Room 4- Emily

Classroom Update 1/12/22

Exploring Ancient Greece

We’ve turned our questioning minds towards ancient Greece! Every day we learn a little more about ancient Greek ideas and traditions. It’s fun to see Greek influences in the modern day. The kids were surprised to realize that they already know lots of Greek words, like gymnasium, comedy, trident, polygon and democracy.

We’ve traced the story of our alphabet back to the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and even more ancient cultures. Finally, we’ve used our art time to explore patterns and symbolism in Greek art. The children designed Greek vases and made personalized shields.

Ridgeline Library Checkouts

Thanks to the work of many committed volunteers, our Ridgeline library is able to begin checking out books. Students can check out two books at a time, for two weeks at a time. Our checkout days will be Thursdays. There will be no overdue fines or charges for books but we do ask for your help in maintaining our collection by returning borrowed books.

Muddy Puddle Clothes Needed

Ridgeline students spend time outdoors, rain or shine, and that means we sometimes need to lend them clean clothes when theirs get soiled!

We are in need of:

  • rain pants in all sizes, youth size 5 through adult small/medium

  • versatile pants (especially leggings and athletic pants in gender neutral colors) in all sizes, youth size 5 through adult small/medium.

Your clean clothing donations, brought to the office, are appreciated!

It is important to us that students are comfortable in clean, dry clothing while they are learning, and we are happy to loan clothing to students whenever necessary. Please return laundered borrowed school clothes as soon as possible.

Singing with Eugene Concert Choir - February 18

This year, our class will be participating in the Eugene Concert Choir Outreach (ECCO) Music Education Program. This is a free program that involves three 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 For the Beauty and The Promise of a Fisherman.

As a bonus, ECCO participants receive a free pass for themselves and an accompanying adult to attend the Earth Mass for Kids concert on Saturday, February 18 at 2:30 pm at the Hult Center. Students have the option of performing on the Silva Concert Hall stage. If your child is planning to join the performance on stage, plan on arriving by 1:30.

This is an optional concert and lots of fun. 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.

Classroom Update 12/08/22

Ancient Life

We are deep in our studies of ancient life. So far, we’ve tracked the history of life up to the Paleozoic era. Life went from the water to land, surviving many mass extinctions and dodging predatory sea scorpions and gigantic armored fish. Students have built trilobite models, assembled timelines and pieced together Pangaea. We’ll continue our studies after winter break as we venture into the Mesozoic, the age of dinosaurs!

Winter Traditions

Next week we’ll be looking at winter traditions and holidays from many religions and cultures, from Lunar New Year to Solstice to Christmas, Hanukkah, and more. We will have books and artifacts on display that represent these varied traditions. This is a great time to discuss your own family’s traditions with your child. We also welcome any items that your child might like to loan to our display.

Emily Out Next Week

I will be out on a planned leave next week. Carmen will be running the class and providing instruction while I’m gone, assisted by our super substitute Jes Feather, who knows our students well.

Thank Yous

Carmen celebrated her birthday today and got many wonderful birthday notes and gifts. She sends her gratitude out to our wonderful classroom community.

Classroom Update 11/17/22

Book Fair Performance Tomorrow at 5:50

This year's Book Fair will take place on Friday, November 18, from 5:00-7:00 at Whirled Pies in downtown Eugene. Room 4 will be performing two songs starting at 5:50. Please plan on arriving a little early to find parking and get ready for the performance.

Ridgeline is partnering with local bookstore Books With Pictures Eugene to create a fresh, fun event where we will purchase books for our classrooms, home libraries, and as gifts for friends.

Enjoy student performances, buy some pizza from Whirled Pies, and connect with other Ridgeline families!

Stone Soup

Next week is our annual Stone Soup celebration. Students will donate and cut veggies to create delicious soups to share. This event helps us recognize the ways that we all contribute to and benefit from our community. Here’s how to participate:

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, send in ONE soup vegetable (carrot, potato, celery, kale, etcetera). We will wash, peel, and cut veggies at school.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, send in a labeled spoon and bowl, AND your child’s regular lunch.

