A Week Inside Inly Lower Elementary

“The child must see for himself what he can do, and it is important to give him not only the means of education but also to supply him with the indicators which tell him his mistakes.” –Maria Montessori

The classroom materials and the set up of the classroom environment is based on these words written by Maria Montessori herself.  The children are held responsible for the many things they need to do in the classroom.  We prepare the environment so that it is accessible for their size and needs. This allows them to complete their tasks successfully.  Many of the Montessori materials are based on this concept as well.  There is an element of control built into most materials used by the children. When the child has completed their work they can check it themselves.  Children naturally want to learn and want to do the work for themselves.  They are proud of their accomplishment and are comfortable with their mistakes since they have discovered them themselves and were able to correct them themselves.

Science Update

In science this week with Ellyn the students worked cooperatively to explore the properties of liquids. They have been acquiring new language skills while involved with a series of follow up activities during their work period that relate to the study of liquid matter. They may be asking for the sweet viscous liquid if pancakes are served!

They continued their observations of the Fungi and Plant Kingdoms up on Sunflower Hill. Each student planted a clove of garlic, that could mean a lot of garlic bulbs being harvested early next summer! The students also closely examined leaves as they created their leaf rubbing collages. Many thanks to our parent volunteers for sharing their enthusiasm for gardening while helping the students to plant garlic “with the point to the sky.”

First week of Book Projects!
Book projects were amazing. It is always fun to see the children come down those stairs carrying their projects. The excitement is contagious and before we know it everyone is gathered around the rug where the projects are waiting to be displayed. The chatter is loud, and everyone is talking about his/her project, willing to share all their project “secrets” as to how they created the masterpiece in front of them. Later in the morning, after all the projects are checked in, books collected and presenters prepared, each child had the opportunity to announce their project, tell us what book they read and point to their “masterpiece”. Presenters then, one at a time, sat and talked about their book and their project. All the children were excited and respectful during the special time in our classroom. It was a very successful start to book project days!

Literacy Update
Our youngest writers are learning the difference between telling and asking sentences. Say one out loud and ask if they can tell you which it is. Our older writers are learning about story settings. They have been challenged to describe a setting so clearly that we will be able to draw it. Point out the settings in the stories you are reading together at home. We are sending home a “Circle Story” book to be read at home as well. We wanted each family to experience Laura Numeroff’s version before reading the one your child is writing in the classroom. When it is your turn please try to read it the night it comes home and end it right back in. Another family will be waiting to read it.

Cultural Studies Update
This week the children continued their exploration of The Timeline of Life and learned about the Carboniferous Period. They learned about the origins of coal and that it is actually very old wood. Even more absorbing to them was the knowledge that this Period had giant insects, like 18 inch dragonflies and giant cockroaches!

Homework Update
As a school community, we think critically about the volume and type of work we assign to our students and we assess the role that homework should play in our students’ lives. It is our belief that, as far as possible, work should lead to joyful exploration, and homework should foster family connection.
Throughout lower elementary, your child and family will developed the habits of consistently completing math, spelling and reading assignments at home. These assignments are chosen to compliment what your child is working on in school, and to create automaticity of key skills through practice and repetition.
We hope your child is enjoying reading each night. As a guideline we recommend that first years should read approximately 10-15 minutes per day, second years 15-20 minutes, and third years 30 minutes. Please know that these are guidelines and that you can adjust this according to your child. We are happy to talk with you if you have any questions regarding your child.
Reading homework should be done five afternoons/evenings a week and should be a positive, pleasant experience. Your child should choose appropriate books that they can comfortably read aloud. You can also read aloud to your child.
For second and third year students math and spelling homework should be completed four nights each week. This might be a good time to review their requirements that are posted on the first page of their homework copybooks. Please check with your child to make sure they are completing their requirements and help them to edit their work. Please contact us if you have any questions about that.

[These are excerpts from the weekly portal updates that the Lower Elementary teachers post for Inly parents.]

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