We have begun archiving content from our guides’ Classroom Notes newsletters here on the school website. Please enjoy this contribution for November 2018.
Ms. Hunt – Primary
We have had a lovely fall! The children are learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin, and have even found evidence of each step in the FCMS garden(though the exciting first snow fall wiped out most of the growing vines and flowers!). We were fortunate enough to find seeds and even a few orange pumpkins, which have now come into the classroom for the children to examine. We are also learning the poem “Five Little Pumpkins” and the song “Full Moon Overhead” to coincide with the autumnal season.
The children are busy as they settle into the classroom routine and lessons grow in complexity and length. Some children are learning the parts of different living things (frogs, apples, leaves), and are making booklets, complete with vocabulary for each part and hand drawn illustrations!
Many children are also working on hand writing (on chalk or on paper), and we are talking about the importance of clear and accurate cursive (it is so exciting when someone else can read what you have written and know your thoughts!). Interest in sand paper letters and phonograms, as well as awareness of letter sounds, is also growing. The children love the Sound Game!
A new material was introduced into the classroom this past month: the Bells!Children absolutely love using the mallet and damper to play and listen to different pitches, to spontaneously make up their own melodies, and to eventually learn the names and positions of the notes on the staff and to begin to play their favorite songs. This is such a special and beautiful material to have in the classroom, and it has been wonderful to see the children working with it!
A few new songs we are learning: “This Land Is Your Land”, “Bicycle Built For Two”, “Make New Friends”, “This Little Light of Mine”, and “Brother, Won’t You Dance With Me?” (a song that also has movement!).
A GIANT thank you to all the parents that have volunteered materials for the classroom, fabric for table linens, contributed to the fundraising campaign, come in to observe the classroom and meet at conferences, and for your questions about and interest in how to support your child. We couldn’t do what we do at school without your support at home!
Finally, thank you to the amazing support staff here at FCMS! Each day runs smoothly and peacefully because of the work and dedication of our administrative staff, head of school, hallway teachers and after care providers. Thank you for all that you do…you are appreciated and valued!
Ms. Thome – Primary
I can’t believe we are already saying goodbye to October! What an exciting month it has been, full of fall activities, cooler weather, and lot’s of pumpkin fun. It was such a treat to be able to share in the excitement of the pumpkin patch with all of you. What a great community we have!
This is one of my favorite times of the year and is so much fun in the classroom. The children love observing all of the changes. This gives us the opportunity to introduce so many lessons: Why do the leaves change color? Life cycle of a leaf! Why do the days get shorter? What happens to the plants and animals as they prepare for winter? What vegetables do we plant and harvest in the fall?
The newest member of the classroom is our community sweet potato who is in our windowsill, propped in water teaching us all about roots, shoots and sprouts! We are keeping our fingers crossed that we get a sweet potato vine out of this experiment. We have also been putting all of this beautiful fall energy to good use by preparing our garden for winter! Raking all of the dead leafs, uprooting the old plants, turning the soil and sending all of this goodness into the compost bin to use for next spring.
Language has been exploding in the classroom! Children have been reviewing the sounds of the alphabet through the sandpaper letters and sound sorting. For those who have mastered the phonetic sounds, they’ve moved onto blending sounds and writing with the movable alphabet. We have been seeing stories, poems, and parts of animals. Very exciting as we come into the holiday season where children will be able to sound out and write their own holiday cards.
A Little Reminder to Parents
Children at this age do not see their actions and successes as separate from themselves. Remember, too, that these children are still developing the art of perceptive communication. They do not yet perceive what you are truly asking. In many cases they don’t even remember the exact name of the material used. Try asking more specific, direct questions. The following suggestions may be helpful:
- What work did you take from the shelf today?
- Who did you sit with for lunch?
- Did you work with letters/sounds (or numbers) today?
- Did you wear an apron today?
- What adults did you work with?
- Did you help another child today? Did someone help you?
Even if your young one is not a fount of information, fear not! Your child’s day is busy, fulfilling, and satisfying!
Ms. Crews – Primary
This month, we enjoyed a field trip to pumpkin patch at the lovely Garden Sweet Farms. It was a great reminder of how a simple experience outdoors is joyful and rich in sensory exploration for the young child.
An occupational therapist told me once that children under the age of six need to be “in their bodies” as they grow and develop. They need three dimensional experiences that allow for movement and use of all five senses.
In a time of increasing two dimensional experiences aimed at children, it is important to continue making space for these times outdoors and connecting with one another.
We have also been welcoming fall in Colorado and all that it brings: transferring acorns with tongs in the Practical Life area, leaf rubbing with crayons on the Art shelf, reading books about changing leaves and shifting seasons, and singing “Come Little Leaves,” among others.
This month we also welcomed Parent Teacher Conferences and Observations.We have practiced Grace and Courtesy lessons on how to greet an observer, so some parents may have received a handshake and an introduction from a child, while others noticed that the children continued to work without seeming to notice the new adult sitting in the room! Part of this is the familiarity with observation, and part is the nature of independent work at the Primary age. Our classroomculture allows for observation as a tool: observing a lesson or another person working means watching without touching or making a sound. When they are allowed to follow their natural ability to concentrate, children often get into a deep “flow” state when absorbed into their work. When they finish, they may skip as they put their work away or spontaneously help a friend. Our role as adults is to continue facilitating this experience for them as often as possible. Thank you to all for being respectful and open minded while visiting our community!
