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Rocks & Minerals Unit

The kiddos are having a blast this week!  We have never studied rocks or minerals before, so this is a first for all of them.  I'm not sure who's enjoying the unit more.
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If this is your first time visiting Every Star Is Different, please follow us here, like us on facebook and/or on Pinterest.  A new unit is posted almost every week with free printables for everyone!

Moving on. Here's what we've been doing this week!  I really tried hard to make sure the unit was enjoyable for girls and boys alike.

Birthstone Syllables & Match Up
 As I mentioned earlier, the kiddos have never been introduced to rocks and minerals of any kind, except for in backyard play.  I thought it would be fun to learn about birthstones, counting syllables as we go, in order to learn how to pronounce the words.  The markers are "birthstones" to be matched up with the correct card.  This has been a favorite activity. It's also helping the kiddos remember how to identify the months of  the year. They're so excited to learn about everyone's birthstones.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Language Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Mineral Search & Find Match Up
Inside the bowl is play dough filled with several different minerals to match the mineral cards.  The kiddos search through the play dough, finding minerals, and matching them up to the proper cards.  I found our minerals at the craft store in the jewelry and bead section.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Language Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Slate & Chalk Spelling Activity
My kiddos were so excited to see chalk on the shelves this week.  I am not a fan of chalkboards at all.  But since it fit so well with this unit, I decided to go for it.  The piece of slate was found underneath my back porch, as I was cleaning this past weekend.  For those who don't have slate on hand, you might want to try a hardware or home improvement store.  The kiddos will practice writing their spelling words using the slate and chalk provided.

Caution: Slate is heavy and sharp.  This activity should always be done while being supervised by an adult.  We have a rule that the kiddos can not take the slate out of it's tray.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Language Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Odd & Even Jewel Count
 The kiddos will decide if the numbers are odd or even, using jewels as counters if necessary.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Math Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Rock Subtraction
 The kiddos will solve the subtraction problems on the cards, using rocks as counters, and clear glass beads as markers.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Math Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Shopping for Jewelry
 The kiddos will match jewel & coin cards with money amount cards, using the counting cards when needed.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Math Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Jewel Multiplication
The kiddos will solve the multiplication problems on the cards using the jewels as counters, and glass beads as markers.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Math Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Rock Classification
 The kiddos will match up Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic Rock cards with their label cards. I've written I, S, or M on the back of each of the cards in case the kiddos need them. I was so impressed that Dinomite answered all but one right his first try, after I explained what each type of rock looked like and how it formed.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Mineral Excavation
I found these fabulous excavation kits at our local craft store on sale last week.  The kiddos love kits like this.  They've been a fabulous way to work on fine motor skills, hand strength, mineral identification and so much more.  All of the kiddos are doing a fabulous job!

Rock Formation Continent Match Up
 It's important to learn the names of different types of rocks and minerals, but I wanted to do more than just that in this unit.  As I was researching and preparing materials, I couldn't stop thinking about the Earth and it's beauty.  There are so many amazing natural treasures hidden within it, and on it's surface.  In this activity I've selected naturally occurring rock formations that the kiddos will match up with continents.  The kiddos really enjoyed this activity!

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Man Made Rock & Mineral Creations Around the World
Rocks and minerals are great by themselves, but they can be shaped and/or used to build magnificent creations.  In this activity the kiddos will match the cards up with the creations.  There are a couple creations that only parts are made from rock and/or minerals.  This activity was very eye opening for the kiddos.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Rocks & Minerals Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Sensorial/Practical Life:
Zen Garden
The kiddos will make their own Zen Gardens. I have sample cards for them to see what they are, if needed.  I can't wait to see how they do!

Rocks & Minerals Sensory Bin
 The kiddos will enjoy playing in this sensory bin. I haven't decided if I want to add water to it or not. We'll see.  Bulldozer has already spotted this and fallen in love.

Jewel Sensory Bin
This is the girl's version of a rock sensory bin for the week.  Princess was not at all excited to study rocks and minerals. I was able to take the opportunity to teach her that rocks and minerals were not just things we found on the ground outside, but materials used to make jewelry, one of her very favorite things.  With this new information, she went through her dress up bin, picking out as many jewels as she could find to add to the bin.  The boys will enjoy this bin as well.

For those interested in the free printables shown in the activities, click on the links below.

