Thursday, October 29, 2015

The School Year is in Full Swing!

We have completed our first full month of the new school year and, as always there is much to report!  Everyone has settled into their regular routines and new surroundings (for some), and the business of learning is evident throughout our amazing school.  Before I update you on goings on there are several staff members who wish to contribute.

From Mrs. Bowen-Irish, OT:
“OT is up and running, treatments in the gym, playground and in the classrooms. Students are learning about self-regulation, movement strategies and good seated positions for learning! Focus on letter and number formation and written communication in general is a foundational goal for all.”

From Mrs. Cestrone:
“Grade 8 is working on chemistry.  We are leaning about atoms, proton, neutrons, electrons, isotopes and many of the scientists who researched these particles.  They include John Dalton, Williams Crookes Earnest Rutherford to name a few.  We will continue learning about the periodic table of elements and uses of the elements.
Grade7 is finishing up Minerals and a "Gem" project.  We will begin working on Plant and Animal Cells and then onto Invertebrates.  We will also have a sea star dissection once we complete the chapter on Invertebrates.  Most of the 7th grade students are looking forward to dissecting!
Grade 6 is working on Measurement and SI.  We have been talking about different types of graphs, and units of measurement and descriptions of measurement.  Our next chapter will be focusing on Matter and its Changes. We will talk about atoms, elements and the scientists who discovered them.”

Music News from Mrs. Sullivan:
“Band is in full swing with learning new music. We are excited for new students to join us. If you haven't signed up yet, it’s never too late. Drop me an email for information. My address is
The Barnard Chorus has just started and we are looking for more singers. Please join us on Thursdays at 7:45-8:15. You will have a blast. 

From Mrs. Dugan:
“Summer reading at Barnard School and at the South Hampton Public Library was all about Heroes this year.  So, we celebrated the heroic efforts Barnard students made to read three chapter books over the summer.  There was nearly 90% participation with most summer readers also able to attend the party after school on September 15, 2015.   Mr. D was the Key-Note Speaker. 
Here's a good Civics lesson.  We have two Teams at Barnard School.  Members of the Black Team won TEN Hawk points because this team had one (1) more member at the party than did the Gold Team.  Just like every vote counts, every reader counts!” 

From Mrs. Moran:
After participating in training with Mahesh Sharma and Joe Boaler, I reflected on how students were developing number sense. How could I use what I learned and apply it in a lesson? I recalled that my aunt had passed on some Cuisenaire books.  Did I still have them?  I did, and there was a teacher's manual circa 1978 and student workbook companion. This discovery and a stash of Cuisenaire rods were like a found treasure.  All students explored the relationships between the rods and we developed a chart correlating the rods with numbers.  We began to use the rods whenever we were working with numbers
From Ms. Casassa:
  It has been a busy and productive start of the school year in the upper grades.  Students who exemplify leadership qualities both inside and outside the classroom are recognized monthly as “Student(s) of the Month” at the last Friday morning meeting of the month. Our first two “Student of the Month” recipients were Sully Burchette and Nik Byck.  Congratulations to both boys! 
In Language Arts, students have started on their reading challenge.  They are trying to read thirty books over the school year and ten books each trimester.  Each student made an individual reading challenge goal as well that they are working towards.  The six graders have made their own blogs and have already started writing about their reading on them.  The eighth graders are serving as Tech buddies to the sixth graders and have been showing them all they have learned in the past three years!
Technology Integration classes are underway.  The year started with lessons on Internet safety and etiquette.  The 1-3 graders learned how to use the Internet safely as they took a virtual field trip to the San Diego Zoo.  The 4th and 5th graders are using interactive games and puzzles to learn all the states and capitals.  6th through 8th graders are beginning their first tech project, creating a simple video explaining economic terms and concepts.  Visit the Tech Integration website under the School Resources section on the Barnard School website to see what we have been doing.”

Many thanks to all who contribute! Once we got into regular classes students and teachers resumed their schedules welcoming those students in grades K, 2, 4, and 6 to their new surroundings. Students in grades 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8 develop a leadership role in helping their new friends settle in to new routines and responsibilities. Testing is also an important part of our first weeks using "aimsweb” reading assessments (thanks Mrs. Knapp for helping in the upper grades!) and NWEA MAP (Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of S) measures to establish baselines and determine growth from previous years. Students in Grade 1 take MAP for Primary Grades in Math and Language Usage. In Grades 2 and 3 they take assessments in Math, Language Usage and Reading. Grades 4-8 take the same and add Science. These valuable tools help us to know our student's abilities in these entire important areas so that we can teach to strengths and needs, and allow us to compare their scores against national statistics.  The results are very favorable!

Besides testing there are other great things going on! We had a very successful Open House and Kickoff Cookout (thanks PTA) and I served over 70 hotdogs (no I did not eat 10)! As Mrs. Dugan reported our Summer Reading Celebration was an enormous success!!! We now look forward to holidays and Parent Conferences scheduled earlier this year to coincide with midterms . Stay tuned for updates.

Lastly, our staff is in the process of researching and developing a better Report Card system. They are working on reports for parents to better reflect College and Career Ready Standards (New Hampshire's version of the Common Core). The purpose is to provide parents and students a more accurate reflection of our students' progress in the various Competencies, and what might be needed to improve to mastery. I am attaching copies of draft versions for review and the staff would like to present their proposal at the next Board Meeting for piloting this 2015-2016 school year.

We are well on our way to another great year! Next we start working on budgets and more! Thanks again for all your continued kind friendship and support.

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