Tony Napoletano Archive

Posted on May 21, 2019

Newsletter 21 May 2019

Greetings Delightful Montessori Families,

It’s hard to believe that this is the last full week of the 2018-2019 school year. As the year winds down, it’s good to reflect on all the learning/accomplishments the class has had.  There have been multiple ‘ah ha’ moments and many thoughtful questions that have led me to personal research and/or reflection.  It might be a good time to chat with our kiddo(s) about what they will take away from this school year.  You might be surprised at their responses.

This week we will have our final STAR make-ups, which means no more assessments for the year after this.  I’m proud of all the students for doing their best and, in some cases, wanted to try again because they feel they can do better.  We will also get two Etiquette Eats this week due to the busy schedule we had last week.

Tomorrow we get to go on our Mount Helena Wildflower Hike.  For the first time since I’ve been here there is rain in the forecast.  Please be sure your kid(s) come prepared for chilly, wet weather tomorrow.  Have them bring lots of layers.  We will be going rain or shine and I’d like everyone to have the best experience possible.  If you’ve been out hiking you know that we are getting lots of great wildflowers blooming, so it should be a blast.

Finally,  the students are spending much of the week preparing for their student-led conferences next week.  If you haven’t gotten your conference slip back to the me please return it ASAP.  That way I can make any adjustments needed, thanks.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on May 13, 2019

Newsletter 13 May 2019

Greetings Astonishing Montessori Families,

We are only a few days away from our Shakespeare production.  Please remember that our show is in the gym at 6:00 this Thursday, 16 May.  Please have your students back to school by 5:30 so they have time get into costume. Please have your kiddo wear a white top and black/dark pants.  Some have other things to put on, but this makes the process much faster, thanks.  The reality of the event is sinking in and students are really focusing on getting their roles down.  We’ll have a dress rehearsal on Thursday at 9:00.  This gives the kids a chance to practice in front of and audience and the school a chance to see all the hard work your kids have put into this production.

You’d think this might be enough, but we have lots going on that has nothing to do with Shakespeare.  We are taking our final 2018-2019 STAR assessments this week.  The students are getting yet another chance to do their best and show what they know.  These assessments will be used to help make decisions for next year, so I’m thankful that I can trust everyone to put an honest effort into the tests.

Then, on Wednesday we have our Water Watchers field trip.  This year we get to go to Prickly Pear Creek and learn about webs of life and macro-invertebrates.  We will get to test the water and learn ways we can help keep the water clean.  It’s always a fun trip and it’s important that everyone wears layers as the weather is often colder at the creek than in town.  Please have you kid(s) bring extra layers on Wednesday.

Finally, we will take our last spelling assessment of the year on Friday.  I’m looking forward to seeing how our new orthography lesson have gone.  Given that this is a new program and started in the middle of the year, it will also be fun to compare next year.  I’ve been learn along with the kids.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on May 7, 2019

Newsletter 7 May 2019

Greetings Serene Montessori Families,

This time of year continues to be busy and we, the Upper Montessori classroom, are looking for anytime we can to have work periods.  The students are doing their best to go with the flow.  We have spent time in class meeting discussing how there is still a month left and lots to do.  We’ve also discussed focusing on one’s own work and not worrying about others.  We’ve had some upset feelings that could be avoided by simply staying focused on your own work.  This might be a great chat to have with your kid(s) at the dinner table.  We’ve come up with some solutions as a class, but I’d love to hear any strategies you come up with.

Shakespeare is coming together, as they say “the show most go on.”  As impressive as the work of many of the students on memorizing their lines and cues, there are still several that aren’t there yet.  Please remind your kid(s) to practice their lines at home.  This work takes place of our Literature Circles and can be done in the car on the way to practice or waiting in line at the store, but it really needs to happen, thanks for your help with this.  Please remember our performance is on Thursday, 16 May, at 6:00 and the students need to be back at the school by 5:30 to get into costume.

Today we had the Masons at Central to celebrate Bikes for Books/Kindles for Kids.  We’ve never had a student win…until today.  Today both the bike and the Kindle went to Upper Montessori students.  Kudos to all the work everyone put into reading over the last few months.  We also have Words by Kids coming up this Friday and I hear rumor we might have some script writers there too.

