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INSIDE THIS ISSUE... Page 2-3 The Importance of the Arts - Continued



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Page 4 Continuing Education Page 5 Winter Shows Page 6-7 Spotlight Kids Page 8-9 A Most Important Gift to Give Your Child Page 10-18 Classroom Updates Page 19 New Faces at MMS Page 20 M3S Spanish Page 21 History Alive at MMS! Page 22-23 Media Page 24-27 Art Page 28 Calendar


Today’s children will inherit the 21st century which will require skills that are best developed with a strong art education. The skills learned from the core subjects, such as language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies will continue to be emphasized with a strong focus on science, math, and technology. Abilities needed to be successful in the aforementioned include problem solving and critical thinking. Brain research supports that art education strengthens the skills needed to be successful in school and ready for the working world. Howard Gardner’s list of eight intelligences is inherent to all humans. These are: Spatial, bodily and kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, social interpersonal, self-awareness intrapersonal, and naturalistic. A well-rounded education should include opportunities to develop all eight intelligences to prepare students for life in the 21st century. The core subjects dovetail and overlap with humanities and the great works of mankind and are best delivered and understood in integrated themes. Art is the greatest collaborator within theme-based learning. Students develop leadership and cooperative decision making. Also acquired are communication and higher level thinking skills such as deductive reasoning and creative brainstorming abilities. When people initially think of art, they usually conjure up thoughts of paintings and sculptures. Given a little more time, music comes to mind as well as literature, poetry, dance and other performing arts. In theme-based learning, components of all these strands unite, not only for the artist-creator-performer but as well for those responding to works of art, becoming inspired and building their own creativity vicariously. Creativity is the expression of one’s impressions. Two things are needed. First children need many impressions, experiences and examples of art in which to internalize. Second, they need experiences in all the art forms. Art is a fundamental need of humans, along with food, shelter, health, clothing, defense, communication, and transportation. Art is also evident in every culture and civilization spanning the globe and throughout time. Now, with expanding technologies, the world is readily available. (Continued on pages 2-3)

Visual Arts Students benefit by being involved in the creative process of art in ways that teach them to develop their creative skills and imagination. Eye-hand coordination along with focus, attention to detail, and deep concentration are developed through this medium. Ongoing involvement and participation in the visual arts develops self-confidence, self-discipline and flexibility. Music According to Thomas Carlyle, “Music is well said to be the speech of angles; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.” Howard Gardner, author of “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” describes a person who has the ability to perform, compose, and appreciate musical patterns as having musical intelligence. A musical talent will often appear in childhood. The educational impact of musical training goes beyond developing musical intelligence. Musical training actually changes the brain. According to Daniel Levitin, director of the music perception, cognition, and expertise laboratory at McGill University in Montreal, learning to play an instrument is an “ensemble activity.” This activity involves thinking ahead, paying attention, remembering, coordinating movement, and being able to interpret feedback that is constantly coming to the ears and fingers. This enhances what is called executive function. Executive function is responsible for thinking abstractly and the ability to ignore one thing and pay attention to something else. Music is a whole brain activity that has been shown to change the nervous system in profound ways. Dance and Movement Dance and creative movement are natural with children. Even babies gyrate and sway their bodies, especially along with music. Movement education, according to the Center for Movement Education and Research (CMER), improves educational, social, and cultural domains. Movement and dance promote body-mind awareness and also activate many centers in the brain. Spatial and bodilykinesthetic intelligences are developed through movement and dance as well as with the visual arts. Often I am amazed how today’s children are unable to gallop, hop, and use their bodies in ways that children did with ease when I was a child. More than ever we need to teach movement education in schools as well as encourage families to promote activities with their own children. Ballet, tap, karate, and gymnastics classes are abundant in Gainesville. Performing Arts A child is in the process of creating himself. He is trying on life. With drama, the self is used as the creative medium. One’s self-activity and self-expression are all that is needed to communicate and create with others. No tools are necessary. Drama is spontaneous in children’s play when they rehearse at being a parent or imagine stretching their abilities like a superhero. Drama provides the fertile ground for developing many of Gardner’s eight intelligences especially the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, memory, and concentration. PAGE


A program with performing arts should have a theater production component. Opportunities for creating sets, singing, dancing, acting, speaking, and learning about the technology of lighting and sound abound. With the holiday season in full-swing, the children get the opportunity to perform under the direction of Ms. Liz in the Winter Shows which highlight their work in their music classes. In the spring, we will be putting out our Literary Magazine which is an anthology of poems, art and stories written by the elementary and middle school students over the past two years. The middle school students are readying themselves for their Sixth Annual Shakespeare Festival at the Thomas Center. It begins with a Shakespeare unit in Literature. They learn all about the life of William Shakespeare, the culture of his time, while reading his plays and sonnets. They then create a Theatrical Portfolio, writing an original twist to one of the scenes. Included in their portfolios is their script, play themes and an analysis of the character which they will become. In Speech, Debate, and Drama class with Ms. Sylvia, they get a chance to perfect their characters for the theatrical events, including the Shakespeare Festival and the End of Year Show. Through these themed units, the students are able to truly understand Shakespeare in an authentic way and learn about other theatrical shows and performances. Meaningful and authentic learning helps prepare them for the world of today and tomorrow. As we look forward to the second half of this school year, we are getting excited about the opportunities our students will have to focus on artistic expression.

