Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Montessori-Inspired Magnet Activities Using Free Printables

By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now 

I wish I would have had more hands-on activities with magnets in school. It would have been nice to develop an appreciation for science at a young age. Fortunately, it's easy now to give young children lots of hands-on activities in any curriculum area. My activities today emphasize science, but they also cover a number of curriculum areas. 

At Living Montessori Now, I have a list of free magnet printables. The free printables include my latest subscriber freebie (a Montessori-inspired magnet pack). I'm sharing a number of Montessori-inspired activities here using the free printables. You'll find many activities for preschoolers through first graders throughout the year along with presentation ideas in my previous posts at PreK + K Sharing

You'll also find ideas for using free printables to create activity trays here: How to Use Printables to Create Montessori-Inspired Activities. At Living Montessori Now, I have a post with resource links of Free Printables for Montessori Homeschools and Preschools

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

Shelves with  Magnet-Themed Activities 

Montessori Shelves with Magnet-Themed Activities 

My shelves with magnet-themed activities include a free hand-painted printable magnet culture card designed by The Montessori Company. You’ll also find Montessori-inspired magnet numbers and letters (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

The books on my top shelf are great for preschoolers through early elementary. They're What Magnets Can Do by Allan Fowler, What Makes a Magnet by Franklyn M. Branley, and Magnets Push, Magnets Pull by David A. Adler. My 3½-year-old granddaughter, Zoey, loves our themed books each month. She hasn't gotten to see the magnet books yet, although she tested out a couple of the activities before the books were out. I'm sure she'll love them and want to try some of the fun magnet activities they tell about.  

You could mix your magnet-themed activities among your shelves according to curriculum area. Or you could have a special magnet area something like the one pictured. My shelves this month have a mixture of skill levels. If you’re a homeschooler, just choose the activities that work for your child’s interests and ability levels. If you don’t have room for all the activities you’d like to do, just rotate them.   

Magnet Culture Card (on Shelf with Magnets Push, Magnets Pull and More Magnet Books)

Magnet Culture Card with Magnets Push, Magnets Pull BookI'm happy to share with you an awesome hand-painted magnet culture card from The Montessori Company. You can use it on your shelves to introduce a magnet theme. I’m hosting the free printable as an instant download at Living Montessori Now. You can always access the free magnet culture card here

The description says: “All magnets have both a negative and positive side which creates a magnetic field and attracts metallic objects.” 

Magnet Letter and Object Matching Magnet Letter and Object Basket Free Printables: Magnet Letters for Letter M Object Basket (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

I used the "m" sandpaper letter, magnetic letter m's  and magnetic pictures for the/m/ sound. If you'd like ideas for teaching phonics, check out my DIY Beginning Montessori Phonics post. 

We used a Montessori mystery bag and have a blindfold available. I got the basket, mystery bag, and blindfold from Montessori Services. I added a magnet, magnetic letters, and magnetic pictures (if you don't have any, you could make them with magnetic tape and pictures). 

Zoey loved this and wanted to do it again right away! 

Magnet Writing Tray

Magnet Writing Tray  

Free Printables: Magnet Letters for Magnet Writing Tray (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For the tray, I used the wooden tray from the Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Shapes. You can use whatever tray or container work best for you, though. 

I often color salt with food coloring, but this time I used some colored rice that had gotten broken up from so much use in sensory bins. I added a magnet as the writing tool along with iron filings from our magnet set

Zoey loved the texture of the rice, and she was fascinated to find that the iron filings stuck to the magnet after she wrote in the rice! 

Beginning Sounds Matching Activity with Magnetic Letters Beginning Sounds Matching Activity with Magnetic Letters

Free Printable: Alphabet Beginning Sounds Poster from Homeschool Creations

You can do this activity on the refrigerator or cookie sheet, but we've always loved the Magnetic Chalk/Dry Erase Board from Melissa & Doug. I chose these magnetic letters when Zoey was a toddler because they were safer without small magnets. 

Children can match the beginning sound of the pictured object or do a simple match the lowercase letters. 

Magnetic Number Basket 1-20 with Science Activity 

Magnet Number Basket with Magnet, Paper Clips, and Cards 1-20 Plus Layouts

 Free Printable: Magnet Numbers 1-20 (part of my subscriber freebie pack, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password … or check the bottom of your latest newsletter if you’re already a subscriber) 

For this activity, I used a Montessori Services basket, Bambu condiment cup with 20 large paperclips, and a variety of magnets of different strengths. Most of my magnets are from this set, although I have some from other sources, too. 

I just keep one magnet on this tray and we gather up magnets from other trays to do the activity. We simply, line up the cards in order from 1-20 and then test one magnet to see how many paperclips it can lift. Then we count out the paperclips, laying them out a bit like the Montessori teen board. In the end, we place the number next to the layout. I think this is fun even for adults! 

