December Slice of the Apple

Busy December Days in Lower School
Tally Lent
Lower School Head 

It is wonderful to be back together at school after our Thanksgiving Break. Students were happy to be back at school and full of conversation about their family adventures over the break. It sounds like most of our students had terrific Thanksgivings!

Before we went on Thanksgiving Break, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast last week that included the entire school. Lower and Upper School buddies were seated together, and teachers and staff sat at tables with the students. We filled 20 tables and the oldest Upper Schooler and oldest Lower Schooler at each table were our waiters. Each Lower School grade brought something to our feast. Kindergartners made centerpiece signs for each table so that everyone knew which table was theirs; first graders made cranberry sauce; second graders worked together to make loaves of cranberry pumpkin bread; third and fourth graders assembled an elaborate fruit salad; and fifth graders made popcorn. I made creamed spinach, a Lower School tradition. Turkey, stuffing, squash, and mashed potatoes rounded out the meal and pumpkin ice cream with a sugar cookie completed our feast. It was a fine meal and a fitting way to mark Thanksgiving. Before we sat down to our lunch, the Lower School singers, with Mrs. Schlesinger, sang our grace in the form of the song, Come Ye Faithful,and then a pair of Upper School students read the Governor's Proclamation. Over dessert, we heard Thanksgiving reflections from Mr. Williamson and at the end of the meal we enjoyed hearing Dona Nobis Pacem soar through the dining hall. The girls and boys in the Upper School American Music Ensemble sang the across the dining hall from each other, led by Mrs. Schlesinger. Tuesday's events reinforced Applewild's belief in the importance of community and Lower Schoolers loved the day.

We had a great event earlier in November: the Radio Play! We were very proud of our fourth and fifth graders who staged the radio play of It’s A Wonderful Life for our watching and listening pleasure. The character development and the sounds that the fifth graders created were excellent, and the music, commercials, and walla that the fourth graders brought to us were wonderful. With the able direction of Mr. Schrader and Mrs. Schlesinger, our students made magic on stage and were both proud of themselves and happy to have done a great job.

We are now in the midst of the Holiday Season and, while this is a happy and exciting time, it can also be exhausting and overwhelming for children (and adults!). This season can be filled to overflowing and can zoom by in the blink of an eye. Maintaining regular bedtimes and a steady routine are helpful all around. This is a good time to slow down a little and reflect on all the wonderful elements of our Applewild days. You certainly will read about all those elements in the following articles.

Cold weather is settling in and we can hope that soon real sledable snow will arrive. One of the important parts of our day is recess, and our children look forward to getting outdoors and playing with their friends. Warm jackets, mittens or gloves, hats or hoods, boots and snow pants are required for maximum fun in winter. Please help your children organize their outdoor gear so that they are prepared for outside fun every day. We do go out each day in the winter, as long as the temperature is twenty degrees or higher. Please remember to label each article of clothing with your child’s name.Our lost and found baskets tend to overflow with unlabeled and forgotten articles of terrific winter gear.

We are preparing for our upcoming concert and students are getting excited to share their pieces with you. The students across the grades have been polishing their songs and instrumental pieces in anticipation of our Annual Winter Concert. All Lower School parents and friends are invited to our concert featuring both kindergartens, first, second, third, fourth and fifth graders on Wednesday, December 12 at 2:30 p.m. in the Alumni Theater. Our snow date for the concert is Thursday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m. I will have coffee on at 1:45 for anyone who wants to come early to Wednesday afternoon's concert and share informal conversation and a cup before the music begins. I hope you will join me in the Foyer in Marshall.

At our concerts, our students in grades one through five are expected to wear Concert Dress, which means girls should wear black slacks or skirt with a white blouse; boys should wear black slacks, and a white collared shirt, neutral-colored ties are required for boys in fourth and fifth grades. All students should wear dark dress shoes. Girls in kindergarten are expected to wear skirts and blouses, dresses, or dress pants outfits in any color; boys in kindergarten are expected to wear slacks and collared shirts. On Friday morning, December 14, the whole school gathers for a larger Holiday Concert. All Lower Schoolers are expected to dress in Concert Dress for that in-house morning Concert.

