Fiske Monthly News

June 2016


Welcome to the home of the Fiske monthly news! We feature great news and updates by grade level and specialist teachers to help keep you informed about what our students are learning. Enjoy your reading!
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News from The Principal

Thank You Fiske School Community!

It seems hard to believe that the school year is almost at an end. The Fiske staff and I are extremely appreciative of all the support our students and school receive from parents. We are extremely lucky to be part of such an inclusive, supportive community. Additionally, as always, we have enjoyed the opportunity to once again, work with your children and help them learn and grow, both academically, and socially as well. They have done a great job this year and we look forward to our continued work with them and our partnerships with Fiske Families.

Modulars at Fiske

We found out this week that there were no bidders on the three modular projects in Lexington for Fiske, Bridge and Bowman. As a result, the district/town will be going back out to bid, with the hopes that modular spaces will be in place at some point between April of 2017 and June 2017. We anticipate that as a result of the decrease of one classroom, we will be able to reinstate the art room for the opening of school in the upcoming year. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions regarding the modular classrooms and space at Fiske for the upcoming school year.

News from the Assistant Principal

The end of the school year is a special time for all of us, although it is a bit difficult to believe that June is here already! It is a time to celebrate with our students for all they have accomplished, and to acknowledge the Fiske School staff and families who have dedicated themselves to yet another wonderful school year. It is a time to review all of the ways in which we have been successful and a time to begin making plans to build on that success in new ways that will positively shape our future.

The Fiske students have had a super year, and none of this could have happened without a committed and enthusiastic faculty. Our teachers and staff members are willing to give freely of themselves to provide many opportunities for our students to take on different challenges and enjoy new experiences. We have an outstanding school staff, and I am honored to be working with them.

I would also like to express heartfelt appreciation to our families for whom we are very thankful. It is because of your dedicated presence, your time, energy and your generosity that we have such a great school community. Our school is not only a center of academic learning, but also a special place in which each student is empowered to excel academically, show compassion toward others, as well as, becoming model citizens. We are very fortunate to have families who provide us with constant support of these endeavors. “Thank you” for your committed partnership in the education of our students.

At Fiske School a sense of community and pride is evident in everything that we do. You notice it immediately. You feel it as soon as you walk into the building or attend a school function: the quality, the tradition, the pride, and the history of being “family.” Whether in the classroom or on the playground, participating in a community service project or performing at an All School Meeting, our students' pride for their school and for themselves shines through.

Our progress and our desire for continuous improvement are because of the Fiske staff, students and families. You all make me proud to be an administrator of this school. And so, to our students, staff and families I would like to say, “thank you” for another amazing year. I wish everyone a safe, restful and wonderful summer vacation!


Mr. Baker

Kindergarten News

We are looking forward to a fun and successful Field Day on Thursday June 16th. Thank you to Mr. Spiller and all the parent volunteers who will be helping out. Classes will be wrapping up their year with classroom celebrations.

Kindergarten is looking forward to their field trip to Oak Knoll Farm on Wednesday June 22nd. Be on the lookout for a Summer Activities packet with resources and suggestions to help your child continue developing the skills they learned in Kindergarten.

It has been a fabulous Kindergarten year. Have a fun and safe summer.

Grade One News

The American Symbols performance went off without a hitch! The children sang wonderfully and the costumes looked great. The first graders were so proud to show off their singing skills. Thank you again for coming and also thank you to Mr. Martellone, Mr. Spiller, and Mrs. O’Leary for supporting our performance.

The month of June is upon us and we are getting ready to learn about the country China. The first graders will learn about the land size of China and its vast population. They will also learn about famous landmarks such as the Great Wall and that Chinese writing does not use a phonic-based alphabet.

In June there will be many end of the year celebrations so we can say our good-byes and show off your child’s hard work. It has been such a great year in first grade and we are honored that we have taught your children. We have created many great memories and experiences. Have a nice summer and enjoy the warm weather!

Grade Two News

As May came to a close, the second grade explored biographies and enjoyed their Wax Museum presentation at All School Meeting on May 26th. Thank you to all who came to help our students celebrate their biography research.

In June the second grade will wrap up their series book clubs. The focus has been on studying characters and how they handle problems they face in a story. We will end our school year exploring fairy tales.

Other areas of focus in June include persuasive writing, place value, money, and time in math, and map skills in social studies.

