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!”


Ellis Island Escapades

Middle School Students reenacted the experience of going through the Ellis Island checkpoints as if they were 19th century immigrants. Student Keller Mack writes:

Not having a clue what to expect, we were whisked into a line by people yelling in all different languages. We were each handed a name, occupation and immigrant number, which was going to be our identity for what felt like hours. Each of us stood in line, waiting to be yelled at in foreign languages by the two angry people at the front. While I waited in line, the guards came by, asking for bribes to get whoever would pay past the checkpoint, and sometimes not even asking before taking the amount they wanted.


Once I had passed the first checkpoint (with only a little bit of bribery), I was shoved into yet another line where I would wait for my medical, mental and citizenship tests. Despite being detained about seven times, I finally managed to complete all of the tests and continue to the next checkpoint. Out of all of the things that would get me deported (such as getting into arguments with other immigrants, cutting in line and stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down), what really did me in was that I was Russian, and they were “sick of Russians.” Luckily, I was able to steal a ferry ticket and illegally get to New York City.

This empathy assignment was excellent for helping me to better understand what it was like for the people who actually came through Ellis Island so that they could get to our country. This was definitely the kind of experience that you never forget.

Thank you to all of the parents who helped with this event. Even Ms. Erica’s mom came to role play!

Read more on E1’s classroom blog (FMS Parents only).

Life of a Soldier

Middle School Head Teacher Ms. Erica became “Sergeant Sherlock” to show her students a day in the life of a Confederate soldier during the Civil War Era. Says Ms. Erica: “It was the greatest day of my entire teaching career.”
E1 Student Matthew Myers recounts the empathy lesson (“Confederate Instructional Training”) in a recent blog post:

“Tuesday came as a shock to all the middle school students when Sergeant Sherlock marched in. We all took it as a joke . We laughed but soon stopped when two kids were given laps (me and Hayden). Today was a day to see what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War. Even though the  purpose of this activity was to see how bad the soldiers lives were, we still had fun. One reason it was fun was because of all the amazing parents that came out to help and our amazing teacher, Sergeant Sherlock, for putting this event all together.

Sergeant Sherlock divided the class into four regiments with five “recruits” in each regiment.  After marching from school to the park we had to make hardtack, a dense cracker made of flour and water. There were four stations.  My regiment’s first station had to set up a tent with a wooden pole, some stretchy fabric, nails, clothes pins, and rocks that would fit at least 20 soldiers and their gear. Second station we had to  create a sling for our wounded soldier with two broken arms. Next we broke for lunch.  We got to eat fresh hardtack which was exactly like its name. When soldiers would eat hardtack they would soak it in water to get bugs out of it and to soften it. Third station we packed our supplies and carried them about fifty feet. The backpack weighed on average 40 pounds for my group (the Charlie regiment). Fourth station we had to make a stretcher and carry our wounded soldiers to the “hospital.”

All through these stations we were given punishments like push ups or sit ups or even laps around the park for disobeying orders or failing at a task. If a real Civil War soldier showed weakness or tried to flee, they would be shot. At the end of the day we reflected how all of these brave soldiers fought for one belief. I could never imagine ever doing that.  I respect all the brave soldiers  and what they endured for their beliefs. Thank you parents and Ms. Erica for a day to remember.”

Additional thoughts from E1 Students:



Journey Through Time

Thanks to the hard work and imaginative creativity of parents, students and staff, our first annual World History Day was truly unforgettable. We learned about Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome and Greece, the Renaissance, the age of dinosaurs, the age of fish, the age of invertebrates, and so much more. We will let student Olivia, from E1, tell you more:

“As you should already know, World History Day was on Thursday. Each classroom did their part to make the event as wonderful as it was. I can honestly say it felt like we were traveling through time.


I was in the dinosaur era in P3. There were dinosaurs roaming the classroom everywhere. A big volcano was smoking in the middle back of the classroom. The kids seemed so ecstatic over all of the games and also all of the food. They were able to trace some dinosaur bones with stencils, dig for dinosaur skeletons in a miniature sandbox, and create their own skeleton with noodles.

After all of the middle school students finished helping out in the classrooms, we all gathered out in the field and began setting up for the parade. Each of the groups had a poster covered in photos, artifacts, and a table drop from their era. The parade was in order from the beginning of life to where we are now. The whole purpose of the parade was to give the students of FMS an understanding of the order of the timeline of life. I am very proud to say that our goal was accomplished and that the children have a better understanding. Every middle school student was a great help to the classrooms and all of the posters and table drops were done to the best of their abilities.

