Black Cherry

Kyla Reams

Cory Hall

Black Cherry Room is a Children’s House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Cory Hall and Kyla Reams are the classroom’s co-teachers.


2015-16 Toledo Children’s House
Dates to Know [PDF]

I want to thank all the families that came to First Thursday today. I also want to share with you the handout (below).

Structure of the Music/Literacy Lessons

CH_MusicI start with a Music and Movement lesson for the whole class. We warm up our voices and bodies and have a lot of fun. After a couple of songs at circle I spread the children around the room so that we have space to hop, jump, and wiggle without bumping into our friends while we sing action songs. During this time, I also sing songs related to content areas that children are studying in the classroom and seasonal songs.

After singing our hearts out and shaking our sillies out we come back to the circle for the Shared Reading lesson. At this time I refer to the song I have written on chart paper, and point to each word as the students and I read the text together. Even the youngest students can be successful in this reading environment because they have already sung the song and they have the support of their classmates and me.

During work time I work with the students in small groups reading their folders. All of the students have their own folders that contain copies of the songs we have used as Shared Reading texts. This gives students the chance to read the songs independently, allowing them to make one more mental imprint of the song. Songs are illustrated to provide picture support so that even the youngest readers can be successful through recognition and recitation. They see the picture of the water, and they know it is the song, “Listen to the Water,” so they begin reciting it from memory. Emergent readers use their fingers to practice left-to-right directionality and begin tracking print. Developing readers use one-to-one correspondence, touching each word as they say it, and self-correcting when they notice that the word their finger is pointing to does not match the word they are saying. The differentiation of instruction is inherent in the activity because all of the children can approach it at their own levels and be successful.

When we work in small groups, in addition to reading our folders for independent reading, there are many other literacy extension activities that we do. For example, we did a lot of work on our names with the song “What’s Your Name” including comparing names and “letter hunting.” I sometimes ask students to illustrate a song as a comprehension activity. Other times I use “zipper songs,” asking children to fill in a blank, and “zipping” their ideas into the song. When we fill in gaps in a printed song, my expectations are different for students depending on their individual levels. I might model the writing and fill in the blanks myself, stretching out a word to listen for every sound in it. I might ask children for the initial sound of a word, or to write the word independently, depending on their abilities.

The best way for you to understand the curriculum and appreciate the incredible work the children are doing would be to come in and observe on a day when your child has Music. I am in Sassafras on Mondays, Black Cherry on Tuesdays, Perrysburg on Wednesdays, Poplar and Sycamore on Thursdays, and Maple on Fridays. Please join us. I would love to see you there!

Keep singing!

Please join Amy Wagner and me this Thursday, February 4, 8:30- 9:30 a.m. Amy will talk about the Montessori materials that support language, and I will talk about how the Music/Literacy program works. We will do a quick demonstration with some of the Children’s House students, and be available to answer questions. Hope to see you there!

Black Cherry children learned about the continent of Australia this month. We listened to the famous calls of the Kookaburra bird. The Kookaburra has a distinctive call, it sounds like laughing. The children found great joy in hearing the sounds of a laughing bird. We also learned the famous Kookaburra song. This song has been sung by generations of Australian children.


(Marion Sinclair – Australian Children’s Song, 1936)

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gum drops he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
Leave some there for me

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Counting all the monkeys he can see
Stop, Kookaburra! Stop, Kookaburra!
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

Extra Verse: (their favorite verse:)

Kookaburra sits on the electric wire
Jumping up and down with his tail on fire
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch!
Kookaburra, hot your tail must be!

In addition, we learned about the mighty jump of the red kangaroo. At circle we measured out the distance of the average jump of the red kangaroo. Then, the children were able to give it their best and try to leap as far as the kangaroo.  Hoping, leaping and jumping for joy!


Red kangaroos hop along on their powerful hind legs and do so at great speed. A red kangaroo can reach speeds of over 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour. Their bounding gait allows them to cover 25 feet (8 meters) in a single leap and to jump 6 feet (1.8 meters) high. -National Geographic Society


Cold Picture

Baby it’s cold outside. With winter weather finally appearing,  please remember to send your child in weather-appropriate clothing. This includes: boots, gloves, and hats and snow pants when appropriate.  Also, make sure to pack an extra set of clothing as well, in case your child’s clothing gets wet. We believe that gross motor play is important for child development and we want to use every opportunity to allow your child to play outdoors. Please note that Children’s House policy for outside play needs to feel like 20 degrees for us to go outside.

Look Ahead

Black Cherry Room has some exciting things planned for the month of January. We will be studying nutrition, human body, fire safety and the study of Australia.  Keep checking the blog for updates as we learn about these topics and more.

Welcome Back! 

Children’s House Celebrates

“Take Your Parents to Work Week”!

The roles are reversed!

Monday, January 25th – Friday, January 29th, Children’s House is inviting their parents to join them in their “work” for a day from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.

A limited number of spaces are available each day during the week for you to join your children in exploring the classrooms and to share the important work they do each day at West Side Montessori.

Go to and then click on “classrooms.” Choose your child’s classroom and go to the volunteer page to reserve your space today!

If you have questions, please contact Kathy Heckert at 419-866-1931 or