Thursday, January 19, 2017

Transition to Upper Elementary

Thanks to all who attended our meeting last night.  We have enjoyed meeting some of our new parents.  Here is a copy of the handout from the meeting that includes a rough sketch of our plan for next school year:

Transition to Upper Elementary
Adjustments from 3rd to 4th grade
  • Developmental:  During the ages of 9-12, children do more work on their own without the use of materials.  For many children, the passage to abstraction is complete.  Lessons will still feature sensorial introductions with the materials to connect previous learning with the pencil and paper work required in grades 4-6.  Students who are above or below grade level will still receive individual and small group lessons tailored to their unique needs.  At the 6th grade level, students take a greater leadership role with capstone experiences.

  • Grade level expectations:  After third grade, the amount of subject matter that students are required to master exponentially increases.  Students are required to do a lot of independent reading and writing in all subjects and should have mastered the majority of their math facts. Additionally, they should be familiar with long multiplication, long division, and fractions.  In upper elementary, students cover a multitude of topics in math, language, history, science, and life skills; choosing individual and group follow up works for each lesson given.

  • You are invited to look at our table that has various samples of completed written works as well as the class yearbook from the previous year that was published by our students with minimal adult assistance.
Continuation of the Montessori Curriculum: Please look around the room to see various Montessori materials that are still used in upper elementary and were introduced during lower elementary.   It has been our experience that students who come from a strong foundation of Montessori education are able to work harder, learn faster and gain a level of independence and emotional intelligence unparalleled to students from more structured, teacher-centered educational backgrounds.
  • Math:   In Upper el, students master long division with multi-digit divisors, long multiplication, fractions with all operations, advanced geometry concepts, algebra, statistics, complex story problems, and much more at an abstract level.  We believe math should be full of enjoyable discoveries and encourage multiple methods and cooperative learning.

  • Language:   Students write extensively in all genres and utilize all aspects of the writing process, including pre-writing, peer editing, publishing reports, power points, and bound books.

  • Science:   In Upper elementary, students learn more about the scientific method and the history of science. They are encouraged to create their own experiments using the great lessons as a catalyst for ideas.  

  • History and Culture:   Just as in lower el, history is woven into all subject areas.  Students learn the history of language, math, and cultures, while participating in project-based learning opportunities throughout the year.  

  • Practical Life:   Building on the strong foundation set in primary, students are expected to clean, organize and utilize their time management skills independently in the classroom and at home to complete all learning projects.  Students who excel in this area are also able to plan and carry out special trips with small groups of students and adults.

Weekly Structure:
  • Student-led spelling
  • Student led math facts
  • Montessori math and language lessons with student-selected follow-up work
  • Science and cultural activities with open-ended follow-up work
  • Weekly writing prompt with peer editing and revising.
  • Student selected homework based on class work and topics of study.
  • Weekly work is self-corrected and final checks are performed by the teachers or assistants. Incomplete work is completed for homework or during recess depending on how time is managed.
  • Students use planners to record work completed and deadlines as well as reading, math, and practical life homework.  Parents must sign planners each Monday through Thursday to show that they have completed their work at home and also so they can see what work their child is doing at school.
Learning projects for 2017-18 school year: Each year, the activities vary, but your child will have similar experiences during the three years of our program.
  • Symphony Hall excursion (September)
  • Ancient civilizations and culture research and presentations (October)
  • Mercado  (October and May)
  • Musical performance (December)
  • Science Fair (January)
  • Family history project (February)
  • Renaissance Festival (6th grade)
  • Musical Instrument Museum (exact date to be determined)
  • Pi Day (March)
  • Bookbinding original stories (April)
  • Class trip to Camp Surf for 3-5 days (April/May)
  • 6th grade class trip (May)
  • Class yearbook editing and compilation (May)
Easing the transition to Upper Elementary:
At school
  • Teachers arrange frequent visits to both upper elementary classrooms during second semester.
  • Frequent meeting with teachers before and after the transition to ensure a successful transition.
  • Increased personal responsibility for time management and independent work.
At home:
  • Communicate frequently with lower elementary teachers and follow all their recommendations.
  • Educational opportunities at home that are enjoyable, both during the summer and the school year, including chores and a supportive homework routine.
Useful Contact Information

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