A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of September 23

“Through movement, children explore their world. They touch it, they move and manipulate it, they go outside and out into the world to examine the natural beauty around them.” – North American Montessori Center

Montessori believed that children need the opportunity to move during their day at school. In the primary classroom, you see this through materials like the Pink Tower or Brown Stair which require the children to take ten whole trips to and from the material to gather everything at their mat before even beginning the work! With being given more freedom to develop into and explore what it means to be an adult, movement in the Elementary classroom appears in different ways. Children cannot become independent by sitting in one place all day. They need to move, to explore, to try (and sometimes fail) before they can really grasp the importance of something. We include movement in our classroom through games at recess, building and creating in the room and at recess with power tools and hot glue, allowing many choices in work spaces, completing chores throughout our entire building, and offering the choice of a mental break with jump rope and yoga. Sign up for “Bring Your Parent to Work Time” below to observe movement in our room before working with your child!

Here, two Lower Elementary students are participating in a game of one-on-one soccer. Each child has chosen a team to represent and take turns playing offense and defense for their entire team!
Sometimes you need a physical break from a mental break! This student was pausing his work after a lot of research to do some jump roping. After jumping for as long as he could without stopping, he needed a rest!

Lower Elementary by Ms. Marlee

These third graders are continuing their exploration of different types of nouns. They are using their “Singular and Plural Noun Rule Chart” to help them classify nouns into the correct category. Language works like these help students become stronger writers and readers.
Our Lower Elementary has been reviewing their knowledge of telling time over the past two weeks. This week, the third graders had a review over telling time to the minute. These two students are working together to determine what time these clock faces are representing. Being able to tell time independently helps students regulate their time effectively and keep track of how much time they have left to complete their daily responsibilities. Both are tools that will help them smoothly transition into adulthood.

Upper Elementary by Ms. Ashley

Our fourth year students reviewed their previous Lower Elementary lessons with the Bohr Diagram and Periodic Table this week! We reviewed the subatomic particles in an atom and where to find information about each element using the Periodic Table. To continue their review, each student chose one element to research. They have found the history of their element and its many uses. Look for these projects on the bulletin board next week!
Our third year and Upper Elementary students are split into two reading groups. Students read the summaries of “Fish in a Tree” and “Jackie Robinson” to determine which group they’d like to join. Twice a week students meet, give out reading group jobs, and work through the readings together. Both books have sparked many deep discussions about discrimination this week and have allowed students to ask questions about the experiences of others, while discussing how they would behave in those situations.

Enrichments by Ms. Erica

Our students are having a lot of fun preparing for their Grandparents’ Day performance!


  • For information on what your child is doing daily, please check in on Transparent Classroom!
  • Sign up for our first “Bring Your Parents to Work Time” here!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of September 16

This week we were excited to receive our new biome material for the classroom! Our class was excited to go into our backyard biome! We walked into the woods and collected samples of water, plants, animals, energy, soil, and air. We brought everything except our energy jar back into the classroom to observe throughout the week. Our energy jar is outside collecting energy to power the light bulbs inside the jar! We then introduced our “Backyard Biome Mat” which you can read about below! In a few weeks, when we begin studying continents, we will begin using our new biome maps! Look for those in a future post.

Lower Elementary by Ms. Marlee

All of our returning 2nd and 3rd graders complete the Word of the Day. This exposes them to new words and hones their developing research abilities. 1st graders are welcome to work with an older friend to learn more about using the dictionary but we also offer a list of morning work choices for our younger students. We caught sight of these siblings working together this week to define the word and log it in their Language notebooks. We love seeing strong sibling bonds like this one in our classroom.
We have a new work in our classroom! Here you can see a 3rd and 1st grader working together to label nouns on the area in which they could be found in a specific biome. Learning about biomes helps our students explore a variety of habitats and learn about the countless organisms that coexist within them. Ask your child about the outdoor biome experiment they participated in this week to find out more about their exploration of biomes.

