Room 4- Emily

Classroom Updates

Emily's Update 5-24-21

Fun Days

We've brainstormed some special holidays and are ready to celebrate! Next week's mornings will each have a special theme.

Monday - Secret Word Dance Party

No preparation needed! Listen for the secret word and be ready to boogie.

Tuesday - Animal Day

Bring a pet or stuffy, or dress up like an animal.

Wednesday - Lego Lunch!

Meet in Carmen’s Zoom at 11:30. Bring Lego structures or other favorite toys if you like.

Thursday - Musical Instrument Day

Share your musical instrument or improvise with something you can ring, bang or strum.

Friday - Pajama Day

Peacemaker Project Launch

This week your child chose their peacemaker and began the research process, which will proceed step by step for the next several weeks. We reviewed how to prepare for writing by reading, retelling, and prewriting. Next week we’ll do the writing step for our first topic, the peacemaker’s childhood.

Retells = Rich Conversations

A key step in our process is the retell, where students get to access and synthesize their knowledge through “oral writing.” This is great practice for composition. As I like to tell the kids, “If you can say it, you can write it.” Ask your child to tell you about their peacemaker’s childhood. Was it easy or hard? What challenges did their young peacemaker face?

As always, it is a pleasure to work with your students!


Emily's Update 5-14-21

Peacemaker Biographies Begin

On Tuesday students will choose a peacemaker to study for our end of the year project. Who qualifies as a peacemaker? I define this very broadly, since my first priority is to have children feel passionate about the person that they choose. Peacemakers can promote equality, protect nature, strengthen their country, create inventions that help others, live lives of service, or be “firsts” who break barriers and pave the way for others.

I’m asking the children to talk about their choice with their families, and to choose someone who…

  • Is interesting to them

  • Has helped the world

  • Has at least two good resources available.

Resource links are available on Seesaw. Resources could include books, web sites, videos… even you! A great conversation with a knowledgeable adult really helps kids put the lives of these peacemakers in context. Carmen is also available (and linked on the resource page!) and she is happy to help students find information at their level.

We’ve been previewing a whole crowd of exceptional people and I know that many kids already have a subject in mind.

Earthquake Drill

Next week our entire school will practice an earthquake drill. Consider discussing your family’s at-home plan in case of an earthquake or even trying out an at-home earthquake drill. For more information check out this link: The Great Oregon Shake-Out:

End of Year Calendar Changes

Site Council approved the following 2020-21 calendar changes to provide an equitable number of in-person learning days for each cohort. Report cards will be mailed home.

Friday, June 11

Cohort B attends school (formerly grading day)

Tuesday, June 15

New last day of school for ALL students

Tuesday, June 15

Cohort B attends school (formerly cohort A)

Wednesday, June 16

Grading Day

Emily's Update 5-6-21

Reminder - No School Tomorrow (5/7)

A Big Wednesday Win

We’ve been trying hard to reach EVERY STUDENT on Wednesdays, and this week we did it! A big virtual high five to all of you who reminded, cajoled, and supported your student in building those great attendance habits. The life skills that you are building will benefit your child now and in years to come. Way to go!

PLEASE READ - Easy CBM Testing

We are starting our Spring benchmark tests next week. Carmen is hosting the sessions in her Zoom. Please check the schedule below. Your child has two times:

Carmen will guide students through opening EasyCBM. There may be a short delay in entering her Zoom as Carmen gets students oriented, so please be patient.

It is helpful for students to have their white board nearby to communicate, since students will be muted during test taking.

You can help your child by reminding them of their times, providing a quiet space and helping them log in to EasyCBM if needed. Adults should not read questions to students, sit with their children or provide any other assistance.

Summer Home for Chester

Our classroom pet, Chester the leopard gecko, has been vacationing with several different families over the past year. She is now looking for a summer home. Chester is pretty easy to care for, but she eats live crickets. This means making a weekly trip to the pet store (costs can be reimbursed). She can be left alone for a long weekend but otherwise benefits from some very simple daily care.

Please let me know if you would like to host Chester.

Science Fruit or Science Vegetable?

We are learning about fruits this week. You can play the science fruit or science vegetable game with your child at dinner.

Also in science, we are learning about some stinky seeds and tracking down how they are dispersed (and why they’re so stinky!). Ask your child to tell you what they know about these seeds so far.

Thank You!

Carmen and I have really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful cards that students created for Teacher Appreciation Week. We are continually inspired and uplifted by all our students. Many thanks!

Emily's Update 4-30-21

Testing Options for Third Graders

Third graders are being offered one standardized test this year covering English language arts. We are asking that parents of third graders fill out the Opt-out or Participate in the 2020-21 State Testing Form before next Monday. Testing will occur on Wednesday, May 12 from 9:00 to 11:00. More information is at our website.

Attendance Accolades

Our Wednesday attendance is looking great! Thank you for reinforcing the Wednesday Work Day message and making sure students log in to morning meeting or a help session (both in Carmen’s Zoom) or do a Seesaw activity.

Role Models

Soon we will start our year-end biography project. Throughout the year, kids have been introduced to a diverse group of amazing people, from Jane Goodall to Frida Kahlo to Martin Luther King, Jr. This background knowledge will help them choose a hero to study over the next few weeks.

Who are your heroes? Students often draw inspiration from heroes that they first encountered through their family. Talking about what makes a person admirable is a great way to share your values with your child.

No School Next Friday

Just a reminder - May 7 is a day off for kids and a planning day for Ridgeline staff.

Thanks, everyone!

Emily's Update 4-23-21


Our botany studies have been super fun! Students completed experiments and are currently watching their seed heads sprout hair. We will be ready for hairstyling (and determining the results of our experiment) next week.

