This is the very first post is our Montessori Classroom Showcase series.  I’m very excited about sharing with you Montessori classrooms from around the world!  If you would like to have your classroom included in our series, please read details about how to contribute here. 

Montessori Classroom Showcase

I’ve been in the classroom for over 15 years now and I still don’t get tired of looking at how Montessori teachers have arranged their shelves.  I always get a new idea to try.  And sometimes I see something that makes me completely change up an entire area of my class.

I hope you find this series fun and inspiring, and I hope you will consider contributing too!


I want to say a special thank you to our very first contributor- Stephanie from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Stephanie is a 3-6 teacher at the Campus School of Carlow University.

Stephanie: Each month I publish photos of our shelves that have new work (Science, 1 language shelf, practical life, art, peace, movement, and perhaps geography) in a photo album for our class in Montessori Compass. These are the photos that are shared from March with a few that were taken at the beginning of the year (math, sensorial, language, etc).

 Miss Stephanie’s Class

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom view from door

View of the classroom from the door.  I love all the windows!

 

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom view from rear of room

View of the classroom from the rear.  Do you notice the pretty little potted plants on the work tables? I also like how the line taped to the floor is so subtle.

Practical Life

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Practical Life Shelves 1

These Practical Life shelves hold the pouring, spooning/scooping, and squeezing fine motor work.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Practical Life Shelves 2

This shelf has a sensory bin with ocean animals in water beads, banana slicing, pattern dots, pinching beads fish, brads, shell scrubbing, and silver polishing.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom practical Life shelves 3

This Practical Life shelf has preliminary sewing work like stringing, lacing, button sewing, embroidery hoop, and sewing forks.

Sensorial

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Sensorial shelves 1

This sensorial shelf holds the materials for working with size, shape, color, grading, and classifying.  I like how the color tablets are placed in the clear containers.  Very attractive!

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Sensorial

Here are all the geometry materials.

Math

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 1

This is the first math shelf with the beginning numeracy work such as units, bead stair, spindle box etc.  At the top is the calendar.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 2

Here are the teens, tens, and hundred boards.  There’s also calendar work extensions.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 3

The Golden Bead materials are on this math shelf.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 4

Finally, the operations work is located together here.

Language

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 1

The pre-literacy activities on this shelf change monthly.  I can see our middle vowel sorting work from the St. Patrick’s Day Phonological Awareness Pack on the middle shelf!

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 2

Sandpaper letters!  You can also see the Handwriting Without Tears wooden Build Draw & Write kit on the middle shelf with other printing materials.  The bottom shelf has the Movable Alphabet.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 3

The top shelf is a continuation of the sandpaper letter sets.  I always find it fascinating to see the many ways people sort their letters.  Below that are movable alphabet objects and extensions.  The bottom shelf has sight words and parts of speech work.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 4

Here you see the beautiful Waseca Reading Program materials.  The drawers are just so stunning!

Cultural

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom cultural 1

What an attractive area!
They are learning about the ocean so you see all these lovely fish and ocean themed materials on their science shelves.

Objects and exploration
Characteristics and parts of a fish
Ocean animal nomenclature and little book
Fish/Crustacean/Echinoderm sorting (fun!)
Parts of a Starfish
Ocean Animal Who Am I?

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom cultural 2 EuropeThe Geography shelves have a focus on Europe.
Objects from Europe
Flags of Europe
Houses
Sorting Plants and Animals from Europe
Europe A-Z 3-Part Cards and little book
Europe Biomes
Europe Biome Readers from Waseca

Peace Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom peace shelf
They have a dedicated shelf with activities for fostering peace

Movement Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Movement shelf

This shelf has some great activities for working on gross motor skills

Art Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Art

Here are some of the activities they have on their art shelf.

 

Thank you to Stephanie for sharing these pictures from her class!

We would LOVE to see your classroom too! If you would like to submit your photos for our Classroom Showcase series, please download the form on the Contribute page.

 





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Strawberry Patch

May 17, 2015

in Cultural

Strawberry Patch Activities for Preschool

We enjoyed a family field trip to go strawberry picking last weekend!

Strawberry Picking 3

The weather was perfect

Strawberry Picking 2

The berries were plentiful

Strawberry Picking 1

And we couldn’t wait to eat them!

