Lower Elementary North Update: Week of Nov. 10, 2014

LEN WkNov10 2014 Jodi

Getting a little math help from Jodi.

“This is the exciting part of my job,” said Jodi this week of her transition to guiding Lowe Elementary North. “I all of a sudden get to work again with some of the Casa children I previously worked with, and the girl above is one of those children I worked with two years ago. It’s been nice to watch them grow from teeny little people into these Elementary children who are doing all this fabulous math and other work.”

LEN WkNov10 2014 French

Practising cursive, in French, with Sylvia

Sylvia took some time this week to explain how the French program is evolving in Lower Elementary. Sylvia’s French program and materials are predominantly based out of the Lower Elementary South environment, but French is beginning to spread across the Lower environments.

“You are seeing more children bringing their French work into Lower Elementary North,” said Sylvia, as opposed to working in the Lower South room and as is evident in the image above. The materials are still housed in Lower South but, as Sylvia explained, “because we have smaller groups [see the accompanying Lower South update] they can just carry it over and continue their work there. I was using the blackboard a lot in Lower South, whereas now I work directly into their handbooks so they can take it out whenever they like. Also, Jodi and Carol have decided to have all their booklets available on their shelves so they can access it easily, including their French.

“The girl above came from another school where she never had to write in cursive,” explained Sylvia about her work with the student above. “She’s very eager to perfect her cursive, and she was the one who inspired me to work directly into their booklets so they can take it wherever they want: into their own classrooms, or they can sit beside other people. She’s really mastering it. When I was working with bigger groups of 10-12 children it was hard for me to have the time to sit down and write in each one, whereas now I have time to follow them at their own pace. This morning I had a mixed-age group of students who are all at the same level. I have more freedom to work.”

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“We have been reviewing place value with the children,” said Jodi regarding some recent math work in Lower Elementary North, “so we have been reviewing the Golden Beads, talking about the units and how many units are in a ten, and how many tens are in a hundred. Carol is presenting the Hierarchical Materials, which demonstrate the tens of thousands and the hundreds of thousands, all the way up to a million. It gives the children a very concrete representation of each place value, so when they’re working with the Racks and Tubes, and the Bead Frames, where they’re working with millions, it gives them that concrete understanding.”

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The girl above was very excited to show her work on an extension of the Montessori Geometry Cabinet material. (You may remember Dylan speaking about the evolution of children’s work with the Metal Insets in last week’s Casa update, and how they can come to look like stained glass windows; the Lower Elementary work being done here is a great example of that, albeit with a different material at a different level). Carol explained the work:

“We were reviewing polygons,” said Carol, “and then, as an extension, I was teaching them how to make a five-point star from a pentagon and a six-point star from a hexagon — each of the polygons will make a different star. It’s an extension, not a lesson, just reviewing and having fun with geometry and using the ruler for precision.”

Carol also explained that she calls this extension work “penta-stars” or “hexa-stars,” but emphasizes to the children that these are made up words, and not actual geometric shapes.

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Some Lower North girls also took some time this week to explain the work they are doing with some Montessori materials to develop their understanding of triangles and angles.

“This has been ongoing work,” said Carol. “First I had to teach them the angles, and then the triangles, and then we put them together. It’s difficult work. They’re combining angles and triangles and naming them all and making them, recognizing them, and then making books with them. It’s been a lot of work. They have a geometry book where we do the individual lessons, and they also make a book of triangles with their angles and the types of triangles. They measure them with what we call the Measuring Angle, which is part of the material. They can recognize an obtuse angle isosceles triangle using the measuring angle. They’re working through it because it’s challenging, so we’re just leaving the material out.”

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Children from both Lower Elementary environments also began their bi-monthly visits to Blackadar Continuing Care this month.

“They’re allowed to bring a show and tell piece from home,” Jodi explained about the nature of the visits. “It can be a stuffed animal, a lego creation, something they have built, anything that they feel really good about. They are able to do a little show and tell for all the wonderful elderly people. It works on their public speaking. It allows them to gain confidence and, also, it’s nice for them to form some sort of an attachment with the elderly people in their community.”

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“The children that wanted to put their names in for the class reps were asked to do a speech on why they would be a good class rep,” said Carol in explaining how the process of electing Lower Elementary class representatives worked. “A boy and a girl were chosen. They did a phenomenal job practising and presenting to the audience. Then the children in the class had an opportunity to use a ballot, which was inspired from our elections [DVMS was a polling station for the recent municipal election and the children got a chance to observe the process]. It was lovely, and there was a lot of respect for the people that put their names forward, and they’ll all have an opportunity to be a class rep; it’s broken up into terms so everybody who put their name forward will get a chance.”

Also, please remember that today, Friday, November 14, and on November 21 and 28, both Lower Elementary classes will be attending gymnastics lessons at Hamilton Gymnastics Academy. Students will be split into two groups (11:45-12:45 and 12:45-1:45) and will travel by bus to and from HGA.

If you haven’t signed up for DVMS Parent Observations and Parent-Teacher Interviews, please do so from the DVMS website home page.

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