Upper Elementary by Ms. Ashley

These fifth year students are working on classifying animals in the Animal Kingdom. They are adding photos to a table in Google Docs to represent each phylum or class in the Animal Kingdom. We will continue studying animals before we move on to the study of internal systems of mammals and humans.
Our fourth year students are working to complete a “Word of the Week.” Each week, the Upper Elementary students choose a word that they think no one will know. They illustrate a picture that can demonstrate the meaning of their word, then perform a skit while their peers guess what the definition of the word may be.

Enrichments by Ms. Erica

Each child sat patiently while Ms. Dayna outlined their profile. The students will fill their profiles in with magazine cut-outs and other pictures that they feel represent them.


  • For information on what your child is doing daily, please check in on Transparent Classroom!
  • “Bring Your Parents to Work Time” begins on October 8 and 10! Sign up here!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of September 9

“The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” – Maria Montessori

At “Back to School Night,” parents had the opportunity to write down questions they had about the Montessori Philosophy or about our Elementary program. One of the questions asked was, “What materials made by Montessori are still being used today?” Surprisingly, the answer is almost all of them. While Montessori companies have continued to improve upon her designs, most of the Elementary Montessori works were invented by Dr. Montessori and her son, Mario, in the early 1910s. Below you will find photos from Montessori’s book, The Montessori Elementary Material, which you can read for free through the Gutenburg Project here, and explanations of how we use those materials!

This is a Grammar Box, which we still use daily! The Grammar Box helps students recognize different parts of speech and their functions in a sentence. Understanding parts of speech leads to greater comprehension and better writing skills. Recent studies have proven that learning grammar using color coded material and symbols is the most effective method and Montessori had this idea a century ago!
Here you will see our Bead Bars and Multiplication Bead Board. Both materials encourage students to notice relationships between numbers to memorize their number facts while fully understanding what the equation really means. Coming to a realization about number families, instead of being told their relationship, leads to deeper understanding and confidence.
Here a student is using the “Racks and Tubes” or “Test Tube Division.” This material allows students to understand the process of long division with manipulatives before seeing how to complete it on paper. As with the previous math work, physically manipulating numbers gives students a deeper understanding of how the process of division works. Students work with this material first, then with this material and paper, then moving towards paper only when they are ready.

Lower Elementary by Ms. Marlee

Our Elementary students complete a journal every Monday about any topic of their choosing. One third grade student asked another third grader if she could interview her this week. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get to know one another while working on their communication and listening skills.
This second grader is working on the Division Bead Board. While practicing this work, students become familiar with the ways in which numbers can be divided. Some dividends are evenly divisible while others are not. This work also helps them come to understand the relationship between multiplication and division. This work is closely related to the Multiplication Bead Board shown above!

Upper Elementary by Ms. Ashley

This fifth year student is researching the multiples of nine to find the rule for divisibility of nine. This student caught on to the rule that the units place in the multiple was going down one, while the tens place in the multiple was going up one! Another student noticed that if you add the digits of the multiples together, you will get a sum of 9!
These students built “The Table of Pythagoras” using a lot of communication and teamwork! “The Table of Pythagoras” is a geometric representation of a multiplication table. If you are as interested as I was, here is a very brief history of the multiplication table (scroll to “History” section).

Enrichments by Ms. Erica

Upper Elementary had a lot of fun singing popular pop songs in music class. They are excited to show off their new tunes at Grandparents Day.


  • For information on what your child is doing daily, please check in on Transparent Classroom!
  • Ramseyer Field Trip Forms are due TODAY, September 13.
  • Ramseyer Trip for First and Second Year students – September 20
  • Typing lessons begin Friday, September 27. We could use more parent volunteers to continue to make typing classes possible. Please sign up here if you are interested in supervising!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of September 3

Lower Elementary by Ms. Marlee

This first year student is completing the space puzzle from our Geography area. This work introduces students to the names of the planets and helps prepare them for further exploration of our solar system.
This second year student is completing one of the Laws of the Universe experiments. Here, he is experimenting with centrifugal force by swinging a bucket with water in it around his body. As the bucket revolves in a circle, it is pulled away from the center showing centrifugal force in action. Learning the Laws of the Universe helps students to understand their surroundings.

