Montessori Happenings

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A-3 Spring Things: Triops in Our Classroom!

triopTriops are very unusual creatures with two dark compound eyes and a third pale eye between them.  That is why they are called triops for the three eyes (from the Greek, tri for three and ops for eyes).  With these eyes they can detect food or predators very near to them.  Triops eat algae, mosquito larva, tadpoles, fairy shrimp and other smaller and weaker triops!  Triops make their natural homes in vernal pools called “potholes” where their life span is about 50-90 days.  They are also called living fossils since they have been around since the time of the earliest dinosaurs (about 200 million years ago).  They are relatives of trilobites and horseshoe crabs.

Our class is trying to raise these creatures from small eggs.  We had a few hatch, but the flies that accidentally hatched in our worm factory ate the tiny hatched triops—what a catastrophe!  This week we are going to try again since the flies are gone.  We have to make sure the water temperature is right and this time cover the container so the flies eat no more!

By: Astrid, grade 3

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Back-To-School Night in the Front Class!

Children from the Front Classroom were eager to share lessons they are learning with their parents at Back-To-School Night on Thursday, April 11. Thank you to all of the visiting families who made this event a success! Take a look at some of the busy workers:


Community Connections- January


The Cedar Montessori School of Flagstaff sent six students along with Mrs. Larson to an elderly home to entertain the residents. We arrived at a little house. As the owner invited us in, we noticed the environment was welcoming and warm. There were about eight residents that the owner introduced us to.  Along with us, we had brought a skit book and a book of quotes from Kids Say the Darndest Things! Both of the books were at least forty years old, so the jokes were a little outdated. We started out with stand-up comedy. We told some jokes. Next , we decided to perform some skits from the book. We are familiar with doing skits in front of people, as we take Drama, so stage fright wasn’t an issue.  One of the students read some quotes from the book after another student performed a song on her trumpet.  We decided  to do some classic skits the Three Stooges had done. The first one was a classic hit-on-the-head, slap-in-the-face one. The crowd seemed to enjoy this skit, especially when I  did  a ‘Curly’ and ran away going “Woop, woop, woop, woop!”. 

As we were leaving, the owner said that it was great for the residents to have young people visit.   I hope that soon we will return and provide more ‘Stooges’ comedy for them, as the students very much enjoyed doing it. 

Jonas, Eighth grade student

Pathogens Presentation

Pathogens Presentation_fall_2012_001

 In cycle 3 we got a visitor from Flagstaff Medical Center's own, Carmel Plude, an infection controll specialist. She came in and explained fomites in great detail and the different ways that germs and bacteria spread. Mrs. Plude talked about the different outbreaks that have occured in the world like SARS. After talking about the spread of germs Carmel informed the class of how to stop the spread of nasty germs. Hand washing! She said that by washing your hands often you are less likely to get sick. Mrs. Plude then brought out the germ-a-saurus and showed students all the germs on their hands. Hopefully we will have many more awesome speakers like her. Happy hand washing!  

Hallie, Eighth Grade Student

T Gen Laboratory Tour

website t_gen

We’ve gone to many cool places this school year on Fridays, but one of the most fun is T-Gen, a genetics laboratory where they study pathogens (diseases) and try to make cures for the illnesses.  

Another thing T-Gen does is they study genetics. Genes determine how people vary from one another. As you might’ve guessed, genetics is the science and study of genes.

We had a walkthrough and tour of the building. There were receptionists, offices and laboratories. The labs were the coolest and most interesting parts. We saw the scientist extract DNA to find diseases and make cures. At the end, we were able to interact in an activity about community epidemics, and found out how the diseases were spread.

Some people take it for granted, but in the long run, genetics labs, such as T-Gen , are one of the most important parts of regulating safety and security in our modern world.

Tony, Seventh grade student

Our Clever and Productive Students!

Our students work so hard everyday, doing a range of lessons from practical life and sensorial to math, language and culture. Take a look at some photos of our proud students and their work. (Some of the pictures are from our Pajama Day!)  

Broad Stair and Tower of Cubes Extension

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The broad stair and tower of cubes allow the students to explore the concepts of thick and thin and big and small. The successive dimensions of the cubes and rectangular prisms encourage the student to order the materials and create complex designs.







Pin Punching Australia 

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Pin punching is a common tool in our classroom used to promote the three-finger grasp, which is essential to holding a pencil. The continent pin punching lesson allows students to perforate the shapes of the continents which are later used to create a world map.





Creative Writing Story with the Moveable Alphabet

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The moveable alphabet is introduced when a child is ready to build simple, phonetic words. More complex extensions include the creative writing lesson in which students respond to prompts or create their own imaginative story from a picture.

Pin punching landforms

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The landform pin punching lesson introduces opposite land and water forms: lake and island, bay and cape, gulf and peninsula, system of lakes and archipelago, and strait and isthmus.

Animal Groups

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The students love animals, so the Animal Groups lesson is a favorite. This lesson exposes children to the many "group names" of animals, such as a pride of lions, a pod of whales and a troop of monkeys.

