Middle School: Electives Update

Happy Friday, Everyone! If you plan on sending your child, please register for the FWM 2020 Middle School trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. Visit the school trip webpage at www.grandclassroom.com, click “Find My Trip / Register” and search “Fraser Woods Montessori School”. There are different payment options available.


Second trimester electives are running well, and it is a period that MS students and their teachers look forward to in their rotating schedule. It is fun to have teachers facilitating classes separate from their usual roles.

Ms. Sutherland is running Dance again for the second trimester. There are six dancers participating in this trimester’s elective. Students will learn a new dance style each week including Ballter, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. Dancers will have the opportunity to perform a short student-created dance during our last class all together. Dancers will also get to lead a warm up activity of their choice to help everyone get stretched and ready for a fun class.

Mr. Brown is running a Strength Training elective this term. The goal of this elective is to introduce students to a variety of exercises, promoting fitness and well being. Mr. Brown has turned a portion of the school’s back area behind the gym into a separate gym facility. It currently includes medicine balls, wall balls, free weights, box jumps, tension bands, a curl bar, a bench press, and jump ropes. Students will be partnered up each class, rotating through different exercise stations at 5 minute intervals after proper warm ups and stretching have been achieved. If anyone would like to donate unwanted gym equipment, please reach out to Mr. Brown. It would be greatly appreciated.

Mrs. Lamb is running Playwriting, specifically working on this year’s Middle School play. It has been decided that a play surrounding a heist will be the theme this year. A rough plot line with some details about important characters have been created. Because this is completely student-led, any big decisions made to the play in the elective have to be presented and voted upon by the rest of the students in middle school. We had a vote this week for the play’s antagonist. This involved presenting the character development and how it would fit into the plot. This decision effects the entire plot, so it was important to have the students in the elective present their ideas. It’s looking like an interesting play!

Middle School: Week in Review

It’s the second week back from break and things are already in full swing! The Middle School is working hard in all their classes and keeping busy with preparations for upcoming events (Snowball Dance, research night presentations, moving up information night and varsity basketball games). Please remember to take care of yourselves and each other as we navigate the winter season and all it brings along!

Opportunity for MS students regarding the Snow Ball hosted by our Parents Association:

Students are welcome to attend the Snow Ball on Saturday, Feb. 1st with an accompanying adult (tickets can be purchased online or at door); however, if they would prefer to participate in the event by volunteering, there are plenty of jobs available, including set up the day before, working at the event, and clean up afterwards. The Sign Up Sheet is posted on the Humanities classroom door.

In Pre-Transition class, students are learning about multiplying fractions and using arrays to visually understand regrouping. They are practicing how to use multiplication to find the area and perimeter of different shapes. Students are also studying for Quiz 1 that will be the week after CTP-5 testing and include lessons 6.1-6.4.
In Transition class, students are learning all about transformations of shapes on a coordinate grid. They are practicing how to rotate, translate, and reflect images using ordered pairs. They started a Tessellation art project in class that will be on display in the classroom to bring some new color to the math space.
In Algebra class, students are learning about slope and rate of change. They are working through how to make equations for lines with a given point and slope as well as slope-intercept equations for lines. Students are enjoying creating graphs and using desmos.com to build new 2D shapes with linear equations.
Math Joke: Are Monsters good at Math?………Not unless you are Count Dracula!
6th year Earth Science students conducted the structural integrity of their buildings as part of their Earthquake unit. Students finished building their 4 story building designs which were then tested using Jello as a building’s substrate. Afterwards, students were able to reflect and discuss techniques that worked well and those that didn’t. 7th year Physical Science spent the week identifying unique characteristics of molecular structures. Students had the opportunity to build 3-dimensional molecules based on each element’s valence electron configuration. This required students to apply their knowledge of defining a valence electron, how many electrons are required to fulfill an orbital, and the similarities and differences between double and single covalent bonds. 8th year Life Science students have finished their unit on Meiosis. Ending the unit, students were able to illustrate the stages and benefits of meiosis compared to that of mitosis.

6th & 7th year Humanities classes continue to work on their research projects. They are looking at reliable sources, reviewing inquiry-based research, and organizing information. Students are learning/reviewing the importance of finding relevant information and keeping track of resources to later give credit in their papers through in-text citations. The 7th years also continue to plan their essay using the novel A Long Walk to Water to support the quotation from the main character, “Quitting leads to much happiness in life than perseverance and hope.” 8th year Humanities students will finish the novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here, over the weekend. We have covered many themes from friendship and loyalty to bullying and racism in this novel, and it helps students have insight into reservation life. All classes also completed another unit of vocabulary this week.


