Archive for August 24th, 2007

I have inherited some European Montessori Files/Folders that I have been going through to see how they are put together.  I want to create other continents files WITH my older children for them to prepare for the younger ones.  I want to do this over the course of the year…NOT all at once.  I am placing all of my files in a new 2 drawer file cabinet.  I have these files in the top drawer of said cabinet and I am storing some go-alongs behind the files stacked on the bottom of the drawer.  The other drawer is for the files we will be making.  I can see how simple this all can be…more about that at the end of the post…here is what I am looking at with the Europe Continent Files in front of me:

Each file is in an expandable file folder and it labeled with the country name.

  • Inside the file are pictures that are backed with red poster board covered with thin laminate.  (Red being the Montessori color for Europe.)  I can see that clear contact paper would work well for this laminating purpose due to the weight of each item. 
  • The pictures vary in size from 2×2 to 8×10.  I can see that keeping the size under 8×10 would be good for storage purposes.
  • There is a piece of sandpaper that is cut to the shape of the continent and is mounted to a piece of red poster board.  The total size of the poster board varies in size depending on the country represented.
  • There is a map mounted to red poster board and laminated. This is not folded and fits neatly into the file as well as the other pieces. 
  • There is a travel brochure in many of the files.
  • The back of each piece of poster board is labeled with the country name and the continent name. Some of the pics are labeled with the city name as well.
  • There are black and white (mostly hand drawn) copies of that country’s flag to color.
  • There is the same sized colored Flag made from poster board and laminated to use as a coloring reference

There are some "extras" in some of the files:

  • In Scotland, there are 8 sets of  5×5 squares of plaid to match.
  • In Netherlands, there is a hand written note listing: Holland, Gouda, cheddar, cheese tasting, buttermilk, Science-make pinwheels,  Netherlands, Monkey Bread, Dance with wooden shoes, Art (Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer)
  • In France:  It is loaded with pictures.  There is a French child magazine, a activity book from a French Mc Donald’s, there is a zip loc bag filled with labels for the months of the year in French.
  • In Italy: lots of travel postcards
  • In Spain:  a zip lock bag filled with labels for the months of the yearin Spanish.  The pics are mostly pics of Madrid.
  • In England: The Biggest file! 
  1. Homes of England…a pink poster board type envelope filled with pics of types of homes and definitions and labels, clearly labled on front of poster board envelope: Homes of England
  2. Towns of England…Hand labeled map with major town names with England printed on the bottom of the map in on primary ruled lines.
  3. "Picture Map of the City of London"   a pink poster board book bound with chicken rings and covered with laminate.   A hand made "book" that has typewritten pages and maps that are laminated to the poster board pages that discuss the history of London very briefly.
  4. "London Capital City" a pink poster board book bound with chicken rings and covered with laminate.  Inside, there are pics cut from magazines on the left and typewritten text that was glued to the page.  Included are Port of London, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Crown Jewels, Yeoman Warders, The City, The Bank, Fleet Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Houses of Parliment, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace
  5. "The Geography of England" a pink poster board book bound with chicken rings and covered with laminate.  Inside there is a hand colored map of Great Britain and Ireland showing all the land and water forms.  Simply labeled (lake, strait, island, etc..)  The opposite page includes the Land and water forms listed as on the map (for example: Peninsula- the southwest peninsula of England) and Names of waters surrounding the British Isles and names listed (total 4)  Geographical Regions of England with map, Rivers of England (with  labeled map), The Economy of England (with hand drawn labeled map)
  6. Big foldout map of England (similar to a National Geographic type map)

Phew!  Some of my go-alongs that I will be using will be behind these files inside the cabinet.  I  have a small bag of coins in a velvet crown royal drawstring bag and I am looking for a book to go with it to help identify the coins.  I have continents and countries of the world card games….just to name a few.   

I would love to amass art and travel postcards to include, too!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have groups of various items…like toob animals or art cards or even saints cards or medals that can be placed on a  large  felt  map that can be unfurled on the floor…I was even thinking that I could do this with a roller shade…it is durable and washable!!  I want to make an "landform" map too filled withLandformmatlarge
landforms!  They can be stored rolled up with some of our other maps and charts …all stored in a wooden looking wastebasket used for this purpose (thanks to Home Goods and Marshals ;)…ooh and some command cards to go with these items…ok, ok…I am going off on a tangent.  But at least it all goes together, somehow….to be continued with my Geography post coming up soon!

So back to the files.  When preparing future continent files I can see that the use of any construction paper would be bad because of fading…I want this to be something we can pull out for more than the course of one year.  Clear contact paper for laminating is a very good option…there is a lot to be covered and because all of the pics are mounted on poster board they are stiff enough without getting thick laminate for durability.  Besides, it would save some of the budget for more books!!  When the pics are mounted it is as though the poster board is a frame of color around each of them and they are labeled on the back. 

I see that National Geographic is an excellent source of pics and even the captions under the pictures can be mounted on these poster board cards.  We get whole stacks of National Geographic every January from the town library for a $1. donation per stack.  (it pays to ask around for discards!  Don’t forget to ask for any magazines …especially nature and science ones…or even seed catalogs from family members.  They have sooo many uses!) 

The pictures in each file include, national monuments, geographical features, people eating, city streets and attractions, churches…think about what would be included in a travel brochure.  I would also include pics of saints and Catholic shrines and the like.   These cards would be great for viewing with children of all ages…they would stimulate good conversations, I am sure! And I am sure that my 12yo ds will make up some kind of fun game with them that will help us to look critically at the pics and retain learned information.

I would love to include some recipe cards in the files and have a discussion about ethnic foods.  Also, local customs, festivals, dress, animals, housing, music, fine art,….oh, the list goes on and on….I am thinking a lapbook on each country or continent would be wonderful for this!  A great re-telling tool for when grandma comes to visit!

Anything made for these files must be kept to the same size or smaller than a piece of paper or it will be very awkward to store.   Some of the  poster board representations of the European flags are pushing the size limit.  They have to sit just right in the file folder or they will be crushed when the file drawer closes.  It pays to think ahead.

I am still working on a post about how we are going to do our Geography studies this year….including some of the books that we will be using.  I am concentrating on how to incorporate all ages of my dc at once.  I really want Montessori-type geography to be more prevalent throughout the year than it has been in the past.  I can do so much more now that my baby is 2.5 and my eldest(s) are going on 14 (*sniff*…mixed blessing??) I am doing aaallll of this of course while re-organizing my school spaces, cleaning, cooking, laundry, bargain shopping, and actually watching the dc too….so I do hope it is ready sooner rather than later ;o)

God bless you as you prepare for your school year!
God love you!
~Donna Marie

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