Weekly Newsletter

December 2, 2021

News from Principal Emma Liebowitz

We hope you had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving break. We will be holding the Holiday Boutique on December 16 and 17 during school hours. A shopping experience will be set up in the art room. Students will be able to buy small gifts for family members and pets. More information will be coming soon.

Looking for Volunteers!

The Holiday Boutique will be held on the mornings of December 16 and 17. We are looking for volunteers that can help set up after school on Wednesday, December 15. In addition, we are looking for volunteers to help students shop on Thursday, December 16 and Friday, December 17. Please email me at eliebowitz@mtrsd.org or call the school office if you can help.

Thank you!!!

We would like to thank everyone that donated to make our Gaga Pit dreams come true. There were donations that ranged from $5 to $1000! We would also like to thank Stacey Hudson and her husband, Jim, for designing, ordering and building the Gage Pit! Ms. Tyler has been teaching the rules of the game in physical education class and students have been enjoying it during recess. Again, thank you to everyone that made this possible!!!!

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Events/Calendar:


Wednesday, December 8 - 1:50 Dismissal

Wednesday, December 15 - 1:50 Dismissal

Thursday and Friday, December 16 and 17 - Holiday Boutique

Monday, December 20 - Local Education Council Meeting at 3:15

Thursday, December 23 - 12:30 Dismissal

Friday, December 24 - Sunday, January 2 - Winter Vacation - No School

Monday, January 3 - School Resumes



Link to Sanderson Academy calendar.

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Greetings from the health office! This week I wanted to share some tips for strengthening our kiddos immunity since we are in cold and flu season, and we all know how challenging it becomes when we have a common cold these days.Sometimes there is no way to avoid an illness, but these tips may help! If your child seems unwell, please keep them home and reach out to me for guidance. Continue to refer to the symptom list and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions at all. :)

First most important tip is a basic one- washing your hands! Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, before eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing your nose, if visibly soiled and any other time that seems appropriate. It is basic- but really helps!

Sleep is another important one- try to encourage an earlier bedtime as we get into the “hibernation months” sleep is very important to keep our bodies healthy. Having a routine and “bedtime” can help encourage good sleep patterns, keeping the room dark, keeping screens out of the bedroom, having white noise and keeping the room cool can help. Some kids are just not the greatest sleepers and that is difficult on the family and nothing to feel badly about, everyone is different! Reaching out to your pediatrician is a good place to start if your child is not sleeping well, sometimes it will take time to adjust to a better sleep pattern

Drinking plenty of water can help avoid illness, and lessen our symptoms or shorten the time we are sick, while keeping us healthy overall. Try to increase your children’s water intake during these dry and cold months ahead! Continue to send in a water bottle with your child each day to school. Thank you!

Preschool News from Mrs. Freeman

This week we are exploring and experimenting with water. Preschoolers are enjoying stirring and running their hands through the warm water. They are sharing containers for scooping and pouring, and using language to share their thoughts and discoveries! We are also experimenting with natural and man-made objects to determine if they sink or float. Preschoolers examine the objects and make their predictions. Everyone is excited when we test our predictions. We all cheer and exclaim what happens when the object is placed in the water!

The photo shows a preschooler experimenting with objects and determining if they sink or float!

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Preschool News from Ms. Melanie

We hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving break. We returned to our outdoor classroom to find some changes there. The recent cold weather has frozen the mud by the bridge and we no longer have to walk to the side to avoid the deep, glorious mud! Standing water that often collects in the big tires by the alphabet line has turned to ice and we had fun lifting it out and breaking it into pieces. Several preschoolers worked together to make hefty chunks of ice that they gathered and shared with everyone. Some chunks became decorations in fairy houses, some went to the mud kitchen, some found a place on a log or stump and made a wintery display. A light dusting of snow covered the leaves and fairy houses and a handful was just right for sprinkling on frozen mud pies and cakes that were left to harden while we were away. It is wonderful to be back and we are looking forward to a new frosty season in our magical outdoor classroom.

Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah

For science, this week was Push & Pull week in our study of Force and Motion! To help us notice how we use force in our daily lives--and to help us distinguish between pushing (moves object away) and pulling (moves object closer)--we role played the start to our day as we made an inventory of how many times we pushed or pulled during our arrival routine. We also played a push & pull version of shuffleboard to help us again notice pushing versus pulling and also how the amount of force we use affects the objects we are touching. We closed by reading a push & pull pattern minibook that students can bring home and read to their families.

First Grade News from Mrs. Wyckoff

Morning meeting sets the tone for our day. It’s a time for kids to connect to their classmates and teachers, helping everyone feel welcomed and valued. First graders love trying out new greetings and activities. As a way to share all about our Thanksgiving break and long weekend we did an activity called “turkey talk- meet in the middle.” Kids are paired up and have between 30-60 seconds to talk about a topic. This time kids chatted about one thing they did over their break and one thing they ate that tasted really good! This activity gives first graders the opportunity to practice their good listening skills such as facing the speaker, listening with your ears, caring about what the person is saying and thinking about a question you might have. Another activity that is a favorite is called, “I’m going on a trip.” One student chooses the location of where we are going and then says “I'm going on a trip and I'm bringing ____ (ex. my cat, a book, cheese pizza) The next student has to repeat what was said before their turn and then add their idea. It’s always impressive to listen to the final student recite ALL the items mentioned! This is another activity that leaves us with a good belly laugh and continues to help us grow in our listening skills! With family gatherings happening around this time of year, these are two activities you can try at home too!

Second Grade News from Ms. Robertson

As November evolves to December, we are learning, practicing, and applying new skills and concepts during our Fundations, math, and theme times. During our Fundations lessons, our focus has been on a new spelling rule known as the FLOSS rule, where an extra f, l, or s is added to short vowel words when the short vowel is immediately followed by f, l, or s, as in fluff, spill, or toss. Our focus during our math block has been on “add to” and “take from” story problems. When we solve such story problems in class, we are using the following steps: We read the problem, decide what numbers we will use, and review the question that needs to be answered. Then we ask: Are we solving for an unknown partner or an unknown total? Next, we write the equation and solve it to find the unknown. As we solve for the unknown or missing number, we show our work by either drawing a picture or using a fact strategy, such as doubles (ex. 6+6) or doubles+1 (ex. 6+7). The last step is to write the answer with a label.


Last week during our theme time, as we thought about the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, we reflected on things we are thankful for. To share our ideas, we created acrostic poems, using the word T H A N K F U L. For example, for the letter T, we were thankful for turkey and time. For the letter F, we were thankful for family and friends. We also started a new lesson from the Second Steps curriculum last week. The current lesson builds upon the previous lesson, as we are learning about how focusing our attention and actively listening helps us to be better and respectful learners. And our unit on maps continues, too. Most recently we worked with maps of North America, where we located the United States, its neighbors to the north and the south, and the bodies of water that border it. Next, we will be learning about map keys.

Third Grade News from Ms. Carole

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, third graders discussed the importance of gratitude. We talked about how wonderful it feels to both offer and receive gratitude. We also talked about how we might expect to give and receive gratitude with the people to whom we are close, which is nice, but how wonderful it is when it comes as a surprise from someone we barely know. In light of that revelation, each student picked someone they know of who does something for them and might like to receive some unexpected gratitude. They then wrote letters of gratitude (and drew corresponding pictures) to bus drivers, mail delivery people, the people who work at favorite restaurants, librarians, and others in the community. The students enjoyed delivering these letters and talked about how joyfully they were received.


In our growth mindset studies we have begun to recognize the richness we have in diversity. We spent time discussing how our families are all unique in their own way, and we also began to learn about different holiday traditions that take place in other countries around the world.


In Language Arts and Science the students are deep into researching about a wild animal of their choosing that lives in Massachusetts. They are taking down notes from nonfiction books as well as websites, recording their sources, and turning their notes into paragraphs. In Art class they will be working on dioramas about their animal of choice in the next few weeks. We will be learning more about the animals of Massachusetts on our field trip this Friday to the Berkshire Museum as well.

Fourth Grade News from Ms. Laogy

In geography this week, students are learning about landmarks of the Northeast Region. Be sure to ask your student why people visit places like Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and New York City. In writing, we have begun revising our swimmer stories. This week, we focused on stretching out action. In both of our whole-group novels, we have been working on understanding our characters better. In The Castle in the Attic, students compared William to Alastor. If your child is reading this book, you can ask them if they found William to be more alike Alastor, or different. In Poppy, we have been looking at Poppy’s words, actions, and feelings to infer character traits. If your child is reading this book, you can ask them what we discovered.


