Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 15

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Good morning Montessori Families,
Thanks so much for extending grace to me with communication responses. With the move, the holidays, a house guest, Josey’s softball games and non existent internet at our new place, my response time may not have been as quick as you have experienced from me in the past. We hoped to be settled in (ha ha! at least with internet access — still trying to locate shoes!) by this weekend so that I can at least return to the routine we have established together.
Here is a recap of Thanksgiving week:
Kevin’s Celebration of Life
life cycle of a penguin
Land and Water forms: strait and isthmus
North America: living vs. nonliving
Handwriting: lowercase e
Writers Workshop: beginning/middle/end of a story
History: Seasons — how they mark time/history
Continued Conversations about bodies of water/art project: island, lake, strait, isthmus
Fire Drill
Cooking Day — so awesome! Tex Mex Quinoa YUM
Math: what comes before/what comes after
North America: Grand Canyon Project shared with class
Handwriting: your choice worksheet
We are thankful place mats — thank you for all the leaves that we had to choose from. We began the morning with the investigation of our Botany Cabinet and discovering what types of leaves are available in Arizona. Why do we have a botany cabinet? Directly, the Botany Cabinet is a great activity for a child to develop visual discrimination. The activity relies on the child being able to distinguish one leaf shape from another. Indirectly, the Botany Cabinet is preparation for further botany work in the Primary and Elementary classroom, including developing appropriate language and investigation of the natural world.
We looked up the word “botany” in the dictionary. We discovered we had eight different types of leaves to work with for our project. When creating the place mats, we applied the use of fractions and pattern making to create the designs you see on the placemat. We also included the poem we say before we each lunch together every day (please forgive the typo UGH!)
Math: Crisis of 9
Zoology: Penguins
Stay tuned for this week’s newsletter!
Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 14

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Good morning Montessori Kindergarten Families,

It was so good to see you all at our Learning Celebrations this week. Your children were so excited to be able to show you how much they have learned and grown in our 14 weeks together. It was beautiful to watch everyone become immersed in the environment that we all have created together. It was TRULY student led and as a teacher I felt very blessed to witness it.

Some of the work you saw in your child’s working folders included:
-one of our first art projects based on the theme “living and nonliving” — flowers and cow skulls inspired by Georgia O’Keefe

Image result for cow skulls georgia o'keeffe

-flip book: life cycle of a bat
– “A Noun is A …” book written by your child where they had to choose a person, place, thing illustrate it and write the sentences on his/her own — including spelling the words phonetically
– Map of North America — I want to share a bit about what went into that project. The countries were ‘cut out’ through a pin poking activity — NOT scissors — and was completed entirely by your child. Pin poking helps a child develop his/her pincer grip, co-ordination, and concentration. A child must be able to sit and focus, be ready to handle a sharp object without hurting themselves or others, and show interest in the activity. The placement and the writing of the countries and their names was also done by your child. This really is a BIG work.

No school

-Riot’s Birthday Celebration
-Introduce: Turkey, Penguins, chicken, turkey, kitchen utensils language work and life cycle work for the month
-Physical science: Matter — solid, liquid, gas
-Group discussion: chickens-where do they live? How do chickens begin their
lives? What does a rooster look like?
-H.W.T: practice review of all uppercase letters/ introduce lowercase u and cvc words with “u”
-Continue illustration work on “Seeds” book


-ABCs of North America: Tornado
-Character trait: responsible

Working Meetings: ½ day and full day
 — COMPLETE map of North America
-Complete illustration of “Seeds” book and cut/assemble/bind
– Matter: focus on liquid
-Begin Weaving project: review of Native American textiles
-ABCs of North America: Umpire
-Character trait: kindhearted
-Language: singular vs. plural
-Math: single digit addend + addend + addend
-Focus: egg, baby, mother penguins

-Whole Group: punctuation — introduce exclamation point
-Physical science: solid/liquid/gas
-Solid- can it change shape?/ Liquid- does it change shape?/What is similar? Different?
-Language: 2 person work sorting/matching
-ABCs of North America: Vancouver
-Character trait: Neighborly
-Introduce spelling practice with moveable alphabet

-Group Math: single digit addend + addend + addend
-Morning work: choose your handwriting
-Physical Science: Land and Water Forms
-Introduce: lake and island
-Solid vs. liquid: holds/conforms to shape of vessel

-Everyone at Sound Table today
-North America: White House
-Character: Brave
-Full day: finish weaving project
Extend the Learning: Demonstrate with an ice cube solid, liquid and gas — 

Thanks to all of you who were able to volunteer your time this week!

