Room 4- Emily

Classroom Updates

Emily's Update 5-23-22

Nature Walks

With our sunnier weather, it’s a great time to get out and learn about nature. I’d like to take the class on walks along the Amazon trail on afternoons when our schedules and the weather align. Please make sure to let us know if your child needs to be picked up early so that we can accommodate you.

Measurement and Data in the Classroom

Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about all the ways that we use measurement. We have a balance scale and are using grams to weigh classroom items. We’ve also been familiarizing ourselves with liter and milliliter measures, and will soon begin to work with standard measures of volume (gallons, pints and cups).

We’ve also been taking votes and polls every week. Student volunteers tally the votes and create bar graphs. Our latest vote helped us decide what songs we’ll sing for you at our concert on June 8.

Classroom Leaf Collection

We are learning all about leaves and love to classify them. Please encourage your child to bring in leaves for our collection.

Bottles needed by Thursday

We are starting our bottle dolls for our peacemaker project this week. Each child will need a 1.5 to 2 L bottle, (glass or plastic), with its lid. Please send in extras if you have them!

Water Bottles and Snack

Please double check and make sure that your child brings a snack and water bottle each day. We have 5-10 students per day asking for snacks and water bottles from us and our supply reaches zero on a regular basis. With warmer weather, a water bottle is a must-have!

Thank you for sharing your children with us!

Emily's Update 5-10-22

Peacemakers - Volunteers and 2 L bottles needed!

We are continuing our peacemaker biographies. Last week we focused on the childhoods of our peacemakers and this week we are looking at their accomplishments. We are also inferring what character traits helped them succeed.

To wrap up our projects, we will be making bottle dolls of our peacemakers at the end of May. We need your help! Our goal is to have 29 2L bottles with lids by the last week in May. Similarly sized glass or plastic bottles will also work - just like real people, our bottle dolls can come in multiple shapes and sizes! Please start saving bottles and sending them in now.

Classroom volunteers will also be needed a few afternoons in late May. Our tentative dates are Thursday May 26, Tuesday May 31, and Thursday June 2, each time from about 1:00 to dismissal. Volunteers would help children with their projects and work the hot glue guns. Please let me know if you are interested.

Year End Concert

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 8 at 6:00! We are putting on a concert of our favorite songs for you. The performance will be outside in the covered area next to the south playground. Performers should arrive at 6:00, and the concert starts at 6:15. More information to come!

Tackling Tree Blindness

Now that we’ve become familiar with some common Oregon birds, we are going to start looking closely at leaves. My goal is for students to learn how to classify leaves and be able to identify some common city trees. Feel free to send in interesting leaves from home!

Emily's Update 4-27-22

Peacemaker Projects

We are gearing up for our annual peacemaker biography projects. Students will choose to research a person who has brought peace to our world and complete a biography.

We define peacemakers broadly so that children can study heroes that they find deeply significant. Peacemakers could be people who stood up for justice or civil rights, who protected the environment, or who were pioneers in their field. Recently, I've been introducing the kids to a pantheon of noteworthy men and women. We talk about their character strengths and about how they’ve made a contribution to the world.

This is a great time to have a conversation with your child. I hope you'll introduce them to some of the people you look up to and the values that they represent.

Masks Optional

The change in our mask policy has brought joy and anxiety - and often a mix of both - to our students. We’ve had several class discussions to share our feelings and to make sure that children feel safe and respected regardless of their masking choice. I’ve been impressed by how resilient and respectful the kids have been.

Singing Updates

Our All School Sing Along will be on May 2 and we are looking forward to singing along with the middle school ukulele group. If you come early to pick up, you may catch some of the music! The sing along starts at 2:45 in the south field.

