Category Archives: Operations


BW working out the laws of division. “Mhhhhh. I wonder if there is a way that you can know if this really giant number is divisible by four without having to divide it alllll the way out?”

Just a reminder to myself:  

The process defines who we are.  It isn’t the product that defines.  It is the journey that guides us and allows us to guide others.  It is the way we approach the difficult, the impossible, the unknown that determines who we are in the end and what we understand once we have reached the product.

How we approach the weak, the needy, the hopeless shows the depth of the understanding of ourselves and our own poverty of soul.  It is not the giving of charity as a product but rather the recognition of the deepest needs in ourselves and overcoming those needs to aid another person in their pilgrimage through this mortal plane. When it is in “pardoning that we are pardoned” then we are aware of the importance of the work.  This is process.

How we sit with the suffering in silence; how we laugh when laughing is easy; how we find hope in the time when laughter is impossible;  these are process.  This is what matters.

What my hand, mind, mouth, soul makes is not as important as the process by which it is envisioned, spoken, pursued, constructed, and loved.



Filed under BW, Educational Philosophy, Mathematics, Montessori, Moral Compas, Operations, Practical Life - Elementary, Students

What we did today?

Older boys working

It is Lent and in the classroom, we are stopping all regular math work and working solely on fractions.  The younger group are just learning fractions and are way into them.  See their moment of AHHHHHHAAA here.

It was a really great moment to watch them work together to remember how to work out equivalencies.  The maturity in mathematical though from last year was great to see.  They didn’t need me at all.  Yey.

Today AR had the addition with like denominators lesson. We reviewed nomenclature: numerator and denominator. We also noticed that in all the problems that I had given her the denominators were the same in each problem.

She began by laying out the materials from the fraction box. She made an addition sign from adding machine tape to help her visualize the operation.   After about four problems, I asked if she could predict the answer.  She said, “no.”  I wandered off.

She soon called me back and predicted her answer.  She was correct and I asked how she had solved it. She was able to articulate that the denominator stays the same but the numerator is added together.

She we over and began to draw out the process of fractions.  She skipped to her mom and began to explain it all to her.  Then she dictated the “Law of Addition in Fractions” to me.

AR has completed her book of land and water forms and the beginning of imaginary island work – focusing on land and water forms.  She is working out binding a book by sewing it into folios and then into a cover.

The kids are meeting with me to review where they are with their projects.  Here is the expectations list.

They have struggled to understand the geology of their islands and become very focused then on the arising biology, weather patterns, migratory patterns, and water sources.  Most often children become fascinated with the culture and have to be continually focused on the “science” expectations.  This has been interesting to observe.

DW made a list of food sources to acquire needed vitamins.

AV's fertility statuary - based off of neolithic Japanese culture.




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Filed under "Coming of Man", AR, AV, Botany, BR, DW, Fractions, Geography and World Studies, Geology, JV, LR, Mathematics, Mineralogy, Oceans and their creatures, Operations, Science, Tectonics, Tides and Waves

First day back – two feet into the mire

Today we began organized classes again.  Due to limited heat in my home, we’ve set-up shop at AR, BR, and LR’s home.

DR researching her sedimentary rock paper in the living room.

DW researching her sedimentary rock paper in the living room.

JV researching his sedimentary rock project – Salt.

The sewing table.  We will be felting for the next few weeks.  This book is amazing.

The Geography and Letter work shelf and comfy chair.

BR researching his geology in front of the geology, geometry, and math shelf.

Supply shelf with LR’s Forgotten English calendar.

AV working on Art History and AR making a book for her sedimentary project.

We began lessons in the basics of multiplication, geometry proofs – triangle to rectangle, rhetoric devices (today hyperbole), tessellation, and citation of sources in work.


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Filed under AR, Art, AV, BR, BW, DW, Geology, Geometry, JV, LR, Mathematics, Operations, Science, Triangle Theorms, Writing

AR’s math movement

I know one of the great elementary debates is about using math sheets in a Montessori environment.  I was against it for years.  My logic was that the children used their mathematical operations when they are doing their daily number work. Over the years I’ve changed. I’ve found that elementary children often are frustrated by not being able to quickly recall an operation. After a group of children discussed that they would like to have some kind of way to work on that skill, I dug out operations sheets. We use it for a very quick moment of centering at the beginning of the day.  The kids understand that these are quick and done.  Moving on.

AR decided she wanted to do a weeks worth of operations work in one day.  She copied five addition sheets and spent the afternoon working out the sheets.  Her brain was tired by the end, but she felt so proud of her tenacity.

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Filed under AR, Educational Philosophy, Mathematics, Montessori, Operations