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Like us on Facebook  Hilltop Montessori School                           November 30, 2012 

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Next week at Hilltop
PE News
Notes from the Head of School
Thank You's
Winter Auction
Cards for Sale
Mt Snow Founder's Day
Community Service
More Thanks!
Lower El Mural
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Community Goings On
Next week at Hilltop


Monday, 12/3
Make Up session: 3-5pm
This is the last Fire and Stone for the fall. Stay tuned for details.
Wednesday, 12/5
Lower El Work Share 8:30am
Friday, 12/7
All School Gathering
**This week ASG on Friday, 8:45am. 
Monday, 12/10
Hoodie orders due today!


Hilltop Hoodies!

You heard the rumors, they are true! Hilltop Hoodies are for sale AND at a special "Introductory" price! Orders received by Monday, Dec. 10th will be here in time for holiday break. Sample sizes of sweatshirts are on display in the Elementary Lobby. 


Click here for an order form. 



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PE News


In Phys. Ed. we're adapting to the cold weather. Exercises have focused on strengthening our our core and our legs and our balance in preparation for winter sports. We have cleared ski and snowshoe trails around Hilltop in anticipation of snow. Various new games have kept us playing without having to take off our hats and mittens. 
This week the elementary and middle school kids, being quite familiar with Hilltop's land, enjoyed a map quest that led them around the perimeter of the property. I was impressed with the students abilities to find the mapped locations on their own. I was also proud to see four Hilltop seventh graders, pictured above, complete last week's 3 mile Turkey Trot. 
Go Hilltop runners!

Pictured: Isabella, Jazmin, Miles, and Zack, running in this year's 3 mile Turkey Trot.


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Notes from the Head of School 


There's a stone in my soup - 

Reflections on Thanksgiving


Monday - Grandparent and Special Friend day. Excitement and energy bounce off every inch of the campus. I always find it quite astonishing how purposeful the students are in demonstrating and explaining the work that they are doing. Whether it's tweezing or the bead frame or explaining an equation, students share their classroom work with pride. It makes sense of course. How often does one really get to see what we do at work? So it's a big, exciting day, and we all delight in welcoming grandparents and special friends and showing them our Montessori classrooms.


All School Gathering is filled to overflowing. ASG is a perfect example of modeling both public speaking and public behavior. To watch the Children's House students listen respectfully to an explanation of the carbon cycle or in rapt attention to poems they really don't understand is a lesson in and of itself; they know when it's their turn to speak everyone will listen.


Thank you all for coming, for observing, listening, laughing and singing!


Tuesday - Stone Soup. This tradition exemplifies the best of Hilltop. Practical life - olders and youngers cut carrots, celery, potatoes, onions and make corn muffins. Community service - the middle school delivers pies to Morningside Shelter, and then makes an additional 15 pies for our dessert. Art - together peace buddies make table decorations. Literacy - On each table decoration students write "I'm thankful for...." And of course what would be the point of the meal without a reading of Stone Soup! Grace and courtesy - students dish out stone soup for their peace buddy and the entire school sits together to share a meal.


Thanks to the faculty and staff who work so hard to make this such an amazing shared experience.


The stone in my soup is now in my office to ensure that next year's soup will be as tasty!




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Thank you


As we prepare with great joy to welcome Tamara Mount as our new Head of School, I would like to pause for a minute to thank the members of the search committee: Jenny Smith (chair), Finn Campman, Amelia Farnum, Patrick Keppel, Mark Loevy-Reyes, Leigh Marthe, Melissa Mroz-Gaskill and Jessica Thomas. If you had been a fly on the wall at Hilltop, you would have seen these community members meeting before school, after school, during school, in the evenings and on weekends all fall long, in committee meetings, parent forums, staff meetings, community coffees, board meetings, phone conferences and candidate interviews, working with diligence, good cheer and a spirit of cooperation to find the right leader for our school. They did an outstanding job, and on behalf of the whole community, I would like to share my sense of gratitude for their professionalism, diligence, wisdom and deep commitment to Hilltop.

- Kate Jellema, Past President, Board of Trustees 


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Hilltop Winter Auction


Hilltop will be hosting a sweet Winter Auction filled with great gifts and goodies for sharing this holiday season. Stay tuned for our launch - with set up the week of December 10 and final bids and raffle drawings just before early release on Wednesday, December 19. Along with traditional bidding we will have raffles for auction items, including smaller gifts. You can buy tickets and put them all in one raffle pot, or distribute them in as many raffles as you like. There's something for everyone.  