We always do our layouts on a Montessori Services rug

Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Tray Magnetic and Non-Magnetic Tray

Free Printable: Magnetic/Non-magnetic Title Cards from Montessori for Everyone  
For this traditional Montessori activity, I used a Multicraft trayMontessori Services basket, magnet, 9 magnetic objects, and 9 non-magnetic objects. 

Except for the tray, my materials were actually part of a complete Magnetic/Non-Magnetic Activity from Montessori Services. You can obviously prepare your own tray, although it's super fast and easy if you have the Montessori Services activity.  

You can read about Montessori magnetic/non-magnetic activity and see variations of it in my magnetic and non-magnetic activity post

Tray with Magnet Song and Magnet Task Cards Tray with Magnet Song and Task Cards  
Free Printable: Magnets Song from First Grade WOW Free Printable: Magnet Task Cards from Fun with Magnets by Have Fun Teaching at Teachers Pay Teachers 

For this activity, I used a Multicraft tray with printables and magnets. I didn't have two bar magnets, so I used one bar magnet and a horseshoe magnet. That worked, although I think I'll get an extra bar magnet to make some of the activities clearer. 

For younger children, you can sing the song with them and do the activities on the task cards together, skipping the recording your observations part.   

More Free Magnet Printables 

Go to my post at Living Montessori Now for links to free magnet printables from around the blogosphere: Free Magnet Printables and Montessori-Inspired Magnet Activities. And be sure to subscribe to my email list if you'd like to get an exclusive free printable each month (plus two more awesome freebies right away): Free Printables.

Montessori at Home or School - How to Teach Grace and Courtesy eBook

If you'd like to focus on manners with children, please check out my eBook Montessori at Home or School: How to Teach Grace and Courtesy! It's written for anyone who'd like to feel comfortable teaching manners to children ages 2-12. I'm also one of the coauthors of the book Learn with Play – 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning!

Have a great school year!

Deb - Siganture
Deb Chitwood
Deb Chitwood is a certified Montessori teacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Studies from Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. Deb taught in Montessori schools in Iowa and Arizona before becoming owner/director/teacher of her own Montessori school in South Dakota. Later, she homeschooled her two children through high school. Deb is now a Montessori writer who lives in San Diego with her husband of 42 years (and lives in the city where her kids, kids-in-law, and 3-year-old granddaughter live). She blogs at Living Montessori Now.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017: at School with PreK-First Graders

Are you ready??  The SOLAR ECLIPSE 2017 is here!


It's the event of a lifetime!  The first solar eclipse to go coast to coast since 1918 (June 8th).  The last eclipse to even touch the United States was February 26, 1979 and it was in a corner of the northwest and on a cloudy day.

Almost everyone in the United States will be able to observe at least a 50% partial eclipse.   Many will see much more.

Young children may be totally unaware of what is going on.  It is our job to help them observe and understand.

This is so important, but it is not hard.

Start by getting proper eye protection (young children are going to want to look).  Sunglasses are not enough.  I made my own glasses with lenses from a welding supply store.  You need a lens #14 or higher.
Just take your lenses and place them into a larger piece of cardboard.  Attach with duck tape.  This will help young ones control the placement of the lens over their eyes.  They will be less likely to have the lens slip off of their eyes.
If you go online to buy some, be sure they are not fake (apparently fake glasses are popping up everywhere)

During the brief time of totality you can look with your naked eyes.

For fun........and for not looking at the sun at all, a pin box viewer is quick and easy to make.  You have all the supplies you need on hand.  I used a box, but you can get away with just a white piece of paper and a dark (stiff and won't let the sun through) paper.  I poked my hole with a bamboo skewer.

Now that you have seen what is happening, how do you explain it to a child?  Hands on is always the best method.  I made this interactive model using a paper plate to trace my sun and moon.  My sun had triangles glued to the back to show the corona.  You could make the moon just a wee bit smaller and that would work too. If you want a printable pattern, you can find the pattern by clicking here.

This picture from NASA is a great visual too.

I like the video clip here.  I have a stack of books ready to read.  There will be waiting around time as the moon makes its way across the sun.  How much wait time do you have?  Check out this table I made for times because the fun doesn't need to be just the few minutes of totality....
What else can you do?  Eat of course...along with Sun Chips and Milky Way bars you may want to make these tasty treats.  Can you see the shadow of the moon (half grape) and the corona of the sun (banana with yogurt glue)?
Now you are ready for some fun!!!  
It's once in a lifetime!  Carpe Diem!



