Community Life

An aerial view of Norfolk, VA and its waterside in 1892, the location of nowadays Downtown Norfolk

A Montessori study of Place: Downtown Norfolk, VA

This blog post is about a Montessori study of our school’s home place: Downtown Norfolk, VA. Being a Montessori study, it is an active process of learning through participation. David Kahn, the leader of the Montessori adolescent movement, writes that, for Montessori middle and high schools, “[p]lace inspires belonging. Place…

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Teenagers learn through ambivalence how to see the complex picture of reality

How Ambivalence Empowers Teenagers

This is my best friend; I hate this guy so much My teachers are the best; my teachers are the worst I can’t wait to go to college; I don’t want to go to college  I’m pretty; I’m ugly I’m so sad; I’m so happy Ambivalence is the Mark of…

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Orientation 2021-2022: We Came as Individuals. We Left as a Community.

Like in every Fall, we kicked off the new school year with our traditional orientation days. There was a special excitement this time. We were coming back to our beautiful space after a year and a half of being forced outside due to COVID-19.   In my mind, the orientation days…

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Roadstead students take yoga class in the outdoor classroom during COVID-19

Winter at the Outdoor Classroom – A Montessori Lesson in Meteorology

On a cold Friday afternoon, right before the Winter Break, Channel 3, a major TV station of Hampton Roads, came to school to make a story about our outdoor classroom. How long would you be able to continue working outside during the winter? This was the biggest meteorological question that…

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We can slow down Coronavirus with Science. How Masks Reduce Transmission.

Part 1 of Steve Nelson (Biology/Chemistry/Physics/Math teacher at Roadstead Montessori High School, Norfolk VA) Viruses are very small. The Coronavirus is about 100 nanometers wide. It’s hard to comprehend this size. The smallest unit on the standard ruler used in school is 1 millimeter. If we zoomed in and…

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We All Need Art

What is the point of creating art in the first place? Is it really worth anything? Does it add to your life? Does it add to society as a whole? Why make it part of any curriculum? Whenever grown ups fear that children aren’t learning enough, the arts are the…

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What Does It Mean to Be a School Community During COVID-19

Will the students be allowed to go to 7Eleven during lunch recess? That was the topic of a recent community meeting. The question was raised by a student who thought that our ban on leaving the school area during recess did not make any sense. The discussion went quite quickly…

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Roadstead High School outdoor classroom in the shade during COVID

Our First Week in Our Outdoor Classroom

We completed the first full week of the new and strangest school year I had experienced in my entire teaching career. It is not the challenge of dealing with a crisis situation. Crises are the normal state of working with teenagers. It is the inability to rely on the outside…

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Roadstead High students cleaning the outdoor classroom for orientation

Roadstead 2020-2021 Orientation

The orientation is a very special tradition in our school. We hold it every year since we opened. These are three days introductory days from Wednesday to Friday, in which we symbolically send off the previous school year and transition to the new one. The regular schedule begins on the…

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Students returning to school during COVID-19 with face masks on

Our way to cope with COVID-19: An Outdoor Classroom

Like all schools in the US, we were forced to shut down our physical operation in mid-March 2020. Within less than a weekend, we adapted our classes to Zoom (which deserves a Noble prize for literally saving schools throughout the world by giving unlimited free accounts). We managed to keep…

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