Fiske Monthly News

January 2018


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, Thomas Martellone

1:1 Computing at Fiske

For those of you that may not know, several years ago, we began a 1:1 computing environment with our fifth graders. Over the past couple of years, we were able to include fourth grade in our 1:1 initiative and this year we worked our way down to third grade. What exactly does this initiative involve? How did it come about?

Additionally, within the past several school years, every school in Lexington was fortunate to get upgrades in technology. At Fiske, we were still using computers that had been purchased when the school was built, so as you may imagine, they had seen some wear and tear and needed to be replaced. Additionally, district funds have also been available over the years to create more technological “equity” between buildings, and then additional funds were available to administrators at their discretion. Administrators chose to use those additional funds towards technology as well.

At Fiske, the influx of additional technology resulted in a number of new Macbook Air computers and over time, a large bank of Chromebooks. With good fortune, at one point, this resulted in enough devices for every child in grade five, and then so on down to grade three, to have their own device for use during the school day.

With the addition of the computers also came access for students to Google Drive. The Google Drive suite of tools provided each student with their own Drive account and the ability to work in a cloud computing environment where work could be accessed both in school and at home or other places outside of school. It has also allowed students to complete homework electronically and to collaborate with classmates in the same class and across the grade level.

While students have “unlimited” access to the technology, these new tools have not replaced great “face to face” teaching. We’ve also not turned into the “Fiske Online Academy” either. Students use the computers throughout the day “as needed” to work on writing, research for content in science and social studies, and to complete and produce other products. They still continue to have a blend of hands on experiences that help make sense of their learning with the augmentation of these new tools.

In speaking with teachers over the past few years, they have shared that students have been able to write more and have more opportunities to practice math within computer aided programs that the district uses to support students.

This year, with the purchase of newer, more space saving computer carts, we were able to move carts into classrooms, so that each class has their own cart and accessing devices became a bit easier. This has also created more efficiency in the event that a device needs a repair, as the classroom cart is quickly identified along with the computer. Students are assigned a numbered device and only use that device throughout the year.

We’ve also had our school counselor, librarian and our instructional technology specialist work with all classrooms to talk to students about digital citizenship. This continues to be timely, with the advent of the devices students have received. Our hope is that through great teaching and modeling, students are not only “tech savvy” but that they are good global digital citizens as well.

While we progress on our journey with this initiative, things continue to go smoothly with the devices. We look forward to the continued success related to the implementation of the tools and hope that our students continue to be the most productive kids that they can be!

PTO Thank You!

This fall I approached the PTO about helping us in our staff lounge with some additional "tools" for lunch time. Over the years, our microwaves had fallen to disrepair, toaster ovens were not working well and we also had a difficult time storing all of those devices.

About a month ago, the PTO generously supported our request with two microwaves, two toaster ovens and shelving to house them all. We're in the process of having the electrician check circuit breakers for our new devices, however, the arrival of these devices will ensure that our 110 staff members can easily heat up lunch and get back to students on time!

Thank you SO MUCH Fiske PTO for your continued support of our staff members! We really appreciate your thoughtfulness and willingness to help us out!

News from the Assistant Principal, Brian Baker

New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s that time of year again, when we all look back at the past year and decide what changes we would like to make to our lives for the New Year ahead. Of course there’s the one about losing weight and getting into better shape. We all like the thought of finding more time to spend reading a book or taking a new class. Making more time for family and friends is always on the top of many lists. Also, all of those home projects that you vowed to finish last year still need to be completed. The list could go on and on.

Not only do some adults make New Year’s Resolutions, some children may find it beneficial to do the same, as well. Each year, the American Academy of Pediatrics makes it easy by providing the following healthy New Year's resolutions for kids, which you might discuss and consider trying with your children, depending on their age:


  • I will try hard to clean up my toys by putting them where they belong.

  • I will let my parents help me brush my teeth twice a day.

  • I will wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

  • I will learn how to help clear the table when I am done eating.

  • I will be friendly to all animals. I will learn how to ask the owners if I can pet their animal first.

  • I will do my best to be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

  • I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help or am scared.

Kids, 5 to 12 years old:

  • I will drink reduced-fat milk and water most days. Soda and fruit drinks are only for special times.

  • I will take care of my skin by putting on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to remember to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I'm playing sports.

  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!

  • I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard.

  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I'll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

  • I'll try to be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.

