Welcome to Trillium Montessori Talks, the podcast where we dig into the theory and application of Montessori methodology in the classroom and beyond. Join host Letty Rising for candid conversations about the challenges us Montessori teachers face and how we can enhance the classroom experience for our students and ourselves. Ready to optimize your Montessori practice? Head to https://www.trilliummontessori.org/podcast to learn more.
034: When Less is More: A Case for Giving Fewer Lessons
16:52In teacher training, we are taught that there is no ideal or perfect number of lessons to present on a given day. And yet, in practice, many teachers often find themselves wondering how many lessons they should present or if they’re getting it right or need to be doing more or less.In today’s episode, I’m talking about the many reasons why there is no set number, from teacher pacing, to student needs and interests, to factoring in time for specials or guests or social and emotional learning. When you present too many lessons, you’re not leaving time for observation and supporting students who need additional support. There will also be impromptu lessons that pop up out of the flow of the day, or the need to reteach lessons to help students better master certain skills.Finding your sweet spot of how many lessons to teach will vary from day to day, class to class, and will be best implemented when you take time to observe the interests and needs of your students.What’s in this episode:[01:30] Some reasons there isn’t a prescribed number of lessons you should present on a given day[04:20] Why more doesn’t always mean better, the benefits of offering fewer lessons, and the importance of making time for observation and giving attention to students who may need support with follow-up work[08:07] Why impromptu, unscheduled lessons are essential (they happen more often than you realize, and yes, they do still count as lessons), and the importance of knowing when you may need to reteach a previous lesson[10:33] The importance of including social and emotional lessons throughout the day, and how to pivot with the number of lessons depending on the needs of the dayFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/when-less-is-more/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
033: Handling Transitional Moments in the Elementary Classroom
29:39Transition times in the elementary classroom can be tough. Children find it particularly difficult for a number of reasons, and it can be a struggle for teachers as well to make sure that the day flows as smoothly as possible for all of their students.In today’s episode, I’m sharing about best practices, as well as what to avoid, when it comes to different types of transitions throughout the school day. Considering psychological characteristics of elementary children, implementing tangible practices into your day, and observing both group (whole and small) and individual transitions will allow you to focus on what’s most important: student learning and engagement.What’s in this episode:[02:00] Why it’s important to watch for small group and individual transitions in addition to the more obvious whole group transitions, and the signs to look out for in a child struggling with a transition[05:36] How to consider Dr. Maria Montessori’s psychological characteristics of the elementary child when planning for challenging transitions in the classroom[15:21] How to support students during transitional times throughout the day, and what to steer clear of[23:05] Tangible systemic practices to incorporate into your daily transitions[26:17] An example of how to personalize a solution to a child’s transitional struggles For full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/classroom-transitions/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
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032: Unlocking the Potential: How ChatGPT Can Support Montessori Elementary Teachers
20:49We’re living in an age of AI, and education is no stranger to technological advancements. While some teachers see this as a challenge to overcome, technology can help transform how you approach planning and preparing in the Montessori environment.In today’s episode, I’m talking about a new language tool called ChatGPT, and the many ways teachers can use it as a resource for their classrooms to support student learning and development. There is certainly a learning curve, but over time, you can enhance your teaching experience with ChatGPT. What’s in this episode:[03:13] How ChatGPT can help students improve their language skills with lessons on grammar and parts of speech by creating high interest text that keeps students engaged[06:01] How ChatGPT can aid with sentence analysis to help break down the complexity of sentence structure, and creating sentences by ability, interest, or age group[07:42] Generating topic specific word problems with ChatGPT, and how creating comprehensive-level text provides a more targeted experience for students[10:54] Generating lists of follow-up activities to further engage students on different topics[13:31] Creating lists for procedures, such as a list of steps for a sequence of tasks (e.g. getting snack)[15:35] Why you have to be very specific when giving ChatGPT instructions and taking time to figure out the right questions to ask to get what you needFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit:https://www.trilliummontessori.org/chatgpt-for-teachers/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
031: Public Montessori and Visual Thinking Strategies: An Interview with Katie Brown
27:24Montessori schools are becoming more and more popular in the public school setting—both as charter schools and within district programs. While there are more than 500 public Montessori schools, the growing education trend is still not exactly common knowledge. Today’s guest aims to bring advocacy and awareness to this sector.In today’s episode, I’m talking to Katie Brown, Director of Research and Professional Learning at the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS). The mission of NCMPS is to promote Montessori for social change in the public sector. Katie is sharing all the ways that NCMPS offers support—from teacher training, to classroom observation tools, to connecting people to state level advocacy organizations—as well as conversations around equity in public Montessori and new trends that are popping up for the future of this model.What’s in this episode:[01:51] How NCMPS offers support, resources, and connections to schools, teachers, families, and students through both research-based and classroom-based opportunities[11:46] Katie’s take on new trends in this setting and what the future of public Montessori looks like[14:52] How teacher trainings and residencies are becoming more popular in hopes of addressing teacher pipeline difficulties[16:48] The challenges around equity and anti-racism efforts in the Montessori public setting and how to keep this important work at the forefront[19:13] Information about Visual Thinking Strategies course offered through NCMPS and how the tools presented support language development and critical thinking For full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (website for resources and courses)Visual Thinking Strategies in Montessori Environments (book)Primary Montessori Curriculum to Standards Alignment (course)Elementary Montessori Curriculum to Standards Alignment (course)Teach Montessori (NCMPS project for teaching trainings and job boards)The Montessori Event 2023 (conference)Connect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
030: Interview with Rachel Kimboko, Executive Director of DC Wildflower Public Charter School
