Slice of the Apple
Lower School News
Lower School Head
October is here and that means fall has arrived and the Harvest Fair is coming! We have been at school for 24 days and there is a busy, happy routine to our days. Our students have settled in comfortably and, at the same time, are stretching themselves to reach new challenges. They are working hard, making new friends, and following our Applewild rules with thoughtful care. More than that, they are watching out for others, helping where needed and very often without being asked.
As we’ve settled into the routine of school and learning, we are now expanding to bring our learning to life through field trips. Next week both kindergartens will travel together to George Hill Orchard to walk the maze and pick apples and we will eat lunch together at Devens. In the middle of the month, fourth graders will have an exciting field trip to the Nashua River to enrich their science learning, and the second graders will begin their year-long community service project with their grandfriends at The Gables. The third graders will travel back in time to Plimoth Plantation soon and fourth graders will walk down the Freedom Trail. At the end of the month we will have Marshall Fund artist Pam Golden on the Fitchburg campus (October 31 and November 7) to work with all of our Lower Schoolers to create a special friendship tree.
Upper School and Lower School buddies met each other last Wednesday, and last Friday we had our annual and highly anticipated Buddy Field Day. Every student is paired up with a buddy or two, and these buddies had plenty of fun together. It is one of the highlights in our community to see our big kids interacting in kind, thoughtful ways with our younger students, and to see the excitement and joy on our youngest students’ faces when they see their big buddies.
Another wonderful Applewild tradition is the Harvest Fair on Saturday, October 19. I love this fun fall day in our community and I happily take a turn working wherever there is a spot for me. This is a great day for the whole family and I hope to see you all there! Please come and join the fun of Harvest Fair!
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Monday, November 4. You should already have your appointment scheduled and, in advance of the conference, please think of questions, concerns, or insights that you would like to share with your child’s homeroom teacher. At that conference, you will receive a packet with a homeroom teacher checklist reflecting work and study skills to this point and curricular overviews from special subject teachers. I will be in Marshall during conferences and look forward to seeing you and speaking with you, if you have questions or thoughts to share. We all enjoy speaking to you about your children’s progress and to hearing your perspective about your child’s growth and development. Extended Day services will be available for the time of your appointment.
October in the Lower School is jam-packed with challenging work, friendship, community building, and fun. I look forward to every minute of it and hope to see you here at school at the Harvest Fair and at some of our events!
Standardized Testing Coming Up!
On Monday, October 21 through Friday, October 25 students in third, fourth and fifth grades will take the ERBs. The ERBs are the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP IV), published by the Educational Records Bureau in cooperation with Educational Testing Service. These tests are designed specifically to reflect the curricula of independent schools. For third graders, this is their first experience with standardized test taking. Our fourth and fifth graders are more experienced at this undertaking.
Third graders take untimed tests, and much will be read aloud to them. Fourth and fifth graders take timed tests. As we do with everything we ask of our students, we tell the children to try their best, and we minimize a sense of pressure concerning test taking. There will be minimal homework assigned during this week of school and the best preparation for taking these tests is getting a good night’s sleep and having a good protein-filled breakfast. The tests are sent out for scoring and scores will be returned to us within two months. I will contact you with that information as soon as it’s available.
Happy autumn! We have had a great beginning to the school year in kindergarten! Students are working hard each day, making new friends, and enjoying their roles as members of our classroom community, and of the larger Applewild community.
On October 8th, we will be going on an apple picking field trip to George Hill Orchards in Lancaster, MA. In preparation for this, students have been doing a variety of apple-themed S.T.E.M. and literacy activities, including learning about Johnny Appleseed, and his importance in the history of apples. This month we will continue our apple study by tasting different types of apples, counting apple seeds, and making applesauce. We will also be working on a class book about our apple picking trip.
In phonics, students will continue learning letters of the alphabet, the sounds the letters make, and practice identifying beginning sounds of familiar words. We have worked on the letters Tt, Bb, Ff, Nn, Mm, and Ii in September, and students learned how to properly form these letters on the lines. In October, the letters Uu, Cc, Oo, Aa, Gg and Dd will be introduced. Students will also be introduced to basic sentence structure, including an uppercase letter at the beginning, spaces in between words, and punctuation at the end. Also in October, we will kick off our monthly author study unit, and students will hear various stories from Eric Carle. Through our study of Eric Carle, students will learn about him as an author and illustrator. We will discuss the similarities of his illustrations and writing style throughout his books. Students will also be introduced to parts of a story (character, setting, conflict, plot, and resolution).
