News from the Principal…by Mr. Martellone
It has often been said that a dog is man’s & woman’s best friend. It is a saying that I myself and many of the Fiske staff members truly believe! However when it comes to “man’s best friend” and the Fiske school property, unfortunately, they do not mix.
Although we love family pets, there are students here with allergies and fears of dogs. We can also not foresee how even the calmest animal will react when there are almost 500 students arriving and being dismissed from school at the end of the day. Out of respect for the entire Fiske Community we ask that you leave “Fido” at home or in the car, (with the window down, of course).
Below is the policy from the Lexington School Committee regarding animals in school. Please take a minute to review it.
LEXINGTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE POLICY
No animal shall be brought onto a Lexington Public School property without prior permission of a building principal.
* Wild Animals and Domestic Stray Animals - Because of the high incidence of rabies in bats, raccoon, skunks, foxes and other wild carnivores, such animals may not be permitted in school buildings under any circumstances (including dead animals). Bat houses may not be installed on school grounds.
* Fur-Bearing Animals These animals, including but not limited to, pet dogs, cats, wolf-hybrids, ferrets may not be brought to school. These animals may pose a risk for transmitting rabies as well as parasites, fleas, other diseases and injuries.
* Poisonous Animals Venomous insects and spiders and poisonous snakes, reptiles, and lizards are prohibited in school for safety reasons.
* Exceptions: Guide, Hearing, and other Service Dogs or Law Enforcement Dogs These animals may be allowed in school or on school grounds with proof of current rabies vaccination, after consultation with a school principal and in accordance with procedures established by the Superintendent of Schools. For purposes of this policy, a “service animal” includes any dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do the work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.
Ref: Revised ADA Regulations Implementing Title II and Title III; Final Rule amending CFR Part 35; Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services as published in the Federal Register September 15, 2010. Town of Lexington Park and Recreational Facilities Regulations, Appendix E, February 9, 1981 (under review.) Town of Lexington Board of Health, Article VI, Animals (Adopted April 7, 1998; amended May 8, 2001.)
ANIMALS IN SCHOOLS POLICY
First Reading: May 31, 2011
Second Reading: June 15, 2011
Date Approved by School Committee: June 15, 2011
Signature of Chair: On File ___ Page 1 of 1
The kindergarten classrooms were surely the most exciting places to be in Fiske School during the month of April! Each classroom hatched and cared for baby chicks. The science unit began upon the arrival of 12 chick eggs per classroom. The children learned that we used the incubators to do the hens’ job: to keep the eggs warm (100º F) for 21 days. Every day we read books and discussed the development of the chicks. We counted down the days with a paper chain, and examined a poster that illustrated what the chicks should look like each day during their development.
We “candled” the eggs as the chicks were developing inside the eggs. This means that we put a flashlight up against the egg in a dark room (the bathroom!) to see the shadows inside the egg. We were able to see the chick’s shadow, the chick’s movement, the air space inside the egg, and veins! It was amazing.
Finally, after 20 and 21 days inside the incubators, our baby chicks hatched! The children could see how wet and exhausted the chicks were after all of their hard work! The children had seen a video of a chick hatching prior to our “hatch day,” but seeing it firsthand is thrilling!
The children helped care for the chicks by providing grain and water, keeping the lamp on for heat, and giving them plenty of love and affection! After spending a few days with the children, they were ready to go back to Thoreau Country Farm in Concord where “Famer Edie” lives.
Throughout the unit, the children wrote and drew illustrations of what they were observing and learning in their chick journals. This journal is sure to be a keepsake of a wonderful kindergarten memory!
We had two very special visitors to help culminate our egg to chick unit. First, Farmer Edie visited each classroom. She brought a hen, Clucky, and a rooster, Littlejohn. Every child had the opportunity to hold Clucky. The children learned so much about chickens!
Secondly, Mrs. Wendy Ernst from Drumlin Farm came and visited each classroom. She brought a duck, a turtle, and a variety of eggs for the children to observe, touch and learn about. The children enjoyed learning about habitats and about how we can help preserve endangered animals.
