January Slice of the Apple

Happy New Year in Lower School!
Tally Lent
Lower School Head 

Happy New Year! I hope you had wonderful Winter Breaks and that 2019 is filled with happiness and good health for you and your families. It was so very good to see our students as they returned to school on Wednesday morning, greeting them as they jumped out of cars and tumbled out of buses. Despite getting up earlier than they wanted to, they looked happy and ready to be back at school. After such a nice, long break we now need to readjust again to early morning wake-ups and early bedtimes. If mornings have been difficult at your house this week, know that it will get better as we all return to the routine.

We gathered together in our Lower School Common time on Wednesday, as we do to start every week, and did all the traditional things that we usually do at these meetings: the pledge, announcements from our Green and White Captains, birthdays, and a look at the week ahead.

Also at this Common Time, because we have been apart for longer than two weeks, I asked our students to think about the things we need to remember to do to keep our community going strong and growing together. Hands went right up and our students knew instantly what I was asking them. They had powerful words and messages. Some of their ideas were to be kind to each other; be thoughtful; work hard; be respectful; try your best; think before you act; treat other people the way you want to be treated; be safe; have fun; cooperate. Our students have internalized our core values and implement them in a natural way every day. Having the students tell each other what is important to our community was a great way to start our new year.

The month of January promises to be a busy one in the Lower School. We will celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday in a Lower School assembly on Friday, January 18. Each class from kindergarten through fifth grade will make a presentation and we will reflect on the ways in which MLK is a great role model for active citizenship and courageous heroism.

We will have a long weekend in honor of King’s birthday on Monday, January 21 and teachers will have a Professional Day on Tuesday, January 22. Children return to school on Wednesday, January 23. The first semester ends on January 18 and the new one begins on January 23.

Community service projects continue this month with the third graders welcoming their Arc buddies back on campus and the second graders traveling to The Gables to see their grandfriends.. These projects, along with our work with Head Start, are excellent opportunities for our students to give back to the community face-to-face, starting at a young age. They embrace these opportunities and the community organizations love our students’ visits.

Our ERB scores for students in grades three, four, and five are coming in soon and we will be sending a letter home detailing how you can access your child’s scores online. As always, you are invited to meet with me if you have any questions about those results.

We wrap up the semester formally with Parent Conferences on Monday, February 4. Lower School students do not come to school on this day, allowing teachers to spend the entire day in conferences with parents. Extended Day will be available for conference times. Your child’s homeroom teacher will send a note home, listing conference appointment times, and letting you know how to sign up for a meeting. Shortly before your conference, you will receive a packet of progress reports, with a checklist from your child’s homeroom teacher, and checklists and comments from special subject teachers in the mail. We mail it home so that you have time to read the packet before you have your conference; please bring it with you when you come for your appointment. Your child’s homeroom teacher will discuss the progress your child has made so far this year and always welcomes your questions and comments. Conferences are wonderful opportunities for parents and teachers to share information about children and to discuss their strengths and any areas of needed growth.

Our home-school partnership is a major component of our students’ academic success in and positive feelings about school. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teachers or me if you would like to meet or talk before February 4. We always look forward to communicating with you about your child’s school experience and learning.

Kindergarten News
Lisa Barrette
Sandi Rantala
Jenny Coeur

Happy New Year! Life in kindergarten will continue where we left off in December, with a few more loose teeth and inches grown since we were all last together.

In phonics, we will complete our study of the alphabet, learn more sight (trick) words, and practice making CVC words, including identifying beginning, medial (the most difficult), and ending sounds.  Students will also continue drawing and writing in their journals weekly.  Kindergartners have been learning about how a group of letters make up a word, and a group of words make a sentence.  They have been introduced to the structure of a simple sentence, and they will learn to write and read simple sentences. 

We will also take advantage of the beautiful winter weather to create some winter art projects, conduct science experiments, and learn about some very cold climates.  In addition, we will study penguins and other Antarctic animals, and some arctic animals as well.

In math, we begin a unit on comparing length, weight, capacity, and numbers to 10.  Students will use language such as longer than, shorter than, as long as, heavier than, lighter than, as heavy as, when discussing measurement. When comparing numbers, students will explore the concept of more than, less than, the same as (6 is more than 4, 3 is less than 7, 8 is the same as 4 and 4).  We will also continue to work with digi-blocks to demonstrate the value of a number.

