Artfully Montessori: Are Your Montessori Children Making Little Books? My Latest "Vlog"


Okay, so your children found a snail in the lettuce patch this morning. 

Make a note to put out "The Parts of the Snail"  3-Part Cards and nomenclature booklet making trays. And, if you have the parts of a snail puzzle, that is a must for the shelf, too. 

Here's a quick 1-minute video showing the process of children creating their little Montessori Nomenclature Booklets:

How about booklets for parts of the guinea pig?...or the gold fish or whatever classroom pets you may have!
Over the years, we've put out some amazing parts of...booklets for the children. 

Here are a few ideas:
Parts of...
~ Insect
~ Volcano
~ Sea Horse
~ Space ship
~ Fire truck
~ Horse
~ Cheetah
~ Sea Turtle
~ Land Turtle
~ Ant
~ Butterfly
~ Plant
~ Fish
~ Amphibian
~ Reptile
~ Bird
~ Orchestra
~ Trumpet
~ Violin
~ Timpani Drum
~ Dog
~ Cat
~ Rabbit
~ Penguin
~ Evergreen Tree
~ Flower
~ Solar System
~ Tarantula
~ House
~ Car
~ Dump Truck
The list goes on.

When the children bring us questions about their favorite discoveries in the environment, that's the time to engage their interest even further with activities that feature their new interest. 

And, "Parts of.." Booklet making can be one of the most engaging activities for Montessori children.


The process goes something like this:
~ Begins with a real experience, if possible (ex: hugging a tree in the garden)
~ Next, the child puts together a Montessori style "Parts of...puzzle" related to the real experience (Ex: Parts of the Tree puzzle)
~ Then you will see the child exploring the Montessori 3-Part Cards that go along with this new interest of the child/ren (Ex: Nomenclature cards with control cards, and cards with labels for the child to manipulate)
~ Finally, the child will dive into making a "Parts of..." Booklet (in this case: "Parts of the Tree" Booklet) 


How you set up the trays for making these Montessori Booklets is up to you. I've seen so many lovely ways to set these up in the many Montessori classrooms I've been in. 

You can see the way that I like to set it up in the slide show video included in this post. (above)


In my newest Musically Montessori eCourse we will be making gazillions of "Parts of..." Booklets, along with 3- Part Cards to match.

Here is a partial list from the eCourse: 
~ The Sections of the Orchestra
~ Parts of the Music Stand
~ My Orchestra Booklet (with vocabulary words like: Orchestra, conductor, stage, audience, etc.)

~ Parts of the Brass Family of Instruments
~ Parts of The Trumpet
~ Parts of The Trombone
~ Parts of The French Horn
~ Parts of The Tuba

~ Parts of the String Family of Instruments 
~ Parts of The Violin, The Viola, The Cello, and The Bass

~ Parts of the Woodwind Family of Instruments
~ Parts of The Flute, The Clarinet, The Oboe, and The Bassoon

~ Parts of the Percussion Family of Instruments
~ Parts of The Snare Drum, The Bass Drum, The Timpani Drum, the Xylophone, The Glockenspiel, The Tambourine, and The Triangle

  • Language and vocabulary development, of course
  • Child's developing skills in organizing knowledge
  • Small muscle exercise (Filling in the "Parts" and eventually WRITING!)
  • Self confidence (READING the book you created!)
  • Creativity: putting the little book together (I like to use colorful ribbon so that the books turn out absolutely adorable and are very engaging to the aesthetic sense in the child)
Once the children see that most of the "Parts of ..." Booklets in the environment follow the same format, then the child has discovered the "key" and will be excited to make more and more of them. 


After the child has worked with Montessori 3-Part Cards, they soon catch on to the fact that the particular part that is featured is usually colored in with red. 

Likewise, when making a "Parts of..." Booklet, the child sees that the featured part is colored in with red. (like Montessori 3-Part Cards) This is a familiar concept by now (it's the "key'!) and so the child embarks upon making the pages of his or her booklet  come to life with that red colored pencil!

In the beginning, the teacher or an older child can write in the words on each page of the child's booklet. However, I have found that the children quickly become motivated to write in the words themselves and these first little books are the most charming of all!

Many Montessori environments encourage the child to read their newly created "Parts of..." Booklet to the other children. This is very fun for all, but especially confidence-building for the child who has discovered the "key" and it is also very motivating for the child who is about to discover the "key."


The real experience!

All the way to creating the Montessori style 
"Parts of..." Booklet

I invite you to join my newest Musically Montessori eCourse and take 20% off!

I am happy to have you visiting my Blog today. I hope you and your group enjoy these ideas.

View Post

Musically Montessori: "Postperson Song and Game" for Valentines Week and a new freebie!


Even in the age of email and digital cards, there is still something endearing about receiving a hand-written correspondence from someone special. Receiving a letter in the mailbox is still very exciting, and luckily our children still see the post person (mail carrier) delivering these letters.

Writing a letter (or a postcard) is a wonderful reality-based activity for young children who are developing their writing, reading and communication skills. 

What better time is there to practice writing, than...Valentines Day!

The traditional "Postperson Song" that I am writing about today is loved by virtually every child I've ever taught. I first learned this song in my own childhood, when it was "Postman, postman, do you have a letter?" and then I re-discovered it while taking my Orff-Schulwerk music training in the 1990's. Nowadays we say: "Postperson" and that makes it so much nicer for this song and circle game.

"Postperson, Postperson,
Do you have a letter?
Postperson, Postperson,
Two would be much better.
I can hardly wait to see
What is in your bag for me."

The idea is that the child who is the "Postperson" delivers letters to the children around the circle as they sing the song. 
In the Montessori environment, we often play this game and use the sandpaper letters (alphabet letters) instead of actual postal letters.

I've created an Mp3 music download of my version of this song in my newest TpT Activity Pack. (see below)

When I found a "Postperson" costume at Lakeshore Learning Store a few years ago that just made the song really come to life in our Montessori Preschool classroom!

Then I found a nice wooden mailbox and that gave me the idea to set up a writing center featuring the mailbox. 

This writing center can be open all year around, but expect it to be very busy during the month of February! You can keep it stocked with letter paper/ stationery, pencils & pens, envelopes, and stickers that can become "postage stamps."

 If you purchase my TpT Activity Pack "Valentines Day: Postperson Song and Activities" your group can create their own "valentine postcards" at your Writing Center.

Children can spend weeks making Valentines. This has always been one of the most popular activities in my Montessori environments. You've probably discovered this, too! 

Every year, it is such a delight to see the children create the heart that appears when you fold a piece of pink paper, cut around the edge, and then open the paper. It's like magic, especially for the child who has never seen this heart-making process!

Montessorians will find the best ways of creating "control of error" for every activity on the shelf, and this picture below shows how I have set up the heart-making activity over the years.

I create a cardboard "half heart" and then I place a piece of tape along the edge that the child will put on the fold of her paper. After the child has placed the half heart correctly on the folded paper, she then traces around the shape with her pencil. Next, she cuts along the line she drew making sure she cuts through both layers of the folded paper.

If you provide envelopes, children can make their heart creations into valentines, then place them in envelopes and take them over to the classroom mailbox!

Making valentines is the perfect time to hone in on the children's skills at writing...writing their own names and also the names of their friends. 

Providing a set-up for practicing name-writing is a shelf work that will be engaging for the children from the very first days of school. Below is a picture of the name-writing activity that I like best. The child takes their name card and places it on a magnetic board. Then she places a piece of tracing paper over the card. Secure these with two magnets and then the child can use a pencil to write her name by tracing the letters on her name card. 

Practicing writing your name begins with a name card that is created as a model for the child. If you would like to see exactly how to put this type of activity together, you will enjoy my newest free resource at my Subscriber's Freebie Collection. I've included a template for making name cards for your group that you can download, print and then create a name card for each of your children.

My Subscribers Freebie Collection has more than 30 free resources that you can download and enjoy for absolutely free! 

If you haven't already subscribed, it's easy! Just fill in the form on the sidebar of this blog. Or scroll down if you are on a mobile device.


My little twist to this lovely traditional circle game, based on the  Postperson Song, is from the Montessori sandpaper alphabet letters and offers three variations that are progressively more challenging.

Here is what is inside the pack:

~ Description of how to do the activities including:
   1) Circle Song and Game with 3 different levels and variations
   2) "Make Your Own Postcard" (child-made) explanation 
~ Link to the Mp3 music download, "Carolyn's Postperson Song"
~ Templates for making "alphabet letter with blank" postcards for the circle game using Montessori color-coding red vowels/ blue consonants OR blue vowels /red consonants
~ Templates for making "alphabet letter with printed names" (with choice of color-coding)
~ Templates of the postcards and stamps for child-made postcard activity
~ Pictorial suggestions for a child's "Practice writing your name" Activity

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today and I hope you and your children have some fun with these ideas.

