Lower Elementary: A Quiet Week

“I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

With a fresh year just beginning, this is a great time to help children set a respectful and kind tone for the year ahead. One way we did this was starting the week reading Martin’s Dream Day by Kitty Kelley. This sparked a conversation about how everyone can help make a difference in the world through kindness and respect, just like King did.

Our third year friends took part in the CTP5 standardized test during the work cycle, which left a smaller group in the room. During this time, the students have been enjoying working independently and with their classmates on a variety of work. This includes the Who Am I cards, reading comprehension, stamp game math computation, and much more.

We have an upcoming field trip to the Aldrich Museum on Wednesday, February 19th. We will be having an early lunch here at school and will leave FWM at 11:30 and return at 2pm. We can take three parent volunteers with us. If you haven’t had the opportunity to come with us on a field trip this year and would like to attend, please reach out!

We have noticed some children coming to school without proper winter attire. We go outside every day if the weather is above 20 degrees so please make sure that your child is coming to school with gloves, hat, and a jacket. If there is snow on the ground please send in snow pants and boots as well.

A Fun and Busy Week

It has been a fun and busy week in Lower Elementary. We started a new unit in Writers Workshop on information writing. The students kicked off the unit by partnering up and teaching each other all about something they are experts in. First years learned about teaching all about a topic and seconds and thirds learned about topics and subtopics. We also continued to celebrate the personal narratives each child wrote by inviting them to share their stories with the class. The completed stories will go on a special bookshelf so the children can read each other’s personal narratives.

Next week, Tuesday through Thursday, the third year students will take a practice standardized test called the CTP5. This test is given to third through eighth grade students and is scored and reported to parents starting in fourth grade. We treat the third grade year as a true practice  year so the children have the chance to take the test with a little more help learning to navigate it this first year. For this reason, we don’t score and report it in third grade. As a Montessori school, we give this test to give our students the practical life experience of taking a test, to prepare them for future years in school. The third year students completed a sample practice test together this week and commented that they thought it was fun!

Publishing Party

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. – Melody Beattie

Happy New Year! The holiday season came and went with a blink of an eye and now we are beginning a new decade! There has been plentiful laughter and enthusiasm buzzing in the classroom this week.

In the first half of the year, the children became storytellers, writing true stories about their lives. Now, as we wrap up this unit, the children are working on publishing a story they hold near and dear to their hearts. They have been working so hard this week to get their stories accomplished. It’s beautiful to see all the children’s unique personalities shine through their writing. We will be having an authors circle when the publishing process is over to celebrate and share (those who are comfortable) their efforts.

Soon the children will be learning about writing nonfiction, becoming experts on topics of their choice. This will lead nicely into the research the children are beginning for the upcoming Research Night on Thursday, February 6th, at 6:30. They are in the process of choosing a topic of interest within some categories we provided them. Children will work together with us to do all of their research at school. First year students will make posters with information about their topics, second year students will make posters and write research papers, and third year students will make presentation boards, write papers, and give oral presentations. We will provide all of the information and resources for the children to complete this process successfully.

A Great Year!

2019 was a great year for Lower Elementary! We learned so much through our lessons and experiences. We had a great time performing in our school play, going on field trips, celebrating holidays, spending time in nature, learning from each other, and making new friends. Thank you for sharing your children with us this past year. Here’s to a great 2020!

We wish you the happiest of holidays and we hope you enjoy this special time with your precious children!

With love,

Karen and Ashley

Going Out

We had a fabulous time at Stepping Stones Museum this past Tuesday. The children were happily engaged in the learning session about the water cycle and while exploring the museum. We started our day with a break out session learning about what happens during the water cycle. The children discovered the essential role that water plays in our lives. They learned about evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and accumulation through experiments and hands-on activities. Afterwards we had some free time to explore the other exhibits, such as the Water Lab. Here, the children engaged in pumping, pushing, and directing water. While at work, the children gained an understanding of how water can make things move to generate activity. Another favorite was the new Dinosaur Exhibit. This included exploring a dinosaur nest, making dinosaur tracks, discovering fossils, building a dinosaur skeleton and more. Some other exhibits we enjoyed were the Build It, Express Yourself, and Multimedia Gallery.

