The Eagle Express

Antrim Elementary School News December 2018

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Calling All Fairy Tale Creatures!

Our Scholastic Book Fair, The Enchanted Forest will be taking place during the week of December 10th-December 14th. This is a great opportunity to explore and foster your child’s creative side while providing resources to improve their literacy skills. The book fair will be open daily from 8:20am-4:30pm in the library/learning commons. We will be providing an online shopping experience beginning December 5th running through the 18th as well. Please shop on our personal website:

Thursday, December 13th is our scheduled Family Fun/Information Night. Activities will begin at 5:30pm with a title 1 and teacher presentation about literacy standards. At 6:00pm a number of activities will be taking place in classrooms along with dinner and treats will being served in the cafeteria. The library will become the enchanted forest, as our school book fair will be made available for families.

*To order pizza, please return the dinner/pizza sign up form by December 10th.

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Learning Commons News

The AES library/learning commons is becoming a hub for our school, enabling learning to occur through a variety of mediums. 1st-4th grade have been introduced to an online typing program in which they are learning basic typing fundamentals while becoming more familiar with our school's computer procedures. Kindergarten has been decorating our space with their very own primary colored alphabet. 1st-3rd graders are able to distinguish the differences between text-text connections and text-self connections. 4th graders are being introduced to a number of theater-inspired games/activities as we begin preparing for our 4th grade play. All of the classes have been working on making lanterns to carry on the night time lantern parade in Peterborough, Dec 1st. We even had a special visitor remind us of the importance of dental hygiene.

4th Grade Community Service & Happenings

AES fourth graders have started a community service project with the Antrim Community Suppers this year. These take place on the third Thursday of every month at the First Presbyterian Church on Main Street. Each month has a different sponsor and menu, and there is often a special theme. We have helped at two community suppers so far by making placemats and table decorations. The attendees really liked seeing our students' creations. For the last Community Supper of 2018, on Thursday December 20th at 5:30 PM, we will be designing something special to welcome all the guests. 4th graders are looking forward to attending and helping out at December's supper and future ones in 2019.

Families and friends really enjoyed the 4th Grade Colonial Fair. We worked very hard at home and school to become experts with our occupations. Jobs that were on show included the blacksmith who molds metal, the apothecary who makes medicine, and the tailor who makes clothes. We were excited to welcome our Griffin's Nest Buddies from Great Brook to our fair!

We have been continuing to work towards our goal of mastering our multiplication and division facts. This is a strong predictor of future math success, and the top math skill Great Brook teachers want the incoming 5th graders to have. We are taking our job of learning all our facts seriously. Students have begun using an awesome game-based website called Reflex Math. Families can support students at home by regularly using the activities shared at the Family Math Night and the resources on the 4th grade website.

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A Note from Nurse Mellon

Guidelines for Keeping Sick Children Home & Calling the School When Your Child is Home Sick

School attendance is important, however, your child may need to stay home because he/she is too sick to be comfortable to learn at school, and/or he/she might spread a contagious illness to the other students. Students should come to school able to participate in all school activities, and should not be tired and listless. Below are some guidelines as to when to keep your child home from school.


Children with a new cough or severe cold symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and/or thick or constant nasal drainage should stay home. Minor cold symptoms such as mild stuffiness and clear nasal discharge are OK to be in school as long as your child feels well enough to participate.


Children with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher must stay home from school. Your child may return to school after he/she is fever free for a minimum of 24 hours - without the use of fever reducing medicine. Fever (temperature of 100 degrees or higher) is a normal response by the body to fight off an infection. It is also an indication that your child could be contagious. Often, temperatures are lower in the morning and rise during the day. Giving your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen will reduce the temperature but will not prevent him/her from passing the illness to their classmates.

Calling the school when your child is home sick.

Please remember to call your child’s school whenever your child will be absent. Messages may be left anytime during non-school hours. Please give the actual reason for the absence such as; fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, so that we may keep track of “what’s going around”. Sick children will be sent home from school. The School Nurse may require a note from your Healthcare Provider before returning to school. Also, please note that children who are sick and stay home from school are not allowed to attend any school functions on that day. THE OTHER OPTION IS TO GO INTO PICKUP PATROL AND LIST YOUR CHILD AS BEING ABSENT. IF YOU DO THIS, EXPLAIN THE REASON AS WELL.

Returning Students to School: “The 24 Hour Rule/Guideline”

Students may return to school after 24 hours on antibiotics, when their temperature has been less 100 degrees for 24 hours, and/or no vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours. It is important that the school knows how to reach parents or a designated emergency contact person during the day, particularly if a child has been sick.

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News from Title 1 Teacher Ms. Levesque

Since this is my first year at Antrim Elementary, I would like to spend some time giving our community a look at what is going on with Title One in your school. In October I sent out an electronic survey to collect information about what families want to know about our school. This newsletter will address the topics families have said they want to know more about. The most commonly asked question is: how do you choose students to receive services and what kind of services do you offer?

