Friday, July 23, 2010

Shelves Setup

This summer, because I decided to stay on the Island, I got a chance to do something I had been wanting to do for a couple of years now: a deep review of each area with it's corresponding theory and purposes.

I set EVERYTHING out on the shelves to make sure there is still a space for everything. In our classroom, I don't think we've ever had ALL the materials out at once so it was a good opportunity to take a picture of the complete classroom so that I can remember later on in the year where I had planned on putting everything.

I thought this might be useful for someone so I'm posting the pictures of my work in progress. Mind you, cultural objects are missing as well as all of our plants which are outside under intensive care from my week off at sailing school. The shelves are not in their "final form" but it was a good moment to take the pictures.

Like my trainer taught us, materials are arranged on the shelf in order from simple to complex, and grouped sometimes by purpose or by activity. Not everything is exactly where I will put it eventually, but in general the shelves are organized as they will be.

Practical Life 1: This is one side of my main practical life island.

From top left: objects for waking on the line, and then some random stuff that I didn't put away before taking the picture.

Second tier: opening and closing containers, opening and closing matroshka dolls, opening and closing locks and keys, opening and closing nuts and bolts, stringing large beads, stringing medium beads, stringing seed beads, spooning with a spoon.

Third tier: transferring seeds with tongs, transferring water with a sponge, transferring water with a dropper, dry pouring, pouring a glass of water (with various pitchers behind it that I have to store together).

Fourth tier: wood works. Opening and closing wing nuts, using an Allen key, using a flathead screw driver, using a Phillips screw driver, (sanding: missing), (hammering: missing).

Practical Life 2: "wet" works on the other side of the island.

Top of the shelf from left to right: Folding cloths, folding socks, folding clothes, folding laundry cloths. (all of these available for washing, hanging up to dry, and ironing.)

Tier 1: dusting a table, dusting a material, brushing a rug, washing windows, washing an underlay, washing the paint easel.

Tier 2: table washing, washing the floor, washing dishes, drying dishes.

Practical Life 3: mostly plants and polishing works.

Top of shelf from left to right: wood objects to polish, watering plants.

Tier 1: dusting a plant, cleaning a plant, misting a plant, flower arranging.

Tier 2: polishing a mirror, polishing a table.

Tier 3: polishing brass, brushing shoes, polishing shoes.

Not pictured because they're not on a shelf: handwashing stand, dressing frames stand.

Sensorial 1: early sensorial works.

Top of shelf : Cylinder blocks and markers.

Tier 1: Brown Stair, Pink Tower. (I'm trying to find a setup where my pink tower can be vertical, but haven't been successful yet).

Tier 2: Red rods.

Sensorial 2: sense of touch.

Top of shelf: geometric solids, bases, geometry cabinet cards, geometry cabinet, and on it are the blindfolds.

Tier 1: touch board 1, touch board 2, sorting 1, sorting 2, baric tablets.

Tier 2: Fabrics box, thermic bottles, thermic tablets, touch tablets, pressure cylinders.

Sensorial 3: visual sense, and other senses that fit on the shelf. :)

Top of shelf: puzzles of animals, animal labels and cards, botany puzzles, botany cards and labels.

Tier 1: color box 1, color box 2, color box 3, smelling jars, sound cylinders.

Tier 2: knobless cylinders, tasting bottles.

Tier 3: constructive triangles.

And that's it for sensorial. I have a geography setup that's apart (we made a new shelf this summer for it). And a science shelf for botany that's apart as well.

Language 1: pre reading and beginning of writing.

Top of shelf: sandpaper letters, phonograms.

Tier 1: sand tray, small chalkboard, brush and water, sounds bingo.

Tier 2: classified objects (I use them for the sound game), classification picture cards, sounds box (matching sounds to objects), sounds cards(matching sounds to cards).

Tier 3: word tray (phonetic objects and letters cut out to make the words), moveable alphabet objects, moveable alphabet cards, moveable alphabet.

Language 2: reading.

Top of shelf: phonetic objects box, pink reading cards, blue reading cards, phonetic sentence and picture cards (matching), phonetic books.

Tier 1: phonogram bingo, phonogram box, phonogram booklets, phonogram cards, phonogram sentences and picture cards (matching), books with phonograms.

Tier 2: alternate spellings booklets, most common reading words lists, labels for the environment and sensorial area, puzzle words.

Tier 3: (missing on the trays) reading classification cards, definition booklets, definition in stages, word study. (I am making a lot of these materials, so all of it is in a jumble in my office.)

Language 3: writing, grammar and sentence analysis.

Top of shelf: writing materials.

Tier 1: farm setup, noun, article, adjective, logical adjective.

Tier 2: preposition, conjunction, verb labels, verb with object, double commands, adverb, logical adverb, grammar symbols box, grammar pencils box.

Tier 3: This is where sentence analysis goes. (I don't have trays that I like for this work yet.), message game, project box.

A lot of my material making this summer is in the language area- the work never ends.

Math 1: numbers 1-10, and fractions.

Top of shelf: small number rods, cards, sandpaper numbers, wooden numbers 1-10 puzzle 1, and numbers 1-10 puzzle 2.

Tier 1: spindles box, animals/dots and number cards game, cards and counters, memory game of numbers.

Tier 2 and 3: Fractions, fractions labels, fractions equations.

Math 2: Continuation of Counting and Decimal System

Top of shelf: bead stair, teen beads, teens beads hanger, tens beads, square chains bingo.