We'll also begin our flower study. The activity for the week is to build a flower. At home students can find all the materials in their supply bag. Hybrid students will do the activity at school

Dissect a Flower

Next week we will dissect a flower. Home students will need a flower, such as a lily or tulip, that has large, easy to identify parts. The blossoms of fruit trees also work well. If you do not have a flower available your child can watch along with our flower dissection video.

Asynchronous Wednesdays

Although Wednesdays are a planning day for teachers they are still full school days for students. In order to be marked present for attendance your child must have a touch point with the online classroom. This can be met by going to morning meetings, completing and turning in work, or reaching out to teachers via email or help zooms. Wednesdays are a great day for your child to get caught up on incomplete work. Writer's workshop is a good activity to complete on this day. Ask your student if they have finished their writing activity.

Hybrid Learners

With the weather shifting, please make sure that your child wears clothes matching the current weather. Extra clothes and dressing in layers will help your child not get too cold during the day.

With the rain comes the mud! Please bring indoor shoes for your child to wear in the classroom. Muddy shoes from recess make a mess of the classroom.

Enjoy spring, everyone!

Emily's Update 4-19-21

Reminder - Wednesdays Are School Days

Students have morning meeting (in Carmen’s Zoom) and get assignments on Wednesdays. We take attendance based on activity on Seesaw and/or joining Carmen in morning meeting or her help Zoom. Although students don’t have live Zoom lessons with me on Wednesdays, it’s important that they consider it a school day nonetheless.

We hope to have all our students attend school on “Working Wednesday” this week. I’ll post lessons early so that families who travel on these days can get access to the assignments before setting out. See you on Wednesdays!

Grass Head Anticipation

What will our grass heads look like? How long will it take before they grow? We are all in suspense and hoping to give some great haircuts in the next week or two. In the meantime, students have checked the progress of their radishes grown in the light or dark. I’ve encouraged kids to do a second part to this experiment. Some have turned their cups on the side, grass head style. Others are hoping to save their dark-grown seedlings by returning them to the light. I look forward to seeing the results of these creative new experiments.

Let's Talk Character

This week in our reading and writing lessons, we continue to learn about characters and character traits. We will distinguish between fleeting feelings and typical traits and build vocabulary around character traits. We’ll think about how what we say can show who we are, and use this to write words for characters embodying different traits.

Update for Hybrid Learners

We have been enjoying the beautiful weather with our hybrid cohorts and scheduling some extra outdoor time every day. Kids have taken full advantage of our new outdoor work space behind the classroom, sitting at a picnic table or on log rounds in the shade of a big fir tree.

We are using a “flipped” model of instruction with our hybrid learners. Lesson content is delivered online, during our morning lessons. At school, kids have opportunities to practice these concepts in a hands-on way. Please make sure that your hybrid learner continues to join us at morning lessons - they are the foundation of the practice that we do at school.

Emily's Update 4-11-21

The Science of Spring

This week we will continue experimenting with seeds. We’ll check on the radish seeds that we planted last week. After our radish experiment is over, kids can feel free to transplant the seedlings, design a second phase of the experiment, or even eat the sprouts! Next, we’ll create a goofy grass head to investigate gravitropism - the tendency for shoots to grow up and roots to grow down.

Learning about Character

In writing, we’re doing a multi week study to track a character through a book, focusing first on the character’s actions and then on what they say and feel. These details help readers understand character traits and how a character changes. This in turn helps readers understand the theme or message of the book.

I love teaching about character traits because they open up lots of great discussions with the students. We’ll think about the difference between fleeting emotions (happiness) and deep-seated traits (optimism). We’ll consider how our own actions, words and thoughts can reveal - and more importantly, shape - our own character. And we’ll lay groundwork for this year’s culminating peacemaker project, when children research and write about people they admire.

Update for Hybrid Learners: Expect More People at Pick Up!

I’m delighted to have upper grades joining us in hybrid this week. Please be aware that we will have extra traffic (and many folks who are just learning our system) joining us at drop off and pick up. Consider parking off campus and walking to the corner of the south field (by the new bike racks) to avoid delays.

Emily's Update 4-3-21

Dear Ridgeline Families:

This week’s weather was glorious. It gave me hope that warmer days are coming.

Having in-person students feeds my teacher-spirit in such a healing way!

Asynchronous (Distance Learners): Several families did not pick up their supplies for Botany and Science lessons. Unfortunately, the bags were not labeled so I don’t know which families still need their supplies. If you didn't get a bag, email me or call Ridgeline (541.681.9662) and let us know, I can leave a bag out for you to pick up. These materials will be used by our students through June 16!

In-person Learners: Students can receive a 4J lunch on their IPL days. 4J lunches are available to ANY 4J family and delivered to our school. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email Cynthia:

New weekly Zoom sched for IPL (in-person learners) + CDL (comp. distance learners)

Monday: 8:30-11:00 Morning mtg + grade level mtgs in Cheri’s zoom, Cultural/Science

Tuesday: 8:30-11:00 Morning mtg + grade level mtgs in Cheri’s zoom, Writing

Wednesday: 8:30-11:00 Morning mtg ONLY in Azusa’s zoom, No grade level meetings

Thursday: 8:30-11:00 Morning mtg + grade level mtgs in Cheri’s zoom ELA

Friday: 8:30-11:00 Morning mtg + grade level mtgs in Cheri’s zoom Math

Asynchronous (Distance Learners) on Wednesdays

Wednesday’s Asynchronous Learning: there will be assigned work for all students in Seesaw on Wednesdays, primarily math review and work they can complete independently but no teacher-directed lessons. Wednesday's Morning Meeting begins

in Azusa's Zoom at 8:30 and she is available for students until 10:30.

If students have questions, need extra support or just want to say 'hi' they are welcome!

