Well, it appears I’m one of those Montessori teachers who can’t stop thinking ‘Montessori’, even during summer vacation!  One of the joys of being a teacher (Montessori or otherwise) is the surprising places one finds inspiration.  The source of inspiration for the following idea was a simple trip to the playground with my kids!

Anticipating an early school year study of the Earth and preliminary lessons on Land, Air, and Water for this Fall, I have been mentally planning some basic activities.  Additionally, I have been wanting to add some meaningful pre-writing and reading lessons to the Language shelves which will give my students ways to practice important skills.  When I was on the playground with my children the other day, my eye caught the beauty of these rocks and I knew exactly what I would do with them!

The inspiration…

 First, pre-writers can fill in with lines, using water and a small paintbrush, moving from left to right to aid in training eye movement (for writing and reading).  Holding the paintbrush will strengthen hand muscles needed for writing as well.

Lines (or filling in) moving from left to right…

They can also fill in with curves or loops – how fun!

loops, etc..

 Children who are ready to practice writing letters can write letters…

Letters (or numbers, too!)…

What I most appreciate about this lesson is how I can incorporate geography into the work as well.  When introduced, I plan to explain to the children that the rocks represent the land, the water used represents the water on Earth, and for air, well this is the best part – I”ll place a fan (preferably one from another country, which I still have to find…) with the work so that the child may fan their work dry!  What a fun way to demonstrate the effect of ‘air’?  It will be the ideal match to one of the first songs I teach my kids at the beginning of the school year:

The Earth is made of land and water,
Land and water, (2x)
The Earth is made of land and water,
And air is all around us!
I know it is just the beginning of summer vacation, but I seriously cannot wait to set this up the classroom when school begins again!