Fiske Monthly News

December 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, Thomas Martellone


Just around the Thanksgiving Day holiday I received a link to an article ( from a former colleague, sharing with me the benefits of showing gratitude, and then also highlighting 25 reasons to give thanks to teachers. According the the short article, the following were some scientifically proven benefits of showing gratitude:

  1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships

  2. Gratitude improves physical health

  3. Gratitude improves psychological health

  4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression

  5. Grateful people sleep better

  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem

  7. Gratitude increases mental strength

I wanted to share with parents and families how many amazing things I see the Fiske Staff do with students on a daily basis that, along with your partnership, helps students grow into thriving young people both academically and socially. The work is not always easy, and as our world evolves and becomes more complicated at times, so does teaching and parenting.

As I closely watch the work and commitment of the Fiske School staff, I can’t help but also extend my gratitude to parents and families in the Fiske School Community. The amount of support we receive is always unparalleled in regards to time, financial support, commitment and dedication to providing students with the best education possible. As I looked over the list of 25 reasons to give thanks to teachers, I also saw where many of those reasons would be applicable to parents as well.

With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to be sure to take the opportunity to publicly thank ALL of the Fiske School staff for their work in creating an environment for students to thrive and grow, and at the same time, I wanted to be sure to thank all of our families for their continued support and dedication to our partnership together on behalf of our students. I’m truly grateful to work in such a dynamic school community!

News from the Assistant Principal, Brian Baker

Giving Presence

Whatever your family’s holiday or religious traditions may be, chances are you have been giving some thought to presents of some sort during the months of November and December. Your shopping may be finished, or like me, it may not yet be started. Whatever the case may be, I imagine the subject has been on your mind – perhaps too much on your mind. December always seems to be a month when we live in a rush, doesn’t it?

As we breathe a sigh and look forward to a well-deserved break, I hope we all can take time to give “presents” of a different sort. For me, the most rewarding part of working with your children, here at Fiske, is the way they live in the moment. I am sure, at one point or another, you have heard the Fiske students talk about writing a “small moment” or a “seed story” during Writer’s Workshop. Fortunately, for the children at Fiske, because of their young age, they don’t give thought to paying bills, running Saturday errands, or doing home repairs. Long range planning for many of them focuses on thoughts such as, what they will wear to school, whom to invite over for a playdate or what they would like to eat for dinner.

They laugh often, find joy in the simple things, and start each day ready to learn the lessons that come their way. Of course, as adults we have to think ahead and be on the lookout for the best interests of our children. However, we also can learn from them about giving “presence” to the moment, about enjoying the experiences that are very small presents, all by themselves. Truly taking the time to live in the moment!

During the coming days with your children, I wish you the chance to live with them in the moment, as much as you can. If there should be some snow on the ground, take a moment to crunch it under your boots, roll it into snowballs and make a snowman. Enjoy a cup of cocoa by a warm fire. Play a game of family Monopoly, Scrabble or Uno. Make cookies or brownies from scratch and eat them warm from the oven. However your family defines holiday or December fun, give your “presence” to those moments and cherish them.

I wish you all a joyous holiday season!

Mr. Baker

Kindergarten News, from Mrs. Button, Mrs. Maestri and Mrs. Crogan

Kindergarteners are working on reading and writing books with patterns. What is a pattern book? Ask a Kindergartener! Pattern books have repetitive word patterns, contain many sight words and can be simple or more complex. In December, students have written simple pattern books about one topic. They are working to make sure each page they write matches their title. Pattern books Kindergarteners read are helping them understand the many kinds of word patterns they can use when they write. Here are some of the different kinds of pattern books we have written:

  • simple patterns: Winter is…., winter is…..

  • Title is a question, pages answer: What is red? An apple is red…

  • surprise ending: last page does not follow the pattern

  • title holds the pages together: Fergus likes chew toys, Fergus likes treats…

  • see-saw patterns: a chair is heavy, a pencil is light…

Students read pattern books each day. They are recognizing patterns in books read aloud and in familiar stories. Pattern books are fun to read and fun to write. Join in the fun with a word pattern of your own. What is your pattern?

Thank you for joining our classrooms for the Winter Solstice celebration. We hope you enjoyed yourself and loved looking at the Kindergarten Family Quilt.

We wish you and your family Happy Holidays, take time for yourself and enjoy your family and friends. Happy 2018!

