Tech Information for Parents

Last night I was happy to co-host an information night for parents about elementary school technology. Working with Principal Conway of Lincoln, Principal Strasnick of Horace Mann, Gr. 4 teacher Mrs. Acevedo (Lincoln), and Mark Kelsey our elementary technology integration specialist, we put together a presentation on what is happening in classrooms across the district with technology, and how it can be linked to home.

The primary focus of the evening was the wealth of resources available to families that tie into the curriculum students are learning during the day.  Please see the presentation for more information, however for program information by grade, availability, and whether a user id and password are necessary, you can also refer to this matrix created by Principal Conway.

Internet safety (and digital literacy awareness) are concerning areas for our young students, and a family Internet contract is a great place to start!  Mr. Kelsey presented on these topics and provided a handout for audience members to bring home and discuss.  This stimulated a good deal of discussion about “locking things down” vs. teaching safety and awareness, and I think everyone agreed we need to be doing both!

Superintendent Casey, along with the city’s Information Technology Director, Jorge Pazos, were also available to answer questions and provide insight on the future of technology in Melrose and the need for sustainability.

Technology can never replace a good teacher, and we are proud of the efforts our teachers are making to integrate technology into the existing curriculum.  We know it will simply get better when students connect what happens in their day to what happens at home!

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” ~ John Dewey

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What’s New at Winthrop?

This summer every classroom was fitted with a SMART Board, and elementary teachers across the district have had the opportunity for training with the district technology integration specialist, Mark Kelsey.  These trainings were a hit … Sold out!  Standing room only! … and teachers are excited to get back into school with new ways to promote learning and engage students.

Last year each grade level piloted a FOSS (Full Option Science System) unit and this year we will have full integration of FOSS, in conjunction with our newly aligned science standards.   The shift in our science curriculum transitions students from reading about science to actually doing science!  This hands-on approach requires higher level thinking skills through an inquiry based approach to science topics. 

A dedicated group of Melrose health and wellness providers worked last spring, along with district administrators, teachers, and parents, and chose Health Promotion Wave for a new comprehensive Health program.  Aligned to both the national and state standards, the Winthrop is excited to be the pilot elementary school for this new curriculum.   

As an elementary school we are always focused on literacy and math and this year will be no different.  As we are in science, in reading, writing, and math we will be working to focus on deeper conceptual understandings with problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Almost more importantly that any of the material items, or curriculum improvements, are the new and returning staff members who will be at Winthrop:

  • Ms. Liz Bates will be a new co-teacher working in 2nd grade this year.
  • Ms. Kim Dello Russo will be the new art teacher as Ms. Benski has moved over to the high school.  Ms. Dello Russo will be at the Winthrop on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays and at Horace Mann on other days. 
  • Ms. Susan Mayo is a paraprofessional who is returning to the Winthrop from the Franklin Early Childhood Center.  She will be working in 2nd grade.
  • There will also be a new Educational Team Facilitator, a new special education teacher (MSN), and a substitute guidance counselor (until November.)  Check back soon for more information on those positions!

In addition to all the incoming kindergartners, we also will be welcoming close to ten new students and families in grades 1-5 when school opens.  Please join me in helping them to become part of the Winthrop!

Telling Time

Marc Gunderson’s Time Monsters Web site is fabulous!  This interactive site is fully animated and there is no text – every direction is spoken, and accessible to all students.  The lessons start simply at the numbers on a clock (analog – of course!) and move through understanding five minute segments (such as 25 past, or 20 to.)  I love a good children’s website and this seems to be one.  In this digital world we live in being sure to have analog clocks in your house helps too!

Try this!

Number sense – it’s what children need to be successful in math and what many parents and teachers consider “the basics.” Teachers frequently fill brief gaps in their day (waiting in line for the bathroom, waiting for dismissal, waiting for an assembly to start) by doing short challenges such as this. Try the activity below at home – see what happens.

Number of the Day