March Slice of the Apple

March into Lower School!

Tally Lent
Lower School Head

We wrapped up the month of February with our 100th Day of School and we also had an ALiCE barricade drill with your children. The day was mixed with the fun of being one hundred days smarter, and the seriousness of thinking about safety in unimaginable situations.

Our ALiCE drill went very well. We practiced what we would do in the event of an intruder in the building and we had to barricade rather than evacuate. In each homeroom, our goal was to secure our rooms so that no one could get in. Every room was successful and your children felt empowered in this drill situation.

Each class was serious and focused, and students listened very well and asked great questions and made excellent suggestions. These are unsettling lessons to work on with your children, but I do think the students felt prepared afterwards. Some of your children will want to continue to talk at home and school about the drills and the worries that they bring up. We will continue to answer questions and listen to their worries at school and I hope you will let us know if your children express fear or concerns about this at home.

March is a short month for us, divided as it is with two weeks off for a well-deserved Spring Break right in the middle of it. Short though it is, we will pack a lot of learning and excitement into it! We celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday with our annual Pajama Day today. Teachers and students wore their pajamas to school and enjoyed reading together.

Next week we will enjoy a Marshall Fund Residency with renowned folk singer Adam Ezra.  Adam and his band are a musical group dedicated to the belief that music is a crucial communal act and that it can truly change the world. They have received numerous awards for their original songs and are currently touring all over the country. On recent tours, they have shared the stage with Melissa Etheridge, John Oates, Gavin DeGraw, and ZZ Top. Adam recently began doing school residencies to share his mission with students. We are thrilled that he will be with us! Adam will kick off the week with an assembly for the whole school on Monday morning. Grades five through eight will then have sessions with Adam throughout the week, where they will create music inspired by his original hit "I Believe." Kindergarten through fourth grade will enjoy a workshop each with Adam during the week.

The culminating event will be a performance by Adam and students in kindergarten through eighth grade on Thursday afternoon, March 7 at 4:00 in the Alumni Center for the Performing Arts. Please plan on coming to enjoy this event and please plan on having your children stay to do their part.

When we return to school on March 25, we will start in just where we left off: working hard in language arts and math, science and French; starting new spring sports; preparing for the Appleseed Play called The Emperor’s New Clothes that stars kindergarten through third grade; doing Community Service projects; and continuing to be respectful, active citizens of our school.

I hope that Spring Break brings you a nice change of pace, happy family times, more daylight hours, and good signs of spring! 

Kindergarten News
Lisa Barrette
Sandi Rantala
Jenny Coeur

Happy (almost) Spring!  It is hard to believe we are already in the month of March. With Spring Break in the middle of the month, March will fly by.  The development of the kindergartners can be seen all around. While they are outgrowing their clothes and losing teeth, they are also writing more easily, and their pre-reading skills are getting stronger.  They are looking like early first graders more and more every day.  A number of candidates for this fall’s kindergarten class have been screened, and the differences between 4-5 year olds and our 5-6 year olds stand out in a positive way.  What a difference a year makes! 

Development happens at different stages and different levels.  Some children may be a good readers (already!) and some show amazing math insight.

Others show great leadership skills and are able to organize his/her peers, others show advanced fine/gross motor coordination. We are enjoying watching how this year’s kindergartners are maturing, and seeing ways in which some of the areas of relative weakness ‘catch up’ to the areas of strength, while those areas of strength continue to grow.

This month in math, kindergartners will work on strengthening their addition and subtraction skills to 10.  They will frequently be exposed to the "number bond" model, which reinforces that numbers can be broken into two parts, and those two parts can be joined together to make a whole.  Students will also use a variety of manipulatives and number stories to show the concept of addition and subtraction as well.

In their journals, students are beginning to write a sentence independently, using inventive or phonetic spelling.  This is when beginning writers use their early phonics skills to spell words the way they sound, not necessarily the correct spelling.  They are also practicing using spaces between words, beginning a sentence with a capital letter, and ending a sentence with a period.  We continue to learn new trick words (what Fundations calls sight words, or high-frequency words). They are called trick words because they often cannot be sounded out.  One example of this is the commonly used word “are.”

