Recently, we learned about gorillas.
The theme of gorillas was generated in more of a Reggio Emilia way, in that it ties in with the long term theme of endangered animals / protected species.
The boys have a chart that shows them various endangered animals and they then selected the ones they want to know more about, starting with the Panda and now, moving on with gorillas.
I then found resources to go with this gorilla theme. This seems to be the direction we are moving in...they give me a theme that they want to learn more about and then, I go and pull materials that will work with the theme. The themes are not all encompassing...For instance, we still do or regular Montessori inspired works and only bring in the theme if we have something that works within the scope of Montessori for the theme.
I did not have Montessori inspired gorilla manipulatives, and did not get around to making Montessori inspired gorilla nomenclature cards, so for the most part, the gorilla theme was kept to reading books and doing some discussions, some map work, and some art work.
We read many wonderful gorilla themed books, both nonfiction and fiction selections.
Little Bro loved the following books:
Little Gorilla, Goodnight Gorilla, and Looking for Miza.
Big Bro also loved Looking for Miza, as well as the following books:
The Painting Gorilla, Good Morning, Gorilla, and The Closet Gorilla.
We all learned some interesting facts about gorillas too in a nonfiction book called
Gorillas: Gentle Giants of the Forest.
The boys thought that it was interesting how the one male gorilla is the leader, "kind of like the daddy of the whole group", as Little Bro stated.
Have been reading and reflecting on some of the early chapters of a great educational resource book called The Language of Art: Reggio - Inspired Studio Practices in Early Childhood Settings by Ann Pelo.
This is a fabulous book and although it is geared to early childhood, many of the ideas shared in this book could be applied beyond early childhood...
In this book, chapter three looks at the topic of exploring color and breaks it down into the following:
Black and White Paints,
Oil Pastels and Chalk Pastels.
Since we recently have focused on pandas and gorillas, laying out materials that would encourage doing black and white artwork, including painting, chalk, salt, and mixed media seemed like a natural fit.
For the salt work, the boys had the choice of three different types of glue to choose from, including clear, regular Elmer's type school glue, and mini tubes from Lakeshore Learning that are kind of a cross between a tacky type of glue and a school glue. Along with three types of glue, there were two types of salt. One was a more coarse salt and one was a regular salt.
All in all, it was a busy week.
In addition to doing our school work, we also rearranged our lanai so that now, the one side features some chairs and smaller tables, so now, there is more space to sit and work, as well as to double as our art studio area.
For me, it has been so nice to go out and drink a cup of coffee while the boys get started with their projects out there.
This post is also linked up with One Hook Wonder's Montessori Monday.
This post is also linked to Jody's Mommy Moment blog as part of her Montessori Monday link ups