MLK Day of Service

MLK Day of Service

On Monday, January 20th, 95 parents, children, staff, and alumni gathered to participate in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Thank you to all of the families, staff, and alumni who participated. Our community assembled 30 housewarming baskets for people formerly experiencing homelessness who are now moving into new housing, 50 hygiene bags for people experiencing homelessness, and 120 bagged lunches for a local food pantry – all entirely comprised of items donated by our families. Another group of volunteers sorted 2,000 books at The Maryland Book Bank. (Watch closely for a few of our Lower Elementary students featured on Wbal-Tv.) Indeed, many hands make light work!

​In considering our theme from last school year (Service & Stewardship) with this year’s (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) it seemed a natural fit to partner together in this way. Your generosity in providing supplies for the assembly projects was humbling, your partnership with your children in service of others was heartwarming, and our impact together was astounding! 

Thank you sincerely for sharing yourself in this way. What a wonderful reminder of how, in Baltimore, we are all in this together. We look forward to being in service alongside you again soon!

How Montessori Students Learn Spelling in Elementary

How Montessori Students Learn Spelling in Elementary

A Lower Elementary student writes about the research she is doing.

In the Montessori Children’s House program, students learn letter sounds before the letter names. For example, they learn that the sound of “d” is “duh,” not “dee” and the sound of “b” is “buh,” not “bee.” (See our blog post about Language in the Children’s House for more information.) Spelling is not the focus during the Children’s House years because the focus is on children hearing and learning the letter sounds rather than recognizing the letter names.

A Children’s House student uses the Moveable Alphabet to craft a message.

By using the Moveable Alphabet, children are able to put different letter sounds together to form a word (long before they have the hand strength necessary to hold a pencil). When a young child is asked to form the word “photo” with the Moveable Alphabet, she sounds out how she hears the word, letter by letter.

“Fuh”, “oh”, “tuh”, “oh”.

She would likely place out Moveable Alphabet letters like so:

f-o-t-o

While the word is spelled incorrectly, it is phonetically correct. This “spelling” is age-appropriate for a student in the Children’s House.

Later, once students have a firm grasp of letter sounds and have associated the letter names with these sounds, we work to introduce phonograms, which are when you put two sounds together to make a new sound (think, ee, ea, y, e-e all make the sound “ee”). With this work, which often begins during the Children’s House and continues into Lower Elementary, students become aware that there are options in spelling and become conscious of how to spell words when writing. 

Once the child begins to internalize the phonograms, we can begin to explore the complexities of the English language. (Unlike Dr. Montessori’s native language of Italian, English is not a phonetic language; there are so many exceptions to every rule!) We practice reading “sight words” and finding “rule breakers.” This feeds the interest of the Lower Elementary student, who naturally begins to show an interest in how to correctly spell words.

Spelling is reinforced through extensive reading. The more a child reads, the more they will be exposed to spelling patterns. As a result, children are able to edit their work to identify words that don’t “look” right in context and begin to self-correct. In addition, children use a variety of strategies to determine the correct spelling of a work. Things like “have a go,” where the child will write a word that is misspelled, then write it again to see if it is correctly spelled, and if not try again until they get it right. Another strategy children may use to spell longer words is to “chunk” the word into single syllable pieces. As they move to Upper Elementary, children are exposed to Latin roots, which helps them understand the spellings of many English words.

Lower Elementary students write in English and Spanish to their pen pals at a Montessori school in Spain.

Keep in mind that even with more emphasis on spelling in Elementary, guides will not correct students’ spelling while writing rough drafts of reports or stories. We allow the children to focus on developing their skills of self-expression. The expression of the idea and the flow of creativity is more important than the limiting, halting prospect of getting every word right. Corrections are made during the editing stage of the writing process – whether individually, with a peer, or with the assistance of a guide. As children begin to create more polished work to share with others, such as the letters to pen pals shown above, they are more internally motivated to edit and correct their spelling. 

A Lower Elementary student reads through his spelling dictionary.

Lower Elementary students keep their own personal spelling dictionaries, in which they can write words they want to remember how to spell. It allows the children to help themselves! It also teaches the very basic and beginning steps of learning how to use a dictionary. But most importantly, the words the student put into their personal dictionaries have meaning to them. 

Just as with all other areas of the curriculum, the Montessori approach to spelling is rich, interdisciplinary, and meaningful.

For more on what you can do at home to support this work, take a look at this blog from How We Montessori.

To learn more about the Elementary Curriculum, please email us at learn@greenspringmontessori.org or visit the Elementary page of our website.

