Fiske Monthly News

October 2017


Welcome to the home of the Fiske monthly news! We feature great news and updates by grade level and specialist teachers to help keep you informed about what our students are learning. Enjoy your reading!
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News from The Principal

Back to School Night Thank You!

Thank you to all of the families that were able to attend Back to School Night/Curriculum Night! It was great to see you all and have you get the chance to see what your child's classroom is like and what they will be learning during the course of the school year. I'm so fortunate to be in such a supportive community and surrounded by dedicated teachers. The staff put a LOT of work into preparing for the night, and I would urge you to always work through the classroom teacher when you have questions about teaching and learning. They really are fortunate in that they spend the most time with your child/ren and can always get you the best "real time" information about what happens in the class!

Make It and Move It Thursdays

As many of you know, we are trying some new things to continue to support student engagement and social emotional learning at Fiske. This year, on Thursdays, we are mixing up our activities a bit to give students the opportunity to experience fun activities that will promote engagement and a love of school.

We'll continue to hold once a month all school meetings and once a month learning buddies as we've had in the past. This year, we will be having one creative play period per month in addition to our "tried and true" activities mentioned previously. These creative play times are an opportunity for students to explore, create and play for about 30 minutes with teacher supervision but not teacher directed and no technology. Students learn a lot about taking turns, navigating directions, making friends and being creative.

In addition to the above mentioned activities, we will also hold about 7 times during the year, "Make It and Move It". Students will get to participate in a variety of activities during the school year such as a cardboard maker space, yoga, music, art, walking club, etc. These activities will last for 30 minutes and will be run by Fiske Staff. Students will get a chance to try each of the activities during the year! Thank you in advance for supporting these initiatives! It is greatly appreciated!

News from the Assistant Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to the 2017/2018 School Year! To those families that are new to Fiske, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brian Baker and I am the Assistant Principal of Fiske School. I am happy and fortunate, once again, to have been given the opportunity to work with the parents, students and staff of Fiske Elementary School, where great things are happening. I look forward to watching the success of the students as they are challenged to reach their full academic potential. Hopefully, this is done with many smiling faces!

I know that parents play a very important role in the education of their children, and without your support, academic achievement would not be possible.

Parent support comes in many different ways, and it is greatly appreciated:

  • Making sure that your child attends school everyday

  • Making sure your child is on time – school begins promptly at 8:30

  • Making sure homework is completed and returned to school each day

  • Attending scheduled conferences

  • Making sure your child has a nutritious breakfast and a healthy snack

  • Following all school rules in and outside of the building

Parents want what is best for their children, and the staff at Fiske Elementary, myself included, is committed to giving the very best. I am proud to be a part of a staff that has made a great commitment to education. If I can be of any assistance or if you should have any questions please do not hesitate to stop by my office or give me a call. I look forward to getting to know each of you and to continue my work with you and the students.


Brian Baker

Assistant Principal

Kindergarten News

September was an exciting month in Kindergarten! The children transitioned well into their new school and classrooms. We have been focusing on classroom routines and getting to know one another. Building strong, trusting relationships and communicating classroom expectations are crucial during the first few weeks of school.

We place a tremendous emphasis on social and emotional growth in Kindergarten. We hope to create an environment in which every child feels safe, connected and important. Each class has created Classroom Promises/ Expectations together. Every child and teacher contributed his or her ideas. We are developing common language as we teach and reinforce social skills.

The children are learning about each other through the question of the day, Discovery Workshop, birthday celebrations, and eventually Important Person weeks. We look forward to a wonderful school year!

It was great to see all of you at Back to School Night!

Grade One News

Welcome Fall!

Writing Workshop

The first graders are working on writing Small Moment Stories and focusing or “zooming in” to a seed story, not a watermelon or a chunk. So instead of writing about a whole trip to Disney, or the day at Disney, they are zooming in on one small moment from the trip, maybe a ride on Space Mountain! The collages that you all made and sent in have been extremely helpful! In the next few weeks, if you happen across a great “small moment”, it would be great to encourage your child to write about it during Writing Workshop! We have begun using writing partners to help us add details to our stories too! This an exciting new idea during our workshop time!

Reading Workshop

We are now working on independently “shopping” for just right books for our browsing boxes/reading bags. The children are practicing and are able to switch on their own or with a little assistance at this point. We are also working on buddy reading which we all learned a fun new song for! The children sound great singing it and it helps us transition from independent reading to buddy reading. We are also working on Habits of Good Readers and what good readers do. Ask your child some things that good readers do. I am sure you will be impressed with all they know.


We have been focusing on handwriting during our WIN time. The children are enjoying using common language for letter formation and practicing their handwriting each day!


We have begun our Light and Shadows unit. This unit is an inquiry based unit where the students are given ample time exploring and figuring out the whys to their questions. We have talked about light sources and what an object would have to do in order to be a light source. We have named countless light sources. We are beginning to explore with how light travels and shadows too.


Much of our math work this unit is based on counting. We have lots of different stations that practice counting like Make a Train Race and Build a City. We have also talked about more and less with numbers as well as changing a number and describing those changes. We will wrap up our first unit shortly and move on to unit 2.

Grade Two News

A Fresh New Start

There is nothing more wondrous than the beginning of a brand new school year, from the thrill of getting new school supplies to meeting new friends. Students, teachers and parents alike are all feeling this sense of excitement that can appear in many different ways including anxiety, weepiness and rambunctiousness. We will be happy to help with this and any other issue that may arise, just let us know what we can do to help. Working together we will be able to support your child.

Each month or so we will update our classroom websites to include the units of study we will be working on, including students expectations and new vocabulary. Below is an example of what to expect as the units of study change throughout the year. This will give you and your child topics to discuss about their learning in school. As parents and teachers, we truly believe the two most important things we can do for our children is to read to/with them every night and to keep them talking about what is going on in their lives. We are looking forward to a GREAT year and getting to know your children more over the next few weeks. Feel free to contact us if we can support you and your child in any way.

Thank you,

2nd Grade Team

MATH – Unit 1: Numbers, Routines, Coins and Clocks

Skills (Students will be able to...)

● Makes sense of problems and perseveres in solving them

● Attends to precision

● Reasons and explains

● Models and uses tools

o Uses tools such as diagrams, number lines, tables, and graphs to represent the relationship

of the quantities in a problem

o Writes equations to represent the situation

o Interprets mathematical results in the context of the situation

o Considers and uses appropriate tools to solve problems

● Sees structure and generalizes

o Looks for and identifies properties, relationships, and patterns to reason and make sense

of mathematics.

o Uses identified properties, relationships, and patterns to solve problems

o Looks for rules or shortcuts that grow out of a set of repeated calculations or a repeated


o Checks results along the way

Essential Vocabulary

● addition facts

● skip count

● number names (in word form), value

● number line

● a.m., p.m.

● dollar, penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, cents

● rows, columns

READING – Unit 1: Launching the Reader’s Workshop

Skills (Students will be able to...)

● develop strategies for choosing "just right" books

● identify the characteristics of different genres

● read silently and independently for an extended period of time

● demonstrate comprehension of what they've read

Essential Vocabulary

● Comprehension Strategies- ways of thinking to help you understand the text (predicting,

connecting, visualizing, questioning, inferring, etc)

● Fix-up Strategies- self-correcting, rereading, slowing down pace, reading on, using context clues,

attending to graphic sources

● Genre- type of text (fantasy, realistic fiction, informational text, biography, poetry, etc.)

● "Just Right" Book- text that a student can decode and comprehend independently

WRITING – Unit 1: Lessons from the Masters: Narrative

Skills (Students will be able to...)

● discuss writing with a teacher, a peer and class

● use a mentor text to improve writing

● generate a topic

● locate and use writing tools appropriately

● write a story with a beginning, middle and end

● draw pictures to accompany his/her story

● revise his/her own text for clarity

● edit his/her piece for proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling

● sustain writing for at least 30-40 minutes

● produce multiple stories

Essential Vocabulary

● Mentor Text - a piece of quality writing that can be used to teach a process or craft

● Personal Narrative (Small Moment) - a story about your life focusing on a brief moment in time

● Watermelon Topic vs. Seed Idea - a topic that is too big for one story vs. a detailed specific


● Revise- reworking the content of a text relative to task, purpose and audience

SCIENCE – Unit 1: Launching Science Notebooks

Skills (Students will be able to...)

