Friday Newsletter / October 27th, 2017


Annual Fund Week

Monday 10/30/17
Cooking Class-Make up

Tuesday 10/31/17
UE/MS Soccer Game in Guilford 3:30
Spanish with Marco 3:30-4:30

Wednesday 11/1/17
Chess 3:15-4:30

Thursday 11/2/17
3rd and 4th Grade Home Soccer Game vs Marlboro 4pm

Friday 11/3/17
No School
Teacher In Service Day
Community Annual Fund Kick Off Party is Tonight!
We look forward to seeing you tonight!
Come enjoy camaraderie, the jazz band, delicious food, and cash bar!

Annual Appeal 
kick off cocktail party at Scott Farm in Dummerston.  
When: Friday, October 27, 2017
Time: 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
After School Program Flyers Went Out Today!
We were thrilled with the robust enrollment in the programs offered last term. We have our offerings ready for November and December! Offerings include continuing with Cooking, Chess, and Spanish. New offerings are Basketball (including a first time offering of “Intro to Basketball Clinic for Lower Elementary") and “Marionettes and Backdrops” presented by a representative from the Tasha Todor Museum.

Fliers are going home today. And a link to a description of offerings is here . Please sign up by next Wednesday! Hola! See you on the court and in the kitchen!
Let’s Celebrate Our School!
Hilltop’s Annual Fund Week, October 27 - November 3, 2017
Shortly, we’ll be celebrating “Annual Fund Week” at Hilltop. You will be receiving an envelope that will include a pledge sheet.

“What’s the deal about 100% participation from families?”
We hope all families will participate! The higher the current family participation in the Annual Fund, the more likely we are to appeal to major donors. Money breeds more money for our school. Here is a lovely quote from a major donor...I think these words are poignant. “100% participation in an Annual Fund is absolutely unprecedented! Congratulations!! That really shows the commitment your parents have to their children’s wonderful school.”
“ Are there any unique challenges for giving?”
Yes, we have three challenges that we are ready to reveal:
  1. For the second year in a row, we are pleased to announce that Farnum Insulators will donate $10 to Groundworks Collaborative for each of the first 20 donors! A $200 contribution to the Groundworks Collaborative provides ongoing support to families and individuals facing a full continuum of housing and food insecurities in the greater Brattleboro area. Check out their website
  2. All first time donors will receive a Hilltop tote bag!
  3. Additionally, the first program group to get 100% participation will receive a delicious batch of delectable homemade treats for each family from two proficient culinary parents!

“O.K, I’m starting to get inspired to give. How much should I give?”
That part is up to you. Last year gifts from current parents ranged from $5 to $5000 with an average gift of $265. Many families who felt strapped but wanted to give a little bit more, opted to pay a smaller amount automatically each month using Paypal or credit card. $10 a month for nine months is an amazing gift! We’re asking families to stretch this year. Could you afford to give, say 10, 20 or even 50% more than you did last year? If you gave $20 last year, could you give $25 this year?

“What if this is not a good time of year for my family to give?”
That’s okay. You can always make a pledge during Annual Fund week and pay later. You have until June 30th to make a contribution to the Annual Fund for 2017-18. Also, keep in mind setting up monthly installments is always an option that helps contribute while managing family budgets.

During Annual Fund week we’ll have daily email blasts with updates on our progress, and follow "Monte" coming to life!
Upcoming Events...
November 3: No School -Teacher In Service Day
November 16: Anxiety Presentation @ 6:30pm
November 17: UE Author's Tea @2pm, LE Workshare @ 3pm
November 21: Stone Soup Day
November 22: Thanksgiving Break Begins
November 27: School Resumes
Reduce your Anxiety
Don’t procrastinate. Sign up for the Anxiety Presentation. We have more than 80 people from our immediate and broader community planning to attend “How to Understand and Reduce Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with Paul Foxman”. Thursday, November 16 6:30-8:30 p.m.on the Arts Barn. Please RSVP .
Toddler Program
Thanks to all of our families making time to attend last week's conferences! We really enjoyed meeting with all of you.

This week brought our first real taste of fall weather - rain! And as Toddlers do, they fully embraced the opportunity to PLAY, RUN and get completely DRENCHED!
Playing in the Rain
After drying off there was plenty of time to enjoy some inside activities, too.

