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Winter 2010

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Solar Panel Dedication Friday, January 7, 2011 11:00am - Noon

Millhopper Montessori School is the first private school in North Central Florida to install solar panels in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint! MMS worked with Solar Impact to have 216 panels installed in November. The panels will be hooked to GRU’s grid in mid to late December. To celebrate this momentous occasion all family members are encouraged to attend our Solar Panel Dedication on Friday, January 7 from 11am - Noon. Come to our celebration as our Spotlight Singers sing and we official ―Flip the Switch‖ All parents and guests are encouraged to stay after the event and eat a brown bag lunch with us!

A Help to Life Little children, the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence. ~Dr. Maria Montessori By: Christina Miller, President As human beings, we strive to master our world and to be competent and independent. Children are naturally driven toward independence. How many times have we heard, ―I want to do it by myself‖ declared adamantly by a child? This can bring about a dilemma for parents in deciding how much curious exploring to allow and when to set limits. Even deciding when to step in when a child is frustrated with a given task can be hard for parents to discern. Eliminating unnecessary obstacles is important when learning something new and different, but eliminating all obstacles is not advantageous to developing problem solving skills. What about safety? Wouldn’t it be great if children came with a manual? There is an area in the Montessori curriculum that is called Practical Life. It encompasses useful activities that build fine and gross motor skills, concentration, and independence. These activities have to be created and placed in the prepared environment of a classroom but are readily abundant in the home with a little thought about safety and preparation. For example, pouring water, setting the table, brushing the dog, brushing one’s own teeth, food preparation, polishing silver, and the list goes on. Sometimes it is just easier for parents to do these tasks themselves. Sometimes parents are, for example, too attached to the table being perfectly set and impatient for their children to set it right. Sometimes a lack of knowing what children are capable of doing at different age intervals prevents

parents from fostering independence. However, sometimes, it may be misguided acts of love. Love often takes the form serving and giving and parents have to transition from caring for the infant who is totally dependent to letting go and applauding baby’s first steps. It is helpful to know what is developmentally appropriate for children to do for themselves at different age intervals and how to prepare safe activities that minimize frustration and call to the child. Care of the environment and care of the self will provide the most appeal and opportunity to build independence. Anything with water, need I say more? The everyday activities are the most appealing to children and mastering them allows children to adapt to society and develop orderly thinking. Developmentally, preschoolers are capable of putting away toys and clothes. If there is a ―home‖ for each item then the items are naturally returned to their spots after use. Children have a deep sense of order and shelves for toys are much more appropriate than big toy boxes where everything is thrown in, maybe even upside down like in a pot of stew. Install hooks and hangers at a low level so they can hang up their clothes and have access to them. Preschoolers are also capable of chores and they need to to feel that they are contributing to the family. They also don’t view chores the way adults do. They are content to sweep the floor even when it is spotless and (continued on page 2)

A Help to Life Continued >>> they will tirelessly repeat activities until they master them. Dr. Montessori said, ―The first essential for the child’s development is concentration. It lays the whole basis for his character and social behavior.‖ I will always remember Rachel at age three, doing the table washing activity. She carefully selected her table (a perfectly clean one by the way) then set everything out on the mat: soap, scrubbing brush, sponge, pitcher, basin, and drying towel, then she began the process of cleaning the clean table. After she applied the soap, scrubbed the table with circular motions, removed the soap foam with the sponge using top to bottom strokes, she poured the entire pitcher of water on the top of the table. I gasped. The water cascaded over the edges of the table on to the floor. Without a word, she went and got the little mop and bucket and mopped the entire classroom. The whole event took well over an hour. She didn’t break her concentration the entire time. Give your children enough time to do a task. Allow them to make mistakes and wait, they might self correct or see the spot of dirt that was missed by the broom all by themselves. If you present a task to your children, break it down into easy steps. Try not to give verbal instructions while demonstrating a task. Lastly, remember that a dish of rice, spilled on the floor by your child, is an opportunity for him or her to use a sponge or a dustpan. A good source of preparing your home environment to help foster your child’s concentration and independence is:

PTO Classroom Representatives

PTO News>>>

Ms. Crystal Sorrow: Shachar Amdur & Peggy White

Season's Greetings to all! Time is flying. We are already approaching the end of 2010! I'd like to first thank everyone for your contributions and participation in the Fall Festival. It was great to see so many of our families coming together to make this event happen. We added around $2,800 to the PTO account from the proceeds of the Fall Festival. And, it was so much fun!!

Ms. Christina Eckstein: Niya Dix Ms. Renee Brohamer: Jeff Hale Ms. Elizabeth Falls: Rhea Bush Ms. Jackie Johnson: Jacqueline Lind Ms. Anita Bender: Gabriela Castellanos & Theresa Brewington Mr. Richard Aslanian: Deeta Adkins & Robert Mackritis Ms. Christina Miller: Jennine Brandt Ms. Sherilyn Farris: Jeanne-Marie Clune-Hrivnak & Trish Petty

