What a busy but productive first week of community building we had in our class! We had many chances to learn each other’s names, learn where things are in the room, and for many, learn the freedoms and responsibilities that come with a Montessori classroom. Now that many of the orientation lessons are finished, this week we will be progressing into much more content based learning.
Beginning this week we will start our spelling groups. Each Monday students will receive their word list and will spend a portion of each day going through a “spelling-drill” within their group. Additional practice can be done at home and will be included in parts of the homework. Spelling tests will be given during class on Fridays.
Our math has already begun with an exploration of the decanomial using Montessori beads as well as completing a multiplication chart. This week we will begin to form math groups which will be a semi-fluid process for the first week or two, to make sure each student is receiving their own challenging work and lessons. Math groups will be working with both Montessori and GoMath materials. There will be enough time in class allotted to complete math tasks and assignments though on occasion students may choose to take their work home to get ahead. If individuals choose not to make full use of their work session times, these occasions may become more frequent. We will also begin working on our multiplication, division, and fraction facts throughout the week.
In science we will take a look at different characteristics of leaves, exploring the different shape, margin, and venation qualities that are used to identify their appropriate plant species. The weather forecast is looking glorious for the upcoming week which should allow for some outside exploration of local leaves as well!
In language we have started a weekly Montessori word study activity called skyscrapers. This week we will be continuing a study on compound words. Additionally we are practicing our cursive (outdated perhaps, but it is still very important to our literacy to be able to read cursive.) We will also begin a study of nouns.
We will begin cultural studies this week by starting off a conversation about our story as a community, as a nation, and as world citizens. This study will seek connections between our past and our present, beginning with the American Industrial Revolution. To set the stage I will be reading aloud the book, A Bandit's Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket by Deborah Hopkinson, a historical fiction story set in 1880 New York City. The story examines a path to intrinsic rewards, peace, and social justice…core ideals of the Montessori Model.
On a different note, as previously mentioned, students are responsible for their own healthy snack options. Snack time is usually around 10am and it is an important time to nourish the body which nourishes the mind. This is also a brief break in morning routines to allow for socialization over a universal concept: food. As a result, it’s a great time for social-emotional learning. If snacks/healthy treats are brought for the whole class, please consider the following food allergy combinations accounted for in our room this year and provide a suitable alternative for three students: almonds/gluten/dairy, peanuts/pineapples, and carrots/gluten/dairy. Many students have already brought in their second pair of shoes for wearing indoors, including both the classroom and PE. These shoes should stay at school. Outdoor shoes should go home each day.
I had previously mentioned that I would host a classroom orientation before the school-wide open house. I have decided though that such a large organized event is not possible quite yet. I would, however, like to invite anyone that would like to see the classroom before the open house to please do so anytime! Class is over at 3:30 and I am usually here until 5 or 6 at the earliest. If a specific time works for you during the evenings, please let me know, as I am excited to get to know you all better, and for you to get to know the classroom. If I don’t see you before then, I look forward to chatting with you at the open house September 22.
I hope the sunshine this weekend treated you well! Perhaps you were looking for some coho, caribou, or campsites…whatever you didn’t get done, next weekend is three days long and is forecasted to be just as beautiful. YEAH!
Welcome to Room 223! It is with great honor and excitement that I get to begin the school year with you all as the next teacher in your child’s life. I will be one of many educators in their journey, facilitating both chances to explore the world around them and opportunities to make meaningful connections from those experiences. The lessons most meaningful will be made possible in partnership with their first teachers, all of you. As such, I look forward to working closely with you towards the individual goals of each student.
As some of you may know I completed my student teaching last spring under the guidance of Mrs. O’Harra, in Room 221. It was my experience with those students and families, our teaching team, and this amazing school, that compelled me to extend my passion into this new opportunity for us all. My degree program was with UAA in elementary education, which was a rewarding experience, supplemented by an exploration of Alaska. My wife and I moved to Anchorage seven years ago from Montana where we grew up, seeking the limitless adventure the Last Frontier holds, and we have been finding it by means of camping, backpacking, kayaking, hunting, and fishing amongst other ways.
While studying at UAA, I have also been working as an Interpretive Forest Ranger for the Chugach National Forest where I have had the opportunity to communicate my passion for the Alaskan outdoors to people of all ages. I am based out of the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center so if you are in Portage Valley, make sure to stop in to say hello! In fact, it’s a special year this year for fourth graders, as part of the “Every Kid in a Park” program, this age group and their families recreate for free on our national public lands! For more info visit https://everykidinapark.gov
This school year we have all sorts of amazing topics to explore. Mathematics will utilize Montessori materials and methods as well as GoMath curriculum, and will be the most individualized part of our class in order to “follow the child.” In Science we will be delving into topics such as salmon, circuits and pathways, and earth systems. Reading, writing, and language studies will be an important part of each day through individual, small group, and class wide activities. Our cultural studies will be a point of focus as well as integrated throughout each day and will study topics including current events, social justice, and citizenship in the context of our story of the United States.
I hope that in the coming days and weeks I get a chance to meet you all, and get to know you as the year progresses. In an effort to make this more possible, I am inviting you all to a classroom orientation the second week of school where we will have a chance to meet and discuss in more depth things like classroom routines, expectations, opportunities, and allow time for further questions you may have. This will be in addition to the school-wide open house.
I am very excited about these months to come, and know you are all critical to the success of this future. As such, please feel free to contact me via text, call, or email about anything, even if just to say hello. I have created a website for our classroom to open another line of communication and post updates to at http://mrbrentsclass.weebly.com/ Together, lets have a great year!
Mr. Brent (Ramsay)