May Slice of the Apple

May Days in Lower School
Tally Lent
Lower School Head

April showers have brought us to May and that means warm weather will surely come. We are allowed to wear shorts now and I have seen  legs are bared in school-appropriate shorts, and warm weather haircuts are sprouting up everywhere. We are fast approaching the finish line of this school year and I am astonished by how quickly this year has sped by. We have accomplished a great deal this year and our students have grown by leaps and bounds right before our eyes.

As full as our days are and as busy as this month is, I am mindful that these moments with your children are fleeting and precious. I relish the times when I am able to just watch your children at work and at play. Each child is unique, yet each is similar in his/her approach to life at school. Our students are fully committed to what they are doing, and are brimming with earnest passion and joy for their daily life and all the elements that fill it at Applewild. They want to do their best and they strive to be their best selves. It is a privilege and a joy to watch your children grow over the course of a year and over the course of a number of Applewild years. I marvel at each one of your children. Watching them grow, mature, and be engaged citizens of our Applewild community is a moving experience: I am very proud of all of their accomplishments. Clearly, each of our children in kindergarten through fifth grade is ready to move on to the new adventures that await them next year.

Our teachers plan thoughtfully so that we are assured that each student is ready and eager to move on. Our curricula develop throughout the year and spiral across the years to develop the skills, content, and attitudes needed for the next year and those that follow. Teachers meet to work on our curricula over the months of each year and very often in the summer to assure our curricula are current and that we have benchmarks in place to assess students' continued, needed growth. Teachers and I meet in teams weekly to make sure that we know what is happening with each one of our students. We also meet at the end of the year to “pass the baton” very thoroughly so that next year's teachers accurately know their new students. As we approach our annual Step-Up Day, we are certain that our students are, indeed, ready to step up to the new challenges that await them next year.

Being ready to move on does not mean it is easy to leave the familiarity of the current grade and well-loved teacher. Lower School students often feel the frantic flurries of butterflies in the stomach when they think about next year. And, surprising and often frustrating to the adults around them, Lower School children, after making tremendous growth all year long, often revert to their September selves at the end of the year. This slipping back before moving ahead is a natural part of the cycle of child growth and development, and one that requires patience and understanding from all the important adults in the children’s lives.

Today we had our annual Grandparents’ / Special Persons’ Day. Lower Schoolers came nicely dressed up for this special day and were wonderful hosts to their appreciative guests. The genuine love and pride between guests and child-hosts is obvious and moving! I love Grandparents Day and the only thing that would be make me even happier on this day is if my own three grandchildren lived close enough to attend our wonderful school.

We have our Spring Concert on Thursday, May 9 at 2:30pm in the Alumni Theater. Concert dress is required for all. Fifth graders will also play in the Upper School Concert in the evening concert.

Before the afternoon concert, fifth grade parents are invited to hear about sixth grade and the Upper School. Please join us at 12:45 for quick tours of Upper School and at 1:00 in the Information Center in Ansin to hear from Upper School Head Erica Hager and the sixth grade teachers. We will be done in time for you to get to the Alumni Theater for the afternoon concert. We will have our all-school Spring Concert on Friday morning, May 10; Concert Dress is required again. Our Arc buddies will join the audience for this concert.

On May 20 third graders will walk down to The Arc to have a final activity and lunch with their Arc buddies.

On May 22, we invite our new rising kindergartners to come with their parents to school and have their own special Step-Up Day.

May 24 is Field Day for students in fourth through eighth grades; it’s a noon dismissal for the whole school, with buses running only at noon. Field Day events will be held at Fitchburg State College, and is a great day of fun for all. Please let us know by note or email how your child will go home on this half day.

We have Step-Up Day on Wednesday, May 29. Our kindergartners go next door and spend an hour in the first grade to assess what next year might be like, while first graders go upstairs to second grade to do the same. Our second graders go next door to experience third grade, and our third graders cross the hall to hear about the fourth grade. Fourth graders will go down the hall to learn about the fifth grade, and the fifth graders will go up the hill to the sixth grade wing in Crocker. New students are invited to attend this event. This short period in next year’s classrooms does a lot to alleviate some worries and the children are usually very excited to move up momentarily and then return back to the security of their current rooms and teachers.

