What would it be like to live on a continent where the north end is having winter when the south end is having summer? The children are thinking about questions like that as we explore Africa. They made physical maps this week, and some began political maps. Their literature circle books all take place in different parts of Africa. We sang a call and response song from Eritrea, accompanied by musical instruments from Cameroon. Some of them began an art project based on kente cloth, which you can learn more about with your child in these two links:
On Monday, we will have visitors from Ghana play drums with us in an interactive session they call “Africa Comes to You.” Some of the children would like to make galimotos (wire push toys), which means we could use some very thin coat hangers, if anyone has some to spare. We will share some of our activities with you at the Early Bird Event, 9:00 am Friday, January 27.
Preparations for the original musical, ‘Odysseus’ are in full swing. The performance will be February 10. If your child cannot be in the performance, it is important for us to know as soon as possible.
Look on Bloomz very shortly for the opportunity to pick a conference time. Conferences will be held February 2 and 3.
Ben, Mary and Ali
We hope everyone enjoyed the impromptu 3 day weekend. We had a lot of excited students hoping for snow this week.
Highlights from this week were a fun geography lesson with Ms. Mary about how continents move and practicing new adjectives with Mr. Ben. 3rd years finished their art projects with Ms. Michelle and continued using our sewing machine with Ms. Linda (Claire’s grandmother, 3rd year.) The book fair was also an important event this week and some students got to help and shop at the school’s book fair. We got many book donations for the classroom and we thank you so much for them.
This week we also talked to students about what to do when we have an emergency at school. We have already practiced several times what we do during a fire and an earthquake but we hadn’t practiced what to do if something unexpected happens. We introduced the word “trouble” to the group. When they are told there is trouble they have 3 things to do: first they need to Pause, stop what they are doing; take a breath to stop talking. Then, find a trusted Adult and go close to them. Then, lastly, they need to Listen to what the adult needs them to do until we are all safe. The steps spell the word P.A.L. We practiced this both inside the classroom and outside the classroom this week. We are practicing to set safety behaviors that will enable everyone to stay safe no matter what occurs.
Next week, we will be having last week’s spelling post-test on Monday and will start our next new lists in January. On Friday, we will have Pajama Day. Students can wear a clean pair of pajamas to school and bring a stuffed animal (same rules as sharing: it needs to be able to fit in their MCH backpack and does not need batteries).
Also next week, we will have a sign-up for students to bring the huge amount of donations to Mary’s Place. We believe that about 2/3 of the class are interested in going and it was a really amazing experience last year. We still need drivers to transport students to Mary’s Place in Seattle. We are leaving MCH at 10:00 and should be back by 12:00.
Have a good day,
Ben, Mary, & Ali
We had a wonderful trip to see Nutcracker this week. Wednesday’s workshop made it even more meaningful, as children got to look through the Nutcracker’s mask and see the Sugar Plum Fairy’s tutu. They tried out choreographing their own dance to Tchaikovsky’s music, with 16 counts of sharp movement, 16 counts of smooth movement, and 16 counts of their choice.
In other areas, Mr. Ben demonstrated just how much washing is required to remove germs by putting “glo-germ” powder on children’s hands and shining a blacklight on them to reveal where they missed spots. For literature this session, the children are exploring genre. Previously, they discussed music genres with Ms. Amy, and now they are finding the biographies, poetry and various types of stories in the classroom. They are also learning the features of informational nonfiction, such as tables of contents, indexes, glossaries, and captions. We are discussing how to recognize and approach different genres. Many children have been making maps lately. We also sewed drawstring bags with our new sewing machine and the help of a student’s grandmother, Ms. Linda.
Please consider donating more socks for Mary’s Place. These are among the most needed items for people who don’t have a home. Their life will be particularly rough this week with the cold temperatures, and we can keep them in our thoughts by donating. The children will have opportunities to sort and count donations before taking them to Mary’s Place December 15. Please sign up on Bloomz if you can drive that day; a large portion of the class said they were interested in going.