If you're looking for some other fabulous ideas for your Rocks & Minerals Unit, I highly recommend checking out these posts.  They are my top three picks from my Rocks & Minerals Themed Facebook Share Day.

1.  Painting with Rocks at Fantastic Fun and Learning. She also has links to many other rock activities.
2.  Edible Rock Cycle for Kids at Lemon Lime Adventures.  If Bulldozer weren't allergic to the fruit juice in Star Bursts, we'd so be doing this as part of our unit!
3.  A Rock Day at Planet Smarty Pants.  There were a few really great ideas here.

I hope you have a fabulous day!

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When I decided to move forward with my blog, reaching out to as many readers as possible, providing free printables, unit study plans, and so much more, I never anticipated just how many people I would reach, or how my work would effect others.  I have been in complete awe at this process.

So many people have been willing to help me make my blog the best it can be.  Big thank yous go to Cassie at, Deb at Living Montessori Now, and Sharla at The Chaos and the Clutter.  I also need to thank my dear friend Aby Runyan for the beautiful logo designs she created for me.  I could not have accomplished all I have done, without the help and support of my wonderful husband.  There isn't a day that goes by that he's not researching a topic for me, creating a printable, or cheering me on as I'm completely overwhelmed by how quickly the blog is growing.

This past week even more new and exciting things are taking place at Every Star Is Different.  I'm partnering up with Anastasia at Montessori Nature to bring you more ideas, printables, and the Kids Learning Printables Linky Party!  Anastasia is an absolutely amazing person to work with and has already helped me in so many ways.  Her blog is fabulous for those looking for professional Montessori printables.  Each day I work with Anastasia I feel so honored and blessed.  I can feel her special spirit radiate through our conversations.  I know that working together will inspire me to be the best blogger I can be for my readers.  This partnership is one of those things I believe was just meant to be.

So with no further delay, I am ecstatic to introduce you to my new partner in crime, the amazing and inspiring Anastasia!  If you have not checked out her blog and facebook page, please do!

I am a stay at home mum who leads a natural life style, and practices natural parenting.  I was very blessed to be born in strong, cultural and diverse country - Russia. When I turned 10, my parents enrolled me into Space school located in the midst of a Siberian forest. There along with three other classmates (there were only four of us), I grew to appreciate nature it all it's beauty. I graduated from school at the age of  15 and moved to St Petersburg study at a university. I hold bachelor's degree in business and graduate diploma in Early Childhood education.
I aim to make every day of my life faith driven and God centered. Being a part of Christian church gave me the opportunity to work with children, minister to orphans, hang out with incredibly talented people, which led to learning the art of pantomime and drama. My mother passed on her great passion for travelling and foreign languages to me. I speak Russian, English, Spanish and Polish.  In my early twenties I practically lived out of my suitcase travelling the world doing missionary work, teaching pantomime and performing on streets, in schools and prisons with purpose of reaching out to people with a message of hope. 
I have been teaching in the Montessori Education System since I  was 18 years old. I had the  privilege of being mentored  from one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable Montessori teachers.  My director in Russia was trained by a lady who worked directly with Maria Montessori which imparted  Montessori philosophy to both her and myself.  After that I worked in three other Montessori classrooms in other countries.
For the last few years I have been spreading my passion for Montessori philosophy, by teaching in a Montessori preschool classroom. 
Now I enjoy being at home and sharing my teaching and parenting experience on my Montessori Nature Blog.
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About Me

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Born and raised in the beautiful 1000 Islands, my childhood was spent on the St. Lawrence River, working at our family owned marina in several capacities.  When I wasn't working, I loved spending time on the island my father's family is from. I would jump at any chance I had to return there, whether it be cleaning rental cottages or becoming an intern at the research and heritage center there.  Family history work is very near and dear to my heart.

While in high school, I had the privilege of touring six countries in Europe as a member of an honor chorus, representing the United States of America.  This opportunity not only fed my passion for travel and culture, but influenced me to pursue an education in music.

My educational pursuits led me to obtain a bachelor's degree in music with an emphasis in voice.  I also studied Spanish and placed myself in as many settings as possible, where I could become fluent, including work as an outreach specialist for Girl Scouts of America, becoming a member of Spanish speaking church congregations, and living with a fabulous roommate from Argentina.

