Bluebird

Molly Bernhardt

Morgan Avina

Bluebird Room is a Lower Elementary classroom for levels 1-3 on the Toledo Campus. Morgan Avina Molly Bernhardt are the classroom’s co-teachers.

How to Raise an Independent, Responsible, Cooperative Child

Does your child follow the ground rules at school, but constantly challenge your expectations at home? Join West Side Montessori’s Goldfinch Teacher, Natalie Fisher, and Elementary and Middle School Education Director, Jenn Schoepf, for this four-week session of Parenting the Montessori Elementary Child.

The class will be held at the Toledo Campus on Thursdays starting Jan. 21 from 3:45-5 p.m. Class dates are Jan. 21, Jan. 28, Feb. 4, and Feb. 11.

Click here to print a registration form or call (419) 866-1931 and ask for Jenn Schoepf.

Parenting-Elementary-Child-2016

On any given day while looking through a lower elementary observation window, you may see a student using a stamp game to solve a multiplication equation, a child at a rug acting out verb command cards, and another youngster tracing and coloring a timeline of life. Movement is a key component in every Montessori classroom.

MovementMaria Montessori was ahead of her time when she declared:
“One of the greatest mistakes of our day is to think of movement by itself, as something apart from the higher functions…Mental development must be connected with movement and be dependent on it. It is vital that educational theory and practice should become informed by this idea.”(1967)

Maria Montessori was so passionate about this idea that she incorporated movement into every subject.

What Maria Montessori declared decades ago, current research is now confirming. Studies have supported the notion that movement and learning are closely intertwined. Studies have reported that judgment, social cognition, and memory can be greatly improved when movements are aligned with what they are thinking about and learning. Movement stimulates the brain and improves the encoding of details into the brain. (Stoll-Lillard, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius).

In Montessori classrooms, movement is at its core. The Montessori math curriculum materials such as the golden beads and stamp game begin very concrete. As the child moves through the operation, the materials, like the small and large bead frames, become less concrete, moving the child to the point of abstracting math operations. In language lessons, grammar symbols and lessons use movement to teach nouns, verbs, conjunctions, and so on. With the phonics materials, students carefully lay out their work and record it. In culture lessons, students work with geography puzzle maps, use nomenclature cards to learn the parts of an animal, read directions to complete an experiment and then produce a record of learning from tracing and labeling a map, to painting an animal and naming its parts, to recording scientific experiment data. All of these movements of the hand are making the learning connection.

Come visit a Lower Elementary room and observe six to nine year old students practicing purposeful movement. You will see how movement is helping us develop independent workers, confident helpers, and explorers of the world.

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Bluebird students had the opportunity to experience a morning similar to what the pioneers may have experienced on a daily basis! We had a sing-along and cooking demonstration outside that all of the Lower Elementary classes were able to experience together. We combined the ingredients that the students had begun to prepare the day before: carrots, potatoes, celery, chicken, and stock.

We then went back to Bluebird and experienced a few stations mostly revolving around the needs of humans. We had a kitchen station where students experienced grinding corn, making butter, and making noodles to be added to our soup. Another station revolved around building and the homes in which they might have lived. This station involved the making of craft-stick homes and the choice to use Lincoln Logs to build a log structure. There was also a clothing station in which students could choose to sew a pocket or learn to knit. Since the pioneers did not have pockets in their clothing, they would have tied or strapped on a small pocket after their clothing was on in order to carry supplies and belongings. The toys and games station involved playing pioneer games and making rag dolls. The students were also able to use their freshly-made butter on a snack of cornbread with jam. Yum!

We explained to the students that in their time, pilgrims and pioneers would not have been able to just go to their store to buy vegetables, chicken, noodles, broth, clothes, etc. They would have made this all by hand, homemade all of their food, grown the vegetables, and raised the animals for meat. We heard many comments when we first explained this concept to the students during the days leading up to Pioneer Day. Some of the comments included, “It would be fun to live like a pioneer!” and “It would be fun to make everything homemade!” This particular fun morning that we had in our classroom gave just a bit of a look into what parts of their life might have been like. By the end of the morning, we heard comment such as

  • “This is hard to do!”
  • “I’m glad I didn’t live then. They didn’t have radios to tell us that tornadoes are coming!”
  • “Making butter is hard work!”

Thank you to those that brought in donations and to the parents and volunteers that made this event possible! We had a lot of fun and are so thankful that you help us to give the students the experience that this day entailed. We couldn’t have pulled off this day without you; it is sure to be an experience that the children will never forget! See the gallery for some pictures of this fun event!

Pioneer Day Pictures

We have had a lot of excitement happening in the Bluebird room in the last few weeks! Fall is such an exciting and busy time. We have had birthday celebrations (including West Side’s very own), Fall celebrations and activities, opening ceremony, community building activities, mystery readers, and more!

