Ladybug Room Blog

February 4, 2020: Sometimes children arrive in our classroom with an abundance of energy! How lovely it is that we can offer these children activities to use this energy to good use. We have some energetic little people scrubbing underlays, washing laundry on an old fashioned scrub board, polishing silver and brass that I have brought from home heavily tarnished and is now shiny. Often after the children have used some energy on these activities, they are able to choose a different activity that requires more intense focus or small motor skills.

 

January 15, 2020: The first week back from winter break was magical! The children were so happy to return to the Ladybug Room and they went right back to work. They chose one activity after another and I was able to spend much of the week observing what they were doing. They were kind to each other, they were focused on the activity they chose and everything just hummed with happy children.

 

December 18, 2019: December is an exciting time of year! Holiday decorations, songs, lights, ads for gift giving are everywhere. We offer a stress free environment where the children can have some activities to help them quietly celebrate the season without being overloaded.

We have sponge painting out right now. The sponges are in the shape of circles. There are 3 different sizes. The painting paper is cut in the shape of a tree and the children print circles (decorations) on the tree paper. We cut and paste paper chains as well as cut out a tree shape and paste colored circle papers onto the tree. We have winter fabric and buttons for button sewing and winter themed embroidery work as well. We made an adjective game out of ornaments and a very tiny artificial tree. The older children read the labels to see which decoration to hang. “A shiny red ornament” or “a sparkly gold ornament” or “a dark green ornament.” When the tree is decorated, they turn on a switch to light the tree with a tiny strand of lights. They younger children can play with the older children or they can work on the tree by themselves. The older children can play alone or with other friends who can read.

We’ve had a lovely two weeks of December at work in the Ladybug Room!

 

December 10, 2019: Incase you didn’t hear…Heather recently got married in Hawaii. The Friday before she left, we told the children she would be gone for a while because she was going to Hawaii to get married. We introduced the substitute to the children and all was ready for Heather to go.

On Monday, a child returned from a trip and asked me where Heather was. I answered that she was in Hawaii getting married! This sweet child looked at e seriously and asked, “Is she EVER coming back?” I assured her Heather would come back!

The next day I overheard another child saying, Heather married Hawaii. She isn’t coming back.” The day after that I overheard two boys talking while they were working on metal inset designs. One said, “Heather has been gone a lot of days!” (At this point she has only been out of the room for 2 days and part of a morning.) The other child answered, “Yeah! I’m sure she will come back tomorrow!”

Heather did get married. She married Mike in Hawaii and she did come back to the Ladybug Room. We were all happy to see her!

 

November 18, 2019: One of the highlights of the children’s day is to prepare, serve and eat snack! The children who know all of the their letter sounds and can read have been given a lesson on bread baking. Oatmeal rolls are baked every day and served for snack the following day. Cheese is sliced and arranged attractively on a plate. Eggs have been gathered from our chickens and hard boiled. The children then peel and slice them so they too can be served for snack. We have been slicing apples as our fruit portion, but continue to find that the children just aren’t strong enough to push the slicer through the apple by themselves. Sometimes a friend will come to help, but it is still hard to manage. I remembered we had an apple peeler and corer in our cupboards and decided it was time to make applesauce. The first two days, the extended day children used the peeler in the afternoons to prepare the apples for cooking in a crock pot. We discovered most of the children loved eating the applesauce for snack so we put it out as part of our morning work. One three year old was so excited to see the peeler in use that he came running to me with the news that “we have an apple MACHINE!” Another three year old begged me for a turn to “fix the apples.” After three days, I relented and watched her too peel apples easily. Apples are peeled in the morning, cooked in the crock pot, mashed in the afternoon and served at snack the following day.

 

November 1, 2019: We have enjoyed a month of talking about things we see at Halloween, learning about the bones in our bodies, singing about pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns and everything else you can think of related to Halloween. The excitement is thick in the air as we get to the end of October and find that Halloween has finally arrived!

 

October 17, 2019: The children have been delighted to discover wooly bear caterpillars in our backyards lately. They carefully scoop them up and run inside to show me their discovery. I admire it with them and then invite them to find a safe place for the caterpillar in our garden in the backyard.

Today, after a birthday celebration, a wooly bear caterpillar was discovered inside our classroom crawling across the carpet. As one child delightedly picked it up, another child started claiming that he didn’t know how it got in our classroom. He assured me he did not put it in his pocket of his jacket! The wooly bear was carefully taken back outside and was relocated to a safe place in our garden.   

