Friday, December 8, 2017

Wax Museum Tips

We are noticing this year that several of our newer students have had a hard time gathering sufficient sources on their topics.  Sometimes, a difficult or obscure group was selected, while others simply lack enough background knowledge in certain subjects related to history and geography to be able to fluidly and deeply explore their chosen civilization.  We encouraged all of our students to watch videos over the weekend from reliable sources such as BBC, PBS, National Geographic, Nova, Khan Academy, etc.  We also recommend taking a look at reliable youtube channels (crashcourse, CGPgrey, veratasium, etc) Watching such presentations will help students gain the background information needed to fluidly discuss their topic during the wax museum.  

We do not want students to read from their reports, but to be well-versed enough to look at their board and discuss the concepts they have studied with visitors, using their own words.  While we have had several discussions about expectations, our newer students could benefit from similar discussions at home.  We hope to see everyone at our wax museum, this coming Thursday, December 14 from 9:30-11:30 and invite parents to come and ask lots of questions.

We are grateful that so many were able to attend our big event at Barnes and Noble.  Also, a big to those who attended conferences and also those who attended our fundraising/big trip meeting.  We will be posting the notes for all parents soon and will also hold another meeting in January.  If you were not able to attend, and wanted to purchase books, you may still make a purchase at any location, simply provide the cashier with our bookfair number.  We will be starting our candlemaking and Christmas shop fundraiser this week and our 5th and sixth graders have already begun preparations.  Please stay tuned for more information next week.   Thanks again for supporting your child's education at home with your words and actions on a daily basis.  We hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Camp Surf Meeting is Tomorrow!

We hope that everyone is able to attend our Big Trip Meeting that will take place tomorrow, in Mr. Larry's Room.  We will discuss ongoing fundraising plans for the bus at 4:30, and then continue with details about the trip itself at 5pm.  Childcare for siblings will be provided and students are welcome to attend with their parents if they wish.

We have recently updated our class contact list.  If you haven't received any announcements from us, please send an email to to send us your current information.  snack calendars were also sent home today, but they aren't posted on the blog.  We continue to remind all students to write their snack day in their planner and promptly share with parents.

Also, tomorrow is the last day to submit orders for our Popcorn Palace Fundraiser.  So far, we have raised over $500 to cover the bus to Camp Surf with this fundraiser, which is a third of the way toward our goal, after adding our previous fundraising efforts.  Thanks so much for supporting all our activities and efforts to create an authentic Montessori environment.  We hope to see everyone tomorrow!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December Dates

Ms. Kathy and I have really been enjoying watching every child show off their work during student-led conferences.  We look forward to seeing more parents next week as well.  We are so close to our goal of 100% attendance at conferences.  There are still plenty of times left on our schedule for anyone who missed signing up.  

We have a lot going on in the Month of December, so please mark your calendars!

December 4th
Deadline for popcorn palace fundraising orders.  We have a friendly competition with Mr. Larry's class to see who is able to submit the most orders.  I am planning a huge art activity for the winning class.  Remember that half of the order totals will go toward paying the cost of the bus to go to camp surf.

December 5th
We are holding a meeting in Mr. Larry's room to discuss our fundraising efforts for camp surf at 4:30, and will transition into discussing the specifics and logistics of the big trip at 5pm.  We will be finished no later than 5:30pm.  Childcare is provided for siblings and students.

December 7th
Our schoolwide bookfair fundraiser will be at Barnes and Noble and Chipotle, in Dana Park, in the evening.  Our PTO will receive 20% of merchandise purchases from Barnes and Noble and 50% of food purchases from Chipotle.  Please come to enjoy the activities, even if you aren't able to buy a book, as there will be arts and crafts, story-telling, and cookie decorating led by MEC staff in various parts of the store.

December 11th
Our candle-making shop begins, please see details on the flyer.  This is a fundraising tradition that has been enjoyed by children of all levels.  Proceeds will help pay for our bus to Camp Surf.

December 14th
Wax Museum on Ancient Cultures, from 9:30-11:30am in class. Parents are welcome to stop in during any time that morning.  Please be prepared to ask lots of questions.