Strawberry Slicing

Strawberry Theme Activities in the Classroom

Strawberry Patch Fine Motor Activities

We had some red and berry themed activities on our fine motor shelf

Strawberry Patch Fine Motor Spooning

Spooning little strawberries into a strawberry mold

Strawberry Patch Fine Motor Tongs

Finding little strawberries in rice and tonging them into a sectioned dish

Spooning beads to the line

Spooning red beads to the line

Strawberry Patch Fine Motor Tweezers

Tweezing strawberries (our little grass patch is very popular)

Strawberry Patch Number Cards

Strawberry Number Cards  (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

Strawberry Patch Number Clip Cards

Strawberry Treats Number Clip Cards (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

Life Cycle of a Strawberry

Strawberry Life Cycle (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

Life Cycle of a Strawberry 3 Part Cards

Strawberry Life Cycle 3-Part Cards (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

Parts of a Strawberry Plant

Parts of a Strawberry Plant (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

Strawberry Patch Fact or Opinion Cards

Strawberry Fact and Opinion Oral Language Development Cards (Source: Strawberry Patch Mini Unit)

More Strawberry Theme Resources

Strawberry 1

Available in the Trillium Montessori TpT Store

Slicing Strawberries by How We Montessori

Slicing Strawberries by Montessori Mischief

Strawberries by KidSparkz

Strawberry Lesson Plan by Nuttin But Preschool

Strawberry Activities for Preschoolers by Modern Mom

Schoolyard Strawberries Project





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Phonetic Books for Beginning Readers

Finding decodable reading books for early readers can be quite a challenge!  Below are some of the books we have in our classroom.

The Peacekeeper Series

I absolutely love the Peacekeeper Series available on Montessori Services.  Each story is set in a Montessori classroom and shows how the children prevent or resolve a conflict.  The words are phonetically regular and can be decoded by beginning readers.  Montessori students will recognize many of the materials depicted in the simple illustrations.  All children will relate to the day to day conflicts the characters are faced with.  The authors do a surprisingly good job of capturing emotions using simple language.

Peacekeeper Series Pink Reading Level

Level 1 (pink) uses mostly CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words and a few sight words like I and the.

Peacekeeper Series Blue Reading Level

Level 2 (blue series) uses blends and longer phonetically regular words along with a few more sight words.

Peacekeeper Series Green Reading Level

Level 3 (green series) uses phonograms.

1,2,3 A Montessori Reading Series

This is a darling little set of decodable books written and illustrated by my friend Pauline Meert.  It’s available on Etsy.

Reading Series by

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Practice Readers

Unfortunately this set is now out of print.  It’s such a shame because the stories are fun, phonetically regular and the children really enjoy the bright illustrations.  If you find a used set somewhere, grab them!

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Practice Readers

Books To Remember Series

This is, hands down, my favorite set of decodable books for the Montessori classroom.  The illustrations are gorgeous and realistic.  The content is phonetically regular and the stories are simple and charming and do not feel at all contrived.  There are fiction and non fiction books in this library.  It’s a bit expensive, but I highly recommend it for a classroom.  Available through Flyleaf Publishing.

Flyleaf Publishing A Book To Remember Series 2

Flyleaf Publishing A Book To Remember Series 3

This is the summary page from “Fred and Zack in the Sandbox” so you can see what the content is like.

Flyleaf Publishing A Book To Remember Series

Flyleaf Publishing It is Halloween

One of my favorite books in the series is “It is Halloween”.  It’s a charming little story about two children getting ready for Halloween with their grandparents.

Flyleaf Publishing It is Halloween 2

There’s spooky drama….

Flyleaf Publishing It is Halloween 3

…and a child friendly, realistic resolution.

Plus, it’s all phonetically regular!

More Resources

Books & Cards for Early Readers Suitable for the Montessori Classroom from Montessori Nature

Early Reading Recommendations, Activities & Printables from Every Star is Different

A Comparison of Beginning Phonics Readers from Montessori for Everyone

Top Montessori First Readers from How We Montessori

The Royal Road to Reading by Mary Ellen Maunz

Free Phonetic Readers by Trish Mylet

 


 

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by Rachel Wilsey

from Bread and Roses

Eye Hand Coordination for Toddlers

Some of the biggest hits in my house have been toys that I put together from stuff we had around the house. The two below are easy to make and promote eye-hand coordination as well as concentration.

Domino Box—a Take on the Coin Box

The domino box is our take on the traditional Montessori coin box. We had asked for, but did not receive a coin box for my son’s first birthday. We were going to buy it ourselves but then I realized I could make a similar toy with some tupperware and dominoes that we had on hand.

