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Montessori in a Dene Kindergarten – Montessori in a Dene Grade One Classroom

Don’t dump the teacher off the sled!

Posted by mrsmelva on 17/03/2009

Those were my words to the elder driving the ski doo as I stood on the back of a sled full of kids on our way out to the lake to go ice fishing. Our school is on the lake shore, but to get to the fishing spot we had to go over some steep and bumpy snow drifts and down the bank onto the ice. Last year was my first time riding on the back of the sled in this way and I was terrified. Today I was still a bit nervous, but not terrified. It was quite cold this morning when we went out, the windchill was -28 but the kids were warmly dressed. One boy caught a fish. In the afternoon it was warmer, with the wind blowing the lake snow up to meet the clouds, descirbed as “fuzzy” by one of my students. In the afternoon the tutor and two of the boys caught fish. We all had a wonderful time. first fish!Here is our proud morning fisherman!  And here is the fish, waiting to be cleaned and put in the freezer until the Easter feast.the fishThe next picture shows the elder cleaning the ice out of the hole. The holes freeze up very fast and the ice needs to be broken and scooped out regularly.cleaning the holesHere’s one sled full of kids in the afternoon, in the morning I didn’t get a picture of everyone in the sleds.off to the fishing holesAnd here’s the other sled of kids. I had to stand on the very back, hanging onto the black handle. another sled, more kidslooking toward homeThis is looking toward shore, at my house among others. I am so lucky to live on the lakeshore. We were quite a ways out so I used the zoom on the camera. The next picture shows the school, (the big green part is the gym), and the church.school & church from the lakeThe last fishing picture is of the other elder holding the fish that my grandson caught! Note the “high-tech” fishing rod in his other hand. (hockey stick handle).fishWe had a wonderful time out fishing. The children really enjoyed themselves and they learned about fishing. Some had prior experience fishing with their families, but some had not been ice fishing before. Before going ice fishing we had a good lesson. It was very teacher directed at the start, but then the children worked independently to finish their work. It involved managing a lot of materials: a picture from yesterday, a pack of markers, a pack of crayons, a silver crayon, scissors, glue and a tray with four pieces of construction paper on it. Yesterday we did a directed drawing of a rainbow with markers. Today I demonstrated drawing the sun, colouring the sky and drawing raindrops with the silver crayon. Then they watched me create a shamrock by folding and cutting three green squares into hearts, glue them to a yellow square,make a stem from the scraps, print my name and the word shamrock and clean everything up. I demonstrated everything before they started and then let them work. Overall, I was very pleased with the results both in terms of the products and their work habits. They worked steadily and there weren’t too many missed steps or directions. My plan was to mount the work in the hallway after school, but as I was taking the previous work down we had an air quality problem and I had to go home. I hope to get them up tomorrow and take a picture. The rainbows and the shamrock squares are the same size and I plan to hang them quilt style on the wall. While you wouldn’t see an entire class making the same project like that in a true M0ntessori program, the prepared environment (trays and other materials laid out and ready) and the presentation of the lesson followed by independent work and teacher observations are Montessori elements that I used. Both groups were very proud of their work. I expect that they will be even prouder when they see it hanging in the hallway. Some of the children who struggled with the directions asked for help, I gave as little direct help as possible, generally trying to refocus them and remind them of what they had seen when I did the presentation. Some were not paying attention during the presentation, and when they struggled to complete their work, they began to realize that they should have paid more attention. I did warn them at the start that I would only show them once what to do. I plan to do some more activities in this manner in the near future,  I think it will help to settle the kids as they begin to realize the importance of paying attention and the value of it when they produce good quality work.

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2 Responses to “Don’t dump the teacher off the sled!”

  1. Kim said

    What a great experience for your students! Did your afternoon group enjoy the outing and were they engaged in the activity?

  2. mrsmelva said

    We all had a great time, both groups. They all engaged in the fishing. It was very nice for the afternoon class, they were very involved and busy. One little girl left her gloves at school, and we didn’t notice because she had tucked her hands into her sleeves, but one of the elders gave her his gloves and she just beamed.

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