Grade One News, from Mrs. Shew, Mrs. Torpey, and Mrs. Wallace

Language Arts Happenings:

Congratulations to our first graders who have been actively engaged during the month of November in our daily writing lessons! We are so proud of our first grade writers for working so hard at writing convincing stories. Writing continues as we move into writing persuasive letters and advertisements.

During Reader’s Workshop the children have been working hard at becoming “Word Detectives”. This has been such a fun and engaging unit filled with mysteries and missions. Our first graders are always up for the challenge.

These missions work on skills such as:

  • Monitoring their reading

  • Developing word-solving skills

  • Become more adept at using letter–sound correspondence to tackle tricky words

  • Increase their bank of high-frequency words

  • Become more confident at using the words they know ‘in a snap’ to solve unknown words

  • Develop their fluency skills

Marvelous Math:

The children have been very busy during math workshop. We have been working on creating and solving interesting addition and subtraction story problems by modeling the situation with tools such as counters, number line, or ten frames. They are also working hard at being able to explain the relationship between addition and subtraction. Have you noticed your child interested in telling time? That is because we are hard at work learning time to the half-hour on analog and digital clocks.

Social Studies:

The children have been busy exploring the importance of communities. We are learning about the differences between urban and suburban. We are focusing on the communities of Lexington and Boston. We are learning the importance of their community that people live, work and play in. They are able to use vocabulary words such as: town, city, neighborhood, landmarks, transportation, recreation, urban, and suburban.

Grade Two News from Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Dinsmore, Mrs. Gobiel, and Mrs. Johnson

Where has the school year gone? We can’t believe it’s already the end of November! What a great month of learning we’ve had!

Language Arts:

In Reader’s Workshop, students are reading nonfiction texts to learn more about a specific topic. Nonfiction readers study, notice details, and question information texts. Students are learning how text features help readers process information. They also are learning how nonfiction readers tackle unknown vocabulary to learn more about a topic.

Writer’s Workshop is an exciting time of the day, where students are teaching others all about a topic they know about….by using all those text features they have been learning about in reading! Students are creating a table of contents, introduction to their topic, adding diagrams, captions, labels...we could go on and on. The topics students are coming up with are great! We can’t wait to share them with you!

Math Workshop

In this unit, students are developing their understanding of place value by:

  • Unitizing tens (knows ten ones is one unit of ten)

  • Knowing the number of tens in any two digit number

  • Mentally adding tens

Students will also explore time, money, and graphing.

Science Workshop:

The Second Graders just finished the first unit of the year on Soils.

By the end of the unit students were able to:

  1. perform simple tests to describe and identify soil components (clay, sand, and humus)

  2. Understand that soil is made up of both living and non-living materials due to weathering and decomposition

  3. Understand the important relationship between soil, plants, and the food chain

Second Graders did a great job of cooperating and following directions when the experiments took place!

Social Studies:

Let’s Learn about Ghana!

By the end of our unit, students will be able to:

  • Know the location of Ghana and major geographic features

  • schooling, language, history, symbols, agriculture, climate, and environment of Ghana

  • well-known sites, events, and landmarks in Ghana and their importance

  • cultural traditions are dynamic and change over time

  • how one person can work to change unfair beliefs or laws for a whole group

Throughout this unit, students will learn about the culture in Ghana through many avenues, including songs and games! We are so excited to begin this journey this month!

We hope the month of December continues to bring joy, peace and love to everyone. Don’t forget, if you ever have any questions related to the curriculum or specifically to your child, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Grade Three News from Mrs. Aufiero, Mr. Halfond, Mrs. Owen and Ms. Williams


The third grade just finished “The Big Dinner!” This is a comprehensive, challenging, and fun unit that helps the children develop an understanding of multiplication. It requires them to use what they already know to discover and learn more efficient strategies to solve problems. On the first day, the students were presented with the context of planning for a big turkey dinner.

The students were presented with the problem of figuring out the cost of a turkey (and all of the fixings on subsequent days). After being presented with a price chart and the per pound value, they used various strategies with their math partner to problem-solve. They were then required to show their strategies on a “poster” (a map of their thinking), and then explain their thinking. It is amazing what the children have learned from each other! Their strategies included repeated addition, skip-counting, partial products, ten-times, and doubling and halving. Children thought about ways to stay organized when presenting information to the class and worked on using a T-chart (ratio table) to show work. Most often, the children used more than one strategy when solving a problem. As they try various strategies, they develop more sophisticated concepts such as unitizing (recognizing a group as one whole), the distributive and commutative properties, recognition of place value patterns and proportional reasoning. They have seen the benefit of finding more efficient strategies, and have all further developed their understanding of multiplication. This dinner was delicious!

