Showing posts from 2014

Winter Activities

Ms. Kathy and I have been so busy  this year and it is hard to believe that 2014 is nearly over.  Our sixth graders have some lovely activities planned and are in the process of creating a flyer about them, but I also wanted to send as much early notice as possible.  Next week, our classroom will be doing the following activities:
Secret Santa Each student will draw a name and anonymously give a small gift or two throughout the week.  Ideally these gifts should be little or no cost and include handwritten cards or letters and any other used books or toys that may be of interest that you are not using.  Each student will create an idea list that will be drawn together with the student's name.
Hanukkah Presentation One of our students is planning to make a presentation about the Hanukkah.  If you know of anyone who is Jewish who could be of assistance, or happen to have any plastic dreidels, tokens or coins, please let us know. 
Compliment bags This year the students will sew drawstri…

Important Upcoming Events

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with parents and students to showcase their progress. Please call or visit the office to sign up for a time before or after school, or during the day on Friday, December 5th.  Parents of siblings should select two time slots. Students are encouraged to show their finished work and lead the conference.  If you have any questions or need to schedule a phone conference, please feel free to contact us in any way.
Tutoring: Morning tutoring will be cancelled from November 24-December 4, unless there is not a morning conference scheduled. Children may still come into the classroom early if I unlock the outside door.  Afternoon tutoring is cancelled from December 1-4 in Mr. Joe's room.
Thanksgiving Feast: November 26, at noon Parents are invited to join their children in our classroom for a Thanksgiving feast.  This week students will work in teams to select a recipe that can be prepared mainly in class through the use of crockpot…

Visit our Far Away Lands and Cultures Wax Museum

Dear Parents, Over the next few weeks, the upper elementary will be researching important historical periods in time and will create a living wax museum on the Friday before  Halloween (10-24-14).  Students will have time to work on this project in class, and  we will research the time period, the lives of the people, and the historical  significance of a civilization.  Students will need 3-5 scholarly resources, two of  which must be books.   We are planning to visit the library in small groups on Monday, 9-22, to  gather our resources. 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 the field  trip will work with our Outdoor Environment teacher on their online resources and  will be required to get a minimum of three books for homework.
How you can support your student during each step of this research project:
❖Return the permission slip for the library trip as soon as possible and  make sure your child has a …

Please Come to our First Annual Show Me Night

You are cordially invited to our
Upper Elementary “Show Me Night”
Tuesday, September 30th, from 5-6:30pm in rooms 101 &102
Please use the following schedule of attendance in order to reduce parking challenges:
Last names: A through L 5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
M through Z 5:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Here your child will show off some of their favorite works and give a brief demonstration of some of their learning.
Siblings in lower el and primary are also invited to attend.

Homework and Planners

The first few weeks, I always focus on practical life skills, which are integrated in the Montessori curriculum from infancy to young adulthood.  We have talked about homework they can do that encompasses practical life that includes cooking, packing a healthy lunch, organizing homework space, following recipes, taking care of pets, and financial literacy.  Each student must record  what activities they chose for homework and get a parent signature in their planner each week.  Those who have turned in their signatures in their planners will be able to participate in additional outdoor environment, art, science, and music enrichment activities.

As the weeks go on, we will include other subject areas for homework and we are already seeing students completing quite a bit of academic work at home.  Our new planners arrived on Monday and most students have been pretty diligent in taking them home and returning them to school each day.  In these planners, students record work that they have …

Upper Elementary Curriculum Night

Please come to our Curriculum Hour on Tuesday, August 26, at 5pm.  You will learn more about our Montessori materials, activities and curriculum and how to support your child at home.  Free childcare is provided; please fill out the form sent home with your child.  We hope to see everyone there! 

Also feel free to email us with any questions at We look forward to getting to know all our wonderful parents better, and making plans for a fantastic school year!

*Please Note: Curriculum night will be held 2 days earlier from the originally posted date  in the welcome letter, due to our Skate Night fundraiser.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Great Lessons of the Montessori Curriculum

This week, our classroom has been busy with learning the new classroom layout and materials, language and math assessments, and most importantly, the first Great Lessons.   Dr. Montessori coined the term, "Cosmic Education" to describe the lessons for grades 1-6.  This is because all subjects, including art, and music, are integrated with history, science, reading, and math, and the lessons are designed to nurture appreciation for the cosmos, and help children discover their role in the world, or cosmic task.

