Explorations of Elementary 2017 March Newsletter

March was a busy month preparing for our World’s Fair. Students researched fourteen different points about their chosen country. While researching, students kept their information on note cards in their research folders. Students then used those note cards to write a research paper, make a cover page, and complete a bibliography. After their research was complete, students had to sketch the layout of their trifold including the title of their country, a map of the country, the flag of the country, and other interesting photos or facts. After planning students created their trifold and then practiced presenting their information to each other.

On the evening of our World’s Fair, students were excited to come in costume and to present their research to families and friends. They took breaks to see the work of their friends and try some of the Chinese rice a student prepared!

This month first year students began researching simple machines. They learned simple machines help make work easier for us. They researched inclined planes, screws, wedges, pulleys, lever, and wheels and axles. After learning about each simple machine, students thought of examples for each machine. They then took turns using our simple machine materials to build each type. In April, these students will choose a machine and build it themselves.

Our second year students continued their rock research with a sugar cube experiment. They reviewed the rock cycle and the three types of rocks at the beginning of their sugar lab. Each student took a sugar cube, to represent our sedimentary rocks, then crushed it using a hammer to turn it into sediments.  After crushing each cube, the students had to build a foil boat or pan for their smashed cube. They held their foil pan over a candle flame to melt the sugar. The melted sugar represented magma. After the magma cooled, we discovered this was like an igneous rock. Students decided to redo this experiment many times to see what consistencies they could make!

This month we welcomed our first kindergarten visitors! Each visitor is partnered up with an Elementary child. This child is the guide during the week visit. Our guides are responsible for giving their kindergarten visitor a tour of the classroom and an explanation of the way to do things in the classroom. These guides help the kindergarten students make work choices and answer any questions they may have. This gives the guides an opportunity to be leaders academically and socially to help the visiting students.

We enjoyed Pajama Day before Spring Break! We watched “Homeward Bound” in the morning. In the afternoon, our students made s’mores together from a homemade “cooker” that a student created after our sugar cube experiment. We had a dance party and played board games. Our students were also excited to be able to enjoy outdoor gym class! When you exercise and want to get your muscles relaxed don’t forget to get very effective natural muscle relaxants!

We are looking forward to April with you!




Explorations of Elementary April 2017 Overview

Explorations of Elementary April 2017 Overview


  • Our first-year students will continue their study of Simple Machines by constructing their own machine. Each student will also write an experiment card for their fellow students to be able to use their machine.
  • Second year students will move into the study of main characteristics of vertebrates. This will help them at the end of the year to make a Venn Diagram with the third year students about vertebrates and invertebrates. They will also focus their polygon study on triangles for this month.
  • Third year students will begin an in-depth study of the different groups of the plant kingdom.
  • Students researching the human body will finish up with organs and discuss our largest organ, the skin.
  • Students have been separated into two groups for the International Festival. Two second year students are in charge of each group. One group has chosen to research Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, and the other, Immortal Bridge in China. These groups will write a research paper, create a model of their landmark, and prepare a presentation.
  • We will be studying the continent of Australia. We will look at the currency of Australia, a timeline of the history of Australia, and creating Aboriginal Dot Art.
  • Math and Language lessons are given to children based on individual needs, instead of age level.

Reading Groups

  • Two groups are reading different chapter books from the Junie B. Jones series. A third group completed Bunnicula and is beginning a book from A Series of Unfortunate Events. The fourth group is continuing Hidden Figures and will have a special presentation for the International Festival.
  • For Writer’s Workshop this month we will finish our study of fairy tales. We will begin writing “All Abouts.” Our “All Abouts” will focus on different types of animals. Students will write everything they know about the animal of their choice, then will work with a partner to edit their work.