Wednesday, June 5 is our Annual Lower School/Upper School Teddy Bear Picnic. Students are invited to bring a teddy bear (or other beloved stuffed animal) and a blanket to picnic on. We find that it works best if the teddy bears and stuffed animals that come to school fit inside a backpack; anything larger is too cumbersome for this day. In keeping with this wonderful Applewild tradition, we will eat lunch with our buddies outdoors, weather permitting.

On Thursday, June 6, the fifth graders go north to the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough, NH for their last field trip of the year. They will hike at the Andres Sculpture Park in Brookline, NH before heading back to campus. This is also the last day of Extended Day.

We will have our final Common Time of this year and an informal send-off for our fifth graders on Friday, June 7 at 10:45. This day is a noon dismissal for the whole school; buses will run at noon only. This is the last day of school for kindergartners, first, and second graders. Fifth grade parents are welcome to join us for this Common Time.

Third through fifth graders will attend Recognition Day and Eighth Grade Graduation on Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday June 12. Tuesday is a noon dismissal and on Wednesday the students are dismissed at 11:30. These two last days are dress up days, please.

In a blinding flash of projects, activities, culminations, and events the year will be over! I hope you enjoy these lovely spring days and treasure the delightful moments with your children.  

Kindergarten News
Lisa Barrette
Sandi Rantala
Jenny Coeur

May is an exciting month in Kindergarten as we begin to wrap up our year’s studies, prepare for our Spring Concert, and reflect on how far we have come together. 

In class we will continue to work on phonic skills, sight word reading, writing skills, addition, and subtraction.  We will also study numbers to 100 in greater depth.  We are also working on a Mother’s Day project and are keeping information about this a “surprise” until then. In science, we will continue to study the life cycle of a frog and butterfly, as well as plants and flowers.  We will take a walk to the frog pond, and if we are lucky, find some tadpoles to take back to the classroom!  It is fascinating to observe the stages from tadpole to froglet to an adult frog.  We will then return to the pond and release the frogs back into their natural habitat. 

Our Lower School Spring Concert takes place on Thursday, May 9th at 2:30PM.  They will also perform for the whole school on the morning of May 10.  Both of these events require concert dress, which for kindergartners means slacks and collared shirts for boys (tie optional), and a nice dress or dress pants/collared shirt for girls. Dress shoes are also required, and girls are encouraged to wear flats rather than shoes with heels. Of course, shoes must have backs to them; no slip-ons, please.   

Wednesday, May 29 is Step Up Day.  Kindergartners will make a group visit to first grade that morning.  A lot of anticipation and mixed feelings happen toward this time of the year.  Step Up Day gives students an exciting preview of what’s ahead.

Wednesday, June 5 is our Teddy Bear Picnic at lunchtime.  This will be our last Buddy Day activity.  Children are encouraged to bring in one stuffed animal that will fit in their backpacks.  They may also bring in a small blanket to use on the lawn during the picnic with their fifth grade buddies. Students will be making cards in class  as a thank you to their buddies.

The following day, Thursday, June 6 is the last day of Extended Day, and Friday, June 7 is the last day of school for K-2.

Any children whose birthdays fall during the summer are invited to schedule their school birthday celebration during the end of May/beginning of June.  Please contact me to make arrangements.

It is hard to believe that our year is drawing to an end so quickly.  It always amazes me how much a kindergartner progresses in just nine months.  My least favorite part of every year is the end, having to let students go after they have come so far.  This year, I am delighted to have the opportunity to move on with them to first grade and be a part of their continued growth!

Summer work/activities will be sent home to help your child practice the skills they have worked so hard to acquire this year. Please return the work when school begins in September.   Please note, doing some of the work each week is much more effective than completing it all at once at the end of August.  Thank you all for a terrific year; I hope you have a wonderful summer!

Kindergarten at Devens
Jenn Bevilacqua 

Spring has Sprung! We are preparing for our annual Garden Planting Community Day in May. This means we are beginning our Planting Unit. We will be growing green beans in our classroom, then planting them in our outdoor classroom garden boxes, where the green beans will be enjoyed throughout the summer in Summer Camp! We will be completing a bean book on the life cycle of a bean plant. We will also be recording the growth of our plants through a graphing chart and watering them daily.

Our phonics and penmanship are now showing great success and we are writing daily and creating class books. We continue to write in our journals using our trick words and simple sentences.  We are hard at work with our math unit on addition, subtraction and numbers to 100.