IPL (In-Person Learners) Cohort A

On Mondays and Tuesdays, in-person learners (Cohort A), should come to school between 11:30-11:40. Azusa and I will be outside to greet students and escort them to the classroom. Students should bring an extra mask (and be wearing one), indoor shoes, water bottle, and a lunch-unless they are having 4J lunch. Our students have recess then lunch as soon as they arrive. We'll bring them back out to the parking lot to be picked up between 3:20-3:30. (***Beginning next week, students can leave their indoor shoes, change of clothes, extra mask and work journals at school)

IPL (In-Person Learners) Cohort B

On Thursdays and Fridays, in-person learners (Cohort B), should come to school between 11:30-11:40. Azusa and I will be outside to greet students and escort them to the classroom. Students should bring an extra mask (and be wearing one), indoor shoes, water bottle, and a lunch-unless they are having 4J lunch. They have a short recess then lunch as soon as they arrive. We'll bring them back out to the parking lot to be picked up between 3:20-3:30. (***Beginning next week, students can leave their indoor shoes, change of clothes, extra mask and work journals at school)

Feel free to contact us with any questions

Thanks for your support.

Cheri and Azusa, Room 5

Emily's Update 4-2-21


What a beautiful sunny start we had for hybrid learning. This shift brings changes for everyone. Here’s a review:

Morning Meeting - 8:30 am

Orange Lesson - 9:15 am

Blue Lesson - 9:50 am

Green Lesson - 10:25 am

Be Ready for Weird Wednesdays

Wednesdays are the day with the most changes for students. Carmen hosts our morning meeting on Wednesdays, and there are no live lessons with me. Instead, kids can access their Seesaw assignments at any time.

Reminders for Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) Families

PE, Art and Mindfulness

Your student will get reminders about special classes in their Seesaw account each day that classes are offered. To accommodate hybrid students, our PE and Art teachers are teaching the same lessons twice each week. Your at home learner can choose to join these classes either time - the content will be the same. Or, they can join in twice!

Reminders for Hybrid Families

Portable Cubbies

We’ve asked that kiddos bring indoor shoes, water bottles, raincoats, lunches, a mat or towel, a white board, notebooks, and more. The list is long and the backpacks can get heavy! We really appreciate all the effort it takes to get these “portable cubbies” back and forth from school to home.

Some kids are bringing their school materials, notebooks and papers in a box and the rest (shoes, jackets, lunch) in a backpack. It’s a great way to stay organized and it makes school transitions easy. We’ll have some extra boxes on hand next week to share with kids who need them.

Emily's Update 3-30-21

Hello everyone!

With our new hybrid learning schedule, Wednesdays are looking a little different. Here's a reminder of what to expect.

Wednesdays are teacher planning days. Students will get asynchronous lessons. That means that lessons will be posted on Seesaw with an embedded video or recording of any lesson content, and no live lesson with their teacher. Kids can access their Wednesday Seesaw assignments whenever they'd like during the day.

Carmen is hosting morning meeting in her Zoom at 8:30 on Wednesday mornings. Coming to this meeting is a great way for kids to stay on a consistent schedule and get an overview of the day's lessons. Attendance is optional but highly recommended. Carmen's help Zoom will be open until 10:30 on Wednesdays. Kids can come to morning meeting and stick around to get support in starting their work. Take advantage of this great resource!

Our first day of hybrid learning was a huge success. Thank you to everyone for accommodating the changes in schedules that help make hybrid happen.

Emily and Carmen

Emily's Update 3-19-21

Upcoming Changes for At-Home Learners

Ridgeline has spent the past few weeks preparing for hybrid learning to begin after spring break. This will bring some schedule changes for students who will continue with online-only instruction.

Science and Art Supply Pick Up - Wednesday, March 31

We have some exciting projects and experiments planned for the months ahead. A group of volunteers is preparing packets of materials that your child can use, week by week, to participate in class activities. Please plan on picking up your packet between 8:00 and 4:00 on Wednesday, March 31. If you need a different pick up time (or a delivery) let us know.

Alert! ALL TIMES HAVE CHANGED by 15 minutes

Morning meetings and lessons will continue daily at a new time, 8:30. Live online lessons happen four days a week (M, T, Th, F), 15 minutes earlier than in the past. Wednesdays will not have live lessons, but recorded lessons and assignments will be provided. Carmen is also hosting a morning meeting on Wednesdays at 8:30.

Make sure to look at the schedule for distance learners and Carmen’s schedule below.

Emily's Update 3-19-21

Welcome to our first week of hybrid learning! It has been a long time coming. Around this time last year schools were forced to switch to distance learning in order to ensure the safety of all our families. This was a big ask for so many of us. Thank you for all your hard work and support. We are so excited to welcome back our students to hybrid learning after spring break!

You received an email from Ridgeline outlining all the need-to-know information regarding our return to school. Please read this email carefully. It includes important information about drop off and pick up procedures, when to keep your child home, how the school will handle a child showing primary or secondary symptoms at school, and many more topics.

Check out the Ridgeline website for more information.

What does my child need to bring to school?

Good question! Here is a breakdown:

Clothing, mask and shoes:

  • Rain gear - bring this daily! Lunch and recess are outside, rain or shine.

  • Extra change of clothes

  • Warm layers (the classroom will be chilly due to ventilation)

  • Indoor shoes (waterproof soles)

  • An extra mask

Food and drink:

  • Lunch, if eating at school. We have recess first, then lunch. If your child eats lunch at home, consider packing an extra snack. You can also sign up for a free 4J lunch, available for all students: Ridgeline Meal Program Form

  • Afternoon snack

  • Full water bottle

**Your child must be able to open food items independently. Bring your own utensils as needed.

School Materials: (boxed materials sent home at the beginning of the year)

  • White board

  • Writing and math journals

  • Math materials (beads, stamp game pieces, checkerboards, etc.)