Spelling Groups

  • Our first group will continue their work reviewing long vowel spellings with long i, long o, and long u. The second groups will focus on silent letters, /aw/ spellings, and /s/ and /j/ spellings. The third group is completing the red level with contractions and moving on to study challenging long vowel words in the orange level. The final spelling group will study suffixes, doubling final consonants, contractions, and complete a final review of their level.
  • The homework for the month of March will be rhyming words for groups 1, 2, and 3. These groups need to write each spelling word once, then two words that rhyme with each word. Groups 4 and 5 will be doing “Code Words.” These students need to create a code for each letter and write their words using the code. The codes can be a symbol for each letter or a number for each letter.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • April 7: Dads and Donuts from 7-7:45am
  • April 7: Laser Quest Gym Field Trip
  • April 14-17: Easter Break – NO SCHOOL
  • April 19: International Festival Rehearsal
  • April 21: International Festival



Explorations of Elementary 2017 February Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2017 February Newsletter

February was a month full of science experiments in our classroom.  While we conduct experiments each month, these experiments seemed to be class favorites.  We began the month with an experiment to determine if beans are monocot or dicots and ended the month studying the cooling process of the body.  In our anatomy lessons, some students continued their study with adding information about the brain and spinal cord, while others put together a child-sized skeleton and labeled its parts.  In Biology, we studied a food web and the interconnectivity of all things on Earth.

For our experiment about monocots and dicots, we used dried cannellini beans.  We used two beans for each student.  We put one bean in a damp paper towel and hung them in a sunny window to try to grow.  We also did an experiment to try to sprout a seed using the carbon dioxide and saliva in our mouths.  We had to soak the beans overnight in a cup of water, then the next day we placed the beans under our tongues.  We had to keep our mouths closed for 30 minutes!  Some beans were sprouted the next day, some a few days later, and some not at all.  From the growth of both sets of beans, we determined that beans are dicots.

All students participated in our Human Body: Cooling Process experiment.  We used our indoor thermometer for the experiment.  After waiting for the thermometer to reach room temperature, we soaked the bulb in rubbing alcohol.  We then took turns blowing on the bulb of the thermometer.  After about 15 puffs of air, we noticed a drop in the temperature.  We discussed that this is similar to our body producing sweat.  Blowing on the bulb made the liquid rubbing alcohol change to gas and evaporate, taking some heat with it.  Sweat on our bodies also takes heat away from our skin.  Students have tried this experiment over and over.  The most drastic drop in temperature was 4 degrees!

In preparation of our Elementary World’s Fair, we dove right into our 14-Point Study of a country of each child’s choice. Throughout the month, we have listened to traditional music from each country during our research.  Students researched 14 different topics like regions, climate, food, invasions, flora, and fauna.  Students recorded all of this information on note cards.  The next step is writing their research paper, complete with title page and bibliography.  Students will then create a trifold board to display their findings.  Make sure to stop by our World’s Fair on Tuesday, March 7, at 6 pm.

Our second years continued their study of geographic features and rocks by forming different features out of clay.  The students chose geographic features that are located in their country for the World’s Fair.  They have painted their features and will have them on display for you at our event!

Our students studying the body focused on the brain and spinal cord this month.  We learned the different parts of the brain and what they control without our body.  We learned what the spinal cord helps us do and how it works with the brain.  We created a spinal cord model using yarn and paper vertebrae.  Students have continued adding their research to their body model.

Two of our students have created a book club for our class.  At Community Meeting, they shared their idea, the rules for the club, and asked who would like to sign up.  Each Tuesday and Wednesday, our students meet from 9:00-9:30 for Book Club.  They vote on which book to read and take turns reading.  After reading, they discuss what they just read and what might happen next.  This group gives students the opportunity to take on different social roles, which is a need Elementary-aged children have.  Being in different groups and clubs, having different roles in those clubs, and following through with the responsibility of being a member prepares children for different work and social situations they will experience as older children and adults.

Kernel shed again this month!  He has grown about 14 inches since we first got him in the fall.  He is now 22 inches long and eats three mice each week.  Our students enjoy petting him and watching him grow.

