Welcome to Karin and Jamie's Class
We look forward to a year of adaptability, growth, expansion, and construction of not only a new building but also our minds. We hope this year is filled with new wonders, questions, and discoveries as our students dive into new research and new concepts. The words “did you know” followed by a newly discovered fact are always our favorite, we hope your children share these facts with you at home as well. We are so grateful to spend our days with your inspiring children and look forward to celebrating their work with you.
“The child has real vision, a bright little flame of enlightenment that he (she) brings us as a gift.” Maria Montessori
Karin Church, Upper Elementary Guide
B.A. University of California, French, International Relations
J.D. Boston school of Law
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota
The Children's House experience (2007-present)
Toddler Classroom Support & Elementary Classroom Support
Jamie Schaub, Upper Elementary Guide
B.A. Kalamazoo College, psychology and art
Masters of Arts in Education, St. Catherine University
AMI Montessori Elementary Certification, The Montessori Training Center of Minnesota
The Children’s House experience (2012-present)
Upper Elementary Guide
Elementary Classroom Support
April 27, 2017
The bright yellow of the daffodils, the singing of the robins, and the massive piles of books and detailed pages of notes signal that spring is truly here and the Research Fair right around the corner. Finding two fifth year students deep in their research, which happened to cover the entire surface of a four-person table, a lower el guide remembered their first year papers: large, cursive letters, short, simple sentences, and only a few paragraphs in length. It’s this time of year where they, and we, realize how much they have grown.
At this time of year we also notice how much the salmon have grown in the children’s care (with Tony’s unending patience and contagious enthusiasm). This upper elementary project that engages the entire school is celebrating the close of its fourth year. Please join us to say bon voyage to these amazing creatures this coming Saturday, April 29. (For further details, please see The Compass.)
As we wish the salmon farewell, so do we begin to think about the end of the school year and the months we will spend without seeing your children on a daily basis. Thoughts of how to support the momentum they’ve gained this year in different areas of learning intermingle with images of them basking in the summer sun in this beautiful place we call home. Because most skills require regular practice, however, we look forward to working with you and them to ensure that this summer is not only fun but allows them to return to us in the fall ready to begin right where they left off, if not beyond!
April 13, 2017
The past two weeks have been filled with the excitement and curiosity of big research. Our room is filled with library books, note cards, and drawings. It is an inspiring time as students meander through the room asking each other what they are studying, and we are all learning and sharing with each other.
Many students have been reading and writing poetry in order to celebrate Poetry Month and prepare for the Poetry Jam next Wednesday, April 19th. We are also getting ready to release the salmon we've been raising since in the fall. We will send more details about the salmon release as our students plan the event.
March 23, 2017
Comfort zones. We all have them. Depending on the circumstances, some are smaller than others. Going beyond our comfort zones from time to time helps us get to know ourselves, our strengths, our challenges, and, perhaps, discover interests we never knew we had. March has provided many opportunities for the children to stretch their comfort zones. We started with Human Growth and Development: important information, presented clearly, happens to all, cool to some, so incredibly uncomfortable for others.
Then the 6th years travelled to New York. Our eldest wholeheartedly engaged with children from around the world about topics as foreign to Traverse City as Times Square is to Front Street.Meanwhile the 4th and 5th years worked with Jenifer Strauss to learn how to tell one of the many stories that make up their lives. Digging deeper into how an event impacted their lives was important, challenging work and required the broadening of internal comfort zones to fully explore the experience.
Now we are in theatre. The concentric circles of comfort are ever so visible. So is the bravery of your children to exceed their normal level and completely throw themselves into this team effort. Thank you Reed, Laura, Dave and Amanda for helping them “go beyond” and learn, in a unique way, how truly capable they are.
March 9, 2017
This week is filled with students exploring and pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones.
Our fourth and fifth years are working with Jennifer Strauss to explore the art of storytelling and story writing this week. She started the week by captivating our students with her own stories. They will be learning to write their stories with detail and interest, then have the opportunity to perform them on Friday.
Our sixth years are exploring New York with open minds and open hearts. On our first flight our flight attendant announced to the plane "I just want to thank all of these children for their kindness, I woke up watching the news and wondered about the future, now I feel a bit more at ease knowing that these children will be part of the future."
We have been exploring the cultural offerings of New York including: the Museum of Modern Art where the students recognized many artists they knew, visiting the 9/11 Memorial, riding on the Statue of Liberty ferry, and some playtime in Central Park. Soon the Montessori Model United Nations conference will begin and our students will meet others from many other cultures and begin the work of solving the world's problems.
We are grateful for the gift of these inspiring children.
February 23, 2017
There really is no other word than “WOW!” (jaw wide open and eyes popping) to describe the care and thought (and baking) that went into the children’s celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Clues written en français, colorful heart-shaped baked goods, flashing lights, mysterious puzzles, and kind compliments, showed not only the immense creativity, but the kindness, of the children, generously shared with their Secret Valentines last week. (Don’t worry. The treats were shared, too. Delicious!)
