Celebration of Learning

The Upper Unit students were proud to welcome their families to this year’s Celebration of Learning. They cleaned the whole classroom, arranged flowers, decorated the board, and created work plans so that their families could sample their Upper Unit work. Family members tried their hand at math challenges, physics experiments, taking apart and reassembling a carburetor, finding good things for their treasure chest, and writing stories using Story Cubes. 

Posted in community, intermediate unit, language arts, math, McGuffey, Middle School, Montessori method, parents, practical life, science, sensorial, social studies, technology, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary, upper unit

A Visit of Olympic Proportions

Students in Lower and Upper were excited to welcome guest speaker, Keli Smith Puzo. Keli is a two-time Olympian, competing in the sport of field hockey in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012. Many classrooms have been discussing the Olympics as the competition is taking place. Keli visited us recently, wearing the jacket she wore at the London opening ceremony.

Keli talked with our students about how she got involved in field hockey and her journey in the sport. We learned about the four year training cycle that takes place prior to each Olympics, and the hard work required to qualify and compete. Students had the opportunity to ask about what it’s like to be a professional athlete, including the challenges, sacrifices, and rewards. They also got to ask plenty of questions about the Olympics, including the competition, residence halls, meeting other athletes and, most importantly, the food! We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Keli for spending part of her day with us.

Keli resides in Oxford with her husband, Miami field hockey coach Iñako Puzo, and her two sons. Keli is the owner and director of Field Hockey Life (FHL), an organization that offers club programs in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland for athletes of all levels, ages eight and up. Several McGuffey students have participated in the FHL program in addition to playing for the Talawanda team.

If your child is interested in field hockey, FHL is offering youth clinics this spring for students who would like to try the sport. Field hockey sticks will be provided! You can find more information here.

Posted in community, guest speakers, intermediate unit, language arts, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Montessori method, physical education, social studies, Uncategorized

Aeroponic Garden

High school students have been learning from and experimenting with an indoor, aeroponic garden this semester.  We have been monitoring how long it takes for different kinds of seeds to germinate and then produce enough yield for a harvest.  

We used our first big harvest to prepare a lunch for our school staff.  Students trimmed, cut, washed, and dressed numerous salads. They also prepared an order form for custom-made sandwiches and three choices of dessert. The staff was well fed and the students enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the adult community of our school. This event was the finale of our Leadership Academy project which challenged all staff members to write encouraging messages to fill each others’ buckets during the month of January (see blog post from Jan 7). This act of service by our students was a rewarding experience for all. 

This week, we had one more harvest from the same plants and weighed a total of 1.5 pounds of leafy greens, which we distributed to our staff to enjoy at home.  

There are more seedlings ready to go into the tower to keep the cycle moving.  Maybe one day soon, we’ll have fresh greens for sale!

Posted in community, cooking, gratitude, High School, McGuffey, Montessori method, practical life, science, sensorial, Uncategorized


In January we were happy to host Scott Jasper with his farming equipment. Scott has designed special equipment for children to have hands-on experiences in the planting and harvesting process. Students in Kindergarten and Lower Elementary got to spend some time outside exploring the tools and equipment. 

Posted in community, guest speakers, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Montessori method, outside, practical life, pre-primary, preschool, Primary, primary unit, sensorial, Uncategorized

Primary Social Studies

This week we learned about our second Asian country, India, with many unique characteristics. It’s a peninsula, just like Florida. Many people wear clothing made out of beautiful, decorative fabrics. The Bengal tiger, for which our local football team is named, lives in India. We have been relaxing by listening to sitar music and practicing yoga. India is also home to one of the most remarkable structures in the world-the Taj Mahal. India has delicious foods that we got to try during lunch; saag paneer, naan bread, and mango lassi were favorites.

So far, India has been fascinating! We can’t wait to see what else we will discover.

Posted in McGuffey, Montessori method, practical life, pre-primary, preschool, Primary, primary unit, sensorial, Uncategorized

The History of Mail

For the last month, Lower Elementary has been studying the history of the United States Postal Service. We learned about how letters get from here to there, first by horse and then cars, trains, airplanes, and boats. We followed the path of a letter from point of origin to destination. We even discovered, for a short time, you could mail a small child!

After our conversation about a rare stamp, called the Inverted Jenny, one of our students shared a family stamp collection, allowing children to try out the hobby of philately. 

Students had a chance to design their own stamp, and were delighted when we showed them we turned their designs into McGuffey stamps! They then spent time trading stamps to create a small collection.

This history topic paired perfectly with our practical life unit on writing letters and postcards. Students have been busy writing to friends, family, and one another.

Posted in language arts, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Montessori method, social studies, Uncategorized

Sharing Art

Sharing art is an exciting and rewarding experience in the McGuffey art studio. Artists select one of their creations (finished or a work-in-progress) to share and receive positive comments on. Often, in the older units, we write down our positive comments to give to the artist. The peer recognition, opportunity to giggle together, and the chance to admire the work of classmates is a wonderful experience for all.

Posted in art, community, gratitude, intermediate unit, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Montessori method, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary, upper unit

Upper Elementary Mathematics

The Upper Elementary students are busy using Montessori materials to learn mathematical skills. The multi-colored manipulatives help them grow in understanding as they move from concrete representations to more abstract concepts. These materials, familiar from their experience in Lower Elementary, help students with their transition to the Upper Unit.

Posted in intermediate unit, math, McGuffey, Montessori method, sensorial, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary, upper unit

Exploring History Through Fictional Characters

This year in ELA, we are tracing some of the major events in American history and exploring the ways in which history can be conveyed through the experiences of fictional characters, often presented as a blend of documented “truth” and imaginative speculation. As Colson Whitehead has explained it, in discussing his novel The Underground Railroad, he wanted to stick to “the truth of things, not the facts.” In this spirit, we’ve read about Cora escaping the slavery of the Antebellum South via a modern city of skyscrapers, and Billy Pilgrim’s journey from Dresden, Germany in WWII to life in a human zoo aboard a flying saucer. 

At the same time, we are examining the conversations that authors have with each other through their texts, and finding connections—explicit and implicit—from one story to another. And so we have paired Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad with Anne Frank’s Diary and have discovered new ways to view and talk about these stories, and the events they depict, in the context of the other. It has been a wild, winding journey, as Vonnegut might describe it, “somewhat in the telegraphic, schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from.” So it goes.

Posted in High School, language arts, McGuffey, Montessori method, social studies, Uncategorized

Ice Skating

This year we were able to return to the Goggin Ice Arena on Miami’s campus for our annual ice skating sessions. A good time was had by all and many of our students improved quite a bit over the three sessions!

Posted in community, field trip, High School, intermediate unit, Lower Elementary, McGuffey, Middle School, Montessori method, parents, physical education, pre-primary, preschool, Primary, primary unit, Staff, Uncategorized, Upper Elementary, upper unit