Thank you to the PTO for funding both Famer Edie and Drumlin Farm’s visits!
Currently, our kindergarten classrooms are observing and learning about the tadpole to frog life cycle. Every classroom is caring for several tadpoles. Most of our tadpoles have hind legs at this point. We are eagerly waiting for our tadpoles to grow their hind legs and become frogs. Then we will return them to the same pond (habitat) where their eggs came from.
Finally, we are also planting during this beautiful spring season. The children are learning about the seed to plant life cycle. Once our seeds have sprouted and grown into stronger plants, the children will bring them home and will need to find a proper place to transplant them so that they may watch their growth throughout the summer!
First Grade News
The first grade teachers would like to thank all of the first grade parents for meeting with us for conferences these past few weeks. It is always a pleasure to share in the first graders’ progress and share some of the great work that they do each day!
In reading, the children have been working on reading their “just right books” in class. When reading our books the children are practicing all of the reading strategies that we have learned throughout the year. They are also working on reading with expression, retelling, and making connections. Some of our recent stations include working on the diphthongs (ou, ow, oy and oi). The children have enjoyed working on centers with these sounds as well as their high frequency words.
In writers’ workshop, the first graders are thoroughly enjoying our Persuasive Letter Writing Unit. The children have taken this unit to heart and have really enjoyed writing to friends, family, teachers, and staff from Fiske School. Thank you for sending in the addressed and stamped envelopes for this project. The children just loved sending out their letters! Some letters have started to arrive at Fiske School this week. The look on the childrens faces when they see that they have gotten mail is just priceless! As May approaches, we will begin our All About Book Unit. This unit will incorporate writing from all of the writers’ workshop units this year on a topic that the children are “experts” on! This is always a hit. We will look forward to sharing our books with you at the end of the school year.
Math time is a fun time in first grade. The first graders are going to be diving in to money! We will also be working on more stations that include measurement and number combinations to 20. It is always great to practice facts at home. There are so many fun games out there with dice that are great for practicing math facts! Your child will be having fun and won’t even realize that they are getting some good math fact practice in there!
As our Balls and Ramps lesson is coming to a close in science we will begin our unit on Organisms. Each first classroom will be housing terrariums and aquariums filled with all sorts of fun little critters! The children are looking forward to this! The Organisms Unit will also include planting. We are sure we will have lots of green thumbs in first grade!We are looking forward to learning a whole lot more in the last two months of school.
Research is tough! Students are learning this as they begin to work on their research about Native American regions. The research involves combing our reading and writing skills while comprehending the social studies concepts. Students have learned how to find information in non-fiction texts, how to take notes using bullets and lists, and even how to paraphrase information. They are researching how the land, climate, and natural resources of a particular region helped the Native Americans meet their basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. After we complete the research students will be making All About Books to display what they have learned. They are going to be fantastic!
In addition, to practicing our literacy skills during research, second graders are learning the elements of a fairy tale. We will be reading and analyzing the parts of a fairy tale. Then we will compare fairy tales to fractured fairy tales. The unit will end with an original fractured fairy tale written by your children. We can’t wait to read their creative writing.
In math we have learned the basic concepts about multiplication, division, number patterns and rules. We have practiced doubling numbers/halving numbers and solving multiplication /division word problems. This week we are immersing ourselves in real-world math situation. Students will work and discuss together how to solve a problem using the concepts of place value, multi-digit addition, and subtraction. The next unit will be focused on FRACTIONS!
If ¼ of a year in New England is considered spring, how many months do we get to enjoy this beautiful weather for? Your children can answer this one because we’ve just started working on fractions in math! In third grade we focus on fractions of a whole object, locating fractions on a number line, and comparing fractions. In addition, you will see some MCAS practice packets coming home for homework and we will be practicing at school to better prepare for these mid-month assessments.
Spring is also the perfect season for our upcoming Food Chain/Pond Life unit in science. We’ve already been busy observing the growth of our tadpoles and we’re looking forward to collecting more specimens to study at Granny Pond during our BBY expedition later in May.