Opening Ceremony

Our opening ceremony is always a very exciting time. Our class revealed our new class flag and our new name for the year: the Speedy Snakes! Lynn Fisher then announced the theme for the year, which is A Healthy Me, and the students discussed all that being healthy might entail: eating healthy, drinking water, having a positive image of oneself, exercising, etc. The excitement came when the teachers came out clapping, cheering, and dancing! Richard Simmons, 80s workout gear, and lots of movement were all involved!

Our new class flag, which reveals a snake squeezing around a math problem to take care of it, much like a snake might take care of something else in the wild

Our new class flag, which reveals a snake squeezing around a math problem to take care of it, much like a snake might take care of something else in the wild

 

Reading some of the reasons that our class chose the name "Speedy Snakes"

Reading some of the reasons that our class chose the name “Speedy Snakes”

 

Look at all of that excitement and dancing going on!

Look at all of that excitement and dancing going on!

 

What fun!

What fun!

Here are some of our students just taking it all in.

Here are some of our students just taking it all in.

 

Fall Fun and Activities

We have enjoyed the days that we have had beautiful weather! Our campus is beautiful, and we are extremely fortunate to have the wonderful trees, trails, ponds, etc. We are also fortunate to be able to integrate many academic areas while doing fun activities. We had a morning last week that was devoted to stations involving pumpkin math, a fall estimating jar, a fall coloring page, pumpkin art, using descriptive words to describe pumpkins, and fall Bingo.

Bluebird friends are enjoying the beautiful leaves and Fall weather.

Bluebird friends are enjoying the beautiful leaves and Fall weather.

The Estimating Jar

The Estimating Jar

 

Fall BINGO

Fall BINGO

The students used yarn to estimate the circumference of the pumpkin. We then measured the yarn and found the difference between the actual circumference and the estimated circumference.

The students used yarn to estimate the circumference of the pumpkin. We then measured the yarn and found the difference between the actual circumference and the estimated circumference.

 

students working together and distributing supplies at the pumpkin art station

students working together and distributing supplies at the pumpkin art station

 

Bluebird students had a chance to measure while making Pumpkin Cranberry muffins.

Bluebird students had a chance to measure while making Pumpkin Cranberry muffins.

 

Here is a Bluebird student mixing. Each student had a role, whether he/she mixed, measured, poured, etc.

Here is a Bluebird student mixing. Each student had a role, whether he/she mixed, measured, poured, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the hard work and preparation paid off!

All of the hard work and preparation paid off!

 

Montessori provides opportunities for a multi-age group to work together and socialize, which is beneficial for all levels involved!

Montessori provides opportunities for a multi-age group to work together and socialize, which is beneficial for all levels involved!

Bluebird friends also have opportunities to garden. Here, a root was so deep and strong that it took many Speedy Snakes to pull!

Bluebird friends also have opportunities to garden. Here, a root was so deep and strong that it took many Speedy Snakes to pull it out!

 

Bluebird Fall Celebration

Our fall celebration was another exciting event that was enjoyed by all. One of the reasons that our classroom chose the name Speedy Snakes is because we are flexible. Our students had an opportunity to show exactly how flexible they could be when a pumpkin art activity did not exactly turn out as expected. Many people were involved in working together to find a solution. We had many fun crafts, games, activities, and beautiful snacks; we were even able to have a fun “experiment” involving dry ice and our punch (please see the photo below)! The same day, we also had our Wax Museum. This was an event in which the children were able to share what makes them special, whether it was sharing a costume depicting what they want to be when they grow up, sharing a picture of a favorite memory, sharing a book because they love to read, etc.

Sometimes, activities can get a bit messy. The students sure did enjoy making these fun popcorn hands!

Sometimes, activities can get a bit messy. The students sure did enjoy making these fun popcorn hands!

Orange juice and sparkling water were added to dry ice for this fun, smoky effect.

Orange juice and sparkling water were added to dry ice for this fun, smoky effect.

 

Pumpkin bowling was one of the games offered at the fall celebration.

Pumpkin bowling was one of the games offered at the fall celebration.

 

You can see the excitement in this child's stance!

You can see the excitement in this child’s stance!

 

Some of our students decided to dress up as what they want to be when they grow up.

Some of our students decided to dress up as what they want to be when they grow up.

 

We had so much variety in what the students shared with us!

We had so much variety in what the students shared with us!

 

Mystery Reader

We had our first mystery reader of the school year! Amanda Metzger came in to share a book that is a favorite in their household. She read Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward. In this fun book, the character goes on an adventure. Our mystery reader brought in balloons to reenact what was happening in the book. Our students had so much fun with this book!

The students could not wait to hear the story and see what the big balloons in the classroom were for!

The students could not wait to hear the story and see what the big balloons in the classroom were for!

 

Throughout the story, a balloon would be added to a part of the stuffed polar bear.

Throughout the story, a balloon would be added to a part of the stuffed polar bear.

Eventually, there were enough balloons to make the polar bear float, which was happening in the story!

Eventually, there were enough balloons to make the polar bear float, which was happening in the story!

What a fun experience for our classroom! If you are interested in signing up to be a mystery reader in the Bluebird room, please see our volunteer sheets right here on the blog!