Athol-Royalston Elementary News

Teaching Excellence & Bringing Our Schools Together in 2016

October 2015

Growth Mindset for Mathematics and More!

Children's achievement is tied to a growth mindset and orientation. Attitude, determination, commitment, confidence, belief, stamina, perseverance, willingness to take risks, to make mistakes, to manage frustration, to collaborate and to seek assistance, are all positive traits to model for, and develop in our children. It may be of no surprise, but these are all aspects of growth mindset which research has shown positively influences school success and achievement. Internationally known Stanford University Professor, Jo Boaler, has much to say about growth mindset and brain research and how children learn mathematics. We encourage you to read the many articles she has published for parents and teachers on the science of learning mathematics and explore resources, videos, apps, and free courses that are available at the Youcubed website.

Read more about how parents beliefs change children:

Math Apps and Games

Pictured: Anchor chart from Mrs. Heuer's Third Grade class with children's ideas that promote growth mindset. What does perserverance look like? Sound like?

Families as Math Partners!

Dear Families:

With the implementation of Common Core Standards the requirements in mathematical thinking and instruction have changed. We frequently hear families say that it doesn't look like anything they recognize or remember from being in school! As a result, families may not feel they are able to help their children with homework. While the math does look different it will absolutely build a stronger mathematical foundation and greater conceptual understanding for your child and perhaps for you as well! As part of our continued efforts to partner with families and to provide tools and resources to maximize children's learning we have linked a wide range of math materials below by grade level.

There are links to help with homework as well as parent tips to understanding vocabulary, as well as standards and key concepts being taught. We strongly encourage families to use these materials and learn along with your child.

This material, along with additional resources and videos can be found at

Grade 4 Resources

Homework help- module 1

Parent tips for module 1 & 2

Grade 3 Resources

Homework help- module 1 & 2

Parent Tips - module 1 & 2

Grade 2 Resources

Homework help- module 1 & 2

Parent Tips- module 1 & 2

Grade 1 Resources

Homework Help- module 1

Parent Tips- module 1 & 2

Kindergarten Resources

Homework Help-module 1

Parent Tips- module 1 & 2

News from Riverbend & Sanders Street

Sunny days = Lots of Fun days!

Sunny skies and mild temperatures were on the menu as Mrs. Maillet's kindergarten students enjoyed practicing their dribbling and ball handling skills in physical education class with Mr. Anderson at Sanders Street School. Parents are encouraged to ask their children about Mr. Anderson's famous "Spooky Gym" the last week of October!
Second grade students at Sanders Street are learning how to write open response questions during Reader's Workshop. Pictured is one of Mrs. Calvi's second grade friends busy formulating a response.

Monarch's Take Flight!

Second grade students in Ms. Calvi's classroom at Sanders Street watched the 4 stages of the Monarch Caterpillar. The last stage was watching them take flight! Caterpillars were provided by Ms. Stewart.
Big image

Science with Ms. Thomas-Paquin

Recently, in third grade science at Riverbend, students have been studying weather. They have learned about different kinds of precipitation and how they happen, and most recently, have begun to explore extreme weather such as hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes.

In fourth grade science at Riverbend, students have been studying energy. Most recently, students created their own windmills that used wind to lift a cup. We are discussing our need for energy, as well as renewable and non-renewable sources of energy.

Pictured below are some of our Riverbend friends having a whole lot of fun!

News from Mrs. McLaughlin's Class

Mrs. McLaughlin's third and fourth grade students at Riverbend School have been writing sentences using adjectives to describe nouns. We are writing sentences that paint a picture in our mind.

Reading Takes You Places...

Students at Riverbend are learning how to share their thinking with reading partners during Reader's Workshop in Mrs. Tandy's class. Sometimes you can just capture more in a picture than you can with words. Our friends were so busy sharing in their reading that they didn't even notice having their picture taken!
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Mad Science at Riverbend! Afterschool Program is a Big Hit!

