Sunnybrook Montessori School

Montessori preschool & kindergarten in New Hampshire's North Country

4 December, 2021
by Lyn
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Gratitude

Snow blanketed our outdoor space while we were on Thanksgiving break, creating a perfect transition to the end of fall and arrival of winter. The sleds were outfitted with multiple ropes so sled dogs could pull mushers around the yard using the appropriate lingo; “hike” for go, “gee” for right, “haw” for left, “easy” for slow down, and “whoa” for stop. The dogs had to work on coordinating their strength, speed, and direction, which was a bit tricky for some teams.

hike!taking turnsReorganizing after a breakplanning how to coordinateon the go

We were sad to miss out on the story reading with Marty Kelly last week while we were all on quarantine, but we were excited to each pick two books donated by CLiF to keep for our very own. There was a wide variety of books, and the children took turns 1 or 2 at a time going into the small classroom/office with Makenna to make a selection. Makenna chose two books for all the students who were out and put them in their cubbies for them to have when they return.

choices, choicesPete the Cat

During sign with Rose we had so much fun doing the “Turkey Pokey,” putting in our thighs, waddles, tail feathers, etc. In keeping with our study of reptiles she read A Color of His Own by Leo Lioni, about a chameleon who didn’t want to be different from all the other animals who had their own colors. We then worked as teams to put the alphabet signs in order to build a giant alphabet caterpillar. They ended sign with the firetruck song, “Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Firetruck.”

Turkey's waddleput your tail feathers inchameleongreenredalphabet in signwplacing the PTalphabet caterpillarHurry, hurry, drive the firetruck

The children are creating a Gratefulness art installation. We read Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester and discussed how all the pretty penguins were not very accepting of Tacky until he scared away the hunters and they realized that although he was loud and imperfect, they were grateful to have him. We read some stories about being grateful and the children shared some things and people that they are grateful to have. They began working on individual pictures of all the things they are grateful for, which we will display together in a quilt, as well as photocopy for everyone to have a Book of Gratitude.

I am grateful for my friends Henry and TheoI am grateful for my elf, I love so many things!I am thankful for bow and arrowsI am thankful for lollipops, TV, my bed, my houseI am thankful for my family

Henrietta and Wolfgang and some of the students helped demonstrate how to get a friends attention. First, we look at them and say their name. If they don’t respond, we gently touch their shoulder and say their name again. If they still don’t respond, we keep trying until they look at us. This is the initial step in engaging with a friend, and we will use this to build other social skills over the next few weeks and months. After the demonstration, all of the children had an opportunity to try it out, and they had fun getting each others attention and responding when they were addressed.

We celebrated two birthdays this week. A birthday girl turned 6. She shared tasty chocolate chip and unicorn chip muffins after telling us she was born in the fall in the month of November 6 years ago and orbiting the sun 6 times with the globe.

6 years old!speedy orbit

The second birthday was celebrated with an Optimus Prime cupcake cake and gifts of playdough and books for all the students. The birthday boy showed us that he is 5 years old and we learned that he was born in the fall in the month of December. He slowly started to orbit the sun then sped up until he was racing so quickly we could barely keep up with listing the seasons. The children had so much fun hunting for treasure in their beautiful, sparkly, scented playdough, which made multiple appearances throughout the day. They also had fun trading treasures and everyone was very thoughtful, generous, and gracious while doing so.

He's 5!racing around the sunOptimus Primechoosing gift bags for everyoneWow!rainbow play doughplaying with the treasure filled playdoughMinnie Mouse

Kindergarten students worked on their Gratefulness project, cut out, folded, and taped together miniature envelopes to hide tiny notes and secret codes, wrote about what they like about themselves, just like Elmer the elephant, practiced some reading, and did some winter writing work.

cutting out mini envelopesmini envelopes and Elmer is likableI like me becausereading

making Stone Soup story telling braceletsFinished the 100 board!!How tall are you?How many unifix cubes tall am I?magnatile buildingsmeasuring heightsThe future book editorfamily picturesbristle blocksChicka Chicka Boom Boom puzzleWhere are they hiding?peek-a-booMemorydrawingThe wallmagnetsOiiiiiiiletter sound sort

During Friday science we read a bit about reptiles and named the reptile toys we have. Some early morning students had helped measure out and place strips of tape showing the lengths of 10 different reptiles, from the 29 foot green anaconda, 23 foot salt water crocodile, down to the 5 inch green anole lizard and 7 inch painted turtle. We reviewed the story How Long is a Foot and talked about using a standard unit of measurement. Students who were interested chose items of the same length; markers, rhythm sticks, unifix cubes, etc. to measure out the length of the various reptiles and count and record how many of a particular item long they were.