A Letter from the PTO President By: Lonnie Phillips

Congratulations to Ms. Sylvia and everyone involved with the Mystery Dinner Theater. It was an awesome show. The kids did such a good job, the venue was perfect, and the food was excellent! Another great MMS event! After the holiday break there are many more opportunities to participate in activities at MMS. On January 7, our school will hold a Solar Panel Celebration. Please plan to have lunch with your child and enjoy the activities. Our Open House will be held on Friday, January 21st from 10am – 2pm. If you would like to help, there is a signup sheet on the bulletin board at the front office. Please take a look and see if you can get involved. At our last meeting Diane Daniels, from BrainWorks spoke to the PTO about auditory training. This was very interesting and informative about the children and adults she has helped with attention span, memory, sensory integration, processing speed, and more. She would be willing to come back to address more parents if there is interest. Ms. Daniels is also willing to offer her services at our school in group sessions if there is enough interest. Please let Amilda or me know if you are interested in learning more. The PTO will be forming a committee to bring more guest speakers to school to educate and inform parents on various topics. These topics will be determined by the committee and parent input. Times for these meetings can be arranged at times convenient for parents to attend, such as a lunch & learn format or an evening with child care provided. If you are interested in serving on this committee please let me know. Our next PTO meeting is scheduled for January 18th at 6:00pm . Please note that this is a change from the date announced at last meeting. Jeff Hale and Ms. Elizabeth will propose a plan for the enhancements to the West Playground and Little House Playground. PTO members will vote on an amount to donate to this project. Please plan to attend and give your input!

Dear MMS parents, I would like to take this opportunity to plant a seed. This seed would be a new PTO Resource committee. It would be a wonderful addition to our family at MMS to have speakers come and present topics of interest to the parents and teachers as well as to the students. In the past we have hosted several Lunch and Learns that explain in depth our lower elementary reading program, Phonographix. Ms. Elaine Manion gave parents an overview of our reading program to those attending while they ate lunch from 12:00-1:00. We could offer this again as well as bringing in others from the community to inform and enrich those who may be interested. Presentations could also happen in the evenings. Childcare could be made available. This committee would need to put out a questionnaire to the parents to get a feel of topics of interest. This would be your committee therefore your interests. Many topics/presenters you might choose may be on health or safety issues and easily fit in with the existing Health and Safety Committee. If that should occur, the two committees could combine efforts for topics that naturally dovetail. However, if businesses are invited to come present to the students or artists to come for an Enjoying the Arts Day, this would be best organized through a PTO Resource Committee. We live in such a diverse community that is rich with so many professionals and professions that it would be a real asset to our parent/teacher/student family to have an active Resource Committee. As a team, we have accomplished so much since the beginning of the school year. I want to thank all of you for helping to make our Fall Festival a huge success. The children had a blast. At the end of the event, I overheard one child say to his friend, "I can't wait until next year!" This is what it is all about and it couldn't have happened without the team effort. I also want to let you know that we appreciate all of your participation fundraising for such things as The Saint Jude's Children's Hospital, MMS memory brick walkway, MMS yearbook, Thespian's Dinner Theater, and Sally Foster gift wrap. Please let us know if you would be interested in the formation of a Resource committee as a member and/or as a presenter. We will be discussing this further at our next PTO meeting in January. Thanks again for all you do. Sincerely, Christina Miller President; MMS LLC

WINTER SHOWS Friday, December 17 • Unity Church

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Beginners Ms. Crystal Sorrow, Ms. Elizabeth Sheehan & Ms. Lonnie Phillips

Holidays Around the World!


Ms. Renee Brohamer & Ms. Lily Tajalli

Thanksgiving Feast

Parent Night was lots of fun!

Holiday Party Gift Exchange & Happy Readers

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Preschool Ms. Christina Eckstein & Ms. Martha Donaldson The children enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving as a class with a bountiful feast. In addition to all of the wonderful food the children prepared, they also created corn cob painted placemats with an Indian corn border, pilgrim hat napkin rings, and Indian headbands for their special lunch. Penguins were part of our unit studies during the month of December. The children learned about the different types of penguins, their anatomy, habitat, and food. They also discovered how penguins stay warm in frigid climates with an experiment called ―blubber gloves.‖ First, the children put their hand in a bowl of ice water. Then, they put their hand back in the ice water wearing a plastic bag glove filled with shortening, simulating the blubber of a penguin.

A Look Into December>>> The holiday season is such a wonderful time of year in our classroom. Christ-

mas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa have been the topics of our story time, works in the classroom and special craft projects. The children love to share about all of the wonderful traditions they share with their families this time of year. Sarit Sela, Ori’s mom, enhanced our study of Hanukkah with a special presentation. After she read a story about Hanukkah, the children put on paper candles, played ―pin the light‖ on the menorah, spun dreidels and danced like dreidels. The students have also been working very hard, learning songs and choreography, for their Winter Show at Unity Church on Friday, December 17th at Unity Church.


Ms. Elizabeth Falls & Ms. Widline Senecharles Happy Holidays to All of You! Our first Parent Night found the children very excited to be able to show their family and friends what they have been working on since the beginning of the year. They especially enjoyed singing two of their favorite songs; Three Blue Pigeons and One Small Voice.

Push-Pin Baskets with Apple Prints

The children learned about how special Thanksgiving is – not only on Thanksgiving Day but every day! The children enjoyed celebrating this special holiday with a delicious Thanksgiving Feast! Thank you all very much for contributing all the yummy foods! In December and January, as part of teaching Cultural Diversity, we will be studying ―Holidays Around the World‖.

Small Group Lesson -Life Cycle of a Tree

Alligator Visit by Officer Brad Sttanley

Special Events: The children enjoyed Officer Brad Stanley and Pilot Joe Johnson’s (from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Committee) visits. Officer Stanley shared with the children many interesting facts about alligators and the role he plays in protecting the alligators and other wildlife. The children’s favorite part of his presentation was being able to hold an alligator! Helicopter Pilot Joe Johnson made an incredible impression by landing his helicopter on the Elementary Playground! Pilot Johnson ex-

plained his profession and how he is able to see from high up in the sky (even at night). The children were fascinated to learn about the night vision goggles. I recently heard from Pilot Johnson who said, “the group of students I talked to were among the best behaved and courteous of all the thousands I have met with over the years”. We would like to thank the Coulon family for arranging both of these visits. Math and Language: All kindergarteners have begun to become familiar with the “work plan” concept. The ―work plan‖ helps to direct the children to work on Language and Math, to use their time wisely and the importance of being responsible. This will help prepare them for their Elementary years. In math, all of the children are now working on either a Static or Dynamic (concept of exchanging) operation (addition, multiplication, subtraction and/ or division) and beginning math word problems. The children are learning Place Value and how to compose large numbers using the Golden Beads. In January, we will begin to use the Stamp Game. In the second semester, Money Value and Telling Time concepts will be introduced.

