Dear Montessori Parents,
Welcome to Upper Elementary! Enclosed is valuable information for our classroom! Please read through them carefully so we can begin our school year both on the same page. Of course, if you should have any questions, please contact me at anytime.
One new item this year that I know you will find helpful is this following website. Add it to your favorites, for it will have ALL of our information at your fingertips. Book reports, newsletters, homework, web links, calendar, lunch menu, and much, much more! We will use this instead of sending paper home. Lets be green and paperless this yearJMsJen.educatorpages.com
933 – 5638 Room Number firstname.lastname@example.org - Email
679 – 0028 Cell Number
Recommended Supplies for Upper Elementary:
*Indoor shoes (please no slippers, they also can be gym shoes) *Gym shoes *Communication Folder *Homework notebook – spiral or composition notebook *1-journal of your choice (No bigger than 8.5X11in. and no smaller than 5X7in.) *1-sketch book. (This will be used for art. When a book is filled, then an additional one will need to be purchased.)
Our district will supply the materials necessary for the accomplishment of established curricular goals. In addition to these materials, however, we feel we could enrich the experience for our students if they had the following.
- Write Source book. Available at Horizon and Borders Books
- calculator (Small)
- One Spectrum math book at student’s grade level (optional) and available at Borders or Staples)
- tab dividers (8)
- 3-1-inch binders (this will take the place of using one larger all encompassing binder. We are highly recommending 1 inch binders due to our very limited storage space.)
Year Round Donated Supplies
We always seem to run out of the listed supplies below. If you would like to donate any of these items, it would be greatly appreciated!
*Lined paper *Kleenex box *#2 pencils *scotch tape
*Sponges *napkins *high lighters *art supplies
*colored pencils *Expos *colored markers *construction paper
*Dish soap *hand soap *band-aids *glue sticks
Please check our updated wish list on our website, read our newsletter, or contact me if you would like to donate at any time throughout the year.
Please feel free to use any of these methods of communication. I will do my best to get back with you as soon as I can.
- A note in your child’s communication folder is guaranteed to get to me first thing in the morning.
- A phone call or voicemail on my school phone (933-5638) will be received before school, after school, and often during lunch. I am not usually able to answer the phone during instructional time, but you may leave a message. If it is an emergency, please call the Montessori office and they will get in contact with me.
- An email to me will be received after school and often before school daily. My email address is email@example.com.
The following are the community rules.
*Please use quiet voices
*Please do not interrupt others
*Please use walking feet
*Please respect materials and others
Children are expected to follow these rules. If a child chooses not to, we will remind them of our rules. If that child continues we will remove him/her from the situation. The third step is to sit in the peace corner. There, they may fill out a think sheet as to why they are there. Afterwards, they are encouraged to apologize to the teacher, classmate, and/or aide. This area has many peaceful items to calm them and bring the child back to an appropriate behavior.
Environment Work Philosophy
Maria Montessori says to “follow the child,” as they have the innate sense to seek the work that will aid their development. Our environment is prepared as a learning lab with many beautiful, expensive materials. These numerous materials should appeal to your child and meet their needs. Please note that during work time I do expect them to work. They are also encouraged to complete a variety of work and to challenge themselves. As the directress, it is my job to observe the needs of your child and steer them towards work that will meet these needs. Students will receive lessons in all curricular areas. These lessons are intended to spark the child’s’ interest and encourage independent follow-up work. I may suggest to them many extension activities following the lesson to encourage them to continue exploring the concept. Students record their lessons and work in various composition/spiral notebooks, and won’t usually bring work home. These books are mini-portfolios of your child’s work and progress in the Upper Elementary environment.
As they use their work journals or planners to guide themselves, I may remind and encourage them to expand those lessons. Children may or may not choose to go in-depth into the area at that time. However, we work with a three-year curriculum and the children will be exposed to important concepts several times. So, if it did not spark their interests the first time, it should at a later time. After a child completes a three-year cycle, the majority of Montessori children, meet or exceed state and local benchmarks and they also love learning! If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s learning, please let me know! To help you understand the Montessori classroom, I also encourage you to read Montessori Today, by Paula Polk Lillard, any of Maria Montessori’s books, or Montessori websites.
