Woods Road School Paw Pride


Special Points of Interest

  • December 1, 2017: Character Education Assembly (Respect) (9:00 AM)
  • December 4, 2017: No Preschool
  • December 5, 2017: 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
  • December 6, 2017: 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
  • December 11, 2017: Toys for Tots Donations Due
  • December 12, 2017:
    - 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
    - First Day of Hanukkah
  • December 13, 2017:
    - 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
    - 3rd Grade Music Show Dress Rehearsal (1:30 PM)
  • December 14, 2017: 3rd Grade Music Show (7:00-8:00 PM)
  • December 15, 2017: Spirit Wear Order Deadline
  • December 18, 2017: No Preschool
  • December 19, 2017:
    - 3rd Grade Music Show Snow Date (7:00-8:00 PM)
    - 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
  • December 20, 2017: 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)
  • December 21, 2017: Winter Parties
    - AM Pre-K/AM K (9:45-10:30 AM)
    - PM Pre-K/PM K/TP/Grades 1-4 (1:45-2:30 PM)
  • December 22, 2017:
    - Mixed Bag Orders Due
    - School Holiday Sing-A-Long (9:30 AM)
  • December 24, 2017: Christmas Eve
  • December 25, 2017: Christmas Day
  • December 25, 2017 - January 1, 2018: No School: Winter Recess
  • December 31, 2017: New Year's Eve
  • January 1, 2018: New Year's Day
  • January 2, 2018:
    - School Resumes
    - 4th Grade Intramurals (3:00-4:00 PM)

Letter From Ms. Jodi L. Howe, Principal

It is hard to believe that our first marking period is over and we are in December already!

It was a pleasure to see so many of you at parent-teacher conferences. As you visited our classrooms, I am sure you noticed all of the outstanding student displays throughout the building. I am so proud of our students. As you get ready to spend time with your family and celebrate the winter holidays, don’t forget to keep reading a part of the fun. Here is a list of things you can do to have fun with letters, sounds, and words.

  • Sing holiday songs and talk about what the words mean.
  • Visit the library over the winter break.
  • If you are going on vacation, take pictures and then print them out. Make a scrapbook or keep a journal.
  • Work together to write thank you notes for holiday gifts.
  • I read to you, you read to me—take turns reading aloud, even reading it chorally to help with fluency at bedtime.

Here are just a few book suggestions you might like: The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg; The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats; The Mitten, by Jan Brett; Light the Lights!, by Margaret Moorman; Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner.

With winter approaching, the weather is quickly changing. Whenever possible, students will be going outside for recess. Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for this activity as the temperature drops. Please be sure all jackets and outside apparel are marked with the student’s name.

All third and fourth-grade students are learning about computer coding by participating in the "Hour of Code" during their library time. The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. This year, Hour of Code will take place December 4, 2017, through December 10, 2017. We will be using the website www.code.org and working with Google CS to code the new Google logo. The students are very excited about this activity!

I have so many reasons to be grateful this holiday season. I am grateful for my professional life here at Woods Road School. Our students are kind, respectful, and enjoy learning. Our teachers and support staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of every child. Our parents provide care, limits, structure, and most of all, love for their children every single day.

On behalf of the entire Woods Road School Family, I wish you & your family a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Mrs. Guastella's Guidance Connection

Happy December, everyone! The end of the year marks a time of various traditions, holidays, and quality family time with our families. During this special time of year, we are often reminded to remember to be thankful which can sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and hectic schedules. There was a recent article published in “Education Week” titled, “Time to Amp Up our ‘Thankitude’ in and Out of the Classroom.” The article, written by Gary Abud, a writer, and educational consultant, focuses on establishing an attitude of “thankitude,” an attitude of giving thanks, in schools and at home. The uplifting article shares different ideas and ways to making thankitude a daily ritual so that we, along with the children, are able to develop a lifelong thankitude way of thinking and living. This powerful way of thinking is a way to help all of us focus on what we have now, rather on what we do not have or wish to have and stop us from comparing our lives to others.

One way that we will be practicing Thankitude as a Woods Road Community this winter season is by giving back to a local agency. Agape House is a shelter located in Somerset County that provides emergency shelter and services to homeless families and single women. The Agape House provides an enrichment program for children who reside at the shelter. Their goal is assisting the families by providing them appropriate services to aide them in becoming independent and in permanent housing. We will be teaming up with Agape House to attempt to contribute some needs and wishes that the members of their shelter are requesting. Some requests may range from books, gift cards, and warm clothing items. We feel very fortunate to be able to give back to such a wonderful agency that is working so hard to assist members of Somerset County. The front hall of the main entrance has a beautiful tree on our wall. This tree will be transformed into The Giving Tree. The Giving Tree will be littered with gift tags of one requested item for a particular person of Agape House. We ask that you take a tag and return the tag attached to your generous donation and drop it off in the main hallway's green bins that will be labeled "The Giving Tree." Please note that if you are unable to stop by to pick up a tag, you can reach out to me and I would be more than happy to pick one for you and send you an email with the information displayed on the tag. Please return all unwrapped gifts with tags attached no later than December 20, 2017.

