We are finishing up our STEAM project with Christine (Aiden's mom). The children are watching for changes in plant experiments. They learned about the macroscopic, microscopic, and micro-microscopic world. Each week there was a different set of experiments and lessons created by Christine and in cooperation with scientists working in an outreach program. They learned about kinetic and potential energy, transpiration in plants and the needs of plants. They even had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Hartwell, who won the Nobel prize for medicine via Zoom!! There will be a final event to tie all of the activities together either this Tuesday or next. Thank you Christine for a remarkable few weeks!!!
We had two K-9 officers join us yesterday to show the children how they train and work with the canines in the police department. It was a huge hit - the children loved watching an officer get 'attacked' by the dog and the dog spinning around in the air. I'll post photos soon. Thank you to Lincoln's family for organizing this!!!
We have also had an intern each Wednesday. Angel is working toward her teaching degree and certificate. She did phases of the moon with the children yesterday as one of her practicum lessons.
The art walk will be Wednesday the 15th from 3-4. It's an open house type of event. The artwork will be displayed in each room and parents can walk through each room and see the artwork created by the children. We have art from Denise (the children work with Denise every other Friday) and from Art Masterpiece with Janice (Graham's mom).
We will have our final pizza day on TUESDAY, May 21st. This will also be our PJ day. Thank you Vanessa (Xavier's mom) for doing Pizza Tuesday!
Our pool party and third grade move up celebration will be on May 17th. We will have a short goodbye for the thirds in the morning around 9:30 and then head to the pool party. Parents are welcome to attend. If you are driving for the pool party feel free to stop by earlier. We should head out by 10 or 10:15 and return to school by 1:30 OR 1:45.
I can't believe this year has come to an end. It has flown by. It has been my privilege to work with your children this year. Please check the photos section often - I update it frequently but don't necessarily send out an email notification.
Needless to say, it has been extremely busy!! Please let me know if you have any questions.
The chicks hatched! The children have been waiting and watching the eggs in the incubator. Thanks to Soleil's family we got to see these little guys hatch and are now thriving! Anyone who wants to adopt these two cuties let us know! We can't keep them at school:( So we are studying the parts of an egg to go with this special addition (temporary) to our classroom. Testing for thirds is Wednesday and Thursday. There will be breakfast for all and then the thirds will begin testing around 9. Friday is third grade field day - class shirts, hats and sunscreen are a must!
I have been uploading photos of work for children's portfolios. Evidently, you will get an email alert each time I upload something. I'm sorry if that is annoying but you can change it in Transparent Classroom. You can undo the alert and just check in from time to time. That is up to you. The conference sign up is up.
We have begun an amazing science project with Aiden's mom and her scientists from ASU. It is called I Am Energy!
The children had the opportunity to look at a leaf with an amazing microscope which Christine brought. They also learned about the inside of the leaf and how it gets energy. They will be doing some amazing activities in the next few weeks which will culminate in a meeting with a scientist.
Our pool party is scheduled at Janice's family's home (Graham's mom). Thank you Janice. It will be May 17th, Friday. Our third grade send off will take place just prior to our pool party.
Third grade field day is scheduled for April 19th - all third graders and lead teachers will be doing activities and having lunch together.
April 17th and 18th is testing for third graders. PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE HERE AND ON TIME. We will have breakfast for all children on those mornings. Erika put out a sign up for those items.
We will officially open the gardens on May 3rd so the children can have special lessons or do research out there.
The Art Walk is scheduled for May 15th from 3 - 4 PM. The children have created some absolutely amazing art this year!
We are wrapping up Black History month with compare and contrast essays with the third graders. We also are working on mindsets (growth v. fixed). The children made a special flip-over booklet with ideas that they can use to stay in a growth mindset. I suggested they take them home and hang them somewhere convenient so they can look at them each day.
The luncheon is coming up next Friday, March 8th. That is also our ice cream social in the afternoon. The tour of projects begins at 11:30 with lunch starting at 12:15. Please stay and help clean up if possible - we have the ice cream social that afternoon too!!
