Upper Elementary: Community

On Tuesday, a couple of officers from the Newtown Police Department visited our school along with Aris, a police dog trained to help the Newtown Police.  Aris is a German Shepherd that the department got from Siberia. We watched a demonstration of Aris in action and then the officers answered questions.  The strength of this young dog was amazing and the officers told us that Aris is equal to four officers when in the line of duty!

Although we do not have a field trip planned for December, we decided it would be a great idea to visit the St. Vincent DePaul Mission in Waterbury, CT. We have been been connected to this shelter for over 8 years now by making and delivering sandwiches. A few years ago we felt that we could offer more support to those in need by providing new clothes and fleece blankets to the children that reside at the shelter. Next Tuesday we will wrap these gifts, make cards, and then deliver the gifts as a whole class to the shelter. This will be a great learning experience for the students and we look forward to helping those in need, especially during the holiday season. Thanks so much for your support and donations!

Upper Elementary: Thankful


We had a great week last week beginning with bread making. The students chose to make chocolate, banana, and coffee cake. They shared responsibilities within their groups to read, measure, and mix the ingredients. On Wednesday, we enjoyed the bread and many more breads from other classrooms during the school wide Thanksgiving celebration. This week we welcomed our new mascots to the classroom. The black footed ferrets were named Shadow and Mittens. Each weekend a student will bring home a journal to write about their weekend with the mascots and share on circle the following Monday. Do not worry, the mascots are stuffed animals. We celebrated Mrs. Faust’s birthday on Tuesday and she was very appreciative of the kind notes, cards, words, and breakfast.

Upper Elementary: Change Makers

Our class agenda is a place for teachers and students to record important topics to discuss as a group. Sometimes it is updating the students on upcoming events or schedule changes. Other times it may be areas where we need to improve as a community.  Once a topic is shared on community circle the student(s) who wrote it down will present their thoughts. Next, we open up the discussion for solutions. It gives us great joy that the students take this seriously and come up with some great ideas or solutions to improve as a community of learners. As I learned at a recent Montessori conference, “Students need to be the change makers.”  This may be a small step, but it’s a starting point for them and we hope it is a stepping stone to tackle larger issues as they mature.

Upper Elementary: Zipping Along


This week we wrapped up our study of the Kingdoms of Life as the last three groups presented. Working in groups encourages active learning, helps to develop key critical-thinking, communication, and decision-making skills. Each group received questions and comments.  A common theme among the groups that came to light was the challenge of working in a group and delegating responsibilities and ideas.   Students shared their solutions for how they dealt with any conflicts or disagreements.

Now that the zip line is up and running the students are thrilled to have another option during recess time!  Every student has gone on the new zip line at least once.

On Wednesday we had a visit from some Botsford Fire Department volunteers to discuss fire prevention.  The students learned valuable information to prevent fires and how to safely exit their homes in the case of a fire.

Upper Elementary: Busy, Exciting Week

Our week began with pumpkin carving in the classroom. Students worked in small groups of 2-3 to clean out the pumpkin “guts” and create their own unique designs. They had a blast and we appreciated the assistance from Liz and Jayne, as well as the donations of pumpkins and tools from families.

On Tuesday, we visited New Pond Farm and experienced a glimpse in the life of Woodland Indians. Students played games, scraped fur from an animal pelt, ground corn, and sampled a variety of foods. Our guide, Claire said, “This is the most engaged group I have ever instructed.” We were extremely proud of their participation and behavior while on the field trip.

Wednesday of course was our Halloween Parade and class celebration. Part of our celebration was spent estimating the weight of pumpkins before and after the “guts” were removed. Students also estimated how many seeds were in the two pumpkins. Both had over 500 seeds, which was well above all estimates.  Finally, the seeds were seasoned and roasted so we could enjoy them with lunch.  Thanks again for the refreshments that were donated for our celebration!

Global Culinary Night is Thursday, November 8th from 6:30-8:00pm.

This is a FWM entire family event.

Grab your “passport” and travel along with us as we visit countries near and far, sampling foods at each stop! 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.

Upper Elementary: Outreach


On Wednesday the students enthusiastically participated in our first sandwich making project for the St. Vincent DePaul Mission located in Waterbury, CT. They were thrilled to donate their energy to making sandwiches for individuals and families that are experiencing hard times. Mrs. Faust and I were so proud of their care and concern as they prepared each sandwich. Thanks again for the donations of supplies and the coordination by Liz Bashawaty!

Upper Elementary: Let’s Support Each Other

This week we witnessed a lot of student collaboration and group work in the classroom. It began with the introduction of literature groups on Monday for the books, A Bridge to Terabithia and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. After the students made their book choices they were divided into groups of five. Role sheets were passed out and each group discussed how they wanted to organize their weekly roles.

Later in the week the students worked together on their kingdom posters that focus on the different kingdoms of life. Together, they organized information and illustrations on their poster to highlight the kingdom they chose.  Once these are finished they will present the posters to the class.

Lastly, all students wrapped up their endangered animal research. We then gathered as a class and voted on which animal to adopt as our class mascot. There were many favorites, but in the end the black-footed ferret earned top honors. We will provide a donation to the World Wildlife Foundation to support endangered animals and their habitats. Then we will receive a plush black-footed ferret that will go home once per week with a different student to enjoy for the weekend.

Upper Elementary: Inside and Out


There was a buzz of activity inside and outside the classroom this week. Many students shared their endangered animal research on circle and with only a few left to share, our goal is to select the class mascot by next week. Sharing work on circle is almost a daily occurrence in the Upper Elementary. After a student shares, the rest of the students and teachers have an opportunity to ask questions or make comments. This is one way students build up their oral presentation skills in a safe setting.

Each morning the students enjoy the opportunity to actively engage in outdoor activities such as running, playing team games or searching for animals. This week a few students located a frog and a newt on the soccer field! After many students got a chance to observe the animals they were carefully released back to the wild.