Our next unit focuses on more multiplication and division strategies.

Writers' Workshop

We recently concluded our narrative writing unit, “Crafting True Stories.” Our third grade authors did a wonderful job taking their “seed stories” through the entire writing process to develop them into published personal narratives. Please ask your child to tell you their story (and ask them how their story changed from beginning to end)!

Readers' Workshop

During Readers' Workshop, third graders have been learning about non-fiction reading strategies. The children are “reading to learn.” We have been examining the various text features that help readers navigate non-fiction texts. This non-fiction unit complements our Writers' Workshop and Social Studies units nicely.

Social Studies

In Social Studies, we are finishing up our study of the Pilgrims and Puritans. Our textbook, Massachusetts Our Home, is an important resource. This is a great opportunity for the children to rehearse their non-fiction reading strategies.

During this unit we have learned about the natural resources found in the different regions in Massachusetts. The children learned about aspects of daily life in the mid-1600s for the Wampanoag people and the Pilgrims. Our field trip to Drumlin Farm and our fall Big Back Yard walk let the children experience hands on learning around natural resources and way of life for each group of people.

We learned the main reason the Pilgrims came to America, and some details of their voyage on the Mayflower. An essential idea throughout this unit was that where people live significantly affects how they live. We explored the many ways both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag changed as a result of their interactions with each other.

We compared the life of the Puritans to the life of the Pilgrims and discovered that most children would not like to be a colonist in the 1600s!

Please continue to encourage your child to talk about school and what he/she is learning in third grade. Of course, reading every day, and playing games together regularly, will help your child practice and enjoy so many of the skills that are learned in school.

Grade Four News from Ms. Hoffman, Mrs. Jaffe, Ms. Michael, and Mr. Wilde

Twas’ the month before vacation,

And all through fourth grade,

There were students reflecting

On the progress they’ve made!

We’re very proud of how much our fourth graders have learned this school year, and we’re looking forward to an exciting and engaging year ahead in 2018!

In math we just wrapped up our unit on big numbers, estimation, and multi-digit multiplication featuring the partial products algorithm, and a mini-unit on area and perimeter. We will soon begin our unit on division with a focus on the partial quotients algorithm. Stay tuned for more information!

In writing, the students are currently studying the genre of opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing! Our fourth graders are learning the structure of the expository pillar and the craft of developing a thesis and how to purposely and effectively express their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and ideas. The students will learn about the elements of an effective persuasive piece, and the importance of knowing both sides of the issue by addressing the pros and cons. The students will work to develop a five paragraph essay with a powerful and engaging introduction, three paragraphs featuring main reasons/claims along with supporting evidence, and a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression in the form of a call to action, a now or never statement, or a reinforcement of their most significant claim.

Our fourth grade readers are in the process of exploring nonfiction texts. Students are using reading strategies for tackling non-fiction such as noting text structure as well as text features. We’ve been reviewing craft moves and techniques that writers of nonfiction use to develop their topic. In addition, students are noticing of how parts of nonfiction text fit together to support the overarching main idea of the text. Lastly, students are being pushed to think deeply by synthesizing and cross-analyzing nonfiction texts with a similar topic.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!

Grade Five News from Mrs. Belletti, Mrs. Gavrin, Mrs. McMahon and Ms. Springfield

In math, 5th graders started learning different ways to do division. We are mainly focusing on the traditional method, which is very fast and efficient. Also, we recently started Fasttmath. It helps us do multiplication facts quickly and automatically. We also started using a different online math site called Fraction Nation. It is a very fun website that is both entertaining and educational! I’m sure our math will improve noticeably after a few months of Fraction Nation.

If you enjoy challenging yourself, you can do a fun math activity called Ken Ken. It comes in many different of difficulties and sizes. These options include 9x9s, Ken Ken Twist, and even No-Ops (Ken-Kens with operations that you have to figure out on your own!) If you don’t like Ken Kens, there are plenty of other options that are just as fun. These include Numbrix puzzles, “Starry Night” puzzles, “4 Fives”, Kakooma, and many more! We know that if anyone in Room 210 wants a challenge, they’ll have plenty of choices.

We began our NEW Geometry unit this week! After Thanksgiving Break we will continue to review some vocabulary with polygons and angles. (Daisy & Karina- Belletti)

In reading, we just finished Home of The Brave by Katherine Applegate. The book was great, and Kek, a boy our age from Sudan, is the main character. We are also reading fiction and realistic fiction books, and taking notes while we read. And after, sometimes we do reader’s responses. Right now, i’m in the middle of Percy Jackson and the LIghtning thief. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read! We are also writing about Home of The Brave! Me and Karina did a comic stip about the most important moments in the book. I did most of the illustrations, and she did most of the writing.

We had a lot of conversations around theme more deep analysis of characters in our read aloud and our own reading. (Emma B- Belletti)

In writing we are finishing editing and revising our camp stories from our field trip to Thompson Island and we are starting to print them out. We can’t wait to read each others’ and share them with our family and friends! Apart from our camp stories we are focusing on the heart of our writing and emphasising what the meaning is. Part of this is to shorten the description parts a little bit and write a lot about the heart of the story and describe and be very detailed. We have also been organizing our binders.

Another fun thing that we are doing in writing is Persuasive Writing on chocolate milk. Everyone went against chocolate milk! Do you think we will reach our goal to ban chocolate milk? What do you think about chocolate milk? (Mica and Nanae- Belletti)

In Science, we have been learning about Electricity, Energy and Magnets! We learned all about circuits, magnetic forces, and how to make a magnet! I learned how easy it is to make a magnet and how hard it is to make sure your wire is touching the light bulb (or load) and the battery (or energy source). It was fun to go in groups and do science experiments!

A big focus was recording our thinking in our science notebooks. We worked on scientific drawings with labels and explanations. When we look back at our notebook we can see how much we have learned. (Alma- Belletti)

Specialist News

Counseling News from Mrs. Pirone

The holiday season is often filled with joy, excitement and unfortunately stress. This stress can not only affect adults but children as well. As a school counselor, I have seen this over my many years at Fiske. Enjoy your time together, rest, relax and renew. The article below from Psychology Today highlights the importance of helping kids manage stress. Wishing you all a happy and joyful holiday season and New Year!

Charlotte Reznick Ph.D

Holiday time can be a stressful time for kids and teens

Although holiday time means presents and no school for most American kids, it can also be a stressful time—particularly in families facing financial challenges, in split or blended families, and in families where a loved one has recently passed away.

One of the first steps for parents is to realize how much stress kids are under – much of it related to the economy and school. The American Psychological Association's recent Stress in America survey found that while 45 percent of teens and 26 percent of tweens said they were under more stress this year, less than a third of parents even noticed their kids' increased worry.

And their worry is affecting the quality of their lives: 42 percent of teens and 30 percent of tweens report headaches; 49 percent of teens and 39 percent of tweens cite difficulty sleeping; 39 percent of teens and 27 percent of tweens say they eat too much or too little.

Here are 7 simple holiday stress-reducing strategies that can make a difference.

Visualize a heart-filled holiday. You can do this one at the dinner table. Have everyone in the family close their eyes, focus on their heart, and imagine what kind of holiday will bring joy into their heart. Then share your ideas around the table. This helps kids feel listened to, cared for, and included.

Give the gift of calmness. Ancient wisdom and modern research point to the calming effects and health benefits of slow, deep breathing. Make a regular practice of taking 1 to 5 minutes each day of relaxing “balloon breathing.” Breathe in to a count of 3 about 2 inches below the navel, imagining there’s a balloon filling up with air, and out to that same slow count. It’ll center and rebalance every family member to face the joys and inevitable disappointments of the holiday season.

Offer distress a voice. If this is your child's the first holiday without a loved one--grandpa passed away, or big sister is in Afghanistan--younger family members may feel a deep sense of loss. Or maybe your child is feeling the stress of a recent divorce. Give her paper and markers, and ask her to draw whatever is making her sad or mad. Then ask her what the picture wants to say out loud. Often, putting a face on an emotion and letting it "speak" makes the child feel better--and gives the parent a way to understand what's going on.

Sweat is sweet. Kids (and adults) can get all pent up during holiday time. Surprise little ones by clearing the furniture out of the center of the room, turning on some fun music, and dancing vigorously for 10 minutes. Or bundle up the family and take a wintry walk while playing "I Spy." Exercise releases feel-good chemicals and is one of the fastest ways to chase away holiday blahs and instill a sense of togetherness.

