Mrs. Hood’s Class: I Know a Chicken!

The highlights for this week are based on the continuation of our chicken studies. We focused on completing the life cycle of a chicken. We learned that after the chick has hatched from the egg, the mother hen takes care of it and provides food for it. Children learned that chickens do not have teeth but they have strong beaks to eat seeds, green plants, insects, and worms. In our outside environment we were able to find some real worms and observe them moving. We then pretended to be little chicks by exploring the worm sensory bin. Children practiced their fine motor skills by digging, finding, and picking with tweezers some life-like worms and transferring them to a bowl. 

We also learned the different parts of an adult chicken including vocabulary words like comb, beak, feathers, legs, wings, claw, tail, and wattles. Children were able to observe a real chick coming out of the egg shell through an educational clip and through books in our environment and then reinforced this lesson by using an object-picture matching work in our language area. 

In addition to various new spring works in the environment, children learned how to use a mortar and a pestle in our practical life area. They worked hard to crush eggshells very small and transfer them into a container. We will use the crushed egg shells next week as part of our care of plants lessons. 

For a fun sensory activity, the children chose their favorite color egg and filled it with rice to create musical egg shakers. We then introduced the song, “I Know a Chicken,” by Laurie Berkner and we had so much fun dancing to it with our own eggs shakers.  

Lastly, the children seemed to enjoy exploring snow peas during our food tasting lesson. The shape, size, and crunchiness of them gave the feel of eating chips, which seemed to attract the children to explore this food item.

Enjoy the pictures of your beautiful children, take some time to dance, and have a great weekend! 

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Maria  

Lovin’ the Language Lessons

To Maria Montessori, the teaching of grammar was at the center of her language curriculum for elementary age children. Today, it still remains a critical element in the teaching of a complete language program in a Montessori environment. At this age, grammar is being presented at an impressionistic level and later on in their later elementary years, they will explore these concepts on a more formal level.

This week the first year group has enjoyed learning more about adjectives. We started the lesson reviewing the previous parts of speech learned earlier in the year (nouns and articles) and used descriptive words to describe our nouns. These words are called adjectives! As a follow up work to practice this grammar, the first years love to use the grammar box.

The second years are continuing their study of the adverb- a complex part of speech. They are learning that an adverb supports the verb and they tell us how to do an action. In Montessori grammar, just like the verb, the adverb is also represented as a ball. The adverb is a smaller ball than the verb because it is less important than the verb itself. This group is also enjoying using a grammar box to practice this work!

In the third grade year, the children begin the process of sentence analysis. The aims of this work are to study how words are used in the context of sentences and to make logical analyses of those sentences. Right now the third years are learning how to analyze simple sentences with subject, verb and direct object. They are beginning the process of asking themselves, “What is the action?” “Who is it that did the action?” “What/whom received the action?”

Centered and Engaged

We’ve come to the end of another fun and busy week of learning and playfulness.

We’ve started alternating our daily morning meditation with morning yoga. This activity is challenging for some of us but we are finding that stretching and balancing our bodies is becoming easier the more we practice it.

In grammar this week, fourths began a final review of nouns that included identifying nouns in sentences, sorting common and proper nouns, and identifying determiners (a, an, the). Fifths wrapped up their final review of verbs, focusing on linking verbs, regular and irregular verbs, and verb forms that express action happening in the present, past, and future.

The fourth grade geometry lesson was on using inverse area formulas to find a missing value for the base or height when given the area of a rectangle. Fifth graders began a study of the apothem by inscribing each of the polygons with three through ten sides inside a circle. They then located the center of each polygon and identified the base and the apothem. We will continue to work with apothems next week.

In biology we continued our study of plants with a lesson and discussion about alternate sexual reproduction in plants. We took a close look at this process in ferns as an example.

Our fourth grade history lesson focused on finding our closest living relatives. A branching diagram tool called a cladogram was introduced as a way of determining relations between species and their shared common ancestors. We looked at homologies – characteristics that are similar because they have been inherited from a common ancestor. Some homologies we looked at were bones and teeth, the frontal sinus, molecules, soft body parts such as milk producing glands and sitting pads, and chromosomes.

We didn’t let the rainy weather get us down this week; during our indoor recess we enjoyed a mini dance party with most of the Upper El dancing to Cotton Eye Joe.

Children Learning from Peers – Another Hallmark of a Montessori Education

Maria Montessori knew children learn by “imitation models.” She created multi-aged classrooms that facilitate peer tutoring and collaboration. In mixed age classrooms, younger children learn from older children by asking them questions while watching them work. Older children who are teaching younger children repeat and consolidate their knowledge and skills and learn and hone their social skills.

At Fraser Woods Montessori School, we take this one step further. Our Middle School students perform community service by going into the classrooms of our younger students and they work one-on-one with their younger peers.  The pandemic has prevented this from happening this year. But that did not stop our 8th year Leadership class from finding a way.  The 8th years, under the guidance of their advisor Mrs. Lamb, are working with our Primary teachers and our Upper Elementary teacher to bring back our Reading Buddies program and community service virtually.

Reading Buddies is an opportunity that pairs middle school students with kindergarten students for shared or paired reading time.

Reading Buddies allows our young Kindergarten readers to see and hear what being fluent looks and sounds like as they have a peer model demonstrating reading skills. These developing readers can also gain a positive role model with some careful pairing. Our older students mature and develop social and emotional skills like patience and empathy as they work with their younger buddies.

Our Middle School students who will work with our Upper Elementary students on their classwork are creating a beautiful bridge to welcome our fifth year students to our Middle School.

