Motivation to Learn

by Biff Maier, Director of Faculty & Curriculum Development
We all want motivated learners. Educational researchers find that certain conditions are predictably engaging.
One of these is novelty. Rare or unexpected events awaken us, and we pay attention to investigate and understand. Consistent orchestration of these experiences, though, makes the teacher an “edu-tainer,” and it can build students who passively wait to be aroused.
The researchers found that motivation is intrinsic when the experience strikes a personal chord, such as the following:
Connection Learners are drawn in by content that reflects the cultures to which they feel affinity. They pay attention when they have strong feelings about a topic, because it has personal relevance to them or because they have a personal interest in the subject.
Contribution Students often find it energizing to undertake a task that has the potential to make a contribution. They like to feel that they are linking with something larger than themselves.
Creation Learners are often highly motivated to create products or projects, especially when they collaborate and/or share the work with an audience.
Choice It seems obvious that most of the above conditions can only be attained if learners have real choice about their topics of study.
I am privileged every year to coach our sixth grade “seniors” as they choose a topic of personal interest about which they will spend the year researching and writing. In the spring they will share what they have learned with the LMS community when they give public presentations. This Senior Project is just one of the many opportunities that our students get to choose and learn about a topic with which they feel a personal connection. They make information their own as they create projects and presentations, and they often implore the adults in their lives to join them as they contribute to bettering their world.
Last week I heard about an amazing array of sixth grade interests:
How does Disney balance profitability with responsibility? What are the opportunities and the dangers of technology? How does a play get “from page to stage?” What is the history of Broadway? What are Rube Goldberg machines? What is the history of magic? How do we dream, and what does it mean? What is the history of tennis? How do you program a computer game? What's inside a computer? What is 3D printing, and how does it work?
What really is color? What is the history and future of space travel? How can we make energy generation and use more sustainable? How do hummingbirds fly? How is bubble gum made, and who thought of it? What are the limits of origami? What is the history of chocolate, and how is it made? How does the brain work, and how can we help it work better? How do Italian cooks make such delicious foods? What is the past and future of competitive swimming? Why do people dance, and when did it start? What is the history of modern dance and where is it headed? What are the types and mechanics of volcanic eruptions?

Annual Facilities Announcement

In accordance with the Act Protecting Children and Families from Harmful Pesticides (Chapter 85), this is to give notice that LMS has implemented an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM). The plan is an approach to solving pest problems which relies on a combination of common sense practices for preventing and controlling pests. Pests include, but are not limited to, insects, weeds, mold, and fungus.
At this time, LMS does not use any chemical pesticides inside its buildings to contain pests. When chemical pesticides are necessary, preference is given to materials and methods which maximize public safety and reduce environmental risk. IPM documentation and chemical record keeping is available in the Business Office, No. 12 Lawrence Lane.
In accordance with Environmental Protection Agency regulation, CFR ss763.93(g)(4) and ss7763.84, this is to give notice that LMS Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) documents are maintained in the Business Office and are available for inspection at any time upon request.
During renovations in the early 1990s, the majority of asbestos was removed from the Children's House. The small amount of non-friable asbestos that does exist in the CH is encapsulated behind ceilings and walls and not accessible to children and the general public, and poses no hazard to the building occupants.
LMS facility personnel attend classes on safe control and maintenance of these areas. Semi-annual in-house inspections are conducted an all areas suspected of containing asbestos.
If you have any questions, please contact Tricia in the Business Office at (781) 862-8571 x1105.
Lesiglative Advisory
Chapter 385 of the Acts of 2002 - An Act Further Protecting Children
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has made it mandatory for all schools to do Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks on all current and prospective employees and volunteers who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children. Follow-up periodic checks occur at least every three (3) years. You can view the statue itself on www.mass.gov. 
LMS processes CORI checks on all current and future employees, teacher substitutes, and volunteers. If you plan to volunteer, substitute, or chaperone you must complete a CORI authorization form in advance. The Business Manager is required to verify your identity with a government issued photographic form of identification and maintain a copy of such identification to document the verification process.
CORI authorization forms may be found in the "Forms" binder in Children's House and Elementary building Teachers' Rooms, and in No. 12 Lawrence Lane.
Lexington Montessori School | 130 Pleasant Street | Lexington, MA 02421