In math, students will continue to study numbers 0 to 10 in depth. This includes counting in different configurations, writing, sequencing, comparing, and decomposing. Students have been introduced to the concept of addition, and have been exposed to number stories (word problems). We will continue with these skills during the month of October, as well as introduce the concept of subtraction, beginning with recognizing "one less" when given a certain number. Students will use Digi-Blocks, colored bears, colored cubes, beans, and other manipulatives to practice these skills. We will also be exploring patterns and graphing.
In science and social studies, we will continue to focus on the community around us during the fall season. The students are now familiar with their specialist teachers and will continue to do activities with their fifth grade buddies. We will be talking about Fire Safety, and discussing the role of firefighters and police officers in our community. We will also be doing various fall art projects. Students will also be learning about nocturnal animals during the month of October.
I look forward to speaking with you at Parent-Teacher conferences on November 4th, and sharing with you all of the projects and work your child has been doing. Until then, please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
Kindergarten at Devens
Autumn has arrived! This October we will be exploring the wonderful changes that happen this time of year!
The outdoor classroom is a glow with color and the children are beginning to explore that changes that are happening around them on our nature walks and collecting items for our science table. We will be investigating apples, pumpkins and leaves this month, by measuring them, weighing them, counting seeds and painting still-life drawings. We will be joining the Fitchburg kindergartners on a field trip to George Hill Farm.
In phonics this month we will continue with letter recognition, sound fluency, basic sentence structure and penmanship.
In math we continue to explore the numbers 0-10 in depth. We are writing, sequencing, comparing, decomposing numbers and will be introduced to “one less”.
October is Fire Safety Month, we will be talking about the people in our community who keep us safe.
November will be here soon! Parent Conferences will be held on November 4th. I can’t wait to meet with you and discuss all the amazing things your child is doing in kindergarten!
First Grade News
Happy October! Literacy centers have begun, and students are off to a great start completing each activity as they are becoming responsible first grade citizens. These centers are created to enhance reading and writing skills. Students will be completing various center activities during small group, guided reading lessons. During this time, students will rotate through leveled reading groups, experience hands-on phonics extensions that supplement our Fundations units, and enjoy time reading and listening to text on a computer program called Raz-Kids.
First graders will learn to read and spell high frequency words, also known as trick words because they do not follow conventional spelling rules. I encourage you to practice these words with your child at home. This practice will help them become more fluent readers and writers. First graders will continue to learn how to tap out words to read and spell. Our writing focus for the month will be on generating ideas for writing pieces and journal entries. We will work on completing graphic organizers based on our writing topics. Students will practice capitalization, punctuation, and word spacing. First graders will be introduced to nouns, and will learn how to identify the noun (person, place, thing, or animal) in a sentence.
In math, we will continue to focus on addition, building our fluency facts within 10, and will begin subtraction. We will write our own number stories, continue writing number sentences, illustrate our thinking with number bonds and illustrations, solve for the missing addend ( ex. 3 + __ = 9), learn to solve doubles and doubles plus 1, and look for connections between related facts. Our math vocabulary will include add, plus, sum, subtract, minus, and difference. Working with Digi-Blocks, we will learn to estimate as well as count, determine the place value, and write the numbers to 30.
In social studies, we will continue our study of community and focus on the larger community (cities and towns). We will discuss community workers that help citizens, such as police officers, fire fighters, postal workers, bus drivers, doctors, nurses, librarians, the Mayor, and more.
I look forward to meeting with you all on November 4th for parent conferences. As always, please reach out to me anytime if you have any questions or comments.
First Grade at Devens
Greetings, Families! We have had a wonderful start to first grade. I am excited to see where October takes us.
This month in Fundations we will be working on CVC words and trick words (sight words that do not follow a conventional spelling pattern). In reading students will work in centers on independent reading, shared reading, word work, Raz Kids, and in small or one-on-one guided reading sessions with me. We will also focus on reading and comprehension strategies each day.
This month in math we will be focusing on the commutative property of addition and the equal sign, developing addition fluency within 10, and subtraction. We will enter the second half of Module 1 in Eureka Math.
This month in science we will be studying the parts of pumpkins, apples and gourds. Students will dissect each and identify the parts. They will work on observational drawings and compose labels and captions to show what they learned.