During this season of giving, we are serving our community in various, planned ways during these next two weeks. The second graders entertained their Gables grandfriends with holiday music on Wednesday December 5, and our Arc buddies will return to Applewild to attend our Friday morning Winter Concert and see their third grade buddies perform. Also, we are collecting canned or packaged food for our neighbors at the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry at Devens. If you would like to participate in this initiative, please send your items in with your child, and he or she will place your contributions under our Giving Tree in the Stone Family Dining Hall. It is heartwarming to see the pride and care with which the children unpack their bags and place food items under the tree. Your children love to help others!

All of our students and teachers are sending positive thoughts and wishes and beautiful cards and notes to Mr. Mullins as he progresses in his recuperation. I know you all are sending your caring thoughts to him as well. In the meantime, with Mr. Schrader at the helm in fifth grade and Mrs. Gregson taking on science in grades three, four, and five, we are in good hands even while we miss our Mr. Mullins.

I hope that you and your families enjoy warm, joyous, and healthy holidays and have a relaxing, renewing Winter Break.

Kindergarten News
Lisa Barrette
Sandi Rantala
Jenny Coeur 

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break filled with many happy memories with family and friends.  The spirit of the holiday season has begun in Kindergarten.  Busy and exciting times are ahead!

In phonics, we will continue our study of the alphabet, while practicing rhyming, CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words, syllabication, word families, and continue identifying high-frequency or “trick” words.  Children should have a good sense of the sound / letter association by now, and be able to attempt sounding out some CVC words.  In guided reading groups, we will focus on learning concepts of print, decoding strategies, and comprehension at each child’s level. 

In math, students will continue to strengthen their knowledge of the value of numbers 0 through 10, and explore numbers beyond 10 through our work with Digi-Blocks.  We will also study two and three-dimensional shapes and how they relate to the world around us.

The concept of metacognition, which is defined as being aware of one’s own thinking and learning, is integrated into all we do in kindergarten.  When students are approaching tasks or solving problems, they are encouraged to transition from a fixed mindset  (“I can’t do this”) or (“I’m not good at this”) to a growth mindset, (“How can I?”)  Children who learn metacognitive skills are better able to identify how they learn best, which in turn builds confidence. 

One important skill a kindergartner learns is to become more independent.  Please encourage your child to put on and zip his/her own jacket, get dressed on his/her own, and keep track of his/her outdoor clothing (hat, gloves, jacket, boots/shoes, etc.).  We are working on these skills in school as well.

Kindergartners will learn about different holidays and customs around the world and we will talk about our own family traditions. If you do something special, please email me or send a note in with your child to share. We will also make some gifts for loved ones.  This is an important time of year to reflect on the blessings we have, and students will be encouraged to think about what they can do for other people in their families, school, community, and around the world.  Beginning last week, Applewild is holding a food collection drive for Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Devens.  Canned and other non-perishable goods will be collected until the 14th.  This community service project will ensure families in our community will not have to go hungry during hard times.

Most days we will spend some time outside unless it is truly inclement.  Snow gloves or mittens, boots, hats (or hoods), and warm jackets need to be at school each day.  If there is snow on the ground, boots and snow pants are a must; unprepared children must stand on the pavement, and will be missing out on the fun!  Students are welcome to keep a spare set of boots and/or snow pants at school for the duration of the cold weather months in order to avoid having to carry winter gear back and forth.  Students also need to have a separate pair of shoes to wear indoors. Please remember to label all items of clothing.

I look forward to seeing you at the Lower School Winter Concert on December 12th at (2:30 PM).  I hope you enjoy the excitement of the holidays and are able to spend quality time with loved ones!  Please feel free to email (lbarrette@applewild.org) or call me (x 309) if you have any questions or comments.

