Saturday, September 13, 2014

Taking Over a New Class

This year I have changed classrooms and responsibilities.  I moved from my safe little classroom to take over for some teachers who left our school.  It is my job to make this classroom successful.  I am in the Spanish dual language program classroom now.  It is a mixture of children from several classrooms, but there is a core group of children who were there last year.  These children have really needed retraining this year.  About 80% of them are boys.  I have spent a lot of time during the first 3 weeks of school observing all of the children, becoming emotionally available and a confidant, creating structure in the classroom, following through again and again with ground rules, and setting the stage for correct treatment of the environment and each other.  It is tiring work to be sure, but sticking to the difficult work at the beginning of the year really pays off.

For the first two weeks I pulled out over 25 different manipulative works and had several shelves dedicated to them just to give myself a pulse on the room and where the children were.  They used these works with gusto.  It has really helped to have only manipulatives in retraining the children to become careful with their work, return the work ready for another child to use, walk around and not through rugs, walk in the classroom in the first place, respect when a child has already chosen a work and not to disturb them etc.  This is certainly an ongoing process.  It seems like it can take an entire year for some of the younger children not to walk on their neighbor's rug if something grabs their attention.

During the third week I noticed that the older children were bored with the manipulatives so I began giving lessons.  Some of the record keeping was spotty so I had to test out to see where they really were in the different areas.  On Thursday, this week (being the 4th week of school), we noticed that it was 2 hours into our work time before any child chose a manipulative work.  YIPEE!  I only have one shelf of manipulatives now, and only the ones that the children find the most interesting.

These are some images from our last week of work.

Exploration of Metal Insets by a returning student

Mouse House turned into a Spanish Work.  Es el raton debajo de la casa anaranjado?

Hanging Bead Stair

Writing Words using the Large Moveable Alphabet

Initial Sound Object Sort - This is the Pink Mat
I am so excited to have these new mats.  I handmade the set I
have been using and just got these new ones this week.

Gluing noodles on apples work.  Next week we will paint these works.
This allows the work to be done in more than one step but still follow
the Montessori rule that art should be a shelf work.

Parts of the Plant Nomenclature Cards.  This child completed this work
 beautifully and could even tell me every part of the plant and later the
Fruit.  He then made the booklets for each work.

Rainbow Rings.  My children LOVE this work.  It is actually
Wine Glass Markers that I found at a kitchen store in Park City.

Using Clay Lesson.  You can see how the little one is using
his "watching arms" during this presentation.

Parts of the Snail Puzzle.  We wouldn't usually have this work
out right now, but this child found a snail in the school
garden and was really interested so I pulled it out.

Weaving with ribbons

Parts of the Flower Puzzle

Parts of the Fruit Nomenclature Cards and Magnetic Parts Puzzle 
Baby Spooning Stars.  This work is pretty challenging for this child.
She has been with me since last year and has needed this long to
be ready for this work.

Sandpaper Letters with Initial Sound Booklets.
This child was successful at all the letters in the first
set and was subsequently hiding them in the
classroom to then find them again.

Hand Transferring.  I just have to say how much I love the
elliptical shape of these wooden bowls.  There are mung beans
inside.  They sound just like rain when they hit the
wood.  Many times the child will remark about this when
they first have this lesson.

Object to Object Sorting with two Space Toobs.  Because I
have so many boys I have geared some of the Pre-reading
works to pull them in.  We are also beginning the year by
learning about our place in the universe.
The Farm Mat - a grammar work.  I made this mat as well.


  1. I enjoyed your detailed description of your first few weeks ( so similar to my own), but was wondering if the initial sound mat was purchased and if so where.

    1. The Initial Sound Mats were made for our school. I am hoping to have them available through this site soon.

  2. So many beautiful works! I am so inspired! I wish I could come observe in your classroom.

  3. Vivan las maestras Duales!!! I hope to one day help you as much as you have helped me. Feel free to visit my blog for activities in Spanish!