Middle School: A Week in Review

Thank you to those of you who attended the Art Show and Pizza Dinner! The Middle School students did a wonderful job setting up, doing their jobs, and taking down the event. It was wonderful to see the community come together and enjoy food and conversation. Next week, we will let you know the charity the 8th years choose to donate the proceeds.

This week in math class, the 6th years began their patterns and rules unit. So far, they’ve worked with patterns and graphs and are learning about scaling and intervals when reading and drawing graphs. They have also been working on arithmetic and geometric sequences. The 7th years continue their brief introduction to trigonometric ratios. They have learned how to use the tangent ratio to find the length of a side and concluded with the sine and cosine ratios. From here, the 7th years will continue working with area and perimeter of polygons. The 8th years continue working with quadratic graphs and their properties. They’re working with the formula to find the line of symmetry and the vertex of a parabola.  They are then plotting points in order to graph quadratic functions.

In science class, the 6th and 7th years are beginning to assemble their display boards for next week’s Science Fair. Students are excited to share and display their hard work. The 8th years are continuing their unit on space titled, Minor Bodies of our Solar System. Students tested the difficulties of being an astronaut, performing simple tasks such as opening a CD case, grabbing a pencil, or writing their name wearing gloves. Students also performed a lab demonstrating the formation of an impact crater using plaster of Paris and marbles.

In Humanities, 6th years continue looking at Afghan culture as they began to read, Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. The book takes place in 2011 and discusses the influences of the Taliban on culture in parts of Afghanistan and the plight of a family traveling to the U.S. for refuge. The students were surprised to learn that at its genesis, the Taliban was not a terrorist group. They are learning through the novel and class lessons the progression of the Taliban as well as the struggle between the people and the Taliban with regards to religion, culture, and everyday life. The 7th years studied the historical context needed to begin George Orwell’s Animal Farm. They learned the differences in the political economic systems of capitalism, socialism, and communism, and then took a look at revolutions: why they occurred, what the goals were, and if goals were achieved. Specifically, they looked at the American Revolution as well as current Sudanese protests and the Yellow Vests in France. This all built up to learning about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the history building up to it. We are excited to continue reading Animal Farm next week. In 8th year Humanities, we finished the novel, Witness, and are ending our analysis on the novel. Classes surrounding our analytical work have been rich and challenging, which has been exciting to see. We also took pause to discuss some of the controversy following the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. What are the feelings surrounding this by nationals and foreigners? Why so much controversy over donations? What are the ripple effects of this? We spoke about the outpouring of donations after the Notre Dame fire to the three historically black, Louisiana Baptist Churches that were burned to the ground at the end of March-early April and victims of hate crime. I love allowing students to have a platform to give honest opinions and hear each other’s perspectives while respectfully disagreeing. It’s a great age to start including your children in these discussions and modeling civility while doing so.

All-in-all it’s been a great week! We look forward to seeing you next Thursday at the Science Fair!

Middle School: Week in Review

**Don’t forget to place your pizza orders for next Wednesday, April 17th!

It’s been another busy week in middle school! We started off with new electives. Frisbee Golf has returned this spring and is a great outdoors activity with some competition. Chess is also being offered and students are continuing to challenge each other in matches. Finally, a Game Creation elective is being offered. Students are developing rules, setting an objective, and designing boards and materials. In the end, they will all play their games with each other.

In Humanities, sixth years are studying the history and beautiful culture of Afghanistan. We are most focused on the country since the early 1900’s. They have learned about Soviet involvement and the Muhajideen, how religion plays a role in the country, and the origins and myths surrounding jihad and the Taliban. We are excited to begin Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai now that we have historical context for the novel. The seventh years are writing essays using specific examples from their last two novels to support the quotation by Joseph Lekuton, “…a man who has gone through hardships will be the most likely to enjoy success” (84). Finally, 8th year students are doing challenging literary analysis of Karen Hesse’s book, Witness, about a rural, Vermont town being introduced to the KKK in 1924. We are also reading about the historical references mentioned in the novel like the election of Miriam Ferguson, the case of Leopold and Loeb, and the variety of views of race in a northern town.

In Science, 6th and 7th years have continued working on their science fair reports and projects. 8th years have conducted several activities related to their unit on our solar system. Students have illustrated elliptical orbits, orbital periods, origin of our solar system, and a rap presentation describing the unique characteristics of each planet.

In Math, the 8th years will finish unit 8 this week and next week will begin their unit on quadratics.  In this new unit they will be solving quadratic equations, graphing parabolas, factoring quadratics, and will be introduced to the quadratic formula. The 7th years continue working with the Pythagorean Theorem and square roots of rational and irrational numbers.  Shortly, they will be introduced to the tangent, sine and cosine ratios.  The 6th years are continuing their measurement unit.  They have been introduced to area and perimeter.  They have also learned to find the surface area of prisms and cylinders and will soon be introduced to volume of prisms and cylinders.

***NOTE: If your child/children is not coming home the way they typically do (staying after for extra help, being picked up by a different adult) please make sure you email Michele Stramaglia in the office (mstramaglia@fraserwoods.com) and the appropriate teacher/advisor to inform them of this change at the start of the day. Thank you!***

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for 3 wonderful events on Wednesday, April 17th!

