Adolescence is a time of great upheaval, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  To attempt to force young teens into pursuits of a purely intellectual nature is frustrating at best.  At MSW, utilizing the latest research and Montessori philosophy, we meet the needs of the adolescent offering an environment which allows them to transition smoothly from childhood to the fledgling young adults they are becoming.  The environment is student centered and incorporates a variety of instructional practices including seminar, multi-layered projects, individual and group work time, and an interwoven curriculum.  Students learn self-sufficiency and are given the opportunity to self-construct and develop value within adult society.  Appropriate responsibilities and expectations, both academic and social, are put into place giving them the chance to experience the joy of success and to prepare them for high school, college, and beyond.


Middle School Newsletter

January 2017


“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

~ Maria Robinson


Happy New Year! We wish you all a healthful and joyful 2017. This month, the students will be completing cycle 6 and then beginning cycle 7. Cycle 7 will be focusing on the theme of Perceptions of Power and we shall be learning about the World Wars from the viewpoints of various people. Science will focus on nuclear power generation, while for literature we shall be reading Anne Frank. We are planning a field study to the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute at the beginning March. Once we have the trip booked, we’ll let you know and anyone who is interested in chaperoning is more than welcome to sign-up. The Perceptions of Power cover sheet is at the end of this newsletter.


Dates to Remember

January 1:           Tuition Due

January 2:           Teacher In-Service Day, NO School

January 3:           School Resumes

January 13:          Journey through the classrooms, 6:30pm @ MSW

January 16:          No school (Dr. Martin Luther King)


Once Again…

Thank you to everyone…

  • For the beautiful Christmas gifts
  • For those who drove us to Tippecanoe Battlefield
  • And to Rex Rund for sharing his knowledge of Morris dancing.


Reading Fair


Book titles for the Reading Fair need to be turned in by January 9. Books can either be fiction or non-fiction.


Merciful Help Center

We shall be continuing our work with The Merciful Help Center this semester. Drivers are always needed to transport our volunteers there each Tuesday morning. Sign-up Genius will have volunteer slots available for the coming few months if you are able. Thank you so much. It means so much to the students to be able to go and do some meaningful work within the community.


8th Grade Trip

This year’s 8th grade field study will be to Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. The trip will be a culmination of their studies this year with a focus on Lincoln, the American Civil War, and the foundations of government. Please remember that payment is due by February 1. Checks may be made payable to MSW PTO.


What Do Teenagers Want? Potted Plant Parents

Curious? I was when Amber Bruner (Elementary 1) shared this with me. I now share it with you and highly recommend you read it. Here is the link:


Silent Journey and Discovery

The Silent Journey is slated for January 13, starting at 6:30 PM. This is a parent-only event, and it is one of the best ways that parents can be presented the benefits of the curriculum and philosophy of a Montessori environment. Although most of you have proven your commitments to Montessori, there is still much to take away from coming to the Silent Journey. Not only is there a chance to see the sequence and cyclical nature of Dr. Montessori’s “Planes” child development, there is plenty of time to chat and have a fun time away from the children.   RSVP as soon as you can to or 317-867-0158.


A Few Words from Maria…

The adolescent’s social formation must now begin, and the individual must be given social experience.”

~ Maria Montessori, Education and Peace


Erika & Beth


Perceptions of Power

Cycle 7


“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”


~Anaïs Nin



Power is a tremendous force in life. Those who wield the blade of virtue, compassion, and honor spread hope, help, and empowerment, whereas those who unsheathe the blade of abuse, spread oppression, powerlessness, and even the deaths of multitudes.


Power can feed the hungry, find cures for diseases, and bring peace to nations. But, power can lead to downfall, too. Power wears many clothes and it is deeply affected by our perceptions of it and its effects. What if our perceptions affect our ability to see what is right and what is wrong? What is beneficial and what is damaging?


Power and our perceptions of it, have molded the world around us, at the same time as creating potentially life-changing possibilities for us as individuals and societies. When it comes to perception, there is no such thing as objectivity. Imagine how this knowledge might impact such world changing events as the world wars. Is there a simple cause and effect for each one? What about power generation? Which is better, coal or nuclear generated electricity?


