Explorations of Elementary October 2016 Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Newsletter

What an exciting month October has been!  Our second, third, and fourth grade students have researched holidays for the upcoming months that they have started to present to the class.  Some students took a “Walking Field Trip” to the Tallmadge Circle to practice map skills that were introduced last year.  Other students were introduced to, or continued practicing, compass and map key skills outside.  Our second-year students kicked off their rock and mineral study with learning about the layers of the Earth.  A few older students have begun their body research by learning about our skeleton.

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After learning about the order of the planets and their distance from the sun last month, we started our monthly continent studies.  This month we focused on North America.  Students learned the names of the countries and islands in the Caribbean, we discussed famous landmarks in North America, and looked through items from the continent in our “Secret Basket.”

Our students worked very hard to memorize their lines from “The Drama of the Archeozoic Ocean” to present to Ms. Courtney’s class.  We practiced each day and made our own costumes.  In order to make our costumes, our students had to use their research and computer skills to find what these early, and sometimes microscopic, life forms looked like.

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Taking care of Vinny and Kernel has become second nature.  We feed Vinny daily, and play with him frequently.  Vinny is now excited when students come to pet him in his cage.  He is so active each morning when it is time to be fed!  Kernel is getting used to being held by me and the students enjoy watching.  Many students have helped prepare his food and watch him eat.  They often try to imitate how large he can open his mouth.  Kernel shed for the first time this month.  We laminated his skin and measured the length in inches and centimeters.  It was such an exciting day!

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Along with the responsibility of taking care of animals, our students have the privilege to teach their knowledge to others.  Two students found an exciting section of a botany book about growing plants indoors.  These students wrote out a lesson plan, gathered their supplies, and presented their lesson to their peers, including some kindergarten students.  Along with their lessons, the students had handouts of plant information for each child, which they helped them read to understand the process of growing, and taking care of, a plant.

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All students have been working on different measurement lessons.  Some have been introduced to measuring in inches and centimeters, some are measuring to ½ and ¼ inches, some are using the yardstick, and some are learning about weighing in grams.  To add to our measurement curriculum, Ms. Sara’s husband, Steve, brought his expertise (and patience) to help us with a project.  We will be building a peace pole for our playground with Ms. Courtney’s class.  We will have the word “Peace” written in different languages and the pieces decorated by both classes at the Tallmadge campus.  The students were so excited to measure, cut, and sand their own pieces.  Soon we will begin painting them.  Ms. Sara’s husband will return to help us build the pole and display it near the playground as a reminder that we are all important and all connected.

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With our excitement of building, we also had our first classroom party!  The Halloween party was a success!  We participated in a parade with Ms. Courtney’s room.  We did a blind drawing contest where students drew spooky creations with their eyes closed.  Pumpkin bowling was definitely a favorite!  Almost everyone got a strike!  Before the students went to gym we had a mummy contest.  Students picked their own groups, designed a mummy costume using toilet paper and had to complete tasks without their costume falling apart.  To end our Halloween celebrations, a student shared their report on Halloween and we learned the history of the jack-o-lantern before carving our own.

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In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series.  Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux.  Our final group completed The Indian in the Cupboard.  We have introduced and reviewed how to use a dictionary and thesaurus.  Students have learned a fun activity called “The Fish Bowl” where they challenge their memory spelling phonetic or high-frequency words.  All groups have reviewed the function of the adjective.  Some of the groups learned logical agreement of adjectives, adjective suffixes, proper adjectives, and adjective opposites.

We are looking forward to all of our adventures to come in the month of November!


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Overview

Research

  • Our first-year students will begin researching Mercury and Venus. Each month they will research another planet, or two.  They will end this research with a presentation of a famous scientist or astronomer.
  • Second year students will continue their rock and mineral research with a focus on the types of rocks, rock identification, and rock testing.
  • Third year students researching the human body will focus on the eye, the tooth, and the tongue.
  • Our fourth-year students will begin researching Ohio History.
  • All students will begin an in-depth study of South America. For this continent study, we will focus on the music, languages, and currency.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will continue reading selections from our Junior Great Books, one group will be reading stories about friendship, one group will be continuing The Tale of Despereaux, and one group will be starting Where the Red Fern Grows.
  • Within reading group, we will introduce or review present and past tenses of verbs.
  • Some groups will study antonyms and synonyms.
  • We will begin putting together research reports and introducing/reviewing how to write a bibliography.

