Upper West This Week: April 14-18, 2014

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The weekly plan for Upper Elementary West. Montessori emphasizes freedom within limits: do it when you want, but do it this week. Here Kathleen is correcting the students’ initial thoughts about the relations between metrical units.

Welcome to the first venture into our new weekly updates for each Montessori environment at DVMS. As we noted in our April Parent Newsletter, we will be sharing glimpses into each environment and letting you know of important news for each room through these postings. You will still receive the monthly Parent Newsletter on the first of each month, but it will contain only school-wide event and information details.

Our hope is that this new format will reduce the amount of information in the monthly newsletter to make it easier to digest, while also providing more regular and more detailed looks into each Montessori environment at DVMS. We recommend you bookmark this page so you can easily check in whenever you like.

Each week in Upper West sees a great deal of activity. Whether through the use of their own agendas, a weekly plan laid out for the whole class, collaboration with fellow students, or friendly reminders from their guide, Upper Elementary kids are learning to balance and manage their time between project work, presentations of new material, follow-up activities that help make abstract learning more concrete, and learning to negotiate the social realm that becomes ever-more important during the pre-adolescent years.

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So much work goes into novel study activities.

Upper West students are working towards the end of novel-study related projects these days. They learn to identify, analyze, and describe the various elements that make up a novel, and how to present their findings in both traditional and novel ways. Finding a balance between completing activities such as a traditional book report and exploring one’s own creativity is important (students have presented novel study work as blogs, for example). We want students to think outside the box, but also to be aware of what the box is and what’s already inside it so that they can truly explore their own paths.

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Da Vinci got a good start on it, but we can probably make it better.

Traveling down their own paths is encouraged and possible in Upper Elementary, such as the student above who is working on recreating a model of one of Da Vinci’s inventions. Activities such as these are not standard Montessori materials, but they allow students to explore their own interests while being exposed to and learning about a variety of subject areas. The Da Vinci model project involves physics, engineering, science, history, and culture, as well as giving the student an opportunity to do more hands-on learning.

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We also started learning about the periodic table this week. Here, Upper students are working with Montessori material called Periodic Table Nomenclature Cards. After they have laid out the visual cards to represent the table, they begin to create their own, hand-drawn versions of the periodic table. Hands-on, multi-sensory learning like this is far more effective than rote memorization.




Upper Elementary students will begin Ultimate Frisbee next Friday. Please help them to remember to bring or wear appropriate running/athletic gear.

Remember, there is no school Friday, April 18, and Monday, April 21, due to Easter.

Finally, if you haven’t already done so, please plan to attend our Tuesday, April 22, event featuring Dr. Jean Clinton. Click here for details and to register.

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