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Homeschool

Montessori Extras Themed Activities

Activities, books, & ideas for Apples/Fall unit study

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

With the first day of Fall approaching on Friday, September 22nd, I am gearing up to begin a two week unit study of Fall and apples with my classroom.  Although here in sunny Southern California, it is far from feeling or looking like Fall.  The hotter Summer temperatures have slowly started to subside, and we’ve seen cooler temperatures this week, but we are from fro Fall weather.  Even though the Southern California weather is not fall friendly, I still am excited to start our Fall and apple unit study.

For the next two weeks; starting Monday; I will teach the young children in my class about how our environment changes for Fall, different leaves, the parts of an apple, how apples grow, and the different types of apples.  We will have apple tasting, and vote for our favorite apples, examine the insides of an apple, make leaf rubbings, and an apple blossom tree…just to name a few!

 

 

There are many books out there that could go with the study of Fall and apples, but I have chosen to share with you my favorite three books.  I have used each of these books over the years, and have found that these cover many of the topics and areas that I teach rather well.

 

Top 3 favorite books for Fall and apple unit

 

 

A Day at the Apple Orchard

 

By: Megan Faulkner & Adam Krawesky

A Day at the Apple Orchard follows a group of children through the apple orchard.  They pick apples, taste them, and make juice & cider.  The book also describes the life cycle of an apple blossom tree, and shows the growth through the different seasons.  This book is great when teaching how apples grow, the proper way to pick apples, and things that can be made from apples. It also discusses why it is important to protect apple blossom trees for continued blossoms.

 

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

By: Steve Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt is a twist on the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  The children go on a hunt over the mountain, through the forest, around the waterfall, and across the lake.  Along the way, they find red oak leaves, hickory leaves, birch leaves, and maple leaves; until they encounter an unwanted guest!  This book teaches about different leaves, and is fun and entertaining!

 

Apples for Everyone

By: Jill Esbaum

Apples for Everyone has beautiful pictures that detail how apples grow, the different kinds of apples, talks about Johnny Appleseed, and discusses the history of apple trees.  This National Geographic Kids book has colorful and amazing photography that makes this book a favorite of mine.

 

 

I can’t wait to start our unit study of Fall and apples.  I have so many science, fine motor, art, language, and math activities planned for the next two weeks!

 

Want to follow along as we learn about Fall and apples?  Interested to see how our unit study unfolds?   Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for pictures of all of our activities and fun!!  I hope to see you there!

 

Anitra

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Art Montessori Extras

Simple & Easy DIY Rainbow Crayons

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.   Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

Crayons…who doesn’t love coloring!! I personally still LOVE coloring, and try to color as often as possible.  It is very relaxing and calming to either color a pre-made coloring sheet, or to just grab some crayons and make whatever I feel like!!  Do you color?  If not, you should pick up a new hobby…coloring!  There are so many amazing “adult” type of coloring books out now, this is a newer trend.

 

Working in a preschool classroom means there are many, many many broken, peeled, tiny and even chewed on crayons.  It is what happens in this environment.  If you have children, I’m sure that you’ve encountered such instances with crayons around your house as well.  You normally collect all of the broken, peeled, tiny and chewed crayons and put them in the trash.  They have little to no use…or do they?  Actually, they do!  You can use your old worn crayons and make Rainbow Crayons out of them!! Rainbow Crayons are fun and children have a great time helping with the process of making them.

 

Turn these…

 

 

 

Into these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Rainbow Crayons: A Step by Step Tutorial

 

 

Supplies Needed:

1 6 cup muffin tin (I got one from the Dollar Tree, so I wouldn’t ruin my cooking one)

broken crayons

oven or toaster oven

 

STEP 1:

Gather as many colors of broken crayons as you can.  You want your rainbow crayons to be just that; rainbows!

 

STEP 2:

Peel your all of your crayons.  This can be a very long, tedious process, so if possible enlist the help of the children!  It is a great fine motor skill development activity for them!

 

 

        

 

 

STEP 3:

Break up the crayons into small pieces.  About half an inch should do the trick. Again, this process takes awhile, so have the children help you; as much as they can.

 

 

 

STEP 4:

Fill the muffin pan with the broken crayon pieces.  Try to get a good variety of colors in each cup, so that the colors are evenly distributed.

 

 

STEP 5:

Put in the oven.  I used a toaster oven.  I set it for 350 degrees, and set the timer for ten minutes.

 

 

                      

 

STEP 6:

Take out of oven and let cool for at least thirty minutes.

 

 

STEP 7:

Once completely cool,  remove crayons from muffin pan using a sharp knife.

 

 

    

 

 

STEP 8:

Your Rainbow Crayons are ready for use!  Enjoy!

 

 

Rainbow Crayons are so fun and as you can see, so easy to make!!! Beware though, once you make your children at home or at school Rainbow Crayons, they will “accidentally” break crayons and bring them to you to save for more Rainbow Crayons.  This happens to me almost daily; I had to gently remind all of the children in my class to be careful and take better care of the crayons.  I told them not to worry, we have PLENTY of broken crayons in our broken crayon bucket to make more Rainbow Crayons in the future!!

 

I hope you enjoy and use this step by step tutorial to make Rainbow Crayons to introduce into your classroom or homeschool soon!!

 

Anitra

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Product Reviews Reading

Book Review: The Sorry Sticks: A Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure

By Anitra

One or more of the products mentioned in this post were provided for free to facilitate a review

.

I am so excited to be able to do a review of book two of the Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure series!  The children in my class loved book one, and were equally as excited when I told them about book two!  If you recall from the review of the first book, author Bryony Supper is an actress and comedian from England, who has now used her humor to write books for children.  Her book series is quite unique and fun!

 

 

The Sorry Sticks: A Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure

 

 

Book two in the twelve book Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure series did not disappoint.  The Sorry Sticks is just as entertaining, fun, and silly as the first book!  In this book, Pasta Kid Victor Vermicelli and Val the Vermicelli snake have been speeding and receive a ticket.  Their friend Lola Lasagne tries helping them by calling for The Sorry Sticks and the Pasta Petz.  This book shows how important it is to say sorry and apologize if you’ve done something wrong.

 

 

The Sorry Sticks provides colorful characters, an engaging story, and a great life lesson!  The kids really enjoyed this book as well!!

 

A look at the characters of the Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure Series…

The characters and their pets are cleverly created using different types of pasta!!

 

Pasta Kidz

 

 

Pasta Petz

 

 

 

For more information about the Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventures and author Bryony Supper, please click here.

A big THANK YOU to Bryony Supper for providing me a copy of the book, I really appreciate it and enjoyed sharing her work with my classroom!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

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Classroom Content Montessori Extras

What is all the hype about? A detailed look inside a traditional Montessori classroom

By Anitra

You’ve probably heard about all the hype and craze surrounding Montessori and Montessori schools. Anything and everything from the teaching method,the classroom environment, child led activities, and Montessori materials.  But what does all that mean?  The Montessori method is a very unique, very distinct, very individualized learning environment with a proven way of teaching young children.

 

The materials, along with the carefully prepared environment, is what makes Montessori, Montessori.  There are various areas and activities of a traditional Montessori classroom.  This is what sets a Montessori primary (preschool) classroom apart from other preschool classrooms. Many people have heard of Montessori, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually see inside or visit a classroom.  Please be aware that there are many different Montessori run schools, each individually owned and operated; so unfortunately not every Montessori school classroom will be set up or run exactly the same.  With that being said; I try to keep a traditional Montessori classroom.

 

Curious to learn and find out more…?   The pictures are from my actual classroom that I currently teach in.  The shelves are child sized, with age appropriate, enticing materials.  The common item you will notice in most Montessori classrooms and materials is wood.  The use of natural wood for the shelves and materials, along with neutral wall colors, is meant to soothe the senses and and the attract the children to the beauty of the room.  Montessori classrooms differ from other preschool classrooms in that they are calming, peaceful, and uncluttered.

 

 

LANGUAGE AREA

 

“Language lies at the root of that transformation of the environment that we call civilization.” -Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 98

The Language Area is composed of phonetic sound recognition, three letter phonetic word building, four letter and more phonetic word building, and blends & phonograms.  The three letter words make up the Pink Level, the four letters and more make up the Blue Level, the phonemes and hard & soft letters make up the Green Level.

 

The Pink Level also covers word families, picture to

word matching, and easy phonetic sentences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Level also covers beginning & ending

consonant blends, and complex phonetic words

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Level also covers silent “e”, double vowel consonants, phonemes, and hard & soft letters

 

I also have opposites, parts of speech, sentence building & writing, and even antonyms & synonyms.

 

 

MATH AREA

 

“The results we obtain with our little ones contrast oddly with the fact that mathematics is so often held to be a scourge rather than a pleasure in school programmes.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Math Area is composed of number recognition up to ten, mastering the teens & tens, and working on numbers up to one hundred.  This area also covers simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division.  More complex works include place value, the clock, and fractions.

 

Number recognition from one to twenty, with various materials & activities to master these skills

 

Simple addition, the tens work, & the hundred board all round out the Math Area

 

 

Telling Time, Place Value & Fractions are the

more advanced Math activities

 

 

 

SENSORIAL AREA

 

“And if we look at the sensorial apparatus which is able to evoke such deep concentration…helps also to the development of the mathematical mind.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 170

The Sensorial Area is composed of activities that engage the senses of the children.  There are activities for smell, taste, and hearing; and various materials that promote sight and touch.

 

Sensorial materials to manipulate sizes, color,

touch and hearing

 

Complex materials that introduce geometric shapes, as well as tasting & smelling materials

 

 

 

CULTURAL/GEOGRAPHY AREA

 

“…the child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than generally supposed, taking in knowledge is by certain kinds of activity which involve movement.”-Maria Montessori The Absorbent Mind, pg. 157

The Cultural and Geography Areas is the area of a Montessori classroom that frequently changes.  It is an area where new activities can be added on a weekly or monthly basis.  These areas are composed of science, botany (plants), zoology (animals), geography, and art.  This is by far one of the busiest areas of a Montessori classroom.

 

 

Study of continents, seasons land, air & water                                  Botany, zoology, & insect puzzles and magnets

 

 

Geography Maps

 

 

PRACTICAL LIFE AREA

 

“Activities here build on the child’s natural interest and help him develop good work habits, concentration, eye-hand coordination, a lengthened attention span and control of his body.”-Maria Montessori The Sense of Childhood, pg. 1

The Practical Life Area is another area of a Montessori classroom that changes frequently.  The Practical Life Area has many components to it that make it the most important area of a Montessori classroom.  Since children learn basic working, concentration, and eye-hand coordination skills, it is the prerequisite to all of the other areas in a Montessori classroom.  Activities could include spooning, using a ladle, pouring, scooping, and cutting.  This is by far the busiest area of a Montessori classroom.

 

Other activities include food preparation work,

and using tongs & tweezers

There are also washing activities, bubble making,

table setting, and water activities

 

 

 

All of the areas in a Montessori classroom contribute to the development of the whole child.  As stated before, not every Montessori classroom will be furnished and set-up exactly the same.  In quality, true to Montessori schools and classrooms, you will see similar setups and materials.  One of my favorite areas is the Practical Life Area, I like to come up with fun water work activities, food preparation works, and washing activities.  I like to add variety, and add activities that promote the individual needs of the children currently in my classroom.

 

 

 

Now can you see what all the hype is about?!  Trust me, the pictures just give you a small glimpse of what a Montessori environment looks like.  Can you imagine how wonderful it is to see the children actively working in a Montessori classroom…it’s PRICELESS!!

 

Anitra

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Product Reviews Reading

Book Review: The Inventing Tubes: A Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure

By Anitra

One or more of the products mentioned in this post were provided for free to facilitate a review.

It is no secret…I LOVE BOOKS!!!  So when I was presented the opportunity to review a book, I jumped on the chance!  The book comes all the way from England, my dream place to visit!  It is written by Bryony Supper, who is the creator of Pasta Kidz & Petz.  Bryony is an actress and comedian, who has used her humor to write books for children.  For more information about Pasta Kidz & Petz and Bryony Supper, please click here.

 

The Inventing Tubes: A Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure

 

The first book in the twelve book series of the Pasta Kidz & Petz Adventure series is The Inventing Tubes.  The book feature a few of the various Pasta Kidz and Petz characters.  Marc Macaroni and Sarah Spaghetti want to use the Inventing Tubes to invent a pastaball to use in the Pasta United soccer game.  Sarah gets impatient and doesn’t read the instructions.  Instead of a great pasta ball, she instead invents a CRAZY BALL!!!

 

Pasta Kidz

 

 

Pasta Petz

 

 

The crazy ball couldn’t be caught, so Marc and Sarah enlist in the Pasta Petz; Spud and Mumbo to help catch the crazy ball.  The Petz arrive in their amazing Pastamobile and get rid of the crazy pasta ball.  Sarah learns a valuable lesson; be patient when doing things and follow instructions!

 

I read this book to my class of children 3 to 6 years old.  They absolutely LOVED it!! They really liked the silly characters; they enjoyed the pasta hair that they have.  The characters are easy for young children to relate to and fall in love with.  A favorite part of the book was when Spud and Mumbo showed up in the Pastamobile!  It was hilarious!

 

Pasta Petz Pastamobile

 

I really enjoyed the book and can’t wait to see more of the titles!  A big thank you to Bryony Supper for the signed copy of the book, I really appreciate it!

Enjoy!

Anitra

Back 2 School Classroom Content Montessori Extras

How using doTerra essential oils in the classroom helps with focus, concentration, & a peaceful environment

By Anitra

Being that it is back to school time, I am on a mission to start the year off right.  I want to set clear guidelines and rules of the classroom, and am looking to have the classroom run as smoothly as possible as soon as possible.  There are children returning from Summer vacation, children who are new, and others that were at the school during Summer Camp.  The beginning of a school year is the time to get everyone on the same page, and get everyone “normalized” within a quick time frame.

“Normalization” in Montessori terms is used to describe the process in which children in the classroom find inner discipline and peace, and the children are able to concentrate and focus on working freely throughout the classroom.  To assist with the process of normalization, a friend recommended the use of doTerra Essential Oils in my classroom.  Leticia Baxter is an Elite Wellness Advocate for doTerra Essential Oils, and she educated me on the positive effects of using the oils in my classroom.  The most important thing I learned about using essential oils is to do my research.  Not all oils are created equal, and doTerra oils have proven to be superior to other brands currently on the market.  To learn more about doTerra Essential Oils click here.

 

I invited Leticia to share some of the benefits of using doterra essential oils in your classroom (or home).  doterra Essential Oils offer a variety of oils for a variety of health benefits, however, Leticia discussed only a few; the ones that are beneficial for focus, concentration, and calming.  Without further ado-here are the benefits of using doterra essential oils.

 

Why Use doTERRA Essential Oils? How can they be a benefit to the home and classroom?

 

I am going to touch on a few doTERRA Essential oils and the amazing benefits of using them in the classroom.  

 

It is so important when choosing an essential oil brand! Many companies claim their oils to be therapeutic grade and some may be pure. In reality, very few of them are subjected to rigorous testing and standards for chemical composition.  doTERRA essential oils are cross tested to ensure both the exact purity and composition potency of each batch.   doTERRA works side by side with a global network of leading essential oil chemist and growers to ensure that our oils are the safest, purest, most potent and beneficial oils available in the world today.  Please make sure the oils you are using are to the highest standards of quality. You can really tell a difference not only in smell but when using.  

 

 

Lavender

The Oil of Communication

Lavender is known for its calming and relaxing qualities.  It helps reduce anxious feelings and helps ease feelings of tension. When you think of lavender… think all things calming.  Lavender has many uses and  helps with some of the following: restful night’s sleep, anxious feelings, emotional balance and sooths occasional skin irritations. These are just to name a few.  Lavender can be used aromatically, topically and internally. Be aware that this does not go for all brands of essential oils.  As long as there is a supplemental fact label on the bottle, you can use topically and internally. This is very important when using essential oils and why quality really does matter.

