Monday, December 17, 2012

Reading, Spelling and Word Study the Montessori Way

I love Montessori Language Arts from pink, blue and green series work to word study, it is a style of learning that keeps children engaged and wanting more.  I have said it before, we work slow here at the Middle of Somewhere, so while I see 7 year olds completing green level work my 10 year old is slowly working through that series for complete spelling mastery.  My 8 year old is working through blue and pink is for our 6 year old. The pink, blue and green series is the foundation to Montessori reading and it naturally incorporates spelling and writing skills.  The pink and blue series focuses on 3 and then 4 letter phonetic words and the green series works on vowel and consonant blends.  The Helpful Garden ( look on the left sidebar) is a great place to print free series work and Montessori for Everyone offers great posts on using the materials as well as purchasable work. I have also purchased a lot of series work from Montessori Print Shop.

pink objects and spelling with the moveable alphabet

more pink objects for spelling and reading

reading pink level word cards

more pink objects and moveable alphabet work

blue series words and objects for spelling and reading

blue series work with objects.  My older children also like to write out the words rather than use the moveable alphabet.

identifying vowel sounds in pink series words

spelling blue series words

matching objects to pink series word cards

We also supplement with some non Montessori work:
This is a vowel and consonant sort I quickly put together. 

 And here is a look at some work K has been doing using the You Can Read series from 1+1+1=1:

circling sight words

sight word review
We are also working on a bit of word study, although I don't have pictures to show it.

E working on green level word study cards for suffixes.
Word study at our house usually consists of compound words, rhyming words, synonyms, antonyms, prefixes, suffixes, and contractions to name a few.  I really like that Montessori for Learning has word study sets equated with the pink, blue and green series.  Scroll through this page to see what they have to offer.  Once the children have completed all the "card work" available to them, then they move onto worksheets or recording the work in their notebooks. 

Today is Montessori Monday and I'm linking up!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Herb Infused Chickpea Salad from The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook

Getting a Christmas tree is always an adventure. From getting our permit, driving the icy fire roads to finding the tree we bring home I never know what to expect.  This year we didn't have a definite day we were going to go tree hunting so when we decided to go on the spur of the moment Monday morning, I was scrambling for lunch.  Instead of the typical cheese, apples and protien bars, common lunch on the go items before our Beach Body Ultimate Reset, I made this:

Herb-Infused Chickpea Salad all ready to go on a Christmas tree hunt.
 This salad is one of many delicious recipes from The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook. Karma Chow is a vegan/plant based guide filled with wonderful breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert ideas.  I had heard of Melissa's book and once hubs and I completed Beach Body's Ultimate Reset I was glad to have it for our new way of eating.
So here's the recipe:

mix the following in a bowl:
2 15 oz. can of chickpeas (I make my own in the crockpot)
1/4 c. sliced sundried tomatoes
 1 small red onion (I used green onion instead)
4 garlic cloves
1 celery stalk
1 can artichokes hearts

toss with the the following Herbed Lemon Dressing ( I like to make my dressings in a jar for easy shaking or in the blender.)

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. chopped rosemary
salt and pepper

Hubs and I liked this salad so much that I have made it twice already.

So you want to see our tree, right?  Oh, but wait, first the children:

 And here is the humongo tree in our tiny little truck:

And now our tree all decorated:

Yes, I know many would say you cannot call that thing a Christmas tree, it's a full blown tree.  As hubs says " we have the space so why not use it."

Monday, December 10, 2012


Hi everyone, thank-you for stopping by to see what is happening here at the Middle of Somewhere.  In my last math update I said I wanted to share more about geometry and fraction work and that I shall do starting with geometry.  Our children had an introduction to geometry last year so we started out with a review of the geometric solids.
E is matching solids and 3 part cards.

K is matching solid pictures and word cards. I read the word cards and she did the matching.

A is sorting pictures of objects that are in different geometric solid shapes.