In social studies, we will focus on the concepts of peace, respect, and responsibility. We will read books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and talk about ways we can spread kindness and help others. One way to do this is through friendship.  We will discuss what it means to be a good friend and how to be a good friend.

I look forward to seeing you at conferences in February.  In the meantime, please email me if you have questions or comments.

Kindergarten at Devens
Jenn Bevilacqua

Happy New Year!!    

January is a time of year to establish new beginnings and focus on new learning skills and meeting our goals.

In phonics we continue to study the alphabet, learning new trick words, challenging ourselves with CVC words and simple sentence structure. We are identifying beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. We continue to write and draw in our daily journals. Our penmanship is improving weekly and it shows in our daily work.

We are beginning our Module 3 unit in math:  Comparison of Length, Weight, Capacity and Numbers  to 10. We will be comparing length and height with linking cubes within 10, comparing weight and volume and comparing of sets within 10.  We will be doing lots of hands-on activities with this unit and recording our findings with many different types of measuring tools. Our vocabulary words will include longer than, shorter than, as long as, heavier than, lighter than and heavy as.

 Winter has arrived and we will be exploring our outdoor classroom for signs of winter! We have many beautiful winter birds visit our bird feeders. We will be keeping track of the different types of birds that we see. We are hoping there will be snow for us to measure, melt, create snow sculptures and learn about what happens under the snow with the wildlife all winter long and, of course, sledding and shoveling paths through our outdoor area. We will begin a unit on winter animals  here and in the arctic.

February brings parent conferences, 100th day of school, and kindness and friendship projects!

First Grade News
Micaela Caiozzo

Happy New Year! First graders are flourishing in all areas and it has been wonderful to be back together after the holiday break. January marks clear changes from where students were at the beginning of the school year to now. Their reading skills have progressed wonderfully since September. Our reading groups will continue to read a variety of fiction and nonfiction books. Often groups will read a book from each of these genres that focus on one topic. This focus will help students use their comprehension skills to gain a deeper understanding of the topic though the use of a variety of texts.

In phonics, we will continue our work on segmenting and spelling words with the glued sounds ending with ng (ang, ing, ong, ung) and nk (ank, ink, onk, unk). Later in the month, the students will learn the difference between a blend, a digraph, and a digraph blend. Students will continue to learn new trick words and I encourage you to practice them at home with your child. These words cannot be sounded out and must be committed to memory. This practice will help your child become a more fluent, confident reader. We will read the book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and students will complete a creative writing piece called “If I Were A Snowflake…”

This month we will focus on subtraction number sentences (16-9=___, 17-8=___) by using problem solving strategies such as number bonds and creating illustrations to demonstrate their thinking. The solid base of addition facts to 10 that students have built up to at this point in the school year will scaffold the concepts we will learn in math this month and in the upcoming months. We will explore and connect expressions that have the same value (17-5= 12+2). First graders will continue to solve word problems with this math work. 

In social studies, we will learn about civil rights leaders by reading books and poems, and by discussing words such as equality and peace. We will learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for a better future. Our focus will include learning about his achievements, and developing an appreciation for his contributions to our world.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break! I look forward to seeing you at Parent Conferences at the end of the month. As always, please contact me at anytime if you have any questions or comments.

Second Grade News
Kathie Grzewinski 

After our winter break, I am happy to welcome second graders back to school. I hope you all had an enjoyable and safe vacation and had plenty of rest! Now it's time to get back into the swing of things as the second graders begin their second half of the school year.

January is Aesop Fables month in second grade. Both reading groups will complete a month-long unit studying various versions of both familiar and unfamiliar tales. It is great fun to compare and contrast! Many of the morals we learn in our fables unit fit well with our Lower School Core values. After reading ten fables, each group will be performing short skits as a culmination of the unit.

We are also very busy in language arts. We will review the parts of speech and have an end of the unit test and then will begin a new unit on sentence structure. In Fundations, we will be extending our basic knowledge to multi -syllabic words. We will also cover other topics, such as vowel-consonant-e syllables, compound words and syllable division rules.

In writing, we will begin to write our first formal pieces of fiction. After reading all ten of the "Tacky, the Penguin" books by Helen Lester, the children will be able to create their own "Tacky" adventures. Stay tuned for our next class book! We will also incorporate what we learned about editing in the month of December in order to both self- and peer-edit our stories.

