Spring Cleaning to benefit Pinewoods
Mark your calendars:
April 26: Pinewoods School Wide Yard Sale
The annual Pinewoods yard sale takes place on April 26 on site and is the perfect opportunity for you to sell or donate those items that you no longer need. Families are invited to drop off any donated items on Friday afternoon, April 25 or join us on Saturday morning to sell toys, clothing items, household goods, etc. This is a fund raiser for the school and a percentage of all sales does go toward purchasing new materials for the classrooms.
If you are new to the sale or have any questions, please contact Jennifer or me through school or email.
May 13: Field trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Chaperones and drivers are needed. We will leave campus by 8:45 and return to campus after lunch.
May 17: Pinewoods Montessori Auction. This year's theme is a beach party. It will be held at the Churton Grove club house. Please plan on attending. It is one of the last times that our entire community will be together in the 2013-2014 school year.
Earth Day is April 22 and the elementary class will be working in the gardens for the next couple of weeks. Students should bring a large shirt or apron to put over their clothing as we will be getting dirty. We welcome any donations of plants, potting soil, or parent involvement as we try to beautify our outdoor environment.
April is National Poetry Month and students are working on biography poems and learning different styles of poetry. If you would like to come into the class and share a favorite poem, please let us know. All aspiring poets are welcome.
Last year's STEM fair was a huge success. While the students put in so much work, I think the general consensus was that they were interested in doing it again. I propose that we hold a STEM fair on Saturday, May 31. This would give the students 7 weeks to work on a project. Some of the work could be done in class, but parent involvement would be necessary. I welcome your feedback in deciding whether we would have sufficient participation to make this a success.
Jo Ann and Summer
Pancakes at Pinewoods
Thank you to everyone who came to our annual Pancakes at Pinewoods breakfast. I hope everyone had a chance to enjoy time with other Pinewoods families, meet the local fire fighters who protect our community and have some breakfast.
A Buddy Bench at Pinewoods
Recently there was an article in Scholastic News about a student in Pennsylvania who found a simple but powerful way to address loneliness at recess. He reached out to his community and the idea of a buddy bench was born. Basically, the buddy bench is intended to foster friendships and give students a place to meet when they can't find a pal to play with. Quinn, a first-year student in our class, decided that no one at Pinewoods should feel alone and that we "absolutely had to have a buddy bench so everyone would always have a buddy".
This week we are trying to make that happen. We have hired Tim Wells, a local musician and craftsmen, to work with the elementary students and build a buddy bench. Weather permitting, Mr. Wells will be on campus on Wednesday afternoon to help the class design and build a buddy bench. Mr. Wells uses natural materials to create permanent structures in outdoor environments. Once the bench is built, I am hoping that someone in the community can help with wood burning the names of the 2013-2014 elementary class into the bench.
We will reschedule if the weather is too cold or wet.
The Great American Mail Race
The elementary class will start the Great American Mail Race this week. This project is a race to send letters to schools in all fifty states. We will target Montessori schools as well as public, charter, and other private schools. This activity reinforces letter writing skills, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure as well as map skills. (When was the last time you wrote a letter?)
Animal Research Project
We will continue to work on the animal research project in class this week. By the end of the week, I am expecting to have a better idea as to future deadlines. I will send an email before we leave for spring break with an updated timeline of the project. This week we will also address the difference between an ecosystem, a biome, and a habitat.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, I can be reached at school, home, or through email.
Our classroom quilt is currently underway, but it is not to late to bring in a piece of fabric.
We are also collecting bottle caps for a future art project. Please start sending in bottle caps to school.
Power to the People
Charles Dudley Warner once said, "Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it."
This week families at Pinewoods did something about it. On Friday when we found ourselves without power or water for several hours, Cory and Crissy Foy came to the rescue. They delivered gallons of water, food, snacks, and bottled water for everyone. Other families left flashlights and blankets. Flashlights were extremely helpful when students needed to use the restrooms. Overall the students who braved the weather were treated to a fun day at school. Thank you to everyone for their thoughtfulness.
Special thanks to Matt Gunter for the beautiful new planter box for the elementary class. We are really looking forward to the spring when we can use it.
Please help me welcome the McGoff family to Pinewoods. Samantha McGoff joined our class this week. Samantha is a first year student and already has many friends in our class.
Last Call For Fabric and Shirts!
Please have them in to us by Wednesday, March 12 if you want your child to be included.
End of Year Field Trip?
