7 Picture Retake Day
12 MCA Meeting, 8 AM
19-21 Winter Concert Performances (Daytime)
24 Winter Recess Begins
Our Canalside Trip
Karliyah Clemons, student (12-14)
The Canalside trip was fun and a great trip for our level. It was fun because we had tasty food. We were served hot dogs, chicken nuggets, French fries, and mac n’ cheese balls. For dessert, we had refreshing popsicles.
We also played giant Jenga, Connect Four, and checkers. We were able to walk around Canalside and saw the beautiful view. Ms. Gabe showed us the Vietnam War Memorial at the Naval Park. We are reading a book that focuses on a refugee of Vietnam. We took pictures and had fun with our friends. As we walked to Canalside, we saw Buffalo’s downtown area. As I was walking, I noticed how beautiful our city really is. I never noticed this until that day. In conclusion, visiting Canalside was a fun and great trip. I feel as though other schools should go on this trip too!
Interview with Emmalee Olgin 6-9 teacher
Ruth Mack, parent
I had heard that Emmalee attended a five-week Montessori training session in Massachusetts this summer, and I was glad to have the chance to ask her about some of the details.
Could you tell me a little bit about how you first became interested in Montessori? Was it a part of your original training as a teacher?
To be honest, I hadn't really learned much about Montessori in my original teacher education classes; it was touched on briefly but not in depth. I became interested in learning more from my mother-in-law, who also has a career in education. She told me all the great things she always heard about Montessori schools and how she wished she had a chance to become trained in the philosophy and work in a Montessori classroom. This of course sparked my curiosity for Montessori.
I know that you traveled away from Buffalo for a long training session this summer. What was that like?
While it is never easy to be away from home for an extended amount of time, the 5 weeks I spent in Massachusetts were so enlightening that the time flew right by. Every day of the program was filled with new exciting connections within the Montessori philosophy as well as a growing enthusiasm for all of the extraordinary lessons the Montessori curriculum has to offer. I can't forget to mention the wonderful cohort of teachers from around the country (and world!) that I soon became close with as a result of spending 5 weeks with them. Having the ability to collaborate with these Montessorians from across the country and world has been a real asset of the program, too. They really made being away from home just a little easier! Being away made it possible to be completely focused on the work I need to complete for the training program and allowed time for the overwhelming amount of knowledge I was gaining all at once to sink in a little.
You obviously already know a tremendous amount as a teacher. What kind of additional learning does Montessori training provide? Does it feel like an extension of what you already know?
The Montessori teacher education classes are not at all like my education classes in undergrad and grad school. Those classes were all textbook learning and the classes themselves were mostly teacher lead and group work. The Montessori teacher education classes, however, are completely interactive. The lessons are presented in the same way that children would receive them. This allows us to have a chance to feel what the children feel when we teach each lesson for the first time: to feel the sense of wonder and excitement in using the materials and experience the fascination in the stories that build their cosmic knowledge. During the training, we have many chances to interact with the Montessori materials as we practice giving the lessons. Throughout the classes, we are presented with the full sequence of lessons so that we are able to see how the curriculum builds on itself and see the interconnectedness of the materials. We have a wealth of reading that helps build our knowledge of the philosophy, but generally the classes are focused on integrating the philosophy and curriculum into practice. The classes leave you in awe of the philosophy itself-- and asking: how did one woman create all of this! Traditional teacher education classes definitely didn't come close to having the same effect!
(I asked Emmalee about the “albums” Montessori teachers create,and she said this: The albums are a compilation of all the lessons in each curriculum area. When creating our albums, we illustrate the lessons using photos, drawings, notes, and bits of insights that we gained from the instructors and lessons we experienced in the training program. Taking the time to illustrate these well is so important because these albums essentially become our teaching guides for the Montessori Curriculum and are resources that we will use throughout our whole career. You can see a page from her album by clicking the link below.)
What is one piece of Montessori philosophy that you learned this summer that you’ve already had a chance to bring into your classroom?
