Specialist Newsletter

Second Quarter, Erwin Montessori

There is something special at Erwin

Greetings from art, music, p.e. and the library. Ms. Young, Ms. Crouch, Mr. Kendall, Ms. Pagano, Mr. Eggleston, and Ms. Cravey have continued to be busy during the second quarter. Keep reading to see what your children have been learning in their classes and what is being planned.

The Art Room

Visiting Artist

Greenhill’s visiting artist program brought Les Caison III to the fourth grade classes for a thought provoking introduction to his artwork followed by a crazy drawing game in which students create collaborative drawings that are quite unusual. Les III is an award-winning artist from North Carolina. A diverse upbringing and public education complete with critical accomplishments in music and visual art inform his creativity. Les paints with oil and illustrates with pencil, often intertwining the two, creating scenes of life every-day. His mixed media paintings tell stories. They offer something for the viewer to think about for a while. As usual Erwin students behaved beautifully and offered thoughtful observations about the artist’s work. His work is up now at Theater Art Gallery (TAG) in Highpoint.

Martin Luther King Drawings

Around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day students took an opportunity to honor his achievements by drawing his portrait. Rosa Parks made an appearance too!

Art Contest

Erwin Montessori submitted several student works for the North Carolina Art and Aviation Contest. Young artists were asked to create a work of art that shows aviation sports in harmony with nature. As you can see from the group of artists here, the judges will have a difficult time! Winners receive recognition and are entered into the state level to determine which works would go on to National. We will keep you posted! Thank you artists!

And of course we are always creating… puppets, masks, paintings, map-making, paper lanterns, valentines and Jim Dine Pop Art.

More to come . . .

Here is what we are getting ready for:

Visiting artist, making comic books.

Here is how you can help:



glue sticks

thin markers crayola

construction paper crayons



The Music Room


The whole school Winter Concert was a wonderful success. We appreciate all of the families who made an effort to attend.

Our next performance is this week! 2nd and 3rd graders will be performing at the PTA meeting Thursday, February 11.

Talent Show

Are you ready to perform? The talent show is coming up

  • Friday February 19th – Talent show auditions, after school until 4:30

  • Friday March 4th – Talent show rehearsal, after school until 4:30

  • Friday March 11th – Talent Show rehearsal, after school until 4:30

  • Friday March 18 – Talent Show – 6:00pm in Auditorium

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The Gym

Mrs. Pagano is really proud of the effort that students continue to show during their time together on Mondays. Students have been working on juggling, hand-eye coordination with the tennis ball catch, dodging/fleeing, and endurance skills. They have started the basketball unit and will be moving into the jump rope unit, as well as doing Jump Rope for Heart event. She has enjoyed getting to know each and every student that she works with. They work so hard in PE and they are always challenging themselves and each other to try their best.
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The Library

In library lessons, students focus on the Common Core ELA curriculum and the North Carolina Information and Technology Essential Standards. Students interact with texts, explore author/illustrator techniques, and use technology to support their learning. Writing is part of every lesson for 1st-5th grade students, whether through research or written responses to lessons.

In the winter, Primary through second grade classes are introduced to the North Carolina Children's Book Award books, reading through the list and discussing elements of picture books in preparation for the big vote in March. Children all over North Carolina vote for the book they think deserves the award.

In December, 2nd-5th grade students were introduced to computer coding during Hour of Code week with a site called Bitsbox. Students were able to create their own apps with this fun site, while learning problem solving skills and the elements of computer coding.

Promoting reading and the use of resources to find information is at the forefront of school library programming. Here are a few ways we continue to do that at Erwin . . . .

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Library Makeover

Over Winter Break, the library tables were made over into whiteboards and new furniture was donated. Students are enjoying the new reading area and love sharing their thoughts by writing on the tables.

Before the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, 4th grade students shared their dreams.

How much are we reading?

During the first half of the school year, 10,774 books have been checked out of the library by students.

So far this school year, Erwin students read for 825,820 minutes, for an average of 2,373 minutes per student. Each month a class is designated as Class of the Month for their excellence in reading. January's class of the month was Ms. Thompson-White's 5th Grade Girls. Her students read 23,235 minutes for the month and averaged 1,161 minutes of reading each.

The top classes each month have their picture displayed in the main hall by the library and on the school website.

Over Winter Break, students read for the Holiday Reading Challenge. 96 Erwin students read 300 minutes or more over break and earned a free ticket to a UNCG basketball game.

GCS and Erwin encourage students to read at least 20 minutes every night. Be sure to turn in your reading logs to your teacher so we know how much you are reading!

Read and Ride

Read and Ride continues to be a popular program. Students can visit the library, with their teacher's permission, and read while riding for 15 minutes. So far this school year, students have been to Read and Ride1,128 times. That is 16,920 minutes of reading and 1,128 miles of riding.

This program promotes literacy as well as allowing students to be active, both of which are important for students' academic growth.

Comics with Character

Ms. Young and Ms. Cravey collaborated to write a grant to bring in an author and illustrator who will talk with the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students about making comic books. Students in these grades will be working to create comics that will teach character education lessons to younger students. Students will work in groups to write and draw their comics.

The grant was awarded in early December. Artist Jim Young will visit the school on February 19 and author Jeremy Whitley will visit February 26. The students' work will be on display in April.

4th Grade Family Book Club

All 4th grade students received a copy of The World According To Humphrey by Betty Birney. Families read the book together over Winter Break while teachers planned fun literacy activities. All 4th graders and their families were invited to a Family Book Club night in the library. Weather affected many families' ability to attend, but the group that was there obviously enjoyed the book and gained a lot from reading it together. The students wrote about it and created some fun videos.

Battle of the Books

For the first time Erwin 4th and 5th graders are participating in a Battle of the Books club. Ms. Williams, the AG teacher, and Ms. Cravey are coaching the students as they read books from a list chosen by a state committee.

Club members read more and varied books for a chance to represent Erwin at the regional Battle of the Books competition in March. The final team of students has been decided and is preparing for the competition by re-reading books, discussing common themes, and answering many practice questions.

Fun Fridays

4th and 5th graders can sign up to attend Fun Friday during lunch. Students gather in the library to socialize, eat and try out some art and science activities. STEM based experiments challenge students to think creatively as they build cardboard designs, paper clip chains, and cup structures. Students can also solve puzzles, draw, and do origami.
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Book Fair

The December book fair was a huge success. The school earned over $1200 which will be used to update the nonfiction collection and put more high interest books on the library shelves. We thank everyone who supported the book fair!

Studying Electricity

The library was awarded an Enrichment Grant to purchase Snap Circuits and books about electricity for a 4th and 5th grade unit. The materials are here and the unit will begin after the Comics unit. The Snap Circuits will also be added to Fun Friday activities for students to use.

Online Resources

Be sure to take advantage of these online resources available through GCS and DPI.

Follett eBooks:

All GCS students have access to eBooks. Login is necessary.

username: student ID (lunch) number (i.e. 1234567)

password : student birthdate (mmddyyyy) (i.e. 01012001)

Discovery Education:

All GCS students have access to streaming educational videos, games, and other resources. Login is necessary.

username: studentid@stu.gcsnc.com (i.e. 1234567@stu.gcsnc.com)

password: student birthdate (mmddyyyy) (i.e. 01012001)


All North Carolina students have access to online encyclopdias, magazine collections, eBooks, and other resources through this state database. A password is necessary to access subscription resources.

password: wiseowl15

Coming soon to the library . . .

  • Reading Fair, February 29-March 4
  • Battle of the Books competition, March 9
  • Spring Book Fair, April 18-22