Upper Elementary by Ms. Ashley

This fourth year student practiced adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions with like denominators. At our Morning Meeting this day we discussed some upcoming lessons and which previous lessons would be great to practice to start out the year on the right foot. This student got right to the works we discussed after our meeting. It is so exciting to see students take ownership over their learning.
One of our team building games this week was a challenge to rotate your members around a circle of pool noodles with only being able to hold onto one pool noodle at a time. The fastest team was the winner. Here you will see an Upper Elementary student walking his team through a game plan. Our Upper Elementary students have had many years of practice leading and participating in discussions. They are often great role models and allow all to have their voice heard.

Enrichments by Ms. Erica

Our students enjoyed creating their name tags in Art Class. They were able to choose from a number of materials to work with when decorating. These name tags will be used in Art Class throughout the year.


  • For information on what your child is doing daily, please check in on Transparent Classroom!
  • First and Second Year Parents – please turn in your Ramseyer Permission Slip to the office!
  • Friday, September 20 – Ramseyer Field Trip for first and second years. Dissection at school for third through sixth (no permission slip required)

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of August 26

Welcome back, families!

The first two weeks in the Elementary classroom have a focus on team building and rules and routines. We spend a lot of time getting to know each other, working through our transition back to school, and practicing each step of a work cycle. Students even complain we don’t let them work enough! We set up the first two weeks this way to make sure students are prepared in the best way possible for a successful, independent year. Most weeks, our “Peek” will be a showcase of Lower Elementary lessons and work, Upper Elementary lessons and work, projects from our Enrichment classes, and any important upcoming events. Ms. Marlee, Ms. Erica, and I will be working together to bring this to you each week. One week a month, our students will write the “Peek.” Please enjoy this look at our first week!

Each first week of Encino schools, we have a gathering for “Expert Lessons.” This is a chance for our returning students to show new students different works they may choose independently or with a partner. This helps new students to our school, or just to our room, see different materials they could work with while we are working through our two transition weeks. This returning second year student explained to our new friends how to use “The Farm” for a geography or a grammar work!
We begin each school year with “The Great Lessons.” These are lessons presented through storytelling and experiments to introduce students to the ideas of the beginning of the universe, the coming of life, the coming of humans, and the beginning of language and numbers. These lessons are meant to inspire students in their studies for the year. Our Upper Elementary students are always eager to be a part of the experiments!
This was one of our questions from “Back to School Night.” Technology in the Montessori classroom is used as a supplement. Children use the internet for research when they have exhausted all book and encyclopedia resources. They learn to type, make Word documents, made presentations through PowerPoint, and make graphs through Google Sheets. We use technology to take virtual field trips and interact with experts in their fields to learn about things we may not be able to experience in our area.
Ms. Marlee is presenting “The Laws of the Universe.” These lessons are extensions to “The Great Lessons.” The experiments allow the students to test the laws of the universe they heard about in our storytelling lessons to come to their own conclusions. The experiments will be on the shelves for a few weeks for the students to independently practice.


  • No School – Labor Day – Monday, September 2
  • Enrichments Begin – Tuesday, September 3
  • Ramseyer Farm Field Trip – Friday, September 20

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 22

This week our “Peek” was written by our students! These students read our previous blogs, took pictures around the room, and filled in a blog template. The students did some editing together, and with a teacher, so what you will read below is their final product. There are still some misspelled words in their final product, but in a Montessori classroom we focus on the process, instead of the end result. Dr. Montessori believed when we put all of the emphasis on the final product, we devalue everything leading up to that point. This can discourage repetition which will make mastery of a skill difficult. The purpose of the students writing the blog is to provide you with a glimpse into the room through their eyes, to provide them with practice of real world skills, and to give them a deeper understanding of the materials in the room. We hope you enjoy their work!

“A Peek at Our Year” by the 2018-2019 Elementary Class


This year my favorite work in 5th grade was cubing. Cubing is a fun math. It can be confusing. I learned and memorized a lot of new facts. My goal for next year is to plan a fun learning field trip. My goal for next year is to be more calm.


My favorite field trip was to the Cleveland History Museum. My favorite event was the book fair. One of my favorite times in the classroom was taking TerraNova Tests. My goals are to get 100% every time and to take good notes.


