Upper Elementary Field Day Fun

Our second to last week of the school year has been a full and fun one! We’ve continued having lots of wrap-up lessons to end the school year, but the highlight of the week was definitely Field Day. The fourth and fifth graders participated in lots of games carefully planned by Mrs. Pascarella involving two of their favorite elements: water and laughter. We ended the day with some refreshing ice pops.

Next week we will continue Spirit Week. Here is the schedule:

  • Tuesday, 6/1
    • Pajama Day
    • Choose your favorite, cozy pajamas.
    • Bring a favorite stuffed animal and your pillow.
  • Wednesday, 6/2
    • Wacky Wednesday!
    • Different shoes? Funky hair? Come to school with any style you consider wacky.
  • Thursday, 6/3
    • Decades Day OR Sports Day
    • This fun day allows you to style yourself from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s for the day! Choose a fun outfit and hairstyle….OR
    • Wear clothing representing a team or sport of your choice.
  • Friday, 6/4
    • Movie Day
    • Dress up as your favorite movie character! (No costume masks please.)

Have a wonderful long holiday weekend!

Upper El – Thanks for a great year!

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” -Aristotle

When I was sharing my thoughts on the school year in class today I told the kids that they are the best class I’ve ever had. It was such an incredible blessing for me to make the move to Upper El with the fourths and to gain a bonus year with the fifths. These children are such an amazing group of humans and I am truly grateful for the time I have spent with them.

For this last post of the 2020-21 school year, I will share their advice to incoming fourths and fifths.

  • A good way to start off your year is to have a lot of confidence when you come in because that will help when making friends. It will be hard at times, but just keep on trying. Some of the work can be hard and intimidating but that won’t be that big of a problem because you can do it. Try not to leave work until later because you can forget it and end up without it. You have to make sure to do your work.
  • Here are some tips on surviving fourth grade. 1. Plan ahead. Figure out days that you will work on assignments. That way you will never have an overdue assignment. 2. Your classmates can help you, not just the teacher. Ask your classmates for help. 3. Listen to the teacher. Don’t start to daydream. Focus on the teacher, that way you can remember the assignment.
  • Don’t wait around on work next year. Ask for help if needed. You may feel like you’re the youngest and the smallest, trust me, you have a grade number that most people think of as a baby, but you have a smart and big life to come.
  • You can work as hard as you can and complete as much as you can.
  • Finish your assignments and keep a pencil in your pocket when you get your work done.
  • I think how you’re going to be successful in fourth grade is by: 1. Being kind 2. Don’t be mean to anyone 3. Bring your homework to school 4. Have fun!
  • How to have a successful school year: You need to make friends, make jokes, and just have fun.
  • One thing to know about fifth grade is that anything can happen. One day you might be on decimals but the next day you might be on multiplication. So get your work done, focus, and listen the best you can.
  • My advice to you for next year in fifth grade is do your best and even if you think you can’t do it, just try and do it in the most fun way possible.
  • Get all your work done. Don’t be behind on work. Fifth grade is exciting, fun, you learn new work like fractions and decimals. Even if you mess up, Mrs. Sankey will help you do your best.
  • Let me tell you, being in fifth grade is very fun and exciting. I loved being in fifth grade because there is a new lesson to be learned every day. Also, with a great teacher such as Mrs. Sankey, she can also help you get to new academic levels you maybe thought you could never achieve.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful children with me!  I hope you have a fantastic summer!

With love,


Still Hard at Work in Upper El

As we wrap up our third to last week of school we are beginning our end of the year lessons and are wrapping up some of our ongoing work from the year.

In grammar work, fourth years are working with advanced verb concepts. They are learning the difference between mental and physical verbs. The fifth years are working with advanced adjective concepts.

In geometry, the fourths learned to find the area of obtuse angle triangles this week. Like each of their other area lessons, they started this work with the area material and followed up by learning to apply the formula for finding the area of triangles to an obtuse angled triangle. They learned that the height of an obtuse angled triangle lies outside of the triangle. Fifths learned the formula for finding the area of a circle, using Pi and the radius, and they are currently working on applying that formula to different sized circles.

We wrapped up our biology lessons on the Vital Function of Plants. We learned that there is another form of work that plants do even as they go about taking care of themselves; they make it possible for many other life forms to exist. This is called the Cosmic Work of Plants. We looked at the root systems of plants and discussed how they slow down water and prevent soil erosion. We also looked at the shoot system and discussed how they give the rest of Earth’s life forms oxygen to breathe. We ended with an introduction to ecology. We discussed how humans are the only members of the kingdoms of life who have the special capability of appreciating the inter-workings of the nitrogen cycle, the carbon cycle, and the water cycle. We talked about how this awareness brings great responsibility to support and protect those cycles and maintain a balanced environment. Ecologists regard our planet as a “house of life.” It’s my hope that our focus on plants this year has nurtured twelve young ecologists!

Delicious Science in Upper Elementary

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!

The favorite lesson of the week (and according to one student, their favorite lesson of the year) focused on sorting different types of fruit based on their seeds. During this biology activity, students had to examine five different fruits and identify if they were a drupe (peach), pome (apple), aggregate (raspberry), accessory (strawberry), berry (blueberry), or pod (pea). They thoroughly enjoyed this activity and especially enjoyed eating the fruit after the identification activity was completed.