I met my husband in my church congregation, while attending college.  He worked as a mental health therapist in the area.  We were married very quickly, and began our adventures together.  I gave birth to two very precious little boys.  Both have Autism Spectrum Disorder.  One has other significant special dietary needs.  Due to pregnancy complications after our second child, we decided to adopt two little girls through foster care.  Over the course of 4 1/2 years, we welcomed over 20 children into our home, all special needs, several of them infants.  Through this process we found our two little girls.  Both are special needs, and have Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The youngest also has Autism Spectrum Disorder and a Sleep Disorder.

I was introduced to the Montessori Method as a nanny, before my children were born.  It was later, when my husband and I decided to homeschool our children, that I was reintroduced to it.  I was trying to find an effective and positive way to teach my special needs children.  After many months of reading and studying, I gave it a try. There are no words to describe how it has transformed my children and our learning time together.  I've never looked back.

Each day I serve my family in as many ways as I can.  I've been developing our Montessori Inspired Curriculum for 3 years now.  I am very excited for the opportunity to share my experiences, unit studies and free printables on my blog: Every Star Is Different.

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7 Ways to Prevent Burn Out

The boys were invited to go bowling with a friend Tuesday night.  This was after a very hectic day for everyone in the household.  I was so excited to sit down and enjoy the time I had with the boys, their friend, and their friend's mother.  

She is a fabulous person and someone I adore.  Her day time job is such that she understands the needs of my children, the demands of me as a parent, and just how chaotic and crazy our life is at times.  This is such a blessing.

As we were talking and updating each other about life, with a feeling of genuine love and concern, she expressed how she worried about me burning out.  With a smile on my face, I was ecstatic to share that we're doing better than ever.  I feel like I've finally figured out how to do all of this!  That's not to say things might change in the future, but for now, I'm feeling fabulous.

The conversation inspired me to share my secrets with you!  Here's yet another post in my "It's Personal" collection.  Here's how I avoid burn out!

7 Ways to prevent burn out as a parent of children with special needs
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Burn out is not just something parents of special needs kiddos experience.  It can happen to any parent.  One can think they're doing everything right, doing what parents "should" do, and it can still happen.  Sometimes that's how it does happen.  Those "shoulds" can drive a parent crazy.  How does one avoid burn out?  Or can they?

If my friend would have expressed her concerns a year ago, I would have most likely admitted, I was almost there.  Life was insanely crazy.  I was trying so hard to do what I thought I "should" do as a parent.  I lost track of what my kiddos really needed, and what I needed.

Over the past year I have worked extremely hard to make sure I never am in that place again.  Thus far I have succeeded.  As everyone is different, there's not just one way to avoid burn out.  I've read several articles about it, and frankly, the "how to" steps usually don't work for me.

As you read this, what worked for me, may be the opposite of what works for you. Still, I thought it important to share what I've learned.  I must warn you, the process is not a one time deal.  I've had to go through it with each kiddo separately.  I'm almost completely through the process with my youngest, but know I'm not completely there yet.

7 Ways to Avoid Burn Out

1.  Proper Education

When I was a parent of one, I read every parenting book and magazine I could find.  After child number two, I threw them all away.  Every time I read them, I cried.  My second child wasn't meeting his milestones. No disciplinary advice worked.  With child number three, parenting was like nothing I'd ever experienced before.  To say it was hard is an understatement.

In between child number three and child number four, we fostered over 20 children, several of them infants.  Every kiddo was different.  I learned that it wasn't education about parenting I needed, but education about my child's specific needs that was crucial.

With the help of doctors and a few specialists, paired with observations, therapy, and the practice of trial and error my husband and I learned what was going on with each kiddo.  We've even written a book to help other parents with children who suffer from PTSD.

Once we understood this, we were able to participate in trainings specific to their individual needs, if it was necessary. For two of my four special needs kiddos, training has definitely been necessary.  Training has also come in the form of books appropriate to what we were experiencing.

2.  Acceptance

It's one thing to become educated about the needs of your child, but another to accept those needs, whatever they are.  Again, this process is not just specific to parents of special needs kiddos.

Too often we want to change our children, and mold them into what we think they should become, or what society teaches us they "should" become.  When I was able to accept and embrace my kiddos for who they are, loving their strengths and weaknesses equally, I found my job as their parent to be so much easier.

I've also had to accept my own limitations as a parent.  As much as I'd like to accomplish more than I do, I can't.  I need sleep just as much as everyone else.

