January 2016 Academic Enrichment Monthly Overview | Cuyahoga Falls Campus

Our Academic Enrichment time is daily from 12:00-1:00pm. This time is specifically designed for our Kindergarten students to join together as a group to work and progress through the advanced materials and lessons in the Montessori primary curriculum. Throughout the school day in their classroom they are still working individually with their classroom teacher on these and other materials at their level.

1/04: Introduction to decimals/ columns

  • Intro to decimals
  • Learning what is and says ( 1, 10, 100, 1000)

1/11: Introduction to 9 Tray/ 45 layout

  • Recap of decimal system
  • Reinforce by placement and identification of numbers within each decimal place

1/18: Composing Numbers

  • Working with 9 tray / 45 layout
  • Using single units, 10 bars, 100 square and 1000 cubes
  • Reinforce number placement with creation of numbers

1/25: Addition

  • Introduction of addition
  • Using single units, 10 bars, 100 squares and 1000 cubes

Sight Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

1/04: oil, people
1/11: come, number
1/18: could, who
1/25: now, made

 Synonyms of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

1/04: LOUD, noisy, piercing, deafening, booming, crashing, boisterous, raucous
1/11: QUIET, peaceful, mute, calm, silent
1/18: SKINNY, thin, lean, emaciated, scrawny, slender
1/25: FAT, overweight big, bulky, heavy, plump

 Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
  • Practice using the different synonyms of the week in a sentence together.
  • You can view this link to give you more information on how the math materials are used in the Montessori classroom http://www.montessorialbum.com/montessori/index.php?title=Math. You may also google the name of the work to find more videos and information on the purpose of that material.

Mr. John will be sending homework home to reinforce these lessons. Please turn homework into the orange box outside of Mr. John’s classroom.  Please email him if you have any questions: jkotradi@thesmarterkids.com.


Mr. John’s November 2015 Newsletter








A Hard Day’s Night

It’s been a hard day’s night.  I never really understood that title or what it actually meant but it goes hand in hand with the weather we had in November.  It was seventy degrees one week and twenty degrees the next.  I’ll take anything over fifty degrees in November.  The great thing about this is that the children were able to go outside for many recesses, a rare thing in November.  Now it is the home stretch to Winter break.  Ahhhh, I can feel me catching up on sleep now and recharging my batteries for the second half of the year.  And The Ohio State University Buckeyes 42- ttun 13!

Line Time lesson:

At the end of the third month of school my classroom is running like a well oiled machine.  Children are advancing nicely in math, reading, and their social skills. Sabrina, Kathleen, and I are pushing for more “Thank You”, Please, and You’re Welcome.”   When we call a name we are expecting a “Yes, Ms. Kathleen or How can I help you Ms.Sabrina?” rather than “What? or Ya?”  I want to tell the parents of the older children in the classroom… “Be Proud!”  They are taking a leadership role like I’ve never seen.  They are helping younger children and helping each other with more challenging work.  I wanted to once again thank Sabrina and Kathleen for their hard work and dedication.  They step up and just do what needs to be done without me asking.

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After learning about the five major classes of animals we looked at some creepy crawlers.  We studied insects and arachnids.  These were the first animals that were not classified as vertebrates instead they are called invertebrates.  We discovered most have an exoskeleton. We now know insects have six legs, a head, thorax, and abdomen and arachnids have eight legs.  Also, we know that all bugs are insects but not all insects are bugs!!!

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The class went back in time and studied dinosaurs.  We learned the names of 5 dinos     (T-Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and Brachiosaurus) and if they were meat eaters (carnivores) or plant eaters (herbivores).  We learned when they lived and I introduced the phrases “extinct” and “fossils” what they meant.  We read “Dad is a Dinosaur”, and Dinosaurs go to School”

We then learned about Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. How the Indians helped the pilgrims with hunting, growing crops, and living off the land.

Cultural Subjects:

We can count to 16 in ten different languages.  We can count in English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, and Hungarian.


Academic Enrichment: Kindergarten Students

The kindergartners have learned how to tell time.  We ended our section of telling time by learning how to tell time to the minute.  We have done many worksheets, use flashcards, and used a toy clock with movable hands to help us learn to tell time.  Then we delved into everyone’s favorite thing…money.  We learned about coins; what they look like and how much they are worth.  The kindergartners learned how to count coins when presented with multiple coins of different denominations.  We went over bills including the ever elusive two dollar bill.  We ended November with learning the parts of plants, flowers, leaves.  And learned about the parts and characteristics of the mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, and fish.

The kindergarten class can count to ten in 17 different languages… English, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Japanese, Greek, Arabic (with the Lebanese dialect), Italian, Russian, Romanian, Swedish, Tagolog, Hebrew, Korean, Hungarian, and Polish.


