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Rachel's Room (Lower Elementary)

Rachel's Update 1-20-2020

posted Jan 21, 2020, 10:03 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 3 families.  Welcome to the new year!  I hope you all had a wonderful winter break.  In class we began studying the timeline of life and volcanoes.  Students are exploring how life began on Earth and developed over time.  Volcanoes and the rock cycle are very exciting topics!  Some students are completing research on volcanic eruptions and others are exploring igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and how they were created.

On Friday we discussed what it means to be a peacekeeper.  Students shared different qualities as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and listened to a section of his famous speech.  In class we are working on how to be patient and tolerant of others.  Treating each other as we would like to be treated is something that children of this age can understand and are highly sensitive to any perceived unfairness.  One skill we are working on as a class is how to look away when someone does something that annoys them.  Seems simple, right?  We all know how challenging that can be!  I hope your children are starting conversations at home with you about peace and kindness.  Ask them about it!

On a different note, this week EasyCBM testing begins.  Students will have a chance to show their math, reading, and phonics skills through several tests, both electronic and in person.

Exciting News

Jacob Searl is officially our new Room 3 Assistant!  As a long-term sub for our classroom he has already put in the time to get to know students and to learn how our classroom flows.  Jacob himself was a student at Ridgeline Montessori and brings with him a deep love of the school and our Montessori way of teaching.  Please help us in welcoming Jacob to our classroom!

Upcoming Events

Talent Show:  Friday 1-24 at 6-8 PM

Volunteer Opportunities

Room 3 is in need of a family who can take home the classroom cups on Fridays, wash them, and return them on Monday.

I have a large laminating and cutting project.  Anyone interested in laminating and cutting please contact me at:

Special Thanks

A big thank you to Sean and Andrea (Tomas) for building two planter boxes for our classroom.  They are beautiful!

Thank you to Hannah (Orion) for starting our new year off with some exciting art projects.  We appreciate it!

Thank you for all the other assistance we receive.  Help with classroom laundry, water filling, and reading with students makes such a big difference.  We are grateful for all of your time and assistance.

Rachel Quinn
Lower Elementary Teacher
Ridgeline Public Charter Montessori

Rachel's Update 11-26-19

posted Nov 26, 2019, 2:28 PM by Cynthia Friedman   [ updated Nov 26, 2019, 2:41 PM ]

A Fly on the Wall

We are currently learning about the different biomes and the plant and animal life native to these different habitats.  Students are also learning about the layers of the Earth.  We will be moving into plate tectonics and the rock cycle soon!  Throughout their exploration, students are learning how to choose a topic, conduct research, and put together a graphical representation of all their collected data.  It is so exciting to see all of the work happening in the classroom!


Stone Soup Activities

Last week our class watched a video of the story of stone soup.  This week our class will discuss ingredients that make up a delicious soup and student will sign up to bring a vegetable, pasta, or a grain.  If the ingredient your child signed up for is not convenient, please feel free to substitute.  On Tuesday, November 26, students will have a chance to wash, peel, and slice our classroom’s vegetable contributions.  Please send your contribution in on Tuesday AM.  On Wednesday our entire school will enjoy soup and bread.  Please send an unbreakable bowl and spoon with your child on Wednesday.  The “big idea” or moral of this activity is the joy of contributing and working together to create something special for all to enjoy!


Upcoming Events

November 26, 2019 – contributions (vegetables, pasta, or grains) due for Stone Soup

November 27, 2019 – Stone Soup Celebration!  Don’t forget to bring a bowl and spoon.

November 28, 2019 – NO SCHOOL

November 29, 2019 – NO SCHOOL


We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday.


Many thanks,


Rachel and Emily

Rachel's Update 10-21-19

posted Oct 22, 2019, 10:53 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hello Room 3 families!  Tomorrow is our classroom field trip to Detering Orchards.  Yay!  The children have been learning about plants and are now exploring different types of pumpkins and squash in the classroom.  We are very excited to bring our learning outside of the school for the first time this year.  For those of you who have not turned in permission slips, please return them tomorrow with your child.  If we do not receive the permission slip your child will not be able to join us on our outing.

