What does a peer-review session look like in the AP?

Today, we had the first draft of our humanities research paper due. Every trimester we bring two copies of our papers to be edited by our peers in a peer-edit session. We are also required to write a memo with questions, suggestions, and comments for our editors. Each editor has a checklist. We are looking for a thesis, proper grammar, punctuation and all the things you need for a nice research paper (introduction, body, and conclusion). Our papers need to meet the requirements and have in-text citations. We use color markers to edit. We will turn in our final copy next week.



Trimester 2 Math Projects

Do you have a career that is based around science? If so, then your career involves a lot of math. Even if you don’t have a career in science, then you still might be curious about what people in those fields do. These students were definitely interested in many careers and branches of science. From Astronomy to Zoology, there was a wide variety in the fields of science that the students chose. The students then researched specific ways of how math is used in those sciences. Then in a great variety of ways, the students demonstrated these examples. Those examples that the students shared, connected well to their studies in Algebra, so everyone was able to understand what was going on. Everyone’s presentations were great, enjoyable and fun!



Wash U Visit

Today the students visited the campus of Washington University of St. Louis and toured the buildings that house the recently renamed (like, yesterday) Mckelvey Engineering Department. Following the tour, the students participated in a panel discussion where undergraduate students in the department shared their insight on an engineering career in today’s rapidly evolving workplace as well as the mindset that young students should have when deciding on a course of study or career. We all were amazed by the amount and quality of the labs and projects in the department.


~ Mr. Mike


AP Winter Retreat 2019!

The adolescents had a great time at Shaw Nature Reserve. The cabins there were really nice. They were heated and had bunk beds! Our morning routine was waking up, some earlier than others, to begin prep for breakfast. We had a very organized crew of cooking and cleaning. After breakfast, we had a program where we learned about wetlands and the unique ecosystems at Shaw.  We also discussed literature and had free time to play cards and read. We went hiking all of the days with an educator who shared with us nature stuff.  The very last day we went to Washington University’s Tyson Research Center to learn about wolves. The Endangered Wolf Center at Tyson protects wolfs and releases them. They had some of the most endangered species of wolves on the planet and Painted African Dog pups! All in all, the trip was great and the incoming adolescents have something to look forward to next year. 


Week in Review-Friday, January 18

SNOW! This week was all about snow! Instead of a normal Monday math seminar, the week began with a morning of cross-country skiing at CMS! With help from my dad (thanks dad!), everyone had a pair of skis and tracks to follow. It was hard not to fall over from the joy and laughter, and just as hard to stay upright with our attempts at downhill skiing. Skiing was a very enjoyable activity, and one of my highlights from this week’s snow activities.

The next day, we went sledding down a nice big hill in the back of the GTC. The most fun part of sledding was going down the hill in a chain where we would hold on to each other’s sleds and hope we would not crash.

We also went to a play at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis called Alabama Story. Set in 1959, Alabama Story centered around a librarian and her conflict with an Alabama senator who wanted to censor a book titled The Rabbits Wedding by Garth Williams. We had great conversations about censorship, freedom of speech, and banned books in class.

We continued to go sledding the rest of the week but the snow was melting. We got pretty wet and muddy, but that didn’t stop us.

Of course, this week was still a school week, so we spent time indoors having lessons and working on projects. Some memorable activities included the following:

  • literature discussion of the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
  •  Rediscovering Ancient Nubia Before It’s Too Late seminar speeches (these were very informative and expressed what students found most important from the article)
  • occupations seminar (which was actually three articles all discussing the impact of modern technology on schools as well as the future)
  • mock interviews (practice for interviews that we might have later in our future). These interviews were also a follow up to our lesson on how to prepare for an interview

We also have been busy planning our overnight to Shaw Nature Reserve next week and are hoping that our trip will not get snowed out.

And, last but not least, we started preparing for our upcoming Presentation Day by assigning groups and deciding on our research topics, but we do not want to spoil it for you so early. We had a very eventful and busy week. Have a great weekend!





Week in Review-Friday, January 11

Hello there! How is your week going? We have had a very eventful week! The week started out very sloooowwwww, because everyone was recovering from a nice long break. We started off with a very quiet current events discussion. We talked about things from climate change to President Trump. This week (in math) the seventh graders were working on solving their way through inequalities. The eighth graders (and Carson) have been reviewing things to make sure they are completely ready for math programs in high school. Everyone switched to language after the math workshop. The class is working on interviewing skills along with some grammar rules.
On Monday afternoon we presented our African map projects. We had worked on these in pairs over the break, so there was a lot to share!