Diffusing Lavender in the classroom can help in calming the room and aid in better focus and concentration.

 

 

 

Balance

The Oil of Grounding

Sometimes life can bring on stress leaving us off guard and feeling overwhelmed.  This blend helps to restore and ground us.  Balance brings a feeling of calmness, peace and relaxation. It can evoke feelings of tranquility,  sense of balance and ease anxious feelings. Balance can be used aromatically and topically.  

Diffusing balance in the classroom helps ground the whole room, setting a calm peaceful environment.

 

 

 

OnGuard

The Oil of Protection

OnGuard supports healthy immune function and can be used to boost the immune system. It can also clean surfaces to protect against environmental threats just by adding to water for an effective all purpose cleaner.  OnGuard can be used aromatically, topically and internally.

Diffusing OnGuard in the classroom helps shield individuals from germs, bacteria, mold and viruses all while purifying the air.

 

 

Wild Orange

The Oil of Abundance

Wild Orange inspires abundance, fosters creativity and supports a positive mood.  Wild Orange has a variety of uses such as cleansing, uplifting, invigorating and lowering anxious feelings or nervousness. It can aid in increasing concentration, emotional balance and so much more.  Wild Orange can be used aromatically, topically and internally.

Diffusing Wild Orange in the classroom helps with concentration and focus while cleansing the air.

 Oh… and it smells amazing too!

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, or are interested to learn more, please visit and contact Leticia Baxter at eoswithbaxter4.com.

 

About the Author:

 

Hi, my name is Leticia Baxter from eoswith baxter4.com.  I’m a stay at home mom who felt stuck in mom life.  I love being able to stay at home with my kiddos and be there for them, and am truly lucky and blessed to do so!  I found doTerra and it has helped me in so many ways!  Natural solutions using the oils has empowered my family and my life.  Why would I not share these life changing products with other?!  I love that I can offer others hope! I look forward to helping you!

 

 

So know that you know about the benefits of using doTerra essential oils, I will share with you about actually using them in my classroom.  My oil station is on a shelf in my classroom.  My set-up is quite simple and using the diffuser is easy too!  I use a small sized diffuser and add the oils to it.  The easy to follow steps are listed below.

-Fill the diffuser to the red dot with water.

-Add two to three drops of each oil (for a stronger, more noticeable smell,add more drops).  I personally stuck with the three drops

-This is where you can personalize the oil blends.  You can use one, two, three, or all four oils!  Depending on what your aim and goal is, you can pick different oils for each situation.

 

The children in my classroom absolutely LOVE the oils!  They walk around commenting on how good it smells.  It truly does work, I used them towards the end of the school year when the children start to get a little “unfocused”.  They worked amazing!  I noticed the difference in their ability to focus and concentrate, as well as the calming effect on the classroom overall.

 

I am so happy that I was able to find such pure, safe, and beneficial products to use in my classroom! What more could you want for your child or the children in your classroom?

 

Anitra

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Back 2 School Montessori Extras

10 back to school or homeschool activities to give your child a leg up on learning

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Whether your child is going back to public school, preschool, or it is time to get back to your homeschooling routine, it means that it is time for your child to buckle down and get back to the academics.  In most cases, the time your child spends at school or preschool is not enough for them to them to master, learn, and even practice many skills necessary for their academic success. Phonetic letter sound recognition, number recognition, the ability to communicate effectively & use problem solving skills, and fine motor skills are all important aspects that are customary for children to know and master.

 

 

 

 

 

I have parents all the time asking me if there is something that they could be working with at home with their child.  I normally tell them to have their child read (if they are a reader), and advise them of a few resources for them to possibly purchase and/or add to their home.  As a teacher, I do not have just one academic area that I find is important over another one.  In my opinion, they are all equally important, and play an important part in the development of the whole child.  It is important to incorporate all aspects of a child’s development, as well as finding ways to promote fine motor, cognitive skills, and critical thinking skills.  Trust me, no teacher would be disappointed to have a class of well rounded students!!