Want to check out our students highlight their artistic side? Check out one of these MMS events! December 20 January 25 February 7-9 February 21 May 30

Winter Shows Spotlight Kids - “Red� Showcase Spotlight Kids - State Competition M3S 6th Annual Shakespeare Festival End of Year Show



Christina Miller, President, Director & Senior Elementary Teacher: Attended “FCIS Conference” Creating a Master Plan in Sync with Your School’s Strategic Plan This workshop focused on one school’s creation of a facilities master plan by means of its strategic plan. The architectural design went through a process that ensured the balance of future needs of each division and took into consideration of the mission and vision of the school. Risk Management: A Practical Approach for Independent Schools This session reviewed the findings from the NBOA/United Educators Risk Management Study of Independent Schools to help determine the risks that are most common and help secure the safety of our schools. Building a Multi-Year Financial Plan for Your School Sound financial planning was the theme for this session and the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Financial Schools Calculator as a tool for data driven decision making. Amilda Clark, Administrator: Attended “FCIS Conference” During the 2013 FCIS Convention, Amilda attended two interesting seminars. One titled Integrating Brand + Enrollment Strategy to Create a Competitive Advantage, focused on the importance of brand strategy and enrollment strategy being combined during the admissions process to increase enrollment. The other seminar, titled Developing and Implementing Communications Strategy: Communicating with Your Current and Prospective Parents, talked about the importance of communications with parents and the best ways to communicate. Constance Heuss, Accountant: Attended “The Payroll Law Workshop” Presented by Fred Pryor Seminars This workshop covered the changes in reporting payroll, legal issues regarding timely depositing of employer withholdings, annual reporting of W2, 1099 earnings and more. In addition, withholding stipulations and the importance of timely deposits and record keeping regarding retirement contributions was covered. Since we began the 2% contribution to teacher’s retirement saving this year, this workshop was very beneficial. I look forward to attending future workshops that cover the health insurance issues for 2014. Wendi Stoltzfus, Administrative Assistant: Attended “Safe and Secure Schools – Prevention and Response Strategies” School safety is of the utmost importance in the world today and at MMS. Presenter Dennis Lewis has over 30 years experience in providing safety training to schools and administrator around the country. The workshop was filled with valuable information and resources to increase and strengthen our school’s emergency policies. As the year continues, we plan on utilizing many of the staff exercises in student safety, bullying, violence prevention and building preparedness. It was extremely valuable and will benefit our efforts in school safety at MMS. Jennifer Kuntz, Media Specialist & Senior Elementary Team Teacher: Attended Association for Media in Education (FAME) Annual Conference **see page 23 in the Media section** PAGE


We are so excited that the Winter Shows are quickly approaching! This year will be a little different, so please look closely at your child’s schedule. Please note the addresses for the performance locations at the bottom of this page. **Please note: There will be NO After School Program on December 20 th** Friday, December 20, 2013 Ms. Crystal Sorrow 9:15 to 10:30 AM – Little House Craft Party Dismissal: 10:30AM Ms. Martha Dolan & Ms. Christina Eckstein Dismissal: Noon Ms. Elizabeth Falls & Ms. Renee Brohamer Children will walk with their teachers to Unity Church (You may return after the show to gather your child’s belongings.) Show Time – 11:30AM @ Unity Church Dismissal: Your child will be going home with you at the conclusion of their performance. Ms. Anita Bender & Mr. Richard Aslanian (You must pick up your child and their belongings @ MMS by 12:30PM to be at the church by 12:45PM) Show Time – 1:30PM @ Abundant Grace Community Church Dismissal: Your child will be going home with you at the conclusion of their performance. Ms. Christina Miller & Ms. Sherilyn Farris (You must pick up your child and their belongings @ MMS by 2:00PM to be at the church by 2:15PM) Show Time – 3:00PM @ Abundant Grace Community Church Dismissal: Your child will be going home with you at the conclusion of their performance. There will be coffee and cookies for you to enjoy in the lobby at Abundant Grace Community Church while you wait for your child’s performance. Ms. Martha Dolan & Christina Eckstein There will be a Holiday Sing-A-Long on Wednesday, December 18th @ MMS at 11:30AM in the Big Room Unity Church 8801 NW 39th Ave Gainesville, FL 32606 Abundant Grace Community Church 12505 NW 39th Ave Gainesville, FL 32606 PAGE






