News from Kazoo School!

The 2014-15 Annual Fund is in Full Swing!


This year we’re aiming for 100% participation and $100,000. Remember that your gift goes twice as far this year! For every dollar given, a small group of generous donors will provide an additional dollar, up to $100,000. What an exciting, unprecedented opportunity to support our wonderful school.

Kids count too – add to our piggy bank and watch how it grows each week!


Your gift helps support things like:

  • Professional development for teachers - This year our teachers are learning about…
    • Project-based learning and assessment
    • Next Generation Science Standards
    • Teaching students with All Kinds of Minds
    • Reading and writing and the Common Core
    • and more!
  • Daily Physical Education
    • We’re the only school in the area to guarantee PE every day for students in Junior Kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Scholarships
    • Need-based scholarships - Kazoo aims to be an option for all families who share our commitment to progressive education, regardless of financial need.
    • Sibling discounts - Not all private schools offer discounts for multiple children. Sibling scholarships make it easier for families to join our Kazoo School family
  • Innovative extended day and summer session programs
    • Enriching opportunities for students
    • Low-cost options for working families
A huge thank you to the families, faculty, and staff who have contributed to the Annual Fund already! With your help, we are on our way to meeting our goals!
Leaf investigation is serious business
Important Dates

Thanksgiving gathering - Join us at 9:45am on Tuesday, November 25th for a whole-community assembly and pie! Students are encouraged to invite extended family members and special family friends to share in this event.


Winter Program - Thursday, December 18, 5:30-7:30pm at Hackett auditorium

Featuring children’s literature as interpreted by our Kazoo students!

Every Friday - unless otherwise announced - Whole-school Assembly in the gymnasium (starts around 8:05)

You can also find all events on the 
Kazoo School Calendar!

Dr. Sally
Dr. Sally
Basegroup Updates

Pre-K and Junior-K

Nichole, Lysa, Violet, and Jackie

The Early Childhood program at Kazoo School has started a ‘Spread the Bread’ campaign.  They began digging deeper into the children’s interests of bread by making the classic Amish Friendship Bread starter on October 19th. During the 10 day process the students cared for their bread mix by stirring and adding ingredients as necessary. At the end of the 10 days, the starter mix was separated and shared with three friends. After 10 more days, those three friends shared their mixes. And so it began…

The students’ goal is to track how far the friendship bread will spread.  Will it spread further than Kalamazoo? Will it spread outside of Michigan? Who will share in this special friendship bread experience? They are tracking the bread project throughout the year on maps located just outside of the classroom to see how far it goes! Please let them know if you receive one of the starter mixes.  

As always, Lysa and Nichole welcome you into their classroom to share your knowledge, tools and experience.  If you have a great bread recipe you’d like to share, if you’d enjoy baking bread with Kazoo’s little learners or if you have an experience, story or photos with breads from around the world PK/JK welcome you with open arms!



Is it the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Mayflower, or Little Toot the Tugboat?  No, it’s the Kindergarten boat!


November 10th marked the 39th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and Earl’s father, Al came to our classroom to present on the history of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  An interest in boats was also sparked in the kindergarten students as they learned the story of the first Thanksgiving and viewed pictures of the Mayflower and canoes.


The students have been making boats out of a variety of materials:  wood gathered in Kleinstuck, clay, paper, styrofoam, cardboard, and papier mache.  They recalled how surprised they were during their exploration of pumpkins in October when all of the students predicted their pumpkins would sink, and even the largest 20 lb. pumpkin floated.  They have wondered how this could happen when a ball of clay, just the size of a marble, sunk.  So as we delve further into our exploration,  the students will test out their boats and learn about gravity, buoyancy and displacement.   


Primary (1st Grade)


The primary students have been busy working on their animal projects. Each student chose an animal that lives in Michigan to study. They are learning specifically what happens to animals as they prepare for fall and winter.  The students are working on research, written reports, and several 3-D projects as well. Primary is also gearing up for their VIP Day performance, learning frames and arrows in math and creative writing with silly adjectives.