December 15th
Christmas shop begins. Students will take turns running the booth during recess.  Each group will be creating some simple crafts during OE time.  Older students will also be selecting simple items that children can purchase as gifts for parents, siblings, and friends, which includes calculating unit cost and profit margins in order to make these business decisions.  If you have any small, gently used items that could be sold in our shop, we welcome any donations.

December 21
In-class, Winter Solstice Celebration.  Details will be determined by our 6th graders, who will send a separate flyer for the holiday spirit week.

Class Email List
If you did not receive this notification via email. please let us know so we can make sure that you are added to our list.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Please Sign Up for Parent Conferences

We hope that everyone takes a moment to choose a conference time in the book in the office. We offer conferences as late as 7pm this Wednesday, and are willing to go later if needed. We are also willing to do phone conferences or open up alternative times to ensure that we get to see everyone. We are planning a special group activity at school if we get 100 percent participation. We hope to see your child with you and offer free childcare for siblings as well as free childcare before the meetings start after school.  Please let us know if you have any questions about conferences. Thanks so much for supporting our classroom!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November/December Activities

We are sorry for the delay in getting our November newsletter out to everyone.  Our class has been so hard at work on a variety of topics and our classroom veterans are becoming skilled at managing their time. Please read below for more information about the activities we are taking part in during the months of November and December.

Candy Statistics
Our class collected data on their Halloween candy haul and created bar graphs and pie charts with their results.  We also collected data and made a class wide graph. They will be presenting this project along with other written work during student-led conferences.

Holiday Fundraising 
Our Upper Elementary classrooms are participating in multiple fundraisers including, our Christmas Shop, Candle-making, carline treats, as well as holiday craft projects led by parents.  We will also hold a raffle and silent auction and sell cookbooks further on in the year.  If you would like to help us out with fundraising with donations of time or items, please come early to our Big Trip meeting on Tuesday, December 5th.  We still need to raise several thousands for the bus and it will take all of us to work together in order to get there.  We will meet about fundraising at 4:30 and our Big Trip meeting starts at 5pm.  Babysitting will be provided for siblings.

Thanksgiving Feast
On Wednesday, November 22, we will have an upper elementary Thanksgiving celebration.  Students will work together in groups to cook an item to add to our feast.  Our students will meet tomorrow to decide what to contribute to this in-class event. Please ask your child what they need to bring on that day and/or prepare ahead of time, depending on the chosen recipe.

Student-led Conferences
Our schedule for parent conferences is in the office and ready for parents to reserve their times.  Please make sure to bring your child, so that they have the opportunity to present their work to you. We have included one day of late conferences.  Please let us know if you need an alternate day or time. We hope to be able to meet with all families as soon as possible. Childcare is available for siblings during conferences.

Wax Museum Research
This week students are going to the library to select their resources for our ancient civilizations research.  Please make sure your child brings a current library card and knows the PIN.  Deadlines and details about our project were sent home as well as emailed to parents. Our Wax Museum will be held the morning of the 14th of December. We are looking at putting on a holiday concert that week as well, the exact date will be announced soon.

Tutoring will be canceled during student-led conferences, November 27-December 12.  It will Resume December 14. 

We thank you for your continued support during the holidays.  We are amazed at how many valuable skills our students are gaining and hope you are able to see their wonderful growth.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know!

Wax Museum Coming Soon!

This announcement was also sent via email and we ask you to check your inbox to ensure we have your email address in our system.  Ms. Kathy and I have been receiving error messages with some emails.  We will put all of our class announcements online at and will send them electronically in the future and we want to make sure everyone is up to date on the latest news in our classroom.   If you did not receive this in your email, please send us an email at so we can make sure you are accurately added to our list!

Over the next few weeks, the upper elementary will be researching ancient civilizations will create a living wax museum on (12-14-17).  Students will have time to work on this project in class, and will also have the opportunity to go to the library to find quality sources.
Students will need 3-5 scholarly resources, two of which must be books. 

