Rachel's Update 5-20/22
Hello and welcome Room 3 families. I hope that you are enjoying the growing days of sun as well as the continuing showers of Spring. We certainly need them both! Our classroom is buzzing with Peacemaker Biography project work. From now until the rest of the school year we will be putting together and completing our Peacemaker projects. Students have chosen their peacemaker and are in the process of researching, taking notes, and writing about their childhood, accomplishments, the society in which they lived, and character traits. This is a lot of research and writing! Once completed, these projects are both a work of art as well as the end result of a lot of hard work and perseverance. Ask your child what step they are on in the process.
Please remember to bring a water bottle and snack every day for your child if you are able. The school has a few borrowing water bottles available if needed. As the weather starts to heat up, so does the thirst!
Speaking of the weather warming up, our class is looking forward to going on Amazon Trail nature walks as the school year winds down. More information will be shared as we make plans for future walks.
Thank you for your support of your child and our classroom community. It is a team effort and I am grateful for all you do!
Rachel's Update 4-22-22
Happy Earth Day! Good morning Room 3 families. I hope that you have been enjoying this beautiful Spring season. In the classroom we have been observing the transformation of our ladybug larva into pupa and, finally, into adult ladybugs! What a metaphor for life in all its forms! I was told that we now have 9 ladybugs to release on Earth Day. I think Earth Day is a good opportunity for us all to think about what we are grateful for, what we are ready to let go of, and what new growth (Spring) are we creating in our lives. I can see those themes playing out in your children's words and actions as they approach their favorite time of all: Summertime!
3rd Grade State Testing
Testing is going well and many students have already completed the tests. It has been wonderful to witness the confidence and focus students are showing as they complete their testing. If your child needs extra time to complete testing that time will be made available. It is important for students to take the time they need and not feel rushed in the process.
In March our class will start our annual Peacekeeper Biography project. Students will choose a peacekeeper and, as a class, will step through the writing process of taking notes, writing, editing, and completing a final copy. We explore character traits as well as consider what traits seem to be consistent among our chosen peacekeepers. What makes a peacekeeper? This is an exciting and challenging end-of-year project that students are really proud of. As we enter March talk to your child about what peacekeepers are important to your family. What qualities and character traits do you feel are important?
I look forward to seeing some of our students at the Student Marketplace on Saturday, 10 - 1. Have a great Earth Day and weekend!
Rachel's Update 4-6-22
We have been enjoying our classroom Ladybug habitat. Students love to watch the larva wander around the habitat, eating and growing. They are noticing different patterns of activity and are looking forward to the larva transforming into pupa in a metamorphosis process much like the butterfly. Once they are full grown we will release them into our school gardens in a releasing ceremony!
Here’s an old favorite that we’re learning this coming week with Jon and some middle school ukulele players. We’ll sing this in the all-school singalong, led by our middle school, that's coming on May 2.
John Denver Take Me Home, Country Roads (The Ultimate Collection) with Lyrics
We will also be learning this one next week: Of Monsters And Men - King And Lionheart (with lyrics on screen)
Coming Soon: OSAS Testing for 3rd Graders
We will be starting our Oregon Statewide Assessment System (OSAS) testing for third graders mid April. In the coming weeks, third graders will be becoming familiar with the computerized testing format and fine tuning their testing strategies. These tests have no time limit and kids can take breaks as needed. I reassure the kids that the results of the tests don’t determine grades, advancement to fourth grade or class placement. Results are available around the beginning of the next school year and will be shared with families at that time.
Please contact me if you have questions.
Masking Optional Outside
Starting Monday, April 4, students may go without a mask when outside at recess. This is a change that brings up a variety of feelings amongst our students. We’ve discussed this change and I’ve encouraged children to have a family conversation and decide what’s the best masking choice for them. As a class, we know that every family’s decision is based on different factors. We’ve talked about how we can respect others’ decisions and also how we can speak up and ask for personal space if needed.
Rachel's Update 3-22-22
Hello once again to my wonderful Room 3 families! I hope that you are enjoying all the beauty of the first blooms of Spring. I love the flowering white and pink trees that dot our town during this time of year. All of those flowers serve a dual purpose: to enchant us with their loveliness and to produce SEEDS! Our classroom has been learning about seeds and how they sprout. Coming up soon students will plant their own seeds and take them home to grow. Please remind your child to water their seed and watch it grow!
