Hike for the Homeless and Upper El soccer tournament both tomorrow morning
Saturday, October 5
- Upper El soccer tournament at Landmark College, first game 9am
- Hilltop "flash mob" at Morningside Shelter's "Hike for the Homeless" 10am, meet in the parking lot of the old Wal-Mart by the trail head
Monday, October 7
- MS Soccer 3-4:30pm
- Going Far Cross Country Running 3:10-4:10pm
Tuesday, October 8
- UE Soccer practice 3-4:15pm
- CH Spanish 3-4pm
- High School Night 7pm: Teresa Imhoff, from The Dublin School, will be discussing with parents and students how to navigate the waters of choosing and applying to a private high school
Wednesday, October 9
- 6th year's trip to Sturbridge Village 8am-5:30pm
- Mountain Biking 3-4:30pm
- Fire and Stone 3-4:30pm
- Historical Fencing 3-4pm
- LE Soccer 3-4pm
- Going Far Cross Country Running Race at Green Mountain Orchards in Putney. Leave Academy School at 3pm email Bob Parks for more info
Thursday, October 10
- MS Soccer AWAY game vs Compass School 4pm start time
Friday, October 11
Sunday, October 13
- Hilltop Middle School's fundraiser at the Putney School's Harvest Festival 10am - 3:30pm
Thursday, October 17, 7pm
High School Alumni Night is a great way to learn how our students successfully transition to high school. A panel of alumni attending private and public schools will be in attendance to answer questions. All parents of current students are encouraged to attend.
Friday, October 18, 3-6pm
Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival!
Preventative Notice - Head Lice
|We've heard of a few incidences of head lice at other schools. Please check your child(ren) regularly. We would love to avoid having this problem at Hilltop. As a reminder, review our head lice policy:|
Preventing head lice is a community effort.
We request that:
1. Families inform the school of any cases in their family.
2. Families treat their child responsibly and provide appropriate treatment prior to returning to the class.
3. Students who have been affected return to school when they have been fully treated. Continued efforts should be made by parents to be secure in the knowledge that their child will not affect the classroom.
Middle School Business News
Kids' Night Out - Opening Night!
Friday November 1st!
Ready to have a fun night out on the town? Having trouble finding a babysitter? Your troubles are over! Drop your child/children off at the Hilltop Montessori Middle School from anywhere between 5:30-9:30 on Friday, November 1st to have an exciting night with our middle school babysitters!
There will be fun, games, crafts, and tons more! At least one certified babysitter, and one adult will be there. We will provide snacks, but in addition please pack a nutritious dinner or feed your child before you come. This fun night for you and your kids costs only $6.00 an hour for one child and $4.00 per hour for additional children. All proceeds from Kids Night Out goes to the Hilltop Montessori Middle School Odyssey fund.
Space is limited. To reserve your spot email email@example.com
Bagel Lunch is BACK
Once again, bagel Lunch will be served every Wednesday starting on October 9th and running for 30 weeks. The bagel will always be delivered to your child's classroom. Bagel lunch will include one or two delicious Bruegger's bagels of your choice, a topping of your choice, and an apple. All
proceeds go to the HMMS odyssey fund to help make our trips to Boston and Alabama possible.
Click here to download an order form.
Coffee Cart Monthly Raffle
Now at coffee cart, for every coffee or scone you buy you have the option of entering a free raffle where every month we draw a name and that person wins a free Hilltop travel mug. These mugs are also available for individual purchase at the circle from 8:15 to 8:45 for $10.00 each.
-Jeremy May West
(Coffee Cart manager)
Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival - Preview
Come one, come all!
The excitement is building for the first ever "Hilltop Annual Fund Kick-Off Carnival" coming up on Friday afternoon, October 18th from 3-6pm. What can you expect?
- old-time carnival-style games for all ages
- pony rides
- fortune teller
- pie baking and EATING contests
- giant Hilltop Jeopardy
- live music
- pumpkin decorating
- Rigani wood fired pizza
- Middle School will be selling their famous coffee and hot cider
Come celebrate the kick-off to Annual Fund with us. If you pledge to the Annual Fund that evening, your name will be entered into a raffle to win 2 one day passes to Mount Snow! Most activities will be free, but we will be selling pizza and $1 tickets to be used for some of the games and activities. Prizes galore! (we're collecting pre-owned stuffed animals to be used as said prizes - so clean out your closets and bring in your stash. There will be a box in front lobby).
THIS WEEK'S BARN UPDATE:
Bring in the concrete! After much digging and discovery, today they poured the concrete! Foundation footings were poured in preparation for the slab. Test pits will continue to be dug for the water tank and trenches for electrics will be dug. Propane lines will be moved and added.
