100 Overlook Circle New Rochelle 10804
100 Overlook Circle New Rochelle 10804

Lower School Spotlight

T-D’S Lower-School Fall Newsletter

November 7, 2019

Lower School Newsletter

The Lower-School has been bustling with activity. We started off with a visit from various animals when a Petting Zoo visited us for the afternoon. We all enjoyed the playful goats. Then we celebrated Peace Day with the entire Thornton-Donovan family.

We were treated to the delightful rapper, Young Gravy, who made sure he took the time to answer a multitude of questions. The event ended with the much-anticipated Dove release. On September 25, grades K- 5 participated in a lesson about sustainability of the Earth’s resources. Sid Sussman’s mom, Ms. Deepali Srivastava read a book to our class.   The lesson included a powerful message from Greta Thunberg, the young Climate Change activist that reminds us that “No one is too small to make a difference.”

Students next enjoyed the picture book, Not for me, please! I choose to act green, and brainstormed ways they can be better stewards of the Earth. It was a great event and heartwarming to see all the children come up with everyday solutions. Still on the environmental kick, grades K-5 visited Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown Heights. Students were able to visit with the cows, see a working Bee Hive and even got the opportunity to pick and eat certain crops. I think the Cherry tomatoes won the all-time favorite. 

Ms. Deepali Srivastava was in again with a presentation of the Hindu festival of lights-Diwali. Mrs. Avafia, 2nd grader Mia-Zara’s mom, ably assisted. Each student enjoyed coconut treats and made a beautiful candle holder out of clay which was decorated with glitter. Diwali was not the only feast we celebrated. Last week, we celebrated Dia de Muertos, AKA The Day of the Dead, with T-D’s Mrs. Tudisco and her Spanish class students who displayed their alters honoring a deceased loved one.

Students then watched Disney’s Coco, the story of a 12-year-old boy who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. He receives the help of his great-great grandfather and returns to the land of the living.   The climax to this fun filled event was students decorating their own sugar skull cookies or calaverites. Each student’s design was just as unique as they are.These activities got all of us in the mood for last Thursday’s Halloween celebration and costume parade. Below are tidbits from the individual classes.

Kindergarten/FirstI t is hard to believe that we are already in full swing into Autumn! The school year feels like it’s flying by and yet-we’ve just begun! The kindergarteners have adjusted quite nicely to the group of “old timers” and match up in ability and strive very nicely!In Math the Kindergarten has explored the numbers zero through ten by comparing, ordering, and adding. They have also been introduced to a hundred chart and have learned to count by tens. We use counters on a daily basis (e.g. blocks, crayons, cubes, checkers, even students!) to visually and kinesthetically assist with understanding the concepts. Every Friday, the kindergarteners are allowed to participate in “minute math” with the first grade. The students are given one-digit addition problems (ex. 2 + 3 =__) the same test is given weekly in hopes of mastering the simple addition equations/sentences within a minute! The first grade has worked on understanding addition and subtraction through using pictures, showing work, reading word problems, and writing addition/subtraction sentences. They have spelling tests weekly or biweekly depending on the school calendar.The kindergarteners have been learning to read site words rather quickly! They have mastered a handful already. They had their first spelling test last week and proved smart as can be! We listen to and read stories daily. We have been learning to identify beginning sounds of words. We also have had fun identifying objects in the classroom that correspond to a particular letter. The first grade has been reviewing identifying the beginning as well as the ending sounds in words. They have reviewed consonants “s, t, b, h, m, k, j, f, g, l, d and n” and the sound to symbol relationship. I am so proud to say that first grade has had 3 spelling tests so far and all students have experienced success! Perhaps I have to step it up! Currently we are learning about the structure and content needed to compose sentences. In our Social Studies curriculum, we are comparing families from long ago to now. We touched on cultural differences and similarities. The students also continue to use writing prompts and illustrations to show their work in their journal or reading notebook.Next month we will delve further into our Science curriculum with multiple experiments. Our “witches brew” made with vinegar, baking soda, food coloring and multiple other ingredients absolutely kicked off Halloween in our classroom!

Second/Third The Second Grade got off to a wonderful start! They are enjoying our new reading program which allows students to be more interactive as well as more imaginative. We are continuing reviewing addition and subtraction facts and their relation to each other. In science, we have been learning about the three states of matter. We finished our unit with a fun Root Beer Float experiment which incorporated all three forms of matter at once! Then we enjoyed this very tasty treat! We are finishing up Unit One of social studies which focuses on world communities and continents. A test will be forthcoming. Our spelling unit is new for us this year – we are pulling our words from the Wordly Wise curriculum! The words are more advanced so their tests will be every two weeks. So far, they have all done a wonderful job!In math, Third grade is reviewing the relationship between addition and subtraction as well as fact families and the Associative, Commutative and Identity properties (distributive properties will be forthcoming). Third grade has started cursive writing – we are taking our time making sure that we curve our letters as well as how to begin joining them. My goal is to have them write all of their assignments in cursive by the new year.Both grades are focusing on paragraph writing with strong topic sentences and supporting details. We are also reviewing graphic organizers to better organize our writing. We will then begin drafting and publishing our work. Third grade also worked on a Family Tree project in class which will be on the bulletin board soon! Stop by to see our work!

Four/Five In Grammar it is about the Nouns! We have studied Proper/Common, Possessive, Plural and Subject Complements.In 4th Reading we are finishing up our biography unit with a magazine article, “Twins in Space,” which describes the NASA study of identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly. Scott spent a year orbiting in Space while his brother remained on Earth! NASA has recently reported that Scott’s DNA was altered by his mission. In 5th grade Reading, we just finished the historical fiction story, Pedro’s Journey will tells about a young seaman voyaging to the New World with Columbus on the Santa Maria.The Fourth-grade scientists are learning about the different forms of energy and getting their own energy out by investigating which material makes a better heat conductor.   Fifth grade just concluded an experiment with different solutions with colored water, oil and sodium bicarbonate. The results were fascinating! Some students have been keeping their experiments in their freezers at home.Social Studies has been about what leads to war. For the Fourth graders it has been what lead to the American Revolution whereas the Fifth graders have been discussing the Civil War.I am trying to encourage all students to make use of their IXL.com accounts which the school has provided for them. This will help with Math fluency because in these grades – the multiplication tables -should be automatic. Every Friday I will recommend a skill that should be reviewed. 

As you can see, Thornton-Donovan’s Lower School is well underway and in full swing!

Upcoming Events:

(All can be found on the T-D website calendar)

November 11th   No School – Veteran’s Day

November 13th-PTP meeting-7:00 p.m.

November 14th-Donuts with Dads-8:00 a.m.

November 19th-Lower School Parent- Teacher Conferences-5:00-8:00 p.m.

November 23rd-International Dinner (details to follow)

November 27th- 12:47 Dismissal

November 28-29th-No School, Thanksgiving Break 

I know I am thankful for our Thornton-Donovan Community and hope to see you at some of the listed events. 

Virginia (Keating) Miller


Lower School Director

Middle School Director