Spelling Rules

  • Student will continue practicing spelling rules within their spelling groups. Students will have high-frequency words and special spelling cases.
  • Spelling homework for all students in the month of November:
    • Pyramid Write – on handwriting paper, your child will write their words in the shape of a pyramid each week. It will be demonstrated on their first sheet coming home October 31.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • November 1 – Book Fair Week
  • November 11 – Progress Reports Sent Out
  • November 14 – Parent-Teacher Conferences: This conference is parents only; childcare will not be provided. Please sign up using sign-up genius.  Information on how to sign-up was sent by Ms. Kelly.
  • November 16: OCC Packing Party
  • November 22: Harvest Party. Parents are welcome at this event!  It will take place in the afternoon.  More information will be sent out shortly!

 

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – August/September Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – August/September Newsletter

The first two weeks and the month of September have seemed to fly by!  We have really enjoyed getting to know our students and watching them learn to be a part of a team.  Our team building games allowed many different students to have the opportunity to be a leader.  We picked teams at first, then allowed the students to choose their own to figure out and assist each other in their strengths and weaknesses.  During our first two weeks we introduced and reviewed the rules of our classroom.  Having a multi-age classroom allows the returning students to be guides for the younger ones throughout our environment.  Seeing returning students take the lead and feel a sense of responsibility for setting the example is always exciting to watch.  We discussed the Constitution and its history, then split up into groups to make one for our classroom.  To get to know each other, we shared timelines of some important parts of our lives so far!

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While we were getting to know each other, two new friends joined our environment!  Vinny the Guinea Pig and Kernel the Corn Snake are now deeply loved parts of our environment and Biology curriculum.  Learning about and taking care of these pets has been such a great experience for all the children, and us.  We feed Vinny and clean out his cage together.  We give him extra love every Wednesday, and occasionally some fruit at lunch time.  Kernel is still warming up to us, so we have discussed his scientific classification (Pantherophis guttatus), his natural habitat, how long he will eventually get (5 feet!), and how he will eat.  While we are waiting for him to come out of hiding, we created “Snake Handler” licenses that qualify each student to observe the snake, one at a time, carefully.  As long as the children follow the snake’s safety rules their license will not get revoked.  They took such pride in making these licenses and it helped them realize how important it is to make sure we are treating our animals carefully and kindly, even if we are so excited about them.

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Our students participated in Montessori’s Five Great Lessons and their supplemental lessons.  We have discussed many different viewpoints of how the universe was created, how life came to be on earth, how humans came to be on earth, and the invention of language and numbers.  During the supplemental lessons we discussed the Story of Geometry, and how the Ancient Egyptians used a right-angled triangle to measure fields, and the Story of the Babylonians and their creation of the symbol for degrees.  In Physical Science, we have studied the Laws of the Universe.  Students especially loved practicing the laws of Inertia and Centrifugal Force.  In Biology, some students have started classifying living things into five kingdoms, some have started classifying animals by phyla, and others have learned the order of taxonomy.  In Math, we have started comparing fractions by greater than or less than, reviewed subtracting with the Golden Bead Material, practiced writing equations for squaring and adding and subtracting decimals.  We have discussed the shapes in our Geometric Cabinet, as well as, the size of angles and the intersection of straight lines to form oblique or perpendicular lines.

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During our Morning Meeting we allow five students to share exciting news from the day before.  This gives children time to share their exciting news without interrupting work time.  Sometimes during Morning Meeting we talk about important life skills.  One morning, we discussed being kind to others and how, according to Kid President, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, you aren’t thinking hard enough.”  Each student drew another’s name out of a basket and wrote something kind about them on the board for everyone to read during the day.  We saw children interact with others they usually may not, and expressing that gratitude by working together or simply giving each other a hug.

