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

Archive for October, 2009

Math Activities – Patterns

Posted by mrsmelva on 04/10/2009

We’ve been working on patterns in math. We have a pattern on the calendar, ab(apple, book) for September and abc(leaf, pumpkin, cat) for October and we make sound/action patterns each day. We have made patterns with cube-a-links and looked for patterns in the classroom, especially on our clothing. I set up some works for practicing patterns, with picture cards for control. The students can either copy the picture card or turn it over, make the pattern and then use the card to check their work.¬† I found the small cubes used for some of the patterns in a pail in a closet, I do not know where they came from. The dishes and erasers came from Dollarama.

AB cube pattern control card.

AB cube pattern control card.

AB eraser pattern control card.

AB eraser pattern control card.

AB eraser pattern work in progress.

AB eraser pattern work in progress.

AB eraser pattern in one colour (more challenging).

AB eraser pattern in one colour (more challenging).

Single colour AB eraser pattern work in progress.

Single colour AB eraser pattern work in progress.

I have some Halloween erasers that I will switch with these after Thanksgiving. I do not like to put Halloween things out until after Thanksgiving. (Canadian Thanksgiving, October 12 this year).

As part of the patterning unit students learn to sort. Here is a sorting work that I copied from My Montessori Journey. In the first picture the student has not taken the time to sort the elastics before putting them onto the cylinders. He then became frustrated and wanted to put the work away so I intervened and showed him how to sort the elastics first. He then persevered to complete the task with all the elastics.

Sorting elastics onto cylinders, elastics are not presorted on the tray, so the child has to set down and pickup the cylinder each time.

Sorting elastics onto cylinders, elastics are not presorted on the tray, so the child has to set down and pickup the cylinder each time.

I showed the child how to sort the elastics on the tray first, simplifying the task.

I showed the child how to sort the elastics on the tray first, simplifying the task.

Perseverance and Success!

Perseverance and Success!

The child did complete the entire task, with all the elastics on the cylinders, but I didn’t get a chance to take a picture before he started cleaning up. I will extend this work in a little while by having the students create ABC patterns with the elastics on the cylinders. I will take pictures to make control cards for the patterns. It is important to give students opportunities to practice skills even if they “get it” during the first lesson. On Friday I did a directed lesson on AB patterns with cube-a-links, giving each student in the group a ziploc bag with 5 each of 2 colours. As they completed one pattern they would come and tell me their pattern and then exchange the bag for another one with different colours. This gave them extra practice to develop their competence and also gave me time to work with students who found the task more difficult. By the end of the day, all but one student had completed at least one AB pattern. Tomorrow I will offer the works on the shelf and also the opportunity to make AB patterns with glue and construction paper squares. I think that will be a popular work, so I had better get to school and set it up. A third one that I will offer is using stickers to create the pattern. I have done that one before and it was very popular.

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Blueberries, Blueberries, Blueberries Blue!

Posted by mrsmelva on 03/10/2009

The title comes from a rhyming big book that I co-wrote years ago. Back in the day when kindergarten classes were a good size (much smaller than they are now), two classes, with two teachers, shared my former classroom. My partner teacher and I came up with the words to the refrain of the book almost at the same time, after taking our students to pick blueberries. We worked after school to develop the rest of the text. We typed it up on an old AppleIIe computer, and printed it on a dot matrix printer and had one of the older classes illustrate the book for us. I am still using that book. Several of the artists are parents of my students in the past few years and one now works in the school as a special needs tutor. We went berry picking this year and brought back over 12 litres of blueberries. We ate “blueberries with sugar and cream, they melt in your mouth and taste like¬† dream” – that line comes from a poem I had on chart paper and retyped with photos to illustrate it. I had the chart paper version for years, I think it may have come from Robert and Marlene McCracken originally, but I am not sure. We also made blueberry muffins and blueberry pies. I didn’t get many pictures of these activities as I was too busy with guiding the students through the procedures. I did take pictures of each student at the berry patch to use in a writing activity.

Young berry pickers in the beautiful boreal forest where the blueberries grow.

Young berry pickers in the beautiful northern boreal forest where the blueberries grow.

It was a very warm day when we went to pick berries and we were joined by many pesky sand flies. Each child was given a plastic cup to pick into and they would spill their berries into a pail when the cup was full.

Cleaning blueberries, a genuine practical life activity.

Cleaning blueberries, a genuine practical life activity.

I sat down at the table to clean berries and just like Tom Sawyer and the fence painting, I soon had more eager berry cleaners than I had room for at the table. They took turns and worked very carefully to remove sticks, leaves and yucky berries.

Making individual blueberry pies.

Making individual blueberry pies.

The students are making their own blueberry pies in tart shells. It is a very easy process, put some berries in a bowl and then stir in a spoonful of sugar/flour mixture. Put that into the tart shell and top with a mixture of butter, flour and sugar and bake.

The writing activity that we did was mainly drawing with dictation although a few children put some letter like marks and magic lines on their paper to indicate words. I printed a page for each child with his/her picture in the berry patch in one corner and with the title Picking Blueberries at the top. The rest of the paper was blank to give lots of room for drawing and writing.

Next week we will make blueberry pancakes and then later on we will make more muffins with frozen blueberries. We will also learn about bears eating berries to prepare for hibernation. We read Blueberries for Sal before we went berry picking. Unlike Little Sal and Little Bear, we didn’t have anyone get lost or mixed up in the berry patch!

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