The first Great Lesson is known as the creation story, or "God with no Hands"  This lesson is designed to help children gain an appreciation for the size of the universe and the scope of the changes that occurred in forming the earth.  I always use the disclaimer that there are many creation stories from many different cultures and that even different scientists have varying theories.  This lesson is not meant to be taken literally as much as its purpose is to…

Daily Schedule and Other Announcements

In Montessori environments, children learn and work within 2 work cycles , one in the morning, and one after lunch.  It is important that children have this uninterrupted time to choose and complete work and conference with the Montessori guides throughout the day.  In this way, students are given the lessons that are most relevant to them according to their interests, abilities, and special needs. Montessori has a more fluid schedule than most schools, this allows for extra opportunities to fit in enrichment activities and mini skill lessons as needed.  Because of this, most children who are able to manage their time and choices and hold themselves accountable are able to greatly increase in academic, social, and emotional intelligence.

There can be a bit of a honeymoon period for those who are new to Montessori and used to having a teacher micromanage every block of time.  I assure you from my 12 years working in Montessori environments that in the end, with the right support at home…

Happy First Day of School!

We thank you for your wonderful support at the start of this new school year.  We feel so loved with so many supplies and extras that make the classroom such a nurturing and creative place.  We appreciate all you have done and for entrusting your amazing children with us this year.  This class is so full of love and enthusiasm and we have enjoyed getting to know each new member of our learning community and also seeing the incredible growth of those we have known previously.  Please feel free to contact us at any time if you have questions or concerns. 

Water bottles This time of year hydration is so important and since our classroom has a water cooler and not a drinking fountain, students are encouraged to keep a water bottle that can be refilled throughout the day as needed.  You can find water bottles at target and the dollar store for as little as a dollar.  Please do not fill water bottles with sugary drinks or tea, which has been known to make messes since we eat in the classroom.…

Have a wonderful Summer!

Dear Parents,

We want to thank everyone again for the privilege of working with your children this year. We cannot begin to thank you enough for your help and support in making this a wonderful year.  We wish our new 7th graders all the best and want you to know our door is always open to come and visit. We look forward to watching our new 6th graders learn and grow much as their leadership roles expand.  Mr. Joe and I and our assistants have worked hard this week to clean and organize the classroom and plan an amazing year for next year.  Please keep an eye on the mailbox in a few weeks to see the exciting changes we have in store for next year as well as a sneak peek at the activities and events we have planned for the year.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at any time.  I still check this account during the summer, but not as frequently.
There was a water bottle, a couple notebooks, a portfolio, and a yearbook left behind.  If you find you are missing something, plea…

Field Day Change for Tomorrow

As a result of the weather forecast for tomorrow, Mr. Joe and I decided to hold our field day at the basin at the school rather than away at the park.  This will give us easier access to water to stay hydrated in the heat as well as a quick getaway in case of rain.  Feel free to bring any water balloons for our games directly to the school and the children will take everything we need to the grass first thing tomorrow morning.  We look forward to some outdoor fun!

Announcements from our 6th grade graduating class

It’s SpiritWeek at M.E.C.!!! In room 102!!!
This Friday may 23rd: crazy hat and hair day Monday May 26th: no school (Memorial Day) Tuesday May 27th: Pajama Day, yearbook signing Wednesday May 28th:  Greek Mythology Day. (Dress as your favorite Greek Mythology character) Thursday May 29th: Field and Sports Day (bring clothes you can get wet in) Friday May 30th: Graduation ceremony for the 6th graders at 1:00 p.m. (Theme is geek and nerd; feel free to dress up as geeky or nerdy as you like. You may also bring a plain white shirt so classmates can sign it!!!)  We will be celebrating the last week of school with a large amount of activities, which will include water balloons, pajama day, and many more. During our week not only will we be watching movies Tuesday afternoon, but we will also be exploring the amazing outdoors. This will surely be the most spectacular week ever!!!                                   P.S. Parents are invited to come to the 6th grade graduation ceremony!!! They are also…

Yearbook Coming Soon!

As the year is coming to a close, we are so pleased to see how much everyone has grown.  This is especially apparent as we look at the photos that Ms. Kathy and I have taken all year long.  I have made hardbound class yearbooks as an end of year project for nearly a decade, but this time we are particularly amazed at how quickly the yearbook has come together, thanks to our amazing 6th grade editors. We are so excited as we watch our latest group ready to leave the Montessori nest into middle school, making big plans and taking charge of larger works on their own, but we are also excited knowing that this year's 4th and 5th graders will be our future classroom models and leaders and they are definitely up for the challenge.    
We are almost finished putting in the final photos, art, and writing samples for the class yearbook and hope to have it ready to publish tomorrow night.  This was a challenge because my hard drive failed on my personal computer and I lost hundreds of photos …

End of Year Activities

It is hard to believe the year is almost coming to a close.  After enjoying Pi Day, trips out to the Renaissance Festival and Chauncey Ranch, completing bookbinding and element research projects, as well as countless Montessori lessons, not to mention the AIMS and PARCC assessments and conferences, we are so excited to document our year with a student-made yearbook.  Every student will take part in formatting two pages with their best writing and favorite photos and we will print up the yearbooks in black and white, but also send a color PDF for anyone wishing to print up their own color version at home.  Yearbooks will be bound as soon as all pages are formatted and ready to publish next week.  It is important that each parent sign the release form so we can download the photos into a website that is available to all the students and their families so that the photos can be self-selected by each student.  Sixth grade students will have an additional published project that will be par…

Come "Round" to our Pi Day Celebration!