The following week is spring break! March 20-23 the E1 teachers will be in Washington D.C. for the annual Montessori Conference. We are looking forward to getting inspired with new ideas and will even have a chance to purchase Montessori materials at a discounted rate. If anyone would like to help with the costs of this trip it would be greatly appreciated. The admission alone is $649!! We have our tickets and hotel booked and are looking forward to getting some new and amazing ideas for our classrooms. It's been many years since we have been able to attend this conference. It used to be in California (an easy trip to make) but it's been on the east coast now for a while and it's tough financially to make it out there.
AZ Merit testing is coming up - not exactly sure when but it is in April. We don't have the specific days yet so we are holding off planning a field trip (or anything else) until we hear. It is only the thirds that test but with our multi-age classrooms we have to make special arrangements for firsts and seconds. We will let you know about that when we figure it out:)
Janice has finished the mural that the children created in Art Masterpiece. Each child answered some questions about school and did a sketch. From these, she put their sketches on a large piece of plywood and the children colored their pictures with charcoal. It turned out amazing!!! It will be for sale at the auction and hopefully donated back to school to hang on an outside wall (it is waterproof). Thank you Janice for another amazing art class! We can't wait for the art walk so parents can see all the wonderful work the children have created this year.
The children are finishing up their South America packets and getting ready to present. The finished packets (with questions and then answers after getting books from library) were due yesterday. I have given some of them until today if they needed extra help. Please make sure your child is working on these. Requirements are on this newsflash and on the flyer sent home with packets.
The Fun Run was a huge success. The children earned the formal dress up day which will be Monday, Feb. 11th. This is also our field trip to El Chullo restaurant. No field trip shirts are needed, just dress up and we will go to the restaurant dressed up!
We are still working on US History, Black History Month with studies about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, and the Underground Railroad. Firsts are working hard on parts of botany and water cycle work. Seconds are working on syllables, types of syllables, vocabulary, and edible plants. Thirds are beginning little bits of AZ Merit practice, functions of vertebrates, verbal imagery of timeline work with Ivan the Cat, history of math scavenger hunt (and nervously wondering about fourth grade:)
The FUN RUN is tomorrow! 9:00 for our level at Camelback HS. The children earned some fun things while gathering pledges.
Monday, Feb. 4th will be Crazy Sock day and extra recess!
Tuesday, Feb. 5th will be Crazy Hair day!
Wednesday, Feb. 6th will be a PJ Day (this is a regular work day but the children can wear pajamas if they choose.) No pillows, blankets, stuffed animals.
If the last challenge is met they will have a fancy dress up day on Monday, Feb. 11th.
Yes, we have a field trip to the South American restaurant that day but they can be dressed up for that!
January has come and gone but we finished a LOT of work and studied a LOT of different topics!
Not only did we try out our new version of a report card, we had conferences (which the children LOVE!), Antarctica studies, beginning US History and ongoing math and language as well as botany for firsts, and functions of vertebrates for thirds! As we move into February we talk about Black History Month with lessons and writing about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, suffrage, underground railroad and more U.S History as well as South America presentations!!!
Last week: Friday is another half day for conferences. Circle children can stay but they need to bring a lunch.
We are beginning our South America projects. The children will choose today and take home their packets today or tomorrow.
South America Projects
The children have chosen topics and have begun their packets. The packets are to be completed by Feb. 6th. They are to turn in their packets to me on the 6th so I can check that they are on track. They will have about two weeks after the packet is turned in to finish their 3D models, posters, written and final drafts as well as time to practice. Hopefully this will help those who have waited until the last minute. Fridays are available for children to bring in materials and work at school.
Children that had a hard time at home last time will be asked (by me) to work on the projects at school. They need to feel good about this project and it needs to be their work. For parents who would like to present, we will have an alternate presentation day.