This month we will study the author  Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss.  We kicked off our Dr. Seuss theme by celebrating his birthday with a Pajama Day.  We will continue the month of March reading his books and engaging in writing and art activities revolving around this popular author. 

The excitement of the Appleseed play will arise as we will begin to take part in rehearsals.  There will be two performances. April 11th at 4:00 the curtain goes up for the parent performance, and the next morning, April 12th we will take part in the all-school performance.  Details will follow about costumes. Please save the date on your calendars! 

Lockers will be cleared out before Spring Break.   When we return to school, please remember to restock your child’s locker with a complete change of clothing that fits, and that is labeled.

From now until the end of the year, we will occasionally have recess with the first graders.  This will enable the kindergartners to sample the schedule they will adopt in first grade.  What this means is that we will go outside at 11:30, then go to lunch.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about anything!

Have a wonderful Spring Break! 

Kindergarten at Devens
Jenn Bevilacqua 

Spring will soon be here! This time of year is a wonderful transition both in nature and our children. The children have been gathering information, developing skills, learning techniques, and stretching their creativity! As spring blooms so are our children!

We continue to thrive and challenge ourselves in our phonics and writing.

Our journals are becoming full of creative, detailed pictures, and written thoughts. We are encouraging sentence writing using our sight words and inventive spelling. We are reminded to use upper case letters at the beginning of our sentence and end it with a period and spaces between words.

Our math unit involves addition and subtraction skills to 10. We have been using number bonds to model and demonstrate that numbers can be broken into two parts and those two parts can be joined together to make a whole. We will be using many manipulatives to show addition and subtraction concepts.

We have a short but very busy month in March. We will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’s Birthday with many hands-on activities, rhyming games, reading Dr. Seuss’s stories, and creative projects! Our Art Studio will be themed Dr. Seuss and will be creating “Wacky Hat Building Station and a “Thing -a-ma-jigger Creation Station!

We will soon be looking and searching for signs of Spring in our Outdoor Classroom!

Have a wonderful Spring Break!    

First Grade News
Micaela Caiozzo

This month, students are “March”ing towards Spring! There is a little skip in our step as we enjoy the longer days. In first grade, students will be putting their creative energy toward writing original stories. They will select a character, the setting, and a problem. Then, they will write a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Each child will incorporate the writing traits of idea, word choice, and conventions into their creative pieces.

Our phonics for the month will focus on blending and segmenting up to five sounds in a closed syllable. Some five-sound words have a consonant blend before the vowel and a consonant blend at the end. Trick word assessments will take place during the month of March. I encourage you to continue to work with your child so that these words are quickly recognized and spelled without hesitation.

Throughout the month, our math work will focus on place-value concepts for numbers up to 100 and will include identifying the number of tens, writing a number in expanded form, and ordering three numbers. Students will also work on connecting the value of coins to place value (1 dime= 1 ten), learn to read and write the symbols for greater than and less than, and begin adding and subtracting with double-digit numbers. 

Toward the end of the month, first graders will be introduced to mapping skills through the use of maps and books. Centers will be used to help develop these skills.  The centers will focus on completing a map skills book, identifying parts of a map, and creating a classroom map.

As we say goodbye to February and hello to March, we look forward to the change of seasons and these new activities in first grade. Thank you all for taking the time to join and support us for the many special events in February and March, including Family Math Afternoon, the Book Fair, The Adam Ezra Family Concert, and the 100th Day of School. I hope you all enjoy spending extra time with your children over Spring Break! 

Second Grade News
Kathie Grzewinski

We have a very busy March, both before and after our break. When we return, the “Spring Crunch” will begin! In reading, we have moved on to our leveled groups. Mrs. Lent’s group will read Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl and Mrs. Grzewinski’s group will read Freckle Juice by Judy Blume. Both groups are also reading books about Ruby Bridges to prepare for our Biography unit in April.

In Fundations, we will continue to work on open syllables, y as a vowel and suffixes y, ly,  and ty.

In writing, we are continuing with our original versions of our fables, based on a real moral of Aesop’s creations. We also be editing our final drafts using our editing marks we have learned. In grammar, we will continue to work on sentence structure, as well as commands and exclamations.