There are responsibilities that I have,related to my special needs kiddos, that make doing other things very difficult.  At first, this was very hard to accept.  Now I just remember there is a time and a season for all things. Right now, my main priority is my kiddos. That won't be the case forever. 

3.  Ask for Help

Pride is so difficult to overcome.  In my case it was because I didn't want others to see how much I was struggling.  We all need help from time to time.  It's important to learn to ask for it.  If you can't ask for it, then start by accepting it when it's offered.

I have found it helpful to keep a "How Can I Help?" list on hand for when people ask what they can do for my family.  Only things I feel comfortable with anyone doing, are included on the list.  If a person chooses not to help out, after they hear what they can do, that's okay.  I try to make sure there are 10 items on my list, but at times, there are less.  

4.  Priorities

I'm a firm believer that my daily life should reflect my priorities.  When it doesn't, I know my daily routines need to change.  During the day, while my kiddos are awake, their care is my number one priority.

If they are playing well together and I have a chance to tackle some house work or work on a post for my blog, I do it. But if they need me, I'm there for them.  If there are chores that need to be done during the day, we do them together.  When my kiddos are asleep, I work and take time for myself.

I believe prioritizing also applies to my children.  My kiddos' priorities are simple.  They need to sleep well, eat healthy, be active, grow, receive an education (both spiritually and academically), and learn how to develop positive relationships with others.

Every kiddo is different and develop at their own pace.  Many things I thought were "necessary" in their development process, or specific to certain ages, turned out to be only desires I had for my kiddos, which may or may not have been realistic.  In other situations it came down to deciding what was "best," not just "better" or "good" for them. 

5.  Simplify

This was a hard one for me and took a very long time.  I find it a continuing process.  Simplify schedules and routines.  In our home, our kiddos traded extra curricular activities for family fun nights and vacations.  We eliminated many therapies.  If one of the kiddos wasn't progressing, we decided it wasn't the right fit.  When therapies weren't focusing on the things that the kiddos really needed, we decided to go a different route, working on things at home.

I'll always remember the occupational therapist that told me my oldest didn't need therapy because I was already doing what they would do, in my home, on a daily basis, using the Montessori Practical Life and pre-writing activities.

School outside of the home was the cause of many extreme behaviors in our kiddos.  We made the decision to homeschool.  Our family qualifies for all sorts of aid and respite services, but I've found the more people we involve with the care of our children, the worse their behaviors are.

Obviously, these were personal choices that work for us.  What works for another may be the exact opposite.  Our kiddos are at their best when they are with us.  When they're at their best, I'm at my best.

Simplify your home.  Say goodbye to anything you don't need.  You'll be amazed at how easy it is to stay on top of housework and pick up.  I've found when there is less mess and clutter, my kiddos function better.  The same goes for my husband and myself.

Simplify your holidays, traditions, etc.  It's amazing how much stress comes to us as parents because we want everything just right for those special days.  In my case, my kiddos can't handle much "special."  They thrive on routine, and when that changes, the meltdowns are endless.

This may mean creating new and more simple traditions, not traveling or joining large family gatherings.  I never feel more close to burn out than when trying to plan or prepare for a large event where my children are involved.

6. Joy in the Journey

I love spending time with my kiddos.  It may not be the case for everyone, or even most, but for me, I find the more time I spend with my kiddos, the less I need a break from them.  During the day, I become the most overwhelmed when I'm trying to get things done for myself, rather than taking care of my kiddos.

Finding joy in the journey has made all the difference. When they're awake, it's their time.  This isn't to say I don't have days where I cry... a lot.  Or have nights when I tell my husband I just need to get out of the house.  It just means that I truly find joy in my journey as a parent and wouldn't trade that for the world. 

7. Confidence

My kiddos are my kiddos for a reason.  I have been given the qualities and abilities to raise them.  Experiences in my past have prepared me to do just that.  No one knows my kiddos better than I do.  Sometimes doctors, therapists, and specialists have tried to tell me what I "should" do, and I've disagreed.  That's okay.

It took me a long time to feel confident in my role as a mother to my kiddos, and realize that doctors and therapists don't know everything.  I make mistakes too.  I am not perfect.  But, I can do this!  Knowing that helps me each and every day.

Being a parent is hard work.  It is the most difficult job I've ever had.  Finding my place in this role, and preventing burn out has been crucial to the success and progression of my children, along with the emotional and physical health of myself.

