Saturday, February 13, 2010

Worked Our Way Through Egypt

We have just wrapped up working our way through Egypt.

Big Bro and Little Bro recently received several nifty Playmobil Egyptian sets as gifts, thanks to their Papa and G.

They especially love the Pyramid set, which I have to say, is pretty cool.

Big Bro wanted to learn all about the Great Pyramids, desert animals, and life then and now in Egypt so we did just that.
Since Big Bro was so into learning about life in Egypt, I took what had been meant to be lapbook components and made them into shelf work.

Little Bro also was excited about learning about Egypt, especially learning about the animals there...comparing animals living in or near the Sahara Desert with animals who live in or near the Nile River.
Again, found what was meant to be lapbook components and made them into Montessori- inspired shelf work. A huge thanks to Homeschool Share!

For additional resources, we had some books about Egypt, mostly nonfiction, but some fiction.
Egyptology is a really neat resource if you have children who want to learn more about Pyramids and such.
We also tied in some picture books about Moses.
If anyone is interested in doing something similar in their Montessori inspired environment, I will be happy to share what resources we used, as well as where to purchase the items and directions for how to make and present the shelf work.

For each child, I got them their own paper mache cat as well as a wooden box that worked great as a sarcophagus.
I laid out map work about Egypt and Africa, along with some trays with desert animals, three part cards about Egypt, and land, air and water cards with flora and fauna from this region.
Also put out on the shelves were some of the work from the Waseca Biomes that related to life in Egypt. We also purchased an Egyptian Dig kit. Both boys love digging through the clay dirt to find the treasures.
Since the boys were learning about the desert, I also put out a few sand works:
one for dry transfer, from one to one container...
another for writing practice, but I found that the sand was too sticky for this, as it was "Moon Sand", so I switched out the sand and used cornmeal instead...this worked much better...
and then one for just sand play, complete with desert animals.
It was great timing, too, as both boys were ready for lessons in using the noun and verb symbols. We talked about how Dr. Montessori had selected the pyramid as the shape for the noun grammar symbol.
Since we were discussing shapes, I also put the 3D blue shapes three part cards and the stereognostic bag of shapes on a shelf.

Both just loved doing these works!

We then hired an art teacher to come in to help the boys do some Egyptian themed art.
They worked on desert scenes, mummies, and cartouches with their art teacher.
She came during the month of January to do different art projects with the boys.

Even though we mostly use Montessori inspired work in our homeschool, I also love the Reggio Emilia / Loris Malaguzzi concept of having an "atelierista", or art teacher / curator.

So, we hired an art teacher, who is just fabulous by the way, to come work with the boys to do some Egyptian themed art. Combining children's interests with actual art instruction really seemed to enhance learning for both Big Bro and Little Bro.
They worked on desert scenes, mummies, and cartouches with Miss Laurie.
She came during the month of January to do different art projects with the boys.

If you are homeschooling using the Montessori Method, or if you have a smaller Montessori school, bringing in an atelierista as an after school enrichment experience really enhances learning. For us, it worked very well as an addition to our day. We kept the art instruction separate from our regular work period, and this seemed to be a good fit for us.

Here is a bit about the role of an atelierista:
"The atelierista or studio teacher has formal education in the arts, typically in the visual arts, and works collaboratively with other educators"..."to further the educational project and objectives of the school community".
This quote is from the North American Reggio Alliance,

What is important to keep in mind is that both Reggio and Montessori allow children the freedom of always choosing their work, so that the work produced is self selected, not forced on them.
One day, when Miss Laurie was working with the boys, Little Bro decided that he wanted to do "other work" and did not want to participate with what Miss Laurie had brought. Little Bro went and quietly got out some different work and started doing what he wanted instead of the art project...but when he saw how much fun Big Bro was having at creating and designing his artwork, he went and put away what he had selected and came and joined the art project in progress.

Will post some photos of all of this soon.


Anonymous said...

It sure sounds like a FUN theme! Your boys must have loved it and learned lots in the process! Thanks so much for sharing!

Aly in Va said...

sounds like a wonderful Egypt unit. I would be interested in seeing your 3 part cards for when we revisit Egypt.

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