Ms. Courtney’s May-June 2017 Newsletter

Classroom News

We started off May talking about the Solar System. The children learned the positions of the planets and their relative sizes and distances. They had a blast using 3D models of the sun and planets to put in order. We talked about how the sun is the biggest star and why it is so important. We discussed the different phases of the moon and made a classroom book of the phases during group lesson.

 

 

The second week of May we talked about dinosaurs and what their habitats were like then the children compared and ordered the size of the different dinosaurs feet. They learned different physical attributes of dinosaurs and their names. The children demonstrated an understanding of herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.

 

 

The third week of May we talked about transportation the children quickly developed an understanding that transportation means to carry things from one place to another. We named all the different methods of transportation like plane, car, boat, bike, horse, train, bus, subway, helicopter etc. The children also had a blast making their own stoplight and playing red light green light.

 

 

The children really enjoyed the last week of May when we talked about sports. The children used their gross motor skills to march, skip, gallop etc. They learned how to engage in imaginative and creative play indoors and outdoors involving their friends. We played a lot of games that involved team effort and good sportsmanship.

 

 

The first week of June we focused on summer games, activities, and experiments the children could do at home. We also talked a lot about summer safety rules while playing outside and playing with or in water. The children also practiced A LOT and setup for the talent show.

I hope everyone has a fabulous summer and I can’t wait to see all the smiling faces in the fall!

 

Academic Enrichment Group Time | Kindergarten

In kindergarten lesson we finished our work with grammar. We went over how interjections help a sentence show more emotions, and we went over when to use a . ? ! We then reviewed when we capitalize words in a sentence. We capitalize the beginning word of a sentence, proper nouns and “I”.

 

 

Reading Group | Kindergarten
By: Ms. Faith

In May, we finished a story about Timothy Town Mouse. It’s about a country mouse, Tommy who accidentally gets delivered with produce to a house in the city. He meets Timothy and his friends who live very differently than he does. Tommy gets home sick and doesn’t feel well from eating people’s scraps that have fallen on the floor. Timothy helps Tommy go back home, but is upset that Tommy didn’t want to stay. Timothy ends up visiting Tommy in the country, and doesn’t end up liking the country either. Even though the two mice are different and prefer different ways of living, they remain friends. After the readings, the kindergartners were able to act out a scene from the story, draw pictures of where they prefer to live, in the country or the city, and discussed why it’s ok to be friends with someone who likes different things than you. This was a great lesson for them to learn as they are getting ready to go into first grade and will be meeting new friends.
The next section we read together was poems called Companions. The poems were about friendship. We read about an adventure with Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, and a young child and his shadow. One of the kindergartners favorite activities from this section was from the poem about the boy and his shadow. The poem talked about the shadow always being there and how sometimes it was big and sometimes it was tiny. So, we went outside and looked at our shadows on the sidewalk. They moved around and saw how their shadows might change or stay the same. Then, they had to draw how they like their shadow; either big, small, or not there at all. The kindergartners grew a lot with their comprehension skills and reading skills over the school year with the reading group. They were able to read the underlined portions on their own or with little help. Thank you parents for your support with reading with your child on the weekends and helping them grow as young readers.

 

 

Science Enrichment

In science we made balloon rockets using string, straws and balloons. The children loved watching the rockets move across the string. They learned that to make an object move one way, a force has to work in the opposite direction.

 

 

 

During grandparents day the grandparents did an experiment with their grandchildren blowing a balloon up using baking soda, vinegar and a water bottle. The children and grandparents learned that there is a chemical reaction between the base {baking soda} and the acid {vinegar}. When the two ingredients mix together a gas is produced known as carbon dioxide or CO2. As the gas tries to leave the water bottle, it goes up into the balloon inflating it.

Our last science experiment of the year was unpoppable bubbles using corn syrup, water and dish soap. An unpoppable bubble is amazing because most bubbles usually burst when they come in contact with just about anything. Most bubble’s worst enemies are oil, dirt, and gravity. A “super” bubble or unpoppable bubble will bounce off of a surface if the surface is free of oil or dirt particles that would normally cause a break in the thin soap film of the bubble.

 

 

Art Enrichment
By: Ms. Faith

This past month in art was inspired by spring. Ms. Michele had the students make paper flower sculptures. The students made a circle out of a strip of paper for the middle, and then made tear drop shapes for the petals. They could use a pattern with the colors, use warm colors, or cool colors. The flowers turned out beautiful with all the different patterns and colors the students used. The next spring inspired artwork came from butterflies. The students learned about symmetry and how to paint a butterfly with symmetry since butterflies are identical on each side. Ms. Michele had them paint with watercolors. The third week we painted Vincent Van Gogh inspired flowers in a vase. The students learned about his painting technique. Vincent painted with short squiggly paint strokes because he wanted it to seem like is art was moving and alive. Ms. Michele placed vases with flowers in the middle of the table, and had the students draw on paper first, and then she showed them how to paint like Van Gough, and had them return to their seats to paint. The paintings turned out looking just like Van Gogh’s painting called Sunflowers.

To end a wonderful year filled with art, Ms. Michele had a Claude Monet inspired artwork planned for the young artists. They looked at his painting called Bridge Over Pond of Water Lilies. They learned about Impressionism, which is what style Claude Monet used. Impressionism is the use of dabs or small brush strokes of unmixed colors to simulate the actual reflection of light. The students did a wonderful job of recreating the outdoor scene, and I can say I was quite “impressed”, pun intended. Thank you Ms. Michele for all of your hard work this year, and we hope you have a wonderful summer!