Science Notebooks....

● show student thinking over time

● are sometimes messy

● should be the work of the students (teachers can not assume that students know how to do it and

therefore teachers need to model and scaffold instruction)

● should not be mechanic

al and pre-scripted

● should allow students to think for themselves

● should be used by students to record important information

● should include conclusions that are supported with claims and evidence

● are a record while students are working through a topic

● should contain a section for students to synthesize their thinking at the end

SOCIAL STUDIES – Unit 1: Maps/Geography

Skills (Students will be able to...)

● read and interpret maps and globes

● identify, locate, name and label continents, oceans, rivers, mountains

● define, differentiate and explain the differences between continents and countries/ oceans and

rivers/ globes and maps

Essential Vocabulary

● Geography- an area of study that deals with the location of countries, cities, lakes, mountains

etc.(Earth's surface)

● Country- a nation with its own government with defined borders

● Continent- land mass

● Landform- a natural feature of the Earth's surface

● Globe- a map in the shape of a sphere

● Map- a picture or chart that shows a place; can include rivers, mountains, continents, etc.

● Compass Rose- design on a map that shows direction. It points which way is North, South, East

and West

● Legend/Key- small table that explains the symbols used on a map

● Map symbol- a picture used to represent words

● Boundaries- something (such as a river, fence or imaginary line) that shows where an area ends

and another area begins

● Lake- large body of water surrounded by land on all sides

● River- a large, flowing body of water that usually empties into a sea or ocean

● Ocean- a large body of salt water that surrounds a continent

● Mountain- an area of land that rises very high above the land around it

  • Mountain Range- a chain of mountains

Grade Three News

Third grade if off to a wonderful start. It is amazing how quickly everyone has transitioned and how much we have learned already! Below is a snapshot of what we have been doing thus far.

Morning Meeting

Our Morning Meetings have been a wonderful way to begin each day. We begin with a greeting, then a teacher message, sharing, and then a group activity. I think the students really value this part of our day. I feel that it makes a tremendous impact and helps to create a positive classroom climate. Please ask your children about some of the greetings and group activities. They are simple but fun!


This year started with a “Week of Inspirational Math,” a math approach (developed at Stanford University) that encourages a “growth mindset,” the idea that we can all learn math to the highest levels. Through these lessons the children learn that mistakes are valuable and help us learn, and that math is about creativity and making sense. You can learn more about Math and Mindset during Math Night on October 6th from 6:30-7:30.

Currently, we are concluding of our first math unit: Routines, Numbers, Time and Money. Most of this unit is a review of what the children learned in second grade. Additionally, the children have learned the Open Number Line method for solving two and three digit subtraction problems. This method provides a structure that emphasizes understanding of number and place value. Please view the video below to see how this method is being taught:

Readers’ Workshop

During Readers’ Workshop we have been focusing on management and routines for independent reading. We have also been learning and discussing making good book choices, thinking and talking about your reading, abandoning books, different types of fiction and nonfiction, expectations and management of the Readers’ Notebooks, and thinking and writing about your reading. Reading is thinking!

Writer’s Workshop

The children have been introduced to their Writer’s Notebooks and have quickly become accustomed to the routines and expectations during Writers’ Workshop. We have been doing writing exercises to help them develop greater writing fluency. They have also been generating topic ideas for our first writing unit of study: Personal Narratives. Please ask them about their 1) Ideas from the heart; 2) map of a special place; and 3) list of important people. Hopefully, they will share many topic ideas with you!

Social Studies

We’ve begun the year learning about MA geography. The children have been introduced to their first textbook: MA Our Home. Through reading and various mapping activities, the children are now able to locate the New England states and the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, they are learning about the six major regions in MA, as well as major cities and towns, geographic features and landmarks.


The children will soon be introduced to their Scientists’ Notebooks where they will document their scientific observations and thinking throughout the year. We will be conducting experiments, reading books and learning what good scientists do. We will discuss what variables are and exploring how we can create better scientific tests.

Thank you for such a great beginning to this school year.

Grade Four News

Our fabulous Fiske fourth graders have settled into the new school year nicely and have been busy getting to know their new classmates and learning!

Reading is thinking, and fourth graders know that tuning into their thinking is really important as they read and develop their reading identities. They’ve been making predictions, connections, inferences, and asking questions as they go. The students are developing strategies to support their reading (and thinking!) as they encounter challenges in text.

Fourth grade is an important year for writing, and the students have revisited personal narratives as a way to launch Writer’s Workshop and build writing stamina. The students have discussed strategies for generating ideas and elevating the level of their narrative writing. Soon, we will delve into the genre of realistic fiction. Using the skills we have honed in our personal narrative writing sessions, the students will strive to apply these skills in the challenging genre of realistic fiction.

We kicked off math with a week of inspirational lessons focused on developing the concept of a Growth Mindset. The students worked collaboratively as a grade with our Math Specialist extraordinaire, Mrs. Rawding, to become creative problem solvers. Following this week of learning, we have been working on the concept of place value in large multi-digit numbers and addition and subtraction algorithms. Students have practiced expanded notation, rounding, and comparing numbers up to the millions. Our upcoming unit will focus on multiplication. A major goal for fourth graders is to develop the automaticity of basic multiplication facts 0 to 12 by the end of the year. Any additional support our fourth grade families could provide at home would be extremely beneficial and very much appreciated.

In science, we have launched our study of Geology through a new unit titled Exploring Earth’s Materials. We will have our Big Backyard field trip to Whipple Hill on October 16th. Thanks in advance to all of our parent group leaders who will make this trip a success. If you aren’t able to join us on the hike, perhaps you could explore this fascinating area of Lexington with your fourth grader over a weekend or after school sometime!

In social studies the students discovered that there is so much more to the subject than just history and a study of the past. Through an artifact analysis, students learned that social scientists include geographers, political scientists, historians and economists. We are excited to launch our immigration unit. To help launch this unit, our students will be visiting the Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the US Senate on October 18th to participate in a program called Pathways to Citizenship. This is a simulated senate experience during which our fourth graders will become senators.

Stay tuned for future updates on our fabulous fourth graders!

Grade Five News

As 5th graders, we get more responsibilities and privileges. For example, as role models, we earn the privilege of sitting in chairs at All School Meeting. But with that, comes great responsibility. We earn this privilege because we act responsibly and appropriately. We act as role models, and that makes Fiske a better place! Speaking of special privileges, 5th graders are also allowed to do announcements in the morning! We get to talk about the fabulous birthdays, say the Pledge of Allegiance, announce the special events, and wish everyone a great day.

But then… you’re probably getting bored by now, so we’ll move on to other things - like what we do in class!

For example, we’ve just finished working on our “Math About Me” posters. “Math About Me” posters are posters about ourselves - but we show that through math! We write word problems and equations that show our personality on the posters, and illustrate them for the finishing touch! They’re really fun to make! We also learned about the Constitution, and important parts in it - like the Preamble and the Bill of Rights! The Preamble is the first part of the Constitution, starting with the famous words, “We the People.” The Bill of Rights is a list of the first ten amendments in the Constitution.

There are also lots of fun things we do outside of class, like chorus on Thursdays! We’re learning new songs every week in chorus, for our concert this year, and it’s going to be a great surprise!

There’s so much more to do in 5th grade! So have a great day! We hope you enjoyed the Fiske Newsletter!

By: Christina Caro & Ramaiza Sohail

Specialist News

Counseling News

A heartfelt welcome to those both new and returning to the Fiske community. We hope your child’s first weeks at school were a great success! We wanted to share with you some of the support programs available to you and your child to help create a positive and successful school year.

For those of you not familiar with the counseling program at Fiske, it consists of a variety of services and activities, including:

•Individual sessions to help students adjust to school.

•Groups to help children learn how to get along with each other better.

•Parent and teacher consultation.

•Workshops for parents to share and learn ways to assist children in reaching their highest potential.

•Classroom lessons to help children develop social competencies.

•Information and referral assistance to other programs and services in the community.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to welcome all the new students in first-fifth grade personally. Your child was given an opportunity to meet other new children, share any questions they may have and meet some more friendly faces who can help at Fiske.

We look forward to another wonderful year and, most especially, getting to know your children. If you have any questions or wish to meet with either of us about your child please call:

Lysa Pirone-School Counselor 781-541-5020

Mimi Bix-Hylan-Social Worker 781-541-5001 Ext. 3277

Art News

Welcome Back! We hope you had a great and relaxing summer with your families.

We have so many exciting projects slated for this coming year! All students have been working on a selfie box collage. These individual projects show the students’ interests. Please check out all the amazing work by our talented students throughout the school.

A reminder to all students, please keep an old paint shirt in your classrooms for those really messy art days. We usually will let each classroom teacher know when those days will be. Please ask your child (ren) what they did in art, often projects are carried over for a few weeks.

To 4th and 5th grade students, this year we decided to make the sketchbook class work or free time work. We hope students will actually look at what it is they are drawing. We think it is important for them to draw by observing objects. Parents, please take the time to view your child’s sketches, if they decided to bring them home.

Volunteers are always welcome, especially in the grades K-2. Please have your child ask for a volunteer form to take home or ask for one via google.

Continue to be good recyclers! We also use other recycled materials like: clear egg cartons, 16oz. yogurt containers, plastic coffee containers, foil-type containers with peel off labels, yarn, ribbon, discontinued wallpaper books, empty spray bottles, magazines, paper and plastic bags and paper towel tubes.

Also feel free to Gmail:

For Mrs. Garvin and Mrs. Carter’s classes:

We look forward to meeting you!

ELL News

We want to welcome our new families into the ELL program at Fiske, as well as greet those who were here last year! ELL classes are off to a great start. Students have been getting to know us and each other in many ways. They’ve shared their stories verbally and are also practicing listening respectfully to each other’s words. Students are also introducing themselves in writing and illustrating, using speech bubbles. In our ELL classes at Fiske we work to enrich our student’s academic vocabulary using all four language domains: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. We look forward to a year of robust language learning! Feel free to email us with any questions you may have:

Carolyn Hine:

Catherine Murphy:

PE News

Welcome back Fiske students. We are looking forward to another fun and exciting year in P.E. We are eager to get to know our incoming Kindergarten classes as well as all our new students. As always, our classes will emphasize fitness, skill and social development. Sportsmanship, safety and fair play will also be focused on heavily. Please wear sneakers on days you have gym to help to help ensure safety. Our soccer unit has just concluded and we will be entering our football/frisbee skills unit next week. Fiske Before School Sports for 4th and 5th graders begins soon. Permission slips will be arriving home shortly.

Music News

News from the Music Room

Welcome back to school!

Performance dates are set for the 2017/2018 school year:

Fifth Grade Chorus/Band/Strings: Wednesday, January 24, at 9 am in the Fiske Gym

Wednesday, May 30, at 9 am and 7 pm in the Fiske Gym

Third Grade Recorder "Informance": Thursday, May 24, at 11:30 am in the Fiske Gym

Fourth Grade "Informance": Thursday, April 26, at 11:30 am in the Fiske Gym.

Here are some of the things you might see and hear if you looked into the music room this month:

Kindergarden: Singing Bingo Bongolo and jumping over the river, and singing Listen to the Cows.

First Grade: Playing Monkey See and Monkey Do, and playing Hickory Dickory Dock with woodblocks.

Second Grade: Playing When I Was a Young Kid, and reading the Charlie Over the Ocean song.

Third Grade: Moving to Down To The Baker’s Shop and starting to read the notes on the treble clef.

Fourth Grade: Improvising with Sigiti Sagiti SoPoPo, and singing and playing I Want To Rise…

Fifth Grade: Acting out creating movement patterns for The Pink Panther and starting our chorus songs.

Thanks from Mr. Hart and Ms. London.

Please see:

Library News

  • Early mornings are a great time for students to visit the Fiske Library. Many students are taking advantage of the daily 8:30 – 8:50 book selection time. At this time, students may come to the library to exchange books and pick up saved books. It is also a great time to get advice from Mrs. Kishpaugh about "just right" books and personalized recommendations.

  • Kindergartners have been sharing books about libraries and reading. We have just begun a unit on apples and are learning about fiction and non-fiction texts.