The Junior Thespians of troupe 88928 traveled to Key Stone Heights for District Competition and competed in many categories such as small group musical, solo musical number, duet acting, ensemble acting, improvisation and monologue. The troupe took home many awards and critiques from the judges. Although the troupe has gone to competition before, it was a first time for many new students to the group. This was Lacey’s first competition and she said “It was very exciting! I was glad I received awards and watched all the other great acting done by the other troupes!” The thespians received many awards at Districts. Each event was ranked between good, excellent or superior. The troupe got five superiors, one good, and two excellent ratings. One of those superiors was a best in show award for improvisation, performed by Dillon and Lexi. The judges had many compliments for the troupe and commented how great Hunter, Ross, Lexi, and Dillon were in their performances. Troup President Dillon said, “I was a little nervous at first when we performed our scene to the judges. I didn’t think we performed to the best of our abilities.” The sixth grade girls Lacey, Arianna, and Lindsey acted in a scene called “The Sneakout”. Nayantara performed a monologue from “Uncool.” All the girls in the troupe performed a small group musical called “Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair”. Also performed was a duet acting scene with Caryss and Lexi called “The White Elephant Comes Home”. Hunter and Ross performed improvisation. Becca, Zach, and Dillon acted an ensemble acting scene called “Selma Goes Psychic.” Hunter also sang a song called “Something’s Coming”. All of the thespians did very well at the competition and have good critiques to use towards improving their performances. They are all excited to compete in the state competition in Melbourne, Florida in February!

If you want to see these performances and more, check out the showcase “Red” at East Side High School on January 25 @ 4:00 PM. $5 Donation at the door will benefit The America Heart Association.

"The child's first instinct is to carry out his actions by himself, without anyone helping him, and his first conscientious bid for independence is made when he defends himself against those who try to do the action for him" (Maria Montessori, Absorbent Mind, 1995, pp. 90-91). Independence and autonomy are important traits/gifts we must foster in children. Piaget (1973) reminds us that it is only as we encourage and guide children in the development of these two traits from an early age that oral autonomy in adulthood will be developed. Like many Montessori environments, our school provides the environment necessary for the fulfillment of this inborn drive. To understand that school and home are complementing each other in their approach to your children, it is helpful to look at Maria Montessori's insights about children's development and see how these relate to family life, as well as school life. They, of course, will not be exactly implemented at home in the same way as at school, but the underlying dynamics will be the same - for it will take the combined efforts of both parties (two distinct, yet complementary roles) to create an optimal environment for children's growth and development. Maria Montessori believed that independence and autonomy/self-direction was of prime importance for children to develop. Children will need these characteristics in the world in which they love. As educators, we rely on these characteristics for an optimal environment for the children to grow and develop ("work") in. As we first enter the toddler classroom, we see that it has been designed to meet the needs of very young children: the furniture and shelves are sized appropriately so the child can choose and return work independently. Activities of Practical Life are the child's first introduction to independence: first in the toddler and early childhood classes and continuing throughout the elementary and upper elementary years. With each increasing year of advancement, the children are given more opportunities to work without direct interference from adults. They instinctively choose work which helps them master the skills they need. Whether the community is at school or at home, the child's autonomy and independence must always be within limits for the group as a whole. There are implicit and explicit rules and behaviors - both inside and outside of the classroom. Behavioral expectations also must operate at home. Implicit rules of behavior such as bedtime and meal routines need to be consistent. Children quickly understand the ground rules of home just as they learn the behavior expected at school. Most behavioral ground rules are modeled and learned by repeated practice. It is absolutely necessary for the children to follow the rules for the well being of our "school family" as well as our "home family".



In some settings where time and routine are not in place, children are often unsure what to expect or how to act. Well defined rules provide security for the child and it is within the safety of routine that the child can learn to make appropriate choices – have independence and be responsible. From their early childhood years, the children will automatically apply the skills they have learned from the Practical Life activities - leaving their minds free to concentrate on more complex social/emotional and academic issues. As Maria Montessori pointed out “the child becomes less dependent on the persons about him, till the time comes when he wants also to be mentally independent. Then he shows a liking to develop his mind by his own experiences and not by the experiences of others. He begins to seek the reasons for things" (pp. 89). We can simulate this environment at home by learning much from Maria's prepared environment used in the classroom. Maria Montessori found that children need to have order, consistency such as in where things can be found and clear expectations of how to care for things, how to put them away when finished working with them, how to have respect for other's privacy and how to appreciate their own and other's work without receiving external rewards. It is important that parents respect their children's efforts - even if done imperfectly in the adult's eyes! Young children do not yet have the judgment to be independent in some areas, but we need to find those areas in which they can make successful decisions and begin to allow them to practice. For example, one way we can foster independence is to allow the children to pick/choose their clothes each day. What difference does it really make if the child chooses to wear colors/patterns that do not match! As educators and parents, we help children through this journey into dependence, explaining situations as well as being there with the love and nurturing they need! Even during the sometimes rough communication times of adolescence, it is important that students are guided in their development of their own sense of responsibility. As Maria wrote, "independence is not a static condition; it is a continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength, and the perfecting of one's powers" fostering independence and beginning autonomy we must guide our children towards responsibility and independence. Children will begin to assume responsibility for their own thinking and for their own actions - they will then be able to move along the path to becoming more mature and responsible adults. As a parent of three now young adults!, the continuous effort to allow independence as well as provide guidance will be (and has already been) rewarding for themselves and for us as parents!

