Weekly Newsletter

April 29, 2021

From Principal Emma Liebowitz

Welcome back from April vacation! The New England weather certainly keeps us on our toes! Our virtual kindergarten registration will take place this Friday, April 30th at 9:00. The virtual preschool registration will happen on May 11th at 2:00. If you have children eligible for preschool and/or kindergarten and did not receive a packet in the mail, please call the office at (413) 628-4404.

At the end of the newsletter there is a link to the literacy survey. It would be a great help if you could take a few minutes to complete the online survey. Thank you!

MCAS Update

Last year, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) was canceled. This year, students in grade 3-6 are being tested in mathematics and English Language Arts. Fifth graders also take a science, technology and engineering test. In the past, there were two sessions for each subject. This year, students will have one session in each subject area. The suggested time for each session is between 90 and 150 minutes. Students will take the MCAS online with school issued Chromebooks. The tests will be offered in the month of May. We will publish the schedule next week.

MCAS is a snapshot of your child's performance on a given day. We rely on our school-based assessments and observations to assess ongoing growth. This year, schools will not receive an accountability status. In the past, attendance played a role in the accountability status a school received. For the 2020-2021 academic year, schools will not be penalized for students that do not take the test. Please contact me if you have questions about your child's participation.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is next week (May 3 to May 7). This has been a difficult year for all of us. Let's show some love to our educators with some homemade cards, gifts, treats or flowers!

Health Office News from Nurse Loranna

Greetings from the health office!

I wanted to reach out to let you know to keep checking students for ticks when they arrive back home. They have been out in full force lately!! A good time to do a tick check is after a shower/bath and when putting on pajamas. Check behind ears and at hairline, in arm pits and back of legs and groin area. They tend to go to the warmest spot on your body.

If you do have an engorged tick, try to remove it gently and cleanse the area with soap and water. You can apply a small amount of bacitracin to the area. This is a good resource for how to remove a tick: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/pdfs/FS_TickBite.pdf. Monitor for a rash (the classic bulls-eye) fever, fatigue or general not feeling well. Feel free to reach out with any questions!!

Preschool News from Mrs. Freeman

This week we are learning about seeds and plants. Preschoolers have been sharing their knowledge and experiences. Here are some of our thoughts:

It takes a long time for seeds to grow

You can grow things inside when it's too cold out

You can eat food from your garden and

You can pick and eat fruits and vegetables when they are ready.

We also talked about what plants need to live and grow. Ask your preschooler about it!

The photo shows our artwork being used to create a classroom display showing what plants need to live and grow. We plan to add plants to the display by the end of the week.

Kindergarten News from Ms. Sarah

After a little vacation from our phonics program to do "beginning of the year" activities, we are now starting a new unit on digraphs--two letters that show one sound. The focus in kindergarten is on the digraphs th, sh, ch, wh, and ck. This week we learned about the sounds these digraphs show and worked on memorizing key words for each sound (thumb, ship, chin, whistle, sock). We have many games to practice noticing and using these digraphs in words, such as spin-a-digraph, digraph detectives, and build-a-digraph! Learning digraphs helps students with reading and writing more of the 44 sounds in our language.

First Grade News from Mrs. Pedersen

First grade has been thinking about Earth Day and completed a fun project called "Little Hands make a Big Difference". We created a display in the front lobby of our writing. Children wrote about how they will take care of the earth. They wrote about recycling, taking care of animals and picking up trash.

This week we wrote and drew picture of our perfect playground. First graders were very inventive in creating their perfect playground.

Second Grade News from Ms. Robertson

We started off our week by sharing one of our memories from our spring vacation. We then used these thoughts as a springboard for writing about an activity we did during our break. Prior to beginning our writing, we revisited the “sandwich method” (top bun – beginning sentence, cheese/meat/veggies – detail sentences, bottom bun – ending sentence) that was introduced in January as a tool for organizing our writing. The sandwich method was then utilized to keep our details focused on the activity we chose to write about and to develop our idea with several sentences. After illustrating our work, we read our writing aloud and others had the opportunity to ask questions and to offer comments about it.