Presentations will begin on Feb. 19th – I am scheduling presentations in the afternoon only this time to ensure we have enough work time each day. In the past we have done mornings and they do not get back to work well afterward so this is a test to see if they can hold it together in the afternoon.
As always, if you have questions please ask.
The luncheon will be on Friday, March 8th, just before spring break.
Firsts: animals of South America, poster board, packet, notecards, 3D model
Seconds: Landmarks of South America, poster board, packet, written final report, 3D model
Thirds: country of South America, poster board, typed final report, 3D model, PowerPoint (do not have to show PowerPoint during presentation but I need to see it).
Today is a half day for conferences. Please bring your child with you. They will show you their work. Currently enrolled circle staff can stay after 11:30 but there is no pizza so please send a lunch with your circle child.
We have been busy working on Antarctica, studies of glaciers and icebergs and global warming essays. The thirds have started a Timeline of Math scavenger hunt which takes them back in time to ancient humans and how math was used and still is today.
We will start South America projects next week (just like our Africa projects). I'm hoping to have the luncheon and all presentations wrapped up prior to spring break. A schedule will be out soon.
The year is winding down quickly!! Holiday break starts tomorrow and I have just posted the conference sign ups. These are conferences led by your child (he or she will show portfolios, books, record keeping etc.) Please let me know if you need a different time. I will always do my best to accommodate everyone.
The engineering lessons prior to gingerbread building was enjoyed by all. The children made spaghetti trusses and paper beams. We then built our 'house' and added items to see how much weight we could hold. Record breaking - 6 dictionaries!!! Hopefully they will remember these skills when building their gingerbread houses!
Have a healthy, happy, and safe holiday break!!
On Thursday, December 20th at noon, we will set up for gingerbread house making (children will be at recess). At 12:30 the children will build and decorate their houses using their engineering skills recently learned (trusses, beams). We need someone to make the meringue frosting (has to be the recipe on the meringue powder found at ABC cake decorating or craft stores - so it hardens and sticks. This is a big undertaking. We need 30 bags of meringue icing! We will also need a few volunteers for setup, help, and clean up, as well as donations of graham crackers, cake rounds, icing bags, powdered sugar and candies.
Child as Teacher sign up is ready! Please sign up for a slot to have your child 'teach' you a lesson!
See the sign up page for details.
FIELD TRIP to the Musical Instrument Museum Tuesday, Nov. 13th - 8:30 AM!!! This is right after a holiday but we need everyone ready to leave at 8:30 in field trip shirts. Drivers please have paperwork done prior to Tuesday which means today.
We will return to school by noon for lunch.
The Africa Luncheon was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who cooked and brought food. The children get so excited to do this each year. There are photos of the children to the left on the photo link.
We have a lovely educational, fun packed afternoon learning about Day of the Dead. It is a beautiful event that Mexican families have practiced for many years. Loved ones who have passed are remembered. Photos and notes are placed around an altar and families remember each loved one (even pets). The children loved making the traditional masks and hearing the stories. Many have said they are going to share with their parents and start this tradition at home! I am also going to start sharing it with my grandchildren. Many thanks to Susan (Maxwell's mom), Rebecca (Kaden's mom), and Vanessa (Xavier's mom) for volunteering to present this special Mexican tradition.
Our first official field trip will be to the MIM on November 13th. Erika has been sending emails with fabulous updates about all of our school events. Thank you Erika!!
Special thanks to the Perrault family for painting our hierarchy material (it was in bad shape).
Thanksgiving week will be Child as Teacher. Children will be able to teach parents, grandparents, relatives a lesson that they enjoy in class. I will post a sign up soon (to ensure we don't have too many people in here at once). I encourage everyone to take a moment and come and let your child share with you. Please refrain from correcting the child during his or her lesson. Sometimes they pick things they have just received a lesson on and are very excited but have not mastered the material yet. That is OKAY!! We will serve lemonade and some sort of cookie.