In our Second Steps curriculum we have been learning strategies to help us calm down. Last week we focused on the first two steps: Stop (use your signal) and Name Your Feeling. This week we are learning specific strategies that we can use, after we have interrupted the amygdala response with Stop and Name Your Feeling.

Using strategies to calm down helps students behave prosocially rather than acting impulsively on their feelings. Deep breathing using the diaphragm delivers more oxygen to the bloodstream while helping students slow and pace their breathing. Both effects slow the heart rate and physiologically calm students down when they are upset. This is a versatile technique that can be used in many situations.


Counting is a simple way to engage the language centers of the brain, take a student’s attention off a stressor, and create some time between provocation and reaction. Positive self-talk can effectively engage the thinking part of the brain in emotional situations; however, negative self-talk can escalate emotions and lead to aggression. Students should identify and practice words and phrases that work for them so positive self-talk comes easily when needed.


Contrary to popular belief, punching pillows and other aggressive activities intended to “vent” anger may actually escalate anger and get in the way of calming down. The strategies that the students are learning are all about interrupting the amygdala’s response to a stressor and forcing other parts of the brain to activate, allowing time for the prefrontal cortex to resume control.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson

Fifth grade has been learning about the properties of matter in science. We have played around with magnets and circuits to explore the properties of magnetism as well as insulators and conductors. We also learned about physical and chemical changes by reading and watching a video to learn what to look for as clues about these types of changes. Then students watched demonstrations of both of these types of changes and used what they learned to figure out what kind of changes took place.

Sixth Grade News from Mrs. Schreiber

This week we are excited to be finishing up reading the book “Wonder” and exploring how the main character has grown and changed throughout the story. Starting next week we will be writing an essay about August’s change throughout the book. This week we took a few minutes to work on a STEM project, making geodesic domes and exploring strong shapes.

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News from Ms. Prew

We are already on the last two math practices! MP 7: Look for and make use of structure. Structures help mathematicians organize their thinking. Structures are also helpful for making connections! For example, when students move from 1st to 2nd grade, they begin to use their structure of ten frames (and make 10 facts) to quickly learn twenty frames (and make 20 facts). MP 8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Our Sanderson students practice this everyday during Number Corner! Take a look at part of our first grade's November number corner calendar. What patterns do you notice? Based on the patterns you notice, are you able to make predictions about what the rest of the calendar looks like? :) aprew@mtrsd.org

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Art News from Ms. Hawthorne

Wanted: Shoe boxes, paper towel tubes, and small cardboard food boxes such as spaghetti, pasta, cereal, toothpaste, rice, etc.


Update on the Original Works fundraiser: The order was placed and gifts should be arriving at the school on December 16th. If you notice a printing problem on your items, let me know ASAP. There is a process for the school to return and have the problem items reprinted for free. If you missed the order deadline or would like to order more items, we can submit another order after the holidays. We need to group all subsequent orders together into one to avoid extra charges. You are free to submit your own order directly to Original works, but you will be charged the $25 fee per order.


Art Class: I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. Several grades made pieces to play the Wampanoag game of Hub Hub over break. 6th grade students are bringing their Vejigante masks to life with detailed painting. 5th grade students are mastering using tools to finish up their colonial tin punching pieces. 4th grade students are using their imaginations and knowledge of evolution to build sculptures of animals of the future. 3rd grade students are starting to work on shoebox dioramas that will teach us how different animals of Massachusetts survive the Winter. 2nd grade is starting a new project exploring the freshwater fish of Massachusetts with oil pastels. 1st grade is learning about architecture and will design and build models of their own buildings. Kindergarten and preschool are exploring small pieces and texture while working hard on their fine motor skills.

News from Ms. Sue

Welcome to December!! Oh my how the days and weeks seem to fly by! I just wanted to say how WONDERFUL it was to connect with all the children and staff over the last two weeks to create our art project of all the things we THANKFUL & GRATEFUL for...everyday is a chance to think about this, not just during the holidays.

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