MAY 2017 CLASSROOM NEWS
Upper Elementary with Nicole and Terri
The countdowns have already begun.
Eight more weeks, or 35 more days, or 280 more hours of school left! This
time of year, the children are filled with energy, some of it excitement and
some of it nerves. There are so many events coming up, the weather is
warm and delightful, and we are in our last push to get everything done!
The children are working hard with Mr.
Hywel to finish up the last touches of their musical numbers for the Spring
Performance. They are nervous that they don’t have it all right, but it
will all come together by the time May 25th swings around. The songs find their
ways into the classroom from time to time as the children joyfully sing or hum
the now familiar tunes, it’s bound to be a night to remember.
We are deeply working on the
application of what we have learned over the school year. Large scale
projects are coming to fruition as children work to create a comprehensive
amalgamation of what they have learned about a particular time period in
American history. Soon we will be adding information to a huge timeline,
to get a snapshot of each time period, and see what big events occurred over
the last 300 years. We recently went on a field trip to the Old Sturbridge
Village, and learned all about life in America in the 1830s. The children
made and ate fire baked cookies, called Jumbles, talked to a blacksmith, a
potter and a printer, and made some interesting discoveries about the
challenges of life nearly 200 years ago!
The children have begun to embark on an
independent novel study. While they created a simple version of the
independent novel study over the December break, they will have about six weeks
to create an in-depth look at a novel of their choosing (with some guidelines)
to create a display of their work. We have done a lot of work this year on
reading between the lines of literature. Looking for inferences, and
deeper meaning than what the words say. The children have looked into
theme, tone and character development, and this will be their opportunity to
show how well they understand these concepts with an independent work.
The youngest in our classroom continue
to learn about the classification of living things, and are currently in the
midst of a challenging project in which they need to fully classify an organism
from species up to Kingdom. They will be emulating a work in the
classroom that will serve as a guide, and applying their knowledge of PowerPoint
to create a finished project. The eldest members of the Upper El community
are about to delve into the study of the endocrine and reproductive systems.
There has been much chatter about this impending event with giggles, and
beet-red faces in accompaniment. These systems do very important jobs for
us as human beings, in regulating our hormones, and allowing us to create life.
It is important that we are able to talk about these systems as easily as
we do the respiratory system, or the digestive system.
“Independence is not a static condition; it is a
continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength,
and the perfecting of one’s powers, it is necessary to follow this path of
unremitting toil.” (Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind)
Every work we do in
the classroom has the underlying purpose of giving the tools to each child so
that he or she can become more independent. We would not hand a baby a
knife and ask them to prepare their own food, because they are not ready for
this yet, but certainly a child of five or six can be handed a tool of this
type, learn to respect the danger and the power of it, and be shown how to use
it wisely for cutting food. The children reveal their readiness for each new
step of independence in their own ways. We do our best, to provide scaffolding
so that they can climb as high as they are able with foot-holds, and provide a
safe environment, so that if they make a mistake, if they fail, they do not
fall too far, and they can get up and continue their climb. This year has
already been quite a journey. It went by in a flurry. The children have
so much faith and trust in me, that together we would find the right path. They
reached out their hands to help me so much in this, my first year at PVMS, and
I am truly grateful.
Sunday May 21 - Spring
Thursday May 25 -
Monday May 29 -
Memorial Day School Closed
Toddler News with Mary Ann, Cynthia,
Carla, Rebecca and Brianna
April in the
toddler room was all about spring, even though it felt like February. We made
our own version of spring inside. The children painted and decorated a giant
egg for our eating area. They also created spring inspired art work with
stickers and egg picture decorating. Our stories centered on signs of spring,
rain and baby animals. The children learned some new spring songs about growing
a garden and the returning birds. You may hear these songs instead of the ever
popular ‘Train Song”. While outside we observed birds returning, buds on our
ginkgo tree and early flowers near our door.
Earth Day is
always a fun day for the toddler class. Our Spanish teacher Paula helped the
children pot plants to bring home. In honor of Earth Day we read stories about
the importance of caring for our earth. To illustrate the concept of recycling
the class planted seeds in pots made from old newspapers. The plants will be
sent home as soon as they begin to grow.
As we shed
our jackets, long pants and long sleeve shirts it is important to remember sun
protection. Please apply sun screen before coming to school. Sneakers are the
best shoe for school. Open shoes allow the play yard wood chips into the shoes
and hurts their feet and climbing becomes unsafe.
Mother’s Day to all moms. Enjoy your special day.