View Post

Our Solar System Part 3: Montessori Curriculum Arts


This is Part Three of my Montessori Curriculum series, "Our Solar System thru The Arts." You can read Part One by clicking HERE, and Part Two by clicking HERE.

This article includes:
 1) Ideas for some lovely (and lively) Mixed Media Art Activities that reinforce learning about the Solar System
 2) Suggestions for Circle songs, games, and musical drama play featuring Our Solar System and an outer space theme
 3) Playing rhythm instruments to create a music piece based on "The Planets" from the British composer Gustav Holst
 4) Information about my TpT packet, "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 3"


Structured Art Activities Set Up 
on their Own Trays
Many years ago, the children in my group were busy making their own little paper machete models of the planets in Our Solar System, and one four-year-old girl decided to turn her "planets" into a Solar System necklace. She quickly proceeded to gather some materials from the free choice art shelf and before I knew it, she had made her necklace and had hung it around her neck! 

Hers was quite a bulky piece of jewelry...but it gave me yet another  idea for the children to create solar system art. Every year after that, during our studies of the Solar System, I would provide actual beads of varying colors and sizes for the children to make Solar System necklaces.

A Montessori colleague of mine from the 1990's came up with a really beautiful way of creating a simple child-made solar system Mobile. The children in her group began making a series of circles from the Montessori Geometric Cabinet and assigning each one to a planet in our Solar System. Then, my teacher friend helped the children create a "Vertical Mobile" with the "Sun" at the top and the rest of the planets hanging in order below the sun. (Geometric Cabinet photo from Adena Montessori)

When my group saw these Mobiles, they loved this idea and eventually "Vertical Solar System Mobiles" were hanging all over our Montessori School! 

There are many other ways for children to create circles for a Vertical Solar System Mobile.

In the Montessori environment, children can trace around different sized knobbed cylinders (or the knobless cylinders, too) to create the components for a Vertical Solar System Mobile. (Photo from Adena Montessori)

Even drawing templates from the local art supply store can be used to create different sized circles for a Vertical Solar System Mobile.
In my TpT Montessori Activity Pack, "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 3," I have created templates and a beautiful control chart for downloading and printing off for children to create these fun Vertical Solar System Mobiles. 

My groups have always enjoyed making these circles with the pin-poking technique so that the edges of their "paper planets" are not so smooth and look more like the real photos of planets from the NASA site. 

Free Form Art 
from the Free Choice Art Shelf 
In the Montessori environment, I think it is important to set up a free-choice area of the art shelf where children can choose  materials from a variety of art media and then create their own unique pieces.
Once Montessori children are accustomed to having a free choice art area, they develop skills not only in creative arts, but also in organizing and implementing their own little engineering projects that never cease to amaze me. 

For years, I taught a bunch of international children whose parents worked at the Scandia Lab in Livermore, CA and I think these little ones got lots of encouragement from their families to organize their own creative projects just like their innovative engineer parents were doing each day at their work in the lab.

With so many tools available to the children in a Montessori environment, we are fortunate to be able to offer them what is necessary to "engineer" their creative ideas into reality. 

One 4-yr-old in my group spent an entire morning making a space ship from the Montessori geometric design insets and the geometric insets from the Geometric Cabinet.

It is a well-known fact that young children learn through play, and I can say from experience that learning through the art of play is the easiest way for me, myself to learn as well! 

Making Music, Drama, Dance, Singing Songs, Making Art, and Storytelling are some of the most effective ways to really explore new ideas and absorb abstract concepts. The Arts really do bring things to life!

Our Solar System is a concept that is "bigger than life," actually, and even though it is intriguing for young children, I think it is important to bring as many concrete experiences as possible to this area of your Montessori curriculum studies.

Showing large Visuals that represent Our Solar System are helpful and also help to organize this bigger than life concept into a manageable picture in the mind hold in your hand and take a closer look.

Photo from Deposit Photo

"The Sun Takes the Planets" Circle Game
Over the years, my groups have really loved our Circle Game for the Planets of Our Solar System that is based on Farmer-in-the-Dell song and game. It starts with the line: "The Sun takes Mercury...Hi-ho the Derry-o..." and proceeds through all the planets!

Adding face-painting or costumes has always been a very fun part of this activity for my groups. 

How about some lovely "Planet Crowns" or masks? You can get the templates and step-by-step lesson plan in my TpT packet.  (see the Vol. 3 link below) 

CLICK HERE to see the description of this packet at my TpT store. And, scroll down to see my Solar System BUNDLE where you'll get all 3 of my "Solar System thru The Arts" Packets for just $10. 