As always, reading and writing go hand in hand. While we study and read different types of texts, we get to practice this genre as authors too! This past month, students have delved into reading and writing poetry, folktales, interviews, and articles. Our next unit focuses on reading nonfiction texts, doing our own research, and writing an informational book.
Fourth Graders recently completed their English Language Arts and Long Composition MCAS testing. Prior to the testing, the students analyzed exemplars, reviewed the rubric to understand scoring, and practiced various test-taking skills to enhance their performance. Our next round of MCAS will focus on mathematics and is scheduled for early May.
We’re getting back into Writers’ Workshop mode, and we are delving into the genre of realistic fiction. This is always a fourth grade favorite! This genre requires a great deal of planning and pre-writing. Character and plot development are key focus areas.
Students are currently investigating fractions and will be working to order, compare, form equivalents, add, subtract, and multiply fractions.
We had a wonderful time exploring the Solar System during our field trip to the Museum of Science. It was a blast! The students will be learning more about the planets and their characteristics.
Our students continue to work in small reading groups with a focus on both fiction and non-fiction. Reading is thinking, and the students continue to develop reading strategies such as visualizing, making connections, and predicting, which all good readers use. We’re all looking forward to a strong finish to the school year!
The 5th Grade is eagerly preparing for their amazing camping adventure. We will be boarding our Coach busses on the morning of June 11th and spending an unforgettable 2 and a half days exploring in the wilderness of Rhode Island.
Over the next few weeks, we will be preparing students and parents for this trip. The students will meet with a camp leader and their teachers to learn what to expect and how to prepare.
For parents, this is most likely an unsettling time for you and your children. It may be the first time your child has been away from you for an extended amount of time. We can assure you that this experience is a positive one, one in which your child will be well-cared for and enriched. Parents will have the opportunity to meet with a camp leader on May 13th.
“Alton Jones Is A Place For Kids to Explore Outdoors!
With 2,300 acres of lakes, forests, and farmland, the W. Alton Jones Campus offers an immense outdoor classroom that’s perfect for learning, exploration, adventure, and fun! At Alton Jones students gain an understanding and appreciation of the natural world while learning about themselves and working collaboratively with others. Our fun-filled, activities-based programs are designed with the student in mind. A trip to Alton Jones helps keep students excited about learning while enhancing their classroom work with hands-on, first person experiences. So take a few minutes and choose an educational adventure that will provide your students with a lifetime of memories!”
We, the 5th Grade Team, are looking forward to supporting you and your children on this journey.
Staying Positive for Our Children
The Boston Marathon didn't end the way any of us expected. With families, including young children eagerly anticipating the arrival of the runners at the finish line, two deadly explosions shook the ground. So many young children witnessed it live and in person, and so many more saw it unfold on television. We can only say, "Not here. Not us" so many times before it really sinks in that tragedy can happen at any time in any place. It's important to remember to stay positive during these times.
1. Remain Calm
Our children can sense fear. They know when something isn't quite right. Imagine how they must feel to watch us cry or hear us say we're scared. If you stay calm, it's more likely you're children will stay calm both now and during any future tragedies.
2. Talk to Them
Don't ignore your child's request for information. Be open and honest about the events that took place but don't go into great detail. Each child will react differently to the bombings in Boston depending on age and personality.
3. Turn Off the TV
Carefully monitor what your child is watching at all times, especially now. The Boston Marathon bombings will be on the news for months to come, but the graphic and heartbreaking pictures and videos will also be shown in news promos and in news updates that can happen at any time. While you're at it, make sure you know what your child is viewing online. Keep that computer where you can see it.
4. Don't Hide
You may feel like keeping your children home from school to hide from the world. That's what terrorism does. It instills terror. Each of us wants nothing more than to protect our families. But there's only so much we can do. None of us knows when or how our time here will end. Living in fear won't change that. Don't lose your love for life or allow your child to either.
5. Show Your Love
We all want to feel better after a tragedy occurs. Right now, even if your child is saying it, she may need nothing more than you. So hug your children a little more often. Remind them that they are safe and they are loved. It will help them overcome their fears, and will probably comfort you a bit too.