June will soon be here! We will be completing and working on many end of the year projects to take home to remember our year in kindergarten! This year has been a wonderful success with your child and I am very proud of all of them. 

Have a wonderful summer and I can’t wait to see you in the Fall!  

First Grade News
Micaela Caiozzo

May has arrived and the school year is nearing the end. Yet, there is still much learning and fun to do in first grade! First graders will begin the month by welcoming grandparents and special persons into our classroom to share a glimpse of all the wonderful things students have learned this year.

It’s amazing to think back to the beginning of the school year when most of these first graders were just learning to read and write. Now they are confident readers and writers and enjoy sharing their talents with others. Our literacy activities will continue to provide reinforcement activities to help develop these skills.

Throughout the month, I will be assessing students on their mastery in spelling, reading, writing, and math.  At the same time, we will pursue new concepts in all of these areas.

In math, we are beginning  a unit on fractions and time. The students will work with the fractions in halves and fourths, and be able to tell time to the hour and half-hour. Students will also review money (identifying and counting pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters). First graders will add mixed coins and use different coin combinations to make 25 cents. Students will continue to work with numbers up to 120 and identify the place value of each digit in the number. This concept will be taught using digi-blocks and other hands-on activities.

At the beginning of the year, our class went on a field trip to the Fitchburg Public Library. I hope that you and your child will take advantage of visiting your local library regularly throughout the summer in order to help your child continue to strengthen his/her reading skills and love of learning. Thank you all for everything you have done to make our school year so successful! Best wishes for a safe, happy, healthy summer!   

Second Grade News
Kathie Grzewinski

I am very proud of the second graders’ achievements this year. I can’t believe how quickly the year has gone by. The end is near for second grade!

In reading, we are writing our rough draft of our biography project and will begin to write the  final copy of the written report. Next, the children will be back in leveled groups for the remainder of the school year, as well as ending the month with assessing reading fluency and comprehension through running records.

In math, we’ll continue with Module 6-Foundations of Multiplication and Division and then will introduce Module 7-Problem Solving with length, Money and Data. This is an exciting module where the children will have an opportunity to practice addition and subtraction strategies within 100 and problem solving skills as they learn to work with various types of units within

the contexts of length, money and data. Students will graph, measure and estimate length with both metric and customary units.

We are very busy in language arts. In phonics we  continue with r-controlled syllable types, combining syllables with other types, D syllable (double vowel) and various vowels teams. For our writing, the children will be finishing up their Budding Author booklets. The children will be reading their original copies of their Fantastic Fables to their Grandparents/Special Persons. Plan also to look for our fables in our yearly Apple Blossom publication this month. We will then finish the year in writing, working on our second grade remembrances.

In social studies, we will finish our Junior Atlas program and have an assessment of map skills and geographical terms that we learned. We will also use our periods to work on our Biography project, prepare for Grandparents Day/Special Persons Day,  and Mother’s Day, as well as completing end of the year activities and assessments in all subjects. We’ll visit our Grandfriends in May, where we will have a “Patriotic” sing-along with flags to celebrate Memorial Day. Then in June, we will have a picnic with our Grandfriends to celebrate the end of the school year and our last visit! 

What a wonderful year it has been! Thank you for sharing your children with me. I know they are ready for third grade!

Third Grade News
Danielle Mannion

Wow! This year has really flown by and we are nearing the end of third grade year. It has been truly remarkable to see each child grow and adapt over the course of this year.

In math, students will be bouncing through Modules. We are currently on Module 4: Multiplication and Area. Students will be having fun with their grandparents or special person finding areas of both premade and self made shapes.

In reading, students are doing well with the author study of Kate DiCamillo. Students are either reading The Marvelous Journey of Edward Tulane or Because of Winn Dixie. Students will continue these books for the next week or two before moving onto Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.

Students have worked hard on their President Projects and I cannot wait to see the final products that will be turned in on May 6th. We have just begun our last Social Studies unit of the year, Lewis & Clark. Students will learn through doing, spending a lot of time outdoors exploring the Applewild Campus. 

In language arts students will continue their work on homophones. Our list of homophones  is growing every week, and during the month of May we will cover  many more. In cursive we will continue to learn our capital letters. We are in the final home stretch, and we will practice writing in cursive in preparation for fourth grade. We will also stay busy with our weekly Wordly Wise, spelling, and GUM lessons. Writing time will be used to work on our Mayflower Journals. 

