Sunday, January 7, 2018

Family Newsletter

Happy New Year and Welcome back to school!
We had a very short week with our snow day on Friday but it was great to see everyone again.  It was wonderful to hear about all the fun activities the children had done over vacation and it sounded like most of us spent a lot of time inside!  It has been so cold....we look forward to warmer weather so we can enjoy the snow outside.  Next week looks better so please make sure your child comes to school with snow-pants and boots because we hope to enjoy outdoor recess every day:)

Ms. Jess, our intern from St. Michael's College, started with us on Wednesday.  She will be with us every day until mid-April.  As part of her training to become a teacher, she will slowly increase her responsibilities in our classroom.  Eventually, she will complete a "solo-week" when she practices planning the lessons and all the instruction.  I will be supporting her and the students during this time.  Ms. Jess's solo week will not happen until late March, or early April.  More information will follow.  We are so excited to have her with us.  Please stop by and say hello if you did not get a chance to meet her last week, or during our Holiday Family Breakfast in late November.

Reading groups will resume next week.  We are slowly shifting our reading instruction to non-fiction books both during our whole class literacy blocks and our small group guided reading times.  The students will learn more about the literary elements of non-fiction books and how to find evidence to back up our thinking and understanding of various topics.   Hopefully, your child will pack some non-fiction books to take home for reading homework so he/she can share some of our learning at school.  Stay tuned for more information.

The students will also shift focus in writing.  The students will learn how to write reports, complete with true facts and backed up by research from various books, magazines and online resources.  For example, we will use pebblego as a resource.  I was thrilled to hear how many students used pebblego over vacation!  Thank you parents for supporting our literacy development at home!
Every year, the students on Harmony show their understanding of non-fiction features and writing through an animal writing assignment.  This year, we are studying Vermont animals.  More information will follow.

We are wrapping up our science unit on Light and Sound this week.  This past week, the students explored shadows and we made different puppets to learn how we can make shadows bigger and smaller using flashlights.

First grade mathematicians continued working on strategies for solving addition and subtraction equations.  They also continued working on telling time to the hour.  Next week, we will learn about telling time to the half hour, both on an analog clock and on a digital clock.  We will also work on graphing and story-problems.
To learn how to tell time to the hour, the students learned a dance and a new song.  Here is the link and some pictures (I also linked it on our math wiki)

School Celebration:
The students at ABS filled the Bee Hive again.  We will celebrate with a Mis-Match Day on Wednesday, January 10th.  Please come to school with mis-matched patterns, socks, clothes!!


Monday, December 18, 2017

Weekly Update

Dear Families,
It is hard to believe, but this is our last week before our holiday vacation and the new year.  Our last day of school is Friday, December 22nd.  Friday will be Pajama Day.  Traditionally, Team Harmony will spend the day watching the movie "The Polar Express" and do various holiday festivities on house.  If your child wishes to come to school in his/her PJs, please make sure that he/she can still wear regular sneakers/boots because we will still have PE and outdoor recess (weather permitting).  No slippers please, and no stuffed animals.  We will not celebrate with food or special treats this year.  The students will pack their book bags and take home reading logs over vacation.  Reading homework over vacation is voluntary, so I will send home two logs, just in case.

School-wide celebration:
The students filled the buzzy jar again.  This time, we celebrated with Jazzercise in the gym.  Thank you Casey for helping us organize this wonderful opportunity.

The students are using chromebooks during literacy times sometimes.  They are using the literacy links on my wiki as well as to read books online.  This week, they will learn to respond to their online books with a written response.  I hope that your child can access some of this online reading at home over vacation, so I will also send home some online reading logs for your child to use at home, if desired.

FAP Grant:
Team Harmony received an incredibly generous FAP grant.  We were able to purchase some comfy reading chairs for our special "Executive Reading Lounge" in our kiva space.  Students from all classrooms rotate through using our kiva for reading and now we have these special chairs!  Thank you FAP for the amazing work you do and for the amazing opportunities you provide for our children!  If you have not yet contributed to the FAP, please consider donating now.  You can easily contact the front office at ABS or our teacher representative Becca Ashford at
Thank you!!