6. Give Back
Be a role model for your child by working together to give back to those affected by the Boston bombings. You can donate to the families who were injured or lost a loved one, or to a local charity. The New England Patriots are even matching donations.
After any tragedy, whether personal or national, we all cope differently. It's an important time to make sure your children learn to cope, feel safe, and understand what happened as best as they can. The marathon may not have ended the way we wanted it to, but it won't end the way the terrorists wanted either. As so many Bostonians have already shown us, they are living strong and haven't lost their spirit. Terrorists can never steal that.
Mrs. O’Leary and Ms. O’Connor
Wow! Only 24 more days and we have so much slated to create in the art Room.
We are working on “My Art Books”. The activities in this book are a review of all things we’ve learned this year. We started the page about neutral colors this week and warm and cool colors last week.
Coming up – A self-portrait, texture, shapes, secondary and primary colors and all about lines and pattern.
We have been working on mola collage designs with lots of detailed line designs. They will be going home soon. We will have started to design decorations for the American Symbol Parade. This 2-3 week project will focus on lettering and decorating American Icons. Look for this art when the parade comes to town on 6/7! Soon to come a small Matisse like painting.
We will also be working on what to pack for summer vacation.
We just glazed a pinch clay project, a pot, animal or creature, where students learned to wedge, check for air bubbles, and slip and score added pieces. Those went home a few weeks ago. We are now working on a “Bug’s” eye view of a flower, with the flowers inspired by Georgia O’Keefe. Symmetrical butterfly to follow. Geometric shape design book covers. The ultimate dream house project and perhaps one more inspired Native American piece.
Students have been working on sculpting plaster self-portrait of what they want to be when they grow up, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “Maybe you should fly a jet! May be you should be a vet! The students are making clothing and set them in an illustrated scene. We will also be working on a silhouette type painting of warm colors. Hopefully we will get to a painting of an animal hiding in its environment, inspired by Henry Rousseau.
We just painted / glazed a pinch pot or slap piece. These may have the glaze colors of China and Chinese calligraphy. We also looked at the work of Paul Klee and designed a painting using overlapped symbols for planets with black paint, colored chalk and white glitter. We will be working on a Celtic stained glass like design as well as a giant face card.
We just finished a black, white and gray abstract painting, using our mixing skills. We are now illustrating “Modern Mona Lisa”. We will be designing starbursts with our names for graduation, based on the Pop Art style of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Look for your son or daughter’s during graduation. We will be designing our own Campbell Soup and practicing drawing a city in one point perspective.
That should wrap it up!
Hope you all have a great summer relaxing and having fun together.
We hope everyone is enjoying this fine stretch of weather. What a great time to be active outdoors. Students in Grades 3-5 have been extremely active in their PE classes exerting best effort during Fitnessgram. Fitnessgram assesses student fitness and activity levels. Aerobic capacity, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility have all been assessed. Grades K-2 have also continued their year long fitness development as well as playing group and cooperative games with a focus on teamwork, fair play and sportsmanship. All grades are now starting a lacrosse skills unit focusing on tossing and catching. Thursday, June 6th is Field Day. Volunteers are needed to help the day run smoothly. The more the merrier. So clear those schedules and come enjoy a morning of fun and games with our students. Your past participation has been so helpful and I hope to see many of you all again this year!
Mr. Spiller, Mr. Cuzzupe and Mr. Morello
Math for the Month
Mathematical Practice Standard 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
Often being “good” at math means completing problems quickly and using numbers, rather than diagrams or drawings, to do so. If someone struggles with a math problem or tries multiple approaches to a problem before they find one that works, they can be seen as someone who is not “good” at math. However, the most interesting problems in life and mathematics are those that require perseverance and thought. These problems usually require multiple attempts to solve them and varied solution strategies.
The 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks explicitly states perseverance and making sense of problems as a Practice Standard in Mathematics. A student who is persevering and making sense of problems will:
The elementary mathematics specialists and teachers are developing lessons and implementing new mathematics programs that require perseverance and sense making. We are using more problems that require a whole class period or even a number of days to solve them. We specifically select problems that are not obvious. All of these actions are designed to encourage perseverance in problem solving.