Enjoy the weekend!
Birch Room
In a Montessori classroom, children have longs blocks of uninterrupted time to work on materials and projects of their own choosing. During this week in the Birch Room, many children chose to focus their work on writing activities. Sounding out and writing friends’ names on a piece of art work, writing simple words using the movable alphabet, and figuring out ways to remember the difference between “b” and “d” were just of few of the ways in which children worked on writing this week. One larger writing project that several of the children have been working on is the “Birch Room News,” a collection of reports on the happenings on the playground and in the classroom, complete with illustrations. Look for it early next week!
Eleanor shows off a news article.
Henry practice the letter “p"
Eleanor: “The sand pit had a big puddle and we dug in the puddle."
Eko: “Worms attacked the slide.”
"Thanks to Magnolia's family for bringing us a lovely new spooning work!"
Willow Room
“Great creations come from the mathematical mind, so we must always consider all that is mathematical as a means of mental development. It is certain that mathematics organize the abstract path of the mind, so we must offer it at an early age, in a clear and very accessible manner, as a stimulus to the child whose mind is yet to be organized.” 
- Maria Montessori

Children in the Willow Room have shown a great interest in Math this year. Montessori Math begins with materials that are concrete and slowly move towards materials that are abstract. For example, the very first lesson in Math is the Number Rods, which includes a set of 10 rods ranging in order from longest to shortest each with a “fixed” quantity painted on them. Children start by recognizing what the quantity of a number feels like before breaking it up into pieces and associating quantity with symbol.
Finn gets a lesson on the cards and counters learning the concept of odd and even.
Sylvia works on the Hundred Board putting all of the numbers 1-100 in order.
With the age range being 3 through 6, its remarkable to get to witness children of different ages experiencing math together in the same room. We have children working with the Number Rods, children learning the symbols for 1-10, children putting 1-100 in order on the Hundred Board, and children using our Bank materials to learn about the decimal system. 

In a Montessori classroom, many materials exist as precursors to other materials or lessons. In the Sensorial area, the binomial and trinomial cubes offer a concrete way of introducing complicated math equations; (a+b)3 and (a+b+c)3. For our children it’s basically a puzzle, fitting blocks of different sizes and colors into a large wooden cube. Many Montessori children make the connection between the two when they start doing Algebra!
Amir works on the Trinomial Cube.
Kaleb works on the Binomial Cube.

We hope you have a great weekend!

Rebecca and Jonathan
Lower Elementary
A few weeks ago, our class came together to discuss the guidelines we felt were important for our community. After finalizing and agreeing upon them, everybody added her/his signature to them. They now hang up on our classroom wall, in the shape of a bright, golden sun:
Treat others the way you want to be treated....
The Lower El class is a welcoming, kind, and productive place. In our classroom...
We take care of each other.
We are helpful.
We act kindly.
We listen attentively to other people. 
We are polite.
We respect each other and our environment.
We speak kindly and truthfully.
We take responsibility for our actions.
We move safely and calmly in class.
We work hard and do our very best work. 
We are supportive, encouraging, and patient.  

During our recent afternoon peace time on Thursday, we discussed using "I" statements. The three important questions to keep in mind as we make an "I" statement are: Is it about you? Is it saying how you feel? Does it say what caused you to feel that way? Students worked in pairs to practice this. It was a fun and informative afternoon.  
Caroline practices math fact families.
Max and Talia work on the multiplication checkerboard.
Ava works on her water cycle poster.
Carter and MJ create their Parts of a Fern books.
Rain Gear: Please make sure that your student has the outdoor gear he/she needs, so that we can go out in rainy weather. Thank you!
Great Job to the Lower El soccer team for playing hard and defeating the Brattleboro Rec team this past Saturday!

Have a great weekend!
Upper Elementary
The 4th-5th field trip to the Peabody Museum of Natural History was a huge success on Tuesday. A museum guide gave the students hands-on opportunities to compare a human skull with the skulls of the early human hominids from whom we have evolved. Students had to interpret the meaning of skeletal features, such as a pronounced brow ridge that limited the development of a pre-frontal cortex. Much thanks goes to our drivers and chaperones: Lucia Magee, Andrea Burke, Marc Toyloy, Kevin Warzecha, Ben and Emily Webb, and Re Gorham.