Kindergarten at Devens
Jenn Bevilacqua

The holiday season is upon us! Our Outdoor Classroom is covered in snow! It is a beautiful time of year. The air is cool and crisp and we spend a good amount of time outdoors during the month of December.

Part of  being a kindergartner is becoming independent in his/her world. Kindergartners are learning how to problem solve, work in groups and take care of themselves and others, respect their classroom and friends. As the weather gets colder we encourage our students to be able to get dressed in their outerwear clothing independently for our Outdoor Classroom. Please help your child do this by encouraging them at home to get dressed on their own. It helps to teach them to put on their clothing in steps. First comes the snow pants, then boots, and jacket, followed by hat and mittens. Please practice with your child zipping and putting on gloves. It is a great accomplishment when they can do it all by themselves!

We continue to grow and develop in our phonic skills. We are  rhyming, syllable counting, spelling CVC words,  learning our sight  or trick words, inventive spelling in our journals and letter formation. The students have been learning to be mindful of their journal writing and drawings.

In math we continue to gain solid knowledge in our numbers 1-10, discovering two dimensional shapes: triangle, circle, rhombus, hexagon, trapezoid, square, rectangle and elipse. We are learning about three dimensional solid shapes like, cube, sphere, cone, and cylinder. The children have been using large floor Geo Shapes to make beautiful designs in our classroom. The children have been using their critical  thinking skills to develop detailed designs. Then on to Module three, Comparison of Length, Weight Capacity and Numbers to 10.

We go outdoors almost every day! Please send in a warm jacket, hat, mittens, snow pants and boots. Please label everything. It is also a great idea to have an extra set of clothes  and socks for your child. Shoes are also encouraged for your child during the day, snow boots can get very hot and uncomfortable in the classroom.

The Holiday Season is here! We will be learning about traditions, gift making and giving. Please feel free to share any tradition or activities you do at home this time of year.

Happy Holidays and wishing you and your families a wonderful New Year! 

First Grade News
Micaela Caiozzo

We kicked-off the month of December with a jump into the holiday spirit by visiting a local production of The Nutcracker. During this season of celebrations, we will learn the meaning and traditions of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other festivals of light around the world.

This month  first graders will begin to solve addition and subtraction problems involving teen numbers and sums in the teens. They will learn to solve problems with two or three addends by thinking about making 10 with two of the addends and counting on and/or adding the third addend. This will help them to continue to develop their thinking about numbers as parts and wholes rather than as discreet counts or one part and some ones. They will also use 5-groups, words, pictures, and numbers to illustrate their thinking as they problem solve. Some examples of problems first graders will solve are: 1+9+6=___, 9+8=___, 14-9=___, 8+___= 15, and 13-9=___).

Our study of the language arts is filled with activities. In phonics, we will work with the concepts of a base-word and suffix and plural words. Students will also learn how to add the suffix “s” to action words to show that someone is doing something in the present. Students will continue to add more trick words to their spelling vocabulary. As a reminder, students are responsible for being able to read and write all 93 trick words by the end of the school year. I encourage you to practice these words frequently with your child(ren) at home. Our center work will involve identifying and creating compound words, story retelling, building sentences, and listening to and recording ourselves reading books at the “just right” level. Creative writing and journal writing will concentrate on ideas, conventions, and word choice. Reading groups will continue to apply reading strategies with fiction and non-fiction titles to improve reading comprehension and fluency.

First graders are finishing up their cross-curricular study of puppetry.  Students have integrated many forms of metacognition into the school-wide service learning project based on animal welfare.  Kindergartners and first graders selected the type of animals they could help take care of for this project. They brainstormed a variety of ways they could help dogs and cats within their community. Students generated ideas on helping animals, adopting local animals, and creating a solution of how they can personally help these needy animals. They created an opportunity to take in a collection offood and toys for these animals. Students, teachers, and eighth graders brainstormed ideas together to write a puppet play. The play is set within the Applewild Community and shares the journey of one special stray dog from being found and being cared for and rescued by loving community members. Along with the help of our art teacher, shop teacher, and French teacher, students built puppets in shop class, decorated and created outfits for their puppets in art class, and learned a new French song that will be incorporated in the play. The children decided to charge a admissions fee of a donated food /toy item to see the play. Students have invited families for a special production of the play at 11:25 on December 7th. 