Happy Holidays! Ms. Elizabeth



The fall months are always bursting with growth, development, and new experiences in the Beginners’ Class. The students new to the school are continuing to adjust to daily expectations and schedules and are being exposed to many new concepts and materials. Excitement at being able to use a new skill or complete a new work bubbles through the classroom as days turn cooler. During the month of October students explored wood working tools and safety, expanding their vocabulary to include many tool related words. Students used age-appropriately sized tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, and clamps and were shown power tools in action. Students learned to match standard and phillips screwdrivers to various screws and bolts, learned the differences between nails and screws, learned about the different grits of sandpaper, and learned about lines and angles among other tool topics. Students hammered nails, sanded boards using a sanding block, measured with a measuring tape, and loosened bolts with a hex nut driver. Drill bits were sorted by size and washers were placed on bolts. The unit study was filled with hands-on experiences that improved fine-motor and gross-motor skills in the children. October also included MMS’s terrific annual fall festival and a day of costume fun with trick-or-treating excitement on Halloween.

Enjoying Homecoming festivities in the Little House!

Scooping seeds from the class pumpkin before carving.




Hammering nails to make a wooden jack o’ lantern face.

Finished Jack-O-Lantern!

Pictured Above: (Upper Left) Decorating the class tree. (Upper Middle) Preparing pumpkin dip, an October favorite. (Upper Right) Practicing finger dexterity by spinning dreidels. (Lower Left) Chompin’ through the fall. (Lower Right) We are thankful for MMS!

November consisted of a unit study on trees, leaves, and acorns as well as many discussions on thankfulness in our lives. Students learned the names of different leaf shapes, made leaf books, learned about animals that utilize trees as homes or as sources of food, and matched and sorted leaves and acorns in class. This study helped the students become more observant concerning their natural surroundings, and students would often point out items they saw on the playground that they had learned about in class. Students learned the parts of the tree and the different layers of bark. November included our class’ annual homecoming parade around the school and our class’ Thanksgiving feast. December always consists of a Holidays Around the World unit study in the Little House. There is a tree to decorate, dreidels to spin, a Chanukiah to place candles in, ornaments to match, crafts to complete, and new traditions to learn. The class breaks a piñata each year to discover Mexico’s Christmas tradition. The students learn about traditions in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. The children make a human Chanukiah and enjoy a visit from Santa Claus. The multiculturalism of the curriculum is a lovely experience for all and one often missed out on in other programs. It is always a pleasure to learn about other cultures and celebrate our own. PAGE


October was a very exciting month! Our unit study was the Rainforest of South America. The students enjoyed learning the forest layers including the forest floor, understory, canopy, and emergent layers. The students explored the plants and trees that grow in each layer. Our Rainforest works allowed the students to learn and place animals and insects on the forest layer that provides them with food and the climate they need. The students helped decorate our room to look like a Rainforest. They were excited to make their howler monkeys, boa constrictors, red-eyed tree frogs, blue morpho butterfly, and toucans. Parent Night was our highlight when the students were able to share with their parents the things they had learned and made during their Rainforest study. We had so much fun learning about the Rainforest! November’s unit study was transportation and road signs. The students learned what the road signs represent. They push pinned automobiles and placed them on a road. We explored many forms of transportation including biking, flying in an airplane and boating. When they are on a road trip they now can recognize road signs and have a better understanding of what they mean. Our Thanksgiving Feast was also a highlight with the students making their own festive place mats and helping prepare the food for our Feast. Many thanks to our parents for providing the wonderful food and help during our Feast. December is here and there is much excitement in our room as the children explore our solar system. We are learning the names of the planets in our solar system and a few fun facts about each of them. The students are also learning about winter celebrations around the world. The students will experience a Hanukkah celebration when one of our parents comes to teach us all about Hanukkah. We hope your Holidays will be a joyous time with your families.

Learning the layers of the Rainforest



South America Continent Map

Happy Holidays!

Pictured Above: (Top Left) We carved a jack-o-lantern for our classroom. (Top Right) Automobile snack made with apple and grape wheels. (Bottom Left) Making a Thanksgiving placemat. (Bottom Right) Enjoying our Thanksgiving Feast!



Our classroom has been very busy learning and having fun over the past several weeks. In October, we learned about the many jobs that adults do and how different professions affect everyone in a community. I would like to thank the parents who took the time from their busy schedules to come in and share their professions with the class. The children enjoyed the visits and were inspired to consider the many directions they can go with the things they are learning about every day. In November, we had a special guest from the Lubee Bat Conservancy who did a presentation about bats for the kindergarten and preschool classes. He explained that even though bats are mysterious to many people, they are harmless and actually very helpful to people. He explained that bats are “superheroes” by pollenating plants, helping to control insect population, and the saliva of some are even used by scientists to make special medicines for people with heart problems. The children got to see first-hand a live fruit bat that was brought from the conservancy. Aside from our wonderful guests this fall, we have recently been learning about things like the universe and our place in it. During on of our cool lessons, we illustrated (by using nesting cups) where we live; home-neighborhood-city-state-country-planet-solarsystem-galaxy-universe. We got to study “The Great Time Line”, a hands-on time line that begins with the “Big Bang” and continues though people living on this wonderful planet, Earth. We finished November with our wonderful Thanksgiving Feast. We learned what it would have been like to live during the time of Pilgrims. Thank you to all of our parents who helped provide food or help for our feast. It was delicious! In December we had our school “Book Fair” and got the chance to purchase some awesome books. Now with the holidays in full swing, we are excited about our gift exchange and Holiday party which will take place on December 19. We will then finish our celebrations with the Winter Show on December 20 at 11:30 AM at Unity Church. The students have been practicing every week with music teacher, Ms. Liz and are very excited! After the performance, the students will be dismissed to parents to enjoy the Holiday Vacation. Be sure to check out our pictures from the past few months on the next page!



Learning about bats!

“The Great Timeline�

All dressed up for Halloween.

Exploring different works at Parent Night.

Examining soil samples during a career presentation.

Enjoying our Thanksgiving Feast!



The past two months in our class have been filled with hard working students and a tremendous amount of growth. Our science discussions have been based on invertebrates as well as vertebrates. We have spent time looking at similarities and differences between the classifications and used a wealth of Montessori materials to further our studies. Our class was fortunate to have Ms. Amanda (Clara’s mom) come in and give us a great presentation on her life as a marine biologist. Many students have done independent research and projects on different animal species and have given presentations to the class. Soon our studies will take us into the Human Body. We’ve spent time learning about early humans and enjoyed having a cave in our classroom. Students created their own cave art and hung it on the walls of the cave. We have since followed the journey of humans into Mesopotamia and learned about the seven ancient wonders of the world. We are now heading off to Ancient Egypt and Greece and are learning about many important people and contributions these civilizations have made. Once again the Montessori Great Lesson on the History of Writing helped to show how humans have progressed with language over time. We also participated in our version of TV Turnoff Week. The students agreed to not watch any TV or play computer games for a whole week. We are proud to announce that all students in our class achieved the goal and were happy to enjoy some ice-cream as a treat. We also took part in DEAR Day in November. The Drop Everything And Read Day promotes literacy and the joy of reading. Our classroom work was based on reading stories and materials designed to improve reading as well as the whole class listening to James and the Giant Peach being read by Mr. Richard. During the day, the students read books to the students in Ms. Christina Eckstein and Ms. Martha Dolan’s classes. It was great to see the older students taking that leadership role and spending time with the younger students at our school. We are looking forward to learning a bit about different cultures and traditions based on this time of the year in conjunction with all our other studies. Happy Holidays!!!



Pictured Above: (Upper Left) Students working on the Historical Timeline. (Upper Right) Learning about Early Human studies. (Lower Left) Students portraying Grace Hopper and Marie Curie. (Lower Right) Halloween personifications including Albert Einstein, Leonardo Di Vinci, Alexander Flemming and Alfred Nobel.



M3S Birthdays November 11/23 Esteban 11/23 Lydia December 12/7 Gibson January 1/18 Ava M February 2/11 Dillon 2/15 Nayantara 2/25 Ari 2/27 Sophie

M3S Dates December 18 Science Fair 9 – 11 am December 20 M3S Winter Gift Exchange December 20 Winter Show, 3 pm @ Abundant December 23January 3 Happy Holidays!! January 13 Language Arts Semester Exam January 14 Social Studies Semester Exam January 15 Science Semester Exam January 16 Math and Spanish Semester Exam January 17 Student Holiday January 20 Holiday - MLK, Jr. January 21 M3S Shakespeare Festival @ the Thomas Center

M3S ROPES RULES!!! During the month of November, 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 Trust Fall 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 appraisethe 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.

Pictured Above: (Top Left) Figuring out the acid river low element. (Middle) Up and over the team wall! (Bottom Left) Boys cabin at ROPES. (Bottom Right) Girls cabin at ROPES. PAGE


With the New Year upon us, we would like to introduce the new faces you’ll be seeing around the MMS campus and bid farwell to those departing. As previously announced, Ms. Anita Bender with be leaving MMS at Winter Break. She and her family will be overseas for the remainder of the school year while her husband, Stephen, will be teaching in Italy. Ms. Erin Sorel is excited to be taking the lead in the lower elementary first and second grade class. She has been spending time in the classroom this month and we are confident it will be a seamless transition. In our upper elementary classroom, we have been pleased to be working with new team teacher, Ms. Joanne McFarland. She has been wonderful in taking the reigns in place of Ms. Erin. We are lucky to have her as a new addition to our staff with the fourth and fifth grade. We want to welcome Ms. Rory DeSimone. Ms. Rory will be working as a part time consultant to our technology program and long term planning. She will be working with Ms. Sylvia Aslanian and the other members of the staff analyzing and synchronizing all of our existing technology with new products to enrich our technological capabilities! In our Front Office, current Administrative Assistant Ms. Wendi Stoltzfus will be leaving us in January to return to New York City. In her absence, we are excited to welcome our newest MMS Staff member, Ms. Erin Peterson. Ms. Erin will be working hand in hand with Ms. Donna to keep the front office running smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns about the upcoming changes, please feel free to reach out to Ms. Amilda to address any concerns. We feel confident that this year will be one of the best yet! We will miss our staff that are departing, but welcome and congratulate our new staff with open arms. We hope you will do the same!



¡Hola a todos! y ¡Feliz día de Acción de Gracias! These last weeks have been very exiting for me. I am happy to share with you that two weeks ago I went to the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Convention that took place for three days in Orlando. It was very interesting to learn what the last trends on foreign language teaching are, and to share ideas with other foreign language teachers from all over USA. I came back with many good ideas that I want to apply at MMS. The 6th graders have been studying Unit 1, lección 2 Mis amigos y yo. They have learned how to describe themselves and others, and to identify people and things. Also, over the past weeks we have focused on the study of definite and indefinite articles and noun-adjective agreement. They have done some skits during class time in which they have told their classmates about how they are. During October we celebrated the Hispanic Heritage Month. Students learned about the contribution and influence of Hispanics in the American culture. As part of this unit, students played a guessing game ¿Cómo son tus amigos? A student had to describe a classmate and the other classmates had to guess who he or she was. They had a lot of fun doing this activity. The 7th graders have been studying Unit 5, Ecuador lección 1, Vivimos aqui, and lección 2, Una Fiesta en Casa. They have been learning about describing a house and household items, indicating the order of things and describing people and locations. They are learning how to plan a party, talk about chores and responsibilities. As part of the unit, they have done several skits where they had to describe different chores they like to do at home. Also, during October we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. The 8th graders have been studying Unit 6, República Dominicana, lección 2, La Salud. During the last weeks students continued studying the Dominican Republic. They have learned specific vocabulary related to the different parts of the body, the use of the verb doler, and the use of the preterite tense. As part of this unit students did a project about a vacation in Dominican Republic where they had to pretend they were spending a week in the Dominican Republic beaches and they had to send me a post card from there, explaining in preterit tense and using the unit vocabulary what they did there. To make the project fun and realistic I asked them to mail the postcard to me. ¡Feliz Navidad! Sra. Karina Newman.



Mr. Tom Fasulo came to our 4th grade history class to talk about what life was like as a soldier in the Civil War. He came dressed in full regalia, with a rucksack, his musket (unloaded), and the everyday uniform. Mr. Fasulo explained to us that each soldier would have to carry utensils, ammunition, clothes, hygiene products, and other accoutrements. They'd have to march in all kinds of weather (rain, snow, wind), and disease was responsible for many deaths. We learned that the Civil War caused the most loss of life from any war in United States history. This coincides with our unit on Florida history and the Civil War. His visit was very informative and interesting!





It has been a busy few months here at Millhopper Montessori School! In October, Ms. Suzi Rumsey coordinated a Halloween-themed poetry contest for the first – eighth grades. There was a first-place winner in each class. Second- and third-place winners for each “side” of the hallway were also named: First place Ms. Anita’s class: Mr. Richard’s class: Ms. Tina’s class: Ms. Sherilyn’s class:

Allison Teya Ethan Ge. Becca

Second place First – Third grades: Fourth – Eighth grades:

Sienna Nicholas

Third place First – Third grades: Fourth – Eighth grades:

Rebekah Aviv

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Look for several of the poems in this year’s literary magazine. The students thoroughly enjoyed D.E.A.R. Day on Monday, November 18. Many students – and teachers - wore pajamas so they would be comfortable when it was time to “Drop Everything and Read.” Students had extra free reading time in class. Then from 11:00 – 12:00, the older students read to the younger students. It was inspirational to see the students enjoying sharing books with each other. Screen Free Week was held Monday, November 18 – Friday, November 22. Many students pledged they would go an entire week without watching television, playing video games, or otherwise using a screen for entertainment. I participated too! Some classes have already held their ice cream party celebrations to reward those students who “made it”; others are still to come.