We also are talking with students differently about mathematics. Not only are we having discussions about how a problem can be solved but we are also talking about why certain strategies make sense in certain problems.
Recently in a 3rd class students were working on estimation as a tool to solve problems. Students were presented with this problem:
A box of pencils cost $1.49.
I have $5.00.
Do I have enough money to buy 3 boxes of pencils?
Students had to solve the problem mentally. Several students rounded to $1.50 and added it three times to get $4.50, saying that they had enough money. Some students insisted on subtracting the 3¢ added in rounding from their answer of $4.50. A class discussion followed about whether or not they needed to subtract the 3¢. Students concluded that you didn’t need to subtract out the 3¢ because the dollar amount was under $5.00 even with rounding up.
The next problem was:
I need 120 stickers for an art project.
I have 3 sheets of stickers. There are 39 stickers on a sheet.
Do I have enough stickers?
Once again students had to solve the problem mentally. Students said no you don’t have enough stickers. In this case most students rounded the 39 to 40 and multiplied 40 x 3. However they then decided to subtract the 3¢ added in rounding up because they knew the number of stickers with rounding was greater than the actual number of stickers.
In these two problems, both of which required rounding, estimation, and multiplication, students had to consider the 3¢ in different ways. The differing contexts and numbers required this. It is our goal as teachers to continue to implement the mathematical practice of “making sense of problems and persevering at them” in reasonable and meaningful ways for your children so that they develop more proficiency at thinking and acting like mathematicians.
This article and links to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks as well as fun math for you and your child are on the Fiske Math Specialist website at http://teacherweb.com/MA/LexingtonPublicSchools/FiskeReading/links2.aspx
In the kindergarten group we are talking about weather describing words and action words. Our first grade class just finished a unit where we identified characteristics of living and non-living things. In the second and third grades, we are helping our students to build schema with a unit on fairy tales. In the fourth and fifth grades, we are helping our students develop their reading comprehension in non-fiction. We are also working on honing their writing skills.
In preparation for MCAS, the ELL department has been incorporating technical instructional vocabulary into our daily lessons to bolster our students’ comprehension during their MCAS testing. We wish all our students who are taking the MCAS the best of luck!
Greetings from the Music Room….
Performance season is here! You are invited to other upcoming musical performances:
The Third Grade Recorder Concert: Thursday, May 23rd at 11:30 a.m. in the Fiske gym. Our thrilling Third Grade will be singing and playing their recorders, and sharing all the hard work they’ve been doing.
The Strings/Band/5th Grade Chorus concerts: Our Fourth and Fifth grade strings, our Fifth Grade Band, and the Formidable Fifth Grade Chorus will be performing on Wednesday, June 5th. There will be two concerts; one for the school at 9 a.m. and one for families at 7 p.m..
Things you might see or hear if you walked by the music room at Fiske:
Kindergarten: children discovering their singing voices and exploring the beginnings of music literacy.
1st Grade: Skipping and galloping to the Country Dance.
2nd Grade: Distinguishing between how many notes something has and how many beats it has. Also doing an awesome train dance.
3rd Grade: RECORDER RECORDER RECORDER.
4th Grade: Ask your 4th grader to sing the Old Woman song for you.
5th Grade: Preparing for the upcoming chorus concert and performing poems with dynamics (ask them about Jickety Can).
Mrs. Azeredo, Ms. Gertner, Mrs. Sepe
The end of the school year is quickly approaching! Help your child keep the momentum going through the summer by attending Lexington’s Summer Learning Night for parents! This event will take place on Wednesday, May 22nd in the Fiske gym from 6:30-8:30pm. The evening (for K-2 parents) is a great opportunity to pick up K-2 summer reading lists, learn about literacy activities and games that can be practiced at home, explore literacy websites, and speak with literacy teachers who will be available to answer questions. Summer reading is the key to maintaining and improving your child’s literacy skills and preparing for the upcoming school year!