Happy News March-April 2019

Roots of American Music in Fifth Grade

History. Culture. Music. Creativity. Experience. On April 30 our fifth-graders experienced the “Roots of American Music” performance and workshops. Roots Music Collective members Crick, Dan and Zack began on a variety of instruments with the blues at the Crossroads, and continued through jazz, country, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and on to funk, disco, rap and hip-hop. Each stop along the timeline, they talked about how the music, instruments and rhythm changed to give each its unique sound tied to the culture of that time ~ all coming from the roots of the blues.

Then the kids got to actually write their own blues song in small groups for Roots to perform! Ask them what their group wrote about, and have them sing it if they can. Blues has an A, A, B structure to it (with lots of variations). What did other groups sing the blues about? What was meaningful and what made them laugh? How can you use the blues to express the emotion of something troubling at home?

Go Bruins!

On Friday, April 26 Blades and the Bruins community outreach team held a playoff spirit rally at Spofford Pond!

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Miraculous Mice in Kindergarten

Cole School kindergarteners had three tiny, quick friends visit on April 8. They learned that mice are omnivores who eat lots of different things and live in lots of different habitats. There are also more of their species in the world than any other mammal. Ask a kindergartener what happened in the story that the Drumlin Farms educator read? Were there predators, friends, and somewhere safe to take a nap?

 

Kids Shine in Boxford Talent Shows

Talent. Courage. Collaborating. Planning. Shining. On March 22 and 29, the Spofford Pond and Cole School stages were filled with stars, and the rooms beamed with bright smiles. 

Three Talent Shows – two at Spofford Pond and one at Cole – featured dancing, singing, gymnastics, piano, guitar, flute, drums, light shows, basketball, hockey skills, hula-hooping, martial arts, creative costumes, science experiments, comedy, magic acts and skits. With a total of over 130 kids involved in 80 different performances, there was much to applaud and celebrate. 

The Boxford PTO extends our warmest gratitude to the event organizers Jill Robinson, Lee McCann, and Sam Stevens, along with Boxford Cable’s Brad Sweet, hosts Luke Dumouchel and Brian Middleton-Cox, all the invaluable parent and student volunteers, and every single dedicated performer who made the shows truly amazing. Thanks also to the parents, family, friends, teachers and community who were there to cheer them on. 

May we all be reminded that with ideas, courage, practice and support we can make meaningful things happen ~ and have a lot of fun together, too!

Photos courtesy of Geskus Photography: 

Wingmasters Raptors in Grade 5

Rehabilitator Jim Parks shared descriptions, insights and stories about five feathered guests: a red-tailed hawk, an eastern screech owl, a barred owl, a great horned owl, and an American kestrel (falcon). His articulate and fascinating presentation covered where these birds of prey live (here in Boxford!), what they eat, and how they have unique adaptations in their feathers, colors, eyes, speed, and sound in flight. Ask a fifth grader why these birds of prey often hang out around schools, and which one had the most surprising weight? Why did we see the imprint of one in the snow? And what did the screech owl’s call sound like?

A Tortoise and a Rabbit in Kindergarten

Mass Audubon Drumlin Farms brought two animals friends to our kindergarten on March 11. They discussed the similarities and differences between the tortoise and the rabbit ~ their bodies, physical adaptations, habitats, diets, and how their babies are born. Ask a kindergartener why a tortoise has a hard shell, or why a rabbit has tall ears and fast feet?

 

Author/Illustrator Timothy Basil Ering at the Cole School

On March 6, during Read Across America week, students in grades K-2 were treated to an engaging, entertaining, inspiring and informative visit from Author/Illustrator Timothy Basil Ering. Ering connected deeply with the kids through humor, playfulness and his own enthusiasm for what he does. He began with a quiz about silly and hilarious facts throughout his presentation, and then continued with visual slides and enlightening discussions about where ideas come from, different uses for illustration, what one learns in art school, how mistakes can become something new, and what inspires him and his artwork and stories.

Ering described amazing adventures and opportunities one can have simply from doing what one loves to do. And he gave kids so many great bits of advice: what to say to a scribble, how to start simple, to never give up, to practice, practice, practice, and how to find creative inspiration anywhere in the world ~ by seeing ideas everywhere, and using your imagination. He described how a single idea can grow into bigger ideas, and all kinds of different ideas.

Ask a Cole School student what pictures and videos he showed~ was there a lobster, and a shark? How did his experience with a lobster become so much bigger, for him as an artist, when Xbox called him? What did his imaginary lobster do? What were some of the other questions he asked in his quiz? Was there a selfie with a moose? What are some of the other cool things he has been able to see in different places because of being an author/illustrator?

May we all go out into the world and be inspired to create an imaginative story from what we experience!

Earthview Experience for Sixth Grade

The Earthview Inflated Globe from Bridgewater College visited the Spofford Pond gym on March 1. Sixth-graders got to see the world from different perspectives by looking from the outside, and then from the inside! They talked about geographical regions, identified types of geographical features, and discussed how geography affects culture and life in different areas. Ask a sixth-grader what they learned, and why they had to keep looking down at Antartica as they entered the globe.

Happy News Jan-Feb 2019

BEN FRANKLIN VISITS THIRD GRADE

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was vividly alive with our third-graders on Feb 8. The gifted actor from Young Audiences Historical Perspectives took students through the life of Benjamin Franklin- from his youthful experiments, questions and challenges, into his printing apprenticeship and growing political awareness, his move to Philadelphia and entrepreneurial impact on reading, writing, education, finance and government, through his family life and scientific exploration, finally leading to saving lives and property with the invention of the lightning rod- what he called his gift to the world. Throughout the costume changes and high-energy performance, filled with interesting facts and wise quotations, the students were enthralled! Ask a third-grader what he or she learned about the amazing person that Ben Franklin was. Huzzah!

“FRIENDSHIP DETECTIVES” IN THIRD GRADE

Looking for clues in a setting. Learning social strategies. Good sportsmanship. On Feb 5, Educational Speaker Stephanie Meegan spoke to third-graders during their guidance Team Time about how to be “friendship detectives” and to communicate in ways that encourage friendly relationships. Ask a third-grader how to meet a new friend, or what to say to the players on the other team after your team loses.

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“STAR LAB” LANDS IN FIRST GRADE

We crawled through the doorway into the dark dome of the inflated Museum of Science StarLab, which landed in the Cole gym for our first-graders on Jan 29. Inside, looking up and around at the projected stars and images we learned how stars are formed, which stars are brightest– and their colors, how to tell the difference between a planet and a star, how to recognize some well-known constellations like Orion and the Big and Little Dipper, and the names of stars like Betelgeuse, Sirius, and Polaris. Ask a first-grader to show you what he or she learned under a real night sky– find Orion’s belt and the Big Dipper yourselves!

 

 

“NATIVE AMERICAN NATURE TALES” ~ STORYTELLER CAPTIVATES THIRD GRADE

Imagination. Expression. Creativity. Voice. Stories. On Jan 23, Storyteller Diane Edgecomb performed several engaging stories, including pictures, drumming, a loon’s song, and student interaction. Every child was enthralled ~ laughing hysterically, gasping in awe, and hanging on her every word. Ask a third-grader what happened to the Wind Eagle, what happened when the sky turnip was dug up, or which animal was picked as the leader: loon, raven, osprey, deer, mole, or bear. And why!

“PHYSICAL CHANGES OF MATTER” ~ EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN SECOND GRADE

Melting. Freezing. Watching. Feeling. On Jan 2, Second-Graders had an exciting visit from the Discovery Museum, where they learned first-hand about how different types of matter respond to temperature changes. They experimented with water and ice, dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide), liquid nitrogen, and instantly freezing objects such as a carnation, a banana, and a rubber band. Ask a second-grader to describe what they saw!

Happy News Nov-Dec 2018

“SOUNDS LIKE FUN” SOUND WAVES/VIBES IN FIRST GRADE

Hearing. Visualizing. Listening. Experiencing. On Dec 17-18 HighTouch-HighTech visited our First Graders with workshops on Sound. The guest scientists explained how sound works, how animals and people use and experience sounds, and demonstrated the waves and vibes through different activities: seeing how they affect salt, representing sound with slinky waves, experimenting with water tones, listening to metal hanger-chimes, and creating their own “goose” honkers with paper cups, paperclips and floss. The kids were engaged and delighted throughout this presentation, and the instructor was impressed at how well-prepared they were for these great scientific lessons. Ask a first-grader how to make a hanger chime or a goose honker yourself! And give yourself a big PTO pat on the back for helping to support another great educational program in our schools. Thank you!

 

AN OWL AND A SNAKE VISIT KINDERGARTEN

Observing. Asking. Listening. Touching. Envisioning. On Dec 10, Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farms brought in an Eastern ScreechOwl and a Corn Snake to spend time with our Kindergarten Classes. The kids were adorably attentive as they learned and asked about the animals’ habitats, lives, eating habits, special qualities and abilities. In one class the corn snake got a little adventurous and wiggled its way into its caretaker’s shirt! Ask a Kindergartener what he or she enjoyed about this special visit.

 

“STICKS & STONES: WORDS DO MATTER” KINDNESS RESIDENCIES  

Kindness. Empathy. Upstander. Self-Confidence. Power in Numbers. Healthy Risk. Teamwork. Mindfulness. In two artist-residencies — from Nov 27-Dec 4 at Spofford Pond, and then from Dec 7-14 at Cole School — all our Boxford students celebrated the power of kindness with artist-educators Skip Brunette and Jeff Erwin of Trashcan Lid Productions. Each residency began with an all-school assembly, was filled with six days of student workshops, then culminated with two performances by the oldest students in the school. This “multimedia extravaganza” titled “Sticks and Stones: Words DO Matter” thoroughly entertained the audience of students during the day, and then parents in the evening show.

Throughout the total of twelve days, Skip and Jeff worked with our students on how to live with mindfulness and empathy, the importance of including others, reaching out and being an upstander, and the value of healthy risks and supportive self-confidence. And they did it all with impactful songs, re-purposed instruments, multi-media performance, a wonderful rapport with the kids, and a very-cool vibe. Throughout their process, the performing students (sixth-graders at Spofford Pond, and second-graders at Cole) found themselves relying on each other in new and powerful ways in order to create their production— together.

During both residencies the fun-with-kindness and extra-good feelings were palpable throughout the schools. Everyone was so proud of the students who put on amazingly entertaining and truly touching shows. If you haven’t already, please speak to your child about his or her experience. And if you support the Boxford PTO, please accept our heartfelt thanks for making this possible!

To top it all off, Boxford Cable TV recorded both evening shows and they will be airing over the next couple weeks. Many, many thanks to Brad Sweet and his staff for their kind and generous support! Please visit www.boxfordcabletv.com for the schedule or to watch recordings on demand.

Cole School Kindness Residency Photos:

 

Spofford Pond Kindness Residency Photos:

 

BEST & PTO – A COLLABORATIVE HOLIDAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST

On Saturday, Dec 8 BEST (Boxford Education School Trust) and the Boxford PTO united forces to host a Pancake Breakfast at Spofford Pond School. Many, many thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to flip, scramble, sizzle and serve! Many thanks also to those who managed the check-in, raffle, and activity tables, as well as all those who helped clean up. We feel stacks of sticky-sweet appreciation for you! The event featured yummy food and drinks, numerous great raffle items, foam gingerbread crafts, an elf quest, igloo-ball and snowball games, and even Santa came by! It was a fun and festive morning, and we were so happy to see everyone who attended. Thank you for your support!

 

“OVERCOMING ANXIETY” IN FIFTH GRADE

Fear. Confidence. Feeling. Thinking. Breathing. On Nov 20 during the fifth grade Team Time, Behavior Interventionist Melissa Harrison spoke to the kids about Overcoming Anxiety. The session had a simple yet deep approach. Together they discussed what it means to overcome, and what anxiety is. They talked about the history this energy, and thinking of it as a signal that something is important. Then they talked about shifting our thinking – away from something we are (anxious), and toward making anxiety a tool we can use toward a goal. Together they thanked anxiety. They practiced breathing into the spot where we feel anxiety, using our breath to let it pass through our bodies, using poses that help make anxiety a tool, and the mind-altering power of simply smiling.

Mrs. Harrison’s program was helpful and insightful, and the kids were brilliantly in touch with these feelings, descriptions and strategies. Ask a 5th grader what he or she understands about anxiety, and how they handle it. They could probably give us all some good advice! School guidance counselor Julie Benson brought Melissa Harrison in with funding from the Boxford PTO.

 

USED SPORTS SALE – A PURPOSEFUL, RE-PURPOSEFUL AND APPRECIATED EVENT

Many, many thanks to our dedicated volunteers who managed the annual Used Sports Sale on Nov 17, a collaborative event with the Topsfield PTO. Your organization and management of all the equipment donations and sales were truly award-worthy. We relied heavily on you — and your communication, planning and dedication to this event showed excellent sportsmanship and team spirit. Please know that we have giant, shiny trophies for you in our hearts!

Many thanks also to everyone who participated! Your donations and your purchases help our environment, our community, and the funding of educational programs. Go sports!

MAKING CONNECTIONS IN FOURTH GRADE ELECTRICITY PROGRAM

Understanding. Building. Testing. Connecting. Enjoying Science. On Friday, November 9 our 4th graders experienced Mr. Wahle’s Techsploration program on Electricity. His engaging assembly presented the principles of electricity and electromagnetism with several students participating, and even a brave, talented teacher singing the blues. Classroom workshops had student teams designing and building various circuits to learn hands-on about resistors, switches, fuses, motors, circuit flow and electromagnetism (and, of course, safety first!) Ask a 4th graders what they learned and what kind of circuits they built!