In math, we will continue to work on Module 4-Addition and Subtraction within 200 with word problems to 100. This is a lengthy module, with 32 lessons and it introduces a very important skill for second grade: regrouping with both addition and subtraction. After the break, we plan on beginning Module 5-Addition and Subtraction within 1000 and word problems to 100.

In social studies, we will be reviewing all of the components required for our Biography project. We will read and discuss many different figures in history (Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman) and then discuss how to write a biography. After reading about Ruby Bridges’ life and watching a movie about her, the class will write a biography on her life. We will also continue with our Junior Atlas program and will visit South America and Europe this month.

We will discuss our new core value-Honesty, as well as celebrating a belated St. Patrick’s Day with favorite Irish songs with our “Grandfriends” at the Gables after the break.

I wish all of you a very safe and enjoyable break with your family and friends and I thank you for all of the support in the education of your child. Happy Spring! 

Third Grade News
Danielle Mannion

Although we have Spring Break March 9th-24th, class 3M will be working hard on many topics to learn as much as possible!

In reading, we have moved on from the Junior Great Books. Students worked very hard reading the different stories and really pushed themselves to find the morals or meaning behind them. Now, we are focusing on Time for Kids: Theodore Roosevelt and/or Time for Kids: John F. Kennedy. Students will focus on reading for research and this will help them begin to think about what is needed for our upcoming Presidents project.

In math, we are currently on Module 3: Multiplication and Division with Units of 0, 1, 6-9, and Multiples of 10. This module is another lengthy one, which has a total of 21 lessons.

In language arts, we will continue to work in our G.U.M.  (Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics) books.We will work on lessons: Verbs and Time, Negatives, and Comparing with Adjectives. Also in language arts students will continue their work on homophones. Our list is growing every week and during the month of March we will cover: hi/high, oh/owe, flour/flower, throne/thrown. In cursive we will continue learning our capital letters. We will also focus on how to properly connect our cursive letters and how to sign our name.

In social studies, we are continuing our unit on Presidents. As a class we have created a timeline of the life of Theodore Roosevelt including his birth date, death date, and important events along the way. As a class we will talk about choice and we will co-create a rubric for our Presidents project, decide what President to research, and will begin our research. What a fun time in third grade!

In writing, students are working extremely hard on their Mayflower Journals. Student have chosen a passenger on the Mayflower to research, and they are writing in their journals as that person, recounting their journey to the New World.

This year truly is flying by and I cannot believe how much my class has grown as individuals and as a team. I hope to continue this positivity into March and for the rest of the school year!  I hope you all have a wonderful Spring Break filled with family and fun! As always if you have any questions please email me at! 

Fourth Grade News
Jenn Buck

With Spring Break in the midst of it, March promises to be a whirlwind month.

In math, after completing a very long and computation-heavy module focusing on multiplication and division algorithms, we will have a new focus while working on Module 4.  We will learn about two-dimensional figures and symmetry.  This is a much shorter module, and we should be able to complete it in the month of March, despite having two weeks off.

In reading, we will continue reading Bright Freedom’s Song: a Story of the Underground Railroad by Gloria Houston.  This work of historical fiction follows young Bright, whose family farm in North Carolina serves as a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Bright, herself, even at a young age, plays an important role in helping many slaves find their way to freedom -- at great peril to herself and those she loves.        

We will soon have our states and capitals tests behind us.  This has been an excellent undertaking on which to practice our developing metacognitive skills.  Through our shorter-term preparation for the American Revolution test, we discussed different strategies for studying and retaining large amounts of information and learned that we all learn differently, so it is important to be thoughtful about how each of us learns individually.  With this longer term project, we have the opportunity to put into to practice what we discovered about ourselves as learners.  Also in social studies, we will relate what we are learning in reading to our Slavery, Underground Railroad, and Civil War unit.  We will use a number of multimedia resources to dive deeper into this important time period in American History, including webquests, films, and interactive online games. 