In math, we are working on Module 4 - addition and subtraction within 200 with word problems to 100. In this module, the students will be working on sums and differences within 100, strategies for composing and decomposing a ten, and strategies for composing and decomposing tens and hundreds. Please make sure your child practices their math facts up to 18 at home to help with their fact recall. Our "sprints" also give practice to the facts.

In social studies, we will begin a map skills unit called Junior Atlas. Students will compare and contrast different types of maps, as well as be introduced to key legends, common symbols, physical features and bodies of water. We will continue with this program until the end of the year.

In preparation for Martin Luther King's birthday, our class will read the book We Are Alike/We Are Different,written and illustrated by elementary students. After reading the book and discussing similarities and differences about each other, the class will make posters and a class book describing how they are alike and different from each other.

As we begin our new year, I wish all of you a very healthy and happy one.

Third Grade News
Danielle Mannion 

Happy January everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful winter break and were able to spend quality time with loved ones and friends.

Students have started January off by creating school-based New Year's resolutions. We will make sure to keep you updated on our progress and hopefully we will accomplish them by the end of third grade!

 We are almost halfway through our school year, and conferences are right around the corner on February 4th. Please look for my email to sign up for a time that works best for you!

Looking at the month ahead, in math we are still working hard at Module 2: Place Value and Problem Solving with Units of Measure. We will take our mid-module assessment on Monday, January 7th and continue on this module for roughly two more weeks before taking our end of module assessment. Students are doing great with this module. As a challenge, ask them how many milliliters are in a liter!

In reading, we are almost finished with our novel Dog Diaries: Dash, which is told in the perspective of a dog who came to the new world on the Mayflower. As mentioned in previous Slices, Dash ties in greatly with our social studies units on Colonial America.

In social studies, we are wrapping up our unit on the original 13 colonies. Students have been able to decipher which colonies were in the Northern, Middle or Southern colonies depending upon their geographical locations as well as what made those three groups of colonies so different from each other. After the conclusion of our unit on the original 13 colonies, we will move onto the Civil Rights Movement.

In language arts students are doing fantastic work with their G.U.M. (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics). We will be taking a break from typingclub.com and will learn how to touch type and complete our Mayflower Journals. Students are welcome to practice on typingclub.com at home, but with the supervision of a parent/ guardian in ensure proper typing.

Some important dates to look forward to are:

January 10th, field trip to Concord Museum

January 16th, Arc Buddies Visit

January 21st & 22nd, No School

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you all at conferences in early February! As always, if you have any questions please reach out at any time. Let’s have a great 2019 together!

Fourth Grade News
Jenn Buck 

It is so nice to be back to school in 2019!  January brings a renewed energy and enthusiasm to all, which coincides perfectly with the end of the first semester on the 18th and then the start of the second half of our school year.  Time has flown! Parent-teacher conferences for the first semester will be held on Monday, February 4th. Thank you, in advance, for finding the time to come in for these important meetings.  Our communication and collaboration is so important in determining a happy and successful school year for our very talented and special fourth graders!

In social studies and reading, we will complete our Revolutionary War unit.  There is still so much to learn!  We will continue to examine the war from different perspectives, as well as learn more about how and why the United States government was formed in the way it was.  We will finish reading Spy! (the story of Nathan Hale) and watching Liberty’s Kids.  We will also complete the multimedia, interactive, adventure game, Mission US: For Crown or Colony?, which puts the students in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer's apprentice in 1770 Boston. As Nat navigates the city and completes tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre. Ultimately, the student players determine Nat's fate by deciding where his loyalties lie. 

In writing, we will expand our paragraph writing skills to multi-paragraph essay writing.  We will use the EmPOWER program to guide our instruction, breaking down each part of the essay into clear and manageable parts.  Introductory paragraphs will focus on building background, writing a single sentence thesis statement, and giving the reader a preview of what is to come.  Body paragraphs will provide the details, and concluding paragraphs will restate the thesis, summarize the information covered, and, finally, answering the question “So What?”. 

Wordly Wise will continue, as will weekly G.U.M. lessons, in which we will continue to focus on our usage unit. Differentiated Spellography groups will meet weekly, with weekly spelling assessments continuing as well. 

