Afternoon Work

Earth Day- making paper, worms, alternative energy

For Earth Day we focused on many topics related to celebrating the Earth and keeping our planet healthy.


We talked about Solar Energy!  Thanks to Brian for bringing in a solar panel and telling us how it works.  The children all tried to pick it up and realized how heavy it was.  Brian inspired us to look for solar panels in our community and report back to him.  (Thanks Brian for coming in!)


We ordered a small solar panel to take outside and show how it creates energy to make something work.  In this case it was a small fan.  See below for a movie clip.  We used this on the one sunny day last week.  (We also have tiny solar cars but have been unable to use at this point due to the lack of sun.)

Mini Solar Panel


We made bracelets out of solar beads.  The children chose regular pony beads and the white solar beads.  When we took them outside, they changed colors!  BEFORE is above and AFTER is below.


We talked about wind energy one afternoon.  The children made pinwheels and watched them turn with the wind.


The children made paper in class for several days.  First rip paper scraps into small pieces.


Put in a blender with a small amount of water.


Pour the pulp through a metal screen into a can.


Place another metal screen on top and press down with a sponge.


Lift up to reveal the paper.


It needs to dry on the drying rack so we placed on small paper plates.  (We re-used these!)




The children have been interested in worms lately.  We talked about how they are good for the soil and for growing plants.


Some children wanted to make parts of a worm book to take home.


The children have been spending a lot of time digging up worms on the playground and relocating them to the garden.


Happy Earth Day!





The children spent several weeks focusing on the large continent of Africa.  We always look closely at the beautiful Montessori continent maps but we also focused on sights and sounds of the continent.





First up, we studied ancient Egypt.  The children made cat masks, colored various pages and some of the afternoon children made small pyramids.  We read many books and looked at models of artifacts one might find there.


africa 5

We also made African collars inspired by Kenya and Tanzania.

To present some of the sounds of Africa, we asked Lori from Drummunity to join us.  (Her website:

What a fabulous time!

africa 2

We looked at some batik materials and clothing.

africa 3

She brought out some of her African instruments.

africa 4

The music began!

First up was the Gyil.  This instrument has wooden slats and is over calabash gourds.  This instrument comes from Ghana, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast.  Here is a movie:

africa movie 3


We also saw and listened to many types of drums including the bougarabou and djembe.  africa movie1

The children loved to play! Click here to see:   africa movie 4



Finally, we all sang the beautiful song:

africa movie2

Funga Alafia
 -Western African Greeting Song

Funga alafia,
ah-shay ah-shay.

Funga alafia,
ah-shay ah-shay.

Ah-shay ah-shay.
Ah-shay, ah-shay.

With my heart I welcome you.
Ah-shay ah-shay.

With my mind I welcome you.
Ah-shay ah-shay.

With my voice I welcome you.
Ah-shay ah-shay.

Nothing up my sleeves, you see.
Ah-shay ah-shay.
Funga alafia,
ah-shay ah-shay.

Funga alafia,
ah-shay ah-shay.

Ah-shay ah-shay.
Ah-shay, ah-shay.



We have been studying dinosaurs!  There are SO many dinosaurs, it is unbelievable!  Thankfully, we have many 3, 4 and 5 year olds experts in the classroom to help us.  Some children enjoy looking at our big chart of dinos and match up little models of dinosaurs to the pictures.


Some children like to match up the dinosaur cards.


We have matched up various dinosaur skeletons.


We also made our own fossils!  Pretend paleontologists!
We used Model Magic and pressed in a mini dino skeleton.


Take the model out and let it air dry.  It takes a few days.


We then used brown paint to make it more realistic.


We are fortunate to have access to some REAL fossils!

First up was dinosaur poop!


This rock was said to have been in a dinosaur stomach to help it digest food.


And here is part of an eggshell.


Finally, our music teacher led the children in a song about dinos:

Circuits and Electricity!


We have been discussing Benjamin Franklin, circuits, and electricity in school!

We have read several stories about Benjamin Franklin and began our own experiments!

First up was static electricity!


We then talked about circuits!


We have many hands-on ways to understand how these circuits work.