In writing, we will use master texts to explore effective and entertaining creative writing and will use what we learn to create our own picture books to share with our first grade buddies! We will continue to persevere with our weekly Wordly Wise and Spelling lessons and will dive into Unit 3 in GUM, which covers usage. We will also spend some Language Arts time evaluating our BHAG goals and learning more about Bookopolis, with a focus on completing some online book reviews.

I can’t believe we are at this point in the year. Once Spring Break is behind us, the rest of the year always feels like a quick descent to the end. That said, we still have important curricula to cover and learning to be done. I wish you all a restful, happy break and look forward to your continued partnership for the remainder of the year. 

Fifth Grade News
Mike Mullins
Jake Schrader

March seems like it very well may be coming in like a lamb, but the fifth grade's activity level is much more reminiscent of a lion. Just look what we have in store for these couple short weeks.

In language arts, we continue to forge ahead with our Wordly Wise lists and our grammar lessons in GUM. We are also enjoying the adventures of Bodger, Tao, and Luath in The Incredible Journey as they trek across the Canadian wilderness to find their way back to their master. This book features the power of perseverance and the stoic resolve of animals set against stunning vistas.

In history, we are working hard on writing our myths about our newly created American pantheon of gods. We will turn these myths into our very own book of mythology. Then we will be finishing up our tour of Egypt and will be learning about the beginnings of Hinduism and Buddhism in ancient India. We will also examine life in the Indus and Ganges River valleys and use our earlier studies to make comparisons with other civilizations.

In math, we are strengthening our understanding of fraction concepts and we’ll connect some of those ideas to the decimal work we have already done. We’ll continue to explore operations with fractions and we’ll continue to add new methods to our arsenal of problem solving strategies. Once we finish multiplying and dividing fractions we will move to calculating volume and area using both two-dimensional and three-dimensional models.

In addition to our academics, we’re eagerly anticipating the arrival of Adam Ezra who will lead us in songwriting workshops just before we leave for the spring break. The week culminates on Thursday, March 7th after school where students will perform a short concert. Please let us know if your student will not be able to attend this special performance.

Phew! With all that on the horizon, we should be ready for the spring break when it arrives. 

Physical Education News
Paulo Valentim

Happy Spring! For the month of March, kindergarten through third grade will be learning the basics of basketball. Students will learn how to dribble, pass, and shoot. We will play basketball related games like pirate ball, monster ball, pass and shoot relay, basketball blast, and around the world dribble and shoot. To get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, all grades will play a few holiday themed games like leprechaun treasure hunt and catch the leprechaun. Fourth and fifth grade will be playing flag football and dodgeball. Have a wonderful, relaxing, and fun-filled break!  

La Classe de français
Katy Niose

Joyeux Mardi Gras et Vive l’arrivée du printemps !! (Happy Fat Tuesday and Hurray to Spring’s arrival this month!!)

French classes continue to focus on learning French metacognitively, through reflection, collaboration, and making good choices in the learning proces


Kindergarten through third grade will be preparing songs and creating traditional Mardi Gras masks, in preparation for our Mardi Gras parade, which will take place this year on Friday, March 8 (so as not to interfere with our Marshall Fund Residency on the 5th).

Kindergarten will learn about zoo animals, review colors, shapes, days, months, and the weather, while playing games on the Activboard to reinforce vocabulary.

First grade will be creating animal masks and background habitats, while enacting skits with vocabulary revolving around habitats, eating habits, and animal traits. They will also continue doing math in French, as they practice skip counting, adding, and subtracting en français.

Second grade will begin reading Les aventures de Nicholas: La chatte perdue (The Lost Cat in The Adventures of Nicholas series) a colorful chapter book, containing familiar vocabulary. Now that second grade is accustomed to hearing and comprehending much French content, they will begin familiarizing themselves with the written language. They will also illustrate chapter summaries, and play games to reinforce the new vocabulary.

Third grade continues their study of the organs, in collaboration with the science curriculum.  They will also learn to tell time in French, practice math facts, as well as to review irregular verb conjugations.

Fourth grade will learn words revolving around the house and home, including rooms and furniture.  They will create their own board game houses, to play with classmates, while reinforcing vocabulary.