One of the biggest aspects of being a Montessori educator is sparking the enthusiasm for learning. One aspect of the cosmic education pedagogy is to, as we like to call it "give them the gift," or the introduction to the learning. The job of the teacher is to plant the seed that gets the children excited about the learning and the desire to learn more. The impressionistic lessons and stories that go along with so much of our Montessori curriculum have been so enlightening to teach. When presenting these lessons, children are really engaged; I can tell they are excited to learn more and work with the materials.
Many teachers have incorporated yoga circles into their classrooms this year. At Bennett Park, teachers from 3-6 through 9-12 are using their yoga training to help children relax, refocus, and calm their bodies. The children are learning breathing techniques that can help give them energy, clear their minds, or help calm them, which helps them regulate their emotions and helps reduce their stress. The classrooms are seeing more focused and calm students, which increases learning. In my own classroom I do a yoga circle every day after lunch for 20 minutes. The kids have learned many different poses, and I notice that our reading groups are much more effective compared to past years, because the kids are able to focus. Students in older grades are doing poses at their desks and use mindful activities in the hall to help with transitions.
Dane Jemison picks the perfect pumpkin at Kelkenberg Farm on a field trip with teacher Maegan Cobello (3-5). See More Fall Photos
Girls On The Run at BPMC
Kate Steilen, parent
This fall, BPMC fielded its first Girls on the Run team with 5 girls in grades 3,4,5 participating. The girls trained outside on the JFK track with their coaches for two afternoons a week from September through Oct 31. The session culminated with the Girls On the Run 5k November 4th in Delaware Park. One of our coaches was art teacher Maggie Giamo along with volunteer Elena France. Each week, the girls trained while completing lessons geared toward practicing social skills such as confidence, care, connections, and community involvement. BPMC hopes to field a spring team. This program has a cost, but the GOTR.org offers scholarships to all families; some health insurance programs like Blue Cross/Blue Shield cover the entire cost for girls, and the school is working on offering scholarships for joining and for the purchase of running shoes. Read more at www.gotrbuffalo.org. Look for flyers in school in March or contact Kate Steilen with any interest or questions. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Colored Bead Bars: A Love Story Through The Ages
Candie Sauro, teacher 3-6
It is often heard in a 3-6 classroom upon a student’s first introduction to the colored bead bars: “Three is my favorite number because it is pink” or “Yes, it does look like a necklace.” The colored bead bars are one of the most impressive and respected Montessori materials for their simplicity, relevancy, and longevity.
As a 3-6 teacher, at this point in the year my youngest students are working with the “bead stair”. They are lining up colored bead bars from shortest to longest in the shape of a triangle. While they are doing this, they are starting to remember that “the one bar is red, the two bar is green, the three bar is___(etc.)”
Soon, they will be setting a blue 5 bar next to a yellow 4 bar, counting, and telling me that 5+4=9. Then, since they already know a blue bar has 5 they will no longer need to count those beads and they will “count up” and tell me 5…6,7,8,9… 5+4=9 the fast way. After that they will lie out a chain of 5 bars and learn to count by 5s. Next comes the day that they get a problem ticket that says 5x4=. They will learn that this says “5 taken 4 times”. So, they will line up 5 blue bead bars and use what they have learned about skip counting to quickly compute that 5x4=20. This all happens in the years that they are with me with only one material (clearly I used 5 as the example, but all 9 work the same way).
After 3 short years I will say “good-bye” to them and they will go to other classrooms, at other levels, with other teachers, in other rooms only to discover that those rooms also have BEAD BARS! They will then learn (to name a few); to add, subtract, and multiply these bars to exchange them for gold ones, drive those bars through channels on the checkerboard, use them to explore binomials and trinomials of numbers, and explore the commutative property of multiplication with the decanomial.
I often say “no one would have difficulties with Math if we all learned with Montessori. It all flows together in such a clear, meaningful way. Clearly, the colored bead bars are wonderful and amazing. And, there is another “MVP” bead bar that I have not even included in this small discussion; the golden 10 bar and its golden family…it just gets better….