Paw Prints Newsletter

Burnham School - May 2021

A Note from the Principal:

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The sunny weather is finally here and students are enjoying their outdoor time. The school year is in its homestretch. We have a few things planned before we end our year on June 11th. Our fifth graders are planning their ALOHA, our students are getting our school garden planted, and Mr. Morgan is planning a special day for our students called, “A Day At The Races”, an alternative to Field Day. The school community looks forward to these events, and we enjoy ending the school year with a bang!

The students and staff are delighted to see the beautiful spring blossoms in our “Friendship Garden” located in the back of the school. Our garden is a vision of beauty with the blossoming of all the daffodil bulbs our students planted a few years ago with the help of our friends from the Roxbury- Bridgewater Garden Club. We hope that they too along with the Bridgewater community are enjoying these spring delights.

As a reminder, students in third, fourth, and fifth grade will take the Smarter Balanced Tests from May 3rd-May 14th. The students will be tested in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students in fifth grade will also be tested in the area of science on May 26th and May 27th. Please keep the testing schedules in mind as you plan activities for your family. It is important to have all our students in school during this time.

National Teacher Appreciation Week will be held during the first full week in May. National Teacher Day will be held on May 4th. It is a wonderful way to recognize Burnham School’s staff. They make a difference in your child’s life every day. I feel fortunate to have such a caring and compassionate staff. They go beyond expectations in making personal connections, giving extra support when needed, and working to bring out the best in every child.

The staff and I will also be celebrating National School Nurse Day on Wednesday, May 12th. The day of recognition has been celebrated annually since 1972 to foster a better understanding of the role of the school nurse in the educational setting. The staff and I support and celebrate the contributions of our school nurse, Mrs. Lisa McQueen, who works diligently to improve the health and welfare of our students. She often serves as the first-line provider of health care for our students, addressing their physical and emotional health concerns. She promotes health and wellness by providing health education, direct treatment for acute and chronic conditions, emergency care for students and staff, and collaboration and support for our families.

This time of year, is also the time that the budget for next year is voted upon. I remind you that the Annual District Meeting will be held on May 3, 2021, and the Budget Referendum is scheduled to take place on May 4, 2021.

With a busy month ahead, please encourage your child(ren) to take time to relax with a good book. Sitting under a tree on a warm sunny day there is nothing like reading an adventure and sharing it with others!


Cathy Colella


Dates to Remember for May

5/3 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

5/4 Teacher Appreciation Day

5/4 Region 12 Budget Vote

5/4-5/14 Smarter Balanced Testing

5/6 PTO Meeting, 6 p.m.

5/12 Early Dismissal for Students, 12:45 p.m.

5/12 National School Nurse Day

5/17 5th Grade Transition to Shepaug Meeting, 7 p.m.

5/24 Board of Education Meeting, 7 p.m.

5/26-5/27 Grade 5 Science Testing

5/31 Memorial Day- No School

Big picture

3-4-5 Greek Mythology and Inherited and Acquired Traits

The 3-4-5s have been enjoying their return from break with a variety of inspiring activities. Greek Mythology has lured our fourth and fifth graders into the tangled web of gods, goddesses, monsters, and heroes. From Zeus to Hades, these students are busily exploring the craft of myths and legends. Sharing classic myths and creation stories helps our students understand everyday allusions. It’s a delight to watch them realize what it means to open “Pandora’s Box” or have a discussion about their own “Achilles’ heels!” Our creative group is developing original Greek Myth Trading cards to highlight their learning and creativity.

Our 3rd graders are examining the difference between inherited and acquired traits, and how Earth’s creatures interact in their environments. They have examined traits and behaviors of desert locusts, meerkat mobs, and even humans. Students analyzed their own earlobes and widow’s peaks and determined if they inherited the ability to roll their tongues or “super taste.” Third graders also spent time discovering the (fascinating) behaviors and interactions of common ants and squirrels. Analyzing nature’s behaviors, variations, and traits helped our students develop new insight into how unique and interconnected we all are.

Round Three of Art with Mrs. Manley

In this last rotation, all students focused on conveying action and expression by creating emphasis and mood in their artwork. They also honed their art appreciation abilities using Visual Thinking Skills and See, Think, Wonder during discussions about works of art. By taking turns as Art Buddies, students in 3, 4, and 5 used peer feedback to help plan for improvements in their works in progress.

