Blog

Mrs. Wilson: Apples, Apples, Apples

We are amazed by how the children have smoothly phased into the classroom. Some may still have a few tears when arriving at school but they quickly recover within seconds after drop off. You can see their smiling faces in the photo gallery above.

We are exploring apples for the next few weeks. All types of apple activities will surround the children to explore.

During our circle time, the children learned a new song

Way up high in a tree,
Two little apples smiled at me.
I shook that tree as hard as I could.
DOWN came an apple for (child’s name)
Mm-mmm they were good …
We also read The Apple Pie That Papa Baked book by Lauren Thompson

This week we did our first food tasting activity of the year. The children explored the feel, smell, look, and taste of a MacIntosh Apple. This activity also teaches the children how to wait patiently for their turn to taste and to wait until everyone was offered their first piece before having seconds. Every child tasted the apple and every child had multiple tastings.

Every year on September 21st we join together for the International Day of Peace.  Wednesday the children joined the whole Fraser Woods community in the Commons to sing Light a Candle For Peace by Shelly Murley. It is such a beautiful moment to hear everyone singing together for world peace.

Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Sara


Upper El This Week

This week we dove further into our typical class routines. On Monday morning, the children chose their job for the week. This will happen each Monday. Our jobs this year, decided on by the children, are: Attendance, Lunch and Dishes, Care of Living Things, Floor Cleaner, Supplies, Books and Games, Writing the Board, Shelves, Lamps and Diffuser, and Trash and Compost. Doing jobs and contributing to the community is part of daily life in a Montessori classroom. Taking care of their own environment helps the children to take ownership of their space and teaches them responsibility.

We started to have some work cycles this week. Each student had an initial math assessment and lesson followed by an assignment to complete during work cycle. Everyone also completed their first spelling lesson. Next week we will begin our group lessons in each of the other subject areas. Our lesson schedule is: Monday – Geometry, Tuesday – Science, Thursday – History, and Friday – Language.

Literature Circle discussions began this week as well. Each of the two groups did a nice job discussing the first 42 pages of their books. They received their first Lit Circle assignment on Wednesday, to read the next set of pages and complete their role sheet. Completed role sheets and books need to be brought to school each Wednesday in preparation for the weekly Lit Circle meeting.

We are in the process of planning our first field trip of the year on October 4th. Please look for an email next week with details and an opportunity to sign up to join us on our trip. We can take two parents with us so check your schedules!


Lower El: Building Community

“There is a great sense of community within the Montessori classroom, where children of different ages work together in an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competitiveness. There is respect for the environment and for the individuals within it, which comes through experience of freedom within the community.”  -Maria Montessori

We had a great second full week of school!  This week we got to branch out and grow stronger with our school community. We felt fortunate to have our first community service day where the Middle School students came to help us with our work. Our students love this time with their older peers and take so much pride and ownership in the process of working with them. Not only is it a benefit to us, but the Middle School students get to experience the wonderful feeling of giving help where needed. We love the days our older friends visit!

Each Wednesday afternoon we have intentional community building time. This is a time when the children socialize with each other and build our Lower Elementary community, making bonds and creating memories. Whenever possible, during this time we enjoy going to our outdoor classroom and playing in the woods. Spending time in nature is incredibly valuable and it is wonderful to watch the children be creative and play, no equipment needed!


Mrs Semmah: One Step At A Time

We know it takes time for the new rhythm of school days to become familiar. So, while we are taking one step at a time, we are slowly building the foundations for a smooth, exciting school year.

It just a few short days, we as a class are learning:

  • how to navigate our way around the environment
  • how to wait for a lesson
  • the routines of our school day
  • how to prepare for snack and lunch independently
  • about being part of a large group meeting by listening and sharing
  • care of self and care of the environment

Our returning friends have been role models for our new friends.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to be a leader. It wasn’t so very long ago that they were new to the classroom themselves and they accept this new responsibility with excitement and confidence.

