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Luminous Lower Elementary

We have had a wonderfully busy and productive week in Lower Elementary. We are enjoying our physical science lessons on light. We discussed the difference between natural light and artificial light and then we went on a walk through the school and took a light survey, seeing how many sources we could find that produce light. Next, we learned that atoms get excited when energy is added in the form of heat or a chemical reaction and light is produced when the excited atoms release their energy in bundles of photons. The children had fun acting out the roles of the atoms and photons as Ms. Beckett verbally added energy. We also discussed what role light plays in the survival of plants. We learned about photosynthesis and chlorophyll and why we see plants as green. We covered a small patch of grass and a leaf on our playground to see what will happen when they aren’t able to collect sunlight. We will be checking on them next week. Finally, we went into a dark room and turned on a flashlight. We noticed that we could see the light at its source and at the point where it bounced off the wall but we could not see its beam. Then we shook a dusty pillow. We noticed that we could then see the beam of light reflecting off the dust particles. We will continue with light lessons over the next few weeks and we will be learning more about light when we go on our April field trip.

In addition to our physical science lessons on light, we had many other small group lessons this week. First year students learned about external parts of amphibians in biology, land and water forms in geography, and oblique and perpendicular lines in geometry. Second year students learned about the body functions of amphibians in biology, advanced land and water forms in geography, and subtracting angles with the Montessori protractor in geometry. Third year students collected moss and examined it under a microscope. They are learning about the external parts and body functions of moss in biology and about constructing right-angled, obtuse-angled, and acute-angled triangles with the box of sticks in geometry.

The children have received their parts for our May musical, Moana Jr. They are working hard already and have been enjoying coming together with Upper Elementary to sing songs from Moana in the mornings before we start our day. The children should bring their scripts to school every day since we will be doing a lot of practicing in the coming weeks. Be on the lookout next week for an email with more information about costumes, props, and parts.


Mrs. Carroll’s Class: A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small

Grab your green eggs and ham and get ready to play, because we are celebrating Dr. Seuss Day!

Each year, schools, libraries, and other organizations prepare for Dr. Seuss’s Birthday on March 2. Millions of teachers and students Read Across America with their friends, family, and peers as a celebration of one of our favorite children’s authors, Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Seuss’s birthday and advocate his goal of promoting and motivating reading.

Our Seusstastic celebration included wearing pajamas to school and bringing in prized stuffed animals to read to and snuggle with. We read several Dr. Seuss books including Green Eggs and Ham and then actually sampled the colorful treat for a snack. We do like them, Sam I AmWe will eat them once again!  Thank you Michelle Lamb and Christi Orlowski for joining the fun and helping with the crafts.

Please remember that “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child!”-Dr. Seuss

Happy reading,

Cindy & Sharlene


Chores for Children of All Ages

As our children get older, they pine for more responsibility at home.  Below is a helpful article from the Montessori Notebook blog with tips for including children in the household chores.

Also, for a breakdown of age-appropriate chores, please click here.

It is amazing what young children take joy in doing. Here is a list of age appropriate chores for children.

Some people might read these lists and not believe it is possible. But if you would like your child to not only do these chores, but enjoy contributing to the household, follow these tips:Never force the child – you can do these alongside each other or step in when they need help

    1. Look for child-sized brooms, mops and utensils to give the greatest success
    2. Slow down taking time to show your child how to do these tasks
    3. Keep your movements slow, and limit talking at the same time – makes it easier for them to copy you
    4. Makes chores around the house lots more fun if there is a little one alongside trying it out too
    5. Let go of perfection – you may find that the spill is not completely wiped up, there is water at the bottom of the pot plant etc.
    6. Scaffold skills – start with one step at a time and build on it
    7. Enjoy yourselves – if it starts to feel like hard work, come back to it in a couple of weeks

Mrs. Doyle’s Class: Today Is Your Day!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

On Tuesday, we had fun celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Schools and libraries across the United States enjoy taking part in a nationwide reading celebration called Read Across America. This fun tradition is an exciting way to bring together children and books and is celebrated on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2nd.

Here are few fun facts about Dr. Seuss:

  • Dr. Seuss’ real name was Theodore Seuss Geisel.
  • He has written and illustrated over 60  children’s books.
  • The book Green Eggs and Ham is made up of 50 sight words. Dr. Seuss’s editor bet him that he could not write a book using fewer words than The Cat in the Hat which had 225 words. Clearly, Dr. Seuss won that bet!

Here at FWM, the children enjoyed wearing their pajamas to school and bringing in a favorite stuffed animal. We read Green Eggs and Ham and then actually got to experience eating those two foods for snacks. We asked the children what their favorite Dr. Seuss book was and it was exciting to see their knowledge and love for his work. It was a close vote between Green Eggs and Ham and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

We can’t say it enough but we are truly grateful for all the ‘behind the scenes’ help and support from all of you.  Some parents provide ingredients for cooking or crafts, some parents provide their time and some keep us all organized!!!! It truly takes a village and we are blessed to be part of an amazing one!

Enjoy the week!

