A Peek at Our Week | Elementary| Week of May 28

“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.” – Maria Montessori

This week we spent most mornings sharing different creations. First graders shared their astronomer and planet research, second, third, and fourth year students shared their Imaginary Islands and the history of those islands, third year students shared their “Build My Block” geometry projects, and our fourth year student shared his Early Human Research Report that he has been writing throughout the year. It is wonderful to see the difference in quality and imagination in projects, as well as with public speaking, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

These third year students are showing their classmates the Imaginary Islands they created. Each student needed to use their knowledge of geographic features to make an island that included ten features around the coast and at least five features inside their island. Each student then needed to view aerial photos of islands to make sure they were shading their island correctly. Students then wrote histories of how their islands were discovered and provided more information about the features of their islands.
Throughout the fourth grade year, students study Early Humans. This student has studied Australopithecines through Homo sapiens. While discussing each group of humans, he compiled information he had learned. After studying Homo sapiens, he combined all of his information into a research report along with drawings of the tools these groups of humans used.
Throughout their first grade year, these students studied the planets in our solar system. At the end of their planet research, each student chose an astronomer to learn more about. Students chose astronomers like Ptolemy, Aristarchus, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.

We had SO much fun at Field Day. Thank you, parents, for making an event like this possible! We couldn’t have done it without you. Although it is sad to say goodbye to some friends for a few months and some for a little longer, it is such a pleasure to spend so much time with all of your children. I learn something new every single day from your children and know they are going to make our world a better place. Have a wonderful summer!


A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 21

We just wrapped up our final full week of the school year! We can’t believe it! This week the first years started a chart to share all their knowledge of the external characteristics of vertebrates and invertebrates. The second year students completed their polygon and circle studies. The third years are compiling their knowledge of the internal systems of vertebrates and have completed their “Build My Block” geometry project. The fourth years completed their study of fungi and are ready to share their Early Humans Research!

These third year students learned the history of the Roman Arch and which previous civilizations had the idea, but not the technology. These students found different structures that use a Roman Arch and researched them. It took many, many attempts, but they were finally able to build the Arch with teamwork!
At the end of each year, we complete Writer’s Workshop with an Autobiography and a self-portrait. Last year our self-portraits were similar to Minecraft characters. This year, we made self-portrait dioramas with each student on a swing! Make sure to check out our different designs and backgrounds!
This student is researching about an adder. Research in the Elementary classroom is a great way for students to find out information about things they are interested in, while incorporating many different areas of the classroom. While studying Biology, this student is also improving his language skills!
Our second year students are finishing up many projects. This student is working on a book about flower placement and flower arrangement. She learned how flowers are arranged on a single stem and on many different plants. Her book can be used as a guide throughout her other Botany studies!
Our second year students finished out their circle research this week. Last week they learned the parts of the circle and are making books to show the parts. This week, they also learned the different relationships between a line and the circumference of a circle.
After studying different geographic features, our second, third, and fourth year students designed an imaginary island. Each student had to include ten geographic features around the coast of their island, five features inside, and a capital city. Our students each wrote a history of their island to explain where it is, how it was founded, and who the inhabitants are. This student also decided to make a flag for his island!

A Peek At Next Week

Next week we will present many of the projects we have been working on. Our fourth year student will share his Early Humans Research and Tools. Our second, third, and fourth year students will present their Imaginary Islands. Our first grade students will present their planet and astronomer research with the help of a kindergarten friend! We will continue to work on estimating length, geometry command cards, and fourth years will finish studying fungi!