SPANISH with Paula
vacaciones en abril make the month of Spanish classes seem so much
shorter! We are busy with various
projects concerning animals, clothes, and food.
The weather has begun to turn pleasant and little minds are
wandering! Onward!! The year is disappearing!
are enjoying time spent on the circle singing our various Spanish songs. Truth be told, the teachers do most of the
actual singing, but the children enjoy the movement which goes along with the
songs. We sing “Old Macdonald” (En La
Granja), Uno, Dos, Tres, (Counting song), La Tia Monica (parts of the body),
Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies (Head, Shoulders, Knees and toes) and of course
“Buenos Dias”. The children also enjoy the train song, sung mostly en
ingles. When the time comes to stop,
look and listen, we sing en espanol!
HOUSES—We have been practicing food vocabulary and animal vocabulary this
month. Back by popular demand----The
Raton Game! Can you guess what the
mischievous little raton has “borrowed” from your kitchen? No peeking!
When it is your turn to be the “raton”, don’t forget to wake up Paula so
that she can guess what is missing! Fun
had by all! The children talked about
their pets and we practiced their Spanish names. We heard a story about Charlie Brown (Carlos
Café) and his search for a pet. Earth
Day rounded out the month of April. At
the planting station, I try to speak as much espanol as I can. Happy Spring!
have been practicing food vocabulary this month. We played the matching game to practice. We completed a vocabulary list for our
Spanish folders. We did a little project
with fruit and a “raton” basket. The
children enjoyed using crayons to shade the basket as opposed to coloring
it. I encouraged the children to use the
project to play The Raton Game (See Children’s House Spanish) as a means of
practicing the vocabulary. We used fruit
vocabulary to play a game. On the last
Wednesday of April, we did an Earth Day project in the afternoon Kindergarten
class. The children assembled a little
libro about planting. We did an art
project to go along with the book. The children are excited about bringing home
their Spanish folders for the summer!
ELEMENTARY---Stories and poetry have continued to be a part of the Spanish
classes. Level One finished up “Pin Pon”
and went on to the poem “Cinco Pollitos.”
Level Two is working on the lengthy poem, “El Reloj”. We created a clock to help us practice. Level Three read their clothes story, “Que ME
Pongo?” to the Kindergarten class this month and will most likely have
completed “Mi Mascota”, a story about pets.
We have been hard at work with our animal vocabulary this month. Pet vocab was review for all, as it was
introduced in Kindergarten. Level One
added farm animals. Level Two reviewed
farm and went on the forest animals. Level Three reviewed farm and forest and
moved on to jungle animals. Each level
practiced this vocabulary with definite articles, colors, and
prepositions. Level One learned “Old
McDonald Had a Farm” en espanol, using the farm vocabulary and describing each
animal using two colors. Level Two
created a rainbow forest whose inhabitants were also described with two
colors! Level Three wrote a small libro
about three jungle animals. They had to
describe each using two or more colors.
They had to write about where they lived and what they ate. They also learned how to make comparisons in
translating and writing continue to be an important part of Spanish
classes. Level Four worked on a story about
friends, “Mi Amigo.” Level Five worked
on a story about whales, “Las Ballenas.”
Level Six continued on with their chapter book, “Un Viaje a
Mexico.” Each story provides lots of
opportunity to practice grammar and vocabulary, as well as to compare English
/Spanish sentence structure. Level Four
completed a clothes project and wrote about it en espanol. Before going on to animal vocabulary, we
reviewed all of this year’s vocabulary.
Use it or lose it!! We reviewed
pet, farm, forest, jungle animal vocab before tackling sea vocabulary and
habitat words. We practiced our new
vocabulary with definite articles, colors and prepositions. We created a sea picture and wrote about
it. Level Five worked on clothes
vocabulary this month. We practiced with
colors and definite articles as well as demonstrative adjectives. We learned the verbs “llevar” (to wear) and
comprar (to buy) with this vocabulary.
We reviewed the verb “ser”. Can’t
write color sentences without “ser”!! The children created a short story using
weather, seasons and clothes vocabulary.
They chose a character and “dressed” it according to the weather and
season. Careful!! Does everything agree???? Spanish is kind of picky. Words just have to agree in number and
gender! Level Six continues to work on
their Mexico story. We review grammar
before each class. We find and highlight
the vocabulary provided in the actual story.