The sixth graders have been learning the formulas for area of polygons. As a way to practice area of rectangles, and to learn about scaled drawings, each student chose eight objects in a category to measure area, such as cell phones, indoor sports arenas, and car footprints. Other students are working on copying an angle using compass and straight edge, and studying the interior angles of polygons. We are thrilled to have Nora Gordon now in place as our lead geometry teacher this year.
The class has begun our second writing unit of the year, this time focussing on personal narrative. To get this going, students brainstormed a short list of important moments connected with the most important people, places, and turning points their their lives. We will be sharing some of our writing from this fall at  Author's Tea  on  Friday, November 17 at 2:00 p.m.

Still needed for many students: indoor shoes, and a water bottle that lives in the classroom.

Enjoy the weekend.
Middle School
“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”

With this intriguing statement by the poet/philosopher Wendell Berry, the middle school began its new study, “A Sense of Place: the City Study”. The study encourages us to think about where we are and how it contributes to our identity and how we contribute to the identity of our place. The middle school spent two days downtown this week speaking with citizens on the streets and in its shops. They asked questions of how they define Brattleboro and their role in it. Students painted cityscapes and wrote their observations inspired by James Agee’s Knoxville: Summer, 1915.  They were also introduced to the local history room at the Brooks Memorial Library by research librarian Jeanne Walsh and the Brattleboro Historical Society. 
Getting ready for the beginning of our Sense of Place study.
Learning the ropes of using the Reference Room at the Brooks Memorial Library.
Working with the wondrous Reference Librarian Jeanne Walsh.
Lunch Break!
Students are continuing to plumb the complexities of identity in their Love Hate/ Curriculum Vitae poems. You are invited to hear these fascinating and insightful poems on Monday evening, November 6 at 7pm in the Arts Barn.

A few excerpts from the James Agee inspired downtown observations:

“The rest of the population was engaged in whatever they needed to do and walked quickly, with their heads down as if they chanced a look up they would be struck down by the cold gray expanse that was the sky. Some rushed towards coffee shops, havens in that time, and were greeted by friends. Water would dive out of the way of the onrushing cars and splatter against the sidewalks…..Some of the population hold coffee cups so tightly that you would think that they thought that the cups would save their lives.”
~ Solomon

I speak of a small town.
The softly laced clouds masking the heights in a dull, dismal gray.
The business structures interrupting an otherwise uninterrupted sky.
Cars rumble across the pavement like rats in a maze.
Rushing, roaming, searching.
Cafes filled with the comforting cacophony of friends.
A shelter from the endless, torrential rain, softly falling.
A home away from home.
~ Siri

Cars line the streets like multi-colored dominos, sandwiching a similar assortment of moving red, blue, white, silver - oh, there are so many shades of silver - , black, and the occasional - but not uncommon - creative, who just loves driving around conscious of the fact that they are in a DIY-mobile-tin can.
~ Hazel

We turn now to downtown Brattleboro as we pick apart the senses of our community. From the rustle of cars zooming by, to the jazz recording filling the cafe with light. But this is not the essential detail of Brattleboro I choose to speak of. Instead I invite you into the world of freshly brewed coffee and smooth mocha chocolate cake, to a little newsstand populated by morning dwellers.
~ Lily

Hilltop Helpers
A message from Julia Fedoruk, 8th grader in the Middle School:
I am once again collecting clothes for refugees, which local nonprofit  Carry Me Home  sends to camps and outreach programs in Greece.  We currently need adult winter clothing sizes small and medium, warm adult sleeping bags, and shoes/boots for all ages.   Needs change as we hear from our contacts in the field, so please check this space for any updates! All items should be clean and in good condition. Please leave them in the box in the lobby. 

To help defray shipping costs (the only item in the budget of this 100% volunteer organization), Carry Me Home will offer a  delicious Greek Supper  benefit   at Centre Congregational Church on  Saturday   November 18, 5-7pm . We hope you will attend! All the information is on our  event page . We are also seeking donations of ingredients for the supper, and some volunteers to help us cook, serve, and clean up. Please sign up on the list by my collection box, or email me.

Thank you for all of your past support, and Kalí óreksi ! (bon appétit in Greek)
Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary and Project Feed the Thousands
Show your support for the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary’s community care projects and buy a chance to win delicious meals at 5 of our local restaurants! Email  Deborah Rosenweig  to buy your ticket! $5 a ticket or 5 for $20. Going fast…
Hilltop Montessori School | 802-257-0500 | Fax 802-254-2671 |