Each child is invited to bring their own communication folder at the beginning of the year that will go home with him or her each day. This folder will contain school information, important notes from me, student work, spelling words, and enrichment activities. It is very important that this folder is returned with your child each day. It is a guaranteed way for me to receive a note from you first thing in the morning. Remembering the folder each day also helps teach your child responsibility. You can help your child be successful with this by asking to see the folder each evening and always keeping it in the same place, possibly near or in their backpack. If your child’s folder takes a beating or becomes lost, please replace it promptly, or let me know and I will provide another one. Please do not be concerned if you do not see a lot of your child’s work coming home in the folder. The children do most of their work in their composition notebooks, which are used throughout the year and often into the next year. You may see your child’s work during Parents Night, and at our conferences. If you have concerns about your child’s work, please let me know and we can arrange a time to meet before these times.
The newsletter will be sent home biweekly to your email address. It will include what the children have been doing throughout the two weeks, upcoming events, reminders, announcements, and possible needed donations for the class. These and much more will always be posted on our class webpage, which will be updated weekly!
Student Work Planners
Your child will use a personal “Work Journal” to record and plan his/her lessons and work in the classroom.
This practical tool helps the students to begin to develop the lifelong skills of organization in time and efforts,
as well as balance among their chosen work. I will meet with each child weekly to check planners and to guide them
when needed in making appropriate choices for their follow-up work in the classroom. These planners will be in a
booklet to show their work progress throughout the year. They will be sent home at the end of the each week along
with a self evaluation form that encourages your child reflect on the week. Please use this time to discuss you’re
your child the works they have been choosing. In doing so, you will be informed weekly about your child’s progressJ
During our student led conferences, they will also be used to show your child’s working habits. At anytime, if you
need to come in to see what your child has been working on, our door is always open! Come on in before, during or
after school at anytime!
School Times and End-Times
School begins at 8:15 a.m. and instruction time ends 3:13 p.m. The school doors will be opened at 8:10 a.m. The children may arrive at 8:05 am and be dropped off along 13th Street and line up by the door on the upper elementary wing. Please do not drop your child off prior to this time, unless your child is part of our before and after childcare program. The children will be dismissed to get ready at their lockers at 3:13 pm. The teacher or assistant will walk the children out to 13th Street. An adult will wait with the children until they have all been picked up. Children not picked up by 3:33 pm will need to be picked up from the Montessori office.
As part of our student expectations, children will be marked tardy (unexcused) if they have not checked in according to procedure or are not physically in the classroom by 8:15 am for whatever reason.
If, for any reason, your child will be arriving after 8:15 am, please sign your child in at the office, so that your child will enter his or her environment with an excused tardy. Please do not have your child just go to his or her environment without going to the office first.
It is very important that I receive a note if someone other than parents will be picking up your child. I am not allowed to send children with anyone else unless I have parental permission. Even if you are on a carpooling schedule with another family, please provide me with a copy so that I know your child will be safe. If you forget to write a note in the morning, please email me, leave a message on my classroom phone or call the Montessori office and they will inform me of the change. The same procedure applies for after-school activities. If your child is supposed to stay for an activity, I require a note from parents. If it is a weekly event you can give me one note and I will write it on our schedule. After that you will only need to write me a note if they are not going to the scheduled activity. If your child’s name is on the list to go to our childcare program, your child must report there after school to let them know they will not be staying and you will need to pick them up in the cafeteria. This is a safety precaution to ensure the best for your child.
The children spend much of their time working on the floor. Therefore, in order to keep our environment clean, I strongly recommended indoor shoes. These shoes can be kept in their lockers and worn only in the classroom. Please also note that gym shoes can be used for indoor shoes. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding of this important need. For safety reasons, we are prohibiting slippers.
At Home Enrichment Activity
Homework will be similar in all four environments and will reflect what the children are currently working on. It will consist of reading, writing, vocabulary practice and anything the children cannot complete according to their due dates in class. Typically, the homework will be sent home on Mondays and should be finished the following Monday. Part of the reasoning of At-Home Enrichment is to help the children practice concepts they are learning in class and to help teach responsibility and time management. These activities are expected to be returned to school by the due date to be reviewed. I will write little notes for your child to know I saw their work. It also helps me to see what concepts they still need to practice. In addition to the monthly enrichment activities, your child’s directress may have occasional projects specific to her class such as book reports or special projects that correspond to individual classroom activities.
Please encourage your child to compete all assignments in their homework notebook. In doing so, all their work will be organized and easy to view. In addition, all homework activities will be placed on our web page to download and view. We feel by setting these expectations they will easily adjust to the junior high’s homework expectations.
