MAY 2010

MAY 2010
Alana, one of our graduating sixth year students

May is here - and with it come many school activities: field trips, fiestas, the spring musical performance, and soon graduation for our kindergarteners and sixth grade students.

I want to thank all of the parents (and extended families) who supported PVMS in our annual auction. The PTO ran a well-organized, fun event. Thanks to all of you who worked to obtain donations for the auction. The heads of the auction this year, Leah Dow and Lynne Barton-Cimino, worked tirelessly preparing for and executing the auction. I want to thank Tony Anthony and his band, The Street Vipers for donating their time and musical services to us. The music was great and even inspired some dancing at the end.

While on the topic of the PTSO, I want to say what a great group of parents was involved in organizing the family activities this year. Marie Spellman and Alicia Bell, co-presidents, were wonderful leaders. They provided the structure of the events but left room for lots of parent involvement. They've let me know that they are willing to be co-presidents for next year also. They have already begun planning for the fall events of next year.

I am grateful for all of the wonderful energy that parents have offered to the school this year.

On April 29th, all of the PVMS children celebrated Earth Day by joining in activities in mixed age groups. They had a Scavenger Hunt for objects/creatures in nature, they created chalk art, representations of the earth of living things, and they planted seedlings grown by Paula (gracias, Paula!)

Then we all enjoyed a presentation, called Wolf Talk, by Michael LaBlanc, in which he talked about wolves and introduced us to Denahee, a cross between a gray and a timber wolf. We saw how shy Denahee was and learned many interesting facts about wolves.

Hywel Brown's presentation to Children's House North
Hywel Brown, parent of a child in Andrea's class, as well as the school's piano teacher demonstrated his violin/fiddle playing to CH North. The violin was handmade by his father.
SUMMER PROGRAMS for Children's House and Toddler
On June 21st, summer classes begin for Children's House and Toddler Room. Children's House students may be enrolled by the week. Toddlers are enrolled for 3 week sessions. There are a few openings still.
Box Tops
The school received a check for $65 for the most recent submission of Box Tops. Thanks for helping out with this.
Please join other parents for a coffee hour this coming Friday, May 7th from 8:30-9:30. Coffee is provided - you may bring a snack if you like.
Thank you to those of you who have made a gift to the PVMS Annual Fund this year. It's not too late if you haven't. You may send a check or make a donation with a credit card.
PVMS was given a $500 grant from Florence Savings Bank. They have an annual event in which their patrons vote for their favorite non-profit agency. Then they award grants to the top non-profits. Then they choose several more winners from the rest of the non-profits who got at least one vote. We were one of the lucky ones at the end. Florence Savings is not a presence in Franklin County so we may have just gotten one vote.
Recent Recalls on Children's Tylenol, Motrin and Zyrtec
There have been some recalls of children's Motrin, Zyrtec, and Tylenol. This link will give you more information:

May 5 Lower El field trip to Theaterworks
May 13 CH field trip to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary
May 20 Spring Performance 6 pm
June 2 Elementary Mystery trip to ?
June 8 Elementary field trip to Look Park
June 9 Graduation for Kindergarten & 6th Grade - 6 pm
June 10 Last Day of School - half day
June 21 First Day of Summer Classes (Toddler & CH)
TODDLER CLASS with Mary Ann Ross and Janice Merrill
May is a wonderful time of year to partake in a toddler's favorite thing to do - play in water. On warm days, we will paint the building with water, blow bubbles, fish and use sea creatures in our man made pond. The children have been very fascinated with the growing insect population. Some are a little disturbed by their appearance on the outdoor play equipment. Others can be seen huddled in a group around one small bug studying it intently. At this time, we remind the children that insects are living creatures and we should treat them kindly and that they should be left in their outdoor home. As with all Montessori curriculum we will follow the child and have activities featuring insects.

As the days begin to get warmer and we shed our jackets, long sleeves and long pants, it is important to think about sun protection. Our play area is quite sunny and a bit buggy due to the woods behind the school. If your child usually wears sun screen and bug repellant while outdoors, it is a good idea to apply it before coming to school. Some children may need hats for additional protection. Please let us know if you wish your child to wear a hat when playing outside. Sneakers are still the best shoes for school. Open shoes allow the wood chips in the play yard to get inside, making the children's feet uncomfortable.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms! Motherhood is a wonderful yet tiring vocation so make sure to pamper yourself a bit at least for one day.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE NORTH with Andrea and Sara
Children's House North
With Andrea & Sara

Hello everyone! This past month, our class enjoyed two great presentations. First, we learned about violins with Bryanna's Dad, Hywel. The children enthusiastically sang along to a mixture of classical, traditional, and fiddle music played on the violin made by Bryanna's grandfather. Hywel then explained how violins are constructed and the different materials used. The top of the violin is made from spruce, the back is made of maple, the neck is of both maple and ebony wood, and the strings are created from horse tail hair. Thank you to Hywel for sharing his talent, knowledge, and love of music with our class. We look forward to his next musical visit.