Our Fall Book Fair was held December 2-6. Many thanks to the volunteers who set up the fair and worked as cashiers! Our total sales were over $6,000.00, which results in a profit of about $2,000.00 for the school. We were able to purchase ALL of the books teachers identified for their classrooms! Remaining proceeds will go toward enhancing the Media Center collection and facilities. Our next book fair will be held April 7-11, 2014. Mark your calendars so you can stock up on great books for summer reading! Over the next few months, Media classes will focus on biography, poetry, and non-fiction / research skills. Since both the literary magazine and Shakespeare festival are scheduled for the spring term, I am also hoping to schedule a “MMS Out Loud” event for students and teachers to share either their own work or personal favorites by others. Look for more information if / when this comes together. Finally, I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) Annual Conference in Orlando from November 20 – 22, 2013. The theme of the conference was “The School Library: Portal to Imagination, Dreams, and Diversity”. There were many concurrent sessions covering everything from practical library management issues to meet-the-author events. I also attended a workshop on fair use of copyrighted materials in the classroom, an important topic of which all teachers need to be aware. Here are a few of the highlights: “Stirring Up Stories” discussed different models and purposes for storytelling in the library. This session also offered a wide variety of sample topics around which to organize Media lessons, bringing in fiction, non-fiction and technology to focus on specific reading skills. My favorite ideas were Cooking to integrate math skills, following directions, and making connections; and Jazz as a way into cultural / historical studies. Ginny Rorby, author of the 2012 Sunshine State Young Readers Award-winning book Lost in the River of Grass (grades 6-8), spoke about her writing process. I found her particularly inspirational because she didn’t begin her professional writing career until she was 38 years old. There’s hope for me yet! She spoke about using her passion for animal welfare, along with her personal experience and those of others, to craft compelling stories. I took a lot away from this session to inspire students in their writing. The “Survivor! Media Center” session was an opportunity for new media specialists to share their challenges and learn from each other, as well as more experienced school librarians. Topics included media center design, choosing materials, lesson planning, scheduling, programming, and budgeting. It was great to interact with media specialists from a wide variety of school settings. The best part was realizing that no matter what challenges we encounter, we are on the right track. I wish you a peaceful and joyful holiday season. As you enjoy your family and friends, remember to take some time for yourself – maybe by curling up with a good book! Warmly, Ms. Jennifer Media Specialist / Teacher





MS. ANITA BENDER’S CLASS PUMPKINS IN THE FIELD PAINTING / RESIST TECHNIQUE / OIL PASTELS AND WATER COLORS A resist is a very popular fine art technique. In resist artwork, a picture is created using a material, such as tape, glitter glue or, in this case, an oil pastel, and then painted with a water-based material such as watercolor paint. When the water-based paint is brushed over the oil pastels, the paint does not stick to the pastels, thus creating an interesting textural effect on the paper. MIRO / PEOPLE WITH A DOG AND A SUN PAINTING / RESIST TECHNIQUE / OIL PASTELS AND WATER COLORS Our students learned about the famous Spanish artist Joan Miró and his Surrealist style. We studied his child like creations full of imagination, symbolic shapes and lines. We analyzed one of Miró’s most famous paintings “People with a Dog in the Sun” and we tried to paint just like him. ANDY WARHOL’S COLORFUL CATS DRAWING / MARKERS Andy Warhol was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as Pop Art. He used to be very fond of cats. We looked at his very popular series of lithographs and ink washes of very colorful cats; pink, blue, purple, yellow, green… Inspired by this artist’s work, we create our own whimsical cats.



MR. RICHARD ASLANIAN’S CLASS GREEK AMPHORA COMBINED TECHNIQUE / DRAWING & PAINTING / MARKERS & WATER COLORS An amphora is a two-handled Greek vase, generally with a swollen belly, narrow neck, and a large mouth. In antiquity, an amphora was often used to transport wine or oil. Some amphorae have pointy bottoms. We studied drawings of Greek women, Greek soldiers, shields and helmets and famous Greek key patterns. Students used this information to decorate their amphora. SCARY PUMPKINS IN THE FOGGY NIGHT DRAWING AND SMUDGING / OIL PASTELS We had a lot of fun around Halloween drawing these spooky scenes! WALKING TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY / PERSPECTIVE DRAWING / PENCIL We talked about perspective in art is an illusion of depth and distance. To a viewer, an object actually shrinks by half in size each time the distance to it is doubled—something our eyes and brain use every day to decide where we are in relation to our surroundings. Our students learned about the horizon line and vanishing point. We imagined that we are walking to a distant house birthday party with our friends and balloons and we used three ways to draw everything we see on our way to there in perspective. Size technique: large objects seem to be closer to the viewer than small objects. The smaller the object, the father away it appears to be, unless it is placed on top of something large in the front of the picture. Location technique: objects placed near the bottom of a picture seem to be closer to the viewer. Objects placed near the top of a picture seem to be farther away. Overlapping technique: when one object partially covers another object, the object in front appears to be closer. CHINESE DRAGONS DRAWING / COLORED PENCILS Mr. Richard’s class is still working on this project. Students learned about Chinese dragon as a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. Dragons are also seen as rulers of the earth, sea and sky. Chinese dragons have long snakelike bodies, a feathered or furry mane, antlers and various other animal features. Traditionally, they are often red because red is believed to be an auspicious color. Our creative students added beautiful Chinese houses, tall Chinese mountains, soft clouds and even some small koi fish ponds.