Please plan for weather!  We are going rain or shine.  Appropriate clothes are important for the comfort and safety of your child.  As a reminder, please pack a separate snack in the reusable bag to be used for carrying a pumpkin.  Please do not use a paper bag as they may get wet.

Busses will be leaving at 9 and returning to the school at 1:15.

If you are a parent volunteering for the field trip, please accompany your child into the classroom at drop off so that we can connect before getting on the bus.

Volunteer Needs:

* A parent who is willing to plan and take the lead on a weekly or bi-weekly art project connecting to current classroom curriculum.
* Parents interested in listening to readers.
* 2 Amaryllis bulbs
* Paperwhite Lily bulbs
* Clay for art

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019: Picture Retakes
Thursday, October 24, 2019: Curriculum Sharing 3:05 - 4:05; 6:00 - 7:00
Monday, November 3, 2019: Daylight Saving ends (fall back)
Thursday/Friday, November 7-8, 2019: Family Conferences (no school)
Monday, November 11, 2019: Veteran's Day (no school)
Friday, November 15, 2019: Barnes and Noble Book Fair 6:00 - 8:00
Tuesday, November 26, 2019: Bring Veggies for Stone Soup
Wednesday, November 27, 2019: All School Celebration: Stone Soup
Thursday/Friday, November 28-29, 2019: Thanksgiving (no school)

Rachel and Emily
For more information about Ridgeline events visit the website

Attendance message:
Thank you for being a part of Ridgeline's community.  Here are a few ways you can help keep your child's attendance regular.

* Make appointments with the doctor or dentist in the late afternoon so your child misses as little school as possible.

* Call the school as soon as you know your child will be absent and tell the school staff why your child will be out and for how long.

* Be prepared to get a doctor's note when requested by school personnel.

* Schedule trips exclusively during school breaks.

* Reach out to staff, RCO, or the class parents if you don't feel connected.  Connection matters!


Rachel's Update 9-26-19

posted Oct 22, 2019, 10:46 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Upcoming Events:
Friday, Sept. 27: JOGATHON
Wednesday, October 2: BIKE AND WALK TO SCHOOL DAY

Sharing: “Sharing” in the classroom is a valuable opportunity to practice public speaking as well as fielding questions gracefully. Starting in October students are invited to bring to school an item with educational value on Mondays. Please talk with your student about their sharing and prepare them to speak on three interesting facts about the object. No toys please!

UNIVERSE STUDIES: Our classroom started out with a big bang, learned about the different types of galaxies, and studied the lifecycle of a large star. We are now ready to enter the realm of our very own solar system! Coming up in October students will be learning in depth about the planets in our solar system and the inner workings of a star. Once we study the solar system we will focus in on Earth, our home, delving into the different biomes and biodiversity found on our lovely planet.


In October we plan to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch at Detering Farms. Watch for details in the next update.


We are in need of cut out pictures from magazines to be used as writing prompts for the students. Any appropriate pictures are appreciated. Thanks!

If you are interested in volunteering for the field trip to Detering Farms and have your green volunteer badge please email me at The more the merrier!

If you are interested and available to volunteer during P.E. class on Tuesday/Thursday at 1:35 – 2:25 please email me at

Rachel & Emily

*For more information about Ridgeline events, visit website:


Rachel's Update 9-11-19

posted Sep 11, 2019, 10:27 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Beginning with a bang!


This Thursday will begin with a bang… a big one!  The first great story, the story of how the universe began and the beginnings of an Earth that can support life is a time-honored Montessori classroom tradition that paints a rough picture of the beginning of the known universe, enticing children to dive deeper into the great mysteries of life.  Be prepared for big questions and equally big enthusiasm!


As for the beginning of the school year, our class is already off to a great start.  Children are excited to begin working in the classroom and are quickly making new friends.  Kindness is blooming and we are blasting off together!


On the horizon


Stay tuned for news of our upcoming events.  A planetary fashion show? A field trip? As plans are solidified and dates selected we will send a follow-up email.