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In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series.  Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux.  Our final group is reading The Indian in the Cupboard.  We have introduced and reviewed the parts of a book, including the title, author, illustrator, copyright date, publisher, and dedication page.  We have discussed and listed various fiction and nonfiction books in the classroom.  We have also started learning about the elements of a fiction story.  The students have enjoyed comparing the settings from their different reading selections.

Our students were so happy to go on our first field trip to Stan Hywet.  Many of them want to return during the holidays to see the decorations and lights.  While on the trip we learned about the history of the Seiberling family and what their 65 rooms and 70 acres were used for while they were living there. We learned about the famous musicians that played in the music room and the way firewood was moved throughout the house to their many fireplaces.  Our guide introduced us to the kitchen and the numerous work-spaces for butlers and maids.  Our students wanted to know where they kept their televisions!  Our class explored the grounds independently where we got a close look at the butterflies and different habitats of Akron wildlife.  Although there was a splash fountain in the Playgarden, our favorite part of the grounds was the Japanese Garden.  The students walked all of the different paths and found frogs.  We took a picture together on a large rock and on our way out past a fountain.

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Spelling and Enrichments

By Ms. Sara

Some of our students went to the Taekwondo demo where they enjoyed learning a few basic moves and playing some fun games. A few of our students went to the Kids Bop dance demo where they learned a few basic stretches and the beginning moves to a dance. In Art class the students have been working on Mandalas. Mandalas are geometric figures representing the universe. They have really been enjoying this fun and colorful project. In Music class the students have been working on reviewing musical terms and symbols including beat, forte, double bar line, repeat symbol and many more. They have testing their knowledge of these terms with games.

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In Spelling groups 1 and 2 they have been working on the short vowel sounds. We have gotten through a, o, and i, and this week they are working on u. They have been doing activities in class including rainbow write, word family charts and writing sentences using their spelling words. Next week their homework will no longer be writing their words three times each, they will be bringing rainbow write home instead.

In Spelling group 3 they have been working on the long vowel sounds. They have done a,e,o, and are working on u this week. Their lessons include learning the different letter combinations that make these sounds. They have done activities including definitions, sentences, alphabetical order, word family charts and rainbow write.

Spelling group 4 has been working on long e sounds and all the different letter combinations that make the long e sound. This week they are working on long i. Their activities have included writing paragraphs, definitions, word family charts and alphabetical order.

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Overview

Research

  • All students will be discussing the October, November, and December National Holidays. Second, Third, and Fourth Years will research the history of a National Holiday from one of these months to present to the class.
  • All students will work together to memorize lines and create costumes to put on a play for our younger friends in Ms. Courtney’s room about life in the Archeozoic Ocean.
  • We will take a “Walking Field Trip” to Tallmadge Circle to practice using a compass.
  • All students will begin an in-depth study of North America and the layers of the Earth.
  • First Years will learn more about the states of water during “The Dance of the Molecules,” and the external characteristics of amphibians.
  • Second Years will study how animals satisfy their needs, surface tension, and succulent and dry fruits.
  • Third Years will study types of stamen in flowers and the human skeleton.
  • Math and Language lessons are presented by individual needs instead of grade level.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will continue reading selections from our Junior Great Books, one group will be reading stories about responsibility, one group will be continuing The Tale of Despereaux, and one group will be continuing The Indian in the Cupboard.
  • Within reading group, we will introduce or review how to use a dictionary and thesaurus.
  • We will study how to write a paragraph, how to edit a paragraph, the types of ending punctuation, and the types of sentences.

Spelling Rules

  • Student will continue practicing spelling rules within their spelling groups. Students will have short vowel sounds or long vowel sounds and the letter combinations that make them.
  • Spelling homework for all students in the month of October:
    • Rainbow Write – On handwriting paper, write spelling words 3x each using a different color for each letter in the word. Please have your child use colored pencils.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • October 4 – School Picture Day
  • October 25 – Fall Box Tops Collection Deadline
  • October 28 – Halloween Classroom Party – The Elementary party is students only and in the afternoon. Look for my email with the details soon.
  • November 1-4 – Usborne Book Fair

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 September Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 September Overview

Our first few weeks of school will be spent introducing/reviewing rules, building community, and beginning work in the Elementary classroom.

