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November Class Updates

Jennifer Stewart | Brevard, NC

The Owls and Otters have dug into their studies of Africa. A generous slew of guest speakers have come into the primary classes recently to share about their experiences with the African continent: Lee Choubane came to talk about her father’s Algerian heritage and her inherited love of couscous, Toby Brown spoke on the flora and fauna of South Africa, Rachel Vandergrift shared the customs and experiences she’s discovered with her Nigerian brother-in-law, and Jeff Sipe made an appearance to share some African drumming. The Owl class even has an African drum, borrowed from Ms. Annie, that the students can create their own rhythms upon. In addition to their world studies, both primary classes have visited the Pisgah Wildlife Center to learn about the critters living in our mountain creeks and lurking under the rocks. Finally, Ms. Annie punctuated her description of the Otter class’ enthusiasm by how she has “noted how social this group is.  What a wonderful thing!” The Kinders recently had the opportunity to go fishing in the lake on campus with materials provided by the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education. The students gave presentations on Africa in front of the parents last week. They are enjoying “special lunch” each Friday as they learn about a variety of new foods and using grace and courtesy at mealtime.

The Acorns have been busy digging into their reading and math works, which were proudly put on display during Math and Reading Night last week. This highly successful event was a showcase to demonstrate to parents how math and reading works in a Montessori elementary classroom, with students leading the demonstrations. Parents and students alike were engaged. The third graders are working on their SLPs that begin the scaffold of community service that MSCS students will continue through middle school. Finally, the Acorns continue to incorporate field experiences into the classroom with a trip to the Pisgah Wildlife Center last week to learn about woodlands. The students learned about many of the creatures that can be found in our local forests and participated in an exploratory hike to look for signs the animals leave behind.

For many of the Monarchs, conferences present a new challenge – conferences in the upper elementary and middle school are student-led. This challenge can be intimidating to a young person, but through self-reflection and support, these conferences will soon be seen as an opportunity to share successe, as well as challenges. In the classroom, the Monarchs are deep into their research of early humans and the timeline of life. Furthermore, students also recently visited the North Carolina Arboretum to study the foundations of ecology and participate in hands-on activities. Many of these history and science strands will join together as the Monarchs will soon travel to Raleigh to explore the Museum of Natural Science. Many of the students are learning to knit (thanks to Silas’ mom, April Leasure). They are also holding bake sales to contribute to their field experience fund.

The Coyotes just completed their first set of student-led conferences for the year. The students did a great job reflecting on their own work habits, receiving feedback, and offering suggestions for improving the classroom. The Coyotes have also enjoyed their study of North and South Korea, examining the juxtaposition of two very different world cultures through map studies, independent research, group presentations, exploring the documentary “A State of Mind” (an inside look at North Korea), and making kimchi in the classroom. This unit dovetails well with the Coyotes’ study of the Cold War Era last year, while also tying in their current event and food studies as North Korea currently struggle with yet another food shortage and international relationships flux weekly. Finally, the Coyotes are continuing their study of physical science as they begin to explore Newton’s Laws of Motion through research and hands-on experiments.