 

The activities I chose for the list are ones that can be used in a variety of ways and incorporated for use at home as extra support, for your homeschool, or in a classroom to enhance your curriculum.  I have direct knowledge and have used many of these items from the list in various ways either in my classroom or as an addition to my curriculum.

 

 

10 Activities that can used as extra support for your child’s academic learning

 

Add & Subtract Abacus

The Add & Subtract Abacus is for three to six year olds.  It comes with a wooden base and the double-sided wooden boards.  The colorful beads make it easy to distinguish between each of the numbers.  This work is a way to explore numbers, colors, patterns, addition, and subtraction!  It is very multi-functional.

     Self-Correcting Alphabet Letter Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Alphabet Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have a colorful object for the corresponding letter sound on one side, and letters from A to Z on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!

Alphabet Puzzle Cards

The Alphabet Puzzle Cards are for four to six year olds.  The interlocking alphabet cards come in a great wooden box for easy storage.  The self correcting interlocking pieces insures that the puzzles are solved and matched correctly!  These puzzle cards promote independence and

Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets

The Wooden Letter Alphabet Magnets are for three to six year olds.  There are fifty two magnetic upper and lower case letters, that can be used for spelling, stenciling, matching upper and lower case, and for building words!  These letter magnets are great for all kinds of language ideas!

Self-Correcting Number Puzzles

The Self-Correcting Number Puzzles are for four to six year olds.  The wooden puzzle pieces have colorful, objects on one side, and numbers from one to twenty on the other side.  The interlocking pieces make it easy for young children to self correct and promotes independence and success!
World Map Floor Puzzle – 33 Pieces

The World Map Floor Puzzle is for six plus years old.  Although, we a little assistance, I don’t see why a four or a five year old couldn’t be successful with this puzzle.  The puzzle pieces are made with an easy, clean surface.  This puzzle map is perfect for introducing and learning about the continents of the world.

Turn & Tell Wooden Clock

The Turn & Tell Wooden Clock is for four to seven year olds.  The wooden base and large numbers make it easy for your child to be introduced to and practice telling time.  It has clickable hands to help mark off the minutes, it details hour, minute, half past, and quarter past.  There are also 13 double-sided time cards for practice as well!  This all-in-one clock is perfect for learning to tell time.

U.S.A. (United States) Map Floor Puzzle – 51 Pieces

The U.S.A. Map Floor Puzzle is also for six plus years old.  I believe that with a bit of assistance, a four or five year old would be able to do this puzzle in its entirety.  The extra thick puzzle pieces make this puzzle durable. This puzzle is great for introducing, learning, and studying all 50 States!

Magnetic Wooden Numbers

The Magnetic Wooden Numbers are for three to five year olds.  It comes with enough numbers to count from zero to twenty, and it includes five number signs as well!  These magnetic numbers can be used to introduce counting, number recognition, and simple addition & subtraction!

See & Spell Learning Toy

The See & Spell is for children four to six years old.  You can use the letters to spell the three and four letter puzzle words, spell other words, or use the letters as a stencil.  The cardboard puzzle boards and pieces are built for long lasting durability.  This is a spelling and fine motor activity wrapped into one!

 

 

Adding one or many of these activities to your child’s daily teachings will put your child on the right path to mastering many of the necessary skills needed for their future learning.  The activities are adaptable and allow for use in a classroom or homeschool environment, or just as a supplement at home for your child.

 

Anitra

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Favorite Book Friday's

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #5

Favorite Book Fridays is back again!

Looking for a favorite book to call your own?  Well, look no further!  This weekly series was created to assist you and hopefully your child in finding YOUR favorite book.  I don’t know about you, but this weekly series is a highlight of my week!

 

Each week, I find myself searching through my collection of books to find books that you may not be familiar with or that may not be as mainstream as other books by other authors.  One of my goals of this weekly series is to hopefully introduce you to a book that is new to you and your child and to promote a love of reading that will last into adulthood. This series is dear to me, as it really delves into my love of books, and the diversity and variety of books that are available out there for young children.  I am ecstatic to bring you this series every week, and I hope that you are enjoying this weekly series as much as I am!