Research

  • Montessori’s Great Lessons – The Great Lessons were created by Maria Montessori to inspire imagination and to encourage further research into the beginning of the universe, life, humans, language and numbers.
  • Laws of the Universe – All students will be introduced to the Laws of the Universe using science experiments. The experiments introduce the concepts of the states of matter, changing states of matter, particles that love each other and those that do not, gravity, centrifugal force, and inertia.
  • All students will be preparing for further research by discussing how to find useful information, how to put research into your own words, using a table of contents, and using an index.
  • First Years will begin studying the five kingdoms of living things and the external characteristics of fish.
  • Second Years will begin classifying animals by phylum and studying the parts of the fruit.
  • Third Years will begin studying characteristics of invertebrates and taxonomy of vertebrates.
  • Math and Language lessons are presented by individual needs instead of grade level.

Reading Groups

  • All groups will be reviewing the five elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.
  • One of our groups will begin with the fourth series of Junior Great Books, one group will be reading a different short story each week, and one group will be starting The Chocolate Touch.

Spelling Rules

  • All students will review three different levels of words to determine which set of spelling rules they will begin practicing.
  • Spelling homework for the month of September:
    • First years: Write each word three times in print.
    • Second+ years: Write each work three times in cursive.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • August 22 – First Day of School
  • August 29 – TKD Demo and Enrichments Begin
  • September 5 – Labor Day NO SCHOOL
  • September 9 – Kids Bop Demo
  • September 20 – Stan Hywet Field Trip
    • We will eat lunch at Stan Hywet. Please pack a labeled disposable lunch and water bottle as we will not be able to bring Tupperware, lunch boxes, refillable water bottles, back with us.
    • Students should wear tennis shoes. No dresses.
    • Please send a towel and change of clothes for this field trip.
  • September 23 – Ice Cream Social

Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – May 2016

What an amazing last month of school! We started the month of May out with completing our simple machine studies. Students experimented with building simple machines by following directions in a kit. Then they each selected a simple machine to research. We read about the wheel & axel, pulley, inclined plane, wedge and screw. Students wrote about how their simple machine worked, why it worked and how it made various jobs easier. They found real life examples of their machines in action, then they built their own simple machine. Each student presented their research and machine to the class. They also made step by step science experiment cards so other students could try using their simple machines. Their experiment cards needed to include a list of all supplies necessary for their experiment, each step (including clean up) of their experiment, and an explanation of why the experiment worked the way it did. These cards were placed on our science shelf after students gave a presentation, or lesson to the class about their experiment. My favorite part of this project was watching the kids learn how to use a drill. We purchased a small drill for our classroom and they loved it! Now they can help all of you fathers with projects at home.

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While some students were drilling, others learned about ecosystems of the world. We began by talking about what an ecosystem is and how all parts of the ecosystem work together to help one another survive. We learned several new vocabulary such as biotic, abiotic, consumer, producer, decomposer, photosynthesis, flora and fauna. We also researched relationships between living and non-living organisms and defined those relationships as either mutualism, commensalism or parasitism.  Each student focused on one ecosystem that was most interesting to them. They wrote a research paper, complete with MLA bibliography, and designed a diorama which included examples of living and non-living things within their ecosystem. They all gave wonderful presentations to the class. I hope you were able to see their projects displayed in the gym the last week of school!

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We also celebrated our Mothers this month with our Moms & Muffins breakfast. It is always nice to visit with the mothers of our students. In our reading groups we studied poetry, so it was fitting for us to write a poem for our mothers as a gift. The poem was all about the chaos moms juggle each day and how we love them for doing it.

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We also celebrated our Grandparents this month by inviting them into our classroom. So many grandparents came and participated in Latin class, where students wrote their grandparents a letter in Latin, then read the letter aloud. After this first reading students translated their letters for the grandparents. We also brought our grandparents into our poetry world and wrote Buddy Poems. Each student interviewed their grandparent, and vice versa. Then both took the answers to their interview questions and wrote a poem about the other. It was adorable and creative! We ended our visit with a musical performance of recorders and piano. Students played as groups and individually, and showed off all of their talents for each grandparent present. We enjoyed having grandparents visit and we hope to see them all again next year!