REMINDERS:

  • NO SCHOOL – Monday, May 28 – Memorial Day
  • LAST DAY OF SCHOOL – Thursday, May 31
    • This is also Field Day. Please refer to your email for the schedule of events and the changes in the event of rain. Please let me know if you are attending if you haven’t already.
  • Friday, June 1 – Kindergarten Graduation

*****I am also still looking for a family to take Vinny the Guinea over the summer. Splashy will also need a summer home. Both animals are very easy to care for and I will provide all of the materials that you need! Please let me know ASAP if you can help our classroom!*****


A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 14

This week our “Peek” was written by two of our students! These students read our previous blogs, took pictures around the room, and filled in a blog template. The students did some editing together and with a teacher so what you will read below is their final product. There are still some misspelled words in their final product, but in a Montessori classroom we focus on the process, instead of the end result. Dr. Montessori believed when we put all of the emphasis on the final product, we devalue everything leading up to that point. This can discourage repetition which will make mastery of a skill difficult. The purpose of the students writing the blog is to provide you with a glimpse into the room through their eyes, to provide them with practice of real world skills, and to give them a deeper understanding of the materials in the room. We hope you enjoy their work!

“A Peek at Our Pets” by Ainsley, Maddex, and Trevor

(Ainsley) This week we researched and wrote the taxonome of all the animals in the school, including a Wolf Spiter that Ms. Courtney found. This year the 3rd graders have been learning a lot of main characteristics and internal systems of animals. We learned a lot abute chicks. We learned it takes a long time for a chick to hatch. Have a good summer!

Annelids by Ainsley
Taxonomy of Earthworm Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Annelida Class: Oligochaeta Order: Megadrilacea Family: Lumbricidae Genus and Species: Lumbricus terrestris Fun Fact: Earthworms don’t have eyes.
Arthropods by Maddex and Trevor
Taxonomy of Painted Lady Butterfly Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Lepidoptera Family: Nymphalidae Genus and Species: Vanessa cardui Ms. Courtney will have Painted Lady Butterflies in a few weeks!
Taxonomy of Wolf Spider Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Arachnida Order: Araneae Family: Lycosidae Genus and Species: Hogna aspersa Fun Fact: Wolf spiders have “book lungs.” Their lungs are made of fine “leaves.”
Mollusks by Maddex
Taxonomy of Mystery Snail Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Mollusca Class: Gastropoda Order: Caenogastropoda Family: Viviparidae Genus and Species: Bellamya chinensis Fun Fact: Male and female snails can reproduce by themselves. They reproduce asexually.
Chordates – Fish by Maddex and Trevor
Taxonomy of Tuxedo Guppy Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Cyprinodontiformes Family: Poecilidae Genus and Species: Poecilia retiuculata Fun Fact: Guppies have gills to filter they water so they can live in it and still get oxygen.
Taxonomy of Betta Fish Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Teleostei Order: Perciformes Family: Osphronemidae Genus and Species: Betta splendens Fun Fact: Betta fish jaws are stronger than a Great White Shark.
Chordates – Reptiles by Trevor
Taxonomy of Corn Snake Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Family: Colubridae Genus and Species: Pantherophis guttatus Fun fact: Snakes swallow their prey whole
Chordates – Birds by Ainsley
Taxonomy of Chicken Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves Order: Galliformes Family: Phasianidae Genus and Species: Gallus gallus Fun Fact: Chickens don’t have teeth!
Chordates – Mammals by Ainsley
Taxonomy of Guinea Pig Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Rodentia Family: Caviidae Genus and Species: Cavia porcellus Fun Fact: Guinea pigs have tails. The tails are under their fur.

“A Peek at Next Week” by Ms. Ashley

Next week will be our final full week of school! We will have Spelling Assessments Monday and Reading Assessments throughout the week. There will be no new Spelling homework, but please continue to have your child read and record their work on their reading log. Next week Lower Elementary students will add and subtract lengths, add and subtract squares and cubes, practice budgeting, learn more about circles, and complete some research charts as a Zoology review. Upper Elementary students will look at the differences between fungi and plants, look at migration patterns of some of the earliest homo sapiens, and will learn to determine pH of different substances.

