Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hip Hop Group Performs for Junior High

Students in 6th-8th grades were treated with a performance by Hip Hop Dimensions on Thursday April 15. Their dancing skills “inspire youth to think of dancing as a positive outlet for artistic expression.”
The PTO generously funds the Cultural Arts Assemblies.

Astronomer Visits

Amateur Astronomer Marty Connors brought his solarscope and telescopes. He helped students and parents view several planets and constellations last week during Science Night.

Science Night and Invention Convention

By Mrs. Moran
Students in K-6th grade came together for an evening of science fun on April 8th. All 6th graders completed a project with Ms. Borges, and students in younger grades had the option of doing a science project.
Students in 6th grade worked hard for many weeks on inventions, displays and experiments.
There were many stations for all students to explore: Telescope viewing with Astronomer Marty Connors, Making Gak (a polymer) with Mrs. Bickford, Take Apart Lab with Jared and Mrs. Schillinger, Identifying Animal Skulls with Mrs. Mullady, What’s Your Wingspan? With Mr. Ayers, Does Exercise Affect Your Heart Rate? With Mrs. Leedie, Are You Faster Than a 5th Grader with Mrs. Burnham and her 5th grade class, Chromatography with Jane Knapp, Bomber Suit display with Mrs. Jagodzinski, and Bubbleology with Mrs. Hassett. Many thanks to the awesome parent and community volunteers who helped.
Five students were chosen to represent Ashford School at the CT Invention Convention on May 1st: Selah, Cassidy, Sarah, Austen, and Mansoor. Thank you to Mrs. Zulick and Mrs. LeGrand for judging the event.

Grade 3 News

By Mrs. Dickenman
Are you smarter than a third grader? What planet is known as “the blue planet”? Why does the snowshoe hare’s fur change from brown to whit e? When do we celebrate Earth Day? What are the tree states of matter?
Welcome to the wonderful world of science in third grade!
During the summer of 2009, third grade teachers began to purchase materials, develop, and plan for the new science themes based on the Connecticut State Standards. Mrs. Christopher worked on the unit for “Animals-Habitats and Adaptations”. Mr. Horn focused on studies for “States of Matter,” and Mrs. Dickenman explored “Ecology-Save Our Earth.” We were able to continue with the fourth high-interest theme on the solar system.
This year, we began to implement these units for our students. We’ve tried to incorporate a variety of endeavors for the children- class lessons and discussions, computer lab activities, projects, science journals, and homework assignments. The themes are rotated so that each class experiences a different unit each term.
Mrs. Moran has also worked closely with the teachers and children to provide fabulous science enrichment activities.
We’re all excited about the new adventures in science.

Grade 5 News

By Mrs. Burnham, Mr. Schreiber, Mrs. Turcotte
On May 7, 2010 our three fifth grade classes at Ashford School will journey to Boston, Massachusetts. Why? (Sorry - Red Socks / Yankees fans - there is no game at Fenway Park on that date.) Boston will be our field trip site because fifth graders are currently studying the Revolutionary War as a part of their social studies curriculum. Boston is said to be the birthplace of the American Revolution.
On this outing students will receive a guided tour of the Freedom Trail, which is a 2.5 mile hike through the streets of the city. Dressed in period costume, our guide - be it Abigail Adams, John Hancock, or another patriot who helped turn some colonists’ dream of independence into reality - will begin our journey on the Boston Commons. From there we will meander through the Granary Burying Ground and view the graves of Paul Revere and those who died in the Boston Massacre. We will see the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the Boston colonists. We’ll walk past the site of the Boston Massacre and end our trek at Faneuil Hall, which served as a place for town meetings. After leaving the Freedom Trail, a stage actor playing Benjamin Franklin will discuss his life during this revolutionary period.
As we board the buses home, one thinks one can hear echoing through the streets:
“Go, Socks!”
“Go, Patriots of the American Revolution!”
“Go, Ashford!”

