Hueston Woods Field Trip

huestonwoods1 huestonwoods huestonwoods3 huestonwoods4Lower Elementary shared a trip to Hueston Woods with the Upper Unit. We saw Great Egrets, Blue Herron, baby geese, Cardinals, Robins, and even a Baltimore Oriole. After our bird hike, we joined the Uppers for a romp in the stream where we hunted tadpoles and crawdads. We ended the day with a picnic and a great game of freeze tag.

The Upper Unit was invited to formally test a new exhibit at the Hueston Woods Nature Center. The exhibit, designed by alumni parent Dr. Michael Vanni and his students at Miami University, focuses on teaching people about the local Watershed. Our students took a pre-test before seeing the exhibit and a post-test afterwards. Dr. Vanni discussed watersheds, the development of the exhibit and the kinds of educational experiences one would want to have before going into Science in college. Thanks to alumni parent Dr. Chris Wolfe and to Dr. Vanni for coordinating this opportunity for our students!


Posted in field trip, Lower Elementary, McGuffey

2015 Egg Drop!

Egg Drop 2015At the Last Day of School Potluck, Thursday, May 28, we will hold our annual Egg Drop. This is a tradition at McGuffey that goes back decades!

Prior to the last day of school, students will spend time at home designing a package that will hold a fresh egg. This “vehicle” will keep it from breaking when it has been thrown off the roof over the kitchen onto cold, hard cement.

For novices, the use of bubble wrap is appropriate, however, as the years creep by, many students begin to consider packaging that is more creative and “engineered.”

Although no dangerous materials are permitted, creativity is much revered. There is much respect for innovative schemes, even when they don’t succeed.

– Raw eggs only! No eggs may be hard-boiled.
– No dangerous materials may be used.
– Students may not go on the roof at any time for any reason.
– Egg packages should be delivered to the collection point when they arrive at school.
– Only the designated adult may drop eggs from the roof.
– Students must stay behind the designated “drop zone” boundary.

Good luck and get busy creating!

Posted in announcements, community, McGuffey

Practicing the Pledge of Allegiance


Recently, students in Lower Elementary spent time learning and practicing the Pledge of Allegiance. Many students were already familiar with the pledge, but it also forms an important part of our study on the history of the United States of America. Students learned about the history of the pledge, the ways that it has changed over time, and the most common occasions during which the pledge is recited.

Then, students spent the rest of the week memorizing the words on their own, and by the end of the week, each student was able and excited to recite the pledge from memory to one of their teachers.

Currently, Lower Elementary’s continuing study of the United States has taken them to revisit the variety of flags that our nation has used over the course of its existence, including some of the flags that were adopted by the original colonies before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Students have enjoyed choosing one of these early flags and making a replica of their own.

Posted in Lower Elementary, social studies

Learning How to Play Lacrosse

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Thanks to parent George Ironstack, students in Lower Elementary and the Upper Unit learned how to play lacrosse last week. George shared some of the sport’s cultural history with our students, and brought in several varieties of lacrosse sticks to help tell the story of how the sport has evolved. Then, he demonstrated several key skills, including scooping, catching, and throwing, and students had the opportunity to practice these skills in small groups before coming together to play a game.

Nearly every day since George’s visit, lacrosse has been one of the most popular ways for students to spend their recess time. Thank you, George!

Posted in outside, parents, physical education

Creating a Clay Model of the Lithosphere

IMG_5070s IMG_5074s IMG_5075s IMG_5078s IMG_5087s IMG_5089sLower Elementary studied the earth’s lithosphere. Models of the earth’s layers were created out of salt dough then labeled accordingly. Using concrete materials helps children understand more abstract concepts.

Posted in Lower Elementary, science

Game of Dictation

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As we wrap up our studies of “The Star Spangled Banner,” students in Grade 4 reviewed rhythmic dictation, with a twist. The class divided into two teams. One team read then clapped the rhythm; the other team listened then wrote it out. The class moved on to the next rhythm only after all agreed the dictated rhythm was correct.

In the past, the music teacher played the rhythm and students took dictation. This time, the reading/clapping team was responsible for making sure their beat was steady and everyone on the team understood and could play the rhythm. Starting with simpler rhythms, the challenges got progressively harder until one student proclaimed, “This is hard! And fun!” which is music to any teacher’s ears.

Posted in music, Upper Elementary

Self Portraits in Lower Elementary

IMG_4959s IMG_4963s IMG_4972s IMG_4974s IMG_4978sThroughout the school year, Lower Elementary students have been creating monthly self portraits. These are a way for students to see how far they have come and how much they have grown. At the end of the year each child will bring home a compilation of their portraits to share with their family.


Posted in art, Lower Elementary

Georgia O’Keeffe Inspired Spring Flowers

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Grades 1-8 studied Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings. The students made an impressive list of observations, noting the colors used, the overall feel of the paintings and her use of space. Our recreations focused on trying to fill the page with the flower(s) and creating muted backgrounds as shown in the paintings. Lower Elementary used construction paper crayons on their choice of paper; Upper Unit created their flowers using glue outlines and pastel chalks on mat board.

Posted in art

Car Line Music and Dancing

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Lower Elementary kids sure know how to start the weekend!

Posted in McGuffey

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

050715_01On this day in 1824, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was premiered. To celebrate, the first and second graders spent some time in music class watching an on-demand webcast of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing the work, conducted by Riccardo Muti. As you can see, they were quite a captivated audience and were thrilled by the powerful sounds of the enormous orchestra.
The piece, filled with joy, is a wonderful one to introduce children to classical orchestral music. If you wish to play it this evening at home, here’s the link to the webcast!
Posted in Lower Elementary, music