I set up a lot of the review in center type activities that the children rotated through and they seemed to really enjoy this way of practicing the work.  It gave the children choice of what order they completed the work but allowed me to facilitate what I wanted them to work on.

Here is a great post at Living Montessori Now for DIY geometric solids and solid activity ideas.  Our solids are a combination of items I found amongst the children's toys and a basic wood set I purchased off Ebay.  Our three part cards are from Montessori Print Shop. Also from Montessori Print shop are our solid sorting cards.

After our review we moved onto Polygon work. We started with this free set of lessons that used both objects from home and the geometry sticks. I loved the lessons, they were simple and well laid out and the sticks were such an interest catcher for our children. I purchased the sticks from Kid Advance Montessori and cork board squares from either Target of Walmart.  We just worked our way through the lessons and I added in other activities when appropriate.  We also went through this little booklet about polygons from Montessori Print Shop. When we pick up geometry again in January we will continue to work our way through the other booklets that Montessori Print Shop has to offer on triangles, angels, circles and lines.

E matching up geometric pictures to the number of sides they have and their names.

K is using the geoboards to make geometric shapes.     

K using geometry sticks to make a triangle.

A using the geometry sticks to make the polygon of his choice.

As you can see I have used both a combination of free and purchased materials.  Here are some links to free downloadable materials that may be helpful as you put together your own lessons:

Montessori Materials

Wikisori--scroll down to the geometry section

Cultivating Dharma

The biggest help I had in planning our lessons was this post from Making Montessori Ours.

Today is Montessori Monday and I am linking up, go visit and check out what others are doing at home to make the Montessori style of education attainable to all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

First Grade Math

Math, Writing and Reading have been my over all goals for this term of lessons.  So in my next few Montessori posts I hope to fill you all in on how we have been progressing in geometry, fractions and operations.  It has been a fun time to watch the children learn with so many wonderful Montessori and other manipulatives, it has really kept our studies fresh and interesting.  However for now, here is a look at some of what K, our 1st grader has been working on in her individual work time:

K is working in her math book, she loves this little book and would complete page after page, if I let her..  I printed this book our for each of my children from here. The books are free and they are a great tool for daily math practice. 

Practicing place value with our version of the "golden beads"  If I did not already have the rods I probably would have gone with a base ten set as an affordable "golden beads" option.

More place value practice with the large number cards.

Learning to use a number line for addition using a addition equation booklet and white board to right her answeres

Working on money sense with the money exchange game, we play to .50 cents now but I think she is ready to move onto 1.00 dollar.  Here are the directions.

As we head into December all of the children will be working on operations.  K will be starting with the subtraction strip board, A will be reviewing multi-digit multiplication and moving onto the division board and E will be advancing in division.

For more inspiring lesson ideas visit Montessori Monday.

Blessings for your week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Pumpkin Farm

Before we completely say good by to fall and usher in Christmas and winter, I wanted to post our trip to the Pumpkin Farm.  Bishop's Pumpkin Farm is about 2 hours from our home and it is one of the highlights of our year.  Our visit is often our last chance to soak  up the warm sun rays before we put on our winter coats.

 The Hayride:

The Perfect Pumpkin:

A Train Ride:

Panning for Marbles:

Digging for Hours:

A Little Treat Before We Go:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Books

I have so many posts swirling around in my head but this seemed the easiest and quickest to get out, considering our Christmas book box is sitting in the mudroom.  When we started our family I remember reading of others' traditions to buy a book a year, so as our children grew we would create a beloved Christmas Library.  Over the years we have been given books and I have bought books at thrift stores, garage sales and on Amazon,  Our collection is getting quite sizeable and I love nothing better than an early winter's evening with all of us on the couch reading our books.  Last year I wrapped all of our books and used them to count down the days to the big event.  The children had so much fun keeping me on track--"mom, you forgot to read today, again."  Yes, I am not perfect so some days we had to play catch-up and read 2 or 3 books.  So here is a smattering of our favorites:

One Wintery Night by Ruth Bell Graham

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell & Jason Cockroft

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Hubs gave me this book when we were engaged.  The story tells of 3 trees with big dreams but those dreams turn out to be better than they ever imagined as the trees are cut down and fashioned into the image of our Lord.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

'Twas the Night, The Nativity Story by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

I love the pictures in this book, especially the one at the end where Mr. Toomey is throwing his head back in joyous laughter.  This is a touching story of overcoming loss and opening one's heart to what God brings to your door.

