Update on the Old Orchard Building

For the past three years, we’ve been involved in a fight to save a school from sale to condo developers due to pressure from the province to liquidate all the TDSB’s real estate holdings. More than anything, this has been a story about the power of community engagement. Things seemed dire at first, but we now have hope that we may succeed where others have not. If we do, it will be because families and friends stood up and claimed this space as a vital community hub. Thanks to Mike Layton, Ausma Malik and David Weaver for helping us navigate this process. I thought it was important to say this now, before the final vote. There is still time to sign the petition in the link below too.



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Science Fair Got a Great Reaction!

We had nineteen participants in this year’s science fair and they covered an array of subject matter from catalysts to the Bernoulli principal. The younger students were asked to do a demonstration with the purpose of teaching them the aspects of the scientific method and letting them have the experience of keeping a lab book, preparing a presentation board and delivering their material verbally. The grade threes were asked to do an actual experiment, formulate a hypothesis, chart and synthesise their data. Upper elementary were asked to identify a research question through a comprehensive research review. Then they had to test their hypothesis, record their results and identify new avenues of research or applications for their work, based on their findings. Every single child fulfilled the criteria, presented beautifully finished projects and appeared to have a great time doing it. The entire school community came out that night to check it out. Nice work, folks!












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West End Phoenix Visits Orchard

Dave Bidini and co-op student Riley from The West End Phoenix visited us today. We spent some time reviewing stories from past issues, including one about a cold cut caper in Beresford Park and another on front yard botany in Little Italy. Then Dave talked about the evolution of the paper and we shared ideas about what makes a good news story. The visit today was in preparation for a cub editing/writing spot they’ve offered us in May’s issue. Under Dave’s guidance, Orchard kids will develop content, write stories and furnish a full page with imagery. Stay tuned!





You can subscribe to The West End Phoenix and read all about it here: https://www.westendphoenix.com/about-us/

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The Orchard Press Hits the Stands February 28th!


All the content is now in and our Deputy Editors in Elementary were hard at work cataloguing creative assets and editing copy. The Winter Issue of The Orchard Press will publish on February 28th. Copies will be sold in the hall at both pickups. The next day, The West End Phoenix is coming in to show us how this is really done.

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Upper Elementary Information Session

Please join from 5 -5.30 in the elementary room to talk about the next step in your child’s Montessori journey. In the fall term, we talked about how a concrete mathematical concept like the trinomial cube that is shown to a child at the age of three becomes a concrete algebraic expression of the Pythagorean theorem in the mind of the lower elementary child. Now we’d like to take you from the peace table in casa to Model UN in Upper Elementary. We will introduce you to the final Great Lesson: The Nation of the Great River which ties together geography, the significance of rivers in human history, structures in society and finally, the study of human anatomy. We have prepared the upper elementary curriculum at Orchard to answer the tendencies in this plane of child development toward abstraction and critical thought. We’d love it if you come out to hear all about it.

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The Suitcase Project

Below is the introduction the children received to a new project we are doing that looks at memory as an experience of migration. Each week, a different child will present their suitcase and we will post photos of each of them as they are completed. To give the children an example to work from , the first two were packed by adults (one teacher/parent and one professor/parent):

Hello Traveller,

 Today you must pack a very special suitcase. This little case that you carry with you will contain all that you are able to bring, apart from the clothes on your back, as you leave home tomorrow to embark on a great journey to a new land. You don’t really know where you are going or how you will travel but it is likely that you will not be coming back for a long time. You may also face challenges on your journey or hardship upon arrival in your new land. When you pack your suitcase, think for a moment about what you consider to be your fundamental needs for this journey. Will you take with you only the things that you hope will secure your physical survival or will you expand your definition to include some things that will act as a balm for your spirit or bring you comfort as you travel far from home? There are just two requirements for this project. The first one is that all your objects must fit into the suitcase so that it closes easily. The second is that one of the objects in your suitcase must tell a story of someone from the past in your family. If you are able to find a story about their experience of migration, that would be ideal. The object could be just the actual story itself or you could also include an object or photograph of them. Just please make sure you write their story down (or have your parents do it) and be ready to share it, along with the contents of your suitcase, next Monday in class.



















































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Elementary Update

We are back in full swing with many new projects on the go so we thought it might be helpful to provide an update for you to follow at home. All students are assigned a poem to commit to memory for recitations which begin at 9am on Monday mornings. Levels two and three have spelling tests immediately afterward. Spelling lists and poems go home in the homework files on Tuesdays.