And, you can always place some authentic costumes into your environment to enhance the experiences with Our Solar System. These are really fun for outdoor drama play. I have found many cultural and community helper dress-ups at consignment shops around Halloween. Adding props like flashlights, gloves and boots gives the children a "real-life" experience!

Instrument Play-Along  
Creating a little dramatic and musical performance based on the music from Gustav Holst's "The Planets" can be a great hands-on learning experience for young children. 

Album available at iTunes and Amazon 

~ First, you can play excerpts from the album and ask children to listen for the rhythm instruments they hear in each selection.
~ Next, pass rhythm instruments out for the children to play during the various song selections from the album.
~ Then, the children can play their particular instruments during the musical pieces that feature their instruments.

EXTENSION: Assign a rhythm instrument to each of the 8 planets of Our Solar System and then group children into 8 groups. Each group represents a planet and that group of children plays the instruments that are designated for that planet. Then, tell a story about visiting the planets as the children play their instruments for each planet. 

Here is my list of the rhythm instruments to listen for in Holst's "The Planets":

1. "Mercury, The Winged Messenger"  Bells 
2. "Venus, The Bringer of Peace" Glockenspiel
3. "Mars, The Bringer of War" Drums, Rhythm Sticks
4. "Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity" Rhythm Sticks, Maracas, Tambourines, Glockenspiel
5. "Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age" Rhythm Sticks
6. "Uranus, The Magician" Cymbals, Xylophone
7. "Neptune, The Mystic" Maracas, tinkling Bells

GET ALL 3 of my TpT Solar System Packets FREE

You can get my TpT Solar System BUNDLE for FREE when you enroll in my Musically Montessori eCourse at Trillium Montessori Courses until Jan. 31, 2018. That means you get my eCourse and my TpT packet all for $125. And, this is the last time my eCourse will be offered at that price! Course cost goes up to $175 after January.

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you and your group enjoy these activities!

View Post

Our Solar SystemPart 2: Montessori Curriculum Arts


This is Part Two of my Montessori Curriculum series, "Our Solar System thru The Arts." You can read Part One in the Series by clicking HERE. 
This article includes:
 1) How to bring Montessori-style Movement Activities into your Solar System learning and how to prepare the children for the fun.
 2) Montessori Sensorial Materials that fit nicely into your Solar System Activities 
 3) Montessori-style Book Making and why children love this activity so much
 4) Information about my TpT packet, "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 2"

Another sure winner for presenting a new concept to young children is offering a Movement Activity to illustrate the concept.

My groups enjoyed exploring the model of Our Solar System so much that we would always have an art activity of creating a "planet" of our own from styrofoam balls, paper machete, or even simple balls of wadded up newspaper! 

Incidentally, when children are learning about our Solar System, it is an opportune time to bring out the basket of Montessori Geometric Solids and point out that the shape of a planet is a sphere. (Photo from Montessori n Such)
After the children have created their own "planets," they really enjoy this "Orbiting Planets" Movement Activity. While singing the "Planet, Planet Go Around" song, the children carry their planets while walking on the taped ellipse on the floor. (sung to the melody from "Rain, rain, Go away."

In the Montessori environment, the children have learned what an "ellipse" is because they have been working with the Montessori Geometric Insets. This is the perfect time to explore the connection to the ellipse shape from the Insets and the elliptical shape of the planet's orbit around the Sun in our Solar System. (Photo from Montessori n Such)

In the Montessori pedagogy, children are also offered many opportunities for developing body coordination by walking along "The Montessori Line," and my really fun "Orbiting Planets" Movement Activity, pictured below,  has always been a big favorite with the children in my groups! 

In my TpT Montessori Curriculum Arts Activity Pack, "Montessori Curriculum: Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 2", I have included my Mp3 download of the song, "Planet, Planet, Go Around" that goes with this popular Movement Activity along with a Montessori-style Lesson Plan with a step-by-step presentation and Extensions.

One of my own very favorite music cd's that is filled with fabulous, one-minute long, musical movement activities is "Classical Fun Singalongs" from West Music Company.  ($12.99)

I have been using the music from this cd for decades, and children still love it! (I do too)

What I love most about this cd is its short and sweet selections from many famous classical composers that have been set to really fun Movement Activities suitable for even the youngest of children!  

There are several music pieces from the cd that go well with your Montessori unit on the Solar System.

From "Classical Fun Singalongs"
~ "On the Moon" is from The Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven and is perfect not only for relating to Our Solar System, but also works beautifully when you are introducing the musical concept of "Largo" (slow) in your Montessori music curriculum.  