That enthusiastic interjection also came to mind as the 6th year delegates warmly welcomed their parents to an evening of Venezuelan fare, starting with a presentation of their Model UN Opening Speeches and followed by a discussion of the logistics of the trip prepared by the children. We dined on homemade empanadas, beans and rice, avocado dip, and brown sugar plantains for dessert. A huge thanks goes out to the children and their amazingly supportive head chefs, Kristina Weidenfeller and Keil Moshier. (Big thanks are due also to Steve Maas for driving the shoppers and cleaning up after the festivities!)
It’s been a pleasure to reflect on your lovely children as we complete our Winter Progress Reports, and we look forward to celebrating their achievements and challenges with you next week in conferences. Please don’t forget to sign up! Thank you!
February 9, 2017
This week Upper Elementary has been filled with student driven activities in the community.
A group of students organized to go see a showing of Hidden Figures at The State Theatre. This movie is based on a true story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. This was inspired after having conversations about The Civil Rights movement and one of the Model United Nations' topics "The Advancement of Women" in our room. We encourage all families to see this inspiring movie.
Another group of students decided to volunteer to serve breakfast to those in need as part of their Youth Peace Builders' group.
Lastly, our sixth years met with the kitchen to plan a Venezuelan dinner for their families next Monday. They will spend time shopping for their ingredients on Friday.
In Elementary, "Going Out" is an integral part of the classroom as students learn to plan outings, talk to members of the community, and organize what they will need for their trips. These opportunities also give insight into how other people live and work in society.
January 26, 2017
Is there a better way to celebrate the first full week of school this New Year than by attending the Newbery Awards in our own gym? The enthusiasm for this year’s challenge was felt at all levels and exhibited through months of voracious reading, lively conversations about characters and plot, and cheers that erupted as favorite titles won honors. Thank you, Tara, for lighting this fire of interest in our community for all kinds of literature and for guiding the party planning committee in pulling off another successful event!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of January after several snow-day-filled weeks, but we are. After the Newbery gathering, we regrouped in our classroom and agreed that it was now time to begin this New Year of student work in earnest. The children acknowledged that most had yet to regain the momentum they had built up before winter break and that the extra days off made it more difficult to do so. They shared their understanding of good work habits: balanced choices, focused partners, quiet interactions, challenging material. And then they were off. A quiet buzz filled the room and satisfied smiles greeted us when it was time to check Work Logs.
A final request to parents: please help your children get sufficient sleep during these dark months of hibernation. We are noticing many exhausted, young bodies in our lessons. Their minds and bodies are so active . . . rest is essential. Thank you!
January 12, 2017
The moment of discovery is one that we cherish when we are able witness it. The moment when a child who has been working on something challenging for some time, reaches mastery and a sense of understanding. The child’s face lights up, they usually make some sort of exclamation about it (and maybe even a little dance too). This week some students have been working on pre-algebra by solving for x (an unknown variable). The moment of understanding the process was beautiful. The child was filled with an internal sense of pride for his perseverance.
Our students have continued to uncover new facts throughout the year and our book “Did you know?” is written in almost daily with a new discovery.
Here are a few:
“Did you know that the average moose eats 50 pounds of twigs a day?”
“Did you know your thumb is your longest finger?”
“Did you know the volume of the loft is 1,526,889 inches cubed?”
Okay, so we’ve been working on volume too.
Please join the Elementary Faculty for our Parent Ed, “Your Six to Twelve Year Old” on January 19th at 4pm.
December 15, 2016
Applause rang out as the fire door lifted, revealing the completed addition to our classroom. Just a week and a half prior, the children peered through a two-foot gap at the base of the door, lying on their bellies, kneeling with their arms around each other, each trying to gain the best vantage point for their future space. And now we’re in. Yahoo!!!
Participating in the important decisions of our move, such as the location of the science materials, the new homes for our fish and newts, and the placement of tables so that we can all see each other when we’re in group, provided the children with a sense of ownership. They are proud of their environment and take responsibility for its care. For the past several months they have observed, heard, felt, and even smelled all the hard work that went into building this amazing new addition. Now they are able to experience its benefits firsthand.
To celebrate, we are spending this final week of the calendar year together sharing all the many studies that have occurred thus far. We have learned of the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle, the incredible records of Brett Favre, the history of candy, and some of the similarities and differences of several 18th century revolutions, to name a few. Who knows what discoveries next year might bring?!?
Happy Holidays to all! Looking forward to seeing you all this Friday, December 16, to welcome you into our new home.
