Island Night was amazing last week. It was a pleasure to see so many of you there. The 6th Grade Island Project is such a big accomplishments and we are very proud of each of the presenters. It was a beautiful convergence of perseverance, creativity, ingenuity and insight! Today, students will be doing reflections and self-assessments to bring closure to their experience and their work.
It's hard to believe that we have a month left in the school year. We are just about finished with Wordly Wise vocabulary. After this week, we'll have one more spelling test. We'll turn our attention to end of the year wrap-ups in many different curriculum areas, and conduct final math self-assessments.
Your children are also currently in the midst of this year's final project: The Change Project. This is a very open-ended project that began last week with the question "What can 1 Montessori kid do to change the world?"
We're taking the project in four distinct steps 1) Inspire, 2) Learn, 3) Act, 4) Reflect. Last week, we took time every day to reflect, write and think about our world and the children were asked to explore their own concerns and their own passions about the world. Yesterday, they shared the fruit of that labor: a specific aspect of the world that they want to investigate and change. The list of topics is tremendous and inspiring, all the way from America's Collapsing Schools to Endangered Sea Turtles and beyond.
This week, students are diving into learning more about their topic, and have specific investigation questions to guide them. Then from next Monday through Friday, June 3, they are going to be doing something that creates change. This is where you, as parents, can help so make sure to keep in touch with your child throughout the process.
Let me know if you have any questions.
We had such a busy time last week as students were finishing their American Revolution biographies and preparing their historical (and sometimes hysterical) skits. There was a feeling of intense, focused engagement on all sides.
As a formal writing project, the biographies were taken through several rounds of revisions, detailed peer editing and published according to precise, uniform guidelines. This type of focused project presents innumerable chances for young writers to face challenges, think carefully to find solutions, and try over and over again. They develop resilience and attention to detail. They also grow a tremendous feeling of pride in the final product because it is a true achievement that emerges from a deeply courageous and focused process. Yes, of course, the children develop their writing skills and become experts at writing effective topic sentences. They also experience the value of hard work and perseverance; in my view as a Montessori teacher, this is less tangible, less quantifiable while being more essential to their development as humans.
When we were preparing to present the improvised history skits, I asked the students why they thought we were doing this exercise. They shared a wide range of answers, from "It brings history alive," to "It makes us care even more," to "We get to work together and share what we know," to "We're good at acting!" We hope you enjoyed the performances because they were deeply felt and thoughtfully developed. If you missed the performance, we video taped the skits; you are welcome to get in touch with me so you can view the videos.
This morning we had a celebratory tea party (irony intended) in the tree house to honor all of the hard work. The students started to read aloud their biographies to each other under the shade of the maple tree. It was a wonderful way to rest together after an intense end-of-project week.
In science last Friday, we continued with our chemistry work in a lesson/demonstration focused on matter, substance and mixtures. We created and evaluated the different aspects of solutions and suspensions. This week, the students will further their understanding with an independent lab follow-up. Later this week, a pair of students will be presenting a lesson they developed on the crystal structure of chemical elements. We are excited to see where it leads us!
A couple of quick reminders...
Please make sure you arrive for school dismissal no earlier than 3:25. If the Elementary parents arrive earlier, we back up the EC program dismissal and that delays the Elementary dismissal too. On Wednesday, please arrive between 12:55-1:00 for dismissal.
Island Night is coming up on Friday, May 13! The 6th Graders are presenting their year-long thesis projects to the whole Elementary community and we're hoping you can join us from 6-8 pm.
Soon we will be looking for drivers/chaperones for our May 31st trip to Tillicum Village. Be on the lookout for that if you are interested, or get in touch directly with me or Ms. Angela to reserve your spot. We have a limited number of adult chaperone spaces, and we anticipate them filling them up fast.
In other news, we are going to be looking for field day parent volunteers to help on the last day of school (Friday, June 17). If you're interested in playing with us for the morning, let me know!
As always, please let me know if you have questions or concerns.
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers