Archive for September, 2007


September 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I know, I know, we need the rain. Northern Italy doesn’t get the rain that it used to, etc etc. But the thing is, I have been reading all these articles about global warming, and how farmers in England have started growing grapes for wine, and farmers in Spain are now planting vineyards in the mountains to escape the heat, and Ilario kept complaining about how warm it was… so I left all of my warm clothes, my boots, and my new rain gear in Sweden.

And of course, it was raining so hard when I arrived that I had to pull over on the autostrada and let Ilario drive because the combination of traffic and low-visibility terrified me. That was two days ago, and it’s only just now thinking of stopping.

It feels good to be home. I celebrated yesterday by baking a autumny cake that filled the apartment with the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg, and running errands (on foot, in the rain, yes), and just sort of wallowing in homeyness.

My parents arrive today, and I am going to pick them up at the train station. There is some concern that all their luggage won’t fit in our compact european car, but I’ll deal with that problem if and when it arises…


Little people

September 18, 2007

slatted chair

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

This is where I spent my day- the infant community. Because of logistical difficulties, temporary help is needed there, and since Jenny Marie is back this week, I am extra in the elementary. So, wiping noses and endless practical life activities for me today, tomorrow and maybe more…

It goes without saying the change is dramatic: from gangly all-elbows-and-knees-kids to tiny, wobbly, chubby toddlers. And I am different with them. Interesting.

Rainy Sunday morning bike ride

September 16, 2007

Rainy Sunday morning bike ride

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Beaches are so amazing. I am living on one, whose particularities I am coming to know and appreciate. This morning I rode my bike around in the rain and wind, and ended up at another ebach, not far away at all, but completely different! Because of the wind storm we had yesterday, it was completely covered in a thick (at least 6-10 inches, if I had to hazard a guess) myriad of colorful seaweeds, and the shells are of a type I never find by my house. Lovely.

I have found and printed many statistics of Sweden’s geography, trade, agriculture and fishing that I am going to use to make my long bead frame word problems- I need BIG numbers and I found them. I haven’t yet figured how I will make the multiplication problems, but I’ll get to it.

Awful origami

September 14, 2007

origami ducks

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

The origami got me in trouble, but it wasn’t the ducks’ fault.

What do you do when something cool morphs into something different that takes over the class and disrupts absolutely everything, including basic things, like cleaning up after lunch, and working? The children started making those little folded things that you write numbers on and play a game, and under each tab is a fortune, or a command- you know what I mean. It was out of control. My ducks seemed so boring after that.

Oh, well.

My plans for the weekend include welcoming the woman coming to teach the 0-3 course (and who will be my housemate), making geometry command cards and math word problems big and exciting enough for the long bead frame and the checkerboard.

What boys really like

September 13, 2007

What boys really like

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

I could try to maintain my positive attitude, but it got lost somwhere during the day, around the point at which I started feeling really frustrated and began snapping at the children.

At least I can refrain from writing about the bad things and say that both elementary classes were swept up in a frenzy of origami and crochet that was lovely to see, and the eldest ones began making Helium. I gave up trying to give lessons in the afternoon and mostly watched, let one boy give me an origami lesson, took photos, and tried not to think very much.

Felt and Physics

September 11, 2007


Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

These might seem to be tiny balls of felt, but really the white ones are protons and the red one is an electron.

That’s right, folks, we are making atoms, elements, continuing my not-so-successful-creation-of-the-universe-for-upper-elementary-story with some very exciting felt-making posing as physics. Super cool. Tommorrow we will turn these lovely balls into the element Hydrogen, and there will be a concise and fascinating story of Hyrdogen to go with it (that I have to write now).

Somehow today things worked out so that I had time to give more than three lessons to each of my oldest children (all girls).  As I have been worried about not giving them enough, this felt good, and relieves some of my anxiety regarding their intellectual stimulation in a class where I must so often ask them to help me with the younger ones.

Staff meeting today… I won’t understand a word, and will plead off after I eat some food.

I could mislead you…

September 10, 2007

Timeline of Life

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

Everyone worked so hard today- Just look at this photo of these three little guys, studiously laboring away over the blank Timeline of Life, passionately involved, after having been inspired by Fredrick’s story last week…

That’s the thing about photos: they can be very misleading. These guys were all over the place this morning. I ordered them to turn around and pretend to work so I could take a photo. I won’t even tell you how we convinced them to finish the work, nor how I ended up doing most of- never mind.

It was a good day, but that’s probably because I choose to think of it as a good day, not because of the number of great things that happened, nor the smoothness with which everything was accomplished.

I am sick, but managed to have a good day… hmmm… must be coming up on the six week mark, oh so important for the children as a society and Rachel as a teacher.


September 9, 2007

my bedroom in Sweden

Originally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

This is where I wish I was right now… but I’m at school, preparing for the week. I am sick, of course. No surprise there. I can expect to be more or less sick for the rest of the year. I would like to be curled up in bed, finishing “Animal Farm,” while someone makes me hot tea with lemon and honey.


Instead I will make yoga cards (thanks to Meg of Montessoribyhand) and write lesson plans. I will spend far too much time here, and then I will drag myself out to my bike, and try to coast all the way back to the apartment, feeling worse by the minute. Being sick when you are alone is the worst.


September 7, 2007

a curved lineOriginally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

What are they doing? you might ask.

Obviously, I would reply, they are making a curved line.

This morning the school was filled with straight lines stetching from room to room; broken lines following the walls and stairs, carefully adhering with tape to the sharp angles the building can provide; and curved lines that were wild, snaking through and around furniture, people, materials and finally out into the playground. Crocheted lines were later added to the mix, and inevitably morphed into curved lines that wrapped around wrists or necks.
And the best part was the refrain muttered under the breath, or sung out loud: “…On and on and on and on and on…” Guess they know that much English now!

A day of work

September 6, 2007

a word snakeOriginally uploaded by nonsonoitaliana

All it takes is enormous effort in the area of orginization and lessons. We are doing functions of words, and started with the noun yesterday. I love how much fun it is with the older kids- I wasn’t sure, but after I spent most of the day walking around and teaching with a piece of paper labeled “head” taped to my forehead, and the children had labeled the ceiling, lights and outside of the building several times, I figured it was a success.

I also did the wooden hierarchical material with three new students who have never been in Montessori (two ten year olds, and one nine year old.). They went beserk, and were so excited by the million they could barely contain themselves and were constantly touching it, and wrapping their arms around it.

The language barrier is so huge, and makes everything less effective. There are several children who can’t read and do basic math, and helping them is a real challenge for me… I had to ask Fredrick to write down the names of the hierachies in Swedish for me, and ask other children to pronounce them during the presentation. Mostly they are patient with me, probably more patient than I am with myself, and I am grateful for that.

Jenny Marie’s daughter Astrid translates for me frequently, and I know that isn’t easy, and I am grateful for her patience and work as well.

If we weren’t in a Montessori classroom, it would be impossible. The materials help a lot, the movement involved in many works helps a lot. So I am grateful for those as well.

In fact, I have so much to be grateful for that I feel overwhelmed, and i can feel the loneliness creeping in, so I’m going back to work.