A couple of things the children had fun learning and doing this month were reviewing past concepts, such as primary and secondary colors but this time they used different materials to recognize the colors. The children learned about lines and the variety of forms they came in – straight, curvy, zig zag etc. This lesson tied in very well with our cursive and print writing presentations!  Ms. Michele also began a mosaic project with the children using paper, glue, yarn and later, little pieces of foam like material.


The children have been very busy practicing their Christmas songs in Music Class this month, with Ms. Lisa. Both children and teachers are not just working hard on the songs, but also on some cute and fun movements, which are incorporated together with their songs.


20151119_102111The experiments that were introduced to the children this month were: Surface Tension – A property of a liquid keeping an object from going into the liquid, Buoyancy – A force in liquid pushing against an object in the liquid, Absorption – To take something in, and Skittles/Gobstoppers Candy Run – Water Soluble Materials. They certainly did enjoy all of these age appropriate experiments with Mr. John.











Mr. John’s December 2015 Monthly Overview


Themes of the Week  (in addition to Montessori Work time)

11/30—12/18  Christmas Show Practice

  • We will be taking time in the morning and afternoon to practice for our Christmas Show!
  • We have fun Christmas themed crafts and activities planned for our students!

Christmas Show Rehearsal (not a dress rehearsal)
Wednesday, December 16th 6:00– 8:00pm
Cuyahoga Falls High School Auditorium

Christmas Show
Friday, December 18th 6:00pm
Cuyahoga Falls High School Auditorium


12/21—1/01       Christmas Break—School Resumes Monday January 4th


Things to do at home this month to reinforce our themes:

  • Help prepare your child by talking with them about being on stage, how excited you will be to see them, and what to expect. Invite your family and friends, there will be plenty of seats!  You won’t want to miss this event, see you there!



Mr. John’s October 2015 Newsletter

Hello silence my old friend…….

It is so quiet in here.  It is so calm. It’s the Sound of Silence..  This is what I have been hearing from past teachers, parents, and current teachers about my room.  Usually it takes a good 3-4 months for my room to become normalized but this year it is on its way to being normalized in about a month.  I credit those around me for the earlier than usual success.

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Miss Kathleen and Miss Sabrina are wonderful teachers and work well with the students.  Theyare fun yet firm and know how to handle difficult situations well.  When I mentioned “those around me” I didn’t only mean the teachers but I want to give credit to the older students; the leaders of the room.  They are showing the newer/younger students how to work with materials and are guiding them through the classroom.

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Line Time Lessons:
Children love animals and I enjoy teaching the children about different types of animals.  This month we started discussing mammals.  I chose to begin with mammals because WE are mammals.   We learned that mammals have hair or fur, are born alive, and drink mother’s milk when first born.  We learned that mammals are warm blooded (their body temperature remains constant) and that they are vertebrates (have spines).  We learned that dolphins and whales are mammals and that the bat is the only mammal that can fly.  The students got to pet the rats and mice and it was a scene!


Then we slithered our way into discussing reptiles.  We came to the conclusion that the snake is the most popular reptile. We learned reptiles are cold blooded (their body temperature is the same as the environment’s temperature), vertebrates, lay hard shelled eggs, and have dry scales.  The children enjoyed seeing our own corn snake.  The gecko were just as appreciated.


We hopped into our discussion of amphibians. We all agreed that the frog was the most popular amphibian and that amphibians are cold blooded and vertebrates.  We also learned that their skin is moist and soft and that they can live on BOTH land and water. Amphibians lay eggs but the eggs have no shell but are like jelly.   The children were encouraged to look for our Pac Man Frog and our Eastern Toads in our nature center.


We swam to our friends called fish.  We learned that fish are cold blooded (their body temperature changes to the temperature in their environment) and are vertebrates.  We learned that most fish have scales, gills and fins, and some fish lay eggs and some fish are liver bearers (babies are born alive). We introduced a new word, “habitat”.  This is where something lives and the fish’s habitat is the water. The children were thrilled to learn that the shark is a fish.







We then flew with the animals called birds.  Birds have feathers, are warm blooded, and are vertebrates.  All birds lay hard shelled eggs and have wings.  All birds have wings but some birds are flightless (cannot fly) such as the penguin, ostrich, and emu.


Alumni Readers:
We had two Alumni Readers visit in October.  James who is in the second grade and Lorelei who is in kindergarten read their favorite books.

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Cultural Subjects:
We count to 10 in twelve different languages, English, Latin, Spanish, Sign Language, German, French, Greek, Japanese, Arabic with the Lebanese dialect, Italian, Russian, and Romanian.

Academic Enrichment:
Our kindergarten students wrapped up the geography unit with the 10 land forms, island, lake, bay, cape, peninsula, gulf (not the sport), straight, Isthmus (not Christmas), archipelago, and chain of lakes.  Then we plunged into telling time (old school, analog, hands and face).  We learned how to tell time to the hour, half past (or :30), quarter past or (:15), and quarter til.  Tick tock tick. Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future………….