Creation tips: I cut a slot in the lid of the tupperware using a small serrated kitchen knife. This left the hole a bit sharp, which I hadn’t expected, so I hot glued fabric around the slot to make sure no small fingers got scratched. This also provided a nice visual target for the domino slot. However adding the fabric made the fit of the dominoes a bit tight and I had to go back and widen the slot a few times. So if you want to plan to do it with the fabric around the slot be sure to begin with a wider slot!

Eye Hand Coordination for Toddlers 2

Kids reaction: This was initially a more difficult activity for the children than I intended, as the dominoes only fit through the slot one way (I cut it for them to fit though vertically), whereas a coin being round does not have this problem. Initially this made the learning curve steeper than if we had bought the set, or made our own with round coins. But after a few months they got the hang of it and I think this added element has lead to very intense concentration—He will sit and fill the whole bin with dominoes (and there are 90+ dominoes in there; we had a large set!) and then he’ll ask us for help to open the lid, we’ll dump it out and he’ll start all over again. A year later, at nearly two he still plays with this quite a bit!

 

Straws and Cups—The most bang for your buck!

Here’s a cheap win for you: divide a pack of Jumbo multi-colored straws in two containers and toddlers from a year to 18 months will can play with them forever! They love taking them out and putting them in, transferring them from container to container. Really you can put the straws in any tall cup, we found some tins at goodwill that are pretty similar to these tins.

Eye Hand Coordination for Toddlers 3

 

Kids Reaction: This was a great coordination and concentration activity until about 18 months, at which time they lost interest. We put them away for a while, and recently as we have started introducing colors we are using the straws again for color sorting. I never thought when I pulled the straws out of the cupboard out that we’d get so much mileage out of a $5 pack of plastic straws!


About Rachel Wilsey

Rachel Wilsey

Rachel Wilsey blogs about her adventures in Natural Parenting, Social Justice, and Living the Sweet Life at Breadandrosesparenting.com. She’s very interested in the Montessori philosophy, learning bit by bit as her son grows. Now that he’s almost two-year’s old she’s seen what a difference a Montessori home environment and activities have made in his development and she’s very excited for him to be starting a half-day Montessori program this summer!

 

 





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Teacher Appreciation Giveaway

My friends over on the iTeach Kinder collaborative blog are hosting a giveaway!  You don’t have to be a teacher to enter… we’re appreciating all of you who teach in any way!

Hop on over to iTeach Kinder to read all the details and enter to win one of 4  $25 gift cards.

So what will you buy if you win one of the gift cards?





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Montessori Blue Series Reading Work

Reading materials for the classroom

A few months ago we were gifted a box of treasures by a former Montessori teacher who also happens to be the grandmother of one of our students.  Even after a decade and a half in the classroom, I still love this stuff!

All that organizing put me in the mood to take photos of all the language materials in my cabinets.  I now have multiples of things and I think it might be time for a giveaway soon.

Below are photos of some of our reading materials.  These are all color coded in blue to represent regular phonetic words that have more than 3 letters.

Children need the following skills before they can tackle this level:

  1. Strong phonemic awareness (practice with sound games like I Spy and the activities in my phonological awareness packs)
  2. Know the sounds of all the consonants and vowels (practice with sandpaper letters)
  3. Combine letter-sound knowledge and phonemic awareness with the use of the movable alphabet (phonetically spell short words and phrases)
  4. Know how to decode 3-letter words (often color coded in pink.  Cathie Perolman has some great materials for this stage.)

An important note:  children are not required to go through a rigid sequence of materials when learning in a Montessori environment.  The sequence exists so that we can fill in gaps in understanding, but it’s critical to keep in mind our ultimate goal which is to help the child take control of his/her own learning.  Some children just need exposure to decoding 4 letter words once and they’re ready to move on to more complex things, while others need and like to have the time to practice a particular skill for a long period of time.  So, don’t feel like you need to have all of these items on your shelves.