REMINDERS:

  • No School – Monday, May 28 – Memorial Day
  • Thursday, May 31 – Field Day (Last Day of School)! Please arrive by noon with a lunch for yourself!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 7

“The child is truly a miraculous being, and this should be felt deeply by the educator.” – Maria Montessori

The end of the year is one of my favorite times. No, not because I am leaving behind my 5 am alarm for a few weeks, but because we are able to reflect upon the huge progress our students have made since August. All of our students have become more successful in so many areas – interpersonal communication, public speaking, planning, organizing, managing time, and with all of our wonderful areas of the classroom. It is inspiring to see the hard work and determination our students put forth every day. They are becoming more independent and knowledgeable every minute and it is really a privilege to be a part of it.

At the end of each year, we finish our Writer’s Workshop lessons with an autobiography. Last week we interviewed friends and wrote about them as practice for writing about ourselves. These students are filling out their autobiography questionnaires which they will then turn into a written autobiography about themselves. We will also be making a self-portrait diorama so keep sending in those shoe and tissue boxes!
Our fourth year students learned about transitive and intransitive verbs this week. As follow-up work, they had to choose a paragraph to copy down and label the verbs. This student chose to write about Alice Bell, an African-American chemist that helped pave the way for a cure for Hansen’s disease. What a great opportunity to complete a Grammar assignment while learning about an important woman!
Dr. Montessori believed the best way for students to truly understand something was to experience it in real life – that is why you will always see real objects and photographs in a Montessori classroom instead of cartoon images. One way we make this possible for students is to bring in real things from nature for them to touch and experience. This week any interested students were able to come dissect an owl pellet. These pellets contain the bones, teeth, and feathers of the animals the owls ate. Students were so excited to use the information provided to determine what mammals their owl ate! They found skulls, pelvic bones, femurs, jaws, and vertebrae!
For Grandparents’ Day, our students played recorder and piano for all to hear. They also shared their knowledge of the gods and goddesses with props! This first year student is sharing his information about Mars, the god of war!
These students are our only two students so far to make it to the “Black Belt” Recorder songs. They played “Ode to Joy” together on recorder. Our third grade student also transposed “Ode to Joy” from her piano book in C to G so they could play a duet with her on piano and our fourth grade student on recorder. What amazing work!
Here our students are playing “Merrily We Roll Along” all together!

A Peek at Next Week

Our first year students will work on fractional equivalence, learn the different phyla of the animal kingdom, and discover new information about Antarctica! Second year students will begin dividing with two-digit divisors with the Racks and Tubes, will begin studying circles, and will discuss flower placement and arrangement. Third year students will divide fractions by a whole number, research different plants, build a Roman arch, and discuss economic geography. Fourth year students will continue discussing protists and begin discussing fungi. Next week all of our students will be writing letters to the incoming students to their grade! They will offer advice, share insight, and explain their favorite parts of the past year! Look for these to be delivered in June!

REMINDERS:

  • Final “Bring Your Parents to ‘Work Time'” sign up: Work Time
  • Final conferences of the year sign up: Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Please let me know what you are planning to do for our Talent Show on Field Day. Details were emailed out a few weeks ago!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 30

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.” – Maria Montessori

This week we have really enjoyed the weather together. It was nice to record something other than “gloomy,” “cold,” and “snowy” each day at Morning Meeting. We have begun many projects this week. First year students have been working on Simple Machine projects. Our third and fourth year students have been working on a Geometry project called “Build My Block.” These students are building a neighborhood out of cardstock and will be taking the area, perimeter, and volume of their completed neighborhood this month! Our second, third, and fourth years have also started working on their “Imaginary Islands.” This project has students take their knowledge of geographic features and use it to create an island from their imagination. All students will write a history of their island and the third and fourth years will find the area of their island. We also are finishing up Writer’s Workshop with biographies and autobiographies! Check out our autobiography displays towards the end of the month!