I want to thank you for allowing me such a wonderful year with your children, it certainly has been one to remember! Have a wonderful,  happy summer! 

Fourth Grade News
Jenn Buck

It is hard to believe we are in the final stretch of our fourth grade year together. It has been a year of growth, challenge, and adventure. Thank you for your support from home for all that what we have done. I know we are all proud of our rising fifth graders!

The remainder of the year in math will be spent on fractions.  We will focus on fraction comparison; fraction addition and subtraction; extending fraction equivalence to fractions greater than 1; and addition and subtraction of fractions by decomposition.  We will finish the year with end-of-the-year math benchmark assessments covering the most important topics from the fourth grade curriculum, and I will let you know if there are any benchmarks that your child has not yet mastered, which will need attention in the form of extra practice over the summer. Also, please keep an eye out for summer work in reading and math, which goes home to all Applewild students.

In social studies and reading, we will continue to focus on immigration. Work will be done in school on the Heritage Project -- a research activity to learn more about one of the countries from which each student’s ancestors originally came. More information regarding this project will come home soon.  The Heritage Project has been reimagined, so, if you had a fourth grader in prior years, it might look a little different than in the past past, so stay tuned!  At school, the children will learn research and note taking skills and, with guidance and support, will come up with their own way to demonstrate what they have learned. Metacognitive skills will be developed as students use their developing knowledge of themselves as learners in order to choose a way to share their content knowledge to the best of their ability and interest.  At home, they will be asked to prepare a food to share from their country of focus, and we will hold a culminatory event at which they will share their work and their edible treat.

In language arts, we will keep busy! We will also keep plugging away with weekly Wordly Wise, spelling, and GUM lessons. Writing time will be used to work on our Heritage Project. 

Lastly, fourth graders will have the opportunity to run for Green or White Team Captain before the end of the year. Information will be sent home about this exciting event at a later date. Also, please don’t forget to complete and turn in your child’s Book Log, which was sent home last summer. The fourth grader who read the most books this year will be awarded the Holloway Book Award at Recognition Day.

Again, thank you for a wonderful year with your children. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending the year with them! 

Fifth Grade News
Mike Mullins
Jake Schrader

The fifth graders have been working to complete a variety of projects and assignments this spring.  We plan to forge ahead now so that we’ll have an opportunity to pause and reflect on our successes as the warmer weather approaches.

In math we are learning about the similarities and differences between area and volume. We will be making small sculptures of different geometric shapes and calculating their total volumes. After that we will spend some time categorizing geometric shapes. We will end the year with a study of the coordinate plane through graphing and analysis. Throughout all of these exciting topics we will be checking for understanding of topics from throughout the year in order to prepare for math in the Upper School.

In history, we will become immersed in the study of ancient Greek and Roman culture. From pottery to military prowess, theater to language, we will see how these cultures continue to inform our everyday life! Did you know that the word protagonist, when broken down, literally means “the person you root for in the contest?” Pro- meaning for. agon- meaning a contest or competition. ist- meaning person. Cool!

We will begin our last book, Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit.  It is an interesting book, and our discussions usually yield great ideas and insight about the best times of our lives. It will be toadally great!

Our writing classes will be devoted to improving our student-selected submissions for the Apple Blossom Anthology.

Our end of the year field trip will be to the Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center to explore ancient civilizations, and we will travel to the Andres Institute of Art to experience a unique outdoor sculpture park.

We would like to wish all of the fifth grade families a happy,  healthy summer.

Physical Education
Paulo Valentim

Lower School has worked hard all year long in PE learning new skills and games. In every class, our focus has been on sportsmanship and teamwork. Students have done an amazing job building on these concepts in every game we play. For the rest of the year, we will play a variety of games, continue to practice fundamental skills, and revisit the basics of soccer. A few games we will play are Four Square, Race Base, Go Nuts!, Crystal Caves, Frogs and Flies, Soccer Blast Off, and Capture the Bean Bags.

If the weather cooperates, we will continue to try to get outside as much as possible. I hope everyone has a relaxing and enjoyable summer! It was a pleasure getting to know your children this year!  