Continued practice at home with multiplication and division facts will help ensure success in math.  In class, we will complete Module 3.  We have already covered multiplication of up to four digits by single-digit numbers, multiplication word problems, and division of tens and ones with successive remainders.  We will finish the module with reasoning with divisibility, the division of thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones, and the multiplication of two-digit by two-digit numbers.

I wish each of you a Happy New Year and look forward to another semester of partnership and growth.

Fifth Grade News
Mike Mullins
Jake Schrader           

Happy New Year from the denizens of Mulliny and Schradia! We begin January the same way we ended December; by working hard and making steady progress. Here's a sneak peek at what your student can look forward to this month.

In language arts this month we will continue reading The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Bonnie and Sylvia are finding themselves in a tricky situation as Miss Slighcarp continues to make their lives miserable. There are more adventures and hardships coming their way before they see the end of her awful reign. Fortunately, there will be a happy ending to this wonderful story.

In writing, fifth graders will be starting January with a Fantasy/ Sci-Fi book report. Then, they will end the month by reading a history book for our next writing assignment. As always, we'll continue on with our grammar and vocabulary studies with G.U.M. and Wordly Wise.

In mathematics we’re moving into module 3 of our textbooks. This module explores adding and subtracting fractions in increasingly complex ways. We began by adding fractions with like denominators using a visual aid, but now we are already adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators and converting improper fractions into mixed numerals. This knowledge will build until we are comfortable enough with fractions to begin working on multiplying and dividing them in the next module.

In history class we will be reviewing our explorations of the Fertile Crescent and the civilizations that once held sway there before taking the plunge into ancient Egypt. Once we begin our journey along the lively Nile we will study the pantheon of gods and goddesses from ancient Egypt and look into how they impacted everyday Egyptian life. From there we will create our very own pantheon of American gods highlighting the most meaningful parts of our everyday lives, too. Each student will assist in the creation of some of our brand-new American pantheon. We will then use the newly established pantheon to write brand-new American myths.

Finally, the entire fifth grade will be working together to learn more about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. throughout January. This will culminate in a fifth grade presentation at the MLK assembly. 

There’s never a dull moment in the halls of 5M and 5S! See you on the other side of January.

Physical Education News
Paulo Valentim

Happy New Year! For the rest of January in PE, kindergarten through third grade will be playing with scooters and the parachute. While using the scooters, we will play games like Scooter Space Tag, Scooter Ball, Scooter Obstacle Course, and Scooter Basketball. A few games we will play with the parachute are Parachute popcorn, Igloo, Number Chase, Parachute Golf, Pigs in a Blanket, Shark Attack, and Cat and Mouse. The scooter and parachute games will help students in the development of upper and lower body muscle strength. Are their leg muscles tired from scootering? Are their arm muscles tired from using the parachute?

In fourth and fifth grades, we will begin our basketball unit. We will first go over all of the basics and then get into small scrimmages. Students will learn the different ways to dribble a basketball and the correct hand position for dribbling. We will focus on dribbling waist high, slow and controlled, change hands, change directions, dribble around obstacles, and dribble away from defenders. We will also work on the different types of passes and what they are used for, as well as how to properly receive a pass. Students will be able to demonstrate the various types of shooting (set shot, foul shot, lay-up). Before we get into scrimmaging, we will learn the various positions and strategies for offense and defense and how to guard and use your teammates. 

La Classe de français
Madame Katy Niose

<< Bonne Année à Tous!>>   (Happy New Year to All!) 

Kindergarten through fifth grade will review the Applewild Core Values and Competencies in French, and brainstorm different ways we can each contribute toward making our world a kinder, more collaborative place. 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 review colors, shapes, and numbers, while continuing to discuss winter weather vocabulary and themes.

First grade will talk about the importance of good manners, and discuss all the ways we can be considerate to each other.  We will practice dialogues in French, using our good manners.  We will play games, reviewing colors, shapes and numbers, and we will prepare to board le tapis magique (“magic carpet”) for a (virtual) trip to Paris, with the aid of the Promethean Activboard.

Second grade will learn vocabulary revolving around the five senses.  We will also discuss the importance of etiquette and good manners, and will take turns practicing scenarios and dialogues.  We will learn traditional French folk songs and dances, and play some fun math games.

