Better Together

Geist Montessori Academy@GeistAcademy

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Volume 17, March 29, 2020

Refreshed, rejuvenated, and all abloom!
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All Abloom!

Dear GMA School Family,

All Abloom! The birds are tweeting and the green sprouts are springing, reminding us all of new growth and transformation. I hope you have had a chance to enjoy the beauty of the emerging flowers and are allowing the light of spring to find you, warm you, and let you shine!

I love what’s abloom at GMA, even while we are physically separated! I am filled with appreciation and gratitude for all of you and enjoy hearing about the beautiful community of care that continues to bloom and blossom even though we cannot be in contact with one another. It is times like these that the real heart and core of our GMA family shines through.

In general, springtime at Geist Montessori Academy is such a special time. All of the incredible efforts put forth all year have come into fruition, and students are thriving and shining. Here are a few of my favorite quotes in Secret Garden that correspond with what I saw blooming at our school home in early March, regularly see on Zoom chats and other formats, and I know are occurring within your homes today:

Lifelong learning and opportunity: “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Growth Mindset: “She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind.”

Positive thinking: “Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment.”

What are you tending? “One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live... surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place… Where you tend a rose my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

Believing and achieving: “At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done--then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”

Keep blooming and aspiring higher: “And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”

Thank you for tending our beautiful GMA garden; I am in awe of all the magic I witness!


Cindy Schuler

Executive Director

Geist Montessori Academy

(317) 813-4626

Of all things, love is the most potent.

-Maria Montessori

Guest Readers share their love of reading

The Land of Stories: Prologue

The Land of Stories

Come fall into the Land of Stories with Ms. Meagan!

The first book in Chris Colfer's #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories is about two siblings who fall into a fairy-tale world! This fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the realm of classic fairy tales is sure to enchant every family!

Featuring Ms. Vicki's Daughter: Kennedy

Your younnger students are sure to enjoy the story That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willem, read aloud by Kennedy Kortz:
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Nature by Numbers

It’s been so nice to get out and get some fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature! The perfect patterns surround us in our everyday lives, whether they be sequential, spatial, or temporal. This science of patterns is mathematics, and it is a glorious time to help your child notice this amazing field of study.

Enjoy this short video that is sure to inspire the awe of mathematics: Nature by Numbers

Here are some more ways to bring math to life this week:

How to Master Math: Numbers

Five times seven? 35 – 17? How much math can you do in your head? Help your child strengthen their mental math skills and sense of numbers with these tips.

How to Master Math: Geometry

From triangles, squares and circles, to cubes, spheres and even parallel lines, geometry surrounds us every day. Have you noticed all of the ways? Point them out to your kids and get them to see all the ways shapes (geometry!) surround us.

How to Master Math: Fractions

From sales and sandwiches to car rides and sports, we use fractions more than you might think. Here are a few steps that you can take to help turn your kids’ fraction fears into fraction fun!

How to Master Math: Statistics

“I’m never going to use this!” We hear kids say that a lot. But statistics help us better understand the world we are living in. This video offers ways to show your child their many uses beyond the classroom.

These resources and much more:

Notes from the nurse

Notes from the Nurse

Healthy Eating for Kids at Home

March is national nutrition month and I was in hopes to do some fun activities with the kids at school, but since we are all at home now, I thought I could still share some tips and info. One of the things I love most about Montessori education is the aspect of building practical skills and learning to do daily tasks. Knowing how to make healthy choices when eating is a lifelong skill that should start early. And even more so, when item availability may be limited or unavailable, learning how to not be wasteful is important. This has been a big topic for myself with my little girls. Every parent knows the debacle of begging for a snack and taking one bite and then saying they are done. Now that everyone is home, it is hard to get onto a schedule and not feel like the kids are constantly eating. My kids snack a lot and it gets harder as the day goes on to keep them away from the pantry. I saw this idea and thought it was perfect to help control those hungry kiddos at home.

To help control the constant snacking and waste of food, try making a small daily snack bucket for each child. Use a small bin for each child and place the snacks they must choose from in the basket in the morning and make sure they have access to it throughout the day. I placed mine on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator where my littles can reach it. They have all of their daily options in there and can get them as they please. This can help to control how many snacks they eat and only allow them the options you choose to put in the basket. It still gives them freedom of choice, which is very important for their development. I also included their water bottle for the day to encourage them to drink water and limited the juice pouch to one per bucket.

Out with the food pyramid and in with MyPlate. Healthy eating is now restructured around making choices to put on your plate and creating a variety among what should be eaten. I have attached links to some fun resources about MyPlate, including some coloring pages, tips and other information.

Trying new recipes is also something fun to do with the kids at home. Websites like Food Network and All Recipes have great, kid friendly options that you can create. Learning cooking skills will help them to enjoy food and encourage healthy foods that taste good incorporated into a recipe.

I hope everyone is staying sane and healthy! Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. My email address is I check it frequently throughout the day and am happy to help in any way I can.

Love and hugs,

Nurse Joy

“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

Featured below, please enjoy some student work that is blooming!

nature awakens the natural

It’s been so invigorating to get out in nature this week.

Here are some fun outdoor Montessori ideas for you from the Montessori Notebook:

Seasonal activities – depending on the season you could take a basket to the local park or a nearby forest to collect leaves, acorns, shells, sticks, rocks, stones, and pine cones.

1. Grow your own vegetables – you don’t even have to have a large garden to grow your own. You can set up a potting station with some soil, a scoop and some seeds. Have a watering can at the ready. Don’t forget about composting by adding your food waste to a compost bin or worm farm. Your children will learn in a very natural way about the food cycle and returning nutrients to the soil.

2. Movement opportunities – climb trees, balance along walls or tree stumps or logs, hang from branches, swing from a tyre, ride a balance bike (“loopfiets” as they say in Dutch), kick a ball, jump with a skipping rope, chase each other, run fast, and walk slow.

3. All weather exploration – there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So get some great all-weather clothing and shoes and stomp in those puddles, make a snow man, put on a hat and sunscreen and explore the beach, get out each and every day.

4. Notice the beauty of the outdoors together – watch insects at work, droplets on leaves, the smell of rain, the colours of the sunset, the vistas from the mountains, the stillness of the lake or the ripples, the movement of the ocean, the wind in the trees, grab a magnifying glass to explore close up, or simply take in the gloriousness of the flowers and bees in a neighbour’s garden.

5. Find moments of quiet – find a place to sit and watch the clouds, to sit in silence, or just to breathe.

6. Make treasure hunts – make a list of pictures and work together to find all the items on your list. It could be in your garden, at the park, in the forest, or any outdoor place you have access to.

7. Build your own hut, cubby house, obstacle course and invite around some friends.

8. Make outdoor art – use mud, water, leaves, flowers, soil, seeds, grass and whatever other interesting pieces you can find. Lay them into patterns, make them into shapes, or work together to make a face or an animal.

9. Make a musical wall – hang in the garden old pots and pans, bells, and any other objects that make some sound when banged. Find some sticks to make some music.

Bonus: Anything to do with water – spraying the windows, filling a bucket and painting bricks with a brush, running through a sprinkler, making rivers with sand and water, or using a water pump at the playground.

Hero's Journey

Upper elementary and middle School students will enjoy creating and learning with Hero's Journey!

The hero's journey is an ancient story pattern that can be found in texts from thousands of years ago or in newly released Hollywood blockbusters. This interactive tool will provide students with background on the hero's journey and give them a chance to explore several of the journey's key elements. Students can use the tool to record examples from a hero's journey they have read or viewed or to plan out a hero's journey of their own.

Supportive Strategies

Supportive Strategies

by Peg Rideout, Special Education Coordinator

As an educator for over 25 years, I have worked with children from preschool through junior high and facilitated classes for post-secondary learners too. While you may say I haven’t seen it all, especially when it comes to your child and his/her issues, I have accumulated many “tools in my toolbox” - ways to provide positive and supportive approaches to many different and unique situations in the school/home setting. I’ll share a tidbit each week and challenge you to consider adding the approach to your toolbox! If you have specific areas you’d like me to address, please email me at and I’ll be sure to include it in a weekly newsletter (anonymously of course).

Struggling Writers - Why not RACE?

I’m sure during these days at home you are either reading a book to your child or he’s reading a book out loud or to himself. While reading can be very enjoyable for young and old alike, writing about what you’ve read can be met with groans, minimal effort or flat out refusal. A strategy I used with upper elementary and junior high students involves following the R.A.C.E. response.

Example: In the book Mad Monsters, why did the monster eat the cookie?

Restate: In the book Mad Monsters, the monster ate the cookie because

Answer: his grandma said if he ate all his monster mush he could have a cookie.

Cite: On page 7, grandma says, “Monsters who eat their mush grow muscles. I know you don’t like mush but if you eat all of it you may have a cookie.”

Explain: The monster did not like to eat mush but as soon as his grandma said he’d get a cookie if he did he decided that he would listen and follow her directions.

