Fiske Monthly News

February 2017


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

Global School Play Day

On February 1st, Fiske School participated in our first Global School Play Day. The day originated with educators world wide that were concerned about students not having time to engage in free play, and knowing that based on research, free play is an experience in which students actually learn and benefits other areas of learning as well.

There were over a quarter of a million students world wide that participated in Global School Play day. Our Fiske students LOVED the day, participating in all kinds of games, creative play and dramatic play activities. It was wonderful to not only see students engaged and talking to their peers, but it was awesome to see how long they were able to stay engaged and focused.

At the end of the day, a number of students commented that "This was the best day ever!" and all teachers reported extremely favorably on the day, noting that they got to see a different side of their students from the daily experience that they have with them.

Thanks for sending in games and toys and supporting the "work" students did that day in the form of free play. We've already got students and staff asking about signing up again next year. Based on this year's success, I'd say we're already ready to go and participate!

Learning Through Making Mistakes

Many of you may have heard your child say over the past couple of years, "Mistakes are where the new learning goes." We've really been working to help students understand that yes, they will get right answers in class while working across content areas, but, they will also learn from trying and making mistakes.

This month, we have Maleka Gramling working with staff to help understand how making mistakes aids students in the learning process. Additionally, she will be offering a night time parent session on February 13th from 6-7pm where she shared some of that same information and research with parents.

We hope that students continue to see that making mistakes is a place where learning and growth can happen for all of us!

Modular Update

As many of you may know, Fiske will be getting two modular classrooms this spring. Work has been taking place since November, with excavation and foundation pouring. We've lost a couple of parking spaces as a result of the work, however, five were added to lessen the impact of the lost spaces. Over the February vacation, a large crane will be bringing in the sections of modulars and placing them on the foundations as part of the next phase of work. Around that time, connecting hallways will also begin to be built that will connect the spaces to the existing building. Be sure to watch for some pictures in upcoming newsletters and do not hesitate to reach out to me should you have questions about the modulars.

Fiske Focus: A Monthly Parent Forum

Over the past several years, I have tried several forums for providing information for the greater school community on a variety of topics. My goal has been to be proactive in sharing information about our work at Fiske so that the school community is informed and also so that there is not potentially misinformation that is shared either. It is also a great way to share information to larger groups as opposed to one on one meetings, which I am never opposed to, but may not always be the most efficient in regards to time.

This year, I will be holding "Fiske Focus" meetings once per month from 8:45am to 9:45am. In the past, day meetings were better attended than night, and therefore, I've only scheduled meetings for days during the current school year.

Dates and Topics for Parent Fiske Focus Sessions:

February 17, 2017 8:45-9:45 Modular Classrooms/Space at Fiske

March 17, 2017 8:45-9:45 Student Placement

April 14, 2017 8:45-9:45 TBD

May 19, 2017 8:45-9:45 TBD

June 9, 2017 8:45-9:45 TBD

Each meeting will have a topic or focus that will be shared ahead of time, and time will be devoted to share information about that topic and then a time will be available for questions, comments, or other items that attendees may have questions about.

News from the Assistant Principal

In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Here at Fiske School we work diligently with all of our students to make sure they are being the best “digital citizens” that they can be. We also know that you, the parents, play an important role in teaching these skills at home as well, and we thank you! As we all know, media and digital devices are an important part of our world today. The benefits of these devices, if used in moderation and appropriately, can be great. But, research has shown and I think we can all agree, that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers, plays an essential and even more important role in promoting children's learning and healthy development. Let’s all make a bargain… Let’s keep the face-to-face up front, and don't allow it to get lost behind a stream of media and other types of technology.

Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help parents manage the digital landscape they're exploring with their children.

  • Treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life. The same parenting guidelines apply in both real and virtual environments. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Know your children's friends, both online and off. Know what platforms, software, and apps your children are using, where they are going on the web, and what they are doing online.

  • Set limits and encourage playtime. Tech use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children. And—don't forget to join your children in unplugged play whenever you're able.

  • Families who play together, learn together. Family participation is also great for media activities—it encourages social interactions, bonding, and learning. Play a video game with your kids. It's a good way to demonstrate good sportsmanship and gaming etiquette. And, you can introduce and share your own life experiences and perspectives—and guidance—as you play the game.

  • Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. And, because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be more available for and connected with your children if you're interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen.

  • Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development. Conversations can be face-to-face or, if necessary, by video chat, with a traveling parent or far-away grandparent. Research has shown that it's that "back-and-forth conversation" that improves language skills—much more so than "passive" listening or one-way interaction with a screen.

  • Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes and other family and social gatherings tech-free. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child's bedroom to help children avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep, all critical for children's wellness.

  • Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media can be very effective in keeping kids calm and quiet, but it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.

  • Apps for kids – do your homework. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. Products pitched as "interactive" should require more than "pushing and swiping." Look to organizations like Common Sense Media ( for reviews about age-appropriate apps, games and programs to guide you in making the best choices for your children.

  • It's OK for your teen to be online. Online relationships are part of typical adolescent development. Social media can support teens as they explore and discover more about themselves and their place in the grown-up world. Just be sure your teen is behaving appropriately in both the real and online worlds. Many teens need to be reminded that a platform's privacy settings do not make things actually "private" and that images, thoughts, and behaviors teens share online will instantly become a part of their digital footprint indefinitely. Keep lines of communication open and let them know you're there if they have questions or concerns.

  • Remember: Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn a mistake into a teachable moment. But some indiscretions, such as sexting, bullying, or posting self-harm images, may be a red flag that hints at trouble ahead. Parents should take a closer look at your child's behaviors and, if needed, enlist supportive professional help, including from your pediatrician.

2015 - American Academy of Pediatrics

Kindergarten News

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 are learning 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 our social competency programs, 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 7th (if no snow days). 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, learn about Magnets, 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

It is hard to believe that February is here! This month brings many fun and exciting things to the first grade! We will celebrate Groundhog’s Day, the 100th Day (tentatively February 7th), Valentine’s Day as well as President’s Day. Be on the lookout for special instructions from your child’s teacher regarding valentines!

We have just started Opinion Writing in Writer’s Workshop. The children have discussed their likes and dislikes as a starting point. They are learning to write in convincing ways to persuade others. Be prepared to be convinced to give your child an extra sweet treat or maybe even a later bedtime! They will surely give you lots of reasons why this would be a good idea! They will also add lots of details and even use some “sparkly words” to try to help their case!

We have just wrapped up our Word Detective Unit in Reading! The children thoroughly enjoyed this unit as they earned their word detective badges and have learned so many great word-solving strategies. Our next unit is in Non-Fiction. We will get our hands on lots of great non-fiction books and learn about all of the text features that they might come across in them!

Our Science Unit this month is Balls and Ramps. We have brainstormed a list of different kinds of balls, as well as wonderings and questions that we have. We will be participating in many different experiments comparing different balls by their attributes, what they are made of, as well as their weight. They will compare the bounciness of balls and make complex ramp systems!

Unit 5 in math involves place value. The students will be working on modeling how a number is composed of tens and ones using ten frames and base ten blocks. They will also be working on comparing numbers using the greater than, less than, and equals to sign. Lastly they will continue to practice adding and subtracting within 10, using strategies such as turn around facts, combinations of 10 and doubles facts.

We hope you all have a fabulous February vacation!

Grade Two News

February brings the 100th day of school and valentine celebrations before the vacation break. Please continue to send your child to school in weather appropriate outerwear as we will be going out for recess when the temperature (or wind chill) is 18 degrees and above.

Amping Up Reading Power! is the newest theme in Reading Workshop. Reading fluently is key to reading longer, and with greater understanding. Second graders have shown fantastic growth since September and are now tackling longer and harder books. Students are using reading partners to support comprehension and are setting goals for themselves. An additional challenge is interpreting literary language by noting comparisons, invented words, and ways the author conveys special meaning. Students should be reading nightly for a minimum of 20 minutes. We encourage you to talk to your child about their books! :)

We have returned to Informational writing in combination with our science unit on Changes. Students are writing science lab reports to teach others about what we are learning in daily experiments. Students are expected to remember that informational writing is factual, informative and detailed, and should include specific features. The big idea of the unit is how states of matter and physical properties of an object or substance can be changed. Through experiments, students figure out how to identify objects and materials as solids, liquids, or gases.