Ms. Schiller – Lower Elementary
Another energy-filled, enthusiastic month has passed! Our classroom’s first Going Out was a success. The children involved made their phone calls, organized their transportation, drew their maps, came to school prepared, and were welcomed to the local shop, Wild Birds Unlimited. They found what they needed, made their purchase, and even received a free book from the shop. They were delighted when they returned, and shared their information with the rest of the class. They have since decided to use some of our classroom budget and join the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (which invited a lesson regarding how to write a check). Two other children are currently planning their own Going Out. These Going Outs support the children in independence, self-discipline, and responsibility.
We were thrilled to be visited by Dr. Boris C. Kondratieff, Professor of Entomology, Director of C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management. He came to the lower elementary classes to present on Friday, October 26. The topic included arthropod diversity with most orders of insects, with strong coverage of Rocky Mountain and Southwestern species. The children sustained a strong interest and asked many interesting questions. They were able to see and touch a variety of arthropods. We are hoping that some of our children who are researching insects have an opportunity to plan a Going Out to visit Dr. Kondratieff at his lab, and ask further questions about their topics.
The children spend some time during October learning the bones of the human body. While the younger children spent time learning the names of the bones and where they are in the body, some of the older children explored the parts of the bones, the differences in the numbers of bones in children/adults, and how the bones are related to our blood supply. Their questions are many, and their aptitude in answering their own questions is inspiring.
We are jumping into November with enthusiasm and energy! Our next big community focus is planning and preparing for our Winter Holiday evening on December 6th.
Ms. Arminio – Lower Elementary
We are constantly adding new lessons for practice in our prepared environment. A favorite has been graphs. Using research or a survey, we find out favorite animals, colors, snakes, ice cream flavors and planets. We collect data, and it is then shown on a bar graph, line graph or circle graph.
We are learning how to define grace and courtesy in our community. It is essential that we play, work, laugh and cry with the idea that we are “human beings to whom respect is due.” —Maria Montessori
Our Earth is so important to our survival; therefore we are learning about it inside out. It is the only planet we know of that has just the right environment for plants and animals to live in.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN LESSONS
The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. We are actually born with about 300 bones, but many fuse together as a child grows up. The longest bone is the femur and the smallest is the stirrup.
The pumpkin is a fruit that has yellow flowers each with five petals. The heart shaped leaves collect sunlight and photosynthesis helps to make food for the plant. The stem is thick for support and the tendrils help the vine climb and keep it secure.
We were visited by Dr. Boris C. Kondratieff, Professor of Entomology, Director of C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management. He will came to our class to present to the lower elementary on October 26. The topic included arthropod diversity with most orders of insects, with strong coverage of Rocky Mountain and Southwestern species.
This school year our staff intends to discuss many topics that encourage the belief in the development of human beings—Montessori style. Join us on November 8, to continue sharing the greater possibilities of our children’s futures.
Mr. Deery – Upper Elementary
An Update from Naia, Zoe, Helen and Nadia
Inside the doors of upper elementary we do many things. Each day consists of daily work, lessons of all types, pen pals that write back and forth to us from around the U.S.A, and at the moment we are practicing poetry. Some of the poems we are practicing are Ooey Gooey, Celery, The Little Man Who Wasn’t There, The Vulture, After the Party, Singing Time, and The Yak. On top of all of that, we also have homework projects that are due on the first Thursday of every month. Every Thursday is P.E. taught by Amazing Athletes. Each week we do a different sport and sometimes repeat a sport. Some of the sports we have practiced so far are football, baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track. Our P.E. coaches are Ashley and Luis.
Here are some of the lessons Mr. Deery has given and is giving. Decimals. He has been giving lots of lessons on decimals like multiplying them and learning how to read them. Memorizing poems. We are memorizing poems to exercise our minds. Paragraph writing. We are studying different techniques like listing things and persuasive paragraphs. Literature. We study our literature books by reading them, doing activities with our groups, and discussing our books. Here are some of the books we are reading: Ella Enchanted, A Wrinkle in Time, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and From The Mixed Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
In the morning, our class can choose to start of with math, sentence or clause analysis, grammar, or spelling. If you choose math, your options would be addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, fractions, algebra and word problems. If you choose sentence analysis, you would write your own sentence, take out the materials you need, and analyze the sentence. Clause analysis is just like sentence analysis except for the fact that you must have a clause inside your sentence and that when you are finished you must identify the parts of speech in your sentence. Depending on what work that you have completed, you can choose another activity for the rest of the morning. In the afternoon, we can do things like art, books, calligraphy, and projects.
As upper elementary students we love going out into the world. Our last few field trips were really fun! We went to C.S.U. and met a entomologist named Boris Kondratieff. We learned about different types of arthropods like insects, crustaceans and arachnids as well as centipedes and millipedes.
In November, we will be going to the Poudre Library to learn about researching books, but we will also get library cards and some books. This event is on the 16th of November.
One of the most well known events of the school year is the winter performance. At this event, families and friends gather to watch their children or friends perform in ways of singing, reciting poetry, and performing plays. This event is on the 6th of December.
As students of Mr.Deery’s class, we are ready for anything!