In Language, dot, dot dash (phonogram) and sight word activities along with daily journal writing activities continue to be enjoyed by the children. Beginning punctuation skills such as the use of periods, question marks and commas are discussed during our journal writing lesson. In the Second Semester, lessons on beginning sentence analysis; nouns, verbs and prepositions and reading comprehension skills will be added. Unit Studies: In October, we studied How a Seed Grows. The children enjoyed our bean sprouting lesson (planting lima beans) and learning the parts of a seed/plant. This activity was designed by a Montessorian to help children learn to care for their environment, develop a love of all living things as well as gain firsthand experience with the parts, growth, and development of a plant. In December and January, we will be traveling to the great continent of South America. The children will study the geographic features (including the Rainforest), animals and culture native to South America. The children have made their own South America continent map by push pinning out the countries and then pasting them together to create a map.

Story Time, Developmental Art and Music Appreciation: In October we read A Good Night for Ghosts a Magic Tree House story where we traveled back in time with Jack and Annie (the primary characters) to New Orleans (1915). Jack and Annie’s mission was to help ―Dipper‖ (Louis Armstrong) bring his gift of music (Jazz) to the world. We are now reading A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time. Jack and Annie are now in England where they are to help Charles Dickens. After our Winter Break we will begin reading Afternoon on the Amazon. In keeping with our ―Jazz‖ theme, the children learned about a famous French painter and collage artist, Henri Matisse. Henri Matisse is wellknown for his boldly colored paper cutouts; which he added text to produce a book that has been referred to as ―the visual counterpart of jazz music‖. The children were very proud of their Henri Matisse-inspired, tissue paper mosaic jar vases. Many were going to use them as a centerpiece for their table at Thanksgiving!

Language work with movable alphabet

Helicopter visit by Pilot Joe Johnson

Other art activities have included: Thanksgiving Feast Outfits, Plastic Canvas Sewing and Bead Projects – Holiday Ornaments We would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and a Wonderful 2011! Henri Matisse inspired tissue paper mosaic jar (vases)


Ms.. Jackie Johnson & Ms. Kathleen Long

We Give Thanks Turkey

Thanksgiving Feast

Turkey hand painting for Thankerchiefs

The months of October through December have been full. In addition to our general curriculum, we studied dinosaurs and fossils in depth. We began with the different eras of time, and then the Mesozoic Era divided into the time periods: the Triassic , the Jurassic, and the Cretaceous periods. We learned about the different ways that fossils are made: casts and molds, preservation (e.g., in amber or ice), imprints, and petrification. Many of our afternoon activities involved working with these different fossils for example by cleaning amber, excavating trilobites, making casts from actual fossil molds, digging for real fossils from actual rock, rubbings, etc. We learned about different dinosaurs, their eating habits, their defense mechanisms, survival techniques, and extinction. Each child gave their own dinosaur presentation. We had a lot of very hands on materials associated with dinosaur study. This was a very popular unit. We had so much fun. For December in science we just began an animal tracks unit. The children are enjoying looking at mystery tracks (tracks I put in wet sand) every morning and indentifying them. Character education is an important part of our classroom. We regularly have discussions about making moral and respectful choices when it comes to our behavior. I often use books as a jumping off point for our discussions. Recently

we began having a half hour set aside on Wednesdays for a “community meeting”. During that meeting, children can bring up any issues that they are having that they need help with solving. As a group, we then brainstorm alternatives for the child to use the next time he or she encounters this problem. This has been going really well so far. Begin thankful is part of character education. For thanksgiving, children made thankerchiefs for their families. The thankerchiefs are passed around at the dinner table with each recipient sharing what he or she is thankful for. Our thanksgiving feast was wonderful. Thanks so much to the parents who brought in food and for our volunteer servers.

Making turkey hats

Turkey hat on display

For literature, we finished James and the Giant Peach and followed through with a popcorn and movie party. We are now reading My Father’s Dragon. Turkey Hat Group Picture

We are doing some fun things for the holidays. We are making holiday décor for the classroom, crafts and cookie baking. We are looking forward to our holiday party and book exchange. We are also hard at work making some special holiday gifts for our parents…but it’s a surprise. Happy Holidays!

Master Storytellers

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First & Second Grades Ms. Anita Bender & Ms. Susie Long As we approach the Winter Holiday our Montessori Classroom is bustling with activity. The children are doing beautiful handwork and embroidery. Also, we had a great time planting our winter garden. The payoff comes each week during our weekly visits as we measure the growth. It is beautiful; thank you for all of the donations of vegetables, plants and flowers. Maria Montessori’s method is to follow the child. It is to give to the child aged seven to twelve, the sensitive period for development of their imagination, an idea of a whole nature. For example, the sandpaper globe with brown land and blue water is presented in the earlier years. Now, the children begin to explore Land and Water Forms and put them in context with the globe. In 6-9 we cover all of the parts including nomenclature. Then, in later years, this is expanded by actual hands on research. To do well, it is necessary to give an idea of all the sciences, not in precise detail but only as an impression. The idea is to “sow the seeds of the sciences� at this age, when a sensitive period for the imagination exists. Once the idea is presented, we must show that science extends from each branch. The examination of a detail triggers the study of a whole. This year, we have been building up a firm foundation and we will begin a more detailed study in History, the Sciences, Geography, Math and Language. Montessori divided the ages from 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. These were her main areas of study. There is a definite advantage to start Montessori early because of the building up but even the children who begin in first or second grade pick up the methods. The foundation is repeated, adding detail. We are repeating ideas for those that have been in Montessori. By this time, the