Finally, Central’s annual 80s bash is coming up quick.  The kids are bring home letters asking for items for our classroom basket, which will be raffled at the event.  This year the class voted for a sports theme.  If you can, please have your student bring in a sports item to add to our basket.  All the proceeds go right back to the Parent Council, so it’s well worth it.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on April 24, 2019

Newsletter 24 April 2019

Greetings Radical Montessori Families,

I hope you are all doing well.  It’s SBAC week, so everyone is doing their best to show what they know.  I’m impressed with how courteous students are being to each other.  We are halfway done, completing ELA CAT and Math Performance so far.  We will take our ELA Performance (essay) today and Math CAT tomorrow, then we are done.  To celebrate we are having a spelling bee on Friday that many students have been asking for.  Thank you to families that have brought in extra healthy snacks for the class this weekend, everything helps.

Of course we aren’t only taking test this week.  Yesterday we had our last Hooked on Fishing lesson for the year, fly tying.  Matt from Livingston came in and taught the class how to make woolly worms.  The concentration of the students when creating their flies was incredible.  This is a great example of why Dr. Montessori put an importance on practical life activities.   I hope some of you get to fish with the creations, or at least keep them for the art that they are.

With everything going on the last few weeks I haven’t mentioned much about Science Fair.  Science Fair is next Friday, 3 May, from 9:00 to 10:00 in the gym.  We learned about the scientific method a couple weeks ago.  Then the students came up with testable questions and hypothesis. With that information they were asked to conduct the experiments and record their data and results.  Many have been working for quite a while and some haven’t started.  Please let the students conduct their experiment on their own and in their own time. They have been reminded in class and it’s important that they learn the responsibility of a project such as this;  it’s how we learn.  Next week we will spend time in class creating posters/displays.  They shouldn’t be asking you for much, but they will need a poster or tri-fold display board.  I have had them in the past, but most kids have asked to get their own this year.   If you need help purchasing items or have questions please let me know.

Finally, we have been trying to fit in Shakespeare practice, but it’s been hit or miss.  All the kids should be practicing their lines at home; this takes place of Literature Circles.  We’ll be full speed ahead after testing.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on April 11, 2019

Newsletter 11 April 2019

Greetings Optimistic Montessori Families,

Wow, we have had quite the week already.  We spend Monday morning working on a team building activity where the kids had to save themselves from a sinking ship.  We learned a lot about different personalities in the classroom and how to work together.  I’ve done this activity a lot as a ropes course facilitator and this was one of the few times that I muted all but a few students.  After the students saved themselves we reflected on the experience.  Many students noticed that they were quick to save themselves, but others got left behind.  They also pointed out that when most of the class was muted they were able to concentrate more on the task at hand.  Those are two of the biggest challenges we work with during work period.  I’m hoping that these lessons will transfer into our classroom.  Each of the kids are wonderful individuals and fourth quarter will be a time to work more on collaborating and helping each other succeed.

We haven’t gotten a lot of time to put these epiphanies to use as we’ve had lots of field trips this week.  Tuesday the fifths and I were at HMS for our transition day.  We toured the school, listen to music options, got to see old friends, and ask questions about next year.  I have some more paperwork that will come home today.  Please try to get all your paperwork back to me by tomorrow or Monday.  I’d like to send it to the middle school as soon as possible.  That way they can start inputting information and I have less of a chance of losing the pile.  While we were at HMS the fourths were in their Lower Montessori classrooms.  Mrs. Kenney and Mrs. Casne-Fetz said they were fantastic and the students were impressed with the younger’s quietness.

Yesterday, we got to see LocoMotion, which was presented by the Myrna Loy Center.  By the end I was ready to quit my job and become a circus performer.  Thankfully, I taught the children why you shouldn’t just try things you see done by a professional (don’t worry I’ll heal and I was able to balance the chair after several tries).  We learned how science, particularly Sir Issac Newton’s ideas, explains why the arts preformed are possible.  The show has a website, if you would like to learn more about it, http://locomotionshow.com/

We completed our Montana County Research projects.  The licence plates will be in the hallway soon, so come take a peek if you have a moment.  We also completed our two column notes and research on the human body.  Both projects went different directions than I expected, but that’s the joy of Montessori.

This leaves us open to focus on our Shakespeare Unit and Science Fair.  Shakespeare lessons have been focused on team building and stage work.  We’ve read through the script once and the students have been asked to memorize their lines in place of Literature Circle work.  As for Science Fair, the students have learned about the scientific method and come up with their testable questions.  We’ll continue working on both throughout the month.  Science Fair is the morning of 3 May and Shakespeare is the evening of 16 May.