Art Show from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Elementary and Middle School student artwork will be showcased in the Commons!

FWM Family Pizza & Salad Dinner from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Dine with us! Service and hospitality provided by Middle School students in the GYM!

Log in and place your order here:


Deadline for orders to be submitted by Monday, April 15th

Parent & Child Night from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Work alongside your child by engaging in the many Montessori works in his or her classroom!

Middle School: Impermanence

On Thursday, the middle school took a short walk through FWM’s trails to the Resiliency Center of Newtown. This week, visiting Buddhist Monks completed a sand mandala in honor of Jeremy Richman.

Ms. Reid taught all of her middle school art students about this ancient traditional practice in her classes a few months ago. In Humanities classes, we are constantly learning about the beauty and importance of diverse cultural traditions. This experience brought meaning to the content in our classes.

While there, we were fortunate enough to be welcomed into the space to sit and observe this Tibetan Buddhist practice. One of the monks explained the entire process to us, the philosophy, and allowed the students to ask questions.

It is common for people to be shocked that after about 40 hours of work to complete the beautiful and intricate piece, a ceremony is done and it is dismantled. The meaning behind this part of the practice is invaluable: impermanence. The idea is that there is beauty in creation and compassion for the process, but we must be mindful that not everything is permanent in life.

During Poetry Tuesday last week, the 6th years read Robert Frost’s,”Nothing Gold Can Stay”. The 6th years connected this to the mandala and its purpose while we reflected on our visit. I posted the poem at the end of the post.

I am grateful we were able to view the mandala and speak to the monks at the Resiliency Center of Newtown. It was not only beautiful and emotional to witness, but moving for me to see the students in awe of something that holds so much meaning.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold, 
Her hardest hue to hold. 
Her early leaf’s a flower; 
But only so an hour. 
Then leaf subsides to leaf. 
So Eden sank to grief, 
So dawn goes down to day. 
Nothing gold can stay.

Middle School: Focus on Academics

April is a great month for teachers and students, as we are able to move through material without the threat of snow (did I just jinx us?)! The momentum is wonderful, and students come back from spring break ready to learn.

6th and 7th year science students are busy working on their science fair projects. This year’s project is based on the United Nations’ Global Goals. Each student will choose one global goal to research and represent as part of their project. Students have an option to construct/design a solution to the problem stated or represent the importance of addressing the goal for our future. 8th year students began their unit, Planets of our Solar System. Currently, they are working on accurately representing planetary alignment, spacing, and formation.

In Math, the 6th years continue their geometry unit learning how to find the area and perimeter of polygons and circles.  They are also working with square roots and irrational numbers.  In addition, they will be introduced to the Pythagorean Theorem. The 7th years continue working with functions and linear equations. They have just learned how to graph a linear equation using slope-intercept form. Their linear function unit will end with their ability to graph linear inequalities. The 8th years worked on polynomials and factoring. Their work includes adding and subtracting polynomials along with factoring. Soon, they will be working with multiplying binomials including special case binomials.

6th year Humanities students are working on their essay for The Egypt Game. They are about the character progression of April using evidence from the novel. Also, 6th year students are learning about another ancient civilization in the Indus Valley on the India-Pakistan border before beginning their study of Afghanistan’s history and culture. 7th year students read and annotated the novel, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park this week. They also studied the political history of Sudan and South Sudan as well as the conflict that has consumed its modern, and current, history. 8th years spent the week studying African American history from the late 1800s through the early 1900s in the U.S. They studied legislation including the 14th and 15th amendments as they applied to people of color during this time, Jim Crow Laws, and the southern Black Codes. Then, they learned about Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey. This was interesting, as they had different ideas about the future for African Americans. We also studied the origins of the NAACP and some of the work they currently do. We are excited to look at the Harlem Renaissance and begin reading Witness by Karen Hesse. Finally, 6th and 7th years had an exciting return to current events after taking a long break due to research fair and the play.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for 3 wonderful events on Wednesday, April 17th!

Art Show from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Elementary and Middle School student artwork will be showcased in the Commons!

FWM Family Pizza & Salad Dinner from 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Dine with us! Service and hospitality provided by Middle School students in the GYM!

Log in and place your order here:


Deadline for orders to be submitted by April 12

Parent & Child Night from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Work alongside your child by engaging in the many Montessori works in his or her classroom!




Middle School: Signs of Spring

Before I begin to talk about our times since we have been back from break, I would like to give a huge thank you to all of the parents, family, and friends of the middle school for your support during our play, Flight 1927. Your presence and your feedback were so important to the kids and teachers. We had a great time doing it!

This week we were lucky to travel to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven. We walked through the museum and were particularly impressed by the dinosaur exhibit. Afterwards, the 6th and half of the 7th years toured the Ancient Egypt exhibit and had a lively lecture from Richard, the resident expert. The other half of 7th years and 8th year students visited David Friend Hall, the gem and mineral gallery. Students were taught a lesson on the identification of minerals upon entering the exhibit. Students were amazed at the natural colors, shape, and sizes many of the minerals displayed. The museum also let us know that they would be opening a Mesopotamia exhibit soon, so we look forward to that in the coming years!