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend Family Day yesterday at school. The day is intended to give parents an opportunity to see some of the work being done in class prior to meeting for parent-teacher conferences. Conferences are scheduled next week on Thursday and Friday so there will be no school for students.
I continue to hope for some return to normalcy in our school routine. After the early release, snow days and the President's Day holiday I was looking forward to some return to our normal schedule. Unfortunately, class was interrupted on Friday when we were informed that there was a tornado warning in place for Orange County. Immediately, Summer and I brought the students into an interior part of the building away from any windows. We reassured your children and tried to make them as comfortable as possible. Summer was in the library with five of the older students and I was with the younger students in the art room. It was interesting to see what the students felt like they could not do without in the event of a tornado. As soon as we settled in, students were struck with the undeniable need to use the restroom. Many trips later we all settled back to wait for the all clear signal. Sitting in the art room with 15 nervous/scared students, I did not immediately hear that the other classes in the building were working normally in their classrooms. Upon further investigation, it was confirmed that our class was not notified that we were under just a watch and should not be huddled together awaiting disaster. We have successfully practiced a tornado drill!
Last week students were busy working on geometry projects. First and second year students built a geometric town with parallel, perpendicular and intersecting roads. The town had numerous buildings each constructed in the shape of pentagons, hexagons, and other polygons. Older students are working on constructing a miniature golf course designed with specific angles.
Our class will be making a quilt as our project for the annual auction. We would like all students represented in the quilt, but we are still missing many pieces of fabric. Ms. Summer desperately needs some fabric that is meaningful from each student. Pieces of baby blankets, old team uniforms, or any type of cloth should be sent to school no later than Tuesday. We will start on the quilt on Wednesday.
Last year our class participated in a STEM fair with a local home school group. Science fairs have become part of the elementary/middle school curriculum and experience. The elementary class will participate in a STEM Fair again this year. Dates will be announced in the coming weeks, but it will be some time in late April or early May.
End of the Year field trip
I need some feedback. I am working on an end of the year field trip for the class. One of the sites that I am considering is a day trip to the Discovery Place in Charlotte. My thought was that we would go by Amtrak Train leaving from Durham and returning late the same evening. It would require that we meet at Amtrak before 7 a.m. in the morning with students not being picked up at the train station until just after 7 p.m.
The trip would be somewhere around $25. My concern is that it might be too long of a day for the younger students. What do you think? We would need several chaperones. Amtrak requires a 1:6 ratio adults to children. I would appreciate your thoughts.
I am also working on a field trip specifically for my older students. Details will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, if you have not paid for the Harriet Tubman play at the ArtCenter earlier this month, please send payment to school as soon as possible.
Fabric & T-shirts
We still need old t-shirts or a memorable piece of fabric from each student. As of now we only have nine out of twenty-one. Please send it in as soon as possible so we can get started on our classroom quilt.
A Busy Week
Chinese New Year & Yoga
Sun, Jan 26, 2014
Brrrr...... it's cold out there. Tired of the unusually frigid temperatures? Come in out of the cold, reconnect with the school community and join us Thursday evening, January 30, for our final Pot Luck of the year.
No pressure, but your children boast about the wonderful meals served every night in their homes!
Thursday, January 30: Pinewoods Potluck and Discussion Group
Friday, January 31: Pinewoods Pajama Day. Students should roll out of bed and come to school in their jammies. We are planning a fun day meant to reenergize, refocus, and recognize/celebrate the days when we work hard. Students may bring one small pillow and one small stuffed animal.
While continuing to work on individualized work plans, we managed to find time to welcome visitors into the classroom.
Emma Gunter's grandparents , both geologists, arrived in our classroom with boxes of fossils, stories about treasured rocks, and their many adventures traveling the world.
David Toennisson's grandmother, Miss Terry, came later and brought her expertise as a Montessori teacher/trainer. We had a wonderful time together and she enjoyed meeting all of our students.
Finally, the National Children's Theater came and delighted the students with a performance about the importance of conserving resources.
If you would like to come in and share a particular interest with the class, please let us know. We love to welcome visitors.
As a parent of a 21 year-old, I appreciate the importance of children having some practical life skills. (For example, knowing to remove ink pens/markers from clothing before it is washed). Thus, I have recently started to add some new practical life works. All students had to demonstrate competency sewing on buttons. Ms. Summer took over teaching the students how to knit. Currently, I am looking for someone to come in and help the students with a woodworking project. Are there any experts out there?
Thank you to everyone who helped support our MLK service project. Our next field trip is February 11 to the Art Center in Carroboro. We are looking for drivers/chaperones.