K-1 made “zoomed-in” pictures of flowers, inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. Her larger-than-life paintings grabbed our attention. Students noticed that many of her flowers were so big they bumped the edges of the picture and showed lots of detail. Still life paintings by Henri Matisse showed how overlapping objects in a picture can make some things look closer than others. They also noticed that he used many different colors to make his fruit, and tried doing just that by adding crayon to resist watercolor. To experience making abstract art, we first looked at Wassily Kandinsky’s circle paintings as inspiration to experiment with color combinations in our own oil pastel circle “paintings”. Playful cat faces were inspired by Paul Klee’s Cat and Bird painting. Students were surprised at how happy the cat and bird looked together, and incorporated similar symbols in their own cat pictures. They also considered color combinations that would make their pictures really pop. More color theory was used in the lucky four-leaf clover pictures, where students used complementary colors to create excitement (and more luck!).

2nd grade used Jim Dine’s signature heart paintings as inspiration to create eye catching contrast between the bright colors in oil pastel and intricate patterns and designs drawn in Sharpie. Looking at pictures of glassware helped us to notice the subtle differences in colors when transparent objects overlapped each other. Students drew their own fun glass objects and, using primary colors only, created secondary colors where the pieces overlapped in their pictures. Fabric folkart Molas made by the Kuna people of the San Blas Islands, Panama inspired our dramatic paper Molas - colorful stylized symbols of animals and plants surrounded by simple shapes were contrasted on a black background. Noticing how an artist can draw your attention to a particular place in their work by using angles, students used the same trick Gustav Klimt did in his “Baby” painting by creating their own colorful quilt paintings incorporating sleeping people and/or pets for a bit of fun. Students noticed that emphasis and expression can also be found in architecture, and used the famous “Painted Ladies” row houses of San Francisco to create their own street of colorfully designed row houses.

To kick off this session, students in 3rd grade discussed how symbols represent ideas, and played a version of Pictionary, challenging them to come up with new innovative symbols for various concepts. Each then designed their own personal symbol to incorporate into a work of art using circles. To be successful, students needed to create emphasis by using one “artist trick” like overlapping, changing size, and placement, to draw the viewer’s eye to their symbol within their picture. Animals of all kinds inspired the next project, where students created textures and/or patterns of fur, scales, or skin to enhance the silhouettes of animals represented. Drawing lines using a straight edge (aka a ruler) provided students with a fun way to create Op Art, optical art that fools your eye and your brain into thinking there is movement or depth in a two-dimensional picture. The results were definitely mindboggling! The dancing, cartoon-like figures of graffiti artist Keith Haring inspired students to create their own Pop Art dance parties on paper. Students were able to create a sense of movement and rhythm by drawing simple gesture lines around their colorful paper cutout dancers.

4th and 5th graders also started off with a personal symbol project, but had the added challenge of using at least 3 “artist tricks” in their work to catch the attention of the viewer. The Portal art project focused on creating a sense of mystery and interest with the use of contrast, either through light and dark value, color, or texture, or a contrast in subject matter. The other worldliness of these artworks resonated with all students, especially with those who enjoy the fantasy reading genre. Students learned how to use shading to “move light” in their Op Art “Blobs” drawings. While coloring, students changed the amount of pressure applied to either increase or decrease the value of the colors they used. This technique effectively created the optical illusion of volume on a flat surface. The last project focused on abstract art and color theory. Students disguised images, in this case, their favorite or lucky number, by drawing intersecting lines through them and coloring the resulting shapes with a combination of warm and cool colors. These techniques transformed the numbers into intriguing abstract works.


CDC Protocols for Quarantining and Isolation:

As you know, per our weekly notifications from our superintendent, our school community has had some cases of COVID-19 along with close contact exposures causing quarantining and isolation. These measures continue to be effective in stopping the spread. Below is a review of the differences between the two and how to follow the protocols.

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

The following link will provide you with guidance on adhering to protocols specifically for COVID-19. COVID-19: Quarantine vs. Isolation

As always, your school nurse is vigilantly tracking all medical concerns, illnesses, and potential communicable disease spread. During these days of the COVID pandemic, it is more important than ever that you communicate directly with your school nurse for any symptoms of illness. During COVID, it’s also important to communicate with your nurse if your child or family members have an exposure or potential exposure to someone with COVID 19. Your school nurse can guide you through when to contact a doctor and/or get tested, and the length of quarantine/isolation as advised by the CDC and District 12.

*The school nurse can also advise you on what is required if you have upcoming travel plans.

