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Emily's Room (Lower Elementary)

Emily's Update 12-16-19

posted Dec 16, 2019, 11:17 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Homework Gallery Wednesday

The children’s homework will be on display on Wednesday, December 18 at 8:40 in the library.  We’re happy to accept homework that is turned in early, and the library will be available after school on Tuesday if your project needs some extra set up time.  Please join us to see the marble runs, family measurements and ramps that children have been working on!


Tuesday Art – Prepare for Paint       

During art this week we’ll be using acrylic paints.  These paints are initially washable, but become permanent on clothes as they dry.  We are asking that children wear clothes that won’t be ruined by paint stains, or that children bring a smock (like an old t-shirt) to put on over their clothes.  We are also looking for an adult volunteer to help out with the project on Tuesday, from 1:40 until dismissal.  Please let me know if you are interested.


Diving Deep into Language

What does it take to truly understand, engage with and communicate about a text?   A text dive!  Over the past few weeks I’ve increased the challenge and expectations around reading comprehension by introducing text dives.  A text dive is a multi-step process for second and third graders that culminates in students writing a peer-edited paragraph about a text.  Students work with a different partner during each step – reading and reflection, answering questions with textual evidence, planning and writing their pieces, and peer editing.  I’m excited by the conversations children are having about their work and by the growth that I’m seeing in their reading, writing and partnering skills.   


Room 4 News

Students are writing articles for a classroom newspaper that will be published on Friday.  Keep an eye out for our first edition!  

Joy of Sharing

This week Ridgeline is collecting donations of food and toiletries to share with community members in need.  Donation boxes will be in the lobby.


Emily's Update 11-25-19

posted Nov 25, 2019, 9:48 AM by Cynthia Friedman   [ updated Nov 25, 2019, 10:06 AM ]

Backpack Check!

New homework went home on Friday, and there are digital versions attached to this email.  We have some extra-fun, hands on projects this time.  First graders will be measuring family members with non-standard units.  Second graders will build and test a ramp, and third graders will create marble runs - an all-time favorite project.  We will display the projects on Wednesday, December 18 at 8:40.  Come join us!


Raptor Center and Owl Pellets

We had a fantastic trip to the Raptor Center last week.  We saw a western screech owl, as Swainson’s hawk and a peregrine falcon.  We will continue our bird studies this week by dissecting owl pellets.  It’s a great window into the barn owl’s role in the food web, and a hands on way to learn about skeletons and bones.  



Tuesday November 26  Bring Vegetables – Please send in some soup vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, or whatever else sounds good in the soup pot.  A few veggies per student are enough.  Students will cut veggies on Tuesday to be used in a communal stone soup inspired by the Stone Soup fable. Veggie slicing volunteers can sign up here to help students slice. 

Wednesday November 27 – Bring a BOWL and SPOON

Our annual Stone Soup Celebration is Wednesday, November 27. Ridgeline volunteers will cook the stone soup outside the front of the school on Wednesday and the soup will be served for an early afternoon snack following an all-school sing along hosted by middle school at 12:30pm. Your student should still bring a sack lunch from home that day to eat in the late morning.

Students will eat in their classrooms and parents are welcome to join us for both the sing-a-long and the soup.  If you are leaving early with your student(s), be sure to sign them out in the office. School dismisses at the regular time, 3:05 p.m.

Emily's Update 10-14-19

posted Oct 14, 2019, 9:51 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Homework Heads Up

Our first homework assignments went home last week.  First graders will be looking for 3 examples of doubles addition problems in real life.  Second graders will search out arrays (objects arranged in rows and columns) as examples of multiplication.  Third graders will be investigating the costs of family outings and graphing and writing about their findings.

My hope is that these projects are flexible enough to fit into your schedule.  Help your child make a plan now to avoid last minute stress.  Projects are customizable to offer room for creativity, challenge and fun.  If you have questions about how to support your child, please let me know.

Projects will be displayed on Wednesday, November 6 at 8:45 at our Homework Gallery.  We hope that you can join us!


Aztec Update

            Did you know that the Aztecs used cacao beans as money?  Or counted by 20s instead of by 10s?  Or that their capital city of  Tenochtitlan was larger than Eugene and Springfield put together, and larger than European cities like Paris and Naples?  We are diving into Aztec culture and looking for its links with modern day Mexico throughout the next few weeks.   One amazing connection is the link between Aztec culture and the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos…


Field Trip – Maude Kerns Art Center Dia de los Muertos Exhibit, Oct. 31.

            We are planning a trip to see art inspired by Dia de los Muertos on Thursday, Oct. 31. 