La Classe de français
Madame Katy Niose
Bonne Fête du Muguet
!   (Happy May Day! *a.k.a. Lily-of-the-valley Day in France)

Kindergarten will be playing games, reading stories, and singing songs, as they learn about spring and summer vocabulary.

First grade will begin reading and writing simple words and illustrating ideas in French, as we read from a Berlitz book entitled Les cinq pastels de Nicolas for early French readers.  They will continue to play games, read stories, and sing songs, as they learn about spring and summer vocabulary.

Second grade will study <<la métamorphose>> (metamorphosis), as they read about and illustrate the life cycle of the caterpillar.  They will also play games and sing songs relating to the spring and summer seasons.

Third grade will read a fairy tale entitled Méchant méchant, and create their own imaginative endings, applying verb conjugations and vocabulary they have been studying.

Fourth grade will practice counting money (euros and Canadian dollars), and play number games in French. They will study the French food pyramid, and they will design their own dream homes. They will also continue to read articles in the educational French Magazine Allons-y, learning about current French events.

Fifth grade will be finishing their biography projects this month.  After the final written draft and visual presentation is completed, students will present their biographies to the Lower School during Common Time. They will also be learning about current events, as well as reading articles about upcoming summer sports and activities mentioned in our scholastic French magazine, Allons-y.

All Lower School classes will continue to collaborate with the Science curriculum on an “Éclosion” (Egg-hatching) project, which began last month and will continue throughout the spring.  Students are enjoying a hands-on learning experience as they observe the hatching and brooding process with our Lower school ducklings. We continue to focus on metacognitive learning through reflection, collaboration, and making good choices in the learning process. 

Music and Drama Notes
Erin Schlesinger


Lower School Spring Concert -  May 9th, 2:30 p.m.

5th Grade Band Joins the US Concert - May 9th, 7:00 p.m.

All School Spring Concert - May 10th, 9:45 a.m.

Concert Dress is required of all performers at all concerts: black on the bottom, white on the top, dress shoes. Ties for the boys in fourth and fifth grades.

Whew! It has been a very busy year in Performing Arts so far, and we are now heading into one last concert. The Appleseed Chorus is busily polishing up three songs from our show THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, and they will also be infusing our Orff instruments in as many places as we can. We are heading towards another spectacular performance!

In fourth grade we finished up our study of Aerophones, Chordophones, and Idiophones with a rousing Spoons tournament using our Instruments of the World card decks. We will be returning to the Orff instruments (which are Idiophones) to rehearse and play music by some Great Composers. First up will be Pachelbel followed by Mozart, Hayden, and Beethoven.

In fifth grade we are putting together all the building blocks we’ve worked on all year. We are learning to play Blues in C from scratch, with all the proper chords and lyrics and improvisation that a normal blues piece would have. It is impressive to watch!

Our students have worked very hard all year. They have consistently set goals for themselves at the beginning of each class period, and have taken time to be reflective about their successes and their “next steps” in the process. I am always proud to stand back and watch them perform this time of year. I hope you enjoy every note! 

Recorder Ensemble and Fifth Grade Band
Frank Bonanno

The Lower School Instrumental program is now in full swing preparing for their May Concerts. The Fourth Grade Recorder Ensemble and the Fifth Grade Band have been spending a lot of time perfecting their parts. We have been also practicing our scales, articulations, and long tones to reinforce our musical foundation. When I choose the compositions, not only do I try to expose the students to a variety of musical styles, but I also need to find compositions suitable for the ensemble instrumentation. 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 to rely on what is being played around them. I have been showing the students rehearsal and practice techniques to prepare for the concerts. 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 Art
Sara Sanford

May will be a busy month in the studio! We are learning about frogs in our kindergarten art class, and using our own experiences with frogs to plan our work! We will create a class frog mural based upon our research, and connect our work with Monet’s garden and pond in France.

In first grade, we are working on our animal habitats with the work that is happening in the regular classroom. Students have created the sculpture of their animals, and are currently designing the habitat based on their research.

In second grade, we are working on the element of pattern, and creating pattern landscapes. We are noticing that our work with quilling and balance on our butterfly project last month has similarities to the current project, and we are using that knowledge to drive our direction in terms of creating patterns, as well as balance and harmony in our work.

In third grade, we are proud of our weavings on our looms that were made in shop class! Third graders are really getting to know themselves as learners. They are making work area choices based on the success that they have with focus, and are identifying their strengths and weaknesses in terms of techniques, and planning their time accordingly each week.

