Montessori Elementary Homeschool Blog - with documentation of our infant Montessori, toddler Montessori, and primary Montessori experiences; as well as preparation for the upcoming adolescent Montessori homeschool years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Great Lesson: God With No Hands

This is one of those posts I'm not quite sure where to put. Perhaps I should really do a blog over at Keys of the Universe - but I'm not sure I can do one more blog ;)

So I'll do my best to focus this on OUR home and OUR co-op ;)

Many times, I have stated that I strongly prefer the AMI albums over AMS albums and I provide several reasons, repetitively ;) It is because I feel SO strongly about them! AMI albums are keys-based, so to use the First Great Lesson, there just won't be as many demonstrations the first time around. They USED to have a WHOLE BUNCH in the initial presentation, but over the years of careful observation, several of the demonstrations have been separated out from the first Great Lesson of God with No Hands, into their own follow-up album pages. Thus a child can focus more on the main points at hand, then have plenty of review later for follow-up and emphasis on new or additional points. States of Matter, Further States of Matter, and Attraction and Gravity are three such "additional" album pages. Hence those album pages are as brief as they are!

(I say "demonstrations" here and need to adapt my albums to say the same thing - these are truly demonstrations much more so than experiments - we know the outcome and we are seeking to demonstrate a scientific principle - when the children are working to answer a question, form a hypothesis, set up a test, see it through and evaluate, now THAT is an experiment ;) ).

AMI uses art-forms instead of photography
so the children get the emphasis on *impression*
thus providing opportunities within
their research for finding real photos
 of the various principles in action.
And it encourages the children to re-create,
thus encouraging creativity.
There are a variety of stylistic versions.
Keep them simple!
In our home, we stick with that. I at first thought I would add in all the great ideas from Miss Barbara's site (since I'd been reading that long before I had elementary training, and despite being overwhelmed by it all before going into any Montessori training, I thought it was still great and easily adaptable to my own family's needs)... but after observing and working in several Montessori classes during and after the elementary training, seeing the variety of ways the story was done, and the children's reactions....

Well, I stuck with my album page. It really hits home, focuses in, incites interests, and gets personal studying going. It didn't NEED anything else. Just those SIX demonstrations: see this link for the six.

And especially being at home, with an only child, and a part-time (one half-day a week) co-op, the minimal keys-based approach with lots of review just really made sense for us, allowing me to present in short bursts, leaving lots of time for follow-up and research, opportunity for me to observe and present another focal point of interest at the appropriate time, without feeling like I had to have to just *everything* in place at once, or (potentially) overwhelm the children with too  much information. Focus - concentration - didn't I spend all of primary focusing on keys - focus - and concentration development? ;)

So at almost age 6, my son received the first Great Lesson, along with two young ladies (ages 10 and 12 at the time) - and they were hooked!

I wish I had taken photos at the time - I didn't :(

I had my large charts from training - at-home versions are good at half that very large size - 12x18 or so is perfect when feasible, but I used what I had ;)

We also had some supplies from Magic School Bus science kits - the test tubes are not the best idea for later work when you want to hold a test tube over a heat source or place it in hot water (the plastic melts), but it all worked for the first Great Lesson. I love test tubes for demonstrating layers (introduction to density) because you such a small amount and the children LOVE to repeat this work! They can use SUCH control using just small quantities and pouring into the narrow tube - or using eyedropper to transfer various liquids - lots of fun! LOTS of concentration!

We changed up some of the stuff to be melted - I did not have time to find non-lead solder (a little goes a long way when you do buy it though - so it IS a worthy investment) so I think I used a chunk of plastic; and I used an old key for the non-descript metal (broke the rules there, but again, it is what I had!). Another alternative to the solder is that plastic craft stuff that you can melt in hot water then shape into what you want - a bit of that starting to truly melt is perfect. The idea is to use different items to demonstrate the principle at hand, without getting all technical and detailed. Display, and move on with the story.

I also subbed in quinoa for the bebes or iron shot - because it was on hand ;) No other reason! You want particles that can be seen as they roll over and around each other.

When the children have a question, write it down for them so they don't forget. These questions become their research.

RESEARCH? At age SIX!? YES!!! Research at this age is as simple as asking a question and finding resources to answer that question. As they get older and are comfortable with knowing that they CAN do this research and that their questions WILL be honored, then we started with simple steps towards what we adults think of as research. (more in the next post!)

Want to know our follow-ups to the first Great Lesson, the first time around? And other times? See two posts from now ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment