News Around the District
Exciting items going on throughout WOCSD
There are some exciting learning opportunities going on throughout the district and this newsletter will showcase some of these events. This newsletter is an attempt to inform the district of the great things going on, celebrating student successes, highlight special events, and keep you in the loop on what makes WOCSD so special.
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The 3rd grade students at WES are learning all about Maine! In this Social Studies unit, students enjoy many learning activities including but not limited to, research, using timelines, using non-fiction text features, and accessing their prior knowledge. We are learning to see why people have lived in our great state of Maine for so many years.
The students in Multi 3-4 and Looping 4 have been learning about the early Native Americans from Maine, the Passamaquoddy, Micmac, Maliseet, and Penobscot. They read early Native American â€œScienceâ€ stories and then wrote their own to model the Native American history of storytelling.
Mr. Kafkas and Mrs. Cryerâ€™s classes have spent time researching famous Maine people and created information bags about each person. These bags are filled with artifacts that represent who or what their famous person or place is all about. They also used mapping skills to show where this person or place is located in Maine.
The students in Mrs. Boucherâ€™s and Ms. Sannaâ€™s classrooms are also researching Maineâ€™s people and created colorful and interesting reports on people who have made a contribution to Maine.
If you get a chance please take a trip to the second floor at WES and see the secretive, well-researched projects.
Social Studies Update
National Monuments and Symbols is a grade one social studies unit. The First Graders, Multi 1 / 2, and Looping have been studying about some of our nation's symbols and monuments. Students have been reading and researching monuments, as well as, creating models and drawing some of our American treasures. They have been on display in the hallways of Wells Elementary School.
What's Up in WES STEM?
4th Graders and Multi-3/4's just completed a study on the behavior of light. They culminated this study with a team engineering design challenge that required them to use mirrors and cardboard tubes to "design and build a technology that allowed them to see an object hidden behind a wall." This engineering challenge was an opportunity for students to "fail" - to design and re-design often until they were successful in getting the light to travel from the object to their eyes, reflect off mirrors along the way.
In 3rd Grade STEM, students have begun their Spring unit on life cycles, structure and function of living things, and interdependent relationships in ecosystems. Their first step into this study is to observe and research the amazing red worms (red wiggler or compost worm) that we are raising in the classroom. Students observe them closely with magnifiers and microscopes, draw them, and research their structure/function, life cycle, and why they are so important for the earth.
As a culminating project integrating science, technology, engineering, and art, design teams use a choice of materials to create a 3D model of the red worm which shows/explains their learning.
Kindergarten How to Writing
All Kindergarten students wrote their own How to Books to meet the Common Core Informational Writing standard: Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic. Using mentor texts, pieces of literature that can be studied and imitated, students discovered the necessary parts of a How To book. They learned that they must number their steps, draw detailed pictures to show their readers what to do and complete detailed written directions as to how to do it. After working through lessons on writing directions for How to draw a Cat and How to Build a Snowman, K students chose a topic on which they were experts. They then had to draw pictures for four steps and complete their written directions. We had books written about How to Play Football, How to Take Care of a Horse, How to Make Pizza and many, many more. Each and every K student wrote their own directions for their books. They used letter charts, sight word lists, and letter-sound correspondence to sound out words writing all the sounds they could hear. Students worked hard throughout this unit and they have their own How to Book to prove it!
2015 Jump Rope for Heart News
On February 11th and 12th, Wells Elementary School sponsored our â€œ2015 Jump Rope for Heartâ€ event. For the past 29 years, students in grades 2, 3, 4, and Multi 1-4 have participated in the jump-a-thon to improve jumping skills, learn the importance of healthy living, experience working as a team with their peers, and gain a better understanding that true compassion is giving to others.
Tremendous gratitude goes out to the parent volunteers, the WES PTSA, and school staff who helped make this event a great success. This year, our school community set a new record raising $16,796.29, which goes directly to the American Heart Association for research on the fight against heart disease and stroke. Congratulations to all the â€œHeart Heroesâ€ of the Wells/Ogunquit School District.
Submittedby: Kathy Calo
Physical Education Teacher
Kindergarteners at WES celebrated Number Hero Day in March!
