Saturday, October 1, 2011

Montessori Record Keeping...

When I began teaching in Montessori I found record keeping and taking observation notes was a difficult thing for me to handle and be consistent with. Over time, I have found a stressless way for me to have a plan. Montessori records and lesson plans are all individualized. As Montessori teachers, we "follow" the child through observations to see what the child may need: intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically and spiritually.

First I have a legal sized clipboard. The first page is a Lesson Plan grid with 25 spaces for me to have each child's name. Below are lessons that I plan on giving the child. After I give the lesson, I put a check mark next to the lesson to remind me it has been given.

If you have an assistant that knows what most of the works are called, I would have them record what each child is working on in the morning hours. This has given me more time to focus on lessons to the children and I can really observe the children in the environment instead of, "Sam had snack, cards and counters, etc." You will have time to observe the child and write ample notes. At the end of the morning, my assistant will give me her list. I then transfer this onto my Daily Record Keeping form. This monthly record shows lessons the child had, what they are working on, emotional/social behavior and a parent communication record.

When it is time for me to communicate with a parent, I am easily able to look at my notes and observations. This also allows me to easily transfer my records in the "official" checklist.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Grace and Courtesy Lessons

In the Montessori classroom Grace and Courtey lessons are continous. These lesson allow the children to become aware and mindful of what they are doing in the classroom. For example, I may say "I am closing the door quietly." or " I am walking slowly in the classroom."

Everyday kindness and courtesy are vital practical life skills. Lessons in Grace and Courtesy teach everyday social customs, such as how to enter a room, not to disturb another’s work, how to ask if you may join in an activity and how to graciously decline an invitation, table manners, and how to offer an apology.

"We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit. It is the teacher's joy to welcome the manifestation of the spirit." 

This year at our school, we are having a new monthly parent gathering called Montessori & Munchies. Within the 1 hour, teachers have prepared a Montessori topic that will lead into a group discussion. In August the topic was Grace and Courtesy lessons. Below I would like to share few lessons my collages put together for Toddler to Elementary.
- Maria Montessori 

Eating Habits
  • Using s fork and spoon correctly
  • Chewing food with mouth closed
  • Sitting quietly in chair during a meal
Toilet Training
  • How and when to go to the bathroom
Proper Hygiene
  • How to wash hands
  • How to blow your nose
  • How to say "please" and "thank you"


Social Skills
  • How to greet people
  • How to shake hands when greeting someone
  • How to excuse oneself when walking in front of someone
  • How to interrupt when necessary
  • How to hand objects to another person, especially sharps objects like scissors and knives
  • How to say "please" and "thank you"
  • How to care for a pet
  • How to water a plant
  • How to clean up a spill
  • How to open and close a door quietly
  • How to pick up and carry a chair


Social Skills
  • How to work with another person
  • How to resolve conflict
  • How to mediate between friends
  • How to help a younger friend

  • Writing a thank you note
  • Speaking politely to friends, family and teachers
  • Being kind to others

  • How to care for plants and animals
  • Setting up a table for a meal
  • How to clean and straighten a classroom or home
  • How to serve in the community
  • Caring for the earth

Kids Top Five Yoga Exercises

5 Sure-Fire Kids Yoga Exercises

Washing Machine: This is a great Kundalini Yoga warm-up that kids love because it is active and fun! In easy pose put your hands on your shoulders (fingers in front, thumbs in back). Then twist left and right like a washing machine. You can do breathing – inhaling as you go left and exhaling as you go right, but it’s also fun to say “swish, swish” as you go to each side. (Bonus Pose: Follow this one up with Dryer Pose where you rotate your hands around each other in front of your chest – said to be great for co-ordination and the brain)

Bicycle: In yoga we do bicycle lying on the back and pedaling our legs in the air (see picture). Finish by pedalling up a hill then going down the hill holding your legs stretched wide by your head and shout, “weeeeeeeeee!” (you don’t need to peddle down a hill!)  
Tricky Tree: A favorite in the partner yoga genre. In tree pose, both partners face forward and balance on one foot. Instead of putting your foot on your own leg, stretch it towards your partner and let them hold it up for you. One person holds a foot in front and the other person holds the foot behind their leg. You kind of look like a capital “H” when you do it. It is very tricky for pre-schoolers so you may need to help them balance in this one.  
Human Teacher Puppet: Want to get everyone’s attention in a class? Let one child sit on your lap and pretend they are teaching the class. Gently hold their wrists and move their arms around for them in a very animated way as you describe the next pose. Use different voices and accents, try hand gestures like using their hand to scratch their head or blow kisses. This is so popular the kids may start to jump on your lap the moment you sit down – so develop some kind of system to keep track of which kids have had a turn.

The Worry Tree: This is a beautiful image we use for relaxing. We have an imagination session for relaxation and go to different places in our imagination. At the beginning of the session we put all our worries on a big tree we call The Worry Tree. You put all the worries you can think of on there and when you are done then you start your imagination session. This is another one kids will ask for at the beginning of the class.
Aruna Humphrys