  • Bath towel, medium-sized, preferably in a solid color - to use as a mat for floor work.

**These materials will be going back and forth between home and school for use in online and in-person instruction. If you still have the white lidded box they came in, please use it to transport your materials back and forth. Backpacks and other easy-to-hold options are also fine if they can fit all the necessary materials. Laptops and other electronic devices will be staying at home.

What can we expect in the first weeks?

The first week of in-person school will be a gentle introduction to the classroom and a whole lot of social/emotional time. It’s been a year since students have been in a classroom and some students have never been in their new classrooms! We will spend time getting to know the space and all the new ways of interacting with the environment. Social time, art, and nature walks are also on the agenda.

Alert! All Times Have Changed

Morning meetings and lessons will continue daily at a new time, 8:30. Live online lessons happen four days a week (M, T, Th, F), 15 minutes earlier than in the past. Wednesdays will not have live lessons, but recorded lessons and assignments will be provided.

Make sure to look at the schedule for your cohort on the web page or below.

Emily's Update 3-11-21

Afternoon Schedule Changes

There will be no afternoon meetings with me or Carmen, starting tomorrow and continuing through next week. This means that Carmen’s help Zoom will be closed after 11:30, and our usual end of the week student conferences will be by invitation. Scholastics assignments will still go out even though our reading groups will not meet. Afternoon PE and Art will continue at their usual times (12:40, Tuesday through Friday).

We are shifting to this asynchronous afternoon schedule so that teachers and assistants can prepare spaces and curriculum for the shift to Hybrid learning, starting March 30.

COVID Safety and Science

Next week we will be taking a look at the science of staying healthy. We’ll explore ways that we protect each other by social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing. We’ll also learn about how vaccines work

Looking Ahead…

As we plan out the next few months of school, we’re staying focused on emotional health and academic engagement. I’m especially excited about studying botany as plants start to emerge from their winter dormancy. We’ll take advantage of the opportunity to go outside - either during our in-person times at school, or as an independent activity from home - and see how plants meet their needs. I’m planning investigations and experiments with seeds, flowers, and fruits in the weeks to come.

Art Resources to Make You Happy

What is making you happy? That was a question I posed at one of our morning meetings this week. Kids mentioned playing outside, reading books, stuffies, pets, and, of course, drawing. I’m sharing some online art resources that kids suggested:

Art for Kids

Deep Space Sparkle

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Wishing you health, happiness, and spring flowers!


Emily's Update 3-4-21

What a Week!

This week we looked at rocks and learned how they form. We also learned about the explosive geologic and cultural history of Crater Lake. In math, we’re learning about polygons and quadrilaterals. See if your child can find some polygons around the house.

Hybrid Learning Survey due Friday

We are planning for hybrid learning and want to know if we can count you in! If you missed the Q&A Zoom session, check the link for a recording. If you still have questions, please submit them through the questions form.

Our curricular plan is still taking shape, but we will have a strong focus on social and emotional health during our in-person afternoons. We’ll take nature walks, do art, play PE games, collaborate on projects, and create a Montessori community within the safety and social distancing guidelines set by the Oregon Department of Education.

Students will work on their daily assignments with help from classmates and from Carmen and me. Kids will be able to choose how to practice the skills they learn during morning lessons. They might work using hands-on materials, choose to partner with a classmate, or complete the activity using their computer or tablet. We will use our whole-class virtual meetings to create and maintain connections between students who stick with Comprehensive Distance learning and students in the hybrid cohorts.

Carmen and I are excited to enter this new phase! We’ve rearranged the classroom to meet safety guidelines and are making sure that it still looks and feels Montessori. We’ll keep you updated in the weeks to come.

Hybrid Learning Q & A for Students

Executive Director Chrystell and Principal Michelle would love to hear from students about their thoughts regarding the hybrid learning plan. If your students have questions or would like to share their thoughts, have them join for a Zoom session on Monday, March 8, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. Here is the link: Hybrid Learning Question and Answer Session for Students

Upcoming Topics in Science and Social Studies

Next week we’ll join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. We’ll learn about some amazing female role models. The following week, we will learn how vaccines work and discuss some of the many ways we keep each other safe.

We are grateful to all of you!

Emily's Update 2-25-21

Greetings, Families!

Oregon Geology

Over the past few weeks we’ve learned about volcanoes and the layers of the earth. We thought about how we could tell if a mountain was actually a volcano. Next week we’ll explore the geology of Oregon. Clues to the story of Oregon’s past might be in your backyard! Some of our clay soils are a souvenir of the Mount Mazama eruption that formed Crater Lake, and many of our rocks (including the rock columns at Skinner Butte) are left over from huge volcanic eruptions of basalt.

Black History Month(s)

February has brought us a wealth of resources to explore Black History - far more than can fit into just one month. We are going to keep on going! Some of the books and videos we’ve looked at focused on important people. Others have helped us discuss ways that people have fought for civil rights in the past and ways we all can address racism today and in the future.

Our classroom tradition is to end each year with peacemaker projects. Students choose a hero to research and then write and present a biography. I’m excited to introduce students to people like Mae Jemison, George Washington Carver, Misty Copeland, and many more. I expect that we will see some of these amazing Americans again in student biographies in June.

We invented a holiday!

In morning meeting, several kids decided that Thursday should be designated Visit Carmen’s Zoom day. We set a goal and made estimates of how many students would show up to conference, work, or meet up with classmates. As many as eight students were visiting, working and getting help at a time. More than half the class visited in just one day. Awesome!!

Of course, EVERY day can be Visit Carmen’s Zoom day. We encourage every student and family to use this great resource.