If you’d like to join us as a chaperone, please email me and include your cell phone number (so that you can be contacted during the field trip).  Plan on coming to school at 8:30.  We’ll be back at 11:30.  We will be walking and taking an LTD bus.


Jogathon Reminders

            Our class had such an amazing Jogathon!  Afterwards, we sorted and counted all our bracelets, and graphed our results.  One group sorted and counted the kinder bracelets and will be presenting a graph and report to kinder this week.

            Please remember to send in pledges if you haven’t already.


Thank You!

            A busy little bird must have been spreading the word about my birthday!  Thank you to every family and student who brought in birthday wishes.  I am profoundly grateful to be part of this caring community.


Mark Your Calendar:

Curriculum Sharing                 Thursday, Oct. 24 3:05 – 4:05 and 6:00 to 7:00

Field Trip: Maude Kerns          Thursday, Oct. 31

Family conferences                 Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7 and 8


Emily's Update 9-12-19

posted Sep 12, 2019, 2:15 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Dress Up For Biomes Tomorrow

Tomorrow is our annual Biome Fashion Show.  We will show off our gear for the mountains, ocean, wetlands, tropical forest, temperate forest (our own biome), desert, grasslands or polar regions.  Shop your closets and see what you can find!  Kids can wear their outfits or bring them in their backpacks.  Props are also ok – guidebooks, sunglasses, and anything not too precious or fragile.  As always, dressing up is optional but fun.


Placemats and Silverware, Please

We are working on our lunchtime grace and courtesy.  Needless to say, eating utensils and placemats are a big part of this!  Placemats let children set out their lunches on a neat, well defined space, keep crumbs under control, and make lunchtime and snack more pleasant and hygienic for everyone.  And eating applesauce looks so much nicer with a spoon!  Please make sure that your child brings any needed cutlery and a cloth placemat (or a nice dish towel or cloth napkin) in their lunch box every day.  If a borrowed place mat made its way home, send it back our way and we’ll put it back in rotation. 


Backpack Check: Spelling Begins

Students who participated in our spelling program last year will have new word lists sent home on Friday.  We’ll roll out spelling for the rest of our students later in the year, as children are ready. 


Head Check

A parent has asked that I spread the word… Her child had signs of a very preliminary case of lice that could have been picked up from (or spread to) our classroom.  Contact the office with any louse control questions or updates.   

One Mission, One Vision, One School, One Community
The year is just beginning and it is a great time to build great habits!  Being in school, on time, everyday 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!


Class Facebook Page

            We like to share photos and anecdotes from the classroom on a private Facebook page.  We only admit parents to the group.  If you’d like to invite a grandparent or relative, please let me know by email and we will add them to the group. 


Emily's Update 5-21-19

posted May 21, 2019, 12:17 PM by Cynthia Friedman


Students’ peacemaker biographies are underway.  We’re using the project as a way to review the stages of writing, from reading, prewriting, drafting, revising and editing to creating a polished final draft.  We’re also exploring introductions - ways to start our writing with a creative and interesting hook to grab our audience’s attention.  Over the next few weeks we'll finish our drafts, create displays with timelines, quotes and photos, and make our bottle dolls.  Then, on Thursday June 13 we'll celebrate Peacemaker Day with our own Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and a bottle doll display.  


2 Liter Bottles Needed for Peace

We are still collecting bottles with lids for our year-end bottle doll project.  Thanks to all you seltzer drinkers who are bringing in bottles – we still have about 20 needed by next week!


Class Play Update

Our finalized date for our play, “Anansi Steals the Stories” is 6:30, Tuesday June 11.  We have cast our play, and have started rehearsing some of the scenes.  In art, volunteer Bethany Steiner has helped us create backdrops, headdresses and props.  We're also learning about African textiles and using those as an inspiration for our art project this week. Eric Steiner has built a new scrim for us to use.  Music teacher Amelia has introduced us to the djembe, an African drum, and we hope to use it as our soundtrack.  Actors are learning lines, sound crew is learning cues, and we will start practicing on stage this week.

Actors and families can start planning costumes.  You are encouraged to shop your closet and not worry about handmaking an elaborate costume.  Here are some costume suggestions:

·      Hornets have made headdresses at school.  They should dress in shades of yellow and black, with extra credit for anything that makes them look fierce. 

·      Forest fairies can dress for a dance party, in sparkles and bright colors.  We provide the wings.  

·      Sky Gods should dress colorfully to match their character and headdress. 

·      Python puppeteers can dress in plain neutral colors (or coordinate with each other and the snake).   

·      Narrators can wear street clothes.

·      Spiders – eight legs would be great!