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Vermont Cards for Sale


Support Post Oil Solutions' Farm to School programs with a purchase of beautiful Vermont-inspired and Vermont-made note cards. Each package costs $10, and they are available for sale at the front desk. POS thanks you for your support and wishes you a joyous holiday season! Please contact [email protected] for more info!



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Mount Snow Founders Day Tickets


Mount Snow has been a great partner with Hilltop - for our Winter Sports program and as a donor (lift tickets available at the Winter Auction!).

Mount Snow is celebrating its birthday on Wednesday, December 12, now known as Founders Day, with a limited number of $12 lift tickets. Hurry, you MUST buy at least 48-hours in advance online only, so get yours now while they are still available!  



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Community Service
Thanks go out to Hilltop volunteers: Kim and Hal Lier, Emilie Kornheiser, Todd and Rebecca Fontaine, Ellie Pennell, Connie Strugg-Damery, Lauren Campbell, Sarah Armour-Jones, Amelia Farnum and Tonia Wheeler for preparing and/or serving the meal for the Overflow Shelter at the Baptist Church on Thursday, November 29th. About 25 diners enjoyed dinner thanks to you.  

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More Thanks

Kim and Hal Lier are powerhouse volunteers for Hilltop. Quietly unassuming, they are a force of generosity. From volunteering at this week's meal service at the Overflow shelter to Annual Fund week, and driving for field trips to everything in between.

Thank you for all that you do for Hilltop!


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Facebook: Like Us - But Don't Friend Us?!?

Like many organizations, Hilltop created a Facebook account back when the only option was a personal account, which requires "friending" contacts. We now also have a Page - the type of account that's much better for organizations - which allows people to "Like" us. We will be closing our first account and using our Page exclusively starting in the New Year.

Please Like Us on our Page and keep in touch!

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In art, the Lower El completed their mural on the timeline of life. It depicts the beginning of the universe, and continues through the age of invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. It is on the outside wall of the elementary wing facing the playground. Come take a look, and ask your lower el student which part they painted! 

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Birch Room

Last week we celebrated our Stone Soup Feast together as a school wide community. We peeled, chopped, sliced and diced with Peace Buddies by our side. The process and the end result were truly magical!



Chopping veggies with Peace Buddies 



Making centerpieces


"Out of a stone," said the travelers with a grin, "and a magical ingredient... sharing." As the travelers left the town they said, "If anyone ever wants to make this soup again, just remember the recipe. Bring what you've got. Put it in the pot. Every bit counts, from the largest to the least. Together we can celebrate a Stone Soup feast!"



Here is the promised music lyrics link from Jay.




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Willow Room


We've had a wonderful week in the Willow Room.  The children returned from Thanksgiving break ready to get busy.  Everyone has been very engaged in the new Practical Life works.    


Talia practices a tripod grasp while squeezing a pipette. 




Delia develops fine motor strength while using Theraputty



August uses scissors to cut clay and refines fine motor strength and eye-hand coordination 

G was the letter of the week and many Goofy Ghost puppets were flying about the room. We even survived the fire drill Friday morning with only a few tears.

The class celebrated with Rhys as he finished his world map project. This activity is a multi-step process that takes several days to complete. Rhys traced and punched out each continent. Then he traced and cut two circles to represent the two halves of the Earth. The continents are then arranged and glued in place. Finally the name labels for the continents are written out and attached to the map.  

Last week we were happy to see so many grandparents and special friends.  We hope they enjoyed visiting as much as we enjoyed having them.  The next GSFD will be next spring.  


This week we welcomed two students, Molly and Jordan, from the early education course at The Career Center in Brattleboro to our classroom.  As part of a mentoring program with Hilltop they'll be visiting every Wednesday morning through mid-January.   

Enjoy the weekend.
Melissa & Ellie




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Lower El


Lower El was busy this week, getting back into a regular rhythm after our poetry performance and the Thanksgiving break. We continue to read, discuss, and write poetry; this week, we talked about the challenging format of the haiku.


We began our study of Fundamental Needs with a lively discussion of what human beings around the world need to survive. Aside from food, water, shelter, and clothing, we depend upon tools to perform both large and small tasks. Cultural and spiritual needs, although not essential for survival, enrich our lives and make them more purposeful. Adornments, too, contribute to a happy and interesting life. We will move from discussing to building soon, as each student will have a Fundamental Needs project to complete.


