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Like us on FacebookHilltop Montessori School                       February 15, 2013


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Make Up Pizza Day
Annual Report
Next week at Hilltop
Science of Learning
Elementary Art
Willow Room
Willow Room
Birch Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Make Up Pizza Day
We'll be serving pizza on Tuesday, February 26th, the first day back to school, as a make-up for the lost pizza day from last week's storm.
Annual Report
The 2012 Annual Report is now available for download.  
Click here:  to read the web version. 
Print copies will be available at the front desk soon.
Coming up...

February 18 - 25 - Winter Break. NO SCHOOL.

Winter Sports - Make Up Day: Thursday, Feb 28.


If you have an item, service or community event you would like to post in this space, email Amelia. Deadline for entries is Thursday afternoon. Entries will be posted for one week unless requested otherwise. Thanks! 



After-Care requests:
Dress-up clothes. Ideally they would be "grown up" go-to-the-office clothes that are appropriately sized for a child.


A head-set for the CD player.

Sewing and Design Studio opening in Brattleboro March 1st. Classes for kids and adults. Click here to download flier.


 Back to top


The Neuroscience of Learning   


By Dan Filler

In late November I attended a Learning and the Brain Conference, co-sponsored by Harvard, MIT, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and other leading universities. This conference was largely focused on brain diversity and its impact on reading and mathematics. The Learning and the Brain Foundation sponsors conferences that bring together leading neuroscientists and educators to examine the latest brain research and the possible implications for teaching and learning. The conference was thrilling; I spent three days listening to brilliant people talk about cutting edge research on the brain and learning.


A few important topics were touched on repeatedly over the course of the conference. Many speakers began their presentations by discussing the evolution of the human brain as a way to emphasize just how novel, in evolutionary terms, the acts of reading and writing are. A consistent theme among presenters was just how complex a process learning to read really is, and how much individual brain differences can impact the process for each child.

Read the full article here.


Elementary Art  


Following their family history and biography study, the Lower El have been working on self portraits in art class. Each student completed at least two portraits in different mediums, and chose their favorite to display outside the classroom.

They have also been learning to weave, so don't be surprised if your student comes home with a woven belt, bracelet or the ever essential  dollhouse rug or stuffed animal blanket!

In Upper El, we have been exploring the Native American art forms of weaving, beading, pottery and rock art. We also studied the art of the Pacific North West through totemic paintings as well as sculpted individual spirit animals. 




Girls in grades 3, 4, and 5 are invited to join Hilltop's Girls on the Run team this spring. This wonderful program is all about helping girls navigate the tricky pre-teen years and feel good about themselves, make wise choices and celebrate their unique gifts. No running experience necessary. Registration forms and a brochure went home with all eligible girls. For more information contact Amelia Farnum. We have some scholarship money available, and we really encourage anyone with interest to register!

The culminating event, a 5k race, will be held May 25 at BUHS.  


Willow Room 


 Some photos from our week in the Willow Room.


 Connor reads a valentine.



Quinn and August open valentines.



Corbin and Connor collaborate on the 100 board.



Hailey, Brooke and Parker folding napkins.  


Birch Room 


Henry sounds out the word I-R-A-N while working on a map, then reads "Iran" out loud. Charlie walks by Henry's map work, hears him, and says, "I ran too!"


Kaya and Addy associating sounds with written letters and word building with moveable alphabet.



Lucas working with sandpaper letters, making the association of sound with written the letter (symbol).



Charlie isolating sound-sorting objects by initial sound with letters.



Henry and Oscar reading quietly.



Malika and Charlie sitting together working on an art project.



Crosby working on 1-10 one to one correspondence -- association of loose quantity and symbols.



Lower Elementary 


Choice work comes in many forms here in Lower El. Some students choose to do more of their everyday work: more math, more grammar, more geography. Others prefer to take a different route, and research an unfamiliar or favorite animal. This is usually followed by an artistic rendering of the animal, whether in paint or pencil, or with clay. We often see students working with the pin maps of various continents, then announcing how many countries are found in that continent. Sometimes, someone will decide to research a state, and friends will catch their enthusiasm and join in.

Choice work highlights independence and community; deciding to pursue some study on your own, and then following through with it, yields a sense of pride that does not come from teacher-directed work. When you work in a group, your patience can sometimes be tested. Friends may have different opinions about how to do something. The discussions that come from this result in true collaboration, with everyone having to compromise a little bit for the good of the whole, and taking pride in their contribution to the project. Choice work may not always look like actual work, or what a passing adult would consider work, but it is in the childrens' conversations that the real work arises.
Valentine's Day has come and gone, and boy, did we have fun! Thank you to Amelia Farnum for treating us to a singing valentine. The children had fun listening to the sweet and funny songs, and they admired the wild costumes that the singers wore.
Have a great vacation! See you in two weeks.

 - Jessica, Kerstin, and Connie





Upper Elementary 

This week was the Upper Elementary poetry performance. The students did a wonderful job presenting their poems to family and schoolmates. Each child's presentation of her poem provides a great snapshot of who that child is and where she is in her development. Paying attention to each child's poetry performance over the course of three years is a great way to observe and marvel at her growth.

Middle School  

We all have that vacation feeling this morning. This is a well-deserved break and a good breather before we head into the very focus and concerted month of March in preparation for our odyssey to Alabama. For our final day, we spent the morning exploring the Sit-In Movement, the power of student organization, the vagaries of the political parties in the election of 1960, had a little math, and celebrated the completion of all the poetic films by having our first full showing prior to their release onto the web site. They are truly lovely.


The only assigned homework for over break is the first section of Black Boy by Richard Wright. If students have been consistently researching their Civil Rights Movement individual over the past two weeks they are probably in pretty good shape but on the other hand if there has not been a concerted effort in that direction time should be spent next week. In the four weeks following break students will be writing their specific outlines, research papers, and the speech in the voice and spirit of their person that they will be reciting in Alabama. In addition they will be creating poems and songs that examine their personal relationship to some of the sociological concepts that are being discussed such as prejudice, exclusion, racism, supremacy, justice, and hope. The fruit of these labors will also be shared in Alabama with students from Wilcox County, Alabama and a professional performance poet in Birmingham. There is also a great deal going on with the "Science of Race" curriculum, language arts, seminar, and math. This being said, it is essential that our students stay very much on track and schedule to be successful and prepared for this exciting and challenging adventure. This may require that they spend time over break with their research. Please check in with your student.


Dr. William Leons will be visiting our classroom on Tuesday, February 26. Dr. Leons was a participant in the Freedom Rides of 1961. He plans on bringing in the mug shots from his 29 days spent in the infamous Mississippi prison, Parchman Farm, as a result of his non-violent direct action.


Have a wonderful break! 











Hilltop Montessori School