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.
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!
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.
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!