Diary of First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 4

Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

Hi Montessori Kindergarten Families,

I hope this is a restful AND adventurous weekend for you all. I have attached the new snack calendar for the month and I want to give you a heads up that a Scholastic Book Order flyer will be coming home on Tuesday. You can place your order online (my teacher code will be on the flyer) and that will eliminate the issue of lost money. I hope you enjoy picking out some lovely new books — you will notice the prices are really GREAT AND we get points for new books in the classroom. PLUS if you make a purchase of $25+, you are entitled to a FREE book. You have until September 25, 2018 to place the order.
Okay! ON WITH THE WEEK AT A GLANCE! (at the end, I offer ways to extend the learning):

We welcomed new plants into the classroom and CONTINUED our group discussions on living and nonliving. The students came up with a criteria of what makes something ‘living vs. nonliving’: to be considered for the living category, you have to eat, grow and move. We have had some LIVELY discussions around this criteria all week — think about how you would differentiate between the two.
Our 30 days of kindness campaign continues. The following are this week’s conversations: say ‘thank you’ to someone, ask a NEW friend to play with you, tell someone to ‘have a nice day’, ask, ‘how are you?’, do something nice for a teacher
Letter focus this week: S,M,A,T
Handwriting Focus this week: Ss,Mm,Aa,Tt NUMBERS: 1–5 first/last name day of the week

Sorting/Category work: mothers and babies, living vs. nonliving, what does not belong, short o, colors
Watch a video called “The ABCs of Occupations (extending our community helpers theme)”

(ask your child which occupation he/she said she/he wanted to be 🙂 )
Group Conversation: Let’s talk about flowers (favorite flower, how do they grow, have YOU ever planted a flower)
Fire Drill
0–10 addition all students worked on math — practiced writing numbers, discussion about what addition means, the symbols of addition, the concept of zero
Georgia O’Keefe art — watched a video gallery of her work — representations of living (flowers) and nonliving (cow skulls) — created flowers with watercolors, chalk pastels, drawing

Science Experiment: Weather — Convection Currents (THANK YOU to L’s family for making ALL the ice cubes for the class) Students drew a picture and discussed with the group what they noticed.  
We set up our INDIVIDUAL bins today. 
Book: “I wish you more” by A. Rosenthall and T. Lichtenheld
Video: skip counting to 100 by 10s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCJug1WlYJs

Book — “I am Peace — a Book of Mindfulness” — by Susan Verde
Grace and Courtesy lesson: What do we do if someone is hitting us or pushing us? 

1. We say in our strongest voice ‘stop it! I don’t like it” — we make sure we do not have a smile on our face. We walk/run away from the person. 
2. We tell a teacher that you are being hit/hurt/pushed and the teacher will help you 
3. We tell Mrs. Norgren and we tell our parents what happened and what you or the teacher did to solve the problem.

Peace DOES NOT mean that you should be hit/pushed/hurt
Llamas go home today
We created cow skulls using pencil and acrylic paint

1. Play a game pointing items out as you take a talk and play ‘is it living or nonliving?’
2. Estimating: we have started playing a game called “Estimation jar” where the students can take a clipboard around the room and a jar of random objects and ask their friends to estimate how many items are in the jar. At the end of the week, we count the number of items together. Did you know estimating is a good skill to acquire because as the student continue to grow in their math experiences, the ability to estimate helps them to gauge if they are on the right track with their attempts to solve the problem/find a solution. It is super easy to come up with ways to play the estimation game i.e how long do you think it will take to…

NEED FOR NEXT WEEK: aluminum canned good can please ( FOR NEXT WEEK’S EXPERIMENT)

Alright families, I will wrap it up. YES we definitely cover a lot of ground every week. I truly hope your child is enjoying her/his learning experience.

Warm regards,
Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 3

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Hi Kindergarten Montessori Families,

I hope your weekend is going well! I am pleased to report another lovely week together in the classroom. Thanks to all who have had the opportunity to check out Sign up Genius and contribute some lovely new items to make our classroom feel more like a home away from home.

