The month of November has been full of fall-inspired activities.  In our practical life area, we had a very large pumpkin used for pumpkin hammering.  With a wooden hammer and golf tees, the children hammered tees into the pumpkin and then used pliers to remove the tees to prepare the activity for the next child.  The children have also been busy with our first polishing activity, mirror polishing.  The children use a small dropper to apply a solution of vinegar and water and clean the small mirror with a q-tip and small washcloth.  The children are especially excited to look at themselves in the mirror once they polish it and make it clean.  Also in practical life, many students have been engaged with extended sewing activities.  Some will draw their own patterns on cloth to sew the outline.  Others sew along the lines of seasonal pictures, such as leaves, pumpkins, and turkeys.  We were delighted to see the creativity many children displayed in sewing their own turkeys using an outline of their hands.  Some even sewed feathers on to their turkeys for an added flare.  All of these extended Practical Life activities provide wonderful opportunities for developing focus, coordination, and fine-motor strength.

The month of November kicked off our study of the United States, and specifically, North Carolina.  We discussed our government and how citizens vote to select leaders on Election Day. Our class then had our own election, voting on the fruit for snack, oranges or bananas.  Each child approached the voting booth (table), checked the ballot, and placed their vote in the ballot box.  They were especially excited to see their votes turn to action when oranges were the snack the following week! We have been discussing North Carolina facts and landmarks, such as our state bird (cardinal), flower (flowering dogwood), and tree (long-leaf pine).  We have also discussed that Winston-Salem is in North Carolina, which is in the United States, and is part of the North American continent.  The children can pin-punch an outline of North America and punch out the state of North Carolina to highlight that the state is within the continent.  Another work used to demonstrate these concepts is a set of nesting blocks that get progressively larger as they grow from: atom, child, Salem Montessori School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America, North America, Earth, Solar System, and Milky Way Galaxy.  Our geography area also has colorful puzzle maps.  Students have been working hard on the United States, Canadian, and North America maps.  These maps are challenging and we have been thrilled to watch the children engage with these materials.

Of course the month of November wouldn’t be complete without discussions of Thanksgiving and the concept of being thankful.  We hope you enjoyed the Thankful Tree your child created.  To create these, we asked each child to think of the things they were so very happy to have in their lives.

Our Explorers are still working on their extended sewing project and have also started working on the backdrop for our Christmas play.  We took advantage of our beautiful surroundings and also did a leaf scavenger hunt.  We were blown away by the gorgeous colors and various shapes of the leaves found throughout Old Salem and we matched them to the leaf cards used in the classroom with our botany cabinet.

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