 

October 1, 2019: This morning was sunny and brisk and the children came dressed in warm jackets. Usually the children make a beeline for the backyard in the mornings. This morning every child hung up their jacket and chose to stay inside. About an hour after arrival, two little girls approached me and said, “We want to go in the backyard.” They were quite surprised when I answered, “Put your jackets on first.” They were so happy to be able to use the backyard even though it was a chilly morning.

Shortly after the girls went outside, several other children put their jackets on and went out too. Our bird feeders were filled, the ducklings were fed and watered, the chickens’ eggs were collected, one child painted and when the work was finished I observed that the children came back inside ready to do more of the activities in the classroom. We all enjoyed a lovely fall day!

 

September 17, 2019: We have had two lovely weeks in the Ladybug Room!

We’ve enjoyed peaceful mornings rediscovering new and old activities. We’ve begun meeting new friends. The returning children are experiencing helping new children and are doing a lovely job of being kind and competent helpers.

We are off to a great start to a new school year!

 

May 30, 2019: Ten baby chicks have joined the Ladybug Room in the last week. They are in a small “coop” in our backyard. The children are free to sit and observe them. In the afternoons the older children have experienced holding the chicks.

The first week the chicks were so small. Yesterday when we got them out of the coop to hold them, we found out they could fly! There was quite a scramble as we retrieved the chicks and got them into the hands of our older and very careful children.

Two of our newest five year olds decided to write about the chicks after observing them. Below you will find their delightful words that they put together in a book. I’m sorry I can’t send along their illustrations as well. They too are delightful.

As you read the children’s writing, keep in mind they are new readers and writers. They are phonetic spellers, but they have been working with phonograms so they have that information in their heads as well.

Enjoy their words.

“tin chix

chix are kyoot

chix ar tinee

chix hav beex

chix are baibeez”

“ten chix

chix are kudlee

thai ar flufee

chix are cyoot

chix sai teetee”

 

May 15, 2019: Not all days are easy ones in the Ladybug Room! We recently had a day that started with two broken glass items before 9 am. I began to gather the children close to me to inspire them to work. I started with one child working on a floor table right next to me. He was attempting to build the binomial cube and it was very challenging! Three other children were around me working on rugs. Each child was writing words with the moveable alphabet that used a specific phonogram new to them. As those children settled into their work, I brought another child into the “fold” to have the lesson with weaving a potholder that he had been waiting for. Other children wanted to join the group and they each brought rugs and chose puzzle maps of the continents to work with. By now our space is getting pretty filled up with children working on rugs or floor tables and I invited someone to help me move the remaining tables and chairs out of the area to make room for more children. Two young children got rugs and one chose number rods and cards while the other got out the spindles boxes for some counting work. The children who needed tables and chairs ended up choosing the ones that surrounded the ellipse so they too felt a part of this big, working group. Around 10:30, the magical moment of having all of the children working finally happened! There was a hum to the room as the children worked on their activities. I was finally freed up to grab the camera and take some pictures to document how the rough start to our day had turned into quite an amazing morning.

 

April 30, 2019: We are enjoying the beautiful, sunny weather in the Ladybug Room right now! The children greet me, put their jackets and lunches away and head outside to the backyard! They are labeling everything in the yard. They can identify and name the spring flowers that are blooming. They are identifying and naming the birds that flock to our yard. There is hammering and drilling and sweeping going on. Many of the children of different ages are getting quite good at jump rope. The easel is set up in the backyard so the child who is painting can see all of the flowers and blooming trees. The hummingbird feeder is nearby as are the other bird feeders. The children are beginning to paint flowers and trees and even some birds. The children are able to take inside work to the outside as long as the work doesn’t have any glass items. We have even had snack picnics in the backyard. Our backyard is a lovely place to enjoy this wonderful spring weather!

 

April 18, 2019: Two stories written recently in the Ladybug Room…(remember we still write phonetically):

“my naber (neighbor) has a bard rock and we do to. he has a buf orpington to.”  (in case you don’t know, those are two breeds of chickens that we have)

“i lost my tooth wen i was playing with my dad. i put it under my pilow. i got five dolrs.”

 

April 3, 2019: Today was the first day back for the children after spring vacation. They walked in the door happy to greet me, see their friends and go to work. There was a short period of fairly quiet conversation with the children talking with each other about their vacations. It didn’t last long before they were eagerly choosing their own work. They concentrated and worked quietly and Heather and I joyfully observed the children throughout the day. Occasionally a child needed us for something, but for the most part they kept busy without us being involved. It was heavenly watching them! They maintained this calm and peaceful work for three solid days!

