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Spring 2013

Choosing a Private School for Your Child and the value of an accredited school


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by Christina Miller, President, Millhopper Montessori School There are many decisions parents need to make when selecting a private school for their children. It is not uncommon for parents to select their homes based on which public schools are designated for their neighborhoods. Selecting a private school eliminates a decision based on school zoning, but therefore, it often requires traveling a little farther and sometimes without bus service. Selecting a private school also requires parents to make more decisions. Variations in tuition, hours of operation, certification of teachers, curriculum, religious versus non-religious, and school’s accreditation are all important considerations. Not all private schools go through an accreditation process. Accreditation agencies vary, and this requires a higher level of scrutiny for parents. Of course, if tuition is not an impasse, the choices abound for parents to find the right school for their children. First of all, parents must visit several schools, the more the better. Then, observe classrooms, and speak with teachers when available. Ask about the turnover rate of the teaching staff as well as the teacher’s credentials. Observe classes in action either by sitting in the classroom or observing through one-way windows. It is important to always ask if the school is accredited and by whom.

Choosing a Private School...Continued from page 1 When selecting our accreditation at Millhopper Montessori School many years ago, I chose the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) and the Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC). FCIS and FKC are professional associations that between them accredit pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools. These organizations promote professional, ethical and educational excellence while assuring that their member schools maintain high standards and independence. This indepencence allows a school to set its curriculum and standards apart from financial and administrative governmental restraints. Because of this, innovative programs are more often seen in independent schools. The evaluation and accreditation process of FCIS and FKC consist of a school’s self study using a rubric of the Council’s written standards. This is a lengthy process that requires teachers and parents to peruse all aspects of the school’s safety, finances, curriculum, staff qualifications, library, technology, instructional resources and facility. This self study is submitted to the Council and is followed by an extended visit to the school by a full evaluating committee. The committee consists of members of other FCIS accredited schools. The aforementioned occurs every five years for a member school. Accreditation gives parents peace of mind, assuring the school’s integrity and that it has voluntarily chosen to put the welfare of the students first. It also guarantees that the school will not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or national/ethnic origin in admission or hiring and will meticulously carry out all promises made to students, teachers, patrons or the general public.

For more information on FCIS go to


Students from Millhopper Montessori Raise Funds for Oxfam The second and third grade class at Millhopper Montessori School has spent the first half of the school year studying different countries in Africa. As part of our studies, we decided to raise money to purchase animals through the Oxfam organization to donate to an African Family. The students did special jobs around their houses and sold artwork to raise the funds. By the time they were finished, the class had raised $468 in total. With these funds, the students then worked in small groups to decide what animals to purchase within the budget. After presenting each plan, a final decision was made to buy at least two of each kind of animal; sheep, cows, goats, pigs and a dozen chickens with the hope that the pair may have an opportunity to have offspring in the future. The cooperative learning experience and sense of accomplishment have, hopefully, created memories that will last a lifetime.


Fire Department Visit


Santa Visits MMS


Beginners: Ages 2-4 Ms. Crystal Sorrow Ms. Elizabeth Sheehan Ms. Summer Pitt

The students in the Beginners' Class enjoyed learning about holidays around the world during December. They explored Diwali, broke a pinata, visited with Santa, spun dreydels, watched candles be lit in the menorah, decorated a tree, and much more. The month ended with a holiday craft party. January was all about the human body. Students learned about the systems of the body including muscles, bones, organs, the brain, and the senses. The students enjoyed the mannequin with the removable organs and building the skeletal system. Harchaet's father came in with a neat heart model and spoke about the chambers of the heart. February was a month for studying the ocean. Students will learn about the five oceans of the word, bivalves, crustaceans, fish, sea mammals, and about elements of the science involved in tides and waves. We also celebrated Valentine's Day with a card exchange and special lunch. Discussions of what and whom the children love occurred during the month as well.



Preschool: Ages 3-5 Ms. Christina Eckstein Ms. Lily Tajalli

There was a lot of excitement in the air during the month of December with the festivities of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa being celebrated. Selections from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” filled the air as the children transitioned from work time to circle time, and was also used during listening and movement activities. Christmas craft projects included paper plate Santa Clauses, Christmas trees, jingle bells, candy cane ornaments and stocking lacing cards. We discussed and read books centered around Hanukkah. In celebration of the Festival of Lights, the children made menorahs and prepared delicious potato latkes. We also read books and talked about the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The students made an mkeka, a mat on which the symbols of kwanzaa are placed, including and an ear of corn (muhindi) to represent each child in the family. 2012 ended at MMS with a fabulous Winter Show performed by the preschool classes under the direction of our music teacher, Ms. Liz Nelson. In addition to our holiday studies, we also examined the continent of Antarctica. The children learned about the various types of animals that inhabit the continent with a particular emphasis on penguins. The children learned about the different types of penguins, their anatomy, habitat and the food they eat. 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. It was a lot of fun! During the month of January, we took a journey around the continent of Australia. The students learned about the climate, terrain, people, customs and animals of Australia. Special projects to enhance our