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We had our last student-planned field trip of the year to the amazing Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, Ohio. This year our students have been very interested in geology. We have looked at various types of rocks and begun a class rock collection. Several students brought their personal rock collections in to share throughout the year. This trip was the icing on the cake! We learned that the cave was formed naturally, including each step we walked on. None of the tunnels and passages were dug out by man. The cave was discovered by two 11 year old boys whose dog fell into the cave when they were outside playing in the field. Since then, several people have explored the cave leaving their names carved on the rock. I think everyone’s favorite part was drinking water at the bottom of the cave, which was almost 70 feet underground! The water was 98% pure and so clear a few students accidentally stepped in it because they didn’t see it. It was an awesome trip! Thank you to the students who helped plan it and the parents who helped us drive there!

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As a follow-up to our student inspired bee research, we visited our neighbor who happens to be a beekeeper. We learned all about the different tools he uses to care for the bees and the levels of the “hives” he builds for them. We learned that bees only travel about 2 miles from their hive and that there is only one queen bee in each hive. Our beekeeper friend purchases his queen, but in the wild the queen is the bee who grows the largest, the quickest. We also learned that the female bees are the hardest workers and live the longest. The male bees are lazy and do not live long, and sometimes they don’t even leave the hive. One student was able to try on the beekeeper suit and model it for the class. At the end of our visit we were able to taste honey from the hives. It was delicious!

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We hope you and your children enjoyed this school year as much as we did. It was a pleasure and joy hanging out with your children all year long. We will miss you during the summer and look forward to seeing you all in the fall. Thank you for sharing your kids with us!

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Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – Spring 2016

Our elementary students surprised and impressed visitors at our amazing Famous American Live Wax Museum. This event took place all throughout our school where students were dressed as Americans who made a positive contribution to American history. In preparation for this event, students selected an American and researched that person’s life. They were to learn about their American’s childhood, education, hobbies, and special characteristics that led the person to impact history. All students wrote a research report, complete with an APA style bibliography.

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The night of the museum it was difficult to recognize our children because they looked like Betsy Ross, Sacagawea, Ben Franklin, and Amelia Earhart (just to name a few).

In our reading groups students gave presentations about their books. One group read the Newbery Honor book Hatchet. Another group chose to read the biography of Helen Keller. Our third group read the classic adventure of Robinson Crusoe. The Hatchet group wrote thoughtful news articles explaining the events of the story and the emotional trip Brian, the main character, takes throughout the book.

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The Helen Keller group studied Braille and either wrote their name in Braille or demonstrated how Helen learned to read by using Braille.

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The adventurous readers of Robinson Crusoe built shelters from only natural materials found in the wilderness (or their back yard). Their shelter needed to pass the water test, in which water was poured over the shelter to see if it would stay dry inside.

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Each student demonstrated their love for their fathers by painting beautiful rocks that read “My dad rocks” as a gift to give at Dads and Donuts. All of the fathers receiving this rock chuckled. I’m sure they will look at it in the future and think of their wonderful morning with us.

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Our annual International Festival was a huge success and our students put on quite a show. Elementary students worked in groups to research a man-made wonder of the world.

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One group researched The Great Wall of China. They learned how long the wall is and that it is not a continuous wall, but has gaps where mountains run through it.

The group researching the Taj Mahal discovered a sad love story of a husband who lost his wife too soon. The Taj Mahal was built as a tomb for the young woman. This group utilized their math skills to discover how much it would cost in today’s American dollars to build. They first exchanged Indian Rupies for British Pounds (because American was not a country when the Taj Mahal was built), then Pounds for today’s Euros, and finally to the American dollar.

Easter Island was a surprise to many of us because it was very unique in that no one knows how or why it was built. This group discovered a video showing how the large statues may have been moved using ropes and three groups of people to shimmy the statues form one place to another. It is one of the most unique wonders we researched.

