known as Teacher Mitch. Teacher Mitch is the current secretary of the Montessori Institute of America (MIA), a well known and respected teacher trainer, and a classroom teacher. Thank you, Teacher Mitch, for sharing how you and other MIA schools in the Philippines worked together to connect with families during the extended closure.

MIA Montessori Schools in the Philippines goes Online

Written by: Michelle Ulgasan

Classes in the Philippines were suspended since the second week of March.  After the suspension, an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was declared in the National Capital Region where most of the MIA schools are situated.  The supposedly 30 days ECQ, led to an extension and now we are almost on our 3rd month.  After the first month, the owners of the MIA schools started to come together to discuss how we will face the challenges of this pandemic, including thinking of ways in which we can sustain the school’s operational expenses while we are not able to receive children physically in school.  It was at first unimaginable how we can bring the Montessori Way online.  Through the sharing of ideas and practices we do in our physical classroom, I would say somehow we are able to deliver a program where respect for children and individual differences is carried out.  The following schools offer online programs to our Montessori children.  

Menti Assorbenti Montessori is offering online classes to the children since April.   This program is called “Online Playdate” where the children come together to see their classmates.  Since the school year closed abruptly, the children were not able to say goodbye.  The joy on the children’s faces on their first day to see each other via the Zoom meeting room was priceless.  We could really see how much they miss each other.  Our activities include processing the situation we are in, the safety measures we need to observe, a lot of show and tell where all the children always have an opportunity to speak and share something in class.  We do art, storytelling, singing, dancing, and gross motor activities.  We also invite people from different parts of the world to show our children how it is like at their place.  We are very grateful to have the support of the MIA community who willingly accepted our invitation.  Special mention to the following: Ms. Beverley Wolff for the wonderful story about the continent and also for sharing about the USA.  Then we have Ms. Wenru Sun who shared with the children the beautiful places in China and the many delicious foods they have.  We were also joined by Ms. Janet Duffy who shared her adventure in South Africa and Ms. Ann Tran who showed us beautiful Vietnam and the many ways you can use the lotus plant.  We are glad we are able to pull this through.  Of course, this will not work successfully without the support of the parents at home.  This new norm has actually strengthened our relationship with the parents and has formed many friendships with other people who are very much willing to help our class.  

facebook.com/MentiAssorbentiMontessori

email: admin@mentimontessori.com

Macquarie Preparatory School offers a one on one program to the children where they provide Practical Life activities, Language, and Math.  The owner of the school, Mrs. Kristine Tagle shares about how they conduct their online classes.  They utilize zoom to continue on with the learning. They create a replica of the Montessori materials to make the children still see the materials they use in school while they are doing online.  She also had parents pick up some materials from school.  The children will use these materials as manipulatives during their online classes which helps them to concentrate. They also use a zoom powerpoint for phonemic awareness. This is presented similarly to how the Montessori sound buckets are used.  They also offer assistance to parents on how they can guide their children at home and how to keep track of their progress.   She gives them access to the school’s online library and sends out videos of practical life activities where the children will also try to do at home.  She hopes that her program will help others and be inspired that our Montessori method can make it on the digital platform.

Macquarie Preparatory School

facebook.com/MacquariePreschool

admin@macquariepreschool.com

Maria Montessori School of Mt. Carmel started their online classes this month of May.  Mrs. Rosellie Azores shares two of her activities during their class.  Here, the teacher is showing the children the life cycle of a butterfly during storytime.  The other photo shows the teacher telling the story of the Invisible String by Patrice Karst.  She feels this is appropriate to tell the children because it talks about being connected by the invisible string that is love despite being apart especially now that we can’t go out to meet our friends.  The teachers are happy to see the children once again and vice versa.

Maria Montessori School of Mount Carmel

facebook.com/CarmelMontessori

carmelmontessori@gmail.com

Palm Springs Montessori Integrated School will start their online program this coming June.  Mrs. Dahlia Manantan, the owner of the school decided to take their class online to be able to continue the children’s learning as they stay safe at home.  The teachers are all busy preparing the lesson plans for their online classes.  As much as they want the children to be physically back in school, safety is their priority.   They are embracing virtual learning to deliver the Montessori program for their 3 to 6 years old online.  