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Enrichment News
Ms. Sabrina

Mr. John, Ms. Michele, and Ms. Lisa are such a hit with the children and with me! Between the experiments, the art lessons and music and movement, the children are learning so much, as well as having so much fun. They love the hands on experiences. ” This is so much fun! ” is frequently heard through out all 3 classes!

Our first science experiment involved a liter bottle of water with a ketchup packet. When we squeezed the bottle, the ketchup packet sank to the bottom. Then when we let go of the water bottle, the ketchup packet floated back to the top. Why? The ketchup packet had an air bubble that got smaller when the bottle of water was squeezed.

Our second experiment involved special tape with a secret message written on it. (Mr. John wrote Go Buckeyes on the tape.) The children made hypotheses on whether or not the message could still be read on the tape if the tape were scrunched up. Mr. John was able to straighten the tape and the message was still there! This special tape is made with polymers. We learned that polymers hold onto each other and that’s why the message stayed intact.

Our third experiment involved rolled up construction paper secured with a rubber band (a cylinder), one single sheet of paper, and books. The children made hypotheses on what would happen when books were placed on the paper cylinder and the single sheet of paper. Most of the children guessed that the single sheet of paper would fall and the paper cylinder would stay standing. We were right! A cylinder is one of the strongest shapes and distributes weight.

Our last experiment involved dish soap, black pepper, bowls, and water. Mr. John mixed the water and black pepper together in a bowl for each child. Then he went around and let each child dip a q-tip in dish soap and then place the q-tip in the black pepper mixture. When the dish soap hit the water, the black pepper moved away. The dish soap broke the molecules that were holding onto each other which allowed the black pepper to move.

Ms. Michele spent the first two weeks of the month having the children study the artist Georges Seurat. We watched a video about him and learned about his painting technique. He used the pointillism technique. His paintings look like they are made up of a bunch of dots. So to practice this, the children first drew an animal of their choice in pencil on poster board. Then they used q-tips to dot the animal in with paint.

Our next art lesson was on paper sculptures. First, Ms. Michele went over different types of lines. (dotted, squiggly, short, long, etc.) Then she showed lines in artwork and explained how our eyes “follow” the lines. Next she asked the children what a sculpture was. She explained that a sculpture isn’t flat but 3-dimensional. She then demonstrated to the children how to make paper sculptures using the lines she described at the beginning of the lesson. The children than created 3-dimensional paper playgrounds using strips of paper and gluing them down in different ways.

One of the new songs and movement the students jived to is Peanut Butter and Jelly and what fun it was! In music, the children sang hello to Bernie the Bernard, Ellie the Parrot, Freida the Frog, and Rainbow Sparkles the Dragon! One of the first concepts Ms. Lisa taught the children was how many beats the whole, quarter, half, and eighth notes get. We practiced these notes in the song “Hot Cross Buns”. The children tapped rhythm sticks together for each note. The next skill we worked on was high and low sounds. Ms. Lisa taught the children the song “I wish I were a juicy orange”. While singing this song the children sang in high and low voices and shook egg shakers. The children also played tambourines and castanets throughout the month. Lastly we played some freeze dances with colorful scarves to sharpen our listening skills.


Do ask your children to share some thoughts on these classes with you. I am sure you will be entertained!


Mr. John’s November 2015 Monthly Overview

Themes of the Week (in addition to Montessori Work time)

11/02: Insects / Arachnids
-Characteristics of insects, examples of insects (invertebrates)
-Antennae, head, thorax, abdomen, six legs (some have wings)
-Characteristics of arachnids, examples of arachnids, 8 legs (invertebrates)
-Afternoon group lessons: Fire Safety

11/09: Dinosaurs
-Naming and Identifying Dinosaurs
-Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, Brachiosaurus
-Plant eaters (herbivores), Meat eaters (carnivores)
-Where the Dinosaurs lived and how long ago they lived
-Fossils and Extinction
-Afternoon group lessons: On the Farm

Friday, November 13th  NO SCHOOL/ Teacher In Service Day (Parent//Teacher Conferences All Day 8am-7pm)

11/16: Thanksgiving/ Native Americans
-Mayflower, Native Americans
-When the Pilgrims came to America
-Who the Pilgrims were and why they came
-The Mayflower
-Native American shelters, nomadic, settlers
-Afternoon group lessons: Pilgrims/The first thanksgiving

11/23: Family
-Members of a family, family traditions and holidays
-Family birthdays, vacations
-Family pets
-Afternoon group lessons: Thanksgiving Crafts

Thanksgiving Feast 11/25 (11:00‐12:00pm) 12:00pm Early Dismissal (No Aftercare)
Thursday/Friday NO SCHOOL—Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday!