We will eat lunch at our regular time, then celebrate with soup and bread in the afternoon. Please let me know if your child needs a gluten free option.

Classroom Update 11/3/22

Family Conferences Next Week

Please sign up for a family conference on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Family conferences are a conversation between a student, their family and the teaching team. Students are invited! If you would like to reserve some time for a private conversation without your child present, let me know. The link to sign up is here: Ridgeline Family Conferences.

Conferences are being held in person and over Zoom.

Topic: Emily Burton's Personal Meeting Room

Join Zoom Meeting

We are Stardust

We’ve been stretching our imaginations lately by thinking about the biggest and the smallest things in the universe. Did you know that the story of the universe is also the story of how atoms and elements came to be? The first hydrogen atoms formed out of pure energy, billions of years ago. Since then, other elements have been forged in enormous stars or created in supernovas. We’re learning about the elements and atoms, and realizing that we really are stardust!

Book Fair

This year’s Book Fair will take place on Friday, November 18 from 5:00 - 7:00. We are partnering with local bookstore Books With Pictures and with downtown performance space Whirled Pies to create a fresh, fun event.

Our class will be performing two songs at the Book Fair. Hope to see you there!

Fun Run

The fun run was a blast! Our class counted up bracelets and realized that we collected 187 of them, all while cheering each other on. Thanks to everyone who has been getting pledges and cheering their young runners on.


Enjoy these photos of our Fun Run cheers as we spelled out Ridgeline with our bodies. We also have a photo of our beautifully counted and organized run bracelets. Finally, enjoy seeing the process of planning and then making banners that show the history of the universe.

class photos october 2022

Classroom Update 10/20/22

Curriculum Sharing

Curriculum Sharing is a very special, student led event. Your child is looking forward to showing off their favorite works for you. You can sit by their side as they demonstrate some of the lessons they’ve been practicing so far. I’ll be on hand to facilitate, but your focus will be on your child as they take the role of instructor and guide.

Families with multiple children at Ridgeline often split their time between classrooms. Siblings are welcome. Montessori classrooms are meant to be inviting, and many of our materials are fascinating to young children. Please keep a close eye on very young children while they are in our space.

Curriculum Sharing is open from 3:15 - 4:15 or 6:00 - 7:00 on Thursday. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!


I am SO EXCITED about the Fun Run! On October 28, kids will be walking or running around a loop of the Rexius trail across from the school to earn money for Ridgeline. Kids get a bracelet for every segment of the trail they run. Everyone cheers each other on and kids are so proud of all the bracelets that they collect. It’s my favorite day of the school year! Stay tuned to the eNews for more updates. In the meantime, plan to send your child to school on the 28th with closed-toed shoes, layered clothing and a water bottle.

The Beginnings of the Universe

Soon we'll kick off a new focus to our studies - the universe! I begin with the amazing story of how the universe began, from the big bang to the formation of stars, the elements, planets and finally our own special planet.

Scholastics Book Order Update

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Scholastic order! The credits we earned got our class 12 free books and a beautiful wooden book display shelf. I’m expecting books to be delivered to you next week.

Spirit Week Next Week

Your child can choose to dress up each day next week for Spirit Week.

Classroom Update 10/6/22

Native Nations Wraps Up

We will be finishing our Native Nations reports next week. On Thursday we’ll celebrate with a special art project and learn to play children’s games from different tribal peoples.

Often, indigenous cultures are presented with a focus on traditional, pre-1900s lifeways. While that is a part of our research, I’ve also been sharing “today” stories - current news stories about issues and events that affect tribal people. We’ve talked about modern stickball leagues in Texas and a museum honoring Navajo code talkers that’s being planned in New Mexico. In coming days, many of our news stories will center around the different water issues facing tribes.