  • First graders are celebrating Tomie DePaola's birthday (September 15) by enjoying such classics as Strega Nona, The Art Lesson, and Meet the Barkers.

  • In second grade we are sharing books about butterflies and comparing fiction vs. non-fiction texts.

  • Third graders are participating in the Call Number Challenge, a scavenger hunt activity to learn how to find books in the library.

  • Fourth and Fifth graders are honing their search skills by practicing with the online Fiske Library catalog.

Math News

Upcoming Event: Parent Math Night - Wednesday, October 18, 2018 ~ 6:30-7:30

Your Fiske student(s) are invited to join us too!

Here are some options for doing math with your child:

→ Math Before Bed or on Twitter @MathBeforeBed

→ Bedtime Math ~ or on Twitter @BedtimeMath

Follow me on Twitter to see and learn more about Math at Fiske @FiskeMath

Literacy News

A warm welcome to all our returning and new Fiske families!

In our Fiske Literacy department we welcome Ms. Kate Jones, Literacy Specialist who joined Fiske this year. Kate brings us a wealth of experience and expertise from her roles as a first grade teacher and literacy specialist at Bowman School. Welcome Kate!

We hope to meet many of you at Curriculum Night and share with you the role of the literacy specialists in the district, and specifically at Fiske. As teachers of literacy we support all staff and students at the K-5 levels. Students’ success in literacy is largely dependent on a strong home-school partnership and for that reason we always welcome opportunities to share with families ways that they can support literacy at home. We will be sharing ideas and articles with you throughout the year. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wishes for a wonderful new academic year!

Health Office News

Welcome to 2017-2018 at Fiske!

Staying healthy is most important to staying in school! Please remember to pack Healthy snacks for the students to enjoy at school. Getting enough sleep and a Healthy breakfast helps with beginning their day. Reinforcing covering mouth with a tissue or cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow is good practice and helps to stop the spread of germs that makes you and others sick. Also, please reinforce Hand Washing!

Head lice seems to “creep up on us” throughout the year. It’s good practice to “take a peek once a week”. This information is being shared with you so that you can become more knowledgeable about head lice.

Head lice (pediculosis) is a common problem unrelated to personal hygiene. Your cooperation in periodically examining your child’s hair as a precaution is essential.

· Use a bright light to examine your child’s hair

· Work in small areas, part the hair with a comb and look for eggs attached to the hair near the scalp

· Adult lice are about the size of a pinhead and will move quickly

· The eggs (nits) look similar to dandruff but will adhere to the hair. They may be gray or tan in color

· Excessive scratching may be a symptom

· It is recommended “Take a peek once a week” throughout the school year!

Lexington Public Schools does not have a “no nit” policy.

There are children with severe peanut/nut allergies in some classrooms. Strict avoidance of peanut/nut products is the only way to prevent a life threatening allergic reaction. We are asking your assistance in providing the student with a safe learning environment.

If exposed to peanuts/nuts the student may develop a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment. The greatest potential for exposure at school is to peanut products and nut products. Please do not send any peanut or nut containing products for your child to eat during snack in the classroom. Any exposure to peanuts or nuts through contact or ingestion can cause a severe reaction. If your child has eaten peanuts or nuts prior to coming to school, please be sure your child’s hands have been thoroughly washed prior to entering the school.

Since lunch is eaten in the cafeteria, your child may bring peanut butter, peanut or nut products for lunch. In the cafeteria there will be a designated peanut-free table where any classmate without peanut or nut products can sit. If your child sits at this table with a peanut or nut product, s/he will be asked to move to another table. This plan will help to maintain safety in the classroom while allowing non allergic classmates to enjoy peanut/nut products in a controlled environment. The tables will be cleaned with soap, water and paper towels after each lunch.

We appreciate your support of these procedures. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. Thank you for your cooperation.

Reminder that Health screenings will take place September 18, 19 and 20. (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). All children will have their vision screened, and Kindergarten thru 3rd graders will also have hearing checked.

First and fourth graders will have their height and weight measurements done.

We ask parents to please make sure that if your child wears glasses or contacts that they wear them or bring them to school.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have questions.

Claire O’Connell, RN, MSN

Fiske School Nurse