They continue to enjoy their Friday nature connection time although the weather may not cooperate much longer! That won’t stop the primary pals! They will carry on through rain, sleet or snow.

Primentary (2nd and 3rd Grade)


Primentary took a short break from Greek Mythology at the beginning of the month to learn more about our nation’s Electoral process. Did you know that Ancient Greeks invented the whole idea of Democracy? Ask a Primentary student, they know all about it. They also know that all residents of Athens were able to vote, that is all adult males, born in Athens with Athenian parents. So, actually only ⅛ of ancient Athens could vote.


We are so lucky we live in a country where all adults can vote (and many Primentary students feel they should also vote).  But the students found out through their research that women got the right to vote in 1920, men of color got the vote in 1870, and Native americans got the right to vote in 1924.


The students took a field trip on election day to see democracy in action. The kids got to ask questions (“Can you vote if you are in jail?” & “What happens if there is a tie?”) and observe people voting.  A huge thank you to Precinct 21 & 24 and the city clerks office for letting our students visit.


Primentary is beginning to wrap up their study of Greek Mythology. Students are working very hard on a final project that will highlight something they have learned during their study. Please stop by the Primentary room on November 25 during the Family Thanksgiving event and see all their hard work. The students also have decided to dress up like their favorite Greek God or Goddess, so it should be a fun time. The whole school may be sharing pie that day, but the Primentary will have homemade baklava. Thank you to Christine Webster for teaching Primentary how to make this traditional Greek food.

4th and 5th Grade



The 4th and 5th graders have begun a study of the novel Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix. This absorbing novel develops an unusual premise into the gripping story of a young girl's efforts to save her family and friends from a deadly disease. Jessie Keyser, 13, believes that the year is 1840. In truth, she and her family, along with a small group of others, live in a reconstructed village viewed by unseen modern tourists (and unbeknownst to the villagers, used as an experimental site by unethical scientists). Jessie discovers the truth when her mother asks her to leave the village and seek medical help for the diptheria epidemic that has struck the children of the community. Jessie must cope with the shock of her discovery; her unfamiliarity with everyday phenomena such as cars, telephones, and television; and the unscrupulous men who are manipulating the villagers.

The students are reading, writing and holding Literature Circle discussions about this novel, during which each child brings complete work to share with the small group.  The Literature Circle jobs rotate for each reading assignment, allowing the students to delve into the book from different perspectives each time.  The jobs are: Discussion Director, Artful Artist, Character Captain, Clever Connector, Passage Picker, and Word Wizard.  These jobs are designed to help students notice and reflect on various aspects of the novel, and to ensure that they are engaged in the discussions as much as possible.

4th and 5th Grade Science



In the 4/5th grade classes students spent some time experimenting with capillary action using plants (celery) and also using paper chromatography.  Our investigators used this concept to solve a mystery!  They observed our solvent, water, moving up paper using capillary action to  pass through and separate ink.
The crime was solved by matching a variety of ink samples to the ink with which the ransom note was written.  Their next investigations involve fun with magnetism and electricity.

4th - 8th Math


This was week that the 7th and 8th graders danced to the Chicken Dance, Staying Alive and Enter Sandman to learn about functions.  Functions are typically taught using abstract notation and often students have no idea they apply to the real world.

 In fact Kelly’s lesson begins by asking students to name a real life example of a function.  The student response was silence. Kelly then told the students that they were going to do a series of activities that reveal the logical relationship found in functions by dancing.  So the students cleared tables to the sides of the room and stood in a circle. Functions are just a way to change an input into an output.  In this case the input was the songs they heard and the output was the specific dance moves.

When the Chicken Dance song played everyone did the Chicken Dance moves, when staying Alive played they all did “pick an apple, put it in the basket” and when Metallica was blaring in math class everyone raised two fists toward the ceiling and bobbed their heads.

The lesson ended with students creating real life example of functions and the meaning created when a function marries input to output.

