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Jamie's Upper Elementary Class

“…the child’s intelligence (is) a fertile field in which seeds may be sown, to grow under the heat of flaming imagination.” - Maria Montessori

This year we look forward to developing a curious, kind, and inspired community together. We hope to ignite imagination in each other and help discover new passions and curiosities.



Jamie Schaub

Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide
Rebecca Sarin, classroom support

Fall 2019 Classroom Letter

2019-2020 School Day Schedule

Room Parents

Sarah Davis

Christine Magiera

October 9, 2019

Recently we have been reading aloud a book called “The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson. This book was a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Book. This story is about friendship and also touches on race, racism, divorce, the past and present, the death of a relative, bullying, and being gay, all while trying to solve a mystery. Candice and Brandon are twelve year old African American kids in Lambert, South Carolina brought together by their love of books. 

We have enjoyed experiments related to plants in our room as we attempted to prove that the stem of a plant takes water to the leaves and flowers. By placing the stems of white flowers into a jar of water dyed blue we were able to see that after a few hours the flowers veins turned blue! Then we examined the petals under the microscope to get a closer look. How exciting!

We also finished our Classroom Agreement which is a beautiful community art project. The students each watercolor painted a ray from the sun and signed their name to acknowledge that they will follow the agreement. Come in to take a look!

Finally, The 6th Year TCH Coffee Co. has launched and they are looking for families to sign up for a Coffee Subscription. Please find more information here.

 September 25, 2019

We have been following Greta Thurnberg’s story this past week as she made her way across the Atlantic by sailboat, lead a climate march, and spoke at the United Nations building on Monday.

As our 6th years begin their research on The United Nations, we talk about its history including the League of Nations and how Maria Montessori was a supporter of this world peace organization from the beginning. Greta’s story is inspiring our classroom to think about what we truly care about, and how we can be helpful in the world.

We also discussed the Autumn Equinox and its root from Latin meaning Equal. We connected the words equator and Ecuador to this Latin root word as well. We thought about our sun, our calendar system, and how the amount of daylight will be changing as between now and the Winter Solstice.

Soon you will be seeing information about The 6th Year Coffee Subscription Business, keep your eyes out!

September 12, 2019

What a kind and curious group of students we have in Northwest Upper El!

Together we have written our classroom agreement:

We would like to feel:
Included, safe, supported, liked, comfortable, happy, inspired, peaceful, treated fairly, listened to, and challenged.
We agree to be:
Respectful, kind, thoughtful, open minded, quiet, helpful, honest, and careful.
We have:
Freedom and responsibilities, empathy, and gratitude.

Together, Montessori classrooms begin the school year deciding on what kind of community they would like, and realizing that each of us plays a role in creating this community. The students have created a job list to make sure our environment is clean and orderly, they have discussed how they would like to feel in the room, and they came together to tell the creation of the universe story (complete with experiments).

It is a joy to witness the kindness and patience of the older students as they help the new students find their way in the room. It sure seems like everyone is feeling comfortable, as if we’ve been together much longer than one week.

We hope to see you at the classroom picnic this SUNDAY, September 15th from noon-2pm at Silver Lake Park!

June 6, 2019

It has been a pleasure spending this 2018-2019 school year with your children. We have created a garden together, made new discoveries, shared countless stories, and most importantly we have become a community. I hope that you all spend time exploring outdoors this summer and I cannot wait to hear your stories in the fall!

May 24, 2019

Our room has been filled with presentations of poetry, the hand timeline, experiments, volume, Parisian architecture, henna tattoos, bones, and so much more as students completed their Student Showcase work this week. They were thrilled to share with students 3 years old to 14 years old, as well as excited to share with you!

Our sixth years have been busy writing their graduation speeches in preparation for their celebration in a couple of weeks! They’ve visited past teachers and classrooms which has filled them with memories of their time at TCH.

Our fifth years have been coordinating all of our camping details from meal planning and activities to writing the schedule and packing list.

Our fourth years have loved getting ready for field day and have visited many classrooms to ask for suggestions of activities and snacks.

An exciting time of year for sure!

May 9, 2019

Recently our students have enjoyed reading outside on the warm sunny spring days during our silent reading time. We listen to the birds, feel the warmth of the sun, and experience the wind blowing on our skin.

The students were incredibly impressed with The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Interlochen this week. The actors/dancers/singers were so very talented and also friendly. We enjoyed eating lunch with them after the show, I think we have a few new aspiring actors in our room.

Over the next two weeks our students will finish preparing for The Student Showcase on May 22nd. They are looking forward to sharing their knowledge with you!

April 25, 2019
This week we have been discussing the history of Earth Day beginning in 1970 and leading to 2019 where we celebrate Earth Week in much of the United States. We talked about all of the little things that we as a community do daily to help our earth (like composting, reusing materials, and making sure to dispose of things properly). We also talked about Greta Thurnberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl speaking at the United Nations about taking care of the earth. All of the students recognize that we can still do more to help.

We have also enjoyed moving perennial plants into our classroom garden, acting out interpretive reading cards, and learning about the fish in the Great Lakes.

Next week on Thursday, May 2nd we will travel to release our beloved Nme, or sturgeon into the Black River. Please check your email for a note about this.

April 11, 2019
Our students have been buzzing with excitement over their Student Showcase projects. One is getting ready to present the parts of the flower, one is getting ready to show you The Long Black Strip story, and another is preparing to show you about the Pythagorean Theorem.
Another buzz in our room has been measuring the volume of nearly everything, including the very large chart box that they have wheeled around the room in order to measure.
We have enjoyed reading aloud the book, “Refugee” by Alan Gratz. This book covers the stories of three refugees: one is from Syria, one from Germany, and another from Cuba. The students are engaged and curious about the stories of these children.
April is Poetry month, so we have been sharing poems written by a variety of poets and the children are expressing themselves through the form of poetry. We will celebrate the Poetry Jam on April 17th!
March 22, 2019
Our room has turned into a theatre this week! Students have enjoyed vocal warm ups, improvisation games, and stage direction games. They have been working hard to memorize their lines whether they are working on The Alphabet, a play, or a skit.  It is a joy to watch them come alive and find their loud voices as they engage in theatre. Truly another side of each of them comes out to shine! What fun to see them help each other with creating scenes that are dynamic and entertaining.
They have certainly learned the skills of pronunciation and projection and we are so excited to see them on stage this Thursday!
I hope you all have a wonderful spring break, see you in April!
March 7, 2019
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
Safe homes
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!