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Spanish

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Spanish

Spanish at Greenspring Montessori School is oriented to present an introduction to the language and culture of Spanish speaking countries. It is designed to enable the students to communicate in Spanish in simple, everyday conversations and acts as a stepping stone to the next level of study. Students learn basic and meaningful vocabulary and phonetics, they are introduced to the fundamentals of grammar, begin to read and write in Spanish, and gain cultural awareness so they develop a greater understanding of the world in which they live in.

The Spanish Spring 2020 Curriculum presents the details of activities that take place during Spanish Enrichment time. The program, in general, focuses on the three modes of communication: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational. The proficiency level of the students is expected to range between novice-mid to intermediate-mid on the ACTFL scale. Students learn various thematic units, use basic vocabulary and phrases and interact in various social situations. In addition, students develop an awareness of the distinct cultures, traditions, and celebrations of the Spanish-speaking world. 

Children’s House 

Children’s House students explore Spanish using songs, games, finger plays, stories, short activities and specific lessons to build on vocabulary and exposure to the Spanish language and culture in the Spanish speaking world. For the Dual-Language classrooms, the third-year students have a half-hour of dedicated Spanish in addition to the regular lessons given by the assistant. The second-trimester curriculum starts with a brief review of greetings, feelings, and common expressions, followed by working with materials that present different parts of the body, parts of the house, and ending with the weather and clothing. It is expected that during the second trimester of the year Children’s House students will be exposed to vocabulary and songs that help them learn and use previously learned vocabulary to: 

  • Recognize the different parts of the body and face 
  • Answer to the question ¿Qué es esto? 
  • Be able to name different parts of a house. 
  • Answer to the questions ¿Cuántos (cuántas) hay? And ¿Dónde está el/la…? 
  • Identify some words to refer to the weather. 
  • Recognize some basic words to talk about clothing. 
  • Answer to Qué, Dónde and Cuántos questions 

The songs that we sing with the children are mostly from the music groups Cantoalegre ( https://www.youtube.com/user/ccantoalegre/featured ) and Cantajuego (https://www.youtube.com/user/CantaJuegoVEVO) 

Lower Elementary 

Lower Elementary students explore Spanish using TPR (Total Physical Response – created by James Asher), and specific lessons to acquire new vocabulary and to practice what they learned in Children’s House. Students are also exposed to some of the different cultures and traditions found in the Spanish speaking world. At this level, since movement is the key, comprehension comes first, and then, there is a point where students are ready to talk, to read, and eventually, ready to write. Each lesson starts with a short chanting activity that is useful to review vocabulary and to transition the students into the Spanish time. It is expected that during the second trimester of the year Lower Elementary students will: 

  • Review expressions of courtesy and basic communication in the classroom and basic commands to move around campus and in the classroom 
  • The Spanish alphabet and special sounds 
  • Recognize and use words and short sentences to name parts of a house, the weather, and some clothing. 
  • Continue working with opposites and contrasts. 
  • Read short sentences or paragraphs and identify what they are about. 
  • Be able to ask simple questions to gather information. 

Upper Elementary 

Upper Elementary students explore Spanish using TPR & TPR Storytelling, and through specific lessons and mini-projects to acquire new vocabulary and to practice what they learned in previous years. Students are also exposed to some of the beliefs, food, and traditions of the people from different Spanish speaking countries. During the second trimester of the school year, students will review and practice basic commands and work with materials to understand the function of words. It is expected that during the first trimester of the year Upper Elementary students will: 

  • Review expressions of courtesy in Spanish 
  • Review the alphabet and special sounds. 
  • Understand the main idea and some information in short texts. 
  • Start creating sentences and a series of sentences to tell a short story about their life, activities, events, and other experiences. 

Adolescent Community 

The Adolescent Community Spanish curriculum focuses on strengthening the interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication skills, providing the basis to better prepare students for the high school world language sequence. Students learn various thematic units, use basic vocabulary and phrases and interact in various social situations. In addition, students develop an awareness of the distinct cultures, traditions, and celebrations of the Spanish-speaking world. Adolescent Community students will learn the language in a more traditional way, with a variety of activities to promote a successful learning experience. Each set of lessons presents new vocabulary words pertaining to a particular theme. Each topic is first presented in context and then the vocabulary is further practiced through a variety of activities. All the students are encouraged to have an active participation. It is expected that during the second trimester of the year Adolescent Community students will review, learn, and practice:

