Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 15, March 15, 2020

O' so lucky to have you in the GMA School Family!

Dear GMA School Family,

Please know how much we treasure and value each of you and your loved ones!

Friday, March 13, was a day of community care. Staff and students came together to say our farewells and reiterate our love for one another. Through these trying times, knowing that we are still able to stay connected and be there for one another is fundamental. Staff members will be available online to assist children with their learning and be there to support one another as a family of learners; we are better together. In addition, there are many technological advancements that will ease this process, such as Zoom and other classroom platforms to share ideas and be supportive. Teachers will be creative in allowing the children to communicate with one another and remain a vital community. Please also know that I am here for you , and you can email me at any time.

Being a Montessori school, we all already view school as an extension of the home, where learning is seamless and all around us. During this transition period of being physically separated from one another, the beautiful learning that naturally occurs wherever we are is being reinforced, solidifying the bridge of learning from home, school, and beyond.

GMA is a community of care, so please have your children think of ways to care for one another within the home, while also being mindful of those who may be alone or lonely. Applying their learning in a variety of modes to bring light to others in need would be a delightful way to show our outreach and care for others. A few examples of this include: recording songs or videos, creating movies, writing poems, or making pictures/cards and sending them to hospitals, nursing homes, military facilities, friends, or other health facilities that are guest restricted. Staying connected with faraway loved ones is another way to extend that care and comfort on a regular basis. There are a rainbow of opportunities awaiting our students to share their gifts and talents over this distance learning period of time.

We are so much better together, so please help your child see the interconnectedness of our miraculous world which unfolds in our backyards: the birds, animals, plants, and weather. For example, your family can investigate the new sprouts that you notice on a walk, the sounds that you hear when you open a window, the beauty in the moment. Children can get inspiration from nature and notice symmetry, patterns, and make connections to inventions that were based on these noticings. For instance, how many inventions are related to the wings of birds? What ideas can they generate based on their own outside observations and insights? How can they share their learning? What can they create?

As we are home together, please be mindful of the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of germs:

· Stay home when you are sick. The CDC recommends that you remain home until you are “fever free” for at least 24 hours.

· Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms that cause concern.

· Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or by coughing into the inside of your elbow. Throw any used tissues away in trash.

· Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands.

· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.

We will continue to consult with our local, state and federal partners and follow their recommendations on the spread of the coronavirus. We are committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. For more information on the coronavirus, click here.

During this time apart, we hope that you are able to enjoy the little things, the moments we are often too busy to notice. This is a time for bonding, pausing, reflecting, and slowing down, to just be. We are wishing you and your loved ones the joy of the moment, and the gift of time together. Maybe create gratitude journals, revisit some old board/card games, crafts, bike riding, nature walks, or cooking.

Though time and space may temporarily separate us at Geist Montessori Academy, we are still one: a strong and supportive school family, better together. We treasure you and thank you for doing your part to keep our school community healthy.



Calendar Updates, WI-FI Options, and eLearning Policy


  • 14 total days of e-learning (3/16-4/2)
  • Spring break 4/3-4/10, students back to the building on 4/13 ( unless otherwise noted)

Waiver Days:

  • State has granted us 20, so a full school year is now 160 days vs. the typical 180
  • District is saving all 20 days, in case they are needed after Spring Break


· International Festival will be rescheduled, if possible~ date will be determined once more information is known

The following events are still scheduled, but we will keep you posted, as they may be canceled or rescheduled:

  • April 14: STEM Club begins for grades K-2, PTO Officer elections
  • April 16: Enrollment Night, 5:30-7:30, Parent Montessori Education Night
  • April 20-May 15: iLearn State Testing, awaiting state updates
  • April 29-30: Act it Out Presentations
  • May 2: 10am-1pm- Spring Carnival
  • May 8: Talent and Art Show. (Please note this is a change from the date published at the beginning of the year)
  • Middle School events: graduation, dance, and camping trip~ still scheduled until further notice

Odds and Ends:

  • We will refund any pizza money/ study trip money that is cancelled and not postponed
  • If you plan to go on a cruise for spring break, you will be required to self-quarantine upon return for 14 days; please notify the office
  • Custodial staff will be working and thoroughly disinfecting over the next several weeks to prepare for return of students and staff


  • Please refer to the attached documents for GMA's eLearning policy. This policy has been in effect for all of our eLearning days this year. I have also attached the PowerPoint presentation that Logan shared at our family eLearning Parent Education Night in November, for your convenience.

