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November 13, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
The Cookies are Coming!
Toddler Program (TP)
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower Elementary (LE)
Upper Elementary (UE)
Middle School (MS)
Kid's Night Out
Hilltop Helpers
Community News
Next Week at Hilltop
Monday 11/16
MS Basketball Begins

Tuesday 11/17
Cultural Cooking

Wednesday 11/18
Historical Fencing
MS Basketball Practice

Thursday 11/19
ASG (Coffee with Tamara before)
Video Club

Friday 11/20
Circus Arts

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

UE Basketball begins 12/1

Coming Up...

Tuesday 11/24
Stone Soup, Full Day of School
CH students who normally leave at noon, may choose to stay until 1pm to take part in the celebration.
See here for more info, scroll to page 11.

The Cookies are Coming!

Can you sense it? The electricity is building in the air! 

Only FIVE weeks until the 3rd  Annual Ginormous Cookie Swap Sale and Craft Fair and Snowflake Raffle! Yes! It's true!  Friday, December 18th, after noon dismissal.

"Tell me more", you implore!
  • Well, every year we ask families to bring in about two dozen of their favorite homemade cookies. We sell empty boxes and customers ramble down the aisle of cookie awesomeness filling their box on the way. Impress your guests or just your family with a "cookie spectacle" on your table. Boxes sell for $10.
  • There will be crafters selling their wares.
  • A raffle with lots of fun prizes.
  • Hot dogs, popcorn and beverages on sale for very reasonable cost!
We're looking for cookie donations; crafters who would like to sell their wares; and small raffle items. Email Cookie Queen, Kim Lier if you can bring cookies and Amelia if you want to sell crafts or have an item for the Snowflake auction.

Pictures from Last Year's Cookie Swap and Craft Fair

Toddler Program

The children of the Toddler Room are growing up! There is lots of great toilet learning going on, new lessons being learned (like sewing and plant washing), routines being led by children (like setting up circle seats), cooking projects carried out by young ones, and joy experienced every day. The Toddler Room is a lovely place to watch learning and growing happen daily.

With the weather colder and sometimes rainy, please make sure your child is dressed for the elements each day. We go out in almost any weather and rain boots, raincoats, warm mittens and hats, etc. are essential.

Enjoy the weekend.
Ellie & Hannah

Leaf Washing

Willow Room

Enjoy these few snapshots from the week. Have a good weekend, with lots of love and positive thoughts. 

Warm Regards, 

Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime

Sophia explores pattern blocks.

Marquetta explores the Spindle Box

Jamie work with Leo.

Hazel and Claire make parts of a turkey book.

Archer works with tractors, and he knows all of their names.

Birch Room

This week, the Olders studied the work of children's book author and illustrator Eric Carle.  Carle's artwork, created in collage technique, uses hand painted papers which he then cuts and layers to form bright and cheerful images.   On Thursday, the Olders not only listened to stories by Eric Carle- they got to begin their own art using his technique.  This project continued today as the children cut and arranged their papers to create pictures, which will be displayed in the hallway next week.  Drop by and see them if you have a chance!

Have a great weekend!

-Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam

Lower El

Illustrator and author Lizi Boyd visited us today , to share the story of how she makes a book.  In addition to illustrating for other authors' books, Lizi is the author of her own. "Inside/Outside," "Flashlight," and, most recently, "Big Bear,Little Chair" a trio of her wordless picture books.  After her presentation, students had the opportunity to create their own "Flashlight" drawing, using black paper and a white paper spotlight.  Enthusiastic discussion and drawing ensued, with everyone adding their own unique touch to their scenes.  
What a fun way to end our week!

One cowbell
No, we're not kidding.  We'd love to have a bell to use to call our gang in from recess.  If you have such an item and want to give it away, we'll gladly take it.