Choosing students for Title One groups happens every 8-10 weeks when the groups are reevaluated for effectiveness and need. The school has a protocol for choosing students that starts with analyzing testing data. After the fall benchmark tests are completed, I analyze every child’s results and compare them to their scores in prior years as well as their academic position relative to the rest of their grade level; I bring that information to each teacher and administrator who has first hand understanding of the students for joint review. They give their insight and recommendations as to what the student need to be successful. Once that list is finalized I bring it to our Instructional Support Team (IST) for further discussion and approval.

Because AES is a School Wide Title One School, I am able to be flexible regarding who I take for additional support. I am also able to take on enrichment groups for students who excel in a particular area as long as the students with the highest need are being addressed. This quarter I will be able to service approximately 50 students including: one enrichment group, two whole classrooms by co-teaching, a technology assisted decoding class as well as several other groups receiving personalized, targeted instructional support.

Throughout the eight week instructional period, the students are given formative assessments (assessments that measure understanding of that day’s instruction), weekly probes that measure the skill we are targeting (like reading fluency, decoding, etc). This is done so that at the conclusion of the eight weeks the team can see if my instruction has had immediate impact or if I need to make changes to the child’s program. Since many academic gains don’t happen as quickly as eight weeks, it is the norm that students stay with me for longer. The data is used though as a way for me to check if my teaching methods are working. Additional help through Title One combined with the flexibility and expertise of their classroom teachers all come together to help the students succeed. In future articles I will address the profound impact families have on a child’s success at school. Families are a critical part of the formula for student success and can not be overlooked.

Feeling Gratitude: A Relaxation Practice for Families and Individuals

As we enter the holiday/Christmas season, a simple relaxation practice, focused on gratitude, can remind us of the commonality of all humans and the values that unite all religions. For a great resource about one value shared by religions throughout the world: The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper with illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowski New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2007. This is a book that I have used in classroom counseling lessons in the past.

The following relaxation/visualization was adapted from Yoga4Classrooms (Dover, New Hampshire) and can be used individually or with your child(ren):

Find a comfortable sitting position. Close your eyes and begin to notice your breath, breathing normally. You can ask your child how to do balloon or belly breathing if you would like to begin with a calming breath (or two or three).

Think about a time when you felt very thankful, grateful or appreciative. Perhaps someone did something really thoughtful for you or for your family? Maybe you noticed something small or large that reminded you about your good fortune? Maybe you are especially grateful for a friend, a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor?

How does gratitude make you feel? Notice how your body is feeling as you focus on your thankfulness, appreciation or gratitude. Notice your thoughts as you continue to think about the person, place, experience or thing for which you are grateful.

Imagine that this feeling of gratitude is filling your heart with love, warmth, peace and happiness. Imagine that your heart and body are being flooded with feelings of gratitude and thankfulness.

Sit with this feeling for a few minutes, breathing normally, and noticing your feelings and thoughts. As your mind wanders, return to thoughts of a person, place or thing for whom or for which you feel grateful.

After a few minutes, take a long, slow, deep breath and exhale slowly and calmly. Open your eyes. Notice how you feel. Enjoy the feeling and repeat as often as you wish!

Additional ideas:

Make a drawing or painting representing your feeling of gratitude.

Write about your feeling of gratitude.

Express your gratitude in words, a picture, a thank-you card or an action.

by Robin Gregg, School Counselor

Grade 1 Math Goals

AES First Grade teachers and families met for a workshop focused on developing Math understandings that will improve computational flexibility, reasoning, and confidence in our first-grade learners.

Our goal with the workshop is helping children move toward understanding parts of 10 and 20, the quantities that go together to make totals of ten and twenty, which leads to understanding of place value using both addition and subtraction.

We introduced families to some math terms and tools that might have been new, and shared how to use them at home. One term we introduced was subitizing, which is the ability to instantly recognize a visual quantity, not having to count.

Families practiced using these tools:

  • Counting strips, to develop skill in counting on from a given number
  • 100-bead-string versions of a rekenrek, or counting rack, to see relationships between a quantity and the nearest ten, or between two number quantities
  • Ten-frame cards showing full tens and ones, to practice counting by tens and ones.

Families were able to take home folders packed with multiple counting activities using a variety of math tools for their first-graders. We are looking forward to seeing our learners' progress with these concepts as we move through the year. If you would like more information, please contact your child's teacher.

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Physical Education is a ball!

In Physical Education students continued to learn and review the basic manipulative skills of throwing and catching in preparation for applying those skills in game situations. Kindergarten learned the differences between underhand and overhand throwing and learning verbal cues to help them remember to use opposition and point those finger toward their target when they let go of the ball. Second, third and fourth grade played several games where they got to practice and apply those accuracy skills.