Math finds us exploring Geometry in Unit 6. Students are expected to identify and analyze both two and three dimensional shapes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes). Using precise vocabulary while sorting shapes by attributes and explaining their reasoning is a key component of the unit. You can support your child by encouraging the use of geometric vocabulary when they share about math at home. Here is list of focus words: angles, faces, quadrilaterals, pentagon, hexagon, cube side, edge, and vertex.

We wish all families a healthy and relaxing, fun filled vacation week! (2/20-2/24)

Grade Three News


Our third grade mathematicians have entered the realm of fractions. Our primary objectives are 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 have explored these objectives using a multitude of hands-on activities. Students have impressed us with their knowledge and understanding of these tricky concepts!

Readers’ Workshop

Reading for Tests is our new focus. As part of this unit, the children are learning that some questions have answers explicitly stated in the text, while others require readers to infer based on clues in the text. As we rehearse reading for tests, students are learning to:

· Preview the entire selection, including the introduction in italics and any text features.

· Slow down their reading pace, and/or reread, making extra sure to monitor their comprehension.

· Go back to the test to find evidence for answers.

Writer’s Workshop

The children are working on finishing their informational writing pieces. Every student chose a topic that he/she feels knowledgeable and enthusiastic about. Through various writing exercises and lessons, the students learned how to plan, revise, and refine their topics. They were very thoughtful about the chapter topics (sub-topics) and how to effectively present the information. They should be very proud of their writing!

The children will soon be learning how to write a Literary Essay. This means that they will learn how to read a text, develop their ideas, and then convince readers of their point of view. They will need to support their claims with evidence from their text. Please encourage your child to share their ideas with you! Talking always helps to clarify ones thinking!

Social Studies

We have concluded our unit on The People and Events of the Plymouth Colony. The children learned about the Wampanoag people, their leaders, and their way of life. Additionally, they learned who the Pilgrims were, why they left England (for religious freedom), what their journey on the Mayflower was like, and what the challenges were as they settled in America. We focused on the interactions between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims, and the impact of those interactions. The children also learned the purpose of the Mayflower Compact and that it was the first form of self-government.

Another important group of people we learned about is the Puritans. It became clear that they had many advantages over the Pilgrims during their journey and settlement. Ask your third grader about some of the differences and similarities between the Puritans and the Pilgrims! They should know that the Puritans arrived ten years later and established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hopefully, your child can describe the daily life, education, and work of the Puritans. The children decided that the Pilgrim and Puritan children had more challenges and restrictions than we have today!

Grade Four News

Our fourth grade mathematicians have been expanding their knowledge of place value by engaging in activities and lessons relating to decimals. They have been exploring a variety of ways to make sense of decimals, including connections to money, base-10 blocks, fractions, and number lines. This will help them as we further explore measurement and work on measurement conversions within the metric system. Drawing attention to decimals and/or fractions while making real-world connections at home will really help the cause! Draw your child in as you follow a recipe, make change or estimate a shopping trip, or follow those GPS directions.

In Science, students are beginning to gather information from a variety of sources on their research animal subjects. This will be an exciting adventure! Students will apply their knowledge of non-fiction and animal adaptations as they conduct research and create a presentation for their families and peers.

In Social Studies, our geographers have explored the continent of North America by practicing their mapping skills. They have also learned about some of the most important landmarks in the United States. We will continue this unit by virtually traveling across North America as we explore the various regions of the United States. Don’t forget to help your student practice their states and capitals.

In both writing and reading we’ve been conducting a round of literacy assessments to gauge our students’ growth and progress thus far. The results will be used to inform our instruction over the following months. In addition to this, our fourth graders have recently transitioned from personal opinion essays to literary essays in conjunction with their historical fiction/immigration book clubs. Moreover, our writers are solidifying the essay structure as they organize their information into paragraphs that have strong topic sentences and supporting details. Students have also learned craft moves for creating strong introductions that hook the reader, include a thesis statement or claim, and preview main ideas, as well as how to create powerful conclusions that reflect upon the literature they are reading and analyzing in order to craft a cohesive essay. It’s been exciting to hear the discussions emerging from our book club groups as they use these discussions to guide their literary essay writing.