Fifth grade will continue to learn about map skills, location, and buildings, as they practice navigating different French cities around the globe. They will create their own map game boards, and play them together. Fifth graders will begin preparing for their biography projects upon their return from March break.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or suggestions at (978-342-6053 x 312). 

Molly Wong

March begins with a pajama day in the library - what a perfect start to the month! Due to Spring Break, this is a short month of classes, but we will be planting seeds of ideas that will blossom in April.

Kindergarten will have more rhyme time, first with some Dr. Seuss books and then with a selection of early readers and picture books. We will continue exploring rhyme and rhythm right into poetry month in April. Upon our return from break, kindergarten students will graduate to browsing the whole collection when we return: it’s a fun right of passage.

First grade students had fun exploring characterization with Kevin Henkes mice. Next we will explore the idea of point of view by reading some stories and then retelling them from the perspective of another character. We will start with Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!

Second and third grade students will spend the next few weeks creating their own class templates for book reviews and apply them to books they have read and want to share. We will have book a book tasting right before break to make sure everyone comes home with something fun to read.

Fourth grade will work on reviewing some of their BHAG books in Bookopolis and will also start creating a book trailer using Adobe Spark. We just got a school-wide subscription and they will be some of the first students to dive in.                                                

Music and Drama Notes
Erin Schlesinger

Upcoming performances:

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

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

We are traveling to an “average fairy tale kingdom”, so PLEASE SAVE THE DATES! The Appleseed Chorus has begun rehearsals for their show The Emperor's New Clothes, created by Dave and Jean Perry. What do they have to say about the show? “This humorous setting of the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale introduces us to a good-hearted but gullible king who is duped by two cunning scoundrels who weave an invisible suit of clothes which 'only the wise can see.'” We have completed the opening number, and by the time we leave for March Break we will be running many chunks of the show from memory. It is very exciting, and there is definitely is a sense of excitement! Please be on the lookout for an article in the weekly E-velope about costumes and important dates.

In fourth grade we are concluding our studies of the Aerophones in a traditional orchestra: the Brass family and the Woodwind family. With a discussion about the composer Prokofiev coming up, and Crocodile Rock on recorders, we will finish up with paper tube trombones then move on the Chordophones.

In fifth grade we have jumped back into our study of Blues and Jazz. We are practicing our call and response, our swing rhythms, and our improvisation skills with our voices and the Orff instruments. With both classes creating their own 12 Bar Blues chords we are touching on all aspects of Jazz.

This time of year is so very busy, and worth every second of effort we all put in. Stay tuned! 

Recorder and Band
Frank Bonanno

In the Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band, we are now focusing on the compositions for the Spring Concerts. I have been showing students rehearsal and practice techniques to prepare for the concert. The compositions are more difficult than they have been in the past. These compositions are 2-7 part arrangements. Students need to trust their own reading abilities and not rely on what is being played around them. They have been playing the compositions with more musicality, by using different articulation and dynamics. We are also reviewing how to follow a conductor for clean beginnings and endings, and to help keep the tempos steady. Both ensembles are reviewing proper concert etiquette. The Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Beginner Band and I are looking forward to our Spring Concerts.

Lower School Shop
Sharon McGowan

In kindergarten our ring toss games are shaping up nicely.  The students chose beautiful colors from our paints.  We will next measure, cut, and glue the felt for the bottom of the game.  Then let the ring toss competition begin! 

We had the pleasure of having the Devens kindergarten in the shop classroom.  They have started their ring toss game with careful measuring and cutting of the base piece.

The first grade has made much progress on the balancing toy.  They have been taking great care with their measuring then cutting with a hand held keyhole saw.  We are taking turns at the drill press to get the the main body of the toy drilled with the appropriate holes.  The students will be choosing colors to paint the toy before assembling the pieces.

With just a few more pieces to be drilled, the second grade’s tool boxes will be ready to be painted!  Paint choices and painting is always a favorite activity with the students. When the painting is complete we will assemble the toolbox.  Attaching the pieces together with the hand held screw driver can be a bit of a challenge.  Our second grade is up to the task!

The third grade completed the assembly and painting of their looms.  They will now complete the weaving in the art studio with Mrs. Sanford. Our second project is the tubular glockenspiel.  There are many pieces of dowel and copper tubing to be measured and cut.  The third grade will use a tubing cutter for the copper.  The students often work with a buddy while using the cutter as both the tool and pipe can be unwieldy. 

All of the fourth grade’s lamps are in great shape.  They are partially assembled according to each student’s choice of finishes.  There is a flurry of activity with colors being mixed and matched, and soon, splatter painting!  Several of the fourth students chose to use the wood burning tool to add some detail to their lamps.  We have to admit it did get a little smoky from the heat!  We had visits from maintenance and Mrs. Lent to be sure all was well in shop!  The students were very safety conscious and did a great job with the hot tool. 

Fifth Grade Woodworking
Skip Ciccarelli

The fifth grade students are completing their stools and moving on to the cup holder project. Some will be starting the traditional bird feeder project soon. The students get to work with and learn different ways of working with the tools and ergodynamics of their bodies. Painting and staining is also a skill some of the students are doing for the first time. It is always a treat to see the smiles on their faces as they leave the woodworking shop with their projects. 

Lower School Art Studio
Sara Sanford

We have projects in progress in most classes during the short school month of March. In kindergarten, we are learning about relief sculpture, and creating collage funny faces that demonstrate our knowledge of this type of sculpture. First graders are finishing up their personal mandalas, and sharing interesting facts about themselves that they have worked on in their classroom. Second graders are finishing up their study of William H. Johnson and his work with paper collage portraits. In third grade, we have begun our weaving on the lovely wooden looms that the students made in Shop class! This is a fun project for all of us, and a wonderful collaboration. Fourth grade students are putting the final touches on their collective noun designs, and showing the elements of unity and variety in their work. In fifth grade, we are finishing our Egyptian canopic clay jar sculptures. They have really enjoyed learning about the purpose of the jars in Ancient Egypt, and creating their own versions of this work.

All Lower School students will also work on some paintings to share during the Adam Ezra residency. They will reflect on how his music, and his song, I Believe, makes them feel, and how to show that in a piece of artwork. The paintings will be on display during the residency the week of march 4th.  

First and Second Grade Science
Tally Lent

First graders have been busy studying wind and weather tools and are ready to turn their attention to our new unit of study, Solids and Liquids. Right after Spring Break, we will explore the properties of solids. They will use the properties of those solids to be engineers and will construct  towers and bridges. We will observe the properties of many solids and liquids, comparing how different solids and liquids are alike and how they are different. We'll organize the results of our inquiries, and communicate both orally and in writing the things we discover. These processes (observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing) are the basic thinking processes students need at this age to develop a scientific understanding of the world around them.

Second graders are culminating our Insect study by creating imaginative insects, complete with all the parts that insects should have. Second graders worked with me to create the rubric by which they can measure their understanding of insects through this creative process. They created habitats for their insects and determined its predator and prey relationship. When all is completed, colored, glued, and assembled, each student will present his or her insect to the rest of the class. The second graders have a solid understanding and appreciation of insects!

When we return from Spring Break they will be immersed in our Balance and Motion Unit and will actively explored balance, counterweights, and gravity.  

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

Third grade scientists had an eye-opening investigation into the contents of an owl pellet. They were amazed at the variety of rodent bones they found and how they compared to a human skeleton. Before the March break, students will move on in the FOSS Human Body module and they will observe and investigate how important opposable thumbs and finger joints are in the human hand. Students will immobilize joints and experience the importance of these important articulations. Students will name and define the types of joints in the body and they will compare joints in animals with joints in humans. After the March break, students will learn about the main functions of muscles in the human body. They will investigate how muscle tissue works and how muscles are attached to the bones.

Fourth grade scientists finished the FOSS Water Unit with a rousing Kahoot review game. (Kahoot is an online game-based learning platform.) Before March break, students will continue in the FOSS Physics of Sound module as they observe sounds made by objects when dropped, compare sounds to develop sound discrimination and learn to communicate with others using a drop code. They will investigate how sounds are made by looking for vibrations at a sound source. They will identify sound receivers and compare sound volume to vibration intensity. After the March break, students will look for evidence that the different vibrations produce different pitches of sound. They will study what happens when the length of the vibration changes and what happens when the tension applied to a sound source changes.

