Arranging and rearranging the materials, shelves, tables, and chairs can be a lot of fun, but itís tempting to always wonder if thereís another, better way that you just havenít tried yet.
A few simple principles should always be adhered to Ė they represent the classic Montessori classroom layout. As you can imagine, a preschool classroom layout is slightly different from an elementary one. The differences mirror the changing nature of the elementary child as they move from a wholly concrete environment to a more abstract one.
In a 3-6 classroom, the area closest to the entrance of the room should be, if at all possible, practical life. Sometimes this depends on where the sink is, but since it is the first place that most young children begin working when entering 3-6, it needs to be the first thing they see when entering the room. After that, each of the curricular areas proceeds around the room.
3-6 Classroom Order:
Itís easy to see the progression here; sensorial materials are usually the next step after practical life. Since many sensorial materials rely on the decimal system (10 cubes in the pink tower, 10 red rods, etc.), these materials transition nicely to math. Many children recognize numbers before letters, but soon they are ready for language materials. After the acquisition of language comes the ability to learn about culture Ė biology, history, geography, physical science, art, and music.
The threat posed by humans to the natural environment is nothing compared to the threat to humans posed by global environmental policy.
Enter a program of strict training. When training for a marathon, one has to have a strict training plan in order to be prepared to go the distance. This same concept applies to life. We are in the run of our life, and there must be a strict training plan. The success components of this plan include things we will do every single day, without fail, in order to invite the Spiritís companionship into our life. They will be different for each of us but will always include daily prayer. Our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and He will answer them. I testify that that is true. Our challenge is to be in a place where we can hear and recognize the answers.
Strict training will also include daily reading of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith said that ďa man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.Ē16 The Book of Mormon will increase your faith in Jesus Christ, and it is through your faith that you will be able to withstand temptation. This record is for you and your generation. Reading just five minutes every single day will change your life. I know this is true because I have been doing it, and so have thousands of others. Think of the change in five years if every one of us would commit to do this even for just five minutes every single day.
It turns out that there is also a big difference in how number-naming systems in Western and Asian languages are constructed. In English, we say fourteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen, so one might expect that we would also say oneteen, twoteen, threeteen, and fiveteen. But we don't. We use a different form: eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fifteen. Similarly, we have forty and sixty, which sound like the words they are related to (four and six). But we also say fifty and thirty and twnty, which sort of sound live five an three and two, but not really. And, for that matter, for numbers above twenty, we put the "decade" first and the unit number second (twenty-one, twenty-two), whereas for the teens, we do it the other way around (fourteen, seventeen, eighteen). The number system in English is highly irregular. Not so in China, Japan and Korea. They have a logical counting system, Eleven is ten-one. Twelve is ten-two. Twenty-four is two-tens-four and so on.
That difference means that Asian children learn to count much faster than American children. Four-year old Chinese children can count, on average, to forty. American children at that age can count only to fifteen, and most don't reach forty until they're five...
"The Asian system is transparent," says Karen Fuson, a Northwestern University psychologist who has closely studied Asian-Western differences. "I think that it makes the whole attitude toward math different. Instead of being a rote learning thing, there's a pattern I can figure out. There is an expectation that it's sensible. For fractions, we say thee-fifths. The Chinese literally "out of five parts, take three.' That's telling you conceptually what a fraction is. It's differentiating the denominator and the numberator."
...When it comes to math, in other words, Asians have a built-in advantage. But it's an unusual kind of advantage. For years, students from China, South Korea, and Japan - and the children of recent immigrants who are from those countries - have substantially outpreformed their Western counterparts at mathematics, and the typical assumption is tha tit has something to do with a kind of innate Asian proclivity for math. The psychologist Richard Lynn has even gone so far as to propose an elaborate evolutionary theory involving the Himalayas, really cold weather, premodern hunting practices, brain size, and specialized vowel sounds to explain why Asians have higher IQs. That's how we think about math. We assume that being good at things like calculus and algebra is a simple function of how smart someone is. But the differences between the number systems in the East and the West suggest something very different - that being good at math may also be rooted in a group's culture.
We sometimes think of being good at mathematics as an innate ability. You either have "it" or you don't. But to Schoenfeld, it's not so much ability as attitude. You master mathematics if you are willing to try. That's what Schoenfeld attempts to teach his students. Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds. Put a bunch of Renees in a classroom, and give them the space and time to explore mathematics for themselves, and you could go a long way. Or imagine a country where Renee's diffedness is not the exception, but a cultural trait, embedded as deeply as the culture of honor in the Cumberland Plateau. Now that would be a country good at math.
The most important consequence of the miracle of the garment industry, though, was what happened to the children growing up in those homes where meaningful work was practiced. Imagine what it was must have been like to watch the meteoric rise of Regina and Louis Borgenicht through the eyes of one of their offspring. They learned the same lesson that little Alex Williams would learn nearly a century later - a lesson crucial to those who wanted to tackle the upper reaches of a profession like law or medicine:† if you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires.
Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that
stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the
loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will
grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these,
if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.
To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to, achieve. Shall man's basest
desires receive the fullest measure of gratification, and his purest
aspirations starve for lack of sustenance? Such is not the Law: such
a condition of things can never obtain: "ask and receive."
How can we break bad habits and form healthy new ones? The Savior gives us insight into the process in the following magnificent parable.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
"Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
"Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."
(Luke 14: 28-30)
Most of us are great starters and poor finishers. We begin to "mock" at ourselves, to lose faith in our ability to keep the promises we make with ourselves.
We simply to do not sit down first and count the cost to see if we have sufficent to finish - sufficent desire, sufficient internal thrust. We try to lift off our launching pad without realistically calculating the "g's" (gravity pull) and the resistance of the atmosphere (our environment).
"There's a saying: 'Misery likes company.' So-called religious fanatics are so miserable that they want to create as much havoc in society as possible. They want others to join them in their misery."
"The yogi's interest is inner peace and self-realization and social harmony."