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Students exploring changes in their environment despite the rain. Where did these wood chip piles come from?

Like us on FacebookMay 9, 2014 

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Next week at Hilltop
New Children's House Teachers
Development Update
Birch Room
Willow Room
Lower El
Upper El
Middle School
Community Events
Next week at Hilltop

Monday, 5/12

CH Workshare 8:30 - 9:15


Spanish CH & LE 3 - 4


Ultimate Frisbee 3 - 4:45


Tuesday, 5/13
6ths to Yale Art Gallery 
8 - 5
Fire & Stone 3 - 4
Gardening 3 - 4


Mt. Biking MS 3 - 4:30
Ultimate at Keene Waldorf


Wednesday, 5/14
Bike to School Day 7:30
Bagel Lunch 


NE Traditions 3 - 4


Girls on the Run
3:00 - 4:30


Ultimate Frisbee


Thursday, 5/15
Parent Coffee & meet new CH Staff and All School Gathering 8:30 - 9:45

Tennis 3:15 - 4:30


Drum Circle 3 - 4
Barn Party 5:30 - 7


Friday, 5/16
LE Trip to BMAC
Pizza Lunch
Fencing 3 - 4:30


Jr. Bakers 3 - 4
Girls on the Run
3:00 - 4:30 
Moving Up Days 

K and 3rds

Friday, May 9 10

Tuesday, May 13 10-11 

Tuesday, May 20 10-11:30

Friday, May 30 9-12:30



Friday, May 9 10-11

Friday, May 16 10-11

Tuesday, May 27 10-12.

Monday, June 2 8:30-1

Hilltop featured on WCAX 
Hilltop was featured on WCAX TV last week as part of a series titled 30 Schools in 30 Days.  Free publicity, we'll take it!

View the clip here.

Meet and Greet the New Children's House Teachers!

On Thursday, May 15th, Jonathan Sellers and Rebecca Baiser will be joining us in the Toddler Room both before and after All School Gathering. Rebecca has been fortunate enough to spend several mornings in the Willow Room and has gotten to meet many of our families. With Jonathan living in Baltimore at the moment, he will be making a special trip up to his future home!


Please join us for coffee and informal chatting before All School Gathering and then again after All School Gathering to hear Jonathan and Rebecca talk about their teaching backgrounds, personal interests, and their goals for the year ahead. We will also be answering any questions you might have about the transition ahead.


We look forward to seeing you next Thursday!

Arts Barn Reception and Appetizer Swap
Thursday, May 15th from 5:30 - 7pm

Join us to celebrate the progress in the Arts Barn, view the premiere of the "Final Mile" video, share some food and drink, and launch our Arts Barn Registry. We'll be providing wine, beer and a special signature cocktail for the celebration. Cocktail attire, if you desire. On-site childcare available but we need you to RSVP so we know how many to expect for pizza dinner. Thanks and hope to see you there!
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
We will welcome grandparents, parents or family friends to school on Friday, May 23rd for a host of activities, including classroom time, All School Gathering and lunch. 

This year we are asking CH, LE and UE programs to help organize the food, set up, and clean up for Grandparents and Special Friends Day. (MS parents get a break! You've got graduation coming up!)

Stay tuned for an email from your class rep as to the food we'll need for the big day. Last spring's GP/SF's day was so much fun- let's hope for some great weather!
Hilltop Multi-family Tag Sale
THREE weeks until the Hilltop Family and Friends Ginormous Multi-family tag sale!
How's that pile of tag sale items coming along? Only three weeks until the big purge. Sign up for your spot! Tell your friends and family that they're welcome to join in the fun. Email Amelia to reserve a space.
Thank You
Thank you to Jen Betit-Engel and Christian Engel for playground work in the rain!

A BIG THANK YOU to Tom Call of Tom Call Excavation and Scott Sharra of Ingram Construction!

Moving onsite rocks for more playground "features". 
SummerFun at Hilltop Weekly Camps June 23 - August 1
Last Chance for the 10% Discount for Early Bird Registration on or by May 16.

SummerFun brochure and registration for summer 2014 available here.


Hilltop's SummerFun camp program offers the perfect balance of creative learning and fun recreational activities in the fields, woods, and water of our sprawling 43-acre campus for students ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.


Birch Room

Our Dinosaur Unit has become extinct until next year!  We have begun our study of seeds and gardening. We are discussing and experimenting with the growth of seeds. Below are two of the experiments that we have tried already.


Stages of Growth of a Bean Seed:

Place bean seed in wet paper towel in a zip lock bag.  Place the bag in the sun by taping the bag to a window.  Observe the changes in growth over a few weeks time.


Roots Grow Down:

Cut a piece of paper towel to fit in a baby food jar.  Put a little water in the jar the place grass seeds between the paper towel and the jar. The seeds will sprout rapidly and the children will see the roots growing down and the plant pushing up toward the light.  Place the lid on the jar and flip the jar upside down for a few days and observe the results.  

The next Children's House Workshare, Monday, May 12 8:30-9:15 am.


Willow Room

Thursday the Olders walked to their final clay class with Bonnie Stearns.  On the last visit Bonnie turns her studio into an art gallery and displays all the children's clay creations.  Gasps of "ooos' and ahs' " could be heard as we entered the studio.  The children stared in amazement at their work.  "Its like magic" , "It's so cool", "I love it", were just some of the phrases we heard.  Everyone had the opportunity to view everyone's art and offer praise.


Our next parent visit for the Children's House is this coming Monday, May 12th from 8:30 - 9:15.  Parents are welcome to come and share works with the children.  Hope everyone can join us!


Melissa and Ellie 

Lower El
The Lower El has been focusing on their writing skills.  They are writing for a purpose,  to learn, to teach, and to grow in their confidence that they can communicate clearly on the page. Writing is telling, they've heard many times, only you're telling your story on paper. 
After offering up possible interview questions, our younger students  took turns interviewing each other and writing down their friends' information. They shared what they learned about each other on circle, and the interview subjects were visibly proud as their friends read about their pets, what they like to do for fun, and where they have traveled. The next step in this project is to interview an adult in the building.  Second - year students have just begun brainstorming and note-taking for the books they will make.  Each child has chosen an area of expertise ( hockey, dance competitions, etc.) and will create an informative book on their subject.  

The lives of Rosa Parks, Stan Lee, Nellie Bly, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Jordan, Michael Collins, Jane Goodall, and Laura Ingalls Wilder are taking shape in the Third years' rough drafts, and soon the process of editing and revising will begin.  In the Art room, they are sketching ideas for their subjects' portraits.  

ART MUSEUM FIELD TRIP: Thank you to all parents who have volunteered as drivers for our art museum field trip next Friday.  We will finalize the car assignments soon and let you know by the beginning of next week. 
SUMMER BIRTHDAYS: If your child has a summer birthday and would like to celebrate it in school, they are welcome to do their birthday walk at any point between now and the end of school. Please fill out the birthday script that was mailed out at the beginning of the year and send it in with your child.
CAMERA, ETC.: If you are cleaning for the Hilltop Tag Sale and discover that you have a camera you'd like to get rid of, please consider donating it to Lower El.  We are in need of a class camera. We are also seeking a BALANCE BOARD and a portable CD PLAYER for our classroom. Thank you for keeping Lower El in mind!

Have a good weekend. - Kerstin and Patrick

Preparing for Book Writing

Ian and his Cookie Cutter Shark
Kindergartners visit on the first Moving Up Day.

Jamie's Volcano

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Upper El

Upper El Families:

The highlight of the week was the 4-5 trip to the Smith Botanical Gardens. Our students ambled through the many environments there, from the desert environment of the Succulents Room to the humidity of the Palm House. With over 1500 species of plants to choose from, students were asked to draw one from each room and describe its adaptations to that particular environment. Who knew that's what papyrus looks like!

All students need a water bottle at school for drinks during the day. 
A reminder: our final UE Classroom Museum is coming up! Please come at 

2:00, Thursday, May 22 or Friday morning, May 23 at 8:30. That Friday is Grandparents/Special Friends Day, so the Museum may be extra crowded, so we recommend you come on Thursday afternoon, if it's convenient. Friday is also an early release day (noon dismissal).

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Middle School

We have entered the world of water.  Last Friday we explored our watershed address by following the stream that emanates from the black ash swamp in Upland all the way down to the Connecticut River.  It was a wild tumble through forest, backyards, roadways, and the most remarkable ravine that reflected the history of Brattleboro in the layers of trash deposited there.  Students are developing water based essential questions in preparation for creating individual labs.   Next week they will collect data and write lab reports.  Yesterday we discovered the wonders of the Brattleboro wastewater treatment center.  Once we became acclimated to the aroma of over three thousand households that are connected to the treatment center, we discovered that a great deal happens to the water that flows down the drain.  We discovered that everything that goes in comes right back out again.  Over a million gallons of wastewater enters the center everyday and the same amount of now officially clean water goes back into the Connecticut River.  Even the solid wastes (a pleasant euphemism) are treated to the level that makes them useable as fertilizer and compost.  The treatment center even takes the naturally occurring methane gas and utilizes it for heat and electricity.  We came to realize that everyone should pay a visit to the treatment center (they are having an open house soon!) as another way to recognize the wonders of water, responsibility, and technology.


Today the eighth graders began the apprenticeship program.  The apprenticeship program is an opportunity for students to experience the working world.  They spend six mornings between now and the end of the year doing meaningful work in our community.  Each eighth grader identified areas of interest, made contact with local businesses and social service agencies, and sent a cover letter and resume.  As usual, the local businesses and agencies welcomed our students.  Here is a list of this year's apprenticeship locations: Twice Upon A Time, The Gathering Place, Mocha Joe's Roasting, Brattleboro Food Coop, Brattleboro Country Club, Guilford Sound, Academy School, Specialized Sports, Beadniks, and Holland's Blooms.  We truly live in an exceptional and gracious community.

We begin to chase our watershed.

Careful observation.

Where Eman's Trickle meets Whetstone Brook
Taking flow rate readings.
We speak with the Waste Water Treatment Plant manager.

We learn about the Water Treatment Plant's capacity.
These bright minds immediately notice the spelling error and sense a loophole. Poor Holden, forgot her bathing suit."Decomposition, decompostsition, I get Down..."
Paul Winter's MISSA GAIA at the Centre Congregational Church
An amazing piece of music
An exciting group of musicians
An uplifting experience 
Susan Dedell directs the Brattleboro Concert Choir on Saturday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 18 at 4 p.m.  Featuring our own Paul Dedell and Nora Gordon.
Both performances at Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro.  For advance tickets or more information, contact the BMC at 257-4523
Community News

Less Car - More Body Movement! Next week is the Vermont Way to Go Challenge and so here are two great opportunities to get out of the old car for your trip up to Hilltop.  Reengage your senses, get in shape, and connect with the world.

Bike to School Day - Wednesday, May 14 @ 7:30 am Living Memorial Park

Enjoy early morning pastries donated by Amy's and juice donated by the Coop. We'll all meet at 7:30 am at Living Memorial Park to eat yummy food and then set out to ride up to school at 8 am sharp.  We'll all ride together with lots of rest stops and no rider gets left behind.  Bring water, a helmet, and your bike, or course.  The day before make sure that your tires are pumped up, your brakes are working, and that you're ready for a fun challenge!!
It would be great to have a volunteer to help pick up the treats from Amy's. Any takers? 

For more info or questions contact Dave Cohen at 802-258-7013.
Hike to School Day - Friday, May 16 - Living Memorial Park 

Join a refreshing early morning hike up to school, led by Hilltop's own Ben James.  For more information about time and meeting spot, contact Ben 


Half Marathon to Benefit Youth Services:


The more runners, the funding for YS!  The Catamount Half Marathon is Vermont's newest half marathon and will run a very scenic course through rural Vermont crossing both the Dummerston Covered Bridge and the historic Rice Farm Road Bridge. The accompanying 5K will give family and friends of the half marathoners their chance to run as well. All runners will be treated to a first class experience featuring ChronoTrack B-Tag Chip Timing by Yankee Timing; technical shirts for all Half marathoners; t-shirts for all 5K runners; finisher medals for half marathoners; pint glasses to overall and age group winners; 6 water stops; port-a-potties on the race course; post race refreshments including fresh fruit and pastries; a top notch make-your-own goodie bag; and more.


20% of all entry fees will go directly to support Youth Services of Windham County for their support in manning all 6 water stops and handling course marshal duties.



Host an exchange student from Spain for the month of July! 


An incredible learning experience for all!   We've done it for the past few years and it's been an amazing experience for my entire family and the exchange student (of course!)  The students speak English well.  They come to experience our culture and practice their English.  There's a stipend to cover costs.  And a weekend trip to NYC that your child/ren get to go on with the exchange students!  For more info please contact me, Ariel, mother of Malick in MS, at 802.246.7387 or anelson73@gmail.com    

Hilltop Montessori School