Please excuse any traffic inconvenience in the coming weeks. While we are trying very hard to assure that the drive is open at drop off and pick up times, delays do happen. I am grateful for your patience!
Thank you, Leland
For many years there has been a debate about how much time and effort should be put into teaching and practicing handwriting now that we are in a digital age with the majority of communication being through a keyboard. While keyboarding skills are important, there are good scientific reasons to continue having children work on handwriting, including cursive writing.
Maria Montessori was one of the first scientists to emphasize the connection between the hand and the brain. She speculated, long before MRIs could prove it, that the movement of the hand stimulated many areas of the brain. "The first movement of his small hand toward external objects should be eagerly awaited. . . Since he must develop himself through his movements, through the work of his hands, he has a need of objects with which he can work and provide motivation for his activity." Maria Montessori, The Secret of Childhood
Since the adaptation of the Common Core Standards across the country, and in Vermont, there has been debate specifically about teaching cursive writing. Cursive writing is not in the Common Core Curriculum, yet there are many reasons to teach cursive:
- the slow, deliberate training of the hand and mind for cursive in the early elementary years has developmental advantages
- children who enjoy handwriting, have a new artistic venue to develop
- children who have rushed or sloppy handwriting, have a new, "more advanced" skill to work on that improves the legibility of their handwriting
- the fluid movement of cursive can help to extinguish letter reversals that are often still common in the early elementary child
- a new way to focus on letters and words helps with reading, as it works to improve writing
At Hilltop Montessori School, we directly teach both manuscript and cursive writing in the Lower Elementary program. Children come from the Children's House having learned formation of their letters using sandpaper letters, metal insets, sand trays, the chalkboard, and the movable alphabet, and are beginning to write on paper.
In the first year of Lower Elementary children learn to focus on handwriting and follow explicit instructions for forming manuscript letters. These lessons are extremely prescriptive, with an explicit right way to form letters. Having developed that discipline, in the second year of Lower Elementary, children review manuscript and learn cursive. Some children take off with it! Loving the new way to write. Others need to work at it slowly. In the third year of Lower Elementary, students review their cursive letters and initially do all of the work that is copying using cursive. For example, if they have done an antonym matching work and are then writing it down, they will do that in cursive. But, they can do original writing of a first draft in manuscript, and then do the final in cursive. By the end of the school year, all written work will be expected to be done in cursive.
This emphasis on cursive writing has been shown to bring many long-term benefits to children. Both reading (decoding) and writing (organization and mechanics) have been shown to improve in children who have had an increased emphasis on handwriting. It can also help with memory of information. There have been many studies and articles on this topic. A few are listed here:
"Sebastian, what are you making? " asks Caroline.
"Nothing, I want to see what these things do." Sebastian concentrates on his scissors as he maneuvers his thumb and fingers into the handles. He looks at his hand. "Thumb up" he says. Then his focus shifts to the tiny hole puncher.
"How does this work please?" he asks.
I demonstrate the steps of where the paper slides in, how to push the top down to punch a hole. "Oh, I see", he says. Then he moves on to the glue stick... pure joy! He pulls the cap off, twists the glue stick up and smears some onto a piece of black paper. The dots punched out from the hole puncher are sprinkled all over the glue. A look of satisfaction spreads across his face. "There!" he remarks. He crumbles it all up in his arms...each tiny dot and scrap, and then stuffs it into his paper cubby. He returns to his workspace and proceeds to put everything away in its proper place. Exploration, experimentation, order, concentration, coordination, and independence. Once again... it's not the product.... It's the process!
Our study of apples continues with learning the names for parts of an apple.
Melissa dissects an apple and labels the parts.
Ciana creates her own book of parts of an apple.
The warm weather and changing fall colors have afforded us an opportunity to take our first walk in the woods and begin studying seeds. Along the trail, children noticed several kinds of seeds including acorns and milkweed pods. In the woods we took some time to sit and notice the properties of a milkweed seed - it floats like a parachute! Afterwards we used socks and fleece jackets to collect seeds around the soccer field. It is traditional to end our walk with a RUN, and the children loved it.
Thanks to Senji and his family for sharing pomegranates with the lunch group! Now those are pretty fantastic seeds!
Our bimonthly visits from the Early Learning Express began again this week. Emily stops by to read the children a story and the children choose a book to borrow.
On Monday morning, October 7th, firefighters from the Brattleboro Fire Department will be visiting Children's House. We'll learn about fire safety and get to take a close look at the fire trucks.
Finally, parent teacher conferences are coming up on October 24 and 25. Please see the sign up sheets posted in the lobby to reserve your time. Each conference is 20 minutes long.
