Monthly archives "February 2015"

DIY addition with color beads 

In my classroom I’m lucky to have all the necessary materials my children need. I add supplemental worksheets and activities to add some challenge when needed it.

At home I realized how essential is to have certain materials and also how expensive they are, so I decided to put my creativity to the test by making my own colored beads version. A colored bead stairs (#’s 1-9) is roughly $6- $8 dollars plus shipping without the stand, and for addition you will need at least 3 stairs.

Another great piece of material is a checker board beads ranges between $40 to $100 depending on the amount of each colored beads and that’s not including a set of ten bead bars.

DIY is always fun for me, I start gathering ideas from everywhere and then I put them together to make my own. For DIY colored beads you don’t need much:

  • Small Pompoms: 1 red, 2 green, 3 pink, 4 yellow, 5 baby blue, 6 purple, 7 white, 8 brown, 9 royal blue, and 10 gold.

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Each bag was $1.29 at Michaels craft store. I got them mixed because I know I will find a use for the colors I won’t need for this project.

  •  Fishing bait plastic box (at least 10 spaces)
  • Addition problems (download here)

Start to build your stairs, be sure that your child is familiar with it and if not add some coloring worksheets that include the symbol next to the color, and  no worries, I saved you a copy from my TPT account 😉

Here is what the stair will look like

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Add addition symbols and start with simple addition problems

We got carried away and started playing making teen numbers … let your imagination take off and have fun

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I Relay for …

Every year we participate in the walk of Relay for Life to show our support to survivors, and to the families who lost or are battling against cancer.  My fiancé’s father past away about 9 years ago from cancer and it has been very difficult for his family ever since; everyone talks so highly about him and what a good man he was.  Unfortunately I never had the pleasure to meet him, but I wish I could have.

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I lost my grandfather to cancer this past September and it has hit me really hard, so this year our Relay walk will be extra special. If you have never been to a Relay for Life event, let me tell you… you’re missing out big time; there’s tents with delicious food, games, music and activities for the entire family, and the best part is gathering with friends and family to have a good time, and to walk around for a great cause.

Here’s the to link to our team’s website “I Relay for those who can’t”  if you wish to donate and help us reach our goal from the comfort of your home … no worries we’ll do the walk for you 😉

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Saving lives from cancer starts with one team, one participant, and one dollar at a time, we appreciate your help from the bottom of our hearts.

Creative Inexpensive ideas

I’m always in the search of creative and inexpensive ideas to add to my set of  lessons. The materials have to be durable and reusable, bright and fun in order for my kids to enjoy them, so when I’m in the hunt of materials first think I have in mind is “for how many lesson activities can I use this?” think of materials like an orange, you want to squeeze them out to the last drop. Materials need to act as a whole and cohesively with other materials you have at home, and before you buy think of  the multiple things you can make/use with it,

A lot of people buy just because it looks nice and cute, or just because … they might use it for something someday. Try to schedule ahead and think of the need of the child. you might find this really cute puzzle but you already have 10+ puzzles at home that don’t even use. Always keep the child in mind and where he might be going next.

Another important thing is to always recycle, if you have broken pieces from a lesson don’t throw the whole thing away. you will be surprised how many of those things you will end up using in other areas.  Don’t be afraid of creativity, if didn’t worked for others doesn’t mean it won’t work for you and your child, here are some of my own creations .. Enjoy!

  • Flyting through addition 😀

Placing of quantities are a great way to introduced odd and even. tweezers are great for working on fine motor skills and strength which are needed for writing.

addition

patterns pom poms

Oh dear wedding …

Thank God for presidents day! I’m exhausted but excited to share all the cool things we did for our DIY rustic wedding!

We hit the road Friday night to spend the weekend at my parent’s house with family and friends to work on what seemed an endless list of DIY wedding ideas, let me tell you, the list was really long ….

DIY wedding to do list

We started with the twine lanterns. After searching all over the internet and not getting an exact response on how to make them I decided to make them my own way! I based my idea from hers

Twine lanterns

Materials:

  • Twine (I used yarn)
  • Round balloons
  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly
  • Glue
  • Corn starch
  • Marker (we didn’t use it :/ )
  • Something to cover the floor
  • A big area to hang the lanterns
  • Mixing bowl
  • Lots of patience 😀

Steps:

1. Cover the floor and gather the materials. we used a big space because we read the project was messy, and it sure was!

Materials

2. Blow up the balloon to desired size. Cut a good amount of twine or yarn and attach the tip to the balloon’s tip, smile like a weirdo and say Cheese!! 🙂

 

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3. In the bowl mix 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup of cornstarch and glue (we used about 1/2 bottle). mix well until all the cornstarch has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. We were so excited we forgot to take pictures :/

4. Apply the Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the balloon, we did it to the top, bottom and side parts to allow the yarn to stick.