Tuesday was a very eventful day. We had a database/EBSCO Host specialist named Rebecca visit our class. Rebecca is an experienced reference librarian at the St. Louis County Library. She helped us with writing researching papers. Shortly after her presentation, we made our way over to the main campus to work on our classroom iris bed. We cleared all the dead foliage and cut out the rotten irises.

Wednesday was AWESOME! The class split into 2 groups (boys and girls). The two teams created Rube Goldberg machines. We had SO much fun! We spent the afternoon playing chess with a special guest named Joey (Ms. Corrinne’s son). We did not want it to end. We spent the rest of the afternoon training for our spring trip, where we will be hiking up mountain peaks.

Thursday was a slower day. We had a few projects due and we had a seminar in humanities. For this seminar, we did something a little different. We were assigned to write a speech about the article. Before the seminar we had the head of school, Ms. Kim, come in for a grace and courtesy lesson. Shortly after we had a very informative meeting about or spring trip. We discussed the agenda and when we needed to be at the airport (4:30 AM!). We will be traveling across the country to Olympic National Park in Washington state the week after Spring Break.

Today, we are all hoping for a half day for snow. When we arrived we had our morning meeting that transitioned into our council meeting. After that, we had a long work period. In the afternoon we made paper mache masks, then we made our way home for the weekend, where we have a TON of homework… yay…  Overall the week was very eventful and fun and we are looking forward to another great week.



Week in Review-Friday, December 14

We started this week off with a classic current events discussion. Monday and Tuesday were pretty average days, but that was as average as the week got. From Wednesday on it got exciting!

Wednesday was a great expressions day. From the grasses we harvested last week at our land campus, we attempted to make baskets. Some students weaved the grasses together to create a placemat or coaster, while others coiled the grass with string to make a small basket. You may see these grasses at the Winter Market Day!

Meanwhile, some students watched a play based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as a follow up from reading the play aloud. We also had our third discussion of the book, Life of Pi by Yann Martel. In the afternoon, to end the day, we walked the course of the Candy Cane Dash event that was later this week and prepared for it by assigning roles.

This Thursday, our class went on a going out to learn about African art at the St. Louis Art Museum. At first, we explored some other art in the museum. This included ancient Mesopotamian pots, medieval armor, 1970’s architectural chairs, and contemporary paintings. One interesting artist (Kehinde Wiley) replaced historical depictions of white figures with images of contemporary African-Americans from North St. Louis and Ferguson. The people posed in the same positions as the people in the old paintings. He then painted their photographs with patterns of flowers in the background.

The African art talk we went to was also very fun. The curator of the African art, who was also the speaker, spoke mostly about the gods and goddesses of the Yoruba culture, and the exhibit presented was about Yoruba artwork. Here are some cool facts we learned about the Yoruba people. They believe that people have two heads: The outer head of which people can see, and, more importantly, the inner head where people receive wisdom. They put these ideas into their art using big eyes. Big eyes symbolize a very wise inner head.

Later on Thursday, we also had our first Occupations seminar. We discussed opinions on self-driving cars, robotic animals, Artificial Intelligence, and the engineering workforce.

On Friday, we went to the CMS gym for some PE in the morning. The activities included dodgeball, bean bag tag, and basketball. Everyone participated in the fun and successfully got rid of their excess energy so that we could take the rest of the day seriously. After PE we walked and marked the course for the Candy Cane Dash, preparing for later in the day. It was a wet walk and some of us stayed behind but everyone who marked the course completed their task!


Week in Review: Friday, December 7

T2 is off to a great start! 

In humanities, the Adolescents are studying ancient African civilizations and their influence on the world. They worked on maps of Africa in groups. The subjects for these maps are as follows: Climate, Vegetation/Land Forms, Ancient Civilizations/sites, Languages, Tribes, and Trade Routes. The class also participated in seminars on African geography and the challenges of archaeology in such an expansive continent.

In math, the 8th graders worked on factoring for the week while the 7th graders performed an interesting marble experiment in the community room that involved slope.