When you ask your child a question and have him write out an answer using R.A.C.E. look at the excellent work you’ll get!

Q: In the book Mad Monsters, why did the monster eat the cookie?

A: In the book, Mad Monsters, the monster ate the cookie because his grandma said if he ate all his monster mush he could have a cookie. On page 7, grandma says, “Monsters who eat their mush grow muscles. I know you don’t like mush but if you eat all of it you may have a cookie.” The monster did not like to eat mush but as soon as his grandma said he’d get a cookie if he did he decided that he would listen and follow her directions.”


  1. Provide opportunities for your child to write a response to reading instead of responding verbally.

  2. Post the R.A.C.E. strategy or have the child write out the meaning for each letter.

  3. Model this for your child and work through each step of R.A.C.E. together

  4. Use simple children’s books at first and then build to more challenging text.

  5. Honor the effort of your child. Writing is hard for many kids so be sure to praise the hard work they are doing.

Growing strong readers and writers takes time, but using a strategy like R.A.C.E. provides structure and support to help kids expand their thoughts.

Visual Writing Prompts prompt thinking


Visual writing prompts are thought-provoking, encourage higher level thinking, and reflective writing.

Help bring your child's thinking to the next level with this strategy:

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!


HeartMath Institute Gives 100,000 Kids Free Access to a New Online Course, HeartSmarts® Adventure.

With so many families sheltering at home now, many find themselves facing new challenges - how to manage time with their kids at home, how to create educational experiences, and how to manage the challenging emotions associated with COVID-19.
Here is a Description of the Program:
HeartSmarts Adventure guides children aged 4 to 6 through a self-paced, fun and engaging social and emotional online learning program. Children learn about connecting to their hearts, navigating emotions, relating to others and resilience-building techniques. Research shows that when children become attuned to their emotions, they have more focus, increased reasoning ability, greater comprehension and enhanced creativity.
  • Six artfully crafted Adventures
  • 60 engaging and informative activities
  • Science-based, parent-approved, kid-tested
To learn more and get your Free Access

Click Here

A Pretty Muddy Pig, Bedtime Math

By Laura Overdeck | Animals, Daily Math, Science and Nature

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

This fellow doesn’t look so excited about standing in the mud, does he? Truth is, he probably loves it. He’s a wild boar, a cousin of our mud-loving farm friend, the pig. Wild boars are a lot less friendly, though. The boy boars have sharp 2-inch long tusks, and if they chase you they’ll poke those tusks right into you! Like their pig cousins, boars eat just about anything, and use their long snouts (noses) to dig up roots and tubers out of that mud. They can’t see very well, but they have a great sense of smell to make up for it. Boars do get dangerous if they think you’re attacking them, so you don’t want to hang out with these guys — even if you like hanging out in the mud.

Wee ones: We like to think of pigs as pink, but boars can be black, brown, red, or grey. How many colors can board be?

Little kids: Baby boars are called piglets. If you have 2 mama sows and twice as many piglets, how many boars of all ages do you have? Bonus: If a boar can smell you from up to 40 feet away and you’re only 30 feet away, what’s the shortest distance you need to run to be safe?

Big kids: Let’s say a “sounder” (group of boars) has some number of boars, and if you take that number, double it and add 5, you get 23. How many boars are in the sounder? Bonus: Only male boars have those tusks. If you have 24 boars chasing you but only 1/4 of them are male, how many tusks do they have all together?

The sky’s the limit: If you’re being chased by 16 boars, and together they have 4 times as many feet as tusks, how many of the boars must be males with tusks?

Wee ones: 4 colors.

Little kids: 6 boars, since you have 4 piglets. Bonus: Anything more than 10 feet.

Big kids: 9 boars. If you added 5 to get 23, you had 18 before that, and you doubled to get 18. Bonus: 12 tusks, since you’re chased by 6 boars.

The sky’s the limit: 8 males. If they have 4 times as many feet as tusks, there must be 8 feet for every pair of tusks…which means for every 2 boars (8 feet), there’s just 1 pair of tusks. So 1/2 of the boars are male. Another way to solve it: 16 boars have 64 feet, which means they have 16 tusks, or 8 pairs.

Get Moving With Charades


Notes to instructors:

The game of charades is a fun way for students to be creative, express themselves, and get a healthy dose of moderate physical activity. The games in this packet were designed for small to medium groups and can be played with a mix of ages. Each card includes ideas for charade topics. Encourage students to be appropriately creative and come up with their own topic ideas.

