Newsletter 30 August 2019

Greetings Magnificent Montessori Families,

Welcome to a brand-new school year in a brand-new school.  It was delightful to see all the bright Upper Montessori students, both new and old.  Since we live in Montana and all know what the weather will be like soon, we have spent as much time as possible outside.  We played some name games, got to know our mentors/mentees, used our outside 100s chart, and will continue to be outside as much as possible.

We spent a lot of time learning about each other and the classroom.  We spent the last two days creating our Classroom Constitution.  It’s always enjoyable to observe this process.  After several meetings we have come to a consensus and will have a sign.  This process is student led and they are doing an impressive job making a list that includes all of our universal: safe, respectful, responsible, and learner.

One very important announcement, there are class members that have allergic reactions to many different foods this year, but no nut allergies yet.  If you have any questions please let me know.  Thank you.

To everyone who signed up to volunteer in our classroom, thank you. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sending you more information about scheduling times to come in and help.  One thing that you can do to help right now is stop by the May Butler Center to get your background check completed (if you haven’t already).  We have been asked to have everyone take care of this before we start having folks come in, please let me know if you have any questions.

Yesterday, the student listened to the First Great Lesson, which is the science origin story, or big bang (which it was for the first time in a few years, yay).   I was able to get assistance from several veterans in the classroom, which was a lot of fun.  We discussed how many cultures have stories that explain how the universe was created and that several of them are hanging in the classroom for exploration.  Then we used our imaginations to understand what it might have been like before, during, and after the singularity.  The students used the subatomic particles to create art piece of how they think the Higgs Boson Particle might have looked when it exploded.  They will be hanging in the hallway if you’d like to see them.

We also got our first Literature Circle book on Wednesday.  I do my best to select books that are unlikely to have been read and above students’ grade level.  This gives them a chance to learn new styles and vocabulary they may not get otherwise.  This year I’m excited to announce that we are reading Wonder for our first book.  I realize some student may have read this book, but it is an excellent chance for them to dig deeper into the themes, characters, and plot.  The students who have already read the book will also be helping me during our class discussions on Wednesdays.  It is absolutely okay to read as a family, it’s actually suggested.  Reading out loud together can help comprehension and, as an added bonus, family bonding.  On average, the assignments are around 70-80 pages a week, so it is important for student to stay on top of the work.  We will all start with the same assignment and work together on this book so the class learns the process.  The students will work in smaller groups in the months to come.  Literature Circles are one of the few homework assignments the students will have over the year, and some students find it difficult to complete the work at the beginning.  Most realize, with a bit of time management, the reading and homework is challenging, but doable.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Our classroom schedule is currently still in flux, but will be on the website soon; you can also find upcoming events and a few useful website links there.  I will have our website updated within the next couple weeks and will send you and email to let you know what it’s ready.

Thanks so much for reading.  As always, if you have any questions please let me know.

Cheers,

Tony