For our Valentine’s Day Party, we enjoyed cooking together we even got the best utensils for it from the Ivy and Wilde homeware store online.  We made rolled out dough, spread on sauce, sprinkled cheese, and added toppings before baking our heart-shaped pizzas.  We prepared our fruit by washing and chopping grapes and strawberries for everyone to share.  The most exciting part for everyone was making Rice Krispy treats.  We melted our marshmallows and butter on the stove then mixed it together with our Rice Krispies cereal.  The students enjoyed pressing it into the pan.  After cooking together, some students washed dishes while others set the places at our tables.  Sharing these chores helps students become responsible and caring of our environment and each other.

After our lunch together, we played games.  We did a cupid’s arrow contest blowing q-tips out of a straw into a bowl.  The team that got the most q-tips in the bowl in one minute was the winner!  We also played a math facts “sumo wrestling” game.  Two students stood on either side of a rug, back to back.  Math facts were read to the students and the first to answer correctly took a step back.  Once students were heel to heel, they used their bodies to move each other off the mat.  Everyone thought this was a blast!  After our games, the students went to gym.  When they returned, we opened our valentines and shared treats with each other.

We are excited for March with all of our families!




Explorations of Elementary March 2017 Overview

Explorations of Elementary March 2017 Overview


  • Our first-year students will begin a study of simple machines. During this study, they will learn different simple machines, how they work, and how we use them in daily life.  These students will each build their own simple machine at the end of our study.
  • Second year students will put together their knowledge of parts of the flower, monocots and dicots, types of stems, parts of the seed, and different leaf blades to study completeness of flowers.
  • Third year students will begin studying internal systems of vertebrates.
  • Students researching the human body will discuss muscles and the circulatory systems.
  • All students will begin research of landmarks formed naturally from rocks for our International Festival.
  • We will be studying the continent of Asia. We will look at objects and photos from Asia and will talk about many of its capital cities.
  • Math and Language lessons are given to children based on individual needs, instead of age level.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will begin reading the Frog and Toad series. Another group will continue My Father’s Dragon.  A third group will be reading Bunnicula. Our last group will be reading Hidden Figures and creating a timeline of the events from this true story.
  • For Writer’s Workshop this month we will study and write fairy tales. We will review popular fairy tales, then in our writing we will change roles of characters and change the problem in different stories.  We will also write our own fairy tale at the end of our study.

Spelling Groups

  • Group 1 will be reviewing all different short vowel sounds, long a spellings, long e spellings, and long i spellings. In class, one activity will be a short/long vowel reference chart where they will draw an example of each short/long vowel sound.  Their other activity will be drawing configurations of each word.
  • Group 2 and 3 will be working on -air, -ear, and -are words, /ow/ and /oi/ words, homophones, and silent letters. This group will be writing silly sentences about each word and writing word cousins.  Word cousins are a list of words that hint at the meaning of each word.
  • Group 4 will be working on prefixes, suffixes, doubling of consonants, and contractions. An activity for this group will be to write true and false questions for another member of their group.  The other activity will be to type each word three times on the computer.
  • Group 5 will be working on adding endings to words that end in e, prefixes, and suffixes. The activities this group will be doing are typing their words on the computer and making a chart of different endings, suffixes, and prefixes.
  • The homework for the month of March will be “Waterfall Writing.” This means writing a word beginning with one letter on the first line, then two letters on the second line, and so on.  An example will come home with their homework the first week.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • March 7: Elementary World’s Fair at 6pm.
    • Each child has prepared a research report and display board for a country of their choice. Each child will dress in a costume from their country and explain their findings as you stop by their stand.  Feel welcome to invite family and friends!  Our students have been working so hard!
  • March 13: Our kindergarten students will begin visiting. Some of our students have been paired up to help them and make them feel comfortable in our environment.  This is a great opportunity for even our youngest students to be role models for our visitors!
  • March 14: Cleveland Metro Parks Farmpark Field Trip.
    • Please dress appropriately for the weather. We will be outside almost the entire time we are there.
    • Please pack a disposable lunch in disposable containers.
    • If you have volunteered to drive, you will receive an email soon about which children will be riding in your vehicle, along with directions and the time to arrive, and you need the right maintenance such as an oil change that you could get at sites like http://www.atloceanside.com.
  • March 18: Father/Daughter, Mother/Son School Dance 2-4pm
  • March 24: Pajama Day
  • March 27-31: Spring Break



Explorations of Elementary 2017 January Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2017 January Newsletter

We are already a month into 2017, and the students are right back to working hard!  We have had a wonderful month together with exciting, new lessons and practicing our favorite materials from before break.  The Bohr Diagram, using the microscope, and Writer’s Workshop inspired a lot of great learning this month!