Each child will receive a list of vocabulary words each Monday to allow time for practice. The “Vocabulary quiz” will be given on the following Monday. Your child’s list will include words from “Steck-Vaughn Spelling Linking Words to Meaning” and may also include other frequently misspelled words based on their level. Under the supervision of the Director and the assistant, the 6th year students may facilitate vocabulary quizzes for some of the younger students. My assistant and I will give other groups their quizzes. There is no grade given for these quizzes, just the number of correctly spelled words over the total number of words given. The children will also have practice work during the school day as part of their daily/weekly work plan. Perhaps you and your child could practice the words for 5 minutes each night.
On Fridays, each child will take their spell check. This involves your child being read a sentence that includes their spelling words. Then the child writes down the sentence. This dictation improves your child’s ability to spell, write, and self edit their work. By using their words in context, they simply cannot memorize their spelling words. Afterwards, your child corrects them independently and practices the misspelled words. I will, of course, observe their work to see how I can further guide them.
Water bottlesWater is very valuable for your child’s learning. We have access to a drinking fountain inside our classroom. Please feel free to provide a water bottle for your child. Also note that the water bottles will be sent home every Friday to be cleaned. Please label your water bottle! Lunch
This year the children will be eating lunch in our cafeteria, except on the occasion we have a special lunch in our environment. In this case, you will be notified with a note in your child’s communication folder. Eating in our cafeteria will continue to promote a cohesive community and practice our grace and courtesy. The children may bring a packed lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch in the cafeteria. If you send hot lunch money with your student, an earth-friendly and economical alternative to an envelope is a zip-lock bag with your child and teacher’s names written on it. These bags will be sent home to you daily to be reused. Please make sure to send the money in either an envelope or a baggie with the names written on it! This saves a lot of time and confusion at the beginning of our day.
Sharing time is held at the end of each day. Our sharing is mainly directed at academic sharing. This provides an opportunity for the children to share their work. It also tends to motivate others to complete that same work.
As part of the “grace and courtesy” and practical life curriculum, every child will be invited to supply a weekly snack for the whole class (25 children) about twice a year. This enables the children to be hosts or hostesses and to set up the snack table with their choice of decorations. In an effort to achieve this, we will need our snacks to be supplied on a donation basis. Snacks need not be costly or elaborate, but should contain something from at least two food groups. Some examples are pretzels and raisins, cheese and crackers, yogurt and granola, rice cakes and juice. Please try to include your child in the planning and purchase of their snack to expand the experience of hosting. The school supplies cups, bowls, plates, spoons, spreading knives, etc. If your child is assigned a week that is inconvenient for you, please let the directress know. We want this to be a positive experience for both you and your child. If your child becomes unable to attend school when he/she has snack, do not worry about bringing in food. There is always a supply of snack foods on hand. Please see the attached list of appropriate snack items.
Another aspect of our practical life curriculum is cooking. The chef will choose a recipe either from home or school recipes books and is invited to donate the needed ingredients. The invited chef may choose to select a friend to assist him/her. We hope to have the two chefs prepare food for the community during the school day. Please anticipate your child being chef one time this school year. If your child is chosen for chef, you are welcome to come and assist the children and to taste their masterpiece!
Snack and Chef Schedule
A letter for the above jobs will be sent to your email address a week prior. If that week does not work for your family, please let me know and we can switch it around.
Book Reports are a monthly activity in which the children will share the stories they are reading. A monthly schedule will be sent home with monthly book report themes, presentation assignments and due dates. However, if your child needs help finding a book from school, please let me know. At the beginning of each month you child will receive guidelines and expectations for that month’s theme. I will also provide you with a copy wither through an email or hard copy in your child’s communication folder so that you will also aware of the guidelines and expectations. At the end of each month, we will be presenting our book reports in various fashions. Each child is required to complete these assignments and they are NOT optional. This should be a fun and interesting project to build their love of reading and foster their creativity. Family members are welcome to come and listen to our sharing and enjoy tea and cookies! Look on our web page for the 2010-2011 Book Report Schedule!
At the beginning of each month, a few book club catalogs will be sent home. Please don’t feel obligated to order from these clubs, but they usually have a wonderful variety of books to buy for a minimal cost. If you choose to order, please fill out the order form before the end of the month. I place book orders online and it usually takes less than one week for them to arrive! If you would like to, order online yourselves and our class received one free book per order!:)
In an effort to complete the studies on different cultures, we will have a cultural luncheon throughout the year. The children will learn what that culture eats and we all will prepare the foods to enrich our study. We plan to prepare the food all morning, give a report about our studies to another upper elementary environment, serve that community, and finally serve ourselves.Special Schedule
The following is a list of our specials and their times. The actual day and time will be notified to all families in September.
