Becoming a Junior Geography Genius

20851566950_b26a379a4a_z 20851580140_61320d039b_z 20851776878_63acb4f0a1_z 21047295821_35838ee780_z

Our Upper Unit students are on a geographical journey to explore and describe the earth. We have started our journey with maps and mapping. We have used the puzzle maps to sharpen our continent knowledge, inflatable globes for fun “globe-ball hunts,” and atlases to sharpen our research skills on scavenger hunts.

Students in Grades 4 and 5 have been reading Ken Jennings’ Junior Genius Guide—Maps and Geography and have agreed to be Junior Geography Geniuses. They have pledged the following:

 “I solemnly pledge to quest after questions, to angle for answers, to seek out, and to soak up. I will hunger and thirst for knowledge my whole life through, and I dedicate my discoveries to all humankind, with trivia not for just us but for all.”

Posted in Middle School, social studies, Upper Elementary, upper unit

Town Hall Meeting


A little over a week ago, we held our first Town Hall Meeting of the year. Each time we hold a Town Hall Meeting, we choose a topic for the entire school to think about and discuss. Last year’s topic was kindness, and this year we’re focusing on celebrating differences.

We’ve developed the tradition of opening our Town Hall Meetings with some joke-telling, and many of our students jumped at the opportunity to come up to the microphone and tell a joke to the rest of the school. Everybody’s repertoire of jokes should be much richer now!

After some laughs, students gathered in mixed-age groups, with every group including at least two students from each classroom. Staff members also joined a group, giving students the opportunity to spend time with a teacher that they might not see every day. Each group focused on one of the following three questions: What does it look like to have others accept and value me? What does it look like to accept and value others? Why is it important to value differences?

After everybody had time to discuss these questions and share personal stories in their groups, each group created a poster summarizing their discussion and then presented it to the rest of the school. We will be framing these posters and hanging them around school soon.

Finally, to end our Town Hall Meeting, we started a new tradition of holding an all-school sing-along. Elizabeth led us on her ukelele for two songs from our new McGuffey songbook: “I’m Not Lost, I Am Exploring” and “Count on Me.” Students and staff alike had a wonderful time coming together in song, and we’re looking forward to more all-school sing-alongs throughout the year.

Posted in community, McGuffey, music, outside, peace

New beginnings!



For several years, McGuffey has worked with the Monarch Watch, a program that helps facilitate the preservation of the monarch butterfly migration by the governments and private citizens of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. McGuffey maintains several certified monarch waystations, that include a carefully selected group of flowers and both common and tropical milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant monarch caterpillars eat, and is where monarch butterflies lay their eggs.

This program allows us to discuss both science and social studies—observing the monarch life cycle, exploring the ecology of North American countries, discussing the impact of human beings on different species, and thinking about how we can play a role in conservation. Older grades have the opportunity to discuss the social and political reasons

A few weeks ago our first monarch babies hatched! Pictured is a one day old monarch caterpillar. The dime placed next to it shows how tiny they are. The white dot next to it is what remains of its egg shell, which is its first meal after it hatches.

By the first day of school, this tiny caterpillar will have eaten its way to being several inches long and will have already metamorphosed into a chrysalis. We will continue to collect eggs and observe this life cycle, keeping these fragile creatures safe from predators. We will tag them before they are released so that scientists can collect data on any butterflies that are found as they migrate to Mexico.

Posted in community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Primary, science, social studies, Upper Elementary

First Aid and CPR Training

firstaidcprIMG_2954 IMG_2957

Staff is grateful to Jenni and Amy from the Miami Valley YMCA for coming to McGuffey this week to help us renew our First Aid and CPR training. We are upgrading our first aid supplies and a few of us might have had bad dreams about snake bites later that night.

We would love to have an AED on school grounds. An AED is an Automated External Defibrillator which allows for rapid help if someone is in cardiac arrest. Please let us know if you are interested in helping us identify a grant source for this or a develop a targeted fundraiser. An AED costs $1000-1200.