During this experience, students have used metacognitive skills to identify background knowledge about animals and pet shelters, communicate their knowledge with an audience, revise and rework illustrations for the puppet theater, reflect learning throughout the process of writing the play, and practicing individual lines. They also learned to transfer their knowledge from helping animals in our community to helping families in need of food donations during this holiday season. All of the teachers involved hope you will have a chance to see this marvelous puppet show show! 

Wishing you all a relaxing and healthy winter break!

Second Grade News
Kathie Grzewinski 

Now that the Thanksgiving break has ended, the second graders are in for a busy time before our Winter break. Here are some happenings for the month of December.

In math, we will continue to work on Module 3 Place value, counting and comparison of numbers to 1,000. After our module assessment, we will begin Module 4 Addition and Subtraction within 200 with word problems to 100.

In reading, the class will read the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. After completing activities, the class will make their own “Stanleys” and mail them to relatives and friends around the state, country or world during their winter break.

After a month-long assignment to choose and read a chapter book, and complete a written summary of the book, the children presented their oral book reports and shared their wonderful projects with the class. We had a variety of creative ways to share a book! There were board games, which we were able to play in class, as well as beautiful dioramas, mobiles, Lego figures and posters. All of these projects will be on display in the library for all to see.

In language arts, we are finishing the parts of speech and then we’ll have an assessment. In Fundations we will finish Unit 4 and begin Unit 5-consonant suffixes-ness, less, ment, ful and vowel suffixes-able, ish anden, as well /ic/ words.

This month, besides writing to our Flat Stanley friends, we will focus on editing for our Six-Trait program. We will learn the common editing marks and will use them to edit both writing samples, as well as our own work. We will continue with our publication of our monthly class book, Winter Holidays, as well as journal writing.

In social studies, we will begin our study of multi-cultural winter holiday celebrations. Divali, Hanukkah, St.Lucia’s Day, St. Nicholas Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa and other festivals of light from around the world will be discussed. Second graders will also be talking about their own family traditions in celebrations of the winter holidays. We will also visit our grandfriends this month at the Gables with a sing-a-long of holiday songs. They always look forward to having us visit and bring cheer and smiles to all of them.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones. Happy New Year of 2019 as well!

Third Grade News
Danielle Mannion 

Wow, November certainly flew by! December will, too, if we are not careful! Even though there is only two short weeks in December there is still a lot of important work to be done!

Students had their second successful visit with their Arc buddies. During our time together we had snack and the opportunity to get to know a lot about our buddies. Together we created two puzzles, one that showed our favorite food and another which showed our favorite season. I was very impressed by the students artistic abilities!

Next week is a very special week because of winter concerts! On Wednesday December 12th, students will perform at 2:30pm and again on Friday December 14th at 10:00am. If you would like to send in concert clothes and shoes to keep here at school please feel free to do so. As always, black on the bottom and white on top.

In math we have started Module 2: Place Value and Problem Solving with Units of Measure. Students have spent a great deal on time and are now learning how to convert kilograms and grams. Volume is soon to follow!

In reading we have began to read Dash, a story told from the perspective of a dog who came to the New World on the Mayflower. Dash ties in beautifully with our Plymouth Colony  and  the First Thanksgiving units in social studies.

In Language Arts we will continue to learn  how to touch type using typingclub.com. Students will also continue to learn and review the lowercase cursive letters. We are starting to form words and learning how to connect our letters. Students are VERY excited to be learning these two ‘new languages’.

This past month we started Wordly Wise, a program we use to introduce and learn new vocabulary words. Students’ vocabularies are soaring and I am immensely proud of them and the hard work they are putting in.