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Our field trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History was something the students have been looking forward to for a while.  Our tour guide, an archaeologist, was very knowledgeable, patient, and funny.  We started our trip looking at animal fossils that were found in Ohio.  During this part of our fossil workshop, our guide taught us the difference between mastodons and mammoths.  We were even able to hold the fossilized tooth of a mammoth and feel the ridges in the molars where they ground up grass.


While moving through the museum, we talked about different plant and animal life throughout different time periods.  Our guide explained to us that paleontologists and archaeologists use fossils to learn what adaptations animals had, what they ate, what their environment was like, and how they perished.  We also learned how fossils are found, how they are named, and how different museums can share, or trade, fossils.  We were able to hold dinosaur coprolite (from the Greek words Kopros Lithos, meaning “dung stone”) and part of a rib from a dinosaur, probably a long-necked herbivore, that was 150 million years old.

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After our fossil tour and workshop, we enjoyed lunch together, then were able to explore other exhibits on our own.  Our first years are studying the planets, so we made sure to check out information about the formation of the universe and see pictures from the surface of Mars.

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Our second years are studying rocks, so we stopped by the layers of the earth, rock formation, and crystal formation exhibits.

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Our final stop was the exhibit about early humans, and how humans have changed over time, to enrich the study that our fourth years are doing.  After the visit to the museum, we made fossils of our own!

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In the classroom, we have focused on memorization of multiplication facts with the first-year students.  Maria Montessori believed this had to be done before age 8 to really be internalized.  We show students a variety of ways to practice their math facts, so it is interesting, instead of a chore.  Some students have used the Multiplication Finger Charts, some work with bead bars, and some with the Stamp Game.  Having a variety of ways to learn a skill ensures that students can learn something essential to further education in the best way for their learning style.  Having a variety, also allows students to not get bored and to feel confident in their abilities with a material that is just right for them.  To quote Maria Montessori, “Free choice is the highest of all mental processes.”

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Older students have been working with decimal fractions in a variety of ways.  Some students have learned how to read decimal numbers, and build them with our materials, while others are multiplying decimal numbers.

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Our students studying the body focused on the digestive system this month.  We did an experiment using soap, a cotton ball, milk, and food dye to show how bile breaks down fat in your stomach.  We talked about the parts of the digestive system and how they work together to deliver us the nutrients we need from our food.  Along with this, our first-year students practiced reading food labels to find out what in their lunch was the healthiest, and what they had that should only be consumed occasionally.

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Vinny and Kernel also had exciting months.  Vinny the Guinea had a “Magic Kingdom” built for him by a student.  He now has his own place to go through tunnels, over ramps, and eat from the treat tube filled with our homemade treats (a student helps prepare the treats below).  Kernel finally interacted with some students.  After months of me handling him, and students observing, he was ready for students to pet him!  Two brave first graders were the first ones to try!  They were nervous at the beginning, but ended up very proud of themselves.  These pets have already taught our students many lessons on care and compassion.

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We look forward to February with you!