child’s experience is different from the preschoolkindergarten level. Soon the children reach a point in their life where change is so significant they greet a new plane of development. In Science, the children learned about the ocean and habitats of the ocean animals then crossed the curriculum into Geography and discussed the poles of the earth and why they are so cold. They made a blubber glove and saw how blubber insulates. Next, each child took turns dipping his or her blubber covered hand in ice cold water. The water was chilly but the hands stayed warm. Our study of Oceans is about to wrap up. We will begin learning about the Solar System and studying our garden in Botany after the Winter Break. In Language, the children use the Montessori Grammar symbols. Using this system, shapes are used to notate the parts of a sentence. By “parsing” a sentence the children learn how language works. For example, the children learned what makes up a prepositional phrase. The Grammar symbol for a preposition is a little green bridge shape. When Dr. Montessori presented this to the children she would tell this story; In Ireland, the soil contains many rocks. Farmers use the rocks for fences. Because it rains a lot, there are many

small streams. When farmers want their cows to go over the stream, they make a little rock bridge. In time, due to the rain, the bridge becomes covered with moss and turns green. By crossing the bridge the cows can be in a new position or field. By presenting this symbol as a bridge shape to the children we practiced talking about what position you take around, over, under, on, etc. the bridge. This is one of the many ways Grammar is presented. With the knowledge of these symbols and a good idea about the meaning of words we then tackle Mechanics of a Sentence. We worked on Word Wheels and the children had a lot of fun making different sentences with one main subject, like “the bear” together with the many different things the bear can do and ending with a prepositional phrase. We will apply this general knowledge of Language as we continue to work on writing super sentences, parsing, and more journaling in class. Then we will go into a deeper study of words and their functions. Ms. Susie and I feel very blessed to be working with sweet and curious children at our treasured Montessori school. We have a great team of families and administrators! Thanks to the Parent Volunteers! Your efforts enrich the classroom in so many ways!

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Second & Third Grades Mr. Richard Aslanian & Ms. Suzi Rumsey

Our space projects were fantastic! The models, display boards and presentations were all done very well. Our studies will now be more focused on planet earth and all the wonA great project ders that our planet has to offer. With the change of weather and time we were able to dison Saturn. cuss the earth’s tilt on its axis and how that creates the seasons. We have talked about the core, mantle and crust and the air around us (baryshpere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and the atmosphere). We have made a map of the different major plates that make up the crust and are studying volcanoes. Each student will be researching a volcano and making a model in class that we will ―explode‖. Our studies will also focus on land and water forms around the world. The holiday season allows us all time to reflect on what’s really special in our lives. We have spent some time discussing the importance of Veteran’s Day and when it came into existence. The history behind Thanksgiving and the story of the Puritans. We will also be spending time learning about Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali and Kwanzaa before going on Winter Break. Right: Students discuss city planning.

3rd Grade Junior Great Books >>> Recently in Junior Great Books we’ve read about ―The Little Daughter of the Snow‖, ―The Ugly Duckling‖, ―The Monster Who Grew Small‖, and ―Ooka and the Honest Thief‖. We enjoy our reading time together, and look forward to the open group discussions after we complete the stories. Special thanks to Mr. Alex Olcese, who has spent the last five weeks in our class presenting the Junior Achievement program on Communities. This great program has introduced to us the importance of city planners, the different zones that make up a city, the functions of banking and commerce and the responsibility of the citizens in a community. We appreciate all Mr. Alex has done for us.

Left: Getting the scoop from Mr. Alex!

Satchel Paige, President Eisenhower, Nelson Mandela And Charles Lindbergh visited us on Halloween.

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Fourth & Fifth Grades Ms. Christina Miller, Ms. Susan Salvatore & Ms. Erin Sorel It’s hard to believe Winter Break is almost here! Here’s a look at what the 4th and 5 grade students have been working on in some of their academic classes: Towards the end of the first quarter, fourth graders enjoyed a visit to Morningside Nature Center for their hands-on program about the Timucua tribe that once lived in our part of Florida. Students enjoyed exploring the model of a Timucuan village and participating in many activities such as grinding corn, scraping fur from animal pelts, or trying to make fire using a “fire bow” as the Native Americans would have done. Fourth graders also went to the Florida Museum of Natural History for a program on other Native American tribes that once lived throughout Florida. Students enjoyed touring the museum exhibits with a docent as well as participating in some activities and crafts in the museum classrooms. In the second quarter, Florida History students have studied the period of exploration. Students have been practicing a play about Juan Ponce de Leon’s discovery and naming of Florida for the Spanish and are excited about performing the play for some of their classmates. In the garden, fourth graders have been having a blast with Ms. Wendy, our gardening expert. Students have learned about and grown fall crops such as mustard greens, various types of lettuce, radishes, carrots, snow peas, cabbage, bok choi and broccoli. Ms. Wendy has also encouraged students to eat what we’ve grown. Food tastings have included cooked mustard greens with corn bread and a bok choi stir fry. They have also been proud to take their produce home to share with their families. This quarter 4th and 5th grade students are working on the Mixtures and Solutions Module in science. They are learning about how substances go together and how they can be taken apart. We started out learning how to separate mixtures with filters. Then they studied solutions and the students made their own salt crystals by evaporating a solution of salt and water. They have just started discussing saturated solutions and the students have been trying to find out how some substances are more soluble than others. In 5th grade history with Ms. Susan Hansen students learned about growing tensions between the colonies and Great Britain. Students participated in experiential exercises where they understood the frustration the colonists felt under British Rule. Our 4th/5th grade literature and composition classes are just wrapping up their second novel of the year. In 4th grade we were all transported back to World War II in Copenhagen, Denmark in the novel Number the Stars. We have learned a great deal about the Nazi occupation, the treatment of the Jewish people, and the brave efforts of the Danish Resistance. We are anxiously awaiting the outcome of our heroine, Annemarie and her friend Ellen. Our 5th grade class is in suspense as we reach the exciting, and creepy, conclusion to our novel, The Seer of Shadows. This book has taken us to the backstreets of early 20th century New York City, following apprentice photographer, Horace. Horace, and his new friend Pegg, are experiencing dangerous encounters with the appearance of Eleanora’s ghost, and she is bent on revenge! The 5th graders in composition class have been working on their letter writing technique as they write letters to Santa. They were required to write from the point of view of a fairy tale character asking Santa for items that will help them deal with their problems. These letters will be read to a preschool/kindergarten class. After the reading of each letter, the class will be asked to guess the character that wrote the letter. Our class would like to thank the parent volunteers who have worked with us and helped out with special activities and field trips. Happy holidays! th

