This is Collaboration

Here at MTS, our teachers collaborate. Our Lower School Science teacher, Suzanne Beard, joined with our Studio Art teachers, Evy Packer and Tyler Bewley, to provide the Kindergarten students with an in depth experience of common backyard birds and their nesting habits from both a science and art perspective. Taking advantage of the California Junco bird that nested in front of Evy’s home, the kindergartners viewed footage of the bird’s daily activities, the hatching of the eggs, and their flight from the nest.

During this mini unit on birds, K students learned to observe and describe a bird’s nest as a structure, as well as learn about the birds behavior around nesting, laying eggs, and the process of baby birds growing feathers in order to fledge (fly). They were able to observe and touch real nests, familiarizing themselves with the materials, and then manifested their growing knowledge to build and create their own nests in science class. At the same time, the kindergarteners talked about these same types of nests in art class and thought about the structure and texture of the outer and inner parts as described by line and color. Then they practiced translating what they saw into visual marks drawing with pastels.

MTS Students Win 20 Medals at Speech Tournament

On Saturday, April 27th, twenty-one of our MTS students competed in the 37th Annual Margie Burke Memorial Speech Tournament at Ross School. Each year our students work diligently to prepare for this highly competitive and prestigious event. This year, with twelve Marin County schools participating, Mount Tamalpais School earned 20 medals including six double medal winners. This was the 26th year that Performing Arts teacher, Deborah Marcom, took a team of students to the tournament. Please join us in congratulating all of them!






Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! We had so many great Earth Day activities happening on campus today!

Last Friday as part of the Earth Day celebrations, 4th graders led a Wildflower Seed Bomb Workshop. Seed bombs are a form of seed dispersal - seeds wrapped up in a blanket of earth, which acts as a carrier for the seeds. To get ready for seed bomb making, first graders went on a scavenger hunt around MTS to find as many blooming flowers as possible and compared their shapes, sizes, and colors. Students could purchase the seed bombs created and all proceeds were donated to a program dedicated to removing plastic from our oceans, The Ocean Cleanup North Pacific Foundation.

Some of the various activities that MTS students participated in today:

Trash to Treasure (Grades K-1)
Kindergarten and 1st grade students learned about trash, recycling, and repurposing materials and then participated in a mini lesson around repurposing “Trash to Treasure,” transforming every day trash into toys/models/decorations/Mother’s Day gifts. In a short time, students created race cars, dream catchers, flowers, bird feeders, and much more with the trash families contributed for the project - impressive!

The Pup Experience (Grades 2-3)
An educator from the Marine Mammal Center led students through a series of stations. Students explored the behaviors and survival skills of Northern elephant seal pups and the relationship between mothers and pups in their wild habitats. Students also learned how pups are cared for at the Center.

Marine Mammal Mysteries (Grades 4-5)
Students sharpened their marine science detective skills with the Marine Mammal Mysteries project. Much like scientists and veterinarians analyze evidence to diagnose patients, in this activity students worked to unveil mystery marine mammals that reside along the Center’s rescue range. Looking at specimens and other information provided in each box, groups worked together to identify the mystery animal they were given. The students did excellent detective work and most were able to identify their mystery animal!


A Plastic Ocean (Grades 6-8)
Middle School students watched a recent documentary called A Plastic Ocean. In the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre researchers found more plastic than plankton. A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us. Students broke into small groups after the movie to discuss the topics addressed in the movie.

First Grade Field Trip to Mill Valley Market

The first grade class is starting a new Social Studies unit all about communities. They are learning how individuals contribute to a community and what services help a community thrive. As part of their studies, the class went on a field trip to Downtown Mill Valley and was given a guided tour of Mill Valley Market. It was a fantastic experience!

Ryan Canepa, manager of MV Market was the tour guide. Ryan’s great grandfather started the market in 1929, and it has been family owned and operated ever since. Ryan took students through the market, as well as in the back where they went in the refrigerator, freezer, and dairy case. Students also saw the conveyer belt in action and checked out the store room. What is so special about Mill Valley Market is that it sources a lot of its products from local producers who might not have the capacity to sell to big grocery chains, but make small batches of high quality products. Mill Valley Market is a great example of a business that is steeped in local tradition and supports the local community.

After the tour of Mill Valley Market, first graders walked to Mill Valley City Hall and the fire station. They then broke up into groups and recorded the businesses they saw downtown and what they supply to the community. Lots of fun!