Ridgeline T Shirts

I encourage you to check out the beautiful T shirt design this year at Shirts are available at no cost for families qualifying on Ridgeline’s Family Income Survey form.

Emily's Update 2-18-21

Big Exploration

Last week we explored the layers of the Earth. Meanwhile, NASA was exploring Mars! On Thursday we learned about how scientists and engineers built and tested the Rover. We had an optional science extension that let kids build their own Mars helicopters, inspired by the Ingenuity drone.

We also learned more about some amazing Black scientists and inventors. Did you know that Mae Jemison, famous as the first black astronaut to go to space, is also a physician, founder of two businesses, creator of a space camp, and speaker of four languages? Amazing! Ask your child which scientist or inventor was their favorite.


Now that we know about the heat and pressure inside the earth, we will start learning about volcanes. The raw power and dynamic nature of these natural wonders make for interesting studies. Volcanoes can be found all around our solar system! Some of these planetary volcanoes are called cryovolcanoes. They erupt water, methane, or ammonia instead of molten rock. Yet another reminder of the bizarre and ever changing canvas of our external environment. Reality is cool!

PE and Art

Students got off to a great start using the new zoom links for PE and art. These links can be found on the Ridgeline website on our classroom page or in Seesaw as assignments on PE and art days.

Math Fact Practice Please!

Memorizing math facts is a foundational skill that responds to practice. With math fact fluency, everything else in math gets easier! We are using Xtra Math to provide personalized practice. If your child is opting out of Xtra Math, please make sure that they are still practicing memorization for about 5 minutes each day.

Some basic math fact worksheets are here:

There are fun twists on drill sheets here - including a fun spiral sheet!

Finally, Carmen is available to do 1 on 1 daily fact practice with your child. Feel free to send your child to her Zoom for some fun math games and encouragement.

Thank you!

Emily's Update 2-4-21

Story Time!

We have a new focus on narrative writing, and that means stories! This week students have heard a variety of stories and we’ve worked on the comprehension skills of sequencing and summarizing. Have your child summarize a book, movie, or other story for you! In the coming weeks we’ll continue to explore story elements like character, setting, and plot. Then we’ll use this knowledge to plan and write our own stories.

Make it Rain! Supplies Needed...

On Monday we’ll create model rivers. Kids will need:

  • Printer paper (doesn’t need to be blank)

  • Tape (any kind) or staples

  • A marker

  • A spray bottle of water (or some other way to create a gentle “rain” - a showerhead misting at low pressure, watering can, etc.)

No supplies? No worries! Carmen will run all of these experiments in her Zoom room for any student who’d like to experiment virtually.

Free, Customized, One-on-One Tutoring Available Every Day!

Yes! Your child can get personalized help at ANY TIME during the school day! Carmen's Zoom link is open from 9-11:30 and from 12:30 until our afternoon meeting. Please take advantage of this amazing free resource. Carmen loves drop ins, and she can also set a recurring appointment to assist with work completion, skill building (including math facts practice), or just to say hi.

Conferences -

Parent/student and teacher conferences are coming up Thursday, February 11, and Friday, February 12. These are no school days. Sign up using this link:

Emily’s Class

We run family conferences, so your child can join us and be part of the conversation. If you’d rather confer without your child present, that’s fine too.

Valentine Exchange - Drop off Feb. 8, Pick up Feb. 12

We are hosting an optional Valentine exchange with the help of room parent Jenny Noyce. Here’s how it will work:

  • Make or buy 29 valentines (this number includes students, Emily and Carmen). Have your child write their own name on each card. DO NOT address the valentines.

  • Drop them off on the Ridgeline front steps on Friday, February 5 or Monday, February 8 between 8 and 4.

  • Jenny will distribute them into a bag for each child and let them “quarantine” for a few days.

  • Pick up a bag of valentines on Friday, February 12.

Valentines can include stickers, pencils, tattoos, etc., but no candy please.

We are also planning a fun lunch Zoom on February 16. Stay tuned!

Replenish School Supplies and Books

We will have some school supplies available on the front steps during our Valentine pick up and drop off days. If you need to replace a notebook, white board marker, or other supplies, take a look. Please let us know if you have a more specific need and we will make sure to have your supplies in stock.

I’d also like to encourage you to take advantage of Ridgeline’s little library when you swing by. Bring some old books and pick up some new ones. There are a lot to choose from!

Emily's Update 1-30-21

Water Cycle Experiments

Next up in our science and cultural studies is the water cycle. Students will be doing some hands on experiments. Here are the supplies they will need on Monday:

  • A clear cup or jar (plastic or glass)

  • A cover for the jar (can be a lid, plastic wrap or even a saucer)

  • Hot water from the tap

  • Paper with different sizes of print

Later in the week we’ll do an evaporation experiment. Kids will need:

  • Two similar cups/jars

  • A cover for one of them

Next week we’ll create model rivers. Kids will need:

  • Printer paper (doesn’t need to be blank)

  • Tape (any kind) or staples

  • A marker

  • A spray bottle of water (or some other way to create a gentle “rain” - a showerhead at low pressure, watering can, etc.)

No supplies? No worries! Carmen will run all of these experiments in her Zoom room for any student who’d like to experiment virtually.

Conferences -

Parent/student and teacher conferences are coming up Thursday, February 11, and Friday, February 12. These are no school days. Sign up using this link:

Emily’s Class

Valentine Exchange

We are hosting an optional Valentine exchange with the help of room parent Jenny Noyce. Here’s how it will work:

  • Make or buy 29 valentines (this number includes students, Emily and Carmen). Have your child write their own name on each card. DO NOT address the valentines.

  • Drop them off on the Ridgeline front steps on Friday, February 5 or Monday, February 8.