 

 

Music Enrichment
By: Ms. Faith

In music class during the month of May, Ms. Lisa reviewed many of the concepts that she taught throughout the year. She reviewed what staccato and legato mean, sang about having a choice for your behavior, sang about being kind, sang about telling the truth. We sang about saying please and thank you, and sang about forgiveness. We used different instruments like bells, tambourines, and maracas. Ms. Lisa taught the students a new song called Let the Sun Shine In, which brought back memories for me, because my mom sang it to me when I was their age, and while we sang the song the students learned movement with scarves. To end the last music class for the year, Ms. Lisa played the game Cat and Mouse with the group since this is always a favorite. Thank you Ms. Lisa for another great year full of music and fun!

 


Ms. Courtney’s April 2017 Newsletter

Classroom

For most of the month of April we talked about the seven continents: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia. We learned that Africa, is where the elephants, giraffes and lions live. South America has tropical forests and one of the longest rivers in the world the Amazon River. North America is where we live. Europe and Asia are together on the map, but Australia is an island where the kangaroo and koala bear live. Last but not least Antarctica is way down below frozen and home to the penguins.

Our students worked hard learning about their country and songs to represent the continent of Asia and Australia.  What a great job they did at our International Festival! Thank you for all your support to help make this a great experience and event for our students.

The last week of April we celebrated earth day by focusing on the importance of taking care of the environment by recycling, reducing and reusing.

 

    

 

Kindergarten

In kindergarten lesson we learned more parts of speech. We learned that a pronoun (I, me, he, she, herself, you, it, that, they, each, few, many, who, whoever, whose, someone, everybody, etc.) is a word that takes the place of a noun. That an adjective describes a noun. Adverbs describe verbs. That conjunctions connect two sentences or phrases acting like a bridge.

 

Reading Group
By: Ms. Faith

In kindergarten reading group, we started of the month of April by reading poems about nature.  The first poem was about fall, and pumpkins. The students had to guess what time of the year the author was describing, and it was Halloween. The students drew a picture of the last day of October, which is Halloween. The next poem was about the wind; how strong it can be, and how calm and quiet it can be. For this poem, the students decided whether they liked when the wind was strong or gently, and drew a picture of their choice. Then I reread the poem and they acted out the wind while I read. The last poem we read together was about seashells. I read the poem aloud first in English, then in its original language, Spanish. The students had to answer questions about how they thought the author was feeling in the poem. How did the author feel about the sea? Why does the speaker only think of small fish? At the end, the group drew a map of what they would see on the bottom of the ocean.

 

 

 

The next story we read is called Feraj and the Magic Lute. It’s an Arabian folktale about a man who steals a lute because he thinks it will give him good fortune. The kindergartners had to draw how the young man in the story felt when he heard the music of the magic lute. Then, they got to act out a scene from the story. I usually read it multiple times so each student can have a turn being each character. They also created a song like the magic lute played in the story. For the last activity, the kindergartners had to decide if Feraj was happy or sad at the end of the story. They drew a picture of him, and explained their answer. We just started The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse by Beatrix Potter, and will be finishing it in May.

 

 

Science Enrichment
For the first week of April we put vinegar, dish soap and glitter in a Ziploc bag then added some baking soda and shook it really hard. We watched the Ziploc bag fill up and expand with a gas (carbon dioxide) until it exploded.

 

 

The second week of April we learned about surface tension! We filled a pan with water and sprinkled pepper in, then we added a drop of dish soap, we were amazed to see the pepper shoot to the side of the pan when the soap hit the water. We discovered the soap shoots to the side when soap touches the water because the soap is able to break down the surface tension of water. As the soap moves into the water, and the surface tension changes the water molecules still try to keep the surface tension going. So, the water molecules pull back away from the soap, and end up carrying the pepper along with them.

 

 

 

For the last week of April we did a traveling water experiment by taping string to the inside of one cup and placing the other side of the string freely into another cup, then we poured the water down the string to transfer it between cups. We learned that water molecules aren’t just attracted to other water molecules, but are attracted to molecules of other objects, and so they tend to stick to things such as the string in this experiment.

 

 

 

Music  Enrichment
By: Ms. Faith

In April, Ms. Lisa focused on singing songs about our character. The students sang and did motions to songs about telling the truth, about cooperating, saying please and thank you, and about being kind. The students participated in partner dances, and even learned a new song from Africa called Roll and Rock. Ms. Lisa always incorporates gross motor movement into her lessons. She sang Have You Ever Seen a Lassy, and the students picked a movement, such as skipping, galloping, and hoping to move around during the song. Another activity Ms. Lisa had for the students was to review what Staccato and Legato mean. Staccato notes are short and jumpy, whereas Legato notes are smooth and long. The students were given a castanet and a scarf to walk around in a circle while listening to a song. When the music played Staccato notes, the students played their castanet and ran on their tiptoes. When the music played Legato notes, the students moved in slow flowing motions with their scarves. Thank you Ms. Lisa for sharing all of your instruments for us to learn!