Monday, April 05, 2010

Kindergarten Nutrition

By Sara Dingler
In March, the Kindergarten students at Ashford School will be learning about health and nutrition. Even though we discuss these topics throughout the school year, this month the students will engage in many hands-on activities focused on these areas. The students will learn how to keep their bodies clean and healthy by reading stories that pertain to hand washing, sneezing, coughing and having the chicken pox. These stories will help the children gain a better understanding about germs. The children will use hand washing and sneezing picture cards to reinforce many skills, such as retelling, listening comprehension and sequencing. As a whole group activity, the students will put baby powder on their hands to represent germs and pass around a black balloon to visually see how germs are spread.
During our nutrition study, the students will build a food pyramid that will symbolize how healthy eating habits help build strong minds and bodies. At home the students will collect labels from cans, jars, and box fronts to bring to school to use while building a classroom food pyramid, planning menus, sorting foods into different groups, and for writing their own A, B, C book about food. The Kindergarteners will also be participating in some cooking/taste testing activities. The cooking activities integrate many different academic areas which include literacy, measurement, listening skills, comprehension and community building.
To encourage the students to practice what they are learning about and give them an opportunity to see how these topics relate to their world, the dramatic play center will be turned into a grocery store. At Ashford School the Kindergarteners learn through active participation and play!

Animal Skulls

By Carol Moran
You can’t help but notice the skulls in the front showcase at Ashford School. They are attracting a lot of attention, particularly from students.
Students learn about animal adaptations during enrichment by observing the teeth. Carnivores need to tear meat, so have evolved with sharp incisors. Herbivores need to chew plant matter, and have evolved with grinding teeth. Students can identify the animal by looking at the teeth, position of the eyes, and shape and size of the skull.
The skulls come from a variety of donations. Over the years students have gifted skulls to enrichment. Thanks to Bernie and Jane Schreiber for many recent donations, including the human skull; the Reccias for the young bear skull, the PTO for purchase of many local animal skull reproductions.

8th Graders Read To Kill a Mockingbird

By Jen Lindsay
It’s that time of year again! Spring is upon us and the eighth graders head into the final stretch in language arts as they begin Harper Lee’s timeless novel of courage, respect and hope. As an introduction to the unit, students study the 1930s, learning about that decade’s advances in science and technology, fads and fashion, people and places, literature and more. Technology integration this year will include research and the opportunity to use a WIKI in class. If time permits, we will also be creating digital scrapbooks of the characters.
TKM, as we lovingly refer to it, follows several years in the life of Scout and Jem Finch, children who, while living in racially charged Alabama, learn valuable life lessons about the equality of all people. Two independent stories converge as Scout and Jem learn about justice and responsibility through their interest in the elusive and misunderstood Boo Radley, and the mistreated Tom Robinson.
Themes we will study include courage, justice, race and family. Students will complete a thesis paper, learning the steps of how to write one as we go. One white board in Mrs. Lindsay’s classroom will be used as a “community” board where students will share their favorite quotes from the book and ask their classmates for others. Some famous words from the novel include:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
“I wanted you to see what real courage is….when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
After reading the novel, students will enjoy the movie starring Gregory Peck. This classic version won numerous awards and captures the heart of what To Kill a Mockingbird is all about.
If you have never read this wonderful book, consider reading it with your eighth grader! If you read it long ago, please read it again—you’ll be glad that you did!

4th Grade News

By Patrice Merendina
April is a very exciting month for the 4th grade at Ashford School. Our science and social studies units are student and teacher favorites. In science, students are studying life processes, the importance of the sun’s energy, and food chains and webs. The most exciting part of the unit is the presence of anoles in our classrooms. The students made observations of earthworms, crickets, and anoles and created a healthy environment for each animal. We are able to see how energy is passed on and consumed by each living thing in the tank!
In social studies, we start our post card project and our unit on the United States. Students will begin to explore each region and their landforms, waterways, economy, people, and important places. State reports, brochures, and post card books are a few of the large projects students will work on through the spring.