What makes a happy learner?

How do you find out what makes them smile as they work?

This is the question that drives my classroom decisions. I am constantly looking for inspired ways to implement my Montessori practices. I am not a sage on a stage; I try to find what ignites the students’ desire to learn, and give them fuel to keep searching.

So how do we combine the best of what Dr. Montessori gave us? She said herself, “The concept of an education centered upon the care of the living being alters all previous ideas. Resting no longer on a curriculum, or a timetable, education must conform to the facts of human life.” The answer is not as simple.

Personally, I think every Montessori guide has to answer this question in their own way. For me, at Wichita Montessori School, my approach incorporates technology. The children are familiar with it, have deeper research and practice potential with its use, and enjoy it! I am considerate of the quantity of technology integration, and limit it in an age appropriate manner.

For example, I do spelling tests each week with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Year respectively. This year, I started using SpellingCity.com for my Montessori spelling lists. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it! There are many free components available, but for my class I chose to do the yearly subscription. However, I differentiate based on developmental plane according to the age. In First Year, the test is paper pencil only. They have access at home to the spelling practice and games online, but that is it. In 2nd Year, they have a higher degree of list diversity tailored to spelling ability. They also have greater access to practice our Montessori phonics lists (green or blue).

What I would like to highlight today is the use of technology with my 3rd Year children. I allowed them to record answers online, as well as on the paper test. The 20 known words were available online, and once everyone was finished with their individual lists we did the bonus words as a class. The children LOVED the integrated approach!

This picture was taken right after they finished a spelling TEST. How on earth are they so happy about this?! They are happy because they enjoyed being challenged at their individual level and being given the opportunity to utilize their new found independence. Freedom within choices.

Needless to say, there is also one very happy guide in the building as well. <3

Mrs. Stegman