If I do not get the chance to see or talk to you before Winter break, I hope you enjoy your time off and are able to spend as much quality time as possible with your families. As always, if you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Fourth Grade News
Jenn Buck  

December brings much excitement with upcoming concerts, holidays, and special events.  It is important to remember that, while we have only two more weeks of school before Winter Break, there is still important work to be done.  We will strive to keep as much of a normal schedule as possible at school, and we encourage you to do the same at home.

Regarding math, at home, please continue to focus on the acquisition of multiplication and division facts, 0-12.  Progress is being made!  With this important work being done outside of school, in school, we will be mastering the standard algorithm for multi-digit by single-digit multiplication, using the algorithm to solve multi-digit word problems, and working on the prerequisite skills for division.  Our study of math offers many opportunities for metacognition.  Students are presented with multiple ways to solve a problem, and through practice and reflection, they learn which ways work best for them.  Additionally, they are exposed to different ways to practice what they have learned and are given the choice to use the methods that are most helpful to them as an individual learner.

In reading and social studies, we are already well into our American Revolution unit.  We will continue to learn more about this historical period through watching selected episodes of PBS's award-winning show, Liberty's Kids.  In addition, we will continue to read the book Spy! by Anna Myers as a read-aloud. We will also work on Mission US: For Crown or Colony?, a web-based multimedia program featuring an interactive adventure game.  The game puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer's apprentice in 1770 Boston.  As Nat navigates the city and contemplates tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre.  Ultimately, the player determines Nat's fate by deciding where his loyalties lie.  Students, again, put their metacognitive skills to work by reflecting on the decision making process during the game and how each decision made results in a different outcome. 

In writing, we will begin a creative writing piece.  We will be reading a mentor text, Spoon, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Then students will then have the chance to write and illustrate their own picture book in a similar style.  In other areas of language arts, Wordly Wise, spelling, and G.U.M. lessons will continue.

We will have a class Book Swap to celebrate heading off for Winter Break.  There's nothing more exciting than a new book!  We ask that each child bring in a new, wrapped, grade-appropriate book (ages 9-11) to contribute to the swap.  Each child will choose a book and will enter the break with an exciting new read.  If this is a hardship for any family, please feel free to let me know, and I am happy to confidentially provide you with a book.  Thanks to family contributions, we will also have some healthy and delicious treats to enjoy during the swap.

As you know, the fourth graders spend much time traveling around campus.  Please plan ahead and make sure your child has boots, a warm winter coat, and gloves and hats that fit.  The fourth and fifth graders have the opportunity to sled on the Crocker hill once there is appropriate snow cover, as long as they are properly attired!  In order to play off of the blacktop at recess, they will need to have snowpants, and, in order to sled, they need a helmet.  Bike helmets are fine, and we have plenty of sleds!  Please make sure all winter gear is boldly labeled with your child’s name.

I  wish each of you a wonderful season full of family, friends, and fun.

Fifth Grade News
Mike Mullins
Jake Schrader 

December is here!  Although it’s a short month, there’s a lot going on in the fifth grade, both academically and socially. We are having our world-famous fifth grade class party on Thursday, December 13th, just a day after the (also world-famous) concert! Each student has secretly received the name of a peer to purchase a small Secret Santa gift for. We will exchange gifts at the party.  We’ll also be working on a small project to help our kindergarten buddies become more skilled with letters and how they can be used.

In language arts we will continue our Wordly Wise and G.U.M. studies and incorporate what we learn into our creative writing.  We’ll also be improving the quality of our writing and reading comprehension skills as we move through The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. We’ll discuss the rich language used to describe the setting, and we’ll explore the character traits that make some characters lovable and relatable and others loathsome.

In mathematics we’ll be brushing up on our division facts and learning how to divide decimals and whole numbers with two digit divisors, while we continue to solidify our basic facts and problem solving skills. Though the radio play is over, fifth graders are busy in drama class working on plaster Greek stage masks. Students will work collaboratively to create genuine pieces of art that are functional and unique.