You should have received a permission slip in your child's folder yesterday. It is for a walk off campus for our practice safety drills. We will have a soft lock down on Monday morning and our building will practice evacuating off campus on Tuesday. A soft lock down is simply when we lock the doors, take attendance and go back to work until we hear "All clear." These will not be done in a scary way and most of the children are already looking forward to their 'field trip' walk:) But if your child is anxious, this is the reason. We will read a book about safety today and discuss why we do drills. We are having our first fire drill this afternoon.
I have the Africa luncheon and tour of projects scheduled for October 26th (Friday). The presentation schedule is just about ready but I'm waiting to hear about our art schedule and then I will publish it.
Thank you to all of our wonderful parents who have purchased items for the classroom, signed up to drive and pick up pizza, do laundry and a host of other things! I feel very blessed for our community this year. A special thanks to Erika for keeping us all up to date with the PTO lists of activities! As always, if you have questions or concerns please ask:)
Check out the photos page for pictures of the children working. I've started adding captions so you will know what the work is in the picture (I know this can be difficult if you aren't in the classroom on a regular basis).
We have two parents who have stepped up to be field trip coordinators: Ivy's mom and Kaden's mom. We hope to begin field trips in October.
Africa presentations are beginning. We have had very few days with everyone in attendance so we decided to draw topics today. Our Africa books and artifacts came out last week and the children have been looking through them. They then choose their top three picks (firsts = animal, seconds= landmark, thirds= country). We draw them from a basket and give each child his or her first choice unless it is already taken. We have a list of topics and handed out the packets. We worked on the brainstorming page and the first set of questions in class. This project is to be done at home but the children can bring their library books in on Fridays and work on their projects in class. If there is any issues with your child, please send in their packet and we will go over it again. This project is about having children be able to follow through and research then present it to the class. Parents are welcome to attend and we will have a tour of projects and luncheon when complete. We will start presentations after fall break so please make sure you get to the library soon and remember - this is your child's work - please help with reading if needed but mostly it should be the child's work. We can tell (and they will tell) if it becomes mom or dad's project:)
First grade: research animal and bring notecards from packet, 3D model and a poster.
Second grade: research landmark and have a written final paper (1 paragraph per subtopic) so a 5 paragraph essay, poster AND 3D mode
Third grade: research African country, final typed paper (5 paragraph essay), poster and 3D model AND a PowerPoint which they can start at school.
Questions? Please ask. I will have a sign up for presentations soon but look for them after break with a luncheon scheduled for Nov. 1st (Thursday). TENTATIVE DATE.
I will continue to post pictures on this site but will not send out a newsflash every time so please check this site often. We are asking children to use their book bags rather than backpacks. Backpacks take up a lot of space and usually contain many items that are not allowed or necessary at school. You would not believe how long it takes a child to put items into a full backpack and then try to zip it up!!!
The shirts seem to have been printed and not dried properly. We have had several that look very washed out. We used a Villa parent and they are very eager to make this right so they will be reprinting the shirts. Thank you Emily!
If you have any questions, please ask! Don't forget the 50/50 rule - we believe 50% of what they tell us about home and you should believe 50% of what they tell you about school. If there are concerns, please make an appointment and bring your child in so we can brainstorm any issues. Thank you for your support!
We are just about done with assessments and are easing into our routine nicely. Our goal setting meetings/conferences are coming up. We had a meeting yesterday and it was suggested that we have children attend so that we can share goals that the teacher and child come up with and get parent participation/support for the child at home.
I realize the meetings have been up for a while so if you already had plans for your child - no worries. If you are able to bring your child, please do. I will be going over goals with the children in the next couple of weeks. We will be choosing Africa topics next week. There are dozens of books in the classroom (along with artifacts and pictures) for them to look through prior to choosing three favorite topics.
Shirts and bags are being printed today so we should have those soon!
Pizza Friday sign up is up! Hopefully it will be less confusing - there are two sign ups for each date, one for sides and one for drivers. Feel free to choose both if you would like to drive your child and a friend to Sprouts and pick up pizza. We will start on August 31st.
