Upper East Update: Oct. 14 – 17, 2014

Don’t forget, the DVMS Parent Community Dinner is coming up on Saturday, October 25. Please click here for details and tickets.

Also, please remember that school photo orders are due on October 24.

UEE WkOct14 2014 herbs

Herbs from the garden drying in the Upper East snack area.

Upper East has some beautiful bunches of herbs hanging in the environment right now.

“The herbs are from the garden we designed and built last year,” said Terrence, “and now they’ve harvested what was there and are drying it up and are going to put them into jars and develop different kinds of teas. We’ll also use it as seasoning when we’re cooking. We have sage, lemon balm, and mint.”

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You may remember from a previous update that Upper East was about to embark upon a study of the brain. They’re well into the brain now, producing their own models.

“The next step, now that they’ve made their models of the brain, is to talk about the differences in brains and how we can take care of them; how we do the best things for them, like drink water and [taking a cue from the kids] staying away from zombies.”

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Maria has started practise-teaching in Upper East.

“It’s interesting for me,” said Terrence. “I’ve never had a practise teacher in my environment before. I basically have to turn over the presentations to her, which frees me up to do a lot of other things, like one-on-one conferences with the children, to be able to sit back and observe more, to turn more to the hand work, and some of the less academic things that we don’t we always have an opportunity to get to with the children.

“Maria presented for us the Timeline of the Hand,” said Terrence, “so we’ve been talking a lot about hands and how, before we had our recorded history, we had pre-history that went on for hundreds of thousands of years and we don’t really know what was going on, but we do know that we developed articulate, spoken language, and we headed towards written language which, for us, is when history begins.”

UEE WkOct14 2014 whittlin

Whittling with Terrence.

“So, we started talking about how human beings would have had to develop tools, and hand tools, which led us to whittling projects, making our own tools. We already know how to crochet, but how about the tools? How did we get that? We couldn’t just go to the Dollar Store, how could we create our own tools that actually function like the one’s we would buy so we can add another level to our hand work.”

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View the gallery above with care, it’s a bit gross. Both Upper Elementary groups participated in a fish dissection activity this past week.

“It was a very complete use of the fish, and education for the children,” said Terrence. “We went from having the whole fish and talking about the external parts to them having a hands-on experience with the fish, doing the dissection themselves and were able to locate the internal parts and the different systems and how they function. Then we cleaned all of that up and were left with four beautiful rainbow trout that we stuffed with rice, baked in the oven, and had as a Thanksgiving feast. The students who opted out of the fish dissection dissected some vegetables and fruits and created a ratatouille that went along with the meal.”

“One of the rainbow trouts was female,” said one Upper girl about the dissection experience, “and had eggs in it, a lot of eggs.”

“It was a little bit disgusting,” said another, “seeing all the blood and guts and stuff.”

“The stuffing of the fish was really cool,” said a third, “because we lined it with butter and then put the rice in and then put it in the oven and it was really beautiful when we peeled back the skin. It looked like salmon, actually.”

“We’re starting the systems of the body,” said Kathleen regarding the purpose of the dissection activity, “the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and so on, so it gave the children a chance to actually see those systems — not in action, obviously.”

Kathleen also spoke highly of the group dynamics demonstrated during the dissection:

“It was amazing to see them work as a group. They were so quiet considering we had about 50 kids in that room. The year six students did the dissection; they led the whole procedure and the others watched. It was amazing to watch the differences. You could tell who was right in there, with their face in the fish, trying to get it out, and those that were a little bit like, ‘No thank you; I don’t really want to participate in this.’ But it was a good introduction to all the different systems and internal organs before we start. So now we’ll go through the mammal, the fish, the bird — we’re NOT going to be dissecting each of those — after a good beginning.”

Don’t forget, Strata Montessori Adolescent School is hosting an Orientation to the Program on Tuesday, October 21, from 4:30 – 6:00. This event is geared to families of students in their first year of the adolescent program, and families of Upper Elementary students are welcome and encouraged to attend.

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