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

11/02: Kk
11/09: Ll
11/16: Mm

Rhyming Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

11/02: OX, box, fox, lox, pox, sox
11/09: BOT, cot, dot, got, hot, lot, not, pot, tot
11/16: BOP, cop, hop, mop, pop, top

Things to do at Home this Month to reinforce our themes:

-Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
-Play “I Spy” with items beginning with the letter of the week, or find things around your home that begin with the letter of the week.
-Explore your neighborhood. See if you can find any fossil plant prints on rocks in your yard or neighborhood.
-Make fall crafts together to help decorate your family Thanksgiving table.
-Look through family photo albums together and talk about your family. What does each family member do for a job? Where did you grow up? What unique traditions does your family have?

Mr. John’s August/September 2015 Newsletter

I Want To Be Sedated…


Why is that old Ramone’s song going through my head?  I don’t know.  Is it because after three months of Summer hibernation, staying up late (by late, I mean 10 pm, woo hoo) and sleeping in (to 7:30am, woo hoo again), binge watching TV shows, living life at a snail’s pace, and having minimal work responsibilities, I am thrown into going to bed at 8 pm, waking at 5 am, wondering into the building at 6 am.  I await for the rush of students descending upon the school. The student part I love, it is my sleep schedule that has me a little cheesed off.  But, the truth is, I would not have it any other way!

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Line Time Lessons:
We started the school year the same way we always do by learning the ground rules for the classroom.  Walking feet in the classroom, listening ears, hands and bodies to ourselves, and my favorite; treat people with respect.  The older students demonstrated to the class and younger students how to unroll and roll a mat, how to walk around a mat, how to walk the line.  It is a pleasure seeing the older students teaching the younger students. Several mice have also joined our classroom (in a cage not running rampant throughout the building).

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We then learned how to keep our bodies healthy.  We wash our hands to get rid of the germs.  Everyone has germs on them but they are sooooooooo small you can not see them but they are still there.  We cover our sneezes and coughs on the inside of our elbows.  Eating healthy is important just as exersising, getting enough sleep, and brushing our teeth. Eating a healthy diet was a good segway into tour next lesson on food groups.  We learned about grains/cereals, fruits/veggies, meat/protein, dairy(my fave), and sweets/fats. Since we all need to eat to “live” we talked about what it is that makes a bird living and my shoe non-living.  We discussed that living things eat/take in nourishment, breathe/exchange gases, grow, and reproduce. After our lesson on living things we moved on to discussing the different kind of animals there are.  We started with the mammal because WE are mammals!  We are warm blooded, vertebrates, have hair or fur, are live bearers, and we drink mother’s milk when young (not pizza or pop tarts)!

Some of you may not be aware, that Absorbent Minds Montessori School has a relationship with the University of Akron where we have student teachers observe and, in my class, they participate in the daily activities in my room.  I had the pleasure of having another enthusiastic student visit my room this month!








All in all this was a great start, to a great year, with great children!

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Cultural Subjects:
At line time we count to 10 in eight different languages(English, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Greek, and Japanese).  The kindergarten students can count in English, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic with the Lebanese dialect.  Our goal is to reach over twenty languages.

Academic Enrichment (Group Lesson with all Kindergartners):
Led by Mr. John

Our Academic Enrichment time is daily from 12:00-1:00pm.  This time is specifically designed for our Kindergarten students to join together as a group to work and progress through the advanced materials and lessons in the Montessori primary curriculum. Throughout the school day in their classroom they are still working individually with their classroom teacher on these and other materials at their level.

The first week of school, the kindergarten students started out learning about the these things called continents. There are seven of them and each has a fun fact and countries within them.  Did you know (without googling) Central America is not a continent?  My kindergarten students do!  Next we discovered that the Earth has something called cardinal directions(North, South, East, and West) or N,E,S,W=Never Eat Soggy Waffles.  We went further and found you can get more specific directions by stating something is northeast, or southwest.  With that under or belts I told the students that there are two imaginary lines that are on the Earth.  The Prime Meridian and the Equator.  If you go where these two imaginary lines are you will NOT fine a painted line.  But these lines have a purpose to divide the Earth into hemispheres.


We took a closer look at North America(because this is continent in which we live).  We discussed the three major countries of Mexico, USA, and Canada, the location of the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and Hudson Bay.  Since we live in the state of Ohio we learned some fun facts about this great state.  The official things such as the bird, mammal, and fossil to name a few.  The K-Kids now know the surrounding states, their nickname, and abbreviation.  Ending the month we broke down where we live from biggest to smallest….  From the galaxy of The Milky Way to our individual street addresses (street not email). And everything in between!

In the beginning of our group lesson, we count to 10 in eight different languages(English, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Greek, and Japanese).  The kindergarten students can count in English, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic with the Lebanese dialect.  Our goal is to reach over twenty languages.