 

 

Art Enrichment
By: Ms. Faith

Ms. Michele had students finish their wooden frames that they painted one color, or monochromatic. To finish their frames, they picked out objects and painted them the complimentary color of the color they chose for their frames. Once the paint was dry, the students glued it on the frame to create an abstract piece of art. These pieces are hanging up on the bulletin board for your enjoyment! The next week, Ms. Michele introduced Pablo Picasso to the students. Pablo Picasso is known for his Cubism art works. He wanted to draw facial features from different angles and that is why the features on his people look different. To create their own Cubism inspired art works, Ms. Michele printed out pictures of facial features for the students to cut out and glue onto faces. Some of them had two noses, an eye looking sideways, and an eye looking forward. The students let their creativity flow, and created some great Picasso style faces.  To close up the month of April, Ms. Michele reviewed the color wheel with the class. They reviewed warm and cool colors, primary colors, secondary colors, and complimentary colors.  The young artists drew an owl using different shapes, and they had to use primary and secondary colors to fill in the shapes. After the owls were finished, the students drew details on their pages like a branch for the owl to sit on, or the moon in the background. We always look forward to what Ms. Michele has planned for art each month. Thank you for your hard work Ms. Michele!

 

 


Ms. Courtney’s May-June 2017 Monthly Overview

Ms. Courtney’s May/June 2017 Monthly Overview

What I will learn this Month in Ms. Courtney’s class:

Themes of the week | Classroom group lesson time (in addition to individual Montessori Work time)

5/01:    Solar System

  • The children will learn the positions of the Planets and their relative sizes and distances.
  • The children will discover why and how Earth is distinctive.
  • The children will learn the role of the Sun.
  • The children will learn the terms rotation, revolution, and orbit.
  • The children will be able to name the planets in the Solar System and the order they are in.

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Read a book about constellations and discuss how constellations have been used. Trace different constellations.
  • Read about astronauts, create a space helmet, and try astronaut food (freeze dried ice cream)

5/08:    Dinosaurs

  • The children will be able to identify dinosaurs by name.
  • The children will recognize the different physical attributes of dinosaurs.
  • The children will demonstrate understanding of herbivores and carnivores.
  • The children will compare and contrast dinosaurs to modern animals.
  • The children will demonstrate understanding of fossils.
  • The children will identify that museums are places in communities where artifacts can be viewed.
  • Grandparent’s Day May 10th
  • Mom’s and Muffins May 12th 7:00am-8:00am

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Read about different types of dinosaurs and make a dinosaur book.
  • Make dinosaur soap.

 

5/15:    Transportation

  • The children will become familiar with what transportation is: to carry things from one place to another.
  • The children will learn the different methods of travel.
  • The children will learn the safety rules for all methods of transportation.

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Play Red Light Green Light.
  • Read and discuss about different types of transportation, then create a traffic light craft.

 

5/22: Sports

  • The children will work on gross motor skills by marching, skipping, galloping etc.
  • The children will gain the skills needed to engage in imaginative and creative play indoors and outdoors, involving others.
  • The children will develop team work with peers.
  • Akron Zoo Field Trip May 26th

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Read and discuss about different sports and play Wall Football
  • Read and discuss what teamwork means, and participate in a hula hoop team game.

 

5/29: Welcome Summer and Camping

  • The children will learn some outside summer games and activities.
  • The children will experiment with water.
  • The children will learn about summer safety.
  • Memorial Day | NO SCHOOL May 29th
  • Last day of school / Field Day | NO Aftercare June 1st
  • Kindergarten Graduation June 2nd 6:30pm to 8:00pm
  • Progress Reports June 5th

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Sing Going on a Bear Hunt and make a binocular craft.
  • Make trail mix together and read stories under a “blanket tent”

 

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

Vowels A E I O U

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

5/01: Some

5/08:  Time

5/15: Write

5/22: People

5/29: Many

Synonym Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

5/01: UNDER, below, beneath, underneath

5/08: QUICK, fast, swift, rapid, speedy, hasty

5/15: NEAT, tidy, clean, arranged, well-ordered

5/22: LOOK, see, glance, stare, gaze

5/29: FUNNY, silly, playful, crazy, foolish

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Visit a local museum.
  • Take a walk and see how many different forms of transportation you can spot.
  • Go to a baseball game.
  • Look at the sky with a telescope at night.

 


Ms. Courtney’s March 2017 Newsletter

Classroom News:

The first week of March we learned all about insects. The children learned how to identify animals belonging in the insect category and those that do not. They learned the main parts of an insect and the preschoolers made a beautiful diagram to display in the classroom.


For the second week of March we talked about plants and flowers. The children discovered the four elements needed to grow a plant soil, seeds, sun and water. They also learned the word photosynthesis! We planted flowers to watch grow in the classroom.


The last week of March we talked about butterflies and caterpillars. Students had a blast learning about how butterflies go through stages of growth and change called a life cycle.


I hope everyone enjoyed their spring break and is ready to get back into the swing of things!


Academic Enrichment Group Time | Kindergarten

The kindergartners started March by learning about nouns and verbs. Nouns are people, places, and things. Verbs are action words or something you can do. We also learned that there are three articles, a, an, the.  We learned that “a” hooks up with consonants, “an” is very picky and only hooks up with vowels. And “the” is not picky at all and hooks up with anything!