In social studies we will continue to study community. We will discuss and learn about community helpers all around us.
Second Grade News
The second graders have been keeping busy since school began, adjusting to their teachers and daily schedules as well as practicing our rules and routines. What an interested group of learners!
In reading this month, we will continue enjoying our first set of books in guided groups: Nate The Great and The Stolen Base by Marjorie Sharmet and Magic Tree House: Dolphins at Daybreak. Each reading group will complete activities focused on comprehension, phonics, vocabulary, and fluency skills. Toward the end of the month, groups will closely analyze a story from the Junior Great Books program, which focuses on shared inquiry strategies while reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Lots of exciting things are happening in Language Arts. In October’s phonics work, we will begin Unit 2 with bonus letter spellings: ff, ll, ss, and sometimes zz; glued sounds; blending and reading words with glued sounds; segmenting and spelling words with bonus letters and reviewing trick words. We will begin grammar study with a focus on identifying singular, plural, and proper nouns.
In writing, we wrapped up and shared “Special Place” pieces with a focus on the Ideas writing trait. We’ll finish up our work on the Organization trait by writing stories set in one of the four seasons that practice interesting beginnings, middles, and ends. This is in addition to the regular writing we do across subjects and assignments.
In math, we will complete our Module 1 assessment and will carry on into Module 2: addition and subtraction of length units. In Module 2, students will engage in activities that are designed to deepen their conceptual understanding of measurement and to relate addition and subtraction to length. Next, we will begin Module 3, focused on forming and understanding units of ten, hundred, and thousand, as well as three-digit numbers in unit, standard, expanded, and word forms. We use the metric unit in order to support base ten place value concepts.
In social studies, students have begun exploring our essential questions for the year: Why is it helpful to learn about other people’s lives? How can sharing stories from people’s lives make a difference? We’ll use these to launch into our work for October, which will explore the similarities and differences amongst family structures, cultures, stories, and community ties.
In addition, we will prepare for our first visit to The Gables Assisted Living Facility in Fitchburg. We’ll aim to visit once a month. Students will be assigned an adult buddy, or Grandfriend, for the year. During each visit, we will spend time with our Grandfriends, play board games, read to each other, do a craft, and perform songs. We’re also hoping to complete a special interview and biography project this year. The children’s interaction with their adult buddies is a ray of sunshine in the lives of many seniors. These relationships are also enriching for the students. In preparation for our first visit, we will discuss what the children should expect during our trips. Our first visit is planned for Wednesday, October 30th from 10:00-11:15 AM. Parents are always invited! Stay tuned for more info.
Enjoy this fantastic fall, and thank you for your support! Please reach out to me as needed: email@example.com, 978-342-6053 x316, and http://mrscoeur.weebly.com
Third Grade News
Community is central to the Applewild experience, and we have enjoyed community times within our school; snack, recess, lunch, common time, the UN International Day of Peace celebration, and Buddy Field Day. We have met with a program member of The Arc of Opportunity in Fitchburg, and will meet our buddies from The Arc for the first time mid-October! Their mission: A civil and human rights movement, supporting individuals with disabilities and their families in North Central Massachusetts.
In math, we continue working on Module 1: Multiplication and Division and Solving Problems with Units of 2-5 and 10. We work with a number of different models to help strengthen our number sense and our conceptual understanding of multiplication and division.
In reading groups, we are in the midst of Our Strange New Land: Elizabeth’s Jamestown Colony Diary. This novel is in diary format about a child’s experiences in 1609 Jamestown, Virginia, which ties directly into our first social studies unit focusing on the colony. One essential question we will focus on is: What makes a person a leader?
In social studies, students showed great interest in John Smith’s 1612 Map of Virginia, so we decided to make maps of our playground using the same elements: legend, scale, compass rose, and illustrations. We will be finishing up our unit on Jamestown. We have learned about the settlers of Jamestown and their interactions with the Powhatan Native Americans. After the conclusion of Jamestown we will begin to learn about the Plymouth Colony, including a fieldwork visit to Plimoth Plantation on October 16th!
Students will begin using technology to enhance their learning, using Google accounts for research and writing. We will use chrome books to access Google, to access an online typing program, and to work with the code.org computer science program.
We are excited to begin to learn and practice the lowercase cursive letters. This month we will also start Wordly Wise, a program we use to introduce and learn new vocabulary words.
I look forward to meeting with you all in the beginning of November for parent conferences. If you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to reach out to me at any time. Hope to see you at the Harvest Fair on Saturday, October 19th!
Fourth Grade News
What a great start to the year in fourth grade! The children are adjusting to the routines and expectations of a new grade level, and I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know them better.
In math, we will be working on the second half of Module 1: Multi-digit whole number addition and subtraction, and addition and subtraction word problems. After the end-of-module assessment, we will begin Module 2: Unit conversions and problem-solving with metric measurement.
In reading, we will finish Look to the Hills, a book in the Dear America series. It is written as the diary of a French slave girl. Students will read the story together and complete comprehension activities. This story integrates beautifully into our Social Studies program as it takes place during the French and Indian War, which we are studying as one of the events leading up to the American Revolution -- our next unit. Also, students have chosen their first BHAG books and have begun their independent reading journey! Please remember that the first BHAG books should be completed by October 9th.
In Language Arts, we will continue to focus on sentence structure, including subjects and predicates; direct objects; prepositional phrases; sentence fragments; run-on sentences; making sentences say more; and simple, compound, and complex sentences. Wordly Wise lessons will provide vocabulary reinforcement and weekly homework and assessments have begun. Spellography has been introduced, and we will use differentiated activities and word lists to continue strengthening our spelling and phonics skills. Please keep an eye out for weekly spelling lists. In writing, we will continue writing "My Teacher's Secret Life" stories, followed by Halloween-themed writing activities.
We have two field trips in October! On October 9th, we will be scientists exploring the Nashua River Watershed by canoe and on shore. On October 16th, we will be historians walking the Boston Freedom Trail and kicking off our American Revolution unit. We are so lucky to live so close to the birthplace of the revolution!
I am looking forward to getting to know this dynamic class even better and getting into a classroom and homework routine now that all aspects of the curriculum have been introduced.
Fifth Grade News
We are heading into October with a better understanding of the effort and organizational skills needed for success. All students will be able to test their system for completing homework assignments and practicing new band instruments.
In math, we will be completing Module One, covering topics such as adding decimals, subtracting decimals, and dividing decimals by whole numbers. Additionally, we will be continuing to become more confident in our ability to solve word problems.
In history, we will be continuing to work on creating maps of our newly established civilizations. We are well on our way to creating political, physical, climate, and language maps for our new countries. Once we finish, we will begin to look at early life and culture, including cavemen. Eventually we will move on to the Fertile Crescent, and learn why people settled near the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. We will also learn how they adapted to the geography of that region. We will then learn about the first cities, and discuss why religion was such an important part of Sumerian culture. We also plan to look at other Mesopotamian empires.
All students are continuing to read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. We are considering what it means to be a legend, and how truth and fiction become entangled. We are working on the skills of using direct quotes to support arguments and making reasoned predictions. We will also compare and contrast characters as we learn more about the town of Two Mills.
We will continue our lessons in Wordly Wise and G.U.M., and learn more about the writing process. At the end of the month, we are planning to get together with our kindergarten buddies to enjoy a spooky story together in the spirit of Halloween. Our fifth grade Halloween party will be Thursday, October 31, and it’s sure to be a blast!
Happy Autumn, everyone!
Happy Fall! All of Lower School students did an awesome job learning the basics of soccer over the past few weeks. In October, our sports of focus are kickball and field hockey. We will also be working on our jump rope and scooter skills! Students will practice jumping rope individually, moving on a scooter in all directions, running bases, and catching, throwing, and kicking a kickball. Kindergarten, first, and second graders will be spending a little extra time working on ball skills: throwing cues, how to throw overhand and underhand, how to catch correctly, and how to aim at a target. To help enforce our skills, we will be playing games like Pins Down, Battleship, Four Corners, and Air-Raid. All classes will continue to focus on the importance of perseverance and teamwork!
La Classe de français
Madame Katy Niose
Les feuilles changent de couleur; l’automne est bien arrivé! The leaves are changing color and the fall season is upon us!
All French classes, grades kindergarten through five, continue to learn French metacognitively and interactively, with an emphasis on student reflection and collaboration.
Kindergartners will be reinforcing their “greeting” vocabulary, as well as parts of the body. Animals, colors, emotions will be introduced, as well as weather and autumn vocabulary.
We will be making our own autumn-themed booklets in grades one through three, while learning new vocabulary incorporating our core values, autumn, animal, and Halloween themes. We will also be creating digital storybooks in each of these classes, which we will electronically share with you at the end of the month.