  • I will tell an adult about bullying that I see or hear about to do what I can to help keep school safe for everyone.

  • I will keep my personal info safe and not share my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I'll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.

  • I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.

  • I promise that I'll do my best to follow our household rules for video games and internet use.

Kids, 13 years old and older

  • I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day. I will drink sodas only at special times.

  • I will do my best to take care of my body through fun physical activity and eating the right types and amounts of foods.

  • When I have some down time for media, I will try to choose educational, high-quality non-violent TV shows and video games that I enjoy. I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities. I promise to respect out household rules for video games and internet use.

  • I will do what I can to help out in my community. I will give some of my time to help others, working with community groups or others that help people in need. These activities will make me feel better about myself and my community.

  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.

  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

  • When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will look for a trusted adult so that we can attempt to find a way to help.

  • I will be careful about whom I choose to date. I will treat the other person with respect and not force them to do something they do not want to do. I will not use violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.

  • I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.

  • I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.

I hope the year ahead brings you all good health, manys smiles and lots of laughs!


Mr. Baker

Kindergarten News, from Mrs. Button, Mrs. Maestri and Mrs. Shanahan

January is an exciting time for teachers. This is when we often see significant signs of growth in our students, socially, emotionally and academically. When students return from the December break, they seem more mature and prepared to begin a new year. What does this “growth” look like in kindergarten?

First of all, we are thrilled with the level of independence the children have acquired. They know their classroom routines, take care of their own belongings, and use classroom materials appropriately. Most self-help skills, such as getting dressed to go outside for recess, have become much easier for all of them (a gift to the teachers!). The students have learned the order in which to dress for their own ease and comfort: snow pants, boots, coat, hat, and mittens. They are able to use the visuals posted in the classrooms as reminders. As teachers we find ourselves helping only with tying boots and zipping coats (though many students can do these tasks too!). Earlier in the year, putting on snow clothes was a daunting task for us all!

More importantly, every child knows that s/he is an integral and participating member of his/her classroom. The children have learned how to be kind and supportive to their classmates and teachers. Additionally, they have learned how to advocate for themselves. They are much less reluctant to reach out to their teachers and other support staff at Fiske. We all use common language learned through the Responsive Classroom/Open Circle social competency program, which helps children and teachers to communicate and express themselves more effectively.

Lastly, the academic growth we observe at this time of year is both exciting and rewarding. Many children enter kindergarten beginning to recognize letters and learn letter-sound associations. Currently, the children are writing stories across three pages during Writer’s Workshop using both pictures and words! Of course, this looks different for children, but is equally significant for every one of them. We see this same kind of growth in math, as well. The children’s number sense, and their ability to manipulate numbers, has grown dramatically. It is quite amazing that we will be celebrating the 100th day of school on February 5th. We will be able to challenge the children with various activities related to the number 100! In the coming weeks, we will celebrate Valentine’s Day, and enjoy our Winter Big Backyard Walks. We are also celebrating the many milestones achieved and successes we have experienced thus far in kindergarten!

Grade One News, from Mrs. Shew, Mrs. Torpey, and Mrs. Wallace

Happy New Year! This new year brings lots of new learning to first grade! We started off 2018 by writing about our wishes for the new year! These are fantastic! We are also starting new units of study in writing, reading and math!

Reading and Writing Workshop: Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction! In both reading and writing, the first graders are learning so much about non-fiction! In writing, they are learning to write teaching books (All About Books) about things they are experts on! They are incorporating all that they are learning about in reading workshop to do this! In reading, they are learning how to become “super smart at reading non-fiction texts”. They are doing a great job applying what they are learning in reading to their writing. They are doing this by incorporating text features in their writing that include, and introduction, table of contents, a diagram, labels, captions, headings, fun facts and much more! We are proud of their hard work!

Social Studies: We are continuing our work with mapping skills by studying the world map and learning about the continents. The children are responsible for knowing the 7 continents and the major oceans. They also are learning about the compass rose, map key, and map symbols.

Science: The next unit in science will be Balls and Ramps. This is a very exciting inquiry based science unit where the children get to do lots of fun experiments with balls. They will even get to make their own ramp system.

Math: Our next unit brings lots of work with measurement and number relations. Some of our student friendly learning goals for this unit are listed below.

  • I attend to precision as I read, write and compare numbers to 120.

  • I can use math tools to measure objects and compare their lengths.

  • I can explain my strategies for adding and subtracting within 10.

  • I can read a graph that represents data and answer questions about it.

As always, thank you for all you do to help make each day a success!

Grade Two News from Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Dinsmore, Mrs. Gobiel, and Mrs. Johnson

Happy New Year! January is a terrific month for revisiting expectations, renewing class promises, and setting new learning goals as we reach the midway point in the school year. We returned refreshed and motivated after the December break.

Second graders concluded the nonfiction reading and writing units. Our ability to extract information from nonfiction texts by using multiple text features has grown significantly over the duration of the unit. We chose one informational All About book to share from our writing folders and paired up with another second grade classroom. When meeting with a partner we listened for new information and keywords. Nonfiction writing continued in our learning about Ghana.

In Reading Workshop, Unit 3 Amping Up Books! Bigger Reading Power, students have been focused on tackling longer and harder books and set goals for themselves. As second graders’ reading abilities are becoming stronger, the focus is on fluency and a greater understanding of what is being read. We are utilizing reading partners as comprehensive resources during our workshop. This unit poses several essential questions to the students:

  • How does reading fluently help with comprehension?

  • How do I grow as a reader?

  • How do authors use words to change the meaning of text?

A few suggestions as you read with and monitor your child’s reading at home:

  • Encourage them to use expressive voices

  • Remind them to notice punctuation and dialogue tags (talking marks)

  • Stop during reading and notice an author's use of figurative language, posing the question

“What does the author want you to understand?”

  • Assist them in keeping track of story lines in longer books by briefly retelling the parts they have read before starting a new chapter

In Writing Workshop we began Unit 3 Opinion writing, as 7 and 8 year olds have many opinions on a variety of topics, they are delighting in sharing theirs! We began the unit by reading several mentor texts, such as I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufmann Orloff and Earrings by Judith Viorst. Students are writing letters to persuade others of their point of view. Additionally students have had opportunities to write about books or series stating their opinion, and supplying evidence from the text that supports their thoughts and ideas.

Ages and Timelines, was a short 7 day Math unit in which students constructed an understanding of computational procedures for addition and subtraction of whole numbers by:

  • -Using the open number line model

  • -Using the ten structure

  • -Using ten as a landmark number

  • -Contextualizing and decontextualizing (story problems)

Your child may have shared with you about the story of Carlos and his Bisabuelo Gregorio. The story presents several problems to be solved beginning with the ages of family members at the time of Carlos’ birth. As students worked in pairs to solve the scaffolded problems, they were to use an open number line to show addition and subtraction. Decomposing numbers to efficiently add and subtract, and using one problem to solve another were highlighted strategies in the Math Congress (group share) at the end of daily workshops. Students demonstrated their understanding of using landmark numbers and constant differences on an open number line by creating a poster representing the ages of their own family members on an open number line. We continued to use this strategy in Unit 5 Addition and Subtraction through Number Stories. This unit focused on modeling and solving one- and two- step addition problems within 100 by using an open number line, cubes, base 10 blocks, or by decomposing.

Our Social Studies unit on Ghana began in December and continued through January. Students gained a greater understanding of the geographical elements of Ghana by studying maps and photographs. They looked closely at the currency (cedi) and coat of arms, making comparisons to those of the United States. Short videos and selected

nonfiction texts provided details about the significance and craftsmanship of kente cloths and adinkra symbols. We focused on the similarities and differences we observed about school experiences of Ghanaian children and ourselves. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a Ghanaian activist for the disabled exemplified how one person can work to change unfair beliefs or laws for a whole group. Students marveled in his grace and perseverance. To conclude the unit, students chose one of the Ghana essential questions to answer by creating a poster to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and understandings from the unit.

Grade Three News from Mrs. Aufiero, Mr. Halfond, Mrs. Owen and Ms. Williams

Happy New Year! January is always a very busy month in third grade, and we are certain that this year will be no different.

Thank you to all of our Room Parents and parent volunteers for the festive crafts and games at our “Welcome Winter” celebrations. They were a perfect beginning to our winter vacation!


Third grade has concluded our Multiplication and Division unit. Each student should be able to:

• Make equal groups to show a multiplication fact

• Divide a number into equal groups

• Show and solve multiplication problems with products up to 100

• Show and solve division problems with dividends up to 100

• Solve multi-step word problems

• Show the relationship between multiplication and division

• Use turn around facts (5x7=7x5)

• Combine factors in different ways to solve multiplication problems

• Break apart numbers to help multiply (aka the distributive property) Example: 28x5=(20x5)+(8x5)

• Use fact families to solve multiplication and division problems

In January we will be starting our unit about fractions. Our primary objectives will be to help them demonstrate an understanding of:

• Fractions as parts of a whole

• Fractions on a number line

• Equivalent fractions

• Comparing fractions with like numerators or denominators

We will explore fractions, and their relationships, using a multitude of hands-on activities. The students will realize that fractions are all around us, and we all use them every day!

Readers' Workshop

During Readers' Workshop, third graders have been learning about non-fiction reading strategies. The children are “reading to learn.” We have been examining the various text features that help readers navigate non-fiction texts. This non-fiction unit complements our Science and Social Studies units nicely.

Writers’ Workshop

We are in the midst or Opinion and Persuasive Writing. You may want to stay alert during the coming weeks! The children have been learning how to become more effective persuasive writers and speakers in order to convince other people of their opinions or views. They have been looking for “problems” and imagining solutions. The intention is to make the world a better place, whether in their school, home or neighborhood. (They may also be intent on getting a new pet, their own room, or a later bedtime!). Additionally, they have also been thinking about people, places and ideas that are noteworthy, and then trying to get other people to recognize them, as well. The children are quite enthusiastic about their ideas, and they can be very convincing!


We have launched our unit on Water in Our World. We will use hands-on experiments and observations to identify and understand the different parts of the cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. Soon your children will be able to explain the water cycle to you, how it impacts our weather, and the importance of protecting this precious natural resource!

Please continue to encourage your child to talk about school and what he/she is learning in third grade. Of course, reading every day, and playing games together regularly, will help your child practice and enjoy so many of the skills that are learned in school.

Grade Four News from Ms. Hoffman, Mrs. Jaffe, Ms. Michael, and Mr. Wilde

In math, we have learned to divide multi digit numbers using the partial products algorithm. Students have also learned how to solve division word problems with remainders.

Math Resolution for 2018: We will persevere through challenging problems with a growth mindset!

Our 4th grade writers have completed their opinion essays. Students worked to develop a five paragraph essay with powerful and engaging introductions, three paragraphs featuring main reasons/claims along with supporting evidence, and conclusions that leave a lasting impression in the form of a call to action, a now or never statement, or a reinforcement of their most significant claim.

Writing Resolution for 2018: We will continue to use craft moves to make our writing powerful, organized, and effective!

Our fourth grade readers enjoyed being part of non-fiction book clubs about extreme weather and related natural disasters. They have applied non-fiction reading and researching strategies and note-taking to learn about their topics, synthesize information, and come up with their own bigger ideas about the subject!

Reading Resolution for 2018: We will continue to focus on main idea and details while exploring new books.

In Science, we have completed our unit on Earth’s Materials.

Science Resolution for 2018: We will further develop our engineering skills and knowledge, partly through our exciting new Robotics unit!

Students enjoyed learning deeply about immigration and the rights of citizens in our first unit of Social Studies.

Social Studies Resolution for 2018: We will learn all about the regions of the United States and master our states and capitals.

We can’t wait to get working on our New Year Resolutions in 4th Grade!

Grade Five News from Mrs. Belletti, Mrs. Gavrin, Mrs. McMahon and Ms. Springfield


In math, this month we are trying to find similarities between strategies and applying one strategy to another problem. We did some number strings,for example, if we know 5*5=25, 5*50 is 250. We’re trying to find the connection in both of these problems. We are comparing and contrasting whole numbers and fractions. Additionally, we are making posters about best buys, ratios, and rates to show and explain our own way of thinking. We have been participating in math congress, meeting on the rug and doing galery walks to look at other posters. We’re continuing fraction nation, and we’re improving our fraction skills. (Juliana and Maya - Ms. Springfield )


This month in reading we are doing tons of different activities including research groups/topics. In research groups we focus on different topics. For example here are some topics:

-Should killer whales be kept in captivity?

-Should there be zoos or should there not be zoos?

-Should people keep climbing/attempting to climb Mt. Everest?

-Should people keep using plastic bags?

-Should we protect humans from sharks or sharks from humans.

During this unit we participated in flash debates where we had to come up with evidence to defend our topic. Lastlly we have been working really hard on annotating informational texts. ( Katie - Ms. Springfield )


In writing, we are continuing our chocolate milk opinion piece to Mr. Martellone. We also learned how to write a claim/thesis and a counterclaim. After that, everybody picked a topic that they were passionate about to write about. For example, Ethan Mcdonnell started to write to the Lexington selectmen about how there should be less banks in Lexington.