We had a super busy week indeed! We got a chance to visit (and for our new friends get to know) Farmer Sean with Carter’s Farm, we got to have the experience of having our school pictures taken, we got to experience our first Celebration of Life Ceremony with A and we are whisking our own soap that we grate from our Practical Life work to make the suds to clean our plates at lunch time. You have no idea how FUN this is to do! Or maybe you do 🙂
One thing I forgot to mention is we make it a priority at lunch time to wait for everyone to sit down and unpack our lunches onto our plates before we begin eating. It is such a beautiful experience to watch your children care for each other enough to be patient as we wait to eat together.

I don’t know if I mentioned our MAIN science focus this semester is weather. We began with a picture story about Cloudette and this week we looked at types of clouds (we will learn the vocabulary later; this week we simply observed the pictures of different types with our magnifying glasses). You may have heard about our first official science experiment in the classroom — Rain Clouds in a jar — everyone participated and then each child wrote about the experience.

This week we also began to explore math concepts like the concept of zero, counting to 50, how teen numbers work and single digit addition with manipulatives like numbers and counters, number rods and addition strip boards. Some friends became interested in trying the hundred board. And we participated in a couple collage art/process art activities. OH! And the llama shirts are completed — make sure to wear them Wednesday!

 — 20 empty aluminum cans ( 14.5 oz and labels off)
 — 6–8 trays of blue ice cubes (they can be left in the ice tray and we will make sure to return them)
We would like to do at least one of the experiments by Thursday so I will keep you posted WHICH ONE based on everyone’s ability to donate.
Here is a breakdown of the week in particular:
Monday: we observed everyone’s peace rocks and talked about the peace inside us and how we can shine peace in the world. We also started 30 days of kindness where each day we talk about 1 way we can be kind to someone in the world. We also did a rhyming activity where the student was given 2 rhyming words and he/she had to make up a rhyme on the spot to the tune of “Down by the Bay” — they loved it! 
Day 1 Kindness: leave someone a surprise
Tuesday: Talked more about community helpers. Saw a video about sanitation workers and how a garbage truck works
Kindness #2 Help someone before they ask
Lesson on odds and evens and preliminary lesson on what is a noun.

Wednesday: talk about pronouns using one of the class favorite songs “The Choo Choo Song” 
Kindness day 3: Tell your mom something that you love about her
We received a new set of dressing frames so the students can start to practice buttoning, tying shoes, velcro, snapping, etc. 
Started conversations about extreme weather using real life pictures and language for hurricanes, hail storms and mudslide.
Thursday: Kindness day 4: Ask “How are You?’ 
Complete our peace sticks, talk about the value of taking turns when talking and making sure to listen. 
Played a game where the student had to listen to his friend answer a question and then tell the class the answer. 
Read a book called “Some Bunny Loves me” by Parry Gripp that talked about kindness to animals. 
Practice yoga together in the afternoon. 
Science Experiment.
Friday: Took time to look at and admire the Peace Sticks at the Observation Table, Talked about extreme weather blizzard, lightning storm, floods, review of the week. 
Kindness day 5: Give your friend a high five or fist bump.

Thanks as always families for the PRIVILEGE to be a part of your children’s lives.

Mrs. Norgren

Josey's Art School Day 17: How to Draw Owls for children - Thirty days of Drawing owls

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher - Week 2

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Hello Kindergarten Montessori Families,

I hope your weekend is going well. I would like to share a few of the highlights of the lessons we learned this week. I will also give some extended learning ideas for the weekend for your child to participate in and bring to school on Monday if they wish to. Finally, I have the sign up genius link for items that would help our learning environment run more smoothly — thank you in advance for any contributions!

Monday: This week we went to our specials outside of the classroom — the students love it! Today’s specials were music and P.E. — as you know P.E. happens daily. We continued our conversations about Peace in the classroom, in our homes and in the world by reading a book called “Can you say Peace?” by Karen Katz and looking at Picasso’s rendering of a dove. we also began our Science unit by talking about clouds. We read a book called Cloudette, about a fictional cloud with a lovely message about the way she used her gift to help the world.

Tuesday: P.E. and S.T.R.E.A.M today
We read the book “Peace is a offering” by Annette LeBox and we talked about what we will be doing with the rocks and sticks we have been collecting. We played a game called Silence and Noise and tied in the concept of Peace in the midst of Silence and in the midst of Noise. In Math I began introducing the beads to the students with the small bead stair and its colors and what they represent in the math work. We talked more about why fire drills are important. And we counted to 50 using cubes.