Explorations of Elementary February 2017 Overview

Explorations of Elementary February 2017 Overview


  • Our first year students will continue their planet research with Uranus and Neptune. These students will study platyhelminthes and nematodes.  First year students will continue studying stems and begin studying bulbs.  Research of the human skeleton will begin.
  • Second year students will continue their rock research with discussions about structures made from rock around the world. This will enable second year students to be the leaders in groups for the International Festival, where we will research and present information about these structures.
  • Third year students will continue researching the main characteristics of invertebrates, moving on to annelids. They will also study different plants and their characteristics, as well as, the habitat of different types of plants.
  • Students researching the human body will discuss the brain, the spinal cord, and the nervous system.
  • All students will learn about the Food Web and the inter-connectivity of living things.
  • We will be studying the continent of Africa. We will look at objects and photos from Africa, talk about some capital cities in Africa, and discuss native groups and their creation myths.
  • Math and Language lessons are given to children based on individual needs, instead of age level.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will continue with Where the Wild Things Are. Two groups will be reading My Father’s Dragon.  Our last group will finish The Bridge to Terabithia and begin on biographies.
  • For Writer’s Workshop this month we will practice “reading like writers” to find problems and solutions in realistic fiction to help us develop the characters we write about. We will learn how to stretch a story to build suspense.  For editing, we will focus on repetitive words, using dialogue instead of alluding to something, and correctly punctuating dialogue.

Spelling Groups with Ms. Sara

  • Groups 1 and 2 are going to be working on blended sounds and digraphs. They will be doing a new activity in class for this month. They will be drawing a picture of their spelling words, labeling them, and doing Rainbow Write.
  • Group 3 will be working on adding endings to words that end in Y to make them plural. They will be doing two new activities in class to practice their words. They will be writing their list in their dominant hand and then in their non-dominant hand. They will also be doing an activity called Hidden Picture. They will draw and color a picture, hide their spelling words in it, and have a friend find them.
  • Group 4 will be working on Long I words. They will be doing two new activities in class to practice their words. They will be writing their list in their dominant hand and then again in their non-dominant hand. They will also be doing an activity called Hidden Picture. They will draw and color a picture, then hide their spelling words in it, and have a friend find them.
  • Group 5 will be working on compound words. They will be working on two new activities in class to practice their words. The first one will be to write a letter to a famous athlete and include all of their spelling words. The second will be to define all of their words.
  • The homework coming home tonight, and for the entire month of February, will be for you to dictate a sentence to your child for each of the spelling words that are sent home, have them write the sentence, and underline their spelling word. Please make sure your child is beginning their sentence with a capital letter and using correct punctuation at the end.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • February 10: Valentine’s Party
    • The party will begin with a lunch cooked together, then continue with games and gym class. We will end with passing out Valentine cards to each other.  Please make sure only your child’s name is on the cards to make sure there is enough time for each child to pass their cards out.
    • Please help us make this lunch possible, by signing up to bring something if you can: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090b48a8a92da6f94-valentines1
  • February 18: Tallmadge Open House
    • Please look for an email from Kelly and Brandy about a special Elementary event after the Tallmadge Open House. This is a great opportunity to come learn more about the Montessori Elementary philosophy, the social needs of the Elementary child, and how you can help them through this phase in life.  Bring all your Montessori Elementary questions!  This is a great learning opportunity for current and incoming families!
  • February 20: President’s Day – NO SCHOOL
  • February 24: Elementary Student Conference Day – NO SCHOOL FOR ELEMENTARY
    • Your child will lead their own conference this day. They will prepare a script for their conference, and present some lessons they have been working on.  We will be there to answer any questions about what they are presenting and to encourage your child to take ownership of their learning.




Explorations of Elementary December 2016 Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary December 2016 Newsletter

December was a short, but exciting month.  We spent much of December reviewing lessons and getting ready for the Christmas show.  Most of the time in a Montessori Elementary classroom, we present lessons in small or large groups because of the need to collaborate at this age.  One of the privileges we have of being a multi-age classroom is the time we can take to review things one-on-one with students to prepare them for the new lessons the New Year will bring, while other students continue their own choices of challenging work.  This month students continued their independent research.  Some students were researching vertebrates, while others were researching the different vertebrates and invertebrates in different time periods.