I challenge you to take a look at different aspects of your life and figure out how you can avoid burnout.  Your solution may be the complete opposite of mine, but if it works for you, that doesn't matter.  I'd love to know how you do it!

Am I going crazy? A parent's guide to staying sane.

A mother's story of the challenges that come with a child who has special needs.

Special needs support and services

7 ways to prevent burn out as a parent of children with special needs

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Kids Learning Printables

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Welcome to the Kids Learning Printables Linky Party!

I am absolutely delighted to co-host this party with Anastasia from Montessori Nature.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you're missing out.

Here's how this works!

1.  Link up your educational printables for kiddos.  Free, paid, and giveaway printables are welcome.
2.  Add our Kids Learning Printables Linky Party Button to your post or blog.
3.  Support your fellow educators by commenting, pinning, and/or sharing the post published before yours.
4.  If you're not already doing so, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and/or through my blog.

1.  Visit all posts.
2.  Share and pin as many links as possible throughout the week.
2.  Feature my favorite posts in next week's link up.
3.  Get to know you, your blog, and your printables for future use!

Let's get this party started!
Every Star Is Different

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Auditory Stimuli in the Classroom

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I am a classically trained musician.  Countless hours of my life have been spent in practice labs, rehearsals, and performances.  My voice is my instrument.  Vocal exercises are my friend.  I have a passion for choral conducting and love the natural high it brings me.  Music is always in my head.  If I had a choice between a silent room or one filled with multiple instruments playing completely different tunes, I'd choose the room with multiple instruments.  If the choice were up to me, music would be playing around the clock in my home.  I would be singing along with it, starting my day with multiple vocal exercises.

However, that's not the case.  I have not performed since shortly after the birth of Bulldozer, almost 6 years ago.  My conducting days ended just about the same time.  Vocal exercises and even personal piano practice sessions have ceased in my home.  I had to tell Princess that Mommy used to be a singer recently, as I was singing "Let It Go" with her the other day. Her eyes had become wide as she listened to the operatic vibrato in my voice.  It may have been the first time she'd ever heard me really sing.

Why have things changed so much?  I live in a home full of people with hyper sensitivities to auditory stimuli.  Dinomite is the most sensitive to sounds.  In fact, auditory issues in the classroom were the number one reason he did not do well in a school environment outside of the home.  Loud noises scare Dinomite.  He needs complete silence to do his school work (which I admit is at times impossible to provide). Noises are also very distracting to Dinomite. When he becomes overwhelmed by auditory stimuli around him, he reacts in a very physical way, lashing out at others around him or curling up into a ball, kicking and screaming.  It breaks my heart.  Dinomite can not handle Mommy singing or playing the piano in the home.  We listen to classical music in small increments, with the volume very low, but that's about as much as he can handle.

Dinomite has significant struggles when placed in indoor environments with loud noises.  He wasn't able to function to be part of an indoor soccer league with other kiddos, because of the noises in the gym and the whistle being used.  It's taken a very long time for him to be able to watch a movie in a theater, and even now he puts his hands over his ears most of the time.  Instead of attending performances, shows, etc., we usually try to find DVDs to bring home to him to watch, so he can control the volume.  Otherwise the event is unsuccessful.

Bulldozer is also hypersensitive to sound.  When very little he used to scream and cry every time he heard the sound of an airplane in the sky. To this day he's petrified of public restrooms because of the sound of the flushing toilets and air dryers.  Bulldozer is also extremely distracted by sound.  When he was attending a special needs preschool, it was noted often, how he wasn't able to focus on or complete tasks because he was so distracted by every noise he heard outside the classroom, especially trucks going by.

Bulldozer appears to suffer from an auditory processing disorder.  I say "appears" because we can't prove it until he's older and can actually take the tests required to diagnose it.  However, his doctors are pretty certain it's there.  When speaking to Bulldozer, we've had to learn to use as few words as possible when relaying information or asking a question. We wait at least 10 seconds after asking a question, before asking him again or rephrasing the question.  It takes him that long to process the words we're saying.  Even then he may not process it correctly.  Bulldozer always does best with visuals or hand held manipulatives to help him understand material and instructions.  Without those visuals, he's unable to process information correctly.  Sound alone, is not enough, as he lacks so many skills in this area.  Listening to lectures and/or books being read aloud is extremely difficult for Bulldozer.