Ben, Mary, and Ali
First, thanks to everyone who made it to our Family Night/Sock Hop on Friday! It was amazing seeing the students perform and all of them deserve congratulations for their hard work. Check the Bloomz update for “exclusive” backstage photos of the event taken by Mr. Ben. Also, thanks for the huge amount of sock donations that came in from families. With the holidays coming up we are getting the students more involved in helping and donating to others through Mary’s Place, an organization that helps local homeless families. We began this week by having the students make posters for the school about our donation drive next month.
Highlights from this week were students making their own Egyptian cartouche with our art specialist, Ms. Michelle, and learning about animal classification with Ms. Mary. With the end of election season, we have had a lot of students involved in making different political and biome maps this week. They also finished up this month’s Literature Circle books and some students have been practicing handwriting with tablets.
A special event this week was being invited to listen to the Upper Elementary’s early human research reports in front of a fire they had made. It was really cool to hear what they have learned and helped warm up everyone with this cold week. Students also enjoyed potatoes cooked on the fire.
Next week, remember we only have two days of school. The schedule will be the same except we will not be doing spelling next week.
Have a great holiday,
Ben, Mary, & Ali
This week in Morado, the children were excited to vote in the presidential election for the amphibian they thought would best represent them. Toad won overwhelmingly.
Sewing was a popular activity this week. Mr. Ben gave lessons on the part of speech called the “article”. Some children made character maps for their literature circle books, which are simply a visual that expresses what they know about characters to help them understand the story. Some math activities that inspired people this week included fractions, long multiplication with the bank game, adding and subtracting using the stamp game and bead frame as well as abstractly.
We hope to see all of you at K-El Family Night, Friday, November 18.
There was definitely a shift felt between October and November this week in Morado. We started the week with a spooky picnic lunch celebrating Halloween to focusing on elections and voting later in the week. Spooky lunch was a lot of fun: students had a picnic lunch in Morado with Mr. Ben reading some slightly spooky stories next to a campfire on an ipad.
Another highlight of the week was Ms. Mary talking about the presidential election and what the president does. She then read a few stories from the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel, with the students thinking about which character would be a better president. The class then made lists of both good and bad qualities of each candidate and submitted questions for a debate later in the week. During the debate, Ms. Mary used puppets of the characters and answered the questions how she felt the characters would answer, with Mr. Ben and some students acting as moderators. Students ended the week by making campaign posters for who they wanted to vote for. The class will hold elections on Tuesday.
Other lessons this week were lessons on different organs with Mr. Ben, with some students doing mini research projects on different organs, and students learning more angles with Ms. Mary in geometry.
Dates to remember in November:
11 - No School - Veteran's Day
18 - K/El Family Night 6-8pm
23-25 - No School - Thanksgiving Holiday
We had a busy full week of school this time. Students were working hard with new materials in math and art and learning more about different life forms and characteristics in science.
We had a great time on our field trip on Tuesday. A very special thanks to the parents who volunteered to drive to see the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Other highlights this week were geometry lessons where students learned the names of different types of lines with Ms. Mary and making bread with wheat that students ground over the past couple of weeks.
We also had a fun lesson learning about the difference between nouns and verbs with Mr. Ben. The symbols we use to represent nouns is a black pyramid that is solid and doesn't really move and the symbol we use for verbs is a red sphere that always moves and shows the movement and energy in those type of words.
Remember that there is no school next Friday for a teacher in-service day, so spelling tests will be on Thursday. Also, Harvest Fest will be on Saturday and it will be a whole lot of fun. We hope everyone has had a moment to meet our new assistant, Ms. Ali who started this week and has been a great addition to our classroom community.
This week in Morado, the children chose new books to read and discuss. The selection process buzzed with discussion and excitement. We told the Story of Numbers, which is the fifth Great Lesson. We talked about the Sumerians, who had one of the earliest writing systems and earliest numbers. Half of the class made cylinder seals, which you can explore at the British Museum website. http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=cylinder+seals The other half will make these seals on Tuesday.