We find additional vocabulary necessary for translation. We discuss and practice grammar points in
each chapter. We finally get around to
reading orally and translating. Lots of
work! Just when they think they have
finished, they get to answer five questions about the story at the end of the
JUNIOR GREAT BOOKS Lower El with
finished up the amusing story of the Blue Moose. The children read the story to me and we
discussed questions about the characters along the way. We studied page 118 and found three reasons
why Mr. Breton thought that his moose friend was lonely for the life of a wild
moose. We filled in the blanks about the
story. Filling in the blanks proved to
be a challenge. The children had the
ideas; but, not the spelling. We
practiced looking for the words in the story!
Funny how that happens! The
children wrote a postcard to Mr. Breton from The Blue Moose. Of course we
collected all of our work into a booklet to take home. Happy reading!
THREE—We also worked on a rather amusing story from West Africa, “Anansi’s
Fishing Expedition.” We underlined
sentences or phrases which showed why it was so easy for Anene to trick Anansi
into doing all of the work. Each student
answered a question about the story and we discussed the answers as a class. Finally, we wrote about what we thought about
Anansi and what happens to him at the end of the story. Work to folder. Folder to home! Happy reading!
Children’s House North with Susan and
wonderful turnout we had for Grandparent’s Day. We enjoyed meeting so many “Nonnies” and
“Papas” and I know the children had a great time showing their loved ones all
the things they like to do in school.
continue to be busy in the classroom, making choices from the different
curriculum areas. In the practical life
area, they can be seen squeezing oranges to make their own juice, washing the
big mirror and sewing shapes, among many other activities. The geometric solids are a popular material
in the sensorial area. Children are learning
the names of solid shapes such as cube, cone and sphere, and they enjoy playing
a game of identifying the solid by feel, rather than by sight. Another game we play is covering the solids
with a cloth. When I take one away, the child has to figure out which solid is
missing. This helps them not only learn the vocabulary, but helps develop
short-term memory, as well.
In the math
area, the youngest children are learning the basics of counting accurately,
identifying the numerals and associating quantity with numeral. With that foundation, they can go on to learn
the operations, the concept of place value and counting as high as 1,000 with
the cubing chains. Older children use
their skills in math and reading to solve story problems.
there is a lot of reading going on in the classroom. Beginning with learning
the names and sounds of letters, children then go on to listen for beginning
and ending sounds of words, put sounds together to make words, learn some basic
sight words and before you know it, they are reading. At this level, most
children’s writing involves “invented spelling”. That is, they write the
letters for the sounds they hear, which is quite often not standard spelling.
As they read more and learn rules (and exceptions) for spelling, their writing
will more closely approach standard spelling.
Right now, they are focused on getting their ideas in writing.
warmer weather come flowers, green grass and leaves on trees, and so we are
turning our attention to the world of plants.
In the classroom, we will be observing the growth of roots, stems and
leaves; planting seeds and caring for seedlings; and tasting edible seed
sprouts. Hopefully, we will also be able to work in our raised bed outside and plant
a small garden there.
I am looking
for parents or grandparents who have some free time in the mornings. From time to time, we have projects where an
extra pair of hands would be helpful. If
you have some time and would like to help out in the classroom, please let us
Music with Hywel
Children's houses: We have been
working on our songs for the Spring Performance, but have also been doing some
aural training. This involves a lot of listening and repetition followed
by a response from the children. They have done a good job so far and we will
be continuing with this type of training through the end of the year.
Lower and Upper elementary: We
have been continuing to do recorder work and the children have made some good
progress. We have also been working hard at preparing for the Spring
Performance as the songs we have chosen are not easy! We have also done
some harmony work and aural training using call and response rhythms and melodies.
The children have been working at coming up with and learning actions for
one of the performance numbers which has gone really well!
We are continuing to work on songs that
the children are familiar with including Twinkle Twinkle, Itsy Bitsy Spider,
Old Macdonald and others. Along with these we are also using songs to
learn to listen and follow instructions.
Children’s House South with Angelika
come and gone in a flash. The children returned back to school after a restful
vacation. I was thrilled to see their
smiling faces on Monday morning and we have had a great start for the remainder
of this school year.
It seems we
are finally all much healthier and the coughing and sneezing in our classroom
has mostly disappeared. We have had
another whole class hand-washing demonstration to remind ourselves of the
proper way to get rid of those pesky germs.
No more sickness I hope!
Day was wonderful as always. The
children did a fantastic job showing what they do in school and what they have
learned this year. It is very gratifying to see them spend time with their
grandparents and to see that special bond.
We even had great-grandparents visit this year!
ahead: May is full of new and exciting activities. We are practicing our songs
for our Spring Performance and are looking forward to the special night with
family and friends.
our Assistant Rosemary has informed us that she cannot be with us for the rest
of this school year. We are sad and miss her.
