Welcome to Jill's Class
Welcome to the Northeast Lower Elementary classroom. Jodie and I have created a comfortable and friendly environment for your child to learn, foster creativity and socialize with their peers. We look forward to watching them grow, academically, socially and physically!
Jill Borre firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Borre, Lower Elementary Guide
AMS Montessori Elementary Certification, Center for Montessori Teacher Education,
Lower Elementary Guide
March 23, 2017
By now, you've most likely heard about the "fancy" lunch table. We've been working on our lunchtime table manners most of the year and we now have a special place to dine for those of us who have demonstrated good manners. Each week a different group of four get to sit at a table with "crystal" goblets, shiny plates, tablecloth, special silverware, a beautiful floral arrangement and (battery operated) candles. It's very special!
We've been continuing our study of the Sun and Earth with lessons about time and temperature, the sun's rays and the reason for the seasons. We've learned that the tilt of the earth and the spherical shape of the earth play important roles in determining the seasons and how warm particular locations are.
March 9, 2017
This week we've been working with Jen Strauss who is a Narrative Consultant and Literary Coach. She is using storytelling to help students write. Jen has told us several stories about her childhood that the students can easily picture and relate to. We started our writing process by telling a story to our writing partners. We then wrote down the key points in a Venn diagram. Soon we will be putting it all together with pictures and writing. The week will culminate with a time for sharing our stories on Friday.
It seems that poor manners at lunchtime have increased during the doldrums of winter. Table manners are an important part of everyday life and a key to acceptable social skills. Sitting still, using a napkin and utensils, not talking with our mouths full of food, taking turns with the conversations and having respectful exchanges are all things that we focus on. Don't be afraid to enforce the same habits at home. Together we can make a difference!
Thank you for conferencing with me last week. I took many notes and will use that information to help your child in the areas that we discussed. Please feel free to contact me any time if you have questions or concerns about your child or the happenings in the classroom.
February 23, 2017
We've been talking a lot about what it means to be "normalized". Maria Montessori observed that when children are allowed freedom in a prepared environment, they thrive. After a period of concentration, working with materials that engage them, children appear to be content. Through continued concentrated work of their own choice, children grow in inner discipline and peace. She called this process "normalization" and cited it as "the most important single result of our whole work" (The Absorbent Mind, 1949). I explained that this is our goal as a classroom. A lot of little light bulbs went off during our conversation and I'm happy to say that we've become "normalized" on most occasions since.
Thank you to all parents and grandparents who attended Parent Visiting Day last week. The students were excited to share with you the lessons they are practicing, their classroom and their friends. Every student in attendance that day had a visitor or two!
February 9, 2017
We've been having a lot of fun with geometry lately. Recent lessons include learning about the circle and its parts, classifying triangles according to sides and angles, identifying polygons, circumferences of circles and using the Pythagorean Theorem to find the length of sides of a right angle triangle. Montessori classrooms have a wonderful material called "the box of sticks". Ask your child about it and how they have used it as follow up to their lessons.
Kindness to others has been a discussion topic lately. We've discussed what it means to be kind to others and acknowledged that sometimes people are just having a bad day or there are things going on at home that might be affecting their happiness. Knowing this, we felt it was important to be kind to everyone all the time. To express our appreciation to each other we started writing kindness cards which we are linking together to make a chain. Our goal is to make it around the entire classroom.
January 26, 2017
Swimming lessons have been a positive experience thus far. We get to spend a generous amount of time in the pool learning new skills and the instructors are great with the kids. I enjoy seeing their big smiles on the bus and throughout their time in the water.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the annual spelling bee. I was very pleased to see that a majority of the classroom chose to participate. More than just spelling takes place when a person stands in front of their school and speaks into a microphone.
I think we've finally landed on an effective way to memorize and retain math facts. Students practice their facts daily and are quizzed when they are ready. So far this year there have been three students who have made it through their division facts. These students will continue to practice their facts independently throughout the week just to stay fresh.
January 12, 2017
January is off to a good start with everyone settling back into the routine of the classroom. I’m always amazed at how eager they are to return to see their friends and dive back into our everyday classroom work and activities. Routine is a comfortable, reassuring thing for our lower elementary students.
We just finished reading one of the Newbery Challenge books, by Grace Lin called When the Sea Turned to Silver. Everyone was captivated by the main character Pinmei and her adventure with her friend Yishan to find the Luminous Stone.
The second and third years have been busy reviewing the nine parts of speech, giving examples of each and how to use them in a sentence. First years have learned the following: article, noun, adjective, verb and prepositions. They are all continuing to work on classroom materials to enhance their knowledge of the concepts.
December 15, 2016
The Kiwanis Club of Traverse City donated dictionaries to our third year students. The students love receiving them; they leaf through the pages, attempt to read the longest word, and simply are just excited to have their own to use throughout the week. Thank a club member if you know one. It's a highlight for these third years.
In keeping with the season, we've been making beautiful, intricately cut snowflakes to adorn our windows. Our classroom looks a bit like a snow globe at the moment!
We're putting the polishing touches on our Festival of Light studies. All have written, or at least assisted in writing, a study of their holiday. Most students have made art projects and a few have even ventured into the kitchen to make traditional foods. I look forward to the presentations on Friday; it's always a nice send off to winter break.
December 1, 2016
The annual Harvest Feast went off without a hitch. We had a beautiful, communal lunch preceded by our traditional singing of Harmonia Mundi. Thank you to everyone for supplying ingredients for the Stone Soup and for those of you who helped out that day.
We’ve been focusing on the details of our work journals; not just the quantity and caliber of the work accomplished, but how their journal is written with punctuation, spelling and penmanship. Many students are realizing the importance of taking their time and doing it right the first time. A great life lesson.
Later this week we will begin our studies of festivals of lights from around the world. This is a good opportunity for students to delve into other cultures and learn about their ways of celebrating different times of the year. The research will include writing about their findings and may also include costumes, props and food from the culture. The studies will be presented on the day before winter break
November 10, 2016
There are currently many studies going on in the classroom. They range from gems, jewels, wasps and pigs to the Tower of London and the U.S. Government. If your child shows an interest in a topic encourage them to research it to learn all they can. The art projects and presentations to the class are both ways to demonstrate their understanding of their subject. The joy on their faces when they show their finished products are heartwarming.
I truly enjoyed meeting with all of you at conferences. During that half an hour, we were able to share our observations of and interactions with your child and understand what challenges and successes each has. Knowing this information, together we can best support your child at school and at home. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
October 27, 2016
Our social lessons in the past two weeks focused on “Posture & Confidence” and “Host & Guest Basics”. We learned that standing tall and walking with confidence, making eye contact when speaking and greeting someone are very important social skills. We have fun during the lessons acting out the right and wrong way. Ask your child to tell you what they’ve learned about being a good host and/or guest.
The first years have learned several parts of speech. They recently had the lesson on verbs and have had lessons on articles, nouns and adjectives. Their follow up work involves card material and the grammar boxes. Most enjoy telling you what part of speech a particular word is. Try it out at home.
I look forward to meeting with all of you during our conference time. It's a great opportunity to share our observations of your child, discuss their challenges and celebrate their accomplishments. I'm happy to discuss any question or concerns you have as well as any lessons or happenings in the classroom that you'd like to learn more about.
October 13, 2016
Each week we are discussing and practicing a new life skill. This past week we learned what it means to be tactful. Not blurting out the first thing that pops into your head, taking other people’s feelings into consideration and seeing the positive instead of the negative are traits of a tactful person. It was nice to see students thinking about this when communicating with their peers.
The Coming of Life, another of the Great Lessons was presented. This lesson revolves around the Timeline of Life, a long chart with pictures of microorganisms, plants, and animals that have lived (or now live) on the earth. The great diversity of life is emphasized, as is the role that these living things play
September 29, 2016
The Montessori Great Lessons are the stepping stones to further work in all areas of our curriculum. Thus far, The Creation Story and the History of Writing have been presented. The History of Writing presentation laid the foundation for our budding authors. We have been having writing workshops each week that give instruction about many things, from how to use the paper to brainstorming ideas. Once the students get over the hump of what to write about, they are eager to dive in.
Our third years have begun reading comprehension work. Through this exercise they are learning the importance of reading carefully and following directions. They are also learning about interesting topics such as Johnny Appleseed, Sir Isaac Newton and Ancient China.
September 15, 2016
Welcome to the Northeast Lower Elementary classroom. Jodie and I have created a comfortable and friendly environment for your child to learn, foster creativity and develop. We look forward to watching them grow, academically, socially and physically!
We’ve all pretty much settled into our classroom routine. Each new student’s mentor has helped them become familiar with writing in journals, knowing the schedule and becoming more comfortable in their new environment.
The second and third years are busy reacquainting themselves with the materials and reviewing where they left off in the spring. The third year students have begun writing in their journals on a daily basis. To get the process started, we begin with short expository pieces. Thus far, we’ve had topics from Sitting Bull to trees. First year students are receiving many lessons on new lower elementary materials. From the money drawers to the word study work, they will have plenty of work to access independently.