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Emily's Room (Lower Elementary)

Emily's Weekly Update 11-7-17

posted Nov 8, 2017, 9:28 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Ancient Life

A few weeks ago, the children heard a special story about how the universe, stars and planets were formed.  This week, we continued the story by looking at the history of life on earth.  We’re focusing on the Paleozoic, a time when a wild diversity of creatures filled the seas and the first plants and animals emerged onto land.  Do you have any fossils or ancient rocks at home?  We would love to take a look at these artifacts from earth’s history.


Rolling Pins Needed Thursday

We are in need of some rolling pins for a fossil making activity on Thursday.  Anything from small playdough style rolling pins to big pastry rollers would be helpful.

Book Fair Performance

Join us on Friday, Nov. 17 for the book fair and a fantastic concert.  We’ll sing some of our class favorites.  Hope to see you there!


Brunch and the Symphony

On Tuesday, Nov. 14, we will be going to a special educational concert at the Hult Center.  We will be riding an LTD bus and walking, so please make sure that your child wears warm layers and good walking shoes.  We will eat “brunch” very early (around 10:15) and save our snack for after the concert.  Consider sending two pocket snacks or something extra for the afternoon.  


Scholastic Catalog Volunteer Needed

Do you want an easy, take-home task for volunteer hours?  Help assemble our Scholastic book catalogs!  Let me know if you are interested.


Laundry Volunteer Needed

Can you take our cleaning cloths home on Friday and return them laundered on Monday?  If so, the job is yours!

Emily's Weekly Update 9-11-17

posted Sep 11, 2017, 3:41 PM by Cynthia Friedman


What a wonderful beginning to the school year we’ve had.  It’s been fun to see new faces and to marvel at how much returning students have grown.  During the first weeks of school we’re focused on reviewing grace and courtesy – the essentials of getting along in a peaceful community.  That means demonstrations on laying out a work mat, asking for and giving help (from other students as well as adults), and being a friend.  A special thank you for everyone’s patience and flexibility during our period of unhealthy air.


Class Picnic Tues. Sept. 19, 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

Mark your calendar!  During the first half of this class meeting I will preview this year’s curriculum and give tips for supporting your child with upcoming spelling and homework projects.  I’ll also go through the schedule of a typical Montessori day.  Then we’ll enjoy a picnic together.  Plan on bringing your own food and plates/cutlery please.  Children are encouraged to come and may play on the playground during our talk if they are supervised (no childcare is provided), or they may join the audience during our brief meeting. 


Ni Hao, Minyuan!

On Monday we welcome LiMinyuan, a Chinese intern who will be working full time with our class for the next five months.  Minyuan (pronounced like Ming-won) is working on a degree in teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages at her home university, and joins us through a UO exchange program.  For the first week or so she’ll be observing the class.  Then, she’ll help us learn more about Chinese culture and language.   Xie xie (thank you) Minyuan!


Native American Nations

Next week we will begin our study of our country’s Native Nations.  Each student will choose a nation to research and report on.  This is a great time to share stories or family history relating to Indian cultures.  Students really enjoy learning more about nations that they can connect with through their own history, travels, or artifacts.


Wishes, Reminders and Thank Yous–

Can you donate a directional compass to the classroom?  A floating ball compass or other simple, functional compass would help orient us in our map work.

PE starts this week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Please make sure that your child has PE-ready shoes on those days.

Please include a placemat in your child’s lunch box.

Thank you to Yaeko Rodrigues for donating an air purifier to the classroom!


Emily Burton

Emily's Weekly Update 5-18-17

posted May 18, 2017, 2:49 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Farm Field Trip TUESDAY

Check those backpacks for a permission slip!  We are going to Winter Green Farm in Noti on Tuesday, May 23.  We’ll learn about how this organic farm is managed for the health of plants, people and wildlife.  Volunteers, if you can join us to chaperone on such short notice, please do!  This is always a beautiful and educational trip.  We leave Ridgeline at 9:00 and return before 1:45.

