Moriarty E-Newsletter

March 2014

Principal's Corner

Greetings from Moriarty Magnet School! Plans are moving forward quickly for our full transition to an Environmental Science Magnet School. Please be sure to read the Magnet Update for all the exciting details!

Our students in grades 3 through 5 have been busy preparing for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium national test (commonly referred to as SBAC). Classes have been scheduling time in our computer lab and logging on to the SBAC portal ( to take the Practice and Field Tests. These experiences allow students the opportunity to become familiar with the “tools” they’ll be expected to use during the SBAC as well as with the types of questions they’ll be asked to answer in the Mathematics and English/Language Arts test sessions. Students may access these tests at home as well. As parents, you may be interested in the SBAC—go to the site listed above to experience this new assessment yourself!

Norwich elementary schools were scheduled to begin SBAC testing on Wednesday, March 19th. Our start date has changed, however, to March 24th. It will be important for students to be well rested and to arrive to school on time (and stay for the entire day) once testing begins. We should be finished with all testing by the time spring break arrives—Monday, April 14th. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions at all.

Our fifth graders will be taking the Science portion only of the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) on Tuesday, March 18th. It is important that students arrive to school on time on this day.

All of us at Moriarty Magnet School look forward to welcoming you to our parent-teacher conferences, which begin on Tuesday, March 25th. Teachers have sent home forms to help you identify a day and time that’s convenient for you. If you haven’t received a form, please contact your child’s teacher. Our goal is to have 100% participation in conferences throughout all grades.

This is a very exciting time for us at Moriarty. Change is in the air! We trust that the magnet experience will excite our students as well as engage our families. I look forward to working with you throughout this process.

Best Regards,

Rebecca Pellerin

Magnet Update

Partnerships enriching our curriculum!

The Audubon Society will be visiting classrooms supporting our new Magnet Themes. Grades K-3 will be piloting a Bird Inquiry Study and grade 4 will be creating a schoolyard Map with showcasing plans for our new gardens.

The educational instructors will provide an introduction to the birds commonly seen in Connecticut and why many migrate. They will learn to identify birds by sight and sound as well as recognize variations in habitat, food and nesting materials.

In grade 4 students will be introduced to geology, basic rock formation processes and Connecticut landforms. Then students will become geologist, rock detectives. Using basic field tests, they will learn how to identify rock specimens, record data and discover why rocks are important.

The Boston Museum of Science is the nation’s leading engineering curriculum, and they will be visiting grades 1-5. They will be providing professional development for teachers to support the implementation of engaging engineering units in the 3rd and 5th grade!

Eastern Ct Community Gardens will help plan, construct, and plant a new Butterfly Garden. They will also assist in remodeling our community vegetable garden and greenhouse. Our new magnet theme will use this onsite garden during hands-on science lessons throughout the year.

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center will be visiting classrooms in April supporting the implementation of new Magnet Units. In grade 1 students will be provided with a live hands-on lesson about the life cycle of frogs, snakes, and salamanders. In grade 3 students will continue their study of adaptations by getting up close and personal with a live owl, and learn about their unique adaptations for nocturnal life. In grade 2 students will use microscopes and hand lenses to investigate features that all insects have in common. They will learn about different families of insects as they explore a meadow and collect live specimens for identification and study.

Norwich Public Utilities will provide classroom speakers and tours that support grade 4 &5 magnet units. They will provide information that encourages energy efficiency and emphasize the importance in respecting our natural resource and our environment.

News from the Art Room

This month in the Art Room student artists are exploring 3-D sculpture and collage techniques. Kindergarten students are using shapes and patterns to create “City at Night” collages. First grade artists are creating “Monster Box” sculptures starting with a re-purposed tissue box and an imaginative story. Second graders are learning about Chinese dragon symbolism as they create movable “Chinese Dragon Puppets” using paper-sculpture techniques. After learning about Claes Oldenburg’s monumental sculptures, third grade sculptors are creating deliciously realistic “Pop Art Ice Cream Sculptures” with air-dry clay and found objects. After noticing the specifics in a Henri Rousseau landscape, fourth grade students are creating their own detailed jungle animal collages. Fifth grade sculptors are working hard to finish creating unique and well-crafted “Papier-mâché Masks” with painted details and just the right finishing touch. Our artwork is really starting to “pop-out”!

Painting Club 2014

“I can’t do it!” “I’m afraid!” said practically every 5th grade Painting Club student about actually putting paint to the doors of the Moriarty lobby!

This year’s Painting Club began with a vision last Fall. We wanted our lobby to reflect Moriarty’s new status as an Environmental Magnet School. What better way than to depict nature scenes that that can be found around our school!

Our 5th Grade Painting Club students worked diligently and enthusiastically on three major projects during January and February. In addition to scenery and native animals, the students also painted two banners that will soon be hanging in the lobby… a 12-foot long world map and a cheerful welcome banner.

Their fears proved to be unfounded. Our fabulous 5th Grade painters have done an AMAZING job re-imagining our lobby! We are so proud of their accomplishment and so thankful for their lasting contribution to Moriarty School!

Munch Madness at Moriarty!

In celebration of National Nutrition Month, Moriarty students are participating in our second annual MUNCH MADNESS!! Munch Madness is a fun competition between fruits and vegetables. Its goal is to promote healthy foods by introducing students to the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables through fact finding and taste testing, and to have a little fun along the way! Every class has adopted a fruit or vegetable "mascot" to research. Their reports are posted on a bulletin board and also presented by a student on the daily TV announcements for the whole school. Students are then asked to taste different fruits and vegetables throughout the month and vote on their favorites. Students can keep track of the favorite fruit or vegetables on a "NCAA basketball style bracket board". Some classrooms are using their math skills of percentage, graphing and creating word problems with the information gathered. Others are creating healthy snacks and sharing their recipes with the school. By the end of the month students will discover some healthy facts about fruits and vegetables and which one is the favorite at Moriarty.
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News from the Office

Please remember to send a note or call the office before 2:00 p.m. if you are picking up your child. This will avoid bus time delays and confusion. Our #1 goal is to keep your child safe during our busy dismissal time. Thank you!

PTO News

We are right in the middle of our spring fundraiser Mixed Bags! Just in time for spring and summer. All made out of recycled materials. You do not need to collect any taxes on orders. Orders, with payment, should be turned in to the school by March 19th. I hope this is a successful fundraiser. Money raised will help pay for field trips, field day and various other activities that are held throughout the year! Thank you.

Early Dismissal for Students on Thursday, March 20th

· Morning kindergarten dismissed at 10:40 a.m.

· Afternoon kindergartners picked up one hour earlier than usual.

· Afternoon kindergarten and grades 1 through 5 dismissed at 1:15 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences (All Sessions Scheduled at Moriarty School)

· Tuesday, March 25th, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

· Wednesday, March 26th, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

· Thursday, March 27th, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.