Leo Libretto started to write about why hospitals should not charge a lot of money to heal injuries. Another fun thing we did in writing is that at the end we will write a argumentative essay about the topic we chose.

Social Studies

In Social Studies, we started with learning about the ancient civilizations- the Maya, Aztec, and Inca. We were arranged into groups, learning about one of them. We made google slide presentations at the end, and presented them in front of the class, so we would all know about the civilizations- even if we weren’t in the group. In a follow-up project, we could choose which one to research and answered a prompt.

One of the major things we have started to focus on in Social Studies is the great age of exploration! We have read texts, including letters from Christopher Columbus describing his voyages, taken straight from history. We took a primary source, specifically a letter from Columbus which was from Columbus's first voyage and analized it, answering questions and annotating the letter. We looked at the map of 1507, which was a new map that they created. We practiced asking questions, and thinking before we spoke. We learned about people like Prince Henry the Navigator and other major explorers from history.

(Erika and Esme - Ms. Springfield)


In the month of December, we focused a lot on kindness. We made kindness light bulbs, and hung them up in the hallways. On the lightbulbs, we wrote random acts of kindness we could do. “We can light up the world with kindness.” We have done various kindness activities in our class, such as a kindness calendar. We’ve learned about the kindness “ripple effect”, meaning that acts of kindness are like dropping stones in a pond, rippling outward. Our teacher told us how you should always be kind in any month, not only December.

What acts of kindness can you do?

(Erika - Ms. Springfield)

Specialist News

Counseling News from Mrs. Pirone

I chose this article this month so that you are better able to help your child identify and reach goals for themselves in the coming new year. Be a positive role model and set your own goals with them! Have a healthy and happy New Year!

Helping Your Child Set and Stick With New Years Goals

By Lexi Walters Wright

Ideally, New Year’s resolutions teach kids how to set and work steadily toward goals. That can be especially valuable for those who have learning and attention issues. But your child may need some help creating meaningful goals she’ll be able to stick with.

Creating a New Year’s Goal

However appealing an end goal is, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Help your child craft a sustainable plan by following. Make sure it’s:

  • Specific: The resolution should include your child’s goal, the skill she’s working on and how she’ll achieve it: “To become a better trumpet player by our May concert, I’ll practice 30 minutes a day.”

  • Measurable: She should track her progress—on a chart or in regular check-ins with you.

  • Attainable: The goal should be ambitious but realistic—something that will stretch your child’s skills but not overwhelm her.

  • Results-oriented: The resolution should explain what she’ll be able to do once she reaches her goal. For example: “Studying with a tutor twice a week will help me consistently get As in math.”

  • Time-bound: Your child’s resolution should specify a reasonable time frame and can include mini-goals along the way (mini-successes can be very motivating).

And another big must:

  • Relevance: Your child has to want to set and reach this goal! She should feel eager and committed.

What a Good Resolution Looks Like

Your child’s specific goals will depend on her challenges, abilities and interests. Here are a few examples of how you might help her refine her ideas.

Social Skills Resolution

Beginning idea: “I’ll be the most popular kid in my class.”

Resolution: “This year, I’ll make more friends. Twice a month, I’ll invite someone over from school or Scouts.”

Academic Resolution

Beginning idea: “I’m going to get all As this year.”

Resolution: “In January, I’ll get a B or better on every science quiz by studying at least 45 minutes for each one and asking my teacher for advice on studying.”

Athletic Resolution

Beginning idea: “I’ll start running and make the varsity track team this spring.”

Resolution: “To learn to run, I’ll download a training app. Then I’ll practice for a Valentine’s Day 5K. If I like it, I’ll find a 10K over summer break.”

Working Toward a New Year’s Goal

As your child works on achieving his resolution, she’ll also be building important skills like:

  • Self-reflection: “How do I want to improve this year?”

  • Self-advocacy: “What do I need to do to help me reach my goal?”

  • Self-awareness: “Am I making progress toward my goal?”

  • Problem-solving and self-control: “What can I do to get back on track?”

  • Self-esteem: “How does achieving my goal make me feel?”

Encourage her to step back and ask herself questions like these—or even discuss the answers with you—along the way. They’ll help her stay on track and get more out of the experience.