Enjoy your weekend!  
Kerstin and Patrick

Our Morning with Lizi Boyd

Work Share on Thursday

Map Work

The Lower El Soccer Team Celebrating the End of a Fantastic Season! Great Job Everyone!

Upper El

Fostering a child's sense of ownership for his or her own learning is a guiding principle of Montessori education. Structured choice, opportunities for collaboration, meaningful curriculum, and an extended work cycle all contribute to a child's intrinsic motivation and sense of ownership for one's work. Another important part of developing a child's sense of ownership for his or her own learning is developing the child's feelings of ownership for his or her classroom and classroom community. At the elementary level, students need real opportunities to engage in the running of their classroom and their classroom community. At the most basic level, this includes each child having a classroom 'job.' But, if this is a child's only opportunity to contribute to their community, most likely the job won't be done very well.

At the beginning of each year, Upper Elementary students work together to create a set of agreed upon community expectations for how they will treat each other. Students also participated by assisting or giving lessons. Before conferences, sixth grade students gave lessons on how to prepare a portfolio and get ready for conferences. This past week, Owen James taught students working on their Hero Project how to draw a portrait. Throughout the year, students are actively engaged in how to solve community issues that may arise. Issues range from the number of pencils the class is going through each week, to recess activities getting too competitive. At student-led community meetings students raise concerns and then offer possible solutions. Together, students come to an agreement on which solution or solutions the community will try. Students also raise concerns or give input on community issues through weekly journal entries. As a result of student concerns recently raised through student journals and explored in community meetings, students now have recess before lunch. Additionally, per student request and discussion, the teachers now post a daily schedule of small group lessons so students know first thing in the morning what time they will be called to a lesson.

The result of students feeling ownership for their classroom is evident in the work cycle and out at recess. During the work morning, the Upper El has been humming. Students are engaged in preparation for biome presentations, Hero Project presentations, math group and math sequence work, and ongoing language works. At recess, there is a mixture of large group and small group activity. Within each of these groups there is a mixture of ages and genders. And all that play at recess feeds right back into the collaborative learning and community problem solving in the classroom.

Parent Help Needed
Present-Making Day - Friday, December 18. With the help of an adult, students
make small, craft-type gifts. If you know of a fun project that our students could
make in 15-30 minutes and would be willing to lead it, please drop Tom an email at

Upcoming Events
Authors' Tea at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2
UE Museum on Thursday, December 17 at 2 p.m. and Friday, December 18 from 8:30-9:15

Upper El Students at Work

Upper El Hosting All School Gathering this Past Thursday

Group Four Square

Working at the Factory

Middle School

We are now deeply immersed in our "Sense of Place" study.  Earlier in the week, Melany Kahn came to the classroom and shared her expertise in the realm of photo shoots, storyboards, and documentary filmmaking to help prepare students for the upcoming photo shoots of their community member subjects.  The "Society Project" is in full swing.  The initial interviews have begun with the photo shoots not far behind.  The end products of this study are a digital photo essay that will be premiered at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center on Friday evening, January 8 and a framed photo collage that will be on display at Amy's Bakery through the month of January.

Students are also exploring Brattleboro's history through the use of primary sources and have been haunting the Library's local history room, the Brattleboro Historical Society, and the vault at the town clerk's.  Once again these institutions have embraced our students and have been an invaluable help.  The fruits of this rich research will result in a student designed and executed book that will be prominently displayed at the Brooks Memorial Library also through the month of January.

Preparing for Love and Hate Poetic Presentation

Working on a Large Painting of the Brooks House for a Spontaneous Project

Weeping Soupers

Maeve and Gus recite their Love/Hate Poems During ASG on Thursday

Kid's Night Out

Come drop your little ones to Hilltop's Arts Barn for the Middle Schooler's second hosting of 'Kid's Night Out', Tonight! Kids will enjoy snacks, games and a G rated movie. All proceeds go to support the Middle School's Odyssey to Boston as well as field trips throughout the school year. $6/hour per child and $4/hour for each additional child. Contact Emma for details and/or questions and to sign your child up!