Palm Spring Montessori Integrated School

Facebook.com/PalmSpringsMontessoriIntegratedSchool,Inc

psmlci@yahoo.com


It has been declared by our Department of Education that our schools will be allowed to open in late August.  Hopefully, there will be a vaccine for this deadly disease soon.  Many parents of these preschoolers are hesitant to send their children back to school.  This pandemic has brought so much change in everyone’s life.  We are glad that our Montessori teachers are resilient and are ready to take on the new challenges this situation demands.  We all pray that soon COVID 19 will have its cure.

 

Making the best of staying home! March 15, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 10:25 pm
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Making a healthy treat – frozen yoghurt with lots of berries!

These are challenging times, for sure. We often dream of spending more time with our families, but when it is forced upon us, due to social distancing measures and school/childcare closures, it can be stressful! This is especially true when we are trying to work from home, or figure out how we can even get to work without childcare. Here I share some ideas for our families.

First of all, how do we talk to our children about what is going on right now? I recommend we use the same approach that we do for fire drills – focus on we are keeping you safe.

  • We are staying home and away from other people as much as possible as a way to keep us all safe.
  • There is a bug going around that can make some people very sick.
  • Children usually are not very sick with this bug – they just feel like they have a cold. We are staying home so that we don’t catch the bug and pass it on to someone who might get really sick.
  • If you do get sick, I am here to take care of you.
  • We can help keep each other healthy by remembering to wash our hands really well before and after eating, after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, and whenever we come inside our home.
  • We can help keep each other healthy by remembering to sneeze or cough into our elbow.
  • Remember that you can always talk to me or ask questions about anything and I will try to answer you as best as I can.

If you do need childcare, and your center is closed down, reach out to a family to share childcare duties. At our school, we will send out the directory so families can coordinate with other families to arrange childcare sharing duties.

  • If two families, each with two working parents, share childcare, each parent could stay home for one day a week and take care of children, while other three parents work. This would significantly reduce the contact children have with other children, while allowing parents to have some child free work days.

Most children thrive on consistency and routine. Here is an excellent suggested routine for extended school closures. Whatever else you do, please try to find a daily routine that works for your family and try to stick to it during week days. This schedule is not my idea, but it is excellent and I wish I knew who to thank for it!

Now here are some available resources to check out.

Facebook Groups for Montessori Parent Support

Articles for Parents

Here are some other resources.

These are awesome ideas! Again, wish I knew who to credit!
For your electronic learning time.

Other resources to check out:

https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

https://www.facebook.com/cincinnatizoo/

My other go to favorite science website is mystery science. Google it to find the link. Mysteryscience.com

Finally, I end with a memory from my own childhood. During the seventies in England, there were rolling blackouts due to miners’ strikes and power shortages. I remember this time fondly as a special time I spent with my Mom and sister. No TV, no lights, but we did have heat, and we gathered around the fire and chatted and played games and enjoyed each others company. Let’s make this time a special time for our children to look back on forty years from now – a time when families hunkered down and enjoyed each others company.

Finally, just as during vacations, it can be helpful to plan just one AM and one PM activity together. These activities can be very simple. Here is a list of activities I love with my grandchildren during vacation times, and would work during social distancing measures. All of these activities have great learning potential, as do most all activities we do with our children. They are all opportunities for executive functioning practice (self control, problem solving, flexible thinking) and vocabulary development:

  • Play a game of hide and seek. When you get tired of hiding, suggest hiding a toy dinosaur or doll or superhero!
  • Make individual pizzas using English muffins, tomato sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Make a smoothie together.
  • Make ice cream or a frozen yoghurt dessert.
  • Bake muffins, cookies or brownies.
  • Make soup together.
  • Bake bread.
  • Plant seeds in a pot.
  • Go camping in your backyard – including having a mini campfire and making smores.
  • Go on a walk.
  • Feed the birds and squirrels and watch the activity.
  • Play a game together.
  • Build together – Lego, blocks, sofa cushions!
 

Winter Celebrations December 2, 2019

At our school, we are big on traditions.  Traditions and annual events help children learn about the calendar, and help build memories, anticipation and a sense of belonging through shared experiences. Here I share some of our winter traditions.

Below – some images from our Santa Lucia celebrations. Note how easy it is to make the costumes! We use old white sheets and a yard of cheap red fabric to make the robes, and added a red rope or felt sash for a belt. No sewing necessary. We bought the Santa Lucia crown from Amazon, but we’ve also made a paper version for free. The candles are from the dollar store, and are battery operated.