My favorite field trip was when we went to the history museum where we dissected a sheep heart. One of my favorite times being in the classroom is when we do a big work that we like. One of my favorite works are the early humans folders. My goal for next year is to focus. My other goal is to get better at math.


My favorite work is Lattice Multiplication. Tyler and I do it together. My favorite field trip was the museum. I like to work with my friends and teachers. We have so much fun. My goals for next year are to do my best and to master division on paper.


I really like to do multiplication on paper. I really like the Wax Museum because we got to do a backdrop. I really like gym because my grandpa is the coach. I really hope to stay organized. I really hope to learn division on paper.


Lattice Multiplication is one of my favorites. Handwriting is also my favorite. Multiplication on paper is also a favorite work. My goals are to learn division on paper and early humans.


Meeting Jane Goodall was my favorite part of this year. My favorite work is Lattice Multiplication. I liked making a guitar. My goals for next year are to have good notes and to make my work neat.


My favorite things are the Checkerboard, Peg Board, and the Imaginary Island. My favorite field trip is the McKinley Museum. My goals for next year are to always get my work done, to never give up, and to start off the year with 100%.


I really like Checkerboard. I loved the “Instrument Petting Zoo.”  I also loved the Cleveland Zoo field trip. I hope to learn more great works. I also hope to make new friends.



I liked to do the Wax Museum because we got to do a speech. I’m thankful that I learned multiplication on paper. I’m glad we got to go to a museum. I hope I learn division on paper. I want to learn Racks and Tubes: 4 Digit.


I love when we went on our first field trip. I like when we did the International Festival. I like to do handwriting with Ms. Kelley. My goal is to master the Multiplication Bead Board. My goal for next year is learning the water cycle.


My favorite field trip was when we went to the McKinley Museum. It was also fun when we went on buses for our travel. I also loved when we had people in our parents’ cars. That was really fun. Next school year, I hope to be more organized and more kind.


I think I learned a lot about angles. My favorite work is science. My favorite thing to do in the classroom is journal. My goal for next school year is doing math work. My goal is focusing.


I am happy and glad that I learned the Golden Mat and Multiplication Bead Board. I learned to have better neat print and cursive handwriting. My goal is to every week get 100%. I want to learn addition on paper.


The Wax Museum was fun. It was great. I was Charles Dickens. My goals next year are to always be happy and always get my work done.


I like handwriting. I had fun at the Cleveland Zoo. Stamp Game is fun. My goals for next year are to work hard and to have fun!


I like the lessons. I love my friends. I love school so much. My goals next year are to do nice things for friends and to get good at things.

Thank you for a wonderful year! Enjoy your break and we will see you in August!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 13

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

This is my final blog post for the year! The post coming the final week of school will be written by all nineteen of our students about their favorite parts of this school year!

I want to thank all of you for sharing your children with us. I look forward every morning to the laughs, the successes, the learning, and even the failures and frustrations. They teach me every day more than I could ever teach them. I wanted to share some of the most hilarious things said in our room this year along with a peek into what we’ve been working on.

This student is researching the parts of a flower. After learning the parts she will learn many interesting things like how a seed is formed, the different positions of flowers on a stem, and how to tell if a plant’s seeds are monocots or dicots. Learning all of this information helps students feel an appreciation for nature and gives an understanding about how important it is.
This student has started making her own math equations using money. She has made addition, subtraction, and multiplication equations for herself. Today she added up how much money was in the entire box! It is wonderful to see students taking initiative to learn what they are interested in.
These students are writing letters to someone in the grade below them to give some advice and encouragement for their next school year. Our students listed their favorite things to work on and gave tips on how to be successful in the next school year. Look for these to arrive in mid-June!
These third graders are working on the final step of their human body research. They have studied the human body throughout this entire year. After drawing their bones and researching and recording information about our organs, they are creating a skin layer to finish their models. You will be able to check these out in the hallway next week!

2018-2019 Quotes

August 2018

Student: “Is slaughter a mean word?”

Me: “That depends on how you use it.”

Him: “Like Frosty the Slaughterman.”

September 2018

A student asked me to play a game with him in aftercare. I told him I did not have time because I needed to get home to get some things done. In his best Ms. Ashley voice he said, “Oh, I must get home to sit on my couch and pet my cat while I watch cat shows and think about cats.”