Here are some pictures from our first Mad Science afterschool program for 3rd and 4th graders at RB. Students were inspired by "Professor Nucleus" and her super cool experiments!! The students made cups out of paper that they could actually drink from, constructed their own blow dart guns, and designed racing sleds.

Reach for the Stars with School Attendance!

Riverbend School rocks it out with Attendance Stars. Class attendance is displayed each month and the class with the best overall attendance is recognized on our Attendance Stars bulletin board. This month our super star class is Mrs. Tandy's third grade with 61% perfect attendance.

Walk to School Day October 7th

Across the district children and their families had a great time participating in International Walk to School Day. Some children asked if we could do this every day! Pictured below are students from Pleasant Street and Riverbend/Sanders. For more information about the thinking behind Walk to School events please visit the Safe Routes to School website at:

News from Pleasant Street School

In our Readers Workshop balanced literacy program teachers have been busy "launching" and have moved into teaching "retelling" both fiction and non-fiction as well as helping children "monitor for meaning," through teaching children to read using strategies. The launching unit focuses on routines, structures, teaching essential questions including authors purpose, why we read, and jobs of readers. As part of retelling children learn to sequence and to look for messages or themes within stories and pieces of literature. In monitoring for meaning children learn to stop when something doesn't make sense and to reread and use context information and pictures to aid understanding.

Some common universal themes include:

  • Overcoming Challenges
  • Accept Others’ Differences
  • Always Tell the Truth
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
  • Always Be Kind
  • Work Together
  • Be Happy With What You Have
  • Friendship
  • Believe In Yourself
  • Perseverance, Compassion, Courage, Responsibility
  • Anything is possible
  • Enjoy Every Day
  • Think Positively
When you are reading with your child ask questions to help deepen his or her thinking. What does your child see or notice in the story? Is there a problem that characters are faced with? How is this problem handled? What is the solution? What is the message or lesson being learned in the story? An important element in reading for children of all ages is thinking beyond the words on the page to gain the most meaning.

Snapshots from Around Pleasant Street Readers' Workshop Anchor Charts

Fire Safety in Preschool

Thank you to the Athol Fire Department for visiting Pleasant Street and for sharing important fire safety and prevention tips with our preschool youngsters. They were fascinated with the big fire trucks and in meeting real firefighters! October is fire safety month and we encourage families to test smoke detectors and to make a safety plan with your children for your home or apartment.

For more safety tips, resources, and information on fire prevention visit:


October 7, 2015~Mrs. Schwab, Guidance Counselor, and Ms. Williams, School Counselor Intern, taught a lesson in Mrs. St. Jean's 3rd grade class at Pleasant Street, on the Massachusetts Bullying Prevention Law. Then they read a book to the class called, Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson, about the importance of respecting differences, and doing acts of kindness. Students did turn and talk partner activities, during which they discussed the acts of kindness each of them will do at school, or on the bus this school year.

Guidance Counselors Help Teach Skills

Pictured below left:

"Miss Meghan" Williams, School Counselor Intern, and Mrs. Schwab, are teaching the Second Step curriculum to Mrs. Jones' 2 grade class at Pleasant Street. This curriculum teaches social skills such as empathy, being respectful, and important academic skills like listening, focusing, using self-talk to tune out distractions, and cooperative play.

Pictured in the center:

"Miss Meghan" Williams is working with Mrs. Schwab, Guidance Counselor, at Pleasant Street School this year. Miss Williams will be at Pleasant Street School Fridays, and sometimes on Wednesdays. Recently, Ms. Williams and Mrs. Schwab taught a lesson to Mrs. Webb's Kindergarten class on how counselors help children, teachers and parents in schools. They also had children brainstorm other jobs staff have at school, as part of the Career Education lessons that elementary guidance counselor teach to classes.

Pictured on the right:

Classroom rules decided on by Mrs. Jones' second grade students.