Third grade will learn the names for the parts of the body, including the organs, in French.  We will discuss the importance of etiquette and good manners, and practice using our good manners in dialogues.  We will also be learning some traditional French folk songs and dances.

Fourth grade will continue to study the French Revolution this month.  We will continue conjugating regular verbs, we will learn to make change in Euros, and we will discuss food and beverages offered in different types of French restaurants.  We will also learn some traditional French songs and dances.

Fifth graders learn about a Haitian boy’s experience during the 2010 earthquake.  We will hone our map navigational skills, while learning how to give directions, and we will complement our studies by reading and doing activities in the French Scholastic magazine Allons-y.  We will also be learning some traditional French songs and dances.

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

Music and Drama Notes
Erin Schlesinger


Appleseed Play -         Thursday, April 11 4:00 p.m. 

Appleseed Play –        Friday, April 12 9:45 a.m.

It is so much fun to be making music again. We are already off and running in all of our classes, using the Orff instruments and our bodies to create tremendous scenes and beautiful music. Much of our time together this winter will be spent learning songs that connect with children's literature. Our first story is The Legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. What a great way to kick off 2019!

After the performances of a holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life, and fabulous concerts, fourth and fifth grades and are getting back to the business of making music. In fourth grade we will be beginning our study of chordophones, aerophones, and idiophones. In fifth grade we will be jumping back into our study of Blues and Jazz. We will be spending lots of time with the Orff instruments, lots of time singing, and lots of time listening.

We’re just getting started. Stay tuned!

Recorder and Band
Frank Bonanno 

I am very proud of the Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Band performances at the Winter Concert. I was so proud of all my students and I could sense that the students had fun and felt good about their performances, and realized that all their hard work paid off.

In the Recorder Ensemble we will be working on increasing the range by learning new notes. The students have had the challenge of covering the holes properly so that the notes come out easier. I will be working with them on sharpening up their fine motor skills.

In the Fifth Grade Band, the brass players will be working on the high register.  I will be giving them certain warm-up exercises, which will help build their range. The woodwinds will be working on hand position and mouth position for a more controlled sound. The percussionists are working on playing more independently of each other by trusting their counting abilities. The bass players are working on tuning their basses and to focus on the music and not to watch their fingers on the fretboard.

I’m excited to continue working with the Recorder Ensemble and Fifth Grade Band.

Lower School Shop
Sharon McGowan

After our long winter break I am so happy to have the students back in the shop immersed in their projects.

The kindergarten had a very busy first semester.  The snowman fences went home just in time for the holidays.  The snowmen always bring a smile to our faces.  We wrapped up their pop-up puppet project with a charming puppet show with the first graders!  As we move into the second semester we will begin construction of the ring toss game.  We will be using the Japanese pull saw and the drill press.

In December,  the first grade did a wonderful job entertaining their families  with their puppet show to benefit an animal shelter.  We were able to deliver many wonderful items to the Worcester Animal Rescue League.  We have chosen the balance toy as our second project.  This is always a highlight with the first grade.  We will be using the Japanese pull saw and the drill press.

The second grade is eager to begin their second project.  The toolbox can be a little tricky with its angled end pieces.  We will be busy measuring and cutting these two pieces accurately.  We enjoy imagining how  we might use the completed toolbox .

The third grade is a tenacious group!  The  looms have required much teamwork and dexterity with the hammer and screwdriver.  The third graders have been working together to help each other assemble the side pieces of the loom.  Many of the looms are complete.  The students are ready to choose the finishes for the loom before attaching the warp.

In the fourth grade we will be marking the placement of the lamp pieces on the base before pre-drilling for assembly.  They will be decide on the finish of the lamp, which will determine which pieces will be assembled first.  The students may choose a variety of colors and how they would like to apply them.  They may paint, splatter paint, or stain the whole lamp or individual pieces.  This creative process is great fun to watch!

Upper School Woodworking
Fifth Grade
Skip Ciccarelli

The fifth graders are busy painting and staining their stools. The new year brings a new woodworking project: the cup holder, which some of the students have started. They will be working with familiar tools in a different way and learning new ergodynamics. This will help them with future projects.