Please check your child’s backpack regularly.  Packets are sent home with important information regarding school events.  Picture day forms, T-shirt order forms, and student info forms should be returned to school promptly.


As the weather turns wet and cold, please remember to bring appropriate outdoor clothing.  We are having an outdoor recess unless the weather is extreme. Writing your child’s name in items of clothing will help ensure that items are not lost.


Volunteer opportunities


Several volunteer opportunities are available.  Email me if you would like to:


·      Wash our classroom cups (take home on Friday)

·      Wash our classroom laundry (take home on Friday)

·      Bring fresh flowers for the classroom each week


Other volunteer opportunities will become available as the school year continues.


Mark your Calendar:


Sept 12: 6:00 – 7:00 Rachel’s Class Meeting


Sept 13: 6:00 RCO Movie Night – The Muppet Movie


Oct. 11: No school – inservice day


An important school-wide announcement:


The year is just beginning and it is a great time to build great habits!  Being in school, on time, every day is important. Good attendance is strongly linked to academic, social, and emotional success.


We believe that students and families that feel they are included in the school community are more likely to show up consistently.


We believe that good attendance will allow your child to fully contribute to and fully benefit from the classroom community. 


We believe good attendance will not only build strong academics, but also build strong socially and emotionally capable humans.


Thank you for learning and growing with us!

Eric's Update 6-13-19

posted Jun 13, 2019, 11:36 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Wed Field Day
Thu Classroom cleaning
Fri Pancake/Movie Day
The last week


This is my last Bear Brief! You haven’t seen a lot of them this year, but I want to use this one to thank everyone for the past year, the volunteers who have helped with classroom activities, the kindnesses and generosity you have shown, and just your general support.

Please know that our building is not very effective at resisting heat, as our roofline is completely exposed to the afternoon sun. This means that by 10:30 or 11:00 we are feeling the effects of the warming weather on a hot day. I will do all I can to limit the effects of our expected weather and will encourage students to stay hydrated.

Be aware that on the last day of school I will be providing a pancake breakfast for the students. This is a 16-year tradition in the class and the students usually stuff themselves to their gills! It’s one of my favorite activities of the year because I get to feed them something yummy and watch them laugh, discuss their plans for the summer, and generally have a sticky good time. If your child prefers to pass that is fine, too. If there are special dietary needs just send in your alternative mix and I will cook up the pancakes they are used to eating. I will provide syrup, jam, peanut butter, whipped cream, and butter. Classroom volunteers are invited to join us, as the students are used to seeing you.

Normally on the last day of the year, we walk to the park and play for an hour or so. Tugman Park is our usual choice, but it’s under construction and the smaller park nearby will be in use by another class and it will still be very hot. We have opted for a G-rated movie and will enjoy it with some popcorn.

Finally, look for a summer work packet to come home in the days ahead. This is a combination of DML and writing work. This is intended to maintain or slightly build on existing skills so they are ready to go in the new school year.

Eric and Emily

Eric's Update 4-22-19

posted Apr 22, 2019, 11:51 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Monday, 4/22-24            Amazon Presentations

Tuesday 4/23                Project Fair                      


Past weeks…

These past weeks we learned that life in the Amazon jungle can be pretty interesting and if one is clever, can find everything necessary for survival.  Naturally, there are some things trying to survive off of you as well (like lots and lots of flying bugs).  In Central America, we looked closely at the Olmec and tried to discover some of their well-hidden secrets like how to move a 20 ton block of stone over soft ground and then carve a head in it without using metal tools.  This lesson was followed by turning our attention to Mayan culture, architecture, and art.   

We also learned about the layers of the ocean, solar energy, and the biotic sequence. In Botany we looked at different kinds of roots and discussed the functions and advantages of the different kinds.  In Functional Geography we discovered that oblique and perpendicular rays from the sun create the warm and cold regions of the earth. 

Next coming week and beyond…

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday students will share round 2 of their Amazon Basin research.  I have been enjoying the clever ways each student has shown their respective animals to the class this year. 

By Tuesday I expect the room will be a regular South American animal preserve with both our current and most recent past presentations lining our walls and hanging from the vines draped throughout!