Comcast offers free service:

Free public wi-fi locations include: McDonalds, Starbucks, Panera, Public Libraries, Lincoln Pancake House, and Meijer among others.

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!

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Super Student-Led Conferences

It was was so exhilarating to watch the students explain their works and share their learning journeys with their loved ones. In fact, student-led conferences embody the heart and soul of Montessori education: “THE GREATEST SIGN OF SUCCESS FOR A TEACHER..IS TO BE ABLE TO SAY, ‘THE CHILDREN ARE NOW WORKING AS IF I DID NOT EXIST.’” – MARIA MONTESSORI
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Willows' Players bring the Children's Museum to life

Words from NUrse JOy

Hello GMA family,

I am certain that the unexpected closing of school has left many of you scratching your head as to how to keep those kiddos busy while they are off at home. Personally, I am hoping for warm weather and sunshine! A good dose of Vitamin D does the soul good. For my kids, playing outside gives them a way to release energy, use their imaginations and get dirty, which they love to do. If you are in need of ideas of things to do to keep them busy, consider some of these things…

  • Bake something, or find a new recipe to try and involve the child in making it
  • Have each child write a letter to a fellow Montessori friend
  • Races of various kinds in the backyard (hopping on one foot, crabwalk, walking backwards, etc.)
  • Have the kids help with yardwork…they might be little, but they like getting dirty and "working" in the gardens
  • Make tents and reading caves and fill with flashlights, tidy snacks, books, and pillows
  • Collect a bunch of tape, markers and cardboard boxes to build things and decorate them
  • Family puzzles…choose ones that are 500-1000 pieces and a challenging, but not frustrating picture
  • Team up and clean and organize each kid's space, making a donation box for each
  • Any and all art is fun at home: beading, painting, drawing, play dough or kinetic sand, or sewing
  • Scavenger hunts or indoor treasure hunts where they follow clues through the house to a "treasure" at the end (could be candy, a movie, whatever)
  • Play sidewalk chalk outside
  • Popcorn + movie marathon
  • Bust out your hiking gear and try new hiking paths. As long as you stay away from overpopulated areas you will naturally stay a safe distance from others and sick people generally don't hike!

These are just some of the many things you can do to prevent that stir-crazy feeling! In addition to keeping them busy, keeping them healthy is also on the agenda. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyday preventive measures to control the spread of COVID-19. These include:

• Staying home when sick and avoiding close contact with sick people

• Frequent, proper handwashing using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol

• Avoiding touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands

• Practicing respiratory etiquette (e.g., covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper sleeve)

• Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces using usual cleaning/disinfection products according to the product label.

Hopefully we will all be back together in our new school soon! I will be available via email at, if you would need to ask a question or communicate with me while we are on leave.

Well wishes to all,

Nurse Joy

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Music to our ears

Did you know that singing in schools helps children feel better about themselves and improves their community spirit? And that mastering a musical instrument improves the way the human brain processes parts of spoken language? For these reasons and more, it’s important to make music a part of your student’s educational journey.

So why not make music fun and inventive with some homemade instruments?

Drums create the rhythm to a tune, making this instrument a key element in a tempo lesson. Whether you dance to the beat or sing along with the percussion, drums are a great guide. You can create drums at home by using everyday items like soup cans, Pringles containers, or even a tabletop! All you need is some kind of a drum stick to tap along with.

If you’re looking for an instrument with a multitude of sounds, you may want to offer this musical water xylophone. By filling the cups with different amounts of water and tapping the glasses with a spoon, your kids can hear all the different tones that are produced. This is a great activity to complete with a friend (or little brother or sister), too. Get them started on a beat to a certain tempo with one cup, and you can join in with another sound or a different cup. Soon you’ll be on your way to making your very own homemade musical masterpiece!

Learn how to make all 6 instruments here:

by Brittany Marklin Mar 29, 2018 DIY Crafts and Activities, Extracurricular

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YEarbook order time, Due March 20

Save the memories with a yearbook. Please refer to the attached document for details.

YUM! Thank you for the Perfect Potluck

The staff enjoyed the delicious meal during Student-Led Conferences. We appreciate all of your love and care!

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? How scientists used the scientific process to solve one of nature’s mysteries

The Scholastic Learn at Home website has the answer to this and so much more!