Did you know that volcanoes are a key element of the rock cycle? We are exploring how igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks are formed through the processes of heating and cooling, pressure, and erosion. Our volcano and rock studies will end with a volcano eruption demonstration that is sure to be exciting!
Garden Beds: Our classroom has two garden beds for planting. The project started before COVID and the beds were built but not filled with soil. I am looking for volunteers to weed the current beds and fill them with soil for our classroom to plant this spring. Please respond to this email if you are interested in this volunteer opportunity!
Rachel's Update 2-17-22
Hello once again to my wonderful Room 3 families! Our classroom is bustling with Black History Newsletter activity! Students are working on different elements of the newsletter. Some are writing articles, others are collecting facts, and still other students are decorating pages. We look forward to sharing our finished newsletter with families at the end of the month.
* As we head into the end of February some students are wearing out (or growing out of) their indoor shoes. Please check in with your child to see if they are needing a different pair. Indoor shoes should have a hard bottom since we don't change shoes when we practice different drills that take us outside rain or shine.
* Please remember to pack a snack and water bottle for your child every day. If it is forgotten don't worry. We have a limited supply of borrowing water bottles and snacks for students who don't have one on any given day.
Singing with Eugene Concert Choir
Our class is greatly enjoying our two ASL songs (The Rainbow Connection and You’ve Got a Friend in Me) we are learning through the ECCO Music Education Program. I hope your children are bringing singing and sign language into the home to share with their families. I know I am!
As a bonus, ECCO 2022 participants receive a free pass for themselves and an accompanying adult to attend the Movie Magic for Kids concert on Saturday, February 26 at 2:30 pm at the Hult Center. I have attached a digital copy of the tickets and show information to this email. Paper tickets will be sent home with students in backpacks. This is an optional concert and lots of fun. In the past, students have had the option of performing on the Silva Concert Hall stage. If you plan on attending, please review the official Hult Center COVID protocols below:
The safety and well-being of our patrons has been, and always will be, a top priority of the Hult Center. The Center will require proof of vaccination for entry to all performances or proof of a negative COVID test, taken within 48 hours of performance. All patrons will need to provide this information as a condition of entry. Self-reported (home test) results will not be accepted. All results must be from a licensed test provider, laboratory, or health care provider. Mask wearing is also required when inside the venue and this includes all venue staff. Eating and drinking are permitted but masks must be worn between bites and sips.
February 21, 2022 (Monday) - NO SCHOOL (Presidents Day)
February 21, 2022 (Monday) - Talent Show Submission Deadline. Inquiries/Questions can go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2-22-22 Tuesday Tutus and Ties! - It's like a mini spirit week! On Tuesday, February 22, 2022 let's celebrate all the 2s around us by wearing tutus and ties. Make it fab, make it funky, make it fun! Make it tutus and ties day!
February 25, 2022 (Friday) - Talent Show at 6!
Spring Break! - March 21st - March 28th - Students return to school on March 29th
DEADLINE soon! Sibling Enrollment 2022-23 School Year - Siblings of students who are currently enrolled and will remain enrolled in Ridgeline in the coming year receive enrollment priority so long as an application for the sibling is received prior to the application deadline. If space is unavailable, students with sibling-level priority will be the first group selected by an equitable lottery process for placement on the waiting list. In order to qualify for sibling preference, you must complete the online enrollment application for any incoming sibling by February 25.
Thank you for being a part of our classroom community. Without your help and support we couldn't do it! I am deeply grateful for all the love and care you provide your child.
