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November 6, 2015


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Next Week at Hilltop
Financial Aid
Annual Fund Report
Crazy Sale on Swag!
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

Tuesday 11/10
Cultural Cooking
MS Love/Hate and Curriculum Vitae Poem Presentations 

Wednesday 11/11
LE Work share @ 2:30 followed by a lesson for parents at 3pm
Historical Fencing

Thursday 11/12
Video Club

Friday 11/13
Author/Illustrator Lizi Boyd Visits LE
Circus Arts
Kids Night Out

Check out the 2015-16 School Calendar 

MS and UE Basketball Sign Up Forms Going Out Next Week!

Coming Up...

Monday 11/16
MS Basketball Begins

Financial Aid

Financial Aid Application Season has Started!

New information about Hilltop's current Financial Aid program and our future goals is available on the updated school  website.

The Parents' Financial Statement   is now available for families looking to apply for financial aid for the 2016-17 academic year. Applications should be submitted for the 2016-17 School and Student Services (SSS) Online Financial Aid program by January 15, 2016.

Families can login by visiting the SSS for Families  website and clicking "Complete Your PFS" or by linking directly to the  PFS .

Some resources to help returning families complete the application are:

1. Returning families  can log   i nto the Family Portal. In order to synch-up with the prior year applications, you must login using the same Parent A e-mail address (as their username) as used last year. You can find this information along with other tips in an FAQ developed for returning families.  Download here
2. SSS webinars for parents: SSS is offering free informational webinars in the coming months for parents to help guide them through the financial aid process. This  URL allows you to register for helpful sessions

3. PFS Workbook for families - This guide to completing the PFS from start to finish features line-by-line instructions and is now available for the 2016-17 academic year. Having a hard copy available when filling out the PFS can save time and phone calls. Download the English version  here.

If you have any further questions about our financial aid program and endowment goals, or about your particular situation, please do not hesitate to ask Lauren or  Tamara.

Annual Fund

Way to go, Hilltop Community! 93% of current families, 100% of staff, faculty and board participation in this year's Annual Fund! 

Thank you for your participation!

Here are a few snapshots from our Costume Bowling Party - to see more check our Facebook page.

Crazy Sale on Swag!

That's right! Right now, get the silliest prices on Hilltop sweatshirts, long sleeved tees and sweatpants! 

50% off!

Youth Sm, Med, L, XL sweatshirts and sweatpants just $10, tee's only $5! Toddler sizes $5 for sweatshirts and sweatpants.

While supplies last!

Toddler Program

Matching pets and picture cards

Matching objects with color cards


Willow Room

Hello Friends and Families, 

During the first half of a school year, the children of a Montessori classroom learn how to navigate through the morning work period and daily routines. This is an on-going process. Dr. Montessori believed in the sacredness of a child's work. When a child is working, it is important to allow him or her complete his or her work uninterrupted. Every child must learn how to use the classroom and materials first, completing a full cycle of work. This includes choosing a work, using the materials, and putting the materials away and back in their original space before moving on.

In one of the following pictures, Owen and Pasture are exploring Practical Life work. They chose each work to explore independently. Pasture poured quickly, and two acorns fell out. He picked both acorns up and placed them back into the pitcher. Owen over-filled a cup with water, spilling over onto the tray. He used a sponge to clean-up his spill and more carefully filled the cup again. When both children were finished, they put all materials back on their trays, just how they found the work, and returned it to the same place on the shelf, completing the cycle of work. 

We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Jonathan, Rebecca and Jaime 

Birch Room

Last week the Middle School's seventh grade students began internship in the Children's House and Toddler Programs. During this experience, the older students will get a chance to observe and practice teach, while the younger children will make connections with the oldest students in school. The program will last approximately 6 weeks, and will happen on Friday mornings. 

Here are some pictures we'd like to share. 

Lower El

Our second  Work Share  is next  Wednesday, November 11th at 2:30 . From 2:30-3:00 will be a time for students to share what they're learning with their visitors. From  3:00 to 3:30  or  3:45, teachers  will be sharing a math lesson, offering suggestions for how to practice math facts at home, and welcoming any questions you may have about the math curriculum.  

The hierarchical cube lesson was presented at Wednesday's morning meeting. This is a demonstration of the values from the unit, all the way up to a million-with actual, physical quantities. A great show is made of carrying the large millions cube out of the closet, which half-fools even the experienced Lower Elers into thinking it is extremely heavy. 