This is just in time for our Project Fair that is coming up Tuesday April 23 (3:05-4:05pm and 6-7pm).  In our class we tend to show off the presentations we have worked on and offer that information to those who wander through the classroom.  Each classroom has projects to show.  Some are science based and others are history based.  Each room will have a flavor all its own so feel free to come in and look around.


Eric and Emily


Eric's Update 3-11-19

posted Mar 11, 2019, 11:05 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Sunday, 3/10 Daylight Saving Time. Spring forward 1 hour.
Thursday, 3/14 Pi Day
Wednesday, 3/20 Spring Equinox
Mon. 3/25-Fri. 3/29 Spring Break

Past weeks…
Due to the snow days last week and the resulting squirrelliness of the kids this week, we didn’t cover as much material as I would have hoped since my last Brief. We did finish our last Native American presentations, and I feel the students have learned a great deal over the last few months. We also were able to learn about the layers of the ocean, microscopic sea life and the general web of life found in the oceans. Most students finished their handmade totems and NW art projects.

Next week and beyond…
In the coming days we will have an introduction to the South American pin maps and political boundary maps, look at the Amazon River Basin, ancient South American cultures (just the beginning of a 3-month process) and solar energy. I’m very excited about our upcoming studies in the Amazon Basin. This remarkable place is where the kids will be doing their research in the coming weeks and months.

Our very first detailed look at ancient South American cultures will be the Olmecs. There will be a clay art project related to this.

Eric and Emily


Eric's Update 2-22-19

posted Feb 28, 2019, 1:14 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Thursday, 2/21 Board Meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Friday, 2/22 Pasta Dinner 5-7 p.m.

Friday, 2/22 Direct Donation Drive Kick-Off

Monday, 2/25 Site Council Meeting 6-7:30 p.m.



This week

Once again, I want to thank all those who sent in goodies for our Chinese New Year celebration.  Since we had a fine outpouring of goodies, we have continued to have the extra goodies here and there.  The kids think I’m being a nice guy, but it’s really been you.

Valentine’s Day was also fun with many participants, treats, and smiles.  I always enjoy this day in the classroom because it’s very rewarding to see such joy in the faces of the students as they give and receive little bits of happiness.

In the past days, we looked closely at the artwork and design of the Northwest tribes of the US and Canada.  Their artwork is immediately identifiable due to the unique shapes, colors, and medium.  The students had a chance to try their hand at creating totems and masks using the forms found among these nations.

As part of Black History Month, we looked into the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, efforts to move beyond the old ways of segregation, and the bravery of those who faced people hostile to change.  We will continue our discussions next week.


Coming up

In the coming week, we will have our final presentations on the Native American tribes of Canada, the US, and Mexico.  The schedule will be as it has the past four cycles.  Just before we head off to South America and the Amazon Basin, we will look at the Modoc War, where the Modoc kept the US Army at bay for a long time before choosing to simply walk away from the fight.  As we begin our studies in South America, research projects will primarily focus on geological features and animals.  



Eric and Emily                               



Eric's Update 12-17-18

posted Dec 17, 2018, 11:26 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Friday, 12/21 Last Day of School before Winter Break -regular Friday release time.
Tuesday, 1/8 Classes Resume

This week…
We just finished a nice round of Native American presentations, and as always, your kids taught me many new things. Thank you for helping them with their projects as needed. Today the students picked their next research assignments based on the Plains Indians and those projects will be due the week of January 14th. Their choices are at the bottom of this update.

Since the last update, we have studied volcanoes, layers of the earth, the rock cycle, water cycle, and erosion. We also looked at the skills Native Americans needed to have in order to survive and thrive in their respective climates.

Next week and beyond…
In the coming weeks, we will learn about Lewis and Clark, Sioux warriors, layers of the atmosphere, the carbon cycle, and zones of the earth.

Our next field trip will be to Dorris Ranch and the details will be forthcoming. This trip will supplement the Native American studies taking place in the classroom and research projects happening at home.

We wish you a safe and happy winter break full of memories and laughter.

Eric and Emily

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