This free resource provides all students with 20* days’ worth of learning journeys that span the content areas so you can keep your students actively engaged in learning while your buildings are closed. Students will have access to approximately three hours of learning opportunities per day, including projects based on exciting articles and stories, virtual field trips, reading and geography challenges, and more. These learning journeys were carefully curated by our editors to reduce the burden on teachers and families needing to ensure meaningful learning takes place. The site includes learning journeys across four different grade spans—PreK/K, Grades 1–2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–9+. Learning experiences cover ELA, STEM, Science, Social Studies, and Social-Emotional Learning. We are also providing access to four award-winning digital solutions that students can access anytime, anywhere. The Scholastic Learn at Home website does not require a username or password, and is open freely to all. The learning journeys are accessible on any device. They are designed to limit the need for printing, and allow students to learn independently or with their families. Teachers can even plan virtual learning meetups to discuss and expand on any of the resources found on the site.

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Hey, Human! Are dogs’ facial expressions trying to tell us something?

Have your child READ and THINK ABOUT how dogs respond when you talk to them. Why might they react this way?

You wave a treat in front of your pet pooch, cooing, “Who’s a good boy?” Your dog widens his eyes hopefully, pants, does a happy jig, and wags his tail. It’s like he’s trying to say, “I really am a good boy! Now gimme that treat!” Find out more:

Scholastic at Home site:

Thank you Math/ Book Buddies

The children have been enjoying the one-on-one time with their Book and Math Buddies. Thank you to all of our incredible volunteers. We appreciate your support of the learning journey!

“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”-Maria Montessori

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Engineering for kids

Students explore engineering and magnetism by designing the fastest train on the tracks.

LUCKY that so many online Lessons are bringing Learning to life

Luckily, there are more educational resources accessible from home than ever before.

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:

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.

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NUmber Exercises from Dr. Maria Montessori


When the children recognise the written figure, and when this figure signifies to them the numerical value, I give them the following exercise:

I cut the figures from old calendars and mount them upon slips of paper which are then folded and dropped into a box. The children draw out the slips, carry them still folded, to their seats, where they look at them and refold them, conserving the secret. Then, one by one, or in groups, these children (who are naturally the oldest ones in the class) go to the large table of the directress where groups of various small objects have been placed. Each one selects the quantity of objects corresponding to the number he has drawn. The number, meanwhile, has been left at the child's place, a slip of paper mysteriously folded. The child, therefore, must remember his number not only during the movements which he makes in coming and going, but while he collects his pieces, counting them one by one. The directress may here make interesting individual observations upon the number memory.

When the child has gathered up his objects he arranges them upon his own table, in columns of two, and if the number is uneven, he places the odd piece at the bottom and between the last two objects. The arrangement of the pieces is therefore as follows:–







[Page 331] The crosses represent the objects, while the circle stands for the folded slip containing the figure. Having arranged his objects, the child awaits the verification. The directress comes, opens the slip, reads the number, and counts the pieces.

When we first played this game it often happened that the children took more objects than were called for upon the card, and this was not always because they did not remember the number, but arose from a mania for the having the greatest number of objects. A little of that instinctive greediness, which is common to primitive and uncultured man. The directress seeks to explain to the children that it is useless to have all those things upon the desk, and that the point of the game lies in taking the exact number of objects called for.

Little by little they enter into this idea, but not so easily as one might suppose. It is a real effort of self-denial which holds the child within the set limit, and makes him take, for example, only two of the objects placed at his disposal, while he sees others taking more. I therefore consider this game more an exercise of will power than of numeration. The child who has the zero, should not move from his place when he sees all his companions rising and taking freely of the objects which are inaccessible to him. Many times zero falls to the lot of a child who knows how to count perfectly, and who would experience great pleasure in accumulating and arranging a fine group of objects in the proper order upon his table, and in awaiting with security the teacher's verification.

It is most interesting to study the expressions upon the faces of those who possess zero. The individual differences which result are almost a revelation of the "character" of each one. Some remain impassive, assuming a [Page 332] bold front in order to hide the pain of the disappointment; others show this disappointment by involuntary gestures. Still others cannot hide the smile which is called forth by the singular situation in which they find themselves, and which will make their friends curious. There are little ones who follow every movement of their companions with a look of desire, almost of envy, while others show instant acceptance of the situation. No less interesting are the expressions with which they confess to the holding of the zero, when asked during the verification, "and you, you haven't taken anything?" "I have zero." "It is zero." These are the usual words, but the expressive face, the tone of the voice, show widely varying sentiments. Rare, indeed, are those who seem to give with pleasure the explanation of an extraordinary fact. The greater number either look unhappy or merely resigned.