44:11Traditional public school classrooms operate in a very different way than Montessori classrooms. But there is a growing trend for implementing Montessori practices into the public school setting. Enter Wildflower Schools, a network of small Montessori charter schools run by Montessori teachers.In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Rachel Kimboko, Executive Director for Stakeholder Engagement at DC Wildflower Public Charter School. She’s sharing her thoughts on what it’s like bringing Montessori into the public school setting and engaging with the community, how she works alongside the Montessori teachers to create the schools, and why it’s important to attract younger and more diverse candidates.What’s in this episode:How Wildflower Schools are bringing Montessori into the public charter school system and building relationships in the communityWhat makes their work unique while also being aligned with Montessori practicesThe importance of having structures in place that support flexibilityThe joys and challenges of implementing Montessori in a public school settingWhat public Montessori schools need to be successfulCreating access and support for bipoc people to become Montessori teachers and role modelsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:DC Wildflower Public Charter SchoolWildflower SchoolsConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
029: Fostering a Connected Community: Helping Your Students Branch Out from their Preferred Work Partners
13:43Freedom of choice is vital in the Montessori classroom. However, freedom can also lead to exclusion and social cliques. Regularly diversifying groups and seating not only allows for children to experience being leaders and being led by others, it also gives them the opportunity to connect with students they might not otherwise. You can create an environment that allows for freedom, while avoiding the formation of cliques and encouraging an abundance of friendships and work partners.What’s in this episode:How bonds in the Montessori classroom can turn into smaller social cliquesHow the Montessori classroom can unintentionally facilitate bias and exclusionWays to regularly facilitate children working with non-preferred partnersFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
028: Flexibility without Compromise: How to be a Responsive Teacher While Adhering to Montessori Essentials
15:20Deviating from Montessori training in the classroom comes with a number of considerations. It is possible to expand beyond the boundaries of Montessori training—as long as you do so without compromise.In today’s episode, we’re talking about ways to keep Montessori essentials at the heart of the Montessori experience while also being open to expanding upon further knowledge that interests the children.You can be flexible and responsive while keeping the Montessori philosophy intact in the classroom.What’s in this episode:Understanding how far and in what ways we can deviate from what we learned in our trainingHow to deviate while remaining true to the philosophy and making sure we don’t stray from the core of what we doBeing flexible without compromising the essence of the Montessori mindsetEvaluating the use of additional learning materials and customizing lessons for each child’s needsWhat constitutes the Montessori essentialsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/flexibility-without-compromise/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:N/AConnect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
027: The Pencil Problem
16:34The pencil problem is a common one in the Montessori elementary classroom. Communal or personal? Same brand or variety? What is the system for using them throughout the day? It can easily get complicated and result in frustrations for both the teacher and the children.In today’s episode, I’m sharing the importance of determining a simple approach to pencil use in the classroom. Care for classroom materials is important, but so is understanding that they’re going to get used … and lost and broken. The key is shifting your thoughts about how they are used and how to avoid it being a point of shame for the children.What’s in this episode:Determining whether pencils will be personal or communalStrategies for keeping track of both personal and communal pencilsBenefits of communal classroom pencilsWhy techniques involving shame and guilt don’t workThree important things to consider when choosing a pencils strategyHow shifting your mindset can help with classroom systemsFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/the-pencil-problem/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:Britt Hawthorne’s Instagram (communal pencil management system)Connect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
026: Interview with Peter Piche: Leadership in the Montessori Elementary Classroom
28:55Being a leader is about helping people to become better versions of themselves. It’s not about commanding and controlling but rather facilitating, collaborating, and encouraging. Leaders are always growing and learning. Recognizing a child’s unlimited potential and encouraging them to get out of their comfort zone in a mistake-friendly environment is what the Montessori elementary classroom is all about. And, when done well, it’s the perfect place to develop leadership skills. In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Peter Piché, a former Montessori guide with 17 years of classroom experience who currently is a certified life and leadership coach offering trainings to Montessori organizations. Peter talks about how leaders are grown (not born), how the elementary montessori setting encourages leadership, the importance of self-accountability and self-reflection, and encouraging a balance of freedom and responsibility in the classroom.What’s in this episode:How the Montessori elementary environment prepares children for leadership, as students and as adultsThe qualities that the Montessori elementary setting cultivates in children that they might not get in a more traditional education settingWhy mistake-friendly environments are important to developing leadership skillsThe core elements for leading that Montessori elementary environments can instill in childrenPeter’s advice for elementary teachers in supporting their students to become leadersFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/leadership-in-the-elementary-classroom/Resources Mentioned in This Episode:Peter’s website (where you can get his new book, Courageous Montessori Leadership)Connect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook
025: Interview with Jess Gagne on New Students, Favorite Lessons, and More!
22:25It’s incredible to see the growth of students when you allow them to take charge of their learning and progress at their own pace. Growth doesn’t happen on someone else’s timetable, it happens at the right moment. Giving students the space and independence to learn on their own timeline often leads to an explosion of growth that feels more meaningful because it’s natural, not forced upon them. In this episode of Trillium Talks, I sat down with Jess Gagne, an elementary Montessori guide, to talk about everything Montessori. Jess shares her experiences with allowing students to get involved in their lessons, tips for working with students that are new to Montessori methodology, game-changing systems, and the value of patience and allowing your students to learn and grow at their own pace. What’s in this episode:How Jess gets her students involved in their lessonsThe types of lessons her students enjoyTips for helping children new to Montessori in the first few weeksGame-changing systems Jess has used in her Montessori classroomThe value of patience and letting students go at their own paceThe benefits of a mixed-age classroomFor full show notes, resources, links and to download the transcript, visit https://www.trilliummontessori.org/an-interview-with-jess-gagne/Connect With UsVisit our websiteFollow us on InstagramConnect with us on Facebook