Lower Elementary North Update: Week of January 12, 2015

LEN wkJan12 2015 paint

Painting in preparation for their field trip to the “Paul Suzanne” exhibit at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

As our Lower Elementary parents know, and have probably heard all about, DVMS Lower Elementary students ventured to the Art Gallery of Hamilton this week to see the Paul Cezanne (or as one student referred to him: Paul Suzanne) exhibit.

“It was great,” said Lower North guide Jodi. “The art gallery was amazing. We did some pre-emptive learning about Cezanne in class, and they practised their still-life painting in class, but they also got the chance to do some still-life painting while there, as well as learning a lot more about Cezanne, and other paintings and the different types of paintings, how paintings need balance, how with landscapes you jump into the painting — they always have a point of jumping in. We had a great time overall and the kids, I think, walked away with a lot more knowledge on the subject, and are coming to us with questions about other artists.”

See this week’s Lower Elementary South update for pictures of their experience at the AGH.

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Some Lower Elementary North students also received a presentation from Carol this week about different types of lines.

“Carol is giving a lesson on parallel, convergent, and divergent lines here,” said Jodi. “We have this lovely resource [with an unfortunately uncreative name] — the Box of Sticks, and the Geometry Plane. Carol and I were talking about how beautiful this material really is because when you’re talking about isosceles triangles and scalene triangles, you can have the the children make them with two sticks of the same size, and one that is not, for an isosceles, and for a scalene they can choose three different sticks, and it works in showing parallel and convergent and divergent lines and what those all mean. This is what our year 2s are working on right now.”


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Jodi spent a day this week immersed in a lot of Montessori Grammar Box materials with a variety of children.

“It’s an amazing part of our Montessori language instruction,” said Jodi of the Grammar Box materials. “We have a group of year ones focusing on the verb and adjective box right now, and these boxes are great because Maria Montessori was brilliant  — she incorporates so many different aspects into these boxes so they’re not only learning parts of the sentence, what they are grammatically, but they’re also reviewing different things like isosceles triangles; they are in the adjective box; one of the sentences is ‘Bring me an isosceles triangle,’ and if the children go ‘What’s an isosceles triangle?’ then we know we have to review triangles with them, and they’re getting review through the Grammar Boxes. It’s a cross-curriculum material.”

The two boys above are working with “the article and noun Grammar Box, which focuses on nouns and different kinds of nouns, so there are singular and plural nouns, and the one they’re working with is masculine, feminine, and common gender nouns, which is pretty fun. We’ve had lion and lioness, prince and princess, and you get into animal names like fox and vixen, then fox cub for the common gender.”

LEN WkJan12 2015 french

Lower North students intent on learning French with Sylvia.

Sylvia took some time this week to explain what is happening in the Lower Elementary French program this term.

“They are translating sentences,” said Sylvia of the activity some third-year Lower Elementary children are focused on in the photo above. “They are adding adjectives to nouns, together with knowing if it’s  singular or plural, masculine or feminine, and conjugation of a regular verb ending in -er. They are working towards a presentation of all the vocabulary they have accumulated over the three years. That’s going to happen towards the end of February, for them to realize how much they know already.”

LEN WkJan12 2015 gym

That’s some serious vertical leap Lisa! Learning exercises to train for the current gym focus: hockey.

We were all also very impressed this week by DVMS mom and Elementary Phys. Ed. specialist Lisa Petrisor’s vertical leaping abilities.

“Their focus is hockey right now,” said Jodi, “and they absolutely love gym, and I think this picture illustrates it very well. I cannot believe how high some of them can jump, including Lisa! Tuesday afternoons we have drama now, instead of music [last term’s arts focus], and gym. The second lunch is over they’re sitting on the mat until Lisa and Sarah [our drama specialist] come.”

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Jodi also noted that their afternoons outside of the regular Montessori environment give her time for lesson planning and re-vamping the environment. The Lower North environment underwent some big changes over the holiday break.

“We re-painted,” said Jodi. “We have yellow walls now, which is nice and warm, we’ve moved shelves around, we’ve acquired new tables, we’ve re-arranged our whole environment. We’re still working out some little tweaks but overall we’re happy, as well as the children. It reflects Carol’s and mine personalities a bit more now.”

As to the children’s reactions when they returned, and whether or not they noticed the changes, Jodi laughed and said, “Some of them did not, some of them it was the first thing they said, and some of them were like, ‘What did you to our room?!’ They actually are helping us work out if there are any further changes that they want and it’s our project right now and we need their input.”

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Finally, if you’re looking for something to do as a family this weekend (especially Upper Elementary families looking for some fun home work activities), we have two bake sales coming up next week. Some Upper Elementary girls are holding a bake sale on Wednesday, January 21, from 3:30-4:30, in the foyer, to raise funds for Because I Am a Girl.

“All around the world girls are treated not the same as boys,” said the Upper girls. They went on to explain what Because I Am a Girl does: “It raises money and tries to stop child marriages, get girls to school, and stuff like that. It’s an international organization.”

A group of Lower ELementary North girls are holding their bake sale the day before, on Tuesday, January 20, also in the foyer at dismissal. They are raising money for City Kidz.

Asked why they chose to hold their bake sale, they said they wanted to help people who “may have no clothing, or shelter, [and] it’s nice to do. You should help them out because the literacy rates should go higher; everyone should have a nice home.”

Both groups of girls will be baking items for the sale, but would love it if the DVMS community also donated some baked goods for their sales. Please drop baked goods off on Monday and we will split them equally between the two groups. Thank you all, so much, for continuing to support the children’s ongoing philanthropic impulses as they work to try to make their world a better place.

Remember, Lower North is swimming at the Dundas pool on Fridays in January, and will switch to skating on Mondays, at Grightmire arena, starting February 2nd.

“Swimming is awesome,” said Jodi. “It’s great to see all of them outside the school and in a different environment. It gives you a glimpse into a personality you might not ordinarily see within the school.”

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