She will be visiting later in May to say Hello. We have decided to craft a quilt for her. The students will begin to sew and decorate
the squares and we hope to present her with our classroom quilt when she
As part of
her training, our wonderful Montessori intern Alicia Chagnon will be spending
time this month in introducing the children to the country of Japan. She will be
incorporating materials, books and activities about the customs and traditions
of Japan. We are all looking forward to learning more about it!
Earth Day is
looking great and we can’t wait to enjoy all the activities that have been
with Angelika and Alicia
children are working so hard. They are
writing ….. fast and furiously! Wonderful stories about birds, dinosaurs,
spring and many other themes are emerging and taking shape. I am so thrilled to see their new-found comfort
with putting thoughts down to paper and their desire to express themselves
without worries of spelling. Inventive
spelling puts them at ease. They sound out words and are so proud of a finished
story and the illustrations are fantastic.
We have been reinforcing rules such as starting sentences with capital
letters and ending with a period. We are writing paragraphs together, then
identify concrete nouns and find proper nouns.
The children have learned about capitalizing the names of people,
specific places, months, days of the weeks etc.
We design activities that help the children become conscious of the
functions of different words.
The class is
working in all areas of the curriculum and I am very encouraged by the students’
progress. I see confidence and pride emerging in every way.
Children’s House East with Tara and
April was ushered in by the birth of Jackson’s brother. Baby Jacob arrived on Friday, April 7th. Please help us welcome the newest addition to
the Deren Family!
We also started the month with Grandparents’ Day. Thank you to all of the grandparents who were
able to join us. It was great fun to
share some of our classroom activities with our very special guests.
Spring is the theme.
Flower arranging is a prominent activity in the Practical Life
area. So far we have arranged daffodils,
purple chrysanthemums, and light yellow carnations. Also, a potted white hyacinth plant has
inspired a multi-step art activity. Last
but not least, dandelions on the playground have been a keen interest to those
who happen to look down!
Another spring inspiration came from the following poem:
Close your eyes and do not
I'll rub spring across your cheek.
Soft as satin, smooth and sleek.
Close your eyes and do not peek.
of the poem is Pussy Willow. During our
group meeting time, the end of a soft pussy willow branch was rubbed across the
cheek of each child. As you may guess,
many giggles followed!
activity called Penny Polishing arrived on the shelf this week. On a tray are all the necessary ingredients
to polish a dull penny into a bright one.
First, a tiny scoop of salt is placed on a penny and is followed by a
drop or two of vinegar. Next, the tip of
a cotton swab is used to scrub the dirt off the small coin. Last, a soft cloth is used to polish its
surface back to its original shine.
While this activity is captivating to young children who are interested in making a penny shiny, it is also a science
experiment which demonstrates the chemical reaction of salt and vinegar on a
Cat is back with His Magic Sunglasses.
These sunglasses are definitely rose-colored as they help him to turn
his bad mood around. He shares them with
his friends who are experiencing such emotions as sad, frustrated, etc. We also discussed the way in which the
illustrator used color in order to reflect the feelings of the characters. At first, the dominant color on the page was
blue, but turn the page, and it became bright yellow, complimented by a vibrant
month of April closed with the celebration of Earth Day. During the morning long activities, each
group rotated through the following four stations; transplanting plants, snack,
chalk drawings on the playground blacktop and a special presentation by a
grandparent of one of the Lower Elementary students. Although postponed for a day, we celebrated
the Earth on a beautiful sunny day!
Education with Mike
In physical education class, we have
really focused on continuing the philosophy of team sports and really tried to
build sportsmanship. We’ve engaged in fun sports and activities such as soccer,
where we broke down the skills and techniques used in the sport. The skills
we’ve talked about in soccer have been carried over and discussed about where
we’ve used them in previous sports such as handball and ultimate frisbee.
Due to the crazy weather we’ve
been having, the class and I have spent a lot of time indoors. The time we
spend indoors we’ve learned to do a callisthenic routine at the start of class
to get the blood pumping and heart rates up. Exercises involved include
push-ups, squats and mountain climbers. Though we’re inside, we do try to learn
a little as well to keep the minds active. Lately we’ve discussed topics like
nutrition, proper sleep and proper fitness techniques as well. Students have
been also given little hand-outs at the end of certain classes to help them
think of the topics even when we aren’t in the classroom so that it will help
them remember them too.
hope for some sunshine!!
Yoga with Lisa
In Yoga we are always
playful with poses that mimic animals.
