I hope you enjoyed last Friday’s Colonial Collages as much as I did! It is truly amazing to see the final product after supporting so much intense process work. Mr. Robin and I worked hard to make sure we were involved throughout the process: giving feedback, and providing guidance all along the way without de-railing anyone’s autonomy. It’s a fine balance to be sure. It's important to allow room for children to strive, surpass their own expectations (and ours!), and feel the pride of accomplishments that belong solely to them. The projects were beautiful, but more significantly the learning was deep. The food was delicious too, so thank you for your support!
Monday morning was amazing in Turquesa, as we all settled back into our routines and experienced the tremendous space that is available after a project is finished. It has been great to be giving so many math and geometry lessons this week!
This week, we are beginning an in-depth chemistry study inspired by the discovery of the new seven elements. We will investigate the structure of atoms and elements, molecular bonds, and chemical reactions. We’ll be getting a little bit messy this spring, for sure!
We are also continuing our botanical studies. Students have been conducting vascular/non-vascular surveys of the campus last week and this week. This will lead us to an in-depth look at gymnosperms (conifers) and angiosperms (flowering plants). This is a great time of year to be outside, and hands-on with plants. We will be emphasizing observation and critical thinking. I will be looking for ways to incorporate chemistry into our botany studies too.
In homework, all of the Turquesa students are reading “My Brother Sam Is Dead.” This is a dramatic, personal narrative about the life of one child and family during the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It is essential that every child complete the reading assignment and bring their book to school on Friday. This ensures that they can participate fully in lit circles.
For Wordly Wise, we will soon be ramping up our weekly assignment. Students will be required to complete one full lesson each week, and have a vocab test each week. This time of year, we find that people are ready and able to increase their Wordly Wise work. I will be speaking to the class about this and will let you know when this change goes into effect.
I am looking forward to our conferences next Friday, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading your child's Progress Report next Thursday when I email it to you.
In Turquesa the community has a happy, busy hum. Children are settled, independent and highly motivated. I’ve noticed more and more over the past several weeks that students are helping each other, giving guidance and assisting others. There is a general air of competence and confidence in the classroom that is wonderful to witness.
Recently Forbes Magazine published an interesting article about success in business, linking innovative, solution-oriented, human-centered business success to a Montessori-like approach. Something happens in Montessori classrooms that are multi-age and child-centered that enables children to thrive. We embrace challenge, we accept mistakes, we look for solutions. Here is the article if you're interested: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2015/12/16/corporate-kindergarten-how-a-montessori-mindset-can-transform-your-business/
A large contingent of Turquesa students traveled to Mary's Place before break to deliver the results of our incredible Basic Needs Drive. In addition to loading and unloading a huge rented van and the back of an SUV, we had a tour of the shelter. This was a really meaningful experience for all of us. I hope you've seen the pictures on MCH's Facebook page. They speak volumes about the importance of our contribution, and the lives of the people who rely on Mary's Place. In a class discussion this afternoon, we decided to investigate what the city of Redmond is doing to support homeless families. Today, our students learned first-hand that the efforts of a small group of children and families can really make difference in the lives of others.
In our history studies, children have begun research for their Colonial Collages. Each child is following a set of guided questions, and there is a buzz in the room about life in colonial America as children share their research and make connections.
I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers