Shark Tales

Southbury Elementary


Administration Letter

Happy Holidays, Southbury Families!! Here’s the scoop on what’s going on at Southbury Elementary School:

First let’s start with some thank yous!

  • Thank you our Veteran’s Day Committee --- what a wonderful Veterans Day video! Thank you for showing our veterans how much we appreciate them!

  • Thank you to the HSO for a successful Doughnuts with Dads!

  • We would like to express our gratitude to Mrs. Rossi and all the volunteers who helped make the Fall Book Fair successful! Thank you for making reading fun for all our children!!

  • Thank you for supporting our “Mitten Tree” to help those in need.

What’s Going on in the Month of January?

Winter is here!!! We encourage sending your child to school with a coat, hat, gloves, and scarf. The children will participate in outdoor recess as long as the wind chill is above 10 degrees. A doctor’s note is needed in order to keep a child in during cold weather.

  • January 10th, 2021-- Students return from break

  • January 13th, 2021-- HSO Meeting @ 6:00pm

  • January 13th, 2021-- Culver’s Night

  • January 20th, 2021-- NO School, MLK Jr. Day

The staff at Southbury Elementary School would like to wish you, your family, and your loved ones a very safe and joyous holiday season!

Samantha Sinovich


Blake Cline
Assistant Principal

Read. Write. Think. Grow. Southbury, A Community of Learners

From the Front Office

Welcome back Southbury Sharks!! We hope you had a restful Thanksgiving break and were ready to finish of 2021 fresh and energized!

The front office is busy getting ready for the New Year.

  • Sharks return to school on Monday January 10th, 2022!

  • No school on January 17, 2022 in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

We appreciate all of our parents calling in their children when they are absent or late. It saves an abundance of time. Please continue to call 630-551-9801 if your child will be absent or late. In addition, please remember that this is strictly an attendance line. Please refrain from leaving bus, parent pick up, teacher notes, etc. on this line. Please call the main office, (630) 551-9800 for any of these matters.

When sending notes to school, please include the students full name, first and last, and the teacher’s name.

Substitute Teachers and TAs Needed at SOUTHBURY!

Southbury Elementary School is looking for substitute teachers and substitute TA’s. If you have your substitute teaching certificate or your Paraprofessional certificate and you have a passion for working with children, we would be happy to have you as a guest teacher/TA in our building! Please reach out to Human Resources by following this Link. There are links to an online substitute application, handbook, and contact information all available there. I hope to see you guest teaching in our building soon!

Looking forward to a successful 2022!

Home and School Organization Happenings

Thanks to all of you who supported us this month! We had several little fundraisers with our second spirit wear store, Luigi’s Snowman Pizza Kits, and a Panda Express Restaurant Night! Every little bit helps to bring in money for special events and supplies so thank you for participating.

Our HSO is hard at work on a new spring event that we are very excited to bring to our Shark families. A lot of behind the scenes work has already taken place and we can’t wait to make our announcement about it in the coming months.

Yearbook sales are still underway so don’t forget to place your order soon as we will not be taking any late orders.

Step 1: Visit

Step 2: Enter our school code 208741 then click “Go to your school account login”

Step 3: Click on the link below our school name

Step 4: Register as a “new user”

Step 5: Follow the onscreen directions to buy a yearbook for $20. Please be sure to complete your child’s name and teacher information!

Our next meeting will be held in the community room at Southbury on Thursday, January 13th at 6pm. Please plan to join us as we will have lots of exciting things to discuss!

Happy Holidays and we hope you and your family enjoy WINTER BREAK!

Sarah Brown and Kristy Stith

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We have had a wonderful month working through some thematic units and taking time to learn about other holidays that are celebrated around the world. Their excitement during this time of year is magical!

ELA: As readers we have read fiction texts such as The Snowy Day, Snowmen at Night and The Gingerbread Man and focused on story elements to retell and sequence events. We have used rich vocabulary to add details to our conversations. We also studied real facts about reindeers. We have been on the hunt for new HFW and compound words in books.

As writers we have written beginning, middle and end sentences to retell stories. We have written instructional sentences to teach “how to build a snowman”. We have written facts to share information we learned about reindeers, what they can do, what they have and what they are.

Math: Calendar and counting routines are being continued. We have started our shapes unit and have been focusing on 2D shapes. We have studied these flat shapes and their attributes, searched for them in real life objects, created new shapes by putting shapes together and have used 2D shapes to decorate with.

Science: Our next Unit will start after winter break.

Tips for at home:

Math around your house. Can you find any 2D shapes around the house? Can you draw a shape that has 3 sides? What shapes has 4 equal sides?

Letters and Sounds: Fill in missing vowels to words you write ( b__g - big, c__t - cat…). Make list of words that rhyme. Clap out syllables in a word ( rain- bow, gin-ger-bread). Retell a story that was read to them.

Thanks for all the continued support at home!

1st Grade

We hope everyone has a very happy and safe holiday season! Here is what we have been up to this month:


  • Goods and Services

  • Opinion Writing process

  • Writer’s Workshop: working on mini books

  • Practice reading high frequency words and/or fluency passages


  • Number talks will continue all year long

  • Subtraction strategies to 20 we will learn and practice: counting back, using a number line to subtract, and using doubles to subtract

  • Vocabulary we will practice: count back, fact family, and missing addend


  • Our current unit is Light and Sound

  • Identify what makes a shadow (light source+blocking object)

  • Identify different shades of light

2nd Grade

During the month of December, Second Graders were challenged to a Kindness Bingo! We loved hearing about all the kindness they helped spread at school and at home! We discussed gratitude and what it means. We read the story, My Gratitude Jar and we have all made some sort-of “gratitude jar” in our classrooms. We are taking time to think and write about things we are grateful for and adding them to our “jars”.

We finished Unit 2B in ReadyGen. We also completed our last PBA of 2021 where they got to share our opinions on something that they want and they had to give reasons why they should get it! They were a lot of fun to read!

In Math, we worked on subtracting two-digit numbers. We learned how to check our subtraction answers using addition. We will start three-digit subtraction after Winter Break.

In Science, we continued working in Unit 2 Changing Landforms. We have been learning how to visualize, use models and diagrams. Our favorite experiment so far has been using Jolly Ranchers as our model to show what happens when waves crash onto rocks! They really loved being the “waves”.

The Second Grade Team would like to wish everyone a happy and safe winter break and holiday season! See you all next year!

3rd Grade

What a great month this was! In the lead up to winter break, students have continued to learn and grow as readers, writers, mathematicians, and scientists!

This month in ELA, we began to focus our learning on how to compare and contrast two different topics. We practiced this skill by reading about many different holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and Ramadan. After gathering information from each text, we then took the time to compare and contrast the different holidays. This was so much fun for the students to learn about the many different holidays that are celebrated within our school, while also building our reading and writing skills! When we return from break, we will begin reading Deep Down and Other Extreme Places to Live, and students will compare and contrast two different extreme places from the book. The students will then write a compare and contrast essay!

In math, students have continued to build their multiplication knowledge and fluency. Additionally, students learned how to divide using different strategies such as equal sharing, repeated subtraction, and inverse operations. As the month progressed, and the students became familiar with the different strategies, we began working to build fluency in division by recognizing patterns in different problems. Third grade is definitely rocking out multiplication and division!

This month we wrapped up our Balancing Forces science unit. Students worked hard to figure out how a floating train worked and we discovered that it works with the help of balanced and unbalanced forces. With all of the new knowledge that the students obtained, they were able to apply this to other scenarios where forces are acting on an object. How awesome!

This has definitely been an incredible month of growth, discovery, and celebration. We hope you all enjoy your Winter Break and we can not wait to see everyone when we return!

Happy Holidays!

The Third Grade Team

4th Grade

We can hardly believe it, but our students are almost halfway through 4th grade! November was a busy month for our fourth graders, between conferences celebrating their accomplishments thus far and learning new material amidst the Thanksgiving holiday.

In ELA, the students began reading books about a new topic: earthquakes! First, they read Seymour Simon’s nonfiction text Earthquakes. Soon after, they read an excerpt from a historical fiction novel about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake called Quake! The students will continue reading a few more texts about this fascinating type of natural disaster, and then they will craft an opinion piece about which text they felt was the most effective in describing earthquakes’ impact on humans. We can’t wait to see which texts they choose!

In Math, we finished up our study of division; however, we will continue to review and apply our knowledge of multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction as the year progresses. That being said, please continue practicing those basic facts with your children at home. Automaticity with fact knowledge is becoming essential to our Math studies, especially with fractions and measurement coming up soon! Over the next few weeks, we will work on recognizing and extending both numerical and nonnumerical patterns. After Winter Break, we will dive into our study of fractions. If you’re baking holiday cookies, recipes are a great chance to expose your children to fractions!

In Science, we have been busy working through our unit on Earth’s features. This has lined up well with our texts in ELA! We’ve learned about how sedimentary rocks form over time and in which environments they can be found. We’ve also begun learning about how fossils form in sedimentary rocks and how environments can be vastly different today than they were millions of years ago. The kids have really enjoyed learning about how much our planet has changed over time!

As we head towards Winter Break, we’d like to thank you all for your continued support at home. We could not do this without you! Also, with more than two weeks off, we are encouraging our students to continue practicing their Math facts over break and to try to read every day, if possible. We understand that many of you might be heading out of town or spending time with family, and we certainly don’t want to interrupt those important family times. Any “in-between” times that can be spent practicing facts and reading would be beneficial and much appreciated, though! Thank you all again for your help at home, and we wish you a relaxing Winter Break and a Happy New Year!

Dr. Truax, Mr. Stephens, Mrs. Adams, and Mrs. Monti

5th Grade

It’s been a busy month in 5th grade! In ELA, students have been reading different texts in order to understand that social movements are produced by a unique combination of leadership and events. They have spent time learning about real-life superheroes such as Richard Martin, Thomas Barnado, Raoul Wallenberg, and Rosa Parks. Students have also been working on a variety of reading skills including identifying main ideas, explaining how events in a text are related, and comparing/contrasting text structures. In math, students have been learning how to multiply and divide decimals. Our next unit will focus on fractions. In science, students are wrapping up Earth Systems and will begin their new unit, Patterns of Earth and Sky after the new year.

We hope you all have a wonderful winter break and we’ll see you in the new year!

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Therapy Dogs are returning Monday the 6th. Our dog’s name is Bella and her owner is John.

The kids practice petting, throwing the ball and walking Bella. If your child has anxiety about

dogs, please speak with your child’s teacher.

Snowy weather is on the horizon. Please make sure your child has a coat, snow pants, snow

boots, gloves and a hat. If they do not have ALL these items, they will have to stay on the

blacktop only during recess. As you can imagine, this can cause disappointment for our kiddos who are missing items. To make it easier, please feel free to send a pair of snow pants or extra warm weather gear to keep at school. Make sure all items are labeled with your child’s name, so that the correct items come home to you.

Speaking of snowy weather...this year we will have a remote learning day if we have to close

the school due to weather. Your child’s teacher should have sent home three days worth of

work back in September. Please keep this in a safe place for future use. If you no longer have the work, please reach out to your teacher for a replacement.

Mrs. Balcerak, Miss Bolton, Miss Dowjotas, Mrs. Kurth, Miss Jungels and Mrs. Wilson


We’ve spent time this December learning about winter holidays and celebrations from different cultures. We hope you enjoy your Winter Break!

ACCESS Testing:

When we return to school in January all EL students will be taking the ACCESS or Alternate ACCESS test. The testing window is January 12 - February 15, 2022. During this time the students will not receive ESL Resource class. As soon as all of the EL students that attend Southbury are finished testing the students will resume ESL Resource class.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s ESL teacher.

Alyssa Ahlstrom

Kristen Serio

GE - Math

Fifth grade mathematicians broadened their understanding of numbers by beginning a new unit on the Number System. We applied previous understanding about positive numbers and extended those structures to numbers left of 0, a.k.a. negative numbers. Yes, we visited the world of “Less than Nothing!” Inevitably the question of double negatives arose. In English double negatives are considered improper nowadays, but in math, double negatives are not only accepted but necessary. The concept of absolute value (a measure of distance from zero) was a precursor to adding negative integers.