Spanish 25 minutes twice a week
Gym 30 minutes twice a week
Music 30 minutes twice a week
Library 30 minutes once per week
Community OutingsGetting the child ready to see how they might serve the community is part of the Montessori Philosophy. One unique way for children to achieve this is to see the community. Therefore, we have many outings during the school year. Family Helpers
This is an excellent opportunity for families to assist in our classrooms. This can be a scheduled weekly or monthly visit. You may choose to listen to readers, help children with their spelling words, teach them how to sew, knit, or another special talent, or come in to read one of your favorite stories. Please note, we begin family helpers after the first few months of school. This allows our community to settle in and know the expectations. Keep checking the newsletter and always feel free to contact me as to when our doors are open!
Community Visitors and Experts:It is very enriching for the children to meet people from our community and learn about what they do and how it affects all of us. This encourages the children to think about what they could do to help their community. Experts from our community who can share information about a topic we are studying (botany, zoology, chemistry, cooking, gardening, human anatomy, community service or ancient cultures) or something that will interest the children are very important for the students’ learning. We hope to have visits from community members and experts as often as possible. In past years our visitors read stories, performed demonstrations, or presented information on holidays not celebrated by everyone. If you are interested in sharing something with the class or if you know someone who is, please make a note on the Volunteer form.
As you may know, birthday celebrations in our class are an exciting part of our community. This time in your child’s life is very important and the memories should follow her forever.
During the celebrations, families make a time line, which tells the special events during each year of their child’s life. Please work with your child to make this special lifetime memory. We are asking that you please bring in the time line a week before the celebration. This allows time for your child to talk to her classmates about her years growing up. The children in her community may write messages or draw pictures that will be added to the timeline for your child to treasure always.
Throughout the celebration, we will explore many details of time, history, and how we make up a very small part of our solar system. Some discoveries will be revolutions, rotations, earth’s relationship to the North Star, lines of longitude and latitude, equator and the prime meridian, earth’s tilt, seasons, and other planets. As your child walks around the sun (lit candle), you may share special memories of that year.
If you choose to bring the class a treat, we request that the birthday child donates a gift to the classroom. This can be a book, plant, pet, etc. Please view out website for an updated wish listJ The child may open the gift and leave a mark in the classroom for many children to enjoy.It’s All About the Volunteers! These days our time is precious and even limited. However, if you would like to volunteer in our environment in any way, please read through the following, check the boxes that appeal to you and return it at your earliest convenience. We will be contacting you with a schedule. Thank you, in advance, for your help!!!! Student name: ______________________________________ Parent name: _______________________________________
Practical Life£ I am willing to come in and assist the children. (listening to them read, flash cards, etc) £ Once a week £ Once a month £ Other: ________________ £ I am willing to donate extra snack items. £ I am willing to assist in cooking projects. £ As needed £ Once a month £ Other: ________________£ I am willing to serve as a fill-in parent for cooking projects. £ I am willing to donate flowers for flower arranging.£ As needed £ Once a month £ Other:_____________________ £ I am willing to assist with cafè lunches. Days and times that you are available are: ____________________________________________________________
Field Trips/Community Visitors/Experts£ I am willing to drive and chaperone on a field trip. £ I am willing to come in and share my career with the students. Particular information I will be sharing: _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ £ I know someone who would be an interesting community guest or expert who could speak to the class. Please describe: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ £ I am willing to come in and share my hobby or talent with the students (drawing, painting, sewing, gardening, stamp/coin/other collections, singing, instruments, acting, etc...) Particular information I will be sharing: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ £ I have some suggestions a community outing or field trip that I would like to share. Suggestions for interesting community outings/field trips: __________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________
Enrichment£ I have an artistic flare, particular hobby, or skill that I am willing to share with the students. Description of topic: ______________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________
A LIST OF SOME HEALTHY SNACKS
We always have available non-caffeine tea and water.
Red delicious apples
Crackers with peanut butter
Cheese and crackers Granola Bars
Granny smith apples Beef Jerky
Graham crackers Trail Mix
Berries Pasta salads
Bread baked with fruits or vegetables (like banana, zucchini, carrot, apple,
pumpkin, raisin bread but without nuts)