Rachel's Update 1-20-22
Classroom Community Update
The school disruptions brought in by Covid have created a unique challenge within our classroom communities. When the school year started we welcomed students back full of hope, joy, and the knowledge that there was weeding to be done in our classroom garden. Like any garden, regular maintenance and care is needed to consciously grow the seeds we are choosing to grow. You see, any seed will grow (wanted or unwanted) if they are all watered and sunned equally. This first part of the school year has been "the great weeding" process. Students have put in so much work re-learning how to be a student, how to come to school ready to be a learner, how to make good choices, and how to be a friend and an active member of our classroom community. Work habits have been nurtured. Social and emotional skills have been planted and watered. Now, as I sit back and look at our beautiful classroom garden, I can see how much we have grown together as a community. Are there still some weeds? Absolutely. However, the flowers are beginning to bloom and it's a beautiful thing. I look forward to all the growth that will occur during this next leg of the school year!
Age of the Mammals
We have journeyed through the Paleozoic Era, the Mesozoic Era, and now our class finds itself at the Cenozoic Era, the age of mammals. Life is starting to look familiar! This is the last leg of our journey through the Timeline of Life. My hope in learning this amazing story is to expand and grow our own sense of existence here on Earth. So much has come before us. By exploring the timeline, patterns emerge. Life morphs and changes. The surface of the Earth morphs and changes as well. We all burst forth from this world we call home like fruit on a tree. None of us alone. All connected in the web of life. This big picture eagle-eye view of the history of life on Earth is my way of laying a foundation for the idea of interconnectedness. That we are all equal and beautiful in this diverse existence.
We’ve started learning about persuasive writing and are practicing writing pieces that include our opinion and three good reasons. Next time you’re negotiating with your child, ask them for three reasons, or give three of your own!
Grading Day - No School Friday, January 28
Rachel's Update 1-4-22
Happy 2022! Here are some reminders and a look ahead.
Timeline of Life
We pick up where we left off with the exciting world of the Dinosaurs! We are learning how to use clues in the fossil record to make discoveries about how the dinosaurs hunted and protected themselves, what they ate, and what biome they likely lived in. Next stop: the Age of Mammals. After a great extinction event mammals began to flourish all over the world! This was an especially exciting time in our Earth's history for our students because they discover plants and animals familiar to their current world.
Gear Up for Rain
The next two weeks will be wet! We are making adjustments in our snack, lunch and recess procedures to help keep kids dry, but all children should be still prepared to spend some time in the rain and to walk through puddles. Please remember a raincoat and boots or sturdy shoes. If your child's clothes have gotten wet at recess and they needed to borrow a change of clothes at school in the past, please also include extra socks and pants. These extras can stay in their backpack or be hung on their hook and stay at school.
Snacks and Water Bottles
The school lunch program does not provide snacks. Please remember to pack a daily snack, even if your child gets a school lunch. We sent home water bottles before break, so make sure to pack a full, labeled water bottle for your child as well.
Masks and Covid Safety
The New Year brings a new Covid variant, so it’s a great time to reinforce our Covid safety measures as a community. Be on the lookout for an email from Ridgeline with strategies you can use to promote children’s safety, including through effective masking.
As a reminder, our classroom keeps child-sized surgical masks (and a limited stock of KN95 masks) available for students. We routinely offer these to children to replace ill-fitting masks or masks that become wet. As school starts up again, we’ll review mask etiquette with the children. We’ll also make sure that kids who’d like to double mask can get the help and supplies to do so.
It is a pleasure to work with your children! I look forward to seeing their smiles and hearing their stories.
-Rachel and Jacob
Rachel's Update 12-3-21Good morning Room 3 families! I hope this email finds you well. With Winter Break approaching and seasons changing there is a feeling of excitement brewing in the classroom. This week we got our feet wet exploring the Age of Fish and Amphibians! We are closing out the Paleozoic Era studies, which spanned around 420 million years to 252 million years ago. Wow! That was a long time ago! Students learned about early armored fish and the conquest on land, where plant life began and animals followed. Arthropods were the first animals to live out of water, followed by early amphibians. Life was just bigger then. Literally! Insects and other land animals grew much larger than they do today due to the increased oxygen in the atmosphere. Life looked very strange and interesting. However, if we were not used to what life looks like today, I am sure that we would find modern life equally strange! Humans are the strangest of all in my opinion. Ha!
Next stop: Dinosaurs! I am anticipating quite a lot of dino-fever in the upcoming days. Keep an ear out for what your child is interested in exploring, and what they are learning in class.