In fourth grade, we are continuing our clay sculpture pencil holders by discovering the best way to handle the engineering aspects of building sculpture. Our “Artist Share” moments allow each student to get feedback and suggestions from their peers.

In fifth grade, we continue our study of color, currently exploring the idea of complimentary colors and how they interact with each other to promote a center of interest in a piece of work.  The studio is alive with energy, ideas, and growth!  

Lower School Shop
Sharon McGowan

The ring toss games have been completed with both the Applewild and Devens kindergartens.  We were very happy to welcome our Devens friends back into the shop last week.

Kindergarten has started sanding and painting their whirligigs.  We found photos of birds, including the ability to hear the birds songs, on an Audubon website.   The faces of the students were delightful to see with each photo and song!  The children are choosing to paint their own “breed” of bird.  Each one is very creative and fun.

The first grade’s balancing toys are complete and have been taken home.  Mrs. Caiozzo took a class photo with all of the toys balanced in precarious places on the children!  We will start our final project of an abacus this week.  The first grade will be measuring for the side pieces followed by sanding the rough edges.  We use a large metal snip to cut the pieces of wire for the beads.  The first grade will use their muscles to get the snip to close on the wire.  We will be picking out beads before choosing our colors to paint.

 In second grade we have one last step to do to complete the tool boxes.  We cut the handle at the very last to be sure it fits as snugly as possible.  The student have done a wonderful job with all the steps of building the tool box.  Especially challenging is using the screwdriver and gaining leverage to get the pieces assembled correctly.  We are looking forward to a new final project for the year.  The second grade will be building a hanging bird feeder.  It will be a fun last project.

The third grade is working diligently towards completion of their glockenspiel. We have a busy next few weeks!  They have been carefully measuring and cutting their copper tubing.  The students have been terrific working with a buddy using the pipe cutting tool.  We are ready to drill for the 22 dowels to be placed in the frames.  The students will use steel wool to shine the tubes, assemble the instrument, and finally choose a finish to complete the project.

Our fourth grade has completed their lamps.  The students have put forth extra effort individually, and as a group.  They are very excited to present the lamps to the lower school.  The lamps are beautiful and it is so exciting to see them light up for the first time.  The fourth grade is looking forward to building the second project of a solar car.  When the cars are complete, the students will be off to the races on the sidewalk!

Have a wonderful, healthy summer! 

First and Second Grade Science
Tally Lent

First graders are immersed in the liquids portion of our Solids and Liquids Unit and we will culminate the unit by exploring a non-Newtonian substance (is it a liquid or a solid?) and visiting our campus frog pond to explore what lives within those liquidy midsts. We will wrap up the year with some seed starting and planting.

Second graders are spinning and rolling their way through the end of our Balance and Motion Unit and will soon culminate this study with a room-size marble run that they will design and create themselves. We will wrap up our year by studying what second graders love best: rocks!

It has been a joy to spend time with your children in science class. They are observant and curious and ever-willing to explore. They have enjoyed our egg hatching work and love the four perfect ducklings that are sharing our science room! 

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Science
Jake Schrader

Third graders have begun their final unit of study, Earth Materials. This module introduces students to fundamental concepts in Earth Science, and takes advantage of their intrinsic interest in rocks. Students will be “rocking” as they gain experience with rocks and minerals. Metric measuring tools are used to help students gather data about their rocks. Students work like true geologists with their “picks” and goggles as they carefully take apart their own mock rock. They observe, describe, record, and organize their data. Students will learn that rocks are composed of minerals and that minerals cannot be physically separated into other materials. After organizing minerals on the basis of the property hardness, we will investigate the effect of acid (vinegar) on a specific mineral, calcite. Many scientific thinking processes will be used as students conduct investigations of these fascinating materials. Keep exploring this summer!

Fourth graders have worked hard to develop an invention that can have a profound impact in our world. After a successful Prototype Promenade, students are ready to consider what the next steps may be for their inventions. We will study some of the most important inventions of all time and consider the steps necessary to bring a prototype all the way to the finish line as a finished invention. Viewing prototypes as a part of the process but not an end point will allow students to think critically about their process. Reflecting on what we have done and what we can do next will prepare students to think more deeply about their achievements. Who knows, maybe we will be seeing some of these inventions on Shark Tank in the years to come!