Reading Group | Kindergarten
-with Ms. Faith

In reading group, the kindergartners read a folk tale called Rabbit and Guinea Fowl Get Justice. This story was about a rabbit who did not work hard to keep his farm up, and became jealous of a guinea fowls farm that produced good fruits and vegetables. The rabbit decided to take over his farm and lie that the guinea fowls farm was his. At the end, Guinea fowl tricks Rabbit by taking his own vegetables back. This story taught a lesson about hard work, and that you can’t take other peoples things when they work hard. Along with answering questions and practicing reading aloud, the kindergartners created puppets of the characters from the story to use while acting out a scene, they drew pictures depicting what they thought Rabbit would do on his farm at the end of the story, and whether or not they thought the village chief was wise. In April, we will start a series of poems about different seasons.

 

Science Enrichment
-by Ms. Courtney

In the month of March we enjoyed our skittles experiment! We did a skittles science experiment that was very simple. We set up skittles around the edge of a shallow bowl in a rainbow order, then we added about a 1/2 inch of warm water. The skittles started to dissolve pretty quickly because skittles are made of ingredients that are prone to dissolve in water. At first this made a skittles rainbow but eventually all the colors blended together to make brown and the skittles were totally dissolved.


Art Enrichment
-by Ms. Faith

To kick off the month of March, the students made a sun catcher with the image of a sun. Ms. Michele drew inspiration from an artist named Don Drumm, a local artist from Akron. He creates sculptures and pieces of artwork using the image of the sun. To create the sun catcher, the young artists drew the sun first on tracing paper, and then they used primary colored paints to blend together to make rainbow colors. The paint was a tempera and glue mix to make the paint thicker and bolder. This was a great reminder that spring will be around the corner. To end the month, Ms. Michele had the students build a small pallet out of Popsicle sticks to create a base for their sculpture. Then, they were given small pieces of wood in different shapes and sizes to glue on the pallet. After the glue dried some, Ms. Michele reviewed the term monochromatic (one color) with the class, and allowed them to choose one color of paint to paint their sculpture.


Music Enrichment
-by Ms. Faith

This last month Ms. Lisa taught the students some new songs about character building. We talked about what it meant to tell the truth, what it means to forgive, and how to share. After the discussion Ms. Lisa taught them the new song for each characteristic. Some of the new songs had sign language to go with the words, which the students enjoyed learning. Throughout the month, the students gained experience playing tambourines, bells, maracas, and rhythm sticks.  In music class the young musicians were able to sing some classics such as, Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink and John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

 

 


April 2017 Academic Enrichment Overview | Tallmadge Campus

Our Academic Enrichment time is daily from 12:00-1:00pm. This time is specifically designed for our Kindergarten students to join as a group to work and progress through the advanced materials and lessons in the Montessori primary curriculum with Ms. Courtney. During this time Ms. Courtney also gives additional handwriting and journaling lessons. Throughout the school day in their classroom they are still working individually with their classroom teachers on these and other materials at their level. Please read through what we will be covering during this time together below.

Reading Group Overview | Ms. Faith
Junior Great Books is a foundational reading program that introduces students to a variety of literary genres, while teaching critical thinking and comprehension skills. Our Kindergarten students meet twice a week as a small reading group. During this time, they listen to a story being read to them and take turns reading the story aloud. Students pause during readings to think critically about the story, identify the different parts of the story, such as the characters and main ideas, make predictions about what might happen next, and learn new vocabulary words, using the context to understand the meaning. Each week I will email information about the current story and any assignment information for at home work.

4/03: Pronouns

  • Rules of the pronouns
  • Worksheets, grammar symbols, diagramming sentences

4/10: Introduction to Adjectives

  • Rules of the adjectives
  • Worksheets, grammar symbols, diagramming sentences

4/17:  Introduction to Adverbs

  • Rules of the adverbs
  • Worksheets, grammar symbols, diagramming sentences

4/24: Introduction to Prepositions

  • Rules of the prepositions
  • Worksheets, grammar symbols, diagramming sentences

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

4/03: That

4/10:  Not

4/17: See

4/24: Big

Synonym Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

4/03: NICE, friendly, courteous, good, pleasant, charming

4/10: SNEAKY, underhanded, dishonest, tricky, secretive, sly

4/17: BRIGHT, shiny, glowing, dazzling, lighted, vivid

4/24: DULL, dark, dreary, somber, boring, tedious

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
  • Practice using the different synonyms of the week in a sentence together.
  • Practice identifying different parts of speech when reading together.

I will be sending homework home to reinforce these lessons. Please turn homework into Ms. Courtney. Please email me if you have any questions:  cowens@thesmarterkids.com


Ms. Courtney’s April 2017 Monthly Overview

What I will learn this month in Ms. Courtney’s class:

Themes of the week | Classroom group lesson time (in addition to individual Montessori Work time)

4/03:    International festival

  • The children will learn about the geography, culture, and language of North America and South America.
  • Friday, April 7th | Dads n Donuts

Afternoon Group Time:

  • We will read about Vikings and then learn a game that they used to play.
  • We will read about Canada and then play Hockey which is a popular sport in Canada.
  • We will read about France and play the French version of Hopscotch which is played on a spiral shaped board.
  • Read a book about England, discuss the English tradition of tea time, then have an English tea party with tea and crumpets.
  • Discuss letter of the week and its sound, learn letters and letter sounds with sign language through Visual Phonics, and complete a letter X craft.

4/10:    International festival

  • The children will learn about the geography, culture, and language of Europe and Africa.
  • Friday, April 14th | NO SCHOOL | Easter break

Afternoon Group Time:

  • We will read about an African nation and then play a board game that originated in Africa.
  • We will read about an African nation and play a game of teamwork that originated in Africa.
  • Discuss letter of the week and its sound, learn letters and letter sounds with sign language through Visual Phonics, and complete a letter Y craft.
  • Learn how to say hello in different languages.

