Have you wondered what happens in the Montessori Cycle Three (9-12yrs) classroom? This term Caspar started in the Cycle Three class and I've asked him a few questions about his experience. His new classroom has around 46 students, two teachers, and one class assistant.
You recently transitioned from the Cycle Two (6-9yrs) class to the Cycle Three (9-12yrs) class. Can you tell us a little about the transition process, how did that work?
The first part of the transition is an observation. We observe the students in the class and answer a few questions on a clipboard. A couple of weeks later we have a tour. The class director shows us around the classroom where everything is. Then about two weeks later we have our first visit for the morning. Then the week after we have full day visits. On week 10 we stay in our Cycle Two classroom to finish our work. In the next term, I fully transitioned and became a full student of the class.
So you feel the transition process was really smooth?
No for making friends but for getting work done it was quite easy.
What does your new classroom (Cycle Three) look like?
It's split into two rooms connected by a kitchen. One teacher stays on each side and teaches the lessons on the subjects they specialize in. That subject's shelves are located in the room that the teacher specializes in.
So you have two teachers and each teacher has one side of the classroom that they teach in? What topics do they teach?
Yes. One is history and language and the other is maths and science.
What about other areas like art or music?
They both do art and we have a special teacher on Thursday for music.
Do you have any other special teachers?
We also have a PE teacher on Thursday. Our French teacher comes on Thursdays.
What do you do in a typical school day?
When I get to the classroom we get our trays and plan our work for the day. Then after we have planned our day there is silence for one hour. The work I do is different every day. After the hour of silence, snack passes are given out. After snack, we get back to our work until pack up. After pack up we sit on the mat for a talk and then we are dismissed for lunch. After lunch, we have silent reading. I'm not sure for how long. Next, we plan our afternoon work and we get to work. At the end of the day we sit together on the mat and discuss issues in the classroom and upcoming events. Then we get to go home.
What type of work have you been doing this week?
All subjects. Maths, science, history, language.
What are the differences between your Cycle Two class and your Cycle Three class?
The main difference is the two rooms. Both have their own doors which are connected by the kitchen. We have more computers in the Cycle Two classroom. There is pretty much no other differences.
Are there any different rules or processes?
In Cycle Three we get new jobs every three weeks. Jobs like cleaning different rooms, setting the tables for lunch. We put our work to be edited in a tray then two or one day later it is in the return to sender tray.
So if you want your teacher to look at your work you put it in the editing tray?
Is there anything else that is different?
You said you have more computers, when do you use the computers? Can you use them when you want?
Yes. We use them when we are doing research or printing documents.
What about class pets? Do you have any in your Cycle Three classroom?
Yes, we have chickens and one blue-tongue lizard.
You've had to learn how to look after these pets?
Yes. When I had to look after the chickens on the super clean, the super clean is big clean we have every Friday, I picked up a chicken then it flew off when I was holding it and it flew into my face.
What do you like most about your Cycle Three class?
My new friends and the pets. I enjoy the different work.
I know some of the processes in the classroom are unique to this class, just as all Montessori classrooms have their differences. I love the idea of an hour of silence in the mornings! The super clean on Fridays is a fantastic idea. I also love that for the first time Caspar is learning how to care for chickens. I know that Caspar has loved the work in the classroom and has thrived academically although has found the social side difficult (and leaving behind his friends in Cycle Two). Caspar only turned nine last week so he is the youngest in his class. I hope you enjoyed this little interview!