Classroom Updates - December 6, 2016

Mrs. Mason - Music

Last week students continued work in their new units. Kindergarten and second grade worked on clapping and reading rhythms. First grade learned about the brass family. Third, fourth, and fifth grades played a new recorder piece and wrote it out for their recorder books. Sixth grade started learning about how music can tell a story focusing on opera, ballet, and musicals. Seventh grade started a unit on music theory and aural skills. Eighth grade started to look at music before World War I and how different it was compared to the music that was occurring during the war. 


Mrs. Savoie - Kindergarten

We've started out this week on an exciting note with our first real snowstorm.  We took advantage of the snow to investigate and make scientific observations about snowflakes.  We caught snowflakes on black paper, observed them, then drew them when we returned inside.  So much fun and such wonderful observations were made!  We'll continue our science conversation about precipitation by experimenting with ice later in the week.

During ELA we will continue our study of Jan Brett by reading "The Mitten.” We'll be making puppets and telling the story in small groups. We've also begun work on our own Cinderella story. We've identified the characters in our story and will shortly begin work on tweaking the story to make it our own. Later this week we'll start work on costumes for our puppets and the scenery. A note will be coming home very soon with more detailed information about volunteer requests to make this a successful project. On a final Cinderella note, in the note home on Friday, I had said that we would perform our puppet show on Wednesday, December 21 at about 11. On further reflection, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Instead we'll present our Cinderella puppet show at 12:30 on that same day.

Now that winter is here we need to have all of the appropriate winter accessories in order to enjoy outdoor recess.  Please send your child with boots, snow pants, mittens, and a hat every day. Also, Mrs. DInbergs and I would greatly appreciate your child having indoor shoes so that snowy, wet, mucky snow boots aren’t being worn in the classroom all day.  We meet on the carpet several times a day and the wet boots are making it rather uncomfortable.  If you’d like to leave indoor shoes at school, you are welcome to. Slippers with hard soles are ok; whatever is on your child’s feet has to be able to be worn out of the building in the event of a fire drill.


Mrs. Waterman - First Grade

In math we are continuing to work on subtraction.  We will be focusing on the strategy of counting on and counting back to find the missing number.  Students will also be working on subtraction story problems. On Friday, we will have fun writing and illustrating our own subtraction story problems.  

During Fundations, we will be finishing up unit 4.  We will be completing unit 4 assessment on Thursday and Friday. The trick words for the week are: was, one, and said.

During our ELA block, we have begin an author study on Jan Brett. This week we will be reading “The Hat,” “The Mitten” and “The Umbrella.”  Students make predictions of the upcoming events by analyzing the illustrations. Students will also work on sequencing skills, review noun and verbs. Students will also continue to work on recalling the story elements. 

Our terrariums have been made and now the watching and waiting begins.  Students will make observations on their terrariums several time a week and document their observations. One group planted a vegetable garden that included; lettuce, carrots and celery. The other groups planted different clippings of house plants and mint. Students are so proud of their mini gardens.  


Mrs. Duffy - Second Grade

Second grade is well into our study of the Gingerbread Man folktale. This week, we will enjoy several more versions of the story, will practice using apostrophes to form contractions and interesting adjectives in narrative writing, and will work on developing fluency, expression, and deeper understanding of characters’ points of view through a reader’s theater activity. Please look for a letter in your child’s folder regarding supplies and volunteers needed for our gingerbread house-making activity that will take place on Wednesday, December 21. We will collaborate with the kindergarten and first grade classes for this activity, combining our resources and taking advantage of the vinyl flooring in the kindergarten and second grade classrooms. =) Making gingerbread houses was a huge success in our classes last year, and Mrs. Savoie, Mrs. Waterman, and I are looking forward to it again this year! 

In math, we are working in Module 3, developing our understanding of place value and expressing numbers in expanded form (135 = 100 + 30 + 5). Families can help their children at home by reviewing this concept with any given number, or by continuing to review basic addition and subtraction facts using one-digit numbers (8+3,  6-4, etc). Many second graders also need practice with counting on from any number. To practice this skill, a family member can say, “45, 46,  47…” and allow the child to say, “48.” We do this activity counting by ones, fives, and tens, starting at any number in the counting sequence. “25, 30, 35, ___”  or  “132, 133, ___”  and  “420, 430, 440, ___.” Practicing these skills can be quick and fun, and is very helpful in developing confidence, understanding, and fluency.  


