Upper West Update: Oct. 27-31 2014

UEW WkOct27 2014 novel 1

DVMS Upper Elementary students began a novel study unit this week, and many comfortable spots to read were discovered.

“We have five novel study groups,” explained Kathleen about the structure of the DVMS Upper Elementary novel study unit that started this week, and how in true Montessori fashion “we divided them based on interest; we mixed the year 4, 5, and 6 students, and we mixed the classes together so that they have an opportunity to do a literature circle with friends from the other class.”

“We have different assignments that they are going to be doing,” continued Kathleen. “In our literature discussions in our literature groups we’re going to be reading out loud but also having discussion about the elements of a story. For follow-up work they have choices of different things they can do with the novels. They’re welcome to take the books home to read them if they want, they just have to make sure they remember to bring them back.”

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Last week, Kathleen presented a material called Infinity Street.

“This was introduced to me about 15 years ago,” said Kathleen. “It’s an AMS [American Montessori Society] exercise for place value. We started reading large numbers and understanding categories. Each house represents a number family, from the family of the simple all the way to the family of the decadillion. Within each house there are three family members, and we can change their first names but we can’t change their last. They challenge each other to see if they can read large numbers. You can also put mailboxes between each house that represent the commas, so they learn to say the numbers without saying ‘and,’ — they understand from the decimal work we’ve done that you don’t say ‘and’ until you have a decimal. They’re writing humongous long numbers and challenging each other to say them. It’s a great material.”

UEW WkOct27 2014 euclid

Upper West students were introduced to Euclid’s Theorem this past week.

Upper West students were also introduced to Euclid’s Theorem this week.

“This is the second presentation, we did Pythagoras’s Theorem, and this is Euclid’s Elaboration,” said Kathleen. “We talked about who Euclid was and his Book of Elements and how it is the second highest selling book next to the Bible. We talked about who he was as a mathematician and a philosopher, and his theorem [which you all remember, right?]. The actual presentation is the metal inset there, which we use to prove his theorem. The material allows us to prove it in three or four different ways.”

This work has inspired one of the boys in Upper West to do a project on Euclid.

“He’s questioning how they came up with these mathematical equations and philosophies so far back, and what was the purpose of them coming up with them. He wants to study Euclid and Pythagoras to find out why they came up with these things and why they came up with them at that point time: Why would they even think of it? ”

UEW WkOct27 2014 Anna

Anna explaining what “invincible” means to a group of Upper Elementary boys.

We captured a funny moment this week as Upper West assistant Anna explained what “invincible” means to a group of Upper boys, including that many people think they are invincible when they are young in the sense of “It won’t happen to me.” Their agreement with this sentiment was a perfect explanation of what invincible means.

UEW WkOct27 2014 Hallow

Halloween approaching is an opportunity for a little cultural history research.

With Halloween on the horizon, Upper West also found some time to explore the history of the occasion.

“We printed some articles for them because computer time is limited, so we had a folder they could go into and pick which articles they wanted to use. They were writing about the history of Halloween and how it’s celebrated not only in our culture but within their own families — do they have any special traditions,” Kathleen explained.

Also this week, be sure to take a look at DVMS Upper Elementary student Ella Oster’s article about the recent DVMS hockey tournament in support of the Manticores sports teams they are developing.

On Friday October 31, and on three Fridays in November (14, 21, and 28), both Upper Elementary classes will travel by bus to Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton. Children need to be picked up at Gravity at 3:00. Please ensure children are wearing, or bring, comfortable, active-wear clothing and clean athletic shoes (their indoor/gym shoes will suffice) on those dates.

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