Kindergarten super heroes participated in a celebration of numbers recently. Each child donned a super hero cape with a matching super hero crown. Our kindergarten super heroes demonstrated knowledge of different ways to represent their number.
Students then participated in a collection of activities that included number recognition, number matching, creating asuper hero number line, and a colorful parade. It was a fun and festive day!
The BIG ONE is Here-3.14.15!!
Some were calling it the PI Day of the century. Others have deemed it the only (true) Pi Day of our lives. Whatever you call it, 3.14.15 is undeniably the biggest day in the modern history of math holidays.
Wells Elementary School didnâ€™t want to wait another 100 years to do this holiday right! We believe that promoting an enthusiasm for learning, through celebration and creativity, will lead only to a richer classroom environment and a deeper appreciation of mathematics.
Mr. Ingerson and Mrs. Beaulieu decided to team up to help students discover pi with a hands on measurement activity. Each group of four students wrapped wiki-stixs (waxy string) around the circumference of different size circles and cut the wiki-stix exactly the same length as the circumference. Next, the wiki-stix circumference was stretched across the diameter of the circle and cut into as many â€œwiki diametersâ€ that was possible.
Whatâ€™s Going On?
Students discovered that no matter what circle you use, you will be able to cut 3 complete diameters and have a small bit of string left over. The students taped their 3 + pieces of wiki stix onto a paper and students asked one another, â€œHow many diameters could you cut?â€ â€œWhat did you notice?â€
After a lively discussion, group results were reported out.
This activity aligns well with the updated Maine Learning Results. â€œThe updated standards, adopted after a public process in 2011 and fully implemented in the 2013-14 school year, emphasize more complex content and concepts and the development of needed real-world skills like problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and communication â€” imperative for Maine students to succeed and our state to thrive.â€ (DOE)
A Guide to the 8 Mathematical PRACTICE Standards
I recently attended a Maine DOE sponsored workshop, which provided information to educators about the eight mathematical practices and the connection between the practices and the standards contained in the Maine Learning Results for mathematics. The state provided this workshop to support instruction and a better understanding of changes in mathematical teaching practices and strategies for building student confidence and understanding of mathematics.
The practice standards are a lot to take in but so important as they are the foundation for mathematical thinking!
#1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
What it means: Understand the problem, find a way to attack it, and work until it is done. Basically, you will find practice standard #1 in every math problem, every day. Effective problem solvers decide- for each unique problem-what is being asked, what is important to consider, the appropriate path to the solution, and the reasonableness of their action.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: What is the problem asking? How should I begin? Does my answer make sense?
#2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively
What it means: Addresses the importance of building a strong understanding for numbers (quantities). When faced with a math problem, students must be able to represent the problem in a variety of ways. Numbers and symbols stand for something. Recognizing this, and knowing what each stands for in any given situation, is an essential part of being a successful mathematician.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Ask- What does the number ___ represent in the problem? How can you represent the problem with objects, pictures, symbols and numbers?
#3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
What it means: Be able to talk about math, using mathematical language, to justify an answer and defend a process for finding the answer.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Ask your child to PROVE IT by posing different math statements.
Sample statements to pose:
**I have 12 pencils and Annie has 8. I have more than Annie.
**9 is an even number.
**7 + 3 and 4 + 6 are the only ways to make 10
**15 is a prime number
**3 Â½ feet is more than 42 inches
**A square is a rectangle
#4 Model with mathematics
What it means: Create math models to represent math understanding. Models are representation of abstract math ideas. Problem situations are clarified and simplified when we create models of the problem. Children will only develop this practice if they are creating their own models.
#5 Use appropriate tools strategically
Encourage It by helping your child to think:Primary students should represent real-life situations using actions, objects, drawings, number lines, words, and numbers. They may draw diagrams, compose equations, create tables, charts, and graphs. As they develop their skills, they will better understand, analyze and draw conclusions about our mathematical world.
What it means: The ability to select and use mathematical tools is essential for success in performing many tasks. Mathematicians choose tools that help them make sense of math and solve math problems.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Offer tools such as objects, connecting cubes, grid paper, number lines, calculators, paper, pencils, rulers, yards sticks, scales when working on a math problem. Donâ€™t tell what tool to use. Let your child decide which tool is best. Afterwards talk about what worked best and why.
#6 Attend to precision
What it means: Precision in computation and procedures is important. Communicating precisely when explaining math ideas and thinking is just as essential.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Measurements should be exact, numbers should be precise, and explanations must be detailed. One change to make to encourage this thinking is not to allow the phrase, â€œI donâ€™t get it.â€ Encourage your child to explain exactly what they do and do not understand and where their understanding falls apart.
#7 Look for and make use of structure
What it means: Focuses on the structure of Mathematics. Patterns and functions are everywhere. Properties guide us and help us find that math makes sense. Patterns and properties make math predictable.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Numbers are flexible. They can be broken apart and put together. Seven can be broken into 4 + 3; and 4 + 3 can be joined to make 7. Ten ones make a 10 and 10 tens make 100, and so on. Play board games and cards to encourage number sense and flexibility with numbers.
#8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
What it means: Math has structure and when a discipline has structure, repetition occurs. This repetition allows us to discover shortcuts-like algorithms, or formulas- to make a task easier. This insight leads to better understanding and the ability to apply information to another situation.
Encourage It by helping your child to think: Greg Tang spoke in our district a couple of years ago and he gave some advice I think fits this standard perfectly. He said to show students how the problem works. As soon as they â€œget it,â€ start making them generalize to a variety of other problems. Donâ€™t work fifty of the same problem; take your mathematical reasoning and apply it to other situations. Ask, â€œHow could this problem help you solve another problem?â€
Sixth Grade News
The sixth graders collected almost $800 in the fall for UNICEF. As you can see inthisphoto, with all the coins finally rolled, the big reveal was made! Even small change can add up to big change! Since there is much need in the world, UNICEF may use the money to help children in Syria, now living in refugee camps without adequate water, food and other essentials. We requested that some of our money be used to provide emergency food aid to babies in the form of a product called Plumpy Nut and that the rest be used for a deep water well to bring fresh water to a community. The teachers are proud of all the kids and their families, this year and over the years, for their dedication and generosity towards other children in need.
On Fridays in Grade Six, you will see students doing a variety of things during Contact Time. Usually a time spent doing homework or making up work, on Fridays we break away from the academics and choose a fun activity. Some choices seen recently were card or board games, Pictionary, reading while drinking hot cocoa, computer games, and outside recess. One day the Pony Express delivery riders showed up with special certificates announcing the winners of our capitals map Olympics! You just never know what excitement you might find just before lunch on Fridays in the sixth grade wing!
The student council recently sponsored a spirit week, with each day having a different theme. Students and teachers alike were seen in sports attire, Hawaiian outfits, crazy hats and hairdos, mismatched clothing and the famous twin/triplet day garb. We had a lot of look likes in Grade Six! The students are full of school spirit. We are having a wonderful year with these wonderful kids!
Grade 7 News
On March 13, the grade 7 team celebrated Pi Day. There were three rotations of activities that all students participated in during the day. Students worked with Mr. Peloquin and Mr. Lindauer to create modelsofearth in relationship to the Sun. One hundred earths fit onto a 100 foot rope representing the diameter of the Sun. These are now hanging in the grade 7 hallway. In another activity students used push pins to represent the size of the earth and, using Pi and diameter values, placed over 300 "earths" to trace the circumference of the Sun.
Pi was also used in a writing activity with Mrs. Rand and Mrs. Stockwell. One group wrote about a donkey rivalry. The challenge in writing this story was to have each page only contain the number of words connected to the Pi values. For example (3.14) 3: "Once upon a" 1: "time" 4: "a donkey made waffles". Similar to other metered literary forms like haiku, this activity generated very creative selections.
The thirdrotationwas of course, Pie Making with Mrs. Trainor. Cream filled, whipped top, and with a graham cracker crust, these treats were shared at the end of the day. Finally, Mrs. Adams and her crew created over 800 color coded paper chains representing a long display of Pi values also now hanging in the hallway.
The day ended with the Pi recitation finals. Mrs. Adams was the MC and more than 25 students performed, reciting as many memorized Pi values as they could. AbbyDurost and Jordan Belanger claimed first and second place with 124 and 117 place values recited respectively. The winner received a Pi T-shirt and all participants were recognized for their efforts. Funds were donated at a rate of 10Â¢ per decimal value on behalf of the St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. This hospital has focused a fundraising strategy challenging schools to do Math related activities to combine learning with a worthy cause. A check was sent out for $203.14 for the days events. Well done, Grade 7.
8th Grade Student Abby Vigue was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2014/2015 Letters About Literature contest sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council!
Having Abby's letter to Shel Silverstein is a considerable accomplishment; the group of 39 semi-finalists were chosen from more than 1,104 entries from Maine.
"I am so pleased with Abby's commitment to writing. She is a very deserving recipient! Mrs. Esch
"When I Found out I was a semi-finalist I was ecstatic! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a semi-finalist in the Letters About Literature Contest." Abby Vigue
Dear Shel Silverstein,
My nana read your book to my mom when she was young, my mother read your book, The Giving Tree to me. It is a tradition, to read a book full of magic, wonder and kindness. A tree, willing to sacrifice everything for a boy. My mother is my tree. She does everything for me, and I give her nothing in return. This book was the first step to me understanding how important she is.
I am the little boy who takes and never gives back, even when I try not to be. My mother is the tree who only gives, wanting nothing in return. â€œOnce there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.â€ She helps people who can't pay for there heat, pope who can't pay for there groceries, and people who can't give there children a good Christmas. I have learned how to appreciate her, your book showed me how. My mother is a kind, caring, intelligent, and beautiful person. She is amazing at everything she does. This book made me appreciate her every extraordinary move.
Many people weren't blessed with a mother like mine, I felt sorry for them. â€œAnd the boy loved the tree.......very much. And the tree was happy.â€ When I was three years old, I woke up one Christmas morning, I went down stairs to find presents under the tree, your book. It was old, dog eared, the spine barley staying on. I didn't know how to read so my mother helped me. She said that you were one of her favorite authors, and that when she was my age and this book was given to her.
I made her read your book to me every night. The sweet soothing sound of her voice put me to sleep. It wasn't until I was older that I finally understood the true meaning. When I understood the meaning, the more I noticed all the incredible acts she does for me. Cleaning, cooking, and making sure the bills are paid. She cares for me, she makes all my wishes, hopes, and dreams come true. She keeps motivating me, even when I want to give up. She holds my family together. She is mine family's tree. I want to be like this when my tree dies "I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.â€
After understanding how special she is, I tried to make her life easier, to help out more. I wasn't an expert at it, but I tried. As I read your book again, I came to a sudden epiphany. I realized that no matter what I did, my mom would always be proud of me, from just the fact that I was her daughter. I realized this thanks to your quote â€œ... and she loved a boy very, very much-- even more than she loved herself.â€ She does all of this for me simply because she loves me.
Your book has changed my life. It showed me how to care, love, and respect my mother. Thank you for a life lesson I won't forget.
Director of Instructional Improvement
National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards was established in 1987. Its creation was propelled by the 1986 report from the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession entitled A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century. National Board Certification is a rigorous, advanced system of standards that was developed by teachers for teachers and promotes â€œexcellence in professional teaching.â€ The National Board is an independent, non-profit organization, and its work is guided by the following five propositions:
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
- Teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
- Teachers are members of learning communities.
To be eligible for National Board Certification, teachers must have a minimum of three full years of teaching experience and hold a current teaching assignment. The certification process requires teachers to complete specified work in four component areas. Content Knowledge is demonstrated through a computer-based assessment that is administered at a testing center (the nearest one to is in Westbrook). The other three components are online portfolios submissions: Differentiation in Instruction, Teaching Practice and Learning Environment, and Effective and Reflective Practitioner.
In the past, candidates had to do all four components in one year. Currently, this process is undergoing revision of these four components so that teachers can register for one or more components at a time and spread them out over a few years. The total cost of National Board Certification is $1900 ($475/component). There is also a $75 registration fee for each year that a candidate is working on a component. Certification is renewable every ten years through a shorter process at a cost of $1250. Our district and the State provide financial assistance for this certification. When National Board Certification is attained, teachers receive an annual salary supplement from the State of Maine and an annual WOCSD stipend of $1500.
Achievement of National Board Certification is the highest symbol of accomplishment in the teaching profession. This year, our districtâ€™s first cohort of teachers have embarked on this prestigious journey: Nancy Cotty, Chrys Demos, Meghan Elwood, Bob Gilpatric, Maureen McEnaney, Andre Mercier, Katie Mercier, Kevin Oâ€™Shaughnessy, and Vanessa- White Capelutti. Bonnie Esty is pursuing her first renewal. Next year we look forward to welcoming a second cohort of teachers.
National Nutrition Month at WOCSD
March is National Nutrition Month. To celebrate, and bring focus to good nutrition and healthy eating. WOCSD School Nutrition Services held many special events in our cafeterias. Our first events of the month were two Celebrity Chef Display Cooking lunches. First, at the Raider CafÃ© at our Junior High School, guest chefâ€™s included Teacher Mr. Bruce Peloquin, Assistant PrincipalMr Griffin, and Gym Teacher Mr. Dan Macleod. Alongside Nutrition Services Director Tyler Goodwin created delicious chicken and vegetable fajitas to order for the students. Students selected their own ingredients and brought them to the chefs who were waiting to cook for them. The chefs then stir fry the ingredients and serve the student a fresh cooked fajita lunch. At the High School, senior Kevin Lumenello showed off his cooking talents working withMr Goodwin cooking fajitas to order for the students of Wells High School.
At the WES Kidsâ€™ CafÃ© we held a week-long event celebrating good nutrition. There was a color theme to the week with students and staff encouraged to wear the color of the day. In the cafeteria fruits and vegetables of the various colors were served to coincide as part of lunch each day. On Tuesday, we held our annual (W)rap Contest with students getting up on stage to perform rap songs they have made about good nutrition, 5210, proper exercise and getting enough sleep. Some great acts were put on by the students of WES. This year there were volunteer judges in the cafeteria scoring the performances. Winners and runner-ups were selected for each lunch period. All students who performed received a certificate to commemorate the event. Later that week we had a special guest visitor to the lunchroom. Ms. Reegan Brown, Letâ€™s Go! Program Coordinator for Partners for Healthier Communities at Southern Maine Health Care. She had the kids up and moving in the cafeteria after lunch with â€œRecess Rocksâ€ a dance video celebrating school recess and getting exercise. On the last day of the week, the students were served a fresh fruit salad with a fresh exotic fruit display. Awards were handed out and students were able to watch some of the rap performances on the big screen. It was a great week of fun and good nutrition education in the cafeteria.
The last event of the month was a special lunch at Wells High School. Las Olas Taqueria and school nutrition services combined efforts to produce a delicious freshly made lunch for our students. Las Olas restaurant manager Ken Wehry volunteered his cooking skills, some delicious Las Olas foods and his burrito wrapping expertise to make burritos to order along with Mr. Goodwin and High School Senior and part-time Las Olas employee Emma Huber Young. Students selected their choice of fillings and the chefs wrapped fresh burritos to order just like at Las Olas restaurant. A delicious and memorable lunch.
At WOCSD, we believe school lunch and good nutrition are an important part of a studentâ€™s school day. The cafeteria is one of the biggest classrooms in the school and is a great place to teach proper eating habits and learning the right things to eat to be healthy and productive as students.
Questions about these events or about the school nutrition program can be directed to Nutrition Services Director Tyler Goodwin at the High School at 646-7872 or email@example.com
Celebration of Reading Day at WOCSD
On March 6th, the District held its annual Celebration of Reading Day. At Wells Elementary School, guest readers visited classrooms and read to students. In honor of Dr. Seussâ€™s birthday, the Cat in the Hat characters also visited the school that day.
Members of the Wells Rotary Club and the Wells High School Interact Club were readers at Wells Junior High in Grades 6, 7 and 8. The Rotary Club donated the books they read to the WJHS library.
The Celebration of Reading Day is coordinated by Community Resource Coordinator Maryanne Foley.