Fifth grade scientists will continue with their exploration of the earth using the FOSS Planetary Science module. They will finish their exploration of how it was discovered that the earth is round and how latitude and longitude define locations on earth. Students will be using light sources, spheres and their own bodies to model the mechanics of day and night and will solidify their understanding of this important concept. Students will also determine the direction of the earth’s rotation, and define and determine ‘local noon’ in Fitchburg. After March break, students will move out further into space and learn more about the appearance and prominent features of the moon. 

Extended Day
Jenny Coeur

Please keep an eye out for a flier coming home regarding Applewild’s K-8 March break camp, running from March 11th-15th from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM each day. Before-care will be available beginning at 8:30 AM. Our camp will include outdoor play, crafting, activities, cooperative games, exciting opportunities for cake baking and healthy snacks with Chef Palmieri, woodworking with Mrs. McGowan, and more!

For more information on the camp or about our regular Extended Day program, please contact me at or 978-342-6053 x306. 

Using Metacognition to  Learn Material More Deeply
Norma Harrington
Learning Specialist

Each school day is filled with opportunities to learn new things. I am always amazed as I visit classes at Applewild and see first hand the wide variety of subject matter and topics that every child is exposed to on a daily basis. Not only are students asked to learn facts and process all sorts of information, they are also asked on many occasions to use this information to make inferences, draw conclusions and apply the facts to further their knowledge of other topics.

Metacognition is “the knowledge of cognitive processes” (Galton 2006). It is defined as what we know about ourselves as a thinker and a learner. It is important in education because such self-knowledge can be used not only to inform and support action, but also because it underpins our concept and identity as a thinker and learner (Desautel 2009)

We can support children metacognitively by helping them articulate what methods they are using to study material and what their goals are in studying the material. It is common for a student , when asked why h/she is studying material to respond by saying that it is to prepare for a test. Students want to do well on their assessments which is a good thing. As parents, we can help our children, however, seek deeper levels of learning, by asking them some simple questions as they study vocabulary words, subject specific content words in science or history, foreign language or math procedures. Asking questions such as:

l  How do you think you can use what you have learned? For example,  can you picture yourself using these vocabulary words when you write? Where might you have to use long division or multiplication? Cooking or building might come to mind.

l  How will learning about a topic in history or science help you understand the world around you?

l  Does the book you are reading connect to anything you know or have experienced? This question could lead to robust discussion at the dinner table.

l  Can you think of ways other than memorization to help you  increase your memory of what you are learning? Can you connect what you are learning to something you already know? Memories of past experiences, books read, vacations, museums visited and movies seen are  situations that may come to mind.

There are many other questions you can ask your children that will help them become stronger learners and not just memorizers of fact and content.  Understanding content, ideas and vocabulary rather than memorizing facts leads a student to deeper levels of learning which in turn enhances the processing of the material, allowing for greater recall of the material since with understanding comes meaning. Meaningful material sticks whereas memorized material fades away, sometimes quite quickly.

If you are interested in this topic,  see the article by Donna Wilson Ph.D.  entitled “Kids Can Be the Boss of Their Brains” found at this site

Geared for elementary aged children it talks about other ways that parents, along with teachers, can model metacognitive strategies. The article includes articles for further reading. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Important Dates in March to Remember:

Friday, March 1: Lower School Pajama Day in celebration of Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 4: All School Assembly: Adam Ezra and Band performs and opens our Marshall Fund Residency!

Thursday, March 7: 4:00 pm All School performance with Adam Ezra.

Friday, March 8: K - 3 Mardi Gras Parade!

                            Spring Break starts after school!

Sunday, March 10: Daylight Saving Time begins. Spring ahead one hour.

Monday, March 25: Welcome back to school!

Wed., March 27: 9:15 Grades one and four to Head Start

                           10:00 Second grade to The Gables

                           10:20 The Arc buddies visit third graders

Friday, March 28: LS / US Buddy activity

                              Spring sports begin in fourth and fifth grade sports

Taylor Poucel