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Sassafras

Wendi Rowland

Wendi Rowland

Sarah Duvall

Sarah Duvall

Sassafras Room is a Children’s House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Sarah Duvall and Wendi Rowland are the classroom’s co-teachers.

After our study of plants vs. animals, we began to study the differences between different animals.  We talked about how they can be divided into two categories-animals with back bones (vertebrates) and animals without back bones (invertebrates).

 

We specifically took a look at the structure of the spine that all vertebrates have.  Using a piece of yarn with noodles strung onto it, we saw how when the spine moves around all the noodles (bones) rub against each other, making a cracking noise and some even broke.  This would not be a good feeling in your body if your bones rubbed against each other every time you moved!  We learned that there are special gummy discs called intervertebral discs in between each bone to protect the individual bones.

 

The children each made their own spine by stringing a noodle followed by a gummy life savor.

 

We began our study of North America a couple of weeks ago.  We looked at the North American puzzle map and talked about the different countries that make up North America.  Then we moved specifically to the United States.  We studied the United States flag and the children enjoyed coloring their own flag.

We took a look at a popular style of music and dance in the United States-the disco.  The children loved putting on the disco clothes and we all learned to disco to “Stayin’ Alive!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we started our study of Mexico!  We learned about Cinco de Mayo and had our own little fiesta!  The children made guacamole, tried on Mexican clothing, and learned the Mexican Hat Dance!  In our Practical Life area of the room the children could also grate cheese and make their own quesadilla.

 

 

 

We began a study of a Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.  We learned a little about her life and the main style of paintings that she did-self-portraits.  The children have been working very hard on making their own self-portraits by studying themselves in a mirror.

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Just in time for your fall clean-up, West Side Montessori is offering a free community recycling event at the Toledo Campus on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bring over all your unwanted electronic devices for safe destruction and recycling. All technology equipment will be safely wiped for your protection. Check out the list below for what will be accepted!

 

Recycle-IT

While the science curriculum helps the children observe, appreciate and develop and respect for our world, the geography curriculum helps them to understand their place in this world.  Starting from a very grand perspective, our first unit covered the solar system.  From there we narrowed our focus to the planet earth and talked about the importance of land, air and water on our earth.  During our small group lessons we located those elements on our sandpaper globe. This past week we compared our sandpaper globe to our continent globe, where the land is now represented by various colors rather than sandpaper.  We learned that each color on the globe represents a different piece of land called a continent.  Each continent has its own name and all of us (in the Sassafras room) live on the orange continent of North America. To help the children begin to learn the names of all seven continents we sing a song.

North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Don’t forget Australia, don’t forget Antarctica.

North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

During a group presentation the teacher uses a globe made from play dough to cut in half. This helps the children understand how a sphere can be made into two hemispheres.  They see why Antarctica is on both hemispheres and how most of Asia is on one hemisphere, but a tiny piece ends up on the other hemisphere.  The two hemispheres are gently flattened and compared to the world puzzle map.

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The Montessori science curriculum seeks to cultivate the children’s natural curiosity and to allow them to discover the answers to their questions.  As with the other areas of the room, the science shelves are filled with materials that encourage the children to explore, observe, question, reason and draw conclusions.  Following the work of living and non-living, we switched our focus to just those things that are living.  Now the task is to determine if it is a plant or an animal.  To help the children make that determination we met in small groups and discovered some important differences between the two groups. Animals are able to move on their own,  but not one of us has ever spotted a tree running across our yard or a flower flying overhead!  Plants can only be moved if someone else moves them. Plants can do something very special that animals are not able to do-they can make their own food.  Animals have to hunt for or find their food.  The children then used this knowledge to help them sort objects and pictures into these two categories.

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Following our lesson on plants and animals, some of the children helped to add some new plants to our garden.  Ultimately the goal of the science curriculum is to fill the children with a sense of wonder regarding the world around them, to help them learn to respect and care for our world and teach them to be responsible for our earth.

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