As with any game or activity resource, it’s up to you to assess the needs and abilities of the students under your supervision. Modify this game as needed to meet the requirements of your space, group size, and age ranges.

The pages of this packet are designed to be used as station cards. The instructions can be read and explained by older and more mature students. However, we strongly recommend teaching each game to the group before allowing students to work independently.

Every page includes a reminder to practice safe social distancing. All of the games in this packet were designed to allow students to remain a minimum of 6 feet apart and DO NOT require them to use or share equipment.

Find more home physical fitness and healthy tips at :

Graphing Stories - Height of Waist Off Ground by Adam Poetzel

Graphing Stories

Dan Meyer and Buzzmath collaborated to create a collection of resources called Graphing Stories. These video tasks compare relationships like distance and time to a dependent variable over time. Click here to check it out!

1. Pass out the graphing paper.

2. Watch the video

3. Graph

4. Reveal

Take the Lego challenge

Have your children take the Lego Challenge with the downloadable Lego Challenge cards, where they will build the love of math.

Build a 20 brick high tower with half of the bricks red, half of the remaining bricks blue, and the rest of the bricks green. How many green bricks are there? What fraction of the bricks are are blue? What percent of the fraction are red?

A word from the Woods

Hi, I’m Ms Jeanie, checking in from out in the woods while keeping my social distance. It’s an exciting time to be out here because of the spring ephemerals. Let me explain:

But they aren’t dead, just dormant. Under the ground their roots are still growing and spreading. Their seeds are being carried around by animals to new homes.

Full disclosure, many of these pictures are of plants in my yard, hence the trash can in the last picture. The plants were rescued from road construction with official permission. Since spring ephemerals haven’t bloomed yet this year, I had to depend on pictures I have taken in years before. But most spring ephemerals are in the woods where they belong.

The picture of dormant trees was taken this morning at Cool Creek Park. You have plenty of time to see spring ephemerals this year. Remember to be safe and keep your social distance!


1. The Understory Layer from online site of Citadel

2. Cool Creek Park Feb 28, 2020

3. Trout lily leaves, Dutchman’s Britches and False Rue Anemone

4. Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Trout Lilies and Dutchman’s Britches

5. Virginia Bluebells

6. Jack-in-the-Pulpit seeds and False Solomon’s Seal with seeds.

Here are some more cool things for you to learn about:

-What is your favorite Spring Ephemeral? Can you draw it? Here are two websites that have pictures:

Counselor's Corner

Please see the attached assignments that are due 3/30.

Better Together: GMA School Board Supports our School family~ they volunteer countless hours and work at all times behind the scenes

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Calendar Updates, WI-FI Options, and eLearning


  • 15 days of e-learning remaining (3/29-4/2) Spring break 4/3-4/10, then 4/13-5/1 (excluding Fridays)

Waiver Days:

  • State has granted us 20, so a full school year is now 160 days vs. the typical 180
  • District is using 3 waiver days: 4/17, 4/24, and 5/1

Important Dates/Postponements/Rescheduling: All GMA events are possibly being rescheduled or being held virtually

  • March 30: Mr. Michael's Lessons are due
  • International Festival~ TBD
  • April 14: STEM Camps, PTO Elections; on hold for now
  • April 16: Enrollment Night, 5:30-7:30, Parent Montessori Education Night~ may be holding this virtually
  • April 20-May 15: iLearn State Testing, canceled
  • April 29-30: Act it Out Presentations; on hold for now
  • May 2: 10 am-1 pm- Spring Carnival; on hold for now
  • May 8: Talent and Art Show; still possible
  • Middle School events: graduation, dance, and camping trip~ still scheduled until further notice

Odds and Ends:

  • We will refund or credit 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.
  • Charter Communications announced on March 13, 2020 that for 60 days the company will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access to homes with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a subscription. Installation fees will also be waived for these households. Enroll by calling 844-488-8395. Charter will also continue Spectrum Internet Assist, a program offering low-cost broadband internet of 30 Mbps for low-income households without school-aged children.

  • Comcast, which owns Xfinity, will offer 60 days free and increased speeds for new families who join the Internet Essentials program, an internet access program for low income families that is normally $9.95 a month.

  • AT&T announced on Friday it would not cancel service and would waive late fees for any wireless, home phone, broadband residential or small business customer experiencing hardships because of the coronavirus pandemic and can't pay their bills. Qualifying low income households can apply for $10 a month internet access through the Access from AT&T program. Fixed Wireless Internet and Wireline customers can use unlimited internet data. AT&T will also keep public Wi-Fi hotspots open.

  • Comcast offers free service:

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

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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