February 17, 2017
Lower School Winter Newsletter
Dear Parents,
I and approximately 45 T-D students, faculty, and families will be in Peru when you receive this newsletter. The Lower School faculty and students who are not traveling have definitely earned some R & R!
The Lower School enjoyed a Chinese feast to celebrate the Year of the Rooster.  All the students sampled many delicious tidbits!  Students also made a handmade Cherry Blossom.
We are eagerly waiting our Leaping Leprechauns Day to come in March.
In the mean time, catch up on our “doings.”
Kindergarten:
The year is flying by and our Kindergarteners are really showing off their growth! I am so proud to announce that each one of them is reading on their own level. We have been focusing more on blending and ending sounds. Each morning, a class favorite activity is journal writing. It is wonderful to see the excitement and pride they put into their work, and phonetic awareness.  In math we have been learning about subtraction and addition sentences. We have also been problem solving using objects, “acting it out” and “listening to stories.” Science is always a well-liked time of the day for the kindergarteners. We have been learning about different kinds of weather and tracking our observations. We explored the different forms of water in our study centers. We are now moving into our Life Science unit.
We learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and talked about our new president. They each drew a picture of what they would do if they were president. We learned that Joel would make good rules, Dwight would give everyone Pokemon cards, Basil would give everyone ice cream, Anastasia would be kind to everyone, Adam would be nice to everyone, Max would save everyone, and Rory would love Hilary Clinton! Out of the mouths of babes!
First & Second:
The First and Second Graders are moving along in the curriculum nicely! First graders have begun learning about currency in math while second graders have begun learning to add and subtract with regrouping. Both grades have finished a unit on the hard and soft C and G sound as well as learning the definitions of prefixes and suffixes. Second graders have a non-fiction book report due on planets at the end of the month (an outline and rubric were sent home earlier). In our new Science curriculum, the students are learning the steps of the scientific method and the tools and strategies scientist use – we have done some fun experiments with more to come! Our next Science unit will be on “Matter.” In addition to our Social Studies curriculum second grade has been supplementing the curriculum with Scholastic News! They have learned a lot of interesting things from the articles including the dangers of consuming too much sugar, President Lincoln and his family, and Segregation and the Civil Rights movement. Both grades, along with Kindergarten, will celebrate the 100th day of school at the end of the month!

Third & Fourth:
The second quarter flew by! In the third and fourth grades, we are working on multiplication-the difference is in the number of digits! In writing, each student wrote a book report. In third grade, they also wrote “how-to articles” and in fourth “formal letters.” Both grades have covered seven chapters in Wordily Wise to both improve our vocabulary and our spelling. In grammar, we concentrated on all types of nouns; common, proper, pronouns, collective, singular, plural and possessive. In third grade reading we completed our first text book, read a realistic fiction story called “Ramona” and have completed “Chita” a historical fiction tale, “Coyote” a Native American tale, and “Mosquitos” a West African tale as well. In fourth grade, we are also working our way through many genres; “Baker’s Neighbor” a play, “Emperor” a folktale, two nonfiction science stories “Pufflings” and “Orangutan” and realistic fiction, “Garden of Happiness.” Our new Science curriculum with our new “worktexts” is a success. It gives the student the ability to write in the book, combining a text book with a workbook. There are also many experiments. We are studying plants and animals so this week we did the celery with blue dye and the fish bladder with balloons. We learned about observation using our new microscope and rock collection, data collection using paper clips and a magnet, inferences comparing balls bouncing on different surfaces, design creating a hovercraft and design creating paper airplanes. In Physical Education we continued with basketball and added “fitness mania” and “just dance.” We created cherry blossoms for Chinese New Year and thematic “Galapagos turtles.” This week we welcomed a new student, Vincent, to our Fourth-Grade T-D family.
Fifth Grade:
We are moving on from decimals to fractions!  We did have fun learning about the extremely challenging PEMDAS and Order of Operations!  Although we are bidding decimals adieu, they will be strongly connected to our Fractions Unit. In Grammar, we are just finishing up Verbs!!  There are so many tenses to learn but we are plowing through. We have been enjoying the stories in our reader but are eagerly awaiting our next thematic novel.  We have been enjoying studying the Galapagos Islands and the world-famous tortoise, Lonesome George. We have created “water-colored” geckos with more animals to come.  In Science, we just finished up our unit on habitats and food chains.  We are moving on to the weather and the fundamentally important water cycle.  We sure do love our new Science curriculum and getting our hands “wet/dirty” during experiments.  In Music class, students had the opportunity to use Logic Pro X software and create their own “beats.” While we have been learning many exciting facts, the most exciting news we had was the arrival of two new 5th graders. Phiko and Mongi are twins who just moved here from South Africa.  They have been informing us all about their culture. We are all so happy they have joined our T-D family.
Until we return,
Virginia Keating
Thornton-Donovan
Lower School Director
Middle School Director