4/17:    International festival

  • The children will learn about the geography, culture, and language of Asia, Antarctica and Australia.
  • Monday, April 17th | NO SCHOOL | Easter break
  • Wednesday, April 19th | International Festival Rehearsal
  • Friday, April 21st | International Festival 

Afternoon Group Time:

  • We will read about Rome and learn how to play marbles which was a popular game in Rome.
  • We will read about Australia and learn a popular game from Australia played with marbles
  • Read about Latin American countries and discuss their culture of music, then make homemade maracas.
  • Discuss letter of the week and its sound, learn letters and letter sounds with sign language through Visual Phonics, and complete a letter Z craft.

4/24: Recycle/Reduce/Reuse

  • The children will understand the importance of taking care of the environment.
  • The children will practice ways to reduce waste in the classroom and at home.
  • The children will become more environmentally aware in their daily activities.
  • The children will learn the terms recycle, reduce, and reuse.

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Talk about how harmful pollution is to the Earth, and complete the “Who Polluted the River” activity.
  • Talk about ways to reuse everyday items instead of being wasteful and complete a water bottle fish craft.

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

4/03: Xx

4/10: Yy

4/17: Zz

4/24: Vowels

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

4/03: That

4/10:  Not

4/17: See

4/24: Big

Synonym Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

4/03: NICE, friendly, courteous, good, pleasant, charming

4/10: SNEAKY, underhanded, dishonest, tricky, secretive, sly

4/17: BRIGHT, shiny, glowing, dazzling, lighted, vivid

4/24: DULL, dark, dreary, somber, boring, tedious

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Use reusable grocery bags.
  • Use a refillable water bottle.
  • Use natural light when applicable.

Ms. Courtney’s February Newsletter


Classroom

The first week of February the children learned about all the different types of pets and how to care for them. To wrap the week up the children made Valentine’s Day bags and heart wreaths at their Valentine’s Day party. I would like to thank all of the parents who made the party possible! As always it was very organized and successful.

The second week of February the children learned how George Washington was a great man, the father of our country, who led in war and peace. They discovered that Abraham Lincoln was also known as “Honest Abe”. The children organized the presidents from George Washington to Donald Trump and discovered that we have had 45 presidents.

   

The third week of February we discussed how different foods and drinks can affect our dental hygiene. We learned that our teeth get sad and full of tooth decay from sweets and soda and get happy and shiny and bright from brushing and eating healthy foods. The children played a game called pass the cavity, when the cavity landed on them they had to go to the dentist.

 

The last week of February we talked about Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. The children loved coming to school dressed up with their hats, silly socks, and wockets in their pockets! My favorite dress up day was Oh The Places You’ll Go I loved seeing what everyone wanted to be when they grew up.

 

Kindergarten

We started out the month of February by introducing fractions. We learned that we can divide anything as long as it can be divided into equal parts. Even our kindergarten class can be divided! We then learned about different shapes. We knew that a triangle has three sides but we learned that a triangle with three equal sides is called an equilateral triangle, with two equal sides is an isosceles, and with no equal sides it is called a scalene triangle. Any shape with four sides is a quadrilateral.  Some examples include a square, rectangle, rhombus, trapezoid, and a chevron. We learned all about agons like pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, and decagon. The kindergarteners then started their grammar unit by learning their five vowels and what isn’t a vowel is a consonant. We learned a fun song to the tune of BINGO there are five letters that I know and vowel are their name O’s A,E,I,O,U  A,E,I,O,U   A,E,I,O,U  and vowels are their name O’s.

 

Reading Group

By: Ms. Faith

In February, the kindergartners received a new reading series called the Dragon Series. This series is set up just the same as the Sailing Ship series we have been reading since the beginning of the school year. The first story we read was The Princess and the Frog by the Brothers Grimm. In this story, a young beautiful Princess accidentally drops her favorite ball down a well, and becomes very distraught. A frog appears out of the well and starts to talk to her. He tells her that if he brings the ball to her then she must play with him, eat with him, and let him sleep in her bed. The young Princess agrees, but doesn’t believe that the frog would actually leave the well. The frog does in fact leave the well, and shows up at her castle that evening. She refuses to let him in because she is disgusted at the thought of playing with a slimy, cold frog. When her father hears of the situation, he makes her invite the frog in, because she made a promise and promises shouldn’t be broken. She ends up following through with her promise even if it is with an unwilling heart. One morning, the frog jumps out of her bed, and ends up turning into a handsome young Prince. They end up becoming best of friends, and the story even hints that they may get married in the future.

This story has a couple of lessons that the kindergartners learned from the princess. This lesson is that we should never go back on our promises, and if someone treats us with kindness, we should not treat them wrong because of how they look. The students got to participate in art activities where they had to draw what was the hardest part for the Princess, what they think the Princess and Prince enjoy doing together after he becomes the Prince. They also had to answer evaluative questions like, “Why must the Princess be playmates with the frog before the spell over him can be broken?”, and “Why does the Princess think that a talking frog ‘could never be a playmate to a human being’?” The kindergartners favorite part was getting to act out a scene from the story. They took turns being the frog, the Princess, and the King.

