Maria Montessori's method for teaching new skills and concepts: Period 1: Identify the new objects for the child. (This is the biggest. This is the smallest. This is blue. This is red. This is 10. This is 100. This is 1000. You get the idea!) Period 2: Ask the child can you give me the blue one? The red one? The 10-bar? The biggest one? The smallest one? This is to encourage the child to recognize the differences at a concrete level. Period 3: Ask the child "Which one is this?" This is to encourage the child to recognize the concept at an abstract level.
The thermal laminator is hands-down the best thing I've bought, as far as Montessori material making is concerned. It's about $27 at Walmart and $25 at Costco (the Costco version comes with a whole bunch of laminating pouches, definitely a bargain!) Extra 9x12 laminating pouches are less than $8 for a pack of 20. Considering that I was constantly going to Kinkos and paying nearly $5 per sheet to laminate, this saves me a ton of money. In addition, it works so much better then the laminators at Kinkos! Love it!