Enrichment Corner
by Ms. Sabrina

The children love, love, love their Music, Science, and Art classes! Their faces shine with anticipation and glee every time, yet they are also full of attention towards their teachers, and their lessons. I am also happy to be an observer in these classes.

MUSIC: In Music class the children learned words such as solo, choir, director, adagio (slow), allegro (fast). They learned about high pitch and low pitch. The children loved doing different movement activities using their own bodies, as well as scarves and musical instruments such as a maracas, tamborines, bells, egg shakers, and castanets. They also heard a beautiful piece of music by Beethoven!

SCIENCE: In Science the children did three experiments they tremendously enjoyed! These were Magically Inflating Balloon – ” Chemical Reaction” (The balloon slowly filled with “air” (carbon dioxide) from the bottle), Density – “The mass in a specified volume” (The egg in saltwater floated. The egg in freshwater sank), Density – “The difference in the weight of two objects of the same size” (When shaking the bottle it appeared to mix, but as it settled, the oil and water separated and oil rose to the top). What fun the children had!

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ART: The children learned about their primary colors – red, blue and yellow, as well as their secondary colors – orange, green and purple. They love, love, love to create using the different materials provided by Ms. Michele, including paint and different colored papers. The children learned about artists such as Mondrian, Van Gogh, Beatrig Milhages, and Don Drumm, who himself is from Akron! Patterning was also a skill learned by the children this month.
Do talk to your children about all the fun, new things they have learned this month in Music, Science and Art!

Mr. John’s October 2015 Monthy Overview

What I will learn at school this month October 2015 in Mr. John’s Class… 

Themes of the Week  (in addition to Montessori Work time)

10/05:      Reptiles

  • Introduction to reptiles, examples of reptiles
  • All reptiles are cold blooded, vertebrates (spine),
  • All reptiles have scales, lay eggs with hard shell

10/12: Amphibians

  • Introduction to amphibians, examples of amphibians
  • Amphibians are cold blooded, live on land and water
  • All amphibians have soft, moist skin and are vertebrates (spine)

10/19: Fish    

  • Introduction to fish, examples of fish
  • All fish are cold blooded, live in water, most have scales
  • Fish are vertebrates, most have gills and fins

10/26: Birds

  • Introduction to birds, examples of birds
  • All birds have feathers and are warm blooded
  • All birds are vertebrates, lay eggs with shells, have wings
  • Penguins are a birds that can’t fly

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

10/05: Gg

10/12: Hh

10/19: Ii

10/26: Jj

Rhyming Words of the Week:
Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

10/05: BID, did, hid, kid, lid, rid,                     

10/12: BIT, fit, hit, kit, lit, mit, pit, sit            

10/19: BIN, fin, kin, pin, sin, tin, win              

10/26: BIP, dip, hip, lip, nip, rip, sip, tip

Things to do at Home this Month to reinforce our themes:

  • Look for our words of the week when reading a story, cut out pictures beginning with the letters of the week.
  • Play “I Spy” with items beginning with the letter of the week, or find things around your home that begin with the letter of the week.
  • Go to the Zoo together, and talk about what each animal is? A Bird, A Mammal, Reptile, Amphibian, or Fish.
  • Read a book together about your child’s favorite animal! Is it a Vertebrate or Invertebrate?  What are the babies called?



Mr. John September 2015 Monthly Overview

On Your Mark. Get Set…. !

Themes of the Week  (in addition to Montessori Work time)

8/24-8/31: Ground Rules / Introduction of Materials

  • Ringing of the bell, circle walk, line time
  • Process of working with a materials, rolling mats, carrying trays & work areas
  • Respecting teachers, classmates and the materials
  • Daily demonstration of materials from all areas of the classroom

9/07: Healthy Habits

  • The importance of washing hands, bathing, brushing teeth (eliminate germs, prevent cavities)
  • The importance of sleep. Why we need sleep & sleep cycle
  • The importance of exercise (walking, running, swimming, etc)
  • The importance of eating well (“grow foods”)

9/14: Food Groups

  • Eating Healthy, Moderation
  • Focus on the different food groups, sorting foods belonging in each
  • Servings and examples of each

9/21: Living / Non Living

  • Living things (grow, reproduce, obtain and use energy, exchange gases) adapt to their environment
  • Non Living things, examples
  • Categorization of Living and Non Living

09/28: Mammals

  • Introduction to mammals, examples of mammals
  • All mammals have hair, warm blooded, eat mother’s milk
  • All mammals are vertebrates (spine), lungs to breathe, born alive
  • Bats are the ONLY mammal that can fly

Letters of the Week: Try to find objects that begin with each letter wherever you go with your child.

8/24: Aa

8/31: Bb

9/07: Cc

9/14: Dd

9/21: Ee

9/28: Ff

Rhyming Words of the Week: Try to find each word in books as you read to your child.