 

Title: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Author: Simms Taback

Illustrator: Simms Taback

 

I came across this book in my early years of teaching.  It has an older, classic feel to it, but nonetheless, it has a catchy, lively story and eye-catching illustrations.  It has a great, practical lesson at the end, which I think is important for children to learn.  The story is about finding a way to be happy with what you have.  This book is a winner of the Caldecott Medal and the National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Picture Book.

 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

 

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is a story about a Jewish farmer that has an overcoat.  His overchttps://chroniclesofamomtessorian.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1155&action=editoat get old and worn, and he decided to make something else out of it.  He continues to remake things from his overcoat; a jacket, a vest, a scarf, a neck tie, a handkerchief until  he ends up with just a button.  In the end, he loses his button; but concludes that “you can always make something out of nothing.”  The illustrations are very colorful and vibrant with the use of watercolors, collage, and die cut  imagery.  It is a method that is similar to that of the illustrations of Eric Carle and Leo Lionni.

 

I love the moral at the end of the story.  It is something that I feel everyone; children and adults, should learn.  It’s not always about what you have, it’s about making the most of what you have and finding a way to make something out of nothing!  This is something that can be used for various aspects of daily life, and I think that it is brilliant that it is taught in a book for young children!

 

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

Anitra

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Back 2 School Montessori Extras

Back 2 School-The 4 Best Lunch Box Containers for Young Children

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

It is Back to School time! The early mornings, trying to get everyone out of the house on time, and making lunches.  Back to School means making and packing lunches. Whether you make and pack them at night or in the morning, it is still a chore to complete.  Making and packing lunches means endless amounts of zip loc baggies, tupperware containers, aluminum foil, ice packs and thermoses.  All the makings of a disaster for a teacher…let me explain.  In most, if not all, preschool (3 to 6 year old) classrooms in California, there can be a maximum of twenty four children and two teachers.  A ration of twelve to one.  If every child brings their lunch; all twenty four of them; that means that there are twenty four lunches that we have to help open.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, that’s my point!  I work in a private preschool, and at least eighty percent of the children in my classroom bring a lunch from home.

 

It is very difficult to work and teach at a school who’s philosophy is based on the independence of the children, when parents do not promote independence for their child when considering the containers and baggies they put in their lunches.  For example, I understand that placing sandwiches in zip loc baggies are convenient and cheap, but most parents do not take into consideration how difficult it is for young children to open the baggies on their own.  It is actually pretty difficult for them.  On the other side, using tupperware containers are not any easier, as they tend to have very difficult lids that are not necessarily child friendly and easy to open for small hands.  Even though aluminum foil and thermoses help keep food warm in instances when there is not a way to re warm food, but they tend to be equally as difficult for young children to open themselves.

 

I have noticed throughout the years that the above listed ways to pack a child’s lunch are not practical for young children who need to learn to open things themselves.  It is customary in my classroom, and in many Montessori classrooms, that children be able to at least try to open their containers and such at lunch time.  In most cases, many of the children are very eager and willing to open their own things, and do not want the help of the teachers.  They are building on their ability to be naturally independent and self sufficient.  It is an important part of the Montessori philosophy to promote their inner ability to be natural learners.

With that in mind, I have come up with a list of lunch containers that are ideal in promoting the independence of your child at lunch time, which in turn leads to being independent at other feeding times as well!  The below list are of items that children have had in my classroom over the past one to two years, and are, in my opinion, the best “child centered” products for promoting independent little learners!

 

4 Best Child Centered Lunch Containers

(Items listed are listed in no particular order)

 

 

1. Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bentgo Kids container is a popular one.  It has two easy to open snap tabs, and the multiple compartments allows you to provide a variety of lunch choices for your child.  It also comes in more colors for your child to choose from.  They are durable & leak proof; and the inner tray is microwave and dishwasher safe.  The outside has rubber coated edges for maximum durability, and it even comes with a free downloadable eCookbook!

 

2. Lunchbots Stainless Steel Lunch Container

The Lunchbots lunch container is also a popular choice.  It has an easy to open lid, and similar to the Bentgo box, it has multiple compartments to allow for a variety of food choices for your child.  The durable stainless steel is built for long term usage.  It is dishwasher safe, and also comes in a trio; with two different varieties for the trio box!