Fourth grade will be reading dialogues aloud, practicing French conversation, and learning about the written grammatical structure of the language. They have orally mastered their French subject pronouns, and have begun conjugating irregular verbs.
Fifth grade will be practicing conversational skills, expressing likes and dislikes, discussing family, school, community, and learning about the written grammatical structure of the language. They will be reading articles in French, listening to dictation, answering questions both orally and in writing, as well as playing games on the Activboard to reinforce their vocabulary. We will soon discuss geography, people, animals, and culture, highlighting the many French-speaking countries around the globe.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Music and Drama Notes
4th and 5th Radio Play
Wednesday, November 20th at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, November 22nd at 9:45 a.m.
Snow Date is Thursday, November 21st at 7:00 p.m.
LS Holiday Concert Wednesday, December 18th 2:30 p.m.
(Snow Date for the Concert) Thursday, December 19th 2:30 p.m.
All School Holiday Concert Friday, December 20th 10:00 a.m.
The trees are in the process of changing colors, and the students are in the process of becoming stronger and more creative performers. What a great combination!
In kindergarten,first, second, and third grade Performing Arts, students are hearing the sounds of the seasons on the Orff instruments. We are talking about the difference between major and minor sounds this month, along with the difference between duple and triple meter. We continue to polish Welcome Children of the World and Engine #9. We are practicing and expanding our locomotor and non-locomotor movement vocabulary, and learning to ask What are you Doing? As the hard work continues, we may get to play a little Sound Ball, then again we might just tell each other to Get Over It, all while Mirroring Mindful movements. There is lots of work going on, right through all the giggles and smiles.
Fourth grade is digging into their jobs in the Radio Play. Through their understanding of borduns, melody, color, and percussion our fourth grade is beginning the process of composition for the upcoming radio play in November. It is an exciting time as we watch these pieces come to life.
The fifth grade curriculum for the year is an in-depth study of Blues and Jazz. We have completed studying the difference between a straight rhythm and a swing rhythm both as a singer and an instrument player. Next up is studying the styles of the composer John Philip Sousa, the music that impacted the development of jazz, and practicing our improvisation skills by chanting questions and answers.
There are lots of exciting things happening here… stay tuned!
Recorder Ensemble and Fifth Grade Band
In the fourth grade all the students have their recorders and music books. We are focusing on the three basic musical skills: note recognition, rhythms and tone. We have been working on these skills separately and we are now combining them by playing the recorder and reading the music.
In the fifth grade band, the woodwind and brass players have been working on setting up their instruments properly and trying to produce the correct sound with just the mouthpiece. The percussionists have been working on correct hand position, how to strike the drum and counting the rhythms out loud. Bass players have been working on how to hold the bass and finger the correct note without looking at the fretboard.
In both ensembles I stress the importance of a good practice routine and being prepared in class with their instruments and music. Students will be receiving an expectation sheet to look over with their parents and to fill out their practice schedule.
Lower School Art
October promises to be an exciting time in the Lower School studio! In kindergarten class, we will begin the study of design, by looking closely at the primary color paintings of Piet Mondrian. We will learn about straight, thick lines that are both horizontal as well as vertical, and how lines can intersect to create shapes. We will also continue to see primary colors create secondary colors!
In first grade, we are learning about the properties of sculpture with the idea that sculpture is something you can see from all angles. We are looking at sculpture around our community, and talking about the engineering aspect of stable sculptures. We are creating papier-mache pumpkin sculptures for fall.
In second grade, we are learning about the types of lines we can see in nature, especially in trees. We are creating close up views of tree branches, incorporating watercolor wash and collage in our skyscapes. Third graders are learning how to create the illusion of form through value shading with watercolors, as well as use line character and direction. Our pumpkin paintings will appear lifelike! We are also using the art element of repetition to create designs on the surface of our work.
Fourth graders will be beginning their study of masks from around the world, as well as creating a papier-mache version of a relief mask sculpture. The history and meaning of masks is quite interesting and always an exciting unit. Fifth graders continue to build their plaster figure sculptures this month. Their level of interest in this project is quite high, and they are working hard at displaying the human figure in motion, as well as in understanding the proportions of the figure.
There are displays of student work in various locations on campus, and students love that opportunity. Work will come home gradually after we all enjoy it here. In class, we discuss our work, reflect upon feedback we receive, and grow as artists. Creative approaches help our brains grow!
