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Classroom Handbook

 

Recommended Supplies

Please note the following recommended supplies for your child

*Indoor shoes (please no slippers, they can be gym shoes)   

*Gym shoes                                *Pack of lined paper          *Kleenex box        

*Communication Folder                            *Pack of pencils                   *glue sticks

*Journal – spiral or composition          notebook          *Colored pencils               *tape

*Homework notebook                                  

Year Round Donated Supplies

*Sponges                *napkins                *high lighters         *art supplies                  

*Kleenex                *fish food             *turtle food           *markers

*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.

 

Environment Expectations

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 will also have a coloring book with some crayons.  We believe that art can assist many children 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 encouraged them to continue exploring the concept.  Students record their lessons and work in various composition books, and won’t usually bring work home.  These books are mini-portfolios of your child’s work and progress in the Lower 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.

 

Communication Folder

Please remind your child to bring her/his communication folder every day.  This gives us the opportunity to talk daily.  You will also find important information from TCAPS Montessori.

 

Newsletter

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.  Your child’s Directress 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 in a booklet to show their work progress throughout the year.  During student led conferences, they will be able to view.  At anytime, if you need to come in to see what your child has benn working on, our door is always open!  Come on in before, during or after school at anytime!  Every Friday, your child will write you a letter which describes their accomplishments during the week.  It will include some of their works, lessons, and other information regarding their personal work and goals for the week.  In doing so, you will be informed weekly about your child’s progressJ
 

School Times

School begins at 8:15 a.m. and instruction time ends 3:08 p.m. The doors will be opened at 8:10 a.m.  Children who arrive before that are instructed to stand in line outside and wait to enter the building.  Children will be marked tardy if they are not in the classroom by 8:20 a.m.  Please note that our ending time of 3:08 is when the children are dismissed to their lockers to get their belongings.  Shortly after that, we will be at car line.  Half-day dismissal is at 11:37 a.m.

 

Car Line

Please be advised that your child will go to pick up line every day and will only be allowed in your vehicle unless we receive a note indicating otherwise.  This is a safety precaution to ensure the best for your child.  Please write me a note or call me before 3:00 p.m. to let me know of any changes.  Car line ends at 3:20, so if you are running late, your child will be waiting in the Montessori Office to be signed out.  Detailed information about exactly where you will pick up and drop off your child will come directly from the office at a later date. 

 

Indoor Shoes-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

Another practical life area for lower elementary is homework. Time management is a lifelong skill.  In order to provide consistency from one lower elementary environment to the next, the TCAPS’ Montessori Lower El. Staff has designed a unified enrichment packet that will come home on a monthly basis and will be posted on our school website.  At-Home-Enrichment activities are designed to be engaging and enjoyable. Many of the activities are designed to be completed with the assistance or support of an adult, and can be built into family time. These activities will generally consist of “Things to Experience” such as: visit a museum, see a play, or learn a magic trick, and “Things to Learn.” Spelling words, the continents, or multiplication facts are examples.   These activities don’t need to be returned to school, and will not be checked or graded.  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.    

 

This year, all homework activities will be placed on our web page to download and view.  Homework is optional, except beginning in January for all the 3rd graders.  We feel by setting these expectations whey will easily adjust to the upper elementary homework expectations.

 

Spelling

Children are encouraged to use inventive spelling of unknown words in their daily writing until they have learned the pattern or rule for the correct spelling of the words. However, learning conventional spellings of words is important, so spelling is a part of our curriculum. Our spelling program is sequential and based on Orton-Gillingham. It begins with simple phonetic words and progresses through sound patterns one at a time to encourage mastery of the rules.  New students will be assessed in the fall to determine where they will begin on the spelling sequence and returning students will be given a review test to verify retention of previously learned words.  Your child will receive a new list once they have shown mastery of the previous list. While the lists may seem simple, even too simple for your child at times, the goal is not to memorize the words to pass the test, but to internalize the rule so that it carries over into daily writing.  Please help find a permanent spot to keep the spelling words each week and encourage your child to study them. 

 

Every Monday, each child will receive a lesson on their new spelling words.  We will discover the spelling pattern, rule, and definitions of each word.  They children will then write down their words in a guided handwriting lesson.  A typed copy will come home that day in their folders to study throughout the week.  On Friday, 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 indepedently and practices the misspelled words.  I will, of course, observe their work to see how I can further guide them.

 

Water bottles

Water 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 everyday to be cleaned.  Please label the water bottle! 

Sharing Time

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.   We will also have personal sharing time when children bring in a special item, story, person, etc. to share with us.  We encourage the children to state why this particular item is special to them.  To make this time available for everyone we will schedule the children with the last names starting with A – L on Mondays and M-Z on Tuesdays.

 Community Snacks

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 (24 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.

    

Chefs

Another aspect of our practical life curriculum is cooking.  We hope to have two chefs per week to prepare food for the community.  The paired children will choose a recipe together and are invited to donate the needed ingredients.  Please anticipate your child being chef two times 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 Laundry 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

Book Reports are a monthly activity in which the children will share the stories they are reading.  Each month we will have a theme that the children are encouraged to follow.  We will share them at the end of the month.  Family members are welcome to come and listen to our sharing and enjoy tea and cookies!    Look on our web page for the 2009-2010 Book Report Schedule!

 

Book Orders

At the beginning of each month, some 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!

 

Sharing Pictures of Your Children

As Montessori children complete work, their families rarely observe it. Therefore, I enjoy sharing their work by taking digital photos.  Look for these pictures to be emailed to your email address throughout the year.

 

Cultural Luncheon

In an effort to complete the studies on different cultures, we will have a cultural luncheon every three months.  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 lower 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 Outings

Getting 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!

 

Birthday Celebrations

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.

 
                         

Summer, 2009

Dear Montessori Families,

 

Please respond if you are interested in doing any of the following.

 

Family Helpers ___________________________________________

(Listen to readers, assist with spelling words, math, grammar work, etc)

 

How often are you available?_________________________________

 

Cultural Luncheon _________________________________________ 

(to assist in donating the ingredients and preparing the food)

 

Art projects ____________________________________________

(As needed)

 

Community outings Drivers___________________________________

(Once a month or as needed)

 

Do you know any community guests who may enjoy coming in to our class?

  
 

_________________________________________________________

 

Do you know how to knit and are available to come in to assist the class?  Or do you know someone who would be interested?

  
 

Do you have any ideas for a community outing?

  
    

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

Carrots                                                                  Tofu

Celery                                                                    Salads

Berries                                                                  Pasta salads

Watermelon

Eggs (cooked)

Toast

Muffins

Yellow Apples

Rice cakes

Baked pretzels

Plain Yogurt

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Radishes

Cucumbers

Cheese

Applesauce

Raisins

Dried fruit

Bagels

Dry cereal

Bread baked with fruits or vegetables (like banana, zucchini, carrot, apple,

pumpkin, raisin bread but without nuts)

      
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