Hilltop Helpers

Hilltop Montessori School has a wonderful group of helpful families supporting each other in many ways: carpools, meals in time of need, hand-me-down snow pants, etc. We would like to provide this space in the newsletter as a place that people can share needs and "gifts" with the rest of the Hilltop community. 

Tom Griffith has a chicken plucker that he is willing to lend anyone in the Hilltop community. If you are interested contact  Tom .

Kerstin and Patrick from the Lower EL  classroom would like a cow bell to use for calling their students in from recess. If you have one and are willing to part with it, bring it in!

Many thanks to Amanda Ellis-Thurber, pictured here with Middle School helpers Leah and Lucy, for donating 1000 daffodil bulbs to help beautify Hilltop! We'll be thinking of you next spring, Amanda, when all those flowers bloom!

If you have a need, or a service or item to offer, let the FRONT DESK k now and we'll get it in the newsletter!

Community News

Altered States, A Weekend of Chanting
Sat. 9 -4:30 pm   sug. donation $40 (incl. lunch)
Sun. 1 - 3:30 pm  sug. donation $25
Both days: sug. donation $60
St.Michael's Episcopal Church
Bradley Ave, Brattleboro Vermont
Five experienced teachers and practitioners are leading this experiential weekend:
Dr. Amer Latif , Shital Kinkhabwala, Rabbi Moshe Waldoks, Susan Dedell , and Dr. Lesley Fishelman
Through deep immersion the weekend will explore chanting practices that can be translated into everyday life for everyone. The weekend will explore the intersection of spiritual, mental and physical heath, and participants will experience the similarities and differences of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Christian practices.  Saturday's schedule includes a hearty and nourishing lunch, as well as morning and afternoon refreshments.
For more information visit our website:

Brattleboro Women's Chorus Celebrates 20 Years of Singing!
Our 20th Anniversary Fall Concerts
Saturday, November 21 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 pm
First Baptist Church, 190 Main St., Brattleboro
Over 100 women of the Brattleboro Women's Chorus will be singing favorite songs from the past 20 years. With Guest Musician Cathy Martin on piano.
Tickets Available Only at the Door: $15 Generous, $10 Adult and $8 student/senior
Gala CD Release Celebration
Immediately following  Sunday's  concert at the River Garden
Purchase our new CD and toast to 20 years!
For More Information, visit our website:
Like Us on Facebook   to find out about our upcoming events!

Eighth Annual Lego Contest and Exhibit
This event is generously sponsored by  Brattleboro Ford Subaru G.S. Precision, Inc., and Don Robinson Builder.
Build your very own LEGO creation and display it at BMAC!
Prizes for Creativity and Craftsmanship will be awarded in seven age groups: preschool, grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, adult, and adult/child collaborations. There will also be overall prizes for Best in Show, Best Architectural Design, Best Use of Moving Parts, Best Title, Best Diorama, and Best Space-Themed Creation. All prizes will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on Friday, November 20, at 5 p.m.
Entries must be delivered to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center on Wednesday, November 18, 4:00-6:00 p.m. 
Admission to the November 20 Awards Ceremony is $4 for adults and teens, $3 for children ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. Admission to the museum on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22, while LEGO entries are on display, is $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 students, free for BMAC members and children 5 and under.
Every contestant will receive a personalized certificate of participation and four complimentary admission passes to BMAC, which may be used at any time.
For more information, and a link to an entry form, click here .

Express Fluency is now offering French classes!
Did you "take" French in school but struggle to speak it? Do you travel to Quebec or France and want to be more comfortable speaking? We are offering an Intermediate French weekend intensive  in Brattleboro. Come to a FREE class  to get a better sense of this different way to learn a language.  Monday from 7-8pm, Main Street in Brattleboro. For more information at  or call 
802-275-2694 .

Hilltop Montessori School