The group researching Christ the Redeemer enjoyed learning about all of the trials to build the amazing statue. Originally, it was to be built in the 1850s, but construction never began until 1922. The statue was completed in 1931, taking close to nine years to finish.

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The Forbidden City was another wonder researched by our students. This imperial palace is located in the heart of Beijing and housed 24 emperors. Today it is the palace museum.

Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel in Peru, is famous for the stone walls that stay together without the use of mortar. To this day, the use of this amazing creation is still unknown.

The infamous Colosseum in Rome was the seventh wonder researched by our students. This group was fascinated with the fighting that took place inside the Colosseum. Their scale model displayed how seating surrounded the events. Their skit of the lion fighting “Jackonitus” entertained everyone at our festival.


Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – February 2016

The month of February brought an exciting buzz to the classroom as students prepared to lead a conference for their parents. We call this event Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences and they are held once each year. In order to prepare for this conference students complete a form detailing what they have been working on, what they feel they have successfully learned, what they will continue working on, and their goals. These forms are filled out for all subject areas in our classroom (Language/Grammar/Reading, Math/Geometry, History, Biology, Geography, and Enrichment Studies – Music, Art, Latin, Physical Education). Then the forms are used as a script for students to read to their parents at the beginning of their conference. Students also practiced presenting materials so they could become the “teacher” for their visiting parents and demonstrate how and what they have learned in our Montessori environment.

Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences are a wonderful way to reinforce with the children that their education is their responsibility and they must take ownership of it. This is a central theme in our classroom, as we strive to teach the children about the value of hard work and perseverance, and the joy of learning. If the children take ownership of their education and are expected to present their knowledge and understanding of concepts learned, they begin to see the results of their efforts and can truly see their accomplishments. The results we see are greater intrinsic motivation to excel, the development of a strong work ethic, and personal awareness of strengths and weaknesses. The natural desire is to present their best work is a strong motivator in any human being, and this motivation is what propels us to work towards goals and succeed.

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(Chinese Dragons made in Art Class)

Our research continued this month as children in our human body research group began tracing themselves and adding internal organs to their body outlines. They are learning the basic functions of organs and how they all work together to help our bodies work efficiently. Be on the look-out for these hanging around our hallways soon!

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Our Ancient Civilization research has led us through the interesting land of the Nile, Egypt. The presentations on this civilization were fabulous! Some students created elaborate head pieces and necklaces, complete with “gold” trimmings. Others were fascinated with hieroglyphics and learned to write their name using the ancient symbols. Still other students found the way in which Egyptians kept cool and smelling nice to be interesting. In their research they discovered Egyptians would melt beeswax, flowers and essential oils together and mold in into a cone. They would wear this cone on top of their heads (which were usually shaved) and it would melt, dripping down their head and neck. The scent from the oils and flowers would radiate, and the wax kept them cool. A few other students were appreciative of the invention of paper, first made by the Egyptians out of papyrus plants. They decided to make their own papyrus paper.

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Reading Groups have finished their books (Helen Keller, Robinson Crusoe, and Hatchet). They are now working on their class presentations. This will be a culminating project involving aspect of the stories they read and will be presented to the entire class.

 

Our Wax Museum is right around the corner and we invite everyone to come see us on Tuesday March 15th at 6:00pm. We will be representing famous Americans who contributed something positive to American History. Students wil    l be dressed up as their chosen American and they will present themselves as each person visits their display. Please come support our students! They have been working very hard to prepare for this spectacular event!

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Explorations of Elementary | January 2016

Elementary students seemed to miss their work over the break! They entered the classroom with enthusiasm and drive to accomplish new goals for the New Year.

Several students have been interested in how their body works, and how nutrition effects their body. The presentation we had in December from an older student really inspired these kids to understand what it means to make healthy food choices and how to care for their bodies. They have been learning about food groups, food pyramids/plates, and how to read food labels. They are currently researching the best foods for to eat and creating healthy menus for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They will continue this project through February studying digestion, energy and exercise, and how our bodies work.