Fifth graders will conclude their exploration of the Solar System and begin their final unit, Variables. The emphasis in this unit is on the Scientific Method. In this module, students realize that some of the most important scientific concepts they learn about involve relationships between objects and events. Relationships always involve interactions, dependencies, and cause and effect.  Students will discover these relationships through the carefully controlled experiments they design and conduct. In each experiment, students will gain experience with the concept of a system, and within the system, the concept of a variable. Each investigation provides students the opportunity to construct materials that they will use in the experiment. Students observe and record data concretely, pictorially, and symbolically to discover relationships. They will use their data to make predictions and apply math in the context of science. Lab report writing, an integral part of this unit, will help develop and sharpen skills needed in subsequent grades. Much will be expected from these students as they prepare for the 6th grade. 

Molly Wong

A gentle reminder as the year begins winding down: take a look around your home and car for any library books that may have been misplaced. Overdue slips will go out next week, but you can save some paper by finding those books now!

May will be a busy month in the library as we finish our digital literacy lessons in first through fourth grades and all grades will spend time “tasting” books and creating our summer book menus. We will think about the books we have read and enjoyed this year in order to make some summer reading goals. Finding books in a bookstore or the public library can be overwhelming for readers of all ages. Walking in with a list of sampled books or authors can make it easier for you and your child to find a wonderful selection of summer reading.

Kindergartners will enjoy a selection books about spring and summer. Each read aloud will review the parts of a book and the concepts of author/illustrator and fiction/nonfiction. They will also be setting their summer reading goals and talking about how they can remember to grow as readers all summer long.

The first grade had lots of fun on our digital field trip to the San Diego Zoo, and now know all about the wonderful places the internet can take them! First grade students will be “tasting” many different types of books this month so they can head into summer full of great book ideas.

Second grade will read some silly Roald Dahl classics, share some book reviews, and “taste” books to create our summer book menus.

Our focus will change now to finding books. Many third graders have been requesting books from Ansin, so they will be happy to know they will spend two library periods exploring the Ansin Library (which will be their browsing library next year), and will be the only grade to have a book tasting in both libraries!

In fourth grade, students will finish up their book reviews on Bookopolis, reflect on their BHAG goals and set their new goals for summer. Their book tastings will include both my selections and their own recommendations for classmates.

Please note that students are allowed to check out one book over the summer, provided that they have no other books outstanding.

Important Dates in May and June 

Wed., May 1:            Fifth grade to The Ecotarium in Worcester

                                    3:30 - 5:30 French Club

Fri., May 3:               Grandparents/Special Persons Day

                                    Noon dismissal for all

Wed., May 8            10:15-2:30 Fifth grade to Worcester Art Museum

Thurs., May 9          Devens Kindergarten on Fitchburg Campus today!

1:00 Fifth grade parents invited to hear about Upper School

                                    2:30 Lower School Concert

                                    7:00 Upper School Concert with fifth graders, too!

Fri., May 10               9:45 All School Spring Concert

Mon., May 20           Third graders go to The Arc to plant with their buddies there

Wed., May 22           8:30 Step-up for next year’s kindergartners

10:00 Second graders to The Gables

Fri., May 24                Fourth and Fifth Graders participate in Field Day with the

 Upper Schoolers at FSU. Noon dismissal for all.


Mon., May 27             Memorial Day. No School.

Wed., May 29             8:30 Step Up Day for current kindergarten through fifth


Thurs., May 30            8:30 Interactive Wax Museum in second grade

Fri., May 31                9:45 Sixth grade play

Wed., June 5               12:00  Teddy Bear Picnic with buddies!

Thurs., June 6              8:20 - 3:30 Fifth grade to the Mariposa Museum in

Peterborough, NH and the Andres Sculpture Park in Brookline, NH

Last day of Extended Day

Fri., June 7               Last Day of School for K - 2

                                    10:30 CT for Fifth Grade Moving Up Ceremony, Dining Hall

Mon., June 10         Professional Day; No School for students

Tues., June 11          Recognition Day; Dress Up attire required of all.

                                    Noon dismissal

Wed., June 12         Last day of school grades 3 - 8

                                    Eighth grade graduation; Dress Up attired required of all

                                    11:30 Dismissal


Taylor Poucel