Monthly Archives: November 2012

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Resources Series: Scope and Sequence

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I should say that when I think scope and sequence I think of a list of skills or pieces of knowledge that are written out in the chronological order they need to be learned in. Each skill is then broken down into a list of either smaller skills and tasks that need to be completed to gain mastery of the larger skill. In other words, a scope and sequence is a little more dynamic than a checklist. I have yet to really find one I am satisfied with, although David Gettman’s book Basic Montessori gets close as does the one available through The Helpful Garden. That isn’t to say they aren’t out there. I just have yet to find one. Although my hope is really to use these to create my own.

Scope and Sequence

The Helpful Garden has a very good scope and sequence. I personally would like to combine it with more information though.

Montessori for Everyone sells comprehensive lists that are checklists grouped by area of study. They cover skills and activities for a set age group. It isn’t exactly a scope and sequence since it isn’t more detailed about the skills, but all in all it’s extremely helpful and does the trick. They do cost and a couple seem a bit pricey for what they are, but not unreasonable.

Maitri Learning offers some free sequence and order lists for practical life, sensorial, math and language arts for the 3-6 set. They are very nice.

Montessori Teachers Collective also has an album of activities and the categories they fall under. They call them teacher’s albums and they are, but I am using the beginning list, or table of contents, more as a scope and sequence. I didn’t find them to be the most complete teacher’s album out there so I hadn’t intended to use them as such. They also have a scope and sequence and I thought the two together were much more helpful than when apart.

Update 11/2/2014: I found a site this morning that has a scope and sequence of sorts, although it isn’t complete by any means. The real strength of it lies in that it shows a picture of the activity with brief, simple instructions on how to DIY it (or just buy it, if that’s easier). Check out Montessori Homeschool (MontHome).

Update 2/1/2015: Montessori Compass offers a scope and sequence that is even linked up with Common Core Standards. It’s a paid service and is really designed for the classroom teacher, but it looks pretty comprehensive and useful. 

 

Resources Series: Teacher’s Manuals

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Here is Part One of the Resources Series. Hopefully you find something you need. I would also like to encourage you to post your favorite source for teacher’s manuals if you do not see it on the list.

Updated 2/1/2015: I recently read a really great blog post from a Montessori teacher on her blog Montessori 101 where she discusses what teacher albums are supposed to be and why we probably shouldn’t buy them. I agree with her mostly, although as a someone who wants some idea of what I’m doing the idea of the albums is appealing. I’ve said it before, but I have yet to find a Montessori book that breaks down the activities, their sequence, what they are, and what they are teaching. There are tons of blogs out there that have “Montessori” activities, but most of them are themed variations of the same four or five “Montessori” activities, like three-part cards and counters with cards. This is why the teacher’s manuals are so appealing to me, in theory, they should help you grasp the method as a whole and give you a sense of the entire curriculum. However, Aubrey makes some excellent points. I suggest reading her post and her subsequent posts about making your own that I will link to here and using that in your decision about whether or not to purchase one.  Make Your Own Albums 1

Teacher’s Manuals

Montessori Primary Guide is a free online resource that walks you through various aspects of the Montessori curriculum. It gives you foundational knowledge for each area (practical life, math, etc.) and then gives you activities with detailed instructions on how to do them in each section. They also have videos.

Shu Chen Jenny Yen’s Online Montessori Guides is similar to the Montessori Primary Guide. She has pedagogy and activities. These are really nice and are free!

Montessori Print Shop has teachers manual’s for practical lifesensoriallanguage arts, and math. You can buy them separately or as a bundle. The manuals are based on AMI principles and concepts. One nice thing about these is that they are essentially eBook versions. Instant Montessori gratification. :) They are not free, but the cost seems reasonable. These are only for primary ages (2.5-6).

Montessori Research and Development also publishes teacher’s manuals. There are some sample pages available for viewing before buying. Again, they aren’t free, but the price seems reasonable. For me, the most important thing here is that there is a manual for the 0-2.5 set. While I feel ill prepared to follow the Montessori Method in the primary years I feel even less confident that I am “doing it right” currently. These manuals were developed and written by several certified Montessori teachers and child development experts, another plus in my book.

Montessori at Home! is an awesome eBook with the Montessori Method adapted to the home environment. It’s easy to follow and there are lots of activities. Plus it has some pedagogy and history. It’s not free, but again it isn’t unreasonably priced. And if you buy it through Montessori Print Shop you have the option of purchasing it bundled with the printable materials you will need for the activities.

 

Resources Series: Intro

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After my post last week I spent some time this week focusing on researching Montessori scope and sequences. In the process I stumbled across several excellent resources for teacher’s manuals, products, free printables, scope and sequences, and more. I thought for my own sake, as well as anyone else looking for some guidance, I would create an annotated bibliography of sorts. I figured to make it more manageable I would break it up into a series of posts each one with a different type of resource. The list is by no means exhaustive and if you have a favorite resource feel free to post it in the comments. I am especially glad to have found the teacher resources as that is the area where I feel least prepared to follow Montessori principles.

