Getting in the Swing of Things

Autumnfest Needs

All eyes should be on Autumnfest and our Annual Online Auction on our Facebook page. If you have not shared it on your Facebook, please go do that now.

Here is the link

You don't even have to be a Facebook member to share the above link with friends and family, just paste it anywhere you can.

And again, if you haven't signed up for a work slot for Autumnfest (which is next Sunday, Sept. 27!!), go do that too....

On with the school news...

9-12 is Hitting Its Groove....

We have come to end of our first month and holy cow, we are humming already. Everyone is adjusting well and seems very happy. 
The first week is always a little bumpy until we get used to each other and new expectations. The second week is usually quieter and more peaceful. The third week, activity increases and students are literally humming while getting their work done. 
I do believe we have set some sort record as far as normalization goes and I am very thankful for such a great group of kids. It's going to be a great year! 
Some of things we have been studying so far have been all about space and Earth's place within it. 
In science we have learned how to build a universe and introduced ourselves to our solar system. In Van Loon's Geography we have learned that in the history of our planet that we once thought the world was flat and that we were the center of our Universe. Thanks to Greeks, they set us straight with a little math and observation. We learned that moon pulls the tides and the simple fact that we are just fellow passengers on the same planet "and the weal and woe of everybody else means the weal and woe of ourselves." 
Writing has definitely been about ourselves however as we are working on the first couple chapters of AutobiograMEs. 
Students also had their first Farm workdays and Ali our Lettuce Learn intern comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays to cook a snack from the garden with the 9-12. 
We have been to library the last four Wednesdays and everyone is enjoying some quiet time to learn about their own interests.  
This past Wednesday, we stopped by Stick Boy for free cookie day and entered "the best free cookie day photo" and we are pretty sure we are going to win. See above....
Thank you everyone for giving us your kids. We love them and we love watching them transform. 

Kristy and Emily


Creating Learning in 6-9...

In the 6 to 9 over the past month, we have continued to wrap our heads around The 5 Great Lessons. We are still working on the First Great Lesson which is a big one. “How everything began.” We have covered and are continuing to cover lots of creation stories from around the world. Here are just a few of the resources we have been tapping for those stories: and from Mr. Glenn’s favorite alma mater We are really diving into Science’s creation story, and here are a few things we are exploring   Star Size Comparison... and    Just How Small is An Atom
We are also learning and reviewing our Grammar Symbols, all of the math operations, and my favorite: Fractions!


We are eating great student made snacks like peach cobbler  

Middle Schoolers finding their Place...

Five weeks into the school year, the middle schoolers (12-14 class) have explored math and science in ways that the earliest scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians did.  
They estimated distances using similar triangles, as Thales did, the first recorded "scientist." (see photo)

They contradicted Empedocles, a fifth-century BCE Greek, who believed that air was one of only four elements, by experimenting to discover that air is made of more than one element.

 They have worked together and independently to solve problems involving algebra, geometry, physics, and chemistry.

They used beginning calculus, as Aristotle did, to figure out the circumference of a circle.

They have packed gear, shopped for food, studied topographical maps, created lessons to teach, and, finally, gone camping on an overnight trip to Linville Gorge, just returning Friday...

The year is just beginning, and these four students have already covered great distances, both figuratively and literally.


Learning Peace with the 2-4 Class....

In 2-4 we are learning all about how to be peaceful members of our classroom community. We have introduced the peace table and are helping mediate classroom conflicts in a respectful manner.
We have started lessons on the solar system and are learning the order of planets through song and are highlighting a planet and learning interesting facts each week.


Building Individuals Together in Toddler Class...

If teaching is to be effective with young children, it must assist them to advance on the way to independence. It must initiate them into those kinds of activities, which they can perform themselves. We must help them to learn how to walk without assistance, to run, to go up and down the stairs, to pick up fallen objects, to dress and undress, to wash themselves, to express their needs, and to attempt to satisfy their desires through their own efforts. All this is part of an education for independence." - Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child
"Psychologists have argued that childhood is a natural phase of growing up. Indeed, Maria Montessori believed that children are innately preparing to be adults. She further stated that parents and teachers needed to provide a strong foundation of skills and work habits that would eventually allow them to be responsible for the caring of their own families, homes, community and environment. These skills, when taught early in life, allow children to believe in themselves as well as developing the self-discipline needed for success throughout their lives." © the North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, June 10, 2008.
The Toddler classroom is growing in leaps and bounds and finding their independence in every day, practical life works: blowing noses, sweeping, spooning, pouring and much more!


INDEPENDENCE is Key to the 3-6....

Independence, independence, independence. We Montessorians talk a lot about independence, but why is it really important?? Yes, it makes our lives easier when our kids start taking care of themselves, but this is not why. Yes, we are proud of our kids when they learn how to do something on their own, but this is not why. The fact that the child has finally learned to tie his shoes is not the important part of the equation. By successfully completing a task at just the right challenge level, a child gains self-confidence. This is a crucial way you can help your child develop self-esteem. You can not give it to him in a neatly wrapped box. You can not give it to him by praising him. However, you can help a child gain self-confidence by allowing him to tackle a challenging task and struggle through it until he can get it. I know you have seen the look on your child’s face when this happens! It is magical!

Now, how can you help your child achieve this amazing independence?? It takes time and patience but the rewards are great! It may just about drive you crazy helping your child get her lunch packed every day, but that moment when she stops needing your help, is AMAZING!! You may need to help her along the way- do a couple steps for her. You may need to cut and peel the carrots at first. Then, you show her how to peel the carrots. Then, you show her how to cut the carrot. At last, she can make her lunch all on her own! This process may take several days, weeks, or months, but it will be worth it. Watch your child and try to assess if you are doing anything for her that she may do herself.

So, please, try to endure a little additional time and headache in the short term in order to give your child the independence and self-confidence that he will carry with him his entire life!

Here are some ideas for what your child may be ready for tackling at home:

3 year olds- selecting and putting on clothes and shoes
fastening jacket
set table
assist with cooking
taking dishes back to sink after eating
wiping table after eating
sweeping floor after eating
pouring from a small pitcher
put away toys
put away laundry
4 year olds- all above plus
load/empty dishwasher
brush hair
pack lunch with assistance
5 year olds- all above plus
make bed
tie shoes
wash hair