Thursday, January 26, 2012

Art Rubbings

A favorite art project is to lay out collected items that have a good texture that can be covered with paper and rubbed with a crayon.  

I draw free hand designs to be rubbed onto to give the project more structure.

This computer created design also adds interest and focal points.

These 6 circles become a study of texture.

Kids will do this over and over with gusto using all the patterns and textures. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Practical Life on a Budget

My small school, Dundee Montessori, is operated in my parent's original home that I inherited. I have no big board of directors or big school budget. I make every decision on every detail by myself or with the help of Miss Shirley, who has been a teacher with the school for 14 years.

As a creative person, as most Montessori teachers are, my goal has been to present unique and original works for my students to do each day. I often tell them that this school will be the only place they will ever handle cow bones, or hold a horseshoe crab, or do the cool, fun practical life works I cobble together from cast offs.

I love putting practical life works together. We call them "table works" at my school and I continue to put new exercises together even though my store room is filled. I adore estate sales and Goodwill and so I continue to buy very cheap objects and I continue to love finding a way to use them. For me it is like a puzzle I must figure out. I bought these napkins rings but what do I use them for?

Here are the works on my shelf now that have all come from estate sales or Goodwill. 
Every tray, dish or spoon has been a bargain! 

Metal tins fit the star basket to make an attractive spooning work

Fuzzy pipe cleaners poke into this salt shaker.

Q-tips down the hole!

Sparkly pom poms drop into color coordinated napkin rings.

Those goofy ceramic kitchen animals with a spoon for a tail becomes one of our favorite works. 
Many different pieces from all different places comes together perfectly. 

Indian brass incense burners become a lid and top matching work with a pink pom pom to add inside.

What to do with a unique tree shaped bottle and hair bands.

So, all that is old is new again and finds a new and useful life!
The unwanted cast offs are very much needed in my life as a Montessori teacher.

Rock Unit

I rotate science units monthly and this is the start to our rock, fossils, and volcano unit 
which will take a couple months to go through. 
If you have seen my other science units you know I am a huge collector of all things natural.

A tray of crystals with a page from some workbook to sort them by size.
I try to add a paper work to most things because my kids love to do a paper element to take home.

Petrified wood to handle.

Naming different rocks.

I collected the geodes with the red dots and rubber bands to hold them shut in a stream in Iowa - a fossil meca.  When I taught Montessori in Iowa City, fossils were at every stream and mixed in the gravel in neighborhood driveways. I could actually walk down the street and collect fossils in people's drive. 

I will post my fossil unit later on. Watch for it.

Liebster Award to Little Ole Me!

Sasha,  at tothelesson.blogspot,  has awarded this to blogs of interest. 
She was nice enough to give my blog one of the awards!
Please see her really wonderful blog!
And thank you, Sasha, for the honor!