In fact, if you have taken my eCourse, "Musically Montessori: First Twelve Weeks" you already received this song & activity in the FREE mp3 music downloads for Week 8: "Playing the Presto & Largo Game."

If you haven't taken this eCourse, it's open for enrollment at Trillium Montessori Courses until the end of January! And, there's a special bonus Activity Pack from me to you (learn more at the end of this article)

More from "Classical Fun Singalongs"
~ "Astronauts Flying" is from Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner and is always a big hit with my groups. The secret is all in the wonderful space-sounding epic music AND the way I prepare the children for the movement activity. (We take a moment before we start to get on our pretend space suits and board our pretend space ships.) 

Now, this "astronaut" music is also fantastic for introducing the trumpet and other instruments from the Brass Family! This music is another free and exclusive mp3 download that is included in my upcoming Musically Montessori eCourse, "Instruments of the Orchestra" with enrollment opening in February.

Fortunately, I have been able to arrange an exclusive contract with the authors of the Classical Fun Singalongs cd to include 20 selections from this album as part of the free mp3 music downloads in all of my Musically Montessori eCourses! (There's also a Nutcracker Suite mp3 download from the Classical Fun Singalongs cd in my mini-eCourse, "Musically Montessori: Nutcracker Suite for Little Kids."

I don't know about you, but my groups over the years, just couldn't seem to get enough of Montessori-style booklet making. When I was a classroom teacher, our shelves were full of 3-Part Cards and their Extensions for making little booklets by the children. The children could choose from the basics, like "Parts of the Tree," to the more alluring ones, like "Parts of the Space Shuttle." 

I think the big appeal of Montessori-style book making is that the process is the same for each book. So, once the children figure out this secret, they are eager to make little books every day. That's why my shelves were full of these throughout the school year! 

1.) The process begins with an inviting shelf in the Montessori Classroom. The child will enjoy exploring the set of 3-Part Cards for whatever topic they are interested in. (See photo below of a typical 3-part card layout)

Here is an example of my Montessori shelf featuring Our Solar System thru The Arts.

Here is a photo of my "Solar System 3-Part Cards" layout from my Montessori classroom Solar System Unit. (and my TpT packet)

2.) Next, the children will be able to make their own little booklet of the topic from the 3-Part cards.

  • Each page of a typical Montessori booklet features the name (nomenclature) of the part of the topic that is featured. 
  • That particular part is featured by being the only part of the picture that is colored in. (usually in red) 
  • Each page has the same line drawing picture and so the child finds the part to feature in the picture and then colors in just that part.
  • Then, the child writes the name of the featured part on the blank line at the bottom of the page. 
  • In the beginning, the teacher or older children may help the child write in the appropriate name. Gradually, the children begin to write the names themselves. 
  • Any time s/he likes, the child may return to the 3-part card work to see how to write the name and even which part to color in! 

  • After all the pages are completed, the child puts the booklet together and makes his/her own little nomenclature book! 

3.) I like to have a tray set up with a 2-hole punch and little ribbons. However, I have also set this up with small rings, or even without a hole punch and simply staple it all together. Personally, I think the little ribbons make a lovely looking just might need to help tie the bow of the ribbon.

In my new TpT Activity Packet, "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 2" I've included the templates for creating 3-Part Cards for the Solar System and also the template for the Solar System booklet for the child to make. 

These are a wonderful, individualized follow-up for the "Planet, Planet Go Around" song and Movement Activity (see above) and also for "The Planets Song" from my "Solar System thru The Arts Vol. 1."  

Of course, the children always amaze me with their own creative ideas for individualized follow up activities. This elaborate mixed media space ship (pictured below) took quite a bit of planning and execution on the part of the four year old in the picture below.

He went to the Free Choice Art Media Shelf in the Classroom and assembled all the materials he would need, then set to work to create his amazing creation!

I would like to invite you to check out my new series of Montessori Activity Packets at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 

Ooh, the BUNDLE is a great deal!


When you enroll in my Musically Montessori eCourse at Trillium during the month of January, you will get this BUNDLE as a FREE bonus download. 

You can check it out by CLICKING HERE. 

After enrollment at Trillium Courses, you will be able to scroll down to the BONUS LESSON DOWNLOAD: "Solar System thru The Arts." You'll have my entire TpT Solar System Bundle...instantly. And, it's free!

Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I'm looking forward to your visit when I publish the third article in this series: Our Solar System thru The Arts!

View Post
Previous PostOlder Posts Home