 Jog-a-thon Tomorrow

Students should:

(1) wear good running shoes

(2) bring a good snack and lunch

(3) bring an extra set of clothes and shoes if it has been rainy

(4) plan for sun protection and grass allergies as needed

 Musical Performances – Save the Dates

We have THREE amazing performances coming up.  Our big year end concert is Thursday, June 8 at 6:00 pm in the gym.  Then, we’ve been invited to perform a song at the year end picnic Tuesday, June 13 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm (exact performance time coming soon).  Finally, we will be singing the Canadian national anthem at the Ems home game on Friday, June 16 at 6:30 at PK park.

 Peacemaker Project

How have the people who have come before us made the world a better place?  What character traits help people overcome obstacles?  What kind of kid grows up to be a hero?  And what does it mean to be a peacemaker?  These are the questions that we are tackling in our end of the year peacemaker biography projects.  Each child has chosen a peacemaker – someone who broke down barriers, sought peace, or helped the earth – to study and share with classmates.  Ask your child who they’ve chosen, and take this opportunity to share your own values with your child.

Nature Tiles Volunteers Needed – Help Create a Lasting Art Installation!

This week the students chose birds, plants and wildlife to illustrate on our schoolyard field guide tiles.  Over the next two weeks we’ll paint tiles, then fire them.  The tiles will be displayed around the door to the south playground. 

We need one volunteer to purchase and cut backer board to fit around the door.  Another volunteer could help mortar the tiles into place (with or without the kids’ helping hands).  All that’s required is some extra time and a lot of YouTube instructions.  Who will be the amazing volunteer that takes this on?

All our student artists will be so proud to see their tiles displayed.   In the meantime, special thanks to Starr Amrit for helping typeset our tiles, to Yaeko Rodrigues for art instruction, to alumni parent Sheryl LeBlanc for ceramics expertise, to Rachael Friese for birdwatching help, and to Rae Kelley for doing our runs to Georgie’s Ceramics. 

Emily Burton

Emily's Weekly Update 2-24-17

posted Feb 28, 2017, 10:08 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Greek Day this Friday – Dressing Up Allowed!

As part of our studies of Ancient Greece, we will celebrate with a day full of activities, food and democracy.  We’ll race in armor at the Olympics, solve the engineering challenges of the Parthenon, and sample Greek foods.


Children are encouraged, but not required, to dress up in Greek costume.  A tunic (adult sized, plain t-shirt) with a belt or sash will do the trick for both boys and girls.  Greek girls and women wore longer tunics or dresses; men’s tunics were shorter.  If your Grecian wardrobe is lacking, we have many, many chitons and tunics to lend and can outfit your child when he or she gets to class on Friday. 


We are seeking food donations for our Greek mini-feast.  Please let me know if you can contribute any of the following: olives, feta cheese, pita bread, or juice.  We just need enough for each child to have a sample – students will still bring their own lunches.    


Pasta Dinner and Concert this Friday

Our class will be part of the singing performance at Friday’s pasta dinner.  Melanie Germond, our music teacher, has created a detailed schedule (including lyrics!) that is attached to this email. 


Homework and Science Fair

We will be preparing for our class science fair beginning in March and April, and displaying final projects at the Project Fair on April 25.  Between now and then, homework will focus designing and completing a science experiment.  We’ll start our in-class instruction on the scientific method over the next two weeks. The first week of March, I’ll send home some worksheets to get science projects underway.  In the meantime, enjoy a short break from our math project homework, and start dreaming up some scientific questions!


Emily's Weekly Update 1-30-17

posted Jan 31, 2017, 9:25 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Field Trips

We are going to the planetarium at the Science Factory on January 31 to study constellations.  Then, we’ll sing and play along to the Eugene Symphony at the Hult Center on February 14.  A combined permission slip was sent home Wednesday, and an electronic copy of the slip is attached.

