Region In Review

May 17, 2019 | K-5 Focus

Booth Free and Burnham Schools' Spring Community Walk

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April showers bring May flowers has been our theme this spring, but luckily May 2nd brought sunshine and a warm breeze for our community walk. The walk is a teaching moment for our students emphasizing the importance of living a healthy lifestyle which includes daily exercise and quality nutritional food choices. A brisk walk gets our heart rate up. A secondary benefit to this event is a sense of community, conversation, and sharing smiles and laughter. First Selectman Mr. Curtis Read, Board of Education member and Selectman Mr. Alan Brown, and Resident Trooper Matthew Bell joined the students from Burnham School. Parents and the School Resource Officer Rich Innaimo also joined this adventure! Booth Free School students were accompanied by their First Selectwoman Barbara Henry, Officer Bill Cario, Reverend Dave Peters, and parents. They were treated to a beautiful array of colorful spring blooms and frolicking horses. It was an excellent way to begin the day!

Growing Fitness at Washington Primary School

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During this school year, students in Grades 4 and 5 were given challenges, opportunities, and support in their efforts to increase their physical activity levels. We were able to monitor our success and evaluate methods to increase our activity levels with the help of pedometers. A pedometer is a small, lightweight device that clips onto your clothing and counts each step you take during the day. Once students became familiar with operating a pedometer, they signed one out for a week at a time. We did this up to four different times during the school year. At the end of the week, students were responsible for logging their steps and returning their pedometer.

Once spring arrived, we looked for opportunities to increase our daily steps. Over 50 students signed up to participate in the WPS Running Club. Every Tuesday and Thursday, dozens of students jogged a ¼ mile lap with peers actively recording the number of laps completed each day. Fourth graders Sydney Goethner and Bridgett Brown both mentioned that they “are getting fit with extra exercise,” and “love having the opportunity to run against kids from other grades.” Jon Croft and Isaac Fitch are two students who have completed over 12 miles. Jon felt that “the pedometers are great for helping all kids increase their activity levels.”

Students became more aware of ways to increase their step counts during the year. Our students averaged under 8,000 steps per day in January. In April, our average students' steps per day were over 12,500. The pedometers were a great tool to help grow our fitness levels at WPS.

Yoga Vibe Time at Booth Free and Burnham Schools

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On Friday, April 5, 2019, the students and staff at Burnham School and Booth Free School participated in the fourth annual International Kids' Yoga Day. The purpose of this event was to celebrate our youth and their physical/mental fitness by practicing yoga breathing and poses. It was celebrated both nationally and internationally inspiring and empowering children to live their fullest potential through the practice of yoga. Just five minutes of yoga a day can boost the mental and physical health and wellness of our children. There were 43 states, 31 countries, and approximately 30,000 children that participated in this event. The children moved through simple, playful yoga poses. At Burnham School, Lanie Flanagan, a kid’s yoga instructor, and our ACE Director led the students through their experience. At Booth Free School, the students followed along with a Cosmic Kid yoga instructor. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it is our hope that we raised awareness and ignited a passion for fitness and yoga among our school population.

Yoga in Action - Washington Primary School

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Through the support of the PTO, Washington Primary School students in grades three through five participated in six sessions of yoga led by certified yoga instructor, Dawn Delpha. Students learned many poses to strengthen their muscles and challenge their flexibility. They engaged in several breathing techniques and practiced mindful behaviors. The alternating nostril breathing used to promote relaxation and overall well being was a favorite of the students. In addition, Ms. Delpha integrated lessons on character development, such as the value of practicing peace, demonstrating honesty, and working hard. The goal of this experience was to support healthy physical activity habits and to help students acquire and apply useful tools to enhance character and build positive relationships.

Booth Free School’s "Adventure in Wonderland" Play

Booth Free School stars shone extra brightly on April 4th when the 4th and 5th graders presented their production of An Adventure in Wonderland, a play specially adapted for the students and directed by Library and Media Specialist, Patricia Gordon.

Rehearsals for the production began in early January as every student in the two grades worked tirelessly preparing for their roles. Students were privy to every aspect of play production. They dedicated themselves to learning a variety of different stagecraft tasks and techniques like memorizing lines and cues, painting props, and building sets to stage management and light and sound operation. All 26 students lent their unique talents to the endeavor. Their months of hard work paid off as the talent of each was demonstrated during two truly delightful performances!

Burnham Informative Writing in the K-1-2 Classroom

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The primary purpose of informative writing is to increase knowledge. When writing an informative text, students answer questions of why and how. Their writing educates the reader and their peers by imparting information on a particular topic.

Our students' writing accomplishments reflect differences in individual development as well as grade level. K-2 students are inquisitive and are eager to learn by seeking new information as research “detectives” and sharing this knowledge with others through their writing.

Kindergarten students have enjoyed writing their how-to pieces on various topics using a variety of transition words. Some of their titles included the following: How-to Build a Snowman, How-to Dance Ballet, and How-to Play Hockey. Kindergarteners have also been developing and applying writing skills such as writing in complete sentences, using capital letters and using correct punctuation. After completing these pieces, the students wrote an informational text on a topic of interest. They brainstormed, organized, and elaborated on five details pertaining to their topic and as a result, became experts. Some of their topics were All About Baseball, All About Weather, and All About Soccer.

First and second-grade authors chose an animal to research. Second graders focused on Arctic animals, while first graders focused on animals from other habitats. After researching texts and articles from PebbleGo, students took notes and created paragraph headings such as appearance, diet, habitat, babies, and other cool facts. Students researched amazing animals like manatees, polar bears, giraffes, elephants, and platypuses. Upon completion, students published their pieces. First graders published their animal reports using Kid Pix Studio Deluxe. The publishers chose backgrounds, typed the information, and drew matching illustrations using the computer program. In addition, second-grade students learned how to export their illustrations into Google Presentations.

