Region In Review

March 15, 2019 | K-5 Focus

Digital Learning Day 2019

Region 12 was proud to participate in Digital Learning Day along with thousands of students and educators around the world this year on February 28th. This day was designed to celebrate the effective use of technology tools to enhance teaching and learning. We are very thankful to have a supportive community that has allowed our teachers and students to have access to these highly engaging tools. In an effort to share the positive impact of these tools, we have created a series of Digital Learning Day videos highlighting a different technology at each of our schools. Please click the videos below to view how the elementary students are using MakerSpace, Project Lead The Way, and Makey Makey to enhance their learning through technology!

MakerSpace at Booth Free School

Project Lead The Way at Burnham School

Makey Makey at Washington Primary School

Connecticut Science Center Comes to Booth Free School and Washington Primary School

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Learning About Pollinators

Second graders from Booth Free School and Washington Primary School enjoyed a visit from the Connecticut Science Center. Students participated in an activity, called “Pollen-Nation,” testing everyday items such as tinfoil, pipe cleaners, an eraser, and a pom-pom to determine if they were good pollinators. They tested the items by dipping the “pollinator” into baking soda and making notes on how much “pollen” stuck to their item. Students then tapped each item over a flower to observe if any “pollen” fell off. They discussed the properties of the items that made the best pollinators in their experiment. Students were given pictures of a variety of animals and asked to sort them into two categories, good pollinators, and bad pollinators. These second graders justified their reasoning by analyzing the animals’ skin, fur, and habitat.

Lastly, a student was chosen to dress up as a butterfly and pick up “pollen” using two different types of gloves. One glove was fuzzy, and the other was smooth. Second graders recognized the glove that best picked up the pollen, and they were able to explain why. These second-grade “scientists” learned a great deal from this hands-on experience. The Connecticut Science Center’s presentation was a big hit for our second-grade students!

Hearing the Beats of a Drum at Burnham School

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Students at Burnham School had a special treat this month, courtesy of the PTO! Local musician, Steve Mansfield, spent the day teaching K-5 students on percussion instruments. Students played various drums and percussion instruments from around the world, brought in by Burnham School parent, Greg Bura. They learned that some percussion instruments, like drums, are covered by a skin membrane or synthetic material. Other percussion instruments such as tambourines, rainsticks, and maracas, are shaken.

The students were amazed to learn that drums are the world’s oldest musical instrument and that they are used for many different reasons besides making music! Drums have been used to intimidate (in wars), keep time (in marches), and communicate over long distances. The basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Mr. Mansfield taught students how to play as an ensemble by having students clap their independent parts, then play them. He helped the ensembles discover different dynamics and students even got to improvise! Additionally, he made sure every student played a variety of instruments. Thank you to Mr. Mansfield, Mr. Bura, and the Burnham School PTO!

Washington Primary School Nonfiction Living Museum

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Bringing Reading to Life

The second-graders in Mrs. Feola’s class at Washington Primary School celebrated their love of reading at their Nonfiction Living Museum. To culminate the end of their Nonfiction Reading unit, students created exhibits to showcase their new learning gained from nonfiction books. Second-graders selected topics they were curious about and collected books related to the topic. Students’ research varied greatly ranging from blown glass to outer space, to historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. and more! Readers began their study by reading a nonfiction book about their topic and identifying the main idea and supporting details. Experts expanded their knowledge by reading a second nonfiction book on the same topic and considering the main ideas in that text. Readers then compared both versions to explore the different ways authors presented the information about their topic. In this research, students identified important vocabulary words using text features. Students also utilized computer time to search for content specific images that would tell more about their topic.

After all this hard work, these young students created a tri-fold exhibit board to display all of their new learning. To complete their exhibit, students created a sculpture or picture of their topic in Art class with Ms. Manley. Students' artwork was extremely detailed and thoughtful and brought their learning to life. At home, students created a costume that showcased even more information about their topic. It was great fun to see students transform into a variety of characters. The Nonfiction Living Museum featured a doctor, a construction worker, a walking volcano, a Canadian skier and an enlarged model of the human heart... to name a few!

