Monday, November 19, 2018

Learning about the Wampanoag

What do people need to live?
This was the start of our group time today. We had visited similar questions earlier in the year, so they quickly came up with water, food, air, homes, and clothing.

How would people get what they need before there were any stores (or cars!)?
This question was much harder!

We found North America - our continent! - on the globe, and I explained that there were many groups of people living in North America for thousands of years that knew how to meet all their needs without cars or stores. Today we were going to learn about the Wampanoag (wom-puh-nog) , and then go on an "adventure" through the seasons. We reviewed the four seasons with our seasons mat and talked about how the Wampanoag people met their needs in each season of the year.
Why learn about the Wampanoag? This is the Native American group that has lived in the northeast for thousands of year. They were the ones who helped the "Pilgrims" survive their first years in North America.

We started with spring - planting time! Everyone received three seeds before we went out - corn, bean, and pumpkin (sometimes referred to as the "3 sisters" because they can be planted together for mutual benefit). Our planting grounds were the raised garden beds in our outdoor classroom.

For summer, the Wampanoag would head to the coast, where they could catch fish, lobster, clams, etc., and enjoy swimming and games at the beach. The day was mild, but definitely not summery, so we really had to use our imaginations as we headed to the shore (aka the park!) and went "swimming" around the playground.

Catching fish and gathering clams

As fall approaches, we took the long trek back through the "forest" to our planting grounds, excited to see what we could harvest.

The corn, beans, and squash we planted in the "spring" (i.e. 20 minutes earlier) weren't ready to harvest yet, but we did find some carrots, a few peas, a radish, some lettuce, and a few green tomatoes!

The  Wampanoag spent winter in the shelter of the woods, where they would hunt for game to supplement the food they had harvested and stored. We retreated back into the warmth of the classroom, where our 21st century school lunch was waiting for us!

Interested to know more about the Wampanoag?
Photos of traditional homes (wetus)
Lots of info on the scholastic website

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Swallowtail Metamorphosis!

The carrots and dill planted by students in the spring attracted some unexpected visitors over the summer. We were delighted to discover three swallowtail caterpillars nibbling our plants in the first week of school.

We brought them into the classroom for observation. They devoured the carrot leaves we offered them and within a few days all three had formed their chrysalis.

After a couple weeks of waiting, the first butterfly emerged from it's chrysalis, and the others followed in the next two days.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Montessori Classroom News May 4, 2018

Outdoor Classroom

We enjoyed working in our shaded outdoor classroom space Wednesday morning. Highlights included building with our brand new outdoor block set, learning some introductory woodworking skills (hammering and drilling), and planting in our garden beds. 

Making a trellis for the pea plants (our gardening is in partnership with the Center for Environmental Transformation -


We have been learning about the life cycle of frogs and the different stages of their metamorphosis (and practicing that big word!) This week we also enthusiastically welcomed some real tadpoles as guests to our classroom. Thank you, Mr. Don for providing us this amazing learning opportunity

This week we also sampled pea sprouts we grew with extra seeds. Most of the children wanted seconds!

This song is a current favorite. You can find a recording online and sing along!
All I Really Need 
By Raffi
All I really need is a song in my heart
Food in my belly,
 And love in my family
All I really need is a song in my heart,
Love in my family

And I need the rain to fall
And I need the sun to shine
To give life to the seeds we sow
To give the food we need to grow
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family
And I need some clean water for drinking
And I need some clean air for breathing
So that I can grow up strong,
Take my place where I belong
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family


Friday, April 27, 2018

Montessori Classroom News April 27, 2018

The peas we planted inside have sprouted! We are amazed each day to see how much they have grown. 
On Monday, the first few tiny sprouts had emerged

Every day we could see that the sprouts had grown taller and new ones emerged

Look what's growing in our garden!

This week we also filled our raised garden beds with soil so we can start planting in them next week! 
Everyone contributed to the project

We learn this poem as a song with motions 
A Little Seed 
By Mabel Watts
A little seed for me to sow
A little earth to make it grow
A little hole, a little pat
A little wish, and that is that.
A little sun, a little shower,
A little while… and then, a flower!

Language Tip of the week:
“What do you think?
Ask your child for their opinions & ideas in your conversations. When they ask a question, sometimes you can respond with “What do you think?” instead of answering right away. (e.g., questions like, “Where is that dog going?” or “Why do I have to wear a hat?”) You can also ask them what they think the weather will be outside, what they enjoyed doing that day, anything!