Wednesday: P.E. and library today
We learned the song “This little light of mine” and what it means to shine our light in the world. We watched a short video about Wangari’s Trees of Peace. We wrote a story using pictures based on Cloudette and talked about what other ways Cloudette could help the world. In math, I introduced red and blue rods and integrated conversations about addition using the rods.

Thursday: P.E. today
We talked about a place in the U.S. that has a large Peace Rock on display. We talked about community helpers and watched an old Sesame Street video called “People in your Neighborhood” about a fireman and a postman. In math, we talked about the concept of zero and I gave some small group lessons on the teen board (those who were at parent night saw this work) and the binomial cube.

Friday: library today
We made our peace rocks and we worked on birthday cards for Dr. S’s birthday next week. MAP testing was done through the day with Mrs. L and Mrs. B. We had a conversation together (Grace and Courtesy lesson) on what to do if you feel like someone is class is being mean to you or pushing you while you are in line and role played ways to handle when things like this happen. We also talked about needing to ALWAYS tell a teacher when something like this happens so that everyone feels safe at school.

As you can see, we have really diverse and interesting conversations and activities throughout the day! Many of you have asked when you can be a part of the classroom environment as a helper. Normally we ask for 6 weeks to allow the students to get accustomed to the routines of the classroom. Please look for me to send out a signup link and information on how to get involved towards the end of September.
Extend the learning: Talk about with your child ways in which your family, culture, church celebrates peace and the symbols you use to symbolize peace. Also, invite your child to draw a picture of what peace looks like. You can then ask them what they drew and write down their thoughts.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
 Mrs. Norgren

Diary of a First Year Montessori Kindergarten Teacher Week 1

Photo by Cel Lisboa on Unsplash


Hi Montessori Kindergarten Families,

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Please forgive the long email. There is a ton of information that gets communicated at the beginning of the year because well there is a ton to keep you informed about 🙂

Personal Items:
Please make sure to label all personal items including lunch box, back pack and water bottle SEPARATELY. Also, you may want to put a sweater, long sleeve shirt or hoodie in your child’s back pack for times when it might be a little chilly in the classroom. Please make sure that all toys are left at home.

Snack Calendar:
I have attached a snack calendar for the month. Those not on this month’s calendar will have a chance to contribute in September. As we get rolling, we usually find that we will have excess snack leftover so we will be able to take Fridays off and offer snack from our excess so as not to be wasteful. We will try our best to make sure the snack bag goes home with your child as a reminder that it is your family’s snack day.

Please be mindful about the type of shoes your child is wearing to school. We have P.E. every day which means closed toed shoes are best. Sandals and some of the shoes that are slip on tend to come off when the student is running so have your child practice running in the shoes they are wearing to ensure maximum comfort. We only have 20 minutes of P.E. time and we really want the students to have the full amount of time without having to stop to put on shoes. Thanks so much for tending to this detail.

Montessori Parent Night:
Montessori parent night is this Thursday August 16, 2018 from 5:30–7:30pm. We will meet in your child’s classroom). The first 30–45 minutes will be spent discussing the areas of the classroom, giving a lesson on one of the works in each area of the classroom and then having a Q & A time about Montessori and expectations for this year. We hope you are able to attend.

Reading 15 minutes a day with your child is the standard homework assignment at the beginning of the year. At our parent connection night sometime in October, we can tweak the homework opportunities based on your family’s expectations. You will find that I will give ideas of ways to extend the learning going on in the classroom a few times a week which I hope will compliment family bonding time and deeper connections with the conversations we have in class.

Starting this week, I will sending a weekly newsletter that you should expect by Saturday evenings. If you need to connect with me during school hours, you can call the school office. I check emails in the evening and will make sure and respond to them same day. I will send reminders for extended learning events or activities going on that might be of interest outside of that once a week window.

Extracurricular Activities:
Did you know there are Fall Clubs that your child can participate in after school right here on campus? Please make sure and open your email from Mrs. E; sign ups start this week.
I will send one more email shortly about what to expect tomorrow.

Mrs. Norgren

Joseys Art School Lesson 18 Lets Draw an Owl Line Drawing step by step for kids (and adults)