Some children were introduced to BCE/CE (which is also BC/AD) and began to explore when events they are familiar with happened in history. Others examined the Timeline of Life, which shows the great extinctions and ice ages, as well as when different types of animals appeared on Earth. Others examined real vertebrae and thought about which animals are vertebrates.
Many children practiced exchanging when adding or subtracting large numbers. Some discovered what happens when numbers are multiplied by 10, 100, and other multiples of 10. Some learned about fractions. Some explored regular polygons while others learned terms related to angles.
Children reviewed parts of speech, and had lessons on nouns or adjectives. The Montessori symbol for nouns is a triangle, recalling the longevity and concreteness of the Great Pyramids. It is black in a nod to coal, which requires millions of years to form. Even in small ways, we refer back to the Great Lessons. They practiced skills needed for research, such as alphabetizing, classifying, and using the encyclopedia.
We have almost finished reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and look forward to seeing it performed October 18. We also look forward to seeing you with your children for conferences next Thursday or Friday! Since the week is short, we will not do spelling. Enjoy your weekend,
Ben and Mary
We can't believe that September is already over! This was a very busy and eventful week. We started with the Fourth Great Lesson, the coming of language. Students learned through different stories about what could have been the first spoken words by early humans and how important communication is for humans. They also learned about examples of ancient written letters and words and how the alphabet they use today was formed and has changed for thousands of years.
This week, many students chose new materials and lessons to practice their math facts, and some even worked together to solve more challenging math equations. They also finished their first literature circle books, and some have already had a meeting with their group and Ms. Mary to discuss the book and focus on the plot of each one.
Highlights of this week were some fun grammar lessons with Mr. Ben about concrete and abstract nouns and painting fall leaves with our art specialist, Ms. Michelle. Students also enjoyed this week at peace circles having time to talk with other students about things they like and things they feel they are great at. They got to draw or write down different things on paper and then during dismissal they had to guess who was being described as Mr. Ben read the clues from their papers.
Friday's field trip to the UW Planetarium was a lot of fun and exciting. Another very special thank you to all of the parents that volunteered to drive. We got to learn more about our solar system and stars with giant, cool graphics in the Planetarium. After we returned to school and talked about what we liked, many students enjoyed learning more about space and some students even just enjoyed getting to spend time in a car with their friends.
This week in Morado, we told the 3rd Great Lesson: The Coming of People, and the children got to try out being prehistoric people on our Nature Trail. One pair was consulting the Timeline of Humans in a tree. Some worked together to build a shelter and others pretended to hunt. We completed our first week of spelling tests, had our first art lesson with Ms. Michelle, and talked about “expected” and “unexpected” behavior. These are terms you can use at home. When we behave in ways that other people expect for a given situation, everyone feels more comfortable and can enjoy their time together. When we show unexpected behavior, it becomes uncomfortable for both the person with the unexpected behavior and everyone else.
Some children brought their literature circle book home. We will be discussing the books on Friday, and some wanted to be read to at home. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen a book; most reading is being done at school. These books are not keyed to your child’s reading level, but to their interests. Please do make sure the books come back on Monday!
Friday we are also going to the planetarium at UW. If you would like to go again with your family, the planetarium has open nights the first Friday of every month starting in October. Check their website or Facebook page for the time.
Also next week, parents are invited to attend Curriculum Night on Thursday from 4:00-6:00. Let us know if you will need childcare. We will be discussing the role of storytelling in the classroom and at home.
The children are beginning to get used to our Green School ways of sorting lunch parts. It is complicated. You can help your child by sending reusable containers they don’t need to sort. If you don’t want to use those, please teach your child which parts of lunch can be recycled, which are wet compost, which are dry compost, and which are garbage. (Or ask them, and research the ones they don’t know.) Enjoy your weekend!
Mr. Ben, Ms. Mary and Mr. Robin
El Salon Morado Lead Teachers