MHS/WES Newsletter

May 12. 2022

News from the Principal

The end of the school year is fast approaching with only 25 days left of school. As excited as I am for summer fun, I honestly wish we had more time with your children. We have lots to accomplish in the next 5 weeks and we plan to make the most of it!

Placement Letters for Class Lists:

We are starting to build our class lists for next fall. If you have any concerns for placement next year, please send me an email by June 3rd. Specific teacher requests will not be granted, however, please feel free to share your child's learning style or concerns for peer relationships.

Historically we have had an increase of student move-ins/outs over the summer months. As a result, we will not be sharing class lists and teacher assignments until August. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We will have a grade level step-up day for all grades the last week of school. Students will be able to walk through classrooms and hear some grade level specific information from the teachers. We will also have a sneak peek in August before school begins.

MCAS: We’re almost finished testing! We couldn’t be more proud of the perseverance and work ethic our students have shown while taking these tests. These tests are long (2 ½ hours for ELA) and very challenging. Our students continue to put forth their best effort!

Grade 5 - Science, May 17 & 18

5th Grade Promotion Night

We've heard from a number of parents that they would like us to revisit our current plan for promotion night. Please be on the look-out for a survey going out tomorrow to families with more details.

Upcoming Dates

May 18 ~ School Improvement Meeting at 4:15 p.m. & PTO Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

May 16-20 Staff Appreciation (See flyer in this newsletter and more info. coming home next week)

May 25-27 ~ Nature's Classroom three day trip for 5th Grade

May 30~No School Memorial Day

June 3~Half Day of School

June 15~5th Grade Promotion Night (TBD)

June 17~Last Day of School~Half Day (the original last day was the 13 of June, which will now be a full day of school)

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News from the 1st Grade Team

Happy May!

Just like the flowers outside the first graders are really blossoming! At this point in the year first graders are starting to masters skills they have been taught throughout the year. It is wonderful to see the progress in academic skills, social skills and the independence they are showing.

With the end of the year in sight there are some things that you could do at home to help solidify skills before second grade. Reviewing coin names/values, telling time to the hour/half hour, independently packing/unpacking their backpacks, and learning to tie shoes will help kids on their journey to independence.

We appreciate all the support and collaboration you have shown this year. We are looking forward to a fun and successful last few weeks!

Third Grade News

Third graders will be starting a new science unit in the coming weeks. Students investigate and make predictions about the weather through careful observation of the clouds and wind. Students also learn to differentiate between weather and climate and use models to reveal global climate patterns.

News from Mrs. Breen

Technology/Engineering News

There is so many exciting things happening in the technology/engineering rooms lately.

5th Grade ~ Genius Hour

5th grade has begun a new unit called “Genius Hour”. In this lesson, the students choose a learning topic of interest, such as how the pyramids were built or how animation is created. Then with this driving question the students research and develop a product based off their question.

The underlying assumption of genius hour is that if students are given space and tools and audiences and time, they will create something personal and compelling, and of course be ‘learning’ in the process.

Curiosity is an amazing thing!

Characteristics of Genius Hour are…

  • Student-centered

  • Messy

  • Emphasizes inquiry and research

  • Authentic

  • New challenges (i.e., it creates new problems to solve in your classroom)

  • Inherently personalized

  • Inherently creative

  • Purpose-driven

  • Maker-friendly

  • Often collaborative and social

4th Grade ~ Physics and Fabrication

4th grade will soon be starting their next unit called the “spinning top”. During these lessons the students will learn about physics and will fabricate a paper spinning top with the use of their Chromebooks, online 3D design platform called Fabmaker Studios, and a paper cutting machine.

During our experiments the students will see how this simple game of tops can demonstrate the properties of physics.

3rd Grade ~ eBooks

The 3rd graders have been working for a few weeks now on creating their very own ebooks. We are using a free online platform called StoryJumper, which is a website that lets students create and publish their own illustrated stories.

During this lesson the students develop deep understanding of story making concepts with hands on application.

These stories will be ready for publication by the end of the school year. If you are interested in having a pdf copy of the book you can download $2.99 or have a hard copy copy printed for $12.99.

2nd Grade ~ World Postcard

Have you ever wondered the differences between the 7 continents or the animals that live on those continents? Well the 2nd graders know.

During the last few weeks we have been researching and learning amazing facts. During this lesson the students are using an online software called Wixie to learn different multi-medias to produce an effective graphic publication in the form of a postcard. Our focus is how-to create a drawing, insert a background, text, and make uppercase letters when we type and using spaces between words.

Our postcards should be coming home soon.

1st & Kindergarten ~ Osmo Centers & Lego Challenges

The kindergarten and 1st grade are just finishing up their challenge stations. Each week the students rotate through different centers.

Our Osomo centers pair learning core subject matter with the use of technology.

These centers include:

  • Math: in the form of counting and addition

  • Spelling (Words): beginning word sounds and letters

  • Tangram: visual thinking, shapes, and spatial awareness

  • Newton: creative problem-solving and angles

  • Masterpiece: self-expression art

  • Lego Challenge: building based on a problem or criteria

  • ABCs (sticks & rings): using shapes to build letter shapes

  • Detective: world maps & problem solving

  • Pizza shop: counting and direction following

Donations of Kleenex, Paper Towels, Disinfectant Wipes and Baby Wipes are always greatly appreciated!

News from Mr. Weinberg~Social Emotional Learning

Hello, students & families - Happy Spring!

While students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 have enjoyed extra recess during some SL Classes, they have been having fun learning in various ways during (SL) Class, too:

~ During a PowerPoint presentation that featured several of the “Angry Birds,” students related their feelings and characteristics (i.e., energetic, talkative, optimistic, etc.) to a specific character. Students then made an illustration of the “Angry Birds” character that matched their personalities. Also, students wrote what leads them to feel angry and they provided safe strategies (learned in SL Class) to reduce stress.

~ ~ Students watched a video read-aloud called “The Grouchy Ladybug” by author Eric Carle. A discussion about what leads individual students to feel grouchy occurred as well as strategies to reduce or prevent grouchiness. In Kindergarten and Grade 1, two- person groups acted out feeling grouchy and shared techniques to reduce grouchiness.

~ ~ ~ All SL Classes watched two age-appropriate videos about bullying behavior. A few students initiated conversations in class that they had a better understanding of bullying after watching and discussing the videos. In addition, students enjoyed watching the videos which included sketch drawings while the narrator discussed this important topic. Below are the links to view the two bullying videos watched by students in Grades K-3:

What is Bullying? - SEL Sketches What to do about... Bullying! - SEL Sketches

David Weinberg, M.Ed.

Guidance Counselor

Westminster & Meetinghouse Schools

Office: Room 133 (WES)


Phone: (978) 874-2043 X133

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Incoming Kindergarten Students for the 2022-2023 School Year

Mary Whitelaw will be at the Westminster Farmer's Market on Friday, May 27th and Friday, June 24th. Parents with children entering Kindergarten in the fall can come by and visit to receive a free kindergarten readiness kit.

MOC Coordinated Family & Community Engagement (CFCE) Coordinator

Program towns: Barre, Hardwick, Oakham, New Braintree, Hubbardston, Templeton, Gardner, Ashburnham, Westminster, & Fitchburg

68 Coleman Street, Gardner, MA.

Phone 978-878-3003

FAX 978-355-6600