 

3. OmieBox Bento Lunch Box

The OmieBox lunch box comes with a kid thermos that is insulated.  It opens easy, as does the lunch box itself with a snap lid.  It also has multiple compartments to provide a variety of food choices as well.  The leak proof, double walled, air insulated lunch box can be used for hot or cold foods, and the insulated thermos will keep food hot for up to four hours!

 

 

4. Zojirushi Mr. Bento Lunch Jar

The Zojirushi Mr. Bento lunch jar is by far the most convenient one for keeping foods hot.  It comes with four smaller insulated containers with lids, that are easily stored inside the jar.  It can keep food hot (or cold) for up to six hours!  It is vacuum insulated stainless steel, with microwavable food bowls.  The bowls come in different sizes, and the jar itself comes in a variety of colors. It even comes with a convenient carrying bag!

 

All of the lunch containers will provide opportunities for your child to practice their fine motor skills.  It also gives them an opportunity to be independent.  Any activities that aid in your child being self sufficient and independent will in the long run lead to them being confident and autonomous in the future, and on in to adulthood.  Come on, now who doesn’t want their young child to be more independent?!

 

Looking for more Back 2 School posts?  All through the month of August I will be bringing you posts giving you Back 2 School tips! Enjoy!

Anitra

 

 

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Favorite Book Friday's

Edward the Emu

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

Favorite Book Fridays Series Post #4

 

Favorite Book Fridays is becoming one of my favorite topics to write about!  I am having a great time sharing my favorite books with everyone, and I am getting great feedback on the books that have been featured on the weekly series.  This weeks choice is a good one as well; it will not disappoint!  I read this book earlier this week in my classroom as a part of our study of Australasia (the continent of Australia, the island of New Zealand, and Papau New Guinea).  We learned about the animals of Australasia.

 

A change in your regularly scheduled programming…

This weeks Favorite Book Friday will feature two books!  That’s right, every once in awhile I will feature two books on Favorite Book Fridays!  The two books featured are books that have a part 2 or a “to be continued” book that follows the first book.  I am excited to share with you the first of the two book features.  I hope you enjoy them both as much as I do!

 

Title: Edward the Emu

Author: Sheena Knowles

Illustrator: Rod Clement

 

I first stumbled upon this book back when I first started teaching, over 17 years ago.  The story itself is about accepting who you are, and being comfortable who you are.  I especially enjoy the clever, rhyming text that is catchy and fun.  The pictures are some of the favorites in all of the hundreds of books I own.  They are drawn with such character, details, and with vivid colors.

Edward the Emu

Edward is an Emu that lives in a zoo.  He gets bored being an emu, so he decides to go and be other animals in the zoo.  He becomes a seal for a day, a lion for a day, and a snake for a day.  Then he finds that the emus are what most people come to the zoo to see, and decides that he should be an emu again.  But, when he gets back to his den he notices that he’s been replaced…by another emu!  Edward the Emu has a good life lesson on confidence and self esteem, and reminds you to love yourself, just the way we are!

 

But wait…there’s more!

 

And if Edward the Emu wasn’t great enough…there is Edwina the Emu!!!  Edwina is the emu that was brought in to take Edward’s place once he went missing in the zoo. The story is just as well written as Edward the Emu, with the same rhyming, catchy text and the amazing illustrations.  I think that the illustrations in both books are magnificent!

 

Title: Edwina the Emu

Author: Sheena Knowles

Illustrator: Rod Clement

 

 

Edwina the Emu

 

Edwina and Edward enjoy the zoo, and one day Edwina announces that she has laid ten eggs!  They decide that Edward will stay home and sit on the eggs while Edwina goes out to find a job.  She tries being a ballerina, a chimney sweeper, and a waitress, but to no avail.  After not being good at any of the jobs, sh then she figures out what her job should be…a mother!

 

Both of these books will surely have you wanting more.  They both are great additions to any classroom, teacher, home school, or child library!  I hope that you enjoy them both as much as I do.

 

Until next week, Happy Reading!

Anitra

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