At the Montessori School of Pullman, where I work, we enjoy many cultural celebrations with our students during this month.

In December, in the Northern Hemisphere, the days are growing shorter, and the nights longer.  Is it any wonder that many cultural celebrations around the winter solstice feature candles, for humans need a reminder that light and warmth will return, as the seasons change?  For elementary students, a focus on the celebrations of light can fit into their history study of the Fundamental Needs of Humans, for light and warmth are fundamental needs, as is the need for community.

This year we will learn about the original St. Nicholas on Friday, December 6th, and how children in Europe celebrate his day. 

This celebration centers around a special community circle, the sharing of the story of the real St. Nicholas, a look at maps to see where his day is especially celebrated and a sharing of traditions. The children notice than in the paintings of Saint Nicholas, he looks a lot like Santa Claus – he wears a big hat, he carries a staff that looks a lot like a big candy cane, he brought good things to eat and gifts of money. Just like children in Europe, we leave a shoe at the door and are delighted to find a small gift – a cookie and a tiny candy -cane. As a follow up work children are invited to color, cut out and glue their own St. Nicholas stand up figure.

On Friday, December 13th, we will celebrate St. Lucia Day, and learn how this special day is celebrated in Sweden.  Again, the celebration centers around a special community circle, and involves maps, dressing up as Santa Lucia, Star Boy and the tomten, a sharing of a special treat, listening to stories about the tomten (a mythical character, rather like a gnome or house-sprite!). Following the circle, children are invited to make traditional tree decorations enjoyed in Sweden – the flag, stars, yule pigs . . . . Children may try on the special clothes, draw their own pictures of Santa Lucia or color pictures. The children love to see photos of the parades, and share their own memories of parades, especially winter parades. When we learn about cultural traditions from far away, children often notice both the differences and similarities. See photos at top of post!

We will learn about Hanukkah, and light the Menorah candles.  We also enjoy making and eating latkes, and playing the dreidel game.

Towards the end of our time together at school in December, all of our students are invited to ride on the Polar Express, at least in their imaginations.  The teachers will read the story to the children about a child visiting the North Pole via a ride on a special train.  The child receives a special gift – a bell from a reindeer harness – but loses it on the way home.  The next day, the child opens a tiny box to find the bell and a special note from Santa. We love to act out the story, with all of the children having an opportunity to participate – coming to school in PJs, pretending to fall asleep at school during a giant slumber party, being invited on board the train, singing songs while on the train, fixing problems during the ride (maybe fixing the track, or shooing a reindeer off the track.) Our visit to the North Pole includes a special snack of hot chocolate, a sweet mandarin orange and a cookie, and a visit with Santa.

Children are invited to play all of the special roles, including Santa, the elves, the train driver, the conductor, the engineer, ticket office staff, special helpers to fix the train, or shoo reindeer off the track. There is no audience or rehearsals. This is a large-scale, hour long improvised drama, that allows children to use their imaginations to experience a beloved children’s story.

During December, we will celebrate the winter solstice, the official first day of winter.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to involve science, and demonstrate the movement of earth around the sun. We also have a tree that our children decorate completely with hand-made ornaments.

Our final event is a winter singalong, when parents are invited to hear their children sing a mix of winter songs. We love to feature songs about snow, and include ‘Light a Candle for Peace’, one of our school’s all-time favorite songs.

After we return in January, our winter celebrations will continue with Kwanzaa. 

Other families and schools enjoy other traditions. My grandsons’ school has a special Nativity play each year, for example. I would love to hear about the traditional celebrations of your family or school.

Sharing lots of cultural celebrations with your children introduces them to the rich diversity of cultures on our earth, but also helps them discover our common humanity, too.

 

An International Celebration November 16, 2019

Filed under: celebrations,community,Community Building,cultural studies,Diversity,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 11:11 pm

Two of our school’s values are diversity and community. I think we managed to celebrate both values with an International celebration.

Each of the five classrooms focused on a different country, and families used a map to travel around the world, in their imaginations, and visited the USA, Bangladesh, England, Australia and Argentina. At each stop, there was an activity/craft for families to enjoy, plus food to sample. A favorite spot on the trip around the wold was the International Tasting Room. Families brought a dish representing their culture to the potluck. The Montessori School of Pullman holds this event in November, a traditional time in the USA for families and friends to gather and share good food and good company!

