Tag Archives: Free Printables

Activities inspired by Ella by Alex T. Smith

Ella: Alex T Smith (Scholastic, 2012)

As part of The Educators’ Spin On It Summer Book Exchange, I chose Ella by Alex T. Smith as the book to send to our swap partner, Here Come The Girls. This is a book that my girls love (actually, we’re all fans of all of Alex T. Smith’s work) and one that was too easy to think of activities to fit. Ladybirds and Spiders, what’s not to love?!

Here is the content of the box we sent, hoping to inspire lots of open-ended crafts. You can read about what they did with it here.

Ella Swap Box

I’d love to have more time to create printables to download for this blog, as they’re something I’m slightly addicted to, but this swap gave me the perfect opportunity to and you can download our Ella inspired craft sheets here.

I’ve reproduced one of the activities below as a taster:

Antennae Hair bands

Materials:
Hair band
Black chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
Large red buttons

antennaeInstructions:

1. Choose two red buttons for the antennae – one circle and one flower to match Ella, or any that you like.

2. This part may need grown up help.

a. Thread a chenille stem through one button hole
b. Turn stem and thread back through second hole.
c. Twist excess stem.
d. Repeat for second antenna.

3. Wrap other end of chenille stems around hair band, spaced so they look like antennae.

The craft ideas could also be used alongside other ladybird or spider picture books.

I found the buttons, chenille stems (pipe cleaners) and googly eyes on eBay for very reasonable prices but they can also be found in most children’s art/craft sections in large stores.

When choosing craft materials for the swap, I stuck to a limited colour palette of reds and black/greys, which also made me think of the Claude books by Alex T. Smith. Using a limited (duochrome?) palette is another interesting art / craft experience for children.

Teaching Rainbows

It was Takeover Day on Friday, a day when children are encouraged to join in decision making and responsibilities. MG’s school offered the opportunity for every child in years 1 to 6 to ‘apply’ for a school job. These included headteacher, secretary, class teacher, kitchen assistant, pre-school supervisor and maintenance. MG loves playing school with her little sister so her first choice was teacher, she chose to teach her own class (year 1 and 2 mixed).

After chatting together, taking MG’s ideas and interests and trying to simplify them to fit in a 25 minute teaching slot, she chose teaching about rainbows as it was a mix of art and also a bit sciencey which are her favourite things. I suggested showing how to make a rainbow out of three colours because it really needed to be simple – we left out lots of things like using prisms to split white light and talking about primary colours of paint and light! I wrote something for MG to read and made the templates for making the rainbow. Paint wasn’t an option giving the time constraints but cutting and sticking coloured cellophane was probably a lot more fun anyhow!

As MG was at school and is tired after, I did the preparation but it was all based on her ideas. Okay, I maybe took over a little… But she felt that it was hers, she gave the lesson and she input into everything so she was happy. Phew! I made up 30 packs which had a cutting template, sticking template, coloured cellophane (approx 16x24cm pieces) and a paper plate.

The paper plate was for making freestyle rainbows or patterns with the left over cellophane after making the rainbow from the template. I’m not a school teacher so I overestimated the time. For one or two children, this could be done in 25 minutes but in a big class with people not listening etc, even with doing it in pairs they didn’t all finish. I also underestimated the cellophane. It looked like plenty but 5-7 year olds make more mistakes and want more cellophane (so working in pairs was good for that too!)

I didn’t have time to shop online for cellophane, and traipsed round Oxford before eventually managing to get some in the art shop I should have gone to in the first place! But I could only get one roll of each colour, each of which was approx 500mm x 2.5m so 24x16cm (approx) was the only way I could get 30 pieces from the roll. It really did look as if it should be plenty big enough! I would therefore suggest, if doing this for a class of 30, to get two rolls of at least the red cellophane (assuming rolls the same size) and cut bigger pieces. For smaller groups, perhaps individual A4 sheets of coloured cellophane or acetate. I did look at tissue paper, but it wasn’t transparent enough. Also, the red we got was too deep so the orange and purple didn’t look as nice as they might have!

