by Ann Angell
“I’m just curious. Are there right answers for these?”
A year before she was to retire, Dr. Ann Angell volunteered to start a new class at the Montessori public school where she’d been teaching for a decade. Her mission was to guide and encourage her students—second, third, and fourth graders with a wide variety of strengths and weaknesses—as they pursued their own paths of self-directed learning. How would she inspire Maya, obsessed with multiplication tables, to get excited about fractions and decimals? How would she help Blake become interested in something other than reading, and was that even a good idea? How could she persuade Hayden, a gifted artist, to interact more peacefully with his classmates?
The Colorado Student Assessment Program, which originated from No Child Left Behind legislation, presented further challenges. Ann would have to prepare her students for standardized testing while at the same time nurturing a mind-set that doesn’t assume there’s only one way to absorb information, only one correct answer to every question.
The Romance of Teaching: Montessori in the Elementary School chronicles a school year filled with growth and joyful learning. If you’ve ever wondered how education can be effective when kids are free to explore whatever subjects they choose, you’ll find Ann’s account enchanting.
Dr. Ann Angell tells the insider’s story of starting a Montessori elementary class in a public school. Woven throughout her story are strategies for accommodating public school routines without compromising the quality of Montessori education. Practicing teachers and novices will appreciate the humor, the diligence, and the rewards Ann finds as a Montessori teacher.
— Dr. Martha M. Urioste, principal, Denison Montessori Citywide Magnet School
The smart, the stubborn, the distressed, and the inspired are all here—students gathered in a Montessori classroom to challenge Ann’s imagination and skill. She shares a wide range of possibilities for meeting challenges familiar to teachers everywhere.
— Mandi Prout, Montessori elementary teacher, Carbondale, Colorado