January 16

Dear parents,

Please don’t worry about IXL or book reports this month.  The month has been too irregular with all the days off and snow days.  We will resume in February.

The only matters of concern are the upcoming Science Fair for sixth graders on February 8 and the 5th grade field trip to JBiztown on January 25.

The sixth graders should have each brought home a science fair packet to help with the process.  Even though this is a home project, we are spending some quality time at school in this endeavor.  It is up to your student, however, to complete the experiment and prepare his/her board at home.  They are also suppose to be keeping a science fair log notebook with all their notes and data collection.  The judge for the science fair will want to see it.  If you are new to this process will you please email me and we can discuss the process further.

The fifth graders each year go to a small “town” that is by the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City.  It is a fun day learning about how businesses run.  Each class is in charge of two or three businesses.  We are in charge of Chickfila, Salt Lake City School DIstrict and City Hall.  Within the infrastructure of this field trip is that a few parent volunteers come to help the students with their businesses.  The parents get trained the day of the field trip at JBiztown.  This is fundamental to the experience.  We need three parent volunteers to join us.  If you think you can help drive to the field trip and help for the day, will you email me.  A field trip form will be coming home Tuesday, January 17.

Our class has been doing great since after the holidays. The students had an art project inspired by Bob Ross.  They are learning keyboarding down at the computer lab.  They are practicing their writing using Utah Compose.  We have weekly class meeting to discuss agenda items the students bring up in our class.  We learned about Martin Luther King Jr.  and listened to his speech.  This week in botany we are going to repot some of our plants.  If you have any extra pots laying around we could use some.  The students are progressing in math and we are doing an intensive study on measurement this week.

Thank you for all your support with snack.  It has been wonderful.  If you have any concerns please email me..

Ms. Shanan


December 16

Dear parents,

The Christmas Party is on December 20, Tuesday from 10-12.  Please let me know if you can provide a craft.  So far, no one has signed up.  The International Festival is this Monday from 9-11.  Please remember that a healthy snack would be appreciated for our Christmas party (Eggnog is fine! (;)

December 12

Dear parents,

Due to some good feedback I have made a page on the blog with the due dates and expectations for the month of December.  I will do this every month from now on.  It will include all field trip information, due dates for assignments and any other pertinent information that involves the class.  I hope this is helpful so you don’t have to search through past blog posts to find important information.

Your students have decided they want to do a secret Santa exchange this holiday.  They will be getting a name of a student tomorrow, Monday.  This exchange will happen on December 20.  The gift should be simple and no more than $5.  If you would not like to participate in this or are having difficulty with this, please shoot me a quick email and I will make sure your child will have a gift to exchange with their secret Santa.  I know how tight money can be around the holidays.

We will also be having a our festive snack and craft time on the 20th.  We need about 4 crafts.  If you think you could help our class with a craft, could you email me?

Will and Lincoln have snack this week.  Thank you!

I hope your families are healthy and well.  Thank you again for all that you do.

Ms. Shanan

December 5

Hi parents,

How are you?!  I hope you are doing well!  I want to tell you how much I love and appreciate each one of you.  You each work so hard for your family.  I love being with your children each day.  They each bring something special and unique to our class community.  I sincerely thank you for all that you do.

So... I told the students they can do their IXL homework in class if they want and that way they don’t have to bring it home; a lot of students are doing this.  I told them that the only thing they need to worry about is their poster boards for the International Festival.  We will continue to take care of the rubric contents in class.  Please don’t worry about the rubric just make a great board. They can also read their genre book in class too.  December’s genre is folktales.  We have plenty of books in class for them to read.  I hope this lightens your load.  Let me know how I can help.  Your student can print stuff out here at school.  I can provide poster board if you need.  Also don’t worry if they didn’t get last week’s IXL done.  We are all just trying again this week.  The assignments are F.1, G.1, H.1, I.1 and J.1.  Please don’t let your student spent more than twenty-minutes on this.  Even if they haven’t finished just stop.  Your home-time is important!  I cherish and need mine with my own children.

