Cedar Room Blog
November 1, 2019: Each day after lunch the Cedar children have a quiet, individual reading time and then listen to a read-aloud book at circle. We have recently finished our first read-aloud chapter book, Younguncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh. It was a humorous and delightful tale set in India about a young man’s adventures with his nieces and nephew. Whenever we finish a chapter book in Cedar Room, the children write about the story and draw a picture.
It has been a pleasure to hear the children discuss their impressions and to read their reflections about the parts of the story they most enjoyed. One child even chose to write their response in the form of a letter to the main character, Younguncle. The characters and various episodes from the book have been coming to life through the children’s drawings. Many have chosen to share their artwork on the classroom walls
October 16, 2019: Autumn is in this air and we have just begun our study of the leaf and its very important work of making food for the plant through the process of photosynthesis. As the colors change we will be collecting leaf specimens and beginning to categorize the leaves that we find.
October 1, 2019: It’s hard to believe September is over and we are heading into our second month at school!
September 17, 2019: It has been a lively and enjoyable start to the 2019-2020 school year here in the Cedar Room! The children have returned to school eager to get started with new lessons and engage in their work.
Prior to the arrival of our new group of first year students, we had many discussions about expectations for how we will work and take care of our classroom throughout the year. The older children prepared skits about the practical life aspects of the classroom, from how to clean up at the end of a work cycle to how to include others in games at recess. They will be performing these skits for the new students, helping orient them to how we do things in the Cedar Room. It is deeply encouraging to witness the older children’s willingness to help new children and welcome them into our community.
May 31, 2019: As the school year comes to a close, the Cedar students are busy finishing up work and projects so they can come back ready for many new lessons in the fall. The third year students have been visiting Upper Elementary for lessons and planning their annual Fun Day, where they lead activities for the whole class. We have also enjoyed welcoming incoming primary students for lessons and a sing-along with our class.
May 17, 2019: This week the Lower Elementary children have enjoyed playing marimbas with Mary Donohoe, a returning and beloved musical guest. They will continue practicing with her intensively next week, and give a performance next Thursday. During recess, it has been fun to hear them try out the rhythms they are learning on our outdoor instruments.
May 2, 2019: Our camp trip to the coast was a great success! The children learned about marine mammals, coastal birds and dissected squid in their interest groups with a camp instructor. We also had the opportunity to go on a tide pooling excursion, led by Oregon State Park Rangers. The children saw many fascinating organisms, from invertebrates like sea urchins, sea stars and anemones to a mother harbor seal and her newborn pup.
April 18, 2019: We are eagerly awaiting and preparing for our upcoming camping trip to the Oregon coast. The Cedar children have been researching and writing about coastal and marine life and environments, becoming more familiar with the habitat we will explore at camp. The excitement is tangible – children are drawing chalk messages like, “Camp is awesome!” at recess, sharing stories about camp from previous years, and chatting about what this year’s trip might be like.
March 19, 2019: More field trips to report! We recently had the pleasure of visiting the Portland Art Museum as a class. In small groups, the children viewed a number of pieces in the museum and explored what each piece might reveal about the artist. The tour guides invited thoughtful dialogue among the children about mood, color, story, movement and other elements, and encouraged the children to look carefully and sometimes even move or pose like the figures in a piece. There were also moments to observe or sketch in silent reflection.
March 5, 2019: The end of February has been full of delights for the Cedar room. We were glad to welcome a student teacher from Montessori Northwest, Kristin Kintanar, who observed and gave many lessons. Originally from the Philippines, she shared some of her rich cultural heritage, including a folktale of why bamboo bends in the wind and a traditional Philippine folk song.
February 15, 2019: Amidst daily work and lessons, there’s been a lot to talk about in the Cedar room this month. We started off with a story about how a Roman ruler gave February its name, from the Latin word februa, which means, “to make clean.” The ruler chose this name as it was a time of year when purification ceremonies were often held, and people reflected on “making clean” past wrongs they had done.
On the 14th, the children each made a valentine after hearing a story about St. Valentine. Int he story, a king of old forbade soldiers to wed because he thought they would be more willing to fight for his kingdom. Saint Valentine was known for performing marriage ceremonies in secret for these soldiers.
We have also been discussing and celebrating Black History Month. During our read aloud time, we have been hearing about the lives and work of black poets, leaders, musicians, and scientists, among others, who have made important contributions throughout US history.
January 30, 2019: Lately, the Cedar room has been buzzing with talk of “going out.” Third year students in the class have begun planning outings they’ll take in a group of two to three students. The older students are in charge of planning the trip, and include younger peers in tasks like making phone calls and writing directions. Some are thinking of going to museums, like the Oregon Historical Society, others are interested in learning more about zoology and pet care by visiting the Animal Humane Society or the Oregon Zoo, while others are hoping to learn more about a specific topic and finding ways to connect with experts on subjects like heart health or electricity.
January 15, 2019: We are glad to be back in the Cedar Room at the start of a new year! The children have been diving right back into work and lessons, and the classroom has been bustling.
December 14, 2018: We have enjoyed watching the salmon as they transition from the alevin to the fry stage. They are swimming about the aquarium and will be ready for release soon. We will be taking a class trip to Rood Bridge Park for their sendoff into the Tualatin River next week.
December 2, 2018: This week, a former MSB student came to visit our class as part of a service project for her school, with the mission of encouraging children to learn how to play a musical instrument. She and her classmate performed familiar tunes on their violins and spoke about the importance of playing music in their lives. The children asked thoughtful questions about reading music and how often to practice, and many were excited to share which instruments they were already learning to play.
We are excited to announce that the salmon have all hatched! The Cedar children have enjoyed observing the alevins darting across the gravelly bottom of the aquarium as they learn to swim. We have scheduled our field trip to release the salmon in the Tualatin River at Rood Bridge Park for Thursday, December 20th.
November 16, 2018: The Cedar room students have been busy preparing lessons to give to their parents for the lower elementary open house. It has been fun to see them taking on the role of the teacher and sharing a chosen lesson with peers during work time. As a class, we have also been doing a great deal of writing, from fiction and non-fiction narratives to various forms of poetry. The children continue to watch the progress of the salmon eggs: each week a small group has a chance to monitor water quality and conditions that are needed to keep the salmon healthy. The eggs have begun to wiggle, and we are eagerly awaiting the moment that they reach the alevin stage: where they emerge from their eggs as tiny fish with a yolk sack attached to their bellies.
October 30, 2018: In the Cedar room, we recently received about 250 chinook salmon eggs from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. We have been learning about salmon biology, and will be observing the eggs as they develop in the classroom. Once the eggs have hatched and reach the fry stage, we will release them as a class. We have also enjoyed opportunities to do square dancing, felting, and weaving with visiting experts.
October 10, 2018: As we begin our school year, the children are working on creating a time capsule that we will open at the end of the year. Each child is contributing a decorated outline of their hand (to see how much it grows over the year), a drawing, and five sentences about what they hope to achieve or would like to have happen by the end of the year.
Dana Ten Broeck
Salutations! I am Dana Ten Broeck, the teacher in the Cedar Room. Having begun my Montessori journey as a child in New Mexico, I am thrilled to have come full circle and be teaching in a Lower Elementary Montessori classroom. Before joining the wonderful MSB community in 2017, I was a Lower Elementary assistant at two Portland-area Montessori schools and led a 1st through 5th-grade classroom in Corvallis, Oregon. I completed my Montessori Elementary training here in Portland, at Montessori Northwest in 2015 and received an M.Ed in Montessori Education through Loyola University of Maryland in 2016. I am a lover of nature and the arts. In my spare time, I enjoy playing music, hiking, gardening and birdwatching with my husband, Andrew.
My name is Felix and I am excited to be joining the Cedar Room this year. I received my AMI Elementary diploma from Montessori Northwest in 2018 and attended Loyola University in Maryland to finish my Master’s degree in Education in 2019. I was born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, where I attended a public Montessori school for eight years. My hobbies include singing in an a cappella group, playing guitar and ukulele, creative writing, and cooking.
- December 7, 9am
- January 11, 9am
- February 22, 9am
- March 19, 6pm
- April 9, 6pm
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