Ms. Courtney let us borrow her classroom’s chicks for Community Meeting on Monday. Our students have been learning so much from Ms. Courtney about how to feed and handle chicks. What a wonderful opportunity we have been given to learn firsthand about being kind and gentle to nature! Thank you Ms. Courtney!
These third and fourth year boys discussed different base systems this week. They learned about different base systems that have been used throughout history and what systems are still used today by different groups of people and professions. In this photo they have counted in base 5 (quinary)! Learning different base systems gives children a deep appreciation for other cultures and for math. It also could be very helpful for their future careers!
A third grade student was inspired by her own shirt this week! Her shirt had the different layers of the ocean. She decided to make a poster, but also to involve each person in our class. She asked everyone what sea creature they would choose to be and then found where in the ocean that creature lives! Check out her work in our hallway!
Our Lower Elementary students worked together over the month of April to research Australia. Students chose their own partners and got started! They researched each state in Australia, the currency, the flags, the history, and the animals. Here our students are sharing their animal research. Sharing research or work in front of the class is always a great learning experience for presenters and the audience! We often share constructive feedback to our peers to improve our public speaking skills.
Our “Internal Systems of Birds” lesson had an appropriate visitor – “Penguin,” a chick from Ms. Courtney’s room. During our lesson about birds, we were able to see some of the external features we discussed and gained a deeper understanding of birds! Plus, we can always use an excuse to have animals in the classroom.

A Peek into Next Week

Next week, first year students will have another lesson with the Decanomial, will review Grammar symbols, and will discuss the parts of the flower. Second year students will begin their study of exponents, review Grammar symbols, continuing learning about quadrilaterals, and will discuss water pressure. Third year students will learn about the commutative and distributive laws of multiplication, discuss how to write broken quotes in paragraphs, will solve area word problems that include fractions, and will find the main characteristics of echinoderms. Fourth year students will continue work with integers and transitive and intransitive verbs, write their Early Humans research paper, and will study protists. All students will study Antarctica, including a virtual field trip to a science station!

REMINDERS:

  • Thursday, May 10 – Grandparents’ Day – Please have grandparents arrive by 12:45!
  • Friday, May 11 – Moms and Muffins – 7:00
  • We have ALL spots open for our FINAL “Bring Your Parent to ‘Work Time’.” Sign up here.
  • If you are interested in a final conference for the year, please sign up here.

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 23

This week our “Peek” was written by two of our students! These students read our previous blogs, took pictures around the room, and filled in a blog template. The students did some editing together and with a teacher so what you will read below is their final product. There are still some misspelled words in their final product, but in a Montessori classroom we focus on the process, instead of the end result. Dr. Montessori believed when we put all of the emphasis on the final product, we devalue everything leading up to that point. This can discourage repetition which will make mastery of a skill difficult. The purpose of the students writing the blog is to provide you with a glimpse into the room through their eyes, to provide them with practice of real world skills, and to give them a deeper understanding of the materials in the room. We hope you enjoy their work!

“A Peek at Our Week” by Darin (First Grade) and Isabel (First Grade)

On Monday we ate outside. On Tuesday we made litter bugs. On Wednesday we saw an astronaut read us a story.

She is doing Plant Kingdom Chart. She made her own Plant Kingdom Chart. This helps your brain.
She is doing Bohr diagram. She’s building an oxagin atom. It helps lern what air molicules look like.
He is playing recorder. Recorder helps with music. Recorder teachs you music notes.
Ms. Courtney showed us animals. The chik was soft. The chik was cute. The chik was squirmy. The chik was quick. The chik was fun.
The duck was brown. The duck was cute.

“A Peek at Next Week” by Ms. Ashley

I can’t believe next week begins our final month of school! Next week, first year students will learn the etymology of the words “numerator” and “denominator,” will practice their knowledge of right, obtuse, and acute angles, and will learn how animals satisfy their needs. Second year students will have their next Metric System lesson, will begin studying quadrilaterals, and will complete their study of the main characteristics of vertebrates. Third years will learn the Large Bank Game, will study the internal systems of birds, and will begin drawing their imaginary island! Fourth year students will add integers, begin studying transitive and intransitive verbs, will look at toolkits of hominids, and will begin studying protists.