Music Lyrics Online

Melanie Germond, our music teacher, has introduced some great songs to the students.  She created a website where kids can listen and sing along.  You can even check out Cidade Maravilhosa, the Brazilian song we are learning for our symphony field trip.  It really is worth a look!

Constellation Watch!

We are embarking on a study of constellations.  Take advantage of any clear skies to point out a few constellations to your child.  In a few weeks I hope that your child can return the favor and show you a few constellations you may not have noticed before!  We’ve already learned the story of Cassiopeia, so be on the lookout for a big W in the sky. 

Spelling Lists Home Thursday

We are resuming our spelling program this Thursday, and it will continue on Thursdays from now on.  Children who are participating in spelling will have a new list to study.  Students won’t be previewing this list with Hahn, so please do make sure to go over the list with your child.

Valentine’s Day

We will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, February 14.  Children may choose to distribute valentines at school if they wish.  Please make sure to bring one for each child.  No candy, please, but pencils, stickers, tattoos and other non-consumables are fine.  We ask that children label each valentine with a classmate’s name.  A list of names is attached to this email.

Emily Burton
Lower Elementary Teacher
Ridgeline Montessori Public Charter School
Eugene, OR

Emily's Weekly Update 1-23-17

posted Jan 23, 2017, 9:04 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Hellos and Goodbyes

We are bidding a fond farewell to Shannon, whose family moved to the Big Island of Hawaii over winter break.  They are excited for the new opportunities but sad to leave Ridgeline friends at such short notice.  Aloha and good luck!

Now we are looking forward to welcoming a new student.  Lucy Friese will be joining us as a second grader.  Lucy is ready for Ridgeline; her sister, Freya, is a kinder here.  Lucy’s first day is Monday.  We can’t wait!

One final goodbye – sadly, Jaoing’s last day as our Chinese intern was Thursday.  We wish her “sin nian kuai le” (Happy New Year) as she returns to Taiwan.


Planetarium Visit Tuesday, January 31

We will be visiting the planetarium at the Science Factory on January 31.  We’ll travel by yellow bus.  In the planetarium, we’ll learn about constellations and the stories behind them.  Volunteers are needed for the trip.  If you can join us to chaperone from 9:30 to 12:00, please let me know.


Homework Due Date February 10

            Please double check that you have the correct due date for homework.  Some homework assignments were prepared before the snow days and have an earlier date.  Mark your calendar – February 10 is the correct date.

Emily's Weekly Update 1-4-17

posted Jan 4, 2017, 10:37 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Homework Gallery This Friday

Join us this Friday at 9:00 for a rescheduled homework gallery!  Students should turn in homework projects on (or before) Friday.  Marble runs, ramps, and measurements will be on display.  As always, we welcome friends and families to this special event.


Music with Melanie, Recorder with Emily

We are starting up with a new arts specialist next Tuesday.  We said goodbye to our wonderful dance teacher, Sue Matsu, in December.  Starting next Tuesday, Melanie Germond will join us for music instruction.  I’m excited to collaborate with Melanie. 

I’m also going to be doing some bonus music instruction.  Third graders (and passionately interested younger students) will have the chance to learn some recorder basics with me.  We’ll learn a piece or two so that we can play with the Eugene Symphony on February 14.  The program, Link Up: The Orchestra Moves is specially designed to encourage kids to sing and play along with the symphony.  We’ve gone to these wonderful Link Up concerts for years; this is the first time that some students will be playing along with the orchestra! 

We have room for a few chaperones to join us.  Let me know if you’d like to come and are available from 8:40 to 12:00 on Tuesday, February 14.


Beginning with a Bang

            New year, new ideas to explore… We are starting the year with the story of the beginning of the universe.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll learn about the life cycles of stars and the origins of the elements.  We’ll learn about the parts of an atom and maybe even build a few atoms of our own.  A visit to the Science Factory’s planetarium will be the culmination of our studies. 


