Upper Elementary: Ancient Civilizations


All of the hard work of the Upper Elementary students over the past month resulted in a fantastic research morning event! This work included gathering notes, transferring those notes to a slideshow format, making a miniature model of the civilization, and bringing a food from their culture to share with their guests. The collaborative slideshow was the most impressive piece I noticed among all of their responsibilities. This was because it was a first time for our level and it demonstrated collaboration, creativity and teamwork to put it all together. Congratulations, on a job well done!

Upper Elementary: Research Preparation

This week the students began constructing their group civilization models in class. They formed a plan last week and divided up responsibilities to bring in supplies. In the meantime for homework they are making the final touches on their slideshow presentations. This is the first year the Upper Elementary has ever presented using slideshows. Mrs. Faust and I are excited about this new format!

On Monday we had a visit from two members of the Newtown Rotary Club. They provided dictionaries for each 4th year student and explained the purpose of the Rotary Club. We learned that although they are dictionaries the books they received are sometimes referred to as gazetteers, because they provide more than just definitions.

Not only did we work on models and have visitors this week, but we also celebrated five January birthdays at our birthday breakfast on Monday. That is a record for the largest birthday breakfast so far!

Upper Elementary: Change from Routine

This week was a break from our normal morning routine as the students spent time taking the CTP5 standardized test. Although we do not tailor our curriculum or lessons to prepare students for this specific test, the reality is that the students will be exposed to more testing as they get older and it is a learning experience.

On Tuesday the basketball team came through with a victory over The Mead School, by a score of 20-8. We were so proud of their effort, teamwork, and sportsmanship!

Looking ahead to next week the students will begin their civilization models in class. They are welcome to bring supplies from home for their models. The slideshows are coming along nicely and we will look over their first rough drafts of the presentations on Friday January 25.

Upper Elementary: Peabody Museum

On Wednesday we visited the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven. Our day began with a presentation about Egypt. This included learning about the underworld, hieroglyphics, the great pyramids, and mummification. Afterwards we toured the museum and visited the hall of gems and minerals, dinosaurs, and the live animal exhibit. Several students enjoyed observing the live animals and being present during feeding time.

Upper Elementary: New Year

We kicked off our 2019 school year by writing New Year’s Resolutions. The student resolutions covered various areas such as, organization, improving academics or sports’ skills, and relationships.

This month we will spend a lot of time preparing for Research Morning (February 7). Each student received a packet inside a blue folder with all of the information and due dates. The students were divided into groups to research the ancient civilizations of China, Rome, Greece, and Egypt.

On Wednesday January 16 we will visit the Peabody Museum to learn about Ancient Egypt and explore the museum.  This will be a great experience to connect to our ancient civilization studies!

Basketball Fun in PE Class and After-School!

This month Kindergarten through Middle School students practiced and participated in the team sport of Basketball. At the Kindergarten and Lower Elementary levels, the objectives are designed to develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. We practiced dribbling a ball with either hand while changing pathways, direction, and speed. We worked on passing a ball to a stationary and moving target using both a bounce and chest pass.

In addition, students had to catch a passed ball while they were stationary and in motion. We demonstrated the proper technique of pivoting while holding a ball and identified markings on the court.  Students were also given a choice to use a blue basketball which is lighter and easier to shoot into the net.  A shorter net was also used for those students not able to reach the taller nets.  The goal is to modify each sport to have students be successful.

At the Upper Elementary level, we learned to differentiate roles of offensive and defensive players and understand and use simple basketball rules. Games played are:  Dribble Knockout, Knockout, Spot Takeaway, and Steal the Bacon.  At the Middle School level, the focus is on practicing the fundamentals such as:  foul shooting, passing, lay ups, ball handling, dribbling, rebounding, defense/guarding, and footwork.

Students in grades 4th through 8th grade are encouraged join the FWM basketball team.  Practices for the Upper Elementary level are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school until 4:15 PM.  The focus is to practice the fundamentals of basketball and to go over game like situations.  The middle school practices are held during the school day from 1:55 to 2:50 PM on D, E, and F day.  All games are held after school for both groups.  The Upper Elementary has one team and the Middle School has a varsity (7/8) team and junior varsity (6/7) team.  The season for each team consists of four games played against other independent schools.

Upper Elementary: Season’s Greetings


On Monday the students spent time decorating holiday cards and wrapping gifts for children that reside at the St. Vincent DePaul Shelter in Waterbury, CT. They put such care and effort into each card and gift. Once the gifts were wrapped we headed off to deliver the gifts. We got to tour the facility upon our arrival. The students listened respectfully and got a true appreciation of what this season is all about through this rewarding experience. Thank you once again for the donations of gifts and time to help successfully coordinate. On Thursday we celebrated the December student birthdays along with some of their family members. Wishing you all a joyful, peaceful holiday.

Upper Elementary: Community

On Tuesday, a couple of officers from the Newtown Police Department visited our school along with Aris, a police dog trained to help the Newtown Police.  Aris is a German Shepherd that the department got from Siberia. We watched a demonstration of Aris in action and then the officers answered questions.  The strength of this young dog was amazing and the officers told us that Aris is equal to four officers when in the line of duty!

Although we do not have a field trip planned for December, we decided it would be a great idea to visit the St. Vincent DePaul Mission in Waterbury, CT. We have been been connected to this shelter for over 8 years now by making and delivering sandwiches. A few years ago we felt that we could offer more support to those in need by providing new clothes and fleece blankets to the children that reside at the shelter. Next Tuesday we will wrap these gifts, make cards, and then deliver the gifts as a whole class to the shelter. This will be a great learning experience for the students and we look forward to helping those in need, especially during the holiday season. Thanks so much for your support and donations!