  • Expressions of courtesy and basic communication in the classroom 
  • Uses of personal pronouns 
  • The alphabet and special sounds 
  • Working with paragraph-length texts to follow the main message, sometimes in various time frames. 
  • Working with audio files to understand the main idea and flow of events expressed in various time frames in songs, conversations, and discussions. 
  • Writing sentences or paragraphs to present information on a variety of familiar and some concrete researched topics.
Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Art

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Art

Lower Elementary students will continue working in the painting center with the addition of liquid tempera paint. They will explore the magic of mixing their own colors and how colors can be used to express different moods in their artwork. This trimester will also include the opening of the 3-D centers of the art studio (sculpture, cardboard construction, and clay). In anticipation of the development of individual art show projects in the third trimester, students will begin considering how artists convey their ideas through their chosen medium. We will prepare for this exciting time by practicing the Studio Habits of developing craft, engaging, persisting, and expressing. Sketchbooks will be utilized for project planning and the Art Elements of color and form.

Upper Elementary students will elevate their painting experience with the use of acrylic paint and easels. In addition to mixing their own colors, students will be encouraged to explore the expressive qualities of different color combinations. This trimester will also include the opening of the 3-D centers of the art studio (sculpture, cardboard construction, and clay).  In anticipation of the development of individual art show projects in the third trimester, students will begin considering how artists convey their ideas through their chosen medium. We will prepare for this exciting time by practicing the Studio Habits of developing craft, engaging, persisting, and expressing. Sketchbooks will be utilized for project planning and the Art Elements of color and form.

Adolescent Trash to Treasure Elective

Adolescent students will practice the Studio Habits of Envisioning, Engaging, Persisting, and Developing Craft while utilizing discarded materials to create works of art. After a series of demonstrations, exercises, and inspiration from established artists, students will have the opportunity to work independently or collaboratively on a project of their choice.

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Technology

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Technology

Maryland Technology Literacy Standards for Students is used as a guideline for all technology literacy lessons. 

Lower Elementary Technology Curriculum (Spring 2020)

Students visit the Media Lab once a week for a scheduled computer lesson on basic computer fundamentals. Each lesson begins with a short tutorial followed by simple activities to practice these skills. This introduction provides students with basic knowledge to use and create databases at a basic level. Students will learn to locate, evaluate, and gather information/data. Students will explore and use age-appropriate resources available through technology.

  • Open an existing file
  • Enter data in a content-related database using a database template or form
  • Search for specific data/information by field
  • Preview and print a datasheet
  • Save or download the datasheet and digital images to a computer
  • Change the size or shape of an object
  • Collect and select relevant information from selected technology resources

Internet Safety:

Students are expected to use technology in a responsible manner and demonstrate proper care of equipment; such as following lab agreements and handling equipment with care. Digital citizenship and internet safety are part of our instruction at every level. Students will learn strategies for practicing responsible and appropriate use of technology systems, software, and information.

 

  • Understand and follow Media Lab agreements
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively with others when using technology in the lab.
  • Practice responsible use of technology systems and software.
  • Recognize the potential harm of intrusive applications (such as viruses, pop-up windows, etc.)
  • Use safe and correct security procedures (such as protecting password and user ID).

Keyboarding:

Keyboarding is a foundational skill largely related to motor skills. Students should be able to operate a keyboard effectively in order to take full advantage of computer technology. Students have been working on keyboarding skills through typingclub.com. Typingclub.com is an online resource that is recommended for students that teaches correct finger-to-key movement across the entire keyboard. The student experience is designed to be clean, straightforward, engaging, and fun. It is a highly effective tool that helps students at all skill levels improve their typing ability through guided lessons and engaging assessments. Students are provided with continuous feedback on their progress every step of the way and are motivated to repeat each lesson over and over to master each step prior to proceeding. Students are provided with an optional virtual keyboard and virtual hands on their typing interface to assist them when using the correct fingers when they are practicing each lesson. The carefully designed lessons include instructional videos, educational games, cross-curricular content, and other interactive experiences.

To fully support the development of typing skills, the expectations for utilizing this site at home is to practice three times per week for no longer than 15 minutes per session.

 

Upper Elementary Curriculum for Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship

Internet Safety

Tutorials (Resource: GCFlearnfree.org)

Staying Safe Online:

  • Introduction: Staying safe online is essential in today’s world. Use these internet safety tips to keep yourself and others protected.
  • Staying Safe Online: Creating Strong passwords: use these tips to create a strong, safe password
  • Your Browsers Security Features: better understand your browsers security features and how they work.
  • Avoiding Spam and Phishing: Use these tips so you can avoid email-based spam and phishing scams.
  • How to Avoid Malware: Learn how to avoid malware and remove it from your computer.
  • Safe Online Shopping: Use these strategies for a safe online shopping experience.

