UE Collaborative Art!


Collaboration is a frequent and natural current that flows through the Art Studio. Whether it is a planned collaborative Art project, or it happens naturally among students, collaboration helps students understand the subject matter in a deep, meaningful way and encourages students to think beyond themselves. In Upper Elementary, young artists worked collaboratively on a mural inspired by the artist Alma Thomas. 

Alma Thomas was born in Columbus, Georgia, 1891 and died in 1978. For 35 years and in a segregated city, she empowered art students at Shaw Junior High School to see beauty in the everyday and brought exhibition opportunities and cultural enrichment to Black youth. Throughout her career as an artist and teacher, she was a leader within her creative community. She created small watercolors, aerial landscapes, and brightly patterned large-scale abstractions that reflect her local surroundings and her fascination with space and the environment. Thomas made history in 1971 by becoming the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York at age 81, and again in 2015 by becoming the first Black woman to have a work of art acquired by the White House Collection.

After learning about Alma Thomas’ extraordinary career and viewing a range of artworks created by her, Upper Elementary students embarked on a large-scale  landscape mural using collage techniques. To begin, students painted a range of warm and cool colors on papers, allowed them to dry, and then cut them into small squares. Then, they mapped out their landscape with pencil and filled in each section with the colored squares according to a color scheme they chose together. When collaborating, the students were interdependent; their work became intertwined throughout the process, resulting in a unique work of art that many hands made together!

Mrs. Wilson: Welcoming a New Friend

The children continued to explore all things fall, and woodland animals. We read the book: Because of an Acorn by Lola Schaefer and Adam Schaefer. The book told a simple story of the connections that happen because of an acorn– how every tree, plant, flower, and animal connect to one another.

The children were in delight as they got to watch Mr. Manuel from the window. He was using a leaf blower to clear the grounds and lots of leaves flew up and around our window. This small moment brought so much joy and laughter to the children.

We would like to send out a very warm welcome to our new classmate and her family. We are so happy that you joined our community. The children were very welcoming and were happy to help her settle in.

For food tasting this week the children tasted a roasted sweet potato. We explored the peels and the raw potato. We discovered that the raw potato didn’t have much of a smell and the cooked potato did. Also, the raw potato was heavy and firm, while the cooked potato was soft.

I have added our new friend to the food tasting schedule and that has been updated. A new schedule will be/has been sent home.

Mrs. Wilson

Middle School: Week in Review

The energy is up this week on the cusp of a short, Thanksgiving week coming up and some beautiful weather. Also, the 8th grade and the generosity of the FWM community is providing a holiday meal plus extra provisions for the season to a Newtown family in need. Lots of great moments happening!


In Transition class, students are working through the second half of Chapter 5 in the UCSMP textbook. They covered new topics such as using fact triangles to find related number sentences and solving for unknown variables in an addition or subtraction question. This class is able to solve equations of the form x + a = b and understand how to isolate a variable using a single-step method.
In Algebra class, students can successfully solve for variables in the form ax + b = cx + d. This class can also write linear equations and inequalities based on a real-world problem. They are continuing to practice how to rearrange formulas for specific variables and recognize what equations have no real solution or all real solutions.
In Geometry class, students are concluding their learning for Chapter 4 about congruent transformations. This class is learning about reflection, rotations, translations, and magnifications of different figures on a plane. With great patience and practice, this class is able to draw composite reflections over intersecting lines and draw translations using a vector guide.
Math Joke: Why did the two 4’s skip Thanksgiving dinner?…….Because they already 8!
Grade 6 Humanities worked on final writing and discussions relating to their class novel, Out of My Mind. They wrote reactions to the novel using guided questions and are now brainstorming for a creative writing piece that involves writing to the main character, Melody. 6th grade students also completed a poetry analysis for the poem, “Don’t Go Into the Library” by Albert Rios that discusses the notion of how spaces can evoke emotion. They will begin another descriptive writing piece next week!
Grade 7 Humanities students wrapped up culture discussion this week and moved into their next region of the globe: the SubSaharan African Continent. Geography work was done as well as gaining information regarding human geography as well as the industries of forestry, fishing, mining, and drilling and their impacts on the environment, the people, and the world.
Grade 8 Humanities students spent the week working on their career research project/internship. They have chosen a profession of interest and are doing research about what the job entails, what days are like, qualifications needed, and much more. They are also asked to interview or intern with an individual in the field as part of their research. The 8th years are doing great work!
     This week all Middle School science students are working on the fundamentals of a scientific investigation. Students are exploring and identifying the differences between independent and dependent variables, what a control is within an experiment, how to format and carry out an experiment,  represent and analyze data, and build a logical conclusion. Throughout this process, students will be presented with a series of graphs that represent a variety of data. The students’ objective will be to deduce what the purpose (problem/question) of the experiment was that resulted in collection of data. From that purpose, they will analyze the results.  Through this practice, students will have a broader understanding into a scientific mindset.
Have a great weekend, everyone!



The Three Year Cycle

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 to 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 year 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, 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.

An Orderly Classroom Prepared for Learning

In a Montessori classroom, the teacher prepares a broad array of learning activities or “lessons” well before the children arrive.

During “work cycle” children independently choose from among those “lessons” throughout the morning. The students are given an uninterrupted period of time to complete that activity and return materials to their proper place once they have finished working with it. The Montessori work cycle teaches children so much. During work cycle, children learn to focus their attention and learn how to complete a task independently or with minimal help. The outcome is children feel a sense of accomplishment with each work cycle they successfully complete.

