We are thankful for our school, our students, families, and friends.
The Elementary Teache
Mark your calendars: Wednesday- Friday: Thanksgiving Holiday
December 7: Hillsborough Holiday Parade
December 8: Elementary Classroom Service Project gifts due
I am interested in taking the elementary students to Old Salem Village on Friday, December 13. Our participation is dependent upon the availability of chaperones/drivers. If you are able to join us on this trip, please email me no later than Tuesday, November 26. I am required to sign a contract for the trip and I am reluctant to do so until I am reasonably confident that we can secure transportation.
Don't forget to pick out a snowflake for the elementary class service project. We are trying to make this holiday season special for the family we are sponsoring. Gifts will be brought to the Orange County Department of Social Services on December 10. Last week elementary students wrote and distributed letter announcing the project to all Pinewoods families. The elementary students went into the primary and toddler classrooms to help younger students decorate the snowflakes. If you are able, please help us make this project a success.
The Hillsborough Holiday parade is on December 7. As soon I receive our line up position I will forward the information to the community. If you plan on participating, please let me know by Friday afternoon. As of today, we have very few students signed up to join us.
Jo Ann and Summer
22: School picture orders due
27-29: Thanksgiving holiday
7: Hillsborough Holiday parade
Once again we have the opportunity to
participate in the Hillsborough holiday parade on December 7. We
will join other local schools and organizations to parade down the streets
of Hillsborough with Santa Claus to welcome in the holiday season. If your
child would like to join in on the fun, please email me this weekend so
that I may finalize our plans with the city of Hillsborough on Monday. In
the past we have been able to invite younger siblings and former
students to join us in this very special event. Parents are welcome
to walk alongside the truck to represent our school and to ensure the
safety of the children. Please let me know how many people from your
family will be attending.
Thank you to everyone who was able to join Summer and me during conferences on Monday and
Tuesday. I look forward to conferences every year to share the benefits of
multi-aged classrooms and Montessori education. More and more private
schools are adapting the model of multi-aged classrooms, but Montessori
classrooms have over 100 years of proven experience. Younger children
learn from older students; older students reinforce their learning by
helping others learn concepts that they have already mastered. This
arrangement mirrors the real world where people work and socialize with
individuals of all ages and dispositions. Montessori classrooms have the added
benefit of working with specially designed materials to aid in the understanding
of academic concepts. It is a pleasure to watch your children learn and grow in
Field trips or going out into the community and serving the community are part of the elementary curriculum. In the past the elementary class has supported the local animal shelters, collected supplies
for NC schools damaged by hurricanes, collected and distributed books to local
charities, held bake sales to support Ronald McDonald
house, etc. This year we will sponsor a local family through the
Orange County Department of Social Services. Orange Country DSS works hard to
provide Christmas to local families who would otherwise be unable to share
a festive meal or give presents to their children. Next week the
elementary students will be going into the primary classrooms to decorate
snowflakes. The snowflakes will be hung in trees outside of the
building. The project works like the angel tree found in malls around the
area. Families choose a snowflake, purchase a gift and return the gift to
school for distribution. The elementary students will sort and label
the gifts, track our progress, and finally arrange for the gifts to be
transported to the Orange Country DSS on December 9. This is intended to be a
community wide project. Students will be writing letters and making
posters announcing the project to our school community. Please help the children
learn the importance of giving back to the community and helping those less
I am working on arranging a field trip to Old Salem Village. The trip is tentatively scheduled on December 10. Confirmation and information to follow.
NC Science Olympiads
It is time to form our Science Olympiad team. Students in second through fifth
grade are eligible. Students work with parent and teacher coaches to compete in the NC Science Olympiad trials in March. This year the following categories are included at the elementary school level:
Teams construct two rockets to stay aloft for the greatest amount of time using
two liter bottles.
Backyard Biologist designed to determine a team's
knowledge of living organisms in their own backyard. The focus is on trees,
plants, amphibians, and reptiles.
Bone and Brawn
their knowledge of the human skeletal and muscular system.
Teams design and build the lightest bridge from only pasta
and glue with the highest structural efficiency possible.
Teams demonstrate their understanding of data collected from
scientific experiments. They will interpret graphs and make observations about
trends in data. Strong math skills required.
Teams are assessed on their knowledge of marine, freshwater, and arctic
Genes R Us
Teams demonstrate an understanding of traits that
may or may not be inherited and use Punnett squares.
Teams explain how fossils and trace fossils form and what can be interpreted
about our past environments and organisms. If your child is interested in
participating or you are able to coach a team, please let me know. Teams will be
formed in early December.
Students will begin working on their Colonial America projects next week. Trade and occupations will be assigned by next Friday.
Upper elementary book reports are due on Wednesday.
Thank you to everyone for sharing their children with us,
Jo Ann and Summer
Last week the first of the six "Great Lessons" was introduced in class. The "Great Lessons" are unique to the Montessori elementary curriculum and are intended to appeal to the elementary child's natural curiosity about the world around them and their imagination. These lessons are introduced throughout the school year and include: the beginning of the universe, the timeline of life on Earth, Early Humans and Civilizations, the History of Writing, the History of Math, and the Great River.
The first lesson involves the use of a black balloon to tell the story of the Big Bang. It includes demonstrations using solid and liquids to explain how the continents and oceans first came together. It is the starting point of our study of astronomy, chemistry, and geology. The Great Lessons are given each year and students take away more information as they develop throughout the program.
This week we will begin our exploration of the solar system. By the end of the week students will take an imaginary trip to the moon. Students will be divided into "space crews" scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted side of the moon. Their survival depends on reaching the Mother Ship and they must determine the most critical of supplies to take with them on the trip. Are you interested in playing along with your children? If so, start with the given supplies and number them in order of their importance. You have one week to complete this phase of the exercise. (Answers to appear in next week's blog post).
_____ box of matches
_____ food concentrate
_____ 20 m. of nylon rope
_____ parachute silk
_____ portable heating unit
_____ one case of dehydrated Pet milk
_____ two 40 kg. tanks of oxygen
_____ stellar map (of the moon's constellations)
_____ life raft
_____ magnetic compass
_____ 25 liters of water
_____ signal flares
_____ first aid kid containing injection needles
_____ solar powered FM receiver-transmitter
(This is an old activity, I did not develop it, but I love it and students like it as well).
Throughout the week, students will continue their work on their individualized math assignments and stories for writing club. Students participating in our Writing Club are working to accept suggestions and
learning to become self editors.
I am continuing to help the students learn to be responsible and respectful citizens in the classroom. The week started with me squirting out a large tube of toothpaste on to a paper plate. I explained to the class that trying to take back a rude remark or behavior, or calling someone a name is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. Impossible! Research suggestions that it takes 30 compliments to get back to where someone started before making a hurtful remark. Should your child make a mistake and say something without thinking it through, they may find themselves giving thirty compliments to a friend. This is another writing opportunity in class.
Thank you to Sean McNally, Michelle Manzon, Tony Walker, Sherri Kempf, and Summer Bell for driving on the field trip to Art of the Brick.
Our next field trip is November 13 to the NC Museum of Art.
Mark your calendars:
November 8: Original Art Works orders are due.
November 11-12 Parent-Teacher Conferences. No school for students. There are still spaces available for the Lego camps offered on November 11-12.
Finally, if you were unable to attend Family Day on Saturday the class is open every day from 3-4 for you to come in and see what is happening in your child's class. I am available through email, phone conference at 919-933-0040 or at school everyday between 3-4.
Please don't forget to bring in a piece of fabric or clothing that is special to your child for us to use to make a classroom quilt.