Halloween was a ton of fun! The children were wonderfully pleased with the party. They enjoyed coloring on tables and singing the songs they’ve been practicing. But the real fun was our costume fashion show. Monsters, an assortment of pirates, princesses, and dinosaurs (even a dinosaur egg!) strutted down our makeshift catwalk to applause. It was awesome! And when it was time for costumes to come off the children were just as excited to help put the classroom to rights as they were to decorate. I was so pleased to see how easily we slipped into a normal Friday—despite sugar cookies and painted faces.
One piece of October we’re keeping is our scientific curiosity about the changing seasons. The late arrival of Autumn has given us a number of opportunities to observe the distinction between evergreen and deciduous trees and the falling deciduous leaves have been an excellent addition to our class’s Observation Station.
We’ve taken down our pumpkins and are moving into the month of November. Everything we do outside of the children’s work with the materials shifts with our theme. We’re singing new songs, telling new stories, and the classroom will be re-created as an environment that reminds the children of our focus for the month. Our theme this month, in honor of all the excitement of Thanksgiving, is American history. We use books and true stories about the Pilgrim’s choice to move and reception by the Wampanoag as a focus point to discuss fairness, sharing, independent thinking, and gratitude.
And, as always, we love the excuse for a party! The children are looking forward to baking and cleaning, now not just for themselves but for the most important people in the world–you. We’re learning songs and poems to preform for the Family Dinner and looking forward making to our traditional pot of Stone Soup.
One of my favorite Wedgwood Montessori traditions is our election. We’ve been discussing what voting is and practicing in small contexts like our choice of lunch music to prepare the children for November 8th!
Parent Teacher Conferences
School will be closed on Friday, November 18th for Parent-Teacher conferences. As we begin to see the emergence of a supportive and ordered classroom culture as teachers we are now looking to our observations of the children’s free exploration of the enviornment to direct us in guiding them in their development. I am, of course, available all year long to discuss specific concerns and desires but Fall and Spring conferences are an important opportunity to check in that I hope you’ll all attend. Fall conferences are a time for us to share observations and discuss a course heading for the rest of the year.
Fall conferences are one day long and scheduled in 20 minute slots beginning at 7 am. We will have a sign-up sheet by the door. We’re looking forward to seeing you!
♬♬ Music Notes♬♬
In November music class we focus on American folk songs and American composers!! This month we’ll be listening to John Philip Sousa, Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue) and Benny Goodman (Sing, Sing, Sing). We’ll dance, play listening games and I’ll bring in a clarinet for the kids to see! At least once every month we pull out the percussion instruments and play along with cds or our own singing. My plan this month is for the kids to learn ‘I’ve been working on the railroad’, ‘She’ll be comin’ round the mountain’ and possibly ‘Camptown Races’. Please don’t spill the beans to your kids about what we’ll be listening to – I love to surprise them!!!!
“Sound it out”
I remember hearing that phrase a ton when I was a child and learning to read. That sounds, rather than letters, are the key to reading is an important part of the Montessori method’s success teaching reading. The Montessori reading program is based in phonemic awareness and begins from the moment a child enters the classroom. In your child’s amazing self-construction of language they’ve unconsciously assimilated thousands of permutations of sounds to create the words they use every day. What we do in the classroom is highlight to them that each of these words is made of units of sound that are combined and recombined to make other words.
We use puzzles, poems, and a variety of games to draw attention to the sounds but the creatively named “Sound Game” is both one of the easiest and most important things we do.
Playing a Simple Sound Game
1. Gather a few familiar objects whose names start with consonant or short vowel sounds (long vowels & digraphs are okay, but since we start reading/writing with purely phonetic words I try to focus on them in sound games).
2. Name the sound-object correspondence for each object—“the first sound in dog is ‘duh.’ ”
3. Either ask for the “duh-dog” or ask for an object that starts with “duh,” depending on what works with your child. The goal being to move them (and this can take a while) towards matching the sound to the object.
There are tons of variations on this game and sometimes half the fun is manipulating cool toys but its a wonderful way to sit together and play a game that is both fun and educational. Hope you enjoy it!
In October we celebrated the birthdays of Lucy Poort and Audrey Cullop.
This month we’ll be celebrating the birthdays of Gabriel Morgan, Minjae Ko, and Chloe Sattler.
November 11th—Veteran’s Day Holiday, No School
November 18th—Parent Teacher Conferences, No School
November 23 Autumn Family Party, 6-8 pm
November 24-25 Thanksgiving Holiday, No School