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Our student studying the human body did experiments to learn about the heart and the lungs.  To show how blood pumps out of the heart, we used a bucket full of water and a tennis ball with a hole cut into it.  Each student filled up the ball with water and squeezed it to pump the “blood” out.  We discussed the way blood enters into our heart and where the blood goes when the heart pumps it out.  We looked at photos of blood cells and watched a video of how it moves through different parts of the body.  These students practiced checking their pulse and tried different activities to make their hearts beat faster!

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We created our own lung to demonstrate the way our diaphragm and lungs work together to circulate oxygen.  In our bodies, when you inhale, your diaphragm goes down and your lungs inflate, and when you exhale, your diaphragm rises and your lungs deflate.  We blew one breath into our top balloon to make our “lung.”  When each student pulled on the bottom balloon, or diaphragm, the balloon would inflate, just like our lungs.  When the students would release the balloon, or diaphragm, the balloon would deflate, demonstrating how we exhale.

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Along with learning how our bodies work, we spent a lot of time working on our life skills.  Some students baked bread for our class as part of a measuring lesson.  We enjoyed watching the bread being kneaded, rising, and baking in the machine throughout the day, as well as enjoying the smell!  After it was done, we all tried it together and shared with Ms. Courtney’s class.  On Pajama Day, we worked together to bake Christmas cookies.  We had to measure, mix, roll out the dough, cut the cookies, and wash the dishes.  When the cookies were done, we made frosting to cover them with.  We enjoyed the cookies and our visiting friends’ company while watching The Tale of Despereaux.  The students that read the book were excited for this part of the day!



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While we were working hard with independent research, group work, and studying the human body, we also had to prepare for the Christmas Show!  A lot of hard (and fun) work from the students goes into putting on the Elementary portion of the show.  Our students came up with a list of countries they were interested in learning about, then once we narrowed it down, each group had to research their Christmas tradition.  The students then worked as a team to write their scripts, design their costumes, and make their own props.  After that we had to practice, practice, practice.  While the performances seem brief, the amount of teamwork and dedication from the students is something they are so proud of!  Thank you to all of the families for your help practicing, putting together costumes, and attending the performance!  We couldn’t do this without you!



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Welcome back and Happy New Year!

Explorations of Elementary January 2017 Overview

Explorations of Elementary January 2017 Overview


  • Our first year students will continue their planet research with Jupiter and Saturn. These students will also learn about the food chain of different ecosystems.  First year students will add to their knowledge of external characteristics of living things by talking about poriferans and cnidarians.  In Physical Science, first years will begin their energy transformation study with friction.
  • Second year students will begin discussing layers of the soil and fossils as part of our yearlong study of rocks and minerals. Second year students will begin their study of the main characteristics (digestive system, circulatory system, movement, etc.) of vertebrates, beginning with fish.  These students will study atoms and the Periodic Table using the BOHR Diagram.
  • Third year students will continue researching the main characteristics of invertebrates, moving on to nematodes. Third year students will add to their taxonomy studies, by classifying the invertebrates we have already researched.  We will focus this month on different types of seeds: monocot and dicot.  In Physical Science, third year students will discuss energy transformations using a toaster.
  • Students researching the human body will focus on the digestive system and use their knowledge of the function of the lung and heart to add to their human body model.
  • Third and fourth year students will begin work with the microscope. They will learn all of the parts of the microscope before becoming “certified” to operate the microscope to observe slides of various living and nonliving things.
  • All students will learn about national holidays from January, February, and March. All student will begin a 14-Point Study of Europe.  Students will work in groups to research fourteen points of study, including climate, languages, industries, geographic features, and customs of different countries in Europe.
  • Math and Language lessons are given to children based on individual needs, instead of age level.

Reading Groups

  • Our groups will all begin new stories or chapter books. One group will read Madeline.  Another group will read Where the Wild Things Are.  Our two groups reading chapter books will begin My Father’s Dragon and The Bridge to Terabithia.
  • This half of the year we will focus on a Writer’s Workshop. This month we will focus on the structure and routines of writing, editing and revising writing, planning short narratives, and partner writing.  We will write a short narrative in chronological order and a short narrative that incorporates all five senses.

