Estabrook Buzz

February 11, 2019

This Week

  • Tuesday, February 12 - 6:30 pm Gr. 4/5 Math Night (Snow Date: Feb. 26)

  • Wednesday, February 13 - Safe Routes to School Day (This Month: Heart Health Theme)

School Vacation Week - February 18 - 22

Principal's Corner

Wowed by the Science Fair

As I walked slowly down the hall toward the cafeteria last Friday evening, I will confess to feeling a bit weary at the end of a long week. I made way down the ramp into the cafeteria and as I turned the corner, I was absolutely wowed by what I saw. The room was already packed with 59 displays created by 83 of our students (15% of the school!). The energy was palpable. I "dove in" and began to listen to students' presentations. 90 minutes later I came up for air - energized by the students' enthusiasm for their work. My first Estabrook Science Fair was indeed #Epic!

In reflecting on what made the Science Fair so meaningful, I turn to the work of the Buck Institute for Education on Project Based Learning ( They identify seven essential elements for “Gold Standard PBL.” Each of these elements was on display last Friday night (descriptions in quotes are taken from the PBLWorks website).

1. Student Voice and Choice: Listening to the students’ presentations, their voices emerged. When I asked why they had chosen their projects, their faces lit up as the spoke to the reason for their choice. There is no substitute for student ownership of their learning.

2. Challenging Problem or Question: Whether designing a solar-powered car, studying the effects of exercise on asthma, proposing ways to reduce the use of plastic, or developing a procedure to increase the world’s supply of drinking water, students chose challenging issues to explore and study.

3. Sustained Inquiry: Students worked over several weeks. They “engaged in a rigorous, extended process of posing questions, finding resources, and applying information.”

4. Authenticity: “The projects involved real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact, or the project speaks to personal concerns, interests, and issues in the students’ lives.”

5. Reflection: Students reflected on their learning and challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

6. Critique and Revision: When I asked students what surprised them during their project, they each had something unexpected that had come up and that caused them to make an adjustment in their project.

7. Public Product: Students clearly delighted in presenting their projects to their peers, families and staff who attended, as well as to our Visiting Scientists (visible in their white lab coats).

Kudos to our PTO for organizing this amazing annual event. Thank you to our Visiting Scientists (Celis Brisbin, Jenni Chow, Robert Creech Taimur Dad, David Kaufman, Fran Ludwig, Surbhi Pokharna, Mark Sandeen, and Phil Schaffer) for reviewing all the projects and providing certificates for all the entries.

Estabrook and Lexington have just begun to explore how to bring more Project Based Learning into the school. Looking ahead, the Science Fair makes a strong case for why this is a worthwhile direction for future school improvement.

Rick Rogers

Scenes from the Science Fair

This Month's Safe Routes to School: Heathy Heart Habits

During Arrival on Wednesday , February 13, students will be asked to make a heart healthy pledge and signup to try these heart healthy habits: eat a heart healthy food, get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 7 plus hours of sleep a night, stress less and LOL often.

Save the Dates: MCAS Testing

Grade 3

ELA - April 9 & 10

Math - April 29 & May 1

Grade 4

ELA - April 5 & 8

Math - April 24 & 26

Grade 5

ELA - April 1 & 2

Math - April 22* & 23 *Note: Monday after April Vacation

Science April 30 & May 3