Lower School Shop
We have had a busy, productive first couple of weeks in Lower School Shop! We have thoroughly reviewed safety procedures and our tool cupboard. As a warm up, we have measured several things in the classroom and taken some practice cuts on scrap wood.
Our kindergarteners were introduced to shop. This class is a very curious and delightful group of youngsters. They are ready to begin construction of the snowman fence. We are happy to have the kindergartners attend shop twice a month!
After some discussion in the first grade, we decided the first project would be the wooden balance toy. We are busy cutting pieces for the body parts. The measuring and cutting is hard work! After cutting the main pieces we will mark and drill the holes for the joints. The students are mulling over the color choices for the toys. We are looking forward to welcoming Deven’s first grade this month.
In the second grade we are earnestly working on our toolbox. We are measuring and cutting each of the six pieces. Each student will be introduced to the scroll saw. We will use the scroll saw for ease of cutting the angles on the end pieces of the toolbox. The group has been working nicely together, and are helpful to each other.
In the third grade we have been diligently working on using the ruler and accurately measuring our pieces for the frames of the looms. We are talking about designs, and what materials we might use to create a winter landscape.
The fourth grade is well on their way with the electrical pump lamp. We are continuing to review accurate measurement. Reinforcing the adage of measure twice, cut once! The construction of the lamp is complicated and requires careful consideration to the calculations and cutting. As most of the students are very familiar with Shop, they set straight to work.
Lower School Science
As the summer ends and the leaves and cool weather join us, there is a lot happening in the Lower School Science classrooms here at Applewild. We have been making great progress in each of our units and have been getting into our routines thus far. The first through third grade classes have completed their nutrition units and are well versed in making healthy balanced choices on their plates in school and at home. It is always wonderful to hear many of the kids tell me that they are making smart meal choices outside of school and at the dining hall. The fourth and fifth grade classes have both been making progress on their first units and we continue to build upon previous classes.
The first grade is off to a wonderful start to their unit on Air and Weather. Students have been looking for evidence that air is matter—that it is something real. They have explored the properties of air using plastic syringes and tubing. They have also observed how air can be captured, how air can be compressed, and how air under pressure can move things around. The kids even made a parachute out of simple household materials in groups. In those groups they discovered air resistance and drag. In the upcoming weeks they will observe daily weather conditions such as temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed, and wind direction. They will be recording all of this information on a class calendar and in a science journal.
The second grade has been busy observing and caring for their mealworms. Many of the mealworms have past their larva stage and the kids have started to notice how different they look in the pupa form. During the pupa stage the larva will transform and an adult darkling beetle will emerge. The kids will also be introduced to two more insects, milkweed beetles and painted lady butterflies. Some of the insects that will be visiting our class undergo complete metamorphosis, as in the classic case of the butterfly— egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Other insects reach maturity by growing through a less dramatic sequence of stages in a process known as simple metamorphosis. One of the goals of this study of Insects is to help the children develop a deeper appreciation for the diversity of life and to cultivate a sense of respect for all living things. Your child may demonstrate a heightened interest in insects over the next several weeks, if not already!
The third grade has gotten off to a good start in their Human Body Unit in which they are learning about how their bodies work. In this unit your child will investigate the basic structural systems of his or her body, which includes the skeleton, joints, and muscles, and the ways these systems work together to provide movement and coordination. In the classroom we have been exploring the different parts of the skeletal system by using our own in-class skeleton, properly named Mr. Bones. Over the upcoming weeks they will engage in thoughtful investigations exploring bones, building skeletons, making models, and testing their responses to sensory stimuli.
The fourth grade has been hard at work studying water! They first began the unit observing how water acts on different surfaces and what happens when water is heated or cooled. They will continue their water investigation by observing the processes of evaporation and condensation. In preparation for our field trip on October 9th to the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) River Classroom students have read Lynne Cherry’s A River Ran Wild and we got to make our own watershed. They have also learned about what has been done to turn the Nashua River from a severely polluted waterway into a national model of watershed restoration. We will also have Mrs. Chilcoat come to our class on October 4th to give us an introduction to the Nashua River Watershed. Ths canoe-based program creates an understanding of how the quality of the water and the surrounding greenway are a vital part of the ecosystem that directly impacts everyone’s lives. Thank you to all the parents who have already volunteered to chaperone on this exciting trip! If you would still like to be a chaperone please contact Jenn Buck or me if you wish to join us on the river.
