Primary students have been studying bees and we were fortunate to have visitors come tell us all about them. Nick and Amy Fankhauser brought the tools and equipment they use to raise bees. We learned that sometimes bees need fixed their hive and use propolis to do so. Propolis is something that the bees make, spitting it out and using it like glue. Bees can also turn nectar into honey by drying it. Young bees move air over the nectar by beating their wings at entrance. Bees communicate by dancing and we all had fun wiggling and dancing like bees after our visitors left.

Posted in Uncategorized

Learning About the Myaamia Language

Jarrid Baldwin, son of Darryl Baldwin, Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University, stopped by our classroom today to speak to the students about the Myaamia language and the role oral tradition played in their culture. We will be discussing oral tradition and storytelling in ELA later this year.

Jarrid discussed the importance of story telling to the Myaamia people, how the language changed over time and was eventually lost, and how the language was rediscovered and preserved.

He taught our students a few phrases as well, including basic greetings and his favorite word to say in Myaamia (nine hundred ninety-nine). It was an interesting talk and a great way to learn about local nations as we learn about the indigenous people of the United States in Social Studies.

Posted in guest speakers, language arts, Middle School, social studies, Upper Elementary, upper unit

Happy Grandparents Day!

Sunday, September 10th, is National Grandparents Day! To celebrate, Lower Elementary made a video for their grandparents to show them how much they are loved. The video was written, directed, and filmed by the Lower Elementary students.

Posted in community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, peace, technology

Fun with Geogegbra

The Middle School math students began using Geogebra today. Geogebra is an online tool that uses geometry, algebra, graphing, and more to help increase mathematical literacy by presenting these concepts in an engaging, visual manner.

Kadriye Walsh, our new Middle School math instructor, was excited to introduce this to her students this year. On “discovery day” the students learned about angles and shapes then they built their own shapes and measured the areas.

The students enjoyed the presentation so much they asked Kadriye to take these pictures and post them to the blog so they could show off their work.

Posted in math, McGuffey, Middle School, technology

Rainbow Artwork Exhibit in Cincinnati

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Last month, students in Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary worked with Ayelet on rainbow artwork during Art class. Their work was sent to the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and is now on display as part of a children’s exhibition.

Recently, a small group from school toured the museum and explored the current exhibition called “let’s start this day again” by Ugo Rondinone. We were overwhelmed by nearly five thousand rainbows and were able to find about twelve rainbows by McGuffey students… although they were hard to find!

Posted in art, cooking, McGuffey

A Visit From Adam Gidwitz


Adam Gidwitz, children’s book author, visited McGuffey’s Upper Unit last week. Gidwitz’s book, The Inquisitor’s Tale, is one of three Newbery Honor Books for 2017.

McGuffey Middle School students read and studied the book with Quentin ahead of Gidwitz’s visit and prepared questions to ask him. (Many students in Grades 4 and 5 chose to read the book as well.) Gidwitz gave a funny and insightful presentation that kept the Upper Unit students listening with rapt attention from beginning to end. Students really enjoyed the question and answer session that followed.

Gidwitz also signed students’ books and stayed in the classroom for a while to chat with them individually. He was a Montessori student for some of his youth and said our classroom looked very familiar and comfortable.

Many thanks to the Lane Library for arranging for each of our students to receive a copy of his book and sharing this special experience with us.

Posted in community, guest speakers, language arts, McGuffey, upper unit

Wrapping Up Singin’ in the Rain

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These final days of school see our Singin’ in the Rain musical being put to bed. Sets are put away, props have been cataloged, and costumes are being washed for storage until the next time this musical is performed. McGuffey students gave two tremendous performances of this complicated show. They have since taken time to share memories and feelings about the shows with classmates. They are adding photographs to their scores to take home and will watch the show together via the video Ron Hautau takes for us ever year. We thought you might enjoy a link to the pictures and video as well. Thank you to Shawn Burt and Ayelet Yariv for taking such fantastic pictures!

Pictures (the pin is 7845)


Posted in drama, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, music

Lower Elementary Prepares Birdhouse Gourds


Students in Lower Elementary have been busy preparing birdhouse gourds for next year’s incoming Grade 1 students. This is a tradition that began last year in our classroom. All students participate in the process: planting birdhouse gourd seeds in the spring, harvesting them in the fall, and then during the following spring, students clean the gourds, drill holes in them, sand the openings, remove the seeds, and decorate the gourds (while also planting more seeds to start the process from the beginning).

On Friday, during our annual Moving Up Ceremony, our Grade 3 students will give the finished gourds as gifts to the incoming Grade 1 students. Any extras will be placed across school grounds for our neighborhood birds to enjoy.

Posted in art, community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, practical life

Building a 3D Puzzle in Lower Elementary

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Students in Lower Elementary almost always have a jigsaw puzzle available to be worked on in the “quiet zone” of their classroom. A time-timer on the table helps them ensure that they don’t spend more than 10 minutes working on the puzzle at a time, and also helps ensure that many students get a chance to participate.

Most recently, our students completed a 3D puzzle of multicolored clownfish. Numbers and arrows printed on the bottom of the curved pieces helped to direct students on how they all connected to form the sphere of the finished puzzle. This was the first non-flat puzzle that our students have tackled, and although it took nearly a month from start to finish, it was greatly admired by all for several days before being taken apart and put away.

Puzzles help our students build logic and reasoning skills, as well as improving their ability to work collaboratively, especially when the work takes place in the “quiet zone” and students must collaborate and work together without talking.

Posted in Lower Elementary

Primary Skypes with Lithuania

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Students in Primary (and some from Lower Elementary) recently had a chance to Skype with a classmate that has spent the last year in Lithuania. They got to hear about his school, playing soccer, different kinds of food, and see his apartment. Mostly, they were excited to see his face again, even if it’s on another continent!

Our proximity to Miami University gives our students such incredible exposure to other countries and cultures. We are so fortunate to be able to share this with our students.

Posted in community, Primary, social studies