A Peek into Science Class | Cuyahoga Falls Campus

by Ms. Mel

What a fun month in Science class!  Together we asked many questions and made new discoveries!

Magically Inflating Balloon- Chemical Reactions. The balloon filled with the carbon dioxide which resulted from a chemical reaction created by mixing vinegar and baking soda. We loved this experiment!
Density – The mass in a specified volume.  The egg in salt water floated! The egg in freshwater sank!
Cylinder Strength – Distribution of Weight. Look! The paper cylinder holds 8 books.
Density – The difference in the weight of two objects of the same size. Shake the bottle! The oil and water seperated. The oil rose to the top.



A Peek into Tae Kwon Do | All Campuses

Students love to begin Taekwondo class with a warm up run through the jungle with Mr. Allen.  They also spend time in their class learning and practicing new forms before moving on to some Ninja kick boxing and Ninja Rocks. At the end of class we play some Fireball, which has always been a favorite among our friends!


A Peek into our Academic Enrichment with kindergartners | Cuyahoga Falls Campus 9/29/17

Academic Enrichment with Mr. John
Over the past few weeks together we looked at the bodies of water that “touch” the continent in which we live, North America. The students know that Hudson Bay is to the north and Gulf of Mexico is to the south. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and to the west is the Pacific Ocean. We also identified where the Great Lakes are. Do you know what the significance of “HOMES” is?

Next, we took a look at the great state of O-H-I-O. Your children know the official “things” of Ohio:
Tree: Buckeye Tree
Fossil: Trilobite
Mammal: White Tail Deer
Flower: Scarlet Carnation
Insect: Lady Bug
Drink: Tomato Juice
Rock and Roll Song: Hang On Sloopy

They also know it is the Buckeye State, the abbreviation is OH, and the capital city is Columbus.  We also looked at the surrounding states of Ohio and learned the abbreviation and nickname for each.

Reading Group with Ms. Kate

This week our Reading Club read the story Big Wolf and Little Wolf. After the story, I encouraged the children to ask questions from the story. We then worked together as a team to come up with basic comprehension questions. After our discussions, we completed the sharing questions. The children really enjoy copy writing their sharing question from the white board. They feel so proud of their writings and drawings. During the next week, we will be focusing on vocabulary, acting out and analyzing a section of the text. We will also explore the story’s meaning by discussing interpretive questions!


Handwriting with Ms. Kristen

All of our practice using form drawing has paid off and the kindergarten students are working hard on forming their cursive letters. We are working our way through the alphabet. In the past two weeks, we have been working on C-H. The children are carefully learning step by step how to form each letter and are working on copy writing sentences using words beginning with the letter we are currently working on that day. I am so proud of our young writers!

A Peek into our Academic Enrichment for kindergartners | Cuyahoga Falls Campus

Academic Enrichment Group Time | kindergarten
with Mr. John
During our Academic Enrichment time with our kindergarten students over the past few weeks we have been learning about the seven continents, cardinal directions, and hemispheres.

The strangest thing happened to my Kindergarten Students. They all grew “pencil mustaches”!!!!!!

Next week we will be covering  North Americas and surrounding bodies of water (Pacific Atlantic Ocean, Hudson Bay,  Gulf of Mexico and the Great lakes).


Handwriting/Journaling | kindergarten
with Ms. Kristen

In Handwriting the past few weeks, the children have been practicing form drawing in preparation for writing in cursive. The children have also been working on forming the letter A and B and have been practicing forming simple words that begin with those letters. They are so excited to begin their journey into the world of cursive handwriting!


Reading Group | kindergarten
with Ms. Kate

We had such a wonderful first week with our Reading Club called Junior Great Books. When we have our group meetings twice a week your children will be engaging in complex literature, high level thinking activities, and student centered discussions. This week we started the story called Cornelius. We started out by sharing our thoughts about the story. We also has so much fun acting out a part in the story that highlighted the word proud. They had the best time. Every few weeks we will share a few things your child learned in our Reading group. Stay tuned!


Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – May 2016

What an amazing last month of school! We started the month of May out with completing our simple machine studies. Students experimented with building simple machines by following directions in a kit. Then they each selected a simple machine to research. We read about the wheel & axel, pulley, inclined plane, wedge and screw. Students wrote about how their simple machine worked, why it worked and how it made various jobs easier. They found real life examples of their machines in action, then they built their own simple machine. Each student presented their research and machine to the class. They also made step by step science experiment cards so other students could try using their simple machines. Their experiment cards needed to include a list of all supplies necessary for their experiment, each step (including clean up) of their experiment, and an explanation of why the experiment worked the way it did. A recommended item would be some book covers purchased from polycover.co.uk/ because they are the most resourceful and protect way better than any other cover. These cards were placed on our science shelf after students gave a presentation, or lesson to the class about their experiment. My favorite part of this project was watching the kids learn how to use a drill. We purchased a small drill for our classroom and they loved it! Now they can help all of you fathers with projects at home.

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While some students were drilling, others learned about ecosystems of the world. We began by talking about what an ecosystem is and how all parts of the ecosystem work together to help one another survive. We learned several new vocabulary such as biotic, abiotic, consumer, producer, decomposer, photosynthesis, flora and fauna. We also researched relationships between living and non-living organisms and defined those relationships as either mutualism, commensalism or parasitism.  Each student focused on one ecosystem that was most interesting to them. They wrote a research paper, complete with MLA bibliography, and designed a diorama which included examples of living and non-living things within their ecosystem. They all gave wonderful presentations to the class. I hope you were able to see their projects displayed in the gym the last week of school!

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We also celebrated our Mothers this month with our Moms & Muffins breakfast. It is always nice to visit with the mothers of our students. In our reading groups we studied poetry, so it was fitting for us to write a poem for our mothers as a gift. The poem was all about the chaos moms juggle each day and how we love them for doing it.

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We also celebrated our Grandparents this month by inviting them into our classroom. So many grandparents came and participated in Latin class, where students wrote their grandparents a letter in Latin, then read the letter aloud. After this first reading students translated their letters for the grandparents. We also brought our grandparents into our poetry world and wrote Buddy Poems. Each student interviewed their grandparent, and vice versa. Then both took the answers to their interview questions and wrote a poem about the other. It was adorable and creative! We ended our visit with a musical performance of recorders and piano. Students played as groups and individually, and showed off all of their talents for each grandparent present. We enjoyed having grandparents visit and we hope to see them all again next year!

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We had our last student-planned field trip of the year to the amazing Seneca Caverns in Bellevue, Ohio. This year our students have been very interested in geology. We have looked at various types of rocks and begun a class rock collection. Several students brought their personal rock collections in to share throughout the year. This trip was the icing on the cake! We learned that the cave was formed naturally, including each step we walked on. None of the tunnels and passages were dug out by man. The cave was discovered by two 11 year old boys whose dog fell into the cave when they were outside playing in the field. Since then, several people have explored the cave leaving their names carved on the rock. I think everyone’s favorite part was drinking water at the bottom of the cave, which was almost 70 feet underground! The water was 98% pure and so clear a few students accidentally stepped in it because they didn’t see it. It was an awesome trip! Thank you to the students who helped plan it and the parents who helped us drive there!

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As a follow-up to our student inspired bee research, we visited our neighbor who happens to be a beekeeper. We learned all about the different tools he uses to care for the bees and the levels of the “hives” he builds for them. We learned that bees only travel about 2 miles from their hive and that there is only one queen bee in each hive. Our beekeeper friend purchases his queen, but in the wild the queen is the bee who grows the largest, the quickest. We also learned that the female bees are the hardest workers and live the longest. The male bees are lazy and do not live long, and sometimes they don’t even leave the hive. One student was able to try on the beekeeper suit and model it for the class. At the end of our visit we were able to taste honey from the hives. It was delicious!

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We hope you and your children enjoyed this school year as much as we did. It was a pleasure and joy hanging out with your children all year long. We will miss you during the summer and look forward to seeing you all in the fall. Thank you for sharing your kids with us!