Protecting Your Online Privacy:

  • Understanding Browser Tracking: Understand how browser tracking works.
  • Social Media Privacy Basics: Learn all about social media privacy so you can control what you want to share with others online.

Other:

  • What to do if your computer gets a virus.
  • Installing and updating browser plug-ins.
  • Using Phone verification
  • Wi-Fi Security

Quiz: Test your knowledge of internet safety.

Digital Citizenship 

Agreements for Digital Citizenship

  • A good citizen advocates for equal human rights for all.
  • A good citizen treats others courteously and never bullies.
  • A good citizen does not damage or others’ property or person.
  • A good citizen communicates clearly, respectfully, and with empathy.
  • A good citizen actively pursues an education and develops habits for lifelong learning.
  • A good citizen spends and manages money responsibly.
  • A good citizen upholds basic human rights of privacy, freedom of speech, etc. A good citizen protects self and others from harm. A good citizen proactively promotes their own physical and mental health.

 Videos and Narrated E-books (resource ikeepsafe.org)

  • Online Privacy
  • How to Handle cyberbullying
  • Balancing real life with screen time
  • Safe info search and downloading
  • Healthy Media choices

Scope & Sequence Digital Citizenship Curriculum

Lessons:

Unit 1

  • Rings of Responsibility: What kinds of responsibilities does a good digital citizen have?
  • Private and Personal Information: How can you protect yourself from online identity theft?
  • The Power of Words: What should you do when someone uses mean or scary language on the Internet?
  • The Key to Keywords: Which keywords will give you the best search results?
  • Whose is it, anyway? How can you show respect for other people’s work? 

Unit 2

  • Strong Passwords: How can a secure password help you protect your private information?
  • Digital Citizenship Pledge: How do you create a positive online community?
  • You’ve won a Prize! What is spam, and what can you do about it?
  • How to Cite a Site: How do you cite different types of online sources?
  • Picture Perfect: How can photos be changed on the computer, and how can that affect your feelings about the way you look?

Unit 3

  • Talking Safely Online: What’s the difference between Internet friends and in-person friends?
  • Super Digital Citizen: How can people help others be good digital citizens?
  • Privacy Rules: How do you know if a website protects your private information?
  • What’s Cyberbullying? What is cyberbullying, and how do you deal with it?
  • Selling Stereotypes: How do we learn stereotypes of boys and girls from media messages

Parent Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-9LtTtkg04

https://www.kathleenamorris.com/2019/05/16/internet-safety-parents/

https://www.commonsense.org/education/video

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/posters

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/cyberbullying-toolkit

https://ikeepsafe.org/resources

Spring Enrichment Curriculum – Physical Education

Children’s House

  • Hand-eye Coordination
    Students will learn how your eyes and hands work together to successfully balance an object or catch a throw/toss/bounce.  
  • Accuracy
    Students will learn about targets and aiming.  Students will practice aiming and hitting a variety of targets (shooting a basket, bowling, throwing etc.)
  • Partner and Teamwork
    Students will be introduced to teamwork and practice working with a partner or with a group to accomplish a task. 

 

Lower Elementary

Fine Motor Skills and Object Control Skills
Students will continue to work on catching, overhand throwing, and underhand throwing. Students will learn how to use a variety of implements to throw and catch (scoops, lacrosse stick, etc.).  Students will also learn about striking and will practice striking with a variety of implements (bat, racquet, hockey stick etc.). We will end the year focusing on kicking.

 

Upper Elementary

Track and Field
Students will learn about and practice a variety of track and field events.  The track events will include the 100m sprint, 400m sprint, 4×400 relay, and hurdles.  Students will also learn the mechanics of running efficiently as well as different starting positions.  The field events will include the long jump, shot put, and javelin. After practicing these events, we will end the unit with a mini track meet.

Indoor Volleyball
Students will learn and practice skills including underhand serving, setting, and hitting.  They will learn the rules, how to keep score, and volleyball language. They will practice court movement and communication.  We will end the unit with a volleyball tournament.

 

Adolescent Community

Track and Field
Students will learn about and practice a variety of track and field events.  The track events will include the 100m sprint, 400m sprint, 4×400 relay, and hurdles.  Students will also learn the mechanics of running efficiently as well as different starting positions.  The field events will include the long jump, shot put, and javelin. After practicing these events, we will end the unit with a mini track meet.

Indoor Volleyball
Students will learn and practice skills including underhand serving, setting, and hitting.  They will learn the rules, how to keep score, and volleyball language. They will practice court movement and communication.  We will end the unit with a volleyball tournament.