Second-grade experts were excited to teach about their topics at their Nonfiction Living Museum. Students stood next to their display and welcomed their school community and family members to the museum. During this time, students spoke about their topics with impressive expertise and passion. They were excited to answer questions about their topics and to highlight their favorite interesting facts. The guests at the museum left with new learning, and an appreciation for all the hard work second-graders put into their special celebration of reading.

Third Graders at Booth Free School Celebrate Read Across America

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Booth Free School kindergartners celebrated "Read Across America" by inviting neighbors across the hall to read with them. Third graders were surprised to discover they wouldn’t just be reading works by Seuss, but also books recently published books by the students themselves. There were smiles all around as kids buddied up and found lots of great titles—old and new—to share.

Burnham School Read-a-Thon

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Students enjoyed participating in a four-week Read-a-Thon fundraiser sponsored by the Burnham School PTO. Throughout the four weeks, students were encouraged to read each night fulfilling pledges for their school and participating in exciting rewards. Each week, students were treated to a special themed reading activity and raffle drawings. Students looked forward to Friday lunches to see who would win Amazon gift cards, tickets to Bounce, and other gift certificates.

Among the special activities, the students in grades 3, 4, and 5 hosted a “read in” afternoon. The students in grades K, 1, and 2 cozied up with friends from the upper grades and enjoyed the art of reading. They chose reading spots and shared some of their favorite books. It was a delightful way to spend a frosty winter afternoon. The students were always excited when the “Mystery Burnie” stopped in to read with them. Our readers also enjoyed a “game day,” choosing favorite board games and partnering with friends and staff. From Perfection to Memory and Jenga to Connect 4, our readers were engaged and excited to be “playing” at school.

Students were also thrilled when therapy dogs came to school. Colby and Wallace made their way into the classrooms along with their handlers. The students and teachers were able to snuggle and pet these gentle friends as they read. The Read-a-Thon culminated with the lottery drawing for Principal of the Day and a festive Beach Party. Beach balls and flowery leis added a tropical vibe to the gym as students spread out their beach towels and enjoyed taking beachy photos at the photo booth. Italian ice and another visit from Burnie helped make the day complete. This Read-a-Thon really inspired students to read and to share their love of reading with their peers.

Congratulations to the Burnham School Community and the PTO

for meeting our school goal of $6,000!!

Storytelling at Washington Primary School

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To recognize Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd, Washington Primary School’s fifth-grade students read aloud the story of Abuela by Arthur Dorros to the school community. Images of the story were projected for all to appreciate and were accompanied by a side by side projection of google map representing the places described in the text. At each location, students paused to share interesting facts. Students also shared their thoughts about reading books. Here are a few quotes from our students:

  • A book takes me to a place of imagination and a place of hope and inspiration.

  • My books take me to the town of Ferryport Landing and the adventures of the Grimms with the help of magical beings.

  • My books take me to real places like space and Mars where I can explore through a rover or satellite.

  • Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs makes me feel like I am in the time when the dinosaurs lived.

This experience was not only engaging but also creatively composed. The fifth graders did an amazing job with the support of the Washington Primary School library staff, Brooke Faison and Brittany Turney. Students left with a greater appreciation of books and a renewed desire to read more!

The Sharing Hearts of Booth Free School

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The Student Council of Booth Free School asked their schoolmates to make valentines for the seniors in the community. On February 13th, the colorful Valentines were delivered to Ms. Linda Wahlers, Director of the Roxbury Senior Center. The cards arrived just in time to greet members of the center who would be attending a cooking class. Ms. Wahlers was delighted with this kind outreach from the children of our school.

Our students also spread some sunshine to the Veterans in our state by making additional Valentines for them. The cheerful notes were sent to the Connecticut Veterans Administration in West Haven for distribution to our local heroes. Our students are reaching out to our community, showing their appreciation for their kindness and service.

The Power of a Challenge

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There is nothing like a challenge to spark interest and creativity. At Washington Primary School, students embraced six challenges. Students from all grades worked in pairs, groups or by themselves inventing ways to solve a problem. The challenge may have been to create a chain reaction with dominoes. However, those chain reactions went up and over books and across a variety of surfaces. The excitement level was palpable. At the same time, students in the cafeteria were creating catapults and cranes with tongue depressors, rubber bands, toothpicks, and clay. Heads together, examining pictures of cranes and connecting devices for their materials, students worked through numerous trials and errors before they found success. Other children in the hallway were discovering how to cantilever in construction with cups, blocks and tongue depressors. It was exciting to see how the understanding of counterweights in construction grew for students. Yet another group of students had the challenge of being lost in the rainforest and needing a device that could be used to help their friends find them. Students were using recycled objects to create a wide variety of locater devices.

