Friday Newsletter / September 29, 2017

Monday 10/2/17
Cooking 3:30-4:45
MS Soccer 3:15-4:30

Tuesday 10/3/17
LE Workshare
Spanish with Marco 3:30-4:30
UE/MS Soccer 3:15-4:30
SSAT Prep Class 3:15-4:45

Wednesday 10/4/17
Chess 3:15-4:30
MS Soccer 3:15-4:30
Mt Biking 3:15-4:30

Thursday 10/5/17
UE/MS Soccer Game
3:30 vs Guilford

Friday 10/6/17
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Noon Dismissal for all!
No LE Soccer Practice!

Coming up...

Monday 10/9/17
No school-Fall Foliage Day

Wednesday 10/11/17
6th grade trip to Old Sturbridge Village

Thursday 10/12/17
Lower EL day hike on Putney Mountain

*October Parent Meeting Montessori Outcomes , Discussion with Alumni 6:30-8:00

Thursday Morning Coffee Cart.
Supporting Middle School Micro-Economies, a Real Life Experience!
(co-authored by Lily Buren-Charkey, Middle School Entrepreneur, and Tamara Mount, Head of School)
Throughout the year the middle school takes on the daunting task of raising around ten thousand dollars for our odysseys! This year we are raising money for our River of Spirit Odyssey to Boston, a comparative world religion and science of water study, connecting with many different faith communities and cultures. In the middle school we are guided by the question,  “What Does It Mean To Be Human?"  Our trips help to answer this question as we experience things first hand, including the task of raising the money.

Raising ten thousand dollars by June seems like an overwhelming task, but with the student run micro-economies it becomes possible. Not only are we cooking and preparing food, we are managing businesses, practicing organizational skills, marketing our products and developing customer relations skills. These business are all about taking the initiative to get things done, which plays into the middle school's philosophy of independent learning. Micro-economies are small, usually eighth grade student run, businesses. Micro-economies already underway this year include:

  • Bagel Lunch, in which we make bagels to order every Wednesday to serve to the whole school 
  • Bake Sales at the Coop once a month 
  • Rockin’Ramen at BrattRock last Saturday
  • Coffee Cart on Thursday mornings, now by donation as part of welcoming parents to stay and see All School Gathering (next one on Oct. 12)

Others coming up that we invite you to support include:

  • Famous HMMS Soup, bread, and more, at the Putney Harvest Festival, our biggest all community effort and most significant delicious money maker (at The Putney School, Sunday, October 8)
  • HMMS Soup Subscriptions on sale now at the front desk. Homemade soup is made available by the quart on Fridays at pick up
  • Kids Night Out where we have fun, games and crafts with students in the younger grades for an evening in the Arts Barn, Oct 27, Nov 17 and Dec 15, 2017 are scheduled

See below and stay tuned for more information about specific efforts. Also, consider attending  “Montessori Outcomes - Discussions with Alumni”  on October 12th to hear how this business experience translates for our graduates later in life!
Rockin Ramen at Bratt Rock!
Upcoming Events...
October 3rd: LE Workshare 3-4pm, sign up for child/aftercare at the front desk
October 5th: No All School Gathering
October 6th: Grandparents/Special Friends Day
Noon Dismissal for All
October 9th: No school - Fall Foliage Day
October 25th-School Picture Retake Day
Everyone who was here on School Picture Day, Tuesday, September 26th, had their picture taken. If you did not fill out a picture form and would like pictures, please come by the front desk to fill one out. You must have these filled by next Thursday, October 5th.

Grandparent/Special Friend Day
Grandparents/Special Friend Day is fast approaching! It is  Friday, October 6th . This is always a nice celebration and a beautiful way to invite our friends to the school to share the environment the students have been working so hard in over the recent school year!

In order to make this special, we ask for parents:
  • Bring in a breakfast type dish/food for the event-muffins, pastries, fruit salad, scones...whatever your heart desires really! Think easy to eat & pick up items. Breakfast dishes should be brought to the Arts Barn kitchen at 8:30 a.m. the morning of the event.
  • We also need volunteers to help with the set-upclean-up, and folks to greet people when they arrive!

Please email your classroom parent reps if you can help in any way. 

Here is what the schedule will look like for Grandparent/Special Friend Day:

Coffee and Tea in the Arts Barn
Introduction by Tamara
Student Panel Discussion
Classroom Visits
All School Sing in the Arts Barn


Toddler Program
Grace and Courtesy in the Toddler Room

An important part of our Practical Life curriculum are lessons in Grace and Courtesy. They are the social niceties used in any social group and include moving gracefully, using good manners, and showing concern for others. 

