Memorial Day 2011

Today our entire student body celebrated Memorial Day in advance of Monday’s holiday. We met K-5 outside around the flagpoles and had a brief ceremony that provided students with background information and culminated with the singing of “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” After that was the community building assembly for students in preschool through grade 5, and then the preschoolers had a separate, shorter, ceremony around the flagpoles.

As I think about Memorial Day I wonder if children realize the importance of our national, non-religious holidays? As an elementary school we walk a fine line between teaching them the facts about history, war, death, and destruction, and not scaring and/or worrying them.  Memorial Day falls on that fine line.  We provide the basics, the background knowledge they accumulate little by little, year after year,  so they can grasp the larger concepts in middle and high school.

So, as you bar-be-que, celebrate, and watch parades this weekend, think about how you can talk to your child/children about our national holidays.  What do they know, and more importantly, what do they have questions about?  Enjoy the long weekend!

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“Finishing the School Year Strong”

I read a teacher blog today with the title above (thanks Edutopia), and thought how fitting it is for our students and parents, not just our staff. May is a super busy time of year in the school, but we also know that it’s a super busy time of year for our families. Spring sports are in full swing, religious ceremonies abound, proms and graduations dominate family time, and yet … there’s still school! 

The best thing we can do for our children during this hectic time is to stick with a schedule.  Each Sunday night, look at the calendar with your children and talk about the week.  Who will be home? Who will pick up?  Who will go to soccer?  These are all things that cause stress and anxiety in children, even if they don’t vocalize it.  

There’s still homework, and our teachers are teaching new skills and concepts for at least another month.  Don’t give up on school!  Some of the strongest learning opportunities happen at the end of the year – students have mastered the basics and are now solidifying what they’ve learned, and building upon it. 

Enjoy the rest of the year – hope to see you at the T.E.S. Celebration of Learning on June 9th!

More MCAS headed our way ….

It seems like we just finished our English Languague Arts (ELA) & Reading MCAS and the math and science tests are already on our doorstep.

Anxiety is the biggest issue many families face with MCAS in elementary schools. The only place it is necessary to “pass” the test is in high school. In an elementary school, we use the results to adjust our instruction and curriculum, and also to identify areas of weakness for individual students, and to then provide instruction to fill in the gaps.

Here’s a link to a parent overview on MCAS, along with some tips for reducing anxiety, how to help throughout the school year, and what to do the night before, and morning of, the testing days.  Happy reading!