Thoughts on Changing Works in the Classroom

Seemi from Trillium Montessori has a webinar on changing work in the Montessori classroom that is currently free and available for a limited time. You can check it out here. Before I settle in to watch, I wanted to reflect on my previous experiences with this.

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Enter the @ClearlyFiltered Filtered Water Pitcher #Giveaway Ends 3/10 @las930

I have mentioned before how we often spoke in my Montessori training about the importance of drinking water. We also encourage it a lot in the children as well. Because we want to encourage them to pour their own water, we could add one of these filtered pitchers to the classroom (when regulations allow because of pandemic precautions). At the very least, you can have filtered water available for them, even if you’re the one who has to fill their water bottles. It’s just a thought!

Welcome to the Clearly Filtered – Filtered Water Pitcher Giveaway!

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Website Wednesday: Living Montessori Now

When I had the original Montessori Writer website over 10 years ago, I created the Twitter account and Facebook page to go with it and ended up meeting a lot of wonderful people. We were all getting started online and loved sharing ideas. One of those people was Deb, the creator of Living Montessori Now. She’s going to be my first featured website on my Website Wednesdays.

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Remembering Jo and Her Montessori Math Legacy

A couple of weeks ago, I was already having a rough day, not feeling well and extremely tired. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I saw a notice posted in my childhood Montessori group that my former teacher, Jo, had passed away.

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Deluxe Double Duty Caddy #Giveaway Ends 2/16 @TotesByTeri @deliciouslysavv

If you’re like me, you’re constantly transporting things between home and school. I always had my Chromebook or laptop going back and forth, along with my notes, lesson plans and ideas, and so much more. Anything that can help me stay organized with all of that is always a plus. Plus we all know how teachers are with their bags! Check out this Deluxe Double Duty Caddy that can help keep you organized at home or at school and then enter to win one of your own! Continue reading “Deluxe Double Duty Caddy #Giveaway Ends 2/16 @TotesByTeri @deliciouslysavv”

Who am I? I am a Montessori writer.

6th grade graduation from Montessori school meant sharing a facet of yourself. What was your talent? For me, I chose writing. I loved to write. I wrote constantly. I had even written a short story that my classmates jokingly told me I should turn into a play. So I wrote the play and starred in it and directed it. It was corny as hell. No one memorized their lines, so we were all reading from scripts. But we still put the whole thing together. All of the parents came to watch. It was recorded. (And I still have the videotape.) For my graduation piece, I wrote a reflection on my experience as a Montessori kid and how that was shaping my life.

Creative writing was snuffed out of me in my later years. Sure, we had some creative writing opportunities in high school. But so much more of the writing was research papers. And then in college, it got worse. But I always did well with it.

I also didn’t write when I was teaching, other than conference reports. At the school where I did my internship and then my first teaching position after that, we had packets that we used where we would use rubrics to demonstrate a child’s progress. And then we would write up a quick summary. The next school, where I spent 12 years, we had a much more detailed written summary of all facets of the child. I always used to joke that I felt parent-teacher conference time was like cramming all of those final papers in college.

When I moved to NY, I had a part-time job at a teacher store. When the owner retired, his kids had no desire to keep the family business going and they let it fail. So I found myself out of a part-time job. Someone told me to look online for writing jobs. I stumbled upon a website called Associated Content. Oh, the pride I felt when I had my first piece published. You could answer their requests for assignments, and be guaranteed payment, or come up with your own topics and maybe get upfront pay. All articles submitted earned you residuals based on the traffic your piece generated.

From there, I learned about other writing opportunities and found myself writing a lot on two other sites about Montessori education. I learned about social media and started posting on both Twitter and Facebook. I even had a dedicated Twitter account just for Montessori education and often joined in chats. I had a regular routine chat with some other Montessorians every morning. I even was offered a job in another state because of my Montessori conversations and writings. And I had started the original Montessori Writer website.

But then I got sick and had surgery. And then right after, my grandmother died. And then soon after that my mom went into a nursing home for Alzheimer’s. And then my dad got sick and died. All of this was within a 10-month period. I kind of lost my mojo for writing. And the online writing world was changing. My father had kept telling me to leave teaching and just write full-time, but I knew that wasn’t going to work quite yet. I needed to learn the changes in this evolving world and simply needed my head to be in the right space again.

So here we are about a decade later. I spent a lot of time this past year of the pandemic doing a lot of reading. I have found numerous new resources for us to use in Montessori. So I keep sharing them on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I’ve started making more notes about topics for me to write about. But it has been a tough year to try to get stuff done. And now I am sick again, which makes it even more interesting.

I do, however, still like to write. I did sign a contract for a short story that is being included in an upcoming anthology. I have written numerous drafts of numerous posts for Montessori and other topics for my other blogs. I continue to read and read and read and reflect on what I have learned. This year, I think you’re going to see a lot more coming from this Montessori Writer. And I welcome your suggestions and inquiries.

Who am I? I am a Montessori educator.

