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Lower Elementary Week of August 20th

 Welcome back to school! We had a great week together as we reconnected with friends and welcomed a new friend, Michael Kahrs, to our class. Michael is a third level student and he had many new friends helping him during his first few days. Our first level students had an easy transition to their new environment as well. We have so many mentors and leaders among our students who offer sweet guidance to others. We have 15 students this year and this is a good number, providing the ideal make-up of a Montessori elementary classroom. Students are able to practice problem solving skills, and critical thinking is encouraged. They rely on each other as resources as they learn together. Students develop leadership skills, share knowledge and give lessons with materials they have already mastered. This builds their confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills. It is wonderful to observe their delight and patience as they offer guidance to friends.

Morning Meetings     We begin each day with a morning meeting. This is a time to talk about the flow of the day, work cycles, special activities and sharing. Small groups/individual lessons and introductions will be given in preparation for work students will have in their journals during the morning work cycles. Cultural lessons are usually in larger groups after lunch for the afternoon work cycle.

Community Building     We always begin the year focusing on reconnecting with friends and community building. I read many books with the common theme of friends, grace and courtesy, making good choices, empathy, inclusion, helping others, and respect for self, others and the environment. These are areas we continue to talk about throughout the year in peace circles and group lessons. Our peace circles this week included the Montessori introduction to "making silence",the singing bowl, gratitude journals, and meditation.

Reading     LE students love to read to the class during the week. We will start this next week so those who would like to read aloud to the class have the opportunity to do so. They also love to share their creative writing or other research and projects. Reading to self, guided reading and reading groups will begin next week.

Language and Math     Lessons are underway in all areas. Math and language are more individualized than other areas of the classroom. Small group lessons are given and children also work independently. Students are reviewing math materials and operations and we will move forward "following each child." Language included creative writing, and journal topics. Interviews were conducted as kids paired with a friend for a "Getting To Know You" survey and drawings. Summer journals were fun to read as they shared their adventures and illustrations.

Cultural Lessons/Zoology and Botany     Research format and resources materials were introduced. Fish and amphibian lessons were presented and their first research for the year was amazing as they explored many species and facts. Follow-up from this lesson is a favorite activity using clay to construct mini-sculptures/habitats for each animal they chose. Herbs were identified and cooking included using the herbs to make bread sticks.

    Thank you for sharing your children with us each day. I look forward to an exciting year together. Check out the attached pictures of our LE community. What a wonderful class this year! Ms. Lynne Lower Elementary

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