This week the children have been busy learning about data analysis and geometry concepts in one week!  We have had many math lessons and sensorial works to learn about the nomenclature of circles and gain a more concrete understanding of my favorite irrational number, Pi. To celebrate our learning we will also note the hour of 9:26:53 to share our calculations before we enjoy the "fruits" of each other's labors. (Pi day:  3/14/15, 9:26:53 vs. Pi: 3.141592653)

To be part of the Pi Day celebration,  please bring a circular item from home that you can share with the class. Examples include: crackers, donuts, cheese, candy, sliced fruit or vegetables, popcorn balls, paper plates, a pie, round brownies, etc.  Basically anything circular, spherical or cylindrical will work as a concrete and fun learning experience. Each child will record the measurements of their item in either inches, cm or mm depending on the size. Each student will then calculate the circumference, area, and…

Algebra Fun

Dear Parents,
This week your child is on his or her way to becoming an algebra rock star!  We are amazed at how fast everyone is catching on.  I probably was a bit ambitious with one of the homework sheets that was selected.  If you want to know how to solve it, you can click here or do some simpler algebra problems that we did in class, using those worksheets or work found in the links further down.
If any of these problems are too hard, students are welcome to skip them and we will be able to go over them in class.  I don't want anyone spending more than 20 minutes a day on any of these pages because I want to prevent the level of math frustration that can make learning math more difficult in the future!
Here is a link for simple variable problems:
here is the link for a 5th grade level variable work:…

Upcoming Activities: Renaissance Fair and Pi Day

Upcoming Activities: Renaissance Fair and Pi Day
We are so excited about two upcoming activities:  the Renaissance Fair (March 4) and Pi Day (March 14).  In order to prepare for these upcoming activities, we will be examining life in the Renaissance period, as well as covering the geometrical concepts needed to fully understand the value of PI.

Over the next week, students will research a chosen aspect of the renaissance and share with the class, in order to gain a greater understanding of this much-celebrated period in our history.  Stay tuned for more details!

 Pi day is to be a mathematical celebration of all things circular, where the children are invited to bring round foods and calculate the area, circumference, surface area, and/or volume of circles, cylinders, cones, and spheres.  Over the next two weeks, students will be busy measuring and calculating various geometric figures and forms as well as receiving the Montessori foundational lessons that concretely explain the concep…

Boookbinding Project

The last few weeks, students have been putting a great deal of effort into writing. We are so pleased as we have watched our community of writers develop a passion for putting their ideas on paper and developing a cohesive story, using their understanding of literary elements to guide and shape their ideas.  Since January, we have been exploring those literary elements and putting that knowledge to practice in an integrated unit of study.

 Students have been working extensively in the revising and editing process and many stories are now ready to publish into a hard-bound book for each student. This has been a lengthy process, where many have needed to rewrite and revise extensively in order to create a descriptive narrative that is fit for publication. We have examined structure of paragraphs, introductions and closings, word choice, and supporting details. While some still need more time, the majority of writers in our learning community are ready to proceed to this final step in th…

Homework For January

Dear Parents,
This week, we are continuing work with commas.  Anyone who is not able to complete the comma worksheets correctly will get additional grammar practice in school for the following week in order to improve writing and editing skills.  Also, we have been working on fraction, decimal, and percent equivalency for the last few weeks and students are to show 20 examples of each equivalency listed on the worksheet to take home.  This work should be done on a separate sheet of paper and be written legibly. Please encourage your child to ask questions at school if any of this work is unclear.  I am always happy to help with homework questions at specific times during the day. Also, any student with incomplete homework for the week will have to make up that work during outdoor environment time. Thank you for supporting your child in completing their work thoroughly, correctly, and in a timely manner.
Liza and Kathy

Welcome Back One and All!

Dear Parents,
It feels so great to be back in the classroom after a wonderful break with family and friends.  We had to start last week with several assessments to measure growth.  The school is also adopting a new and improved assessment system that will measure student progress in a more detailed way and provide more usable and measurable data that is able to separate mastery for each student according to each state standard!  The students were wonderful sports about taking so many assessments and for the most part showed tremendous growth.  This system will also help us give more challenging work for the higher achieving students as well as additional interventions for those on the lower end of expected mastery levels.

Upcoming Field Trips
We are planning a couple field trips including a trip to the renaissance fair on March 4, and a trip to the science center at a date to be determined in February.  If you have a science center membership or are willing to drive for either of these…