We are excited about a new year together as we dive into our upper elementary community with kindness, love, and support. We look forward to a year filled with the joy of discovery as the children follow their interests and curiosities wherever they may lead them.
As Dr. Maria Montessori once wrote, “the things the children see are not just remembered; they form a part of their soul.”
|Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide
Beth Ann Manning, classroom support
Currently we are reading “Betty Before X” by, Ilyasah Shabazz and Renee Watson. This is the childhood story of Betty, the wife of Malcom X. Many of the students have asked to read aloud, so we are sharing this responsibility. This story shares the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall. African Americans in her community are standing up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses.
Students are engaging in discussions about positive peer relationships and making sure they know what to do when they witness bullying behavior. They are recalling the importance of standing up for each other and also asking for help from adults. They also discussed the importance of managing emotions (using exercise, a therapist, playing outside, talking to parents, artwork, etc.) in order to not engage in bullying behavior toward another. We will begin to discuss cyber bullying on Friday.
By the end of this week, all of the students will have reviewed the lessons on puberty. Hopefully your children have shared their meetings with you. If you would like to review the concepts, I emailed the list to you in an email about upcoming dates. We will begin Theatre on Thursday, March 14th. The performance is on Thursday, March 21st at 6pm.
There is an important Parent Education opportunity coming up about Technology on Thursday, March 14th at 5:00pm.
Hope to see you at the GALA!
February 21, 2019
Our room has been buzzing with the return of the sixth years from New York. They have shared their experiences and reassured the younger students that all of the hard work is so worth it. They shared their highlights of meeting people from other countries and speaking at the UN General Assembly. The director of Montessori Model United Nations challenged the students to create and be part of “the world we want.”
Students are working to complete research and are writing lost pet flyers in Spanish. We also discussed The Great Migration of 70,000 African Americans moving north for the promise of paid jobs between 1916 and 1919. We read about Nelson Mandela and compared his quote, “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world,” to Maria Montessori’s quote, “education is the best weapon for peace.” The children decided that Maria and Nelson would have been good friends.
Some of our fifth year students are continuing their fundraiser for Father Fred in order to purchase birthday presents for children. The compassion, generosity, and care our students have for others is astounding. It is a pleasure to support their thoughtful endeavors.
February 7, 2019
Our room has been filled with exploration of circles, rectangular prisms, dissection of flowers, writing of research studies and conducting science experiments. Some students calculated the circumferences of hula hoops, some discovered the Pythagorean Theorem, and others explored the area of triangles.
We have also been reading stories from the book, “Young, Gifted and Black” by Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins. This book is filled with short stories about inspirational black heroes. The children have loved hearing these stories and thinking about their marks on history.
Our sixth years have presented their Opening Speeches to their peers and their parents. They are just about ready to depart for their Montessori Model United Nations Conference on Tuesday!
See you for Parents’ Visiting Day on February 21st!
January 17, 2019
In this new year our classroom has written their intentions for the year. We talked about intentions being plans you intend to do, you plan on accomplishing, you will focus on doing. Some are hoping to reach out and include others, some are planning to help more around the house, and others are intending to practice their lessons more frequently. They started dreaming about what they might want to do as adults, and began writing about what they would need to do in order to accomplish these dreams.
Students have also immersed themselves into the world of poetry. We have been reading poems about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, about a black boy and a white girl who write poems side by side, and I shared poems that I have written. They were asked to think of a memory that is vivid to them. One they can still remember how they felt. Through this they realized that sometimes the memories that are most vivid are sometimes sad stories. These stories have turned into poems and now they have the plan of publishing a book of poetry. Stay tuned!