Multiplication with the Bead Bars

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The students begin with concrete Montessori materials before moving on to abstract math. Here the student multiplies by seven using the bead bars.

Tracing Table

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The tracing table is a great way for beginning writers to gain hand control and strength. Students trace animals, plants, flags and maps pertaining to our current culture study.

Small Hexagon Box

Child with Hexagon game

The small hexagon box is part of Montessori's constructive triangles materials. This geometry study allows students to use triangles to build other shapes. The shapes introduced in the small hexagon box are triangle, hexagon, rhombus and trapezoid.

Short Bead Stair

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The Short Bead Stair lesson is the first introduction to the colored bead bars used throughout the Montessori math lessons. This lesson reinforces number recognition and pairing the number with a quantity.

Teens Board

Teens board (math)

The Teens Board introduces the teens numbers as "tens" plus more units. Thus, thirteen is ten with three more.

Map making

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The students enjoy geography, including a semester-long in-depth continent study, map making, land and water forms lessons, flag studies and more.

Partner Work

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Working with others fosters teamwork, cooperation, negotiation, problem solving, leadership and thoughtful discussion. Teachers observe and support, but students direct their own work.

Check back soon for more photos of our daily work!

Eat Your Vegetables!

In order to truly get a taste of our nutrition unit, the students prepared salad for themselves and their classmates. While some students washed lettuce, others peeled carrots, diced beets, cut cucumbers and sliced tomatoes. After all that hard work, you wouldn't believe how many hungry children asked for second and even third helpings of vegetables!


Little Bakers

As we continue our unit on nutrition, we have been participating in cooking projects every Friday with each project pertaining to one of the five food groups. Our first project fell in the vegetable realm -- salad making! Check out our pictures in an article below. The next project was making colorful fruit kabobs. Last week, we focused on the grains group. We read the story "Tony's Bread" by Tomie dePaola. In this story, Tony the baker wows the people of Milan with his delicious bread. Our students decided to try their hand at baking with fantastic results!


Mmm! Fresh from the oven! 

The students did a careful job measuring out the ingredients for this soda bread. For those of you who would like to make bread with your children at home, here is the very simple recipe we followed: 


3 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Measure flour, salt and soda and mix together in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Stir, adding more buttermilk if needed; the dough should be soft, but not wet or sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Turn it over and pat it into a round loaf about 1 1/2 inches high.
  5. Place on a baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of the loaf with a knife. Cut fairly deeply into the bread, being sure to cut all the way to the edges; this helps the bread to rise properly.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400°F and bake for another 30 minutes or until done. To test, tap the bread on the bottom. It will sound hollow when done.

    From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

Happy Baking!

A Nutrition Lesson at Safeway!

In March, the kindergartners enjoyed the spring weather by taking a walking field trip to Safeway. They were delighted to share their knowledge about nutrition and to learn more about how a grocery store works. The tour began in the floral department where students identified many kinds of flowers. In the produce department, the children were excited to feel the mist and hear the thunder from the chilled vegetable bin. Here, they were able to try several samples including mandarin oranges, grapes and dried mango. The tour continued to the seafood deli, where everyone had the opportunity to feel a real fish! In the bakery kitchen, the children were very interested in the large oven and giant mixer where cupcakes and frosting are made. They even received a special treat from the baker -- cookies! Of course, after the cookies, the milk department was next. The children got to explore the inside of the refrigerator room where milk gallons are displayed and stored. On the way out of the store, Starbucks offered the students apple juice before their walk back to school. When asked about their favorite part of the trip, nearly everyone mentioned the samples!

Photo (below) highlights:

  • Feeling the chilly temperatures in the produce department
  • Naming as many vegetables as they could
  • The first of many samples from the generous workers at Safeway
  • Celebrating their "prize" (cuties)
  • Smelling herbs like mint and rosemary
  • Answering questions about nutrition
  • Feeling a fish at the seafood deli
  • Admiring the giant oven in the bakery


Kindergarten Trip to the Nordic Center

In January, the kindergartners took a field trip to the Nordic Center here in Flagstaff. They were very eager to strap on skiis and give cross-country skiing their best shot! While there were many spills (adults included), everyone had a terrific time spending a beautiful day outdoors. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped make this trip a success!


Montessori Philosophy

Montessori PhilosophyThe Montessori Philosophy encourages children to develop their observation skills through activities that use the five senses, kinetic movement, spatial refinement, small and gross motor skill coordination, and concrete knowledge that leads to later abstraction.


Arizona School Tax Credit

Arizona School Tax CreditThe 2015 Arizona School Tax Credit lets your donation go directly to a public school of your choice! A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax liability. Any Arizona taxpayer may contribute, regardless of whether your child is attending school.

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Enrichment Programs

Montessori Schools of Flagstaff Enrichment ProgramsTo meet the needs of working parents, we offer a before- and after-school program designed for children 18 months–12 years. The older children can sign up for the many special classes offered after school such as drama, art classes, and music lessons.

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