Growing Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 18: December 13, 2020

Twinkles in the air

There’s a certain twinkle in the air filling GMA, and the joy is palpable!

Eyes sparkle while masks are worn. This week, many classes learned about holidays around the world, sent letters of compassion to others, and celebrated the success of the semester with pajama day. We are so pleased of the health and safety of our school family and aim to finish strong this last week of the quarter.

In looking back on this past semester, it is amazing all that we have achieved together. Students will be able to show their growth in learning by taking the mid-year national assessment, NWEA, this upcoming week. More information about NWEA can be found in the newsletter, and it is important that children get a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast for optimal thinking.

We are so grateful for your partnerships and care! The outreach with the Helping Hands Canned Food Drive and the Jolly and Joy Adopt-a-Family has been so incredibly inspiring. We are in awe of the generosity and so grateful for our compassionate school family.

This week is sure to be a real treat for our onsite learners. The basketball goals and padding have been installed, and we know the children are going to have a ball! We also look forward to the winter concert, and I hear we even have some penguins joining us!

Through their eyes full of wonder, may we pause and enjoy these precious moments together.

Warm winter wishes,

Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

Of all things, love is the most potent.

-Maria Montessori

Dates to remember

Upcoming Events

12/14-17 NWEA Testing and Winter Concert Taping

12/15 School Board Meeting, 5:30 p.m., virtual link below

12/18 End of Quarter

12/21-1/4 Winter Break, ENJOY!

1/5-1/22 Virtual Learning

1/6 Progress Reports and NWEA reports sent home

1/25 Onsite learning resumes

Opening the Gifts of the Treasures Within!

"Concentration is the key that opens up to the child the treasures within him."

-Dr. Maria Montessori

SWoosh! GMA Scores!

Swoosh! GMA Scores for the win!

Friday, GMA scored big for the win with the installation of the basketball goals and padding. Mr. Brian has been teaching basketball skills, such as these students featured below, learning the basics of shooting and teamwork. Being mindful of the interrelatedness of subjects, students also practice their counting skills during this activity, including counting by 2's.

We look forward to offering basketball teams after winter break. Please look for more information to be released soon from Mr. Brian!

Project Lead the Way is on the WAY!

The Montessori Method prepares the imagination by giving it a rich foundation of hands-on experiences in reality. GMA is excited to offer more hands-on opportunities for our students through Project Lead the Way!

All staff are receiving professional development and the new semester will be filled with incredible hands-on, engaging experiences that foster critical thinking, and the engineering design process. PLTW engages students’ natural curiosity through problem-based learning. Through PLTW Launch, students become hands-on problem solvers and learn to collaborate with their fellow students.

They begin each module with an engaging ebook story featuring the characters Mylo, Suzi, and Angelina, who introduce the challenge students will work together to solve. Then, in a series of activities that build upon each other, students are challenged to become confident in trying new things, to learn from mistakes, and to apply what they know to find solutions.

"What the hand does, the mind remembers." Dr. Maria Montessori

Thank you for spreading Jolly and Joy!

We are so grateful for your partnerships and proud of what we’ve accomplished together!

The outreach with the Helping Hands Canned Food Drive and the Jolly and Joy Adopt-a-Family has been so incredibly inspiring. Bikes, blankets, clothes, food, and toys~ your gracious contributions are spreading joy!

Besides this, the staff have been showered with your love and kindness, and we thank you for all of the many ways you are lending a loving, helping hand!

We are in awe of the generosity and so grateful for our compassionate and caring school family.

Themed Theme Park!

Novel Project

By: Alyssa, LeAndra, and Chris

For our novel project, we read the book Fish In A Tree which is about a Dyslexic girl named Ally. For this project, we were assigned to make a theme park based on the book we read. The theme of our park is pushing through your problems because that’s what Ally has to do throughout the book. For the exposition of our book, we built a Ferris Wheel because at the beginning of the book Ally’s life just goes around in circles. She goes to school, tries to avoid reading or writing, in doing that gets in trouble and gets sent to the principles office; this repeats the next day.

We chose to build a swing ride for the rising action because once you get a little way into the book, her life starts to speed up when she gets a new teacher named Mr. Daniels that helps her gain some confidence in herself. A frisbee ride was perfect for the climax because when the main problem occurs, which is finding out about her Dyslexia, Ally’s life spirals out of its regular routine. She really doesn’t know what to do but is happy to have the answer to why she couldn’t read or write. Mr. Daniels gives a lesson about famous inventors and in the end, he reveals that like Ally they had Dyslexia, this really gives Ally a confidence boost and helps her see that she can be just as great as everyone else.

A Drop Tower was the perfect fit for the falling action because it symbolizes Ally’s problems that she has had to live with her whole life dropping significantly. At this point in the book, she has learned a lot and is fully confident in herself, and believes she can do just as good as anybody else. We based our revolution ride off of the Tea Cup ride but instead of teacups, we used a chessboard. We did this because one of the ways Ally learns and copes with her situation is playing chess, which Mr. Daniels taught her; she absolutely loves it and plays with him whenever she can after school. Playing chess helped her throughout the book right up until the end.

Dancing penguins and MOre!

Snowflakes, dancing, and the wondrous rhythms of winter! Students and staff are enjoying related arts as they prepare for our virtual holiday concert which will be videotaped this upcoming week.

I hear there may even be a special appearance of some dancing penguins!

Please look for the Winter Concert links in the next newsletter.

NWEA is on the way

This upcoming week , your child will be taking a MAP® Growth™ test from NWEA® on a computer or tablet. MAP Growth scores help teachers check student performance by measuring achievement and growth. Teachers use results to tailor classroom lessons and set goals with students.

MAP Growth tests are unique, and they adapt to your child’s responses in order to measure your child’s skill level. If your child answers a question correctly, the next question is more challenging. If s/he answers incorrectly, the next one is easier. These results will provide a more complete picture of what your child knows and is ready to learn—whether it is on, above, or below grade level.

Based upon the results, students will set goals within their classroom and assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement. The NWEA results will be going home with the students’ second quarter progress reports on 1/6.

We are truly excited to focus on your child’s individual growth and achievement. For more information about MAP Growth, visit

We are committed to a safe and healthy school family!

We are committed to a safe and healthy school family!

Here are some extra precautions and measures that we are taking:

· Heightened hand washing and sanitizing

· More plexi-shields in the classrooms

· Temporarily, no singing in music class, instruments only

· Band limits~ only one section at a time

· Mask usage: only one warning for improper usage

· Reinstating the weekly health screening verification, rather than quarterly

· Cohorts for lunch, extra rooms/space for lunch and indoor recess

Counseling Corner with Mr. Michael

GMA Families:

I hope everyone has been staying warm and safe during this last month of 2020! As the year winds down, remember to take some time to reflect on some of the positive things that happened during the 2020 year. I know it was a crazy year, but finding the positives can help jumpstart some positive vibes for 2021. One of the big things I work on with students around this time is a New Year's Resolution. A resolution for the new year does not have to be something huge and life changing. It can be something simple. A lot of times I will hear people say they want to give something up or work out more. While these are great improvements to our lives, they sometimes are very challenging to keep up with. Sometimes short and sweet resolutions can improve our lives and have a positive impact on others, like telling our loved ones that we love them more often or checking in with our close friends on a weekly basis. Doing things to improve your own health and care is wonderful, but try to add something that can help those around you. Spending time conversing at dinner without the TV on, complimenting others when they do something kind, or even asking others how they are doing instead of just saying "hi" can have a big impact on someone else. If we all work together to be kind and caring towards others, the world will be a nicer place! Enjoy the rest of the 2020 year and start 2021 off on a good note! As always, let me know if there is anything else I can do to help!

Attention Middle School Families:

On Monday, January 11th, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm, Herron High School and Riverside High School will be presenting information to 7th and 8th grade families virtually about their schools! Every year, representatives from Herron and Riverside come to GMA to talk about the process of signing up for high school and what to expect as we get closer to the 2021-2022 enrollment year. This year, they are offering the same information night but it will be presented virtually and will be exclusive for GMA families! Below is a Zoom link for the information night and we would love to see you there! Below the Zoom link is a flier for more information if you are unable to attend on January 11th. If you have any questions, please let me know!

Shannon Hasper is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Virtual Visit with Geist Montessori Academy
Time: Jan 11, 2021 06:00 PM Indiana (East)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 783 1317 2956
Passcode: RFREN5

Michael Skiles

Geist Montessori Academy

School Counselor

317-813-4626 EXT: 104

Ping Pong anyone?

Thank you, Swardsons, for the great new addition!

With indoor recess on the way, this will be such a fun indoor activity for the children. We appreciate you thinking of our GMA school family.

NOW enrolling and growing!

We are growing and enrolling!

The official enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year began on Monday, December 7, and we hope to bring new friends and family members into our incredible school family. We would love if you could share one of the enrollment flyers on your social networks.

Thank you for helping us grow together!

Have a preschooler? Pre-K is housed at GMA!

A brief overview of our program is:

We offer two programs – one is a five day a week full day program that operates from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. We also offer a five day a week half day program that operates from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. We also offer before care that opens at 6:30 a.m. and aftercare that closes at 6:00 p.m.