8/24: BAT, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, sat

8/31: BAN, can, dan, fan, man, pan, tan

9/07: BAP, map, cap, gap, lap, nap, sap

9/14: BAG, sag, jag, lag, nag, tag, rag wag

9/21: BAD, dad, fad, had, lad, mad, sad

9/28: BIG, dig, fig, jig, pig, rig, wig

Things to do at Home this Month to reinforce our themes:

  • Make a collage with pictures and objects that start with the letters of the week.
  • While eating together, categorize your meal into food groups with your child.
  • Follow this link to find a worksheet to complete together for living and non living things. (Circle the living things and color together)http://worksheetplace.com/index.php?function=DisplaySheet&sheet=Circle-the-living-things&links=2&id=&link1=241&link2=257
  • Read a book about your child’s favorite mammal together!

I Have Become Comfortably Numb….

     I… Have Become Comfortably Numb      


It is early June and I am, what Pink Floyd said, definitely, Comfortably Numb! Maybe not so much comfort but shell shocked or PTSD.  During the Summer I will not miss waking up before the sun rises and will appreciate waking when restaurants start to serve off their lunch menus.  Hmmm, should I not go to sleep until after midnight??  That is to be determined, sometimes it becomes even harder to sleep since I have sleep apnea, luckily I found the most comfortable Full Face CPAP Masks for my face and that helps. Catching up on movies, bike riding and hiking are on the agenda.  But I do love teaching children and would NEVER have it any other way!  I will miss all of the students! I am honored to teach your children and getting to know our families. Each one of my students have left a lasting impression.  I just wonder if I leave as much of an impression with the students and their families?  Let me know if I did by “friending me” on Facebook.  I am not hard to find (their are only a few KOTRADIs in this world).  Any alumni are welcome to come read to my class throughout the school year.  So in ending…. Have a great Summer, a great life, be happy and stay sincere.

It seems this year was a bit more difficult saying good-bye to families.  I am not sure why but it really felt that way. Maybe I had to say good-bye to a few families who have been part of the Absorbent Minds family for six years or on field day I had two alumni visit or I should say another crack at dousing Mr. John with water.  These girls are so big now.  As they were running around the playground I went through this wired, surreal flashback and I remembered them as they were in preschool.  Then attending my daughter’s eighth grade graduation there were a handful of  “kids” there that I taught when they were in preschool. Two are going to be juniors, three are going to be freshmen in high school. It just kind of put things in perspective on how time trudges on. Heavy sigh…

Line Time

The circle of life studied last week always involves food and eating to stay alive.  This is where we looked at several food chains. We looked at a two part food chain involving a mouse and grains.  We looked at several three part food chains such as snake/mouse/grains, hawk/snake/mouse, bear/big fish/small fish.  We went so far to look at some four part food chains Hawk/snake/mouse/grain.  We learned about being on the top of the food chain and the bottom of the food chain.  We also learned the animal that “hunts” for the food is the predator and the animal that gets eaten is the prey.

The second week of May was a great time to talk about the seasons.  We started with spring and talked about how it gets a bit warmer but we get a lot of rain and plants and flowers start to come out.   Then we talked about summer and how it is hotter because the earth tilts closer to the sun and the days are longer.  This is when plants grow tall and flowers are in full bloom.  Autumn or fall comes next and the weather gets a bit chillier.  The leaves turn beautiful colors then fall to the ground.  The final season is winter and it is the coldest season of the year.  The earth is tilted further away from the sun and the days are shorter.  We end up getting snow in the winter.

Put on your space suit and get ready to explore our solar system.  We started with discussing the planets nearer the sun them worked our way to the furthest reaches of our solar system.  Mercury is our first planet and is the closest to the sun.  Venus is the second planet.  Even though it is further away from the sun it is the hottest planet in our solar system.  The third planet is near and dear to our hearts.  It is the planet earth.  It is the only planet in our solar system that has life.  The next planet is Mars and is known as the red planet.  The next planet is the biggest planet in our solar system and has a big red storm that has been raging for centuries.  That planet is Jupiter.  Saturn is the next planet and has really cool ring around it that are pieces of rock and ice.  Uranus is next and it spins up and down instead of side to side like all the other planets.  Neptune is the last planet in our solar system.  I did not forget about Pluto.  Oh! Poor Pluto.  Pluto was once a planet but now has been demoted to a dwarf planet.

We then talked a bit about what we want to be when we grow up.  We discussed careers such as nursing, being a doctor, a veterinarian, and of course an exciting, lucrative, and fulfilling career in teaching.  We had Jordyn’s mom come in and discuss what a surgical nurse does.  The children walked away with a plethora of O.R. goodies.

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The last week I talked about being safe.  I reminded the children to always stay close to their safe side adult, always look both ways before crossing the street, never talk to stranger or go near wild or unfamiliar animals.  I also reminded them that police officers and firefighters are our friends.