Here is another new song for us. We are working on polyphony - singing in rounds - and this one is our latest challenge. It’s a folk song from Jamaica. Ask you child what the "number elevens" are in the song Mango Walk: Mango Walk

Emily Burton

Emily's Update 4-1-22

March Mammal Madness

We have really been enjoying MMM this week! Kids are researching the animal combatants, writing their own battle recaps, and working with dice and probability to predict outcomes. You can follow along too. A kid-friendly source of updates is the Rodent Roundtable YouTube channel: We’ve been catching up with the first round results this week and will find out the winners of further rounds next week. Feel free to watch with your kids, but please, no round 2 spoilers!

Country Roads

Here’s an old favorite that we’re learning now. 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 on April 8. In the coming week, 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.

Emily's Update 2-7-22

Valentine Exchange

Our class will have an optional Valentine exchange on February 14. Students may bring Valentines for all their classmates. No food or candy, please, but non-edibles like stickers, temporary tattoos, or pencils are all fine. We ask that kids sign their names to their Valentines. Students may also address their Valentines if they'd like.

February is Black History Month

Although we highlight and recognize black history all year, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and focus on the rich cultural heritage that is part of our country's history, and a time to take up concepts of fairness, justice and diversity. We have a rich selection of picture books on display in the classroom and are using some of them as read alouds and discussion starters.

NEW BOOKS! Hooray!

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Room 4 book fund! We got some amazing titles that we will share with the kids next week, and I’m so excited to see the kids connect to new literature.

Progress Reports

We are at the halfway point of the school year, and it’s time to assess progress and set goals.

You will be receiving your child's report in your child’s backpack today (Friday). It is the first of two. Our progress reports are based on mastery of the Common Core standards for your child’s grade level.

Below you will find a brief explanation of how to best interpret the report card’s performance scale as it relates to Common Core standards and a Montessori classroom experience.


This is a rare designation reserved for students who have pursued extra challenges and are working far beyond the expectation/objective.


The student is meeting the expectation. This is where we would expect to see a student by the end of the year if they have made adequate progress.


The student is working towards a fundamental understanding but has not yet achieved mastery.


The student has been introduced to the concept at least once and has begun to practice the concept. The student continues to need significant support. This may also indicate that the student has not demonstrated enough growth yet, through observation or presenting artifacts, in this area.


The topic has not been introduced yet this year either because it is something that will be introduced later in the year, the student is not ready for the concept, or the student has missed the opportunity due to absence.

More Songs!

Rattlin’ Bog:

Rainbow Connection with ASL signs:

Rainbow Connection ASL motions.mp4

You’ve Got A Friend in Me with ASL signs:

You've Got a Friend in Me ASL motions.mp4

Emily's Update 1-20-22

Late January Update

During this COVID-disrupted school year, Maria Montessori's exhortation to "follow the child" has been at the center of my practice. Following the child means starting with observation and relationship, and building out curriculum from that foundation. It meant watching each student to see what they knew, what they needed, and what would help them feel seen and appreciated in our community. I've dug deep into my bag of tricks and it has truly been a learning experience for all of us! Now, as the first semester comes to a close, I'm reflecting on how far our class has come - it's been transformational - and all the great places we'll go next.

New Songs

We are learning so many songs, and we love to share! Here are some we’ve been working on:

Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night with music by Apollo's Fire

Swimming To The Other Side

All God's Critters Got A Place in the Choir Songwriter Bill Staines

Step By Step

Of course, we are staying masked up and distanced, but it’s wonderful to hear the children’s voices ring out together.

Singing with Eugene Concert Choir

This year, our class will be participating in the Eugene Concert Choir Outreach (ECCO) Music Education Program. This is a free program that involves two 30 to 45-minute classroom presentations for children grades K-5 from Kami Hendrix, who is the concert choir’s educational assistant and the choral teacher at Cascade Middle School. Students will explore music fundamentals such as melody, vocal sound, movement and rhythm while learning the songs The Rainbow Connection and You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

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. 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.

Room 4 has a long history of participation with ECCO and I’m looking forward to this year. We’ll share more concert information in the next update.

Opinion Writing

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!