Hope to see you at Hike for the Homeless on Saturday!
Melissa & Ellie
Your children have been very busy this week! It has been such a treat to watch them working together on math, first knowledge cards, and planet studies. This week we concluded our Great Lesson on the History of Writing, which really opens the topic up for further study by the students.
We had a special guest in the classroom to help us kick off our handwriting curriculum this week - our very own Tamara Mount! Tamara's expertise and enthusiasm were hungrily taken in by the class as they met with her for their first handwriting session of the year. Lower El also welcomed several other guests this week, of varying stages of phylogeny: two guest betta fish, a guest spider, and a guest lady bug (who is now roaming loose). Special thanks to Oscar and Ella for allowing us to observe their fish in our biological studies! In art, students continued to work on sketches for their mobiles, which have been amazing to see.
Ask your first-year student about adding with large numbers.
Ask your second-year student about prepositions.
Ask your third-year student about their invertebrate classification study.
We are planning to Hike Putney Mountain on the morning of Friday, October 18th (weather permitting, of course). We will need about 7 parent drivers. Please contact us if you'd like to be a driver.
Workshare begins Wednesday, October 16th. Let your child be your personal tour guide in Lower El as they share with you the work that they have been doing. We will hold workshare every other Wednesday, from 8:30-9:00.
Third-year students are invited to enter the Brattleboro Fire Department's annual calendar contest. Third graders are encouraged to submit an entry for the cover, or for one of the calendar's monthly themes. Be on the lookout for a handout containing more information. We strongly encourage your talented children to participate!
Kerstin and Patrick
The flurry of activity continues and presentations were the norm this week. The 4/5's finished and presented their river study maps with the data about their rivers. The 6th's gave their biome presentations and accompanying slide show. In the meantime they are gathering note cards on the next round of research - Ancient Egyptian fundamental needs (4/5) and Colonial America (6ths).
In a Montessori classroom, the children are asked to take responsibility for the care and maintenance of the classroom environment. On one level, this means taking part in the semi-weekly sweeping, dusting and wiping of classroom surfaces and a general tidying up. At another level it means observing and thinking about their own experience of the environment, its routines and procedures. Last week at Community Meeting the collective thought turned to our advisory and specifically its timing. Advisory happens at the end of the day when students are asked to make a plan for the upcoming day - prioritizing works and responsibilities, checking due dates. Some students voiced the opinion that their brains are not focused well enough at 2:30 to think carefully about the day ahead, and that the beginning of the day is a more appropriate time to plan the day at hand. We collectively agreed to give it a try. We'll see at the next Community Meeting how it is going for everyone (teachers included).
Wednesday, October 9, Sixth grade trip to Old Sturbridge Village
We need to leave at 8AM sharp and will return at
5:30. Students need to bring a lunch and dress appropriately for the weather.
Also, if you can collect boxboard (cereal boxes and the like) for an art project, please do so.
Tom and Jen
We continue to be blessed by extraordinarily beautiful weather as we deepen our connection to Upland. Students are immersed in collecting data for their individually created science labs, defining and working on their classification art/science project, and exploring the language of H.D. Thoreau from Walden. Next Monday, every student, inspired by the artist, Andy Goldsworthy, will build a sculpture crafted by found natural materials on their plot. Their sculptures will become a part of the environment and will slowly deteriorate and change with the weather and other forces of nature. As we have learned from our guests, the forest, as we know it, is truly just a postcard of the present and is in a continual arc of change just as we are in our life journey. Parents who can join us at the Upland open house on Monday will have the opportunity to see the sculptures in the beginning of their voyage. We will also photograph the process and the finished sculptures, which may become part of the parent night on Tuesday, October 22nd.
On Monday, we had the incredible privilege of a visit from Tom Wessels, the author of Reading the Forested Landscapes and a long time environmental professor. In our walks with Tom, we learned fascinating new facts about our Upland surroundings. For instance, many of the plots have always been forested and never used for agricultural purposes. We discovered evidence of great American chestnut forests that were growing since before the time of the Revolution and originally logged during the Civil War. We also discovered that the swamp that is on the southwestern side of our Upland camp is a rare black ash swamp. Black ash was used by the Abenaki for basket making and up to the 1960's was often cut by Basketville in Putney to make baskets (before outsourcing to China). Tom's visit along with our other guests in the recent weeks has been invaluable in understanding where we are and perhaps who we are in a particular place.
Conferences are Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25. A sign up sheet is now in the middle school lobby. There is so much going on in the middle school. We look forward to seeing you at the open house on Monday, high school night on Tuesday the 8th, and alumni night on Thursday the 17th.