study of Australia included aboriginal rock paintings, eucalyptus prints, kangaroo puppets, coral reefs and push-pinned animals on a pushpinned map of Australia. We were also very fortunate to have the Thorpe family, who is from New Zealand, do a wonderful presentation and share a terrific snack with the class in conjunction with our unit of the land down under. The children saw outstanding pictures depicting the landscape, animals and people of New Zealand. Traditional dressed was modeled and the students also had the sensorial experience of feeling wool from sheep. It was wonderful watching the children learn how to say “hello� with a special hongi greeting (shaking hands and then rubbing noses). The children especially loved eating the vegemite sandwiches, kiwi fruit and ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits. We celebrated the 100th day of school in January. The children created a dot marker picture with 100 dots, designed necklaces with 100 beads and exercised to 100. Many students chose to create a 100th Day of School project. It was wonderful to see the many creative ways the children displayed 100 items. We especially enjoyed counting by 10s to make a special 100 Day snack mix.


Preschool: Ages 3-5 Ms. Martha Dolan Ms. Christina Wegner

We have now finished February’s Unit Study, Simple Machines. During this month we learned how Simple Machines work. We learned about pulleys, gears, wheels, axels, levers and inclines. Language, we named and labeled simple machines. In Practical life, the children made bubbles with a gearoperated hand mixer. In Sensorial, we fitted shapes together to see how they work. In Math, we counted how many parts it will take to make a simple machine work. The Author for the month of February was Robert E. Will who wrote, How Do You Lift a Lion? Artist of the month for February was Vincent Van Gogh. Ms. Christina gave each child an art lesson in painting their interpretation of Van Gogh’s, The Starry Night. During Parent Night, the children performed I’m A Valentine for You and H-E-A-R-T. They also enjoyed making Valentine art and have made water shakers that focus on the joy of wonder. They have also sewed Valentine hearts. To reflect back on what the children learned during November, they learned how to read a rain gauge and studied about the seasons and weather. We focused on rain, clouds, snow, wind, thunder & lighting, sunshine, and rainbows. During December, we celebrated many Holiday activities. We had a presentation of Hanukkah and learned what the Menorah represents. The children had a chance to make dreidels out of food and eat them. During January, we learned about many Community Helpers and the importance of them in our community. There will be many more wonderful activities the children will experience during March, April, and May. Check your newsletters for the upcoming events.



Preschool/Kindergarten Ms. Elizabeth Falls Ms. Jessica Pytko

Happy New Year! Since our last Newsletter, we have been very busy in the classroom! In January, we had a great 100th day of school celebration! It hardly seems that we have been in school for that many days! We started this special day with our traditional 100th day breakfast! After eating this nutritious breakfast, the children worked on the number 100 all day (i.e., 100 board work, writing to 100, creating a 100 bead necklace, counting to 100 by making a 100 link paper chain, etc.!) Each child also created a 100 day project; they were excited to explain and present their project to their classmates. It was interesting to see all the different creative ideas! Each year at this time the students work on and present to the class a mini research project. This is the beginning of learning basic research skills and helps the children to become more comfortable with "public speaking". This year's research focused on animals from South America. The projects were wonderful! The children were very excited and did very well presenting what they had learned about their animal to the class! I would like to thank you as parents for helping your child and for helping them to understand the concept and importance of research. We have learned so much from all the presentations. On Friday, February 1st, Mr. Ed Smyth from Hawthorne visited our school and brought with him an Alpaca and a Llama. The children were quite excited to see and learn about these sweet animals from South America! The children have thoroughly enjoyed our Unit Study of South America and the Rainforest; many have expressed an interest in visiting South American in the future! On February 5th, we had our final Parent Night of the 2012-2013 school year. The children were especially excited about this Parent Night because we presented work that they are presently working on in a different format. As well as the students demonstrating new work, I presented small group lessons on math and reading. This format represents a better idea of what a more typical morning work cycle looks like in our classroom. Thank you all for making our last Parent Night so special! After our Parent Night, we were able to relax a little bit by celebrating Chinese New Year, Korean Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day, and Presidents’ Day. On Valentine's Day the children ex-