Grade 2 Fluency Goals

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss

It is our goal in 2nd grade to not only help children become stronger and more confident readers but to instill in them a love for reading. Research has shown that if a child struggles to read fluently (which means reading at a good rate and with high accuracy) that it will negatively impact their understanding of what they read, which in turn will make reading less enjoyable. Because of this fact, in 2nd grade we focus much of our literacy instruction on helping students improve their oral reading fluency. We do this in many fun and engaging ways including having partners time each other reading phrases or passages, playing sight word board games, partner reading silly books to practice reading with expression, and reading Reader’s Theaters (these are picture books that have been made into scripts). Three times a year we assess students’ oral reading fluency by asking them to read aloud three short passages. They’re timed for one minute and we calculate how many correct words they read in that minute. Each child has an individual goal for how many words we’re hoping they’ll be able to read correctly in one minute by the end of the school year (the benchmark goal for 2nd graders is 92 words). You may be wondering how you can help your child practice their reading fluency at home. Some of the things you can do are make flash cards of the sight words they’re still working on (Mrs. Fletcher and Ms. Lawler have updated lists of the words your child doesn’t know…if you’d like them, please don’t hesitate to ask), time your child reading some of the fluency passages we sent home in the Fluency Folder in the middle of September (if you need more passages, let your child’s teacher know), take turns reading aloud with your child (you read a page and model good fluency and then have your child read the same page back). If you have any questions about specific activities or strategies you can use with your child at home to help us toward our goal of having all of our students improve their fluency and enjoy reading, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mrs. Fletcher of Ms. Lawler.

R-E-S-P-E-CT - Find out what it means to AES

Our school community will be focusing on one of our core values with a special “roll out” in line with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is an evidence based practice that improves social, emotional and academic outcomes for all students. AES has been a PBIS school for over 15 years. Our five core values, Kindness, Respect, Cooperation, Honesty and Grit are the foundation of our PBIS approach to support all students. Our Universal Team at AES, which consists of five grade level teachers, two specialists, one administrator and one parent volunteer, continues to provide opportunities to implement the PBIS approach reinforcing our core values in our school community.

Our “roll out” will be a two week effort. The first week we will emphasize respect by noticing students modeling Respect to self and others. The second week we will add, Respect to the environment (materials, school and nature). Students will receive a “snowball” (a recycled paper to crumple up into a ball) when they are noticed showing respect. All of the snowballs will be collected throughout the two weeks in clear bags to form an inside snowperson outside the multipurpose room. Through this visual display, they will be able to see how the whole school is working on modeling respectful behaviors. Verbal praise is also given to encourage students’ positive behavior choices. The purpose is to teach expectations, reinforce them through rewards and work toward establishing a climate where positive behavior is the norm.

Families play an important part in the PBIS approach. We encourage you to support our students in our respect “roll out” by prompting conversations with your student(s) - at home, on a walk, in the car - to discuss ways to show respect in a variety of spaces and circumstances. Together we can support our Antrim Eagles to Soar with Respect!

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Turkey Trot

On November 19th AES students participated in our first annual Turkey Trot. Unfortunately mother nature was not cooperating so we held the event inside. We kicked off the event in the cafeteria where students brought canned food donations for the local food pantry. Students walked or ran (but most ran!!!) either in the gym or around the inside of the school for 20 minutes and counted the number of laps they completed. This was then converted into miles. When all was said and done AES students collectively ran 129 miles. For perspective, a trip to Boston from Antrim is 79 miles! Great job Antrim Eagles!

Fluency in Grade 3

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression. Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. (Reading Rockets)

Third Grade is a big year for reading fluency because we begin to transition students into reading to learn instead of solely learning to read. Because of this, we hosted a reading fluency workshop in October and continue to focus on it in our classrooms. By the end of the year we hope that all students will read 119 words per minute or more.

You can help your student make progress towards this goal by practicing at home as well. We have sight words, sight word phrases, and leveled passages available along with a nice binder to keep everything in! If you were unable to make our fluency workshop and would like to know more about helping your student at home, we would be happy to meet!

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Kindergarten News

During November, kindergarten learned about thankfulness. We started our thankfulness tree by making leaves and writing one thing we are thankful for on them. Each month for the rest of the year, we will make a new project for our tree with what we are thankful for. In math, we made shape turkeys for Thanksgiving. We cut out all of our shapes, assembled our turkeys, counted and graphed how many of each shape we used for our turkey. We are continuing to learn more about each of our Letterland friends and the sounds they make. We have now reviewed, Annie Apple, Mr. A, Clever Cat, Dippy Duck, Harry Hatman, Impy Ink, Mr. I, Munching Mike, Sammy Snake, and Talking Tess!


  • Dec. 7 - Gr. 1 hosting assembly at 2:40
  • Dec. 13 - Gr. K hosting assembly at 2:40
  • Dec. 21 - Holiday assembly at 2:40

We hope to see you here in December!

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Reminder - School starts at 8:40. Please arrive a few minutes before to allow time to join us without a rush and avoid being marked tardy.