 We are planning to visit the library in small groups this week and next. Students must have a valid Mesa library card in their name or their parent’s name in order to participate. Students who do not attend one of the goings out will be required to get a minimum of three books for homework.  If you would like to be a chaperone for one of these trips, please send us an email as soon as possible.

 How you can support your student during each step of this research project:

❖ Have a current going our form or return the permission slip for the library trip and 
make sure your child has a library card that is free from fines or holds 
(they need to know their pin as well).

Have discussions with your child about possible research topics and 
guide them toward narrowing their choice.

Have ongoing discussions about your childs research to help strengthen 
their understanding and help them begin using their own words for what 
they have learned.

Help provide support in finding scholarly resources on the internet. 
(They will have lessons and we will provide further guidance in this; however, we 
don’t have as many computers as we would like, so it is helpful to give your 
child more time to hunt for appropriate resources at home).   The following 
link has a guide describing what is considered a scholarly source:

Help with putting together an outfit that matches someone representative of the culture 
of interest. This should be very simple—we do not expect expensive costumes (we will also 
provide some time for this in class).

Obtain a trifold project board or similar presentation material. We also have simple posters in class.

 It is imperative that each child do the majority of their work with as little outside
assistance as possible.  Students will be compiling their research in class and 
receiving as much guidance as necessary in order to become competent and 
independent researchers.  Our initial deadlines are flexible on a case by case basis, however, we hope that everyone is well versed in their research by the time our museum is open.  Thanks in advance for your support!

Important Dates:

·  November 15-21:  Library trip to gather research materials.

111/17/17:  3 or more source cards due.
·  11/22/17:  10 note cards due.
·  11/29/17:  20 cards completed from a minimum of 3 sources.  
·  12/5/17:  Written report completed with bibliography.
·  12/08/17:  Bring presentation board to work on in class.
·  12/14/17:  Wax museum. Join us from 10:00-11:15am.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October Fun

We have a lot of activities coming up this month and hope that everyone is able to fully participate.  Please mark these events in your calendar and let us know if you can help us out in any way.

Show-Me Night: Thursday, October 5th
We invite you and your child to come into our classroom any time between 5 and 7 to show their work in the classroom and perhaps even give a Montessori Lesson or two.  They will also talk to you about their story boards. Childcare is available for younger siblings. Tutoring will be canceled that day because of show-me night.

Mercado: 5-7 PM, Friday, October 27th
This year, our first big fundraiser will be our Halloween Mercado, where our students will be able to earn real money to help us pay for the bus to Camp Surf.  Everyone has planned some high quality products and activities that will be available to the general public.  Please invite your friends and family to what will be an unforgettable experience of food, games, crafts, and creepy Halloween fun!  We appreciate the support of parents during the planning process and during the event itself.  If you are able to help in any way, please let us know!

Extended Writing and Research Projects
This year, our students decided to get an early start on their publishing projects at the start of the year.  They will present their story boards to their peers as a way to build excitement for their planned books.  We will begin our ancient civilizations research project when the story boards are finished and will present them as a wax museum in November, at a date to be determined.  We will begin science research in January, as we have done previously.  Changes in dates will be updated to the blog as well as emailed out.

6th Grade Fundraisers
Our sixth graders are spearheading several fundraisers including a school cookbook and a silent auction and raffle.  They are seeking donations of special family recipes to publish in their full color cookbooks.  They are also seeking items that can be auctioned or raffled that are appealing to children and/or adults.  We already have donations of hotel stays and movie posters, but if you know of a corporate resource that our students could contact for donations, please let us know.  The experience of contacting organizations outside of school is very valuable for our students' growth and development.

Snack/Birthday Treats
Please make sure that all snacks and birthday treats are nut free.  We had an incident where a student had an allergic reaction due to cross contamination of ingredients and we had a talk with the class about food allergies today.  We want to ensure that our class is safe for everyone.

Extended Work Cycle
Students are always welcome to stay after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 4/4:30 to catch up on work and gain extra practice. We have opened tutoring to anyone who would like to catch up on work after school or even continue projects started earlier.  Please let us know if you would like your child to participate.