Our curriculum includes language, math, science, geography, sensorial, practical life, art, music and gym. We teach the alphabet phonetically, and I teach them in packets so they can easily move into consonant vowel consonant reading. We teach quantity first in Math so they have understanding of what 5 is, 10 is, etc. and then we introduce the numerals. The children do a lot of food preparation and learn to serve themselves snack and they are responsible for washing, drying and putting away their own dishes. The works in our practical life area include many transfer and pouring works which helps to strengthen their hands, develop eye hand coordination and increase concentration. This is then all linked to reading, writing and math.

Children bring lunches from home each day. We do not allow chips, Doritos, and dessert items and request that all food groups be represented. Snack is provided by the parents; I send out a Sign Up Genius link and parents choose two items to bring in. All items are stored in our cabinets and refrigerator. I put out two snack items a day and when our supply gets low I send out another request. Typically parents have to send in items approximately four times a year.

The schedule of our day is:

8:00 Arrival

8:00 -11:00 Work Cycle and snack

11:00-11:30 Recess

11:45-12:15 Lunch

12:30 – 1:00 Specials

1:00-2:30 Rest for those who need one or second work cycle

2:30-3:00 Recess

3:00 Dismissal

Please let me know if you have additional questions or concerns. If you would like to schedule a time for a tour, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,

Karen Swan

Weather Related Delays and Closures

Please note that ONE CALL notification phone calls, texts, and emails will be delivered should we have a 2-hour delay or school closure due to weather. WTHR and WISH-TV will also be notified.

Two hour delay procedures:

School begins at 10:30; 10:15 car line will open. Morning related arts will be canceled so please note that PE, music, or art can be done at home before school, if desired.

Learning Labs:

Morning learning labs will be canceled and after school learning labs will remain open.

Learning Options for Third nine weeks

We are offering 2 learning options for third quarter, either onsite or online. Please note that ALL learners will be virtual from 1/5-1/22, and this learning preference selection is for January 25 through March 12, 2021.

We are finalizing arrangements for third quarter, so please respond to this survey by noon of Thursday, December 17. It is our goal to make the transition into second semester as seamless as possible and will keep students in their teacher/student cohorts, whenever possible.

Here is the link to complete to denote your student's preference:

Please click here to make the learning option selection for third quarter.

We love our School board

Our sincere appreciation is extended to our amazing school board for their service to GMA!

President: Uriah Ellis

Secretary: Lacey Willard

Treasurer: Andrew Cavallaro

Members at Large: Karen Swan and Mark Clark

Please join us for our next School Board Meeting Tuesday, December 15!

Topic: School Board Meeting

Time: Dec 15, 2020 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 752 1146 2794

Passcode: 94itR5

Meeting Dates: December 15, 2020, February 16, 2021, April 20, 2021, June 15, 2021

*All Meetings begin at 5:30 pm and are open to the public. Meetings are being held virtually.

We look forward to our continued partnership, as we grow together for the better!

Golden Beads are oh, so golden!


The Golden Beads are used to give a concrete introduction to the decimal system. The Golden Beads, like all Montessori materials, are very tactile, attractive, and easy to understand.

The material consists of:

· “unit” beads, which are just individual beads

· “tens” bars, which are made of 10 “unit” beads strung on a wire

· “hundreds” squares, which are made of 10 “tens” bars wired together to make a square

· “thousands” cubes, which are made of 10 “hundreds” squares wired together

They are used to introduce mathematical concepts from counting to complex mathematical operations. Golden Beads help children visualize the mathematical and geometric patterns of numbers. All four operations can be performed using the Golden Beads. Each lesson builds on the previous lesson.


The child is first introduced to this material when he or she is around 4 to 4 ½ years of age. The first lesson would have a sensorial approach focusing on the depth, weight and quantity of each bead material (unit bead, tens bar, hundreds square and thousands cube).

The child is then introduced to the place value quantities. The child is introduced to composing numbers with the Golden Beads once he or she can name/recall what each bead material is called and which place in the decimal system each material represents.



* Static Addition

* Dynamic Addition

* Multiplication

*Static Subtraction

*Dynamic Subtraction


MOntessori Resources

Whole School Resources for the Coronavirus Pandemic

Special Needs

Online Learning Platforms

Virtual Learning Resources

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.

GMA School Calendar

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Children of the World, featuring GMA students!!!

"Children of the World" Virtual Choir
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Meet our incredible School Family staff members: Enjoy Photos and Letters

Please enjoy this special edition newsletter, filled with letters and photos from our 2020-2021 staff members.

Meet our 2020.2021 Staff Members

We are so excited to grow together for the better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

GMA Contact iNformation


(317) 813-4626


6058 W. 900 N.

McCordsville, IN 46055

growing together for the better!