Michelle & Jeannine


Launching Robotics and Movie Making

This is a beautiful time of year in the MakerSpace for first grade students because this is when they begin to dive deeper into a few of our pillar programs: coding and programming, and digital movie making. First, students have graduated to a more complex robot, Dash. In pictures you will see students using his “launch” feature to launch colored balls at different objects and obstacles. This reinforces problem solving, creative thinking, collaborative communication skills, and perseverance. 1st graders were also introduced to iMovie’s Trailers to make mini-movies about their own interest and passions. We will share these movies with their classmates and applaud their hard work when they are all completed. Eventually students will transfer their digital movie making knowledge to bigger concepts like green screen, trick shots, editing tools, and more.


The Importance of Reading to Your Children

An information article about why reading aloud to children is so valuable. Enjoy!

Reading to young children is proven to improve and help along the process of cognitive development. Cognitive development is the emergence of the ability to think and understand; it’s “the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood” (HealthofChildren.com). It refers to how a person perceives and thinks about his or her world through areas such as information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory.

When you begin reading aloud to your child, it essentially provides them with background knowledge on their young world, which helps them make sense of what they see, hear, and read. In fact, many educators and researchers postulate that “It is the talk that surrounds the reading that gives it power, helping children to bridge what is in the story and their own lives,” rather than just the vocalization of the words. Introducing reading into your child’s life, and the conversations that it will prompt, helps them to make sense of their own lives, especially at a young age.

Consider this excerpt from a study on toddlers’ cognitive development as a result of being read aloud to:

“A child care provider reads to a toddler. And in a matter of seconds, thousands of cells in these children’s growing brains respond. Some brain cells are ‘turned on,’ triggered by this particular experience. Many existing connections among brain cells are strengthened. At the same time, new brain cells are formed, adding a bit more definition and complexity to the intricate circuitry that will remain largely in place for the rest of these children’s lives.”

Therefore, the more adults read aloud to their children, the larger their vocabularies will grow and the more they will know and understand about the world and their place in it, assisting their cognitive development and perception.

Improved language skills

Reading daily to young children, starting in infancy, can help with language acquisition and literacy skills. This is because reading to your children in the earliest months stimulates the part of the brain that allows them to understand the meaning of language and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.

In fact, a recent brain scan study found that “reading at home with children from an early age was strongly correlated with brain activation in areas connected with visual imagery and understanding the meaning of language” (TIME.com)

This is especially important when you consider that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than one in three American children start kindergarten without the skills they need to learn to read. About two-thirds of children can’t read proficiently by the end of the third grade.

Furthermore, while a child will be able to latch onto vocabulary and language he or she hears around him or her, introducing reading into their auditory learning provides another benefit: it introduces the language of books, which differs from language heard in daily life. Book language is more descriptive, and tends to use more formal grammatical structures.

Prepare for academic success

Reading to your child is a true one-on-one opportunity for children to communicate with their parents and parents to communicate with their children.

Studies have shown that “the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school” (PBS.org).

Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well when they reach their period of formal education. According to a study completed by the University of Michigan, there are five early reading skills that are essential for development. They are:

  1. Phonemic awareness – Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds in spoken words.
  2. Phonics – Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language.
  3. Vocabulary – The words kids need to know to communicate effectively.
  4. Reading comprehension – Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read.
  5. Fluency (oral reading) – Being able to read text accurately and quickly.

While children will encounter these skills once they reach elementary school and beyond, you can help jumpstart their reading success by reading to them during infancy and their early years.

While they won’t be able to practice fluency or phonics at that stage, they will get an earlier introduction to phonetic awareness, vocabulary and reading comprehension, all of which will set them up for success as they grow and interact with the world around them.

A special bond with your child

It goes without saying that reading to your child on a regular basis can help you forge a stronger relationship with them. When it comes to children, one of the most important things you can do to positively influence their development is spend time with them. Reading to your children provides a great opportunity to set up a regular, shared event where you can look forward to spending time together, and your child will trust and expect that you will be there for them. The importance of trust to small children cannot be overstated.

Reading to your children not only helps you bond with them, but also gives your children a sense of intimacy and well-being. This feeling of intimacy helps your child feel close to you, and the feelings of love and attention encourage positive growth and development.

With babies specifically, although they may not be able to understand what you’re saying when you read to them, reading aloud provides a level of invaluable nurturing and reassurance. Very young babies love to hear familiar voices, and reading is the perfect outlet to create this connection.

At a broader, more scientific level, it’s the parent-child relationship, nurturing relationships between caregivers and children that set a positive life course. If you are able to read aloud with your child at a predictable, scheduled time that fits with the daily routines of home and school, you’ll be able to provide something constant that they can expect and likely even look forward to.

Reading aloud together and having a shared activity gives you and your child something to talk about, which in turn supports the development of reading and writing skills (per the vocabulary and reading comprehension areas of development mentioned above). And down the road, reading together can be used to discuss real-life experiences and issues – books can provide springboards to meaningful discussions about many different topics.

At its core, literature is one of the best ways to help kids understand something without necessarily having to experience it for themselves. Reading to your child helps to expose them to all types of subjects and concepts, building our children’s understanding of humanity and the world around them.