Spelling Rules

  • New spelling groups will begin this month based on assessments from December.
  • The spelling homework for January will be to write each word three times in cursive. Please make sure your child is writing in cursive at a table, not on the floor, to ensure they are practicing proper form.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • January 4: School Resumes
  • January 13: Teacher In-Service Day – NO SCHOOL
  • January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – NO SCHOOL
  • January 17: FIELD TRIP to Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Please make sure your child arrives to school on time because we have a fossil workshop scheduled as soon as we arrive at the museum.  Please pack a lunch with items that can be thrown away, in a bag that can be thrown away.

  • Please make sure throughout this month your child comes dressed for the weather. We will be going outside as often as possible.




Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Newsletter

November has really flown by!  We started the month with introducing the BC/BCE and AD/CE timeline to begin the study of the Fundamental Needs of Humans.  First and second level students looked at the similarities and differences of Early Man and Modern Man.  Third year students studied religion and food over the course of history.  We will continue these studies into the month of December to cover all large ancient and modern civilizations, as well as, communication, weapons, shelter, and social acceptance of these groups.


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In Geography this month we focused on South America.  We learned the names and regions for each modern and native language spoken on the continent.  Students were interested to learn that they speak Dutch in parts of South America!  We looked at the flags of South America and the capitals of many of the countries.  In December, students will practice this knowledge with friends using a fun card game.

Second level students were excited to test the hardness of rocks with different materials, like a penny and a nail.  After testing the rocks, we compared our results with the three types of rocks – metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary.  Students were excited to share what they learned about the formation of each type of rock from the testing.


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Kernel is starting to get very large!  We cannot wait until he sheds so we can measure his growth.  He is now eating three mice a week instead of two!  Vinny is happy to join us at our work now.  We have to be sure to work quietly when he is around so he does not get frightened.






Many students were excited this month to “vote” for President.  We talked about the “hats” the President wears.  Students gave their opinions on which jobs they think would be easiest as President, and which would be hardest.  After discussing the role of the President, we talked about the voting process and how to cast a vote.  Each child received a voter registration card, cast their paper ballot, and decorated their “I Voted Today” sticker.


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The most exciting part of this month had to be cooking together!  We chopped vegetables and measured ingredients for our soup.  The students enjoyed mixing ingredients and using the oven to prepare bread and pumpkin pie.  We prepared skits using words the Pilgrims used and performed them for our families.  Each student also collected sticks to make into a Thankful Tree.  It was wonderful hearing all of the people and things our students are thankful for!  We would like to thank all of the families that came to see our short skits and eat at the Harvest Party with us.  The students were very proud of all of their hard work and appreciated your attendance.


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We are excited to see what December brings!



Explorations of Elementary 2016 – December Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – December Monthly Overview

Below is an overview of some of the things we will be covering in the classroom over the course of December in additional to individual/small group lessons.


  • Our first-year students will be researching Earth and Mars. They will begin researching external characteristics of invertebrates, starting with Protozoans.
  • Second year students will research the characteristics that set birds and mammals apart from other vertebrates. They will also research dehiscent and indehiscent fruit.  These students will also continue their research of rocks and minerals with a discussion on the rock cycle.
  • Students researching the human body will focus on the heart and lungs.
  • Our fourth-year students will continue researching early humans.
  • All students will review our previous studies of North and South America.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will read leveled readers. One group will read short stories and fables to discuss theme and the moral of stories.  The groups reading The Tale of Despereaux and Where the Red Fern Grows will complete those books.
  • Within reading group, we will be reviewing Reading Workshop skills in preparation of beginning Writer’s Workshop in January.

Spelling Rules

  • Students will review all previous spelling words and will be reassessed. New spelling groups and words will begin in January.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • December 14: Christmas Show Rehearsal
  • December 16: Christmas Show
  • December 21: Pajama Party – Lunch will be provided. We won the Box Tops contest and will have pizza and sides provided for all students.  We will bake cookies together, as well.