The last week of school I give the kindergarten students the honor of running line time.  They do need a bit of help but they do believe they are the BMOC (big man on campus).

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Cultural Subjects

We are holding at counting to ten in 26 different languages.

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We started May by discussing the preposition.  Where oh where can we find a preposition?  Well, I told them a preposition was a “where word” NOT a “werewolf”.  The kindergartners brushed up on their knowledge of the interjection.  The interjection adds emotion to the sentence but we did find out that if we eliminate the interjection from the sentence, the meaning of the sentence really does not change.  We learned what punctuation is used at the end of a sentence.  We use a period (.) when we are stating something.  We use a question mark (?) when we are asking a question and we use an exclamation mark (!) when we show excitement or a lot of emotion. I introduced the students to the rules of capitalization.  We learned that words at the beginning of the sentence, the word I, and proper nouns need to be capitalized.    We played “mad libs” and ended our lessons on grammar by watching Grammar Rock.  For the last week we just reflected on our year, what we learned, and our favorite parts of kindergarten class.  It was a GREAT year!

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This month Ms Lisa reviewed with the students all the skills they have learned since the beginning of the school year. She had the children sing John Jacob Jingle Hiemer Smith where they sang it real low and then loud this is one of the newest songs they had been learning. Then, she concentrated on all the other songs and dances that they have been practicing since the start of the school year, such as I Caught Myself a Baby Bumble Bee, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, The Mexican Hat Dance and classical music played while they danced and twirled colored scarves. Ms. Lisa also took requests from the children and they chose the Ball Game where they pass the ball around in a circle while music is playing and stop passing when the music stops, eventually more balls are thrown in during this activity.The other request the kids had was the Cat and Mouse game when Ms. Lisa plays High music all the children crawl around the floor and pretend to be mice, then when the Low music is played on her key board one person (child or teacher) sitting on the side lines hurries in and tries to tag the mice. If caught, those children become a mouse (this is their most favorite thing to do in music class). She also reviewed musical notes and the keyboard throughout the month.


This month students enjoyed art lessons inspired by Vincent Vaughn. Children designed their own fancy bedrooms! They had to include in their bedrooms two patterns drawn on card stock then folded into a cube to make it look like a room and Ms Michele provided many different kinds of materials to make the furniture in their bedrooms, they also contacted The Century Guild’s custom woodworking to get some ideas, and for the living room and other areas of the house they went to different places like the fine furniture stores denver and find what’s necessary for this. For the next project they made three dimensional animals made out of pipe cleaners. Ms. Michele also brought to school this month potted flower plants put them on the tables in the class room. The children sat around the tables and painted the likeness of the flowers. Many beautiful flower pictures were drawn.

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This month Mr. John had many jaws drop in science class. In the 1st class this month he mashed up bran flakes with water(looked like a brown mud like substance) then put in a zip lock bag and put a magnet to the bag and the magnet stuck.Why? because of the iron in the cereal, iron is a metal so the magnet will stick.The next class, Mr. John took Metamucil, green food coloring and water mixed it IMG_20150528_101934all together and then heated up in the micro-wave. He then took it out and it looked like green slime! It’s texture completely changed! He then ate the slime surprising and grossed out all of the kids. What happens is the fiber in the Metamucil and water make an edible substance.The last class this month he took a tea bag cut it open and dumped the leaves in the trash,then set the empty bag on top of a glass plate then set it a flame with a lighter. First it burns down the tea bag then when it burns down to the very bottom it floats away high up into the air. Heat rises all that heat and smoke pushed the bag into the air.



On June 5th, field day,  Mr. John did his annual experiment with candy mentos and 2 litter bottle of diet coke (this a favorite every year always lots of yelling and playful screaming). Aspartame and carbon dioxide in the diet soda mixed with gelatin and gum Arabic in the mentos cause it to foam and blast like a volcanic eruption!
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Field Trip

We had a great field trip at the fire station where we toured the fire station, saw a fire fighter put on his gear, went through a fire engine and an ambulance.  We learned that the fire fighter wash their trucks and can’t take them to a drive through car wash because they are too big.

