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Old 09-13-2010, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going in to talk to the teacher tomorrow morning about how misled I feel regarding the program. The assistant principal backed out of the meeting.

Before I go, I wanted to know a little more about what a true 6-9 classroom looks like, so I know just how discrepent this class is.

- How many small group lessons would one expect per day in a 6-9 classroom?

- How many individual lessons per day/week?

- By week 5 in a school year, if children are on a work plan, should they have a choice of works in a given area? For example: Ds's work plan for Math says "10 problems from the Math area." When I asked him what this was, he said money. I'll ask tomorrow, but he says he hasn't done anything with beads or a bead frame or addition strips. Is this typical? In contrast, Language has 2 things - "Noun poster" and "Fishbowl 1."

I wish I understood the 6-9 progression better.

Since the time I requested the meeting and now, I can see the teacher has been making modifications based on what I addressed in my email. She sent home some "reflection" pages for behavior if there is a warning or a problem. She still does the Green, Yellow, and Red apples, though. And on Friday, she sent ds home with a store-bought, cellophane-wrapped brownie. The class got them as treats for being good. Argh! I guess that's her way of trying, but I think she's still missing the mark.
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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over 3 years for 2 of my children and 2 years for my other child were in general the following:

- How many small group lessons would one expect per day in a 6-9 classroom?
Mondays were typically get workplan for week and do works from areas already familiar with. Tuesday there would be lots (4) of lessons in small group, in fact most small groups for the entire week would occur on Tuesday. Wednesdays would be getting done the ones not completed Tuesday. During the week the children work on gaining better familiarity, success with the new lessons.

- How many individual lessons per day/week?
Individual lessons occurred typically 4 or 5 times a week, more towards the beginning of the week.

- By week 5 in a school year, if children are on a work plan, should they have a choice of works in a given area? For example: Ds's work plan for Math says "10 problems from the Math area." When I asked him what this was, he said money. I'll ask tomorrow, but he says he hasn't done anything with beads or a bead frame or addition strips. Is this typical? In contrast, Language has 2 things - "Noun poster" and "Fishbowl 1."

From my understanding, there would usually be 2 or 3 materials relevant to the lesson and available to the child (thinking math works). For language, science and history there would be multilple activities available to all 6-9 students. The level of work was specific to the child.
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Old 09-13-2010, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that information. Now, I know that a public school has several things they need to fit into a day, but this teacher only manages to squeeze 1, maybe 1-1/2 hours of work time (interrupted) into the school day.

The schedule is laden with large and small group lessons/activities: Opening Activities, math facts lessons, math op lesson, silent read, literature rotation, music, jobs/journal. That's all on Mondays. I'll get more specifics tomorrow, but from what I can tell, she's pulling curriculum and assigning that as "work" for the work cycle.

Despite the fact they did nothing but test the kids for the first 2-3 weeks of school, I don't have the impression that any of his learning is individualized.

I don't want to close my mind just because so much started off poorly...but I don't want to just say it's okay because it could be worse.
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, another question! I asked the teacher how she guides students to learn how to time-manage to complete the required works for the week. I thought she'd talk about goal setting and help ds learn to set a goal of completing 2 or 3 works during his work time. She put him on a system of work-free-work-free-work-free and he fills in the squares as he completes them. Seems more like a reward system than a tool to teach time management. Does this sound appropriate? He's doing well with it, so I hesitate over complaining - it's just that it doesn't sound like Montessori to me.

(It also bothers me that he's choosing things like computer time for his "free" rather than a free choice of another work. I'm sure she sets a time limit, but screen time really messes with his brain.)
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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Hmmm... I have a 3rd and a 1st grade in a traditional (private) Montessori. I don't actually know the detailed answers to your questions. I know they have Spelling on Fridays and a Junior Great Books discussion on Thursdays. They also do at least 30 minutes per day of structured "silent reading" of a book of their choice and level. They generally need to fit in all the types of work (and the teachers will say to them "I haven't seen you do any math today, can you choose something from that shelf?"), but I don't know that it is much more directed than that.

I don't think there is a "set" number of lessons per week, either. It more depends on the individual child. I do know that my first grader, who just started week three (with week two being a 3-day week), has completed his first pin map work and did get a lesson on the large bead frame.

I don't know that you can truly compare your school to a private one, though. It sounds like it is Montessori-influenced but not "pure" Montessori. Are the teachers Montessori-trained?

I suppose if I had to choose, any Montessori is better than none, but I can see where you might feel frustrated coming from a Montessori background. Are the other kids in class Montessori kids or public-school educated up until now? That might be a difference, too. If the kids themselves don't come from pure Montessori they probably won't have that self direction and would need more of the "squares" and organization it sounds like this teacher is providing. Good luck!
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Musikat, thanks for your reply. Yes, the teachers are Montessori trained, although most were traditional teachers prior. I think my real frustration stems from the fact that I asked the questions and received answers that fit with Montessori. I know that it can't be "pure" because it's a public school, but what I asked and saw was very Montessori - ds just got put with a teacher who does a "combination of Montessori and traditional." So she teaches Montessori-influenced; I'm not sure what the rest of the teachers teach.
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Old 09-14-2010, 03:00 AM
 
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Before meeting, have you actually observed how this plays out in the classroom? Have you asked to have an observation?

Maybe there are children who are struggling with managing their time? And so she has these structures the first few weeks of school?

What is fishbowl? Do they have grammar boxes?

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Old 09-14-2010, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I had the meeting with the teacher this morning. I will just be satisfied at this point. Perfect? No. Better? Yes.

There is a 2 hour work cycle in the morning now, with a 5-10 minute small group lesson mixed in. There is a little time in the afternoon, too, during/after their literature rotation (which is school-wide). She's developed a daily work plan to help ds and others learn to budget their time. She has developed a system of reflection for students when they get a warning. The green/yellow/red apples are still on the wall, but she hasn't needed to use them since developing the reflection pages. She's combining that system with a class-wide marble system for exceptional behavior. Not quite Montessori, but she's moving away from completely negative, shaming motivation. Public school teachers seem to be drilled about classroom behavior management techniques, so I'll consider her efforts a compromise and moving in the right direction.

I'm more comfortable. Like I said, I know I need to compromise for a public school. If I were shelling out $7000/year, I could expect more, I guess. Wish we had it.

I'm just hoping to be able to sit back and breathe a bit now. Maybe I'm the one who transitions poorly, rather than ds.
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