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It is hard to believe we have come to the end of the year.  What a crazy year it has been.  Thank you all for allowing me the pleasure of teaching your children, I will miss you all next year.  Some final announcements.

6th Grade Bridging – May 20 at 6:30 PM

A Zoom link will be sent out today.  We ask that your child wears nice clothes, and that they maintain all meeting grace and courtesy.  The zoom link will be sent to STUDENT emails. (edit: these actually went out to parent emails.  I thought it would be safer that way.  Please check your emails for this.) Parents can be in the background listening, but we are trying to keep the amount of people on the call to a minimum.  The bridging ceremony will be recorded and sent out to sixth grade parents afterwords so it can be shared with family members who were not able to attend.

Parent Teacher Conferences – May 19, 20, 21

If you have not yet signed up, please do so here: https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/siwqa

I hope to see you all, let you know how your child was doing before the virus, let them show you the work they are most proud of, and have a conversation.  This is a great opportunity to ask any questions or concerns you might have concerning next year.  A zoom invitation will be sent out to parents the day preceding the conference you signed up for.  That zoom link will be the same for everyone.  When you join, you will be waiting in a “lobby” and I will invite you in when I have ended the conference with whomever is before you.  If you have and questions or concerns about how that will work, please shoot me an email.

Upper Elementary End-of-the-Year Parade – May 21, 4-5 PM

Drive through celebration of the upper elementary with all of your teachers and assistants.  This is an opportunity for us to say goodbye after a crazy year.  There will likely be some crazy outfits… some music… perhaps even a special surprise for students who attend!  So PLEASE come and drive through.  We look forward to seeing you!

June Class Party – June 20, 6-8 PM

With the governor moving us into the yellow phase of COVID, it looks like this will be able to move forward!  The Johansen family has asked me to invite you to a (socially distanced) summer class party, with special guests: Ms. Sarah and Ms. Laura!  Its the perfect way for us to say goodbye after such a crazy year.  We know it is during summer vacation and you all have all kinds of things going on.  But we would love to see you there if you can make it.

It will take place at the Lion’s Club Park off of 22nd and Harrison on Saturday, June 20th.  Come anytime between 6-8 PM!  Stay for a little, or stay for a lot!

Portfolio Pick Up

Ms. Sarah has graciously grabbed everyone’s portfolios from the school to keep them from getting thrown away.  She will be at the school quite often this week helping close things down.  Please contact me to set up a time to get those from her.  If you are not able to pick up portfolios before hand, they will be available at the parade on Thursday.  Anything left over on Thursday will get tossed, so make sure you get all of that amazing work!

Dear Parents-

It is hard to believe we are at the end of the school year for 2019-2020. We are so grateful to have such wonderful students and parents. We have been especially grateful for all of your support during Distant Learning as we all know this was very much not anticipated!
Moving forward as this year comes to an end, we are busy planning for the following school year of 2020-2021 and are trying to be proactive as possible. Please take a few minutes to take this SCHOOL WIDE DISTANT LEARNING SURVEY- so we can use your feedback with Professional Development planning in two weeks. Your voice and your opinion is so valuable to our community and our growth as a school. Please take the survey by next Friday, May 22 by 4:00. Again we will be using this information to help us be more prepared if we do continue Soft Closure another time.
We still do not have a status on when yearbooks will be delivered. COVID-19 put a bump in distribution. If your child ordered a year book, you will receive an email from your lead teacher in regards to how and when they will be distributed. We do apologize.
Class lists for the school year of 2020-2021 will be communicated by the end of July.
Thank you everyone!

I apologize that this is coming out a little late.  Next week we will continue our morning meetings, but as parent teacher conferences and other things will be happening throughout the day next week, we have decided not to continue doing lessons.

Friday, May 15 Meeting – IMPORTANT

This Friday, at 9 AM, I will be having a very important close of year meeting.  It is EXTREMELY important to me that all students are there for this.  Please do everything in your power to have your student attend, but it will be recorded and sent out to the whole class after it ends for those who cannot attend.

Parent Teacher Conferences

PTCs are still on! We have a variety of time slots for all 3 days (the 19th, the 20th, and the 21st).  Sign up here: https://www.wejoinin.com/sheets/siwqa

6th Grade Bridging

We will still be holding a bridging for our 6th graders.  We ask that only 6th graders “attend” this meeting, but parents and family members are more than welcome to be in the background/screen listening and cheering.  We will do both student and teacher speeches, as is tradition.

Bridging will be held May 20th at 6:30 PM VIA Zoom.  Invitations will be sent out closer to the day.

Upper Elementary Parade

We thought the Teacher Appreciation parade was AMAZING, but we want the opportunity to appreciate YOU!  Please join us for a socially distanced goodbye parade on the last day of school for us to wish you a wonderful summer vacation!

The parade will be held May 21 at 4:00 PM

Stuff Pick up – BY FRIDAY!

Students still have some stuff at the school that needs to be collected.  The last time I was there, there was still a lot of bags of student’s locker belongings and we have now added portfolios to that mix.  Anything left behind will be thrown away or donated on Friday.  So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go pick up stuff.  Even if you got your student’s locker belongings, they will have a portfolio to collect.

June Class Party!

I’ve got my fingers, toes, and eyeballs crossed that everything will work out to our advantage and this can go forward!  The Johansen family has asked me to invite you to a (socially distanced) summer class party, with special guests: Ms. Sarah and Ms. Laura!  Its the perfect way for us to say goodbye after such a crazy year.  We know it is during summer vacation and you all have all kinds of things going on.  But we would love to see you there if you can make it.

Lion’s Club Park off of 22nd and Harrison on Saturday, June 20th.  Come anytime between 6-8 PM!  Stay for a little, or stay for a lot!

Greetings!  I can not believe it is May already!  We are embarking on our last two week cycle, and it looks a little different than it has before.

Imaginary Island Project

We are starting a 2 week long Imaginary Island project.  This will take the place of all daily lessons (students will need to use math, language, social studies, biology, etc. in order to complete the project).  Every other day, a new lesson will be posted to the classroom.  These lessons have suggested due dates that are 2 days after each new lesson to help keep you on track.  All islands will come due at the end of this two week cycle.

If you are fully online, you will see a new lesson come live every OTHER day (Monday the 4th, Wednesday the 6th, Friday the 8th, Monday the 11th, and Wednesday the 13th, with the entire project due Friday the 15th.)  If you have requested a packet, you have been provided with the entire project.

There will be some supplemental things (like the digital Montessori material for the island) provided only online, and I apologize for the inconvenience of that. PLEASE get in contact with any questions! You can sign up for a one-on-one meeting with myself and Ms. Sarah here: https://www.trackitforward.com/site/389525/events


As I begin the end of year shut down of our classroom (sad, I know!!) I will be coming up with a plan to get you your portfolio for parent teacher conferences.  Please stay tuned for that!

Which brings me to my next announcement…

Parent Teacher Conferences

These will take place the 19th, 20th, and 21st.  There are a variety of times available throughout the day to honor everyone’s different schedules.  If I still didn’t hit on a time you are available, please let me know and we can work something out.  A Zoom meeting invitation will be going out to the parent email I have on file the day before your conference is scheduled.   This is to avoid conference invitations being lost in the inbox.  More information will come on that as we get closer to conferences.  Signups are available below:



That’s all I have for now! As always, stay safe!

Greetings all!  Pretty calm week this week, but check below for any announcements.  I also received a HUGE amount of new ideas and resources, so check the distance learning resources tab for all kinds of new and exciting ideas!

New Office Hours

The office will no longer be staffed on Fridays, so the hours have changed.  You are now able to access the building: Monday thru Thursday, 9 AM-11 AM and 3 PM-5 PM.

By Popular Demand

Students have expressed to me in the morning meeting that they would like a schedule to sign up for one-on-one meetings with Ms. Sarah and I.  These will occur in 30 minute slots, are completely optional, and are available for whatever you need them for:

  • Need help on an assignment?
  • Want to chat about chocolate chip cookies?
  • Want to show off the new song you learned on guitar?
  • Have a story to tell?
  • Built a totally awesome house on Minecraft that you want to show off?
  • Parents: need an adult to talk to?

We’ve got slots and time for you!

Like I say, this is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL.  Ms. Sarah and I just want to be there for you.  This is not intended to be “one more thing,” We just genuinely miss everyone and enjoy the time we get to spend with you!  If you are interested, the sign up sheets can be found on Track it Forward: https://www.trackitforward.com/site/389525/events



Greetings all!  Welcome to our third cycle of distance learning.  I was heartbroken when Governor Herbert announced that we would be in soft closure till the end of the year, but it is more important that everyone stays home and healthy.  Ms. Sarah and I miss you all terribly though.  Please know that we continue to be here to support and help you through this time.  We are available by email and remind, we are here for phone calls and video chats.  Please continue to use us as a resource!

Redwoods Field Trip

I realized last night that we should be on our way to the Redwoods right now for the 6th grade field trip.  In honor of that, I have posted a link in the distance learning resources to be able to experience it virtually.  The outdoor educators at Alliance Redwoods have been posting lessons on their YouTube channel and I would encourage everyone (not only 6th graders) to check those videos out!

On a less academic note, I know that in these times of economic uncertainty that getting the refund for that trip is a priority – please know that the company in charge of business functions for MMA, Academica West, is working on processing those and getting them back to you.  You should be receiving them in the mail.

6th Grade Meeting/Bridging

We are still planning to do a bridging ceremony for our 6th graders.  It will be a virtual/Zoom ceremony, the details of which will come out closer to the end of the school year in May.

It is traditional at Bridging that a 6th grader is chosen by the class to speak.  In order to discuss this further and explain what next steps look like to our 6th graders, I will be holding a 6th grade only Google Hangouts meeting tomorrow (April 21) after our typical meeting ends (9:30 AM).  That should only take about 10-15 minutes for me to share all of the information students will need to get started, but it is important that all 6th graders attend so they can ask questions and make sure they are on the same page.

Parent Teacher Conferences

We will be holding virtual parent teacher conferences at the end of May.  Just like always, a time signup will go up on Track It Forward.  We will use this time to discuss where your child was at before COVID, and what you can expect next year.  There will also be progress reports shared at this time.  I expect to have the sign up live by the end of April, so stay tuned for that.

Google Hangouts

We have been having an excellent time meeting with everyone in the mornings.  It was, however, suggested that we try different times.  We understand that 9 can be too early for some families and students.. but we also know that the hangout can be a good reason to get your kiddo up and moving in the morning.  Ms. Sarah and I want to honor both you and your students time, and make sure we are offering a meeting that is best for everyone.  Because of this, I have set up a survey so I can get a feel for what is best for everyone.  I know that there is no way we can make it work for everyone’s schedule, but we want to make it as convenient as we can.


I will also send that link out via email.


Thank you all!

Hello all, and welcome to a new week.  It has been wonderful to see everyone on our daily check in’s via Google Hangouts.  If you have not been able to join us yet, you are still welcome! They happen every morning at 9:00 AM.  You can find the link to the hangout in your students MMAlions.org account Google calendar.  I will also attempt to link it into the Google classroom under my name for ease of access there.

We are Here to Help!

Ms. Sarah and I continue to be available 5 days a week between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM (as well as outside of those hours if requested).  We are here for any questions, comments, or concerns you might have as well as to offer help and assistance to your child.  We recognize that being an educator is NOT the career path you chose and that you are juggling a million things on top of the added duty of teaching your child.  Please know that you are not expected to be a parent and educator as well as a working professional during this time.  Ms. Sarah and I are here to help you.  Please use us! Rely on us! and above all: if it seems to be too much, let. it. go.  Taking care of yourself and your family is of the utmost importance in this time and your physical and mental health, as well as the physical and mental health of your family, take precedence at this time.

“Distance Learning in Times of Disaster” – Letty Rising and Elizabeth Slade

We received an interesting article that  I wanted to share an excerpt from it.  If you would like to give the entire article a read, you can find it here: Elementary-Distance-Learning-in-Times-of-Disaster (1)

“In the stillness that is beginning while we are held in our homes for an extended time be prepared for the feelings you put on hold during the crisis to emerge.Those feelings we are holding are best felt as they arise, rather than coming out towards another person or much further down the road as a delayed response. 

What do the next steps look like for my elementary-aged child? 

Whereas the first part of Distance Learning was about occupying their time to keep them busy as everyone was orienting themselves, this next phase is about creating a predictable schedule based upon current limitations and possibilities. While the first phase was about experimenting with varying rhythm and routines, the second phase can be a celebratory time as you and your child together figure out what works. This adds to a sense of stability and predictability that children will find valuable with so much uncertainty in our world right now. 

What will you want to watch out for? 

There is a lot of conversation lately about caregivers feeling frustrated with child behavior, and looking at the big picture, these children have been experiencing the same kind of collective trauma that the adults are experiencing. However, they don’t always have the tools, experience, or self-awareness to express what they are truly feeling inside, and these uncomfortable feelings can manifest as negative or undesirable behaviors. 

Here are some common behaviors that might be heightened right now due to the huge transition many children have recently experienced: 

  • Withdrawal: Your elementary child might easily retreat into books or electronics to pull away from the challenges of the outside world. While we all have our idealized practices, during a time of survival is not a time to enter into power struggles or force them to talk. Keep the communication lines open on your end, reach out and make a bid for connection, talk about how you are feeling, tell a story about your day. Elementary children love stories and this can be an opening for them to share how they’re feeling. 
  • Fatigue: Children might be much more tired than usual. Between being at home all day, learning how to do school from a distance, and learning new life routines, that is a lot for children to process. Make sure children are getting enough rest. While it’s important to keep the same schedule for consistency, older elementary children may want to sleep in late. Again, we are not living in the same world we were living in even a month ago. Children are taking a lot in, and they may need the extra rest right now. 
  • Anger: It’s natural that your child might get overly upset about small things. A lot of time the anger is misplaced onto something trivial or something/someone that feels safer to be angry with. And with such an abstract enemy such as an invisible virus, it’s hard to know where to channel the anger from the disruption. As the days and weeks, march on and children are not able to see their friends, this anger is bound to build. Offering empathy and compassion while setting limits is key right now, as well keeping it in perspective. The circumstances we are now living in are not ideal for anyone. 
  • Anxiety: Even children who don’t typically display anxious behavior will be prone to it right now. We have just turned the corner into April, and with that, there are bills to pay and rent is due, and elementary children are very much attuned to the hardships and struggles that their parents face. Minimizing a child’s anxious feelings in an attempt to make them feel better often has the opposite effect. Instead, you will want to acknowledge and affirm their feelings, even their feelings that might activate your discomfort. 
  • Resistance: Children who are normally cooperative can become resistant during this time. Even the most innocuous suggestion from you can result in a wall of resistance from your child. Rather than getting into a mental game of tug-o-war, drop the rope. Say something like “I see that you don’t want to attend to the work that we agreed upon. Let’s talk about that.” Another important point to note about resistance is that sometimes children resist because they want you to respond in a way that will activate their pent up feelings. Behind resistance is usually deeper-rooted feelings, and often these feelings have nothing to do with whatever is being resisted. Helping children develop a language of feelings, as well as supporting them in feeling angry or crying when necessary, will allow children to identify the source of their pain and talk about it. 

If some of these feelings or scenarios resonate it may be because on some level we are all feeling withdrawn, tired, angry, anxious and resistant. We are all cycling through a natural response to something dramatic that has happened to us collectively. We are all holding loved ones near and far who are also cycling through these feelings. The difficult part is finding the reserves to offer love in response. Yet the amazing part is to be so connected as we go through this crisis together. 

Through it all we are now holding the shared task of educating our children. We have found a way to continue in the face of disaster. This might be a time for us to ask ourselves the following questions: What will we want to remember about this time? How can we find purpose and meaning in these changes? May we remember to lean in, to share what is true and to continue knowing that this time is shaping our children and that our children are the future.”

I hope in any small way that was helpful.  We are all in this together.

Resources for Additional Learning

I am sent links all the time about cool things to do and learn and amazing programs being offered by people all of the world.  I wanted to let you know that I am adding a tab up top where I am going to put all of these resources.  A kind of one stop shop for anything fun and extra.  Don’t feel overwhelmed by this! Its just a place for me to share some of the incredible wealth of resources I am being gifted with.

Hello and welcome back!

I hope everyone was able to spend some time together and get some rest.  I know it was hard for me to get up at that alarm this morning.

Google Classrooms/Packets

As per the email that was sent out before break, we are going to continue with our instruction on Google Classrooms moving forward.  If you have not yet gotten onto that, this is a great time to.  All the log in information is on the post two below this.  Of course, all assignments are available in hard copy in the packets just like last time.  Your packet will go for two weeks, and then you will need to hand that in and get the next one. Please hand in all packets from the last two weeks as well.  Ms. Sarah and I would like to be able to check that work.

We will also be continuing with IXL and Utah compose, so double check that you can get into that.  Prodigy is another great tool to keep your child practicing math at this time.

Please note: If you tried to get into the school to get that last week and were unable to because the school was closed for cleaning, the school is open again as of today for you to pick up and drop off packets.  Thank you for your understanding.

Google Hangouts

This weeks big change is the addition of Google Hangouts into our daily routine!  Starting tomorrow, and continuing daily at 9 AM, we are going to have a community meeting so we can all see one another and catch up.  It will be run as a normal morning circle and should last no longer than 30 minutes.  An email will be going to your student’s mmalions account with an invitation.  I also will link in all of the information on how to connect to that as well as a document discussing grace and courtesy regarding those hangouts at the bottom of this post.  Those documents will also be emailed to you and posted in the documents tab of the blog.

You can access Hangouts via computer, phone, or tablet so there are lots of options to join us!

Which brings me to my next announcement,

Cultural Projects Due

Before COVID-19 hit Utah, your student was assigned a take home project.  That project came due today! (4/6)  Because we are not together for your child to present that project, I am going to ask that it is presented digitally in order to fulfill the oral presentation aspect of the assignment.  There are a couple options for this.

  1. During the Google Hangouts session.  Students will have the opportunity during our morning community meeting, just like they would have in class.
  2. A video recording of your child presenting their project sent to me through email.

We will discuss both options during our first community meeting tomorrow morning, so start thinking about which option is best for you and your family.

We are looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

How to for Ms Laura’s Hangouts

Ways for your child to sign in to Google Hangouts

Welcome to Week 2

Greetings All!

I hope you all are well, Ms. Sarah and I are missing everyone like crazy!  I know there is a lot of change, and a lot of change still to come, but I appreciate every one of you and the things that you are doing.  We are working very hard on our end to try to bring some normalcy into the crazy… but I know it is overwhelming and exhausting and frustrating at times.  So.  Please.  Take a big deep breath, know that we are on your side, and remember that you can only do what you can do.  We are trying to provide enough resources and work that students can feel busy and productive, but you need to do what you feel is best for your family! If you or your student is feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a step back and away.  This is a great time to be making memories with your child.  So, read a book together, build a puzzle, play a game, bake cookies.  The beautiful part of Montessori is that we teach the whole child – which means that all of that stuff that makes your kid a better human? (you know.. chores and cooking and learning to get along with siblings?) That’s all part of the curriculum! And yes, you can tell them that Ms. Laura told you that they have to clean up their room. 😉  Please know that no matter your situation, Ms. Sarah and I are here and ready to help support in any way we can!

We are going to continue on with Google classroom this week.  Please know that we as a team are looking into better solutions of communication with you through that platform.  If your child is particularly struggling with something, (or succeeding and you want to brag!) please don’t be afraid to reach out to me!  I am here all day to help you through any means of communication you are comfortable with.  I am by far the fastest at responding to messages through Remind – so if it’s time sensitive, that’s the best way to reach me!

And please reach out with updates: good, bad, and ugly, about how you and your family are doing.  One of the things I miss most is getting to hear about my students lives and all of the little things (which seem so minuscule to us, but mean so much to them) that they have been up to.  A few parents have sent me pictures of their student working or updates about how they are doing and it fills my heart with so much joy to see everyone!  Keep those coming!

Here’s an update for you that you are welcome to share with your kiddo: My life so far has been supremely unexciting – mostly just working on getting our digital classroom up and going while under the EXTREMELY close supervision of Wizard.  (I have to tell you… I don’t think I’m impressing her much…) Wizard has been very unhappy without the hubub of the classroom to keep her entertained, and spent a full two days pouting and glaring at me from her cave when she didn’t go back to school on Monday.  So I think it’s safe to say she misses you as well!

Next week we will have spring break as planned, so don’t expect any communication from me next week.  That being said, an email is being prepared by upper elementary discussing what you can expect in the coming weeks.  You can expect that coming to your inbox within the next couple of days.  Once that email has been sent, I will be available to help offer any clarification and answer any questions that may come up.  In the meantime, just keep doing what you’re doing! You’ve got this!

Greetings all:

As we head into our second day, I wanted to clarify a few things that I am getting a lot of questions on.  Hopefully this answers some questions we all are having.

First, Google Classroom. 

This is where all assignments are being posted.  When you log in, make sure you are logging in with your students SCHOOL account (format is first.last@mmalions.org password is FirstSSID#) Then enter the class code.

  • for sixth:  zzjeejh
  • for fifth:   q6y4hy4
  • for fourth: 3yl44k4

once you are logged in, head up to the “classwork” tab.  This will clear out some of the noise that you see when you are looking at the “stream” tab and help organize things for you.  In the classwork tab, you will see a variety of folders.  You only need to pay attention to three of these folders

  1. the “daily” tab.  This is where all daily lessons are posted.  We as a team are putting together one new lesson a day for each grade level.  The lesson itself, all supplementary videos, and the follow up are here.  This has also been given to you in hard copy in your packet.
  2.  The “weekly” tab. This is where all lessons are posted that students are to be working on all week. This includes things like essays that are to be typed up on Utah Compose.  The information in this tab has also been given to you in your packet
  3. The “Ms. Laura” tab. This is where all class specific items are posted.  This is where you can find login information for all online applications we are using as well as the IXL assignments and all of that good stuff.  This was not provided in your packet as it only deals with online information.

Of course, please know that while Google Classroom is an indispensable tool for us at this time because it allows us to supplement and enhance our lessons, all important resources and print outs have been given to you in your packet.  This means your student can continue to work regardless of access to a computer.

Second, the Remind App. 

This is a tool I am using to improve my ability to communicate with you.  While I am always available through email, I do not always get it as immediately as I need to.  My computer does not always notify me that I have received a new email, nor am I sitting at my computer all day.  Remind goes straight to my phone and sends me a notification so I can immediately respond.  This has been extremely helpful to me as we work out the kinks of the online system.  Please, if you have not already, get Remind set up so we can be in communication.  They even have a really wonderful app so you too can have it right on your phone and get by the minute updates from me as they become available.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we all navigate this new system.

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