This Month in the classroom...
Our busy beehive is buzzing and full of energy! Returning and new students to Mountain Laurel have adjusted beautifully to having a larger class. I love and admire children’s ability to adapt to changes.
It has been heartwarming to see so many acts of kindness to help new students feel welcome. I will share a couple of observations so that you can enjoy these moments as well. If you are have been a Mountain Laurel parent for a while, you know that by October everyone was already writing in cursive. Some of the new students are not there yet, so I’m doing what I usually do until they can do it on their own, I am their scribe (or Claire), and the student traces over our handwriting. A couple of weeks ago I offered a new student my help to write the date on his journal, and he said “ I don’t need you to do it, she already did it for me” (pointing at a full cycle girl next to him)
Another day at the playground I observed a new student struggling to put her jacket on, another student standing behind her noticed her friend, and without being asked helped her. They probably didn’t even know each other's names yet but were eager to make everyone welcome.
I would say that the biggest challenge has probably been adjusting to a higher noise level, however, we have enough noise-canceling headphones and we have the heaters on the porch as well.
Lessons are happening in many areas as always, lessons in the sciences are in high demand, and I love to watch students that already know what will happen in the experiment contain themselves so they won’t spoil the lesson.
Some friends started learning about negative numbers, others continue their exploration of multiples. Long multiplication and division are always in the works by introducing new lessons. There is a healthy competition among friends in knowing “what level” their friends are on in chequerboard or racks and tubes. Many mid and full cycles are so close to graduating from materials and doing these operations abstractly.
We continue to do our phonemic awareness drills daily, and we keep adding new daily practices to improve our students' reading and spelling skills. Grammar and Word study (prefixes, suffixes, compound words, synonyms, etc.) lessons and follow-up work are always happening somewhere in the classroom. The new trend is to write sentences or stories that involve Miss Maya being bitten by a snake!
Many students are working on research and projects. Some are investigating animals: owls, tigers, whales, among others. Other friends are writing about the Titanic, and others are very interested in learning about other countries.
We reviewed the First and Second Great Story in order to introduce the students that just joined Mountain Laurel to the Third Great Story, the story of the Coming of Human Beings. I had a large audience because many of the students who were there last semester wanted to hear it again. We continued to study the early Human Beings through the first timeline, where the students can see and imagine through the narrative lesson, the adventures and great efforts our ancestors faced in order to survive.
Last but not least, I’m sure many of you heard from your child that we are trying out a new way to help the children to balance their day. Everyday after recess we will have 20 minutes of silent reading. If they would like to work instead, they can do so quietly. During work period they are welcome to read a nonfiction book for a research or out of curiosity. And we will continue reading individually with the students who are still emergent readers. It goes without saying that the message was given emphasizing the importance and beauty of reading books. The purpose of this change is to help the children who would read all day if they could, to focus and progress in the curriculum. On the other hand, those students who are not very interested in reading can develop the habit and a love for reading, when given this daily opportunity.
The importance of Elementary Coffee Talk (Date TBD) This is a great opportunity to ask questions about our curriculum, whether you attended the parent night last month or not, you are welcome to join me and Ms. Paige for a Q&A.
Feb 18th and Feb 21st No School for students.
Teachers will be attending the Annual Montessori Refresher Course.
Ways to help our classroom
Mountain Laurel Cottage