Posts Categorized: Elementary I
August 10, 2015
We have had an amazing first week of school! The children have such a wonderful energy and drive to get right into their work. The older children are being leaders and helping the younger ones adjust to the elementary classroom. We have a really sweet group of students this year, and I can already tell their personalities are going to compliment each other.
This week, we will start the Montessori Cosmic Curriculum with the First Great Lesson: The Beginning of the Universe and Earth. This lesson will involve several extensions over the next few weeks, including experiments with volcanoes, states of matter, and the water cycle. This main lesson will flow into all subjects, including math and language.
We are all excited for a fantastic year!
We have some really exciting news about the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF project. We raised $498.30! We surpassed our goal of raising enough to purchase a school-in-a-box and a bicycle to deliver medicine. Through talking with my students and a primary student, we have decided to also donate the money toward vaccinations to protect 500 children from the measles and also give 5 soccer balls to children in refugee camps. This is such a wonderful project, and we have had amazing results. Thank you to each student and parent who helped out!
In class, the children have been learning about the Solar System this month. The second year students made amazing clay models of the solar system, while the first year students made a large solar system that we now have hanging in our classroom. The children have also been learning about the changing weather with the fall season and about the reasons behind leaves changing colors and falling from the trees. They are working on pointing out deciduous and evergreen trees, and also learning about the changes animals go through for cooler weather.
I absolutely love the fall, and Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday. Our class made a ‘Thankful Tree’ to decorate our door for the season. The children used the leaf cabinet to trace various leaves. They then cut out the leaves and wrote what they are thankful for on each leaf. I was amazed at how quickly our branches filled up! We have been reading books this week about the first Thanksgiving. I almost put lobster and oysters on our Thanksgiving lunch menu! We can’t wait to have a feast with our Elementary 2 friends next door!
Angela Harber McCollum
“I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel. If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil. Once the emotions have been aroused – a sense of the beautiful, the excitement of the new and the unknown, a feeling of sympathy, pity, admiration or love – then we wish for knowledge about the object of our emotional response. Once found, it has lasting meaning. It is more important to pave the way for the child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.” – Rachel Carson, in Sense of Wonder (1965)
I absolutely love this quote, and I feel like it could have easily been written by Dr. Montessori. In Dr. Montessori’s book, To Educate the Human Potential, she mentions ‘seeds’ about five times on the very first page! The commonality of Maria Montessori and Rachel Carson is obvious. When speaking of ‘seeds’, the two women are speaking of the small bits of knowledge or interests that begin to take root in a child’s mind. They are speaking of connections being made, not only by what children learn from adults, but by all they see, hear, say, smell, taste, touch, and emotionally feel. As a teacher, I try my best to continue this idea by giving the children a safe and healthy way to learn on their own, and by providing them with a prepared classroom environment. I give a lot of lessons, but I also allow the children to discover different concepts on their own. The little “ah-ha” moments in the classroom are so very rewarding.
This week in our classroom, we are working on a short play to perform to both the Elementary II Classroom and the Kindergarten Classes. We continuously work on math and language. The children absolutely loved doing their own research on South American animals, so we are going to continue to plant that little ‘seed’ by researching plants we find around the school. We will display the plants and research in the foyer. So, stop and see all the seeds growing!
“Knowledge can be best given where there is eagerness to learn, so this is the period when the seed of everything can be sown, the child’s mind being like a fertile field, ready to receive what will germinate into culture.” Maria Montessori, in To Educate the Human Potential (1948).
Wow, the weather has been nice this week! Spring is an amazing time of year. Monday morning, we went on a nature walk to listen to the birds and check out the plants that are coming up in our gardens. The Outdoor Classroom is looking great. At the moment, we have several stations for animal habitats: a decomposition area, a salamander rock pyramid, brush piles, a rock pile, pollinator gardens, and also the entire forested area. In the classroom, we have really worked on nurturing our little herb seedlings for the vegetable and herb garden, and we’ll plant them soon. Also, we are excited about the chicken coop. It is really coming together. Thank you to the good folks working on it.
In March, we celebrated Mardi Gras by making masks, getting throws (toys thrown from floats), and catching beads. The children also learned about the history of Mardi Gras and its significance in Mobile, AL.
The children have been working very diligently studying about South America by making little books, researching animals, painting maps, and making flags for the Multicultural Festival. Ms. Carmen also teaches them so much about Peru and all the countries in South America. We are in the process of making a life-size green anaconda which can reach 29 feet! Aaahhhh! The Elementary I class will be performing a music program with Ms. Kathy at 1:30. They will also sing a song with Ms. Carmen about the countries and capitals of South America. I hope everyone can make it to the festival!
We are so grateful to have the kindergarten students visiting our classroom! They are all so sweet! I cannot wait to have both first and second graders in our class next year. We also enjoy having parents come and observe. Please let us know if you have not had a chance to come visit this month, and we can set up a time in March.
Thank you to everyone who helped collect dog and cat food for the King’s Community Kitchen project through the Huntsville Humane Society. Service projects are so enriching for the children.
Our class also participated in the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We are an official participant in research through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society! Very exciting!
We will soon begin studying all about South America for the Multicultural Festival.
We are continuing to read the Junior Great Books Series. We just got a new environmental education book,Growing Up Wild, and have started using it today!