Middle School On The Move

Our Middle School Students are always doing and learning so much that it’s hard to keep up. And Middle School Head Teacher Ms. Erica chronicles it all every two weeks on her amazing blog — subscribe today to get posts by email.

Here are just a few highlights from last week:

  • Students visited Opportunity Village and had a blast singing, dancing, doing comedic improv and more. Student blogger Logan writes: “If there is one thing that I learned from this trip, it would be that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what you look like, how you talk, or the way you walk, every human on the face of this planet has something in common with everyone around them. So, all it takes to make a make a friend is to smile and say Hello.” READ MORE AND SEE PICTURES HERE (password protected).
  • E1 celebrated Pi Day with no less than ELEVEN different mathematical “Pi Stations,” including PiTunes, Pi-doku, Pi Graphs and Radial Radii. And of course, there was pie.
  • Students are learning all about Asia and are focusing on the geography, culture and architecture of the Middle East. From the blog: “This week we looked at pictures from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, and Armenia, which illustrated a little of the architecture, beautiful landscape, and cultural diversity of a region with both European and Asian influences. One seventh grader admiring the photos of Dubai said, ‘I want to go there. I want to go everywhere!'”
  • Students created a chronology of World War I that included biographies of key players and tracked American involvement. They even built their own “weapons”!
  • In Language, students are reading and analyzing various novels including Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. From the blog: “This novel first appeared during the era which historians label ‘the McCarthy period,’ the post-war political climate characterized by xenophobia, blacklisting and censorship. Many of the issues explored in the novel cannot be separated from the historical period in which it appeared. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns. This novel commands lively discussion.”
  • Math studies included illustrating exactly why, as Pythagoras claimed, a^2 + b^2 = c^2!,.
  • “Middle schoolers are in the thick of the Circulatory System, and are anxious for our upcoming dissection of cow hearts! This dissection will give them a very clear picture of our recent studies: heart chambers, valves, the aorta, the vena cava, pulmonary vessels, the path of blood, and more! It doesn’t matter how many diagrams or books we have to share; nothing compares to holding an actual heart in your palms and learning through that type of hands-on experience. We hope you can join us for the big day!”
  • And finally, gardening: “Thank you to Marnie and Teri for helping us begin our new round of gardening! After the eighth graders’ trip to Star Nursery, the middle schoolers planted our basil and peppers on the outskirts of our box. Do you know what’s going in the middle?”

Phew! To read more and see more pictures, don’t forget to check out Ms. Erica’s E1 blog. And try to keep up!

*Don’t forget to stop by the Foothills Montessori School parking lot this Saturday from 8 AM to noon for a special sale to benefit Roos ‘n’ More, a local family-owned rescue-oriented zoo in need of donations. Student Maddie Hoggan writes: “Last semester, one of our field trips included visiting this zoo and it was one of the most memorable field trip experiences I’ve ever had. Two veterinarians that have a love for unusual animals own the zoo and they help provide care for animals that come there. Most of these animals, because they are so fond of humans, love to be held and played with. Recently, the zoo has been shut down in their transition to becoming a commercial property due to the size of their septic tank and lack of paved walkways. They will not reopen on site until they’ve raised the $300,000 necessary to address the issues. We hope our Parking Lot Sale can be a part of achieving that goal. We hope you drop by on the 22nd!”


The Holiday Spirit

Now and throughout the year, Foothills Montessori students learn about a variety of holiday traditions celebrated by FMS families and people around the world.

“FMS is incredibly fortunate to have a diversified community lending to the enhancement of our cultural curriculum,” says Karen Kolb, Executive Director. “The holiday season is a wonderful opportunity for students and their families to share traditions and customs with their classmates.”

In P2, they learn about Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration which originated in Spain, and Diwali, a five-day “Festival of Lights,” in addition to family and cultural traditions surrounding Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Christmas and Hanukkah. E3 also learned about Diwali as well as another Hindu holiday called Raksha Bandhan, which commemorates the bond between brothers and sisters.

“At the end of our continental units, we like to celebrate the culture of the region we have just studied,” says Marian Rusche, Support Teacher in E1. “After sharing our projects on South America in early November, we had a feast for Dia de los Muertos. One of our moms made authentic Pan de Muerto (a delicious sweetbread), and we tried different drinks and cookies made in Mexico while listening to Latin music. We are studying Africa now and will have an African holiday celebration when we complete the unit just before winter break.”

April Dane, E4 Head Teacher, says: “In December we traditionally ask the parents to come in and share their family traditions. They may share the symbolism of lighting the Menorah or of decorating a Christmas tree. We may eat latkes, read books, or sing songs. During the year we celebrate traditions of the children in our class.  When we studied India this year we had our parents from India share traditional songs, religious traditions, food, history and culture. We usually  have quite a variety of cultural traditions and the children learn a lot.”

E6 enjoys similar activities. Says Head Teacher Amy Nhaisi: “Before Thanksgiving, parents make berry tarts and the students write letters of thanks. During Hannukkah, parents come in to share traditions and make latkes. Before Christmas, we discuss family traditions and parents come in to make gingerbread houses. We participate in a gift-giving collection for the needy and students make holiday gifts for parents.”

Ms. Danna, Head Teacher in E5, remarks: “These past two weeks have been pretty amazing! In observation of Thanksgiving we have conducted two service projects, one that is still in progress. Students went to Cashman Center and gave out clothes to the homeless community of Southern Nevada. It was an all-day event and they served thousands of people. Additionally we have been raising money for Bead For Life and had a booth set up during our PTO Holiday Bazaar. We raised over $500 for the women of Uganda and their families. We will be selling our beads until winter break.”

Whatever your holiday traditions now and throughout the year, Foothills Montessori wishes you health, happiness and lots of good cheer.

Learn more about holidays around the world.

Photo Credit: (“Diwali: One festival, many customs“)/AFP/Getty Images