Middle School: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Middle School families! Mr. Brown, Ms. Sutherland, and I would like to express our utmost gratitude for your generous class holiday gifts. We hope you were able to have a peaceful time with family and friends over the past few weeks.

This week, students began their new Community Service rotation for the second trimester. We considered students’ input before placing them, and I think we are off to a great few months.

In Humanities, we are on to new projects! The 6th and 7th years have embarked on their research projects surrounding the theme, A Moment in History, which they will present on the evening of February 6th. The historical events that students have selected are incredibly interesting. Here is a preview of a few topics: Hurricane Katrina, D-Day, and the ratification of the 19th amendment (Women’s voting rights). Students have already developed thesis statements and questions to guide their research, and they are ready to go! 8th years are just about done selecting their topics for their Expert Project. More about those topics to come. 8th years are also finishing up the novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth, and should be complete in the next week. Finally, it was a current events week for all!

6th year Earth Science students are working on their Earthquake Safe Building project. Students have a limited budget of supplies to create a 4-story building that will be able to withstand excessive shaking. 7th year Physical Science students have begun their unit on Molecules. Currently, they are learning about the similarities and differences between covalent and ionic bonding. Following this concept, we will dive deeper into the electron configuration present for each atom. 8th year Life Science students are on the unit Meiosis. We have discussed the process of cell division and genetic variation. Students have been able to discuss this in depth following a video about Dolly, the sheep which was cloned in 1996.

This week in Math, students had a smooth transition back to classes and their regular routine. Students started the week by reviewing the material that was covered back in December. They spent the first few classes refreshing their math brains before the Chapter 5 test. Each class began Chapter 6 this week and are already off to a successful start. More specifically here is what each class is learning.
Pre-Transition: Students are currently talking about multiplication properties and arrays. Arrays are a visual tool to help students better understand how multiplication of variables works. They are also practicing how to multiply fractions both numerically and pictorially.
Transition: Students are currently working to understand translations and transformation on a Cartesian plane. Students are practicing how to move linear and nonlinear functions from one place to another given the specific directions.
Algebra: Students are currently learning about rate of change, also known as slope. From given information, students are able to graph, plot and analyze information about different rates of change.
Math Joke of the Week:  Why was the equal sign so humble?
Because she knew she wasn’t greater than or less than anyone else.

Middle School: Week in Review

It’s been a wintry week, but we have been busy!


Pre-Transition math has officially started Chapter 5, the theme for this chapter is statistics. Students are learning all about mean, median, mode, range, maximum values and minimum values. They are also graphing stem and leaf plots, bar graphs, histograms and line graphs. This unit is a lot of fun and a great way to wrap up trimester 1.
Transition math has started to learn all about graphing linear functions. In this group students are solving for unknown variables, understanding the additive property of equality, manipulating fact triangles, and using absolute values to find the distance from zero. Students need to remember to bring their Chromebooks to class as we will be using Desmos.com more regularly.
Algebra math has nearly completed Chapter 5 and will write Quiz 2 on Friday, December 13. This group is working to understand the difference between rates and ratios, probability distribution, relative frequency, and percentiles from a set of data.
As report cards will be distributed this week, Ms. Sutherland would like to thank all middle school math students for their hard work this first trimester. It has been an adjustment for everyone; however, students are proving to be successful across the board. Great job, everyone!
MATH JOKE: Why do plants hate Math?……. It gives them square roots
Next, 6th year Earth Science students have been exploring how earthquakes are created and how recordings of earthquakes (seismographs) are obtained. Students were asked to create their own seismogram using a shoebox, rubber bands, marker, and sports ball. They have demonstrated seismic waves using several wave patterns with slinkies. 7th year Physical Science students concluded their unit on States of Matter and have just begun their unit on “Molecules”. To begin the unit, students have been tasked with identifying the molecular structure present in an object they frequently use (ex. sulfuric acid in parchment paper for baking, isoprene found in rubber for sports balls). Finally, 8th year Life Science students have completed a laboratory experiment identifying certain variables that result in the highest production of fermentation using yeast. Variables students could manipulate were sugar, water temperature, and yeast. Concluding this lab, students were required to write a formal lab report. Students are currently working on a project identifying the similarities and differences between photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
In 6th year Humanities class, students completed geography assessments for North Africa and the Middle East. They also began writing and discussions surrounding civilizations and how we keep track of history. Students also began to look at Ancient Mesopotamia. Seventh years, completed the novel, A Long Walk to Water, and they continued their study of Sudan & South Sudan. This week, they particularly studied the conflict in Darfur and the reason for separation of Sudan into two countries in 2011. Finally, 8th years have been reading the novel, If I Ever Get Out of Here, about life on the Tuscarora Reservation in the mid 1970s. 8th years are also now studying Andrew Jackson’s policies of Indian Removal including The Trail of Tears and the Flight of the Nez Perce, making connections to modern Native American feelings of resentment towards White Americans as a result of colonization. This has been an interesting and divided discussion! Finally, all Humanities classes finished the week with current events presentations.