Finally, next week is another full week of field trips.  The 17th we will be at the Youth Symphony, the 18th we will be at 402 Warren signing the gym floor and delivering greetings to the neighborhood. Then on the 19th we will spend most of the day at MontanaWILD learning about Montana flora and fauna to help jazz us up for our Earth Day Clean-abration on Monday, 22 April.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on March 13, 2019

Newsletter 13 March 2019

Greetings Lucky Montessori Families,

We have had such a busy week so far students are actually asking for nap time; in fact, we had one yesterday during recess.  We spent yesterday morning learning about winter ecology at SnowSchool.  The students learned how to make a fire in the snow with nothing more than some twigs, lint, petroleum jelly, and a match (watch out MacGyver).  We also learned how to use a compass and practiced our orienteering skills.  There are some great photos on our Facebook page.

Today was one of my personal favorite days.  Thanks to the wonderful support of our Central Parent Council, Montana Shakes! made a triumphant return to Central and it was amazing.  The whole school was treated to an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” with a theme of understanding others and friendship.  I had students from every grade thank me for bring the program here.  Then, the 4th/5th grade students got to learned about language, body movement, and imagination through three different sessions by the Montana Shakes! actors.  It was a blast and there will be picture to on our Facebook if you’d like to check them out.

If that wasn’t enough, we are taking the CRTs this week.  The fourths have taken one of three of the tests so far, and will finish the other two on Thursday and Friday.  I’m proud of how hard they have worked.  I’m also happy to report that the fifths are being very respectful and working silently while the fourths take their tests.

Finally, I need your help with a few things.  First, Montana Shakes! is a great opportunity for us to start our Shakespeare unit.  The students will be learning which play we are preforming next week before I head to the AMS conference.  Then, they will spent time writing cover letters to help me decide which role they receive, which they will create and send to me while I’m in D.C.  If you would be will/able to help out with sets, costumes, after-party or other areas of our performance please let me know.  Any help will be greatly appreciated, thanks.  Then, I’m also curious about your thoughts of having a third student-run conference in May.  This would take the place of a final writing report.  I believe this will help the students learn to present professionally, and it will help me have my weekends to prepare for our move.  Please let me know your thoughts, thank you.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on March 6, 2019

Newsletter 6 March 2019

Greetings Compassionate Montessori Families,

Yay, Practical Life is happening in the Upper Montessori classroom.  Our friend Anita, along with her posse, are teaching the students how to sew.  The students learned how to properly cut fabric and many started using sewing machines over the last two days.  We will continue this work over the next few weeks and I’m thrilled.  You might already know what practical life is a big part of Montessori education and if you look at the picture on our Facebook page you’ll clearly see why.

Our flexible seating experiment is moving along.  It’s taking kids a bit longer than I’d like to realize they need to pick wise spots (somewhere they won’t chat with their friends).  We are trying it for the next week and a half and deciding if it is working as a class.  That way the guest teacher won’t have any extra struggles while I’m at the AMS conference.

We are exploring all the wonderful systems that make up the human body.  Each student is researching a system of their choice.  They have a graphic organizer to guide them.  The end result will be a poster and presentation from each student.

The students have asked to take a break from our Montana History book, so we are researching our counties.  Each student was able to choice one of our fifty-six counties and are now researching all the wonderful things that the counties have to offer.  The end result will be a personalized licence plate design that express everything that makes their county a great place (I figured we didn’t have enough at the DOJ).

Finally, we have a really busy week next week.  The fourth grade students will be taking the CRTs.  These assessments help us learn what the kids know with regards to science.  They tend to rock it, but there is some stress involved during the process.  We’ll mitigate things as best as possible and it will be over before they know it.  We get to make up our SnowSchool day on Tuesday, 12 March, so please bring a lot of layers.  We’ll be out at Moose Creek Campground for the morning learning about winter ecology.  Then, MontanaShakes will be here all day on Wednesday, 13 March.  This is one of my favorites days and I’m so happy we got it back this year, THANK YOU PARENT COUNCIL.  But wait, there’s more… we’ll also be continuing our work with Anita, learning about Earth’s water distribution and get a visit form some Irish dancers on Friday, 15 March.  Wow, lots to look forward to.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on February 26, 2019

Newsletter 27 February 2019

Greetings Fabulous Montessori Families,

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying all the best parts of the snow.  Since we have a late start today, I thought I’d take advantage of the time and update you on what’s happening in the Upper Montessori classroom.

