Ali Packo

Amy Lawrence

Maple Room is a Children’s House classroom on the Toledo Campus. Amy Lawrence and Ali Packo are the classroom’s co-teachers.


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

After finishing our study of Antarctica, we traveled to the continent of Asia.  Did you know that Asia is the largest continent?  Asia is home to the largest country in the world and the most populated country in the world.  The largest country is Russia and the most populated country is China.  Bananas and mangoes are popular fruits in Asia. To introduce the students to the mango, they had an opportunity to taste a banana mango smoothie. The smoothie was a hit!  In case you would like to make the Asian-inspired smoothie at home, here are the ingredients: bananas, frozen mango chunks, a mango yogurt and apple juice.  You may decide how much of each ingredient you would like to use in your recipe.  Below you will find students completing various works that focus on Asia.

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Children are introduced to the delicious mango.

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A second year student is concentrating as he is coloring flags of Asian countries.

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A first year student made her own mendhi hand design. These hand designs are very popular in India.

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A first year student matches the Asian animal  nomenclature cards.

Thank you to all of you that were able to participate in “Bring Your Parents to Work” week.  The children loved having the opportunity to share their work with you!


As her mom sits by her side, a kindergarten student is writing the names of the months.

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A second year student is completing a fraction work, as her mom looks on.

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A first year student is completing a patterning activity with her mom’s assistance.

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A kindergarten student is showing her dad her music folder.

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A first year student enjoys sitting on her dad’s lap, during circle time.

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A kindergarten student shows her mom how to use the moveable alphabet to make words.

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A second year student is using the golden bead materials to make numbers.

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A second year student is completing a research project on the human body, as her dad carefully observes her work.


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!

Happy New Year to all of our Maple Room families! We hope you enjoyed the Winter Break with your children. It was so fun to hear about all of your exciting adventures when they returned. Everyone came in ready to catch up with their friends and dive right back into work. Just a few reminders to share before looking at the new topics explored in our room:

*Now that we are in the heart of Winter, please remember to send appropriate gear in for the children to wear at recess, such as mittens, hats, scarves, snow pants, boots, etc. We will try to get outside every day for a short time if the temperature and weather conditions permit. Please LABEL EVERYTHING with your child’s name/last name.

*Please check your child’s backpack to make sure they have a seasonally appropriate change of clothes in a Ziploc bag. This comes in handy for spills, accidents, and if they get wet or muddy outside. Even kindergartners need a change of clothes with them.

*Please check the snack calendar for January for your date to bring in snack. Our children love snack. Most kids visit every morning at some point. Also, if your child is full-day, please pack something extra labeled SNACK for them to enjoy in the afternoon. They definitely work up an appetite.

Here are a few of the exciting new topics examined in the Maple Room since our return back to school:


We began exploring a new continent in geography. Here are some clues. See if you can guess. This is the fifth largest continent. It is almost fully covered by ice. It is the coldest and windiest place on the planet. It is the continent of Antarctica. It seemed appropriate to introduce during this frigid season when we are experiencing the wintry weather first-hand. We also clarified that Antarctica is in the South Pole and the Arctic is in the North Pole. They are on the opposite sides of the world. Polar bears and penguins never meet because polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins in Antarctica. Activities on the shelf included pin punching the continent, informational books to research Antarctica, labeling different types of penguins (including a King penguin, an Emperor penguin, a Rockhopper penguin, and a Macaroni penguin), matching pictures of penguins, and nomenclature cards on the parts of the penguin’s body. We discussed the appropriate types of clothes to wear there and how important it is to keep your skin covered and not be exposed to the cold. Temperatures reach as low as -129 degrees Fahrenheit there. A comparison was made to the temperatures we experience in Ohio. Research told us that January is the warmest month in Antarctica with temperatures mostly below zero degrees. Scientists and tourists are really the only people that visit. There is no official population.

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A kindergartner labels the parts of a penguin and records them using the nomenclature cards.

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It is fun to look at and match pictures of animals from Antarctica.


Four landforms were shown recently- lake, island, isthmus, and strait. A lake is described as a body of water surrounded by land and an island as a body of land surrounded by water. An isthmus is described as a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with water forms on either side. A strait is a channel of water that lies between two land masses. The kids were able to go to the sink and get their own small pitchers of water to pour into the appropriate area on the landforms. They sorted objects according to where they could be found, on the land or in the water.

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This is the lake landform. It is a popular work in the Maple Room.

Organs (Human Body)-

We have discussed the outer parts of the body that are visible to us, such as the head, hands, neck, feet, etc. Then, we looked at the framework of our body- the bones. Now, organs of the body are our focus. An activity called the anatomy apron is a highly chosen work in the room. It requires two people working together to complete. One person puts on the apron and the other places Velcro organs onto the apron. It is a great visual reminder to see how all parts of the body work together to make it function. For example, the brain is the control center of the body and helps us make good choices. The heart pumps blood through the body and the stomach digests the food. Another work included coloring a picture of the body (including the organs). Many children also pin punched the organs, had their bodies traced onto a long sheet of paper, and glued the organs onto their paper bodies.

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The anatomy apron is introduced. A kindergartner volunteers to help.

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Two friends work together to figure out where the organs should be placed.

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The organs have been placed on the body. Now it is time to make it look life like with details such as hair, a face, etc.

A demonstration was given to look at the four main components of blood: plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Blood has many functions including transporting oxygen to the lungs and tissues. It helps us sustain life. The children were shown a water bottle with yellow water in it. This represented the plasma. Then, red-dyed cheerios were added to the plasma. They represented the red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Then, mini marshmallows were added to represent the white blood cells, which help to fight infection. Finally, small purple pom poms were added to represent the platelets, which help form blood clots. The final product looked a little gross but it helped provide a visual of our blood that we cannot see with only our eyes.

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The red blood cells are added to the plasma in our demonstration.

Candid photos in the Maple Room-

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The 45 layout requires time and patience to complete.

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Our former UT student comes back to visit and share her experiences from a mission trip to Haiti.

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Matching pictures of geometric solids to objects in the environment is difficult work.

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The reading boxes have been a point of interest in the room.

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A friend shares his rock collection with the class.

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Our third grade reader shares a winter themed book.

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An art project is shared to go along with the book.

There were so many wonderful pictures from our Holiday Open House in December. Enjoy!

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Working together on a craft!

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She is so proud to share her reading skills with grandma.

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We love having our parents visit! Look at that smile!

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Sharing work and skills!

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Family is what this special day is all about!

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Labeling the bones in the body requires collaboration!

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Showing mom her bookmaking work!

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Such a special day with special families!!