Then mathematicians took a loooong look back at division in order to explore the set of rational numbers, both positive and negative. This time some of the quotients infinitely repeated. Whoa! Like forever!? Placing those rational numbers on a number line was interesting. Once we had mastered one number line, we advanced to two, known as the x- and y-axes on a coordinate plane, which meant we could graph in 2-dimensions! This area of visual math called Analytic Geometry merges Algebra and Geometry. Dot-to-dot pictures these were not! The four-quadrant plane made sense once we recognized the structure of the plane and then we had fun making pictures with points on the plane!

Fourth grade mathematicians worked on decimals in the month of December. First we reviewed the base ten system by using models called decimats to see place value comparisons. Then we applied what we knew of whole numbers to add and subtract decimals. Many of the puzzles and problems involved the context of money. Then mathematicians moved into multiplication of decimals, starting with multiplying whole number groups of decimals. Placing the decimal point in the product required more thought when multiplying decimals. Keeping powers of ten in mind helped us understand why decimal numbers less than one result in smaller products. With a solid understanding of multiplication of decimals, we headed into the inverse world of division of decimals, a.k.a. find the missing factor. The models really helped us understand we were finding the missing number of groups or the missing share size in just one group. We learned we can change the divisor to a whole number to make the work easier by creating an equivalent division problem. Estimating and checking and work backwards were important ways of knowing if the quotient was accurate.

Speech and Language

Can you believe it is December already! There are many opportunities during the busy holiday season to incorporate language and vocabulary into daily activities. Here are a few ideas you can try at home:

  • Have your child help wrap the presents. Narrate the directions as you go: “First, we cut the wrapping paper. Then we fold it around the present. Next, we add the tape, etc”. When you are finished have your child retell all the steps it took to wrap the present. This not only builds great vocabulary, it also helps children understand events in a sequence.
  • Use toy catalogs to “shop” and practice inferencing. Pretend you have a toy in your “shopping cart”. Give your child clues about the object or create a riddle. See if they can guess the toy you have in your cart by finding the picture in the toy catalog.
  • Talk to your children about different holiday objects. Have them describe the different parts, colors, categories, and function. For example, that is an “ornament”. It is round, blue, has a hook, and you hang it on the tree. This gets children thinking about descriptions and builds great expressive vocabulary skills.
  • Use your visiting “elf” to practice concept words. “Where did you find your elf?” IN the tree. UNDER the stockings. NEXT TO the candy. This helps kids understand meanings of concepts but also can help increase their expressive language skills.

Enjoy your winter break and we will see you next year.

Lauren Paver, Deb Convey, Kelly Okel
Speech/Language Pathologists


We’ve spent the month of December reading stories about some of the holidays celebrated around the world by different cultures - Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Diwali.

The LRC’s Monarch and Bluestem Award Nominee Reading Incentive runs through Monday, February 28th. Winter Break would be a great time to curl up with a good book or two!

Kindergarten - 3rd grade: Monarch Book List 2022

  • Read 5 Books - get to vote for your favorite nominee.

  • Read 10 Books - bring your lunch up to the LRC to eat your lunch and some goodies with Mrs. Rossi

  • Read all 20 Books - win a gift card to the Spring book fair

3rd - 5th grade: Bluestem Book List 2022

  • Read 4 Books - get to vote for your favorite nominee.

  • Read 10 Books - bring your lunch up to the LRC to eat your lunch and some goodies with Mrs. Rossi

  • Read all 20 Books - win a gift card to the Spring book fair

Students may get the books from anywhere (Southbury’s LRC, Oswego Public Library, own purchase) and need to have a slip signed by an adult who saw them read or read with the student. These slips are available in the LRC. Some of these award nominees are read during library time. Students will automatically get credit for these books! DEADLINE for reading is Monday, February 28th, 2022.

Friendly Reminder - Please keep your library books away from water! We’ve lost several books over the past few weeks due to water damage (water bottle leakage and other miscellaneous backpack spills). Please make sure water bottles stay in a separate backpack compartment. If a book is returned with significant water damage, the student will be charged the cost to replace the book.

