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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Great Story my plan for the Year.

Through my reading more on Montessori Method I learned about the Great lessons and how elementary Montessori schools cover these lessons in the first few weeks to month of the school year. They set the tone of learning and discovery for the rest of the year. Each have subject areas to dig deeper into for the children. "Montessori uses its Five Great Lessons as an introduction to all topics, providing a "Big Picture" to demonstrate how the sciences, art, history, language, geography are interrelated. Through the Five Great Lessons, children become aware that the universe evolved over billions of years, and that it is based on the law and order through which all the plants, animals, and the rest of creation is maintained."You can find the great lessons here with resources as well.

I also came across The Great Story site which is a evolution curriculum used in Montessori schools. You can find that and all the resources for it including videos, links, and pdf forms here.  A suggested added on reading are the 3 part book series from
Jennifer Morgan called Born with a Bang. Luckily I already own this series and had not used them yet.
Between the two curriculum the Evolution Great Story and the original Montessori Great Lessons I figured you can cover just about everything you need to cover in a yr and some.

The first great lesson is called" God without Hands" It is pretty much the story of the Big Bang and the creation of the Earth and the Universe. The second Lesson is called " The Coming of Life" it is pretty much what we call prehistory. The third Lesson is called"  The Coming of Human" is is early history of man, up to the first civilizations.The Fourth Lesson is called " The Story of Writing" its all about the first written history, languages, .The fifth and last lesson is called" The Story of Numbers" it is the origins of numbers and mathematics.

The idea is after exposing the children to the Big Picture or The Great Lessons at the beginning of the year they would then go back and study areas of interest that fall within the contexts of the lessons using Key lessons.

Lesson One Key Lessons: God With No Hands"
This lesson leads to the study of:
• Astronomy: solar system, stars, galaxies, comets, constellations
• Meteorology: wind, currents, weather, fronts, erosion, water cycle, clouds, glaciers
• Chemistry: states of matter, changes, mixtures, reactions, elements, atoms, periodic
table, compounds, molecules, chemical formulas, equations, lab work, experimentation
• Physics: magnetism, electricity, gravity, energy, light, sound, heat, friction, motion,
• Geology: types of rocks, minerals, land forms, volcanoes, earthquakes, plate
tectonics, ice ages, eras of the earth
• Geography: maps, globes, latitude/longitude, climates, land/water form names,
continent and country research

Lesson Two Key Lessons: Coming of Life
This lesson leads to the study of:
• Biology: cells, organized groups, five kingdoms, specimens, dissection, observation,
use of microscope, Dinosaurs, Prehistorical animals, Amphibians , Reptiles, Insects
• Botany: study of plants, classification, functions, parts of plants (seed, fruit, leaf,
stem, root, flower), types of plants
• Habitats: location, characteristics, food chains/webs, symbiosis, adaptation,
ecosystems, conservation
• Ancient Life: eras of the earth, evolution, extinction, fossil records, excavation
• Animals: classification, needs, similarities/differences, human systems, nutrition,
• Monera, Protista, and Fungi Kingdoms: what they are, classification, observation

Lesson Three Key Lessons :Coming Of Humans
This lesson leads to the study of:
• History: timelines, prehistory, ancient civilizations, world history, history of specific
countries and continents, stone age life, shelters, weapons
• Culture: art, artists, music, composers, dance, drama, architecture, design,philosophy, religion, grace and courtesy
• Social Studies: current events, government, economics, commerce, volunteering &
• Discovery & Invention: scientists, inventors, scientific method, inventions, simple machines
math: geometric shapes used in building, 

Lesson Four Key Lessons: Story of Writing
This lesson leads to the study of:
• Reading: literature, poetry, non-fiction, myths and folk tales, authors, reading
comprehension, reading analysis, literary terms
• Writing: elements of style, function, voice, composition, letter writing, research,
study skills
• Language: origins of spoken language, foreign languages, history of languages,
speech, drama
• Structure: alphabets, bookmaking, grammar, punctuation, sentence analysis, word
study, figures of speech
History: Cave Paintings, Cuneiform, Hieroglyphs, paper making, myths/legends

Lesson Five Key Lessons: Story of Numbers
This lesson leads to the study of:
• Mathematics: operations, fractions, decimals, multiples, squares, cubes,
percentages, ratio, probability, intro to algebra
• Numbers: origins of numbers and systems, bases, types of numbers, scientific
• Geometry: congruency, similarity, nomenclature of lines, angles, shapes, solids,measurements, sacred geometry, geometric art
• Application: story problems, measurement, estimation, graphs, patterning,
rounding, money concepts
History: famous Mathematicians , Roman Numerals, architecture, History of mathematics,  Pythagoras, vedic math,

So as you can see you could very easily spend the entire year and more covering a number of interesting topics that fall under just about every subject area there is to cover. It seems to me a great way to plan my next year out in an over all picture of topics so that I know what resources I will need to have on hand or be collecting to help my kids dig deeper into these topics but without spending days/weeks making out a very detailed lesson plan. Clearly, these five stories encompass an enormous amount of information about the origins of the world around us

Resources sites: 

a print out timeline

youtube video playlist

Link to the Jennifer Morgan Book series

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