Blow out negativity, light up hope. Create a family ritual of hope. Have two candles for each family member: one lit, one not. Have each imagine what they'd like to let go of -- what no longer serves them -- and say, "I'm going to toss this out (anger, worry, meanness to my sister) when I blow this candle out." Then light a new candle and share, "I hope to bring in (kindness, faith, cleaning my room) as I light anew." Let go of the old and bring in the new. You can use one candle to symbolize all, or light up your whole home with several.

Be grateful for who you live with. Avoid some of the little and big jealousies that crop up from comparing who has a bigger present or counting how many gifts go to whom by starting early and giving gifts of appreciation – to each family member. Take the whole month of December (or start at Thanksgiving) and every day have each person share something they appreciate about another (big brother allowing younger sister to hang out in his room). Make a running list and post on the fridge or in the family room to remind each other when stresses build that you really do care about and love each other.

Spread the joy around. The time-honored tradition of helping others can shift priorities. If kids or teens are moping around or showing signs of stress, take them to the local soup kitchen to serve meals. Visit a nursing home with hand-made cards. Helping others gives kids a feeling of more control and a sense of being both useful and appreciated.

Art News from Mrs. O'Leary and Ms. Walker

Here are just some highlights of the projects we will be working on now until the December holiday break:

Grade K – Thanksgiving has been the theme this month. Exploring materials and learning about shapes in our environment has been stressed in our artwork. Look for mitten designs, snow globes and snowmen in December.

Grade 1 – Children are completing a “Celebrations” mini unit. We celebrated Thanksgiving, by creating camouflage turkey scenes, using only neutral colors. Ask a 1st grader, what those colors are! We will soon use pattern to create our hand paintings. We will focus on line in December and will create a stain glass like line piece.

Grade 2 – During slipper day, Mrs. Carter’s class rotated and worked on four art activities. Art memory, hidden art words seemed to be the most popular. Students will soon be creating a model and positioning it to create the figure in action. Students will also design an African animal drawing for a book and sculpture.

Grade 3 – After understanding and creating the color wheel primary, secondary and tertiary (analogous and complementary) these students will create artworks with warm and cool colors. One will be the silhouette drawing of a scene from nature and the other will be a winter or underwater scene. Mrs. Aufiero class also had slipper day art activities.

Grade 4 – Ms. Michael’s class also participated in a variety of activities during slipper day. We will be creating our classwork sketchbook covers, by drawing art tools and using opposite colors to make them look 3D. We will design a plate using neutral

colors and making food drawings that look 3-D by using opposite colors for shadows like the cover designs.

Grade 5 – will be working on a source of energy piece, where the power of an object (drawn in neutral colors) is illustrated through color rays, based on the color wheel. We will soon start a conceptual drawing piece, which will be astonishing. Students will choose a ½ of a magazine picture and will be asked to complete by blending colors etc. You will have a hard time finding the original! Student self-portraits will be finished soon, with the values of a favorite color These will be displayed near the gym, as well as birch trees with QR poems embedded in them.

Other info:

Keep recycling - Do you have CDs? We can use them doing Make it Move it Thursdays!

Happy Holidays!

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ELL News from Mrs. Hine and Mrs. Murphy

Kindergarten classes are continuing to work on phonemic awareness, word families and rhyme using our REACH Alphachants program as well SMARTT technology programs.

Our first grade ELLs are learning academic vocabulary about living and nonliving things. The students are compiling personal dictionaries which we use daily to practice our new words. In our readings using our REACH textbooks we are reading about plant parts and what living things need to survive.

Mrs. Murphy’s second graders are practicing with using science vocabulary from the 2nd grade soil unit. In ELL class we practice using science vocabulary so that our students are well prepared to participate in science talks in their classrooms.

Ms. Hine’s second graders are analyzing non-fiction texts and created bookmarks using information from their selected books.

Third grade students have been supplanting their Water unit by compiling personal dictionaries using academic vocabulary as well as interactive programs using SMARTT technology.

Ms. Hine’s fourth graders are completing their work to support their immigration studies by making personal dictionaries using academic vocabulary and continuing to read and analyze stories about immigrants.

Fifth graders are using academic conversations to compare and contrast and will be writing essays using these skills later in the month.