We are using a new company for shirts and bags (Villa family) and today I held up the shirts (Youth Sm, M, and large) and asked the children how they liked their shirts (tight or loose). They are different brands so it may not matter anyway but we picked sizes based on what they were wearing. Artwork is done and I will get it ready this weekend!
A big, HUGE, Thank you to Preston's family for purchasing the Rock Cycle Mat set from the wish list!! It arrived today and is absolutely beautiful!! I can't wait to get the cards laminated and present this to the children! As soon as I opened it I ran next door to show Christa and then Christy how amazing the work is!!!
There are still plenty of items on the wish list and I am pretty sure the Amazon link works now.
There are also goal setting conference sign ups for September. These are quick 20 minute meetings - we will chat about goals you have for your child this year. There will be a Halloween sign up soon, for games, haunted house, and food court.
First day of school was incredible! What a great group of children we have this year! I've decided to try something new that some of the other teachers do - when doing our Great Lessons I'm waiting until after the History of Writing to give the children their books and pencils (because of course we haven't had writing as early humans yet!) This has caused some angst in some children but I have told them we will just do this until Thursday and then they are free to write, write, write! They don't know this but we will give them their books wrapped like a gift (because writing is a gift given to us by our early human ancestors. So, yes, your supplies did arrive (even though the children may have said something else:)
Reminders: placemats in lunch box, snack, water bottle, apply sunscreen before school. We are still getting used to our schedule - circle/indoor carline etc.
I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow night for Parent Night. I will post everything on this site for those who can't make it at 6:30.
There are links to wish list items (instead of helping hands this year) and Halloween carnival sign ups!
There is also a parent volunteer packet - if you have not done one before and a cover sheet that needs to be updated if you have.
This is for driving on field trips, going outs (picking up sides and pizza) etc.
We are looking forward to a fantastic school year! We have a busy week this week and an even busier one next week. Friday is our Open House for new students. It begins at 11 AM and lasts until noon. There is also a parent welcome provided by the PTO on Saturday at 9 AM.
We have our Back to School Night Wednesday, August 8th at 6:30 PM. Please plan on attending. We will give you lots of information about the classroom and how everything will work for your child. We also have email addresses, phone numbers, etc. that need to be updated and forms for you to fill out. If you did not buy your supplies through Kit Up and Go, please make sure to have your items on the first day of school.
CLARIFICATION: Only those who did NOT purchase supplies through Kit Up and Go need to bring supplies! I don't know who those people are until supplies come in. If you did not order through that service, the list is to the left.
ALL will need to send a check for $15 for shirt and bag (designed by students) by check made payable to Villa.
This design is created by the children (self-portraits for our classroom family design). This is a community building activity more than anything else. It also helps us with space on our outdoor hooks. Backpacks take up far too much room so we ask that you have your child use the bags we create instead.
Pizza Friday Fund Raiser: The cost is $120 per year (pizza went up this year) and also ask that you choose a date to have your child pick up sides and pizza ($20). We do Pizza Friday much like the primary classrooms. If you choose to join pizza Friday make a check out to Laura Altmaier or PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org. Leftover funds will be used for the classroom and/or the Montessori Conference in the spring (held in Washington D.C. this year).
If you are having trouble financially with these items please let me know. I will work with you!
As always, if you have questions please ask!!
Ms. Laura's Classroom Portfolio
The purpose of this portfolio is to keep parents and students informed so students and parents can reflect on student work and lessons. Reflection is a key component to learning. This also gives me a chance to reflect as I post my information to keep you updated!
Each month there will be new subpages added to show you what we are working on in class. Just visit that month for updates. This information will change depending on the interests and direction of the children but by the end of the month you should have a pretty good idea of what we are doing!
Check the Material Lesson pages to view presentations of myself giving you lessons with specific Montessori materials. These are mini lessons intended to help you understand the methods we use in the classroom. Please remember that this is an explanation for parents and these lessons may be slightly different (slower) with children and/or with other teachers. If you have any questions, please ask!