I send thanks from myself as well as all of the FMS teachers to the E1 students for making World History Day better than our expectations and know next year’s will be just as amazing.”

Foothills Montessori School is a private Montessori school serving families in Henderson, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

Westward, Ho!

Upper elementary students have spent the last couple months learning about (among many other subjects) Nevada and U.S. history.

In March they visited the Springs Preserve and Nevada History Museum and built wagon train models out of shoeboxes and canvas.


In April they visited the Eldorado Canyon Mine where they explored tunnels, panned for gold and played horseshoes.

They also held a Pioneer Day celebration where students dressed up in traditional outfits and had a blast line dancing, churning butter, quilling, making applesauce, playing pioneer-style outdoor games, making jumping jacks, creating thaumotropes, and more!

While learning about the exciting and action-packed Gold Rush era, students designed Gold Rush “trading cards” and advertisements to lure people out West; published newspapers with typical headlines of the time complete with ads, important events and classifieds section; and built sod house homestead replicas in the back garden, for which they received an authentic certificate of ownership.

Last week Elementary 5 students participated in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” Activity where they learned how to make crucial decisions regarding survival and success. Now they are creating a class book to teach others about this thrilling and challenging time period. Ask your students for more details, and be sure to check out the Elementary 5 and Elementary 6 classroom blogs for some great pictures!

Field Trips and Fun

Many students have been out and about on field trips recently, learning in a sensorial, hands-on way.

Primary and Kindergarten students went to the Natural History Museum, where they learned about dinosaurs, sharks, wild animals, fossils and more. They also recently visited the Estes McDoniel Marine Lab, where they explored the many creatures of our amazing oceans.

Elementary recently visited the Nevada History Museum and Springs Preserve. They have now built their own model wagon trains which are now on “a journey.”

Our middle schoolers are now in California at Pali Adventures, which is sure to be a truly unforgettable experience. We will have to wait until Ms. Erica and the rest return to hear all about it!

For more news and a TON of great pics, check out your child’s classroom blog!

A Look Inside the Window of E5

E5 students are starting the year off right, getting right back into downward dog!


We have resumed our morning yoga ritual. Beginning our day with a rested and focused mind has been helping each of us. Deep breaths and getting ourselves centered has been an amazing way to start our day. Thank you Ms. Joanie!!!!


We launched our Pioneer unit with a visit from a real life “mountain man.” Scott Sorenson told stories, shared animal pelts, and sang us beautiful songs of our past. We listened and were intrigued with his choice to live like the Mountain Men of our past, like Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson. We researched several men from Nevada’s past and gained an understanding of why they were here and how this is an important part of our state’s history.


We will be working on publishing writing that involves creative fictional narratives. We will rely heavily on our schema from books we have read in the past. This is always an exciting unit and the students are looking forward to the process.


We are still in our Ecology unit and are moving into adaptations and animals. You can talk to your child about camouflage and behaviors that animals display to help them adapt and survive in their environments.

Spelling Bee

Special congratulations to Matthew as he will move forward in the Scripps Spelling Bee competition. He will represent the sixth grade class and compete against two middle school students. Way to go Matthew!!!

You can read more from E5 and get tons of information and pictures from all the classrooms by visiting the Classroom News page. Check it out often — and remember to Subscribe!

[button url=”” target=”_blank” size=”small” style=”cherry” ]Classroom News[/button]

Introducing “Window Wednesdays”!

Every Wednesday we will spotlight one of our Classroom Blog posts to give you a little glimpse inside our busy classrooms. To kick it off, let’s look into the window of E1. (This news is a little bit old, as we are just getting back from the holidays.)

[h4]Inside E1 — Week of December 21[/h4]

  • Two students win the Scripps Spelling Bee
  • We make snowflakes to send to Newtown, Connecticut
  • For our Element Personification project, we create comic strips, children’s books, clay models, stop motion videos and more to make the elements come to living, breathing life!
  • We make muskets and try out for the state militia as part of Thrilling Thursday in history class


Simply click on the link below and enter your password to see the rest of the posts and more fabulous pictures. We hope you enjoy!


(If you forgot your password, please contact the front desk at 702-407-0790. And if you haven’t done so, remember to Subscribe to your child’s classroom blog — you’ll get instant updates sent to your email inbox and never have to worry about remembering to log in!)


Middle School Students Visit Boston

On May 22, 17 excited middle school students flew across the country to one of the most historic cities in the United States, Boston! Over a week, they visited Salem, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, USS Constitution, the Mayflower, Fenway Park and so much more, gaining a strong knowledge of the history of this great country while creating memories that will last a lifetime.




Foothills Montessori School is a private Montessori school serving families in Henderson, Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.