Thank you for keeping your child home when they are experiencing symptoms of illness. I know that this year is especially hard on families as we absorb extra childcare days at home. I am grateful for being able to teach your children in the classroom and hope to continue through the end of the school year!
Joy of Sharing - Once again we will collect monetary donations for Ridgeline families who need a little extra over the winter break. These funds will be used to purchase grocery gift cards. If your family would benefit from receiving Joy of Sharing assistance this year please contact Cynthia. Starting next week we will invite those of you who have a little extra and the capacity to give, to donate to this grocery gift card fund. If you are super excited to give and want to do it now, click on the Joy of Sharing link. Spirit Week, Oh Yeah! Join fellow students and staff in celebrating our Ridgeline spirit week! Spirit Week Poster PE Specialist! - Please congratulate Dan Trent as our “new” PE teacher! Dan has been acting as the substitute PE specialist this year and the students have been enjoying playing games and learning from him.Winter Break dates:Dec 17, 2021: Last day of school before Winter Break!Jan 4, 2021(Tuesday): Classes resume after Winter Break.Thank you for being part of our Room 3 community.Rachel
Rachel's Update 11-23-21
Good morning and hello to all my Room 3 families! This week we talked about the native tribes of Oregon and wrote letters of gratitude. When a special occasion arises that causes one to think about all the blessings in life it makes me wonder why this practice is not a daily ritual! Gratitude. What beautiful medicine for apathy. I find myself grateful these days for simpler pleasures, such as a hot cup in the morning, a moment to myself, and having conversation with my children. What are you grateful for? Life can fly by at such a fast pace that we lose the sensitivity to recognize all the things we have. Why do we focus so much on what we don't have? Well, students had a lot to say about gratitude. Check out our gratitude word web to see what your child shared:
Next week we will continue our exploration of the Paleozoic Era, this time looking at the Age of Fish and the Age of Amphibians. Did you know that early fish had armor plating? So cool!
1. Please bring a water bottle for your child every day.
2. We go outside rain or shine! Please make sure that your child has weather/temperature appropriate clothing for the day.
3. NO SCHOOL ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH
Lost Jacket: A new black puffer jacket has gone missing. If your child brought one home that is not yours, please return it to school. Thanks!
Have a wonderful extra-long weekend! For those families celebrating Hanukkah, Hanukkah Sameach!
I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful families and children I work with. Thank you Jacob for being my assistant and friend. It takes two to run a Montessori classroom!
Rachel's Update 10-29-21
Decomposition and Next Steps - This week we start the next leg of our journey into the story of Earth. Our story began with the spark of the universe, and ended with a very early, very hot Earth that had just cooled enough for Oceans to form. No life can be found on this baby Earth. The next part of the story will follow the explosion of life on this planet up until the time of humans. This is exciting stuff! I look forward to all the creativity and writing this exploration will generate!
Now that we have all these pumpkins sitting around after Halloween what better to do (pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds) than to dissect one and watch it decompose? That is exactly what we will do! Stay tuned for the Rot Report...
Conferences - Annual parent, student, teacher conferences will take place, Wednesday, November 10, and Friday, November 12. Once again conferences will be held on Zoom. Conference days are no school days. We have set aside this time for you to meet to discuss your child’s progress and classroom experience; please take advantage of this opportunity.
These are family conferences and children are welcome; however, if you’d like to talk without your child present, that’s ok too.
We're using SignUp.com (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming Fall Conference SignUps. I’ll send out a zoom link the night before conferences start. Click on Rachel's Class Sign Up to sign up.
Retakes - Photo Retakes will take place on Wednesday, November 3. If you are unhappy with your student’s photo, please send them to school with their picture package to return to the Lifetouch photographer. Our essential volunteer, Robyn, will go to each classroom to collect students for retakes. Please instruct your child to speak up when she comes to their classroom. All students who were absent on picture day will automatically have their photos taken. If you wish to order photos online go to mylifetouch.com. Ridgeline’s Picture Day ID is EVTTKS2XQ
Rachel's Update 10-20-21
Hello once again beautiful Room 3 families! I hope you are doing well and are enjoying the turning of the season. Our class is deep into the study of our solar system this week. Students are writing planet paragraphs, filling in their Astronomy book with interesting facts, and writing stories about planetary exploration. The solar system is full of some pretty amazing objects! Ask your child about what they find cool about the solar system. What have they learned?