REMINDERS:

  • Spring Portraits – Tuesday, May 1, beginning at 9:30 am! Part of the proceeds from the photos will go towards buying our classroom new materials! Please sign up here to reserve your spot!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 16

“The child who has felt a strong love for his surroundings and for all living creatures, who has discovered joy and enthusiasm in work, gives us reason to hope that humanity can develop in a new direction.” -Maria Montessori

The International Festival is always a very busy time at our school, but one of my favorites. Students (and teachers) have the opportunity to learn languages, traditions, and history about many different places that some of us have never been! It is wonderful to see students enjoying learning about people and places that are so different from what they usually experience. Montessori always had the idea that in order for the world to be more peaceful, that we must teach children about peace and tolerance. Learning about other cultures is one of the many ways we do this in a Montessori environment.

These second year students are putting together their knowledge of types of sides and types of angles to learn the Seven Triangles of Reality. Students are building the seven different triangles and then sketching them onto paper to keep for reference as we move through the rest of our Triangle Study. Learning about the different triangles will help students when they begin to study how to take the area and volume of different things.
This first year student has helped his group complete their model for the International Festival. His group researched Yosemite National Park. This group drew an aerial sketch of their park, built it using clay, and then painted it. Make sure to find it tonight at the International Festival to get a closer look at their hard work!
In kindergarten, our students are introduced to the parts of speech. Throughout their time in Elementary, they continue to study words, sentences, and parts of speech. This student recently began studying conjunctions. He is practicing what he learned by using our Conjunction Grammar Box. This material gives sample sentences that require students to decide which part of speech each word is. Practicing this work will help students with the structure of their writing.

A Peek at Next Week

Next week, first year students will measure on a number line, will begin studying interjections, and will continue studying different angles. Second year children will add and subtract lengths and will continue studying interjections and triangles. Third year students will be focusing on building a city together by using their knowledge of perimeter, area, and volume. Fourth year students will continue studying early humans and bacteria and will draw line plots to show data.

 


A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 9

“We must clearly understand that when we give the child freedom and independence, we are giving freedom to a worker already braced for action, who cannot live without working and being active.” -Maria Montessori

We had such an exciting week continuing to set up our hydroponic system. We added snails at the end of last week, more male guppies this week, and discussed how to tell if a female guppy is pregnant and when we need to separate her from the other fish to keep the babies safe. After germinating our seeds for about ten days, we were able to plant the seedlings into the foam and baskets to add to our hydroponic system! Our students labeled the baskets so we can keep track of what is growing. Our students are also planning to sell our plants to raise money to continue our system next year. While all of the Montessori lessons are interesting and essential, it is always such a treat to see what projects students come up with, and complete, independently. Their confidence in their research skills, planning skills, and independence are amazing.

Our first graders and visiting kindergarten friend worked on their multiples this week by building the Decanomial. This was their second lesson with the Decanomial. This time, they went through and found which equations followed the Commutative Property.
The third year students are working on multiplying fractions. This week, they began by multiplying fractions by a whole number. After some practice with this, students will learn how to multiply a whole number by a fraction, then finally a fraction by a fraction!
These first year students are working with the Small Bead Frame. The Small Bead Frame can be used for adding and subtracting four-digit numbers. One of our first year students needed some help borrowing in his subtraction problem, so his friend came to help explain what to do! Students often learn better from their peers!
This fourth year student was reviewing how to multiply a binomial by a binomial. He noticed that the pattern, or order of operations, matched what he was doing with cross multiplying on the Checkerboard. Eventually, he will learn that this is the formula for the lid of the Binomial Cube he used as a primary student!

A Peek at Next Week

Next week, first year students will be introduced to equivalency of fractions, the Conjunction Grammar Box, contractions, and parts of the leaf. Second year students will learn how to do compound multiplication on the Large Bead Frame and will continue studying commas and triangles. Third year students will take the volume of liquids, practice using quotation marks, and will learn more about the phyla in the plant kingdom. Fourth year students will continue studying decimals, early humans, and bacteria.