How many rhythm sticks is the saltwater crocodile?measuring the green anacondaHow many unifix cubes in a green anaconda?How many markers is a painted turtle and how many rhythm sticks is a leopard gecko?

21 November, 2021
by Lyn
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Story Telling

Magnets made their way to the science area, so we did a little magnet work. We learned that metals containing nickel, steel, iron, and/or cobalt are magnetic (as are some rare earth alloys), while other metals are not. We used a magnet to test items and sort them by whether they are magnetic or not. We then used some magnets to do some painting. We placed one magnet on the top of our mat board and another below to move the top one through paint, creating streaks and lines and patterns.

red squigglesmoving the magnetup and downmoving the orangered and green linesworking very carefullysorting magnetsplaying with magnetsmagnet chainpushing a magnet with another magnettesting out the magnets

Rose introduced reptile signs to correspond with our exploration of reptiles. We learned turtle, sea turtle, snake, lizard, alligator, and crocodile. When signing alligator and crocodile, one can tell the difference because we speak the corresponding word and can distinguish the formation of the sounds made by the mouth to identify which is being signed. Rose silently “spoke” the words alligator and crocodile and the children easily identified which she was saying. Rose retold the story Turkey Tumble, which she introduced last week, and this time the children helped out. They each chose to be a character in the story and sat with the corresponding stuffed animal/puppet while signing their lines from the story. Rose shared some alphabet pictures with the letter sign for the children to color, and worked with students to cut out and paste the hand signs for the alphabet to create an alphabet caterpillar, which they will assemble after break.

sign with Rosesnakemake finger fangs then wiggle your arm out away from your mouth to sign snakelizardalligator/crocodilesea turtlerabbitalphabet pictures and signs

We introduced characteristics of a story, including character, setting, the conflict, the solution, and the feelings. We then compared and contrasted each of these in the stone soup stories we have read, observing that almost all of the versions were very similar aside from a bit of variety in the characters. We read the version of Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth, which is set in a village in ancient China and features three monks. While reading the story, the children took turns putting up pictures of the characters and happenings in the story, which we matched with a bead or set of beads to correspond with that particular aspect of the story. The children then made Stone Soup story telling bracelets. They chose 3 beads for the soldiers/monks/traveller(s), 3-5 beads for the villagers & children, a large wooden bead for the pot, 3 smooth round beads for the stones, 3 vegetable beads for the ingredients, and a heart bead at the end to represent the joy, love, and gratitude they all felt when they shared what little they had and joined together to spend time and eat their stone soup, a change of heart from the beginning of the story when everyone was guarded and suspicious from all the stress and struggles.

character, setting, conflict, feelings, solutionall lined up in orderstory telling braceletbeads ready to laceadding the heartwith a little helpone at a time

We celebrated a fourth birthday with the most recent birthday boy. He carried the earth around the sun while we listed the seasons and counted the years up to his fourth birthday, then sang happy birthday. He shared tasty chocolate cupcakes, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!

