Blog

Upper El’s Week

We are a small but mighty group this week. As introduced in last week’s blog, math work starts with the concrete and leads naturally to the abstract. We had lots of progress in math this week.  Many students are working with fractions. They are learning to add and subtract fractions with different denominators and to multiply whole numbers by fractions. All fraction work begins with students using cut pieces of circles, called fraction insets. In their addition and subtraction work, they manipulate the pieces to figure out what the common denominator is. After doing several problems, we look to see if they recognize a pattern in what they are doing. As they work, students notice that:

  1. To add or subtract fractions with different denominators, all fractions must be reduced to the same denominator.
  2. To change the terms of a fraction, they either multiply or divide both terms by the same number.
  3. If they multiply or divide the terms of a fraction by the same number, the value of the fraction doesn’t change.

In their work with the multiplication of whole numbers by fractions, they start by taking the whole circle insets and changing them into the number of fraction pieces they need in order to multiply. Students begin to notice that, as the denominator of the multiplier is increased, the total product is decreased. They then begin to notice the pattern, they simply have to multiply the whole number by the numerator to get their new numerator and the denominator stays the same. All students working with fractions are also learning to reduce their answers to the lowest terms.

We also have students working with decimal numbers, multiplying binomials, and squaring trinomials. I look forward to sharing more details about those lessons with you in the next few weeks.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend,

Karen and Angie


Middle School: Week in Review

Another great week has ended, and we entered February, an exciting month for middle school. This month, we have Research Presentation Night on February 15th at 7 pm for 6th and 7th-grade students. We invite 8th graders to come and support their classmates if they are able. The middle school is also working on a collective “Gallery” (more to come on this) in recognition of Black History Month. We also have Conferences on Thursday, 2/16. If you haven’t already, please sign up with your child’s advisor (a link to a Sign Up Genius went out last Friday). Finally, discussions have begun about this year’s middle school play that we will be writing at the end of the month.

Humanities

6th-grade Humanities classes completed written drafts of their research essays. They made sure to include in-text citations, paragraphs that support their thesis statements, transitions between body paragraphs and whenever necessary within them, and meaningful introductions and conclusions. They are now working diligently on their Google Slides presentation. Their visual presentation along with prepared notes is due on Monday. Next week, Mrs. Lamb will be listening to first-round presentations and giving feedback to all presenters.

7th-grade Humanities classes received refreshers on developing a works cited page and writing meaningful conclusions before submitting their drafts of their research essays. They also made sure to include in-text citations, paragraphs that support their thesis statements, transitions between body paragraphs and whenever necessary within them, and meaningful introductions and conclusions. 7th-grade students are now working on their presentations with the expectation of creating appealing visuals that will accompany their expertise on their topics. Once they complete this prepared presentation for Monday, Mrs. Lamb will listen and give feedback to each student presenter.

The 8th-grade Humanities class has officially finished reading Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible! Feedback was mostly positive about the reading experience and navigating a play together in class. Upon its completion, students drafted essays giving compelling arguments about power dynamics in the play. Students had to give evidence using direct quotations and events in the piece. The 8th graders are away for their internships next Monday through Wednesday, and we wish them well!

Math

In the Pre-Transition math class, students concluded their learning of chapter 4 and successfully learned how to add and subtract integer values, identify angles, and solve equations with fact triangles. We started learning about chapter 6 and are covering topics such as multiplying fractions and decimal values. This class will explore how to use power notation and multiply mixed numbers next week.
In the Transition math class, students finished learning all about Chapter 6 and have a complete understanding of the properties of triangles and parallelograms. This week we started working with multiplying negative values and solving single-step equations/inequalities. This class was invited to participate in a Montessori lesson with Mrs. Sankey and learned how to square binomial values using a peg board to understand the squaring concept.
In the Algebra math class, students are excited to learn about powers, roots, and exponent problems. We discussed the multiplication counting principle, power rule, quotient rule, power of powers rule, and negative rule. This class is working hard to build their study skills, challenge their overall thinking each day, and continue to be curious mathematics students!
Math Joke: Did you hear the one about the two thieves who stole the calendar? They each got six months!
Science

6th-year Earth Science students are working on the unit, Natural Resources. The objectives of this unit are to classify a natural resource as renewable or nonrenewable, provide examples of ways humans depend on natural resources, compare and explain how natural resources form, and explain the importance of using natural resources wisely. Students were introduced to this unit by conducting research and presenting to the class how natural resources are used to make everything around us from trash bins to basketballs.