Some courtesies are taught directly - pushing in a chair, wiping a nose, holding a door open for someone, etc. Some are taught indirectly through modeling. When a child hurts another child, we don't force them to say I'm sorry. Instead we bring the children together to talk and a teacher might say I'm sorry you are hurt. In time, the child who did the hurting will use the courtesy as he feels moved to.

Meal times offer many opportunities to practice grace and courtesy. Here Davis and Elijah have snack at the table. They've talked pleasantly to each other, said please and thank you when asking to be served more food, and they know it's polite to sit while dining.
Harry noticed that there was sand on the floor near the door; he used a dustpan and brush to clean the floor so sand wasn't tracked around the classroom. 
Zhong Yi, Sage and Jessica use brooms to clear the bike path of wood chips; this makes it possible for everyone to successfully use the path safely.
Whatever cultural courtesies we expect children to use, they should be used with all interactions in the environment: adult to adult, adult to child, and eventually child to child and child to adult. Some particular ones we are working on with the children now are how to interrupt politely, how to tell a friend you need space, how to return a work to the shelf so it's ready for the next friend, how to wait for a turn to wash hands, and how to offer help.

Enjoy the weekend.
Ellie, Amanda & Marco 

Children's House Field Trip Pictures
Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to drive and chaperone the field trip to Green Mountain Orchard, it was a beautiful crisp Fall morning!
Birch Room
“Concentration is the key that opens up to the child the latent treasures within him.”
-Maria Montessori

The open is a critical component of Montessori classrooms. 

We work hard to hold onto the Montessori work cycle, a 2-3 hour period each day for the children to engage in an uninterrupted use of the prepared classroom environment. It is during this time that the children have the opportunity to make deep connections in their learning. One example of this during the past week involved an older child engaging in the large “45 layout” math work, while another occurred when two 4 year olds not only on laid out a large ocean puzzle, but also found a book about ocean life and worked to identify and read about the creatures in the puzzle scene. A younger used the work cycle time to carefully clean off a table and sweep up the rug after a pencil shaving spill, showing off a truly admirable sense of determination, concentration, and purpose. These types of experiences only grow out of the unhurried time we purposefully create to “follow the child” each day. Perhaps that is why, according to the American Montessori Society, “this uninterrupted work period is vitally important.”

Enjoy a peaceful, unhurried weekend!

Some activities from the classroom that you can reinforce at home are noted in this document . There is also a good discussion of how to reinforce the Montessori classroom at home found here .

Cheryl, Serina, and Mariam  
Leo practices tweezing.
Eleanor and Paisleigh get started on the 45 layout.
Paisleigh and Oliver look up sea creatures.
Willow Room
This week we could really see the children settling in to our school community. In the classroom, we observed children making independent work choices, caring for our environment and each other, following routines, and making new friends. We had our first All School Gathering, where children spent time with their Peace Buddies as we came together as a whole school. And we went on our first Field Trip to Green Mountain Orchard in Putney!
We'd also like to warmly welcome Svetlana Humfeldt as our new Room Parent. Svetlana is mom to Alexander, in our room, and Alicia, in lower elementary. She will provide Willow Room parents with information on both classroom specific and Children's House events. She will also help coordinate parents in our classroom for school events (i.e. Volunteers for grandparents and special friends day, drivers for field trips). Look out for an email from Svetlana coming soon!

And, thank you to the Humfeldt family for providing us with delicious Green Mountain Creamery Yogurt for snack this week. What a treat!

We hope you have a great weekend. Happy Autumn!

Rebecca and Jonathan
Athena cares for our environment by cleaning the leaves of the plant.
Kennedy works on the parts of the butterfly book.
Mazin works with the cards and counters to understand the concept of odd and even.
Amir cares for our environment by cleaning one of the shelves.
Patrick and Amir make a simple and compound leaf book.
Lower Elementary
During our Peace Time this week, we read  The Invisible Boy  by Trudy Ludwig. It is a story about a boy who feels invisible at school. The students pointed out how the boy's color changed in response to how he felt. In recalling the adage, "The answers you get in life depend on the questions you ask," the poignancy of the book lies in the questions it leads us to ask: "How does Brian feel here? Have you ever felt that way? Is it a good feeling or a bad feeling?" Ultimately, this ties back in to the Golden Rule: How should we treat each other?

