Monday, May 31, 2010

Planning for Next Year's Class

The kids are gone. My room is not packed up yet because my little one ended up with tonsilitis on the day I was supposed to do it. Right now, I am sitting on a boat in Tn. working on planning for next year. I wanted share some wonderful free links that I plan on using for next year's class.

One area I was very unhappy with was my language center. I want to add word lists and more phonetic reading material so I am going to use the free material from GoldMark Montessori.
Here are links for various material that I am going to use:
Pink word lists including sentences and phrases
Blue word lists including sentences and phrases
pink and blue command cards
farm words for grammar
***I ordered this farm set from Amazon
Grammar Extension Cards

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wonderful Morning!

The kids came in today so much more settled than they have the past few weeks. They chose a book to read and then copied 2 sentences into their language notebook and labeled the nouns. Most of them have finally gotten the concept of noun!
Then I had a modified contemporary work choice board for them. I had 5 computers up with various programs, 2 DVD centers with reading programs, Leap Pads, and then some workbook work. Not surprisingly, no one chose to work in their workbooks. I was so happy with how "into" their work they were today. They were well focused and worked for much longer periods, not running from activity to activity as they did before. (This is so sad that I finally have them where I want them and now they are leaving my room!) While they worked, I observed from afar and worked on putting away things from the math shelves. I would have liked to left everything out until that last day, but realistically I realized that if I did, I would be spending a week after the children leave packing up the room. They will help me on the last days to clean the room and get it ready for the summer floor waxing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Did the Year Go?

I can't believe it is almost time to pack up the room! As I reflect back on the year, there are things I am very pleased with and of course, things I wished I'd done differently!
What is it about educators, we are always striving to do it better next time?

One thing I am most pleased with is the fact that my students had very little "busy" work in workbooks and worksheets that was done this year. Mostly, only the few times I had a substitute teacher and I am ashamed to admit it-a little at the end of the year when they have been so restless! According to our grade level benchmarks, my students' calculation skills are equivolent to the children who do mulitple drill sheets each day. I really loved teaching again this year.

For those things I wish I'd done differently:
*new materials-I used my classroom school funds to order materials that I really thought I needed when school started. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived (after January) my students had "outgrown" them. I was very upset but after reading Paula Lillard Polk's book, Montessori in the Classroom, I believe I can glean some multiple purposes from them. She talks about how her students use of the map puzzles, labeling, and map making helped them build and refine their fine motor skills for writing and learn to read through writing. She also disusses how she used materials Maria designed for much younger children for remedial purposes and for those children who are restless or emotionally drained because they "drop" a developmental level. Even though my students are a year older than the ones she discusses in her book, I often have children who are developmentally delayed or who have "missed" developmental experiences and are lacking in fine motor and/or language development.
those biology and anatomy puzzles will have some life in my classroom after all. I plan to demonstrate tracing and labeling in those first few days, so the children can get started using the puzzles right away.

*reading, Montessori in the classroom before this school year had started. I had several people recommend this book. However, in my undergraduate studies I had purchased a book in which she had written or written the forward. I never got "into" the book, so I resisted purchasing this one. What a difference it could have made, if I had read this over the summer! I plan to post a much more indepth discussion of the book in the next few weeks.