Helping Your Child Stick With It

However good her intentions—and her plan—your child may sometimes have trouble persevering. These tips can help you help her:

  • If your child agrees, consider joining her. You’ll make each other more accountable. “I’m also looking to exercise more this year. How about we swim together at the Y every Saturday morning?”

  • Don’t nag. In addition to the regular progress checks you’ve built in, ask questions and offer reminders—but in ways your child can accept. Some kids might respond well to: “I know you wanted to have someone over twice a month. Has that happened yet for February?” Others might do better with, “We don’t have any plans this weekend, if you want to have a teammate over.”

  • Share your own experiences. Be honest about what did and didn’t help you with your New Year’s resolutions. “I’m so glad I joined the library book club last year. It really helped me reach my daily page goal.”

  • Make it meaningful. Let your child work hard at her resolution. If she doesn’t achieve it, you can help make sure that her struggle is motivating, not paralyzing. Talk through how things went off-track and what she might do differently next time.

Art News from Mrs. O'Leary and Ms. Walker

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great break. Here are just some highlights of the projects we will be working on in January and what we are doing until the February break:

Grade K – Winter seems to be theme for us during art. Before the break, we made textured snowman, winter scene snow globes and nine pairs of mittens. In January, we will be looking at some African art. Look for Kufi hats and symbol paintings from Ghana. Chinese “I Love you” window hangings and “lucky” penny envelopes should arrive around Valentine’s Day, to complete the unit.

Grade 1 – We will look at African designs as well. Look for African collars and ear wear with the use of pattern and line. In February, children will be studying a “celebrations” unit on China. During Art, we will observe “Chinese New Year”, by creating lanterns, Chinese paper cuts and watercolor fans.

Grade 2 – Look for the figure in motion pieces to come home sometime this month. We soon be working on a weaving project based on the African Kente Cloth. Students viewed many cloth designs, and were asked to not only weave a tight checkerboard but to also interweave and apply a variety of other materials as well as use traditional African symbols. This will then be the cover of a book with animal illustrations. These books will be from the inspiration for our African clay

animal sculptures.

Grade 3 – Soon, in the halls you will see work we did for Mr. Hart and Mrs. London illustrating E, G, B, D, F. With the understanding of the color wheel primary, secondary and tertiary (analogous and complementary) these students have created artworks with cool colors. Warm color backgrounds with silhouettes drawings will come later in the year. We will be working a Picasso-like “Three Musicians” collage, using pattern blocks. To celebrate, Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday” we will be looking and designing a Velegante Mask, native of South America.

Grade 4 - We are finishing up plate designs with 3D food, using opposite colors to give that affect. We are combining art and science, with our shadsnow. In February, we will be working on projects of Mexican influence.

Grade 5 – We will be finish up a conceptual drawing piece, which is astonishing! Students chose a ½ of a magazine picture and were asked to complete by blending colors etc. You will have a hard time finding the original. Students will look at the work of African American Artists, Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold. Both masters of collage and the use of pattern. Students will design a story quilt square done in collage. The squares must have themselves in the foreground. The mid and background of the final composition, should illustrate the story around the border.

Ask your child what they do in art each week because many times our projects are carried over to the next week or two.

Attention knitters and anyone with leftover yarn! We could use your unwanted yarn for a weaving project. We are also in need of recycled materials: clear egg cartons, yogurt containers, plastic take out containers, magazines, old calendars, gift wrap, paper towel tubes, ribbon, tissues, wipes and hand soap.

Thanks Again,

Mrs. O’Leary & Miss Walker

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ELL News from Mrs. Hine and Mrs. Murphy

Happy New Year! After the winter break we shared information with our classes about the format and procedures for the upcoming ACCESS test. ELL parents should have received an email from Robyn Dowling Grant explaining the start of ACCESS.

During the month of January we will be testing all of our ELLs in the domains of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This year, third and fourth grade students will taking the test online except for the writing portion. The fifth graders will be taking the entire test online. This process will help us to make the testing go faster and let us get back to class. The kindergarten testing is all done individually, and the testing for grades one and two is done in small groups.

Parents should receive the ACCESS test results later in the spring. If you should have any questions about these results, feel free to contact us at Fiske.

After the testing is concluded, regular ELL classes will resume.