This month fractions have been a focus of our Number Corner activities. We have learned that fractions can be written for equal parts of a whole. For example, the fraction ¼ can be written for a garden that is divided into four equal parts and one of the equal parts has flowers planted in it. We have also discussed that fractions can be written for parts of a set. For example, if there are four strawberries and one blueberry on a plate, the fraction 4/5 can be written for how many of the fruits are strawberries. This week we also looked for different patterns that are shown on the calendar, such as the green markers repeat the pattern of fourths, thirds, halves, and wholes. Feel free to use the picture of our April Number Corner Calendar shown in the upper righthand corner to further discuss fractions and patterns with your second grader at home.

Third Grade News from Mrs. Wyckoff

Welcome back from April vacation! Third graders are currently working on a “100 acts of kindness” challenge here in our homeroom. Each day we are eagerly listening and observing to see if we can catch someone spreading kindness. We currently have 12 kindness stars filled in. Once we get to 100 we will celebrate by doing something fun as a homeroom! Ask your third grader how they showed kindness to someone or how someone may have shown kindness to them today.

As a way to ease back into ELA from our vacation, all third graders were given a bag of “loose parts” or free art materials. The materials were completely random and no one knew what they would find in their bag. Using the collection of materials third graders were given the task to create something using only the materials found inside their bag. After completing their creation, they were then given a few writing choices to accompany their project. Students could choose: procedural writing, creative story writing or telling us what they would use the item for. Some projects that were created were an obstacle course, pencil holders, creative characters that led to comical stories and students created comics, a boat, fancy gum found only in Ireland and so many more! Third graders enjoyed the simple pleasure of being creative using common objects found in an art closet!

Fourth Grade News from Mrs. Lagoy

Welcome back from April Vacation. We were excited that the weather finally allowed us to get into the woods for our weathering, erosion, and deposition experiment. Students mounded up some dirt to represent a mountain, then the poured water slowly over the dirt to represent years of rainfall, and made observation about how the dirt was moved from one location to another. After the experiment, each student was able to create a weathering, erosion, and deposition poster with illustrations from their experiment and labels to show their understanding.

We did two additional experiments, be sure to ask your kiddo how we showed wind and pressure weathering.

Fifth Grade News from Ms. Johnson

In fifth grade, students are working on creating a news report about some of the major events in the Civil War, clearing an area for an outdoor classroom, making posters to show food webs, models to show fractions multiplied to fractions, and for this Wednesday's Weekly Activity, we collected pond water, leaves, and other items and looked at them under microscopes.

Mindful Movement with Ms. Sue

Welcome back from Spring vacation week! So great to see everyone. We have been doing YOGA JENGA all week!! Rolling the big die and seeing how many breaths for the pose that is chosen. We have had a mix of weather to test out our yoga mats in…the WIND proved to be very strong! It even knocked over the Jenga blocks! I was sneaky and threw in some more challenging poses like Table Top and Pigeon, and everyone was successful in mastery them all…loved seeing kids favorite poses as well.

We are all in agreement that it is WONDERFUL to be together again and OUTSIDE!!

Grateful that Spring has decided to return again! Lets hope it sticks around :)

Sanderson's 3 M's (Moment, Movement, Mantra)

Since we missed the All-School right before spring vacation, (where did that snow storm come from!!) we are still on the theme of Growth Mindset this week. Ms. Duprey and I have been very impressed with the knowledge the kids have in this area. Moving our bodies, taking time to do some breath work, allows for us to have the capacity of mindset for building growth.

Moment: Dandelion breath, Movement: Triangle, Downward Dog, Waterfall or Jumping Jacks, Jump Rope or Run in place. Mantra: Believe that you can and you are already halfway there!

Mohawk Trail District News - Literacy Survey

The Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont Regional School System is planning to rework our approach to literacy in grades PK-8 so that our programs, teaching approach, and support for students are consistent in all schools and are based on research about how children learn to read.

We would like the input of caregivers to support this process. Please complete these questions based on your child's experiences* in the Mohawk Trail-Hawlemont System.

*This is a great time to talk with your child (or children) about their experiences in English Language Arts/Literacy at school. If you are unsure how to answer a question, please ask them for their input.

Survey Link: https://forms.gle/kzZaGAHLNX8sQ85V6

Mohawk Trail District News - Middle School Information Night Recording

Earlier this week a Mohawk Trail Middle School Information Night was held. If you were not able to attend, here is the link to the recording: https://www.facebook.com/mohawktrailregional/videos/753277145225616