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It’s Been A Long Time Since I Rock And Rolled…

It’s Been A Long Time Since I Rock And Rolled              


Ahhhh, Led Zeppelin sums it up nicely.  Yes, it has been a long time since I rock and rolled.  It seems this all started right around the time my first child was born in October of 1999.  Is this a coincidence?  Maybe.  It just seems that (while driving in a mini van from my cool Sentra) my music of The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Peter Gabriel, Black Flag, New Order, and Joy Division was quickly replaced by Raffi, Veggy Tales, and Barney sing a longs.  I am not sure if this was a gradual or an immediate thing.  All I know it happened leaving me shell shocked and wondering where my carefree days of Ohio State and John’s Life BC (Before Children) disappeared.  I recently went to the The Ohio State Spring Game.  As we were stuck in traffic going home going through campus I saw many parties.  I longing looked upon the revelers hanging out on porches, and downing adult beverages.  The person I was with said I was being ridiculous. She said I am an old “29” years old, I have a bad knee, can’t stand loud noises, recreationally drink Pepto Bismol, and got to bed at 8pm.  Geeesh, talk about being brutally honest!  Recently, I did get a glimpse of that past life(sort of).  We went to the downtown restaurant Cilantro because I was craving Thai food and some good wine. The food, the amazing Oddbins Wines offered, the people at the restaurant, and the décor made me, for a very short moment, feel “hip” again.  Well, if that’s all it takes…. I will take it because it has been a long time since I rock and rolled.

Line Time Lessons

The Continental Tango, Kookaburra, My Aunt Monica, and What a Small World it is.  Those thoughts and music is still ringing in my ears.  As you know these were the songs sung at the International Festival.  We learned about all the continents and some of the individual countries within the continents.  The students had fun learning about the climates, foods, clothes, and differences of how children attend school. I wanted to thank all of those who came in and talked about different countries.  This adds so much to International Festival month.  All the presentations are fun, informative, and the children and teachers enjoy it.

It never ceases to amaze me how much our students can learn in a short amount of time.  They did a fabulous job with their lines and performing the songs.  Not to mention how colorful the stage was with their costumes.  I cannot give enough thanks to the people who prepared the food!  Who didn’t gain ten pounds that night?

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We returned to normalcy in the classroom the last week in April.  We learned about life cycles and these medical alert reviews.  A life cycle is nothing more than the birth of a creature, the creature grows, reproduces, then dies.  Wow, this is our life in a nutshell?  A humans life cycle is pretty boring compared to the life cycle of frogs/toads and butterflies/moths.  The students now know that a butterfly comes from a chrysalis and a moth comes from a cocoon.  The children learned a really big word called metamorphosis. This is what happens during the butterfly’s life cycle.

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We had three guest readers this month. We had Jade who attends St. Joe’s and is in the second grade.






Taylor who is in the second grade and attends Preston (C.F.).







James who is in first grade and attends Dunbar (Tallmadge).








In the kindergarten lesson we continued our work with grammar. The students learned the pronoun takes the place of a noun.  We looked at the adjective which describes nouns and pronouns, the adverb which describes the verb and usually ends in “ly”, the conjunction which connects two sentences or thoughts and acts like a bridge.

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Cultural Subjects

My line time and the kindergarten class count to ten in 25 different languages (English, Sign Language, Spanish, German, French, Greek, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Tagalog, Polish, Irish, Welsh, Hebrew, Arabic w/the Lebanese dialect, Japanese, Hungarian, Swedish, Swahili, Korean, Serbo-Croation, Hindi, Flemish/Dutch, Malay, Cebuano),



At our first music class this month Ms. Lisa shared her pictures from her trip to El Salvador. .Ms Lisa traveled there on a medical mission trip entertaining children with her musical skills, while they were waiting in line to see a Doctor.Then she gave each child a Tambourine. They used these while they were dancing in a circle to the Spanish song “I have joy in my heart”, and then to the song “John Jacob Jingle Him-er Smith.” This song was fun for them because they were either singing it real soft or loud,. Our students enjoyed hearing about her trip! This month, Ms Lisa reviewed 4 musical notes with the children. They are the whole note, 1/2 note, 1/4 note,and 1/8 note. The children clapped along to the different speeds the notes make. Next, she gave them rhythm sticks and the used them to march to the song “The Ants Go Marching.” Then they used the rhythm sticks to tap along to fast or slow music. Ms Lisa also taught the children that the musical term for soft is called Staccato. We always have fun a learn in Music class!


This month is Science Mr. John first did an experiment with an empty clear bottle, Vegetable Oil, Alka-Seltzer and water. He filled up the bottle first with 1/4 water then added red food coloring, filled the rest up with the oil. The oil and water then separate because of the density, then he added the Alka-Seltzer tablets to this it produced carbon dioxide bubbles because of the of the carbon dioxide tablets it brings the bubbles to the top. Oil is lighter and less dense then water. The next class Mr. John filled up two balloon’s. One with air and the other with air and some water. Then he held them both over a lit candle, the balloon filled with only air popped and the one with a small amount of water did not. Why? because water is a substance that soaks up heat therefore the rubber does not get hot and does not pop, the water takes the heat away from the balloon.

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This month in Art, Ms. Michele had the children make fish lanterns in celebration of the Children’s Festival in Japan, she told them the different colored lanterns represented or meant different things to the Japanese people. The children really liked picking out their own colored paper for this project. The next art class Ms. Michele did Aborigine pointillism art painting with the students using paint made all from the earth such as clay and dirt.