Emmy Winter will be leaving us this week, to head off on a five-month adventure in Costa Rica with her parents. We will certainly feel her absence, but are looking forward to keeping in contact with her through her blog. Farewell Emmy!  We can't wait to hear about all of your adventures; maybe you'll teach us some Spanish when you return. Love, Your Lower El Community


Please note some fun and interesting dates that are now on Lower El's calendar:


  • Our gift-making time will be on Monday, December 17th this year, from 12:30 to 2:30. If you have an idea for a (simple) homemade craft and are able to come, please contact parent reps Rita Ramirez or Kim Korson.
  • We'd like to invite all parents to come for our Poetry Breakfast Café, which will take place in our classroom on Tuesday, December 18th, shortly after drop-off time. Each child will recite their own poem while you enjoy some homemade treats.
  • On Wednesday, January 9th, Lower El heads to the Montshire Museum for a lesson on fossils, followed by time in the museum to explore. We could use four parent drivers on that day. Please let us know if you are able to help out, and thank you in advance!


Have a lovely weekend together!

Jessica, Kerstin, Connie




Upper El

After Thanksgiving break, students busily returned to work this week on cultural projects, a new writing project, and math work. These were just a few of the many works tackled this past week. The fourths and fifths have started to research early modern human cultures. The fifths were also busy revising their Hero Project essays. The sixths began a study of the Bill of Rights. They were also writing skits about the three branches of government.




While I was outside playing foursquare with a bunch of students during recess today, we all grew pretty silly. All the silliness made me reflect on just how much was happening on, and off, the foursquare court. The game brings together students who may not always choose to socialize with one another. Students who need to work on their gross motor skills are getting good practice. Students who consistently get out quickly are learning to persevere while they improve their skills. Those children who are strong players are practicing losing with grace and humor. Students are learning how to negotiate rules and work toward compromise. The play can definitely be competitive, but there are also plenty of 'redo's. Conflicts certainly do arise on the court, but these create opportunities for discussion at community meeting or between individuals. Foursquare also provides an opportunity for us all to just be really, really silly together; everyone can just be their own goofy self. This is a vital part of building community in an upper elementary classroom. Touch football is the other big group activity at recess these days, and you can see all of this happening on the soccer/football field as well. Foursquare tends to grow a little louder in its silliness, but there is plenty of laughter and clowning between all the 'hut, hut, hiking.'




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Middle School

Things go apace in the Middle School. Projects, specific outlines, portraiture, poetry, genealogy, math, elderly companions, and literature fill our days with purpose and focus. The semester is rapidly coming to an end and there is much to do before we sleep. We are already looking excitedly to the future as we have just booked our flight to Alabama (for our Civil Rights Movement Odyssey) and secured our accommodations in Selma, which has not always been easy. We have a lot of soup to sell, dances to host, baked goods to sell, and whatever else our entrepreneurial fund-raising minds can conjure up to make it all happen but we are on our way!  The dates for our odyssey are April 3 - 10, 2013.



Another important date that is much closer on the horizon is our Poetry Café. We will be holding this celebration of language, creativity, and expression on Tuesday, December 18 (please note the date change) at 7 pm. This is always a moving and fun evening at the middle school. We look forward to seeing all of you here.


Have a wonderful weekend.



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Other Happenings Around Town...
This Sunday, 12/2, Building a Better Brattleboro will be hosting "Gingerbread festivities" sponsored by King Arthur Flour.  
First, there is the Brattleboro Food Co-op Kids Gingerbread Decorating Workshop from 10:30 to 12:00.  Kids can decorate and eat gingerbread cookies! 
Then head over to the River Gallery to drop off all contest entries for best decorating, best tasting and best gingerbread house from 12:00 to 1:30.  Items should be pre-registered. Email [email protected] (kids and adults are welcome to enter).  Our celebrity guests will announce the winners to all the contests at 3:00.  Prizes include $50 and $25 King Arthur Flour gift cards, KAF Cookie Companion cookbooks, KAF half sheet pans, KAF The Baker's Companion, and KAF tote bags.


And don't forget to attend the Annual Tree Lighting this Friday, 11/30 at Pliny Park!



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Hilltop Montessori School