My First Little House Books Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck & Felicia Bond

Saint Nicholas, The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett

Just a fun book to read because of all the associated activities and lessons.  This year I am looking here for some educational activities and here for some baking inspiration for gingerbread bark.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

When hubs first moved to Truckee he spent many nights with good friends reading this book, so it isn't just for kids. This particular family would cuddle up and take turns reading the story chapter by chapter.  The story is about the misadventures of one rebellious, undesirable family's infiltration into a church's Christmas pageant.  I have laughed so hard that tears have rolled down my face.

Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide

We take the Ytreeide books in small chunks the month before Christmas. These books are full of adventure and suspense wrapped in unpredicatable turns all leading to a little stable in Bethlehem.

Bartholomew's Passage by Arnold Ytreeide

Tabitha's Travels by Arnold Ytreeide

Christmas Stories for the Heart Complied by Alice Gray

I am sure the children would enjoy these short stories but this one is for the mommies.  Go hide in your room with a good cup of afternoon tea.

I am busy putting pen to paper for Christmas plans, from gifts to lessons this is a busy  time.  I beg the Lord's grace to myself and all of you as we decorate, shop, bake and wrap.  I strive to remember, it will all get done in His time, so don't loose sleep and stop to savor the little once a year moments that make up Christmas.

I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning with Centers and File Folder Games

I have been a long time fan of File Folder Games and Take It To Your Seat Centers and over the years I have made and collected quite a number of books, folder sets and websites.  Yet, I found myself not being able to fit them into our schedule but this year I decided to dedicate one morning a week to these great learning tools.  I think Centers and Folders are great tools for learning both new material and reviewing old lessons.

The children know that Wednesday mornings are folder and center mornings.  Each child has their own box full of appropriate materials to work on.  The children are required to pick one folder or center from each of these subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Geography and Science.  They are to complete their selections and call me over to check them before they clean-up.  At this point, all the children have to do is complete the folders but in our winter term I am going to ask them to also record in their learning journals what they have worked on.  For Example, in this picture E is working on a Science Layers of the Earth Folder and I would ask her to make a  notebook page for her journal.

I also think having a folders and centers morning breaks up our week, so we don't get bored or run down in our daily lesson routine.  The folders and centers also meets my goal for providing as many hands on learning experiences as possible and cultivates independent learning.

Here are a couple Math examples of folders:

Martian Multiplication

Turkey Feather Addition with an added number line. (It has been so long but I think both this folder and the one above are from File Folder Fun, a site full of free folder games.)

And a couple of Geography Examples:

World Continents from Take it To your Seat Geography Centers.

Land Forms--also from Take It To You Seat Geography Centers.

Here are a few of the Take it to Your Seat Centers we use:

Take it to Your Seat Phonics Centers
Take it to Your Seat Science Centers
Take it to Your Seat Geography Centers
Take it to Your Seat Math Centers
Take it to Your Seat Writing Centers

The Take it to Your Seats come in many grade levels so I did not include them all so be sure to look for the level that is appropriate for you child.

We also use a variety of folder games from Lakeshore Learning:

Science File Folder Fun
Fractions, Decimals and Percents Elementary Folder Games
Puzzle Fun Math Cards

Again, a lot of these folder kits come in a variety of age and subject areas, so be sure to take some time and see if what you are looking for is available.

It is Monday so I am linking up with Montessori Monday.

Have a great week!