Middle School: Internships

Being an 8th year student at Fraser Woods is exciting. In fact, I wish I could have the experiences these children are fortunate to have. One such project that is specific to 8th years is to participate in an internship for four-five days with a working adult(s).

The experience has many goals, but a few are to bring awareness to certain types of professions that one may not know much about, observe working environments, observe social and communication interactions in a workplace, and to do some actual work.

The culmination of the internship project includes a daily journal, reflection, and a presentation to the rest of the middle school students about their experiences.

During the week of November 18th, this year’s 8th years had the following internship experiences:

Branded Styles hair salon

Katten, Muchin, Rosenman LLP

Dr. Paul J. Keating, DDS

Westchester County Executive Office

Yale Pediatric Endocrinologist Office

The Exceptional Pet

Trumbull Medical Arts- Pharmacology

St. Vincent DePaul Mission

Synchrony Financial

Milone & MacBroom

This is one of the many unique opportunities our FWM middle school students have before they graduate, and they all had tremendous experiences.

Middle School: Week in Review

We missed the 8th years most of this week, but we were excited to have many of them back on Friday to deliver our community’s food donation to the Women Involved in Newtown!

In Earth Science, 6th year students have been working on their Elaborate with STEM portion of the unit, Plate Tectonics. Questions students have been tasked in researching are, “What makes the soil near a volcano special?” and, “Why does California have so many earthquakes?”  Students did a great job presenting their research to the class. In Physical Science, 7th year students have been gathering data to determine the kinetic energy (KE) a marble has based on inclination. Students built ramps with various degrees of inclination and determined the velocity of the marble, leading to their discovery of its kinetic energy (KE).  KE = 1/2MV^2.

In Humanities, 6th year students completed drafts of their empathy writing and met with peers for review. This process helps students provide positive feedback and items to consider when giving their peers feedback. Then, they had writing conferences with Mrs. Lamb to finalize their free verse pieces. Finally, they completed a vocabulary section. In 7th year Humanities, students had writing conferences with Mrs. Lamb for their folktales and are now revising those pieces. They also began to learn about the Lost Boys of Sudan in preparation for reading A Long Walk to Water. They also watched a video about the cultural shift for some of the Lost Boys who came to the US and completed some reflective writing about this. It also lead to further discussion of the positive and negative aspects of what the experience might be like for immigrants and refugees coming into the U.S. from such different cultures. They also completed a section of vocabulary.

In Math class this week, the 6th and 7th graders worked on their respective courses to finish learning Chapter 4. In class, they talked about good study habits and how to best keep organized in math class. They also discussed the importance of going over any assignments/homework questions one final time before handing in a good copy, and to bring questions to class to get support from Ms. Sutherland. In the transition course, students covered topics such as classifying number systems and geometric shapes. In the pre-transition course, students covered topics such as understanding different kinds of angles, subtracting fractions without common denominators, and solving equations with fact triangles.
Math Joke:
Why couldn’t the angle get a loan? Because its parents would have to cosine.
An extra thank you to students for making Mrs. Lamb’s birthday so special with cards and flowers!

Middle School: Week in Review

6th year Earth Science students finished creating their stop-motion video illustrating the rock cycle. Students worked in pairs, creating the formation process of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. 7th year Physical Science students finished creating their States of Matter stop-motion videos. Students were required to illustrate the different states of matter (solid, liquid, gas), how different molecules act within each state, and their physical properties. 8th year Life Science students are exploring cellular respiration. We have discussed how our bodies rely on the intake of glucose for our cells to process into energy (ATP).