The potential for questions is endless, so during cycle 7, you will be exploring the subjectivity of our perceptions both in history and today. You will look at each of the World Wars through the eyes of some of the people involved and learn about the power of speech. You will consider power generation and what that means for both the environment and us. Throughout it all, you will continue our journey of mindfulness and hopefully learn how we see ourselves see, understanding that each of us has the power to choose our responses.


“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Guiding Questions


  1. What is power?
  2. Why is it important to be aware of our own and others’ perceptions?
  • Do wars have to be fought?
  1. What role does chemistry play in our lives?


What will you learn?


  1. How World War I impacted America.
  2. A German perception of World War I.
  • How one German tried to resist the might of Hitler and the Nazis.
  1. What life was like for Anne Frank and others in hiding during World War II
  2. Understand the power of speech and how effective speeches impact our perceptions
  3. Different kinds of power generation and why our choices matter.


What will you do?


         Project Work


  1. Become spies – well code breakers actually – and learn about the history of codes and cyphers as well as building a model of an Enigma machine.


         Class Work


  1. Practice solving codes and cyphers like the code breakers of Bletchley Park
  2. Participate in seminar using visual media
  • Write and present persuasive speeches and essays


         Skill Development


  1. Understand the importance of failure.
  2. Incorporate mindfulness practice into your own lives
  • Demonstrate leadership and citizenship skills
  1. Strengthen group work through collaboration and cooperation
  2. Define your role as individuals within the classroom and school community














Cycle 6: Forces


“Life has its own hidden forces, which you can only discover by living.”


~ Soren Kierkegaard



Forces – what comes to mind? Tornadoes? Earthquakes? Maybe volcanoes? Perhaps you think of physics and forces such as gravity and inertia. Or maybe, the only thing that comes to mind is Darth Vader and Star Wars! Whatever the word forces evokes in you, in reality, all forces in nature may be classified into just four types: gravitational (holds together the universe at large, plus the atmosphere, water, and us to the planet Earth), electromagnetic (binds electrons to atoms and atoms to one another), strong nuclear (holds the nucleus together), and weak nuclear (certain types of nuclear reactions).


The first two types of force, gravitation and electromagnetism, are those that are of primary interest to us as humans because they impact our world and its environmental systems. They also form the basis of our most prevalent sources for energy technologies.


As adolescents, you are exposed to these forces of nature, which shape the world around you, but you are also formed by social forces, which impact the development of your identity, your behavior, and even your brain.


This cycle, you will have the opportunity to learn how physical forces impact your lives on a daily basis, how social forces have shaped the country and state in which you live, and how they influence you as an individual.


Guiding Questions


  1. What is a social force?
  2. What role do forces play in our lives?
  3. How do ideas cause revolution?
  4. How can fiction be used as a force for change?



What Will You Learn?


  1. Delve into the study of physics, with a focus on the physics of motion.
  2. Go back in time to the 18th century and discover the similarities and differences between the French and American Revolutions.
  3. Learn about the ideals behind the Russian Revolution through the allegorical story of Animal Farm.
  4. Discover what life was like for the Woodland Indians at the turn of the 19th century and how the Battle of Tippecanoe affected both their lives and those of white settlers in Indiana.
  5. Identify some of the forces that impact your development as an adolescent.


What Will You Do?


Project Work

  1. Create a poster on either the French or American Revolution, which will teach your classmates about important events and people.
  2. Design, develop, and create a skateboard park that demonstrates the physics of motion.



  1. Participate and lead in community meetings, discussions, and lessons
  2. Contribute by actively participating in and being prepared for seminar.
  3. Actively take the initiative to do your own work and help your classmates when needed.
  4. Use your SOLO time effectively to recharge yourself for your day ahead.
  5. Contribute to class discussions and seminars.
  6. Give thoughtful feedback to classmates and teachers.


Skill Development

  1. Develop your mindfulness into more aspects of your daily life
  2. Manage time wisely between individual and group assignments
  3. Organize your work space and cubby
  4. Strengthen your critical thinking, speaking, writing, and researching
  5. Annotate readings with increased depth and understanding
















Montessori School of Westfield

Technology Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)


The use of computer devices (including personal electronic devices), the computer network, and Internet access is a privilege extended to students at the Montessori School of Westfield (MSW). Our goal is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. These guidelines are provided so parents and students are aware of the responsibilities required to use this technology.


