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!”


Ms. Arlene Gets An Unexpected Letter

One of our teachers, Ms. Arlene Dreitzer, received an unexpected letter from a former student recently.

Dear Mrs. Dreitzer;

Greetings to you from Washington, D.C. I hope that you and your family are well. I have wanted to contact you for quite a while to express my sincere appreciation for your influence and role in my life … you were my 6th grade teacher at P.S. 235 in Brooklyn, NY! The other day at work I was called into a “brainstorming” meeting — you came to my mind immediately because you were the person who introduced me to brainstorming nearly 30 years ago. The great memories from our 6th grade class came flowing back: the “Bear Necessities” vocabulary wall; The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck; Animal Farm; and how could I forget Damn Yankees, our class play! So many years have come and gone, but you stand out as one of the best educators that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Indeed, I started out with the aspiration to teach! I was a student teacher in a middle school in Harlem and used Lord of the Flies as my first text! (Thanks for paving the way.) I later turned to international development and am working and living in Washington with the World Bank. I’m so grateful for the chance to express my thanks and affection to you, dear Mrs. Dreitzer! “Many women have done well, but you excel them all!”

Says Ms. Arlene: “I believe I had this student in 1983. I taught in a magnet public school for gifted and talented children. I recall that it was a 6th grade class of 40 students and I taught every subject. The school was called The Lenox School or P.S. 235. The program was called the Soar Program and students took an entrance exam to attend.”

Ms. Arlene has been at Foothills Montessori for eight years as a Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Reading Specialist. She has 41 years of teaching experience, a MS in education, and has completed an additional 30 credits above her Master’s degree. She loves literature, etymology and teaching, and has made a positive mark on many students throughout her long career as an educator. We are so lucky to have Ms. Arlene at Foothills Montessori.