Life on Earth

We continue to track life through time. Next up, we'll learn about amphibians, reptiles and the rest of the vertebrates as life diversifies on land.

Grading Day - No School Friday, January 28

Emily's Update 1-4-22

Happy 2022! Here are some reminders and a look ahead.

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.

Celebrating LIFE

What is the diversity of life on earth? How did life begin, and how has it changed over time? Over the next few weeks we will be tackling these big questions. On the way, we’ll learn about amazing invertebrates, fascinating fishes, and more. This is always one of my favorite topics to teach and the parade of diversity and stories is deeply appealing to children as well.

The Carmen/Josie Transition

Josie will still be the friendly face at drop off and pick up, and she’s with us at lunch, recess, and throughout the afternoon. Carmen is covering the morning work period this week and will gradually extend her hours with us throughout January. I appreciate them both for their friendly, firm and positive work with the children, and their flexibility during this transition.

It is a pleasure to work with your children! I look forward to seeing their smiles and hearing their stories.

Emily's Update 12-4-21

First a few quick updates, then lots of photos to enjoy :)


I’m happy to report that we are able to sing again as a class!

Singing has always been our daily practice in room 4, but we put it on hold to comply with COVID-19 safety recommendations. Now we are ready to bring it back! I’m so happy to reintroduce all our beloved songs. Lately we’ve been singing this one: They Might Be Giants - Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)

Spirit Week, Oh Yeah! Join fellow students and staff in celebrating our Ridgeline spirit week, starting December 13! Spirit Week Poster.

Here are the PHOTOS!

This Friday I looked around the room and saw so much magic happening that I wanted to share it with you. As you look at these photos, first look for your own child. (I tried to get them all - I apologize to the few I missed who were also doing great things!) Then join me in viewing these with the eye of a Montessori educator.

Here is what I am evaluating as I observe my own classroom. Are children learning a variety of subjects in a hands-on way? Is there a mix of independent and partner work? Are students using resources (maps, reference books, other children) to problem solve? Can students move freely and choose their own best place to work? Are they observing the work of other students to gain inspiration from each other? Is there some “big work” (research or other projects that may span several days) in progress? Is there joy in this classroom?

Emily's Update 11-19-21

Assistant Announcement

I am excited (and honestly a little wistful) to let you know that a change is about to take place in our assistant position. We are beginning a gradual transition of Josie from Room 4 to Room 5, where she’ll work with Emmanuel.

Josie has been a wonderfully warm presence and she has made deep connections with our students. Now, after months of working and learning with me, she’s more than ready to take on her permanent role partnering with Emmanuel.

Having helped start the school year with Emmanuel, Carmen will return to her long-held position here in Room 4. I’m happy to resume our partnership and I know that she’ll be familiar to many of our students from last year.

The change will be gradual, starting with just an hour a day, a few times a week, beginning next week. We believe this slow timeline over the course of many weeks will help students build secure relationships with their new assistants and create a smooth, low-stress transition.

I hope you’ll join me in appreciating Josie for her dedication to our students and in welcoming Carmen as she moves toward rejoining us here in Room 4.

Recess News

As local COVID transmission levels decline, Ridgeline is adjusting some of our protocols around recess. Starting next week, students will be able to mix with other classroom cohorts during outside recess. As always, students will be masked and physically distanced during recess. All other activities, including lunch and all inside activities, will still be limited to one classroom at a time.

The children are certain to enjoy having free access to the playground and field, and will finally be able to connect with friends from other classes. We’re happy to be able to make this change!

Exploring the Solar System

We are continuing to learn about the planets of our solar system and about the constellations. If we get a clear night, consider taking your child outside to look at the stars. Maybe they will be able to point out some constellations for you!

Calendar Change

Just a reminder that the calendar has changed to include a no school day next Wednesday.

Thank you for sharing your children with us! It's a pleasure to watch them grow.

Emily's Update 9-17-21

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 Josie. A weekly schedule is here.

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.

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.