Finally, in history we will be continuing our explorations of early Mesopotamian civilizations.  We’ll learn about their leaders, their religion, and their way of life.

The holiday season and the New Year are not the only events looming on the horizon.  The fifth graders are preparing for their first performance as a band for the Winter Concert on December 12th.  They will perform as part of the chorus as well.  It’s shaping up to be yet another busy and exciting Winter Season.  Happy Holidays!

Physical Education News
Paulo Valentim 

Happy December! Over the next couple of weeks, we will be getting into the holiday spirit in PE! All grades will be playing a variety of Winter Holiday games, as well as continuing to work on overall fitness. Kindergarten, first, and second grade will be playing Jingle Bell Tag, Frosty Tag, Candy Cane Race, The Grinch Scooters, Scooter Ball, and more. In third, fourth, and fifth grades we will be doing different holiday stations to work on our fitness, including push-ups, squats, and Santa yoga poses. We will also play Catch the Snowballs, North and South Pole, Elf Express, and Christmas Tree Tag.

All of our Winter Holiday games stress the importance of teamwork, cooperation, and sportsmanship. Have a wonderful break and Happy Holidays! 

La Classe de français
Madame Katy Niose 

Meilleurs voeux de paix et de santé à Tous!  (Best wishes of peace and good health to All!)

‘Tis the season of frosty snowmen, jolly winter sports and joyful holidays.  Kindergarten through fifth grade will be learning about these wonderful winter themes and meaningful holidays in French this month.  We continue to sharpen our metacognitive skills in each grade, encouraging students to make choices in their learning, as well as to reflect upon his/her individual learning process.

            Kindergarten will learn the songs Vive le vent (to the tune of “Jingle Bells”), Petit Papa Noël, and La Toupie (“The Dreidel Song”), as well as some new winter vocabulary.

            First grade will discuss winter weather vocabulary, learn about sports and clothing, while continuing to review and reinforce vocabulary they’ve learned previously.  They will also learn about geometrical shapes and prepositions.

            Second grade students will build upon weather vocabulary while focusing on the five senses.  They will learn new clothing words, discuss sports, and reinforce previous vocabulary.

            Third grade will learn some new winter vocabulary, while playing games and singing songs.  Third graders are also learning to conjugate verbs, while also differentiating gender nouns, prepositions, and adjectives.

            Fourth grade will discuss and write about the French Revolution.  We will also continue to read articles in our ALLONS-Y magazines, conjugating verbs, as well as learning new winter vocabulary, playing games and singing winter songs.

            Fifth grade will begin learning about a Haitian boy’s experience during the 2010 earthquake, as well as reading their Allons-y! magazines.  We will continue activities using possessive adjectives, family vocabulary, and verb conjugations.  We will also learn some new winter songs, and play winter theme-related games on the Activboard.

            * On Friday, December 7, Papa Noël will pay his traditional “surprise” visit to Applewild Lower School, filling the children’s shoes with small trinkets, in honor of <<la fête du St. Nicolas >>.  As you can imagine, the children are awaiting this event with excited anticipation!

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at kniose@applewild.org.

Music and Drama Notes
Mrs. Schlesinger 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the holidays. All of Applewild is being decorated with greens and lights, and the Lower School is full of music as we get ready for the Holiday Concerts!

Please take a moment to read through the Holiday Concert information in the Evelope to make sure that your student is all set for concert attire, and you are aware of call times for their concerts. This time of year is so very busy it’s easy for things to slide.  Our Holiday Concerts are on Wednesday, with a built in snow date on Thursday. This allows for a “just in case” date, as well as putting less stress on our young performers as they get ready for these exuberant performances.

All of the Lower School is busily practicing everything they need for their concert. Orff skills are being refined, memorizing is almost there, singing parts get stronger every day, and I am very proud of all the hard work your students do. I hope you enjoy every moment of our concert, and take the time to enjoy our little dreams of sharing good music grow into a big reality.