Please read this document carefully and sign at the bottom. Computer/network use at MSW may be revoked if a student does not adhere to these guidelines.


  1. Acceptable Use: My use of computer devices, the Internet, and the MSW network must be in support of education and research within the educational goals and objectives of MSW.


Transmission of any material in violation of U.S., State, or school regulations is prohibited. This includes copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, or material restricted by MSW policy or staff. The MSW network includes the use of MSW computers (including handhelds), and computer peripherals, as well as the use of the MSW network services such as the Internet, wireless network, MSW e-mail/web services accounts, and online files/documents.


  1. Privacy: I understand that students have NO expectation of computer privacy. MSW will monitor computer, e-mail, and Internet use.


  1. Personal Responsibility: As a member of our MSW community, I will accept responsibility for proper use of MSW technology and for reporting any misuse of MSW technology. My use of MSW technology will meet the guidelines below:


  1. I will respect the privacy and dignity of students and teachers at all times.


  1. I will not use, copy, or delete another user’s files, folders, or passwords.


  1. I will keep my own passwords private, and I will not share passwords with a friend.


  1. I will use appropriate language by refraining from the use of profanity or insulting language.


  1. Offensive messages (such as on Facebook or Twitter posts) that originate outside of MSW but disrupt MSW’S educational process may be subject to MSW consequences.


  1. I will respect MSW equipment. I will not vandalize or damage it intentionally.


  1. I will only use software that is approved by MSW.


  1. Internet Safety: The Internet provides opportunities to access resources, but it also provides unique risks to students. MSW provides filtered and monitored access to the Internet, but to ensure my safety:


  1. I will not give out personal information such as my full name, phone number, or address.


  1. I will not give out personal information about someone else, such as his/her name, phone number, or address.


  1. I will not correspond or meet with someone through the Internet without the pre-approval of a teacher.


  1. I will only access or download sites appropriate for MSW classes or activities.


  1. I will immediately report any technology use that makes me feel uncomfortable or violates MSW policies.


  1. While on MSW property, I will only use the email account provided by MSW.


  1. Use of Personal Computers/Devices: The use of personal computers at MSW is encouraged. But, while my computer is at MSW:


  1. I will treat it as if it’s a MSW computer. All of the rules of Acceptable Use, Privacy, Personal Responsibility, and Internet Safety apply.


  1. I understand that if a MSW teacher is concerned about potentially inappropriate use, the MSW teacher may ask to see my computer and/or temporarily confiscate the device.


  1. I understand that if a MSW teacher or staff member is concerned that a Federal, State, or Local law has been broken, the MSW teacher or staff member may turn my device over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.


  1. I will not use the device at times, or in ways that, in the MSW teachers’ judgment interfere with learning. I will comply with MSW teachers’ directions to turn off the computer and put it away.


  1. I will not leave the computer/device at MSW overnight. I understand that MSW is not responsible for any lost, damage, of stolen property.


  1. Use of Cell Phones: The use of cell phones by students at MSW is prohibited.


  1. I will turn off my cell phone upon entering MSW, put it in my backpack, and may only use it with the permission of a MSW teacher or staff member.


  1. I understand that I MAY use my cell phone in an emergency to call 911.


  1. Other Cellular Devices: Because devices capable of accessing cellular networks cannot be monitored by MSW, the use of these devices is prohibited on MSW property.


  1. E-Mail/Communication Safety: E-mail and other online communication services provide opportunities for students, but they require careful use. I will follow the guidelines below when using MSW email:
  2. I will only use an e-mail account at MSW to communicate:


  1. With my teacher


  1. With another MSW teacher or staff member


  1. With MSW students in my class for assignments or other school-related e-mail


  1. I will NOT use MSW e-mail account for any other communication.


  1. I understand that the use of instant messaging and chat rooms is prohibited.


  1. When accessing MSW e-mail or other MSW-related resources from locations outside MSW, all of the aforementioned rules still apply.


I understand and agree to the provisions and conditions of this contract. Both student and parent must sign and return this form to MSW by September 12 to use computers and personally owned electronic devices at MSW.


Student Name: ________________________________________________________________



Student Signature: ____________________________________________________________ Date: ________________________________



Parent Signature: _____________________________________________________________ Date: ________________________________