When older students are given the opportunity to be better, to work for something larger than themselves, and to mentor younger peers, they can thrive.

We have seen these relationships extend beyond just one school year and carry over beyond reading books. Powerful moments of connection happen, and as a result, social and emotional lessons are inevitable. What wonderful outcomes; just from just sharing a book.

Please check out the What’s Happening segment of this communication! Our 8th year Leadership class is up to more good!


Staff Update:

Today I am writing this bittersweet message to inform you that Danielle Ulacco will be leaving FWM at the end of the school year. She and her family will be moving out of state because her husband’s career is taking their family to New Hampshire. We, at Fraser Woods, are very happy for this opportunity for the Smith family, but we are also very sorry to say good-bye.

FWM will be forever grateful to Danielle for the love, joy, laughter, and learning she has poured into all the children whose lives and learning she touched over the years. FWM is also indebted to Danielle for the creation of our MakerSpace and its curriculum. The key to success in Maker Education is that it be integrated into your school’s culture and curriculum. Danielle made this a success for our school.

We appreciate all of Danielle’s many contributions to the FWM community and we are working together to keep her connected to FWM by working remotely as our part-time Marketing person. We are also working together with Danielle to find a candidate to be our MakerSpace teacher and IT person.

Please join me in wishing Danielle and her family well as they begin this new chapter in their lives!

Mrs. Doyle’s Class: An Intention To Work

The love of one’s environment is the secret of social evolution.—-Maria Montessori

One of the first lessons given in the beginning of the year is how to carry, unroll and roll a work mat or rug.  Retrieving a mat, picking it up carefully, finding the ideal space to work and rolling it out provides an opportunity to practice gross motor skills and body awareness.  Everything that gets placed on the mat thereafter becomes the responsibility and privilege of the child working on that mat.  It also helps to organize one’s materials.

Montessori work mats, delineate a work space as the child’s own and sets an intention to “work”.   Each child knows that their lesson is exclusive to them unless they invite someone to join them to work together on their mat.   The children also know they have the responsibility to put their materials away when they are finished.  By doing so and then rolling up their mat, they are sending a signal that this particular work session has ended.

Our floors have been a sea of rugs! Your children are skillfully maneuvering themselves throughout the environment, careful not to disturb a friend’s work. We continue to be amazed at their growing control and respect for both friends and the environment.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love!

Michelle & Lizette

Mrs. Lopes’s Class: Our Hurried World

“Help me to do it myself.”

In our hurried world, it is easier to do it ourselves then to stop and show our children how to do a task, and patiently wait until they complete it. Montessori tells us that everything we do for the child that he can do for himself is an obstacle to his development. Definitely something to think about!

Our classroom travels have taken us to the continent of South America this week. We will be exploring the various countries, customs, animals, foods, music, and literature this culturally rich continent has to offer. We will also discuss what a rainforest is and have fun discovering the many layers and animals who live in the rainforests.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead,

Amanda & Sharlene

Gift Giveaway!

FWM’s 8th Grade Class would like to invite you to participate in our spring gift-giveaway to support: Newtown Food Pantry and Newtown Animal Shelter. Even exchange – one item for one raffle ticket to win either a brand new Dooney + Bourke handbag or a Vineyard Vine tie. Watch the video here!

The 8th Grade Class will spin the digital wheel TWICE on Friday (4/23) at 10:30 AM…. LIVE on ZOOM!

During 3:00 dismissal, you can donate any item(s) that the Pantry + Shelter told us was in high need on:

  1. Tuesday April 20th
  2. Wednesday April 21st
  3. Thursday April 22nd

Newtown Food Pantry Needs:
Beef Stew, Canned Chili, Sloppy Joe
Baked beans and canned tomatoes
Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese
Canned Fruit
Rice and packaged rice and pasta dishes
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Cookies and Crackers
Bottled Juices
Brownie mix, cookie mix and cake mixes
Pet Food
Toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner
Toilet paper, laundry soap, hand soap
Liquid dish soap


Newtown Animal Shelter:

Big Contractor Garbage Bags
Paper Towels
Dish Soap

Animal Food:
Kitty Litter (Any kind)
Friskies Wet Cat Food
Rachael Ray for Cats
Rachael Ray for Dogs

Mrs. Wilson: The Adventure with Mrs. T and Rain Puddles!

This week the children continued to explore lessons related to weather and spring. They were introduced to the life cycle of a chicken and a plant. Outside the children have an option to explore the sensory bin filled with life-like worms. They can choose to use tongs to pick up and collect the worms into bowls. Thank you Mrs. Hood for sharing this wonderful activity with us.

On Wednesday, the children had a special visitor stay with us for the day. The children were called to circle and we introduced to them Mrs. T. the box turtle. Mrs. T is a very sweet and gentle 36-year-old turtle. The children were eager to have a turn to hold and pet her. We taught them to hold her carefully like holding a hamburger or sandwich. We pointed out the parts of her body and talked about all the different kinds of food Mrs. T eats.
Mrs. T enjoyed some time outside exploring the playground. The children sang her songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary had a Little Lamb. Another child sat down to read a book to her. By the time it was nap time Mrs. T sure did need a nap too!
We can’t wait for Mrs. T’s next visit!

Thursday, we were so thankful for the warm spring air and rain. This gave us the opportunity to get outside and jump in puddles. The children were elated while given the freedom to run and jump from puddle to puddle. It was such a joyful experience and even more when Ms. Sara and I joined in!

“When life gives you rainy days, jump in the puddles.”
Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Sara