changed valentines with their classmates and made very special plaster heart molds of their hand for their parents! For Presidents’ Day, the children were very interested in learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They listened to stories about these great men and pushed pin their silhouettes. Some Second Semester Activities will include: - Static and Dynamic (concept of exchanging) Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication - Use of the Montessori Stamp Game - Telling Time and Money Value Concepts - Word Problem Solving - Phonogram (and learning how to “Dot, Dot, Dash”) and Sight Word Activities - Beginning Sentence Analysis; Nouns, Verbs, Articles, Adjectives and Prepositions - Reading Comprehension Skills Science-based Group Reading will begin soon – the children enjoy learning Science as well as learning to Read! Watch for these books to come home soon! Upcoming Events: In March and April our unit studies will focus on Life Cycles (including butterflies and frogs) and Botany. Beginning March 12th the Kindergarten Mid -Year IOWA Test will be administered. On a personal note, I am looking forward to attending the AMS (American Montessori Society) 2013 Annual Conference (Sustaining the Light in Every Child) in Orlando in March!


Preschool/Kindergarten Ms. Renee Brohamer Ms. Kathleen Bastien

We are back to work after a wonderful winter break. We started off the New Year talking about safety. The fire fighters visited, dressed up in their firefighting gear, and they brought a fire truck. We learned about having a family plan for if ever there was a fire at home; about getting out quickly and having a special place to meet. We learned about crawling to avoid smoke, “stop, drop, and roll”, and 911. The children in our class are also working on learning their phone numbers so that if they should ever be lost or separated from their parents they can be quickly reunited with them with a phone call. As part of our discussion about safety we talked about finding a safe person to help if one does get lost. On January 23 we celebrated our 100th day of school. Each of the children did a project at home with their families and then brought it in to share as part of the celebration. It was a fun day of sharing, counting, creating and eventually eating 100 small healthy treats. As a part of our unit study of the world, we ventured from Mexico to the bottom of Central America. We learned about Panama, with its mountains and its rain forest. We considered how the great explorers who were so desperate for a way to get to Asia by way of going east had such a long way to travel around the bottom of South America to do it. The children learned about the Spanish explorer Balboa and how he climbed the mountains of Panama and discovered how close they actually were to the Pacific Ocean. Izzie and her mom brought a special guest from the University of Florida, Professor Townsend. He showed the children how the people used large machines to dig the Panama Canal. He demonstrated using power point how the canal’s lock system works and how the canal is actu-


ally a giant “water stair� that rises 85 feet above sea level. Some of the children demonstrated their understanding by drawing their own renditions of how the water stair works. They were fascinated. As we continue our journey from pole to pole we are moving on to South America. Today we had a visitor (Ed Smyth, owner of the Snow Bear Ranch in Hawthorne) come with an alpaca and a llama. We learned that people of the Andes mountain region have been raising alpacas for centuries for their soft and luxurious fiber. We learned that Llamas which are from the same region were bred to be work animals and are larger and stronger than their cousins the alpacas. Llamas can also be used for their fiber, but it is not as soft and luxurious. We will continue our journey southward taking time to look at some of the oddities of physics at the equator, the interesting creatures of the Galapagos Islands, and eventually ending the school year having worked our way down the coast to Patagonia.


Spanish Ms. Mayte Ambite-Calvo Beginners through 3rd Grades

In the beginners, Pre-K and Kindergarten classes, we have continued reviewing greetings and courtesy, numbers, colors with the little bears, fruits and vegetables and the parts of the body. Students love singing and dancing through the rhythm of Dos manitas, La araña pequeñita, Juanito and Las hormiguitas. They have also mastered a new song about the rain, Qué llueva!! and they have learned about the food, clothes, animals and community helpers with puppets stories and different games. The feelings and opposite words have been introduced in the lessons as well as the parts of the body. We have played ¨Simón dice¨ several times. In the upper grades, we have continued practicing conversation, reviewing vocabulary and introducing more complex words to read in Spanish. They have also learned about different countries where Spanish is spoken and students have interviewed each other to know a little bit more about things they like to do in their free time or what profession they would like to have when they grow up. We had fun playing math and vocabulary games by teams using the numbers is Spanish or words sorted by different categories, and they have done an amazing job. We read a book about Diego Rivera, a very famous Mexican muralist and they learned some important facts about his life and work. Before the winter holidays, all the students learned new words related to Día de Acción de Gracias, Thanksgiving Day, and they had a chance to let me know about their traditions. I also shared with them some of the things we do to celebrate Christmas in Spain and the typical food we eat for the occasion. We also sang ¨Feliz Navidad¨ by José Feliciano.