Please join us in our feeling of Thankitude. We are thankful to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause. We are also so thankful to all of our families for entrusting their children in our daily care. Together, as a school community, we can make Thankitude a part of our daily lives! Wishing everyone Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

Nurse's Corner

Healthy Holiday Tips

If traveling:

  1. Keep bottled water, diet, or low –calorie beverages available. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks.

  2. Pack healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts to eat (instead of cookies, chips, or candy).

  3. If at a rest stop, choice snacks or meals that best support healthy eating.

  4. Increase your physical activity when able. Take 10 minutes to walk, jog, and do a few jumping jacks or other exercises you like. Those 10 minutes you spend being active can add to the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity you need a week (https://health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf).

  5. Keep a winter emergency kit in your car in case you become stranded!

Be Prepared for Changeable Weather:

  1. Winterize your home ahead of time: install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows, clean out gutters and repair roof leaks.

  2. Check your heating systems professionally to make sure that it is clean, working properly, and ventilated to the outside.

  3. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats, scarves; and waterproof boots.

Prevent Holiday Food Poisoning from Clostridium Perfringens (C. perfringens)

This is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States. It is a bacterial infection that occurs when certain foods, such as large roasts or big pots of stew, are not kept at proper holding temperatures before serving (i.e. usually happens in places that serve large groups or at events with catered food). Meat dishes should be served hot, within 2 hours after cooking.

  1. People with C. perfringens develop diarrhea and abdominal cramping within 6-24 hours (usually 8-12 hours) after eating contaminated food. It begins suddenly and lasts for less than 24 hours. Dehydration may occur. This does not cause fever or vomiting and cannot be passed from one person to another.
  2. To prevent, cook and keep food at the correct temperature, refrigerate leftovers, and reheat them properly (https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/prevention.html). For more information regarding safe temperatures for roasts of beef or poultry, visit following website: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html


****Any donations of new or gently used clothing (pants with elastic waistbands, shirts) including new boys or girls underwear are welcome at the health office this year as supplies are running low. Thank you in advance for your support! Happy Holidays!

Shelf Talk

by Dina Stoff

This month in the library, all students K-4 will participate in the Hour of Code. Every grade level will have to chance to try out computer coding through the site code.org, One of the featured projects is to code the Google logo, which is lots of fun! Also, all of our students have heard stories about different Holiday Traditions and Customs. Students in 4th grade have started their research projects about National Parks. We had the chance to talk with a Park Ranger from Devil’s Tower Monument via Skype, it was wonderful. Students also have the opportunity each month to visit our Makerspace with their class, where they have the opportunity to participate in STEAM challenges, as well as make and create using their imagination. Makerspace can always use items, click here for a list of items that can be sent to school or dropped off in the lobby. I wish everyone Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. Follow the library on Instagram @wrslibrary.

Woods Road Writers & Parents as Partners

At Woods Road, we will teach your child to craft narrative, opinion/argument, informational and poetry writing. Our reading and writing programs go hand and hand. Studies show that one of the most important ways to get better at writing is to read, listen to and study exemplar texts. So in our writing curriculum, there isn’t a single unit where the children are not also reading.

We use the workshop model to teach writing.This approach centers on independent student work in combination with teacher modeling, one­-on-one and small­ group guidance. Woods Road School students have time to write everyday. During this time, students cycle through the stages of the writing process and receive feedback that is essential to their growth. During the writing workshop, students observe, collect ideas, draft, revise, edit, and publish narrative and expository texts.

A typical writing period will begin with students receiving direct instruction in a mini lesson. This occurs when the teacher explicitly names a skill proficient writers use that is within reach for most of the class. The teacher then demonstrates the skill and provides students with a brief guided practice using it. Students then have time to write, applying the skills and strategies they’ve learned, while receiving feedback from the teacher through one-­to-­one conferences and small group instruction designed to move them along developmentally. Since all students are writing at their own level during workshop teaching, the design makes this format perfect for differentiation.

There are many things you can do at home to support your child’s writing development.

  • Start a family journal. Let your child choose his/her own notebook for all home writings. Everyone in the family can partake in the creation of a story, poem, or explanatory piece. One person can start the story and each member of the family adds something. Having family members write in a home writer’s notebook serves as a great writing model. It also shows your child that writing is fun.

  • Write an e­mail to a relative or friend and send it.