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Middle School Ms. Sherilyn Farris & Ms. Susan Hansen Science: Middle School students have been working very hard on their science fair projects since the beginning of the school year. All of that hard work came to fruition on Thursday, December 9, 2010 for the 2nd MMS Science Fair. Projects were separated into three categories: "Physics", "Chemistry" and "Life Sciences". First, second and third place winners were chosen in each category. First place winners and the Judges Choice winner will represent MMS in the Alachua County Regional Science Fair in January.

Chemistry 1st Place – Alyssa H. & Cristina d. 2nd Place – Nicholas G. 3rd Place – Elizabeth M. & Peyton N. Physics 1st Place – Ashley F. 2nd Place – Ben B. & Trent P. 3rd Place – Stephanie K. Honorable Mention – Michele A.

Life Science 1st Place – Jacqueline K. 2nd Place – Ryan D. 3rd Place - Bryan J. Honorable Mention – Vishaka A. & Ashlyn P. Judges Choice Award Ryan D. Student’s Choice Award (tie) Alyssa H. & Cristina d. Bryan J.

History: ―Thunder Rolling in the Mountain, Lead your people across the great divide…‖ In a collaboration with Ms. Sylvia’s Video Production class and American History, the seventh and eighth graders created a music video set to the song Thunder Rolling in the Mountain by Fred Small. The song chronicles the displacement by settlers of the Nez Perce Indians - led by Chief Joseph (aka Rolling Thunder) - and describes how the U.S. government treated the tribe as they tried to escape to Canada. Through the use of choreography use, props and costumes, the class prepared a creative interpretation. Next, the focus shifted from the wild frontier to the bustling cities and the wave of immigration that occurred in the United States at the turn of the century. The students took on the identity of various ethnic or religious groups and created beautiful scrapbooks documenting their journey across the ocean from either Europe or China, their processing on either Ellis Island in New York City or Angle Island in San Francisco, and the new sights and sounds of America. Currently, the class is watching The 1900 House, a documentary that ―transports‖ a modern British family back to 1900 England. The family moves into a home furnished as if it were 1900. Gone are telephones, electricity and inside toilets. Instead they have a stove that refuses to provide enough hot water, shampoo that leaves hair feeling greasy and tight, air restricting corsets. The class always enjoys this 4-part series and can relate to the never-ending trials of 21st century family thrust into 19th century toil. Literature: Sixth grade students have learned a great deal of the difficulties encountered climbing Mount Everest in the realistic fiction novel, Peak by Roland Smith. While reading, they have been exploring many important literary elements such as: metaphor,

simile, personification and other elements of style. Seventh and eighth grade students have been deeply involved in Tales of Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green. This unit culminated with a Festival of Dionysus on December 14th. The Festival of Dionysus was an annual theatre festival held in Athens. To prepare for this festival, students wrote tributes to famous Greek Heroes, created Greek Vases depicting scenes from the Iliad and presented traditional plays honoring the gods: Dionysus, Hades and Athena using traditional Greek masks. The celebration featured authentic Greek food with grape juice, of course, to honor Dionysus. Students also wore traditional Greek togas and chitons. Composition: Sixth grade students have learned about journalism during the second quarter. First they learned to write different kinds of news articles. Next, the class was divided into groups and created their very own newspapers. Many times the classroom was reminiscent of an old fashioned newsroom while students were correcting ―copy‖ and laying out their news pages. Seventh and eighth grade students spent the quarter repeating the mantra: Focus, Organization, Elaboration and Conventions. These are the four main categories by which the Florida Writes Exam is graded. Students used the innovative My Access online program to hone their writing skills for the annual Florida Writes Exam which was December 15th. Ropes: During the month of October, the students of Millhopper Montessori Middle School spend three exciting days at Camp McConnell taking part in ROPES training. ROPES training presents students with situations that requires them to share their knowledge and experiences creatively with each other while trying to solve and overcome a variety of problems and obstacles. The ROPES course is divided in