We have enjoyed our school year with our second graders. It is hard to believe it has come to a close! We encourage students to read over the summer and use their tiny topic notebooks to jot down story seeds for next year. If you are out shopping with your child, offer him or her the opportunity to help count out the money needed to pay for items, or a chance to keep track of the time for your family, showing off their great time telling skills. Most importantly, we wish all of our students a safe, happy, and healthy summer.

Grade Three News

The third grade has been busy with the culmination of our unit on Lexington 1775. Our field trips to Historic Lexington were wonderful! The children learned a lot as they toured through the Hancock-Clark House and the Old Burying Ground. Some of them were quite excited and surprised to see the headstones of the Lexington 1775 personas they have been portraying throughout the unit! The children have learned about the Lexington Bonfire (of tea), the Boston Tea Party, and the Revolutionary War. The “Lexington 1775 families” in each classroom enthusiastically learned what life was like and how it differed from life today.

The students have learned so much this year in third grade! They have grown as readers, writers, scientists, mathematicians and historians.

Enjoy the summer!

Grade Four News

Our year long study of North America is culminating with our annual Fiske Fourth Grade Fiesta! The students have researched various aspects of Mexican culture in preparation for the big event. A special thank you to the ACT Committee for hiring our mariachi band, to the Whitson’s Food Service folks for preparing a delicious feast of Mexican fare, and all of the parent volunteers and participants. This festive celebration is a great way to wrap up our learning this year.

We wish all of our fourth grade families a relaxing and fun-filled summer ahead. Please keep your child reading this summer! In addition, try to keep your child writing this summer by writing postcards, emails, keeping a journal or diary, etc. With regards to math, students can continue to strengthen and solidify their fact power, work on the Greg Tang Summer Math Challenge, or other web games they enjoyed this year.

It’s hard to believe our year is coming to an end and that our students will be entering their last year at Fiske. They have so much to look forward to as fifth graders next year, and we look forward to watching them learn and grow as we have seen them do throughout this school year.

Grade Five News

Chorus, band and orchestra are going great! In chorus we have finished learning our concert songs (We Go Together, John Henry, Corner of the Sky, She Sings, Rissolty Rosselty Mow Mow Mow, and The Bullfrog Song). In band and orchestra we have also finished learning our concert songs. On June 8, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. we will perform a concert that all Fiske families are invited to. This concert will take place in the gym. The 4th and 5th grade orchestra will be playing, the 5th grade band will be playing, and the 5th grade chorus will be singing. So, please come see your kids perform! They have put a lot of effort into this! -- Ashley, Ms. Gavrin’s class

In class we have been working on Social Studies brochures. Each student picked one of the thirteen colonies to study. The thirteen colonies to study were: Massachusetts, Georgia, North and South Carolina, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut. These were the colonies in the “New World” Before the rest of the United States were added. Two people picked a colony to study in depth. In the brochures there would be about 5 categories, they would be Who found the land? Geography and climate, connection with the Native Americans, rules and laws and religion. We hand drew pictures with the exception of maps. We would be able to put in an ad or some kind of paragraph that would convince people after reading to come to the the state. We added our sources: such as books and websites we used. We made these to convince others in Europe to come and join us in our colony. Since then we have been studying the events leading up to the Revolutionary War! We are even taking a field trip to experience the events of April 19th, 1775. -Ava, Nana, Mira (Mrs. Belletti’s class)

In reading we are about to start our nonfiction book ads and…FANTASY BOOK GROUPS!!!!!!In the fantasy book groups we are reading books about fantasy. We are also reading Coraline in library, a creepy story with a little girl who is living a double life. We have also done a nonfiction book ad. In our non-fiction book ads, everyone in the class has chosen a topic they are interested in, for examples students are studying Walt Disney, and the Battle of Gettysburg . In that book and we were trying to persuade our classmates to read the book/ learn more about the topic we did the book ad on. We are preparing for our speeches and visuals for presentations starting next week! -Ishi and Julia (Mrs. Belletti’s class)

The fifth graders have been studying many things in math. We are very happy that the math mcas is over and we can relax. In math we have been studying volume for example to find the volume of a cube or rectangular prism you do length x height x width and you get your answer. You can also find the volume of pyramids by doing length x width \ 2 x height \ 3. Also we learned about area. We learned to find the area of a triangle. For example to find the area of a triangle we do length x width x height \ 2. We also did how to find the area of a square and rectangle. We can find the area of those by doing length x width x height. 3d shapes are cubed and 2d shapes are squared. Cubed is volume and squared is area. Also in math we studied line graphs and measurement this is stuff like the line graph which is another way to graph info with a line. We also tried into the conversion method such as hectograms converting to dekagrams. This is classified into three groups, grams/weight, liters/capacity of liquids and meters/length. We’ve been having fun with balancing equations with Hands on Equations! ! Ask a 5th grader about this challenging algebra activity. We have also been working on some real world math problems like how many boxes of girl scout cookies we can fit in a trunk, a Field Trip Fiasco problem, splitting the bill, and a trip around the world. We’ve been fine tuning our math skills and reviewing concepts so we are ready for middle school. -Trevor and Evan (Mrs. Belletti’s class)