Benefits for your child: 
- build their mental comprehension and analytical skills, 
- practice speaking and explaining. 
You’ll also learn about your child’s perceptions of the world and what is important to them. 
With some rainy days in the past few weeks, we've discussed where the rain comes from and what happens to the rain on the ground. We talked about evaporation and set up our own experiment. The water level in the open cup is slowly decreasing as the water evaporates, but stays the same in the covered cup. 

Notes & Reminders 

Wed. May 23rd– 12pm dismissal
Parent-Teacher Conferences 1:30-6pm

Wed. May 30th– 10am Prayer Service in Honor of Parents
Our class is working with 3rdand 7thgrades to lead this prayer service for the school. Parents welcome to attend!

Friday, June 15th
Montessori end-of-year program – 9am
Join us in the classroom for refreshments, a slideshow, and some of our favorite songs & poems from the year. 
This is our last day – no school for Montessori students June 18-20th

Parents with students in grades 1-7: 
We will finish our program by 10 so you can also attend the 10am awards ceremony in the church.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Montessori Classroom News April 18, 2018

A special activity we introduced this week was planting seeds. Everyone helped with different parts of the process
With a small wooden tool, the older children can make little pots out of newspaper strips

Ready for planting!

Demonstration of how to fill newspaper pots with potting soil

Filling the pots
Adding a seed to each pot

Cleaning up the spilled soil at the end of the morning

The Sound Game 
(“I Spy”) 
To become effective readers and writers, children need a strong awareness of the sounds that make up words. We play this game often in the classroom, with 4 levels to match to each child’s developmental stage. More practice at home is helpful, as long as it feels fun and playful for your child – the key is that they feel successful.

In the classroom we have a special box of objects
we use for the "I Spy" game
Level 1: You say the beginning sound of an object and the child identifies the object. 
Start simple! (“I spy something you’re holding that starts with ‘fff’” when a fork is the only thing in their hand) and gradually make it more challenging (”I spy something on your face that starts with ‘nnn’” )

Other variations to try at home:
1) Sound out the names of objects around your house and in your daily life with your child.

2) Sound out the name of an object without saying the whole word and have your child blend it back together to find what the object is (e.g. “ch-ee-z” or “sh-ir-t”)

Important Dates 
(some changes to the school calendar)

Friday, April 20th– Half Day (12pm dismissal, no aftercare)

Wed. May 23rd– 12pm dismissal
Parent-Teacher Conferences 1:30-6pm

Friday, June 15th
Montessori end-of-year program – 9am
Join us in the classroom for refreshments, a slideshow, and some of our favorite songs & poems from the year. 
This is our last day – no school for Montessori students June 18-20th

Last call for Pennies for Peace
Send in any coins you have collected by Friday!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Montessori Classroom News April 12, 2018

Spring themes and activities  

  • Africa is our continent focus for geography, culture & science. 
  • Amphibians, especially the life cycle of frogs 

  • Seeds, soil, and how plants grow. We hope to soon start planting in our new outdoor classroom garden beds that are under construction. 
We soak dry limas in water with food coloring. Amazing how much they change in just a few hours!

The children learn to slip the seed coat off and gently open the two halves to discover the baby plant.

Other new activities this week:

We added binoculars as an option to use on the Observation Stool

 Carrot peeling and chopping! We emphasize  safety techniques that enable children to use real tools for preparing food.
Painting with watercolors

Making our own hummus

Word Game: Groups 

Choose a category, and then work with your child to name as many things as you can think of in that group. This game builds your child’s sorting & categorizing skills and also reinforces and teaches new vocabulary words. 

Example categories: Furniture, clothes, food, fruit, animals (or mammals, insects), things with wheels, things in the air, etc

Poem of the Week

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little frog who wasn’t there.
She wasn’t there again today.
Oh, how I wish she’d go away!
Our adaptation of “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There” by Hughes Mearns

Notes & Reminders

Friday, April 20th– Half Day (12pm dismissal, no aftercare)

Uniforms for May & June
Your child may wear navy blue knee-length shorts(or skort – skirt with built in shorts) in May and June. They can also continue to wear navy pants. We have some second-hand shorts for sale – email Ms. Cheryl if interested.

Last call for Pennies for Peace
Send in any coins you have collected by next Friday!