I hope you all have a great week.  Stay warm!


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ms. Kendal's last day

It was Ms. Kendal's last day with us on Tuesday.  She will go back to UVM as a full-time student and finish her classes for her degree in Elementary Education.  We will miss her very much and hope she will visit us again soon.
We had a small celebration together.  We gave her some new books for her future classroom and all the students signed them.
Good Luck with your classes and future endeavors!


Dear Families,
I wanted to let you know that we participated in a world-wide coding challenge for students today.  They did an amazing job and I wanted to share the web address with you so your child can continue at home if he/she wishes to.
The url is
Click on "learn" and then scroll down to Minecraft.
We started coding in Minecraft Adventure today.

Computer coding teaches so much more than just computer-specific skills; it teaches problem-solving, stamina and fine-motor skills.  It also encourages risk-taking in students as they try to move their Minecraft characters through a series of increasingly challenging tasks.

Have fun coding at home!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Friday Workshop Fun

In my Friday workshop, students explored how magnets can be used used to "power" matchbox cars.  They tried to make the cars move without touching them and "drive" the cars up a ramp.  Next week, we will see how much weight we can put on the cars while still "driving" them!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Family Newsletter

Dear Families,
WOW...I cannot believe we already finished our first week back after our Thanksgiving break.  It went fast!  This week, we were busy getting used to routines and structures again while learning lots of things together.  Our school focused on safe, kind and responsible behavior and teachers gave out extra large buzzies for students showing all three at the same time.  The kids really stepped up.  In fact, we filled our classroom buzzy jar again this week and celebrated with lunch and recess together in the classroom.

This week, the students continued writing their small moment stories, primarily working on creating interesting and engaging "middles".  We read the book "Come Fly With Me", written by Satomi Ichikawa.  This is a wonderful story about a toy plane and dog, who venture out on an adventure together in Paris, France.  The book is a good example of a small moment story because it only deals with what happens on their trip to a special place in Paris.  The students learned how authors create suspense and interest by stretching the story over many pages, by adding dialogue and thinking.  We will continue working on this next week when the students will explore sound words and adjectives a little more.

The students continued to read books in different series this week and participate in small guided reading groups.  We also had the opportunity to visit WCS for the annual Book Fair.  Thank you for sending in money with your child with his/her name clearly marked for safe-keeping! If you did not get a chance to go yet, I think they are still open until pretty late tonight.

We started our study of light this week.  The students participated in scientists' meetings and shared observations and questions about light in different forms.  We also did a sort, learning about opaque, translucent and transparent objects.

We also had another 4 Winds class.  This time, we learned about birds and migration.  Thank you parents for providing these opportunities.

Our team web-site has finally been added to the new school web-sites.  If you did not already, please take the time to check out the new team-site at

Have a great weekend!


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Family Newsletter

Dear Families,
Thank you for coming to our Harmony Family Breakfast yesterday morning. It was great to see so many of you there.  I hope you had a chance to connect with other parents and eat some yummy treats.
Here are some pictures:

The students had a busy week at school.  We finished our "sound" portion of our science unit on "Light and Sound".  The students were partnered up completed an engineering challenge together.  They had to apply their knowledge of sound and how sound travels by creating a string telephone using different materials provided.  They did an amazing job. Ask them to explain how we used string, fishing line and styrofoam cups to create our phones.

When we return from our Thanksgiving break, we will start learning more about light.  We are excited.

The students brought home some books and a reading log for next week. This reading log is not due until the end of the first week back at school again (Friday 12/1) but if your child wishes to complete it over the break only, please ask your child to bring it in on Monday 11/27 for another one.

I hope you you have a safe and restful Thanksgiving week.