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Other students are continuing our study of Ancient Civilizations with Ancient Egypt. This is by far the most popular civilization we have looked at, and one the students have been looking forward to learning more about. They began their research by drawing a map of Egypt as it looked in 3100 B.C. They discovered how important the Nile River was to the survival of the people of Egypt. They also learned of a game children used to play called Senet. Students decided to make this game for our classroom out of clay, cardboard, paints and craft sticks. They even made rules and have taught other students how to play. They will be continuing their research into February and have a presentation for their parents at Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences. Their research will also be displayed in the school gym when they finish.
The students had a choice of which book they wanted to read for our next reading group session. Some chose the classic, Robinson Crusoe; others decided to read the biography of Helen Keller; while the third group is reading a favorite form my days in school, Hatchet. Students were placed in groups depending on their book choice and everyone is excited each week to meet and discuss what they are reading.
As a large group students are preparing for our Elementary Wax Museum event. Our students began research on a famous American of their choice for this event. At our “museum” each student will stand in front of a backdrop they design and pretend to be a wax version of their American. Students will dress as their person. On each student’s backdrop there will be a “button” and visitors to the museum will press the button. When it is pressed the wax person will come to life and tell the audience about their life and their accomplishments.

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Through their research students are learning about the life, family, career accomplishments, and contribution to history of their chosen American. They will be writing a research paper, designing a backdrop and writing their presentation speech which they will present during the event.
Our Wax Museum will take place on: Tuesday March 15th at 6:00 pm. Grandparents, family and friends are welcome to come see your child shine in our Wax Museum!
We ended the month of January with one Going-Out Experience and one Physical Education Field Trip.
Our Going-Out Experience was planned by Olivia and Ainsley to the Cleveland Aquarium. They had the opportunity to see sharks up close and personal and ask questions to the divers. They pet stingrays and enjoyed a scavenger hunt through the aquarium.

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If you have never experienced Laser Quest with 20 elementary students, you have never experienced Laser Quest. This was such a fun trip and we learned a few things too! Students ate pizza and played the first game of Laser Tag, splitting into two teams – adults vs. students. Students were very confident they were going to win and made it clear before leaving school the teachers and parents should be afraid. Well, it didn’t quite work out as they planned, but I think they all had fun. After the first game, we learned how lasers work and different ways they are used. Students discovered they can be used for surgery, cutting materials, and of course laser tag. Then it was time to play our second game. This time it was boys vs. girls. The dads certainly came to play, leading the boys to a victory.

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Exploration of Elementary December 2015

Explorations of Elementary – December 2015

After Thanksgiving break students were excited to get back to work. Several of our older elementary students began researching Ancient Rome and Greece. They set their own deadlines and dove into their work. They drew maps of the empires, clothing, and made lists of all the famous gods and goddesses. It was amazing to watch them wonder through history exploring the things that stood out the them and were the most interesting in their minds. I was even more impressed with their work ethic throughout the research. Nothing was assigned, but every topic was covered and they all worked together to complete their work. I am excited to hear their presentation when we return from break.

Other students were looking into their personal family history by creating a timeline of the family members living in their houses. They also explored the Story of Numbers and Story of Writing. These are two of the Montessori Great Lessons discussed in elementary each year. We talk about how writing and numbers came to be and how they have changed over time to better serve the needs of humans as we learn and grow. We look at visual timelines, charts, and examples of various styles of writing and numbers. The kids love to see how other people used to write and how it is similar or different from how they write today.

Of course, with Christmas approaching we spent time preparing for our annual Christmas Show. This year the students voted to perform the play, The Nutcracker. Parts were chosen and everyone worked diligently to learn their lines. We read several versions of the book, watched the Disney version of the story, and some students even went to see the ballet with their families.

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I was very impressed with how well each student learned their part, memorized their lines, and helped each other perform well. I think their favorite part was creating all of the props. The students designed what we needed based upon the script, and went to work!

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They cut out a fireplace, mantle, Christmas tree, and made a beautiful candy gate. They added flair with colorful painting and three-dimensional decorations. Our play was a wonderful success. I was so proud of the students!

To kick off our break students came to school in their pajamas (so did the teachers) and had a blast playing games and watching Christmas movies. This is such a fun day for everyone! The highlight was joining Ms. Courtney’s class to play Pie in the Face.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!