to two groups of activities- low elements and high elements. The goal of these first elements is for the entire group to participate and succeed. To accomplish this, they must cultivate a sense of trust and respect for each other. The high elements are individual challenges that are made much easier by the feeling of solidarity that is developed by completing the low elements. The low elements start with simple activities such as cooperative games, that require all the members of the group to participate if they are to succeed. And, it climaxes with the Team Wall. Elements such as the spider’s web, trust fall, and the puzzle help nurture the sense of unity that will be essential in completing the more difficult tasks ahead of them. Facing these challenges, a student is asked to make decisions as to what will not only best serve themselves, but what will also help the whole group succeed. The motto of the high elements is ―challenge by choice‖. When students are asked whether they want to climb the thirty foot Cargo Net or to leap off the twenty-five foot Pamper Pole, they are expected to appraise the risk. The intention is to move the students out of there "comfort zone" in a manner that is healthy and safe. The group support system that had its beginning with the low elements is now strong enough to support not only those who are willing to attempt the climbs, but also those that decide they do not want to participate. Although ROPES training is a lot of fun, it isn’t just playing games. It’s learning that one can do what one previously couldn’t. It is learning that problems are there to be met and solved. Not necessarily by oneself, but often with the help and cooperation of others. It is learning to find strength in others as well as in oneself. It is also learning to assess and understand risks, both physical and emotional, and being able to make decisions with the support, but not the pressure, of the group.

Spanish Ms. Jeanne-Marie Hrivnak In October and November we studied or reviewed the days of the week, the months of the year, the seasons, and the weather using pictures, songs and role-play activities. We studied the traditions associated with different harvest festivals in various countries through demonstrations and songs. The children enjoyed singing, dancing, and playing ―maracas‖ for ―El Dia de la Raza‖ (Race Day/Columbus Day). They especially enjoyed learning about ―El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead/Memorial Day) and exploring the art, food, costumes, dances and decorations made for that celebration. We continue to learn the Spanish vocabulary that helps us to discuss our own holidays, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwanza with the accompanying history and traditions and those around the world. Some of the topics pertaining to the thematic vocabulary in the individual classes were the following: families and friends , professions, government and elections, parts of trees and plants and stages of growth, the ocean, the solar system, some of the animals on different continents, review of fruits and vegetables, other food and more…. In December our focus is ―Holidays around the World‖ and winter weather and activities. We look forward to speaking and singing about all the holidays in Spanish. Please ask your children to share the cultural lessons, songs and vocabulary that they have learned with you. It has been a joy to work with these bright and wonderful students this semester.

Montessori Monitor >>>

Physical Education Coach Cam Parker The temperature outside is dropping, but we are staying active at MMS. The students recently completed a lacrosse unit. Lacrosse is really catching on locally and nationwide and is a sport played by many high schools. At MMS we try to expose students to a wide variety of sports and active activities in hopes that all students will find at least one that they continue to pursue after their time with us. It is an effort to try and create part of a healthy lifestyle. When we come back from winter break, we will begin a basketball unit to correspond with the beginning of games in the sports league. That will be followed by the annual jump rope/dance unit. It's safe to say both that balls and the kids will be bouncing all winter long.

MMS Sports Teams >>>

Hoops at the Hop Basketball season has begun for the middle school and this year we have two teams representing Millhopper Montessori. The teams will be competing in the YMCA league with the games being played on Tuesday evenings. We wish them the best of luck and invite all fans to come out and cheer for us loudly. Thanks coaches!!! After the new year, basketball teams from grades K-5 will be participating in the Oak Hall Sports League. This is a great experience for students and helps them develop the fundamentals of the game of basketball. Have fun and thanks to the coaches! Gooo Knights!!!

Director: Ms. Christina Eckstein Joy to the World (Jeremiah was a Bullfrog)

I Will Arise and Make Music

Joy to the World

Pick Y ourse

lf Up

The Vocal Ensemble performance on November 18, 2010 was a huge success. One of the many highlights of their performance was their finale’ of Joy to the World which was sung in two part harmonies. On December 4th at the “Gumshoe High” Dinner Theater event they showcased some selections of their November performance. This month they are preparing for caroling around school and at Alz Place. Happy Holidays from The Spotlight Singers.

Rehearsal at The Gainesville Women’s Center for “Gumshoe High “ Dinner Theater.

Director: Sylvia Aslanian

“Gumshoe High — A Totally Teen Mystery,” was presented on December 4th, 2010 at The Gainesville Women’s Club by the Spotlight Kids Performing Arts after-school program, which includes vocal ensemble and drama club.

Our show was so successful because of the help of all our volunteers. They worked hard creating a “Film noir - Old Time Hollywood” Atmosphere!

Our sponsors, our MMS PTO, MMS Staff, MMS alumni and Piesanos also helped to make the evening fun and successful.

The night before the show.

Backstage… antics!

“All For One, One For All, Together the Spotlight Shines Spotlight Singers smile for the camera.

The show opened with the talented Spotlight Singers. The finale’ two part harmony of “Joy to the World,” with streamers. The play is told in a “film noir,” style with the detective speaking to the audience, announcing his thoughts. For our show, two thespian’s played the part of Drexton Cage. One the actor in the scene, the other his tortured conscience.

Drexton (tortured conscience) played by Nay. A mysterious femme fetal pays Drexton a visit.

Three “pages,” Chapter, Index and Glossary announce the Chapters of the Dime Store Novel. All played by MMS Alumni: Kayleigh, Meghan and Laura.

Betty Ann Kowalski, Drexton’s best friend since the third grade, helps him sift through the clues.

Drexton encounters the “Backwards crew,� playing cards. For a price Backwards , played by Soren sells Drexton played by Ryan, some clues.

Chandler High

Abby, played by Crisitina asks Drexton why he is snooping around.

Clues lead Drexton and Betty Ann to rival decathlon teams .