Emily's Update 3-11-19

posted Mar 11, 2019, 11:09 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Building a Pipe Organ

Yes, you read that right!  Our class will build a real, playable two octave pipe organ from the ground up on Thursday, March 14.  We are looking for a few extra volunteers to join us for the morning (probably from 8:15 until 11:30 or so).  Here is a sneak preview: .  A huge bravo to parents Andrew Nelson and Ann Carney Nelson for helping make this possible!


Science Fair Time!

We are preparing for our Sixth Annual Science and Invention Fair.  The first worksheet for this will be sent home early this week, and we’ll have lots of in class discussions about how to generate a project idea. Our goal is that  every child will prepare a project to be displayed for the schoolwide project fair on April 23rd. 

This is a big undertaking but we’ve broken it up into steps.  Here’s the rundown of how we turn seven, eight and nine year olds into scientists:


Science projects are done in phases, at home and at school.

1.     AT HOME, you will discuss project ideas with your child and do some basic background research.  With your child, choose an interesting question to answer in their project.  Then, plan an experiment on the worksheet sent home this week.  This will be due Wednesday, March 20. I will look over project ideas, make copies of worksheets, and send the originals back in time for spring break.

2.     AT HOME, do the experiment and record the results.  Results are due April 2.

3.     AT SCHOOL, we will provide instruction and support for kids to create all the written pieces of the science project.  We will draw on the worksheets kids did at home and will analyze and chart their results as needed. 

4.     AT HOME, students put together their display.  


We find that some families and kids prefer to do most of the writing for their science project at home, and that’s fine.  In some cases, kids need extra time or attention to finish their projects, so we may split up the work and send some home to be finished. 


We are also committed to offering extra at-school support to children who need it.  If your child will need to additional parts of the project at school, please let us know ASAP so we can line up volunteer help.  I’m also happy to answer questions at any stage of the process.  


 Medieval Day March 21

As part of our studies of the middle ages, we will be having Medieval Day, with a feast, jousting, optional costumes, and more!  More details to come.

Emily's Update 2-22-19

posted Feb 22, 2019, 1:59 PM by Cynthia Friedman

Snail Mail Addresses Needed

We are learning about letter writing and students have chosen to write to a wide variety of recipients, from family members to famous authors and sports figures.  Please check in with your child to see who they are writing to and if they need to bring in an address.  Carmen and I can get addresses for public figures but we are stumped by grandma and grandpa!


Orchestra Concert at the Hult Center

On Tuesday, March 19, we will go to the Hult Center for a special youth concert, The Orchestra Rocks.  In the weeks to come, students will be learning how to play two of the concert’s songs on the recorder.  At the concert, they will play along from the audience. 

If you want to chaperone please let me know.  Trust me, hearing 1,000 kids playing the recorder in unison is a powerful and unforgettable experience!  Chaperones should plan on coming at 9:00 and being done at 12:20.  We will be riding the LTD bus to and from the concert.


Another Concert at the Hult Center

We are partnering with the Eugene Concert Choir for their annual outreach concert.  A guest instructor will visit to teach us the song “Consider Yourself” from the musical Oliver!  Students will receive a free pass for themselves and an accompanying adult to attend the American Style for Kids concert on Saturday, April 27, at 11:00 am in Silva Concert Hall.  Students can enjoy the concert and then join the 110-voice Eugene Concert Choir on stage if they’d like.  It’s always a fun experience for those kids who choose to participate. 

Emily's Class Update 2-11-19

posted Feb 11, 2019, 9:09 AM by Cynthia Friedman

February Invertebrate Feud

We had a blast last week when some sporting student scientists treated us to the first ever February Invertebrate Feud!  This was a spinoff of March Mammal Madness, itself a mammologist’s take on NCAA March Madness.  There was drama, laughter, and heartbreak as the northern red anemone bested all its opponents and emerged victorious.  Here is a link to March Mammal Madness, if you’d like to follow it this year.  And here is a link to a real-life anemone battle, in case you didn’t think these cnidarians could be fierce:

One of the many, many things I love about this project is how student-generated it was.  After experiencing a few rounds of MMM with me, some third graders were ready to create their own invertebrate bracket.  Other students were drawn in, and before you know it all the matches were ready.  All the kids really showed off their invertebrate knowledge.  Even the audience got drawn into the debate as they pondered whether the sponge could even be defeated (with no nerves, this primitive combatant feels no pain!).  What fun.   


Valentine’s Day

We will be exchanging Valentines on Thursday.  Students may bring cards for the class – no food or sweets, please – or opt out.  We will be collecting cards in paper grocery bags.  If you have any to spare, please send them in this week!


Middle Ages, Here We Come!