Finally, happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 10!

Curriculum Sharing

Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 20. You are invited to join your child in the classroom for curriculum sharing either from 3:15 - 4:15 or 6:00 - 7:00 pm. Your child will be your tour guide to the classroom and show you some of the work that they've been practicing. Please make plans to join us!

Let’s Talk About Thinking

Rich, academic talk is part of our daily experience here. I want students to be able to explain their strategies, justify their opinions, give examples, and build on other students’ thinking. We practice this all the time - in morning meeting, in math lessons, in our engineering projects, and in our writing. Kids who develop the habit of elaborating, explaining and connecting their ideas orally are ready to use those same skills when they write. Here are the phrases I hear that let me know rich talk is happening:

Adding on to what they said, I think…

I know that the answer is 12 because…

The strategy we used was to…

I disagree with that example because…


We learned lots about how Oregon’s first peoples engineered tools and technology when we got a visit from educators from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Today we spent the afternoon getting some hands-on practice as partner teams engineered shelters using only paper clips and index cards. Kids got to experience the engineering process and found that many, many tries were necessary before they created shelters that met our criteria. I loved seeing them persevere and encourage each other through many, many attempts before coming up with a sturdy structure.

Reading Partners

Reading fluently includes a lot of skills. Early readers might struggle to decode words and then go back and read the whole sentence more fluently from the beginning. Later readers can practice “reading the punctuation,” making their voice show the pauses and inflections of commas, periods or question marks. As students gain proficiency, they still benefit from practicing reading expressively out loud.

We’ve introduced partner work into our daily reading practice time. Students take turns being a reader and a listener, and often are able to help each other with fluency skills. Kids who aren’t partnered up now can look forward to getting paired up later on.

Placemats Please!

Help us teach courtesy and keep our tables clean by sending in a cloth placemat/napkin/clean dish towel with your child's lunch. Thank you!

Reminder - No School October 14


Enjoy these photos of our MNCH visit. I will send more photos - of our own engineering projects and of reading practice - tomorrow.


Room 4 Gathering Sunday

Jenny Noyce, our class parent, is organizing a get-together on Sunday, from 1:00-3:00 at Tugman Park. Come play, rain or shine. Bring the whole family if you’d like. Jenny’s email is


I had the happiest birthday this week! Thank you for all the thoughtful cards and gifts. It really made my day.


As promised, here is another batch of photos. Carmen took pictures of our engineering project, singing at morning meeting, and reading partners. Enjoy!

Classroom Update 9/22/22

Studying Culture

As we prepare to study the cultures of tribal people, I posed a question to students: Do you have a culture? For young people who are surrounded by people with shared backgrounds, culture can be invisible and abstract. So, we started by thinking about our own family cultures - the foods, holidays, languages and traditions that are special to each family. Our framework is the fundamental needs of humans: food, shelter, clothing, transportation, protection, and spiritual needs.

Native Nations Research

Students have selected different North American tribal peoples to study. We’ve practiced ways to collect details from the text and pictures of our reference books. The next steps will be to turn our details into sentences and, for more advanced writers, paragraphs.

Oregon’s First Engineers

Next Thursday we will learn about the tools and technology invented by Oregon’s tribal people. A guest educator from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History will join us, bringing artifacts and activities to share.


Any planned absences that you report to are not shared with the classroom. I love to know when kids will be out, so please consider copying me in your email as well.

First Grade Scholastic Magazines

Our youngest students got their first Scholastic magazines today and will be taking them home sometime over the next few days. We are encouraging kids to share the magazines with their families and read together. No need to return them or turn anything in! Later this year, kids will begin keeping the magazines at school and using them to answer questions about the text.


Enjoy the pictures from our fabulous Biome Fashion Show, recent art projects and our current research. The art projects are a parfleche (a hide envelope used by Plains Indians) and winter counts (tribal histories from the Lakota, with an image or symbol to represent each year).

Photos Folder