This was an opportunity to focus on diversity. We sampled food, music, crafts, and traditional clothing, representing various cultures. It was also an opportunity to celebrate community, as we came together to share good food and good company.

To manage the event, each class was only responsible for decorating their classroom to represent their chosen country. Administration, in conjunction with a local sorority, also having diversity as one of their values, and with the help of parent volunteers, prepped all of the activities. (Big shout out to Chi Sigma Alpha!) Parents contributed dishes to the International Potluck. Sorority members helped with cleean up.

I highly recommend planning an International Celebration event at your home/school. I encourage a multi-sensory approach, involving music, food and an activity!

 

Challenging behaviors November 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 10:47 pm
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Gosh, as you can imagine, as head of school, I spend quite a bit of time managing challenging behaviors, such as hitting, biting, running away, hiding, defiance . . . First of all, if you are a parent of a child with a challenging behavior, I want to reassure you that we care deeply about your child. I have fond memories of all of the children whose behavior challenged me, and I am delighted to celebrate all of their successes – graduation from high school, college, graduate school, a first job, marriage, birth of a first child . . .

The skills that allow us to self-regulate our emotions and impulses (part of what is known as social-emotional learning and/or executive functioning skills) are still developing rapidly during the ages of birth to six, and beyond. Part of what our school offers is a safe place to practice and develop these skills. Children under the age of six do not have the ability to regulate all of their emotions and actions. (Let’s face it, even with many more years of practice, how many adults are perfect with self-regulation! I know I am not!)

What about if you are a parent of a child who has been hurt in some way by a child who is still working on these self-regulation skills? We understand that it hurts and might make you feel angry if you are told that your child was pushed down on the playground, or bitten by another child. We totally understand that desire to protect your child.

Please know that we do our best to keep all children safe, but that in a toddler, preschool, lower elementary setting, some times children do push or hit or bite. These children have not yet developed all of the self-control and language skills to use their words, rather than their bodies.

Please also know that all children learn through these experiences. The child who pushed another child learns that the other child did not like that. The child who was pushed learns how to stick up for himself/herself and say, “I didn’t like that. Please do not push me.”

A main goal of the toddler and preschool environment is socialization, and that includes practicing and developing self-regulation skills, as well as learning how to stick up for yourself in a positive way.

It is all age-appropriate learning! Children this age experience big emotions. I encourage us all to have compassion for our young children and their families as they learn to self-regulate. It’s a process, and with our patience and guidance, they will develop this skill!

 

Visiting Middle Creek Montessori, Bozeman, Montana September 23, 2019

When you work in a Montessori School that is remote from other Montessori schools and training centers, you take every opportunity you can to visit other Montessori schools when you travel. It is a great way to gather new ideas to take back to enrich your own school. I am so happy that I got the opportunity to spend a whole morning at Middle Creek Montessori in Bozeman, Montana, as this school embodies everything I think is essential to Montessori. This is a school I would have loved to attend as a child, and a school where I would love to send my grandchildren!

The school in a nutshell: about 140 students, ages 2 through elementary, about 27 staff, non-profit status, and a campus of about 9 acres, that includes classrooms, playground, barn, amphi-theatre, fire-pit, woods, creek, labyrinth and gardens. The school has been in operation for about 20 years.

Here are three beautiful things about Middle Creek Montessori!

First, I loved the campus, with its emphasis on the outdoors. Every classroom had an accessible outdoor area, whether it was a patio or deck, where children could work outdoors during class time. Every class also had huge windows, lots of natural light, and great views of the outdoors. The outdoor environment included barns, home to goats and chickens, gardens, a labyrinth for walking, an amphi – theatre, a creek and woodland area. With the sunflowers, the red barn and the mountain murals painted indoors, the school was just absolutely Montana!

Second, I loved the focus on peace. Every classroom had a peace corner. The walkways were lined with pinwheels for peace. There was evidence of active work on peace in all of the classrooms. The labyrinth was also a way to encourage reflection and meditation in an active way.

Thirdly, I loved the emphasis, especially in the elementary program, on freedom within limits, and freedom with responsibility. Children were using workplans to make sure that they were working in all areas of the curriculum. Classroom meetings encouraged cooperation and group problem solving.

I would like to end this post by thanking the staff of Middle Creek Montessori for the amazing work they do each day to ensure their students love school and learning. I would also like to thank the staff for my warm welcome. Your school is amazing!

