Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 20, April 26, 2020

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Dear GMA School Family,

It seems to happen before our very eyes! The child we once knew is different, evolving, and oh, so beautiful. With only 3 weeks of school to go, what transformations are you witnessing in your homes?

Think back to August 7 and the child you sent to school that first day. How is s/he more independent, more loving, more curious and creative? How has his/her writing, reading, and thinking changed? This week I inspire you to notice, to reflect, and to honor the growth in your child, whether it be physical, academic, or spiritual.

Being Montessori matters to all of us. We know the impact an environment has on a child’s development. Your home environment is fostering your child’s transformation into all that s/he can be these last few weeks of school. The routines that you have established during this transition period are so important, vital, and are making all the difference! Your child craves order, and I commend you for the incredible sense of community, trust, and security you are providing in your homes. The joy, love, and opportunities to inquire, create, and become, are the cornerstones for your child’s future. Your home is the pink tower now. How high will your child fly today?

Wishing you a week of spread wings and new heights,

Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

"Joy, feeling one's own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. Joy is the evidence of inner growth." - Maria Montessori

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Supportive Strategies by Ms. Peg: Can you spare two minutes?

Can You Spare Two Minutes?

As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, I have spoken to parents who tell me that they are struggling to connect to their child, who is now their student. It can be a battle to assume the role of teacher in your child’s eyes. You don’t do things the same way as their beloved teacher and you aren’t as much fun to be around anymore. You feel pressured to teach your child skills and may spend more time agonizing over the daily lesson plans than you do planning meals. We are sorry the days have turned into weeks and now months of having to provide an education for your children. We wish things were different too. But let me fill you in on a little secret good teachers do when they are struggling to connect with a student. It’s called the 2 x10 strategy. It's a simple yet powerful tool that you can add to your toolbox with all kinds of difficult people. Make a commitment to yourself to spend two minutes every day for ten days with your child/coworker/neighbor/spouse or anyone who has been especially challenging to relate to talking about whatever they want to discuss. You show interest in who they are as people but you don’t bring up anything that is remotely controversial. I talked to a mom the other day who told me that her child throws a fit whenever she tries to help him with his schoolwork and has been very defiant about her being his teacher. She went on to say that he is excited about starting a garden when it gets nicer outside. Do you know what I suggested to her? Spend time planning the garden with your child. Follow his lead. Nudge him to develop his skills of inquiry. Get excited together. Be present with him during these times. We figured out a way for someone other than Mom to be his go to for his academics and let them work on their relationship.

Two-by-Ten is "one of the most powerful relationship-changing strategies I know," writes Allen Mendler in When Teaching Gets Tough (ASCD, 2012). Mendler suggests that, at least for the first few days, teachers build the time into their lesson plans when other students "are engaged in an assignment or project that requires less … direct teaching."

At the end of this stay at home experience, we want to be sure that the relationship you have with your child is stronger than before this happened.

Take Aways:

  1. Invest two minutes each day with your child for a period of ten consecutive days.

  2. Follow the child’s lead and interest.

  3. Be present.

  4. Be prepared for a magical transformation.

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Schuler Scoop

Please join me for the Schuler Scoop!

Cindy Schuler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Schuler Scoop

Time: May 1, 2020 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 128 598 036

Password: 1SoZDU

Notes from the nurse

Physician Liaison to Assist GMA School Nurse

I am excited to introduce Dr. Sarah McClain to my team. Dr. McClain is a Pediatrician at Geist Family Medicine and Pediatrics, located right down the road from GMA in Oaklandon. She is fabulous and will be serving as a physician liaison for me as the school nurse at GMA. Her knowledge will help me be able to provide the most up to date care to the student’s, as well as provide us with the ability to obtain community resources. My own children are seen at her practice and have been personally cared for by her. She will be a wonderful asset to our school family. She is accepting new patients if you need a new Pediatrician for your child. Dr. McLain is a Hoosier native and grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed her residency training at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Caring for children of all ages has always been an interest of Dr. McClain’s. Her area of particular interest includes childhood health and wellness, mental health/support, and new parent education. Outside of the office, Dr. McClain enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs. She has a passion for art/crafting, travel, fitness and IU basketball.