In our composition of the earth study, students were introduced to the timeline of the continents. They learned how our continents were once all together in the supercontinent of Pangea, but slowly spread out. It's strange to think that India was once part of what is now Africa!  

Have a wonderful weekend.

Pics from our Field Trip to BEEC today

Upper El

In lit group with the fourths and fifths, the UE has taken a detour from the novel to take a close look at non-fiction writing. We have begun by taking a look at the way authors and editors structure the information they want to present. When students notice the structure, especially as they preview, the students mentally prepare 'files' into which the details of the information will fall. Each preview assignment begins with a quick mental inventory of all the facts a student already brings to the reading on that subject - their prior knowledge. This gets the brain engaged and activated on that subject. Next, the students are asked to think of questions they may already have formed on that subject and bring them to mind. This all happens in a moment after they've read only the title of the piece. Next, the text is previewed. 

This week, we examined a long article from the encyclopedia on Mountains. Students were asked to ignore the actual text and to focus on the clues to the structure of the article, to see what information can be gained there. Following a few introductory paragraphs, there was a break with bold, centered heading, announcing a new section ("The importance of mountains"). Students may then think, "Hmm. I guess they are important. I wonder how?" Each paragraph in this section began with a brief statement, also in bold text (In affecting climate; In maintaining water flow; etc.), revealing the main topic of that paragraph. This format repeated itself for a total of 6 sections. The students were asked to copy the structure on a bubble map provided to them. Then they were asked to write down all they had learned by only reading the structural clues given to them. By providing practice in noticing the structural clues provided by the authors in non-fiction writing, our students will be able, through practice, to build a structure in their brains for sorting and categorizing the facts as they read non-fiction text.

Middle School

Last Friday the middle school began our annual six week elderly companion and younger mentoring programs.  On Friday mornings the seventh graders connect with the younger students in the toddler, children's house and lower elementary classrooms and help out in any way requested.  While the seventh graders are helping to mentor those younger than they, the eighth graders are venturing to three of the area's assisted living facilities and building a relationship with one of the residents.  Although this is a program we do every year, it is the perfect complement to our current society/community sense of place study.

Here are a few excerpts from student reflections:

"Today I met my elderly companion.  She is very nice and was very open about her life.  I learned many things about her that if I were her, I wouldn't tell anyone.  I think this showed great courage and understanding."

"As we approached Holton Home, I felt scared and nervous.  My palms were actually sweating in distress.  What was I going to say? Would there be awkward silences?...To me, everything about this was nerve wracking.  Finally....I got to meet my companions...Now I am not at all nervous because I know there will always be something to talk about.  They are both really great people."

"My elderly companion let me experience the elderly in a way I have not ever before, by  becoming my friend rather than a stranger, he is a special man."

"I spent an hour with a girl who needed help with her cursive. She had been having lots of trouble with letters that aren't vowels. I didn't quite know how to approach teaching her how to write sentences in cursive so I ended up writing out the letters and she would copy them down. She soon moved onto writing the words on her own and it was actually really rewarding for me, as well as her."

"The hardest part about trying to mentor these kids is to teach them how to do things that they need to learn how to do without you doing it yourself. It is hard to let their own hands do the work when you're trying to let them learn!"

"I was impressed with their manners and their ability to be quiet when the teacher told them to. It took me back to when I was that age and no one in my class would stop talking for more than five seconds (Ah, the good old days)."

On Wednesday, Bob Parks, Lucy's dad, came in and gave us a class on the art of the interview.  The class was in preparation for the student's upcoming interviews with a wide array of community members for their Society Project.  Next week, Melany Kahn, Mason's mom, is coming in to guide the students on how to prepare and conduct a photo shoot.

Garlic Planting

Practice in memorization for The Love/Hate and Curriculum Vitae Poem Presentations this Tuesday

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', November 13th from 5-9:30pm. 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. 

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

Youth Battle of the Bands 
Brattleboro-Fierce competition is expected between six or more youth bands during Youth Services' Battle of the Bands at the River Garden in Brattleboro, VT Tonight from 7 to 10 p.m.  Competing bands to date are: Negative Space, The Regulars, Wicked Thirsty, Raspberry Jam, Sometime Sunday, and Nomad vs. Settler.  Opening the event is the indie-rock band Snaz, past winners of the Battle of the Bands in 2012.

The Snaz

The cover charge is $4 and includes refreshments and many door prizes. This event is underwritten by Supreme Fitness, Hazel Restaurant and Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery. For more information, visit Youth Service at .

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