We therefore give lessons upon the meaning of the game, saying, "It is hard to keep the zero secret. Fold the paper tightly and don't let it slip away. It is the most difficult of all." Indeed, after awhile, the very difficulty of remaining quiet appeals to the children and when they open the slip marked zero it can be seen that they are content to keep the secret.

Everything Play Dough

Here is a link to some fun play dough and sensory activities:
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Books are Golden!

The Scholastic Book Fair was a huge success, and it was so delightful seeing the children light up with their new books. Thank you for reinforcing the joy and love of reading. This darling picture depicts how the family is teaching the value of books, as the child brings his jar of money to buy his treasures.

Assignment: Kindergarten and Lower Elementary elearning from Mr. Michael

Mr. Michael’s Kelso Star eLearning Assignment

Over the last several months, Mr. Michael has been in classrooms talking about what it means to be respectful, caring, fair, responsible, and honest. These things make someone a Kelso Star! Please choose TWO of the five pages below and draw a picture that goes along with the trait that is listed. BE CREATIVE! Take your time with the drawings! Every student in your classroom will have two drawings and Mr. Michael will put together a classroom book when we get back to school, so please bring your papers to school after Spring Break! If you do not have access to a printer for the pages chosen below, you can always draw a picture on a blank piece of paper and put your name and the trait at the top. I can’t wait to see the awesome drawings you create!

Thank you!

Please see the attached document for details.

Assignment: Upper Elementary and Middle School eLearning from Mr. MIchael

Career Exploration Activity


Please see the attached sheet with website and more details.

DIRECTIONS FOR THE ASSIGNMENT: At the top of the page, write your top 3 RIASEC traits and the numbers and the names of the 3 jobs that you read about. I also want to see 1 paragraph (5-7 sentences) about what you learned when doing this activity. Things to discuss in your paragraph: Did any of this information surprise you? Did you learn anything new about yourself when doing this activity? Do you agree or disagree with the careers they recommended to you? If you have any questions, please email your teacher AND Mr. Michael at DUE DATE: MONDAY, MARCH 30th.

THE RESEARCH IS IN: Simple Metacognitive Strategies to Help Anxious Learners Succeed


Simple Metacognitive Strategies to Help Anxious Learners Succeed

Anxiety and learning go hand in hand, but research suggests that simple activities focused on self-talk and metacognitive reflection can create calmer, more focused learners.

By Youki Terada

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can,” says the Little Blue Engine to herself as she hauls a train full of toys up a mountain. In Watty Piper’s classic children’s book, all it takes is a dose of self-encouragement to give the engine the strength to overcome a seemingly impossible task.

Sound too good to be true? Perhaps not, a new study suggests. Researchers found that a simple, five-minute exercise can help boost math performance, especially for students who have poor confidence in their math ability. When students silently spoke words of encouragement to themselves that were focused on effort—saying phrases such as “I will do my very best!”—their math scores improved.

Better Together: GMA School Board Supports our School family

Calendar Approved!

A special thank you to the creative and dedicated calendar committee!

The 2020-2021 Calendar was approved by the board on 2/19. Please make note that all snow days will be eLearning Days on the day of the occurrence. As such, all of the typical FLEX Days are now DAYS OFF. The committee was also mindful to put Professional Days/eLearning Days next to already scheduled breaks to keep the learning more fluid and to aide parents in scheduling.

In addition, start and end times will remain the same, Pre-K and Kindergarten: 8:30-3:00 and 1st-8th grades: 8:30-3:30. We hope you enjoy that your input was heard and the majority vote on both surveys was used to build the calendar. Again, we are so appreciative of your feedback on the surveys and the dedicated team who created the calendar.

Upcoming Events

March 20: Yearbook orders due

April 2: International Festival~ POSTPONED

April 6-10: Spring Break/No School

April 14: STEM Club begins for grades K-2, PTO Officer elections

April 16: Enrollment Night, 5:30-7:30, Parent Montessori Education

April 20-May 15: iLearn State Testing

April 29-30: Act it Out Presentations

May 2: 10am-1pm- Save the date! Spring Carnival

May 8: Save the date! Talent and Art Show. (Please note this is a change from the date published at the beginning of the year)


The PTO would love for you to join us at 4:00 in the art room for all meetings and committee meetings. We have many exciting events coming up and would love your ideas and input.

4/14 - STEM Club begins for grades K-2, PTO Officer elections

5/2 10am-1pm- Save the date! Spring Carnival
5/8 - Save the date! Talent and Art Show. (Please note this is a change from the date published at the beginning of the year)

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

working together for the better!

Meet Geist Montessori Academy's Executive Director: Cindy Schuler

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