Upcoming Conference

A child in love with learning glows brightly. The joy of life shines through everything the child does, inspiring us all to make our world a better place. This awareness is at the heart of the gift Dr. Maria Montessori gave to educators, parents, and children alike. At the AMS 2013 Annual Conference, we’ll celebrate the vital force of young minds fired by the passion for learning—and affirm our commitment as Montessorians to keeping that spark glowing. MMS is very excited that the annual AMS Conference is being held in Orlando this year. This has allowed us the opportunity to arrange for several of our teachers to attend. Ms. Renee Brohamer, Ms. Liz Falls, Ms. Anita Bender, Mr. Richard Aslanian and Ms. Sherilyn Farris will all have the opportunity to participate in this amazing weekend networking with other Montessori teachers from all over the country. Being a part of the AMS community we share, discuss, and develop the work that expands the promise of Montessori, together while building a bright and sustainable future for our children, and for our schools, our families, our communities and our planet.


First & Second Grades Ms. Anita Bender Ms. Susie Long

The children are showing an interest in research regarding time, geology, how, when and why animals and plants look the way they do now and how scientists study them. We are talking about the ways animals adapt over time and are looking back in time, how life appeared on earth. This is all done through one of Montessori’s Great Lessons on a timeline format. We are discussing current day adaptations, how species survive and change to the conditions of its habitat over time. We look back to the Cambrian and pre-Cambrian era when one of the first organisms appeared, the trilobite trace was found. We went outside and laid a long black line across the P.E. field. It took up most of the length. This Montessori timeline, which deals with life on earth, is a wonderful visual explanation that situates prehistory within geologic time, the time Earth has existed, approximately 4.6 billion years. At the end of the timeline is a very small red line about an inch. The black line represents geologic time; the inch explains how long humans have occupied earth. We talk about how this is an estimate made by scientists and that people who do this kind of studying use a fossil record, iron ore, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock samples to explain geologic time. This lesson evoked enthusiasm; children shouting out great questions. In the classroom we are finding out the answers to these questions by researching rocks, classifying rocks and identifying rocks. The children are making associations with the rock cycle and where or when a fossil may be found. We have some great rock and fossil collections children have brought into class for sharing! We will continue to study Rocks and Minerals and take time during sharing to share each classmate’s rock collection. We will test for hardness, color, streak, shape, texture, luster and cleavage along with other experiments. This research work crosses the curriculum by teaching math skills, language skills, science and history. We are studying everything from trilobites, brachiopods and ammonites, saber-toothed tiger, to the early humans and present day animal species. Our Montessori Timeline of Life shows the adaptation of animals through its historic stages of life. Part of our work is learning about eras, periods, epochs and ages of life while matching animal and plant cards to the timeline of life. As children match models or cards they are learning the age of when fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and finally mammals came to be on the timeline according to the evidence of flora and fauna found in fossils and bones. As we study time, our class is capable to read very large numbers. The children master basic functions and math facts through the use of our Montessori Stamp Game and Bead Frame. Using a timeline allows exposure to place value. Both grades have been introduced to the hierarchical material that takes them up to a million. Students use the Montessori Fraction material and participate in weekly math lessons. The second grades are practice multiplication with Checkerboard material, this work goes up to math in the billions by breaking multiplication into step-by-step parts. Both grades are working in all four mathematical operations in addition to reinforcing what they learn by applying this knowledge to graphs and charts during the study of history and time.


We discuss the importance of our work. It is important to ask questions and search for answers, using research tools. At our field trip to the Florida Museum of Natural History our different groups had to solve a puzzle of bones. The children put together actual bones of a sea turtle by working together using the skills and reference material we provide in the classroom and at the museum. We got an up-close look at fossils and dinosaurs on our field trip to the Natural History Museum. It is exciting to see what each child discovers. Some other notes The Garden: It’s about time to plant our garden. Sometime in March we will be asking for volunteers to help provide plants and flowers for our garden and to assist taking small group rotations down to the garden to help plant and tend to our school garden. Some nice plants to plant this time of year are strawberries and potatoes. Gerber daisies and Chrysanthemums make nice flower choices for decoration and herbs are especially nice to bring in for tasting events, such as the upcoming Mother’s Tea. The Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival is coming up March 23-24. It is a lovely place to get local plant species. Creative Projects: Our students are picking up some great sewing skills. Ms. Susie always has time to start a child on a sewing project. Much skill and concentration goes into this art. We encourage the students to have an ongoing sewing project. These life-long skills will stick around and be passed to next generations. This is the best time in a child’s life to get confident in art, sewing, and public speaking. A recent study shows a child at the age of eight makes up his or her mind whether they can be good at the arts or not! Creativity is fuel for the mind and so we encourage these activities. In our Montessori classroom children learn many skills that are not taught much anymore. We sketch, paint, knit, crochet, and learn to sew on a machine. We use embroidery techniques and make quilt squares to include just a few. The arts are not much of a focus in schools anymore but educators are realizing the value it brings to the child’s learning experience. *We are discussing the possibility of making a class quilt this year to auction at our Mother’s Tea. We have some great ideas for the quilt and whoever wins the bid takes the quilt home and we continue to put the money into our classroom for more enrichment activities. Classroom Update: We have recently made some modifications to our classroom. We added and subtracted some of our shelving and desks to create more work space at many different levels. We are so happy about the improvement it has made to the flow of our classroom. This design also encourages students to become more responsible and take ownership in their role as a classroom citizen.