Mrs. Berube - Third Grade

Third Grade has been busy researching animals for our “All About” books.  We created bubble webs to help organize our ideas for writing.  We are generating thoughtful sentences including “Wow facts” that we hope to surprise our readers with.  Our math focus will switch to telling time to the minute on the analog clock.  Along with our practice of telling time, we will review measurement and practice recording lengths, widths and heights of objects.  We will also practice measuring liquids.  Social Studies has us continuing our study of the Wampanoags of the past, the Pilgrims and the differences between them.  Ask your third grader how Pilgrims wrote letters. Who paid for the mail? Ask your third grader, “What are the ‘three sisters’ and why were they planted together? Perhaps you will learn some “wow facts” too!


Miss Frost - Fourth Grade

This week we will be talking about the four different types of sentences. We will finish our writing pieces about what we are thankful for. Students did a great job using peer feedback to improve their own writing. The writing pieces that I have read so far have been great! We will start to wrap up our Civil War unit talking about reconstruction. In Science we will measure water temperature and build our own thermometers. Math groups have been working on metric conversions and multiplication, groups move along as they are ready. We are looking for donations of paper towels, baby wipes and thin dry erase markers. 


Mrs. Tanguay - Fifth Grade

Math: Tuesday is the end-of-the module assessment task for Module 2, Multi-Digit Whole Numbers and Decimal Fraction Operations. On Wednesday we will start Module 3, Adding and Subtracting Fractions. We have two exciting arts-integrated activities coming up with our new fraction unit, one based in music and the other is visual arts. Stay tuned!

ELA: Slowly and methodically we have been working our way through "The Phantom Tollbooth." There is so much wordplay to be dissected and discussed. We have also been looking at the paintings of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte for inspiration on how artists play with images in the same way that authors play with words. The 5th grade is practicing playing with images by creating black/white contrast illustrations that tell a story. 

Science: We are wrapping up our first module by focusing on models. As an arts-integrated activity, we are going to be building catapults and launching objects at canvas to create art. We will get to see the principles of force, motion, potential energy, and kinetic energy in action. 

Second Step Social Curriculum: After learning about respect, empathy, and active listening, we have started to add in communication of needs and wants. We practiced sculpting each other like clay to show passive and aggressive body language and now we are learning how to be assertive and effective in communicating wants and needs. 


Ms. Alvarado - Sixth Grade

This week in math, we will be working on the division of decimals. We will first begin by reviewing the standards algorithm of long division with multi-digit numbers. This will be a quick review as most students have a great understanding of standard division already.

In ELA this week, we will be finishing up the book “Ramayana.” We will be analyzing how both precise word choice and illustrations can be essential to understanding elements of a story. We will also be starting to brainstorm thoughts on their personal mono-myths that they will creating for their final project. 

In Social Studies, 6th grade students will be presenting their World religion projects while 5th grade students will be continuing to work on their State projects. 


Mrs. Fritz - 7th & 8th Grade Humanities  

“In the 7th grade, I made a 20-foot long mural of the Lewis and Clark Trail while we were studying that in history because I knew I wasn't going to be able to spit back the names and the dates and all that stuff on a test.”  - Chuck Close


Beginning this week, the 8th grade are starting a mural that discusses how art illuminates the effects of WWI.  We have been reading several texts, both fiction and non fiction that indeed illuminate this subject through literature. The conversations that have evolved over the course of this module have prepared us to develop the ideas into imagery.  Using the artistic technique of Picasso, and embracing the happy mistake, students will craft several sketches over the course of the next three weeks, along with continued research in preparation for a final proposal for the Director.  Please check with your 8th grader about what their contribution is to this mural might be - they have a list stapled into their agenda. Supplies to make this mural a reality are deeply appreciated.

The 7th grade are working on understanding political cartoons.  This week we will be discussing the actions of Hitler and Stalin as they entered into the Pact of Steel and how this lead to the invasion of Poland.  Students will be creating their own political cartoon around the Invasion of Poland, weaving in the satire of each political figure, historical events and their outcomes.  The challenge will be to comically embroider in some crafty imagery in which the viewers can draw inferences about the outcome of the invasion.


Mrs. Kone - 7th & 8th Grade Math and Science

In seventh grade math this week we will be reviewing our test we took this week.  Take time to ask your student about their math and science tests.  We had a great opportunity to take a field trip to a youth summit that helped our students understand the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs. Please take time to talk with your son or daughter about this field trip. 


Ms. Keefe - Visual Arts

We have so many art ideas to implement before the holiday school break is upon us!  From origami boxes to origami cranes, snowmen to snowflakes, cards and so much more, there is a lot of creativity occurring in the art room!