REMINDERS:

  • Wednesday, April 18 – International Festival Practice – arrive by 5:45
  • Friday, April 20 – International Festival – arrive by 5:00

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 3

Welcome back! We were so happy to be back together this week. Before break, we chose the National Parks we wanted to research for the International Festival. This week, we began our research for the Festival on Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Crater Lake National Parks. Our students have research questions to answer about the formation of their park, the landforms inside their park, the flora and fauna, and many more topics! The students are also choosing how they will present their information and writing a script for that presentation. Look for an email this weekend about all the costume details and your child’s script!

Our second year students are finishing up their study of polygons as a group of shapes before moving into studying each family of polygons. So far, our students have discussed which polygons are builders and constructors, the parts of a polygon, and regular and irregular polygons. To show what they have learned, the students are building different regular and irregular polygons from straws and strings. Your student will be bringing these home to share with you!
Our first graders have completed their study of lines and are now studying angles. Our first lesson was about whole and straight angles. In this lesson, a first year student is sharing with our visiting kindergarten child how to write a definition into your own words. It’s so wonderful when students can share their knowledge with peers, especially when we can involve different subject areas into one lesson!
Our tank for the hydroponic system is up and running! After a leaky tank and a three-day long search for local, aquatic snails, we are ready to plant our seeds. Our seeds have been germinating and have now sprouted enough to be placed into our hydroponic system. One of our students involved in planning this project, a third grader, is connecting tubing and bubblers to each tier of our system. This will ensure that the water that is nurturing our plants has enough oxygen. Once everything is in our system, students will need to consistently check and adjust the pH levels in our tank to make sure the fish stay healthy and the plants keep growing. We also have a three-way breeder to keep our baby guppies safe! Stop by next week to see our system!

“A Peek at Next Week”

Next week, we will continue our research for the International Festival and will begin practicing with our scripts. Please take time to practice lines with your student! First year students will continue work with the Decanomial, will discuss echinoderms, and will continue learning about angles. Second year students will discuss prime numbers, commas, and triangles. Third year students will begin multiplying fractions, will learn more about mollusks, and will find the formula for volume! Our fourth year students will review multiplying binomials and trinomials and will continue studying bacteria by building models of different bacterial shapes, discussing antibiotics, and will learn about bacteria on every day objects.

REMINDERS:

  • Wednesday, April 18 – International Festival Rehearsal 6:00-7:30
  • Friday, April 20 – Early Dismissal – All students must be picked up at noon. There is NO After Care this day.
  • Friday, April 20 – International Festival – 5:30-8:30

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of March 19

This week we were so proud to show off our Science Fair research! We had a variety of topics like plant science, animal science, robots, and gravity. We spent a few weeks researching our topics, forming a hypothesis, and creating a display board. Once we were ready for the Fair, we practiced presenting to each other and to Ms. Courtney’s class. Each student did so well at the fair and we are so glad so many parents were able to stop by. We also want to thank all the parents, grandparents, family and friends that helped us reach our goal for our classroom hydroponic system!

After the Science Fair, students chose what seeds they would like to germinate for our hydroponic system. After break we will get the guppies and snails needed to keep our plants fertilized. Thanks for your help, Mr. Owens.
During our classroom practice presentations, students rated each other using a rubric. They had to look at each student’s hypothesis and question, their research and sources, how they used their voice during presentations, and how their display looked. Students also gave helpful tips to each friend.
This month we studied Asia. Students chose partners to complete their work. They needed to draw the map of Asia, label the countries and capital cities, draw a compass, stamp and color the flags of Asia, and complete a self-test about the continent of Asia. Lengthy partner projects help students learn to delegate, manage time with another person, and work cooperatively.
Students have been completing “Math Assessments.” This has been a chance for each child to show me what they have learned so far this year, and to receive new lessons in addition to their weekly Math lessons. These second year students have been working hard on adding and subtracting without materials and were excited to receive the next Checkerboard lesson with a two-digit multiplier!

REMINDERS:

  • Spring Break – Monday, March 26 – Monday, April 2
  • Dads and Donuts – Friday, April 6

Enjoy your break!