Happy Monday Morning Turquesa Folks,
We had a fantastically busy week last week – traveling all the way from the Salmon Hatchery on Monday morning to our first history project to firefighters visiting to liquid nitrogen ice cream with Morado on Friday. Incredible! Loads of fun and loads of learning!
As a Montessori teacher, I’m always searching for the balance between spectacular and normal. Spectacular events provide wonderful landmarks and memories. Normal provides the opportunity for deep concentration, creativity and independence. Ironically, I’m looking forward to this week feeling a little bit calmer and more predictable.
As I imagine you are all aware, Thursday is Halloween. We do not over-emphasize Halloween at MCH, but we do take notice of it by creating Spooky Lunch and Super-Spooky Lunch. To channel the sometimes-intense Halloween-related energy, we conduct mild transformations of the classrooms before lunch so that children can have a festive and entertaining experience. We tell spooky age-appropriate stories, change the lighting, add some decorations and have some fun. After lunch, we return to a normal work time. School ends at 3:25 on Thursday, just like every other day, so we ask that you not pick your child up for Halloween related festivities until dismissal. It is disruptive to the children, the classroom and the learning if some children are leaving earlier than normal. We do not wear costumes to school on Halloween.
In other news this week, your children will write the drafts of their Early Humans Reports this week. This is the time when they transform notes, ideas and research into full sentences and paragraphs in order to create an organized structure. This is often a transformative and rather huge process for children who are new to formal writing, so I recommend that everyone gets lots of sleep and eats healthy breakfasts this week to prepare for all the mental activity. At the end of the week, we will move into the revising process. I hope you enjoyed doing some Early Humans pre-writing with your child this weekend. Please let me know if you have any questions.
I also wanted to remind you that on Friday, November 1, we will have class pictures and portraits taken.
Thanks so much!
In Upper Elementary, we spent the first month of school focusing on establishing our foundations – socially, emotionally and cognitively. In history, we began the study of Early Humans that leads us into our Ancient Civilizations focus for the school year. Explorations of the human family tree, technological and evolutionary changes, the dramatic climate and its effect on our ancestors, paleolithic cave art … all of these engaging, hands-on lessons helped the children transport themselves back in time one million years, and 100,000 years and 15, 000 years.
October brings our history studies into a focus on the first student projects of the year. Children will be selecting an intriguing topic that relates to early humans, researching it and writing a formal report about it. This month-long process will be the first time the Fourth Graders experience an in-depth Upper Elementary project and it’s going to be an exciting accomplishment for them.
As a community, we’ve been focusing on Communication in our Choices lessons. We’ve explored many different aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication – role-playing everything from tones of voice to facial expressions and posture. As October progresses, we will be turning our attention to the subject of Decision Making through our daily Choices lessons.
This Friday, October 18, we are excited to be hosting Goal-Setting Conferences. We take some time to reflect together – parent, teacher and child – about the child’s learning and how we can best set and support learning, social and emotional goals. This process is extremely important in an effective learning environment. We aim to help children understand themselves and gain the metacognition to make careful and deliberate decisions about their work, their lives and their relationships. Friday's Goal-setting Conferences are a major event for the children and involve some deep investigation. It is always a unique and fun opportunity for us to learn how your child thinks about him/herself and set supportable goals together.
As fall moves toward winter, we naturally look into ourselves with increasing self-awareness and we naturally draw our cozy community closer around ourselves. We are excited to see what October and November bring.
Ms. Nicole & Ms. Alyx
El Salon Turquesa Co-Lead Teachers