December 1, 2016
This year's Harvest Feast provided yet another opportunity for our community to experience how rich life is when we work and play together. In the morning, the children reflected on how fortunate we all are to be able to meet our fundamental needs of food, clothing, and shelter, and how in many places around the world, this is not the case. Our 6th year MMUN students were able to share some of their awareness of the difficulties currently faced by Venezuelans and our Young Peace Builders club spoke of the local homeless population and the oncoming winter weather. Then, before setting up the gym for the 120 celebrants, the children shared in writing why they are thankful for each of their family members. Even those children whose focus quickly returned to pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes were able to dig a little deeper into the importance of this celebration and recognize how lucky they truly are to have their family's love and support.
This fall has been filled with the awareness of construction as we await the move into our new classroom. Workers have become part of our classroom environment as our students observe and learn about what they are doing from caulking a doorway, running wires, installing a door, ect. We toured the new room and hallway and the students were elated stating, "this is amazing!" They have witnessed the process of construction every step of the way from ground breaking, to pouring concrete, to framing, wiring, putting in drywall, trim work, and now they are amazed by the beauty of the new space.
November 10, 2016
Caught up in the enthusiasm and energy of a presidential election, the children decided that upper elementary needed a president. Platforms ranged from equal rights for all to reinstating afternoon snack. Speeches were given on the primary sledding hill during recess, just long enough to allow for lively soccer and foursquare games to still take place. Overall, candidates treated each other with kindness and respect. Homemade “I voted” stickers adorned sweatshirts, and we all went home feeling good about the day.
In addition to election process exploration, a group of children have committed to form a Young Peacebuilders Club. They will work together to identify and solve problems facing our community. Their strong belief in their ability to bring change and contribute to the greater good is palpable – we know they will make a difference and serve as role models to young and old alike.
As adults in this community, we are incredibly fortunate to spend each day with young, exuberant learners, who embrace opportunities wholeheartedly and headfirst. We also feel fortunate to have had the chance to share our observations of daily triumphs and challenges with you, their parents. Thank you for making the time to come in last week and please remember that you are always welcome to visit!
October 27, 2016
What a joy to see children out working, learning, and laughing on an old schooner in Suttons Bay with the beauty of fiery fall trees on the shore! Our students were inspecting plankton, identifying fish, digging in the lake grass and sediment, raising sails, and steering the ship with the crew on the Inland Seas. It is exciting to watch our students interact and learn from other adults out in nature.
One of our favorite parts of elementary education is Great Work. The idea is that we give lessons to our students with the hope of inspiring follow up work that is creative, big, and thought-provoking. This week some students learned about adding negative and positive numbers with bead bars in a work called The Snake Game. If you visited on Wednesday you were able to see a very long snake meandering through our room. This is the great work we hope for!
October 13, 2016
Although it has only been one month since the children came together to form our community, they have created a space where they support each other’s learning, fuel each other’s curiosity, and accept challenges with joy and laughter on a daily basis.
This approach to life was quite evident during our time with the Human Nature School. The children spent a gorgeous fall day in the hills behind the Commons, identifying trees with their eyes closed, navigating their way using a compass and then using reasoning skills and the location of the sun, spinning cord from day lily leaves, working together to light a fire, and howling like wolves into the autumn air.
As we reflected about our experience in our school’s “backyard”, it was apparent how grateful the children are to live in this stunningly beautiful part of the world and how much more rewarding and rich the experience is when spent with people for whom we feel kindness, love and respect.
Thank you Nicole Klau, Audra Santoro, Brad Schiller, and Alicia Walker for driving and helping us bring our classroom outside for a day.
September 29, 2016
Last week we enjoyed the telling of The First Great Story in our classroom. This is a story about the universe, the stars, the sun, and the earth. It is a story that opens the wonder of elementary. Most of our students took part in the telling of this story and demonstrated experiments including changing solids into liquids with heat, and erupting two types of volcanoes. It was beautiful to watch these story tellers stand up and share their part with their peers.
Since the first few days of school we have had a group of students fired up about fundraising for a swing set for the playground. They wrote a proposal and planned meetings with the administration and they have been approved. Soon they will start a can-drive for this effort. Please keep your eyes open for this group of students at carline!
It is inspiring to watch the inner drive and determination of students lead them to projects, research, and even proposals for the school.
September 15, 2016
“We come to The Children’s House to learn, to make friends, to be heard . . ..” These are some of the reasons your children grace our classroom every day with their presence. In Upper Elementary, firm handshakes, hearty hellos, and wide grins begin each morning, and we, the adults, feel so fortunate to be part of this vibrant community.
Mentor teams of 4th, 5th, and 6th years help each other plan days, explore new work, and build new friendships. The classroom is abuzz with lessons on Greek and Latin roots, studies ranging from Armenia and Greece to African wild dogs and endangered blackbirds, and presentations on the traditions of our community, such as birthday celebrations, random act of kindness beads, and the much coveted nook.
As we learn more about each other by sharing and listening to unique facts (e.g., in our midst we have a 007 enthusiast, several dancers, fishermen, and a professional shower singer), we celebrate our differences and embrace the opportunity to be in an environment in which we can all learn, make friends, and be heard.
Looking forward to spending time with all of you on Sunday, October 9!!!