Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Work Chart of the Winds

Montessori work chart of the winds

Today I presented the "Work Chart of the Winds."  Kal-el really liked it (that's his hand), Me Too was not a fan.  My Mom cut the little arrows and the sun for me out of card stock using her Cricut machine.  I highly recommend having a mom with a Cricut machine when stuff like this comes up.  Thanks Mom!

I do not recommend the charts I have (from ETC).  I used to just complain that some of the topics are hard to understand the way some of these charts are illustrated.  Today, however, I was frustrated by a missing chart, glaring errors on the two of the four charts I did have, and orientation.

I use Jessica's Keys of the Universe albums.  Her course actually now includes printable charts to go with the album.  They were not included yet at the time that I bought my charts several years ago.  For this lesson the KotU album uses four charts.  One shows the steady and variable winds when the sun is striking the Equator.  Another does the same for when the sun strikes the Tropic of Cancer.  Another does the same for when the sun strikes the Tropic of Capricorn. The Equator and the two tropics are logically SHOWN ON THE KotU CHART.  The sun is cut off on some of the charts, but that can be remedied.  There is also a working chart.  There are also precipitation charts for other parts of the lesson.

These ETC charts combine the precipitation onto the winds charts and I wish they didn't, but isn't a deal breaker.  However, the ETC set included no chart for when the sun strikes the Equator.  This makes it impossible to point out the changes that happen to steady and variable winds when the sun strikes one tropic or the other.  To add insult to injury, the chart for when the sun strikes the Tropic of Cancer and the chart for when the strikes the Tropic of Capricorn are erroneously IDENTICAL.  They moved the position of the sun but didn't bother to move any of the arrows for the wind. And, to make matters worse it's not as if you have one correct chart and one incorrect chart.  The winds are marked as if the sun is at the Equator so they are both wrong.

Sigh.  Fine.  I printed out Jessica's charts and used those to give the presentations.  I wanted to use the BIG BLANK chart from ETC though to mark the winds.  Problem number one was that the orientation is wrong.  It would be best if these particular charts were Pacific-centric like Jessica's and the ETC charts are Atlantic-centric.  It added an extra level of difficulty for Kal-El.  This might have been why I lost Me Too.  Problem number two was that the equator and the tropics are mysteriously unmarked.  These would have been nice to have.

I could just use the blank KotU work chart, but I feel like the printout is too small.  I'm going to try blowing it up at the copy shop and see how it turns out.

So, my charts are ETC Montessori LARGE charts purchased through Alison's.  I don't even think you can buy this set anymore.  I think Alison's now sells their own charts and ETC sells their own charts and the current ETC sets don't seem to come in this large 12x16 size.

Jessica recommends smaller (8" or 9" by 12" inch charts) for homeschool purposes.  They are easier to store and you aren't showing them to 30 kids at once.  But, I personally think the big charts make a big impression.  I love this size.  I talk more about these many times on my blog, but I think the first time was here.  You should be able to find the rest of my posts on them through the "impressionistic charts" tab at the bottom of the post.

There are a lot more choices now than there were when I bought charts.  When I was shopping years ago you either made them yourself or shelled out for Albanesi.  In hindsight, I should have purchased the Albanesi.  Now, there are a lot more choices.  Like I said, the Keys of the Universe albums include them, but they are a big enough part of your curriculum that it would be nice to buy a nice set.  I would be very tempted to buy the Montessori Research and Development sets (set one  and set two) if the size were larger.  I think the price is reasonable, they are printed on plastic, they look easy to understand, and from what I can tell everything looks correct.  I'd have to really look at them and use them to determine that.  Hear that MRD?  I would be happy to review these charts if you were to send me a set!  They only picture about half of the charts on their website, but you can see a lot more of them in the video.  The video also gives an idea of what the plastic might feel like.  It looks like a very flexible plastic.    The only thing holding me back is the size (9"x12").  There is nothing wrong with the size.  I just hesitate to sell my big charts and replace them with something so small.  However, I think the size is what is keeping the price reasonable.  And, to be fair, the Albanesi charts that are available are the same size.

My experiment with Instagram is going really well.  I have posted there every day this week (@whatdidwedoallday).


  1. Subliminal message to Jessica - be sure the files at KotU are all formatted large enough for proper printing onto larger paper. And offer them as already printed.
    Got it.


    Truly, I LOVE these posts of yours - lots of good, honest comparison - what is good, what doesn't work ;)

  2. Hi there, my name is Dana. I am the mom of a 9 year old girl I am planning to take out of public school to homeschool with Montessori. I was AMI trained at the CASA level, and taught in Montessori schools for 10 years, but that was some time ago, and elementary is a whole new ballgame for me! I am wondering if there is any way I would be able to get the Cultivating Dharma elementary albums? I looked this morning to download them and they are gone! :( Would you, or someone out there, be willing/able to share and perhaps email them to me?

    1. LOL, First lesson learned here is to ALWAYS download things like this, never count on being able to access them online forever. You can still download these. If you google "cultivating dharma" and "albums" the link to the page still comes up, it just takes you to the "page owner contact customer service" page. Instead, click on the little arrow that opens the CACHED version of the page. I just successfully clicked on the link to the math album on the cached page and easily downloaded the file. I opened and checked the downloaded file on my computer and it works perfectly.

    2. Got 'em! And lesson learned. Thank you so much! I just discovered your posts and I LOVE them! Thank you so much for sharing.
      Sincerely, Dana