This week in art: students in third grade and up are finishing up their major projects. Kindergarteners, first and second graders are texture detectives and will be exploring different ways to create textured papers for their monsters!

Classroom Updates - December 14, 2016

Mrs. Mason - Music

Students have been busy in music classes preparing for the concert, while also continuing their learning in units of meter, form, instrumentation, theory, rhythm, and music appreciation. Kindergarten and second grade worked on creating their own rhythms and notating them for display. First grade learned about the woodwind family and the unique sounds each instrument makes. Third grade started a unit on world music. Fourth grade started to learn about form using The Nutcracker ballet. Fifth grade started to learn about conducting and meter focusing on duple and triple meter. Sixth grade learned about musicals focusing on history and how the music is used to aid in telling the story. Seventh grade focused on meter as well as interval ear training. A useful tool to use for studying the concepts taught for seventh grade this term is Students can access ear training exercises to help study for upcoming tests. Eighth grade focused on learning about the development of ragtime music and how it was used to symbolize the struggle with racial segregation and integration that was going on in the early 1900’s leading up to World War 1. 


Mrs. Savoie - Kindergarten



Mrs. Waterman - First Grade

First grade friends are nearing the end of their first module. Module 1 will finish with subtraction. When solving subtraction problems, students are continuing to work on counting on and counting back on a number path. Students will begin exploring subtraction word problems.  

During ELA, we will continue with our author study of Jan Brett. This week we will reread and act out “The Mitten.” We will also read “Trouble With Trolls.” We will continue to focus on the story elements within these stories.  

During Fundations we will begin unit 5 which will focus on the glued sounds; am and an. This week’s trick words are:  from, do does and have.

We will begin our community social studies unit. We will begin by reading “Me On The Map” by Joan Sweeney. 


Mrs. Duffy - Second Grade

With cold and snowy weather upon us, it is extra important to send in winter clothes for recess each day. Please be sure your child has a coat, mittens or gloves, boots and snow pants each day. We go out to recess every day if the temperature is at least 20 degrees. In an effort to keep everyone warm and dry, children without boots or snow pants are only allowed on the parking lot (and can't play in the snow). Please send the necessary outdoor snow gear so that everyone can play! 

Our gingerbread house making day is Wednesday, December 21st, from 10:00-11:00. Thank you to all who have sent in permission slips and materials for this fun project, and to those who have offered to send in supplies! If you are volunteering and have children in more than one K-2 class, Mrs. Savoie, Mrs. Waterman, or I will let you know which room(s) your children will be working in on Wednesday. 

Second graders are finishing up our close study of the folktale “The Gingerbread Man,” and will turn our attention to a close study of birds for the rest of this week and next.


Mrs. Berube - Third Grade

Third grade has been practicing telling time within the hour and half hour. Do you have an analog clock in your home? Be sure to quiz your time teller often!  As writers, we have been grouping sentences according to topic and creating paragraphs that "flow".  We are continuing our animal research with visits to the website,  We have also found interesting information about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags on this site.  Did you know that Native Americans developed "companion planting" years ago?  Ask your third grader to tell you about the "three sisters".  


Miss Frost - Fourth Grade

This week we are continuing to talk about the 4 types of sentences and the correct punctuation that goes with each. We are going to talk more about topic sentences and work on writing topic sentences that will also hook our reader. Wednesday we have reading buddies with our kindergarten friends. Each student has their own buddy that they meet with every other Wednesday. Buddies take turns picking out books for 4th graders to read to kindergarteners. This activity generates much excitement for students in both grades and allows valuable read aloud time for fourth graders to practice fluency and articulation! 

The Zearn math web site has been working well as part of our math rotations! As a reminder, students may work on Zearn at home, as well as their typing. 


Mrs. Tanguay - Fifth Grade



Ms. Alvarado - Sixth Grade



Mrs. Fritz - 7th & 8th Grade Humanities  

This week the 7th and 8th grade are spending a week focusing on essay writing and visual art.

The 8th grade have been reading Warhorse as their main text for this module and this week will be analyzing the differences between the movie and the text.  They have also been discussing how art "illuminates" the effects of war.  We have had elaborate discussions about the emotional toll that WWI had on a variety of people that were part of the war, whether they were soldiers or citizens.  Now, through a cubist approach, we will be designing large scale drawings that represent the emotions that we have discussed. Eventually we hope to portray this in a mural.