Challenges stimulate the ability to think outside of the box, to be creative and invent new and different ideas. They encourage students to persevere through numerous trials, to learn from their mistakes, and then to incorporate their new learning in their next try. This is the kind of learning we like to foster in our students.

March is Nutrition Month!

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March is National Nutrition Month. The school Nurses and members of the Region 12 School Wellness Committee are knowledgeable in nutrition, and are excellent resources to assist students in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Among the many ideas that have come from this committee is an exciting new program at Shepaug. This spring, the sixth grade PE class at Shepaug will be involved in activities about healthy eating habits. The goal is to conduct discussions and activities to improve the quality of their dietary intake. As the school nurse at Shepaug, I am excited to work with teachers and students to achieve this important goal. Below, you will find the topics of discussion.


The body’s “building blocks” Help to build and repair our body (ex. Wounds, surgery), fights infection, gives the body energy. Examples of good sources of protein are: seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, unsalted nuts and seeds. Leafy green dark colored vegetables, lentils, kale, broccoli, and dairy products also contain protein.


The main source for the body’s energy and also supply fiber. There are two types of carbohydrates: Simple (found in fruits, vegetables, milk products, syrup, candy, soft drinks, and cake frosting). The other type is Complex (found in breads/cereal (especially whole grains), pasta, rice, beans, and other starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn). Because fiber is found in plants such as fruits and vegetables, eating food with fiber may prevent stomach problems such as constipation along with helping to lower cholesterol. Two examples of having fiber in your daily meals are: eat whole fruit instead of fruit juice, eat whole grain bread and cereals.


Fats give you energy and help to feel satisfied after eating. Fats are also necessary to protect organs, provide insulation, along with helping to absorb vitamins in the body. There are different types of fats; some are not so healthy.

Monounsaturated fats can be found in canola, olive, peanut and safflower oil. Foods such as avocados and peanut butter contain monounsaturated oils.

Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean and flaxseed oils. Fatty fish, walnuts and some seeds also contain polyunsaturated fats.

Saturated fats can be found in red meats, milk products to include butter, cheese, pizza, and dairy desserts.

Trans fats can be found in stick margarine and vegetable shortening. This type of fat may also be found in store-bought baked goods and fried foods bought at fast food restaurants. Trans Fats have no necessary benefit for the body. This type of fat can raise cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease, and may cause the development of Type 2 Diabetes.

Edith M. Poidomani, RN, MS, NBCSN

Shepaug School Nurse

Sustainable CT's Photo of the Month

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This month's winning photo was taken during the Washington Environmental Council's visit to Washington Primary School where students were given reusable, stainless steel straws. This initiative will help save over 10,000 single-use plastic straws from being dumped into a landfill each year. To view the full feature, please click the link below:

Fliers & Upcoming Events

Region 12 Calendar

Mar 15 - BS Movie Night

Mar 15 - BFS Talent Show, 2-3pm and 6:30pm

Mar 15 - SVS All Middle School Dance, Cafeteria, 7pm

Mar 17 - St. Patrick's Day

Mar 18 - BOE Facilities Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

Mar 18 - BOE Policies & Bylaws Committee Meeting, SVS Library, 6pm

Mar 18 - BOE Education Meeting, SVS Library, 7pm

Mar 20 - SVS Career Fair, SVS Mall, 9am

Mar 21 - Parent Teacher Conferences - Half Day for Students

Mar 22 - Parent Teacher Conferences - Half Day for Students

Mar 25 - SVS Internet Safety Presentation, 9:40am

Mar 27 - WPS Invention Convention, 6pm

Mar 29 - SVS Middle School Movie Night, 6:30pm

Mar 29 - SVS Spartan Night, 7pm

Follow Region 12 on our social media channels for updates and information!

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The Region 12 community educates, challenges, and inspires all learners to become compassionate, creative, and courageous individuals who are empowered by the knowledge, character, and perseverance to achieve their greatest potential within the global society.

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