I hope everyone is enjoying peeking into our South America Continent Bin! Today I wanted to give you a closer look at the items we were blessed to receive for review from the Montessori Print Shop.
We selected the "South America Geography Folder" and the three-part cards of "South American Foods." Both are available with either a pink colored border around each image (to link them with the pink South America on the Montessori globe), or with no border. I chose no border. One of the activities we do with our continent boxes is mix the contents of two or more boxes together and sort out which continent the items belong to. The border kind of defeats the purpose for us.
Both sets of materials arrive as a digital file in your e-mail. I spent about an hour-and-a-half printing, cutting and laminating. It was nice to save the time pilfering images from the internet and formatting them on my own.
The images in the South America Geography folder provide a good jumping-off point for stimulating interest in discussing many topics. I put just five of the 20 cards in the box to start.
For example, the picture of the grocery store led to a discussion of how our grocery store is different than the on in the picture and then to a discussion of how the foods pictured were the same or different.
Each image has full sentence describing the photo beneath the image...handy for Mom and great for fostering independent work among the readers in a classroom. Twenty images is a really good number for these. Twenty allows me to have a good selection in the box with several more groups for switching out.
They are the perfect size. 5x7 is small enough to fit easily in a folder or shoe box (as are typical) but large enough not to get mixed with the three-part cards, easy to view, and provide some visual variety to the works.
The three-part-cards of South American foods is a BIG work. TWENTY THREE types of food have been selected (69 pieces to cut and laminate). It is a big pile. WAY too much for my little guys. However, this is a work that can grow with them through elementary. As we focus on individual countries we should be able to pull up a food for just about all of them. Later, when they learn Spanish, we will be able to revisit these again as well.
For now, I just put out six of the foods that I could actually describe to them. I think that this material could be improved if it came with a glossary that described the foods in the pictures (and maybe the pronunciation). You simply cannot just show kids cards like this without telling them what it is called and them asking "what is that?"
Since most of the foods look like some kind of stew of some sort either in a bowl, poured over something, or wrapped in something I have no idea what to tell them...and I had a million years of Spanish. The name of the food doesn't often actually describe what it is (my favorite example has always been "ropa vieja"). A lot of the food names are Mayan or other indigenous languages. Others are in Portuguese. Needless to say, I have a lot of work left to do Googling all these and making myself a glossary so I can answer their questions about what they would be eating. I also need to make a pronunciation chart. Unless the name is in straight up Spanish I have no idea how to say the words. I can't really use the cards without being able to tell the boys the names of what they are looking at. I can understand why that is not included as Montessori Print Shop supplies materials internationally and what serves as a pronunciation guide in one language will not serve in another.
All-in-all, these are a welcome addition to our South America work and the prices at Montessori Print Shop are low enough that I can return to them to purchase printables guilt-free.