Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to teach children to be thankful


How to teach preschoolers to be thankful.

What does it mean to be thankful?  That is a big word for preschoolers.  How do we teach them to say thank you, show thankfulness and mean it?  From the time that children can speak we teach them to say thank you.  It becomes expected and automatic but does it mean anything?
I think that in order to teach children to be grateful we have to model it.  Just like everything else in their world they have to see it to believe it.

November is a great time to teach gratefulness.  Here are a few practical steps to teach your young children.
1.  Give to others often.  Find out who is in need and what they need, involve your children in blessing a family.  Make cards and gifts that do not cost any money.  Allow your children to give the cards and gifts to the family.  Reflect with your children on how it made them feel to bless others and how they thought that family felt to receive those blessings.
2.  Model gratitude in your everyday life.  When you are at the grocery store, a restaurant, with your spouse.  Let your children hear your say thank you and why you are thankful.  Then talk about it with them.  Say things such as:  "wasn't that nice of the grocer to bag our groceries for us and help us load the cart?" or "Didn't that waitress have such nice manners when she brought us our food"  Remember our children are always watching and learning from us.  If we have an ungrateful attitude they will pick up on that.
3.  Teach them how to express their gratitude.  In the hustle of life I have failed to do this lately.  I haven't taught my own children the importance of thank you cards and notes.  I haven't taken the time to sit down and model being thankful in this way.  I think this is a skill that is slowly dying today and needs to be revisited.  Who doesn't love to receive a thank you note?  It makes what you did seem like that much more of a blessing.  Even small toddlers can draw a picture or scribble some lines to show their thanks.
4.  Talk about your blessings.  Sometimes children forget all that they have to be thankful for.  They are born very self centered and we need to teach them to look outside of themselves to see all that they have to be thankful for.  This is also an area that you can model for them.  We have a thankful tree every November and we write on leaves the things that we are thankful for.  It starts out
 generic but as the month goes on it becomes much more specific and thoughtful.  We also have love letters in February.  Each of my children has a mailbox by their door.  Through out the month we write love letters to each other and put it in their boxes.  The letters start out with I love you because.... It is a fun way to show why we appreciate each other.
5.  Honor and love your family!  This is a biggie for me.  I feel like today with our busy schedules and all of our activities that we forget to stop and honor our family.  We need to visit our loved ones, call them, skype, facetime.  Whatever you need to do and teach our children to do the same.  Our family is what makes us who we are and we need to remember that and stay in touch.

I hope these simple steps to gratitude will help you focus on what is important this year and maybe remember it for years to come.  Have a blessed holiday with your families and friends!

Rachel Supalla

Friday, April 18, 2014

Kid's Party Themes:Star Wars Black Light Party part one


I am sorry it has been awhile!  To make my blogging quest more fun and interesting I decided to do a series on kid's parties.  I have done so many that I am going to start showcasing one a week.  I am also going to use this as a platform for guest bloggers...fun right?!  This week I am going to kick off my new series with a Star Wars Party.  I hope you can use some of these ideas for your kid's parties, I also used this same theme as one of our summer camp themes so double duty!

For the Birthday party I wanted to make the setting in the dark to have black light activities.  We bought our black light from amazon.com and our lava lamp also.  I got a lot of my black light ideas from http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/ and my sister from Appleby Party Designs.  This part of the party was super fun to plan with my kids.  We did experiments to see what did and didn't glow before the party to make sure it was all going to work.  We made glow bottles, I will list what was in each bottle.
1. Tonic Water, snakes and marbles
2. yellow Glow water (see below for instructions)
3. Orange glow water with Marbles and pom poms
To make glow water you just take the inside ink compartment out of a highlighter and soak it in water.  Seriously it is that easy!  After you make glow water you can use it for all sorts of things!
We had a table set up for the kids to choose a Jedi Name and write it with a highlighter on white paper.  We tried black paper and that did not work.
We sprayed a HUGE bowl of mini marshmallows with glow paint and hid glow in the dark stars in it for a sensory box. I found florescent play dough that also glowed in the dark.  We made a water table with glow water, glow in the dark stars, marbles and glow in the dark beads from oriental trading.

 The kids were all asked to come dressed as a star wars character and we made each kid a light saber out of pool noodles, those things are so resourceful!  We cut them in thirds and added black and silver duct tape stripes and a red square for the button.  As soon as everyone arrived my husband was upstairs getting ready for the big surprise!!  My two girls and their cousins began Jedi training with the kids which is similar to the one they do at Disneyland.  They had it all choreographed.  When Jedi Training was just about done the music turned to the dark side and Darth Maul entered through fog (my awesome husband).
 The kids used their Jedi Training to fight Darth Maul!  It was amazing!  After we fought Darth Maul we had our Snacks, our cake and punch.  The kids ended by playing with all the black light centers.

Rachel

Monday, September 16, 2013

Montessori Geography: Exploring Africa Part 1

 


There are many different areas in a Montessori Classroom.  This is one of the many reasons why I love the Montessori method.  It appeals to my ADHD, multitasking brain!  One of my favorite areas of the classroom is the Geography and science center.  We basically have a whole room dedicated to Geography and Science at our school.

 
 Over the course of three years we will visit all 7 continents and dive into an exciting theme unit on each continent.  Most of the time when we study a continent the unit goes in many different directions and takes on a life of it's own.  We add math, art and language extensions to our Continent studies and the children transform their works and personalize them to go along with their interests.

  

I often find that by studying geography and social studies the children are able to learn and absorb so much more based on the fact that their interest levels are so high!  It is exciting to be a part of.  Through out the year I will add our various continent studies and extension activities.  Our first continent study of the year is Africa.  We began the year by introducing all of the continents, learning the continent song and what the continents look like.

Here is our Continent map I purchased this map from www.alisonsmontessori.com along with several other Montessori supplies.  Then we studied the shape and landscapes of Africa.  We made a bubble map about Africa and we added more facts daily as we learned more.  We studied the African animals because the landscapes of Africa are so diverse we discussed the different landscapes first and the habitats of different animals that lived in Africa.



 We extended our African animal studies with math works, language works and art.
For language we talked about crocodiles and we had a drawing workshop to label the crocodile.  This is our Crocodile art project.
  Here are our different math works.  We made animal patterns, we sorted animal, we counted animals and we counted coconuts and palm trees.  
In our language center we had three part cards to label African animals.  
In Part 2 of our African Continent study I explain our ancient Egypt unit.  I have missed blogging and I can't promise I will be a regular blogger but I will try to sneak it in as I can!  Thanks for stopping by.
Rachel Supalla :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Show me the money! Montessori money math!


Sensory math!  Sorting coins that are "hidden" in water beads.  


Show me the money!!  I mean really, who isn't excited about money?  Kids included.  It is natural for children to have a desire to learn about money.  It is a part of our everyday lives.  We should take this opportunity to teach them about something when their interest is high.  I like to introduce money around President’s Day.  We start with a discussion about Washington and Lincoln and that leads into learning about pennies and quarters.  

Another good time to build excitement about money is on St. Patrick’s Day when you can go on a search for the money at the end of the rainbow.  

This is when you can introduce the nickel.  We start with sorting coins, nickel , quarter and penny.  I use clear water beads and hide the coins to sort in the water beads.  After they have mastered that I add in the dime.  The next step after they have mastered coin sorting is to introduce the coin values. 

I do this by making it a Montessori counting work, I use sandpaper numbers to help reinforce the value of the coins and have objects to count to reinforce one to one correspondence.  
At the end of our money unit we celebrate with a PJ day and snack money store.  Each child brings in a snack and I pass out coins for them to count out to buy snacks.  

This was a fantastic learning experience and super fun to top it off!!  Have fun showing the kids the money! 




Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to Montessori School



Back to Montessori School
Going back to school is always an exciting time for teachers, moms and children.  With all the excitement how do teachers plan for phasing in the Montessori curriculum?  This year was especially challenging for me because we have the most new students we have ever had.  We only have 4 2nd year students and no elders (Kindergarteners) so the remaining students are all brand new to the Montessori Method.  When I am starting out the year my practical life shelves are empty with nothing but trays on them.  This year I am trying a new method of color coding trays and shelves to help with classroom management.  Carrying the trays, walking the line while carrying the tray and returning the empty tray to the correct shelf has all been a part of my phasing in process this year. 


My math shelves start out with basic Montessori materials, sorting, counting and shapes.  Right now we have our back to school sensory box out as well.  

Our science shelves are empty with the exception of a nature tray for exploring. 

Our line activities begin during circle time and then we extend the line to the bathroom and eventually the main flow of the classroom has a line.  While planning walk the line activities I always make sure to incorporate the theme, fun songs and activities to go along with it.  The children do not know that while we are singing fun songs and doing different arm movements or sounds that they are mastering walking the line in the process.  Dr. Jean www.drjean.org and http://www.jackhartmann.com/ are two great artists that I use for line songs.  

It is incredible how valuable these simple phasing in activities are.  Usually around week 4 you can walk into the classroom and see the children working on mats, walking on lines, carefully carrying trays with glass pitchers and bowls on them, and using grace and courteousy with their friends and teachers.  I do not think the Montessori Method can work without proper time for phasing in.  Let me know how you phase in your curriculum or classroom management for back to school.  I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. 


Monday, July 2, 2012

Montessori Inspired Writing Workshop


Hello All!  
It has been too long since I last wrote!  I just wrote a blog post for PreK and K sharing and you can find the post HERE.  I talked about how to start a writing workshop in a Montessori classroom.  The main thing is to instill a love of writing in a child at a very young age.  Writing can be a daunting task for children...and adults!  If you can find a way to make it fun and have meaning it doesn't feel quite so much like work.  

I think that in a preschool class having daily or weekly drawing workshops it teaches the children to draw with purpose.  Draw to tell a story.  This will get the child excited and begin the writing process.  Once the child is comfortable drawing with meaning then you add more complex steps such as labeling, writing a sentence using the labels and eventually a story.

Check out my post at PreK and K sharing and I promise I will write again very soon!  I have missed blogging and I am excited to be back!
Rachel Supalla



Friday, April 6, 2012

Weekly Kid's Co-Op Linky! 4.5.12



Guess what time of the week it is??  Time for the weekly kid's Co-Op  Yeah!!  This week is full of fun Easter activities to do with kids.  Don't forget to link up after you have looked at all of the fabulous posts.  Here are a few of my Favorites from last week. 

http://www.readingconfetti.com/2012/03/colored-ice-cube-sensory-play.html
Now that the weather is starting to get nice out this would be a fun summer sensory activitiy!


I love using crazy tools for painting!  Here is a fun post about that!


This just incredible!!  We tried a project similar to this last month.  The kids will be fascinated with watching the crystals form and grow.  You can use google translate to read this post. 

I was so excited about this post because my husband already said he wanted to make me a light table this summer so now we know how! 

Here is my post for this week!
Now that you have seen a few of my favs from last week, here is the link up!
Rachel