However, with Nina recovering from a bad belly bug, Luke a bit off and seeming to be fighting a bug himself and me intermittently suffering from prenatal back aches, ligament pain and muscle pains, plus some unexplained neck and headaches, I figured I had better keep things easy and mostly at-home. I wanted to give each of us both time and opportunity to heal before our field trip. And, of course, I wanted to avoid infecting others with whatever lovely bugs were hopping about our family.
Armed with this handful of library quick picks, print outs from a brief Internet search and a dose of creativity, our impromptu Fish Mini-Unit began. And, what a hit it is turning out to be! With Montessori style works, Language Arts, Mathematics, Art and lots of other “subject” work and fun – mostly inspired by the library quick picks – plus a "perfect day" field trip last Friday, the kids have been having a great time and have asked to keep studying fish over the course of the next few weeks. (So, bring on the ideas if you have them. Leave a comment with links, suggestions, etc. We’d love them!)
And, with sharing in mind, here are some of the more Montessori-inspired things we have done so far. (Now, mind you, I readily admit I have yet to rededicate Montessori shelves in our household and have not been maintaining basic standards of Montessori, such as trays and rugs for work and clutter-free spaces, as you will note in our photos. Please do not let this put you off. I am doing what I can with what time I have and, at this point, that means just the “works” whenever and wherever we can manage them...)
Fish Parts Puzzle and Fishing Puzzle
Montessori fish puzzle together both in its tray and on the floor (but Mommy neglected to take any picutres). Sometimes, as they did, we named the parts of the fish. They also enjoyed some eye-had coordination with a Melissa and Doug Magnet Fish Game.
Draw, Write, Now
Draw Write Now series of drawing and writing books very Montessori-friendly. Plus, Luke loves them! So, we used Book 6 to work on pre-writing skills, attention to detail, etc. by sketching the fish and sea creatures within it, adding our own details and coloring our pictures. (Note: In the picture of Luke's drawing, he is adding details to an outline he asked me to draw. He is quite the artist, but not that talented yet! Not that Mommy is, either...) Plus -- bonus -- we learned a little bit about the creatures we drew through the brief copywork explanations that accompany the drawing instructions for each picture within the book.
Sea Life Matching
Pattern Fish, we made our own patterns (and, sometimes, as pictured, no apttern at all - just fun with painting), using Do-a-Dot paint markers (a recent favorite of the kids and Mommy – easy to use, bright colors and less mess than regular paints!). We did this on Fish Number Puzzles printed from Childcare Land.
Childcare Land. I printed out the pattern, “laminated” it with contact paper and taped magnets to the back for cookie sheet and magnetic door fun. Luke decided he didn’t want the shark to eat the fish, so he changed the tune, with my help to:
"Five little sharks, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Daddy shark,
“You can't catch me. Oh no. You can’t catch me.”
Along came Daddy shark,
as quiet as can be,
and tickled the (color) shark, swimming in the sea!”
Gotta love when my boy – usually oddly attracted to anything remotely violent and gorey– shows compassion and peaceful tendencies. We must be doing something right...
Missing Fish Parts Cards: We have printed out LauraLee's greatW hat's Missing Fish Part cards from Montessori Materials, which I will “laminate” with contact paper. Since my children are pre-readers, the control labels on the back of the cards will be of little use to them (but will be included so we can revisit these cards in years to come). So, we will use the cards for an oral visual discrimination one instead, where the children will try to note what is missing in each picture, pointing missing parts out to me, and also as a pre-writing activity, where the kids will either circle areas of missing parts (encouraging counter-clockwise circles, so vital to writing letters) or draw the missing parts in.