PE News from Mr. Spiller and Ms. Murphy

Happy New Year! We hope everyone was able to enjoy their time away from Fiske. Hopefully you were able to find time to get outdoors and exercise. Sledding, skiing and skating are always popular this time of year. For those 4th and 5th graders that signed up for Before School Sports, the second session begins the very first week of school after Winter break.

Music News from Mr. Hart and Mrs. London

Greetings from the Music Room….

The Fiske Music Performance Calendar is set. You are invited to any and all of these celebrations:

Fourth Grade Performance:

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 11:30 in the Fiske Gym.

Third Grade Recorder Performance:

Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 11:30 in the gym.

Fifth Grade Chorus/Band/Strings Concerts:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 9am

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 9am and 7pm.

Meanwhile, these are things you might see or hear if you walked by the music room at Fiske:

Kindergarten: Galloping to the Wild Horseman and playing the Pencil, Bone, Pocket game.

1st Grade: Learning about So and Mi and writing them on two-line staves.

2nd Grade: Writing Mi-So-La on three-line boards and experiencing the dynamics Forte and Piano.

3rd Grade: Recorder!!! Please go to the Fiske Music Website ( Hot Cross Buns, Pierrot and more!

4th Grade: Moving to Sleigh Ride and the Trepak from the Nutcracker.

5th Grade: Getting ready for our first chorus concert, on Wednesday, January 24th at 9am in the gym. Please come see your children sing!

Library News from Mrs. Kishpaugh

Check out recent titles in the Fiske Library!

  • Kindergarten has been studying author and illustrator Kevin Henkes, including such classics as Chester’s Way and Julius, Baby of the World. For lots of fun activities and videos to go along with our author study, check out the Kevin Henkes website in the Fun Links section of the Fiske Library web page:

  • Learning to read makes first grade special, so we have been sharing books about, well, reading! Favorites included How to Read a Story and the newly published Baabwaa and Wooliam.

  • In coordination with their study of continents and countries, second graders are reading books about schools in different parts of the world, such as Rain School and Listen to the Wind. How are these schools the same or different from our experiences here at Fiske?

  • Third grade has been reading about life in 17th and 18th century New England with such books as William’s House and Ox Cart Man.

  • Fourth graders are studying immigration stories by Patricia Polacco, including The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup. Every family has a story; what is yours?

  • Fifth graders are discovering the rich, and rather frightening, power of folk tales by sharing Neil Gaiman’s re-telling of Hansel and Gretel and the Caldecott Medal winning Rapunzel by Paul Zelinsky.

Math News from Mrs. Rawding

There is lots of exciting math going on around the building--and fun opportunities coming up in the new year to play around with different math ideas.

Here are two resources for your and your child to explore together: Talking Math with Your Kids (#tmwyk) and Visual Patterns

At you can find great resources and prompts to discuss together.

Here’s a Visual Pattern for you and your children to discuss: What do you notice? What is changing? What would the next figure look like?

What would the 8th figure look like? Is there a figure with 200 penguins?

Check out more Visual Patterns at

Follow me on Twitter to see and learn more about Math at Fiske @FiskeMath

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Literacy News from Mrs. Azeredo, Ms. Jones and Mrs. Kelley

2018 is a new year and a great time to rejuvenate your child’s out-of-school reading. For those that are passionate about reading, we merely have to bring them to a library or give access to a kindle and the magic happens. However, some students view reading as boring or difficult. For those readers, light support and encouragement from a peer, parent or teacher may be helpful in changing negative attitudes towards reading.


  • Reading aloud to your child (YES even 5th graders can be on the edge of their seats listening to a more skilled reader make a story come to life). Sometimes even reading aloud the beginning pages of a book will be enough to entice a reader to keep going on his/her own.

  • Browsing the library or bookstore for a variety of texts. Discover what your child is passionate about and find books to match. Try graphic novels or books with humor. Sometimes a book series can hook a reader into reading on and on and on.

  • Screen reading - sometimes the appeal of an iPad, Kindle or tablet will draw in a student that prefers some screen time.

  • Reading books and then watching the movies.

  • Forming or joining a family-friendly book club

The following article has other suggestions for engaging the reluctant reader:

Health Office News from Mrs. O'Connell

The holiday season is a time for family, fun, and festivity. Please be safe during this holiday season. Each year, many people suffer from eye injuries caused by unsafe toys and celebrations. Watch those tree branches, chill your champagne bottles, cover the cork while releasing it, and celebrate safely. And of course, for those of you who haven’t already, please get your flu vaccine! Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Claire O’Connell