Each area in a Montessori environment (Math, Language, Culture, Sensorial, and Practical Life) is designed specifically to provide differentiated learning with a curriculum that flows on a continuum so the learning suits the individual needs of each unique student.

In some areas of the classroom, students conduct hands-on experiments, while other areas of the classroom require children to work together as a group to solve the learning activity. Still, other areas of the classroom are designed for children who prefer to learn independently. When children come into the environment, they are free to explore all areas of the classroom and choose lessons they are most drawn to.  Since all the lessons provide valuable learning opportunities, the children learn no matter which activity they choose.

Middle School: Week in Review

Happy Friday! We hope you enjoy reading about the full week of learning and great work by the Middle School Students!


6th year Earth Science students are finishing their unit on Tectonic Plates. Throughout this week, students have continued to apply their knowledge of the rock cycle as it relates to tectonic plate activity. Students were asked to hypothesize how tectonic plates play a role in the development of the rock cycle. After sharing their hypothesis, each student conducted research to either support or disprove their own theory.

7th year Physical Science students have finished designing and producing their stop motion videos depicting States of Matter. Each group of students was required to plan and carry out their ideas which artistically represented the transition between solids, liquids, gases, and plasma. Students were to include each state’s molecular arrangement, thermal energy as it relates to potential energy, and whether or not a definite shape and volume are recorded. After students finished their videos, they reflected on areas of their work they felt went as planned and those that can be improved upon moving forward.
8th year Life Science students also finished their stop motion video on Cellular Respiration. With cellular respiration being a rather extensive sequence, the objective students were to represent in their video was the sequence of each phase transition between glycolysis, citric acid cycle, and electron transport chain. Each phase was to include the input and outputs of each. Our next unit will be Meiosis and Mitosis.
In Transition class, students concluded their learning for Chapter 3 titled, Representing Numbers. This class has moved onto learning Chapter 5 and are excited to learn about absolute values, adding integers, and solving single-step equations.
In Algebra class, students continued to learn more about linear equations and linear inequalities. Students practiced graphing vertical and horizontal lines on a coordinate plane, solving equations with a variable on both sides of the problem, as well as finding percentages of a total quantity.
In Geometry class, students began working through Chapter 4 and are studying transformations in space. This class is continuing to practice how to draw a reflection over parallel and intersecting line segments. This group can also find the new coordinates of a figure after a reflection, rotation, or magnification is performed.
Math Joke: Why do plants dislike math?…….Because it gives them square roots.
6th grade Humanities students finished their class novel, Out of My Mind. With an action-packed week of reading, they successfully participated in insightful book discussion and completed written work associated with the novel. It was great to have the students become so invested in their novel! They also completed a unit of vocabulary this week.
7th grade Humanities students began the week wrapping up their current events from last Friday. With such important topics and a class that has respectful and profound discussions, it is always exciting to watch and listen to them engage and learn from each other. Next, students have been discussing culture, specifically how it relates to our country and also China, as we finish up our learning about the country. What makes a culture? How does culture change? What happens when it does? We looked at traditional vs. modern culture. Additionally, they completed an assignment analyzing the poems, “A Prayer for the 21st Century” by James Marsden and the lyrics from Bob Dylan’s, “Forever Young”. Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.
8th grade Humanities class also began the week wrapping up current events presentations from last Friday. Similarly to the 7th grade class, they had excellent topics that elicited good discussion and inquiry.  Students had respectful conversation that was great to listen to. Next, students completed research to share with the class next week about a few Pre-Contact Civilizations from the Americas: Incas, The Mayan Empire, Aztecs, Mississippians, Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi), and Olmec. Additionally, students began looking at the genre of personal narratives by reading and responding to two essays, “Plate of Peas” by Rick Beyer and “Mississippi Mud” by Jessica Piper. Finally, students completed a unit of vocabulary.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Upper El Week Nine

In Montessori math at the elementary level, concrete materials are used to introduce and practice concepts, leading students to understanding and abstraction. Instead of the focus being on the answer, it is on how students get to the answer. The Montessori math materials allow students to discover for themselves the algorithms that guide their work, instead of memorizing math rules given to them by their teacher in order to solve their problems.

The Upper El math curriculum builds on students’ previous learning and their work with whole numbers. Their main work, after mastering the four operations with whole numbers, is to learn to use the four operations with fractions and decimals. This is a familiar math curriculum for these grades, but in a Montessori classroom it is presented differently from the conventional approach, using materials and discovery, and focusing on understanding over memorization.

The learning sequences completed in Upper El help students build neural networks for problem-solving and logical thinking. This is great preparation for higher math, particularly for the understanding of Algebra. These lessons activate networks of neurons that allow students to hardwire their brains for higher thinking, helping them use their brains more efficiently, not only for math, but for life.

Mrs. Doyle: Traveling to North America

These last few weeks have been a particularly busy and exciting time with your children. We have traveled through space, explored the eight planets, discovered that the sun is a star, and rocketed back to planet Earth. We are now exploring the first of seven continents, North America.  You may hear your children call it the orange continent. This is because on the Montessori globe and map, North America is indeed orange. We will continue to explore the animals native to our continent, map North America’s countries, examine topography, and study how a continent’s proximity to the equator impacts its climate.

The Montessori cultural studies curriculum provides children with an opportunity to explore the whole world, including the continents, countries, people, animals, terrain, music, and arts. Children use didactic Montessori materials to familiarize themselves with the needs of all humans for such things as food, housing, and clothing. This early cultural awareness helps cultivate independent, joyful citizens of our world.

Wishing everyone a week filled with peace and love!

Michelle & Liset