These holiday times are fun.  We will be holding a class-meeting tomorrow on how we want to celebrate the holidays.  Usually, we bring festive-healthy snacks and have some crafts for the children to do.  We usually do some kind of gift exchange between the students but I want to think of a new way to do that without the expense.  Any ideas?  I also would like to do some kind of service.  I’m sure will get some good ideas from the meeting tomorrow and I will let you know.

This Friday is a half-day.

Again, thank you for all that you do.

Happy Holidays,

Ms. Shanan

November 14

Hello everyone,

The home project for November is a continent/country report.  It really isn’t due until December 19 for the International Festival held at our school.  The students have been given a rubric but this rubric is intended to be done in class with outside class time if desired.  Your responsibility is to help with the presentation of the material for the International Festival.  A display board or other visual aid is required along with any artifacts or food samples from the country if possible. I will be sending out a home-rubric for the display board closer to December.  Right now, the best thing is just to have fun with your student.  Sit down sometimes and explore the country/continent with your student.  Find out what animals, plants and people are there.  It shouldn’t be a to-do list of requirements.  We just want your student to become curious about the rest of the world.

How our class celebrates Thanksgiving is each student is responsible to bring one thing to share for a Thanksgiving lunch held this Friday, November 18.  https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/mcfaq This wejoinin sheet is where to pick what you will bring.  Please feel free to bring what you want.  If someone already chose pie, you can too; there is no sign-up limits.  The expectation is that every family will participate.  Please let me know if this is not possible for you right now, otherwise, we will be looking for your name on the sign-up list.  Your student can bring the food with them to school in the morning.  We have the capacity to keep things warm here at the school.  Thank you so much for all you do to make all the students in the class have great “memory-moments”.

The book of the month is nonfiction.  There is no requirement for a book report or any visual aid.  I do expect the book to be at least 100 pages in length.  They will share the book they read at the end of the month.  Thank you.

Ms. Shanan


October 17

Dear parents,

I felt like the fall festival went great; thanks to the parents who volunteered.  I have to tell you though that parent help was at an all time low.  Many of the games had to be shut down due to no parent help school-wide.  I want you to reflect on your own involvement with school activities.  The husband of one volunteer said that it is always the same dozen parents doing all the work.  I think that it would be wise to think about how you are going to involve yourself.  This school is a family and only is successful when everyone helps out. These activities that are planned are in place to benefit each one of our students.  Thank you.

The Waterfall Canyon hike is still on for Tuesday.  If you aren’t certain who is driving your child, you need to work it out soon.  We have a few parents who are willing to drive; please contact our room mom, Ms. Bethany, bethanyshinault@gmail.com. Remember, prepare for the weather and pack a sack lunch.  We meet at the school first to take attendance.  Thank you.

Parent-teacher conferences are this Monday-Wednesday.  School is out at one.  Check the blog for the sign up sheet.  I look forward to meeting with each of you.  We have much to celebrate.

There is no school Thursday or Friday.

If you want to reach me don’t email me through this blog.  It goes to an email that is rarely used.  Please contact me at Szollinger@mariamontessoriacademy.org.


Ms. Shanan




October 10

Dear parents,

Our wonderful room mother, Ms. Bethany, needs our support in relation to the Fall festival.  If you are new to our school, it is essential that parents are involved and help out with these events and field trips.  Our class is in charge of manning one game that is already organized and helping create another. Manning the station happens in half-hour increments.  She sent out a wejoinin sheet for you to sign up.  Please find that email and see where you can help.  I’m expecting each parent to help in some way.  She also needs donation items to make the second game.  It was kind of her to take on being the room mother; let’s support her.

The fourth grade field trip is this week on Wednesday.  Please have your child at school by 8:00 because the bus leaves at 8:15.  Make sure your student packs a sack lunch (no microwaves) and has a light jacket (is prepared for the weather).  Let your child know that there will be no access to the gift shop.

We need to finalize the rides for the students for the field trip on the 18th.  If you drive, you are welcome to hike with us.  You also can come back for your students.  If you think you can drive to this field trip will you email me.

The Fall Festival is this Friday, October 14.  Please come and have a blast!

The book of this month is fantasy.  Please get your student a book ASAP if you haven’t already.  It doesn’t need to be a large book; it could be between 75-150 pages.

Your student also has an ancestor project due by the end of the month.  Try to at least have who your student will be researching and have your student do the background research this week.


Ms. Shanan

October 3

Dear parents,

How are you?  I hope you got the two (5th-6th) or three (4th) field trip forms for the month of October.  These field trips are so much fun.  In my class, parents arrange their own rides to field trips.  Last year, each field trip, the parents who could attend that field trip offered to drive other students, usually friends of their student, to the field trip.  Through the students and parents carpools would be arranged.  My room mother would facilitate contact between parents and find spots for students who could not find a car pool.  I do a final check to see if everyone has a ride.  Hopefully, patterns will develop among parents and you can each take a turn driving to a field trip.  You’ve probably guessed that you are highly involved in making field trips a success in our room.  Without parent help we couldn’t afford to do very many field trips because buses cost hundreds of dollars to use and my yearly budget for field trips is only a few hundred dollars.  This is also why it is really important that if you can afford to pay for the recommended amount for the field trip found on the form, please do.  Our funds run out fast and our field trips stop.  Lesson:  It takes all of us to give our students the experiences we want them to have.  Thank you.

It is a new month.  For the month of October, your student is responsible to read a fantasy book.  There will not be a book report assigned to this book.  They will need to come up with a simple creative way to share the book at the end of the month.  The goal of these book assignments is simply to get your student trying different kinds of books and to be reading at home.  The assignment at the end of the month is to create accountability to your student not stress for you.  In the end, if your student hasn’t done the work let them own up to it.  Don’t save them.  In Montessori, at this age, there are no grades.  The lesson is in them not being prepared and the continual retry to do better and improve their time management skills.  It isn’t meant to be  parent-buster where you have to run in and do the assignment for them at the last minute.  Everything is done with kindness with your student.  We discuss how they might do better next time and give them some tips.  No stress.

Home Projects are the only other homework you will find in this class besides the book assignment.  If you are new to this school, a home project is a project that you are suppose to be intimately involved in with your student.  It is a way for you to assess and participate in your child’s learning.  Each month, a new home project is assigned.  This month the home project is an Ancestor Report.  I want your student to research someone in his/her family from the past.  It could be a grandma, grandpa, or any relative.  It can go back generations.  Accompanying this specific ancestor will be a family tree for your student’s family line as far as you know it.  You also need to find the origin of your student’s family name.  It also wouldn’t hurt to see if you can find your family’s crest.  This project can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.  Getting really into it gives your student a much more valuable and fun experience.  Along with the fantasy book this assignment is due at the end of month of October.  A rubric will be posted this week on the blog at the top of  the blog as well as a list of possible creative ways to present a book report.


Ms. Shanan

September 26

Hello parents,

Three field trip forms are coming home this week.  The fourth graders are going on a field trip to the American Heritage Center in Cache Valley on October 12.  They will be learning about early Utah history.  They do activities with Native Americans, mountain men and pioneers.  It is always so much fun!

The second and third field trips are for the whole class.  We will be going on a hike up Waterfall Canyon on October 18  and our fall (Halloween) party will be our third field trip.  It will be held on Halloween day (Monday) on October 31st at Holmgren Historical Farm in Tremonton, Utah.  This farm belongs to my husband’s family.  It is the same farm the junior high goes to for their field trips.

Each student will need to bring a pumpkin to carve.  Each student also brings one fun potluck item to share.  One of my favorites is half-cut boiled eggs with olives to make eyeballs.  Parents can also sign up to bring a craft or game.  It is always so much fun!!!

Be looking for more information as it gets closer.

This is the last week to finish the student’s book report. In the event, your child shuts down and everyone starts stressing out just go to the form on this blog for book reports and at the least fill out the form.

Thank you,

Ms. Shanan