Specialist News

Counseling News

10 Ways to Relax This Summer

Kids are getting out of school, and family vacations, beach outings, BBQs and many other fun summer activities we all love to do are in full swing. Although most of us work during the summer, it's also a time to enjoy and relax.

Learning to truly unwind and unplug will help us become happier and more balanced, and recharge our physical and spiritual batteries. Psychotherapist and positive living expert Diane Lang, author of the book, Creating Balance and Finding Happiness, offers 10 ways to truly relax this summer.

1. Take some time to spend outdoors. When we spend our time in nature, it naturally calms us and gives us a feeling of inner peace. The bonus is natural sunlight, which gives us our vitamin D – great for the bones and a mood booster.

2. Unplug from technology. Use the summer as an excuse to be in vacation mode. Even if you only can do this once a week, take that time to connect to nature by unplugging from technology.

3. Start a fitness program that is fun and adventurous. Go hiking, bike riding, etc. Do something new and fun! Make it better by bringing a friend.

4. Slow down. It's summer; start living mindfully by doing one task at a time, enjoying the beauty around you and living in the moment.

5. Spend time with friends and family. Set up date nights and fun nights! The days are longer, so it's a great time to really go out and have fun!

6. Do activities you really love. Read the book you never had time to, take a day trip to a new town and see new sights or go to the beach and relax. Whatever brings you “flow.” This is the time to do it.

7. Step outside of your comfort zone. Try something new. It can be something simple like trying a new drink or food or going to a new restaurant. Every time we try something new, we take a risk and feel a boost of happiness.

8. Use up your personal time from work and have some free time with no expectations. It doesn't matter if you go on vacation or just take a walk; just enjoy some time off!

9. Create some “me time.” I wake up 10 minutes earlier in the summer to sit outside on my deck with my coffee and just enjoy the silence. All you need to do is take 10-15 minutes a day for you!

10. Breathe. Even with nice weather and longer days, we still can get stressed. So, when you feel the stress coming, take a moment to close your eyes and take a deep breath. It works!

Art News

Wow, where did this year go?

Grade K

We are working on “My Art Books”. The activities in this book are a review of all things we’ve learned this year. We started the pages about shapes, line, neutral colors, secondary and primary colors, warm and cool colors and all about pattern. Coming up – A self-portrait and texture.

Grade 1

We just designed the decorations for the American Symbol Parade. This 2-3 week project focused on lettering and decorating American Icons. We are completing a small Matisse like collage – painting with cut paper. We will also be working on what to pack for summer vacation.

Grade 2

We completed a “Bug’s” eye view of a flower, inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and finishing a booklet about Africa and India. Our final project will be designing the ultimate dream house project inspired by the Taj Mahal.

Grade 3

Students have been working on sculpting plaster self-portrait of what they want to be when they grow up, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “Maybe you should fly a jet! Maybe you should be a vet!” The students are making clothing and set them in an illustrated scene. We will also be working on a silhouette type painting of warm colors. Hopefully we will get to a painting of an animal hiding in its environment, inspired by Henry Rousseau.

Grade 4

We have just finished Mexican folk art squares and a self-portrait for the Fiesta! We have been working on a Celtic stained glass like design.

Grade 5

Our designed starbursts with the students names for graduation, based on the Pop Art style of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, will be completed this week. Look for your son or daughter’s during graduation. We have been practicing and drawing a city in one point perspective.

That should wrap it up!

Hope you all have a great summer relaxing and having fun together.


Mrs. O’Leary & Ms. V.

ELL News

It’s been a wonderful year in the ELL department. We have really enjoyed watching your children grow and develop their language skills!

ACCESS scores have arrived and are being mailed home. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

As summer approaches, think about how to continue your child’s language acquisition. We encourage you to read with your child (in either language) and keep a journal close by. Cary Library has a comprehensive summer reading program with incentives. They also have a collection of bilingual texts for your child to choose from. Reading with the family can be a fun activity!

Another way to develop language is through conversation. When you are driving in your car or are at the dinner table, ask your child to describe their day using as many details as they can, using a beginning, middle or end.