Donation of Supplies and Clinic Fundraiser

As we approach the next school year, the clinic will be in need of more supplies. Because of the pandemic A LOT of supplies that are needed for the clinic are in high demand right now and are extremely hard to find. Items such as masks, nitrile gloves, and hand sanitizer are in low supply. If you have items at home that the clinic could use when school starts and are willing to donate them to the school, that would be greatly appreciated. I certainly don’t want you to deplete what you need to care for your family, but if you have extras, that would be great. Please email me at if you have items to donate. I am also considering a clinic fundraiser of some sort to work towards purchasing another bed or other equipment needed. If anyone has an idea of how to do this or what would be successful, please let me know.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns at and I will be happy to assist you!

Have a happy week,

Nurse Joy

learn sign language with ms. morgan

ASL Alphabet

Talent Show: Spreading wings and sharing gifts and talents

GMA is filled filled such tremendous talent!

We miss you all so much and hope to connect with you through GMA's First Virtual Talent Show.

Everyone has been blessed with unique gifts and talents. How can your child share his/her gifts with others to spread joy and happiness? Capture your child's talent like artwork, writing, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, or sharing a special project or skill.

The Talent Show allows your student to spread his/her wings and soar to new heights, while uplifting and inspiring others!

Students should submit entries by May 5:

We can't wait to see them fly!

The Virtual Talent Show will be Friday, May 8.

IDOE Healthy Hoosier Challenge

Bingo! The Indiana department of education is excited to offer prizes for physical activity.

Get up, get moving, and get BINGO!

In an effort to help promote our students’ well-being while at home, IDOE created this physical activity challenge! How to complete the challenge:

1. Choose an activity from the list to complete each day!

You can do each activity three times.

2. In each box write the number of the completed activity.

3. Have an adult in your household sign your form. ( see downloadable form below)

Once your challenge is complete, view our Healthy Hoosier Challenge Prizes *Link coming soon!*

Print your form OR save it on your tablet/phone and take it to one of our sponsors to receive your prize!

Enjoy learning about teeth with Ms. Joni

Miss Joni's Book of the Week: Teeth

thank you, Mother Earth! Happy HUnting!

Spring brings Mother Nature's beauty to fruition. Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, so here is a read aloud called Here Comes the Garbage Barge, read by Justin Theroux to remind us to keep Mother Earth green and clean!

How about going on a nature scavenger hunt to notice all of the beauty that abounds? Enjoy these natural breaks to refuel and revitalize the spirit. Happy hunting!

Here Comes the Garbage Barge read by Justin Theroux

A word from the woods: Under the canopy

Hi, Ms Jeanie here. I’m back in the woods today. Let me tell you what I am doing out here. I’m removing invasive plants.

When I was a kid, we played out in the woods behind our house. The canopy (top level of the forest) was pine and tulip trees. The understory (layer under the canopy) was small trees like young oaks, hickories, maples, ironwood, dogwood, redbud, and also vines. The ground level forest floor was spring ephemerals, ferns and poison ivy. I quickly got very good at avoiding the poison ivy!

The park where I’m working now used to be very similar, but it has been overrun by invasive plants and all the levels of the woods are in danger! In this picture, there are green invasive species on the left side. The right side is almost all native species.

So, what’s wrong with that green side? That’s Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maakii. It sprouts leaves in March, shading out the spring ephemerals who had hoped to get a little sun before the regular trees leafed out. So the violets, Dutchman’s breeches, bluebells, and others get starved out. They last for a few years and may go dormant to wait for a chance to live again.

The honeysuckle shades out the young trees, too, not letting them have enough light to grow.

Large trees form the canopy, the top of the forest. When one dies, say from a lightning strike or disease, it falls and leaves a gap. One of the young trees who has been waiting in the understory should catch the light from the gap left by the fallen tree and grows up to fill it. But, honeysuckle shades out those young trees.

Honeysuckle also replaces our native understory bushes. One of them is spicebush. It feeds insects like Spicebush swallowtail butterflies who lay eggs on the bush. When those eggs hatch into caterpillars, birds feed most of them to their babies, leaving a few to change into butterflies continuing the cycle of life.