In language, the class practiced public speaking. To hone their powers in this regard, Ms. Jenna gave them exercises to do which included tongue twisters, improv comedy, and the like. The activities were really fun and they gave the group more experience in facing an audience and delivering what they need to say.

In Latin, the Adolescents continued to improve their vocabulary with some new words like sacculus (sack) and pecunia (money). The group also read some passages from the Latin book to work on pronunciation.

In art, the group created a wide variety of displays including LEGO self-portraits and “experiments” with tape on the wall. They worked on them for almost the entirety of Friday morning and the finished products look great!

Classroom News:

On Wednesday, the Adolescents took a trip to the Land School Campus to inspect the property and to harvest the tall grass there for an upcoming Micro-Economy project.

On Thursday, the class welcomed CMS Head of School, Ms. Kim to the building to give the students a lesson on grace and courtesy. We greatly appreciated her visit as it helped the class to acknowledge the “finer” things in life and to pay more attention to detail.

This week marked the debut of street hockey at our school. Let the games commence…

~ CK


Term 1 is Done!

12 weeks goes by fast when you are having fun.

Trimester 1 Presentation Day!

Restoration at the Land Campus (native plants, salamanders, toads, birds, butterflies, and bees)

Inequalities, math pathways, and seminar

Market Days (tables, windchimes, black-walnut coasters, candles, and apple butter)

Edmund A. Babler State Park Overnight

Scary stories (Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Monkey’s Paw, Three Skeleton Key, Sleepy Hollow, The Little Mermaid, The Pit and the Pendulum)

Time to reflect, relax, engage, and enjoy the company of others

Energy (farms, life, flow/transfer, photosynthesis)

Research papers (religion, geography/climate, trade, astrology, time, military, civilization, writing, medicine)

1 AWESOME Group of Adolescents!


The Adolescents’ Work in the Micro-economy.

It may be no surprise to those who have been following the activities of the adolescents, but our Fall Trimester has been incredibly engaging and productive. A cursory review of the blog from only the first two months of school reveals the varied and numerous activities of the adolescents. There have been events planned, prepared, and hosted; business ideas researched, promoted, and marketed; materials harvested; products created and sold; money exchanged.

If you are a product of traditional education (myself included) and you are unfamiliar with Montessori theory at the adolescent level, some of what we do here in the AP may not seem like ‘school’ activities or ‘academic’ in nature. We strive to ensure that the students have frequent opportunities for meaningful social interaction within the community and society. Montessori says,

The school which gives only academics, which separates intelligence from practical society, is no longer valid…the school itself is not the goal (learning for learning’s sake is torture!) but rather that learning has a practical application that it can unite and nourish life. It then suddenly becomes a brilliant and living thing.”

~ Maria Montessori, XXIII International                                                                                         

Montessori Course in “The Erdkinder Research and Development Report”

Clearly, there is much more to Montessori than simply nurturing the intelligence. Every parent who has a child in a primary classroom understands practical life lessons like sweeping and table washing produce more than children destined for successful careers in housekeeping. These specific activities in the environment provide an opportunity for the creation of the self and the development of the will. This depth of work applies to the work of the adolescent as well, but for the 12 to 15-year-old, the small, meticulously-prepared and beautiful classroom of the 3 to 6-year-old child has been transformed into society and all of the intricate connections between its parts. Adolescence is the time when we all take our first steps through the world as an individual in society rather than a child in the family. It is the point in our lives where we begin to ask ourselves, “who am I, and where do I belong?”

Our jobs as adolescent guides are to provide for the students the appropriate exposure to society and the context for them to navigate through it. One of our best tools for this purpose, and the reason it may seem as if the adolescents are always offering their goods and services in exchange for your money, is that the mechanism of “production and exchange, on which economic life is based” provides “an opportunity to learn both academically and through actual experience what are the elements of social life.” (Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, Appendix A). Thus, the Micro-economy functions not only as a way for students to generate funds for their projects and trips, but as an integrated curriculum that provides the opportunity, the context, and the practice as a member of society.

Montessori observed that there is more than the intellect that requires nourishment during adolescence, which is why nearly half of her written material on the subject of adolescent education focuses on the practical considerations for the organization of social life. She saw the importance of adolescents having opportunities to be useful to their peers, to be valorized through their own labor, and to join in the actions of society.

-Michael Hill