And now, for all of us who don’t have access to 9 acres and creeks and woodlands . . . We all do the best we can, with the resources available to us. The school where I work, the Montessori School of Pullman, is amazing, too. We are housed in a community centre, close to downtown, and have access to our local library, trails, a university campus, and lots of community resources housed in the community center – the orchestra, community band, dance and yoga and art centers . . .

So, let’s all go out each day and make the most of what we have available to make our schools amazing places for our students and families! And I extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to tour my school. Let’s share to spead our best ideas!

 

Big Kids’ Wander Week June 13, 2019

Filed under: friendship,Montessori education,nature,Observation,outdoor education,Uncategorized — bevfollowsthechild @ 11:41 pm

OK, this is me in my element, out and about with a bunch of awesome kids. We have walked, on average 4.5 miles a day, so by the end of the week we will have walked over twenty miles together. That means a lot in terms of bonding with our peers! We really see how the kids start looking out for each other, including carrying a water bottle for a friend who is tired, or pointing out to a friend where she or he needs to apply sunscreen. When you are out and about with kids, you don’t need to have a lesson plan, other than being open and aware to what catches the attention of the children. Everything is a learning opportunity. So far, what has caught the attention of the children includes:

  • opportunities to climb
  • hunting for shade (We have experienced record breaking heat during this week!)
  • bugs, especially viewed through a magnifying glass
  • signs to read – detour, no parking, danger, speed limits, one way . . .
  • landmarks we recognize – the clock tower, Webster science building (What the kids call the pumpkin tower, as every Halloween, pumpkins are thrown from the top of this building, the tallest building in Pullman!), the WSU visitor center
  • plants and trees we recognize – lupins, poppies, lavender, willow
  • the sound of the clock chimes – we are beginning to use the chimes to tell the time of day!
  • seeds that hitch a ride on our clothes and backpacks
  • Seeds, in general

Vocabulary involved in the above interests is vast! We have talked about- lupin, poppy, rose, lavender, willow, habitat, predator, prey, shade, shadow, clock tower, chimes, time, seed dispersal,

As far as planning goes, these are important details for teachers:

  • Before you leave, check that every child has lunch and a filled water bottle.
  • Bathroom and water fill opportunities – essential that you know where these are, and that you check that facilities are open, and water fountains are operational.
  • Bring plenty of snacks – children will get very hungry.
  • Bring sunscreen.
  • Bring a few books for a rest time in the shade.
  • Schedule frequent water breaks, and plan for frequent water bottle refills.
  • Plan for frequent bathroom breaks.

These are our ground rules for the week:

  • Hold hands gently as you walk hand in hand with your partner.
  • Stay within your boundaries while playing.
  • Listen to your teachers and come when you are called.
  • Look after your own belongings – backpack, lunch, water bottle, sunscreen . . .
  • Leave nature in nature!

We sometimes underestimate the capabilities of children. I encourage us all to test the capabilities of children through an extensive outdoor activity! Your children will amaze you!

 

Montessori Outdoor Science School 2019 (MOSS) Day Five May 24, 2019

Research presentations

Well, today the rain that was forecast for the whole week finally came! We only ventured out to complete our weather forecast. And our young scientists predicted the weather accurately.

“Well, the sky is covered by a heavy blanket of grey cloud – nimbostratus clouds – that means continuous rain.”

“And there is almost no wind, so that means the rain is here to stay. There is no wind to blow the clouds away.”

That made it easier to relocate today’s planned activities to our classrooms. We spent some time looking at maps, and finding the places we had visited during the week. We also caught up on recording the birds we had noticed during the week. We had seen fourteen of the eighteen birds in our birding books, and the children could remember where and when we had spotted the birds.

“We saw the quail crossing the road yesterday on our walk to the park.”

“The hawk was on the pole by the bridge.”

“The violet-green swallows were on the island in the pond and under the bridge.”

As well as the birds in our birding book, we also saw crows, a wood duck and a heron.

We then divided into our groups to continue working on our research projects. We were mostly working on completing our tri-fold displays for our presentations scheduled for 1:00PM. There was a whole lot of writing, drawing, coloring, cutting, gluing and decorating going on. We also practiced verbally presenting the material.

We were so happy to have so many families show up to join us for our indoor picnic, followed by the presentations. We had parents and grand-parents, and siblings, so we had a full house! As teachers, we are so thankful for the awesome support we receive from our families.