Hammet High

Looking for the mysterious femme fetale leads Betty Ann and Drexton to Drama Club Auditions and Royalty Hal played by MMS Alumni, Dominick. Other MMS Alumni in the scene include: Kayleigh and Amanda.

Drexton interacts with the audience.

First—Fifth Grade with Ms. Sylvia Aslanian

Ms. Anita’s class and Ms. Tina’s class worked on story-telling to help improve their public speaking skills. They picked out a Halloween story, read and pantomimed the tale in groups of four-five. Mr. Richard’s class prepared for their Halloween timeline. To help

with diction the students enjoyed reciting tongue twisters. They also practiced how to answer the telephone in various situations. Our upcoming unit will be all about Shakespeare.

Fourth grade students rehearse for their storytelling presentation.

Fourth and Fifth Grade Storytelling was presented to Mr. Richard’s and Ms. Anita’s Classes.

Middle School with Ms. Sylvia Aslanian A Demonstration speech is written to explain and show people how to do something. This involves using various types of visual aids, or a handout to ensure the effectiveness of the instructions. Some students created a poster, while others created a power point to show a step by step process.

Jacqueline demonstrates how to make a flower origami.

Ryan shows the class how to make Stop motion Animation.

Bryan shows off his Yugio drawing.

Tiffany teaches us how to wrap a burrito. Vishaka decorates delicious cookie monster cupcakes.

In Video Production sixth grade students have been finishing up their commercials, and seventh and eighth grade are continually editing and filming the footage from all the happenings at MMS. We have three new Cannon FS300 SD Video Cameras and are still in the process of learning how to use Sony Vegas Pro to edit all the footage they have captured.

The 7th and 8th grade American History class recently studied the Nez Perce Indians. They learned about the Nez Percés’ effort to keep their home land in the Wallowa valley of eastern Oregon. The class was assigned to interpret the words from the song The Heart of the Appaloosa, written by Fred Smalls. The students broke up into groups of three or four and choreographed pantomimes for each verse. First, Lewis and Clark come and are helped by the Nez Percé. After receiving the ―talking paper‖ (or the Bible), the Indians are sent to reservations because gold is found near their homeland. The Nez Percé fled to Whitebird Canyon where they fought with the United States Army. They were chased for 1200 miles. Forty miles from the Canadian border, Thunder Rolling in the Mountains (Chief Joseph) surrendered to end his peoples’ suffering.

Kindergarten — Eighth Grade with Ms. Sylvia Aslanian

With the addition of the new tables in the media center, the students can learn and do the lesson along with me. Much appreciation to Dr. Mark Clark for designing and building the tables. Kindergarteners - Third graders have been learning researching skills as well as honing their reading skills. Kindergarteners and First graders have been learning about animals and their habitats, and created a panda habitat. All the lessons are at so the students can practice at home. Fourth - Eighth graders learned how to create various charts in Excel to apply to their Science Fair Projects. They are now learning MS Publisher 2007. The Fourth and Fifth grade are creating a Newsletter using their literature prompts as their articles. In addition the Middle School have been learning Sony Vegas Pro to help with their video production.

A Call for Help To better serve our video production and technology classes we are looking for the following: Used Green Screen

(Or someone to make one)

Used PC for editing HD Videos in Sony Vegas Used Soft Box Lighting Equipment Used Camcorders, video production equipment

If you have any of these items and would like to donate them, please contact Ms. Sylvia at: THANK YOU!!!

Stop by the MMS School Store! “May I have some money for the school store?� This is probably becoming a common refrain from students of MMS. Our ambitious Yearbook fund raising committee opened our, first ever, MMS School Store. Selling a variety of fun and useful items, we have had many excited customers visit us in the past few months. Our school store offers, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, pencil grips, locker dry-erase boards, and other fun items. Items are priced between 25 cents and $3.00. The store is student-run and is open every Wednesday from 8:30-9:00 am and 12- 12:30 pm. All proceeds benefit the MMS yearbook. Our funds allow us to provide a beautiful, hardcover, yearbook that captures the exciting events of our school year. If you have not yet visited us at the store, come check it out! To those of you that have purchased items, we thank you for your support!

MMS Scholastic Book Fair 2010

Our Fall book fair for 2010 has come to a close. The success of the fair was astounding! Actual sales totaled just over $7,000. This has allowed us to add over 100 books to the teachers’ classrooms, earned $2,400 for library materials and $500 for additional technology items. In addition, over $600 worth of books were available for immediate use by the students. All of this success is thanks to the many volunteers that made our book fair run smoothly and efficiently. Enormous thanks goes to Sharvari Kulkarni and Irma Alvarez who logged countless hours. Sharvari gave many hours to the set up, take-down and sales of our fair. Irma came to school early every morning to serve as our “accountant”, reconciling our sales from the previous day. In addition, our appreciation extends to our other sales volunteers; Maia Holtzhower, Sherry Gauvin, Gowri Navaratnam, Robert Mackritis, Michelle Kessler, Shachar Amdur, Chuck Callesto, Swapna Deshpande, Trish Petty, Lily Tajalli, Ahyea Jo, Gabriella Castellanos, Lonnie Phillips, Deeta Adkins, Victoria Adu, LeAnne Wright, Rhea Bush, Elena Alyanaya, Lassie Patterson, Niya Dix, Melinda Pooler, Jennifer Curcio and Eileen SosaPesantes. Lastly, special thanks is extended to our front office staff; Amilda Clark, Laura Lentz and Donna Bernal who pitched-in whenever they were needed (and it was often!). We are looking forward to another successful book fair in the Spring!