The spicebush makes energy from the sun.
The spicebush leaves feed a few caterpillars.
The caterpillars feed a few birds and life energy goes from the sun to a plant to an insect to a bird.
Spicebush swallowtails are cool. Here is more info about them.

Honesuckle gets lots of energy from the sun but doesn’t pass it on.
It keeps the canopy from regenerating.
It starves the understory and forest floor.

But there is hope! Indiana and many other states are working to solve the problem. As of last week, it is illegal to bring in or sell Amur honeysuckle and 43 other invasive plants. Here’s a link to the new Indiana Terrestrial Rule.

Teams of workers have been working in Ritchie Woods, Cool Creek Park, Koteewi Park, Eagle Creek Park and many others taking out honeysuckle and other invasive plants.

So, I’m out here a few hours a week pulling honeysuckle up by the roots hoping that when I get done there will be small trees and flowers to continue the cycle of life that makes the woods so wonderful. I was worried it was too late, but look what I found in an area I cleared last October! Trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches and bluebells have survived!

Earth Day was yesterday. I celebrated it by watching nature spring back!

Resources to stretch thinking

Digital media collections

  • PBS Learning Media has tens of thousands of state curriculum-aligned digital learning resources. Integrates with Google Classroom and Remind.

Literature comes alive with Kidlit TV

  • Kidlit TV has videos and podcasts with authors and illustrators. The site also provides activity ideas, including the annual nationwide video contest, 90 Second Newbery Film Festival, which is open to students of all ages.

Open source books and online libraries featuring works from around the world.

Reading lists by grade

  • Mensa for Kids Excellence in Reading Program is a free program open internationally to any and all readers under 18 years of age (Grades k-12), their teachers, and librarians. The program encourages students to read to the level of their ability or interest, regardless of age or grade level.

Virtual museums and operas

  • Click here for a list of museums throughout the world who have opened a google virtual tour.

National Association for Gifted Children

  • NAGC has compiled an extensive list of eLearning resources for the gifted learner, family, and teacher.

Online courses and video lessons

  • Crash Course, an online youtube channel started by Hoosier native John Green and his brother, Hank, has 15 courses with up to 75 video lessons for each. Lessons are geared for the middle and high school student.

  • Crash Course for Kids follows the same format as Crash Course but with elementary level content.

Thinking skills practice

Industry outreach and virtual connections

Nepris has an incredible selection of videos from industry experts.

idoe daily learning challenge

Your child can join in with children all over the state with these daily challenges that are especially designed for each grade level. Please see the downloadable attachment for more details.

Have fun learning and exploring this week!

Counselor's Corner

Hello GMA Families!

I have some great news! Kelso and Lily will soon be appearing digitally for everyone! I am putting together some information so you all can access videos and lessons directly from your devices. I am also collaborating with my brother, who is a videographer, to create a video lesson for everyone as well. A lot of great things are in the making! Stay tuned for updates and have a great week! As always, let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Mr. Michael

Social Emotional Resources:Social Emotional Learning Resources related to Covid-19

Resources to support you and your family:

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Continuing the learning Journey

Here is a list of free education resources that you and your student can use to continue the learning journey when classes are cancelled. As long as you have an internet connection, you can use these online resources to unlock hours of learning:

At Home Activities:

Khan Academy ( – Khan Academy offers free courses of all grade levels to help students master subjects and accelerate their learning. Through these courses, Kahn Academy allows students to personalize their learning and learn at their own pace.

PBS LearningMedia ( – PBS LearningMedia provides students with free lesson plans, videos, and games aligned with standards they are learning in the classroom.

TEDEd ( – TEDEd brings lessons to life for students through animation. TEDEd’s goal is to ignite curiosity among learners. To do this, TEDEd collects the best teacher lessons around the world. Then, it turns them into shareable animated videos for students.

PowerMyLearning Connect ( – PowerMyLearning Connect offers curated learning from a variety of online platforms. K-12 students can access free content in all core subjects and many electives, with the ability to choose standard aligned lessons.

BrainPOP ( – BrainPOP provides animated interactive lessons, quizzes, and games for core subjects and a variety of electives.

Lumosity ( – Lumosity offers free brain games to keep student minds actively engaged. For example, the games use problem solving, critical thinking, and memory to keep students on their toes and strengthen their skills.