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hi!  It's Carolyn from Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.  I've been busy, busy, busy working with Dr. Jean on our latest creation.  On August 9th, Dr. Jean will be doing a webinar for ESGI ,sharing lots of back to school ideas.  The first 1000 teachers to log in will receive our "Back to School Happies" packet FREE!!!  The packet is packed with 15 songs and over 100 pages of classroom management, math, literacy, QR codes, Prezis, books, finger plays, seasonal activities.  You can get this $14.95 treasure by registering HERE today!

We've been working on these packets this past year- and we just love them. We couldn't wait to share these!

Last year, Jean and I were talking about how much we enjoy sharing ideas with teachers, and how much we want the JOY of teaching and learning never to be lost.  With all the trends and changes and standards out there, sometimes teachers get so caught up in having to keep up, they forget to enjoy the journey.

Dr. Jean wanted to put all of her best teaching songs together with practical, helpful ideas and activities, so they were all in one place for teachers.  We decided it would be most helpful to divide these ideas into monthly packets- full of one useful idea after another!  So - that's what we did.

Each month we have ELA, math, science, social studies, character education, and seasonal ideas to go with 15+ of Dr. Jean's songs (many with books to go with them).  We've also included different cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays for each month.  Jean made a little video for each month showing how to do all the new cheers, handshakes, attention grabbers, and finger plays with her granddaughter.  I know it's so much easier for me to learn new things when I see them, so I love these little videos.

There wasn't a lot out there for science and social studies for primary grades, so we wanted to be sure to include these subjects in each month's packet.

Character education is one of my all time favorites, and we have included many of these activities.   You can fit in activities and lessons all the time to help children know themselves and grow as kind friends.

We had so much fun putting these packets together.  One of the best things about the activities in the packets is that they can be made to fit beautifully with any curriculum.  For example, we have many sight word game ideas.  If you need to teach 100 sight words or 25 sight words, they will work perfectly for you- just fit your words into the game.

Each preview packet for every month has several freebies in it and an explanation of what is included in the monthly packet.  All of the songs are highlighted in RED in the table of contents, so you can easily see those. They will be downloads that come in the zip file.

Here is a little sample of some of the activities in each of the packets:

We have also bundled the whole year of packets together at a discounted price- so it's like you get 2 months free! This complete packet includes all 9 monthly packets with 1275 pages of activities, learning games, and worksheets for all subject areas; over 135 of Dr. Jean's songs to download (many with books to go with them!); 20 Prezis; new handshakes, cheers, attention grabbers, and finger plays each month; QR codes for many of the songs; plus assessments available on ESGI for each subject area each month!

Each month you will  receive 2 Prezis with LOTS of videos, songs, activities, online games, and anchor charts, that go along with that month.  I love Prezis.  They are a perfect way to organize your favorite online activities so they are all right there for you, in one place, ready to use whenever you have a free moment.  Never again will you waste those extra minutes before specials or before lunch.
I use the Prezis to introduce new subjects, to reinforce what I've taught, to leave up an anchor chart on my Smart TV during a lesson because I don't have a lot of extra wall space, and to play review games on the Smartboard or Smart TV.

So- all of these "favorites" are all set up for you to use and the links to these Prezis are included in these packets!  Here are some of the Prezis you will receive so you have an idea of what is included:

Then, to make this even BETTER- we have partnered with ESGI to include assessments in each packet for each subject area!  Every month, you will receive assessments for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies available through ESGI.

These assessments give you all the data your district could want!  Having the assessments to show your administration also helps to show them how hands-on learning, songs, and movement really WORK to help children learn and remember information.  We know that they will remember it so much better because they had FUN learning it.

These packets can also be purchased through school districts with curriculum money.  The assessments provide the data piece so many districts look for when purchasing curriculum.  But in the "teacher world,"  the data really helps us to see what the children learn and help us to guide our instruction as we move forward with our teaching!  That's why I love ESGI... Educational Software for Guiding Instruction.  That's exactly what it does for teachers.

I posted ALL about the benefits, bells and whistles,  and some examples of what ESGI offers HERE.  When you use the special PROMO CODE HAPPIES , you can try ESGI FREE for 60 days and when you see how valuable it is, you will receive $40 off your purchase for the first year using the HAPPIES code.  The price is usually $199 a year, but with the promo code, it will be $159 for the first year.  Check with your administration because they may be able to purchase it for you. They can use the code and get it for $159 for the first year, too- for your whole grade level!  It's a great time of the year to try it out in the beginning of the year- when you are assessing so many different things.  ESGI saves you HOURS of time assessing.  The children love it.  It's fun!  There is no paperwork to get lost- and your data is available anytime for you because it's all online. All answers are Y (yes) and N (no).  You click the button right on the iPad as the student answers, whether he was able to answer it or not. The data is all saved for you and can be displayed so many different ways to help you create groups and see progress.  You can read more about ESGI's features HERE.     

Here are some samples assessment questions and how they will look on your iPad as you assess the students:

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you continue to have a "happie" summer!

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