See you all tomorrow,
Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 13

Photo by Jeffrey Lin on Unsplash

Good morning Montessori Kindergarten Families,

Happy Armistice Day! I want to take a moment to thank everyone that has served and those who have supported and encouraged and stood by service members. It is call that has a heavy price tag attached to it and you should never be forgotten for the sacrifices that have been and continue to be made.

We started our physical science unit this week discussing matter in all sorts of creative ways as you will see in the daily notes. We continue on with our conversations about North America and invite any new projects that have been created to be dropped of at school once they are complete. Our working meetings has been a lovely addition to our classroom time. We had our first Art Masterpiece lesson with Mrs. M on Monday. Finally we created a mural to celebrate the Veterans we know of in our class. If you did not get a chance to send me the name of one you know, you can still do so and we will add the name to the mural.

The class is SO EXCITED for our Learning Celebration this week. I hope that you are all able to attend.

Art Masterpiece with Mrs. M:
 Thankfulness project “3 Poplar Trees in Autumn” by Claude Monet (Impressionism)

Three Poplar Trees in the Autumn

Introduce new sight words
Handwriting: lowercase a,d
Physical Science: Matter Defined: something that takes up space
Dimension #1: Size: small, big, little, tiny, huge, medium
Observation Table: Textiles from Native Americans/Language cards of various Native American textiles
ABCs of North America: Ontario
Character: Humble
Labeling Maps of North America

Morning: your choice from each: math, language, handwriting
Physical science: Matter — mass — Heavy, light
Using scales: bucket scales
H.W.T: lowercase c,o,w,d,a
Video: Matter Chatter 

Gradation of color: Color Box III
Art Project: Veterans Mural honoring the Veteran families represented in our classroom: Red Poppies
Character trait: generous
ABC’s of North America: pinata
Quiet Reading: penguins, owls, turkeys
Working Meetings: ½ day and full day — map of North America
Continue working on Veterans Day mural
Handwriting: Sentence writing — 4 word sentences
Physical Science: Matter — Texture
Your choice: math, language — one in each category
Everyone at Sound Table today
North America: Quetzal
Character: loyal
Whole Group: starts seeds to plant book — illustration
Finish Veterans Day mural: cutting, gluing, handwriting, organizing, collaboration
Physical Science: matter/shapes — revisit geometric solids work
Video: Measure weight for kids: 

Measure land, water, air jars using a postage scale — light, heavy revisited
Begin 2 person teams: working on sight words
North America: Rockies
Character: Obedient
Group work: Life cycle of a bat flip book
Morning work: choose your math and language
Physical Science: Matter — Color

Everyone at Sound Table today
Continue reading book on bats
Work on illustrating pages 3 and 4 of seeds book
North America: Sequoia
Character: Wise
Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Remember NO SCHOOL on Monday.
Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 12

Photo by Hannah Tasker on Unsplash

Good afternoon Montessori Kindergarten Families,

It is been 12 weeks of working, growing and sharing together as a community. I truly hope this has been a beautiful experience for your families. I marvel at the opportunity to witness the changes in your children as they are introduced to new concepts and then delight and thrive in the processes that a Montessori classroom offers. This month we are moving into becoming more independent in the classroom as each one becomes more comfortable with what a work cycle entails. Specifically, this means that every day each student has an opportunity to work on language, math, handwriting and cultural studies with practical life and sensorial activities rounding out the day.

This week we began having working meetings when we sit together and bring our folders which contain some of our long tern activities like creating and publishing a book, writers workshop activities and our maps of North America and we discuss how we can help each other to complete the tasks and discuss anything new we may be learning in the creation process.

The building projects that have come in based on the theme North America have been incredible! You would be so proud to see how each one has been able to stand in front of their peers with minimal prompting and give us his/her three interesting facts. The bonus is how I have witnessed spontaneous encouragement like “great job!” or “that is so good” and to hear from students who may not necessarily speak up in group time share with confidence.