Grade Five News

Math- (Aidan) Editor- (Eve)

Math is a way to explore your inner brain. Right now we are working on the Best Buy contacts unit. In the unit we work with money and items to figure out the better price of for two different deals from two different stores: Maria’s Pet Emporium and Bob’s Best Buys. In the unit we use a combination of multiplication, division, addition, fractions, decimals, and subtraction. We use these things by finding prices for different deals to see which is better. First, we found out which store sold cheaper Kitten Gourmet. Then, we made a chart of the price and amount for puppy treats. Best buys are a really educational but fun way to learn math. We will definitely learn more things in the future!

Social Studies- (Ben) Editor- (Juliana)

Social studies is where you learn multicultural studies and also learn about how other cultures react and encounter to each other. You also learn about history and how other cultures and countries are changing constantly over time. Currently in this unit we are learning how the eastern hemisphere (Europe) interacted with the western hemisphere (north america). The europeans had sailed to north America and also meet them. Also, they fought the merchants and it was very sad because the tribes shrunk from the 4,000’s to like the 400’s. And this was called the Age of Exploration! One big chunk of the Age of Exploration is the Columbian exchange and the Silk Road. The columbian exchange is an exchange of diseases, foods, crops, people, and slaves. I am very surprised because this was one of the biggest changes of the first millennium. The north americans brought potatoes and other awkward crops. The columbian exchange was one of the biggest changes and also it was sad to see the diseases exchange. (Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Smallpox) Smallpox wiped out a lot and the europeans don't really care, they actually took advantage of it! (which is really sad) The silk road was less North America and more Europe and Asia. It was a network of trade routes that connected most things that they had traded. Merchants were very greedy and they were looking for the best deals in the house. So they sold and bought mostly. In the middle part of the road, there were bandits, so they would travel in caravans to protect themselves from bandits. But slowly, that broke down. Because they were very dry and the bandits were stealing. So that brought the competitions to find a route to Asia. This competition was called the age of exploration. And that is and overview of the age of exploration! I am looking forward to the next unit on social studies. And also, I enjoy social studies because you get to learn about interesting changes and interactions. For everyone who really hates social studies, I want to say, it is fine but I hope you take this in mind because Social studies is a very big part of history. (everyone had their own explorer and did a project on them)

Morning Meeting- (Willa) Editor (Cooper)

Morning meeting is fun because we always get to greet the people that are sitting next to you and when you greet that person you get to do a fun move, like milk the cow greeting or the lumberjack greeting or something fun. After we greet people sometimes we play a fun game like bippity boppity boo or Ra-di-o. Sometimes we share what we did over the weekends and stuff and it is interesting anyways I personally like morning meeting.Also it is very fun.




Book Ads By Sophie S.

In fifth grade, we started a project called Book Ads. We are doing two in total this year, and right now we are starting the first one. The first one isn’t actually about advertising a certain book, it’s about choosing a leader, researching that leader, and presenting that leader in front of the whole class. When we say leader, we mean someone you look up to, like MLK Jr. and Thomas Edison. Not quite as in ruler or king. After you chose a leader to research, you need to find two sources to take notes from. A source can be either a book or a website. Notes can be taken on a computer, sticky notes, or a small notebook. After all the research is done, we will each compose a speech that states who are leader is and what makes them one. We will also each present with least three different visuals (timelines, posters, dioramas, ext.). Parents are allowed to come in for their kid’s speech. Be sure to come to your kid’s speech!

Specialist News

Counseling News

The Gift of Boredom

by Katie Hurley

This just in: Winter brings cold weather to many areas, leaving families trapped indoor for long periods of time. While many parents relish the extra cuddle time by the fire for a few days, that can wear thin as cooped up kids begin to pace the house and climb the furniture.

And then they start repeating two of the most dreaded words in parenting – “I’m bored.”

Boredom provides an opportunity for kids to tap into their creativity, learn to cope with being alone, and learn to make their own fun (without the help of screens). Boredom, as it turns out, is a gift.

Complaints of boredom are never fun and sometimes repeated complaints result in parents handing over video games and tablets to pass the time, particularly during long winter cold snaps. This is a mistake.

Boredom provides an opportunity for kids to tap into their creativity, learn to cope with being alone, and learn to make their own fun (without the help of screens). Boredom, as it turns out, is a gift.

The trick is helping your children learn to channel their boredom into something amazing, without asking you what to do every thirty seconds. No easy task (particularly if your kids do rely heavily on screen time during typical episodes of “boredom”).