Posted in community, McGuffey

Sales Tax Holiday in Ohio

The state of Ohio will be enacting a sales tax holiday beginning on Friday, August 7th, and running through Sunday, August 9th.

During this holiday, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax:

  • Clothing priced at $75 per item or less;
  • School supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and
  • School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less.

The website for Ohio’s Department of Taxation has a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this sales tax holiday.

If you haven’t done your back to school shopping yet, consider taking part in this opportunity during the coming weekend!

Posted in announcements, community, parents

Join us on Saturday for Building and Grounds Work!

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 5.13.45 PMTomorrow (Saturday, August 1), McGuffey will be having a spontaneous and informal Building and Grounds Day from 11 am – 2 pm. If you are interested in logging some Family Work Hours, stop by for all or part of this super exciting event!

We will have the following jobs available:

Weeding the big playground
Scraping windows to prep for painting
Touch-up exterior painting and possibly some indoors as well
Power washing
Possibly some indoor cleaning
General outdoor clean up

We have lots of tools and materials but feel free to bring your own gardening gloves, scrapers, or paintbrushes.

Please read the following important message:

We are not providing childcare. Children will be allowed to help you or play on the playground but you will be responsible for supervising your own children if you choose to bring them along. We can put some easy activities in the picnic shelter and open the sandbox but there will not be indoor activities for children. If you work inside and your child is content to read, draw or play on their own device, that is ok.

Posted in announcements, building and grounds, parents

Summer Reading: Five Minute Montessori DIY Mystery Box


This week, we’re sharing a post from one of our favorite Montessori blogs, How We Montessori. This post, like many of the posts on How We Montessori, provides an educational activity that can be easily prepared at home and can be presented by a parent or family member, and includes quotes from Maria Montessori that help to explain how this activity helps children learn about the world around them.

Five Minute Montessori: DIY Mystery Box
The idea is to isolate the child’s sense of touch. They can identify objects by touch only. We like to play this in lots of different ways. By the child feeling a box with lots of items. As they touch or discover with their hands each object they try to identify it. Or you can say to them “can you find me the pinecone” and they need to search for that one item.

PLEASE NOTE: MMS Summer Reading does not necessarily reflect McGuffey’s opinions, but simply offers thought-provoking insight into how children learn and grow.
Posted in parents

School Supply Lists Now Available

Supply Lists are ready for the 2015-16 school year. Each student will have a combination of community and personal items that need to be purchased. Please note that these items differ depending on your child’s classroom, so each classroom has its own list. We have scaled the supply lists back a bit this year, knowing that many items can be purchased more cheaply and efficiently in bulk.

Thank you in advance for helping set up our school and classrooms for a successful year!

Click here to view or download the 2015-16 School Supply Lists.

Posted in announcements, parents

Summer Reading: Why Free Play Is the Best Summer School


This week, we’re sharing a story from The Atlantic that suggests that children can develop better executive function (the ability to self-regulate, organize, and plan) when they are given regular opportunities to engage in unstructured free play.

Why Free Play Is the Best Summer School
Unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children. It is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills, and shore up their physical health.

PLEASE NOTE: MMS Summer Reading does not necessarily reflect McGuffey’s opinions, but simply offers thought-provoking insight into how children learn and grow.
Posted in parents

Summer Reading: To Ease Pain, Reach For Your Playlist


This week, we’re sharing a story from NPR about studies showing that music can relieve physical pain following major surgeries, with specific data on children and teenagers.

To Ease Pain, Reach For Your Playlist
After a 30-minute session, the children who listened to music or a book reduced their pain burden by 1 point on a 10-point scale compared to the children who listened to silence. That might not sound like much, but Sunitha Suresh says it’s the equivalent of taking an over-the-counter pain medication like Advil or Tylenol.

PLEASE NOTE: MMS Summer Reading does not necessarily reflect McGuffey’s opinions, but simply offers thought-provoking insight into how children learn and grow.
Posted in community, music, technology