Lower School Art Studio
Sara Sanford 

We will be hard at work this month making all types of beautiful art for you all to enjoy! In Kindergarten, we will be studying the genre of design. Our first artist that we study will be Piet Mondrian. We will connect his geometrical designs to our study of color theory and the primary colors, vertical and horizontal lines, shapes and patterns. We will then move onto cave paintings and the caves of Lascaux, France.

In first grade, we will also be studying design, learning about the character of various types of line, and looking at works by Paul Klee. Second grade artists will be studying the artist William H. Johnson and his portraits of the people from his neighborhood and childhood. We will learn about pattern, overlapping, and unity in a composition. In third grade, as soon as the Shop project of looms are ready, we will create our fiber art winter scenes. We have done some good planning of landscape work, and are ready to warp and weft our looms!

Fourth graders will be working on some research of collective nouns, and creating watercolor printed stencil paintings of their research! This lesson will teach all of us some of the wonderful collective noun vocabulary for the most basic things, and do it in a beautiful way! Our fifth grade artists will be working on some fundamental color theory work in terms of mixing primary, secondary, analogous colors as they create their color wheel designs.  This work will be very important to them as they move on to Upper School design classes. Winter and especially January is a wonderful time of year to settle into the studio and make art while we are cozy and warm. We love this time!

Molly Wong 

Happy New Year! It is so exciting to be getting back to the Applewild Libraries. Thanks to the outstanding assistance of Lynda Gregson while I was out, we are right on track for a great winter of exploration, learning and fun in the library. I will be sending out some notices this month to round up any books that may be lurking in your homes, under the seat of the car, or in that hidden backpack compartment.

Kindergarten will be looking at books with few or no words. As they tackle their beginning readers in class, decoding illustrations will be a critical skill, and there are many fun titles with which to practice. Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins, Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle and some books by David Weisner will be “read” aloud. Sharp eyes will be needed to find the hidden story in Tough Boris by Mem Fox.

First grade students will begin their first author study in library with Kevin Henkes. We will read some of his stories, get to know his characters and also explore his website. Our study will finish with an activity focused on characterization. Together, we will work to describe the personality traits of the characters we have grown to know and love and then apply that knowledge to predict how each character would approach and react to a situation not found in any of the books. What if Lily went camping? How would Wemberley like swimming lessons? What if Chester had to move?

Second grade students will study the works of William Joyce, an American author, filmmaker and illustrator. We will explore the story of the Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore and compare how it is told in three formats: a book, an award-winning short film, and an App. Then, we will read the Mischevians, compare it to some traditional trickster tales, and maybe even write our own.

Third grade students will be digging into some research skills they will need for their upcoming President project. We will study the life of Wangari Maathai while also learning how to use the library catalog, access school databases, and take effective notes. We will also be practicing giving quick book reviews to our peers.

Fourth grade students will begin some of our formal discussions about digital citizenship. We will add an online book review component to their BHAG goals this month, which will be both an exciting opportunity to practice book reviews and to practice their core values in the digital world.

Fifth grade students will come and browse for both historical fiction and nonfiction books taking place in another time period. Additionally, the lunchtime book club will be coming back for interested fourth and fifth grade students. I will be gathering their suggestions and getting ready to have some fun discussions.

First and Second Grade Science
Tally Lent 

After exploring air, air pressure, and compression, first graders will now turn their attention to weather during these next several weeks. They will observe daily weather conditions such as temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed, and wind direction and will record all of this information on a class calendar and in a science journal. New England in the winter allows us plenty of opportunity for exciting weather observations! To support this study at home, please watch weather reports and observe the clouds and the sky. It is also fascinating to watch the phases of the moon throughout the month.

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 had many darkling beetles and we are awaiting a new generation! Our milkweed bugs are arriving and are fine examples of incomplete metamorphosis including a nymph stage of this insect. Within a few weeks 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, materials at home, and the knowledge that they have gained in our study. Second graders are usually very excited about this project and I look forward to seeing a variety of unique insects inhabiting the science room, all with correct characteristics of insects!

Third, Fourth, Fifth Grade Science
Jake Schrader and Lynda Gregson 

Third grade scientists will start the new year by finishing up their study of magnetism, electricity, and circuits by creating functioning telegraphs that they can send to one another and decode. Once the message has been sent, third grade is going to begin a whole new unit: the human body! This month we will begin by taking a look at what holds us together...our skeleton! Learning different key pieces of our skeleton and understanding how they work together to allow us to live our lives will set the stage for additional learning next month as we continue.

