Holiday Greetings!

From Mr. Vera's Desk

Dear Frances Drake Families,

On behalf of our faculty and staff, we want to wish all our families a wonderful holiday break! May the joys of the season bring light, hope and fill your hearts with peace! Scroll down to see some of the wonderful work our students have been engaged in within the last few weeks.
Big picture

From Mrs. Hess

Hess Express!

Just a quick reminder about snow clothing for recess. If your child wants to play in the snow, they must have snow boots, hats, mittens/gloves, snow pants, and a jacket. Suggestion: Grab a waterproof reusable bag (Marshalls & TJs have the best) for your child to transport these items… It will keep everything else dry in the backpack!

Big picture

A BIG Thank you to our FD Chorus, Mrs. Souza, and the families for their performance at the School Committee meeting on Monday the 16th!

Big picture

Health Corner from Nurse Dawn

Its hard to believe winter is around the corner, but our first snow has fallen, so it’s time to start preparing. There are a lot of fun things to do outside in winter. However, it is important to consider safety.

Outdoor Winter Activities

Ice skating, skiing and sledding are great ways to get exercise on a cold winter day. Remember, adults should supervise children during these activities.

Safety Tips:

It is safer to sled feet first or sitting up, instead of lying down headfirst.

Sled on slopes that are not too steep and are free of obstructions like trees or fences.

Skate only on approved surfaces.

Skate in one direction with the crowd.

Never skate alone.

Wear a helmet when skiing.


When it is cold outside, remember to set a reasonable time limit on outdoor play and have children come inside periodically to warm up. Dressing in layers is best.


It is healthy and fun to play outside -Bundle Up!

**Layer-multiple thin layers are better than one bulky layer to keep warm and dry. For small children and babies, use one more layer than an adult would.

**Warm Coats-Please contact the school nurse if your child has no warm coat.

**Hats*Hats*Hats -Most body heat is lost through the head.

**Mittens are better than gloves for keeping hands warm -neck warmers better than scarves.

** Water proof/resistant boots and warm socks.

Reminder: All students in first and fourth grade need a current copy of an updated physical exam form on file in school. Please forward a copy as soon as possible.

Dawn Helenius MSN, BSN, RN

From the Speech Department

Beating the Winter Blahs: Boredom Busting Family Activities!

Winter doesn’t have to mean hibernation! Take advantage of the colder temperatures and shorter days

to enjoy family time and elicit conversation in these language building activities:

Bundle up and go outside...

❅ Get creative. Fill a spray bottle with colored water and create snow art!

This is also a great way for younger children to practice their letters.

❅ Take a nature walk in the woods, a local park, or around your neighborhood.

When you come home, have your child draw a picture of what they saw while on your adventure.

…. or stay in with some hot chocolate!

❅ Make a pinecone bird feeder using peanut butter and seeds. Hang it up outside a window so you can watch the birds enjoy their treat! Keep track of the different kinds of birds that visit.

❅ Science is fun for both children and adults. Science activities can be easy and most materials are found around the house. Try making slime or vinegar volcanoes.

❅ Get in the kitchen! Find a recipe that you can make together and set your child up as your favorite sous-chef. Try building your own pizzas or decorating some delicious sugar cookies!

No matter how you choose to bust the winter blahs, the time spent together will be priceless.

Happy Holidays! The Speech Team

From Mrs. Swicker's Class

Book Recommendation of the Month: December 2019

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

By Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It's practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home. (Summary from

Mrs. Swicker says: This book is perfect for independent readers starting around 3rd grade but would be an excellent read-aloud title for the whole family. Taking place at Christmas time and populated with lovable, interesting characters, The Vanderbeekers is a book that will worm its way into your heart. Available on audio, with two more in the series and a fourth on the way.

Big picture
Looking for a personalized book recommendation for your student, yourself, or anyone at all? Contact Mrs. Swicker, Library Media Specialist, today! Ideas are available for reluctant or enthusiastic readers! Email:

From the Physical Education Department

Kindergarten has been working on teamwork during sleigh rides! Students are developing cardiovascular endurance and building muscle strength in their lower body as well as abdominal/core strength.
Big picture

From Miss Penning - Art

In celebration of our outdoor wonderland, students in first and second grade are working on winter watercolor paintings! In second grade we are learning how to draw from a different perspective through the design of cute snow-people; while first graders are studying landscapes and creating the illusion of distance in their work. Wishing you all a warm and creative winter break!
Big picture

From Third Grade

The third-grade students of Mrs. Johanson, Mrs. Fish and Mrs. Copeland gathered in Mrs. Fish's room just before the holiday break to watch Mr. Arbour's class put on a reader's theater performance of "Fabulously Funny Folktales". Stone Slop, Aladdin and the Magic Pickle Jar, Three Silly Goats Gruff and Jack and the Giant Sunflower were performed with enthusiasm in front of an excellent audience! A great time for all!
Big picture
Big picture

From Mrs. Johanson's Class

Students in Mrs. Johanson's class are exploring to learn about our new topic of AREA.

They are using fun materials to learn how to count the square units and find the measurement inside of shapes.

Big picture

From Fourth Grade

Recently, the fourth graders read a text titled, Kids in Business. Featured in this text, is child entrepreneur, Hayleigh Scott. After exploring Hayleigh’s website of hearing aid charms, Mrs. Davis’s Dream Team wrote persuasive essays to convince Hayleigh to come to visit our school and share her story. It worked! In late November, Hayleigh and her family came to Frances Drake and told us all about their experience starting a business and making it grow. Thank you, Hayleigh, for being such an inspiration!
Big picture

International NIght Memmories

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Nutrition Lesson

On December 19, Registered Dietitian, Michelle Palladino, provided a health & wellness lesson to first, third and fifth-grade students about Herbs & Spices! The nutrition lesson focused on the difference between herbs and spices, identifying ways to flavor food without using salt, describing why a high sodium diet long term can be unhealthy and the numerous health benefits of herbs and spices. Students also had an opportunity at the end of the lesson to come up and smell the different spices.

Students then sampled pumpkin spice smoothies - which was a huge hit, especially with third grade! Students received the recipe to take home as well as a fun fact sheet about herbs and spices. Below are some pictures capturing this activity.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Snowflake Sale

A HUGE thank you to our volunteers helping at the snowflake sale! We hope students enjoyed the experience of buying presents for their families!
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

From the PTO

Big picture