Next week we will change course and explore all things pumpkin! Fall is just about everywhere these days. The colors, the smells, the softer texture of sunlight. Everything changes in a very special way during fall. On Wednesday we will weigh and measure pumpkins to gather data for a classroom graph. Please bring a pumpkin that your child can carry to school on Wednesday. If this causes a hardship for your family, please let me know and I will provide one for your child. Everyone will get a chance to participate in our pumpkin fun. On Friday our class will have pajama day! Come to school wearing the most comfortable pajamas you can find!
Wednesday, October 27th - Bring a pumpkin to school.
Friday, October 29th - Pajama Day!
November 3rd - Picture retake day.
Be safe and healthy. Thank you for being a part of our classroom. I appreciate all of you!
Rachel's Update 10-1-21
Hello Room 3 parents!
This past week our class finished an introduction to the biomes of the world. It was so exciting to see all the writing happening in our classroom! Ask your child about the biomes. We explored the desert, grasslands, mountain, wetlands, ocean, and the temperate forest biomes. On Thursday I gave the First Great Lesson: the story of the birth of the universe up until early Earth. If your child missed the lesson or would like to rewatch it you can find the lesson posted on the Ridgeline website here. Over the next two weeks we will explore the exciting world of astronomy, starting with objects in our universe, then focusing on our solar system, and finishing up at our very own planet Earth.
P.E. and Art classes are off the ground and running. Dan is back to run P.E. until the position is formally filled. Thanks Dan! Rena, our new Art teacher, utilizes her Montessori teaching experience and art skills to present beautiful and thoughtful art experiences for the class.
* Please bring a water bottle every day to school. Our water fountains are not in use at this point.
* Wear weather appropriate clothes. On rainy or muddy days please wear waterproof shoes and a raincoat.
* If your student was absent for Picture Day they can have their photo taken on retake day on November 3.
Thank you for all you do to help your child thrive!
Rachel's Update 9-17-21
This week we jumped into the study of the Fundamental Needs of Humans. As a class we asked the question: What do all humans need to survive? Ask your child what they think! Then we introduced the various diverse biomes of the world, taking a closer look at the desert biome. Next week we will continue to explore the biomes. Spoiler alert..next stop: the universe!
Here we go!
At long last, we’re back at school in person. It’s been wonderful to see the students again and to see the joy they have at being back with their classmates and engaging in meaningful work.
We’ve spent the past week introducing new lessons, getting to know each other, and practicing classroom procedures. Safety protocols add an extra level of difficulty to many of our transitions, but the students have done a great job learning and following all the steps to staying safe.
Assessment in the Lower Elementary
After the disruptions of the past year and a half, students are coming back with a unique set of strengths and challenges. We’re assessing these in several ways. This year we’re using Montessori-aligned skills inventories to track students’ academic progress, executive function, and their social and emotional fluency. We’ll also test students with a benchmark assessment, EasyCBM. These short tests happen three times a year and are normed against students from many school districts. They provide a snapshot of reading and math skills and let us track progress over time.
Montessori tells us to “follow the child,” to observe them closely so that we can understand their needs. Our assessments and observations are an ongoing part of Montessori teaching. This year more than ever, we’ll constantly be adjusting and individualizing our approach so we can help kids make progress after a difficult year.
Art and PE
We are starting art and PE next week. Our new art specialist, Rena Ekmanis, will teach twice a week and students will have outside PE led by Jacob.
School Lunch Double Ups
We are so happy to be able to offer free school lunch and breakfast this year. We’re trying to cut down on “double lunches” where kiddos bring a lunch from home and get school lunch as well. Add in breakfast, and they have three meals to manage – that’s a lot to juggle! You can manage your lunch subscription at the Ridgeline website.
Picture day at Ridgeline Montessori is next Thursday, September 23rd. Help your child be prepared to smile and say cheese! If your child misses picture day, stay tuned for information regarding retakes.
Thank you for trusting us with your child. All of us here are committed to making school safe, joyful and meaningful for all our students.