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

The second and third grade class has really been hopping lately! In Geography we are visiting many countries in Asia. We have spent time in China and are now on to Japan. It is great learning about the different cultures, traditions, language and facts of these countries. In Science we have learned about the different types of volcanoes and the parts of a volcano. Each student received the name of a volcano to research and then present to the class. From there we moved on to learning about mountains and mapping the major mountain ranges in the world. Currently we are investigating the different types of rocks, gems and fossils. We look forward to moving into a unit on Physical Science soon. In History we are spending some time learning about famous African Americans and the many contributions that they have made to our society. In conjunction with this our Social Studies lessons have been on communities, money and trade, the levels of government, and the many aspects that make up our daily lives. It has been rewarding to see many of our students coming up with their own research projects. They research a topic of interest, find pictures, illustrate and put the information of a project board. The final step is to give a presentation to the class.


Our students worked to raise money for a class gift to Oxfam this holiday season. We are happy to report that we raised enough funds to buy two cows, two sheep, two goats, two pigs, 12 chicks, and honey bees. These will be placed with families in Africa that will use them as a renewable source of nutrition and income. Way to go students!


Fourth & Fifth Grades Ms. Christina (Tina) Miller Ms. Susan Salvatore Ms. Erin Sorel

It’s hard to believe we are already half way through the 2012-2013 school year! In the fourth and fifth grade classroom, many exciting lessons and events have been taking place, with more to come as we move into the third quarter! Fourth Grade Florida History As we return to our study of Florida's History, fourth graders have each chosen a pirate to research and personify for an in-class presentation. They will be completing research at home and writing a first-person narrative. These presentations will be performed in costume on Tuesday, February 12th. After this mini-unit, we will move forward in our studies of Florida History as we study the Civil War period and participate in some activities in conjunction with the students' reading of Strawberry Girl in their Literature and Composition class. Fifth Grade US History Fifth graders have been studying the Colonial period in US History. During History class in January, students "visited" Colonial Williamsburg through a series of activities in class. They visited such locations around town as the shoemaker's shop, the tavern, the church, the slave quarters, and the governor's palace. As children of Colonial Williamsburg in those times, girls went to the Dame School, while boys took a trip to William and Mary College. Be sure to ask your child about their Williamsburg experience! Science The fourth and fifth grade students have been learning about the Electromagnetic Spectrum and some of the other forms of energy. The students are comparing the relative effectiveness of different levels of spf sunscreen through experimentation. Students are studying this concept through experimentation; utilizing solar print paper, applying sunscreen of varying spfs to the paper and comparing results of exposure of the paper after a certain amount of time. Students had to create their experiment based on the steps of the scientific method and defended the results of their conclusions during in class discussion. Upcoming in February, students will be researching a scientist to present to the class (maybe even dressing up like their scientist!). Spanish Fourth and fifth graders learned ways in which to speak about time, and tell at what time events


or classes occur. We re-enacted many related dialogues in class, and students created their own short dialogues about asking and telling time. Then we moved on to review the days of the week, months of the year, the date, seasons and weather. Students participated in many new activities involving these old topics as they get used to reading and writing more in Spanish. We have continued to practice our “Roll Call” chant, which incorporates greetings and basic phrases that the students can use to talk about themselves. As the year goes on, we will add move vocabulary to our chant, which is an enjoyable way to reinforce our language learning. With the fifth graders, we reviewed some Spanish vocabulary that is found in the novel “Esperanza Rising” which they are reading in Literature class. During their reading of the novel, we will also be looking at some information related to Mexico and Mexican immigration.


