Yes! Autumn weather is finally here! Let’s hope it’s here to stay...like, forever. :)
We started October off with the final days of our visit to the Outdoor School (4th and 5th years) and Reimer’s Ranch (3rd years). Both groups enjoyed deepening their sense of this new community as they basked in nature together.
Thank you to all who came out for Silent Journey. It’s such a meaningful night, and I loved seeing such a high turnout from Upper Elementary! Since you’re not so new to Montessori, it’s all the better to come out so we could talk about how to apply Montessori in practical and daily conversations with your children, and we could plunge into some advanced math lessons. Thanks to the parents who were brave guinea pigs as you discovered how your children learn to do long multiplication abstractly or discover the origin for the formula for the area of a circle. You guys were a great crew to spend the evening with
Rockwood, like other classrooms, also enjoyed our first “class playdate,” organized and facilitated by our lovely and über helpful Room Parents: the Prattipatis and the Abeyta-Caldwell family. It was a great success, and it is so needed on the heels of Covid! We are grateful for your work to bring us all together again. These will happen monthly, so stay tuned for more.
Ms. Pat came and gave a classwide lesson on batik, first with abstracts and then with “artist’s choice,” e.g., a landscape, skyscape, or animal. The children enjoyed exploring this new medium and the shock and pleasure of the ‘big reveal’ when they removed the tape (which had been used as the batik resist). Many students put to use or deepened their understanding of the lessons they’ve had regarding positive-negative space in art. Very cool!
For most students, our first lessons in math were centered around a need for repetition, stability, and practice. After the year we’ve all had, it makes sense to take a bit of extra time to reinforce a stable foundation before introducing too many new concepts. Now we’re moving on to more advanced fraction work, decimals, area, mixed numbers, and for some students, early adventures in binomials and trinomials. Other recent lessons have included pre-writing and note-taking skills, chemical reactions (the soda geyser blew up to the eaves!), parts of speech, mastering Ode to Joy on the piano, doing laundry (did ya hear that??), measuring angles and creating predetermined amplitudes with a protractor, plot maps for narratives, how Galileo proved Copernicus was right, appositives, writing and rehearsing a play, skills in watercolor and clay, and actively listening to Ravel’s “Bolero” [some students noticed the melody built via the orchestra, not by simply becoming louder; another said, “That poor snare drum player!” LOL]
Teri’s Corner ✨...Observations on Observing
This past month, and continuing for a few more weeks, our wonderful grown-ups have been coming in for observations. Yes, that’s you! It is a joy to have you take a peek inside your child’s learning environment and see their community in action. I also feel the tug-of-war of emotions of wanting to greet you and chat, but also stay true to my role in supporting Paige and the children as I myself learn about Rockwood.
It has been interesting to be on the “other side” of observations, having done it for many years for my three children when they were in Primary at another Montessori school in New Jersey. I remember wondering … will my child behave? Will they care that I am there? Will they act as normal or will my presence disrupt them? Will I see what they are learning? It was truly a shift of perspective as I saw my sweet toddlers focused, interacting, and engaged with others in that swirl of calm activity in a Primary classroom.
Now, as an assistant, I am experiencing it from the guide’s perspective. And also in the Upper Elementary, which is something I didn’t know existed before coming to Austin and Cedars. How can a parent see what is happening here in only 30 minutes? How can we remain as normal as possible even though it is obvious there is someone new in the community? What if a particularly challenging moment happens and I don’t handle it well, and with a parent audience? Are the student hosts doing a fine job? I also feel the pull of wanting to connect with you, parent - to - parent, but know my role in the classroom is paramount.
When you come to observe with fresh eyes, it is a gift to us. You see and notice things that are unique to your experience. I know we will continue to see more of you this week and I hope you can make space in your schedules in the future if you haven’t been able to get here yet. It’s a different room, a different age group, and a different year for sure! As we are settling into our routines and work cycles, I wonder what your questions will be, what you hope to see or will be surprised to learn.
Over and over again, in my own observations of Rockwood (one of my most important, challenging, and favorite jobs is to observe!) I am continually surprised by, curious about, and open to learning more from your wonderful children. Taking the time to just watch and purposefully refrain from judgement, and to not intervene — it taps into the wisdom Maria Montessori had so many years ago to follow the child and to one of Paige’s favorite quotes — “meet them where they are.”
Parent Conferences! I look forward to our time together on November 4th and 5th. Check the sign up for details.
Thanksgiving holiday is the week of November 22.
Please spend 10 minutes a day on math facts at home. But I mean it--just 10 minutes! No more--that’s it! But do it every day, with a “short and sweet” energy. Do it in the car! Practicing like this will revolutionize math work for some students.
Doing advanced math without knowing math facts
is like asking them to play tennis without a racket.
They want to participate, but they’re stuck.
Please, just 10 minutes. Don’t make it a big deal, but make it a daily deal. Keep it short and sweet, associated with “quick and easy fun,” but do it every day.
It’s a joy and pleasure to spend each day with your children. Thank you for the opportunity to do that,