 

March 19, 2019: Sometimes the work goes in “waves.” That means it takes off in the classroom and many children do the activity for a period of a week or two. The waves of work that we have currently experienced are counting the squared and cubed chains. Sometimes there are as many as three or four children counting chains at one time. There was a lot of excitement to choose a chain and count it. Some of the older children even wrote the numbers of their chains. They quickly discovered that the long cubed chains take a really long time to write, but they were very proud when they wrote to the last number.

The most recent wave of work is with our vocabulary cards, especially the dog cards. The children learned the set of dog breeds that we had out and were so excited that we had to add more breeds. The older children are teaching the younger children the names of dog breeds and throughout the day I listen in to conversations about which breed is the best.

 

March 1, 2019: A new bird came to the ladybug backyard. It was brown and had yellow stripes around each eye. The children noticed it right away and came to tell me to look at it. I had never seen a bird like it before. The bird stayed on our patio right outside the large windows long enough for us to take a photo of it and to look it up in our bird books. It was a Townsend’s Warbler.

 

February 15, 2019: Big news from the Ladybug Room…

All three of our new hens are laying eggs now. Cheeky and Rosie have figured out how to get to the nesting boxes and they are laying their eggs there. Cheeky lays beautiful green eggs and Rosie lays brown eggs. Nighty has not figured out how to get into the nesting boxes yet so we are finding her light tan eggs on the bottom of the coop. There has been a lot of excitement about finding eggs every day.

The children continue to cook scrambled eggs which are served during snack.

 

January 28, 2019: We’ve been joined by two new friends in the last two weeks. Matteo and Callaway have joined us and we are enjoying their company. They are making new friends and are receiving lots of kind help from the other children.

It’s been another fun two weeks of bird watching. One day during lunch a child pointed out that a downy woodpecker was on the suet feeder. He then ran to my table to tell me he saw a flicker in the backyard as well. He knew it was a flicker because of the orange wings he could see when it flew away. I love that the children are not only noticing the birds, but are able to recognize what kind they are.

Our first spring flower has bloomed in the backyard. The hellebore has opened up and is loaded with flowers. We can see hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and crocus growing up as well. The deer came and visited the backyard and chewed our crocus plants back to the ground.

We forced some paperwhite bulbs into bloom inside our room. They grew up tall and bloomed their beautiful white flowers. The children are still deciding whether they like the paperwhite’s fragrance or not.

 

January 15, 2019: It was so delightful to welcome the children back to the Ladybug Room after our winter break. They returned happy to see us and each other. They greeted all of their friends and went back to work with such focus and determination. It was an incredibly lovely first day.

Last week and maybe this week as well, we have been inundated with strong winds at MSB. The winds can be so strong up here that furniture and activities fly through the air. It becomes unsafe for us to be in the backyard and we have to close it. We were quite cozy inside and there was a sweet hum of activity as the children went about their days.

Because we were busy inside, the birds felt very comfortable coming to our backyard and eating whenever they were hungry. We saw Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds and even a squirrel. We enjoyed singing a song about the squirrel with it’s bushy tail.

If you have the choice to send your young children in gloves or mittens, please take pity on the adults and send them in mittens. I’m sure if you could see Heather and me scrambling to get all of the children’s fingers in the correct place in their gloves you would laugh. Thank you!

 

December 15: Our expression work is reflecting the season with red and green paper chain work, cutting trees, candy canes, stockings, snowmen, candles and stars which are then used for collage.

Button sewing has winter fabric with snowmen buttons, peppermint swirl buttons and sparkly, shiny buttons. Embroidery is reflecting the season as well with trees, candy canes and ornaments.

There are red and green beads out for stringing.

The rest of our room remains the same so we can continue to offer a happy, peaceful environment for the children to enter each day during a time of high energy and chaos around us  during this time of year.

 

November 30, 2018: Flash Alert! Our old hens have retired. Betty, Buffy and Ruby went home to finish out their days on Robin’s farm.

Our new hens, Rosie, Cheeky and Nighty have moved out of our backyard and into the chicken coop. They are too young to lay eggs, but should start laying this spring.

We will continue to cook scrambled eggs or hard boiled eggs using eggs from Robin’s hens.

 

November 15, 2018: The children in the Ladybug Room are having a lot of fun with vocabulary enrichment cards! They are sets of cards that are changed monthly and we use them to increase vocabulary. This month our cards are winter squash, clothes you wear in winter, types of shoes and food you eat for breakfast. The children learn the names of the cards in the set. This is done individually or in small groups. Sometimes the lesson is given by a teacher and sometimes it is given by a child. Children also learn the names of the cards while observing and listening to other children using the cards. If the children can read, they also use reading labels with the pictures.