Talk about it:

What does it actually mean to be bored? Is there really nothing to do at the moment, or is it hard to play alone? Do your kids seek additional input from siblings, parents, or peers or do they just struggle to get started on their own?

Some kids draw energy from those around them – this can make downtime seem boring and even anxiety producing. They need to find activities and projects that suit them, and that might require help.

Many parents find themselves snapping when they hear “I’m bored” for the tenth time in ten minutes, but complaints of boredom are an excellent time to sit down and talk about what fun looks like and how to create fun when it seems to be missing.

Cultivate creativity:

You might think that some kids are naturally more “creative” than others. I believe that all kids are creative in very different ways. As parents, we have to help children find their inner creativity and run with it.

A child who typically enjoys building blocks, for example, might make something truly amazing when given access to the recycling bin. A child who spends a lot of time reading might enjoy adapting a book into a “movie”.

Telling kids to find something to do leaves them confused and frustrated. Helping them find their creative side and reminding them of it during times of boredom teaches your kids how to cope with being alone.

Encourage messy play:

I’m not saying that you need to let your kids make an overwhelming mess each day, but if your goal is to have a super clean house with everything in its place each day, your kids might be a little reluctant to play alone. When kids are bound by too many restrictions, they become restricted themselves and seek input constantly to make sure they’re doing the right thing.

Encourage messy play … even inside! Allow fort building in the family room, painting in a paint-safe zone, obstacle courses throughout the house, and building from materials found around the house.

When kids feel comfortable tapping into their creativity and following through on their ideas, they learn to create their own fun. When they learn to create their own fun, the complaints of boredom begin to dissipate. Let there be fun.

Art News

Here are just some highlights of the projects we are working on in January and what we are doing until the February break:

Grade K – February, we are celebrating! We will finish up our creative pattern snakes. Chinese “I Love you” window hangings and “lucky” penny envelopes should arrive just in time for Valentine’s Day, to complete the unit.

Grade 1 – 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 have been 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 an inspiration from our African clay animal sculptures.

Grade 3 – We have been working a winter or underwater scenes. To celebrate, Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday” we will be looking and designing a Velegante Mask, native of South America.

Grade 4 - We are combining art and science, with our shadows in the snow. In February, we will be working on projects of Mexican influence.

Grade 5 – Students will look at the work of African American Artist, Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold. Both are 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.

Everyone will do some type of valentine project and a Dr. Seuss hat for “Read Across America”

ELL News

The ACCESS assessment went very smoothly during the month of January, and the test results will be mailed home to parents of English Language Learners later in the spring. We are excited to resume our classes and to continue our work using the REACH curriculum for all grades, and incorporating academic conversations with all of our students.

In January we had our Peer Leadership Project Community Meeting, with newcomers, families, and peer leaders in attendance. We shared a Google slide presentation with our newcomer families to share with them information about resources in the Lexington area and about report cards as well. The children had a fun time playing in the gym and getting to know the other newcomers and peer leaders in the program. It was truly a community building event! Thank you to Christy You, who spoke very eloquently about her experience bringing her children, Michael and Michela, to Fiske last year as newcomers. Thank you Christy! Thank you to Mr. Martellone, Mr. Baker, Ms. Ahern, and Dr. Chase, who were all in attendance. We appreciate your support of this program!

We hope to see all of our newcomer and peer leader families at our final community meeting in May. (date and time to be announced later).

Would you like to support your child with language acquisition at home? Reading to your children daily helps them to learn about story parts, and new words, as well as provides a great opportunity for you share a good story to share with your children.

Here are some our favorite books to read with children:

Wherever you Are, by Mem Fox

Courage , by Bernard Waber

One Green Apple, by Eve Bunting

A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, by Caroline Kennedy

Friends, by Alma Flor Ada

I'm New Here, by Anne Sibley O'Brien

PE News

Greetings from the gym,

Fiske students just finished their basketball skills unit. Passing, dribbling and shooting skills were emphasized during this unit. Lead-up games were played that utilized skills that were practiced. We continue to focus on fitness development each class by performing various whole body exercises. The next unit starting in February will be hockey skills. As always, please help your child remember proper attire for PE class. Thanks!

Music News

Performance dates are set for the 2016/2017 school year:

Fifth Grade Chorus/Band/Strings: Wednesday, June 7, at 9 am and 7 pm in the Fiske Gym

Third Grade Recorder "Informance": Thursday, June 1, at 11:30 am in the Fiske Gym

Fourth Grade "Informance": Thursday, May 18, at 11:30 am in the Fiske Gym.