Literature with Ms. Jennifer Kuntz Fourth & Fifth Grades Ms. Jennifer Kuntz

Fourth Grade Literature Over the last quarter, the fourth graders read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Each fourth grader also read a different novel featuring an animal protagonist over the holidays, then made puppets of their animal protagonists and performed brief scenes from their books. Some of these scenes were presented to students in Mr. Richard's class. As a follow-up, we studied fables as examples of stories around the world that often feature animals. The students wrote their own fables based on a moral, and created a PowerPoint presentation of their story in conjunction with Technology class. For the third quarter, the fourth grade is reading Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski. This Newberry Award-winning book is set in Florida at the turn of the last century. We'll be using the online photographs and resources of the Central Florida Memory Project to learn about Florida "Crackers" and the life of these rugged Florida settlers, in conjunction with their History unit. The unit will culminate on March 7 with a field trip to Dudley Farms State Park, followed by a "Cracker" feast. March 13, the fourth graders will take the Florida Writes assessment. They will write essays responding to two prompts. This is a test that all fourth graders take to see how their writing skills are progressing. The results will help us to determine what writing skills need more focus going forward. Fifth Grade Literature The fifth graders spent last quarter studying the mystery genre. While reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, each student was assigned a character from the novel. With a partner, they filled out "clue books" as suspects were revealed in the story. Over the holidays, each fifth grader read a different mystery book. Then they created board games based on their assigned mystery books, which the entire class enjoyed playing. To finish up our mystery unit, each student wrote their own original mystery story.


This quarter, we'll be focusing on figurative language using our novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. Rich in imagery and emotion, this story explores the experience of Mexican migrant farm workers during the Great Depression. We'll use the novel as a jumping-off point to research historical topics as well as creative expression. There may even be a Mexican feast! We will finish up the quarter with a brief poetry unit.

Media / Library The Media Center is a busy place, with classes for all students from Beginners through Fifth grade each week! Over the last quarter, we've used "winter" as an overarching theme to read fiction and non-fiction about holidays, the Arctic and Antarctic, penguins and polar bears. During the upcoming months, we'll be celebrating the birthdays of Martin Luther King, Jr., Presidents Washington and Lincoln, and Dr. Seuss as well as Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, all through the magic of books. Mark your calendars for a few upcoming events your child won't want to miss! On Tuesday, April 2 the entire school will celebrate D.E.A.R Day, where we will "drop everything and read." The morning will be filled with age-appropriate reading events, including a professional storyteller. Monday, April 8 - Friday, April 12 will be our Spring Book Fair. This is a good time to stock up on summer reading! Look for more details on both events in the coming months!


Sixth, Seventh & Eighth Grades Ms. Sherilyn Farris Ms. Susan Hansen

Middle School Internships The seventh and eighth graders at Millhopper Montessori Middle School will spend March 4th – 8th interning in various classroom settings and in the business community. Internships offer the students the experience of working in a setting that requires them to put to use the skills and knowledge they have been acquiring in the classroom. My three main goals for the students are the following: To internalize knowledge When students take information they know and apply it in a new situation, learning becomes meaningful and purposeful To refine communication skills Learning to choose the appropriate behavior and language according to the situation is important in a wide variety of experiences. To enhance self-esteem Opportunities to contribute to society encourage students to give as well as receive from the community. Over the past five years, eighth grade students have interned at Veterinarian clinics, Shands Pediatrics, UF Paleontology Department, financial businesses, and lawyer’s offices. The seventh grade student’s intern in a MMS classroom. Internships have been wonderful opportunities for the middle school students to use the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the classroom and apply it in meaningful ways. Social Studies The sixth grade students are currently “touring” the country of India and learning about the history of Mohenjo-Daro. Did you know that the cities of this civilization used a plumbing and sewer system, centuries before the Romans. The students are currently studying the Hindu religion and how it affects the daily life of those that live in this diverse country. The seventh and eighth grade students are working learning about the criminal justice system. A hypothetical adult acquaintance of theirs was caught shoplifting at the mall. From arrest, to arraignment, trial, verdict, sentencing and incarceration the students follow the case of their hypothetical acquaintance as s/he moves through the process of the criminal justice sys-


tem. As we move through this process, the class has been learning about the rights of the accused and the Supreme Court cases that helped to emphasize these Constitutional rights.


M3S Language Arts Ms. Susan Hansen 6th through 8th Grades

FESTIVAL OF DIONYSUS As a culminating activity for the classical mythology unit, seventh and eighth grade students celebrated a Festival if Dionysus in Friday, December 14th. The Festival of Dionysus was celebrated in Ancient Greece as a theatre festival to honor the gods. Students created Greek masks and brought in a variety of Greek food for the festival. Sixth grade students joined in presentations of plays about Greek heroes. It was a lot of fun and a great way to end the unit!


