An Introduction to Jazz in Music Class

musicblog1musicblog3 musicblog4 musicblog5

Recently in Music class, students in Grade 1 had a ball learning about jazz. They listened to jazz and played along on drums, and they also heard a brief history of jazz and had a chance to talk about what they like about the genre. The most popular activity by far was dancing to jazz. We listened (multiple times!) to “Noodles From Scratch” and moved our bodies any way they told us to. Some students even danced out the part of noodles on the floor! It’s a fun way to get moving during these gray winter days.

Posted in Lower Elementary, music

Tai Chi and Taekwondo: Soft and Hard Martial Arts at McGuffey

21501915671_6facbd9d62_z 24683697441_166d3978b4_z21492807685_af42b33b8b_z24750778036_0f70286bd5_z24481449320_94bfa9c9cf_z24150132173_bf16ba95f5_z24150127493_1c8f0dc574_z24150122903_f28f1b88dc_z

This year at McGuffey, our students have had the opportunity to study Tai Chi and Taekwondo. Both are martial arts; Tai Chi (a Chinese martial art) emphasizes softness, balance, and yielding, while Taekwondo (a Korean martial art) emphasizes hard strikes, cardiovascular endurance, and strong kicks.

This fall, we practiced Tai Chi for four weeks. The students learned about the concept of “stillness in motion,” controlled breathing, and keeping a balanced body position. The students learned the initial six moves in the simplified Yang-style Tai Chi form, from “parting the wild horse’s mane” to “repulsing the monkey.”

We are currently practicing Taekwondo with the help of Oxford Martial Arts. The older students are learning some basic self-defense, while the younger students are learning about strikes and kicks while getting some great exercise.

Posted in community, McGuffey, outside, physical education

Congratulations Matt!

MattNAMCEWe are pleased to share that Matt completed the Lower Elementary Montessori certification in December. We are grateful for all the time he put into this important training over nine months, especially the time he put in alongside his first year of teaching at McGuffey.

Here is what Matt has to say about Montessori and McGuffey:
Finding McGuffey and learning about the Montessori method, first by observing and then by completing my certification, has completely rekindled my love for teaching. One of the aspects of a Montessori education that I value the most as a teacher, now that I more fully understand the way it works in a Montessori classroom, is the emphasis on empowering students to “do it themselves” as much as possible. This can be found in the way that the classrooms are organized, the freedom of the two-hour work period, and the self-checking features built into so many of our materials. These pieces let us stand back and observe so that we have an even better idea of what to teach and present to each student next, in order to make the most of their abilities and interests, and it helps students learn how to take responsibility for their own success.

Posted in announcements, Lower Elementary, McGuffey

Lower Elementary Studies Martin Luther King, Jr.

24380788922_d0788447b5_z 24489068635_ef8cd9f08a_z24489063635_339bdbf1b5_z24406662541_9df8e7b8d0_z

Last week in Lower Elementary, leading up to the long weekend that included Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, students spent a couple afternoons learning about the Reverend Dr. King. In mixed-age groups, students took turns reading three different books aloud to each other: I Am Martin Luther King, Jr., by Brad Meltzer, Martin’s Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport, and Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told by His Niece), by Angela Farris Watkins. Then, the whole class gathered together to watch a short Reading Rainbow video about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. produced last year.

Following this, during their weekly Peace curriculum time, the entire class engaged in a question-and-answer period about Dr. King. At the end of this discussion, their teachers posed the question, “How do Martin Luther King, Jr.’s messages and actions still impact us today?” and the amount of thoughtful, student-initiated responses and observations that followed was inspirational to say the least.

There are many peacemakers among our students at McGuffey, and by studying peacemakers throughout history, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are able to encourage this spirit of kindness, connectedness, and determination to make the world a better place.

Posted in Lower Elementary, peace, social studies

Sensorial work in Primary


The Sensorial area is one that often confuses those who have not been immersed in the Montessori Method. Sensorial exercises were designed by Maria Montessori to help young children explore every quality that can be perceived by the senses—size, shape, composition, texture, loudness or softness, matching, weight, temperature, diameter, etc. The purpose and aim of Sensorial work is for the child to acquire the knowledge and language to allow her to describe her environment.