Oswego Public Library

Did you know that the Oswego Public Library has more than just books? Perhaps you’d like to listen to some new music, or watch a new movie? Maybe you’d like to start a book club with your friends or neighbors? Are you looking for STEAM activities to do with your children or your scout troop? The public library has everything you need! We encourage you to explore the library website, or visit either campus in person, to learn more! Click here to visit the website.

Mrs. Rossi ( and Mrs. Dietz (

From the Reading Department

Ideas to support both Reading and Math over the winter holiday break.

Here are some fun, simple ways to encourage reading while you are with family over break:

  • Let your child see you read for pleasure

  • Have your child read on your lap or alongside you to create a positive association with books

  • Put books in baskets to make it easier for your child to browse

  • Keep reading materials in the car

  • Create a reading nook or fort for your child

  • Make a book of family members so your child can read the names

  • Make a photo book from a vacation

  • Give books as gifts (and write thank you notes for holiday gifts received)

  • Have collections of lyrics to your child’s favorite songs

  • Read the comics with your child

  • Visit the library

  • Read along with books on CD

  • Have extended family members read aloud to your child with a webcam

  • Have your child read aloud books he/she is comfortable with to family members

  • Play word games together

(from Jolanor Family Literacy and Math Materials “85 Fun, Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read and Love to Read”)

Doing any holiday baking with your family? Include your children in the process. Find recipes together and create a shopping list. At the store, weigh produce and talk about which item is heavier or lighter. Measure together while you cook or bake. Fill measuring cups with water or flour—and measuring spoons with vanilla extract—to introduce your kids to whole numbers and fractions. Ask questions such as "Can you fill a half cup? Can you fill one teaspoon?" Parents Magazine has other fun math activities to do at home here.


Southbury Artists have been busy with a colorful array of winter themed art projects! I hope you’ve been enjoying all the beautiful work that has been coming home. The art classroom is in need of toilet paper rolls and magazines. Any donations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!


Mrs. Ayoung Chee


We are having fun making music before Winter Break! During the month of December, students worked on counting and reading rhythms. This is a foundational skill that we practice and build on every year in music class! 5th grade students have also started their instrument playing unit. Normally this would be a second year of recorder, but for safety reasons we are using xylophones instead.

In January, we will continue to work on rhythm skills by moving into writing and creating! The students will compose their own music and the first step is to create rhythm patterns.

If you ever have any questions about music class please feel free to email me at

Physical Education

Southbury student athletes have been working really hard and having a lot of fun in PE all December! We have been learning the basic skills and a mentals of floor hockey. Southbury student athletes have been working together, strategizing with their teammates, to play floor hockey games. To finish the month up, we will be working out and playing many fitness games! It’s going to be a great month!! Happy Holidays! Go Sharks!

Greetings from Nurse Sara & Paige

To all parents- We are still in need of some student’s electronic health history forms to be submitted. If you do not recall submitting this electronically during online registration, please send via the link 2021-2022 Health History as soon as possible.

All Kindergarten and 2nd graders are required to have a dental examination on file. They can be faxed to my office by the dentist for your convenience (see my fax # above), and are due 5/15/2022.

We will be having the dentist with Miles of Smiles at Southbury, date to be determined. If you’d like to have your child checked by the dentist, a consent form will be sent home prior to Winter Break. You can complete it if you’d like your child to be seen only. You do not have to send it back to school if you choose not to have the dentist see your child.

We hope you have a restful and enjoyable holiday season and break!

Nurse Sara & Paige Brawdy

Office (630) 551-9802

Fax (630) 551-9897

Social Work

Check out our most recent Social Emotional Newsletter for upcoming events and local resources from our Director of Social Emotional Learning for SD308, Heidi Podjasek!

Taking Care of Our Mental Health During the Winter Months

Community Resources:

Kendall County Community Food Pantry is open each Thursday from 12-6pm.

Kendall County Community Food Pantry Clothing Dept:

Every Monday: 9:00 - 11:00

First and Last Saturday of the month: 9:00 - 11:00

Local Cooling/Warming Shelters

The Oswego Satellite Location runs the first friday of each month from 6-7:30

As always, please reach out to your child’s teacher or the main office if you have any questions or concerns that our Social Workers may be able to assist with.

Happy Holidays from your Southbury Social Workers!

Kristin Epstein, Tanya Yuvan, & Kristina Flinn