Tier 1: 100 board, dot game, stamp game.

Tier 2: introduction to the decimal system, large number cards, tray of 9, small number cards.

Tier 3: thousands, hundreds, tens, units, trays.

And right next to that shelf we have a small wall shelf with the teens boards and tens boards.

And on the other side of that we have the square chains and then the bead cabinet. (That Yair built.)

Math 3: Memorization work.

Tier 1: addition snake game, addition strips boards, flash cards.

Tier 2: addition charts.

Tier 3: subtraction snake game, subtraction strips boards.

Tier 4: subtraction charts.

Math 4: memorization work and passage to abstraction.

Top of shelf: multiplication bead bars, multiplication bead board, and the two bead frames. (I wish I had a different space to put these but math is so HUGE.)

Tier 1: multiplication charts.

Tier 2: division bead board, division chart.

Tier 3: division chart.

There are a few other shelves for other things in the classroom and I might post those some other day.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

summer voyage

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shyly venturing into online learning...

Since I decided to spend the rest of the summer here, on the rock in the middle of the ocean, a few weeks ago I enrolled in an online course with the Center For Guided Montessori Studies.

I've never before taken an online course, and had been very skeptical about them in general. However, since my assistant at school completed the NAMC online Primary Training, I've found that a guided online study can complement work done in the environment. Obviously, there is nothing like attending a course in flesh and blood, especially an AMI course, but when you are "geographically disabled", to put it in discreet terms, the online world can certainly have its benefits. It is nice to have the foundation of AMI training, and be able to supplement areas such as Art and Science through other means. I'd really love to create a coherent Art and Science album for my personal use.

I'd been getting a steady flow of messages from Tim Seldin from the CGMS (online groups sure have a thing for long acronyms) and had for the most part skimmed them with not a lot of interest. As summer approached, one of the courses mentioned caught my eye: "Adventure in the Arts". It is offered as part of their "Professional Development" series.

The course is 6 weeks long, 4 weeks for art and 2 for music. The art part is meant to supplement the art curriculum in the classroom through 4 components:
  1. Color Theory
  2. Studio Art
  3. Art Appreciation
  4. Projects
Getting any guideance at all in the art area was the deciding factor for me when enrolling in this course. I enjoy art personally outside of the classroom, but have had trouble keeping our art shelf cohesive and fresh. I do a lot of extensions with art in the other areas- Sensorial and Language in particular, but felt strongly like I could use more practical knowledge and suggestion of materials and techniques to offer.

I'm 2 weeks into the course and it has been thorough, organized, and clear so far. I put in about an hour a day online (5 days a week) for it plus time making materials. The lessons are presented sequentially, in short videos accessed online. Each lesson begins with an introduction to the material, it's purpose, and when and to who to present it to. After the introduction, there is another short video of the presentation being given to a child.

What I've been gaining so far, is a sequential understanding of art theory and studio techniques broken down and made accessible for children of different ages. I'm feeling confident in what I'm learning and am sure that it will translate nicely into my classroom next year.

A cool technological experience was our first online meeting yesterday- with course students from all over the world coming together in a chat room to discuss relevant topics.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

You are nothing. You are everything.

“We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality.
When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all.”


Time to listen.

Another thing I love about the summer is that I have AMPLE time to listen to podcasts. I listen while I walk my dogs, in my car, sometimes while I cook, and sometimes while I eat what I cooked. However, I'm not constantly with the earphones on ignoring the world while I'm cradled in good radio bliss. I promise, I value human contact!

Although I'm probably the only person I know who doesn't own an ipod, and wouldn't know how to use one anyway, I have a regular mp3 player. I have to say itunes does come in handy for quick and easy downloading of each week's new episodes. I've subscribed to them via itunes and each week they get automatically updated into a folder on my desktop where I simply copy/paste into my mp3 player. Oh the smug feeling of mastering some technology.

Instead of guarding my precious list of favorite podcasts like a wide eyed Golum, I'll share my list with you:

Non Fiction:

This American Life- True stories revolved around a topic. Danger, you will be late for things if you subscribe to this.

The Moth- live stories told onstage with no notes. I cry and laugh and look insane to others as I wait in line at the bank listening.

Great Speeches in History- often the live recording of the speech. I love to hear the scratchy recordings of significant people in history riling up others with words.

To the Best of Our Knowledge- pieces, both fiction and non, about a specific topic. Just the opening theme of this show makes me giddy with excitement.

Ted Talks- audio version of a TED conference. Probably the most thought provoking, best quality media time possible that I've found.

Radiolab- from WNYC. Pieces on a question in science. I suggested this to a friend of mine and now she wants to major in college in something that will lead her right into the Radiolab studio. It's great science radio.

BBC World Book Club: I don't know what it is about the host of this show, but I would really like to be her, just for one day. She seems like the smartest woman on radio.

60 Minutes: Good old fashioned news reporting just so that a person like me who doesn't regularly read the news can me somewhat informed of things that are happening in the world.


Selected Shorts: 2 or 3 excellent stories read by professionals, sometimes it's classics of short story and other times very avant garde pieces.

New Yorker Fiction-I don't think this needs an introduction.

About meditation and mindfulness:

Zen Cast: Never fails to inspire me to be a better human.

Audio Dharma: Much like the above, so I get a double dose of dharma talks weekly.

If you have any podcasts that you love and want to share- please DO! I can't get enough.