7th grade are reading “Farewell to Manzinar” and are discussing the effects that WWII had on the Japanese citizens who were sent to internment camps. On an international front, we have been talking about the growing powers in Europe during the 1930's and the students are designing their own political cartoons that represent the satires of people during that historical era.


Mrs. Kone - 7th & 8th Grade Math and Science

This week in science we will have fun exploring food webs. Students will map out different predator and prey food webs and determine how they interact with each other. In math, seventh grade will continue their study of scale factor, while eighth grade will start studying systems of linear equations.  We are also having a great time on our enrichment program. Students will be working on a large mural in school that they will create with the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. 


Ms. Keefe - Visual Arts

There is a lot of excitement going on in the art room! We would love some cardboard toilet paper & paper towel tubes! We’ve got some fun, seasonal projects that we are working on. We will accept your old holiday cards, as well. Wait until you see what can be made out of recyclables! Have a wonderful week and thank you!

Classroom Updates - December 20, 2016


Mrs. Mason - Music

Last week, students used music from the season to continue their studies in units of form, meter, rhythm, and music can tell a story. Kindergarten read a story called “Berlioz the Bear” by Jan Brett. After we read the story we assigned parts to each student and are beginning to put instruments and sound effects to the story using different rhythms that we have been looking at in class. Eighth grade also composed sound stories to depict the different sounds that a soldier in World War I heard while on the front lines each day. They also listened to what composers who fought in the war wrote to show what they heard, such as Holst’s “The Planets.” First grade learned about the instruments in the brass family. Second grade did a musical math worksheet and played a math game using the note values in different rhythms. Third grade learned about program music in China. We looked at pictures of the country and listened to some pieces using traditional Chinese instruments. Fourth, fifth, and sixth grade all studied “The Nutcracker”. They focused on the form of the “Russian Dance” and feeling triple meter in the “Waltz of the Flowers” through dances and active listening. Sixth grade looked at how the music in the ballet helps to tell the story. 


Mrs. Savoie - Kindergarten

We are really looking forward to our performance of “Puppyrella” at 12:30 on Wednesday. We have costumed our puppets, taken pictures for our class book, and practiced the puppet show. We look forward to seeing as many family and friends at 12:30 in the gathering space. First through fourth grades have been invited to join us.

We are working our way through our end of unit 1assessments in Fundations. I look forward to comparing these to our mid-unit assessments. I'm noticing a huge leap in progress and look forward to being able to quantify that progress. When we return from vacation, we'll be starting a new unit that includes the introduction of trick words.

We are wrapping up our module in math. We're really looking forward to starting geometry.

We are also finishing up our conversation about weather. We've had lots of interesting weather  to observe during this study to make it a much more enriching learning experience.

And the last thing we are finishing up is our study of Jan Brett. That study will culminate with the decorating of gingerbread houses with first and second grades on Wednesday. We look forward to time with older friends and siblings while participating in this fun activity.


Mrs. Waterman - First Grade

First grade friends will be wrapping up our first module on addition and subtraction to 10. After the holiday break, we will begin exploring place value.  

During Fundations, we will be finishing up Unit 5. After break, we will begin Unit 6,  where we will explore base words and the suffix -s.

We will be finishing up our author study of Jan Brett. We will  be reading “The Gingerbread Baby” and “Gingerbread Friends.”  As a  celebration of Jan Brett, we will be making gingerbread houses on Wednesday from 10:00 - 11:00.

During Social Studies, we will be working on a “Me on the Map” project. Students will be identifying their street, town, state, country, and world.  

Our class is in need of baby wipes. We’d appreciate the donation.  


Mrs. Duffy - Second Grade

Second grade has a short, busy week this week...just two more days of school until vacation starts on Friday! As winter officially begins this week, I have a few important things to share. First, please send indoor shoes for your child each day. If you would prefer, shoes can be left at school (in our hallway under your child’s hook). Children sit on the floor in all areas of our classroom throughout the day, and the puddles left behind by dirty, snowy boots make this a very unpleasant and disruptive experience. Turns out, it’s also very hard to sit criss cross with winter boots on, which creates another whole host of problems for second grade learners. Please help by making sure your child has shoes at school.

Leaving snow gear at school is also an option, rather than lugging it home each day. Whether you prefer your child to leave it at school or bring it home each day, please label each item with your child’s name (first or last). 

Our gingerbread house making event is this Wednesday, December 21, from 10:00-11:00. Thank you to everyone for sending in supplies and permission slips, and to all who have volunteered to help on Wednesday! It promises, once again, to be a sweet event for all.