A question we frequently hear from parents is, “What can I do at home to help my child be successful at school?” One way to do so is to guide your child to become as independent as possible. This independence is guided by your child’s age and ability. So there are no hard and fast rules to follow. A few important areas to focus on would be setting up and cleaning up their lunch, putting on and taking off coats and boots, toileting themselves, packing and unpacking their backpacks, and carefully putting their toys away when they are done.  This process is also one step at a time.

Here’s to new beginnings and a peaceful, fun school year for everyone!

Wishing you all a week filled with peace and love!

Kaoutar and Michelle


Mrs. Wilson: Farm Animals

 

The children are adjusting so well to the new environment. We saw more happy faces and heard more laughter as the week went on. The children are practicing their new routines of getting themselves ready, using a work mat, and learning the boundaries of the classroom.

We are also practicing walking and transitioning from one space to another, such as from the classroom to outside, by using a walking rope. The rope helps give the children a visual so that eventually they will understand the concept of walking together in a line. They really seem to enjoy our outdoor environment. Especially the sandbox and trucks.

This week we introduced the farm animals. Farm animals are familiar to most children. Not only do most children like to play with them, but they offer a hidden agenda for pre-reading. The farm animals are a great way to help develop more language. Naming the animals adds to their vocabulary. Making coordinating animal sounds is helping to develop early sounds. For example, saying, “Moo, moo,” and “Baa, baa,” helps them strengthen different mouth muscles and files away simple syllable structures such as consonant-vowel combinations and patterns.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Sara


Family Connection

Dear Fraser Woods Families,

Welcome to the Family Connection, the American Montessori Society’s monthly newsletter. Each issue includes articles about Montessori education, Montessori tips for the home, and a peek inside the classroom.

This month’s publication focuses on how young children absorb and assimilate information through Montessori math lessons. It also focuses on the way Montessori elementary classrooms foster scientific thinking and support the development of higher thinking skills.

Curriculum night is coming up on September 15th. We look forward to seeing you there, where you can learn more about how your child experiences learning in their classroom at FWM. 

Enjoy! 

Best regards,

Karen Sankey

Director of Montessori Education


Middle School: Week in Review

What an awesome week! We enjoyed seeing you at Curriculum Night. If you have any additional questions or discussion items, please feel free to contact us.

It was our first week working with the younger students in Community Service since early 2020. All Middle School students spend two periods each Wednesday morning with their younger peers. They helped with work, sat in circle, sang songs, and even read to the children. Everyone is excited to visit again next week.

Here’s an update for Science, Math, and Humanities:

Science

6th year Earth Science students have begun the year exploring how to generate an experiment to answer a question or solve a problem. Students spent several days identifying examples of dependent and independent variables from a set list of experiments while creating their own at the end. We have also begun our first unit from our Discovery Education tech-book, Earth’s History. Students will learn what factors influence the preservation potential of fossils and the information one might obtain is this discovery.