Science TechnologyMs. Sylvia Aslanianthroughth Grades Science Ms. Ms. Alyssa Alyssa Alyssa Vinson Vinson Vinson 4th through 4th through 8th Grades 8th Grades

In December students in the middle school participated in their Invention Convention. Students worked very diligently on their projects starting in September of this year focusing on the theme of Green Technology. Each project was a unique representation of the student's hard work and creativity. Special recognition goes to Ben Brandt whose project was recommended to a local engineering think tank for improvement and production as well as to Ava Bender for her creative and beautiful invention that has been recommended for improvement and marketing. The Cade museum was gracious enough to send their program coordinator, Patty Lipka to judge student inventions. Patty was thrilled by the inventions she witnessed and is looking forward to working with the middle school students in the future. All of the students should be commended for their hard work and a special thanks to the teachers and parents that helped along the way especially Ms. Susan Hansen, Ms. Sherilyn Farris and Ms. Sylvia Aslanian. Thank you all for a wonderful invention convention! Students were able to examine the functions of simple machines through the building of small Rube Goldberg machines. The machines were tested and adjusted during the first week of the new year. Middle School students are also going to participate in an invasive plant removal project at Rainbow Springs State Park in February. Students will be able to explore some of the nature trails at the park through a Ranger guided hike as well as learning about important geological concepts through a lesson regarding the Florida aquifer system. The students will learn valuable plant identification skills along with being able to have fun in one of Florida's beautiful state parks.


Summer Camp 2013 June 10—July 19, 2013 7:30 am—5:30 pm

Believe it or not summer is just around the corner. Mark your calendars and plan to join us for a summer of fun and fitness!! Our summer camp brochure is about ready to go to print and we have LOTS of amazing activities planned for your children this year. We have camps available for students from age 2 through eighth grade. Some of this years features include:  Art Explorations  Little Scientists  Fairy Tales  Back to Bedrock, Bugs, Bugs & More Bugs  Photography I & II  Woodworking  Little Chefs  Football, Baseball, Aquatics & Basketball  Mad Scientist  Amazing Creatures  Invention Animation  Junior Counselor  Production Crew  Beginning Sewing  And a TWO Week Performing Arts Intensive Camp in weeks 5 & 6 Priority registration will be open to families currently enrolled and incoming students for fall 2013. Summer camps are an excellent opportunity to orient new students to our school community. Don’t wait...classes fill up quickly and this summer is one that you won’t want to miss!! See you at camp!!


Technology Ms. Sylvia Aslanian K through 8th Grades

Technology News Kindergarteners have been working on learning all about Rain Forest Animals using many links located on They also learned about Martin Luther King Jr and designed their own Panda Habitat. Ms. Anita Bender’s Class have been learning about fossils. They have gone on a virtual dig, researched fossils in Fact Monster and wrote about how they formed in Brain Pop. Recently they were all able to print on without any assistance. In Microsoft Word they are able to type their name, inset a picture and use the format tool to move the picture around in the document. Mr. Richard Aslanian’s Class have been learning about Africa and Volcanoes. They researched Martin Luther King and are creating a Power Point. They should continue to practice keyboarding at home. Ms. Christina (Tina) Miller’s class have created a Glogster, Researched using Grolier Online and created an animated Fable in Power Point and a Power Point of Martin Luther King. Middle School students have assessed the Grolier Online Website and have been learning about bridges. Click: to view all the information on bridges. They have been placed in teams and will be entering the West Point Bridge Builder Contest. About the Contest The contest will provide you with an opportunity to:  

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Learn about engineering through a realistic, hands-on problem-solving experience. Learn about the engineering design process--the application of math, science, and technology to create devices and systems that meet human needs. Learn about truss bridges and how they work. Learn how engineers use the computer as a problem-solving tool.


Physical Education Coach Cam Parker Kindergarten through 8th Grades

PE Coming out of winter break our students entered into a dance unit. Middle school students were challenged to choreograph a two minute routine. Ms. Anita Bender, Mr. Richard Aslanian and Ms. Christina (Tina) Miller’s class all worked on the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. Kindergarteners worked on understanding how we balance our bodies, how balance work and of course played a few games challenging that aspect of loco motor control. All grades are now in a brief basketball unit, focusing on fundamentals. The will be followed by Throwing & Catching for elementary and middle while the kindergartners will focus on weight transfer. The weather has been great as of late and we hope to see our students blossom with their abilities into spring.

Sports Leagues Our Knight basketball teams have all gotten to fantastic starts in the community sports league. Students are dribbling, passing and shooting their way to success (not to mention some good old fashioned defense!). Special thanks to our coaches: Tom Grant, Candace Wilkie, and Deeta and Bobby Adkins. Volleyball is about to start up again at The Girl’s Place as well. We are so proud of all our Knights involvement in local youth athletics. Go Knights!