I am so excited to turn back the clocks a thousand years and begin our study of the Middle Ages.  We will be learning about medieval technology, the origins of the English language, the feudal system, and so much more.  Coming soon… catapults!

Emily Burton

Emily's Update 1-29-19

posted Jan 29, 2019, 9:49 AM by Cynthia Friedman


Thank you to everyone who has signed up for conferences on Thursday and Friday!  I’m looking forward to discussing your child’s progress with you.  This conference replaces the midyear progress report that we sent out in past years.  Our hope is that it will give you a sense of your child’s successes and help us collaborate on learning goals for the next semester.

Some parents feel most comfortable in these discussions without their child present.  That’s fine, and I encourage you to come alone if that is the case for you.  We can also ask students to step outside for a few minutes during the conference as necessary.


Homework Gallery Feb. 4 8:30

Just a reminder – our homework gallery is coming up in about a week!  If your child needs some help with homework we’re happy to offer in-class support.  Email me if you have questions or would like us to check in with your child.


Social/Emotional Learning: Get in the Zone!

One of the ways that we’re building social/emotional skills lately is by using a curriculum called Zones of Regulation.  The zones correspond to levels of emotional intensity, from blue (tired, sad) to green (calm, happy) to red (agitated, out of control).  We’re learning to recognize these levels in ourselves and to use mindfulness activities to help move us into the green zone.  We’ve also talked about expected and unexpected behavior.  Expected behaviors (like facing someone that you’re talking to, or saying excuse me) make others feel calm and positive.  Unexpected behaviors (like interrupting or ignoring) make others feel nervous or unsafe. 


On Time is Awesome!

Thank you for starting off the New Year with such great attendance!  We love being able to greet our students before 8:30 and help them connect with their peers and projects as everyone settles in.  Your efforts to get out the door on time really do make a difference and help your child feel secure and connected to our community.  


Invertebrate Inventors

Did you know that we have been having some invertebrates show up as our lunch guests?  These visitors don’t have a backbone, but they have come up with some amazing innovations nonetheless.  We’ve been learning about sponges (inventors of multicellular life), cnidarians (jellyfish and anemones, inventors of moving and stinging), flatworms (inventors of brains and eyes), and more!

Emily's Update 1-14-19

posted Jan 15, 2019, 9:02 AM by Cynthia Friedman

Ocean Studies

We are splashing into our newest biome study – the oceans!  Over the next few weeks, we will take a dive to the deepest layers of the ocean and learn about the antiquity and diversity of invertebrate life.  If you have interesting artifacts or books that would help us learn about the oceans, please send them in.


Backpack Check!

New homework assignments were sent home on Friday.  First graders will be making a collection of 100 items and grouping them in different ways (by twos, by tens…).  Second graders will build a ramp and investigate how the height of their ramp effects the distance a toy car travels.  Third graders are excited to build a marble run and determine how long it takes for their marble to drop.  Our Homework Gallery will be February 4, at 8:30 am. 


Land Talk Entries

The December Land Talk homework was amazing!  The projects showed great depth and variety.  Many great projects didn’t make it onto the Land Talk website.  If you’d like to contribute to the database, please visit and go to submit conversation.  Parent and Land Talk team member Erik Steiner is happy to help if you have questions.  You can reach him at


Montessori for a Peaceful Community  Tuesday, January 15, 6-7:30pm

Montessorian Debbie Sheehan leads a discussion of Grace and Courtesy and how Montessori ideals and practices can shape our families, our communities and the world! This should be a really worthwhile talk – hope to see you there!


Conferences January 31 and February 1

This year, Ridgeline is holding conferences instead of sending out mid-year report cards.  Please join me to discuss questions, concerns, or to check on your student’s progress.  If you have questions (or are wondering whether to sign up), please contact me! Or, just sign up for a conference time that works for you. 



INTENT TO RETURN & Sibling Enrollment Form

It’s lottery season and we need to know your plans for the next school year.  Thursday morning you received an important “Intent to Return” email with links. Please read it thoroughly and complete the Intent to Return by January 18.  In order to qualify for sibling preference, you must complete the online enrollment application for any incoming sibling by January 31 (we encourage you to complete this as soon as possible).  Contact Jen Hackstadt if you did not receive the “Intent to Return” email.



Jan. 15:  6:00-7:30pm Presentation: Montessori for a Peaceful Community

Jan. 24:  6:30 pm  Information session for new families interested in attending Ridgeline

Jan. 16-17:  Dickie Jo’s restaurant fundraiser

Jan. 25, 6:00: Ridgeline Talent Show

Jan. 31 – Feb. 1: No school - Conferences

Feb. 4, 8:30am:        Homework Gallery


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