  • Encourage your child to take notes on trips or outings and to orally describe what he/she saw. Have your child retell events in sequential order using the transition words first, then, after that, next and finally. As they are talking, you can jot down their ideas in a timeline fashion (see below), or your child can jot down the notes himself.
    - Pulled into the parking lot
    - Hopped out of car
    - Carried gear towards beach
    - Searched for perfect spot to camp

  • Talk with your child as much as possible about his/her impressions and encourage him/her to describe people, places and events to you and then write them down. If the descriptions are especially accurate and colorful, say so.

  • Have your child interview someone in the family. First, generate a list of questions for the interview and then turn the interview into a biography. If he/she would like, give a final copy to that person.

Parent Prompts to Help Kids Rehearse Their Writing

One of the biggest issues kids have is structuring their writing. To assist your child, you’ll need to help at the beginning of the process, while kids are figuring out how their writing will go. Talking helps kids sort, sequence and correlate. You can use the below prompts to get your child talking about his/her writing!

Basic Prompts

  • How will your story/essay/article go?
    - As your child speaks, sometimes it’s helpful to use your hands while repeating the parts, fold down your fingers at each part
    - You can also jot down the important parts as your child is speaking. Then ask whether one part will be more important than the others, and if so star that part. This helps your child figure out where the most important part is. This also helps your child to elaborate.

  • Tell me about the parts
    - If it’s a story, they’ll tell you about the beginning, middle and ending.
    - If it’s an opinion piece, they’ll tell you about the claim, the reasons and evidence.
    - If it’s informational, they’ll talk about the topic, the subtopics, and text features.

  • How will it start?
  • Then what will come next?
  • How do you want it to end?
  • What will be the most important part/heart of the story in the piece?
  • What will be the tricky part ­ where might it get confusing? Let me know when you’re at that part, and we can talk it out.

More Advanced Prompts

  • Try out a couple of leads on me. Let’s see which ones really get a reader interested.
  • What are you thinking about pacing? How will you control tension? How will you speed up time or slow it down?
  • Do you want to tell everything at once, or let out the details bit by bit?
  • What are you saving for the ending?
  • Who is your audience, and how will you write this piece for them?
  • Is there a particular point of view you want to use?

Prompts to Help Kids Elaborate

  • There was something you said before that struck me...you have to get that part in there!
  • When you were talking about this, I jotted down this one idea/phrase that was very cool...Is this something you want to add?
  • Say more about this one part.
  • Wait a second, I’m going to jot down what you’re saying...Now take this ­ see if it works anywhere.
  • How did that part we starred (or the part you said was most important) turn out?
  • You know, thinking about how strong this piece is, it might be worth thinking about the beginning (or ending) a little more.

For more information on how you can help your child with their writing, check out the following website: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/how-parents-can-support-common-core-writing-standards

Happy writing!

Caroline Cave


Second Grade

by Lynn Kelly, Krystel Ramos, Maria Schoeb

In second grade, we are using Making Meaning for the first time as part of our literacy time. This new reading program teaches our students how to use specific strategies that will help them become effective readers and it integrates easily into what we already do in our classroom. We read various trade books focusing on specific reading strategies. As the students listen to each story, we pause to review vocabulary and discuss comprehension questions. The students participate in meaningful talk with a partner about the story. This allows the students to think about the comprehension question the teacher is asking and share their answers. We then share our thinking aloud as a whole group and practice the reading strategy. The students enjoy these trade books and learn how to connect, visualize, and make inferences. Together, we are learning to think more deeply about the stories we read.

Second graders continue to use and learn about technology throughout the day. During literacy time, the students use Chromebooks to access and read online books on RazKids and Bookshelf. In math, students practice math facts on the Xtramath website. Our students participate in interactive math games to improve a variety of math skills on the Everyday Math ConnectEd website.

During social studies, the students have access to Brain Pop Jr videos and activities to learn about new topics. To further enhance student learning, we can also assign students specific videos to watch, a quiz connected to the topic, and a game to reinforce related skills. Students then move at their own pace to complete the assignments and learn. We have also used Google Expedition to take a virtual tour of the White House. Students had a lot of fun ”touring” the sights and learning about the different rooms in the building. We will continue to use various forms of technology to explore new places and learn new ideas as they relate to the topics we are teaching.

Physical Education

by Karen Schwartz and Jason Jenkins

This month, all grades will be working hard during our fitness unit. We will use stations to teach and implement multiple activities or exercises while keeping students actively engaged. Stations allow the children to obtain a better workout while keeping them entertained and energized. Students perform the same activity for only a short period of time before rotating to a new "adventure." Examples include Jump Ropes, Sit-ups, Planks, Cargo Net, Agility Ladder, and Shuttle Run. Music helps to motivate, set a pace, and add energy and fun to our class.

Students will continue to learn how to make healthy personal fitness choices, why fitness is important, and how to incorporate this knowledge into activities that will help them lead healthy lives. Through activities and an understanding of health-related concepts, each student learns how to take responsibility for his/her own fitness level for a lifetime. Go Wildcats!