Despite these challenges, Bulldozer is actually my musical child.  He enjoys the sounds of classical music, and works best with continuous sound in the background.  I'll always remember the month we studied Bach.  We'd listen to his music as we did our morning work. Bulldozer never worked so well.  He enjoys playing his own melodies on the piano.  Out of all of my kiddos, he's the only one who can carry a tune.  Yet, because of the sensory processing issues, you'll rarely find him singing along with music being played, or others singing.  He can't process the words at the same speed as others, and is always behind.  This is very frustrating for him.  Bulldozer does best without musical accompaniment, singing solo.

Princess doesn't necessarily have hypersensitivities to sound, however, they tend to overwhelm her and trigger her anxieties.  I'm still trying to figure out Sunshine's auditory sensory needs.  When she was an infant, there were several concerns about her hearing due to Mild Cranial Facial Microsomia.  We started teaching her sign language because we were worried she wasn't hearing us correctly.  She would become extremely frustrated while attempting to communicate.  Sign language helped her a lot.  Fortunately, now she's doing fabulous with no hearing issues.

How can you meet the auditory needs of the child in your classroom?

1.  Volume-Does your child enjoy loud noises or need them in order to hear your correctly?  Would your child prefer you to speak with a loud voice?  Is your child extremely sensitive to noise and need you to speak softly?

2.  Distraction/Environment-Are there auditory factors distracting your child's learning process?  Can you eliminate the distractions, or would it be best if you change your learning environment, or time of learning, so that it doesn't coincide with auditory distractions?  Does your child need a quiet working environment?  Perhaps your child needs noise to help them stay focused?  Is your child able to hear correctly in their learning environment?

3.  Auditory Processing-Does your child respond quickly and accurately to directions and questions?  If not, does your child need extra time to process what you're saying?  Try counting to 10 in your head before repeating a question or expecting your child to respond.  Does this make a difference?  If not, is your child hearing correctly?  How does your child respond to lessons without visuals and manipulatives?  Can your child repeat what you're teaching them?  Are visuals and manipulatives needed to help your child process information?

4.  Anxiety/Behavior-Does your child become anxious or act out during overwhelming auditory experiences?  If so, how can you help them?  Are there PTSD triggers associated with specific sounds and noises?  Can you identify them and avoid them?

What resources are there for children who struggle with auditory stimuli in the classroom?

1.  Teach them to cover their ears.  This has been crucial for our boys, especially in public places.

2.  Use noise reducing headphones in places and situations where needed.

3.  Provide white noise for your child.  Fans work well, or you can try a white noise machine.

4.  Use music that does not distract, but helps a child focus in their learning environment.  If you have multiple students, give the child head phones with desired music playing, so they won't distract others.

5.  Avoid situations where children will become overstimulated.  Instead of performances and other events, introduce recorded versions.  If you're in a place where you can't do this (like church), go to a quiet room, where you can still hear what's being said, but it's not as loud, or provide ear plugs/noise reducing headphones for your child during these experiences.

6.  Provide visuals and manipulatives paired with instruction and questions.

7. Develop patience and tolerance for those who just may not be able to hear and/ or process information as quickly.

Remember, every child is different. What may work for one child, may do the opposite for the other.  Changing auditory stimuli to meet the needs of your child can literally transform the learning process and your child.

What resources have helped your child with auditory stimuli in the classroom?

For more information about sensory needs in the classroom, please check out my other posts:

If you haven't already, I'd love for you to start following the blog, like our Facebook page, and/or follow me on Pinterest.  I hope you have a fabulous day!
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Bird Unit 2 with Free Printables

All of my kids love birds.  Dinomite is particularly obsessed with them.  It only made sense to create a Bird Unit 2 with Free Printables.

This unit is crammed pack full of Montessori-inspired bird themed activities and free printables in several different subject areas.  My kids loved it so much.  We hope you do too! 
Montessori-inspired Bird Activities for Kids with Free Printables
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Though this unit took a very long time to put together (mostly because of sickness etc.), I'm very pleased with how it turned out. Here's what we'll be doing this week!


The Bird's Bath Poem
Monessori Bird Poem Activity with Free Printable
 The kiddos will read and analyze the poem, using the objects provided.

 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Preposition Opposite Match Up
Bird themed Preposition Opposite Match Up Activity with Free Printable
 The kiddos can play memory or just simply match up the birds, identifying the opposite prepositions.
Bird themed preposition match up activity (Free Printable)
 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Bird Unit Spelling Activity
Bird themed spelling activity with free printable
The kiddos will spell the words provided, using play dough and alphabet letter cookie cutters.