First grader: “How do you get money?”

Me: “I have a job…”

Her: “Yeah, but like, do you have a REAL job?”

October 2018

During a skeleton lesson, I notice a male student trying to get a better look at the skeleton by bringing the picture closer and closer to his face, but most specifically, the pelvic area. Immediately realizing what he was doing, I say, “It’s not a bone,” to which he replies, “Ohhhh, that makes sense.”

“Obi-Wan Ms. Ashley, you are our only hope.”

November 2018

Student: “Oh, I’ve heard of kilometers before!”

Me: “Have you heard the older kids using it when planning trips?”

Him: “What? No. I learned it playing ‘Pokemon Go’.”

December 2018

While watching “101 Dalmations” on Pajama Day:

Student 1: “Yuck! Why is that dog licking his owner’s eyes?”

Me: “My dog has licked my eyes before trying to wake me up.”

Him: “That’s disgusting! My dog only licks my tongue!”

Student 2: “My dog licks my tongue, too!”

January 2019

“Ms. Ashley, I found Beethoven’s birthday, but not Ludwig’s.”

Student: “I thought you were going to get us an extra broom yesterday?”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t planning on being here today (they were calling for a lot of snow) so I didn’t go. Plus I felt like garbage last night.”

Him: “This would be a great opportunity to say, ‘You look like garbage’ if you weren’t my teacher.”

February 2019

“You’re like a hagfish because you only have a notochord!”

Student 1: “Ms. Ashley, how do you know this song?”

Me: “Well I was alive in the early 2000s when it came out.”

Student 2: “Oh right, you were born in like 1902.”

March 2019

“You mean if I go to a thrift store I could own my own dictionary? AWESOME!”

April 2019

A conversation about snails reproducing asexually and fish producing sexually turned into someone shouting, “I’m a male and I make fertilizer!”

“A Peek at Next Week”

Next week, our first year students will add and subtract lengths, will address an envelope, will study the parts of an angle, and learn about the phyla of the animal kingdom. Our second year students will continue working with the Racks and Tubes, will study circles, and will experiment with a water pressure column. The third year students will multiply using the commutative and distributive properties, will research plants, and will build a Roman Arch. The fourth year students will count in different bases, will learn about the Vikings, and will participate in a “Determining pH” lab. Our fifth years will work with square roots and continue to study the Middle Ages.


  • FINAL DAY OF SCHOOL – Thursday, May 30 – This is also our Laser Quest Field Trip. Look for an email about the details of that day soon.

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of May 6

“There’s no place like home…except Grandma’s.”

What a wonderfully eventful week we had! Our grandparents joined us, we had “Moms and Muffins,” a book fair, completed a collaborative art project, and had a virtual field trip to the Dominican Republic to learn about coral reefs! Grandparents’ Day was such a blast. We had recorder songs played by different groups of students based on skill level, we had beautiful piano solos, and some amazing Latin skits! We learned so many new Latin phrases and were highly entertained by the skits written by our students to perform for their grandparents. Our students also participated in a word list challenge, an interview with their grandparents, and made a craft about all of the things they love about each other! Thank you to Ms. Lisa, Mr. Matt, and all of our wonderful grandparents!

These students participated in a collaborative art project. First, we all mixed colors of Play-Doh to get orange, green, and purple for this project. Next, each student picked what part of a creature they would like to build. Each student had their own idea of what creature they would like to build, but could not tell each other what they had in mind! At the end, our groups built some amazingly unique creatures. Here there is a mermaid-unicorn-alligator.
This group made an alligator-spider-caterpillar!
Working together to create new words out of the letters in “Happy Grandparents’ Day!” We had many groups come up with over 100 words!
Interviewing her grandparents to learn more about their childhood!
This pair is working hard!
All smiles completing their challenge!
These students were playing “The Wedding March!”