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Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – Spring 2016

Our elementary students surprised and impressed visitors at our amazing Famous American Live Wax Museum. This event took place all throughout our school where students were dressed as Americans who made a positive contribution to American history. In preparation for this event, students selected an American and researched that person’s life. They were to learn about their American’s childhood, education, hobbies, and special characteristics that led the person to impact history. All students wrote a research report, complete with an APA style bibliography.

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The night of the museum it was difficult to recognize our children because they looked like Betsy Ross, Sacagawea, Ben Franklin, and Amelia Earhart (just to name a few).

In our reading groups students gave presentations about their books. One group read the Newbery Honor book Hatchet. Another group chose to read the biography of Helen Keller. Our third group read the classic adventure of Robinson Crusoe. The Hatchet group wrote thoughtful news articles explaining the events of the story and the emotional trip Brian, the main character, takes throughout the book.

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The Helen Keller group studied Braille and either wrote their name in Braille or demonstrated how Helen learned to read by using Braille.

Photo Mar 22, 1 14 13 PM  Writing in each other’s hands like Anne Sullivan did for Helen Keller.

The adventurous readers of Robinson Crusoe built shelters from only natural materials found in the wilderness (or their back yard). Their shelter needed to pass the water test, in which water was poured over the shelter to see if it would stay dry inside.

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Each student demonstrated their love for their fathers by painting beautiful rocks that read “My dad rocks” as a gift to give at Dads and Donuts. All of the fathers receiving this rock chuckled. I’m sure they will look at it in the future and think of their wonderful morning with us.

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Our annual International Festival was a huge success and our students put on quite a show. Elementary students worked in groups to research a man-made wonder of the world.

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One group researched The Great Wall of China. They learned how long the wall is and that it is not a continuous wall, but has gaps where mountains run through it.

The group researching the Taj Mahal discovered a sad love story of a husband who lost his wife too soon. The Taj Mahal was built as a tomb for the young woman. This group utilized their math skills to discover how much it would cost in today’s American dollars to build. They first exchanged Indian Rupies for British Pounds (because American was not a country when the Taj Mahal was built), then Pounds for today’s Euros, and finally to the American dollar.

Easter Island was a surprise to many of us because it was very unique in that no one knows how or why it was built. This group discovered a video showing how the large statues may have been moved using ropes and three groups of people to shimmy the statues form one place to another. It is one of the most unique wonders we researched.

The group researching Christ the Redeemer enjoyed learning about all of the trials to build the amazing statue. Originally, it was to be built in the 1850s, but construction never began until 1922. The statue was completed in 1931, taking close to nine years to finish.

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The Forbidden City was another wonder researched by our students. This imperial palace is located in the heart of Beijing and housed 24 emperors. Today it is the palace museum.

Machu Picchu, an Incan citadel in Peru, is famous for the stone walls that stay together without the use of mortar. To this day, the use of this amazing creation is still unknown.

The infamous Colosseum in Rome was the seventh wonder researched by our students. This group was fascinated with the fighting that took place inside the Colosseum. Their scale model displayed how seating surrounded the events. Their skit of the lion fighting “Jackonitus” entertained everyone at our festival.

Explorations of Elementary

Explorations of Elementary – February 2016

The month of February brought an exciting buzz to the classroom as students prepared to lead a conference for their parents. We call this event Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences and they are held once each year. In order to prepare for this conference students complete a form detailing what they have been working on, what they feel they have successfully learned, what they will continue working on, and their goals, this is a full classroom walkthrough given to the parents. These forms are filled out for all subject areas in our classroom (Language/Grammar/Reading, Math/Geometry, History, Biology, Geography, and Enrichment Studies – Music, Art, Latin, Physical Education). Then the forms are used as a script for students to read to their parents at the beginning of their conference. Students also practiced presenting materials from the preschool programs so they could become the “teacher” for their visiting parents and demonstrate how and what they have learned in our Montessori environment.

Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences are a wonderful way to reinforce with the children that their education is their responsibility and they must take ownership of it. This is a central theme in our classroom, as we strive to teach the children about the value of hard work and perseverance, and the joy of learning. If the children take ownership of their education and are expected to present their knowledge and understanding of concepts learned, they begin to see the results of their efforts and can truly see their accomplishments, this is one of the main reasons why we like to read them Motivational Quotes for Students every day. The results we see are greater intrinsic motivation to excel, the development of a strong work ethic, and personal awareness of strengths and weaknesses. The natural desire is to present their best work is a strong motivator in any human being, and this motivation is what propels us to work towards goals and succeed.


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(Chinese Dragons made in Art Class)

Our research continued this month as children in our human body research group began tracing themselves and adding internal organs to their body outlines. They are learning the basic functions of organs and how they all work together to help our bodies work efficiently. Be on the look-out for these hanging around our hallways soon!

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Our Ancient Civilization research has led us through the interesting land of the Nile, Egypt. The presentations on this civilization were fabulous! Some students created elaborate head pieces and necklaces, complete with “gold” trimmings. Others were fascinated with hieroglyphics and learned to write their name using the ancient symbols. Still other students found the way in which Egyptians kept cool and smelling nice to be interesting. In their research they discovered Egyptians would melt beeswax, flowers and essential oils together and mold in into a cone. They would wear this cone on top of their heads (which were usually shaved) and it would melt, dripping down their head and neck. The scent from the oils and flowers would radiate, and the wax kept them cool. A few other students were appreciative of the invention of paper, first made by the Egyptians out of papyrus plants. They decided to make their own papyrus paper.

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Reading Groups have finished their books (Helen Keller, Robinson Crusoe, and Hatchet). They are now working on their class presentations. This will be a culminating project involving aspect of the stories they read and will be presented to the entire class.


Our Wax Museum is right around the corner and we invite everyone to come see us on Tuesday March 15th at 6:00pm. We will be representing famous Americans who contributed something positive to American History. Students wil    l be dressed up as their chosen American and they will present themselves as each person visits their display. Please come support our students! They have been working very hard to prepare for this spectacular event!

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Explorations of Elementary | January 2016

Elementary students seemed to miss their work over the break! They entered the classroom with enthusiasm and drive to accomplish new goals for the New Year.

Several students have been interested in how their body works, and how nutrition effects their body. The presentation we had in December from an older student really inspired these kids to understand what it means to make healthy food choices and how to care for their bodies. They have been learning about food groups, food pyramids/plates, and how to read food labels. They are currently researching the best foods for to eat and creating healthy menus for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They will continue this project through February studying digestion, energy and exercise, and how our bodies work.


Other students are continuing our study of Ancient Civilizations with Ancient Egypt. This is by far the most popular civilization we have looked at, and one the students have been looking forward to learning more about. They began their research by drawing a map of Egypt as it looked in 3100 B.C. They discovered how important the Nile River was to the survival of the people of Egypt. They also learned of a game children used to play called Senet. Students decided to make this game for our classroom out of clay, cardboard, paints and craft sticks. They even made rules and have taught other students how to play. They will be continuing their research into February and have a presentation for their parents at Student-Parent-Teacher Conferences. Their research will also be displayed in the school gym when they finish.
The students had a choice of which book they wanted to read for our next reading group session. Some chose the classic, Robinson Crusoe; others decided to read the biography of Helen Keller; while the third group is reading a favorite form my days in school, Hatchet. Students were placed in groups depending on their book choice and everyone is excited each week to meet and discuss what they are reading.
As a large group students are preparing for our Elementary Wax Museum event. Our students began research on a famous American of their choice for this event. At our “museum” each student will stand in front of a backdrop they design and pretend to be a wax version of their American. Students will dress as their person. On each student’s backdrop there will be a “button” and visitors to the museum will press the button. When it is pressed the wax person will come to life and tell the audience about their life and their accomplishments.