In geometry, fourth years learned to find the area of a right angle triangle. They did this by first constructing a square out of two congruent right triangles, finding the area of the square, and dividing it in half. They then used materials to understand the formula for finding the area. Fifth years had an initial lesson on finding the area of a circle. They did this by dividing the circle into 16 equal triangular parts and forming a curvilinear rectangle which was congruent to the original circle. They then found the area of the rectangle using the formula Area=base x height. Next week we will apply this work to learning the formula for finding the area of a circle. Montessori geometry work always starts with materials, using hands on activities and sensorial experiences. This type of introduction to concepts provides students with the opportunity to have a concrete understanding of the formulas they learn in order to do their geometry work.

Fourth graders continued their lessons on our closest living relatives in history. This week they learned to define the human species as the tool maker. We talked about the evolution that has taken place during the Neozoic era. This lesson gives students the impression of the amount of time humans existed on the earth before they became toolmakers. It also gives them an impression of the amount of time humans existed before they began to record their history. Fifth graders had their final history lessons on modern humans. They learned about the Megalith Builders from 5,000 years ago, the different groups of people and events of the Bronze Age, and the Celts of the Iron Age. Next week we will use the work they have done throughout this unit to construct a timeline of modern humans.

Four Weeks to Go

Can you believe there are only four weeks left of school? This year has gone by so quickly and each student has grown a tremendous amount academically and socially. I’m going to savor every minute of these next four weeks with this amazing class.

Over the next two weeks, each Literature Circle group will finish reading their book and we will do some fun final activities with Home of the Brave and Bridge to Terabithia during the last two weeks of school. In geometry this week the fourths learned to find the area of acute angle triangles using three different formulas and the fifths learned to find the circumference of circles using the diameter multiplied by Pi. Our biology work focused on cotyledons and we learned how to determine if a plant is a monocot or dicot. We wrapped up our Work of Air lessons in geography by learning about the effects of wind erosion. We enjoyed looking at photos of some magnificent formations in the United States caused by wind erosion. We also learned about human contributions to wind erosion and the harmful effects it can have on the Earth.

Please send bug spray and sunscreen if you haven’t already done so. We are spending greater amounts of time outside now that the weather is nice for outdoor learning.

Painted Rocks

Painted rocks are a way to spread joy and kindness through art. These are also known as kindness stones or rocks. The rocks are painted with an inspirational message or a cheerful design and left in nature. When people find them they can take them home for inspiration, put them in another spot, or place them back where they found them. Earlier this year FWM students from different classes painted some kindness rocks of our own, and this week Upper El students placed them around the playground for younger students to find. We enjoyed participating in this activity and were excited to see several had been found the day after we placed them.

It’s been a few weeks since we had a community meeting and students were enthusiastic about having one this week. We had many items on our agenda (eight) but only had time to brainstorm, discuss, and make a decision on one. Our topic was wearing shoes in the classroom. Throughout the year of having regular community meetings, the students have become very good at the process. They show great respect for one another and everyone gets a chance to share ideas and feelings. It’s a wonderful process to observe amongst these fourth and fifth graders.

We had some great lessons this week. Fourths learned about finding the area of a parallelogram in geometry and fifths worked with measuring the circumference of a circle. We learned about five different ways seeds move in our biology lesson. History lessons focused on our closest living relatives and shared characteristics in fourth grade and the Neolithic Lake Dwellers in fifth grade. We enjoyed having Lit Circle outside this week on a hot spring day.

We are spending a lot of time outside now that the weather is nice. Don’t forget to send in sunblock and bug spray for our outdoor learning and time in the woods!

There is NO SCHOOL on Monday for a faculty professional development day. Have a nice long weekend!

This Pretty Planet

There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees which speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving. -Maria Montessori

Happy Earth Day! We felt inspired this week when we watched Greta Thunberg’s TED Talk about climate change from 2018. After watching and discussing, the UE students journaled reflections about her message, what they thought they could do, and what they wanted to see adults do to take action for the Earth.

We always enjoy our time in the outdoor classroom, and thanks to the Middle School students, this week we were able to explore a little more of it! This week, the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders spent time clearing and beautifying trails in the woods surrounding the outdoor classroom. We enjoyed walking and running the trails during recess.

We have a special guest in our classroom this week. Goose the bearded dragon is visiting us for a few days. Many of us enjoyed observing him throughout the day and we are looking forward to spending more time with him next week!

Upper Elementary: Field Trip

Our week started off with an amazing field trip to the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, CT. The students got to see live specimens during the first activity of the day centered around animal adaptations. Next, they used nets to collect animals for the pond study. These kids were expert frog catchers! Finally, after lunch they ended the day with a program about insects. Part of this program was spent outdoors collecting insects in small containers. They learned that insects have three body parts (head, thorax, abdomen), six legs, and antennae. In the classroom there is a buzz of excitement as many students are making game boards based off of books they read. Some students are using their time in the MakerSpace room to design the boards or make playing pieces. Our next culinary activity will be nut free pesto using the basil from our garden. The garden will get a makeover soon for the fall season, so be on the lookout as you pull through the back entrance to the school!