The types of shoes are one of my favorite sets. Because the children listen to so many stories about my life on the farm, I added a picture of horseshoes to the set. We all got a chuckle when one of the children thought they were handcuffs. We also have a picture of flippers in our shoe cards. Most of the children could tell me that “flippers are shoes you can swim in and they make you go fast!

If your children are suddenly asking you for a pair of “mary janes” or “saddle shoes” or “loafers,” you will know they have been working with the shoe cards.

 

October 30, 2018: October came and went so quickly!

We’ve had a lot of fun learning new songs and finger plays. Hopefully you have heard some songs about bones, jack-o-lanterns and 5 little pumpkins sitting on the gate.

The children have learned about parts of their bodies and the names of bones in their skeletons. The older children have labeled the bones on our dear friend, Mr. Bones.

We’ve been raking and sweeping leaves in the backyard, planting bulbs that will bloom in the spring and we are beginning to recognize different kinds of birds at our bird feeders.

We carved one pumpkin and cooked another and we ate pumpkin at snack on Halloween. We picked our apples and are planning to eat applesauce for snack. The younger children are enjoying slicing bananas, slicing cheese and peeling hard boiled eggs, all of which are served at snack. 

Our cutting and collage work have included pumpkins, bats, moons, apples in the lovely fall colors of yellow, red, orange, brown and black. 

Our young chickens are getting big and they all have their grown up feathers. We have begun feeding them scraps from our chicken bucket. The children are delighted that the chicks like eating scraps. We started to think of names for the new chickens. I think we decided on Rose for our Rhode Island Red hen and Cheeky for our Americana hen (she has cheek feathers). We are having trouble thinking of a good name for our Bard Rock hen. She has black and white feathers. If you think of a good name for her, share it with your child.

The children have settled in nicely and are having more lessons to add to the activities they already know. On to November…

 

October 10, 2018: Life in the Ladybug Room has been at top speed! All of our new friends have joined us now and Heather and I and all of the older children are busy helping our new friends. Even the children are giving our new friends lessons and it is wonderful having the extra help.

We enjoyed pears from our very own pear tree for snack the first couple of weeks at school. Our tree was so loaded with pears that it was bending into the backyard of the Tree Frog’s room. We picked over 200 pears from the tree and they were delicious. We are now enjoying bananas at snack time and even our new three year old children are able to help prepare them. Our chickens are laying eggs and we have been cooking hard boiled eggs. Each day a child will peel a few eggs and slice them to be offered during snack. Cheese is being sliced by our younger children and bread is being prepared and baked by children who know how to read. We are very interested in food in our room!

Last week we added three new chicks to our chicken collection. Our new chicks are in a small coop in our backyard so the children can observe them up close. When they have their grown up feathers to keep them warm, they will move out to the coop.

We enjoy reading books from the library, reciting poems (the latest is about a rabbit), singing songs and telling and hearing true stories. We play games so everyone can learn all of the names of our friends.

We are off to a good start for the new school year.

 

Robin Myers

Hello! My name is Robin Myers and I am the teacher in the Ladybug Room.

I have been a Montessori teacher for many years. My husband and I have raised four children and they have all attended MSB through elementary. We live on a farm and have had many amazing adventures following the interests of our children.

I enjoy being in the outdoors; gardening, farming, riding my horse, swimming, hiking, bicycling. I also enjoy sewing, knitting, cooking and reading.

I have a degree in Recreation as well as my Montessori degree and I love to watch children have fun while they are learning.  

 

Heather Kessler

I’m Heather Kessler, Primary Assistant in the Ladybug Room and Primary Summer Guide. A native Oregonian, I grew up in a sleepy little town on the southern Oregon Coast and studied Business and Languages at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. In previous decades I worked in the hotel industry and taught English as a Foreign Language both in the U.S. and abroad. As either a student or a teacher, I’ve been lucky enough to live in Spanish Morocco, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and Italy. Don’t ask me which is my favorite… I couldn’t possibly choose!

I received my AMI Montessori Primary diploma in 2012 and my Masters in Education from Loyola in 2014. After working at several different schools in the Portland area, I found a home here at MSB in April 2015. The beautiful grounds, supportive staff, and authentic Montessori practices make this school such a great place to work.

When not in the classroom, I can be found hiking, swimming, taking a yoga class, trying new keto recipes, or playing my ukulele. My fiancé, Mike, and I are usually doing improvements to our house and enjoying our two cats, Johnny and Marie, as they watch birdies in the backyard.