“A Peek at Next Week”

This week, all students will write a letter to an incoming student of their current year to send over the summer! Our first year students will discuss numerators and denominators, will review types of angles, will discuss parts of the fruit, and will study Antarctica. Our second year students will discuss the power of numbers, will study more polygons, and will talk about flower placement on a stem. Our third year students will do large mental math with our Large Bank Game, will finish discussing quotation marks, will begin learning how to find the area of a rectangle, and will study echinoderms. Our fourth year students will learn about greatest common factor, transmogrified words, and will continue studying Native Americans. Our fifth year students will cube a binomial, will learn about reflexive verbs, and will be introduced to the Middle Ages.


  • “Bring Your Parents to Work Time” this Tuesday and Wednesday. There are still many spots available. Sign up here.
  • NO SCHOOL – Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day
  • Thursday, May 30 – Last Day of School – Laser Quest Field Trip – Come join us! Permission slips came home in Reading Logs or Friday folders!

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 29

This week our “Peek” was written by a few of our students! These students read our previous blogs, took pictures around the room, and filled in a blog template. The students did some editing together, and with a teacher, so what you will read below is their final product. There are still some misspelled words in their final product, but in a Montessori classroom we focus on the process, instead of the end result. Dr. Montessori believed when we put all of the emphasis on the final product, we devalue everything leading up to that point. This can discourage repetition which will make mastery of a skill difficult. The purpose of the students writing the blog is to provide you with a glimpse into the room through their eyes, to provide them with practice of real world skills, and to give them a deeper understanding of the materials in the room. We hope you enjoy their work!

“A Peek at Our Week” by the Annelise and Caiden

The first graders learned how to make an uppercase cursive n. The second graders learned imaginary island. The third graders learned all about adverbials. The forth grade learned about the Iron Age. The fithe graders learned about square roots.

They are doing research on animals. They are researching cats.
This student is working on Latis Multiplication. She checked her ecwashon with the calculator.
This student is working on spelling. He is also working on handwriting.
This student is writing about pangolins being indangered. She learned that people should stop killing them.

A Peek at Our Week | Elementary | Week of April 22

“Concentration is the key that opens up to the child the latent treasures within him.” – Maria Montessori

An interesting story in one of Montessori’s books is about a time when she visited a school and saw a child so deep in concentration, that she did not notice a single thing around her. Dr. Montessori said they danced around the child and even picked up the child in her seat, yet she did not lose concentration. We see similar instances in our classroom when students find purposeful work. In the elementary classroom, this is often work they have chosen to complete themselves. Whether it is a research project they have independently compiled throughout the year, a math work they are working towards, or a project they are building, immense concentration happens every day in our environment.

This third year student is using our Pythagorean Theorem tray with a right-angled scalene triangle. She discovered in our lesson that the sum of the squares built on the legs is equivalent to the square of the hypotenuse.
This second year student is working with our Conjunction Grammar Box to recognize the different parts of speech. Each morning to continue building upon our knowledge we find the definition for the “Word of the Day.” After recording the definition, someone volunteers a sentence using the word and we all discuss the parts of speech. Recognizing patterns of the parts of speech in a sentence leads students to more creative writing.
Our fourth year students completed a lab to find acids and bases in our everyday lives! We used blue and red litmus paper to test liquids like grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar, distilled water, and a soap solution. Before testing, we hypothesized which liquids would be acids and which would be bases. After testing, the fourth years were very close to being correct!
Sometimes a laundry detergent box is the perfect seat for some morning reading!

A Peek at Next Week 

Next week, our first year students will practice adding and exchanging values of coins, will be introduced to the interjection, and will review recent math concepts. Our second year students continue working to recognize parts of speech and will review math concepts. Our third year students will measure liquids by volume, will be introduced to adverbials, and will complete TerraNova Assessments. Our fourth year students will find the square of a two-digit number, will discuss the Iron Age, and will complete TerraNova Assessments. Our fifth year students will continue working with square roots and continue to research Ancient Civilizations.


  • Please check your email to remain up to date on our International Festival week, including information on making your African dish or dessert.
  • Thursday, May 9 – Elementary Gradparents’ Day
  • Friday, May 10 – Moms and Muffins
  • Week of May 13 – OPTIONAL Parent-Teacher Conferences – Sign up here
  • May 14 and May 15 – Final “Bring Your Parents to Work Time” – sign up here
  • Thursday, May 30 – Field Day – Laser Quest!