 Reading Words

Montessori Blue Reading Series 3 part Cards

Blue series 3-part cards (Source: Trillium Montessori Store)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Objects and Labels 2

Montessori Blue Reading Series Objects and Labels

Objects and labels (how fantastic are these brass objects?!)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Pictures and Labels 4

Picture and word labels (Source: Unknown)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Pictures and Labels

Picture and word labels (Source: Unknown)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Pictures and Labels 2

Picture and Word Mats (Source: The Helpful Garden)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Pictures and Labels 3

Picture and Word Mats (Source: B.E.S.T. Educational Supplies, website unknown)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Picture and Word Cards

Picture and Word Mats (Source: Unknown)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Phonetic Word Booklets

Phonetic Word Booklets (Source: Unknown)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Blends Word Lists Free Printable

Blends Reading Lists (Source: Free for Trillium Montessori subscribers)


Reading Sentences

Montessori Blue Reading Series Sentences and Objects 3

Phonetic Sentences and Objects (Source: Lakeview)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Sentences and Objects 2

Phonetic Sentences and Objects (Source: Lakeview)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Sentences and Objects

Phonetic Sentences and Objects (Source: Lakeview)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Sentences and Pictures 2

Phonetic Sentences and Pictures (Source: The Helpful Garden)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Sentences and Pictures

Phonetic Sentences and Pictures (Source: Lakeview)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Yes and No Questions

Phonetic Yes/No Questions

Montessori Blue Reading Series phonetic Sentences

Phonetic Sentences (Source: Montessori Printshop)

Montessori Blue Reading Series Phonetic Sentence Booklets

Phonetic Sentences and Stories (Source: Unknown)





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Learning About Fish

April 17, 2015

in Cultural

Learning About Fish

This is a video from our class back in 2009 when Trillium Montessori was still in my house.  We had fun learning all about fish.  The video starts off with one of my favorite fish songs, then shows clips of children working with our fish themed materials, and ends with us getting our hands dirty examining a fish from the grocery store!

I just finished making a Fish Preschool Pack for my TpT Store.

Fish Cover

I’ll have photographs of the pack in action once I print it out and get it on the shelves!  But it’s ready for you to purchase and download now.  Click on the image above to go to the product page.

This pack includes the following activities:

1. Color Sorting

Fish Color Sorting Cards

2. Size Sorting
Fish Size Sorting Cards

3. Shadow Matching
Fish Shadow Matching Cards
4. Category Sorting
Fish Not Fish Category Sorting Cards
5. Prepositions Game
Where is the Fish Positional Words

6. Cutting Strips and Lines
Fish Cutting StripsFish Cutting Lines

7. 0-10 Number Cards
Fish Number Cards

8. Number Clip Cards
Fish Number Clip Cards

More Ideas for a Fish Unit

40 Fish Theme Activities for Kids from Fantastic Fun and Learning

Fish Unit from Just Montessori

Fish Prints from An Idea on Tuesday

Montessori Inspired Ocean Unit from Living Montessori Now 

Free Printables

Aquarium Fish from Trillium Montessori

Parts of a Fish from the Helpful Garden

Fish Science Preschool Pack by Haffley Homeschool

Shark Pack by 3 Dinosaurs

Shark Fact Cards by Pinay Homeschooler

Shark Pack from Every Start is Different

Fishy Following Directions by The Speech Bubble SLP

Clown Fish Foldable Book by Jennifer Drake

More Fishy Ideas

Follow Seemi @ Trillium Montessori’s board Unit: Fish on Pinterest.

Intro to Life Science in Preschool

Living and Non Living

A few years ago we introduced the concept of living and non-living by introducing the students to our brand new class pet.

Fish The Big Reveal

The big reveal!

Observing the Fish

Observing the fish.  They named him Violet.

(RIP Violet.  You served us well for 3 years.  We loved you.)

Living and Non Living Fish

Comparing the living fish to a non-living fish. (Er, that is NOT dead Violet, just a plastic fish)

Living Non Living Cards

Sorting pictures of Living and Non-Living things

Artificial Natural Cards

We also have an artificial-natural sorting work from Montessori Printshop

Plants and Animals

We then compared Violet the fish with a plant.

Examine Plant

Quite different!

Plant and Animal Sorting

Sorting Plant and Animal cards from The Helpful Garden

Vertebrates and Invertebrates

Feeling Your Backbone

Feeling your backbone

Skeleton Matching

Matching skeletons to the animal outlines. I adapted this set from the one made by In-Print for Children

You can find vertebrate and invertebrate sorting cards in a variety of places.  I don’t like using them because a child cannot tell just by looking at a picture whether an animal has a backbone or not.

Classes of Vertebrates

The Helpful Garden has a GREAT printable showing the backbones of the various classes of vertebrates.  I don’t have a picture of it from our class but you can download your own set here.

Classes of Vertebrates

These cards are from Homeschool Creations

IMG_0205

Sorting the classes of vertebrates





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