Mrs. Berube - Third Grade

Third Grade has surprised me with their excellent time telling skills. This week we are sharing stories involving elapsed time and figuring out how much time it takes to do certain activities. For example, if I got to the drive thru at 7:15 and left at 7:25, how many minutes did I wait to get my coffee? Counting up is a subtraction strategy we will be using when we round numbers and make estimations in future math lessons. This week, children are also learning how to create a bibliography.  As we become strong researchers and nonfiction writers, it is valuable to know the importance of giving credit to our sources. The end of our short week finds us celebrating our class community with a craft and a snowman party on Wednesday. On Thursday, we will work in small groups to problem solve a STEAM project. We’ll also play group games. Enjoy a restful vacation, Third Grade Families! I look forward to starting the new year with my favorite third grade friends!


Miss Frost - Fourth Grade

This week we will be reading a few winter stories. We have some fun art activities planned to go with each. Students will work on writing an opinion piece about one of the stories we listen to. We will be working in groups to act out some of our vocabulary words in some way, either a short play, a dance or just with facial expressions. On Wednesday, we will be watching our Kindergarten buddies perform a play they have been rehearsing. Thursday we will be reading “The Grinch,” in the afternoon we will watch the movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” with the first grade classroom. We will also make our snowmen using socks and rice Thursday afternoon. Miss Frost's family will be coming in to help out. Thank you to all who donated items for our craft. 


Mrs. Tanguay - Fifth Grade

ELA: In ELA this week, we are working on many different projects. We are up to chapter 8 in our book "The Phantom Tollbooth," and will continue to work our way through the chapters together. We are also writing additional scenes in the style of Norton Juster as companion pieces to "The Phantom Tollbooth." We are working on using words, actions, and descriptions to show, rather than tell, about new characters that we have added to our stories. 

Math: Our new math-module, Addition and Subtraction of Fractions, is already flying by. We will be ready to take the mid-module assessment when we return from winter break.

Science: We are so excited to cap off our first Science module with an arts-integrated project. We are going to use what we have learned about motion and force and build catapults to launch art supplies at wood surfaces to create pieces of art that we can display in the school. Everyone worked in groups to find a catapult design, then researched their design and presented it to the class. After narrowing down the choices to two, the class then voted on one design out of the two. This week we will construct the catapults and on Thursday we will be ready to create our masterpieces!

Enrichment: On Tuesday we will start working in groups to start developing comedy skits based on hilarious wordplay. They will be tasked with determining the theme of their skit, assigning comedy roles, and beginning to write a script. 


Ms. Alvarado - Sixth Grade

This week we will be presenting our end of module performances that we have created. Some have chosen to perform while others have chosen to take the written test. In ELA we will be building a foundational understanding about the Odyssey. This text follows the theme of monomyths and follows the journey of Odysseus, the hero of our story. The first time we looked at this text, students were not appealed to the pictures that were presented in the book. However, we have created a picture storyboard along the wall to help us discuss what is appealing about this type of art style and how it supports the text. It has prompted great discussion and examination of both writing and pictures. 

In Social Studies, 5th grade is continuing to present their state projects, while 6th grade is laying a foundational understanding of Greek gods in order to better understand our ELA text. 


Mrs. Fritz - 7th & 8th Grade Humanities  

“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” ~ J. K. Rowling ~


Our 7th grade students are finishing up their selected texts for the WWII module and creating outstanding political cartoons that depict events throughout the wartime, both in Europe and on the home front.

8th Grade are working on developing drawings that that depict the emotional response of humans during WWI. This is based on the characters in the texts that they have bene reading.

Both classes have spent the past week focusing on how to write a solid introduction. We have had a fun time crafting interesting thesis questions and then answering them with a hook, bridge and thesis statement. This week we're moving into perfecting paragraph writing.


Mrs. Kone - 7th & 8th Grade Math and Science

This week we are ending our studies on the water system and pollution. Students will be asked to do a presentation on Friday about their topic. In math, we are moving on to integers with the seventh grade. In eighth grade we will finish up our large unit on algebraic equations and have a test on Thursday.


Ms. Keefe - Visual Arts

Winter is truly here! Luckily, our students love capturing the beauty of our winter wonderland with lots of snowmen and snowflakes projects. Hopefully, kindergarten through second graders have brought home their adorable snowmen bookmarks. With vacation only a few days away; both the students and I are excited about creating fun art projects this week, then, a week of vacation…Will I see any of you skiing the slopes next week?


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