7th year Physical Science students have begun the term learning about the scientific process of combining and separating of mixtures. Students were tasked with separating a mixture in class using a variety of methods such as magnets, sifter, filter paper, and evaporation. Real world applications of this practice such as the clean up of oil spills was later discussed and analyzed.
8th year Life Science students have begun the term on the unit, Cell Theory. Within this unit, students are first introduced to the three tenets of cell theory which state, “All living things come from preexisting cells, cells are the basic unit of life, and all organisms are made up of one or more cells.” Students are working on identifying similarities and differences between a plant and animal cell, which they will represent by creating their own plant/animal cell cake. Students will choose items to represent and identify each cell’s organelles using foods of choice that best represent each organelle. Students will present their work to the middle school students once completed.
Math
Welcome to Middle School Math! Students are off to a busy start with textbook distribution, completing their first homework questions, and practicing note taking skills. Ms. Sutherland is excited to learn and grow this year alongside the energetic middle school mathematicians.
In Pre-Transition class, students reviewed how to write numbers in written form and identify place values in large numbers. This class can measure units in customary units and divide line segments into equal parts. This class is working towards their first quiz on Wednesday, September 21st.
In Transition class, students learned how to use rational numbers to solve real world problems, graph values on a number line, as well as multiply by powers of ten. This class can use inequalities to compare numerical values and can definite a rational number.
In Algebra class, students explored how to use variables to describe real world situations, determine if expressions are equivalent, as well as identify the associative and commutative property of multiplication/addition. This class is learning how to use a new graphing software (Desmos) and how to substitute values into an algebraic expression.
As a general reminder,  daily homework assignments (lesson master worksheets) are due at the beginning of each class. Math Help Sessions are embedded into the Wednesday timetable for students to receive extra one on one support.
Math Joke: Hey, have you ever noticed what’s odd?…….. Every other number!
Humanities
All Humanities classes completed Identity Maps to start the year and they are posted in the classroom. Theses maps include identifiers and visually represent what each student wishes their peers and teachers to know about themselves. They can certainly change each year, so it is a great way to start fresh.
All classes also presented their summer independent reading presentations to classmates. There were great book choices and a good mix of genres. Ms. Lamb also added some books to her must-read list!
In addition to the work above, the 6th grade Humanities class did some additional group-forming activities. While the group already knows each other well, they found some new information they didn’t know about each other. This helps students become comfortable sharing with each other. In Humanities class, students often share personal writing and perspective, so these additional activities help with listening and responding. Next week, students will begin vocabulary and a unit surrounding their summer novel, Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan.
7th grade Humanities class began their unit surrounding China and their summer novel, Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka. They researched and defined some key vocabulary that will be seen in their study of this region and completed political maps of China. Finally, students completed their first unit of vocabulary and a writing assessment to identify their independent writing skills at the start of the year.
8th grade Humanities classes took part in written and spoken discussion surrounding their summer novel, The Giver by Lois Lowry. With the idea that the setting of the book is supposed to be Utopia, they reviewed parts of the novel that were, in fact, dystopian. They also went over the most shocking events of the novel and will complete a final writing assignment surrounding the book next week. Finally, they also completed a unit of vocabulary as well as a writing assessment to identify their independent writing skills at the start of the year.
Have a wonderful weekend! It’s feeling like fall!

Mrs. Hood: Slow and Steady!

Your children have started to settle little by little. There are less tears everyday at drop off time and more dancing and giggles throughout the morning. As your children’s confidence and trust have increased, they have started to explore the environment more intentionally. They have even started to socialize with some of their peers. Those that are able to say a few words have started to recognize and call their friends by their names.

As the children continue to use their freedom of movement and freedom of choice, some ground rules have been introduced. One of those rules is Respect for Others’ Work. In traditional school settings, children this age are encouraged and even expected to share. Sharing is a very important concept, but for children of this age it’s a task that they are not developmentally ready for. In our environment we encourage the concept of taking turns instead. This encourages patience, mindfulness, independence, order, and concentration. Children don’t feel threatened by the idea that another child will take their material away, instead they can peacefully work with the material until they are done. When children want to work independently we encourage them to say: “This is my work. Please don’t touch.” We also encourage the children to observe quietly how other children are working with a material. It’s so fun to see that even at this young age children are able to work on mastering these skills! They just need the encouragement to do so.

Another rule we introduced this week is We Respect our Materials. As guides, we model slowly and consistently throughout the morning the importance of carrying and handling our materials in a gentle way. If one of our students decides to throw a piece of material across the room, we encourage them to use one of the balls instead and we verbalize to them in a few words how we should use the materials. “We throw the ball.” “We are gentle with our materials.”

On another note, children had a blast exploring our school’s gym and our toddler outdoor space. They have been practicing how to sit in a community circle, how to transition from place to place, and they all did a great job on our first fire drill this week. Some of the children’s favorite songs this week seemed to be: “Walking in the Jungle” by Super Simple Songs, “Walk Around” by Nancy Kopman, “The Goldfish” by Laurie Berkner, and of course “The Wheel on the Bus” by Cedarmont Kids and “Old Mc Donald Had a Farm.”  

Enjoy the pictures of your beautiful children, 

Mrs. Hood and Ms. Bethann