Increased concentration and discipline

Introducing regular reading time into your child’s schedule has another benefit outside of creating shared time together: increased discipline and concentration. Very young children rarely sit still for long, and it’s oftentimes difficult to get them to focus. But when you introduce regular reading to your children, you may start to observe a change in behavior. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book.

According to EarlyMoments.com, along with reading comprehension comes “a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when she enters school.”

Improved imagination and creativity

Young children naturally have a capacity to dream big and use their imaginations. Reading aloud to your child helps them use their imaginations to explore people, places, times, and events beyond their own experiences. Reading as an imaginative activity can open doors to all kinds of new worlds for your child.

Cultivate a lifelong love of reading

According to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, The Read-Aloud Handbook: “Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain… You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure” (ReadAloud.org)

This connection between reading and “pleasure” is crucial for success later in life. As personal development coach and speaker Brian Tracy says, your ability to expand your mind and strive for lifelong learning is critical to your success — “Learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.”

Reading is the key for lifelong learning, and if you can instill a love of reading at an early age, then a commitment to lifelong learning is sure to follow. Reading aloud presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable, and exciting experiences. Children who value books are motivated to read on their own, and will likely continue to do so throughout the rest of their lives.

When it comes to reading to your children, the benefits range far beyond the development of a close bond with them, although that’s certainly one of them. Reading aloud to children is truly the single-most important activity for building these understanding and skills essential for reading success that your child will carry with them all throughout their life.


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today is the birthday of Dr. Seuss,the famous American author who wrote and illustrated over sixty books. Dr. Seuss was known for his whimsical language and clever storylines that captivated children for decades.  I’d like to remember Dr. Seuss for some of the important messages he shared with children through his stories.  Please see the below article that extracted memorable quotes from some of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved books and then provided a brief interpretation of their meaning.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

YOU are the only YOU. Isn’t that awesome? There’s nobody alive who can be you better than you. So never aim to be just like someone else. It’s a waste of a perfectly good you.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”

Sometimes when people grow up they lose their sense of wonder. Little things aren’t as exciting anymore and life can seem, well, boring at times. But fantasy isn’t just for children. Anyone — college student or adult — can be a kid at heart.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

It can be very easy to hand off the responsibility to someone else. “I don’t have to help the starving children abroad; someone else will,” or “I’m sure someone will stop to help that guy whose car just broke down.” But if everyone is waiting on others to make a change in the world, then who will do it? Be the person who changes the world with your kindness.

“You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go …”

You won’t always be on your own. You’ll have friends and family to help you throughout life, but don’t let them decide how you live your life, because you’re the one who is stuck with your choices. Follow your dreams and don’t give them up for anyone. As Dr. Seuss also said, “only you can control your future.”

“Read. Travel. Read. Ask. Read. Learn. Read. Connect. Read.”

Never forget the magic of reading for fun, the importance of asking questions or the joy traveling can bring you.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because the ones who mind don’t matter, and the ones who matter don’t mind.”

Those who truly care for you will still care for you when you speak your mind.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Some people can’t stay in your life forever, so don’t take anyone for granted. One of the hardest parts of growing up is losing people you love, but you can still hold on to the good memories. They’re not tainted just because the person is no longer in your life.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

Most of the time, in your heart, you know the right solution to your problem. Don’t be scared to do what’s right.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

No matter how successful you become, never let yourself get into the mindset that you are better than others. Everyone is your equal. So never judge a book by its cover because some people may surprise you once you get to know them, and you can never have too many friends.

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act.”

It can be very hard to balance everything that is important to you — your family, friends, hobbies and school… But remember while balancing all of these may be hard it’s worth it.

“I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you.”

Don’t let yourself be your worst critic and your greatest enemy. Love yourself, and others will, too.

“Think and wonder, wonder and think.”

It’s OK to be a daydreamer. Let your mind wander sometimes. You’ll be surprised at the brilliant thoughts that come to you.

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled. Always be yourself, unapologetically and unashamed. Be original and don’t be afraid to be YOU-nique.

 


Mrs. Wilson: Sensory Exploration and Color Matching

Some of our toddler children have shown us an interest in colors. This week I introduced a color matching work using colored frogs and colored dots. We started with a group lesson where the children picked a frog out of the basket. The child was asked if they knew what color it was and if they could put that frog on the matching dot. This lesson is now available on the shelf for the children to use.

Another fun activity the children enjoyed was splashing water and bubbles in the sensory bin. Some even thought it was fun to put bubbles on their faces. There was so much joy, laughter, bubbles, and water everywhere! This activity gave them the perfect opportunity to receive a lesson using the mop.

Food Tasting: Asparagus was not as big of a hit as the past foods they tried. Everyone tasted it but about five of the children asked for more.

To help with language and communication we implemented an old telephone into the classroom. This was a big hit and surprisingly the children knew what it was used for. It was fun to watch them hold the handset to their ear and talk into it.

Enjoy the rest of the photos!

Mrs. Wilson, Ms. Sara and Ms. Heather