Middle School Humanities 


On November 11, 2014 the second floor of Kazoo School was transformed: the Kazoo middle school students hosted an “Africa Night,” open to the community. Each student chose a different African country to research and study for seven weeks. The students were allowed to use any resources available to them. Many of them started with basic internet searches, but as the research intensified they moved on to emailing and interviewing people more familiar with their country. Many of the students contacted missionaries, peacecorp volunteers, and aid workers who had worked in the various African countries. Other students used their contacts and their teacher’s contacts with people from Malawi, Kenya, Cameroon, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Zambia to secure primary sources.

For more information and photos please visit

Middle School Science


Middle school science students are wrapping up their study of energy sources including fossil fuels, renewable energy, and nuclear energy.  They designed and constructed solar ovens (unfortunately just in time for the clouds to roll in) and had a debate about hydraulic fracturing.  They will be taking their lab practical and test before Thanksgiving.  

They also continue longer term projects including water quality in Kleinstuck and an acid rain study.  They are currently sending out their homemade rain gauges to friends and family in all corners of the US to help sample rainwater in order to connect rain pH to weather and location.  Fridays in Kleinstuck are becoming chilly, but the students remain energetic about clearing those invasives!  They were joined last week by WMU women’s basketball and soccer players!  Go Broncos!





It looks like PE is making the transition to indoor classes as the weather turns cold and snowy.  Students are continuing their alternating schedule of cardio-vascular or various muscle groups and flexibility warm ups.  Ask your child about Aerobic Poker, Fitness Tic-Tac-Toe or Fitness Deal or No Deal!  Scooter games are popular with cageball soccer and scooter basketball in the mix. Sonita’s 2nd/3rd graders are finishing up their 8-week session with Georgie, their EFA movement artist. They've had great fun exploring all kinds of movement concepts, many of those to music. Whitney's first graders will get to work with Georgie next semester.  

Some extra-curricular PE activities include Intramurals for the middle schoolers. Kazoo rents the church gym down the hill once a week and the students play basketball or volleyball.  Fourteen middle school students signed up this semester, and there will be a second semester session starting in February.  Stay tuned for sign-up details!  The 4th/5th graders are working on a month-long PE homework challenge.  If 85% of the class turn in their completed sheet, the class will earn a special treat (tbd!). They need to do about five extra PE related activities per week outside of school and have them authenticated by a parent or adult.  They each took a sheet with a list of possible activities home last week. Ask them to show it to you … hopefully they have already asked you to initial some completed activities!

Karen also has a couple of favors to ask of you.  First as we are getting to snow gear season please make sure your student brings their PE shoes every day.  Snow boots are hard on the gym floor and not particularly easy to move in.  Second, there seem to be a lot of children who are struggling to tie their PE shoes. Students practice a bit in class on this but if they could practice outside of school with an expert at shoe tying (parent, older sibling, big buddy, etc.), Karen would be able to devote more class time to the fun stuff!  Thanks so much!




Middle school students took a short break from their theatre work to learn about Sub-Saharan African music as part of their cross-curricular Africa Night projects. The students were responsible for creating their own polyrhythmic compositions and performing them during recess on November 11th. The students did a wonderful job and Ashley is extremely proud of what they accomplished in such a short time!

4th and 5th grade students continued work on their theatre terminology and activities. They started blocking out scenes for their Winter Program performance of “Where the Wild Things Are.” They have already finished four scenes! This group has surprised me with their artistic abilities and I am incredibly proud of the effort they put into every music class!

K-3rd students have been exploring how to create instruments out of ordinary objects. We’ve turned garbage cans into drums, wrapped rubber bands around anything and everything, and even created our own aero-phones! The students wrapped up this unit on Thursday and will begin work on their Winter Program performances before Thanksgiving break.



This month the Middle School students have been very busy completing art for African Night that was held Tuesday, November 11th! For several weeks now the MS students have been doing research and completing artwork in the style or tradition of their country.

Copyright © 2014 Greta Berman Arbetter Kazoo School, All rights reserved.

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