News from the Royalston Community School

Royalston Celebrates 250th Anniversary

Royalston Community School recently participated in a fun-filled weekend of events and celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of the town of Royalston. Memoirs and playson Friday evening included pieces written by last year's 5th and 6th graders from RCS. 5th graders wrote and performed a series of scenes about the Revolutionary War and the people of Royalston. 6th grade students wrote scenes about the Civil War and the people of Royalston. A special thank you to last year's teachers Salli Knechtel and Brian Snell, Norah Dooley, the Royalston Cultural Council and Gina Verrelli and Kathy Morris of the Phinehas Newton Library for their collaborative work on these projects to celebrate the 250th year since the founding of Royalston.

In addition, we had many students and families participate in the parade. Our PTG had a bakesale and informational booth set up during Saturday's festivities as well. What a beautiful weekend to come together, celebrate and make memories. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our school's participation in celebrating our town's anniversary. 5th grade
RCS 250th play 5th grade • Scenes from the Revolutionary War 6th grade
RCS 250th 6th grade: Scenes from the Civil War

If you haven't done so already you can also check out the Royalston Community School newsletter.

We are Still Looking for Additional School Council Members

Participating in School Council is an excellent opportunity for families to contribute to important school based decision-making and governance. Each school in the Commonwealth is to have a school council comprised of parents/ guardians, community representation, teachers, and the building principal. The role of school council includes, but is not limited to:
  • Adopting educational goals reflecting student needs;
  • Reviewing the school budget;
  • Examine school practices and culture to promote a welcoming and inclusive environment supportive of family engagement;
  • Annually reviewing the student handbook;
  • Contributing to the development of the school improvement plan.

As we prepare to merge Riverbend/Sanders and Pleasant Street schools in 2016 we would like to begin meeting as a unified school council this school year.

For more information on how you can represent Riverbend /Sanders Street on their school council please contact Principal Jan Williams by calling (978) 249-2415 or (978) 249-2410. For more information on how you can represent Pleasant Street School please contact Principal Dianne Ellis at (978) 249-2405. If you are interested in participating in school council at the Royalston Community School please contact Principal Molly Superchi at (978) 249-2900.

To read more about the important role of school councils please refer to the links below.

Parent Place Bulletin

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Halloween Story Walk

Children and their families are invited to attend a seasonal free community event being offered at the Orange Public Library on October 15th beginning at 3:15 pm. This event is co-sponsored by Valuing Our Children and the Orange Public Library.

Community Events & Postings

Do you have news to share or want to inform members of our school community about family friendly events in our area? if so, please email or forward a flyer or link.

Thank you :)

Mother Goose on the Loose Playgroup-Thursdays 10am—11:30am Valuing Our Children 217 Walnut St. Athol. For more information contact: Jen: 978-249-8467 x 22

Petersham Playgroup- Beginning on Thursday, Sept. 17th from 10-11:30 at the Petersham Center School. For more information please call Jennifer at Valuing Our Children 978-249-8467 x22

Welcome Baby Baskets- Did you or do you know someone who just had a new baby? Valuing Our Children would love to pay them a visit with a basket full of goodies. For more information please call (978) 249-8487.

Big Brothers/ Big Sisters Program is enrolling children for the 2015-2016 school year program. They serve children in the Athol/Orange area with transportation provided from Riverbend and Butterfield Schools. Please click on the link below for more information about this program and how you can be involved.

October 2015 edition of the Common Thread, community newsletter of the North Quabbin Community Coalition

For other local events, happenings, and resources in this area... you can also check the North Quabbin Community Coalition website below:

These are not school sponsored events but are posted here as a public service for families in the greater North Quabbin community.

Upcoming Events...Mark your Calendars!

Upcoming Events and Dates!

  • October 12- Columbus Day holiday observed, no school
  • October 28-District half day, noon dismissal, lunch is served

For more school specific activities please check individual school calendars.

For a copy of our school district calendar please click on the link below.

Check back soon for more news!

News from the Athol-Royalston Elementary Schools

Teaching Excellence &

Bringing Our Schools Together in 2016

The Athol Elementary Schools: Pleasant, Riverbend, and Sanders Street will come together in our new, state of the art, Athol Elementary School opening Fall 2016.