We often use questions to help students originate their own thoughts about something. Instead of saying, "Clean up," we might say, "How can you be helpful to the class right now?"; "What is your plan for completing your work?" instead of "Get back to work."; or "How can you fix your mistake?" instead of "You need to apologize."

How can you use questions at home to help your child find the answers within?

We are still looking for drivers for our upcoming field trip to Putney Mountain! If you are able and willing, please email us as soon as possible. Thank you!

Have a great weekend!
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia

Alicia practices addition using the strip board.
Kerstin works with Carter and Dylan on the hundred board.
Max works on stamp game division.
The birthday walk.
Our first Lower El Workshare is Tuesday, October 3rd from 3-4pm. The sign up for aftercare is at the front desk!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Kerstin, Patrick, and Amelia
Upper Elementary
Cell Analogy Work
Ilona recording part of a Geometry lesson.
Sam working with the tizits .
The big push this week was to finish the cell analogy work they had begun last week and to present it to to the class. Working in small groups, they chose to compare a cell to a kitchen, a football stadium, a baseball park, a theater, a school, a restaurant and a ski mountain. Using their knowledge of cell organelles, what would represent the nucleus in a restaurant? The mitochondria in a baseball park? The chromosomes in a kitchen? To find out, ask your child or check out the display in the Upper El hallway. One caveat: If you're looking for the ski area analogy project, it won't be there. It was made of a cake with the white icing serving as the snow. So if you child says,"Mom, the class ate my project!", they won't be kidding.

On Wednesday, October 11, the sixth grade will visit Old Sturbridge Village as part of their US History study. Because of the distance and the number of things to see there, we will need to leave HMS at 8 AM and won't return until 5:30.

We continue to ask that each student have a water bottle at school and that anything brought from home - silent reading books, food containers and the like, be labeled with their name. It's much easier to get things back to them that way.

As we wind up our first month of school, this is a reminder to all UE families to please support our goal of  20-30 minutes of home reading time a day . For some students, the availability of computer games and social media is now making it harder to sit down with a good book, which is all the more reason to develop the habit now. We ask that students spend 20-30 minutes of home time each day with a book. This could be reading the next in their favorite series, revisiting an old favorite, enjoying a read aloud from a parent, trading off reading aloud—it’s all good, and it all adds up. Local libraries have lists of recommended books. There are also many helpful websites that provide book recommendations, reviews, and in some cases information on reading levels. In addition, the class trades book recommendations from time to time, and will be doing so as we wind up our own story writing prior to conferences in two weeks. Adults can help make this happen through trips to the library, offering to read aloud to the family, and – yes – even modeling the pleasure of sitting down with a good book.
Geometry fun!
A study in concentration...
Middle School
There’s a busy energy in the middle school these days as students take advantage of the beautiful weather to gather data and specimens for the two primary projects of our Walk in the Woods study. 

The first project, an independent lab investigation, requires students to come up with their own “essential question” regarding some ecological aspect of their research plot in Upland. Then, following the Scientific Method, students design a procedure for exploring their question through direct observation and data collection. Data in hand, students use tables and graphs to analyze their findings, draw conclusions, and summarize their work in a formal lab report. Sample essential questions this year include: How does logging affect my plot? How does soil pH compare under different trees? How does the soil change as I dig deeper? How do the heights of trees compare in shady and sunny sites?

The second project, known as The Classification Project, involves careful observation and attention to detail. Using their pencils as guides, students craft a series of drawings of plants from their plot that become an identification tool. These scientific illustrations might result in a guidebook, a series of painted plates, a poster, or sculpture, but must allow the viewer to identify and understand the key characteristics of the organism portrayed. Sample Classification Projects this year include a leaves of Upland booklet, a study of stumps, a fern poster, and a destroying angel mushroom dissection.

We look forward to welcoming grandparents and special friends to our classroom next Friday, October 6th. We will be discussing Barbara Kingsolver’s thoughtful ecological reflection “Setting Free the Crabs” from her collection of essays  Small Wonder. 

As we look at climate change in science, Nora discusses green house gases in the greenhouse.
Student working on their Classification Projects.

Community News
Save the Date!! Adult cocktail party Friday, October 27, 2017...
you may need childcare! See below...
Hilltop Montessori School | 802-257-0500 | Fax 802-254-2671 |