Learning About Singular and Plural

Singular and Plural2

This Kindergarten aged child has become quite interested in learning about grammar!  She is reading and sounding out words at the three letter consonant-vowel-consonant level and knows many sight words.  The purpose of this “work” is to have the child understand the difference between nouns that are singular and nouns that are plural.

Singular and Plural1

She places the tags at the top and a teacher helps her to understand that one says singular and one says plural.

She then reads each card and places it in the appropriate column.

singular and Plural3

One by one she places the tiny objects next to the cards.  A lightbulb goes off!

It is a concrete way to introduce beginning grammar!


Sewing Your Own Stuffed Animal

Many of the children have been working hard to learn various sewing stitches.

We have learned the straight stitch and the whipstitch.  We also learned how to sew on buttons.

Put all of these skills together and you can sew your own stuffed animal!


Step one (after a teacher has cut out all of the shapes): sew wings on with a straight stitch.


Step two:  sew on button eyes and a beak.


Step three:  sew ear to ear with a whipstitch.


Step four:  stuff! (Use a lot to make the stuffed animal cozy!)


Step five:  Using a whipstitch, sew the top closed.


Step six:  hug and love!







We recently studied our third type of vertebrate- the reptile!  Some characteristics of reptiles include:  They are covered in scales.  They breathe with lungs.

Most lay eggs.  Almost all are cold blooded.

The afternoon children took a field trip to the Great Lakes Zoological Society to check out more reptiles.

reptiles 10  reptiles 7 reptiles 5

reptiles 3 reptiles 8

We were able to see many types of reptiles!  After our experience with the guide, we walked around the zoo and completed a scavenger hunt.

reptiles 6     reptiles 4  reptiles 9

reptiles 1 Reptiles 2

The younger children were also able to experience a reptile when one of our students (and dad) brought in his pet snake Sly!  Sly happened to be molting and was slightly duller in appearance than normal but he was as good sport.  All of the children were able to take a close look but we didn’t touch him.  We were also able to match reptile cards and read many reptile books.


Sewing neckwarmers!

neckwarmers 4

Our sewing practice has paid off!  The children have been sewing so much this year.  First, they practiced with a running stitch.  We sewed on vinyl and cardstock.  We then practiced sewing a whipstitch on vinyl and then with small felt tubes.  The children that are ready and have been practicing began to sew neckwarmers last Friday!  They are happy to have them to keep their necks warm!

neckwarmers 1

Sewing helps with the development of fine motor skills!  It is also a very important practical life skill to have.

neckwarmers 2

neckwarmers 5

The children were very happy and proud of their neckwarmers!



Egyptian Studies

Egypt Field Trip 1


We decided to take a small group of afternooners on a field trip to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology as we have been studying Africa and most specifically, Ancient Egypt.
We hopped on the bus and headed into campus. Our stop was right by the cube so we decided it was necessary to give it a spin before the trip inside the museum.

Egypt Field Trip 2

Egypt Field Trip 3

First, we read the rules! When our Docent arrived, we were well prepared to answer her question of
“What are the rules of the museum?”

Egypt Field Trip 4

We saw many, many interesting artifacts. We even saw a child mummy! Jean our Docent helped to explain this in a very gently, age appropriate way!

Egypt Field Trip 5

We saw many masks that were put on people who had died as a way to identify them.

Egypt Field Trip 6

Here we were fascinated with a cat and hawk mummy!

Egypt Field Trip 7

Children in ancient Egypt played with many recognizable toys! After our tour, Jean read a book to the children called “Temple Cat.” The children enjoyed the story and the whole field trip!
Thank you Kelsey!

Egypt Pyramid

As part of our classroom study of Ancient Egypt, many children have decided to make pyramids out of sugar cubes!

Egypt Stamps

We also used hieroglyphic stamps to write names as well as various words.

Egypt Toob



This afternoon/Kindergarten child is zooming along in his reading!!! He has worked his way through many of the language materials and is now reading many phonograms and is able to sound out all phonetic words. We have now begun the study of grammar. He explored some of our noun boxes and then went to work making his own “noun book.”


This child does not usually draw many pictures but took great pride in making pictures of many different nouns!