  • Jenny will distribute them into a bag for each child and let them “quarantine” for a few days.

  • Pick up a bag of valentines on Friday, February 12.

Valentines can include stickers, pencils, tattoos, etc., but no candy please.

We are also planning a fun lunch Zoom on February 16. Stay tuned!

Replenish School Supplies and Books

We will have some school supplies available on the front steps during our Valentine pick up and drop off days. If you need to replace a notebook, white board marker, or other supplies, take a look. Please let us know if you have a more specific need and we will make sure to have your supplies in stock.

I’d also like to encourage you to take advantage of Ridgeline’s little library when you swing by. Bring some old books and pick up some new ones. There are a lot to choose from!

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS to all the brave and talented performers at our virtual talent show! We are so proud of you.

Emily and Carmen

Emily's Update 1-4-2021

Welcome back! We are ready to make a fresh start in 2021 and I’m excited to share a few updates and changes with you.

Exploring the Oceans

Over the next few weeks, we will be diving down into the ocean biome. We’ll learn about the layers of the ocean and the diversity of creatures found there. Then, students will use their research skills to write about a favorite invertebrate. This is always one of my favorite subjects to teach and I’m excited to share it with the kids.

Xtra Math

We’ve started a new math program to simplify math fact practice. Xtra Math is a free program that helps your child practice just a few math facts at a time until they’re mastered. I will be introducing the program to children this week, and they’ll be able to link to it directly from Seesaw. Our expectation is that students practice their math facts every school day. With Xtra Math, this should take about 10 minutes or less.

I think most kids will really enjoy practicing with Xtra Math. If, after giving it a try, you’d like to discuss a different way for your child to memorize math facts, please let me know and we can work out an alternative activity.

New PE Teacher

Our new PE teacher, Jeannelle Mahle, will join us tomorrow for PE. We will be meeting up to get to know Jeannelle and learn more about what PE will look like moving forward. Please remind your child to come to PE in Carmen’s Zoom at 12:40 on Tuesday for our first PE with Jeannelle!

Reminder - Come to Scholastics!

Our afternoon Scholastics groups are not to be missed! Students practice navigating nonfiction, learn comprehension strategies and learn to write in response to texts. Every child is in one of the following groups:

Green group - 1:10 Tuesdays in Carmen’s Zoom

Blue group- 1:10 Wednesdays in Carmen’s Zoom

Orange group - 1:10 Thursdays in Emily’s Zoom

As always, let me know if you have any questions. Happy 2021!

Emily's Update 12-17-2020

As we prepare for winter break, I want to thank all of you for being a part of our virtual community. I wish you all a restorative and joyful winter break. School resumes on Tuesday, January 5. Rachel, Cheri and I are collaborating on curriculum for January and we’re excited to start fresh with you in the new year.

Always Use White Boards

I invite children to bring their white board (or a notebook and marker) to every lesson and every meeting, always! Can you tell that I am passionate about this?? White boards make interactive learning possible. I can test for understanding, take polls, and maintain engagement and accountability when kids have a white board at hand. Is your child's white board missing, or are you out of markers? Read on...

Consumables Available in January

We are scheduling the next supply pick up for Thursday, January 14th. Lower elementary classes aren’t sending home additional materials, so you won't be required to pick anything up. However, after three months of distance learning, you may be running low on whiteboard markers, pencils, notebooks, or other consumables, or you may need a replacement white board. These will be available for pick up at the Ridgeline office. Stay tuned for more details!

Heads Up for Screenshots

In the new year, we are going to be asking kids to take screen shots to capture some of their work. Every device has its own commands for this (for example, my MacBook uses command - shift - 4, but a Lenovo Chromebook uses control - shift - window switcher). You can do a search for your device’s commands. Kids will need to know how to take a screenshot and how to put it into Seesaw. We’re excited to introduce some new tools!

Have a wonderful break, everyone.

Emily's Update 12-11-2020

Writing Wrap Up

This week is the wrap up for our big animal research projects. By breaking the project into multiple steps, Carmen and I helped kids slow down and zero in on important skills throughout the process.

What an amazing outcome we had! I saw students make incredible progress from one meeting to the next, and the final products represented new personal bests for so many of them. I’m looking forward to more writing projects that build on the skills and practices we’ve put in place.

I’m encouraging kids to put their finished projects on the blog so that we can learn about a variety of animals. We can also continue our in-class tradition of asking questions and sharing positive comments about each other’s work.

Wiggly Teeth

Kids this age seem to always have a wiggly tooth, and we have had lots of teeth lost already this year. I like to talk about different cultural traditions. Did you know that some countries have a Tooth Rat? Or that in other places, kids hop around their house on one leg when they lose a tooth? This week we'll explore narrative writing and let kids tell some of their many tooth stories.


This last week before winter break is a time for us to celebrate! We have built some extra fun into our schedule this week, and every day is a little bit special. Tuesday's zoom lunch is just for fun and open to all students. We especially invite kids to bring their Legos or other building toys. We can chat, build, and show off our creations.

Monday - Blanket day

Tuesday - Lunch day

Wednesday - Stuffy day

Thursday - Hat day

Friday - Pajama day

Best wishes to you all!

Emily's Update 12-4-2020

Antarctic Scientist Visit

On Friday we were delighted to be joined by Tula’s dad, Paul Cziko. He is a professor at the UO who studies animals under the Antarctic ice. We learned about the challenges of doing research in the cold and saw amazing footage from his dives. As the students do their animal research projects, it is truly special to be visited by a real-life, professional animal researcher. Ask your kids about what happens when sponges grow on scallops under the ice!

Animal Research Projects

In December we are learning about animals of the polar regions. This is a long term project designed to take students through a structured research process. We are prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. Our project will culminate with students creating a simple display and presenting their work.