Please contact your school nurse for any questions or concerns.

Let’s finish strong by following these protocols to keep our entire community safe.

14th Annual Recycling Billboard Contest

This year’s theme, Recycle Right, prompted Burnham students to create a billboard that would encourage residents to recycle right. Local judging took place and all grade level winners were submitted. Victoria Gustavson’s recycling billboard was very impressive and she was awarded as a 2nd Place winner for the region. We are so proud of her!

Congratulations to Victoria Gustavson a shining fifth grade star!

Visit us at our Website!

Our web address is Once you are at the district’s home page you can visit Burnham School’s website. The staff will be adding information regularly. Please use it as an additional resource for information gathering.

Student Council

Spirit Week Returns to Burnham School!

The week before Spring break, the Burnham community celebrated Spirit Week with participatory grandeur! Students walked the halls in their favorite Burnham spiritwear, or pj's. Game Day was filled with Kahoots, Math Jeopardy, and BINGO. Kids were cheering on classmates during classroom kickball games and relays. On Outside Day, we picnicked on beach towels and read under the shade of a tree. Lastly, we ended the week dressing up as "what we want to be when we grow up!" We had doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, teachers, and business people. It was a fun way to lead into our week-long vacation.

april spirit week

Spirit wear * * Pajama Day

Game day * * Outside Day

and future job day


Spring Forecast: It’s Raining Books!

Spring is here, and with it comes a heavy dose of spring rain! Do you know what’s a perfect rainy day activity? Reading! I took student recommendations and added some new books to our school library. Curious about what’s new? Students should check out the list of featured books under the “What’s New” category in OPAC, Burnham’s online catalog. There, students can find new picture books, manga, sequels to beloved series such as Dog Man and Endling, and new series to fall in love with. These new books are an excellent way to get students geared up for the books they’ll be reading over the summer. Have a recommendation? Feel free to send it my way:

Children’s Book Week

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is a celebration of reading. This year, the Spring Children’s Book Week begins on Monday, May 3 and will go through Sunday, May 9. At Burnham School, we make it a point to celebrate reading all year long, but there are all manner of exciting activities that students can participate in to celebrate Children's Book Week this year. The activities can be found here.

Read Across America: May

The National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America theme for the month of May is: Develop Passion and Perseverance. This theme encourages readers to look at the world around them and be inspired to take on new interests. This month’s selected books will help students observe, wonder, predict, invent, and evaluate the world around them. The elementary selection is Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando, by Andrew Wang. This biographical picture book tells the story of the man who invented a food that would change the face of hunger in post-war Japan. The middle grade selection is When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller. This novel tells the story of Lily, a young girl who takes on a quest from the tiger from her grandmother’s Korean folktales in the hopes it will heal her sick grandmother. Both of these books can be found in our small but mighty Burnham School Library.

Burnham School PTO

Parents are our partners in the important job of educating all our children. I urge you to attend and support the PTO and take part in helping your child to grow academically. PTO meetings are held monthly at 6:00 p.m. Our next virtual meeting will be held on May 6th. Just a reminder, the PTO is looking for officers. Please consider volunteering and supporting your school.

Travel and Parking Safety Tips

Did you know that school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.

If you are driving, remember these simple rules:

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.

  • Red flashing lights mean stop and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus because children are getting on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.

  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children, particularly in the morning or afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal. Be alert as you back out of a driveway or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.

Let’s all work together to keep our children safe!

Big picture

Good Character Traits

(Referenced in Board of Education Policy #0210.3)

Region 12 is dedicated to strengthening the character of our students by encouraging a consistent set of ethical values that direct and guide behavioral choices. These universal values, which transcend political, religious, cultural, and the Golden Rule encompasses economic differences, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Therefore, good Character Traits are essential to the learning process. We work throughout the year in developing the following:

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Respect
  3. Responsibility
  4. Fairness
  5. Caring
  6. Citizenship

Good conduct is synonymous with good citizenship. Students are expected to exercise good citizenship at all times while in school, attending school-related activities and after school activities conducted at the school. This includes showing respect for the rights of others and regard for personal and school property. Students should strive to contribute to the climate of the school by being courteous and well mannered.

Burnham School also utilizes The Second Step Program to promote social skills necessary to be a caring community. Additionally, grades three through five have access to a second program, Steps to Respect when needed.

It is our hope that the power and influence of the school-family partnership will provide consistent messages to our students regarding the development of positive student behaviors and thus, improve student learning.

Big picture