Obviously I haven’t actually put all of the resources into practice or even read each material cover to cover, so I can’t give them ringing personal endorsements. However I think if you are looking for places to find information these would be good places to start and would be worth taking the time to see if you are interested. If nothing else, it may give you peace of mind that there are materials out there to help you.

Scope and Sequence

There is something I have found very frustrating about the Montessori Method. I can find a hodge-podge of ideas for activities, but I can’t find a scope and sequence of these activities or really even an appropriate time to introduce the activities. I understand it’s when the child is ready, but should I have the materials on hand for land forms at 15 months or 3 years? I don’t even have a place to start from or an idea where to jump in exactly, since I don’t have a list of potential activities that I could just move through sequentially. I have read quite a bit about the history of the method and about the philosophy of the method and this was a great place for me to start. But it isn’t what I need now. It doesn’t provide the day-to-day information I need. Ultimately I don’t have a big picture of the actual method and am finding it to be nearly impossible, or at least extremely daunting, to work with. I think having a scope and sequence will make me a better teacher and will impact the quality of my daughter’s education.

With this concern hanging over my head, I finally took time last week to sit down and write up a plan for homeschooling Cam. It’s mostly a checklist with a lot of research. I would like to mix and match curricula and educational methods in a way that creates a program that is ideal for my daughter. After all, this is the biggest perk of homeschooling. To do that, however, I need a clear sense of where we are going and what skills and accomplishments we are striving for.

The overall goals of my plan are:

  • Research and write a scope and sequence for 0-3 & 3-6 age groups.
  • Create themed monthly units for 1-2 that integrate skill development.
  • Research curricula to use for various subjects to begin at 5 or 6.
  • Research early reading curricula to begin around 3, especially Montessori and Lindamood Bell.
  • Create elementary/primary scope and sequence using chosen curricula.

The first order of business will be to find Montessori scope and sequences and read up on the Method. To that end I have found a few free and a few priced materials. I began reading David Gettman’s book Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives. So far it’s got what I have been looking for and my local public library had it so I was able to avoid buying it. Montessori Print Shop also has a set of teacher’s manuals for the 3-6 set. They do cost, but I don’t find the cost to be exorbitant. Montessori for Everyone has a set of comprehensive skill lists but so far as I can tell they are not connected to the Montessori activities that build the skills. I also find them a bit pricey. Maitri Learning has a couple of resources that look like they may help me. There is a sequence and order of activities for various areas of “study”. There is also a record keeping log that looks especially helpful. Even better, these resources are free.

So that is where I am this month and this week. Cam is enjoying her activities and new schedule (hooray for one long nap!) so I’m not inclined to introduce anything new just yet. We’ll see how my research goes.

For Your Bookshelf: The Perfect Thanksgiving

Perfect Thanksgiving

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Perfect ThanksgivingThe other day when we were grocery shopping I happened to stop at the table of books Whole Foods has set up (books at the grocery store?). Normally this kind of thing bothers me. Those tables of doodads are there to get you to spend more money on stuff you don’t need from the grocery. I also imagine they tempt many a child and fuel many a grocery store meltdown. However, I happened to see this book sitting there and, for whatever reason, actually picked it up. I’m so glad I did. It’s a sweet little story told by one little girl who compares her family’s Thanksgiving with Abigail Archer’s Thanksgiving. Abigail’s family is perfect in every way. They have a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving. The narrator (you never learn her name) has a Thanksgiving that is more in line with what I imagine everyone else’s Thanksgivings are like – the turkey isn’t perfect, someone sings at the table, the relatives are crammed into the house, pies come from the store. But in the end she points out that her Thanksgiving and Abigail’s are the same in the most important way. They both have loving families.

This resonated with me. Yes, it’s a sweet message that I want Cam to internalize. But, we have a family that resembles Modern Family more than it resembles the “traditional” model. It is no less loving than the “perfect” family, though, and I want Cam to know that and be proud of that.

 

November Restart

So, we had a little adventure over the last month that prevented me from following our regular routine and from blogging. Cam and I were out in Wyoming with my best friend helping her recover from a serious car accident. As a result we put everything here in California on hold and spent the majority of October and the first week of November out there. I felt very lucky to be in a position to help her out and we had a great time. Cam got to spend some time with a “big brother”, my friend’s 3.5 year old son, which was just a great experience for her. It was a really good visit despite the unfortunate reason for being there.

Now that we are back and getting into the swing of things I am just simply going to pick up where we left off. All the things I have set out for her will stay the same as will the books in the book bins. Hopefully, by next week I will really be back on track and will have several new posts to share. I have a new book shelf to show off that my handy husband made for us and some fun new books. Not to mention I’ve been reading up more on the Montessori Method (thank you David Gettman and my local public library) and been getting my act together to make a plan for researching what I want to do in terms of homeschooling and preschool.