Displaying Self-Portraits in Lower Elementary

After lots of planning, Lower Elementary happily unveiled their new display of student self-portraits in the classroom recently. Each student’s self-portrait is now framed and sitting on a ledge shelf in our upstairs classroom space. This is quite an upgrade, and students have expressed a great deal of pride in seeing their artwork framed in our own gallery.

Students in Lower Elementary draw new self-portraits monthly throughout the year, and these frames will always display each student’s most recent rendition of themselves.

Posted in art, Lower Elementary, practical life

Primary Studies Electricity

Earlier this month, the Primary classroom studied electricity. They talked about how electricity is generated, and travels through different parts of the power grid on its way to houses, schools, and other places. Electrical wires are generally the highest wires on the utility poles on your street, and are separated from the pole’s crossbar by a round ceramic insulator. Some areas will have two power lines, some will have three.

Each house also has a distribution transformer, which is the gray or white trash-can-shaped object attached to one of the utility poles in front of your house. The lines that serve your house come from this transformer, run across your yard, and enter your house at the gray service head (unless your wires run underground).

The cable from the service head passes through your electric meter and then into the breaker box, where it splits into circuits that feed the outlets in each room. If you have an unfinished basement, you may be able to show your child the wires supplying the outlet box inside the wall.

Children built two different electric circuits, one where they could turn a light on and off with a switch, and one where they could launch a small fan into the air. (Very exciting!)

Posted in Primary, science

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