Science

Our first science experiment in February was to see if we could balance a ping pong ball using a hair dryer. We discovered the ping pong ball floated gently above the hair dryer without shifting sideways or flying across the other side of the room. This is because the airflow from the hair dryer pushes the ping pong ball upwards until its upward force equals the force of gravity pushing down on it. When it reaches this point it gently bounces around, floating where the upward and downward forces are equal. The child even had the opportunity to see if they could float 2 or even 3 ping pong balls as an extra challenge during work time.

 

The next experiment we did we poked sharp pencils through a Ziploc bag full of water, and discovered no water spilled out the holes because the Ziploc bag was made of a polymer. Polymers have long chains of molecules that are flexible. When we poked the sharp pencils through the bag, the pencil slid in between the chain of molecules that make up the polymer. The molecule chains made a seal around the pencil that wouldn’t let any of the water out.

For the third science experiment we filled glasses with different amounts of water. Each glass had a different tone when hit with the pencil, the glass with the most water had the lowest tone while the glass with the least water had the highest tone. The children learned that small vibrations are made when we hit the glass, this created sound waves which traveled through the water. More water meant slower vibrations so a deeper tone.

The last week of February we poured the same amount of water into two different clear plastic containers. Then we added the same amount of oil to the containers. We watched as the oil raised to the top of both containers. This occurred because the oil became lighter than the water. We then placed one of the containers in the freezer for a couple of hours. After we took the container out of the freezer we saw that the water moved to the top of the oil, because the water was now a solid and as it expanded it also became less dense than the oil.

Music

By: Ms. Faith

This past month, Ms. Lisa focused on what a piano is. She brought in her piano synthesizer and let the students explore it. We learned that a piano has white keys and black keys. Each student got a turn to play either the black or white keys to make up their own song. Ms. Lisa played the high keys, and the low keys to distinguish the difference between high and low notes. Since her key board is a synthesizer, Ms. Lisa would play different instrument sounds for the group, and the students had to guess what sounds she was playing. Some of the instrument sounds were trumpet, violin, guitar, and drums.

Ms. Lisa also reintroduced a game that is a student favorite here. It is called Cat and Mouse. One student is picked to be that “cat”, and all the rest of the students are the “mice”. Ms. Lisa places cheese in front of the “cat” for the “mice” to go and get. On her piano synthesizer, Ms. Lisa plays a song in high notes for the “mice” to go out of their mouse hole and grab the cheese. Once she plays the song in low notes, the “cat” comes in and tries to catch the “mice” before the get back to their hole. If someone is tagged, he or she becomes a “cat” as well. The students have so much fun tagging their friends, and are practicing listening skills, patience, and control in this game.

Art

By: Ms. Faith

Ms. Michele spent the month of February on a unit of weaving work. At the end of January she introduced paper weaving to get the students started with the idea of the pattern of weaving. Then, she moved in to a little more advanced weavings. She brought in her own personal weaving works to show the students different types of weaving art. Each student was able to use a small loom that Ms. Michele made to create his or her own textile artwork. A textile artwork is a decorative or practical piece that is made from plant, animal, or synthetic fibers. The younger students picked out different types of ribbon to use for their weavings, while the older students used different color yarn. Their weavings turned out beautifully and are hanging up on display on the bulletin board in the entrance. Make sure to check out their handiwork!

 

March 2017 Academic Enrichment Overview | Tallmadge Campus

Academic Enrichment Overview | Tallmadge Campus


Our Academic Enrichment time is daily from 12:00-1:00pm. This time is specifically designed for our Kindergarten students to join as a group to work and progress through the advanced materials and lessons in the Montessori primary curriculum with Ms. Courtney. During this time Ms. Courtney also gives additional handwriting and journaling lessons. Throughout the school day in their classroom they are still working individually with their classroom teachers on these and other materials at their level. Please read through what we will be covering during this time together below.

Reading Group Overview | Ms. Faith
Junior Great Books is a foundational reading program that introduces students to a variety of literary genres, while teaching critical thinking and comprehension skills. Our Kindergarten students meet twice a week as a small reading group. During this time, they listen to a story being read to them and take turns reading the story aloud. Students pause during readings to think critically about the story, identify the different parts of the story, such as the characters and main ideas, make predictions about what might happen next, and learn new vocabulary words, using the context to understand the meaning. Each week I will email information about the current story and any assignment information for at home work.

In March we will be reading a folktale from West Africa called Guinea Fowl and Rabbit Get Justice, and we will start a poetry series called Nature Speaks. The kindergartners will be completing art activities, writing activities, dramatizations, learning unfamiliar vocabulary, and answering analytical questions that go a long with the readings.

3/06: Parts of Speech/ Grammar

  • Introduction to nouns and their rules (name of a person, place, thing or idea)
  • Introduction to verbs and their rules (action word or something you do)
  • Vowels, consonants and their rules
  • Using worksheets, diagramming sentences and sandpaper letters

3/13: Parts of Speech/ Grammar

  • Introduction to the article (a kind of adjective always used with and gives information about a noun)
  • A definite article is the word “the”
  • An indefinite article is the word “a” or “an”
  • Using worksheets, diagramming sentences and sandpaper letters

3/20:  Articles

  • Rules of the articles
  • Worksheets, grammar symbols, diagramming sentences

3/27: SPRING BREAK

 

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

3/06: go

3/13: we

3/20: in

 

Synonym Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

3/06: HEALTHY, hearty, athletic, sound, strong, fit

3/13: SICK, weak, unhealthy, ailing, infected, frail

3/20: MEAN, selfish, unkind, malicious, hurtful

 

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
  • Practice using the different synonyms of the week in a sentence together.