The writing process that we are following parallels the process that students use in the classroom in many ways. In-class projects offer teachers many chances to touch base and help students who need information, a jump start on a topic sentence, or a quick refresher about punctuation rules.

Distance learning means fewer opportunities for these impromptu help sessions. Carmen and I are encouraging kids to visit Carmen’s Zoom to work or get help, and I’ve been taking some extra time at the end of lessons to check in with kids about their progress. Please encourage your child to take advantage of this help. And, of course, thank you for all the support you are providing your student at home.

This past week students chose an animal, created a planner with four topics and collected information. Some groups learned strategies for writing topic sentences for their paragraphs. Next week we will complete our drafts. Older students will complete a revision and editing process culminating with their research typed up in Google docs. We will eventually turn our reports into poster board presentations with a drawing and a title. Poster board or cardboard from an old box works great. Stay tuned for more on this step later.

Winter Break

Winter Break - 12/21 - 01/04

School resumes on the 5th of January

Emily's Update 11-16-2020

Native People of the Willamette Valley

This week we continue to learn about the indigenous cultures of the Willamette Valley. In today's lesson, students were introduced to the Pacific lamprey, a boneless, jawless, ancient fish that was once abundant in our rivers and that is still harvested by tribal people. Over the next few days we'll hear more native stories about the lamprey and learn to play a traditional stick game.

Spelling Twice a Week

We've adjusted our spelling schedule to make it easier for kids and families to manage. Thanks to our spelling volunteer, Bethany, there are now spelling assignments twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. The amount of work is the same, it just comes in two packages.

Art on Wednesday for Everyone

This week and next week, our art schedule is shifted a bit. Everyone will have art on Wednesday at 12:40 in Carmen's Zoom room. We return to our regular schedule after Thanksgiving. Students will get a reminder about art in their Seesaw feed on Wednesday.

Thanks to all of you for supporting your students! We truly appreciate you.


Emily's Update 10-22-2020

Pumpkin Week Begins

This coming week we’ll be weighing, measuring, and studying pumpkins. If you have a pumpkin at home (carved or uncarved), your child can get some hands-on measuring experience. If you don’t have a pumpkin, never fear! Your child can join me or Carmen in measuring our classroom pumpkins and they will still get to participate and have fun. If your child does use their own pumpkin, this is what they’ll need on Monday:

1. pumpkin

2. string for measuring circumference

3. tape (optional)

4. measuring tool capable of measuring in inches

5. scale if available

Conferences Thursday and Friday - No School

We're looking forward to seeing you at conferences next week. Children are welcome at these conferences. If you'd rather speak with Carmen and me without your child present, that's fine too.


Thank you to everyone who helped us complete EasyCBM testing this week! It was a big logistical undertaking and we couldn’t have done it without your cooperation. We truly appreciate you.


It is so important for students to attend their level lesson each day. This is the "synchronous" time of instruction where we actually teach students the skills they will need to complete the Seesaw activities. Without this lesson students may not be able to complete their assignments and fall behind. If your child misses a lesson and needs assistance they can join Carmen's help zoom or reach out to me for help. Life happens and we know that lessons will be missed at times. It only becomes a problem when the lessons are frequently missed. Thank you for your support in getting your child to their orange, blue, or green lessons.

Video permissions -

In order for me to record and share lessons, I need video permission forms to be filled out. If you haven’t already filled out this form, please do it now!

Distance Learning Recording Consent Form- Rm 4

Care Provider Permissions -

Do you want a grandparent, tutor, or other adult to receive these updates? Is another adult helping your child access Zoom? If so, please fill out the permission form below.

Care Provider Permissions to Digital Classrooms

Have a wonderful Fall weekend. It is such a beautiful time of year!

Emily's Update 10-16-2020

Coming in October... Botany and Math with Leaves and Pumpkins!

We will be enjoying autumn in the temperate forest biome next week. We'll learn about different types of leaves,

explore why they change color, and create leaf collections to graph. Your job this weekend is to help your child notice and collect a variety of leaves so that they have some hands-on materials for next week.

During the week of October 26, we'll do some pumpkin math. We will weigh, measure, estimate, graph, and count up our pumpkins. Please plan on having an uncarved "math pumpkin" available at this time. Small "pie" pumpkins are fine for this activity... but giants can be fun too!

Family Conferences

Carmen and I want to know how distance learning is working for you! Please sign up for a 20 minute conference spot on Thursday, October 29 or Friday, October 30.

Emily's Class Sign Up

If you have a particular concern or question, please send me a quick email. I’d love to start working on problem solving strategies ASAP and then use our conference time to see what progress we’ve made.

Student Conferences

We meet with students individually every week. This helps us focus on the social and emotional well-being of students, check academic progress, and find ways to individualize instruction. If there’s something you’d like us to check in on during our weekly conference, let me know. Parents are also welcome to pop in with a quick question.

Easy CBM - Take 2

This next week we will be doing part 2 of Easy CBM, an assessment used by 4J schools.

In order to do this testing through distance, we need assistance from you to get your child logged into the testing site. We are a team!

I have compiled some step-by-step directions on how things will look on your end. We can coach you through but it might be useful to have these instructions on hand.

For Computer Based Assessments:

1. Join the testing Zoom link. Please have video on.

2. Ridgeline staff will guide your child through expectations and instructions.

3. Open your internet browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.). It will cover up your Zoom view, but that’s okay, as long as the teacher/assistant can still see your child.

4. Go to this website:

5. Your screen should look like this:

6. Click on the Students “Click Here” link.

7. Type in the teacher’s username. It is emilyoburton

8. Once you click “Go!” then you should be taken to a screen that asks you to select the group. Click on “All Students”.

9. Scroll through the names until you come to your child’s name, and click on it.

10. ***Confirm it is on your child’s test, and not another student’s!