4 years old!orbiting the suntasty birthday cupcakes

Kindergarten students selected their own work, then spent some time creating and writing out their own recipes for what they would add to stone soup. They did some stone soup math, drawing pictures of the items they would put in their pot and totalling up all the ingredients. Many students have been reading rhyming word lists and sounding through phonetic consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words such as cat, Mac, rat, etc. to prepare for some early reader books. We have been learning that some consonants change the sounds of some vowels, such as m and n altering the /a/ sound, so using am and an as chunks. Some of the initial strategies we have been practicing are getting your mouth ready to say the first sound, then sliding through all the sounds, blending them together to make the word.

reading, writing, and arithmeticwriting about an explorerrhyming cvc word listsRecipe for stone soupwater, stones, and parsleysounding out wordsadding up ingredientslots of beetsall the vegetables and herbs in stone soup2 carrots, 3 mushroomsSam sataddition BINGOcounting applessand tablegetting creativeMummiesarranging stumpsquiet with Michellebikingsensory items to help calmup and down the rampseeds from the dead flowerslooking at the seedssand playscooping and pouring

Friday students discussed a bit about reptiles and how their eggs are different from bird eggs. Reptile eggs have soft membranes on the outside, while bird eggs have hard shells. We put two eggs in a jar and added vinegar, which will dissolve the calcium shell, leaving only the soft membrane behind, so we can feel what a reptile egg is like. We also read a story about measurement. A king wanted to have a bed made for the queen, so he measured it with his feet. When the apprentice made the bed using his own feet, it was much too small, and finally they concluded that kings feet and apprentice feet were different sizes, so a standard unit of measurement should be agreed upon. We will use this information when we return to school to measure out the length of some reptiles.

How Long is a Foot?reading about reptiles

12 November, 2021
by Lyn
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Thinking and Feeling

The Monday students created egg tempera paint by cracking open an egg, separating the yolks from the whites, and mixing some powdered color into the yolk. They then used their egg tempera paint to create beautiful, luminous paintings. Egg tempera paints were used in Medieval and Renaissance paintings as they are long lasting, semi-transparent, and use less pigment.

mixing pigment with yolkred, purple, blue, yellowrainbow colorsblue, yellow, red and blackEgg Tempera Art

During sign language we reviewed the bird signs, numbers to 10, the alphabet, and some emotions signs we learned last week. Rose then read and signed a story about some turkeys sitting in a tree, watching as all the other woodland animals were hard at work.

birdbird5work

Pete Seeger’s version of Stone Soup was introduced, including the stone soup song, “Stone soup is what you need, when you have some friends to feed, step right up with what you’ve got, add it all to the big soup pot!” We introduced perspective taking by discussing how the soldier might have been feeling and what he might have been thinking, and what the villagers may have been thinking and feeling. The students were introduced to thinking and talking bubbles. We all have thoughts and feelings, and others may be able to read our body language and facial expressions to interpret some of this, but we can only know the thoughts in someone’s head if they speak them out loud and tell us what they are thinking and feeling. We did a little experimenting. The children took turns telling Lyn what they were feeling/thinking, and she wrote it down on the bubble. The child would hold the thinking bubble up and call on two students to guess what he/she was thinking and feeling. The talking bubble would then be held up with the words the child shared, and they would then say out loud what was written on the talking bubble, telling everyone what they were thinking and feeling.

What is she thinking?"I wanted to wear my unicorn dress to school.""I am sad because I miss my Papa.""I want to go to my treehouse.""I want Papa and Deedee to pick me up."

button art"knock, knock!" "Who's there?" tall Tbeginning sound sortingplaying the tiny violinlong line lmatching animal heads and tailshauling firewood (or weapons)time to wake upfeeling the turtle plastronthe animal pensweeping upanimal alphabetwooden word cardsMemorycutting and paintinga forest of trees and animalsfaceless monstersoutdoor artat the end of the tunnelCan I reach it with the red shovel?Will the blue shovel get it down?reach!digging up buried treasureafternoon memoryKnexcutting and gluingMummiesgetting into the sarcophogushiddenthe mummy emergesanother mummyMummy invasiongravity mazebalancingscooping waterWe love mud!Argh!  A pirate with half a mud mustache

Kindergarten students met three pirates. Some pirates say “ar,” some say “er,” and some say “or!” The students drew their own pirate ships with pirates who say “ar,” “er,” and “or.” Some students began brainstorming lists of words and phrases that have er, ar, or or in them, such as car, far, bar, jar, & star, “Shiver me timbers!” and “Har, har, har!”

or, ar, erpirates and pirate shipspirates say "ar""Shiver me timbers!"piratesbattling pirate shipsPirate talk

