Open classrooms













Today was quite a special day in the Annex!

For the first time, the teachers opened the Primary and Lower Elementary classrooms so students could flow between the spaces. The excitement was palpable.

Returning Primary students were eager to visit their former space with familiar and unfamiliar works, new furniture and their Lower Elementary friends. New Primary students were eager to explore the Lower Elementary space for the first time.
Lower Elementary students were over the moon to both visit the brand new Primary spaces and to visit some of the familiar works on the shelves.

Students from both classes were often seen showing their visitors around and enjoying the new outdoor classroom together. Everywhere there were small groups or pairs of students from both classes talking, working and playing. We might have even overheard a few Grade 1 students debating if the slide could possibly be the same (it seems so small now).

This was one of the motivating factors in moving classrooms this summer and we expect it to be a regular event. This a particularly wonderful thing for our kindergartners, as their move to first grade will be to a room where they already feel at home and with staff whom they already know.

Posted in community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, partners, Primary

Baking (or not) cookies

Cookies1cookies2cookies3bakingcookies2 bakingcookies1Students in the Upper Elementary had an opportunity to make cookies…  but they also had the opportunity to use some math. Students were given only ½, 1/3, and ¼ cup measuring cups to use. They had to determine how many of which cups to use when measuring out the sugar, milk, chocolate, and oats.

Then the fun began. They cooked and stirred and stirred some more. Seeing how quickly the chocolate chips melted was the most fun. Then they got to “make” the cookies by scooping out spoonfuls of dough on to the cookie sheets. The best part – not baking, immediate eating. Students all got a copy of the recipe to take home.

Posted in cooking, Middle School, Upper Elementary

The hour of code

code3 code4 code2 code1Students in grades 4 through 8 participated in the worldwide Hour of Code this week.  The Hour of Code was developed a few years ago to promote computer science studies in schools, particularly the aspect of creating and writing computer programs.

Students had a great time and were truly interested and engaged in the process of making Elsa and Anna create figures and snowflakes as they skated forwards and backwards and made turns as directed by the code created by the students.

There are more videos and self-directed learning modules that parents and students can access at

Posted in Middle School, technology, Upper Elementary

Diwali Pinch Pots

diwali pots 3

Diwali pots 2

Diwali PotsLower Elementary learned about Diwali, the “Festival of Lights”. We learned that this festival is the beginning of the New Year for some people in India and around the world. As a project, Lower Elementary made Diyas pinch pots because of the significance of the lights of Diwali. Lower Elementary enjoyed working with the clay and painting them.

Posted in art, Lower Elementary

Writing with Lower Elementary 121014-02 121014-03 121014-04 121014-05

In the McGuffey tradition, Lower Elementary partnered with Kindergarteners on Monday. First graders had a Kindergarten buddy help with their classroom job. Second graders then took the lead showing Kindergarteners how they write journal topics. After writing together, the partners shared their journals with the whole group.

This is part of our strategic plan to make the transition from Primary to Lower Elementary as seamless as possible. Everybody had a great time!

Posted in community, language arts, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, partners, Primary

“Oh how we hate to get up in the morning!”  

mathmorningsThis year, students in Grades 7 and 8 have made shifts in order to arrive at school to start mathematics at 8:30am. This allows them to receive a full 60 – 90 minutes of math each day. Marcia, their mathematics teacher arrives well before 8am to prepare for their arrival.

In addition to the traditional curriculum content of Algebra and Pre-Algebra, each class begins with a Problem of the Day, Venn Diagram Puzzler, Code Breaker, or another 4 – 6 minute challenge. These activities review previously taught concepts, encourage the use of mental math and logic, and allow students to see where they might need some extra help or to ask a question. Marcia always ends this first part of the class with a word puzzle.

I’ll be
right away

Posted in math, Middle School

Pete The Cat

112114-02 112114-01 112114-03Recently, the second graders put on a performance for the Primary Unit. What a special day! They performed their composition to the book “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin and James Dean. The second graders had been working hard for weeks, composing melodies, choosing instruments, and practicing. To see the happy faces of the Primary students made it all worthwhile. Pride, laughter, and fun filled the room.

Posted in Lower Elementary, McGuffey, music, Primary, Uncategorized

Office Staff Gets a Surprise Thank You

thankyouThe office staff arrived to find the walls covered with colorful thank you signs by the primary class! It is so nice to feel appreciated, and the colors brightened up this grey and rainy day!

Posted in McGuffey

Click for McGuffey When You Shop Amazon


As you do your holiday shopping, please remember to use the McGuffey link. Simply start your session by clicking the Amazon logo in the upper right-hand corner of any page on the McGuffey website. This will take you straight to Amazon, but your transaction will be tagged with McGuffey’s ID. We typically receive 6% of your final purchase price, which can add up to quite a bit over time.

Please share this link with family and friends and encourage them to use it. It’s an easy way that friends, family, and alumni can help support McGuffey.

Please note, McGuffey will not receive a percentage of items saved in your cart during a previous session. If you can, take a moment to take the items out of your cart and replace them.

Using the Amazon link raised hundreds of dollars last year by simply taking the time to make one extra click. Please support us with this simple fundraising effort!

Posted in Uncategorized

Braving The Cold During Extended Day

ExDay1 ExDay2 ExDay3 ExDay4Last week’s arctic blast changed up our usual plans for Extended Day, as we began setting up crafts and games inside to stay warm. A few determined snow-sculptors braved the cold, however, and built an igloo using the the plastic bins that had been left on the playground to help spread the latest batch of mulch. By the end of the day, after only a few hours of work, the igloo stood around four feet tall – and since the weather remained quite cold for the rest of the week, the igloo has continued to grow a bit taller each day.

A reminder that any children who attend Extended Day need to have boots, gloves, and a winter coat to be allowed to go outside in this weather, especially as the sunset and its accompanying drop in temperature begin to inch their way earlier into our afternoons.

Posted in extended day, outside