Secondly, the children enjoyed a special guest, Iluka Harris, from Australia. Iluka prepared a wonderful slideshow on some of the animals and beaches of Australia. She sang songs and read a story with the children as well. A special thanks to Illuka for taking the time to visit our school and for enlightening us with her knowledge of Australia, as her presentation blended in nicely with our year-long Australian theme.

Over the past few weeks, the children have been preparing for the upcoming Spring Performance. Leticia has a memorable performance planned for all the children to partake in and for their families to enjoy. Both Sara and I have been working with the children on their part of the show and they sound great! The children are excited and look forward to performing for their families and friends.

CHILDREN'S HOUSE SOUTH with Christine and Rosemary

Hello! We have enjoyed the spring weather and the chance to get outside most days this month. The children have concluded their study of birds and have begun to study plants, beginning with the parts of a flower. We were also graced with a wonderful presentation on Australia thanks to our guest speaker Iluka Harris. I also want to thank Trish Dean for coming in and helping the students with their handwriting.

We have a busy month coming up. The children have been practicing their songs for the annual spring production which will be held May 20. They are also preparing for their field trip to Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on May 13.

Our next unit of study will be insects, as we continue to explore the outside world and strengthen our connection to nature. Of course, we will continue to learn and grow working with the materials in the other areas of the classroom as well.

We are currently reading the much loved Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White. The children are comparing the book and movie and they are detecting the similarities and differences among the two. They also continue to pay close attention to the details within the story and their responses to the questions are much more creative and thoughtful.

During the work time block, many children are working on push pin continent maps, number rolls, the noun game, command/verb cards, sentence formation using the "silly sentence" work, word problems, and journaling. They are striving to gain individual progress and are becoming aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses within the classroom.

*A reminder regarding appropriate outdoor footwear and clothing for the playground* As warm weather approaches, some children enjoy wearing sandals or open-toe shoes to school. Please send in sneakers or shoes to change into for safety (woodchips may cut into their feet or get stepped on by others). Also this time of year, the weather is very unpredictable. Please continue to send a jacket as it may be chilly in the afternoon. It is wise to label your child's extra clothing.
LOWER ELEMENTARY EAST Susan Hershey and Donna Wegge
I can hardly believe how little time we have left until the end of the school year. So much to do, so little time..

We are finishing up our study of the people of the Stone Age and are reviewing what we have learned about how they met their basic needs. As part of our study of Australia, we are now focusing on the Aborigines, how they live today, and how they met their basic needs before European contact. It is interesting to make the comparison between their traditional lifestyle and how people lived long ago. One of the traditional foods is the seeds of grasses, ground into flour, mixed with water, and baked on hot rocks or ashes. This is known as damper. We tried making our own damper by mixing wheat flour and water and baking it in an oven. A little honey helped, but we are glad we have other things to eat. As a final closure to this study, we were fortunate to be able to visit the upper elementary class, where we were the audience for those students' power point presentations on Aboriginal basic needs.

Although we do not have a lot of time left, I am planning to move on in our Timeline of Humans to the Copper and Bronze Ages. This is the time of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, and it will be interesting to explore how differently these people met their needs compared to the Stone Age.

Also, during our last few weeks, our final look at Australia will be the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is a fascinating habitat, sheltering many different kinds of sea creatures, and this, too, should be an interesting study.

Upcoming events between now and the rest of the school year include the following: Theaterworks trip to Springfield Symphony Hall, Spring Performance, Stanford tests for the third-year students, Fiesta, Mystery Trip, and picnic. We'll take a deep breath and do it all!
Welcome back! I'm sure everyone had an enjoyable break! The children were ready to have some down time and enjoy the great weather as well.

This is the time of year where we look at the weeks left and see how busy we are with Earth Day, Spring Performance and field trips as well as our classroom work. We do seem to get it all in and have wonderful times!

At this time, I tend to look at the children, taking note both physically and academically. There are times when we take a step back and observe how busy they are in the environment, how capable they are and how confident in themselves. Just thinking about the Science Fair and how invested they were in their projects and presentations makes us proud of their accomplishments. They have indeed grown in many ways.

We are finishing up work on our study of birds. The third year group has been doing work on types of birds' feet (grasping, perching etc.) We have a great room from which to observe birds first hand. We have one Downy Woodpecker making holes in our window frame.

Botany study has been a focus since we were preparing for Earth Day. Many are familiar with typical Spring flowers and are researching others.

Lastly, our frog study is coming to a finish, as characteristics and life cycles have been discussed.

Enjoy the rest of these few weeks, and come to our activities!
Sue and Lucy
UPPER ELEMENTARY with Pamela Kinn and Donna Wegge
The Upper Elementary classroom has been full of activity. It seems that several long-term projects are all nearing completion at the same time.

The students chose partners and an area to study for our ancient civilizations unit. They have spent weeks researching cultures and making matching cards to share with classmates. Their work is impressive; you can see the card sets in our classroom.

We have now studied all six vital functions of animals: Respiration, Nutrition, Circulation, Support/Movement, Sensitivity (nervous systems), and Reproduction. They have discovered that as you move from simple (for example, the amoeba) to more complex animals (for example, the dog), the systems for accomplishing these vital functions also become more complex.

Math and language work continues to be more individualized as the students review, assess what concepts and skills they have mastered, and practice those skills that need more work. The children have done an excellent job choosing what work to practice, while still managing to find some time for practicing concepts that are just plain fun!


Though the glittering, paper raindrops on our classroom door reflect the soggy April weather outside, our spring mood and our door decoration is cheerful, thanks to the colorful umbrellas our after-school students crafted! We did have many days of outdoor play between the raindrops. At the beginning of the month, when the weather was unseasonably warm, spring fever was evident. The children did a lot of running and kicking up their heels!

On wet, indoor days we created scenes with pom-pom tailed, tissue bunnies hopping across pastel paper and patchwork wallpaper birds with fancy feathered tails to hang in a window at home. The activity table was sometimes filled with suds, sometimes with water, measuring cups and spoons, and sometimes with rice to pour, dig, and pile. Our group worked on large easel paintings, and interesting creations with crayons, markers and red brick shaped stickers.

It was nice to have our spring vacation break- but nicer to see the children so happy and excited to be back at P.V.M.S. playing with their friends, again!

We are looking forward to ending this month with Earth Day activities, then gearing up for a very busy May!
ELEMENTARY AFTERSCHOOL with Margaret and Donna

We had another wonderful month of outdoor weather, and we took advantage of it at every chance! The children have put away the soccer ball for the first time this year, and have become more interested in hide-and-seek games and basketball, as well as climbing and swinging. They seem to be filled with the energy and excitement of the springtime.

Inside, the children have been doing projects and using the computers daily. The Elementary After School recently received a donation of scratch art boards. If you are unfamiliar with scratch art, it is a piece of colorful cardboard covered in a black waxy coating. The children scratch off the coating to reveal the colors underneath. The kids really love this kind of art, and their pieces were amazing - such creativity!

At the beginning of the month, we watched the movie, "Cars". The kids were the first to give our school's new digital projector a try, as we watched the movie on the big screen. We are looking forward to watching our movie next month, using it as well.
ART for Upper and Lower Elementary Classes with Christie Hester Moore
Many thanks to everyone who supported the auction by purchasing the students' art work. By all accounts the art work was a big hit and a great success. I would also like to take a moment to extend my thanks to the following people - Margaret Bagge and Margaret O'Shaughnessy for their help printing out the pictures of the students holding their art work as well as Erin Rhindres, who generously took the time to photograph each piece of art work for the flyers that were sent home.

After finishing the art work for the auction, I thought that it would be fun for the children to design their own tee shirts as a final project on Australia that could incorporate all that they have learned. We started by mapping out our designs on paper and once everyone was happy with their designs we transferred them on to the tee shirts using permanent markers. Fabric medium was then added to regular acrylic craft paints and students painted their designs. The tee shirts were allowed to dry and were then ironed to heat set the designs onto the shirts. Many students chose animals, instruments or were inspired by works of art they had seen over the past few weeks. If your student has not brought home their shirt, they may not have finished it yet.

We will be having a "free art day" before the end of the school year to finish up uncompleted work. Please note that when washing the tee shirts they should be turned inside out and allowed to air dry.

Have a great May!

SPANISH with Paula Wicks

Hola, padres! It's already abril and abril is a short month, with the Spring Vacation and Earth Day! Spanish classes are progressing well and we are winding down our studies with food vocabulary and looking forward to the Fiestas at the end of May and beginning of June.


We practiced food vocabulary with two of the children's favorite activities-Shopping and the "raton" game. For our shopping excursion, the children were given a list and a basket. They pretended to walk to the "store" . There we practiced our food vocabulary while buying the items on the list. The "raton" game has been a favorite of the children every year since I can remember. I place food items on a work rug. The child pretends that he/she is asleep and the little mouse (raton) takes an item from the rug and hides it. The child must guess what is missing. The children also get a chance to be the raton and I sleep. A fun way to speak and hear the food vocabulary.

We continue to practice our colors, numbers, clothes, school, opposites and parts of the body vocabulary through songs and movement. We are looking forward to the Fiestas at the end of May.


We finished up our clothes vocabulary practice by making paper dolls and telling about what they were wearing. We practiced our animal vocab by filling in the missing initial sounds for the Spanish words. We heard a story by Eric Carle, "The Rooster Who Set Out to See the World" in Spanish and in English. We practiced the names of the animals in the story as well as addition and subtraction in Spanish-our numbers!

We will do a food basket project this last week of April to reinforce the food vocab that they practiced in the Children's Houses. We will also fill in the missing letters for the food vocabulary.


Overview: Presentation of the Animal Projects
Food Vocabulary
Practice: Es la/el (food).
Son las/los (foods).
noun/color agreement.
Me gusta/ No me gusta (likes and dislikes/food)

Poems and Stories:
First Years: Cinco Pollitos
Second Years: La Ranita
Third Years: El Gigante

The first year students labeled their farm projects without the use of their notebooks. This was a good way to practice their reading and their vocabulary retention. Next they presented their projects, telling what animals were on the farm.

We wrote out the fruit vocabulary for our study of food vocabulary. The children colored pictures of fruit which they pasted on a plate. They presented their plates by telling about the colors of the fruit and whether or not they liked the fruit. To complete our study of food, we will participate in "El Dia de Las Frutas" and help with making fruit salad.

The second year students wrote about forest animals. They placed their animals in a picture of the forest and read their descriptions to the class. Some of the children were very nervous about reading in front of the class and I am happy to report that all did a wonderful job.

For our study of food vocabulary, the children created a food mobile. Of course they had to describe in writing some of the food vocab and present it to the class. The more they practice, the better and more confident they'll get! Or so I keep telling them! We will also discuss whether or not they like the food on the mobile. To wrap up or food study,!we will particiapte in "El Dia de Las Frutas." and help with the making of fruit salad.

The third year students wrote three paragraphs describing jungle animals of their choosing. They wrote about the animal's color, where the animal lives, what the animal eats, and a comparison of the size of the animal to other jungle animals. We only recently learned how to do comparisons in Spanish and the children did a wonderful job with their wrtiting. They presented this project by showing their jungle pictures and reading their description of the animals.

For their food study, the third years had several vocab lists covering fruit, vegetables, meats, drinks and snacks. They wrote about a person made out of food and then drew a picture of that description. I will read the description (or have one of the students read it) and we will guess what picture it describes! To complete our study of food, the students will make a fruit salad to share with Lower El. They will tell about the fruits which they cut in order to make the salad.

The third year students are doing a phenomenal job on "El Gigante" "The Giant" story. Their writing is improving each day!


The Fourth Year students finished their clothes vocab study by writing descriptions of the cartoons which they created. They did a rough draft and made corrections where necessary. I typed the final version. The children chose a strip with a description, read it, and matched it to the correct cartoon.

We continue to practice sight words with the story "El Perro".. We answer a question about the story in complete sentences each class. We practice the sight words as well.

The children have reviewed the farm, pet, forest and jungle vocabulary and have gone on to sea animals. We created a seascape and did some writing on comparisons in Spanish. We also read a story about the sea and answered a few questions about the story.

The Fifth Year students continue to work on the story "La Familia Marin". Despite the moans and groans, I think that they will admit that it is getting easier to do the written work with all of the practice! We have completed chapters 3 and 4 of the story.

The Fifth Years are studying desert animals, plants and a few geological features of the desert. They will collaborate on a picture of the desert and of course some writing will be involved!

To finish our study of clothes vocabulary, the students created little books about the clothes and the seasons. The writing is excellent and the pictures are very imaginative. I hope to get them to read the stories to the Kindergartners and sit with the First Years and have them practice reading as well.

Pioneer Valley Montessori School, 1524 Parker Street, Springfield, MA 01129 • 413-782-3108

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