7th-year Physical Science students are working on the unit, Kinetic Energy. The objectives of this unit are to explain how the kinetic energy of an object depends on its mass and velocity, compare kinetic energy to potential energy, and model how kinetic energy can be transformed into potential energy and how potential energy can be transformed into kinetic energy. Throughout this unit, students will design and test pinewood derby cars and build their own marble roller coaster, both of which will test all theories and principles of kinetic and potential energy.
8th-year Life Science students have finished constructing their 3-D DNA models and will soon be mounting them to a base that will provide the properties of DNA such as nitrogen bases, genes, codons, and proteins. Our new unit, Influencing Inheritances, will require students to do the following: distinguish between two categories of genetic engineering; explain how humans can influence certain characteristics of organisms by selective breeding; why gene modification, animal husbandry, and gene therapy are examples of artificial selection; and, evaluate the impacts of human use of technology to influence the desired traits of organisms.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Stay warm!

The Three Year Cycle in Lower El

The Montessori three-year cycle in Lower Elementary provides the space and time for children to develop interpersonal skills by interacting with and learning among children of different ages.  The children learn how to cooperate with one another and respect each other. First-year students are the observers, learning from the second and third-year students. Second-year students are no longer the youngest but are still learning from the thirds while practicing for next year by helping younger classmates. This second year of the three-year cycle is as important as the first and third years of their time in the classroom. This is their growth year. The third-year students are the leaders; teaching the younger children while also setting a good example for them. Throughout this three-year process, the children gain confidence, and competence and learn how to interact with a diverse peer group. They gain great social skills, preparing them for success many years down the road.

The children are LOVING the mystery readers!! Thanks so much, Jordan Rabidou, for spending some time in LE this week!


Mrs. Doyle: Animals In Winter

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been learning that winter can be very harsh for animals. The weather and lack of food can make their survival difficult. To help ensure their survival, animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt to their surroundings.

Animals that hibernate for the winter go into a deep sleep. Their body’s temperature drops, their heartbeat and breathing slow down, and they use very little energy. We’ve learned which animals hibernate as well as where they hibernate. Places, where animals hibernate, can be above ground, such as a cave, nest, or den, or they can be below ground, such as a burrow, a hole, or deep down in the mud.  We explored which animals migrated or traveled to other places where the weather is warmer and they will be able to find food. We also examined why animals might migrate and where they may go. Animals that adapt, remain and stay active in their environment. They adapt to the changing weather, and their behavior and bodies may change too. We talked about what changes animals may make to ensure they will have enough food for the winter.

So, as the cold weather is becoming more frequent, how many of us are thinking about hibernating or migrating?

Reminder: Parent/Teacher conferences are on Thursday, February 16th.  Please click here to access the sign-up genius and choose a time slot.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Michelle & Maria


Mrs. Lopes: Animals in Winter

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been learning that winter can be very harsh for animals. The weather and lack of food can make their survival difficult. To help ensure their survival, animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt to their surroundings.

Animals that hibernate for the winter go into a deep sleep. Their body’s temperature drops, their heartbeat and breathing slow down, and they use very little energy. We’ve learned which animals hibernate as well as where they hibernate. Places, where animals hibernate, can be above ground, such as a cave, nest, or den, or they can be below ground, such as a burrow, a hole, or deep down in the mud.  We explored which animals migrated or traveled to other places where the weather is warmer and they will be able to find food. We also examined why animals might migrate and where they may go. Animals that adapt, remain and stay active in their environment. They adapt to the changing weather, and their behavior and bodies may change too. We talked about what changes animals may make to ensure they will have enough food for the winter.

So, as the cold weather is becoming more frequent, how many of us are thinking about hibernating or migrating?

Reminder: Parent/Teacher conferences are on Thursday, February 16th.  Please click here to access the sign-up genius and choose a time slot.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Amanda & Hema


Mrs. Semmah: Animals In Winter

Over the course of the last few weeks, we have been learning that winter can be very harsh for animals. The weather and lack of food can make their survival difficult. To help ensure their survival, animals hibernate, migrate, or adapt to their surroundings.