Duolingo ( – Duolingo helps students keep up with foreign language skills. Duolingo offers 30+ languages so students can start learning a variety of languages that interest them. Or, students can use Duolingo to practice the foreign languages they are already learning in the classroom.

EVERFI ( – EVERFI offers free supplemental lessons for the whole student in areas of Finance, SEL, Health, College/Career Readiness, and related topics.

Here is a list of free education resources that you and your student can use to continue the learning journey when classes are cancelled. As long as you have an internet connection, you can use these online resources to unlock hours of learning:

The Smithsonian Learning Lab ( teachers and parents access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian's museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and more. Includes pre-packaged collections that contain lessons, activities, and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators. Includes self-directed learning modules for teens and tweens.

Ranger Rick ( The National Wildlife Federation has opened all articles behind its paywall through June 30. This includes Educator’s Guides and Ranger Rick, Jr. Parent Reading Guides in English and Spanish.

Stories Around the World (International Children's Digital Library) Explore tales, fables, and stories from around the world in over 59 languages.

Free tutoring with Rose-Hulman (AskRose) has extended their free tutoring service hours for middle and high school students.

The Encyclopedia of Life ( an online database of over one million species and counting, provides a platform for the scientist and citizen-scientist alike to collaborate on scientific information for every living thing on Earth. This “open-science” website aggregates information from over 180 scientific organizations and scientists and as a result, provides rich and detailed text descriptions, photos and video clips, sound files and links to research and associated research.

Department of Defense: Learn about careers in STEM fields

Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics: Kids' Zone

Department of Energy: Games and Activities; Virtual Field Trips to National Energy Labs

Environmental Protection Agency: Games, Quizzes, and Videos about the Environment

The Library of Congress: Presentations and Activities to Help Students Learn about History

NASA: Interactive Lessons about Space, Earth, Solar System and Universe; Lessons from Astronauts about Living in Space; STEM Activities for Students of All Ages

The Kennedy Center: Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems; Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon

The Smithsonian: Free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations; Meet the Animals of the National Zoo; 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours; Smithsonian Magazine Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit; The Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour; Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum; Distance Learning Resources

NOAA: Use Real-Time Ocean Data to Explore the Environment

USGS: Learn from Home About Physical science, Geography and MapsResources from Indiana Department of Education:

Technology How to:

Family guide to Google Classroom:
How to use Zoom:
Microsoft family guide:

Intro to Seesaw video:

Special Populations Resources

English Language Learner

  • eLearning Resources - English Learners - This hub features resources for both teachers and families of English learner students. Included are links to other EL-specific resource hubs, such as WIDA’s, links for effectively connecting with multilingual families, and instructional programs and supports.
  • eLearning Requirements and Supports for English Learners - IDOE’s guidance on the requirements for providing services, communicating with families, and assessing English learner students.

High Ability

Special Education

Thank you GMA School Board

A possible virtual School Board Meeting will be held in May, so please stay tuned for more details.

Padlet to Share Ideas

We have already been receiving so many incredible ideas and adorable pictures of amazing projects/learning at home. As such, I have decided to create this Padlet for our GMA School Family: Better Together: Padlet to Share Ideas/Learning

Please feel free to share photos, ideas, or other positive items to this site. You can upload items by clicking on the + sign. This is a fun way that we can all stay connected as a supportive and caring community. I look forward to the posts, and thank you for sharing!

Summer School and Summer CAmps

GMA is excited to enhance the learning for our students through summer enrichment camps and summer school. Our aim is to offer these camps/courses in July as full day offerings.

With new guidance about gatherings being such a fluid process, we hope to be able to announce a definitive schedule with days, times, and course details very soon.

Enrollment/ Registration scheduled for late may

GMA is in the process of developing a new online enrollment system through PowerSchool. This new platform will be used for many educational features for next school year, such as attendance and progress reports. The enrollment option will be the first roll-out of PowerSchool, and this will occur in late May for all current and new students. We look forward to this enhanced platform, so please stay tuned for more details coming out soon.
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working together for the better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

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New Phone Number: (317) 813-4626 and Address

Please take note; our new school family has a


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055

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