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Fostering Choice - UE with Ms. S

I’m done, what do I do now?

These are words spoken by many upper el kids. This is actually where the magic happens. There is always choice in a Montessori classroom. Choices of when and where to do work. More importantly is what work to choose. Letty Rising, Montessori consultant, put it like this, “Understanding how to facilitate, organize, and prepare an environment that fosters student choice is one of the most challenging aspects of being a Montessori elementary teacher. Striking the balance between teacher-led experiences and student-led experiences will go a long way in creating an environment that sparks interest in the child and supports them in digging deeper into their topics of interest, while still ensuring that they are making adequate progress in their academic development. It is through their interests that they will be practicing and developing many of the skills they are required to learn, and they are doing it in such a way that simultaneously satisfies their need for self-construction. “


We are always growing our toolbox for social-emotional learning. We recently added a sound station, where we can reset with a sound/music break. Kathleen has focused on the benefits of music in her most recent mindfulness exercises, including the positive effects it can have on mood, emotions and perceptions. We also started Soul Food, which provides the opportunity to share a song and tell the community how it “feeds our souls”. Songs shared so far have made kids feel happy, pumped up and peaceful. We have also been compiling a list of choices to help us reset throughout our day.


Self-awareness is an important step towards self-regulation. Each day, we can draw a line on our own “bucket” and adjust the levels to convey how full our buckets are. Not only is this a good opportunity to check in with our feelings, it’s also a time when others in our community can build empathy and become bucket-fillers.


THINK is another tool we are using to grow positive communication skills. Essentially, before you speak you need to ask yourself if what you are about to say is true. If so, then does it meet at least one of the other expectations: helpful, inspiring, necessary or kind.



In language, we are using short fiction stories to teach and practice various reading skills. Last week we worked with the element of theme and this week our focus is on plot. In the news, we read about the spring equinox and Mr. Matt tied in some vocabulary to our SWI studies. This week we read about a 98 year old Holocaust survivor and her Tik Tok account with a huge following. She uses this platform with the help of her great-grandson to share her stories as a witness to this horrific event in history, but also to show her everyday life. This is one way she hopes to combat deniers. She has challenged us to never forget and that when you listen to a witness, you become a witness yourself.


And….

  • Branches of government project continues with planning and research

  • Decimal nomenclature, fraction equivalence and addition in math; angle study in geometry

  • Knitting for art auction

  • Lots and lots of spring production rehearsal

Community Matters

  • Group discussion regarding appropriate uses of tech

  • Care of our environment and school animals

  • Tea Time Tuesdays - a chance to hang out and chat with Ms. S

  • Lots of birthday fun - on the green with games, library time and coming this Friday, the Olympics - UE Style


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