Fourth grade scientists’ excitement will ring loud and clear as we begin our unit on Physics of Sound!  We will begin practicing sound discrimination, or the ability to tell sounds apart.  We will then examine sound waves, and the different properties of materials that affect them. Fourth graders will come to understand that sounds are a form of energy produced by the vibration of objects. Included in this unit will be an examination of human hearing and health.   We will learn the basic principles of sound and describe the functions of major parts of the ear. The health focus will be on taking care of our ears, hearing impairments, and safeguards from noise pollution.

Learning is expansive for fifth grade scientists this month as we venture into our study of space!  We will start by discussing how expansive our universe really is, and investigating the life cycles of the billions of stars within.  For several weeks, students will be engaged in deep critical thinking activities, or Problem-Based Learning (PBL), that deals with an Extreme Travel Adventure Challenge. The PBL interdisciplinary curriculum is an instructional approach that helps students become active problem solvers using real-world problems. Students will be engaged in activities designed to develop realistic processes of cooperation, communication, and critical thinking: all skills necessary for a successful voyage into space and life.

Bring a Parent to School!
Tally Lent

In the winter over the last number of years, we have invited parents to come and spend a morning at school with their children. The morning gives parents a glimpse into a day in the life of your children at Applewild and your children love to have you join them and see what they do at school.

Homeroom teachers have sent home a note or will soon, letting you know what date this special day will be in her classroom. The dates are also noted in the Important Dates section of this Slice. We ask that you let us know if you are able to join us, particularly so that I can arrange lunch tables. These special days will be different for most classrooms and are coming up.

We stagger the dates of these visits so that the lunchroom is not over-taxed and the day stays as normal as possible. What you will see, if you able to join us, is a regular day in your child's class. Typically, there will be a language arts class and a math lesson, a special subject, recess, and lunch.

Parents, one per child, are warmly welcome, but we know that not everyone can drop everything and come, which is another reason we like to keep the day as usual as possible. In this way, students whose parents cannot come to school still have their regular work and they enjoy the company of new adults.

If you are able to join us, you should plan to focus on your child and his/her classroom experience, participate in the activities or lessons as you feel comfortable, and leave electronic devices and work concerns behind. I hope to see you at school soon!

Extended Day
Jenny Coeur 

Our Winter Break Camp was a success and got kids crafting, gaming, cooking, experimenting, creating, dancing, coding, exercising, and giggling (a lot)! Thanks to all who joined us, and to Chef Palmieri and Mr. Schrader for their special activities. Stay tuned for details about our Spring Break Camp, set for the week of March 11th.

In January, Extended Day will get back to its regular routine of afternoon care. If you have a contract and would like to adjust your hours as we enter the new year, feel free to reach out to me. Please remember that Extended Day runs Monday-Thursday from 3:40-5:30, and on Friday from 12:00-5:30. Contact me at 978-342-6053 x306 or jcoeur@applewild.org for care requests or more info about our program.

Important January Dates to Remember:

January 4:        Ski Program, French Club for fifth through eighth graders

January 9:        10:00 Second graders go to The Gables to visit their grandfriends

January 10:      Third graders go to the Concord Museum for more colonial life experience

January 11:      Ski Program   

January 16:      Arc buddies return to Applewild to visit third graders

January 18:      Martin Luther King, Jr Assembly, Ski Program, End of first semester

January 21:      MLK Day: No School

January 22:      Professional Day: No School for students

January 23:      Bring a Parent to School in Mrs. Grzewinski’s class and in Ms. Mannion’s class. Second semester begins

January 24:      Bring a Parent to School in Mrs. Grzewinski’s class and in Ms. Mannion’s class.

January 26:      Admission Screenings and Open House        

January 29:      Bring a Parent to School in Mrs. Caiozzo’s class and Mrs. Buck’s class.

January 30:      Bring a Parent to School in Mrs. Caiozzo’s class and Mrs. Buck’s class.

January 26:      Ski Program

January29:       First Semester Lower School Progress Reports mailed home

February 4: Parent Conferences in Lower School; no school for Lower School students

February 5:      Bring a Parent to School in Kindergarten

February 7:      Bring a Parent to School in Kindergarten

Taylor Poucel