11. It will prompt you to enter a password, which is a six-digit number from your child’s birthdate. MMDDYY, with no slashes.

12. Once entered, you will see “Select the Test”.

13. Scroll through the array of tests offered and select the one your teacher/assistant has indicated.

14. If your child is doing the math, your assistance in reading the math problems aloud to your child may be needed. No reading assistance is allowed on the reading assessments.

15. Your teacher/assistant is required to observe your child taking the assessment. There will likely be one group at a time on Zoom, testing at the same time.

These groups will happen in Carmen's zoom and will be available in the morning and afternoon time slots. There will be an assignment in Seesaw with more instructions and times next week.

Thank you for helping to make this happen.

Emily's Update 10-8-2020

Biome Exploration Next Week

Let’s get ready to travel the world as we explore all the beautiful biomes - deserts, rainforests, polar regions, grasslands, mountains, wetlands, and even the ocean. We’ll learn what a biome is and identify its living and nonliving parts. In Wednesday’s writing lessons, students will choose a biome to research and write about. On Friday, we’ll creatively recreate a Room 4 tradition, the biome fashion show. Students who want to participate can shop their closets to create an outfit for exploring the desert, diving into the ocean, or braving the polar winds. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

Live Lessons… The Instruction Manual for Remote Learning

Our seesaw activities are designed to be follow ups to our daily live lessons, not stand alone works. Being with students live lets me introduce new concepts, clarify expectations and answer questions. If your child misses a lesson, they may struggle to complete the Seesaw activity on their own. Pending permissions (more on that later), we will have recorded lessons available. Until then, encourage good attendance! If your child misses a lesson and needs some help, please have them visit Carmen’s help zoom to get back on track.

Permission to Record Lessons

Our lessons are highly interactive, and I often have students in view on my screen in order to see raised hands and check for understanding. This means that the lessons I record include students in the video. In order to share these recorded lessons with students who need them, we need your consent. Please fill out this form ASAP so that our recorded lessons can be made available.

Distance Learning Recording Consent Form- Rm 4

Remember, lesson videos will only be made available to families within our classroom.

Easy CBM Update

Next week we will be starting our first round of EasyCBM with some one minute reading tests. Students will be tested during their conference time and tests should only take a couple of minutes. We ask that your child be in a quiet space where they can give good, undivided attention. This is an assessment, which means the student will need to do the task without your coaching. Our students have all done this before and it should feel familiar to them.

Thank Yous

I had a beautiful birthday this Monday, with many surprise cards, gifts and well wishes from kids and families. I am so deeply grateful to you all.

Please continue to contact Carmen and me with any questions. We love to hear from you!

Emily and Carmen

Emily's Update 10-1-2020

We are getting ready for week 3 in our distance learning journey. Carmen and I have loved seeing all the great work coming in this week. I have to admit that some of the talent show submissions were my favorites. We have a funny, fearless, creative group of kids. Extra points to all the grown ups who joined in on those videos!

I also want to thank all of you who are doing real work to support your children behind the scenes. These times have made big demands of all of us and I don’t take for granted the efforts that families are making right now. Carmen and I are here to try and make the learning side of things as positive as possible for your child and your family. Please reach out by email - we would love to hear how things are going and to help troubleshoot distance learning with you.

Our Place in Space

For week 3 we are continuing with our astronomy thread, bringing it closer to home with planetary motion, the seasons, and shadows. Students will act out orbits and rotations, do shadow tracking experiments and maybe even some shadow play for PE. We are shifting into fall at the moment. This makes it the perfect time to talk about why our planet Earth has seasons as we watch for signs of fall.


We are now in full swing with writing, grammar, and math. Each week your child will receive instruction in these different curricular areas. It’s important that your child come to their daily morning lesson, especially as we move out of review and into new content.

This week we started our spelling program and placed students into our “best guess” spelling groups. We’ll be adjusting spelling levels as necessary over the next few weeks. If your child’s list seemed super easy or way too hard, let us know.

Work Plans

We track work using work plans. We’re sending out a new one on Monday that is pre-populated with some of the works your student will be doing that week. Remember, some works aren’t assigned daily. For example, some math works have multiple pages. Each time a student practices their math they should be doing a few equations and then saving the work as a draft so that they can come back to it later. It may take them 4 practices to finish the entire assignment. Each time they practice the math they get to mark it on their work plan. There are also additional math activities they can do so they are not doing the same activity each and every day.

Visit Carmen’s Zoom Room

Carmen asked me to put a shout out for her very fun, very helpful zoom room. This is open just about all day long and Carmen is ready to help! Here are some things Carmen can help with:

  • Catching up on a missed lesson

  • Extra practice with a new skill, or review of an old one

  • Help with logins or technology (spelling, scholastics, etc.)

  • Supervised meetups with a friend to do work

  • Work plan check ups - a great idea for first graders!

  • And just to say hi!

Carmen is an amazing resource and she’s there for you all day long. Our hope is that she’s the first place kids go for help. Yes, even before they go to you! Encourage your child to make use of the amazing Carmen zoom room!

Schedule Reminders

Remember, students have a morning lesson every day and a reading group lesson once a week (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 1:10). Send us an email if you have questions about your child's specific schedule. This week we've added art instruction. Students are separated into two groups, one that meets Wednesday at 12:40 (mostly younger students) and one that meets Friday at 12:40 (mostly older students). Your child has gotten a Seesaw notice with a link that lets them know which day they have art. Please add it to your calendar!

Thank you families. Have a great weekend!

Emily and Carmen

Lower El Schedule for Each Cohort and Distance Learners.pptx
Carmen's Schedule.pptx
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