In case MG got too shy when she was faced with her entire class, I wrote teaching notes of the order she was to go through her sheets. I wrote a bit of blurb for her to read as background to the activity, and I created the cutting and sticking templates. As we’re using three colours, you need to cut each one to cover three lines of the rainbow so the cutting template isn’t as simple as six arches. And because it worked so well, you can download these three files for your own use 🙂

Rainbow Lesson – Teacher Notes

Rainbow Lesson – Templates

Rainbow Lesson – About Rainbows

The picture above shows MG’s teaching pack! I laminated everything mainly because I could, but also to separate it as being MG’s. I laminated the cellophane template pieces into three sheets so that MG could easily hold and show the three colours and put them together to show the rainbow. We had colour paddles so I put them in too in case she wanted to show the colour mixes with them.

At the end of the day, when I picked her up from school, MG was buzzing with excitement from the whole day. She’d given her lesson (a little shy at first but her teacher stood with her to start with) and the children really enjoyed it, as did she! I am utterly proud of her achievement. Okay, and a teeny bit proud of me for creating the templates and managing to get the blurb pitched at the right reading level for MG!

I’m linking this up with Montessori Monday because I think it would work well as a hands-on unit lesson. It can be simplified for very young children, there’s opportunities for hands on experimentation with colour mixing, and it can be a springboard to further study. Enjoy, and please visit Living Montessori Now for tons of brilliant Montessori inspired ideas.

Montessori Monday from Living Montessori Now

Montessori Online Resources

Some time ago, I started to create a mini blog / site with a variety of Montessori links and info. But my bookmarks kept growing and growing and I had no time to organise them. Other sites have already done the same (and better) so I shall link to them instead 😆

About Montessori from Montessori Print Shop. Plus lots more information under the different menu headings. “Montessori Theory” is a great place to get an understanding for Montessori philosopny and “Montessori Lessons” for an idea of scope and sequence.

Free Montessori Materials
Free Montessori Materials Online – from Living Montessori Now (including free 3-6 Geography Album from A Montessori Marketplace)
The Little List – directory of free printables, DIY materials, curriculum (albums and scope and sequence) etc

Montessori Blogs
What Did We Do All Day? – extensive, updated Montessori Blog list (and DIY materials links)
Montessori Print Shop Favourite Blogs – a very good place to start!
50 must-read Montessori Blogs (some now obsolete)

Free Albums
There’s a few more albums not on the links above that I had collected:
Meg McElwee’s 3-6 Albums (Passwords:- Practical Life and Theory: pl101; Sensorial: sens789; Language: lang456; Mathematics: math123) If this shouldn’t be posted, let me know and I’ll delete but I got it from a public place originally…
Wikisori Albums
Mid America Montessori Teacher Training 6-9 Albums
Cultivating Dharma 6-9 Albums
Great Lessons 3-part cards (sorry, I can’t remember who created these)
Free Printables
Montessori for Learning
Montessori Print Shop
Montessori Materials
Montessori for Everyone
All these Yahoo! groups have a large number of free resources in their files sections:
Montessori Materials Makers
Montessori by Hand
Playschool 6

Maria Montessori’s Writing
Full Books Online
The Montessori Method (Celebration of Women Writers)
Dr Montessori’s Own Handbook (Project Gutenberg)
Spontaneous Activity in Education (Project Gutenburg)
Chapters Online
The Absorbent Mind (Moteaco)
Basic Ideas of Montessori’s Educational Theory (Moteaco)
The Child in the Family (Moteaco)
From Childhood to Adolescence (Moteaco)
The Discovery of the Child (Moteaco)
Education for a New World (Moteaco)
The Formation of Man (Moteaco)
What You Should Know About Your Child (Moteaco)
To Educate the Human Potential (Moteaco)
Lectures Online
The California Lectures of Maria Montessori, 1915 (Moteaco)
How It All Happened (1942) (Moteaco)

Other Useful Links
Virtual Montessori – online versions of several Montessori materials (e.g. 100 board, small bead frames, pythagoras board, synonyms)
Montessori Bells – online version of the bells
Edupic – royalty-free pictures that could be used for making 3-part cards, all sorts of subjects