We have moved on from our study of birds to an exploration of reptiles. The children had fun with reptile puppets and figures, including snakes, turtles, tortoises, lizards, and crocodilians. On Friday we read the book All About Reptiles, which taught us that reptiles have dry, scaly skin, are cold blooded so need outside sources to warm their bodies (unlike us, who as mammals are warm blooded, meaning our bodies create our own heat), and most of them lay eggs from which their babies hatch. We learned that many reptiles have defense mechanisms to protect themselves and recorded a list of some of these characteristics that are used to help keep them safe, such as armor (turtle shell), venom, hissing, shooting blood from their eyes, and camouflage. The children then selected three areas in the classroom and identified the color and pattern of that area where a reptile could hide, then colored three reptiles to match where they would hide. The children then hid their reptiles and went on a hunt to see if they could find all the camouflaged animals.

5 little monkeys sitting in a tree, teasing Mr. Alligator, "Can't catch me!"
a lizard in the puzzle box
a green snake on a green washcloth
hiding the turtle
Can you find the hidden reptile?

5 November, 2021
by Lyn
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Shade, Shadow, and Sunshine

Artists created sunset water color pictures. They first drew the foreground using black pastels, trees and mountains and houses, then used watercolor paints to add shades of the sunset.

sunset watercolorssunsets in the fall

We reviewed bird signs, the alphabet, and numbers during sign language then were introduced to some feeling/emotion signs with a duck and goose story. Rose taught us how to sign and sing BINGO, which we all attempted to keep up with, but signing all those letters so quickly was tricky work for our fingers! It got easier the more claps we added and fewer letters we had to remember.

birdpenguineagleselfishclap, I, N, G, O, clap, I, N, G, O, clap, I, N, G, O and BINGO was his name-O

The story of Stone Soup was introduced, which is an annual Sunnybrook Montessori tradition during the month of November. We read the version by Marcia Brown from 1947 which, although not the original published tale from 1720, is likely the oldest in children’s picture book format. We used the flannel board to help us tell the story, taking turns adding ingredients to the big black pot. Throughout the month we will read several versions of Stone Soup and do some Stone Soup activities, culminating in a whole class stone soup celebration during the week of Thanksgiving, when all the children bring and prepare ingredients, then sit together to enjoy it on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Stone Soupstone soup monster

We talked about the change in seasons and the arrival of winter weather. We were so excited for the surprise first snow Tuesday afternoon!

first snowball of the seasonhard to resist having a taste!rigging up a bad guy trapsilly goosehard at workoutside alphabetflyers to contact Sunnybrook if looking for your lost dogs who visited usspying frosted spiderwebs inside the climbing wallpeeling maple seeds from their pods and planting themsled forthairdressermaking mud pizzapeeling maple seeds

Kindergarten students chose their own work, focusing primarily on reading and writing work. Many students created letter sound books. They chose a drawer of tiny objects all beginning with the same letter sound. They chose 6-7 objects to draw and label. Some children did sight word searches, story writing, or matching words to pictures.

matching words to picturessight word searchan Ff book - fairy, fawn, fruit, fire, flute, flowernumber writing practicename writingmatching words to picturessounding out wordsNorth America Puzzle Mapant, sun, rat, salt, bed, batBb wordsAa bookgarden party puzzlecylindersThere were 10 in the bed and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over!"Riding the ATVWhich is longer?  The fire engine or the children?

Friday students explored eggs. We read An Egg is Quiet then cracked open and observed an egg – noticing the yellow yolk and clear albumen. The children then tried to break open their eggs by squeezing them as hard as they could!! Several succeeded despite the shape of the egg’s shell (I think I purchased rather weak eggs with cracks in them). They then attempted to break eggs by walking on them. A few of the eggs cracked under the pressure, but most held on for the final experiment – dropping them without breaking! To do this experiment the children used a variety of materials to protect their eggs from the impact of the drop, working with a partner/team, then took turns dropping them to see which broke and which were sufficiently padded to withstand the impact.

walking on eggsbig stepslots of paddingtaping up the egg to keep it from breakingdecorating the drop boxesmaking it fancyready, setdrop!second dropfinal dropThis one did not survive the dropcracked!