We explore meditation to help settle our bodies and mind. We had fun
making peace plates and personal eye pillows for rest post. In the coming weeks, we will explore some
mindfulness techniques, more meditation and fun poses as well as a fun end of
Lower Elementary with Sherrell and Kim
The students have returned from vacation
ready to work and are excited about their learning. It is now in our
observations that we can see the fruits of our year’s work. Students are eager
to master concepts and are curious about the world around them. They are asking
thoughtful questions and making meaningful connections. These are the sprouts
and shoots of the seeds we’ve been planting.
The Montessori impressionistic lessons rely
on the belief that “the secret of good teaching is to regard the child’s
intelligence as a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the
heat of flaming imagination.” Whether it is linking the parts of speech to
ancient civilizations (noun as pyramid), or condensing the history of our
planet into twelve hours, Montessori uses story to stimulate the child’s
imagination and to ignite curiosity.
So much of Montessori is based on helping
children come to their own realizations based on applying their observation and
critical thinking skills to the information they receive. These are the seeds
that are sown in each area of the curriculum from a very young age and nurtured
as the child grows throughout each level of the Montessori program.
Mathematics and Geometry Notes
Lower Elementary students are working on deepening
their understanding of place value across levels. The exercises call their attention
to quantity and value being different. We’re working on reading and composing
numbers as well as practicing with standard, expanded and written forms.
At the earliest stages, students use the
Golden Bead Material to compose and read numbers. At later stages, students
predict what place value you get if you multiply units, or tens, or hundreds by
units, or tens, or hundreds with the support of the Checkerboard. At the stage
of abstraction – or thorough understanding without material support, students
explain the purpose for the zeroes they write when recording the partial
products in multi-digit multiplication.
All of these phases and stages go toward
building number sense or skills of numeration – a mathematical foundation.
We began reading Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White as a class after
vacation. This is a classic book that is familiar to nearly all the
students, because it was read to them or because they’ve seen one of the movies
or plays of it. Even so, everyone is getting something out of this class
reread of the familiar book. Each student has a copy and most choose to follow
along as I read aloud. We stop periodically to discuss tricky vocabulary and to
make sure everyone understands the story.
We read one or two chapters at the end of
each day so that we will have finished the book before we have our field trip
to see the play downtown at Symphony Hall on Monday, May 15. We will be
completing some traditional reading comprehension and vocabulary work along
with themed STEAM challenges as we read the book.
Thank you for your support at Science Night.
It was great to see and hear as the students taught you what they’ve learned
about chemistry, biology, physics, botany, astronomy and more. I also enjoyed
watching as families undertook our two special STEAM challenges for the
evening. As we are planning for next year, please do give us feedback about how
you feel Science night went. We are aware it was a change from previous years,
and wonder how meaningful and enjoyable it was for families given the change.
Please feel free to give me feedback directly, or to send it to Margaret Bagge.
Many of you got to see the magic of the
enormous Montessori Timeline of Life, an impressionistic linear history of life
on Earth from single-celled organisms to humans. The children continue to be
captivated by this work, learning about different eras, plants, and animals as
they place them on the timeline. Students also try to trace familiar life forms
as they evolve on the timeline, comparing features of similar species and
wondering about how dragonflies, sharks, and cockroaches have survived for so
As always, if you have any concerns, kudos, or
questions, please reach out. We’d love to hear from you.
Sherrell and Kim
Art with Christie
and Lower Elementary
Greetings to all! Although we lost a
Monday with vacation in April, I’m pleased to say that we are still right on
track and have accomplished much this past month. As we continue our work
learning about the Seven Elements of Art we delve into a lesson about Value.
Value as it relates to the Art Elements is defined as the lightness or darkness
of a color. This lesson began with the introduction of some new art vocabulary.
Students learned about Hue- another word for color, Tint- a color plus white,
Shade-a color plus black, and Tone- a color plus black and white. In our work
books we designed a scale using a single crayon color. Students learned that
Value can be achieved just by the amount of pressure one uses when drawing. The
scales they designed illustrated the darkest color possible to the lightest
depending on the amount of pressure they used when coloring. We discussed what
an important tool Value is so that an artist can create the appearance of
lightness and darkness in their art work.
For the second part of the lesson on Value
each student was given four pieces of white paper on which they painted samples
to represent Hue, Tint, Shade and Tone using the color of their choice. They
were then assigned a wooden panel as well as acrylic paint and given the
directive to design an abstract painting using a single color. They were also
allowed the use of white and black (since they are needed in order create
Value). Once the children finished their paintings each person had to show and
explain how they had created Value in their paintings using Hue, Tint, Shade
and Tone. This concluded our lesson on Value and leaves us with just two
remaining Art Elements to learn about and explore.