Lower Elementary Goes to France

Lower Elementary Goes to France

Lower Elementary is exploring music from all around the world from now until winter break. For the first three weeks, we have been in France.

Songs

Tête, épaules, genoux et pieds (Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Feet)

Un éléphant se balançait (One Elephant Was Swinging on a Spider Web)

J’ai perdu le do de ma clarinette (I Have Lost the C of My Clarinet)

Listening

Django Reinhardt, “The Best of Django Reinhardt”

Claude Debussy, “Debussy: Images 1 & 2 and Children’s Corner”, pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli

Claude Debussy, “Debussy: La Mer & Prélude À L’après-midi D’un Faun”, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Camille Saint-Saëns. “The Carnival of the Animals

Eric Satie, Gnossienne, Nos. 1-3; Gymnopédie nº 1, pianist Patrick Cohen

Maurice Ravel, “Bolero”, New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein

All listening music is available as part of the listening library in the classroom. We listen during music lessons and the students are encouraged to listen on their own.

Books

Django 

We read this delightful book in class last week. The children were interested in Django’s story and how he came back from a horrific injury to his left hand to become one of the world’s greatest guitar players.

 The Carnival of the Animals

This book, with new verse by Jack Prelutsky, and illustrations by Mary GrandPré, has a companion CD. This will be our book for class on September 28.

 Strange Mr. Satie

Hilarious depiction of one of the first “surrealists.”

LE Exploring Glue Prints!

Lower Elementary students have been busy creating all kinds of fantastic glue prints!  Each student began by creating a line drawing  on  cardboard, then applying glue and string to the line work. During the second class, we began the inking process.

Once the ink is applied to the original board, students use a dry brayer to press the inked image onto a clean sheet of paper.  There is a feeling of cooperation between the students and peer teaching and assistance exists each step of the way!

The objective of this lesson is to create original work and become more proficient in the  preparation and  process of print making.  Students were all enthusiastic and everyone participated

Quest Spirit Week…Day 1!

The first ever Quest Spirit Week kicked off with our

“Bring your favorite stuffed animal to school” day

Monday, October 24, 2011

Each class joined a parade around the gym to show off their furry friends!

I see that the American Montessori Society has connections to peace movements. I don’t want my kids to be indoctrinated by any side. Is Montessori categorically liberal?

Maria Montessori lived through two world wars and experienced first hand the atrocities that war can bring. Therefore the essence of the Montessori approach is the Education for Peace.

Education for Peace is teaching children to think about other ways of solving problems besides violence. It is our firm belief that children who are taught to respect other people, their cultures and beliefs, only resort to violence as a last resort.

  • To achieve this we use:
  • a multi-cultural curriculum
  • character education,
  • lessons on grace and courtesy
  • Conflict Resolution and Peace Keeping techniques

We also discourage play that involves war games and gun play, and help children learn to solve their problems with words rather than with their hands.

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Why don’t public schools use the Montessori Method?

I ask myself this question almost every day.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear a teacher in a traditional school frustrated by a problem that could be eliminated, or at least lessened, if the whole school went Montessori. The three main complaints that I hear from my peers are:

  • All the children are working at different levels! I can’t teach them all in a group!
  • They need to be touching and doing things! Just sitting here reading from a
    text book doesn’t work for most of them.
  • They need more than just reading and math. They need science, social
    studies art, music, and history.

Then I go to a mandatory in-service where they give us the “newest” information in educational research. What are the things that they talk about?

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION – adapting the instruction to the level and needs of each individual student

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Is Montessori education adaptable to all cultures?

Montessori education was developed in Italy, refined in India, and is prolific throughout the world. From Australia to Scandinavia, California to Nepal, it is a method of teaching, that has proven results.

With that said, there is a problem in adapting it for the educational system of a culture that has high stakes testing and therefore a focus on rote memorization. It is not that Montessori children don’t generally do well when tested, but it is the fear that they won’t that worries parents and non-Montessori educated administrators and teachers

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If Montessori education is so great then why do the majority of schools stop at 12 years of age?

Actually the majority of Montessori schools end at age 4 or 5 since the majority of Montessori schools are pre-schools. But most of the others stop at either 9 or 12.

Why?

Montessori philosophy states that as children mature so does their brain. As their brain matures, it acquires and processes information differently. Our classrooms are set up to reflect these different methods of acquiring and processing knowledge.

Pre-school classrooms (3 – 6 year olds) – are set up so that children can
“organize their environment’” (I call this the “what?’” stage, “What is this?”
“What is that?” )

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Are Montessori schools relevant in today’s society?

Much more so than people realize. One would be hard pressed to find a pre-school that doesn’t have child sized materials for their students. Montessori was the first to do that, along with teaching young children to do things for themselves.

As far as relevance in elementary education, over the past few years billions of dollars have been spent to assure that teachers know inside and out the most recent scientifically based research on education that there is.

Why? Because it is the firm belief of Margaret Spellings, the US Secretary of Education, that teachers have this knowledge. She rightfully believes that it will improve our classroom management, curriculum development, and implementation of subject material.

What does the latest scientifically based educational research support?

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION
-. (adapting the instruction to the level and needs of each individual student.)

FLEXIBLE GROUPINGS – organizing instructional groups according to the level of instruction that each child needs, but the groups aren’t static. As information is mastered, the children are moved to another more appropriate group.

MULTI-MODALITY INSTRUCTION – teaching the concept in many different ways

INTEGRATED INSTRUCTION
– integrating science, history, social studies, and geography into the core curriculum.

ASESSMENTS – constantly assessing the mastery and academic needs of the students

DIRECT INSTRUCTION – isolating a concept and directly teaching it

REALIA
– bringing the actual thing or a close facsimile of what you are teaching about into the classroom

All different terms for the precepts of the Montessori Philosophy.

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