Morning Handwriting/Writers Workshop: Punctuation: period/question mark/Noun/Article
Rhyming books
Write the room North America: A-F
Book: Stelluluna
Quiet reading: books on seeds and bats
Handwriting: v,w
Publishing a book: “A Noun is a…”
Math your choice: addition or subtraction
Math lesson: ten board
Character trait of the day: patience
ABC’s of North America: kayak
Sorting/Language: seeds/planting,bats, spiders, life cycles
Morning Handwriting: uppercase J
Smelling jars: pumpkin spice seasonings
Make cover of book “A Noun Is a…”
Life cycle of a bat
Bat gestation vs. human gestation
60 days vs 270 days In tens/more/less/larger/smaller
Begin community work meetings:working on publishing our books together
Math review: skip counting by 5’s/5s cubed bead chain
Character trait: industrious
ABC’s of North America: lobster
Early Dismissal: 11:00AM
Language work in groups: lesson on alphabetizing
Art: draw a scarecrow/lesson on the purpose of scarecrows
Continued conversation: life cycle of a bat
Sequencing: how to roast pumpkin seeds
Shared snack/food tasting: pumpkin seeds
ABCs of North America: Maple
· Choose handwriting option from your cubby
· ​Choose math option from your packet
· ​Practical life decreased to 2 bookshelves
· ​Working meetings
Goal: more independence
Student presentations:
· ​Redwood forest — (use of nonstandard measurement to figure out width of trees), Looked up bark in the dictionary
· ​Niagara Falls — watched a video of what Niagara Falls sounds like
· Big Ben — Video: sound of Big Ben
Narrative writing lesson: talked about beginning, middle and end of a story
H.W.T: START LOWERCASE: t,o,c,w,s to make cvc words
Working meeting: construct our maps of North America
Morning work: choose your math
Working meeting: Continue book making — A Noun is a ____
Small Group lesson on adjectives
Finish reading Stelluluna — look at  the skeleton of a bat wing vs human arm
Student presentations:
· ​Golden Gate Bridge
· ​Chicago Water Tower
Character trait: loyal
ABCs of North America: Niagara Falls
Next week, we will start a weaving project to accompany our study of Native Americans. If anyone has any weaving/baskets/etc. that you wouldn’t mind allowing us to have in our class next week, we would be so appreciative.
Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 11

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Good Morning Montessori Kindergarten Families,

I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone. To say that your child is learning and growing at a rapid pace seems like an understatement. These last few weeks have been full of discovery and interest in the life cycles we have been exploring and in our book making skills. Plus we have extended our learning on measurement because so many are fascinated by measuring everything in our room! A few have created their own charts to document their data. It is an honor to see each one take ownership of his/her education.
We began to create our individual maps of the main countries found in North America and I anticipate we should have them created and labeled by mid November, just in time for our Learning Celebration on November 15. We finished our 4 day project of making individual dream catchers which you can now see displayed outside of our classroom. And we explored symmetry by creating individual spiders; those can be found hung in the classroom. And we did a cool experiment to discover why spiders do not stick to their webs.

We finished up our 30 days of emotions this week. Next conversations will center around character. So the progression is Peace — kindness — emotions — character and then we go back and review as needed tying all four concepts together.

Writers Workshop: sentence/question/exclamation
Introducing: mini reader stories/comprehension questions
Art Lesson: spiders/Native American/North America tie in — dream catchers
Math Lesson: subtraction
Emotion of the Day: Calm
ABC’s of North America: Finger Lakes
Afternoon Lesson: Land and Water globe/Land, Water, Air Lesson
Sorting/Language: land, water, air/autumn/living or nonliving/plant or animal
Handwriting: I, T

Morning Handwriting: C,O
Art walk: Native American Homes
Science Experiment/Spiders: Why don’t spiders stick to their webs?
Symmetry/line: complete the drawing of a spider
Morning Lesson: what is a line?
Math: fill in the missing number/sequential numbers
Math: what is the difference between 1,10,100,1000
Day 2: Dreamcatcher project
Video: Why don’t spiders stick to their webs? 

ABCs of North America: Grand Canyon
Morning Handwriting: J
Continue dream catchers
Morning Lesson: Math — addend + addend + addend
Continue lesson on Lines: making lines with our bodies
Book making: making rhyming books
Language/Dictionary lesson: plow, harvest, barn
Emotion of the Day: valued
ABC’s of North America: hockey
Spider Vocabulary: venom, paralyze
Handwriting- START LOWERCASE: c, o
Use rulers to create lines on our chalkboards
Continue Pin poking work of the countries: United States and Mexico and Canada
Begin to construct our countries into a map of North America
Continue working on dream catchers
Silence Game
Book making: begin making “A Noun is a…” book
Morning work: all levels math
Handwriting: numbers choice 1–10 repetitive or 1–30 tracing
Continue book making: A Noun is a ____
Finish Dream catchers
Group Lesson: Create 8 types of lines/turn them into a figure/object
Handwriting: lowercase s
Continue Pin poking work of the countries: United States and Mexico and Canada and continue on…
Video: All About Bats 

Emotion of the Day: zealous (LAST DAY)
ABC’s of North America begins: JAZZ
A quick reminder about the Building project for North America — I hope your child has shown some interest in creating one!
Mrs. Norgren