In Math, Pre-Transition started Chapter 4, which talks all about understanding subtraction problems. This group of students is using the slide model for subtraction problems, practicing fact triangles and related fact families, as well as finding unknown values in geometric shapes using subtraction to solve.
Transition students are working through the second half of Chapter 4. These students are analyzing basic figures of geometry, finding unions and intersections of sets, and classifying new shapes such as quadrilaterals and triangles. Algebra finished Chapter 4 before heading off to internship week. Students had independent work time this week to study for the upcoming unit test. We are reviewing concepts such as graphing compound inequalities, solving absolute values algebraically, and identifying equivalent formulas.
Math Joke: What geometric shape is usually waiting for you inside a Starbucks?….a Line!
Humanities 6 class completed drafts for two writing assignments this week. The first was their free verse poetry inspired by a photograph. The second was their letter of empathy to Melody, the main character in Out of My Mind. 7th year students completed drafts of their folktales with lessons inspired by the novel, A Gift From Childhood. They had a group feedback session on their pieces as well as self and peer review before submitting drafts. Finally, 8th years submitted the drafts for their rewriting history papers. Then, they moved on to learn about common Native American myths and began learning about westward expansion. All Humanities classes wrapped up the week with current events.
We wish the 8th years a wonderful experience with their internships next week!
Finally, Mrs. Lamb would like to thank the cooking elective, Middle School students, and Mrs. Carroll’s Montessori Plus students for the fun gender reveal! Baby boy Lamb is lucky to have such a great extended family.

Middle School: Week in Review

It’s been a few weeks since we had a full week, so it felt great to be back in a rhythm and having forward momentum with our classes!

Science classes were busy this week. In Earth Science, the 6th years continued exploring how tectonic plates help shape and form our landscape. Within this unit, students are researching how tectonic plates play a role in the rock cycle (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary). In Physical Science, 7th year students finished their unit, Characteristic Properties of Matter. The next unit will consist of states of matter. We will explore how substances are able to change their state while explaining the structure, properties, and interactions of matter. The 8th year Life Science class has also finished their unit, Structure of Life. The next unit is Cellular Respiration. By the end of the unit, students will be able to describe the importance of the reactants and products of cellular respiration, while differentiating respiration (breathing) from cellular respiration.

In Humanities class, 6th years finished their class novel, Out of My Mind. After an excellent wrap-up in discussion, they watched a mini-documentary about a New Zealand teen who lives with cerebral palsy, like the protagonist of the class novel. Also, students began their work on a nature-inspired, creative piece in which they write using imagery and descriptive language. The 7th year students finished their class novel, A Gift From Childhood, and have compiled all of the proverbs and metaphors in the book. After analyzing, they have selected one that will serve as the moral to a story they will compose in the style of a Mali tale. Finally, 8th years have continued their work rewriting history with their essay drafts. Because these essays have substantial research, they are just now carefully drafting and citing their information to support their original theses. All three classes had current events presentations on Monday as well as a vocabulary unit this week.

Math class was fun this week as they learned new concepts, practiced what they already know, and worked together with their peers to solve challenging equations. Pre-Transition students finished up Chapter 3 and reviewed important concepts for this week’s assessment. The class has talked about adding simple fractions, finding sums of angles measured in polygons, and measuring acute, obtuse and right angles in triangles. Get ready, Chapter 4 will start soon! Transition students started a new unit this week called Representing Sets of Numbers. They are learning about always, sometimes, and maybe statements, properties of real numbers, and manipulating Venn diagrams to understand the union and intersection of sets. Algebra students are excited to be learning about solving linear equations (ax+b=cx+d). They are also working through mathematical situations that always or never happen and identifying equivalent formulas. Algebra will finish this unit before Internship Week starts and there will not be any assignments due for the grade 8 class during the November 18-22 school week. Math joke: Why did the 2 fours skip lunch?……Because they already ate!

****Announcements for next week: 

Global Culinary Night is Thursday, November 14th, from 6:00-7:00 pm. This community event is for FWM families to gather together and share a unique dish from their cultural, ethnic, or regional background while also sampling dishes from other FWM families’ cultures. The dish can be homemade or purchased from a local restaurant. We hope you join us as we celebrate the wonderful cultural diversity at our school! This is an entire family event not be missed. Kindly RSVP by November 11th.  RSVP here today.

Middle School Family Game night will follow Global Culinary Night. 

In addition to ping pong and Foosball, there will be games/activities in the middle school classrooms for students to enjoy with their parents.