Have a safe and happy summer!

Music News

Greetings from the Music Room….

We are finishing out the year with a bang! Ms. Andy Taylor-Blenis is here for a two-week dance residency. She is here sharing South and Central American dances with the whole school.

She has help from two student assistants from the Tufts Department of Human Study and Child Development.

We will finish the residency with an all-school sharing (unfortunately there will not be room in the gym or parking lot for families to attend the all-school sharing).

Thanks, Andy!

Library News

All books are due back to the Fiske Library by Friday, June 10.

It’s been a wonderful year in the Fiske Library. I love watching students find a new favorite author or series and blossom into avid readers. I enjoy each and every one of your children. They are unique and sweet and thoughtful and amusing. I hope the students have had as much fun in Library as I have had with them.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who give so much of their time to volunteer in the Fiske Library. Your commitment and enthusiasm makes Fiske School the best that it can be!

PE News

Greetings from the gym,

Hard to believe another school year is almost over. We hope everyone enjoys the Summer break and we look forward to seeing all returning students and meeting our incoming Kindergarten students. We also want to wish our outgoing 5th graders all the best!

Happy Summer,

Mr. Spiller & Ms. Murphy

Math News

As the summer is upon us, here are some recommendations to keep the math and learning going:

  • Play Board Games (Quarto, Sorry, Parcheesi, Backgammon, Qwirkle, Yahtzee, Qwixx, SET)

  • Do Math Puzzles (KenKen - online or buy a puzzle book, Greg Tang games: Numskill, Kakooma, Number Limbo, Coin Math, NumTanga, TenFrame Mania)

  • Discuss “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” (see four red shapes) with others--and create your own puzzles.

  • Check out some fun math tasks at

If you would like to read more ideas from Dr. Jo Boaler from Stanford University, check out this article:

Have a great summer and stay tuned for a 2-part parent night coming this fall!

Literacy News

The Lexington Literacy Team has been working on a website that incorporates information for parents and students alike. We, at the Fiske School, have contributed to the website by creating “summer reading activities” to do with your children. Check it out!

July Calendar - K & 1 July Calendar 1 & 2

August Calendar - K & 1 August Calendar 1 & 2

Have a safe and fun vacation!

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Health Office News

As we welcome Summer we welcome outdoor activities. Please remember sun safety, use sunscreen! Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water or non caffeinated fluids.

All children 12 and under operating any type of wheeled device such as a bike, scooter, skateboard or roller blades/skates must be wearing a helmet. Always use the recommended protective gear, such as properly fitted helmets, pads, and eye and mouth guards while playing sports.

Practice safe techniques and actions on and off the field! Have a safe and healthy Summer. It has been a pleasure being at Fiske this school year. I look forward to seeing those students and parents returning in the fall.

Thank you.

Claire O’Connell

Math Matters: Karen Tripoli, K-5 Mathematics Department Head

Standard for Mathematical Practice #7

Mathematically proficient students look closely to discern a pattern or structure. Young students, for example, might notice that three and seven more is the same amount as seven and three more, or they may sort a collection of shapes according to how many sides the shapes have. Later, students will see 7 x 8 equals the well-remembered 7 x 5 + 7 x 3, in preparation for learning about the distributive property…. They also can step back for an overview and shift perspective. They can see complicated things, such as some algebraic expressions, as single objects or as being composed of several objects…


What does this practice look like in the classroom?


· Look for patterns or structure, recognizing that quantities can be represented in different ways

· Recognize the significance in concepts and models and use the patterns or structure for solving related problems

· View complicated quantities both as single objects or compositions of several objects and use operations to make sense of problems


· Engage students in discussions emphasizing relationships between particular topics within a content domain or across content domains

· Recognize that the quantitative relationships modeled by operations and their properties remain important regardless of the operational focus of a lesson

· Provide activities in which students demonstrate their flexibility in representing mathematics in a number of ways e.g., 76= (7 x 10) + 6; discussing types of quadrilaterals, etc. (ems & tl Project, 2012)

To increase student engagement with this practice, ask questions such as….

· What observations do you make about…?

· What do you notice when...?

· What parts of the problem might you eliminate? Simplify?

· What patterns do you find in…?

· How do you know if something is a pattern?

· What ideas have we learned before that were useful in solving this problem?

· What are some other problems that are similar to this one?

· How does this relate to...?

· In what ways does this problem connect to other mathematical concepts? (Institute for Advanced Study/Park City Mathematics Institute/Created by Learning Services, Modified by Melisa Hancock, 2013)