During Makerspace time, the first and second graders created habitat dioramas, complementing their informative writing pieces using a variety of materials. From yarn to wrapping paper to saran wrap, the models demonstrated a direct link to their research. A multi-collaborative approach allowed the students to present their learning in different ways.

Our K-2 authors celebrated their beautifully written pieces with family, friends, and peers. Our proud students are blossoming authors!

WPS Project ACES

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Washington Primary School celebrated Project ACES, All Children Exercising Simultaneously, with a school-wide exercise class led by Lauren Werkhoven, fitness instructor and parent, and Ken Schultz, assistant and parent. Project ACES is a worldwide event that takes place on the first Wednesday of May. The purpose of Project ACES is to inspire children to be active, and to promote positive health and fitness habits that can lead to lifelong practices. Students participated in a sequence of exercise routines to upbeat tunes to improve flexibility, strength, and endurance. Students sang and exercised with enthusiasm and finished their routine with a brisk walk around our River Trail. We thank Mrs. Werkhoven and Mr. Schultz for their volunteerism and their amazing energy!!

Hartford Yard Goats Recognizes Booth Free School’s Most Improved Student

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On April 15th, Booth Free School students, Jorge Barreto in Grade 1, Brody Martinelli in Grade 2, Colin Perrin in Grade 3, Paige Palumbo in Grade 4, and Owen Maynard in Grade 5, were honored at a pre-game ceremony at the Hartford Yard Goats game at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Students were chosen by their teachers and honored as the Most Improved Students of the 2018-2019 school year. They were joined by other students from schools throughout Connecticut. Our school community is very proud of these students and congratulate them for their hard work. Along with their family and friends, they enjoyed a fun night of baseball after the special ceremony.

WPS Green Week

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“The earth is what we all have in common.” - Wendell Berry

At Washington Primary School, we understand that the earth is enjoyed by all of us and that finding ways to protect our planet is a shared responsibility. For the third week of April or Green Week, teachers and parents planned a variety of activities to highlight our environment. This year’s theme was “Our Earth Is In My Hands” with a particular focus on how small changes in our actions can lead to significant benefits to our environment. Students engaged in many learning activities from creating class environmental pledges to learning about environmental issues, to using nature in artful ways. Students read various environmental books and worked as a class to make powerful commitments to help the environment. For example, third grade pledged to reduce the use of electricity by turning the classroom lights and smartboard off each time they leave the classroom. Students also participated in an Environmental Choice Day. From kindergarten through fifth grade, students chose from a variety of workshops to connect personal learning interests with environmental issues. The Housatonic Valley Association presented a session on the health of our rivers using storm drain models to learn about the impact of stormwater runoff. Flanders Nature Center provided a session on composting where students explored the job of worms and how to successfully compost. The Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy highlighted birds which are endangered or on the brink of extinction and how humans impact their environments. Other sessions focused on gardening, the importance of bees, oil spill effects, using natural dyes to color fabric, and upcycling projects. The week ended with a nature craft experience with rock painting, creating bean mosaics, and using real wood pieces to design structures. These activities helped students learn important environmental information and to embrace new ways to personally make our environment a better place for all living things. Washington Primary School students and staff thank the many parents, teachers, and community partnerships who worked together to make Green Week a success.

Audubon Program - For The Birds!

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Booth Free School students participated in an enrichment program, For the Birds!, sponsored by the PTO and provided by the Audubon Center. In a series of workshops, both indoors and outdoors, students learned about birds, habitats, food chains, and observations. Each experience complemented the Next Generation Science Standards for K-5 grade level, touching upon Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Conservation. These experiences also allowed students to engage in the practices of inquiry and collaboration to better understand birds and conservation and to become aware of their surroundings while they observe the world around them.

Kindergarteners and first graders learned about the meaning behind bird names as well as physical descriptions, behavior, and family. They learned about the different types of nests that various birds build and what was needed to make them. In the final session, the students ventured outside to identify the birds that live in their community.

Second and third graders explored the different types of bird beaks and the various foods birds eat. Students used observational skills to match the food to the bird. They were introduced to the topics of keystone species and also learned about how a food chain worked. In their third session, students participated in a bird walk focused on birds and food sources.

Fourth and fifth graders spent three sessions learning about bird habitats and designing healthy habitats. Students learned about what makes a habitat bird-friendly and what actions they can take to make their school and residences safer for birds.

The Audubon Program has provided students with the opportunity to explore various habitats and witness the many different species of birds that pass through Connecticut. By inspiring our students to value and protect the world, we are laying the foundation for future conservation.

Fliers & Upcoming Events

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Region 12 Calendar

May 17th - WPS Family Fun Night, Playground, 5:30pm

May 20th - BOE Policies Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 5:30pm

May 20th - BOE Facilities Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

May 20th - Board of Education Meeting, SVS Library, 6:30pm

May 21st - SVS Middle School Spring Concert, SVS Auditorium, 7pm

May 22nd - SVS Academic Awards Night, SVS Auditorium, 7pm

May 23rd - SVS Reich Assembly, SVS Auditorium, 9:30am

May 24th - BS Fun Night for Grades 3-5, Pavilion, 5:30pm

May 25th - SVS Prom, 7pm

May 27th - NO SCHOOL - Memorial Day

May 28th - BOE Building Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 5pm

May 29th - BFS & BS Field Day at BFS

May 29th - SVS Halo Award Show, 4:45pm

May 31st - WPS Career Day - Student Council Fundraiser

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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