Monday, October 29, 2007

Celebrate Halloween Montessori Style: Activity and Curriculum Ideas

NAMC montessori halloween activities history pumpkinsThe observance of Halloween originates back to the ancient Celtic New Year’s festival, celebrated on November 1, which marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of a cold, dark winter. The Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the worlds between the living and the dead were blurred and that ghosts returned to earth on this night to cause trouble and damage crops. Druid priests built huge bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and offer animal sacrifices to the ancient deities. During the celebrations, the Celts usually wore costumes made from the skins and head of animals.

During the 400 years that the Romans ruled ancient Celtic lands, they incorporated Samhain into their two fall festivals: Feralia and Pomona. Feralia was the feast held to commemorate the passing of the dead, while Pomona was the goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona’s symbol was the apple, thus providing a tie to “bobbing for apples” as well as caramel and candy apple treats to modern Halloween. Read on for more interesting history, and some fun and Montessori appropriate Halloween activity ideas.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, October 29, 2007.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Charitable Spirits: Community Service in the Montessori Classroom

woman smiling san diego wildfires NAMC montessori community service charity“And a Little Child Shall Lead Them”

The most beautiful thing happened in my Montessori classroom today. I called everyone to morning circle and after we had taken roll call, gone over the date and time, read the journal topic, and reported the weather, I decided to do a little geography check. I started by telling the children that I’d been terribly worried about my sister and her husband. They live in San Diego and were evacuated from their home on Monday due to the wildfires. They spent two days wondering if they had a home to return to. I assured the children that they were safe and back home.

I asked if anyone could show me where California is located on the big map that hangs on the classroom wall. I then showed them the distance from Raleigh, North Carolina to San Diego, California. The children wanted to know what started the fires. This led to a discussion on comparing the current drought conditions in the southeast and southwest regions of the United States. We talked about how the high Santa Ana winds had blown sparks and embers far and wide, spreading the fire and starting new ones. When I had finished, one second grade boy raised his hand. Hesitantly I called on him, not knowing what was on his mind. What he said brought tears to my eyes and renewed my faith in the kindness of children.

“Miss Michelle, I’d like to do something to help those people who don’t have any homes to return to. Maybe we could raise money to send to them so they can build new houses.”

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, October 25, 2007.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Homework in the Montessori Classroom: Does it Actually Help Students?


I did something this year that I've always wanted to do. I’m NOT assigning homework. For several years I've struggled with assigning homework. After all, the students who need the most practice are the ones who really need to be using the Montessori materials off the shelves, not working on abstract worksheets at home.

Over the years, I've tried several approaches to homework. I've had students work out of math textbooks at home and found that was inconsistent with what they were learning in class. I spent hours searching for the perfect worksheets to accompany math lessons that were given, making sure that they weren't too abstract if students were still using concrete materials.

What I found was that, in all of their good intentions to help, parents were becoming frustrated with their child’s homework and showing them “short-cuts”. This, of course, contradicted the Montessori approach of letting the child naturally come up with the shortcuts after having mastered the concept. Children were becoming frustrated and starting to doubt their own abilities.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, October 15, 2007.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

How Progress Reports Work in the Montessori Classroom

How Progress Reports Work in the NAMC Montessori Classroom
I know I’m not alone when I say that one of my least favorite tasks is writing progress reports. Montessori teachers take extra time to personalize each child’s progress report. If we are following the child, our progress reports must reflect the individual child’s progress. Many parents and teachers alike are unsure of how progress reports actually work in the Montessori learning environment.

Why write a progress report? How does the Montessori progress report differ from a traditional school's report card? NAMC has compiled some helpful information for the Montessori parents and teachers who want to know more about  progress reports in the classroom.

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community. © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Wednesday, October 3, 2007.
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As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.

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