How is it already the last day of school!? I think we can all agree this year flew by! As a tradition, we celebrated the time our third years spent in Lower Elementary. Each third year student shared something special to them about their time in Lower Elementary and then, crossed the bridge to be greeted by the Upper Elementary children and teacher. Afterwards, the first and second year students shared something they like about each third grader or something they will miss about them.
The kids had a blast participating in field day this past Wednesday! In overheard conversations, it was the “best day of school ever!” Thanks to Mrs. Pascarella for coordinating and setting up such exciting activities that also involved team work, cooperation and good sportsman ship. Some of those activities include; sponge relay race, egg and spoon relay race, water balloon toss, potato sac race, tug of war, ducks in a pond, and pool kickball. I even had a great time capturing these moments of excitement and laughter.
Below are the themes for spirit week:
Choose your favorite, cozy pajamas
Lower El & Upper El: Wacky Wednesday!
Different shoes? Funky hair? Come to school with any style you consider wacky.
Wear your favorite jersey, or uniform!
Dress up as your favorite movie character! (No costume masks please)
The year is winding down, but Lower Elementary isn’t! This week the children were engaged in History lessons. The first year children had the lesson of The Long Black Line. This lesson is meant to strike the imagination of the children and create a humbling feeling of the appearance of humans on Earth in the perspective of the vast amount of time that Earth has existed. The second year children had lessons on the Clock of Eons. These lessons introduce the sequence of events that resulted in the evolution of life on Earth, give the history of life on Earth, and introduce the interrelatedness of all organisms and the fragile balance that maintains life. The third year students had lessons on the Time Line of Life. These lessons focus on the interrelatedness of Earth to those who live on it and on the evolution of life on Earth.
This year’s FWM sweatshirt, designed by the 8th grade class, is available! Order by Monday to receive yours before the end of the year! 2021 FWM Sweatshirt- Order Here!
There is such a great sense of community in our school. Within the class, the children love just spending time with one another. Every Thursday we have community building time in the outdoor classroom at the end of the day. The children play games, build with sticks, and get creative with friends. Most children play with different classmates each week and, as a result, many friendships are being cultivated! I think that is part of the beauty of a Montessori classroom; the chance to collaborate with children from different age groups. Children of various ages, working together, will learn from each other, both as students and as teachers. Just as siblings learn and grow together, so do children in a mixed-age classroom environment! Our Lower Elementary classroom is very much a family!
Our focus in Reader’s Workshop has been on the study of story elements. The children have been learning that characters are the most important ingredient in any story, and when readers go on reading adventures, they pay attention to details to learn all they can about the characters on the way. Also, they are learning to think about the problem the character is facing and the way the problem was solved to consider the ending and what the character may have realized. Afterwards, they think about the lesson as a universal message we can all learn from the story, not just the character.
In Writer’s Workshop the focus has been on realistic fiction. This unit involves something they already do everyday- pretending! The children call on their imaginative skills to invent characters and small moment adventures, and then name them and put them into imagined scenarios. They are learning to get their characters in and out of trouble to give their readers a satisfying ending. In addition, they are learning to bring their stories to life by making their characters think, feel, talk, and move.
This week in magnetism, the children are learning about the north and south poles of a magnet. Each end point is referred to as a pole. After some investigation, they discovered that two unlike poles will attract and two like poles will repel one another. In addition to locating the poles and exploring the attraction between them, we also learned about the Earth’s magnetic pole. The south pole of a magnet it attracted to the south pole of the planet and the north pole of the magnet is attracted to the north pole of the planet. We explored this concept with a bar magnet, a piece of thread, and a ruler.
In physical science, we enjoyed learning more about the composition of the earth. The children are learning about our protective blanket, how each part of the atmosphere plays an important part. Each child participated in a discussion about what the atmosphere is and what makes up the atmosphere. Afterwards, they learned specific nomenclature for the five parts of the atmosphere: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.
To celebrate our beloved planet Earth, we started a discussion by reading the book, Dear Children of the Earth, by Schim Schimmel. The narrator of the story is Mother Earth and she asks for help from children everywhere. She explains that she loves and wants to protect each child on Earth but in order to do so, she needs their love and appreciation in return. This book leaves goose bumps on my body (and almost tears) every time I read it because the message of protecting our planet is so powerful. I recommend this read!
Afterwards, I facilitated a conversation on how we can take part in protecting and preserving our planet. We had a beautiful discussion that ranged in ideas, including: planting trees, not wasting paper, turning off lights, recycling, picking up trash, and much more! From there each child reflected in their journal about their own journey in helping Earth. Later in the day, we also incorporated a fun arts and crafts activity that corresponded with our duty to help protect our planet.
Each morning we start off our day with mindful meditation/movement. We often assume breathing is just a natural skill; everyone knows how to inhale and exhale. But breathing is more than that. Being aware of our breath not only helps us manage the difficulties of everyday life, it also helps develop compassion, empathy, and concentration. This is an exercise where children practice focusing on the present, instead of worrying about the past and uncertainties of the future. It helps us become aware of how we feel at a given moment.
For the past few weeks we have been preparing for our creation story with some science demonstrations. The purpose of these demonstrations is to illustrate concepts explored through the story of the creation of the universe. The creation story provides an impressionistic demonstration of the origins of life. The story is designed to impart a sense of wonder and awe, to instill respect for all that has happened, and to ignite interest in scientific investigation.