Here are some of the things you might see and hear if you looked into the music room this month:

Kindergarden: The Alphabet Soup Song and acting out The Snowy Day.

First Grade: She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round The Mountain with instruments and starting to write line and space notes on the five line staff.

Second Grade: Ritsch Ratsch and Donald Is A One-Legged Duck.

Third Grade: Recorder Madness continues. Please go to and look for the Recorder Instructional videos. We have started our first performance song; Let Me Be A Light.

Fourth Grade: Boots Of Shining Leather in a canon, and dancing The Patty Cake Switch.

Fifth Grade: Exploring activities that have beats in groups of 5: Chick Chick Chatterman and Take 5.

Thanks from Mr. Hart and Mrs. Larson

Library News

Kindergarten began a study of author and illustrator Jan Brett. Did you know Jan Brett has an amazing website? Go to to download activity pages, play games, watch videos about drawing, and so much more! It has lots of fun ideas for those cold, snowy days.

First Grade enjoyed such folk tales as Rumpelstiltskin (German) and The Empty Pot (Chinese). We also celebrated Lunar New Year with the book Sam and the Lucky Money.

Second Grade has been reading and comparing folk tales about the West African trickster spider Anansi. We enjoyed Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Anansi and the Talking Melon, and the Caldecott medal winning A Story, A Story.

Third Grade has been reading about life in 17th and 18th century Massachusetts with such books as William’s House and Oxcart Man.

Fourth Grade began a unit on regions of the United States by sharing My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States. We also read Desert Giant: the World of the Saguaro Cactus which examines ways animals adapt in order to survive in a harsh environment.

Fifth Grade has been considering the question of Windows and Mirrors in the Fiske Library. To find out more about Windows and Mirrors, watch Grace Lin’s TED Talk:

All Grades: For book lists, Flipster, and other helpful links, visit the Fiske Library Catalog Home Page:

Math News

Each month I share a few resources for you to use at home with your child.

Math Fun: What do you notice? What do you wonder?

Have a discussion with your child about your noticings and wonderings. What math could you explore with this image? Or check out more images to prompt discussions at

Book recommendation: How Big is a Million?

Game recommendation: Balance Beans

Online recommendation:

Which One Doesn’t Belong? Then find a reason why each one does not belong.

Big image

Literacy News

Text Structure: Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Reading nonfiction is different than the reading of fiction. Most children have had more experience with fiction (at home and at school). Many children can tell you the text structure of stories. (i.e. setting, problem, solution/ outcome).

It is less likely that children can tell you the traditional text structures of nonfiction. You can help your children understand how nonfiction text works and is organized as they build new information (think of it as building background and develop concepts related to how the text is presented).

Nonfiction texts also contain many markers that can give clues to information we can get from the text just like “ “once upon a time” is a marker for the beginning of a fictional story.

You can help your child be successful with reading nonfiction texts by examining and discussing text features of nonfiction (i.e. table of contents, index, italics, caption, headings) and their uses in conveying information

Talking About Books


Ask your child to tell you about the story as if he/ she were telling it to someone who had never heard it before.

Use prompts such as “ What comes next, and “Then what happens?”

If the retelling (above) lacks details ask some of the following questions:

- Who is the story about?

- When did the story happen?

- Where did the story happen?

- Who are the characters?

- What is the problem?

- How was the problem solved?

- How did the story end?


Ask your child to explain how the material was organized

Discuss the main ideas and details that were contained in the text.

Prompt your child to discuss, or explain any new/important vocabulary that was important to know in order to understand the text.

Health Office News

Dear Parents,

As always, PLEASE be sensitive to the health needs of others when sending your child to school if they are not feeling well. Please keep your child home if your child has any of the following:

Vomiting or diarrhea

Fever of 100F (37.8C)

Cough, runny nose or sore throat (flu-like symptoms)

Your child has needed Tylenol or Ibuprofen to control fever

Strep throat - if awaiting culture results

Less than 24 hours of antibiotic treatment

Undiagnosed rash

Please reinforce with your child the following:

HANDWASHING! Remember when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into your elbow. This helps to stop the spread of germs. Thank you. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions.


Claire O’Connell RN