Happy Holidays!

Recorder and Band
Frank Bonanno 

In the Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band, we have been focusing on the compositions for the Winter Concert.  I have been showing students the correct approach to prepare for a concert. The Ensembles have been playing with more precise notes and rhythms. They have been playing the compositions with more musicality, by using different articulation and dynamics. The students are learning how to follow a conductor for clean beginnings and endings, and to help keep the tempos steady. Both ensembles are working on proper concert etiquette. The Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band and I are looking forward to a great Winter Concert.

Lower School Shop
Sharon McGowan
5th Grade Woodworking
Skip Ciccarelli

The kindergarten has been dividing their time between woodshop and the art studio.  The pop-up puppets are complete and completely delightful!  The kindergarten class chose all of their personal touches on all aspects of the puppet.  The students were very imaginative and creative.  Kindergarten had a little assistance from their eighth grade service learning buddies with sewing. 

Our marionettes are ready to dance onto the puppet theater stage!  As with the kindergarten, first grade moved smoothly between woodshop and the art studio depending on what stage of marionette construction.  The marionettes are all assembled, painted, and have been “dressed” to resemble a character of each student’s choosing.  They are colorful and creative!  Both kindergarten and first grade have done a terrific job on their puppets.  We look forward to the puppet show involving both kindergarten and first grade.

The second grade’s ships are nearly ready to sail!  After much thought, and careful paint and stain choices, each ship is as individual as each child.  They are bright and colorful.  Some have been deemed cruise ships while others the Titanic!

The third grade is well on their way to having the loom completed.  They will  choose the type of finish they would like.  Splatter paint, and possibly designs with the wood burning tool, have been mentioned.  When the construction, painted finish, and stringing of the warp is complete, the looms will then move to the art studio for weaving.   We just know they will be beautiful with many artistic choices.

Nearly all of the pieces of the fourth grade pump lamp have been cut and sanded.  We are ready to begin assembling some of the pieces.  We will pre-drill most of the pieces before attaching pieces with screws.  The pre-drilling  helps, but we quickly learn we need to be ready to use “elbow grease” to get the pieces of the lamp to be snugly put together.  We will review a simple circuit before adding the electrical parts to the lamp.

The fifth graders are nearing completion of their stools. Some have started the staining and painting stage. Most should make it home for the holidays. The class will be going on to making  a cup holder with hand tools as they have done with the stool. They did get introduced to the drill press and scroll saw while making the stool. This is a very active and creative student group!

Lower School Art Studio
Sara Sanford

Here comes December! We have three class periods this month in most grades. We are working hard to finish up some projects already in progress, as well as begin a few new ones based on elements and principles of art. In Kindergarten, we will glaze our clay bowls and you should be seeing them soon!

In first grade, we are finishing up our wooden puppets for our show, as well as working on color mixing, balance, and proper painting etiquette. First graders have been thoughtful workers on this important job!  Second graders are learning about symmetry and implied balance, and working on some paper design projects that we hope to display in time for concert season.

Third graders have a few ongoing projects. We will be creating clay sculptures of the Wampanoag tribe, and beginning our winter loom weaving. They are creating the looms in shop class, and it is a great opportunity for them to understand the process of weaving. In fourth grade, we continue to design our papier mache masks. At this stage, everyone is painting and embellishing, and our paper mache work is complete!

Fifth graders are on the final steps of their plaster people. They have really developed their skills in decision making and organization of steps on this long-term project. We believe this display will be done in the next few weeks. All projects in the studio allow children to develop their metacognitive skills. Each project is open-ended without adult-designed patterns, allowing each child to think through his or her own approach to the work, try an idea, refine it if need be, and try again. The reflection piece is very important in the studio, and students begin to learn that creativity and skills in the studio are a fluid and ever-changing growth process. Our class discussions, student shares, and critiques of our own work, as well as the work of the masters, gives us practice in the art of thinking about our work. Ongoing projects allow us to think through each process step, make mistakes, and be flexible about change. We have great working artists in our studio!