Animals that hibernate for the winter go into a deep sleep. Their body’s temperature drops, their heartbeat and breathing slow down, and they use very little energy. We’ve learned which animals hibernate as well as where they hibernate. Places, where animals hibernate, can be above ground, such as a cave, nest, or den, or they can be below ground, such as a burrow, a hole, or deep down in the mud.  We explored which animals migrated or traveled to other places where the weather is warmer and they will be able to find food. We also examined why animals might migrate and where they may go. Animals that adapt, remain and stay active in their environment. They adapt to the changing weather, and their behavior and bodies may change too. We talked about what changes animals may make to ensure they will have enough food for the winter.

So, as the cold weather is becoming more frequent, how many of us are thinking about hibernating or migrating?

Reminder: Parent/Teacher conferences are on Thursday, February 16th.  Please click this link to the Sign Up Genius and choose a time slot.

Wishing you a week filled with peace and love.

Kaoutar & Michelle


February Family Connection Newsletter

“Through concentration, important qualities of character develop. When the concentration passes, the child is inwardly satisfied, he becomes aware of his companions in whom he shows a lively and sympathetic interest.” -Maria Montessori

“Concentration is the Key” in this month’s Family Connection Newsletter. Concentration holds great importance in the Montessori philosophy. Montessorians believe that personality develops based on the ability to concentrate and that children’s social/emotional nature is established through control of their minds and bodies. Concentration allows children to explore and investigate their environment. How is concentration fostered in the Montessori classroom?

  • Didactic materials reinforce repetition, have clear steps, contain control of error, and are fascinating.
  • Practical life activities develop coordination and independence, encourage attention to detail, and develop concentration.
  • The classroom environment acts as a protector of the child’s concentration, allows deep engagement, allows long periods of uninterrupted work, and provides time for children to become completely engrossed in their work.
  • The teacher acts as a protector of the child’s focus and concentration and shows great respect for the child and their work.

This issue also addresses Montessori at home through lunch preparation, clean-up, and independence. In addition, you will learn about the importance of Care of the Environment at different developmental stages and the skills that are fostered by caring for the environment.

I hope you find this month’s Family Connection helpful and informative.

Warmly,

Karen Sankey
Director of Montessori Education


Mrs. Hood: Process vs. Product

“The human hand allows the mind to reveal itself.” – Maria Montessori

Art is one of the many ways children express themselves. When it comes to art, it is the process, not the product that is important to the child. As adults, our goal is to produce a product, but the child interacts with the world differently. The child works to develop self. The focus is on the process, not the product. Once a child creates something, they do not feel the need to keep the product. It is the process that gives them satisfaction and inner joy.

In our Montessori environment, art materials teach each skill separately so that the children can combine them on their own: line drawing with crayons, holding and managing colored chalk, cutting without and with a guideline, stamping, working with clay, painting with watercolors, etc.  All of these skills will be mastered independently and then combined at the child’s discretion in some grand piece of artwork later on in their development.

This week we added a fun Sensorial experience to tie in with our winter studies: ice cube painting! Children enjoyed creating different pieces of artwork while combining colors, but the truly big point of interest in this exercise was to feel the coldness of the paint! They LOVED painting their hands and were mesmerized for long periods of time by the sensation on their hands!

On another note, older toddlers received a lesson on learning to recognize the special markings of three different types of penguins: emperor, rockhopper, and chinstrap. Children then practice matching the adult penguin with their chicks. Since this is a picture-to-picture matching work and it’s a more abstract concept to grasp, we added an extra control of error on the back of the cards with some color coding stickers so the toddlers can self-correct as they continue to sharpen their observation skills. They also received a lesson about the names of the seasons and their different characteristics using a great puzzle that children like to call the pizza puzzle. This has become one of the most popular works of the week.

Lastly, we all explored parsnips as a food-tasting lesson. I have to confess, it was my first time trying this vegetable and I loved it. I also need to report that it was a very well-received vegetable from your toddlers. Feel free to add it to the grocery list. We also celebrated two great birthdays and the children enjoyed the yummy treats and hearing the stories from the donated books.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Marissa