In the photos above, children can be seen sorting knobbed and knobbless cylinders by height and diameter. They are sorting tablets that range from rough to smooth. The broad stair, which has a consistent length, but varies in height and width. The trinomial cube is another, more advanced sensorial work that in addition to being categorized a sensorial work, it serves as an introduction for algebra and a preparation for the proof of the formula (a+b+c)3 at Elementary Level.

Posted in McGuffey, Primary, sensorial

Winter Creations and Executive Function


Yesterday, while the students from Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School had fun playing in the snow, they were also developing important executive function skills. These are the mental processes that help us focus, plan, and achieve goals.

The teachers observed as groups of students of all ages communicated and worked cooperatively. While doing the important work of play, the students built giant snowballs, snow forts, snow families, and an enormous snow-person. This type of creative play reinforces the social connections throughout the school and helps teach the students how to direct their own actions and cope with stress without the need for adult intervention.

Sadly, it warmed up later in the day and the snow creations had to go away, but the winter isn’t over yet…

Posted in building and grounds, McGuffey, outside

Martin Luther King Jr. Creative Arts Exposition

MLK1 MLK2 MLK3Several students in the Upper Unit participated in Oxford’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Creative Arts Exposition. They were challenged to create a visual or written piece of art based on either the inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or the theme of “Whose Lives Matter?”

Our fourth, fifth and sixth graders provided some very thoughtful pieces of art which will be on display at the Oxford Community Arts Center. Join us this Monday, January 18 at 11 am to see how these students reflected on the Civil Rights Movement.

Posted in art, community, language arts, peace, upper unit

Regular Schedule, 1/13

All of McGuffey’s programs will begin at their normal times tomorrow—Early Care, 7/8 Grade Math and Car line. (Talawanda is on a 90-minute delay tomorrow.)

If you feel that you need to arrive later to be safe, please do so. As always, if you arrive after 9am, bring your child to the office.

This impacts students who planned to ride the bus tomorrow. When Talawanda has a delay on a Wednesday, they cancel their early dismissal. This means our students who ride the bus home have two options: 1) stay in Extended Day until the bus comes at 3:30pm or 2) be picked up at our normal Wednesday dismissal time of 2:45pm. If your child will not need the bus tomorrow, please update the office. This way if no one is riding the bus we can notify Peterman to that effect.

Posted in Uncategorized

Teamwork Runs in Physical Education

23367146552_799e57f0a9_z 23393164371_0ec62d4e7c_z 23475679965_cef7231e86_z22848514943_11b8f9fe89_z23367149062_ed5634e50e_z23449522826_dcf799311b_z

In Physical Education this year, we have been working on exercising our smile muscles while we get active. The teamwork runs we recently did are a great example.

The classes all participated in a multi-stage relay event. Groups of 2 to 4 students had to stay together to accomplish a task and ‘pass the baton’ to the next group of students. Some of the tasks were: running as a group while everyone held onto a jumprope, having to carry a large exercise ball over their heads and pass it to the next group, and the very challenging “Teamwork Trekkers” (ask your child about these).

Each class did a wonderful job of working together to complete the run, and a fun time was had by all.

Posted in outside, physical education

Ice Skating!

23568913903_fc723d0665_z 23568914393_7b87237ba9_z 23568914763_8dbc75dc4c_z 23827905659_6b2737af64_z 23827909089_3533600559_z 23827910119_67da2e2898_z 23900114780_9192054805_z 23900116660_0feb75da1f_z 24169628356_4db01cb170_z 24195712735_b5510c7ba1_z 24195714335_caf506b7b1_z

Yesterday was our first day of ice skating! This is an opportunity for students big and small to spend some time on the ice, using a combination of strength and balance to keep themselves upright and moving. Beginners and experienced skaters both had a fantastic time.

We will be skating each Tuesday in January and always look forward to seeing our students improve both their skills and confidence.

Posted in community, field trip, McGuffey, physical education