The fifth grade scientists are fully immersed in their Solar Energy unit. We have focused our investigations on the Sun’s energy by tracking shadow patterns and thinking about the information we can get from the constantly changing shadows. We are also using thermometers to record temperature changes in earth materials as a result of solar heating, and later conduct experiments to discover what materials hold the Sun’s energy most effectively. We will go on to make solar water heaters, sorting out the variables that influence the temperature and heating rate of a water-heater system. In our last investigation we will investigate model solar homes and identify some of the variables, such as insulation and direct sunlight, that support energy-efficient solar space heating.
We are all settled into the library and starting to really dig into our work and have fun. With library class routines becoming more familiar, new themes will take center stage this month. The library displays will include National Hispanic Heritage month, Halloween, amazing animals, and plenty of new books as well.
Please help your student establish a method for remembering to return their library books. Many teachers have a bin in the classroom if they want to return them as soon as they finish reading them, and the book drop is always open. Don’t forget to check out our ebook & audiobook collection to enhance your family reading time.
In addition to these common themes, kindergarten students will be browsing from a wide variety of alphabet books. We have an amazing collection of alphabet centered books, letting students explore their letters through poetry, art, architecture, nature, and many other mediums.
Browsing the whole collection in Marshall can feel overwhelming to our first grade students. We will spend time thinking of some key questions that will help: What do I like to read? What do I know about myself as a reader and learner that might help me? What tools can I use to help me? Additionally, we will play some fun games to begin working on understanding the role of alphabetization in the library.
Second and third grade will be diving more deeply into examples from many different types of books. We will begin with looking at many types of nonfiction books, ranging from almanacs to nonfiction that reads just like a story. A quick review of alphabetical order will help all of us browse more independently. Third grade will also finish their job of mapping the library and selecting sample books to illustrate their maps.
Fourth grade will continue to split our library time between reflecting on our BHAG goals, learning how to be good digital citizens as we begin to interact in our BHAG Google classroom, and beginning to study the Dewey Decimal System.
The fifth grade will look at fantasy and science fiction books for their next book report topics, learn how to access ebooks and audiobooks using Tales2go and Overdrive/Sora, and have another book tasting.
Happy Fall to all of you! The Extended Day program is off to a great start this first month of school. Jillian Nowd and I have really enjoyed watching the kids develop new friendships with one another and try new things. In October we will have autumn- and Halloween-themed activities and crafts along with the regularly scheduled outdoor exploration, homework time, and healthy snack. Extended Day still has spots available for our K-8th graders for either a contract schedule or drop in basis.
The Extended Day program is hiring! We are looking for extra assistance on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. The Extended Day Program support staff will work collaboratively with the Extended Day Coordinator and other staff to provide a safe, supportive, and enjoyable program for the students who attend Extended Day program. Applicants must have at least one year of child care experience and be CPR certified. A detailed job description can be found on the Applewild website.
Extended day is available Monday through Thursday from 3:40 (dismissal time) until 5:30 PM, and on Friday from 12:00-5:30 PM. Families may schedule regular weekly care at a discounted rate by signing up for contracted hours, or may call in on an as-needed basis ahead of the day requested. Please reach out to me with any questions about our Extended Day program by emailing email@example.com or calling (978) 342-6053, Ext. 306.
Important Dates in October
Wed., Oct. 2: 5:00 New Family Dinner in Stone Dining Hall
Fri., Oct. 4: 3:30 - 5:30 French Club for grades 5 - 8
Tues., Oct. 8: Both kindergartens go to George Hill Orchard; have lunch
together at Devens.
Wed., Oct.9: Fourth grade to Nashua River Outdoor Classroom
Thurs., Oct 10: Devens first graders come to the Fitchburg campus for the
Mon., Oct. 14: No School. Columbus Day
Wed., Oct. 16: Fourth grade to Boston Freedom Trail
Third grade to Plimoth Plantation, arriving back at 5 pm
Sat., Oct. 19: Harvest Fair!
Oct. 21-25: ERBs in Lower School
Mon., Oct. 21 Fitchburg Fire Department comes to K - 3 to teach us about
Thurs., Oct. 24 Devens first graders come to the Fitchburg campus for the
Wed., Oct. 30 Second graders visit at The Gables
Thurs., Oct. 31: Marshall Fund artist Pam Golden here with Lower Schoolers