First and Second Grade Science
Tally Lent 

In first grade we continue to explore air, air pressure and compression. We are exploring these concepts with a variety of different activities and materials and your students eagerly take on each challenge I pose to them. In January we will now our attention to weather.

In second grade, our mealworms are growing and growing. This insect is a great example of complete metamorphosis. We were very excited to have many mealworms change into pupas, and at this writing we have quite a number of darkling beetles! Our milkweed bugs will arrive and are fine examples of incomplete metamorphosis including a nymph stage of this insect. In late January we will wrap up our study of Insects in second grade, with a culminating project. Each student will make up an insect, using their imaginations, an assortment of materials, and the knowledge that they have gained in our study. More about this later.

Third, Fourth, Fifth Grade Science
Jake Schrader

Happy December, everyone and please join me in welcoming Lynda Gregson as our teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grade science for the next number of weeks!  Third grade scientists have been energized as we conclude our study of electricity and magnetism.  Using their circuit board conductor detectors, students discovered which materials in our classroom make the best conductors and which materials can be insulators. As we wind up the unit, we’ll be exploring how winding a wire with an electric current around a piece of steel can create an electromagnet!  Students will construct their own miniature “junkyard cranes,” and will be experimenting with how to make their electromagnets even more effective.

Fourth grade scientists’ excitement continues to bubble up as we begin to study the water cycle!  We’ve been exploring how an amazing earth-material, water, can naturally exist on earth in all three (main) states of matter. Now we will see for ourselves how water is constantly changing between these three forms in the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle.  Scientists will observe evaporation and condensation in action, and will later include these stages in their own diagrams of the water cycle.  We will wrap up the month with Enchanted Learning’s reader’s theater script of “The Water Cycle,”  in which students act out the journey water takes as it circulates from land to sky and back again.

The learning is heating up for fifth grade scientists as we continue our study of solar energy!  At the end of last month, we conducted an experiment to observe how different earth-materials (sand, water, dry soil, and wet soil) absorb and retain heat in varying degrees of success.  This will lead to our understanding of how heat sinks can be useful, from home insulation to computer processors.  Students have also explored how different colors absorb and reflect heat in different ways, highlighting some of the reasons for the results seen in their earth-materials lab.  By the end of the unit, fifth grade scientists will have completed their first official lab reports based on these findings. 

I hope everyone has a holly, jolly holiday! 

Extended Day
Jenny Coeur

Students are continuing to have a good time unwinding from their days in our Extended Day program. We’ll spend some happy time on winter and holiday activities (and treats?!) in our December weeks together.

Important notes:

  • No Extended Day care will be available on Fri., Dec. 14th due to the campus-wide noon dismissal.

  • APPLEWILD SCHOOL K-8 WINTER CAMP will take place the week of Mon., December 17 - Fri., December 21 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM each day. Before-care will be available at 8:30 AM. Join us for some winter break fun! Our camp will include outdoor play, crafting, science activities, coding, cooperative games, music, "summer in December" fun, Magic and other games w/Mr. Schrader, The ABCs of Cooking w/Chef Palmieri, and more! Please keep an eye out for a flier with additional info coming home soon!

As always, please let me know if you’re interested in care or learning more about our program by emailing jcoeur@applewild.org or calling 978-342-6053, Ext. 306.

Important December Dates to Remember: 

December 5                 10:00 Second graders travel to The Gables to visit their Grandfriends.

December 7                 Pere Noel leaves gifts for our French language learners

December 12   2:30 pm Lower School Winter Concert. Concert dress required: black on the bottom, white on the top for grades one through five; festive dress for kindergartners. Dark shoes in grades one through five; ties on boys in grades four and five.

December 13   2:30 pm Snow Date for the Concert

December 14   10:00 a.m. All School Winter Concert - Noon dismissal for all.

Dec.  17 - Jan. 1:         Winter Break!

Taylor Poucel