Art 101

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McGuffey’s Art curriculum is designed so that most students are working on similar projects at the same time, regardless of grade level. While this certainly helps prevent utter chaos in our studio space, it also teaches the concept that the materials we use in Art shouldn’t be limited by age (unless there is a safety concern). What we are able to and choose to do with a medium is what really matters. As a teacher, it’s a lot of fun to do similar projects among a wide range of ages. From class to class, you can see examples of the various stages of fine motor development, and compare the ways that different age groups try to solve problems using a common medium.

However, the Grade 1 Art curriculum intentionally does not follow this design. Grade 1 students come to Lower Elementary with experience in a wide variety of basic artistic skills that were presented to them during Kindergarten Studio sessions. Now their Art curriculum is considered to be a sort of McGuffey Art 101, and is designed to introduce new, more advanced materials and techniques, show them how to work in the Art room, and encourage confidence in self-expression. After an introduction like this, they are fully prepared to dive into project work of all kinds with the rest of the school.

Posted in art, Lower Elementary, McGuffey

Ancient Writing in Upper Elementary

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In Upper Elementary our journey through the ancient world has led us to the Fertile Crescent and the Sumerian people. This is the birthplace of writing; the Sumerians used clay tablets and cut reeds to create the writing system known as cuneiform.

Our Upper Elementary students have the opportunity to be Sumerian scribes and write on a clay tablet using an alphabet based on cuneiform. With air dry clay and some basic carving tools, the students are writing their names in an ancient language. The work was so enjoyable that several Middle School students asked if they could do it as an extension as well.

Look for your child’s tablet when it comes home for Winter Break.

Posted in social studies, Upper Elementary

Games of The Gods

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Project-based work is in full swing in the Upper Unit. The students are taking their knowledge of Greek mythology to create games inspired by the Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes. There are board games, card games, and computer games being created.

This collaborative work has focused on all aspects of game creation: students have researched and revised, drafted and edited, created and tested. It has been a large undertaking and the students have been given enough time and materials to make the games to their satisfaction… and the results are pretty impressive.

Posted in language arts, McGuffey, upper unit

Examining Pinecones in Lower Elementary

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Lower Elementary students are studying seeds this week in Science, and specifically, since there is an abundance of them in the outdoor classroom, pinecones. They are investigating the conditions under which pinecones “open” and “close” their scales. To make an experiment out of this question, we put three pinecones in three glasses: one glass with no water, one glass with warm water, and one glass with cold water.

After waiting a day and revisiting the glasses, students discovered that the pinecones that were in water had closed up their scales. This made it much harder to break the scales away from the pinecones. The warm water turned a greenish-brown color after the pinecone sat overnight, and while this wasn’t an intended outcome of the experiment, students hypothesized that the pinecone might have had some sap on it, and the warmth of the water drew it out.

Kris discussed the results of the experiment with the class as a whole, noting that when pinecones are damp or cold, their scales close up, protecting the seed; but when pinecones are dry, their scales open, allowing the seed to establish and grow under the right conditions.

Posted in Lower Elementary, science

Gathering Leaves

As Fall marches on, we are watching the leaves gather on the ground. The Primary students are fortunate to have a huge conifer in their outdoor classroom, but their deciduous trees are too young to yield much of a pile. Earlier this month, Primary teachers sent a well-supervised crew to gather leaves from the enormous maple that sits just beyond their fence. They had a ball gathering and transporting leaves and then making an enormous pile. And the most fun part? Jumping in them!

Posted in building and grounds, outside, practical life, Primary

A visit from Kevin Spencer

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Recently we were visited by magician Kevin Spencer! Kevin travels throughout the country, teaching both children and adults. Through lessons in the art of illusion, students explore creativity, develop curiosity, and discover new confidence.

With he help of several of our students, Kevin performed a variety of magic tricks and  demonstrated his unique ability to engage children and adults of all ages.

That entire week, nine McGuffey students participated in the camp Kevin held at the Oxford Community Arts Center. This is the third Magic Camp Kevin has had in Oxford. We are grateful to the Talawanda-Miami Partnership and Miami University Performing Arts for bringing Kevin to our community.

Posted in community, guest speakers, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Primary, Upper Elementary

Pokémon Club at Oxford Lane Library Tomorrow

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Pokémon Trading Card Game Club meets tomorrow (Sunday) at the Oxford Lane Library from 1-3pm. Please note the time change, as our meetings used to run from 2-4pm. All future meetings will be held from 1-3pm as well.

You can always check this page on our website for Pokémon Club dates and times. Our final meeting of the year aside from tomorrow’s date is Sunday, December 4. We will post future dates on the page linked above as they are confirmed.

Posted in community, parents

An Afternoon Outdoors with Partners

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Our Middle School and Lower Elementary students had an opportunity to work and grow together this week in their Partners program. This always provides a nice experience for both the older and younger students.

The Middle School students are developing empathy and responsibility by modeling behavior for the younger students while being able to enjoy some of the fun works available in the Lower Elementary outdoor classroom.

The Lower Elementary students get to spend time with the older students and demonstrate their favorite activities and games. They love to teach the Middle School students what they have learned and what they enjoy doing. It provides them with a sense of responsibility and achievement that comes from within themselves.

There was also plenty of space for imaginative play; together, the students made stores and shops, built structures, and spent some quality time in the sandbox. It was a nice afternoon, and this important social time was appreciated by all.

Posted in community, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, outside, partners

Did You Know?

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Did you know that McGuffey accepts students at all grade-levels and throughout the school year? We often have students join us in later grades, even as late as Grade 7! It’s never too late to join our learning community and give your learner a happy and whole-child schooling experience.

A Montessori education prepares students for the real world of wonder and curiosity, choices, responsibilities, joy, kindness, and compassion.

Schedule a tour of McGuffey to see for yourself.

Posted in admissions, McGuffey

Pumpkin pound

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A favorite work has been in Primary the last few weeks—the pumpkin pound! Working one at a time, children first don safety glasses, and then use a hammer to pound in wooden tees. Each child may pound in as many tees as they’d like. When their work is done, the child takes out those tees. Taking the tees back out adds fine motor practice to the work and prepares it for the next student.

In a Montessori classroom real tools are used wherever possible. The pumpkin pound is no different, using real, not toy, safety glasses and hammer. Under close observation, students are relied upon to always keep safety in mind, and they rise to that expectation.

When our pumpkin has quite a few holes, we put it outside our window so that we can watch it decompose. However, we’re wondering how much we’ll be able to watch it decompose, as some furry visitors have been enjoying it for lunch!

Posted in McGuffey, practical life, Primary