Lower Elementary Overview January 10

            Join me and Cheri for an overview of the lower elementary program at next week’s RCO meeting, January 10 from 6:00 to 7:30 in the Ridgeline library.  We’ll talk about how lower elementary builds on what students learn in kindergarten and how it prepares kids for the challenges of upper elementary.  See you there!

Emily Burton

Emily's Weekly Update 11-21-16

posted Nov 21, 2016, 12:39 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Hungry Hummingbirds Spotted at Ridgeline!

We have been familiarizing ourselves with some common northwest birds.  We have life sized silhouettes perched all around the classroom and have started keeping an eye out for birds in our schoolyard.  On Friday, we spotted a hummingbird checking out the eaves next to our classroom!  The class would like to set up a hummingbird feeder or two to encourage more visits.  If you have an extra feeder, or would like to volunteer to provide hummingbird nectar every week or two as an ongoing volunteer job, let me know.


Audubon in Schools and Raptor Center Visit

On November 29, volunteers from the Lane County Audubon Society will visit for a very special art class.  Students can look at stuffed bird specimens up close, and learn techniques for drawing birds.  Then, on November 30, we will visit the Raptor Center to learn about bird rehabilitation – and maybe even try drawing birds from life!  Parent volunteers will be providing transportation to the Raptor Center – contact class parent Jes Feather ( to volunteer.


Stone Soup Veggie Volunteers Needed Tuesday

Are you available to help kids chop veggies on Tuesday?   We need helpers with knives, peelers and cutting boards to assist just a few kids at a time, any time between 8:40 and 11:30 on Tuesday.  Join us!


Stone Soup Invitation and Reminders

Wednesday we will gather for our Stone Soup celebration.   Parents and special friends are welcome to join us during the assembly (plan on arriving at 12:00) and/or soup (arrive at 1:10).  Please let me know if you plan on coming so we can roll out the red carpet for you.


On Tuesday, November 23, students should bring:

            Soup veggies for cutting – one or more carrots, celery, potatoes, onions, leeks, kale, etc.

On Wednesday, November 23, students should bring:

            A small sack lunch (we will eat an early lunch around 11:15)

            A LABELED bowl and spoon

            $2 for the West African drum and dance assembly


Book Fair Thank Yous      

Congratulations to all the young poetry buffs who recited poems at the book fair, and thanks to all the families that came out on a Friday night to support Ridgeline.  I can’t wait to break out some of the great books that families have contributed to the classroom.  Many thanks!


Salmon Update

Our salmon alevin are thriving.  So far, we haven’t lost a single egg or fry.  Amazing!  They are getting a bit longer and more active but still mostly hang out, resting in the gravel.  Their yolk sacs are attached to their bellies and give them all the nutrients they need.  By sometime in mid-December the yolk sacs should be completely absorbed and they will “button up” – their stomachs will close up and they’ll be ready for release.  As the time approaches we will arrange a field trip to release the fry at Alton Baker Canoe Canal.  Stay tuned…

Emily's Weekly Update 11-11-16

posted Nov 15, 2016, 9:19 AM by Cynthia Friedman

New Homework Due Friday, Dec. 16

Backpack check!  New homework assignments were sent home Friday.  First graders will be using their feet to measure distances around the house.  Second graders will be building ramps and measuring the distance a toy car travels.  Third graders will be building a marble run and timing their runs, then writing about and graphing their findings.

Third graders have had a preview of their homework.  First and second graders will get their previews on Monday.  Mark your calendar for our amazing homework gallery, which promises to be full of whizzing marbles, zooming cars, and… stinking feet?  You can see it all at 9:00 on Friday, Dec. 16!


