Friday, June 27, 2014

A Really Gross Lesson

At the beginning of the year, we talk a lot about class procedures.  One of the most important procedures is handwashing!  We have a snack table, and the students are able to get snack as they are hungry, once we have established the snack procedures (get the snack necklace, put on the snack shoes, wash hands, take the amounts indicated, eat at the snack table in about 5 minutes so that classmates can also enjoy snack).  Somehow, the one step that is usually "forgotten" is the handwashing.  We talk a lot about the importance of cleanliness and how germs spread, but there is nothing like a visual reminder!

So, we did an experiment to see how many germs are on our hands even when they look clean.  We all wiped our hands on one half of the apple and didn't touch the other apple.  We left the two halves in a clear plastic container with a lid near the snack area for observation.  After about two weeks, the half that we all touched was covered in nastiness, and the half that we left alone was relatively germ-free.  We discussed our findings and realized that it IS really important to wash our hands with soap even though they might look clean!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grace and Courtesy in Lower El

Grace and Courtesy lessons are a huge part of our Lower El curriculum.  At this plane of development, our students are looking outward- at peers, classmates, and friends- and socialization is in full swing.  That's why it's so important to model how to be good friends and classmates with them.  We spend quite a bit of the first two weeks of school sharing Grace and Courtesy lessons with the class- in group time and in small group lessons.  One lesson that we shared last year was based on the book How Full Is Your Bucket? for Kids by Tom Rath.  We used it to illustrate the importance of showing kindness to others.  After we read the book to the class and discussed it, we showed them the bucket with the drops in it and talked about different scenarios that might cause them to add a drop to our class bucket.  The students really enjoyed it, and for the first few months of school, we had students count the drops and report to the class how many drops were in the bucket.  It's helps them concretely visualize an act of kindness and gives you a way to start conversations about acts of kindness.


We are starting this blog (project) because we want to share and exchange classroom ideas with other Montessori Lower El classes around the world.  After searching the web and Pinterest (where most good ideas come from), we were disappointed by how little info/ideas were out there.   So, we thought that if we share some of our class activities, lessons, and ideas, it might spark some information sharing!  We'd love to hear from you- please share and post your great ideas and discoveries!
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