Five Points of Life Kids Marathon The much anticipated Kids Marathon happened on Saturday, February 16th at 9:00 am on the UF campus. We had over 102 of our students participate and came up just a couple of participants short of the “total students” prize for the second year in a row. We still earned the “percentage” prize and a good time was had by all. Thanks to all students and parents for the support!

Jerseys This season’s basketball jerseys have gotten rave reviews and we have had quite a few requests for jerseys for both kids and parents. If you haven’t seen one yet, check them out on our Facebook page or at the front desk. We are putting together an order and would love to see more families sporting our MMS gear. The jerseys are a quality dry-fit t-shirt with the school’s basketball logo on the front. They are $15 per person, regardless of size. You can pay with a check at the front desk or we can simply bill your account. If you are interested in the jerseys or have questions about any of the above, email Coach Cam at Go Knights!!


Spotlight Kids Junior Performing Arts Ms. Sylvia Aslanian

YOUNG THESPIANS IN GAINESVILLE By: Ava Bender GAINESVILLE, FL- At Millhopper Montessori School the performing arts is a big event for a group of Middle School students called the Spotlight Kids (senior) and a similar smaller group of elementary school students called the Junior Spotlight Kids. They held a showcase performance at Eastside High School on Saturday. These junior thespians have been working all school year to prepare for the show and for other events. The Spotlight Kids have also been preparing for statewide and national competitions. Their showcase performance on Saturday included a variety of features. The show included many short performances about tooth fairies, monsters, and a crazy news channel. The performance also included scenes from the plays Gumshoe High, Annie, with a focus on scenes from Homeroom the Musical. One actor named Bella Kemp said, “It was an honor performing the show at Eastside High School. I have been working so hard and I relished every moment. It was hard work but it has been fun preparing with my friends.” The drama club director, Sylvia Aslanian has been doing drama club for about five years and she loves putting on shows. The co-director, Liz Nelson, is the vocal coach and started helping Aslanian last year. She became the music teacher at Millhopper Montessori School this school year. Aslanian also directs an end of the year musical with grades one through eight at Millhopper Montessori School. Nelson helps her and teaches the children the songs for the musical. All the kids participate and enjoy acting in the musical. This year Millhopper is putting on a musical called Olivia Jr. based on Oliver Twist and other British theatricals. Aslanian said, “It’s always so enjoyable to work with the kids for the end of the year musical. I can’t wait until Olivia Jr.!” The Spotlight Kids, troupe #88928, have already competed in a district competition in Jacksonville and came home with two best in show performances and eight Superior scores. They also got two excellent scores. These high scores have brought them all the way to a state-wide competition and after that, if they do just as good, to nationals. An eighth grade actress and Spotlight Kids president, Christina De La Puerta, said, “I love competing against other kids my age. The preparation is difficult but it’s all worth it in the end.” These young thespians have worked hard to achieve their goals. The drama club also has helped them learn important life lessons and helped them be more confident people. Ben Brandt, an eighth grade actor and the vice president of the Spotlight Kids says, “I have been a Spotlight Kid as long as I can remember. My first show was called I-Splick. I think it is an honor to be the vice president of the Spotlight Kids. I sure will miss all my fellow thespians next year when I’m in high school.” For more information about Millhopper Montessori School visit and for more information on the Spotlight Kids visit their website at


Spotlight Kids Performing Arts Junior Thespian Troupe # 88928 Ms. Sylvia Aslanian All For One, One For All, Together the Spotlight Shines Brighter




Monday, March 4—Friday, March 8 Seventh & Eighth Grade Internships Tuesday, March 5 Little House Garden Planting Thursday, March 7 4th & 5th grade Dudley Farm Field Trip & Florida Cracker Feast Friday, March 8 2nd—3rd grade Spelling Bee Tuesday, March 12—Thursday, March 15 Kindergarten ITBS Testing Wednesday, March 13 4th grade Florida Writes Assessment Thursday, March 14 Spotlight Kids St. Patrick’s Day Bake Sale Thursday, March 21 Little House Egg Hunt Thursday, March 21 Elementary/Middle School Showcase 5:00—7:00 PM Friday, March 22 Preschool/Kindergarten Spring Celebration/Egg Hunt Friday, March 22 End of Third Quarter Monday, March 25—Friday, March 29 Spring Holidays—School Closed For more information about our school, please visit our website at: or call us at (352) 375-6773

Montessori Monitor Spring 2013