Third Graders perform "Pest in the Apple Orchard" for STEM class

The third graders have been keeping busy in their STEM studies! After learning about pollination (the relationship between pollinators, flowers, nectar, pollen, and seeds) and creating visual depictions of these natural systems, the students then turned their focus toward Integrated Pest Management and how agricultural engineers, farmers, and scientists work together to find solutions for pests in gardens/farms that minimize harmful effects from pesticides on the environment and on other creatures. Often, they accomplish this by introducing a predator of the pest to the ecosystem, or by using chemicals in very limited and specific locations/ways. The third grade put on a play titled “Pest in the Apple Orchard” for kindergarten and first grade students, taking on the roles of engineers, farmers, pests, and narrators to demonstrate three different ways that Integrated Pest Management can be used to solve pest challenges. Such a fun way to share their newfound knowledge and better understand how these systems work!

6-8 Graders Put On a Fun Spring Concert

Spring Concert & Art Exhibition

The 6-8 grade students in the Performing Arts and Visual Arts Enrichment block displayed their talent and hard work preparing all Trimester 2 to perform for the community on the MTS stage. The evening included a showcase including Chorus, Scene Study, Dance Ensembles, Guitar Ensemble, and African Drum Ensemble, as well as slideshow and video presentations from Enrichment classes including digital photography and video. Artwork from the Visual Arts Enrichment class, inspired by the Impressionist artist, Claude Monet, is on display in Summit Hall, and was also showcased in a digital presentation with music.

The African Drum Ensemble featured a medley of South African traditional rhythms, the MTS Chorus sang “Guadeamus Hodie,” and an especially heartfelt “Hallelujah,” and the Guitar Ensemble played “Time of My Life” by Green Day. Scene studies included performances of “The Umbrella,” “Above It All,” and a spirited skit from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” In the final performance of the evening, students hammed it up in the ‘70’s inspired Dance Ensemble, “Risk It All” Game Show, featuring dancing to music by Rose Royce, Kool & the Gang, and Earth Wind, and Fire.

Watch selected scenes from the show. (Find videos of each performance in full at the bottom of the webpage.)

6th grader Kailan created a drone video of the School as part of Dave Baker’s Digital Video Enrichment course with help from Oliver in flying the drone during shooting.

Monet-inspired paintings (acrylic on paper ) by Visual Arts Enrichment students from Trimester 2.

Photos by students in the Digital Photography Enrichment course can be found here.

Watch the following performances in their entirety below:
African Drum Ensemble
The Umbrella Scene Study
MTS Chorus
Above It All Scene Study
Guitar Ensemble
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Game Show Skit & Dance Ensemble

5th Grade Girls Basketball Teams Head to CYO Tournament

It's official. Our 5th grade girls A and B basketball teams are playing against each other in the first round of the CYO tournament this weekend! Coach Gerry is calling in reinforcements since he coaches both teams, so Cathal is going to jump in to help.

The Red team started 0-2, but finished 5-3 to secure the 4th seed. The Blue team won their division and the #1 seed with a 7-1 record. There were 19 teams in the league this year, and we are TWO of the final EIGHT teams!

Come join and support the girls at the game! Saturday, 3/9, 1:30 PM at St. Vincent.

Go Bears!!

MTS Persian Cultural Day

The MTS Persian Cultural Day last week gave students a fantastic opportunity to learn about and explore the Persian culture through authentic performances, art projects, folktales, poetry, cultural artifacts, music, and Persian cuisine!

Introduction and Performances


The day started with a keynote slideshow presentation with an introduction to Persia put together by MTS teacher, Rob Potter. Next the Niosha Dance Academy based in San Francisco performed both traditional and contemporary dances from the Iranian/Persian cultural world. The dance was followed by musicians, Nariman Assadi, Ahmad Rezazadeh, Ameen Rouhani, and Negin Bastani, showcasing traditional Persian musical instruments including the tombak, daf, oud, tar, and setar. MTS students then came on stage to read quotes from the famous Persian poet, Rumi. After the performances, students enjoyed Persian food catered by the Maykadeh Restaurant.

In the morning, lower school students learned about the history of Persian rugs and then worked together to create their own designs and patterns. During the afternoon program, middle school students rotated through 6 workshops and presentations.



Treasures, Tea, and Treats. MTS parents Kathy Zare and Oggi Kashi and MTS student Ryka presented interesting treasures and artifacts from Iran. Students also enjoyed a taste of Lajijan, a black tea from Northern Iran, as well as a sweet Persian treats from Jasmine Market in San Rafael including puff pastries, chickpea cookie-noon, and nokhochi.


Persian Tile. MTS Art teachers, Tyler Bewley and Evy Packer, taught students basic techniques in design to create their own Persian tiles. Students learned about the different ways tiles can be used in art - as a mosaic or Ghlami - a technique where several colors are painted onto one tile with a brush.


Modern Persia & Nowruz. MTS parents, Pooneh Yamini and Atissa Manshouri introduced students to Modern day Iran and the tradition of Nowruz, the Persian New Year.


Musical Instruments. Guest musicians, Nariman Assadi, Negin Bastani, and Don Baker, gave a demonstration of several Persian instruments, and students learned a rhythm pattern to accompany the combined final dance in the finale.