This week, we assigned Science Fair. Each child has a comprehensive lab book to help them organise and follow their project. Level one and two students were assigned a science demonstration which they will present in class, with a completed lab book and display board on exhibit at science fair on March 6th. Level three students are conducting an experiment for which they must identify and follow the scientific method. Their final project will be presented at science fair. Upper elementary will compete a literature review to develop their research question then follow the scientific method. They will present their experiments, research and findings at science fair.

Level three students continue to work on a novel study of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. They must read the chapters at home and be prepared to do the written follow up in class on Wednesdays. Level two students were assigned Winnie the Pooh which we are reading and discussing aloud in class on Tuesdays. At the end of the novel study, they will complete a “novel in a box” presentation which uses objects to describe an impression from each chapter. Upper Elementary students are completing a drama study, essay assignment and mock trial for Inherit the Wind. As a followup to their work on Animal Farm from last term, they will go to see Soulpepper’s production on March 28th.

In art, the children are working toward a self portrait collage. They use reflection to complete studies that capture different expressions and methods. Last week, they used sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt as inspiration and this week they are learning continuous line technique.Their completed work will contain a still life aspect and each has been given an envelope to collect their collage items in for the final project. We have emailed out the instructions the children received in French as well as an English translation for you to help them collect their collage items.

We are completing final drafts of the articles for The Orchard Press. This term, Orchard will guest edit a spread for The West End Phoenix for which we will pick up some of these articles. If you have additional content, we need to know about it by January 26th to fit it into this issue.

Next week we are looking forward to introducing The Suitcase Project. The project is aimed at studying the experience of migration through significant objects. Each week, a different child will draw a luggage tag to take home the suitcase. They are asked to imagine they are leaving home forever the next day and must fill their suitcase with things from home. One of these things must tell a story about their family from the past. Parents will be asked to supply a migration story from their family’s history as well as a family tree so we can trace the patterns of origin of the class on the large world map. The child whose turn it is will present their suitcase in conference on Monday afternoon. They will share both the contents of their suitcase and the story of their relative’s arrival in Canada.

We continue to visit High Park Nature Centre on Fridays to compliment our studies in Botany and Zoology. Children are working independently at their own pace on classifying vertebrates and invertebrates by their internal and external characteristics, studying the world biomes and working with the tree of life models. Upper elementary will expand their work from The River Project to complete comprehensive studies in human anatomy, culminating with a dissection of a cow’s heart later in the spring term. Concurrently, they will advance in their studies in chemistry, beginning with the Bohr models of the periodic table.

Finally, Nick Arseneau will continue to teach voice, ukulele and theory to the classes. They are broken into two groups based on age and musical experience. Children should bring their ukuleles and music folders to school each Monday and follow the assigned practice drills.

We are booking observations in elementary for interested parents on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9am. Please email Holly if you’d like to set one up.

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Have a peaceful holiday. See you on January 2nd.

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Grammar Work

Sometimes the work makes itself up on the spot. A few weeks ago, the children were given the preposition presentation which is always enjoyed because we use a small tea set for it and they get to use delicious words like “capacious”. The next step is to see if they can apply the parts of speech they’ve been shown in isolation to a practical context. A group of elementary children spent the morning symbolising the parts of speech using a poem called Transformations by Tadeusz Rozewicz. The intention was for them to use things in their environment such as conversations they copied down or a few lines from a text. One of them suggested using the poem they were assigned for recitation and they ended up parsing the whole thing.





There are a group of third year children in casa who are currently working their way through first stage of parts of speech presentations also. They will be ready to do this next year.

A Reminder About Tonight’s Performance

Please join us in the gym at 5.45 for a mid-term choral presentation by the elementary music program (directed by Nick Arseneau) and a new original composition called The Seabirds from our after school Limon dance club (led by Emily Saunders).

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Algebra and Gratitude

We are feeling grateful for the enthusiasm parents have expressed for the school over the past week. The elementary lecture night was well attended. We walked interested parents though the presentation of the numeric and algebraic expressions of the trinomial cube. In the days leading up to it, our students worked hard to expand some of the more complex extensions of the topic such as squaring the decanomial, cube roots and using both insets of equivalence and constructive triangles to prove the Theory of Pythagoras. These kids never need to be asked twice to do their math!

Today we finished the last fall term interviews in both casa and elementary. Interview Day is a wonderful opportunity to share reflections on your child’s experience at school. From those attending their child’s first interview to our seasoned veterans in Upper Elementary, thank you so much for the commitment you have made to your child’s education.

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