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5. Make sure you untangle the yarn/twine before you dip it in the cornstarch. Dip it in and let it soak for a few seconds. Now is when the messy part begins .. slowly start rotating the balloon in all directions and wrap the yarn/twine hard around it.

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  • this step was really hard because the string kept falling off so we decided to do it little by little, so we hanged it in the sun to dry every 30 minutes until it looked how we wanted.ballon 1

    6. We hanged it to dry in the sun for a whole day and here it is …

    tada

    we also worked on some signs to guide our guest over to the ranch as well as finding the lamp that will turn into a chandelier. Here is a sneak peak 😉 but be sure to come back to see the finish product hubby

Playing with letter sounds

A key step to reading using the Montessori method is by teaching children letter sounds before letter names. It can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the system; tip #1: use short vowel sounds like a-apple not acorn. Long vowels sounds are complicated and you will get to them eventually. Tip #2: use simple words along with graphics, p-popcorn instead of puppy. Remember that young children have a limited vocabulary, and through pictures is hard to differentiate a dog from a puppy.

I firmly believe that variations make learning much more fun, and always having the same materials can turn out to be boring sometimes, so I’ve created other lesson activities to help with letter sounds. Hold on tight, I will provide you with the links for free downloads. Feel free play around with the materials and get creative.

 

The popsicle stick ABC: you will need a printer, cardstock, popsicle sticks and a craft punch for easy cutting

Steps:

  1. Print out the PDF file of the popsicle stick letters here
  2. I used a craft cutter of  1 1/2” to make cutting easier 🙂
  3. you can choose to laminate the letters for more durability
  4. glue the letters to a popsicle sticks. I used a dot of hot glue.
  5. HAVE FUN!

ABC popsicle stick

 

ABC stamp game: you will need a set of letter stamps. I found mine at a local craft store

Steps:

  1. download and print the ABC stamp sheet here
  2. set of ABC stamps. I got mine at local craft store ($9.99) but I found this great set by Melissa & Doug with lower and upper case letters and stamps.
    • Be sure to use lower case letters with this template.
  3. Washable red and blue ink pads.
    • You can also laminate the sheet for multiple uses.
  4. Enjoy!

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DIY moveable alphabet

When I discovered the Montessori method for reading I was static! I had fallen in love all over again. Coming from another country and learning how to speak English wasn’t easy and to be honest with you I don’t know how I did it, but I do know how much I struggled; now I think if I would’ve been introduced to this reading method I would’ve save many tears.

A good way to start is to introduce phonics instead of letter names, they will learn letter names later on. Is very important to give the child the opportunity to touch, feel, and explore the letters on their own, that’s why sensorial lessons and activities are introduced in early childhood. For beginning reading I would recommend either bob reading series, or Primary Phonics. I have personally worked with both and I’m really excited because I just order my first very own to use at home.

In my classroom we have our ABC board with matching picture cards. We do the ABC board everyday as part of our morning routine, we play matching games with picture cards and the children love it. Remember repetition is the key to success! Here is a good set of alphabet cards to start with, eventually you’ll want to move on to only picture cards.

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 Not everybody has the flexibility to have their children at a good Montessori school, it’s popularity has increased tremendously in the past few years making it less affordable to everyone. But fortunately we’re creative and resourceful so I made my own ABC board and “moveable alphabet” to keep at home. Be mindful that you’ll  need at least 5 letters of each to make a moveable alphabet.

Here’s the list of materials:

Wood letters ( I got mine at Amazon)

Red and blue spray paint (Home Depot)

Plastic Container with dividers (Got mine at a local hardware store)

Total cost: $15.11 yours might vary slightly but considers a moveable alphabet alone is around $60.00.

Be sure to do it in a hot sunny day for the paint to dry completely. I used acrylic blue paint I had at home from a previous project, but you can use any kind.

Next:

STEP 1. Cover the painting area and secure it with tape so it doesn’t fly out, and separate all the vowels from the consonants. I was so excited to start painting that I forgot to take  pictures 🙁

STEP 2.  Paint the consonants red and the vowels blue. I applied three coats of blue paint to the vowels because the wood kept absorbing the paint; be sure to let them dry completely between each coat.

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STEP 3. After the letters are completely dried place them in the container. Mine didn’t have all 26 spaces so I had to combine W with X, and Y with Z.

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STEP 4. Use and reuse over and over again.

I also made a set with capital letters to use in replacement of the ABC board to use with the flashcards. I don’t have the wood board at home like I do in school so I lay them in a carpet instead.

Have fun!