  I will be sending homework home to reinforce these lessons. Please turn homework into Ms. Courtney. Please email me if you have any questions:  cowens@thesmarterkids.com


Ms. Courtney’s March 2017 Monthly Overview

 What I will learn this Month in Ms. Courtney’s class:

 Themes of the week | Classroom group lesson time (in addition to individual Montessori Work time)

 3/06:    Insects

  • The children will identify animals that belong in the insect category and those that do not.
  • The children will learn there are over five million different kinds of insects in the world.
  • The children will identify the main parts of an insect.
  • The children will learn ways insects can be helpful and ways insects can be harmful.
  • March 8th DINO-LIGHT field trip Playhouse Square
  • March 10th Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-Elementary Conferences

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Watch Visual Phonics video to learn letters and letter sounds with Sign Language, and complete a letter U craft.
  • Learn about lady bugs and complete a lady bug craft.
  • Diagram of an Insect- We will watch a video clip about insects and create a diagram labeling the parts of an insect.
  • Insects Can, Have, and Are Chart- We will fill in a chart about insects using verbs, nouns, and adjectives.
  • Shape Insects- We will use our imagination and pre-cut shapes to create our own insects.

 

3/13:    Plants and Flowers

  • The children will discuss the four elements needed to grow a plant. Soil, seeds, sun and water.
  • The children will observe and describe similarities and differences in the appearance and behavior of plants and flowers.
  • The children will identify major structures of plants (seeds, roots, stems, leaves).
  • The children will understand the life cycle of plants and flowers and what they need to grow.
  • The children will discover that plants provide resources for clothing, food, and oxygen.
  • Saturday, March 18th Mother/Son, Father/Daughter Dance 2-4

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Watch Visual Phonics video to learn letters and letter sounds with Sign Language, and complete a letter V craft.
  • Observe a Venus Fly Trap and learn about where they live, what they eat, and how to take care of one.
  • All About Plants Chart- We will discuss different characteristics of plants and create a chart explaining the characteristics.
  • Jack and the Beanstalk- We will read Jack and the Beanstalk and then grow our own beanstalk in a plastic bag.
  • Diagram of a Flower- We will discuss the parts of a flower and what a flower needs in order to survive then create a diagram explaining the topic.

 

3/20:    Butterflies and Caterpillars

  • The children will discover that butterflies go through stages of growth & changes called life cycles.
  • The children will design a butterfly of their own using shapes and creativity.
  • The children will create a mobile to represent each stage of the Life Cycle of the Butterfly.
  • March 24th Pajama and Show-N-Tell Day

Afternoon Group Time:

  • Watch Visual Phonics video to learn letters and letter sounds with Sign Language, and complete a letter W craft
  • Act out the life cycle of a butterfly and create a butterfly craft.
  • Butterfly Life Cycle- We will learn a song about the life cycle of a butterfly and then create a diagram about it.
  • Symmetry- We will discuss what symmetry is and create a butterfly with symmetrical wings.
  • Puffy Caterpillars- We will create caterpillars out of popsicle sticks and pompoms.

 

3/27-3/31: SPRING BREAK

 

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

3/06: Uu

3/13: Vv

3/20: Ww

 

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

3/06: go

3/13: we

3/20: in

 

Synonym Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

3/06: HEALTHY, hearty, athletic, sound, strong, fit

3/13: SICK, weak, unhealthy, ailing, infected, frail

3/20: MEAN, selfish, unkind, malicious, hurtful

 

Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Take a walk and see how many insects you can spot.
  • Plant a flower or garden.
  • Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
  • Take a walk and see how many butterflies and caterpillars you can spot
  • Make dinner with foods that start with the letter of the week.

 

 


Ms. Courtney’s January 2017 Newsletter Article

Classroom News

We kicked off January by talking about all the different polar animals. The children enjoyed waddling around the classroom like penguins. Sorting different arctic animals and moving across the room like they do. The kids even got to use our scooters to swim through the water like penguins hunting for fish.

The second week in January we learned all about ocean animals. We learned about things that exist in an ocean habitat like sand, small shells, smooth stones, seaweed, coral etc. We had fun creating a Venn Diagram to discuss the similarities and differences between whales and sharks. The kids also discovered there are different zones of the ocean and different animals live in each. We sorted animals that live in the ocean from animals that live on land. The kids had the opportunity to enjoy a game of sharks and minnows.

After having Martin Luther King Jr. Day off we talked about how he was a hero because he was brave and honest. We shared who are heroes are and who we’d like to be like someday with the most popular answers being either Mom or Dad. We discussed how MLK made a speech and worked hard toward peace because back then people were treated badly if they did not have the same color skin. Each child made a picture of what their dream was and wrote about it. The kids helped create a friendship heart, a “Peace Dove” and a hand print peace sign for the classroom.

The next week we talked about tigers, lions, chimpanzees, kangaroos, elephants etc. Some of our friends even invited their favorite zoo stuffed animals to school to spend the day with them during work time, line time, recess, lunch and snack. We took turns playing Build a Penguin game which taught us how to count, visually match, take turns, and the different parts of a penguin. The kids made peacocks out of construction paper and a coffee filter, which turned out really cute. We enjoyed learning what creatures would be in our students’ zoo if they ran a zoo.