MS. CHRISTINA MILLER’S CLASS AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL ART DRAWING / MARKERS We now have photos! ABSTRACT ART FINGER-SMUDGING / OIL PASTELS In abstract art, the artist uses a visual language of shapes, forms, lines and colors to interpret a subject-matter, without necessarily providing the viewer with a recognizable visual reference point. We had a lot of fun fingersmudging oil pastels on a paper while trying to create a well-balanced piece of art work. We discussed important principles of design such as harmony, rhythm, variety and contrast. BABY TURTLES AND KOI FISH CHINESE BRUSH STROKE / PAINTING “The single most astonishing fact about Chinese Brush Painting is that each brush stroke is a defining move that produces a portion of the painting that is neither improved upon nor corrected. No sketch is prepared and no model is used; the artist paints with rapid, mentally constructed strokes transporting a 'mind image' to mulberry paper. From first to last stroke, the artist must 'get it right' while in Western watercolor corrections and over painting are a part of the technique. Chinese Brush Painting is meant to be more than a representation of an object; it is also a symbolic expression. “ Students used bamboo brushes and watercolors to create their painting. This activity taught brush control; the ability to make thick, thin, and medium lines as well as strokes that have both dark and light areas in one stroke. Another concept taught was less is more; the idea of making only marks that are necessary to express the idea. JAPANESE NOTAN ART COLLAGE Notan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery. Focusing on the interaction between positive and negative space, contrast and symmetry, students are now created their own Notan art collages.





MS. SHERILYN FARRIS’ CLASS VALUE PROJECT / APPLE DRAWING / COLORED PENCILS Please take a look at our so realistic drawings of apples! ARMADILLOS DRAVING / MARKERS After we finished our value projects we relaxed and had fun using lines only to draw some armadillos. The anatomy of this animal is so amazing, that while trying to draw and decorate our armadillos, we touched and practiced almost all of the elements of art and principles of design : line, shape, form, color, texture, balance, proportion, unity, pattern, variety, and contrast… BAMBOO AND PANDA CHINESE BRUSH STROKE / PAINTING Just like Ms. Tina’s class, the middle school students got a chance to practice some amazing Chinese brush stroke techniques. They did very well! MONOCHROMATIC PORTRAITS INSPIRED BY PICASSO’S BLUE PHASE PAINTING / TEMPERA Our students watched the PowerPoint presentation with paintings from the famous Picasso’s blue phase. The Blue Period is the term which defines the works produced by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso between 1901 and 1904, when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades, tones and tints of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. Students are still working to finish their monochromatic paintings. For this project they will be using only one primary or secondary color in different tints, shades and tones. They will darken a color by adding black to produce shades and they will lighten a color by adding white to produce tints. By adding gray to pure color they will produce tones.



January 2014 Monday, January 6 Monday, January 13 Tuesday, January 14 Wednesday, January 15 Thursday, January 16 Friday, January 17 Friday, January 17 Monday, January 20 Saturday, January 25 Tuesday, January 28 Wednesday, January 29 Thursday, January 30

Classes Resume M3S Semester Exam: Language Arts M3S Semester Exam: Social Studies M3S Semester Exam: Science M3S Semester Exam: Math & Spanish Student Holiday/Teacher Workday End of 2nd Quarter Holiday - MLK Day Spotlight Kids Showcase @ EHS 4:00 PM 8th Grade Shadow Day @ GHS Cambridge Program 8th Grade Shadow Day @ ESH IB Program Send Report Cards Home

February 2014 Tuesday, February 4 Friday, February 7Sunday February 9 Tuesday, February 11 Tuesday, February 11 Tuesday, February 11 Thursday, February 13 Thursday, February 13 Monday, February 17 Thursday, February 20 Friday, February 21 Wednesday, February 26 Wednesday, February 26 Friday, February 28

Ms. Elizabeth Falls’ Parent Night 4:30-6:00 PM Spotlight Kids State Competition - Melbourne, FL Teacher Work Afternoon 3:30-5:30 PM Ms. Christina Eckstein’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 PM Ms. Martha Dolan’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 PM Ms. Crystal Sorrow’s Parent Night 4:00-5:30 PM Ms. Renee Brohamer’s Parent Night 4:30-6:00 PM Holiday - President’s Day PTO Meeting 6:00 PM M3S 6th Annual Shakespeare Festival Send Interim Reports Home 4th Grade Florida Writes Assessment Middle School Florida Writes Assessment

Winter Newsletter 2013