So, what were the questions our students worked at answering using the scientific method?

  • Are there fish in the ponds at Sunnyside Park. We found virtually no macro-invertebrates in the pond, so if there were fish in the pond, what did they eat?
  • How many food webs can we observe at Sunnyside Park?
  • Are there more animals at the big pond or the small pond at Sunnyside Park?
  • How are bugs attracted to people?

Our students used many tools to answer their questions – fishing nets, binoculars, magnifying glasses, timers, clipboards, paper and pencils to record data. Some of them presented their data in tables or pie charts. Some of them used math skills, such as using addition and division to find an average. Each group successfully used science vocabulary such as hypothesis, prediction, materials, method, observations, data, results, and conclusion. I am so tickled to hear our students use words such as ‘prediction’ or ‘hypothesis’ in their daily conversations! As our presentations were put together under a time crunch, we absolutely accepted developmental spelling. As a teacher, I much prefer that a six to seven year old is unafraid to sound out hypothesis than all words are correctly spelled! ‘Hipothesis’ is a very close approximation to the correct spelling, as is ‘qesten’. (Note to self – give lesson on ‘u’ after ‘q’ in most English spelling of words beginning with q. Give lesson on ‘ion’ spellings. This is how Montessori teachers work.)

So what were their conclusions?

  • There are fish in the pond. We used oats as bait and almost caught some fish in our nets. The fish are surviving partly on food thrown into the pond to feed the ducks. There may be few macro-invertebrates because the fish eat them.
  • The groups observed several food webs. They also noted that they saw more land food webs than aquatic food webs. This was due to poor water quality in the ponds and a lack of aquatic macro-invertebrates.
  • There were a lot more animals observed at the big pond. There is more water and more food at the big pond, and the island in the big pond provides a safe habitat for many animals.
  • Bugs use their senses, just like people do. Bugs are attracted by sight (color), smell (sweat, perfume, shampoo), taste (blood) and touch (body heat).

The kids really enjoyed using a microphone to make their presentations. The audience asked a lot of thought provoking questions. Everyone then spent time looking at the presentation boards. And so ended a very happy, positive and productive outdoor science week.

Thanks for following us throughout the week!

 

Montessori Outdoor Science School 2019 (MOSS) Day Four May 23, 2019

Looking closer!

The themes are really starting to come together in an organic way, with learning and skills from one day building to the next day. Major themes emerging are:

  • predator and prey relationships, mainly resulting from our daily games.
  • food webs
  • observing animals, birds, bugs and plants in their natural habitats, and using guides to identify them
  • noticing, measuring, recording and predicting the weather – a daily activity
  • looking ever closer to notice details – a daily activity.

As teachers, we’re also noticing how quickly the children pair up for walking, how quickly they can pack up supplies and get ready to move to a new location, and how they have built their ability to focus in an outdoor setting. The children are enjoying their freedom to explore a wide area, while respecting the designated boundaries. They are building their stamina and endurance, and their ability to take care of their own needs and belongings. By the end of day four, we had walked nineteen miles together! The older children are also growing as leaders in their research groups.

Fun activities we engaged in today included:

  • feeding the ducks
  • predator-prey skits Some of the relationships acted out for other children to guess included hawk and squirrels (lots of scurrying, and hiding in ‘holes’ and warning sounds), and coyote and deer (coyote working together to capture a deer separated from the others.) Behaviors we know that prey animals use include warning signals, hiding, fleeing, freezing. Later this day we also learned about defending. Predator animals might work in a group, or be solitary, sneaky attackers.
  • a new environmental game called “Muskox Maneuvers’ In this game a few children were wolves and used teamwork to capture a calf. The other children were the herd of muskox. When a predator was sighted, the babies huddled together, surrounded by the cows. The bulls actively defended the herd, trying to chase off the wolves. We played three rounds with very different results each round. Once the wolves were chased off. Another time several wolves were killed. On the third time, the wolves broke through the defenses and managed to kill a calf. Basically, this was an environmental version of flag football!
  • research projects – results revealed tomorrow!
  • A look close, look closer still with a magnifying glass, and look even closer, using a microscope activity.
  • lunch outdoors with friends, followed by free play ~ always favorite activities!

I so enjoyed this day, from start to finish. I can’t wait for tomorrow, when each group will present their research projects!

 

 
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