We will be getting new Literature Books today, but the current books aren’t due until Friday.  This is to allow everyone that needs it a full week to read.  We will have Literature Circles on Tuesdays for the month of March.  This allows me to be available for questions and comments rather than throw the guest teacher a curve ball at the end of the month (I’ll be at the American Montessori Society’s National Conference from 20 March – 24 March).  We will wrap up the new March novels upon our return from Spring Break.

We’ve also had to postpone many activities due to the snow and cold temperatures.  We will be dissecting fish through Hooked on Fishing later in April.  We’ve moved SnowSchool to 12 March.  Hooked on Fishing’s lesson about water distribution has also been postponed until 15 March.  Finally, our Practical Life project will be pushed from this week to next week;  I’m sure ready of temperatures in the +20 degrees.

We are finishing our parfleche bags for Montana History.  I’m happy to report a student has already found a good use for their bag, using it to store their gum.  We will continue working with the Third Great Lesson in Science.  This will lead us to looking at the human body and all of it’s systems.

Finally, we have moved to a more flexible seating plan in the classroom.  If students wanted an assigned seat they have one; however, everyone else is allowed to pick the spot of their choice.  The two rules are they have to change spots each day and they have to choose a spot were they can be productive.  We’ve only started, so we’ll see how things go.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on February 13, 2019

Newsletter 13 February 2019

Greetings Heartfelt Montessori Families,

I hope you are enjoying this balmy weather we are having today.  It was not this warm yesterday for our Ice Fishing expedition, but we all toughed it out with very few complaints.  We also had a blast, several students caught fish for the first time in their lives and there was a lot of kissing of fish (it’s good luck).  There are a bunch of pictures on our Facebook page, so please check them out.

We are continuing to work with the BFG this week and got to the funniest chapter, Forbscottle and Whizzpoppers.  If you haven’t read it you might enjoy, it teaches about the most appropriate ways to release excess gas.  We will continue working on characters and the development of friendships/differences in stories.

We have also finished our Mystery Science unit, which is a thrill for many students.  We have decided as a class that we need to use something different for a while and I’ll be developing that over the long weekend.  I can assure you it will be Montessori based.

We are nearing the Lewis & Clark(e) expedition in Montana History.  I’m working to have our class take a tour of the Montana History Museum’s exhibit on their expedition.  If you are willing and able to join us would you please let me know good days and times, thanks.

Finally, tomorrow is V-day.  Students are welcome, but not required, to bring in cards for their classmates.  The only requirement is that if they choice to bring in cards they have to bring in one for everyone in the class.  We will also have our annual V-day luncheon.  The fourths have created a menu and will serve the fifths.  That means no one needs lunch from home tomorrow.  We’d love to have families join, so let me know if you can make it.

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

Cheers,

Tony

Posted on February 6, 2019

Newsletter 6 February 2019

Greetings Lovely Montessori Families,

I hope you are all safe and warm during this subzero week.  We’ve been making the most of our cozy classroom, but many (including myself) are getting a bit of cabin fever.  It will be nice to get out and play once the temperature moves above zero.  Looks like we’ll be in for most of the week, so if your kiddo has a game they’d like to bring for inside recess it’s okay with me.  We do have plenty in the classroom, but several students have asked and I wanted to let you know.

We are taking a break from weekly readers and reading the BFG as a class this month.  It’s been fun so far and is teaching me a lot about how each student reads.  Each week we’ll have at least one activity to connect to the story.  This week we are going to look at character, plot, and not judging others.

We celebrated Lunar New Year yesterday, which was a blast.  This is an opportunity for me to teach geometry through tangrams.  Each student now has their own set and leaned how to use them.  If you’re looking for a ‘what did you do at school’ moment this might be a chance.  We are also lucky enough to have a student from South Korea in our class.  With the help of their mom, they shared some experience they had and a wonderful treat.

We are finishing our Mystery Science unit tomorrow, which is exciting.  The student will have a chance to show what they learned by proving or disproving if a biosphere can be created to sustain life on Mars.  After we have wrapped up the unit, we will discuss if we want to continue with Mystery Science or try something different.

Finally,  I hope you can all make it to the Central Sweetie Pie Event tomorrow, 7 February, from 6:00-7:30.  There will be lots of fun activities, a silent auction, and pie! All proceed go to our Parent Teacher Organization, so it will benefit our school.

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

Cheers,

Tony