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Through their research students are learning about the life, family, career accomplishments, and contribution to history of their chosen American. They will be writing a research paper, designing a backdrop and writing their presentation speech which they will present during the event.
Our Wax Museum will take place on: Tuesday March 15th at 6:00 pm. Grandparents, family and friends are welcome to come see your child shine in our Wax Museum!
We ended the month of January with one Going-Out Experience and one Physical Education Field Trip.
Our Going-Out Experience was planned by Olivia and Ainsley to the Cleveland Aquarium, which was incredible. They had the opportunity to see sharks up close and personal and ask questions to the divers, the fish thanks they have from https://www.swelluk.com/ were amazing. They pet stingrays and enjoyed a scavenger hunt through the aquarium.

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If you have never experienced Laser Quest with 20 elementary students, you have never experienced Laser Quest. This was such a fun trip and we learned a few things too! Students ate pizza and played the first game of Laser Tag, splitting into two teams – adults vs. students. Students were very confident they were going to win and made it clear before leaving school the teachers and parents should be afraid. Well, it didn’t quite work out as they planned, but I think they all had fun. After the first game, we learned how lasers work and different ways they are used. Students discovered they can be used for surgery, cutting materials with a laser engraver you can see at this laser cutter video, and of course laser tag. Then it was time to play our second game. This time it was boys vs. girls. The dads certainly came to play, leading the boys to a victory.

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February 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. 

2/01: Exchanging

  • Decimal System/Exchanging 1s, 10s, 100s and 1000s
  • Using single units, 10 bars, 100 squares and 1000 cubes

 2/08: Introduction to Multiplication

  • Exploring multiplication
  • Operations with the golden bead material
  • Practice with the nine tray and multiplication tables

2/15: Introduction to Fractions

  • Monday 2/15– No School (President’s Day)
  • Exploring Fractions
  • Fractional Insets (whole up to 1/12)

2/22: Geometric Shapes

  • Intro to Geometric Shapes, Constructive boxes
  • Geometric Cabinet


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

2/01: first, than

2/08: other, some

2/15: more, these

2/22: would, about


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

2/01: APPROPRIATE, suitable, fitting, apropos, correct, proper

2/08: BAD, incorrect, awful, unsatisfactory faulty, defective

2/15: GOOD, pleasant, fine, honorable, wonderful, valuable

2/22: DRY, dehydrated, arid, parched


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.


Exploration of Elementary December 2015

Explorations of Elementary – December 2015

After Thanksgiving break students were excited to get back to work. Several of our older elementary students began researching Ancient Rome and Greece. They set their own deadlines and dove into their work. They drew maps of the empires, clothing, and made lists of all the famous gods and goddesses. It was amazing to watch them wonder through history exploring the things that stood out the them and were the most interesting in their minds. I was even more impressed with their work ethic throughout the research. Nothing was assigned, but every topic was covered and they all worked together to complete their work. I am excited to hear their presentation when we return from break.

Other students were looking into their personal family history by creating a timeline of the family members living in their houses. They also explored the Story of Numbers and Story of Writing. These are two of the Montessori Great Lessons discussed in elementary each year. We talk about how writing and numbers came to be and how they have changed over time to better serve the needs of humans as we learn and grow. We look at visual timelines, charts, and examples of various styles of writing and numbers. The kids love to see how other people used to write and how it is similar or different from how they write today.

Of course, with Christmas approaching we spent time preparing for our annual Christmas Show. This year the students voted to perform the play, The Nutcracker. Parts were chosen and everyone worked diligently to learn their lines. We read several versions of the book, watched the Disney version of the story, and some students even went to see the ballet with their families.


I was very impressed with how well each student learned their part, memorized their lines, and helped each other perform well. I think their favorite part was creating all of the props. The students designed what we needed based upon the script, and went to work!


They cut out a fireplace, mantle, Christmas tree, and made a beautiful candy gate. They added flair with colorful painting and three-dimensional decorations. Our play was a wonderful success. I was so proud of the students!

To kick off our break students came to school in their pajamas (so did the teachers) and had a blast playing games and watching Christmas movies. This is such a fun day for everyone! The highlight was joining Ms. Courtney’s class to play Pie in the Face.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!