 

GUEST AUTHOR AND FOURTH GRADERS WRITE COLLABORATIVE STORY

Creativity. Collaboration. Imagination. Problem-Solving. Fun with Writing. On Monday, October 29 author Steven Krasner nudged the imaginations of our Fourth Graders as they wrote an original “collaborative narrative cliffhanger story.” The five classes took turns adding to the tale full of unique characters, crazy adventures, unfortunate problems (“Dun-dun-duhhhhh”), and imaginative solutions (“YESSS!”). Ask a fourth grader what he or she loved about this interactive process and why! (and if they need to lubricate their tonsils). To learn more about Mr. Krasner, visit: www.nudgingtheimagination.com.

 

Happy News Sept-Oct 2018

FESTIVE FUN AT OUR HALLOWEEN PARTY 

The Halloween Party fundraising event was a huge hit! It was incredible to see all the students AND parents joining in the Halloween spirit with their festive costumes! Thank you to everyone who attended and a MAJOR thank you to the volunteers who have worked tirelessly for weeks, planning and executing on a wonderful family event. Another massive show of gratitude to our local rock band, who donated their time and talent and all of the Masco students that helped with the decorations and games! Thank you!!!

The clown, the trick or treating, the Jack-o-lantern contest, the dj, the games in the gym, the band, the “Where’s Waldo?” game – we truly hope everyone enjoyed all of the festivities and are looking forward to our next event in December – the Pancake Breakfast!

OLYMPIC FENCING ATHLETE, MOLLY SULLIVAN-SLINEY

Disability. Ability. Goals. Struggle. Doubt. Achievement. Confidence. Encouragement. On Oct. 9, Molly Sullivan-Sliney spoke to our Third-Graders during Team Time about her experience as an Olympic athlete in Fencing, and about the challenges she faced growing up with dyslexia. Ask a third-grader what he or she pictured when Molly described the Opening Ceremonies, or what the Fire Chief drew around Molly’s name before he became her fencing coach.

PROJECT ADVENTURE

Trust. Cooperation. Problem-Solving. Teamwork. Reliance. Responsibility. Challenge by Choice. Laughter and Fun Together in the Fresh Air. “I’ve got you.” “We’ve got this.” This is Project Adventure. What an amazing time our sixth graders had! Many thanks to our Sixth-Grade Activities volunteers who helped to facilitate this experience for the kids, and to the Spofford Pond teachers and staff for continuing to offer this field trip. What a powerful start to their year! Ask a sixth-grader what was most challenging or fun, and how it will impact the rapport among sixth-graders this year.

THANK-YOU FOR GRANTING TEACHER WISHES

Your generous donation made it possible for each student at Spofford Pond School to keep his/her very own art journal! These special books will be used to draft ideas, to express ourselves creatively, and to keep a record of our yearly projects. As the school year gets started, students have been busy designing their covers. Your generous contribution is so very appreciated! –Art Teacher Mrs. Winchell

Thank you so very much for the wobble stools and the class set of books titled Sophia’s War.  We love our new seating and can’t wait for our novel study unit using the books.  You are a very generous and kind PTO! –Fifth-Grade Teacher Mrs. Valzania

Last spring, classroom and specialist teachers from Cole and Spofford applied individually and as teams for the Teacher Wishes program. Each year, the PTO grants wishes that enhance the education of Boxford students. We were able to grant these wishes due to your generosity, since the program is funded entirely by parent support of the PTO.

This year wishes were granted across all grades and each student will benefit from them. Some wishes will be used up this year, such as Scholastic subscriptions and classroom supplies while others such as wobble stools and cushions will benefit students for many years to come. Alternative seating in particular has been a major hit with students and teachers. Thank you all so very much. We are grateful for the support that benefits our students.

SCOT CANNON, MIME: “We Can”

Openness. Developing One’s Identity. Interpersonal Skills. Attitude. Peer Pressure. Self Esteem. Mime Scot Cannon performed during the Sixth-Grade Team-Time on Sept. 28. After a silent mime show accompanied by original recorded music and narration, Scot removed his makeup and spoke with the students about his personal struggle to express himself. Ask a sixth-grader what he or she took away from this expressive show.

SWEET TIMES AT OUR ICE CREAM SOCIAL 

Sweet Treats. Time to Play. Bubbles. Bouncing. Games. A Brave, Spirited Principal. Many thanks to everyone who attended the Sept. 7 PTO Ice Cream Social at Cole School! It was a terrific family event. We can’t thank Mr. Middleton-Cox enough for having fun being “dunked.” And we couldn’t have done it without our dedicated team of volunteers who set up, checked-in, scooped and topped to everyone’s delight. And then cleaned up the happy, sticky mess. You are super, double-scoop appreciated. With whipped cream and a cherry on top. Funds raised at this event go toward our Curriculum Enrichment, Teacher Wishes and Community Programming. Thank you!