The Pentatonic Scale

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Our Grade 2 students have been working on using the pentatonic scale in Music class. The pentatonic scale consists of 5 notes of the octave: do, re, mi, sol, and la. This scale is frequently heard in folk songs all around the world.

First, the students learned to sing the five notes in various patterns. Then, they composed their own songs, singing them aloud to each other. The last step was singing a song, “On A Mountain.” Once they learned the song, the children deciphered the melody. Each student took a turn figuring out a note of the melody and writing the solfège name under the word. The delight and excitement was palpable when these 7-year-olds realized what they were doing! Their final achievement was playing the song on barred instruments.

Posted in Lower Elementary, music

Upper Unit’s Star Party

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McGuffey’s Upper Unit welcomed Aaron Eiben of the Cincinnati Observatory last Thursday night for our Star Party. Aaron brought two large telescopes and star maps for everyone. He guided students and parents through viewing the moon, several planets, stars, star clusters, and even two galaxies. Many parents and students also brought their own telescopes from home, and Mr. Eiben offered tips on getting the most out of each type of telescope.

We all enjoyed hot cocoa and good viewing during the brisk, clear fall evening and night. Thanks to Upper Unit Science teacher Susie Lute for organizing this experience.

Posted in guest speakers, Middle School, outside, science, Upper Elementary, upper unit

SOAR Family Hike

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This past Saturday, some of the McGuffey community gathered for our annual SOAR (Students Outside and Running) Family Hike. Zafer Ozdemir led us on a three-mile hike followed by an optional three-mile run. It was a great opportunity for the students to gain more foot tokens in our SOAR program and enjoy a beautiful day outdoors.

As McGuffey’s annual fundraiser for our outdoor facilities, SOAR ends this Friday. The students have logged over 400 miles so far and we can’t wait to find out their grand total on Friday during our Harvest Supper.

Posted in community, fundraising, McGuffey, outside, physical education

Making a Discovery


A few students in our Lower Elementary classroom dug up a piece of rock filled with ancient coral and seashells this morning in their outdoor classroom. They used brushes and shovels to dig it out of the ground, and they worked together to carry it to an open space where they could continue to clean it up and investigate it with a magnifying glass.

Then, Kris helped these students begin some online research to try to identify what they’d found. They haven’t come to any definitive conclusions yet, but they will be continuing their research throughout the rest of the week.

Posted in building and grounds, Lower Elementary, outside, science

Primary’s Bread and Butter

Our Primary students recently made bread! Elizabeth brought in her bread maker and showed us how she adds all the ingredients. We talked about yeast, and how it helps the bread rise. (Science!) All morning we peeked in the window to see the machine stirring, rising, and, finally, baking the bread.

During Primary’s enrichment time that day, everyone helped make butter. Children worked in groups to shake bottles of heavy cream until it formed butter. Working in a group helps make sure your arms don’t get too tired!

We all agreed our day of baking and making was a tasty success.

Posted in cooking, practical life, Primary

Harvest Supper on Friday


McGuffey’s annual Harvest Supper is this Friday, October 21, from 5:30-7:30pm. Please bring a dish to share and we will have cards to help you label items that are gluten-free, nut-free, etc. Please keep in mind that we have a few students who are severely allergic to nuts and peanuts. It always helps when families bring their own plates and utensils, especially if they are reusable! Parents are welcome to walk or run a SOAR lap during Harvest Supper, since this year’s SOAR program will be concluding on Friday, too.

Alumni and former McGuffey students/families are welcome to join us for Harvest Supper this year! We look forward to seeing some familiar faces and old friends.

Posted in alumni, announcements, community, parents

Pokémon Club Meets at Lane Library Tomorrow


Pokémon Trading Card Game Club meets tomorrow at the Oxford Lane Library from 2-4pm.

See this page for our upcoming dates. Beginning next month, we will be meeting from 1-3pm instead of 2-4pm.

Posted in announcements, community

A Visiting Performance of Sleeping Beauty

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Earlier this week, we were treated to a performance of Sleeping Beauty by the Windy City Players. This Chicago-based touring group has come to us several times and is a wonderful addition to McGuffey’s Theater program. Our students were not only delighted by the performance, but it was also an opportunity to learn from the production; they watched terrific acting, they saw how simple props and sets can be very effective, and the actors generously offered a question and answer time after the show. During the days preceding the show, students were asked to think about and discuss what makes good audience etiquette and to remember actions they appreciated from an audience when they performed in the McGuffey musical.

Even though our first-semester Music classes are devoted to music theory, it is ever-present in our students’ minds that our next big musical production will be gearing up soon. How wonderful to have this opportunity to refresh the mantra of our musicals—that we are giving a gift to the audience—since our students were well aware of the gift they were given from the Windy City Players.

Posted in drama, guest speakers, McGuffey, music, outside

Curated Collections in the Upper Unit Library

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McGuffey’s Upper Unit Library received a facelift over the summer along with a lot of new books! Upper Unit teacher Allison Brigden along with Lower Elementary teacher Matt Metzler obtained a plethora of new and exciting books and spent the summer months working on the library and its collection. Once school started, however, they were ready to turn it over to the students!

Each week there is a new curated collection in the library set up by one or two students. They bring in, or select, their favorite books, series, author, or genres and put them on display for the entire Upper Unit. This gives students a chance to turn their classmates on to a genre of literature they may be unfamiliar with or introduce them to a new author.

Students sharing their love of books with other students is a beautiful thing to behold.

Posted in language arts, McGuffey, Middle School, Upper Elementary, upper unit

SOARing at McGuffey

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It’s Fall and SOAR is in the air! SOAR, or Students Outside And Running, is an all-school running and walking program that inspires fun and fitness during the noontime recess and P.E. for two weeks. The entire McGuffey community takes laps of our playground area trying to complete miles and earn foot tokens.

SOAR also functions as our Fall fundraiser to raise money for our playgrounds and outdoor facilities. Your children should have brought home a sponsor sheet; they are encouraged to ask friends and relatives to donate for each mile they walk.

The McGuffey community has really been running hard this year, logging over 160 miles in the first three days! We are thrilled by their excitement about the program, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish by the time this year’s SOAR program is done.

Posted in building and grounds, community, fundraising, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, outside, physical education, Primary, Upper Elementary