November 29, 2018
Recently in our room we have been thinking about gratitude. Together our community wrote a gratitude message:
We are grateful for…
The earth for giving us a place to live
Rocks and minerals for their resources and for being fun objects to find
Plants for giving us food and oxygen
Trees for giving us paper to write and draw on
Food for nourishing us
Bees for pollinating the plants
Clean water for swimming and drinking
Seasons so that we can enjoy different times of the year
All human beings because we can learn from and help one another
Friends and family for making us happy and supporting us
Teachers for helping us learn and grow as people
Doctors and medicine for caring for us
Farmers for growing our food
Transportation so that we can go to other places
Scientists for inventions that help us and entertain us
School for teaching us how to learn
Beds for sleeping in
Shelters to keep us warm where ever we are
Clothes for keeping us warm
Hobbies that give us a sense of fulfillment
Pets for giving us company
Healthy bodies so that we can exercise and grow
Books for taking us on adventures in our minds
Art so that we can be creative
Laughter for bringing us joy
-Northwest Upper Elementary
It is a joy to open conversations with this community about their thoughts. They are so kind, helpful, and creative. Each day before lunch they send positive thoughts to those who need it. Sometimes it is a family member who is ill, sometimes a pet, and often it is people across the globe or country facing a disaster of some kind. We talk about how special it is that we have the ability to love and care about humans we may never meet. They truly care about humans all over the world. This is also evident as we explore our Montessori Model United Nations work and our students begin thinking about conflicts and issues affecting people all over the world. The compassion of children is inspirational.
November 8, 2018
It was a joy to hear all of the stories of the students’ ancestors as we discussed Dia de los Muertos. Many students talked about their great grandparents, wishing they could have met them. We learned about their jobs, their hobbies, and their families. It was beautiful to hear their stories and see their photos.
We have been enjoying explorations with Pythagoras, square root, homophones, and the history of language this week. Students have been working hard to finish up their research studies as well. We are excited for all of the presentations to begin!
Our classroom was excited to plant daffodil bulbs into the garden bed they have been preparing since the beginning of the school year. What a nice surprise we will have in the spring!
October 25, 2018
This week we have been talking about all of the amazing things we can do with our hands following The Hand Timeline Story. This story and the timeline touch on how long humans existed before we started to have a written language, and a written account of our history.
We talked about the things in our classroom that were built by people we know. The children shared stories about items they built, or items their family members made. We also discussed how we have the ability to make great contributions with our hands, and we also have the ability to harm. The children explained how important it is to choose to do helpful things with our hands.
The children have also learned about seed saving, and have helped process seeds in the classroom. They have shared how relaxing and meditative the experience of holding seeds can be. We discussed how we can think of seed saving as a connection to other people, both living and non-living, as we continue the cycle of planting, saving, and sharing seeds.
September 27, 2018
This week we welcomed our school’s sturgeon into our Elementary Great Hall! As we are working on deciding on a name, we must consider that we will not know if a sturgeon is male or female until it is between 15-20 years old. So far, our classroom is voting for Rhino.
Our students have taken advantage of the beautiful weather by identifying insects, learning about seed saving, and beginning to prep a garden bed outside of our room. They’ve also enjoyed working and reading at the tables outside of our door.
We look forward to more outdoor exploration and learning throughout the seasons. This Friday our 4th and 5th years will enjoy some learning on the water with the help of Inland Seas!
September 13, 2018
What an exciting beginning to the school year! With the help of most of our students we told the Creation of the Universe Story together, complete with the eruption of a volcano!
Students have been learning about density as they use the scale to measure the weight of different objects of the same volume. They have planned going outs to learn about rocks, pet care, and alpacas. This year our sixth year students have chosen to represent the countries of Iraq and Djibouti for Montessori Model United Nations. If you have any connections to people in the community with experience in either country please let us know.
We have also worked on creating our Classroom Declaration, which is an agreement about how we will be a community together. Some of my favorite words used so far are:
“we agree to be open minded”
“we agree to be zen”
“we agree to be supportive”
“we would like to feel appreciated”
“we would like to feel inspired”
Looking forward to our outing on Friday and our class picnic this Sunday!