Presenting Fish Unit Study The Montessori Way

 

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In this blog I’m sharing how I presented a unit of study to my class using a Montessori method. My presentation here is about fish.

Why fish?

I love the idea of structuring science and nature teaching into a memorable, fun and exciting unit of study about fish. During my childhood years Ive been fascinated with the ocean animals and had an interest in exploring and learning more about it.

Being passionate on sharing my knowledge through teaching children, I created this unit of study to nourish them information about the study of fish including activities using Montessori practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language, botany, zoology, geography, peace table, nature table, arts and crafts and learning resources like books, magazines and brochures related to this study.

This is the binder that goes with my project presentation.

Upon completion of this project, I gathered all my resources and had taken some time to do a research and create my own extensions of Montessori materials suitable for the age of children I am working with (2-6 years). I also created an objective that at the at the end of this study my student will be able to understand some facts about fish and habitat, how they live, classification, different types of fish including those that looks like a fish but actually not classified as a fish.

Materials

Prepare Your Environment: 

  1. Live fish and aquarium- To get started, gather things to set up in the classroom. The best way to get my students engaged in this study is to show them some live fish and aquarium or fish bowl.
  2. Colorful visuals of fish in a presentation trifold- Fish photos and facts placed at the trifold. Most of the photos used here are from California Academy of Sciences and Audubon Aquarium of Americas. I collected these photos during my holiday travel.
  3. Picture books & photos- I borrowed books from my local library to include in my books shelf. Any books related to fish are placed nicely at the book shelf (far right corner).
  4. Trays or baskets- Okay, Im a hoarder of baskets & trays! I love trays in my classroom. I always look for different sizes of trays or baskets on sale. In a Montessori environment we have different works/jobs that we regularly rotate weekly or biweekly. There are works that doesn’t need to be place in a large tray. With this in mind, I will only use a smaller one to organize materials.
  5. Montessori activities/work- The related unit study works/activities placed in each tray. It is organize particularly according to the photos shown above: practical life, sensorial, math, language, botany, zoology, geography.
  6. Nature Table/Tray
  7. Peace Table

The result of my hard work from this project. I’m a strong believer for “A” yay!

I also selected some unit of studies that Im sharing here to give you more insights about how each presented the Montessori way.

Space

Peace education

Money

Fish (my presentation)

Rainforest

Christmas

The Value Of Practical Life Activities To A Young Child

In this blog, I am sharing some important thoughts and insights about practical life skills and also our special moments at home doing some household chores with a help of a young child. First, I would like to share my thoughts why this is greatly important to a growing and developing child (first plane of development). It is important that we allow the child to experience and touch a variety of household materials that we use in our daily living. The more they are involve in whatever we do the easier for them to learn an important life skills that will last a life time. That is the best gift we can give to our new generations of learners”

I still remember a fellow co-worker at school asked me “Why do the child needs to learn how to wash hands using a basin?” I simply answered her “The child discovers new things and they are very curious to learn the process”.

Maria Montessori placed great value on the Practical Life exercises, referring to them as the “gymnasium for perfecting one’s action”. She believed that they not only refine skills but also form the foundation of character.

The experiences in Practical Life are crucial for building a firm foundation for future learning. Before children can master language and math skills, they need solid work habits and a strong inner sense. Practical Life activities are the vehicle to build this foundation.  

Practical Life in a Montessori education benefitted a child through spontaneous repetition or mastery of each activity. Through this activity the child also develop the love for work, independence, hand-eye coordination and love of order.

Core Principles Of Practical Life Activities; 

  1. Emphasis on life skills
  2. Care of environment
  3. Care of self
  4. Order
  5. Purposeful movement
  6. Develop motor skills (large and small muscles)
  7. Leads to independence
  8. Leads to conscious choices
  9. Auto-education (learning by doing)
  10. Language
  11. Raise self-esteem and self worth
  12. Executive Function- In a young age we encourage them how to organize, plan, take initiative and self-regulation. The work itself has it’s own reward.

Through Practical Life activities, children build and refine the internal skills needed for the learning that is to come. Montessori noted that children construct themselves through their own activities. The Practical Life area offers an opportunity to build a strong foundation for all subsequent work, making it an essential part of the young child’s experiences.

The exercises of practical life are formative activities, a work of adaptation to the environment. Such adaptation to the environment and efficient functioning therein is the very essence of a useful education.” Maria Montessori

Here’s a collection of our family moments at home doing simple chores as a practical life activities that a young child can learn and master. As you can see, a very close supervision is needed for an activity such as cooking wherein hot surface is a common danger.

Herbal tea portioning using a spoon

Egg slicing using a bread knife

Cutting a banana using bread knife

Vegetable washing

Mixing pancake batter

Washing corn

Sweeping dirt from the floorIMG_0801

Rolling and putting back the work matIMG_0447.JPG

Pencil SharpeningIMG_0135

Watering plantsimg_1519

Thank you for visiting my page and taking your valuable time to read this article. Please follow me for more ideas and inspiration about Montessori method, parenting and homeschooling.

Learning About Chinese New Year 2018

Chinese New Year 2018 Year Of The Dog

     This week we are learning about the Chinese New Year “Year Of The Dog 2018”. The word GUNG HAY FAT CHOY means best wishes and congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.

This joyous festival may last many days. It’s a special time for family reunions, for honoring ancestors, and thanking the gods for their blessings.

The Chinese add a year to their  age on New Year’s Day, regardless of their original birth month. This considered their grand birthday celebration.

Lunar Calendar

Chinese New Year does not come at the same time every year. The date may fall any time between mid  January and mid February. Chinese festivals are celebrated according to dates on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. It is called the Lunar Calendar because the length of the months are decided by the cycles of the moon.

Each year is given the name of an animal. It is named after one of the 12 animal symbols on the Chinese zodiac that are date back thousand of years. Each animal year have a specific qualities. Chinese learn their future and fortunes by the animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese families make great preparations for this special time of the year. Families settle their debts, buy new clothes, clean the house and prepare a food before new year.

Homes are filled with flowers and fruits. Families display pyramids of oranges and apples. An apple is symbol of good luck for the new year. The Chinese believe red and orange are colors of joy. Red and orange scrolls seen every where. The Chinese characters on the scrolls carry messages of Good Health, Luck, Long Life, Prosperity, Happiness.

Here comes the lion dancers. They’re dancing to the beat of a giant drum. Dancers carry the Golden Dragon who leads the parade at night. The Chinese dragon was the emblem of the Chinese emperors. It is a symbol of strength and goodness.

I showed this very cute pop-up books to my daughter written by Mary Man-Kong and Joan Holub. She was fascinated by the colorful pages and the stories about Chinese Dragon Dance and the many activities before and after the celebration.

 

This page of the book is her favorite. Its colorful and with lots of kids having fun while watching the Dragon Dance Parade.

This is a short clip of my daughter flipping the book.

 

Another page of the book showing the traditional long noodles serve during the festival.

     

     They call this hong baos a shiny little red envelope use to put money as a symbols of good luck.

Chinese believed that fire crackers will scare away lazy and evil spirits!

 

Families prepare a delicious dumplings, steamed buns, pork dumplings, spareribs, fish and steam vegetables.

Chinese make it sure they clean and sweep the floor to welcome the new year.

A page of the book with the Year Of The Dog wheel or they call it Lunar Calendar

 

A red and orange scroll hangs in every houses that wishes prosperity.

This is a wonderful part of a Montessori cultural studies! Do you also celebrate Chinese New Year with your family? You can share your thoughts and ideas in my blog.