Sewing Studio Ms. Susie Long

Sewing Studio has been full of fun and some super creative projects this semester! The studio is open to all first through eighth grade students and is held every Wednesday, Thursday & Friday afternoon in Ms. Anita’s classroom. Special thanks to Betty Corwine for donating a handful of holiday fabric, pins and thread. Special thanks also goes to Jasmine’s aunt for donating yarn and cloth and for volunteering during the Thursday afternoon studios. Be sure to swing by and check out what these young, talented sewers are up to!

Keep Collecting...

Thank you to everyone for clipping Box Tops off of select General Mills products. The Class that collects the most box tops will win an Ice Cream Party at the end of the school year!

Social Networking

Keep up with all things MMS on our social networking sites:

Lunches Made Easy & Convenient! Are you Going out of town and don’t want to have to worry about the babysitter making your child’s lunch or are you simply tired of making lunch everyday? MMS has taken the guesswork (& headache) out of lunches! We are excited to announce you can now order your child’s lunch online by the week, month, quarter, semester or year! Simply go to our website ( and click the link to get started!

Weekly Menu Options: Monday* I Love NY Pizza

Tuesday Flying Biscuit

Wednesday Moe’s

Thursday Heavenly Ham

Friday Schlotzsky’s

3 Piece Chicken Finger & Potato Wedges

Oven Fried Chicken Strips (5-6 strips)

Cheese Quesadilla

Ham Sandwich

Cheese Sandwich

1 Slice Cheese Pizza & Side Salad

Chicken Quesadilla

Grilled Chicken Strips (5-6 strips) Chicken Burrito

1 Slice Turkey Meatloaf Pepperoni Pizza & Side Salad Oodles of Noodles with 2 Slices Cheese Butter Pizza Oodles of 2 Slices Noodles with Pepperoni Pizza Marinara Sauce

Turkey Sandwich Roast Beef Sandwich

Black Bean Burrito

Veggie Sandwich

Two Ground Beef Tacos

Ham Wrap

Veggie Sandwich Cheese Pizza

Two Chicken Tacos

Roast Beef Wrap

Pepperoni Pizza BBQ Chicken Pizza Chicken Caesar Wrap

Spaghetti & Meatballs 6‖ Turkey Wrap All orders come with a choice of Mac & Cheese or Mashed Potatoes *I Love NY Pizza is available to Beginner through Kindergarten students only

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey Wrap

Veggie Wrap Baked Spaghetti w/ garlic knot

Ham Sandwich

All sandwiches come with lettuce, tomato & cheese. Sorry, no special orders.

All orders come All orders come All orders come with Baked Lays All orders come with a biscuit & with tortilla Potato chips, a with Baked Lays 8 oz. bottled chips, salsa, a chocolate chip Potato chips, a water chocolate chip cookie & 8 oz. chocolate chip cookie & 8 oz. bottled water cookie & 8 oz. bottled water bottled water

1st - 8th Grade: To place orders for Piesanos on Mondays Contact Anita Bender, 352-375-6773 or

Questions? Contact Ms. Sherilyn Farris at

Millhopper Montessori School Solar Panel Dedication January 7, 2011 11:00am

You are cordially invited to attend our solar panel dedication on Friday, January 7, 2011 at 11:00am. Pack a brown bag lunch and join us as we “flip the switch” and join the Feed in Tariff Program provided by GRU.

A proud partner of GRU’s Feed in Tariff Program 8505 NW 39th Avenue Gainesville, FL 32606 P: 352-375-6773 F: 352-374-7125

A presentation of a Solar Balloon will be given by Ms. Jackie Johnson's kindergarten class as well as a vocal presentation of "Here Comes the Sun" by the MMS Spotlight Singers. Individual solar projects will be conducted in each classroom after the dedication.

Calendar January 2011 Monday, January 3 Friday, January 7 Friday, January 7 Friday, January 14 Monday, January 17 Tuesday, January 18 Friday, January 21 Friday, January 21 Wednesday, January 26 Thursday, January 27 Friday, January 28 Friday, January 28 Monday, January 31

Classes Resume Solar Panel Dedication 12:00-2:00 Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Holiday - MLK Birthday Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Student Holiday/Teacher Workday Open House Yearbook Bake Sale Regional Science Fair: Set-up and open to the public Regional Science Fair: Judging – students and Judges only Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 First through Eighth Grade Report Cards mailed

February 2011 Tuesday, February 1 Friday, February 4 Tuesday, February 8 Tuesday, February 8 Tuesday, February 8 Tuesday, February 8 Thursday, February 10 Thursday, February 10 Friday, February 11 Friday, February 11 Wednesday, February 16 Friday, February 18 Saturday, February 19 Monday, February 21 Thursday, February 24 Thursday, February 24 Friday, February 25 Friday, February 25 Sunday, February 27

Enrollment for the 2011-2012 School Year opens to the community Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Teacher Work Afternoon – 3:30-5:30 Ms. Jackie Johnson’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 Ms. Elizabeth Falls’ Parent Night 4:30-6:00 Ms. Crystal Sorrow’s Parent Night 4:00-5:30 Ms. Renee Brohamer’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 Ms. Christina Eckstein’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 Shakespeare Festival at the Thomas Center 1:00-2:30 (9:30 rehearsal for Middle School) Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Eighth Grade takes the National Assessment for Educational Progress Test Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 2:00-4:00 Holiday - President’s Day - Flex Day Jump Rope/Dance Show at MMS 11:00-12:00 Thespian Disney Competition Practice: 3:45-5:45 First through Eighth Grade Interim Reports mailed Thespians Depart for Orlando for National Performing Arts Festival at 5:30 PM Thespians Return to Gainesville by 6:00 PM

For a complete school calendar visit our website:

Millhopper Montessori School December 2010 News