Who am I? I am a Montessori educator.

My aspirations to become a teacher began at a young age. I was enrolled in Montessori school at the age of 3 ½, so I didn’t know much about traditional school until I left after 6th grade. But I remember “playing school” at friends’ houses, where those friends either presently attended public school or had at one point. We always did the lecture with the chalkboard for practice. I devoured the Little House book series and TV series, emulating Laura, who also taught in this way. So to me, that’s how you would be a teacher.

I guess that means that my Montessori teachers did things the right way. After all, Maria referred to the teacher as a directress whose job it was to guide us children along our paths of learning. I never thought of any of them in the traditional sense.

Public school was not a good fit for me. I didn’t like having to sit in the same desk in the same classroom at the same time every day and strictly follow the curriculum. There was no time for discussion. People thought you were weird if you tried to talk to the teachers. I just wanted to enjoy learning again. So I knew that when I went to college, I wanted to be a Montessori educator. But there were no such programs in college.

So I went with studying math and French. Those were two of my passions and I thought I would enjoy teaching in high school. I had started working in a Montessori school, though, in October of my freshman year. I primarily did after school care with ages 3-6, with some time with the elementary program. I also did their summer camp. And when I had to take time off from school for health reasons, I ended up being able to sub in all facets of the school, from lunch/nap to all classrooms to office to library. It cemented my desire to work in that kind of educational philosophy and I ended up switching to early childhood and elementary. That age group appeared to be where my talents and passion lay. And I could still teach math and French.

I also picked up Spanish, because I knew I was going to use that more than French, and special ed courses. Inclusion was much more of a reality and I wanted to be prepared. I had a few opportunities to use some of those skills in my role in after school care. And then the school decided to open up their own training program, using a lot of the same instructors as the program just north in Michigan.

I jumped on the opportunity. We did our massive studies that summer. I always felt ahead of the curve because I had a different perspective and understanding as a Montessori kid. And then that school year was the internship, with a few seminars scheduled every few months. I was the unpaid intern in one of the early childhood rooms. I continued my lunch/nap and after school care duties for pay. And then when needed, I would sub. I also worked in a daycare part-time in the evenings, primarily in the office, for additional income. And then after that year, it was time for me to break out on my own.

I did my classroom observations while also going on job interviews at schools that were within just a couple of hours from home. I didn’t feel like going too far. I managed to land a position in a school in my hometown where I grew up, so I was able to “stay home.” It was a very small school on a farm. I started out as a part-time teacher in the afternoon classroom and after school care and summer camp programs and eventually became the lead teacher of the program and co-administrator. But after three years, I knew it was time to move on. And I moved a few states over.

My first year was difficult because I was finally actually away from home. And I was an assistant to someone whose personal Montessori philosophy was quite different from mine. I stuck it out because I knew that second year, I was moving into my own classroom. And I stayed there for 12 years.

I learned so much more about Montessori education over all of those years. I saw several examples of what to do and what not to do. I became clearly set in my personal Montessori philosophy and embraced so many of Maria’s ideals. I have a solid sense of who I am as a Montessorian. And I like to share it.

I am not currently in a Montessori classroom. I left in 2015 for a variety of reasons. And for just as many, I have no plans to return in the near future. But don’t write me off in the classroom just yet. I do still continue to do childcare and tutoring. I continue to educate friends in the philosophy. And I still share Montessori with the masses via my Facebook and Twitter pages. My goal with this blog is to share some of my wisdom here as well. I long to keep educating the masses about how to do it and how easy it is to make it a part of your life. So my role as a Montessori educator has not ended.

Please feel free to leave any questions you may have. Perhaps I can address them in some later posts. Until then, I will share my own stories and observations I have made, plus other great resources you can use to further your own Montessori education.

Filtered Water for the Little One #Giveaway Ends 1/28 @clearlyfiltered @las930

I remember in my training, we often discussed the importance of water and staying hydrated. It’s so important for both the mind and the body. And it’s a great idea to start teaching this to children at a young age. I always had glassware on hand for the kids, but now in this time of COVID, we need to do something a little differently. So why not let the child have his or her own water bottle? It keeps things more sanitary in the classroom and is great to have around the house.
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Drink the Cleanest Water #Giveaway Ends 10/2 @las930 @clearlyfiltered

One of the most important things I remember learning in my  Montessori training was the importance of self-care. We often talked about making sure you got enough water to drink, both for the body and for the mind. I admit I’m not always good about it, but since being home for COVID, I have been making a more concentrated effort to keep my water intake up. Having a filter pitcher on hand definitely helps! Continue reading “Drink the Cleanest Water #Giveaway Ends 10/2 @las930 @clearlyfiltered”

Mom and Child Face Masks #Giveaway Ends 9/9 @GrandFusionHW @las930

The reality of our world right now is that a lot of us are going back to school and have to wear a mask while we are there. Why not make it more fun with some new designs? You could even give the “Mom” mask to your child’s teacher so that they match! She could probably use some new ones, too!
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