 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Language Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.


Birds Hatching Sequence
Birds hatching sequence activity (Free Printable)
 The kiddos will sequence the cards, placing them in order from the beginning of hatching to the end.  (Thank you to Wikipedia Commons for such great pictures!)

 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

How Many Eggs Hatched Graph
Bird themed graphing activity for kids (Free Printable)
 The kiddos will roll the die to determine how many eggs hatched for each type of bird.  They will then place markers on the graph to chart their data.

 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Counting Bird Egg Addition
Bird themed addition clip cards (free printable)
 The kiddos will add using the candy eggs as counters and glass beads as markers for answers on each card.
 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow directions at the bottom of this post.

Feeding Baby Birds Subtraction
Bird themed subtraction clip cards (Free Printable)
The kiddos will subtract using gummy worms as counters and glass beads as markers for answers on each card.

Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Math Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow directions at the bottom of this post.


Male & Female Bird Differences
Bird Male and Female Difference Match Up Cards (Free Printable)
 The kiddos will match up male and female birds, discussing similarities and differences.

Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow directions at the bottom of this post.

Note:  Goldfinch cards have been corrected.

50 Birds Around the World
Birds Around the World Sorting Activity (Free Printable)
The kiddos will look through the cards, sorting them as they wish, learning the names of different birds in the process.

 Source: I created this printable as part of my Birds Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1. This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow directions at the bottom of this post.

Note:  The spelling of Cockatiel has been corrected on the cards.

Bird Beak & Bird Feet Identification
Bird Beak and Bird Feet Identification Activity (Free Printable)
The kiddos will identify what kind of beak and feet each bird has.  Picture cards with names are provided for each bird figure. The birds used in this activity come from our Exotic Bird Safari Toob.

Source: I created the bird picture cards as part of my Birds Unit Science & Culture Printable Pack 1.  This is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, follow directions at the bottom of this post.  The bird beak chart can be found HERE.  The bird feet chart can be found at Science Buddies.  This activity was inspired by activities I saw and loved at The Pinay Homeschooler.


Building a Bird House
Building a bird house
 This week, the kiddos made bird houses using kits I found on sale at the local craft store.  It was quite a project, but they loved it.
Painting a Bird House
Painting Bird House
When finished the kiddos painted their houses.  It was definitely a favorite project.

During the week, we've also done a lot of bird watching, especially those who are enjoying our new bird feeder outside.

Visual Arts

How to Draw Birds
How to draw birds activity for kids
The kiddos will practice drawing birds this week, choosing from the options provided in this activity.

Source: The step by step drawing cards for this activity came from How to Draw Animals.  I love this site and the easy step-by-step instructions for kiddos.

Practical Life/Sensorial

Bird Tanograms
Bird Tanograms
 Technically this activity counts as a math activity, but it's on our "fun" shelves this week, so I put it here.  Hopefully the kiddos will enjoy it. The cards and shapes are part of a kit we have.

Bird Sensory Bin
Bird Sensory Bin
 The kiddos will enjoying playing in our bird sensory bin full of sunflower seeds, nests, plastic eggs, birds, and feathers.

Catching Worms
Bird themed catching worms practical life/fine motor activity
 I saw this activity in a few places, so am unsure who to give credit to.  The kiddos will pick up the "worms" using the clothes pin and place them in the nest for the baby birds.

Transferring Eggs
Transfferring eggs practical life/fine motor activity
 The kiddos will transfer eggs from one tray to the other, placing them correctly.

Bird Invitation to Play
Bird invitation to play
 Who wants to make birds?  The kiddos will make their own birds using the objects provided. I can't wait to see their creations!

Cheerio Bird Feeder
Cheerios Bird Feeder Activity for Kids
Once again, I saw this activity on several different sites. The kiddos will string Cheerios on to pipe cleaners, shape them into circles and hang them on tree branches for the birds.

Dinomite is super excited about this unit and has already taken it upon himself to do some of the activities on the shelves. We've also found some fabulous apps to help him identify birds he sees in our backyard and to learn more about birds he doesn't know.

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1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.
2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.
3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)
4. Locate the link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it in the "Thank You" message.
5. Click on link and type in password.
6. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printables.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

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