Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring is in the Air!!

As we enter the Month of April we have completed 2 trimesters of study and April 1 is the 133rd day of school according to Mrs. Moran’s Kindergarteners and 1st Graders!  Thursday April 2 promises to be a particularly busy day with Smarter Balanced Testing in Grades 3-5 in the morning, Parent Conferences in the afternoon and early evening and Jo Boaler’s Math Presentation for teachers and parents at Exeter High School after that.  As always we have staff members eager to share.

Mrs. Dugan prepared the following Press Release for the “Carriage Town News”:

Words Fill the Piggy Bank at Barnard School

At South Hampton’s Barnard School, second and third grade students learned new vocabulary words throughout the winter while donating money to a good cause.

During guided reading lessons, boys and girls bookmarked unfamiliar words using sticky notes.  These words were shared and discussed to learn meanings and generate synonyms.  Then each new vocabulary word went into student “brain banks” in exchange for a quarter for the piggy bank.

Two hundred and thirty-four quarters (almost $60.00) filled the piggy bank on the last day of winter, 2015.  Students counted the quarters and voted to donate them to A Safe Place, a homeless shelter in Portsmouth, N.H., to honor South Hampton town leader Walter Shivik who died last December. 

Unlike piggy banks, brain banks have room for an unlimited number of new words, and so we encourage a habit of learning new words throughout lifetimes.  There may even be some actual monetary “interest” to be earned as research suggests a correlation between adult vocabulary size and income level.

Mrs. Cestrone always has much to share:
            “Grade K-1 is learning about atoms, molecules and how they make up organisms.  We are reading the Dr. Seuss book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck and we have created some green oobleck (cornstarch and water).  We will continue to talk about atoms, parts of the atom, how they move and eventually how they make up everything.
            Grade 2-3 is finishing up their planet postcards and will be presenting them in class March 26th.
            Grade 4-5 is completing a Social Studies Unit on New Hampshire Counties.
            Grade 6-7 is completing a a chapter on Plants, (which is mostly review) and next week we will begin Ch19  Interactions of Living things.  Looking ahead we will have a project to work on when we begin Ch20 Conserving Resources.  The students will need to create a recycled object that is functional and they will present these projects to the class.
            Grade 8 has just completed their Mid-term exam on the Human Body and will end this Unit with an EXCITING :) weeklong American Bullfrog dissection.  This dissection goes over each of the body systems and organs in detail.  They will be tested on this material and they will have a detailed report due as well.”
From Mrs. Moran:
    “Students in kindergarten and grade one made leprechaun traps, and brought them to school in an effort to catch the naughty leprechaun.  While the traps were colorful and full of sparkly treasure, the leprechaun was too quick to be caught.  
    In computer lab, first grade students have collaborated on a PowerPoint presentation about zoo animals under Mrs. Casassa's guidance.  We hope to have it available for parents to watch during conferences next week.  Also, first graders are using the iPad app, Chatterpix to create a short presentation about Arctic animals with the help of their fourth and fifth grade buddies.”

From Ms. Casassa:
     Grades 6-8 students have been busy this month.  8th graders are learning about the Holocaust and just finished reading The Diary of Anne Frank.  The 7th graders have just finished The Call of the Wild and the 6th graders finished The Cay.  In writing, the students all chose topics to write argument essays and letters on.  The topics range from the merits of chewing gum in school, the need to for more recess and later school start times to why girls are out performing boys in school and whether we should fund the preservation of open space.  Students learned how to create surveys using Google Forms to gather data in the school, which they could use to support their claims.  
    In tech classes, students in grades first through fifth have learned how to use Google presentation.  The first graders created a presentation about their virtual visit to the San Diego Zoo, while the second and third graders are presenting their research on the fifty states.  All students are being introduced to basic coding through games on Code Studio and Stitch. The younger students learned how to put together a code to make Ellysa from Frozen skate in a square.  Visit the Barnard Technology web page to see all the wonderful things they have been doing.  Ask your student; they know how to get there!

    Teachers and classes in Grades 3-8 have been in the process of preparing to take and administer the newly established Smarter Balanced Assessments, and we have reviewed the requirements for our computer systems and everything is all set to go.  Teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators have trained and certified in test administration for this computer-adaptive assessment and we are confident that our students will do their best to “show what they know!”

    As the school year comes to an end, the staff will be meeting to reflect on 2014-2015 and the changes we have gone through together.  We will be reviewing the schedule, our offerings, and the Family Handbook as we work together to prepare for next year and beyond.  As we go through this process we will involve parents, the Board, and SAU administration, and we will be looking for whatever input, insights, and guidance that stakeholders can provide.

    That is another amazing snapshot of life here at Barnard School.  As I have reported earlier we continue to look forward to field trips to Mounts Major and Monadnock and Mrs. “D” and I flying to D.C. with the 8th grade.  Due to the generosity of our PTA, we are looking forward to a presentation from Odds Bodkin, famed performer and storyteller at 12:15 on Friday April 10, and parents are invited.  Our Celebration of Learning has been rescheduled to May 12 with all day and evening performances from songwriter Steve Blunt, also thanks to PTA.  I’m getting in shape for the annual PTA Blaze the Trail 5K, recently rescheduled for May 30!  Please continue to visit our website with links to incredible teacher classroom sites and the Principal’s Page link.  Thank you all for your continued friendship and support.

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