PE News from Mr. Spiller and Ms. Murphy

We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break. Grades K-5 just finished their overhand throwing unit. They will now play lead-up games that require overhand throwing such as handball, Defend your Castle, Pinball and Battleship. We will also be concentrating on our fitness development and having fun while practicing good sportsmanship.

Music News from Mr. Hart and Mrs. London

Greetings from the Music Room….

The Fiske Music Performance Calendar is set. You are invited to any and all of these celebrations:

Fourth Grade Performance:

Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 11:30 in the Fiske Gym.

Third Grade Recorder Performance:

Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 11:30 in the gym.

Fifth Grade Chorus/Band/Strings Concerts:

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 9am

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 9am and 7pm.

Meanwhile, these are things you might see or hear if you walked by the music room at Fiske:

Kindergarten: Roly Poly Roly Poly with xylophones and the “I’m a Bird” puppet show.

1st Grade: Writing rhythms with popsicle sticks and moving to “Engine Engine Number Nine.”

2nd Grade: Experiencing half notes, and moving to the beat and the rhythm of “Jeremiah Blow The Fire…”

3rd Grade: Recorder!!! Please go to the Fiske Music Website (

4th Grade: Learning about canons (not the pirate kind), and watching Mr Hart try to play the trombone.

5th Grade: Getting ready for our first chorus concert, on Wednesday, January 24th at 9am in the gym.

Library News from Mrs. Kishpaugh

Digital Materials at the Fiske Library!

Did you know the Fiske Library has a growing digital collection? As of this writing, there are four interactive “LightBox” books, 40 digital audiobooks, and 79 eBooks for your digital reading pleasure.

Students in grades three through five were given brightly colored bookmarks to take home to remind them how to access the digital collection from home, but I would like to share that information with parents as well.

  • Go to

  • Click on Fiske Elementary

  • Click on the Catalog tab

  • Click on Destiny Discover on the left

  • Log in using your school username/password to read, listen to, or check out a book.

Destiny Discover is also available as a free application for tablets and phones. With the app, you will be able to download eBooks and digital audiobooks for offline reading and listening. With the holidays coming up, what a great way to take your digital collection along for the ride!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at should you need assistance. I personally love to listen to audiobooks as I’m driving and have been known to sit in my car so I can hear the end of a chapter. Happy reading!

Math News from Mrs. Rawding

Here is a collection of ideas, games, and playthings to encourage mathematical play! As Dan FInkel shares in his TED talk "what books are to reading, play is to math..." and playing puzzles and games that engage and perplex kids and adults is a great way to spend time together as a family! Check out the list of gift ideas.

One of my favorite resources is MathForLove who are the creators of Tiny Polka Dot and Prime Climb. To hear one of the founders of MathForLove, I highly recommend Dan Finkel's TedTalk.

Here's a great idea for children of all ages -

Remember to get dry erase markers to go along with this placemat!

Another great resource is by Christopher Danielson - here you can purchase many fun playthings!

Wishing you fun times together with your children as you play!

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Literacy News from Mrs. Azeredo, Mrs. Donahue and Ms. Jones

It’s the season for holiday gifts and there are no better gifts than children’s books!!!

To say that we, the literacy specialists, are passionate about children’s books is an understatement. In our opinion children’s books, especially picture books, make the best gifts. Yes, kids like to say that they love chapter books but we notice again and again that students in grades K-5 are mesmerized by great picture books. For us, collecting picture books is a hobby that keeps us waiting for the announcement of the Caldecott Award winners like many people wait for the announcement of the Academy Awards. Caldecott books are the very best children’s books published in the previous year. Below are this year’s winners and honor books.

Caldecott Medal: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe.

Four Caldecott Honor Books include:

Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol

Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis

They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenz

A list of Caldecott winners from the last thirty years is available at

While our students are on break from school we hope reading is something that they chose to do in their free time. We want our students to choose reading because they LOVE to read! The things that we are best at are the things we love to do. If you would like other book suggestions, or literacy activities to do at home, please do not hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, the link below offers ideas for family literacy activities over the winter holidays.

Our wishes for a happy holiday season and a winter break filled with good books, good stories, and memorable family traditions!

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Health Office News from Mrs. O'Connell

The holiday season is a time for family, fun, and festivity. Please be safe during this holiday season. Each year, many people suffer from eye injuries caused by unsafe toys and celebrations. Watch those tree branches, chill your champagne bottles, cover the cork while releasing it, and celebrate safely. And of course, for those of you who haven’t already, please get your flu vaccine! Have a safe and happy holiday season!