Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Australian Christmas {It's Elementary! Link Up #5}

I have been discussing with some of my students what makes an Australian Christmas unique. Some of their observations and comments have led to great inquiry and conversations. We have also spoken about traditions and what their family's traditions are.

Initial conversations were often driven by the child's observations of what we don't have: snow, snowmen, reindeer, holly, mistletoe, etc. Which led to the question of what we have instead. Some of my students were quick to say "Australian Christmas tree" (Nuytsia - as seen in the title picture) which is one of my favourites.

The Nuytsia is native to the lower part of Western Australia and blooms between November and January. My older students were fascinated by the fact this plant is partly a root parasite, meaning it's roots attach to other plants around it and draw it's requirements from them. We also discussed other native plants that flowered at this time of year.

Another natural phenomenon we discussed was the Christmas spider. Again these spiders are most abundant during the summer months.

We talked about how certain plants and animals are more abundant at different times of the year and how our First Nations people observed these plants and animals to note the change in the season. In the part of Western Australia we reside in our First Nations people are Noongar, and they observed six seasons rather than the four we follow marked by the solstices. I hope this will be a spring board for further discussion next year.

We have also been discussing traditions and why our traditions are a lot different than those that are represented by television programs, Christmas cards, illustrated Christmas books, etc.

Here are some of the things children listed as part of their Christmas day traditions:
  • presents in the morning, baked ham and vegetables for lunch
  • beach in the morning, home for a barbecue lunch (with prawns and crayfish) then presents
  • presents on Christmas eve, Christmas day at the beach
  • traditional roast turkey and ham with all of the family at grandma's
  • poolside at a Bali resort 
  • presents in the morning, barbecue lunch and prawns with salads for lunch.
  • breakfast with the family consisting of fruit salad, pancakes, bacon, sausage and eggs, then presents and family dinner of roast turkey

If I was in a classroom setting, and had more time, I would ask my older children to research some aspects of their traditions to the various parts of Europe they originate.

What is unique about your Christmas?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Teacher Wishes

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a STORE WIDE SALE November 28th & 29th - a great time to grab a bargain or an item (or two) you have on your wish list. As part of the sales celebrations I am linking up to Daisy Designs with my Top Three Wish List Items from my store.

Although my materials are aimed for a Montessori classroom, many (most) would be equally useful in other educational settings, especially if your classroom uses centres or inquiry work.

Tied at #1 are the two Logical Agreement Games - these are usually purchased hand in hand, and why not they're a bargain even when not on sale!

Matching adjectives to nouns, or verbs to adverbs, can be tonnes of fun. It really appeals to the elementary child's sense of humour as they sort through the pairs as they inevitably mix them up on their path of discovery. You can see my blog post HERE.

At #2 is the Solar System Who Am I? Cards - these work best for small groups or pairs, but can be done with a larger group.

Just as the name suggests, the question cards have facts and clues for students to guess which planet the card is about. An engaging way for students to reinforce their knowledge. You can find my blog post about them HERE.

At #3 is my Collective Noun Cards - a set of 16 cards of image and label.

I use these with a copy of the cards made into a booklet for students to read and to act as a control if working independently. The blog post is HERE.

If you are buying during the sale be sure to use the code: CYBER2016 to save up to 28% off.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Christmas Themed Grammar

I have several tutoring students that attend Montessori schools, which is exciting for me as I can do what I love best and do specifically Montessori lessons and activities with them using materials and techniques that are familiar to them.

Something that I probably would not do in a Montessori classroom, and have been vocal in the past about, is themed work. Yet in the context of tutoring, limited time frames and keeping things a little fresh I have let a little of this creep into my planning.

So on my shelves this week I have prepared some simple sentences for symbolic grammar work, starting with simple article, adjective, noun sentences moving to article, adjective, noun and verb and then some with other grammar functions included as well.

I have an older student who is in upper elementary, with him I will use a variety of texts to practise the parts of speech such as a Christmas Carol, a poem and perhaps a passage from Dickens.

These sentence strips will be put into envelopes with the correct symbols included for the student to work with independently then discuss with me when they have completed their work.

For one of my ASD students I will probably use these as copy work as we are working on their hand writing. Too many words on a page is overwhelming for him, so to have small strips to work with will be perfect.

You can find the file for free HERE.

Featured Links:

New link-up on the first Wednesday of each month (next link-up is 7th December) and is open for three weeks. Link your posts relating to elementary age (6 - 12) hands-on, Montessori, Montessori-inspired learning and activities. 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Norwegian Language Series

I recently had a customer reach out and make a request for some of my materials be translated into her native language, Norwegian. With Ellen's help I now have the following materials available in Norwegian:
Note: Any future Norwegian materials will be added to this post.

You can find other products at my TpT Store.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Elementary Narratives {It's Elementary! Link Up #4}

The child on the second plane of development is driven by their intellectual growth and the power of imagination. The child undergoes the transformation between 6 and 12 to become an abstract thinker, concrete materials are still used to assist this process but they are not for sensorial impressions like the previous plane of development. Rather than sensorial impressions the second plane child is most receptive to intellectual impressions.

Stories in the elementary class are not limited to the Great Lessons. There are many stories to accompany other lessons and concepts - some are variations of those created by Mario Montessori and the key Montessorians that cultivated Dr Montessori's concept of cosmic education. Some stories are handed down from trainers, some are original creations of individual teachers.

I have read (and heard!) several different versions of stories about the gift of plants, the piece of paper that speaks, the multitude, the black pyramid, the four strange brothers, the first counting, the story of tan, the triangles club, the three kings, and so many more. These stories capture and spark the child interest in concepts that are more abstract than what they have previously experienced.

My favourite resource for cosmic education and story telling is Children of the Universe by Michael and D'Neil Duffy.

I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of the newly released The Deep Well of Time (which is proving difficult here in Australia) by master story teller and Montessorian, Michael Dorer. There are already whispers of a follow up book.

It's Elementary!