The last week of January we had a blast talking about all the different types of farm animals and what each farm animal provides for us. We talked about where milk comes from and what else we can get from farms like fruits, vegetables and grains. We even had the chance to milk a fake cow using gloves as the cow’s udders. The kids made a pig out of the letter P. We learned about different farm animals and created a diagram explaining what each animal is used for on the farm. We also discussed the different farm animals and place them in their homes on the farm. The kids learned that there are different types of farmers and they each have different jobs they do on the farm.

 

Academic Enrichment | Kindergarten

The kindergarten students worked hard on learning both static and dynamic addition and multiplication using the golden beads. They have even started working on more abstract materials like the stamp game and dot board to solve problems.

 

Reading Group | Kindergarten
with Ms. Faith

The kindergartners finished up a story called Lion and School. This a story of a lion who wants to go to school with a little girl. He ends up helping her stand up to some bullies. After every reading, the group participated in an activity. They got to create a lion mask and then acted out a scene from the story. The kindergartners drew a picture of where they would like to take the lion, and they had to draw a picture of how the little girl acts on the playground after the lion has left.

The next story we read together was Coyote Rides the Sun. This is a Native American folktale about why the coyote’s tale and back are black. The coyote wants to be the chief of the animal people and thinks by riding the sun, they will respect him and make him chief. The kindergartners got to draw a picture of the coyote riding the sun, and why the coyote was able to ride the sun. For the last day, the students got to pick an animal from the story to pretend to be. They held a village meeting to vote whether they were going to make the coyote their chief or not, and what their reason was.

Science Enrichment

We conducted a blubber science experiment by first putting our bare hands in a bucket of ice water. Then we made a blubber glove using Crisco and Ziploc bags, when we placed our hands back in the ice water with the blubber glove on the fat from the Crisco protected the kids skin from the cold. This is how we discovered that whales, seals and walruses all have a layer of fat called blubber to insulate their bodies from the freezing water.

We made waves in the bottle and discovered that on our planet waves happen when our earth spins on its axis and water is pulled by gravity across the geological formations of the ocean floor. When we moved the bottle we got to see the energy move through the water to make waves, just like out in the deep blue sea!

During the week of MLK we took two eggs one white the other brown that have not been cooked and compared their similarities and differences on the outside and took a guess as to whether they will be the same or different on the inside. We determined even though different on the outside, they were the same on the inside, just like people!

We made an aluminum foil boat then placed it in a pan with water, after that we added a drop of dish soap behind the boat. The boat started moving forward because the soap was breaking up the surface tension in the water behind the aluminum foil. The surface tension then pulled the boat forward.

We did more experiments with surface tension by taking two pennies, one with a drop of dish soap on it and the other with nothing on it. We placed drops of water on the pennies to see which penny could hold more water. We discovered that the plain penny was able to hold much more water than the dish soap penny did. This is because the plain penny had a higher surface tension, so the surface is “stronger” and could hold together a larger number of drops Adding soap to the top of the penny lowered the water’s surface tension so the drops becomes weaker and broke apart sooner and easier.

Art Enrichment
Ms. Faith

In January, the young artists were able to experience creativity with clay. To start their creative juices flowing, Ms. Michele showed the class pictures of imaginary creatures such as, Centaurs, Griffins, and a Pegasus. The students then picked two or three pictures of animals they wanted to combined, and drew a made up creature, or imaginary creature as Ms. Michele calls this activity. The next week, student formed an armature out of foil, which is the inside part of a sculpture to create the body. Now it was time to get their hands on some clay. Ms. Michele showed them how to make some basic forms called a coil, which looks like a snake, and a slab, which looks like a flat, round, disk. Then the students smoothed the clay over their armature to start forming their creature. Once the armatures were covered, the class was able to add details like feet, wings, tails, and ears. Ms. Michele backed the creations, and the next week the young artists painted their imaginary creatures with tempera paint. This is always the best part, because we really see their creations come to live with colors. When everyone was finished, Ms. Michele gathered everyone in to a circle and the students shared their creature. They shared the creatures name, where it lived, and what the creature eats with the class.

On the last class of the month, Ms. Michele started a paper-weaving project. Students colored strips of paper, and then weaved them onto a large piece of paper. This project is great practice for fine motor skills, concentration, and hand-eye coordination.

Thank you Ms. Michele for your hard work, and creativity for our students. We are always excited to go to art class and to learn different art techniques.

Music Enrichment
Ms. Faith

This past month in music class, Ms. Lisa shared the story of Peter and the Wolf by Sergi Prokofiev.  The story is a musical symphony that was commissioned by the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow in 1936. Each character in the story is represented by a different instrument; the flute is used to copy the sound of the bird, the cat is represented by the slinking sound of the clarinet, the oboe plays a smooth sound that reminds the listener of the duck swimming gracefully on the water, the character of Peter’s grandfather has a bassoon which plays low and slow notes, and the hunters’ melody is loud and in a marching tempo with the woodwind instruments and timpani drums. Now the villain of the story, the wolf, has a sharp sneaky song that is played with the French horn, and last but not least, Peter, who is the hero, has the stringed instruments to play his triumphant and heroic theme.

The students enjoyed the story and learning about the different instruments and their sounds.  I was amazed at how well the children could recall which instrument played for the different characters each week.  Peter and the Wolf is a very exciting symphony, which captivated the students’ attention and was able to expose the group to many different instruments.