Now, let’s talk about signs of spring in middle school: a renewed sense of enthusiasm for classes, excitement about end-of-the year events that are now around the corner, and, for the 8th years, the reality that expert project presentations are coming fast and furious.

We have spent time outside every day this week. That being said, it has been in the upper 30s and low 40s at our morning recess time and will be chillier next week. Your children should be dressed for this type of weather with warm, outer layers as well as limbs covered. If they wish to wear shorts, they may change into them after recess. Thank you for your attention to this.




Middle School: What is a Montessori Immersion Week?

Maria Montessori believed it is important to give adolescents opportunities to create and build things with their own hands, to understand the process of working toward a larger goal, and to immerse themselves deeply in meaningful work.

At FWM, we expect a lot from our students during the school week. We know that challenging academics will help our students get ready for the path that lies ahead. Because we are committed to the development of the whole child, we embrace the prospect of giving students the opportunity to be creative in a different setting and to see each other’s strengths in a new light.

FMW’s Middle School Immersion week focused on the production of Flight 1927.

The students came up with the basis for the story. They developed the plot line, designed the scenes, developed the characters, and wrote the play in its entirety-scenes and dialog.

The result: Thursday night’s performance of Flight 1927!

BRAVO to FWM’s Middle School Students!

Purposeful work done with honesty and passion is what drives our students to success on any path they choose to follow.



Middle School: Flight 1927, pt.1

This has been an exciting week for middle school as they received their final, revised scripts of the play they composed, Flight 1927. Writing a 10-scene, 36-page script is no easy feat, but the middle school students made this a smooth process.

While writing the lines was the last piece of the play composition, the students have been working for a couple of months on the plot. This trimester, I offered an elective that specifically focused on developing the middle school play. Initial creative decisions were made by the 8th years. From there, the elective group (which comprised of half of the middle school students) kept those decisions in mind, and they came up with ideas for the overall play premise. Those ideas were narrowed down to two, which were voted on by the entire middle school. Next, the plot line needed to be developed: what major conflict will take us through the plot? How will it start? What’s the turning point? How will the conflict resolve? The elective broke into 4 groups, which then met during some advisory periods as well as elective periods, to develop a plot line, physically draw it, and insert the scene ideas that will help it be accomplished. Those 4 plot lines were presented during electives. The final plot for Flight 1927 came from one of those presentations. It was an obvious choice-there was no voting. The kids were excited about one of them, and it kept sparking new ideas.

Character development is the next pivotal piece in developing the play. Who will bring this story to life? Each student had a chance to develop a character, whether it was to be played by them or someone else. This involved imagining a personality, appearance, how they will affect the plot, and writing examples of what this character might say. The magic comes in when each student presents his/her character. The rest of the class can contribute ideas, which then solidifies their role. The last two years, characterization has been a favorite portion of the process for me.

Finally, it’s time to write! This year, the writing process was done differently. After re-reading student reflections from last year and referring to my own notes, I thought we would try writing the play in concentrated, longer chunks of time. This way, we would have more time in Humanities for our regular classes. We used two mornings and a few class periods on other days to write. Students were divided into scene-writing groups where their characters would be appearing. They spent 1-2 hours together developing dialogue using the scene summary that was developed from the original plot. After all scenes were written, I went through each to ensure that plot goals were carried through, digressions were removed, characters stayed true to who they were supposed to be, and the play came together the way it was originally intended.

I could not be more proud of this group of middle school students. What an amazing product! I loved hearing their laughs as they read through the play in its entirety for the first time. What an incredible learning experience for all of us! Now, it’s time to put on a show. See you next Thursday night!

Middle School: Week in Review

It’s been a fun week as we progress in our writing of the Middle School Play! While we have had the plot figured out, adding characters with fun personalities and writing dialogue has been exciting. The biggest challenge is threading important pieces of the plot through the scenes in order to keep the play’s intended focus. Costuming and props are also being designed and decided. We can’t wait to share it with you in two weeks!

In addition to play writing, sixth year Earth Science students began their unit on earthquakes. Students used compasses and protractors to locate the epicenter of earthquakes. In seventh year Physical Science, students are discovering differences and similarities between speed and velocity. Eighth year Earth Science students were able to test their water turbines concluding their unit on natural resources.

Math classes moved along this week as well. The sixth years are continuing their geometry unit.  This week, in addition to expanding their understanding of congruency, they learned about the area of polygons.  This unit includes their ability to estimate and find the actual area of a polygon. The seventh years continued to work with linear functions.  They have worked with slope and how to graph and write equations using the slope-intercept form.  Shortly, the class will be introduced to direct variation and will learn to fit lines to data. The eighth years expanded their knowledge of exponents and their properties. They worked with powers with the same base, powers of powers, and powers of products. Included in their unit are negative exponents and rewriting solutions that necessitate changing negative exponents to positive exponents.

Next week will prove to be exciting as we transition to immersion for the week’s end! Stay tuned!