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

Archive for April, 2009

Farewell to a Friend

Posted by mrsmelva on 13/04/2009

This is a difficult post to write. I need to say farewell to my friend, colleague, mentor, elder; Celina Janvier. She passed away on Good Friday. She was a wonderful teacher and taught me a lot about teaching, Dene language and Dene culture. She gave a lot to the school, the community, the church and her family. Among her many contributions was her singing in Dene, both in church and at school. She used music to teach the children in their Dene language and about their Dene culture. She translated songs for me to use with my class and volunteered her time to help me learn the songs and to come to my class and teach them to the children. I especially remember spending time with her at fish camp, and her including me with the elders to eat sucker heads when we had just gotten off the bus. She was very patient with my mistakes in trying to speak Dene and always willing to share her knowledge. Farewell, my friend, I will miss you. For all you taught me, merci cho.

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New Works in Action

Posted by mrsmelva on 04/04/2009

I have added quite a few new works now that the assessment is done and the report cards have been handed in. I have a few more to set up and introduce in the next while. The problem is so many ideas and so little time. I also do not want to overwhelm the kids with too many new things at once.

Nomenclature cards for letters of the alphabet.

Nomenclature cards for letters of the alphabet.

Here a student is working on a baby blanket with the nomenclature cards that I made to increase the students’ vocabulary of words that start with each letter of the alphabet. I got the wooden boxes for the cards at Dollarama.

Dress the Easter Bunny magnets

Dress the Easter Bunny magnets

This student is working with the Easter Bunny magnet set, like paper dolls but magnetic. There is a similar set with eggs to decorate. Both are very popular with the kids.

The next picture shows two students learning to use the disc paints to fill in a photocopied picture. I introduced this activity to the morning class one day when attendance was low, using the copied pictures and direct teaching to show the children how to handle the materials the the procedures for clean up. My goal is to have painting as a job time work for more independent use, both with copied pictures for developing brush control and with blank paper for artistic expression.

disc painting

disc painting

The next picture shows a student working with the Easter basket and eraser number quantity work. The first day that I put this work out 4 of the erasers disappeared, never to be seen again. I took the work off the shelf for a couple of days and after a couple of discussions about the importance of caring for our works and keeping all the pieces together I put it back out again. So far so good, and it is a very popular work.

Number baskets with erasers

Number baskets with erasers

The next picture shows the introduction of the red and white beans to a group of students. For each numeral from 4 through 10, there is a sheet with pictures of the appropriate number of beans for colouring. There is also a small cardboard french fry tray with with a piece of gold cloth, a red and a white crayon, and a film canister with the corresponding number of two sided red and white plastic beans. The students shake the beans onto the gold cloth and record the results by colouring the appropriate amount of red and white ones on the paper. They really enjoyed this activity. I decided to introduce it as a small group activity first, so that all student would know how to do it and how to take care of the materials before setting it out for job time. With the large numbers of students this seems to be the best way to introduce this type of work.

red and white beans, small group introduction

red and white beans, small group introduction

tray set up for the red and white beans

tray set up for the red and white beans

The next picture shows a cut and paste worksheet of the type I’ve used a couple of times to help the children follow simple standard directions and work independently. I set out the supplies and had them work through the activity with very little direction. The morning class were very successful the first time. The afternoon class had a lot of difficulty with the task, so I repeated it with a different sheet, but gave them some more direction to try and increase their success. With the third sheet, I had both classes do it and they were very successful with completing the sheet with very little teacher intervention and producing a Happy Easter sign that they could take home as a decoration.

Happy Easter cut and paste

Happy Easter cut and paste

The next work was done whole class in the morning (attendance was low on Friday), and with half the class in the afternoon, while the other half were introduced to the red and white beans. (attendance was also low in the afternoon, but I wanted to start getting the red and white beans introduced to the afternoon students). The students are decorating foam eggs with foam stickers, choosing their own stickers and being respectful of the need to share the stickers. They were very careful with the materials and made some beautiful eggs.

choosing stickers

choosing stickers

Peeling the backing from the stickers was also good fine motor work, especially from the very small stickers and from the long, thin zig zag ones.

decorating the eggs

decorating the eggs

This work will be followed with a more independent work decorating cardstock eggs using Easter sequins and podgy. Now that the children have been introduced to the procedure for choosing stickers, I will use the same procedure for choosing the sequins.

more egg decorating

more egg decorating

The next work is making a rainbow with pipe cleaners and pony beads. I got the idea from the Itty Bitty Love blog, I’d insert it as a link but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet – still learning¬† how to do these things.

Rainbow

Rainbow

The white “clouds” are a styrofoam ball cut in half and hot glued to cardstock. One boy took this work and started just putting on a variety of beads, I showed him with one colour to match the beads and he smiled and worked very carefully to complete all the colours correctly. He was very proud of himself when he was done, and he worked very carefully to clean up without spilling any beads. The children are enjoying the challenge and the fun of the new works, and I am enjoying their renewed engagement in learning, especially in the afternoon group.

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