It’s the end of the 5th week of school already. That’s a grand total of 144 classroom hours, 75 lessons, 24 visits to the playground, 10 fiddle classes, 4 walks to the library, 3 art lessons, 2 field trips and 1 teacher who was ready for the 4 day weekend!
Thank you to all of you for helping the first month of school to go so smoothly for everyone. I have enjoyed getting to know our new families and I look forward to talking with you all at conferences on the 19th & 20th. A big thank you to Scott (Curtis) & Heather (Sutter & Alexandra) for being such amazing chaperones on our overnight to the Bigelows. I think they would both tell you that our students handled this trip with exceptional maturity, good manners and most importantly, a great attitude. We look forward to many overnights in the future. Thank you to Tori & Robin (Elyse) for providing yummy snacks for the trip and donating the first bag of James Place Blend coffee to the Lodge (come in and try some! The lodge is now open to parents).
Some general notes:
Josh has 2nd year students and up working on Bargue plates. These are graphite drawings done on the easel that help students to observe and copy master work. Ask your student to tell you about these plates and which ones they are working on.
Andrew has students working on the song, ‘Boil ‘em Cabbage Down’. Students are to practice this song at least 10 times each week. It takes about 30 seconds to run through the song, so this should not be a problem. This class is going to start moving a bit faster, so it is very important that students make time to practice at home. To guide them, you can remind them to do all the steps to get into playing position. They know these steps, but might need to be reminded that we don’t just grab the violin and start playing – even at home they should complete all the steps. We’ve been talking a lot about this in class.
Here are some classroom highlights:
Allagash Group (1st Year)
* Nouns are everywhere in our classroom lately! Students had great fun searching for nouns around the school. They discovered that tables, chairs and even classroom friends are nouns. Students performed a skit about nouns and created posters with photos of people, places and things.
*First years continue to practice writing in cursive. It is helpful to encourage cursive writing at home. Very soon they will write only in cursive while at school.
* We used the addition strip board & the snake game to practice addition facts. Students have been enjoying working on this in small groups.
* Students have been studying polygons for the past couple of weeks. We identified pentagons, hexagons, septagons, octagons, nonagons (everyone’s favorite) and decagons. Most of our lessons include word etymology and geometry is a great subject for this. Ask your students about poly & -gon.
* “I live in the universe…” That was the beginning of a favorite lesson last week. Ask your first year to explain where they live starting with that phrase. This lesson is meant to help students begin to understand that cities are within states/provinces, which are within countries, etc.
* We are exploring fish during biology class. Students identified and labeled the different fins on fish and we discussed the different jobs performed by each fin. We took a trip to Jill’s classroom to meet their fish and see which parts we recognized.
Moosehead Lake (2nd Year)
* This group continued their verb/adverb study by using a new special paper we have in our classroom. I wrote them a basket full of sentences to symbolize with the parts of speech they already know.
* 2nd years have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new time line of life that I purchased over the summer. It finally showed up on our doorstep last week and students have been exploring all of the illustrations and labels. This time line will be the focus of our second year history curriculum. Next week we will begin work with the ‘Clock of Eras’ & we will begin working with the time line in a few weeks.
* We continue to work with memorization of subtraction facts. Students have their first timed test coming up soon. We also brought out the stamp game earlier in the week. 2nd years will work with dynamic operations using the stamp game for the next month or so.
* In geography we began a study of South America. We reviewed the names of different land and water forms (lake, island, cape, bay, strait, isthmus, gulf, peninsula). Students are working to label these land and water forms on a map of South America.
Acadia (3rd Year)
* 3rd Year students continue to work with large numbers in arithmetic. We introduced the Golden Bead Frame a couple weeks ago. Students are focusing on multiplication with multipliers in the tens place and multiplicands into the millions place (1,232,589 x 51). They also continue to practice multiplication games aimed at the memorization of facts.
* Students who have been at Meadowbrook (or any Montessori school) have always seen grammar as a series of special symbols that represent each part of speech (the noun as a black triangle, the verb as a red circle). We had a discussion last week about how helpful that has been, but that when they are in middle school or high school, their teacher’s won’t use – or even know – these symbols. I introduced the grammar boxes which will help the students to take all of the grammar studies from previous years and remove the tricks and symbols. This is a perfect example of the Montessori curriculum moving from concrete to abstract. As I slowly remove materials and move students toward paper work, they will build on the very concrete foundation we have been laying for the past 2 years. If you can’t tell, I am THRILLED to have 3rd years!! It truly is the year that puts the icing on the cake.
*Students have been doing scientific illustrations of leaves that can be found in Maine. We created field guides and brought them along on our trip to Flagstaff Lake. Ask your student which leaves were most commonly found near the lake and why they think that might be so. Ask them which leaves we were unable to find.
Katahdin (Upper El)
* We continue our work with the 3 geometry concepts of congruence, similarity and equivalence. Students have completed some amazing work with equivalence.Congruence and similarity are relatively simple concepts for students because you can see them. Equivalence gets a little trickier. The upper el students have made many discoveries about equivalence by using our guide square and cutting out shapes using the diagonals and midpoints. This work has sparked a lot of excitement.
* Upper El students have each chosen a nation that they will study during the first semester. Their October assignments include creating a poster with basic facts about the country and designing a travel brochure that will entice people to visit their country. We have many examples of travel brochures for them to look through while they complete this project. Students will also choose a notable citizen (past or present) from their nation and create a project around that person.
* Students tell me that the best lesson all year has been the one about matter and energy. We discovered that matter is like a noun and energy does for matter what the verb does for a sentence. Students are making charts of energy they see around home or the classroom and deciding whether that energy is kinetic (motion) or potential (stored). They enjoyed the story I told about getting to school as a child (I grew up on the top of an island with no cars – this story is filled with potential and kinetic energy!). Students were filled with questions after the lesson, which is always wonderful for me. Next week we will talk about the laws of thermodynamics.
* Our arithmetic work has focused on long division using the test tube division material. Students have also been practicing division facts in preparation for the first timed test of the year.