Volunteers Needed for Stone Soup Prep on Tuesday, Nov. 22

            We need several volunteers who can help the children prepare and cut vegetables.  Let me know if you’d like to help out that morning between 8:40 and about 10:30


Raptor Center Field Trip – Drivers Needed Wednesday, Nov. 30

            We are planning a visit to the Raptor Center and need volunteers to drive students and serve as chaperones.  We'll need to arrive at 10:00 am, so drivers should be here by 9:40.  The tour ends at 11:30, and chaperones are welcome to join us for lunch in the classroom at Ridgeline.  Please email class parent Jes Feather ( if you would like to volunteer.  Also include the number of children that your vehicle would accommodate (we seat children in back seat spaces only, please).  Drivers will need to be cleared with Kayla ahead of time, as we need proof of insurance and copies of drivers' licenses before the trip. 


Bird Museum

            Do you have interesting bird artifacts to loan to our classroom bird museum?  We are looking for nests, feathers, eggshells, and anything else to add to our study of birds.


Book Fair and Poetry Recital Friday, Nov. 18

            The Barnes and Noble Book Fair is coming soon.  Volunteers from our class will be reciting poetry at the book fair at 6:48 pm on the dot.  Come listen to the poetry or just get a jump on holiday shopping and benefit a great cause – Ridgeline!


Salmon Update

Emily's Weekly Update 10-24-16

posted Oct 26, 2016, 9:58 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Shoe Schedule

Rain boots are a great choice during these wet fall days, but they can make PE and dance difficult.  On Mondays and Wednesdays, make sure your child has shoes suitable for PE.  On Fridays, we do dance.  Dance shoes should be somewhat flexible (we practice flexing and pointing our feet).  Students can also wear their indoor shoes for PE or dance if they're appropriate.  Check in with your child and plan for good shoes on our activity days.

Salmon Eggs and Hatchery Visit

Our aquarium is up and running and ready for delivery of salmon eggs this week.  We will be monitoring the temperature and the health of the eggs as we wait for them to hatch.  We’re also planning to tour McKenzie Hatchery in Leaburg on November 3.  If you would like to chaperone our trip, please let me know.  We’ll be traveling by yellow bus, leaving at 9:00 and returning around 11:30.   Permission slips will be sent home Friday.


Aztec Day/Day of the Dead Celebration Thursday

To wrap up our Aztec studies, we’ll be celebrating with an Aztec feast on Thursday.  We will be tasting sweet potatoes, beans and tortillas, and sampling traditional Xocatl (bitter and made with water) and hot chocolate (with sugar and milk).  Students should plan on bringing a lunch to supplement these traditional foods. 

We’ll also play some Ulama (a Mesoamerican ball game) and explore the connections between Aztec culture and the modern celebration of the Day of the Dead.   

Since most of our history days involve dressing up, students have been asking about costume options.  As always, dressing up is completely optional, and kids will have fun whatever they wear.  That said, Aztecs wore simple tunics, skirts and capes.  See for ideas.  An oversized white t-shirt with a belt or sash would work great for boys or girls. We also have a class set of white fabric that can be pinned over children’s clothing to create Aztec garb so that kids can choose to be costumed here.  If your child wants to be an Aztec noble, some gold costume jewelry would be a sign of status.  Traditional Mexican clothing would also fit our Day of the Dead theme.  Please, no Halloween costumes.


Aztec Feast Volunteer Chef Needed!

For our Aztec Feast, we need a volunteer for shopping (less than 10 items, can be reimbursed) and food prep (just bake some sweet potatoes and cook a simple crockpot of beans).   All this can be done on your own time outside of school, and prepared foods can be delivered cold on Thursday morning.  Interested? Email me to sign up.  Gracias!


Homework Gallery October 28

We will be showing off our homework projects on Friday, October 28. Parents, grandparents and friends are welcome to come see the projects and presentations.  Our guests will start out in the library, where students will introduce the projects.  Then guests will join us from 9:00 to 9:30 to see and comment on student projects.

Please let me know if you have questions, concerns, or need an extra copy of the homework sheet.  Projects are due the morning of October 28, but feel free to bring them in earlier so we can store them until our gallery day. 


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