Thank you to our parent volunteers for coming on the trip with us!

Let It Snow!

It was wonderful to get back to school after our long Thanksgiving break. The children had a great time playing in the snow this week! Thank you for making sure your child has the proper clothing for our outside play: warm coat, snow pants, hat, mittens or gloves, and boots.

The children enjoyed baking bread last week to share at our Thanksgiving celebration. Thank you to all those who donated ingredients and thank you to Kristina, Tameria, and Christi for spending your morning baking with the children. The breads were all delicious and we had a great time sharing them with the rest of the school while we sampled the bread from other classes.

In our history lessons we are learning about the cycles of time and fundamental human needs. Within that context, we are also studying six different time periods throughout history. The children were introduced to a 19 foot long timeline which starts with prehistory and ends with our current year. The time period we studied first is Prehistory. During our lesson, a set of cards which contain information about the fundamental needs of people living in the time period of prehistory was placed at the correct spot on the timeline while we discussed the information as a class. Many of the children are enjoying taking the cards out during work cycle and reading the information while placing them on the timeline.

Geometry Galore

Geometry was a hot topic this week!

The first years worked on a lesson illustrating the concepts of point, line, surface, and solid. They enjoyed listening to a humorous story about the concepts, which were portrayed as sound effects. The purpose of this presentation is for the children to understand the concept of a solid, which is the foundation of their future geometry learning.

In addition, the second years were hard at work putting their Montessori protractor skills to the test. Before beginning the new lesson, as a review we had fun making different types of angles with our bodies (right, acute, obtuse). Next, the children learned how to measure the angles of acute, right, and obtuse triangles on the Montessori protractor. Some children discovered that all triangles are 180 degrees! How awesome!

Last but not least, the third years continued their study of polygons. They have learned about the region, vertex, side, perimeter, angle, base, and diagonal of the polygon. The children are in the process of concretely discovering how many diagonals can be formed in each polygon with five sides through ten sides using a class favorite – the box of sticks. They had a blast working with friends creating different polygons and exploring the diagonals with rubber bands.

We will be going on a field trip on Tuesday, December 10, to Stepping Stones Museum. The bus will be arriving at 9:00 and we will be back at school around 2:00. For this trip we are allowed to take three parent volunteers. We still have room for two more! If you would like to help chaperone, please email me.

La La La Si Si Si

It was a fun and exciting week in Lower Elementary!

First year students learned about using right scalene triangles to form different sized pinwheels in geometry. They worked in small groups to practice making them together. They have enjoyed doing this work during work cycle this week. Second year students learned about straights, channels, and canals in geography. After a discussion about the Panama Canal, they watched a short time-lapse video of a trip through the famous canal. Third year students led discussion groups after a lesson on the cycles of time. They also discussed with their groups things that are necessary for survival. This is an ongoing lesson which will lead to a large group discussion of fundamental human needs next week.

We are very excited to welcome a new third grade friend to our class this week! All of the children are being kind and helpful and are enjoying getting to know her!

We have been incorporating movement into our morning mindfulness this week when it has been too cold to go outside. We are learning to silently follow stretching movements while focusing on our breathing. We are also learning songs during our morning meeting time. This week we learned a fun singing game called “La La La Si Si Si.” While singing this song, we played a clapping game with a partner and learned to switch partners during the song. The children had a lot of fun with this game.

Thank you for arriving by 8:20 each morning. Arriving on time gives your children a chance to move outside on most days, engaging their brains and muscles and priming their bodies to learn. We come inside by 8:30 and, after singing a song together, we practice mindfulness. This is further preparation for the day ahead and is an essential part of the beginning of our day. After a few minutes of mindfulness, we read together and then the children spend some focused time planning their work cycle. This time to prepare allows them to get started on their work as soon as our morning meeting ends. Children who arrive in time to participate in all of these elements have the advantage of a smooth and peaceful start to their day.