Persian Dance. Dancers from the Niosha Dance Academy taught students short dance sequences, which were performed in the combined finale at the end of the day by all 6th-8th graders.


Persian Calligraphy. MTS parents, Matt Yamini, Parizan Ehsan, and grandparent, Shahla Motamedi, introduced students to the art of Persian calligraphy.


Finale. The day culminated with students in grades 6-8 performing the dance sequence that was learned in the dance workshop accompanied by a group of student percussionists from the musical instruments workshop.

Enjoy selected videos from the day below.

MTS Alumni Sports News!


MTS '16 Alums, Connor Maas and Tucker Sennett, play basketball for the Branson Bulls. The Bulls took down the Fortuna High School Huskies over the weekend to capture the North Coast Section Division 4 title. They move on to the Northern California Championships and the road to the State Champs. The legendary Branson School coach is also the dad of two MTS alums (Rachel '99 and Isaiah '03)! Learn more in the Marin IJ article about the game:


Meanwhile, Jasper Mercy '16 was on the winning Marin Academy Soccer team, clinching the North Coast Section Division 5  title over University on Saturday.


Liesl Anderson '17 won the $3,000 JR Jumper 1.20m Classic at 2019 Desert Circuit over the weekend in Coachella.


Darius Yamini '17 plays on the UHS varsity team. On February 8th, Darius scored the winning penalty kick for the BCL-W league final championship game when UHS and MA were tied 3-3 at penalty kicks!

Volunteering at GLIDE

Second graders and their families recently joined together to volunteer at GLIDE, a community organization whose mission is focused on addressing homelessness, poverty, and social justice in San Francisco. GLIDE has been serving between 1,800 to 2,500 meals every day, 3x/day for 364 days, every single year for more than 50 years. The second grade families found it to be a transformative experience working with this amazing, enthusiastic, and welcoming non-profit. Students spent several hours learning about the merits of citizenship, honor, respect, inclusion, community, and kindness through a discussion group followed by the preparation and service of food to those who came through for lunch.

Service Learning is an important part of the curriculum at Mount Tamalpais School, and projects like this are organized for every grade. See our Service Learning webpage for more information about the program.

Bringing Math Home

Making Math an Integral Part of Your Family Life

Math is fun! Math is everywhere!  Math is a subject for curiosity, discussion, and growth. Creating opportunities to connect with math at home is important to help foster a relaxed dialogue about math, to provide real-life math experiences, and to decrease math anxiety for children and adults. Here are some links to ideas to help make math an integral part of your family life:

Bedtime Math - Bedtime Math was created to help make math a part of the family routine. The website includes a daily math fact and riddle, bedtime math stories, and more.

Math Read Alouds - This website lists books by mathematical content.

Puzzles - Logic Puzzles, Sudoku, Number Puzzles or Dots and Boxes

Cooking - Cooks of All Ages: How Kids Can Help in the Kitchen

Board Games - Here are some links to Amazon for grade appropriate games.

Ghost Blitz Board Game
Grades 2-4
Tower of Hanoi Logic Puzzle 
SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception(also great for older - including adults)
Shape Logic Board Game
Chocolate Fix
Senet Game - An Ancient Egyptian Board Game
Any age:
Dimension: The Spherical Stackable Fast Paced Puzzle Game
Geometiles 3D Building Set for Learning Math
Magnetic Go Game Set
Battle Sheep Game 


Outstanding Performance of Annie

Leapin’ Lizards, 4th and 5th graders put on an outstanding performance of Annie last week for the annual Mount Tamalpais School Winter Play! Annie, played by Yasmin, sang beautifully, and the portrayal of Miss Hannigan by Fionnula was particularly spirited and memorable, along with her cohorts playing Rooster Hannigan (Joshua) and Lily St. Regis (Coco). Everyone pulled out the stops for a truly enjoyable show - congratulations performers!


Synopsis: In this popular and beloved musical, Annie is a spunky, depression era orphan determined to find her parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City orphanage run by a cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. For a young girl living a “hard knock life” in a children’s orphanage, things may seem pretty bad, especially at Christmas. Against all odds, feisty Annie carries a song in her heart and hope in her locket, the only thing she has left from her parents. One day, fed up with the dastardly Miss Hannigan, Annie escapes the run-down orphanage determined to find her mom and dad. Her adventure takes her from the cold, mean street of New York to the warm, comforting arms of bighearted billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, with plenty of mischief and music in between!

MTS News Student Magazine

The “MTS News” Fall Magazine has just come out! Students in the Journalism Club worked hard all trimester to put together an impressive publication filled with interviews, opinion pieces, advice, photography, and more.


The magazine includes an Art Gallery section featuring photos from Andrew’s Photography Enrichment class. The students are really developing artistic eyes!