October 5, 2016

Lower School News Letter
September

Well it seems the days are growing cooler, and nights longer. Fall is upon us and all is in full swing at T-D.

September was a busy month for the Lower School. We got into the thematic spirit of “Flying with the Condors” when we were treated to a fabulous show by visitors from Ecuador showcasing traditional dances.
Peace Day was another special day. T-D is one of the few schools that celebrate this United Nations holiday. Each lower school student made a peace sign to display on the campus. Students also participated in “Bubbles for Peace.” Students blew bubbles into the air which represented their hopes for peace. The students also saw a “Conflict-Resolution” puppet show. The African folktale character Anansi was the star of the show. Brittany and Lucy, two 5th graders, released the “Peace Doves” which concluded this special day.

Below please read a synopsis of what each grade has been working on.

Ms. Richy, Kindergarten:

Our Kindergartners are off to a terrific start at Thornton Donovan! Our “All About Me” theme in the beginning of September really helped us get to know each other better, as well as encouraged relationships that will continue to grow all year. We are quite a unique group! The children have been busy reviewing the alphabet and discussing the different and similar sounds we hear. Their phonemic awareness is growing each day as we not only talk about sight words, but we trace them, write them, read them, create sentences that show how to use them, and make them using letter magnets. A great amount of time during the day has been spent exercising fine motor skills such as writing and cutting. Already we see improvement and success! Each week we are learning new vocabulary words which I informally quiz them on at the end of the week.
During Math, students have been breaking into groups where each child has an opportunity to explore different materials. One day they might make patterns using colored bears, and on another, sorting and classifying acorns. Tangrams are a class favorite. The children very creatively construct pictures using several different geometric shapes. Working hands on with materials in math definitely gives the children a deeper understanding and comprehension of simple math concepts. We have also been busy discussing greater than, less than and equal to.
Science is one part of the day that the kids really enjoy because they usually get messy! We have made playdough, compared objects that sink and float, and enjoyed a few other simple experiments. The children really liked making hypotheses and seeing the outcome. With the change of season we have talked about the changes around us and took a nature walk to experience it.

Ms. Colangelo, Grades One and Two
The beginning of the school year was an exciting one as 1st and 2nd grades are now learning together!
We’ve welcomed 3 new students to our classroom – Bella, Ethan and Gianna. They (we) are all settling in nicely.
We are slowly learning the components of the “Daily 5” (individual/partner reading, auditory listening, word and writing work), which we have for several periods in the morning. Choosing books, partner reading and building reading stamina are the whole group lessons we are focusing on currently. The Daily 5 has many interesting activities for all of us to enjoy at our own pace and learning style. In science, both grades are learning the importance of healthy eating (learning about the Food Guide Pyramid) and the benefits of exercise. In social studies, both grades are learning about neighborhoods and communities with 1st grade focusing on groups at home and in school while 2nd grade curriculum emphasizes different types of neighborhoods, communities and those that live there.
Both grades are reviewing math concepts with 1st grade focusing on number review, whole and parts of numbers and 2nd grade working on the relation between addition and subtraction, whole and parts review and word problems.

Mrs. Arbisi, Third and Fourth Grades
We are off to a great start in third and fourth grade! We began by decorating our classroom with our “Spanish” job board and our “Flying with Condors, Peru to Ecuador” thematic board.
Our days begin with the “enVision” math program. After a successful completion of Chapter 1 on multiplication and division in fourth grade and place value in third grade, we are working on generating and analyzing patterns. Each student in both grades should be working on multiplication flash cards that we created to improve their accuracy. Students are working hard to increase their spelling/vocabulary through the “Wordly Wise” program. In grammar we are studying sentences in terms of declarative, interrogative, exclamatory or imperative as well as simple subjects and predicates.
In handwriting we are fine-tuning our cursive, working on the over curve, slant, under curve and down curve strokes.
In reading we are working on our comprehension in the “Trophies” text and have completed “The Gardener” in fourth grade and “Wild Shots” in third.
In writing we are working on personal narratives.
In Science we are studying landforms, and erosion culminating with our plaster mold of a volcano!
In Physical Education we are playing modified soccer with a focus on sportsmanship. We are really coming together as a great team both on and off the field!

Ms. Keating, Fifth Grade
In grade 5 we have been working hard and are getting back into school full swing. In math we have been reviewing place value, estimating and working with decimals.
We have been working on our writing, especially writing the details that support our thesis and learning to stay on topic while using complex sentences. We have been reviewing nouns, subject complements, direct objects and indirect objects.
In Science, we have been comparing and contrasting animal vs. plant cells. We are studying the Six Kingdoms, and have constructed our own fungi laboratory where we are “growing” mold.
In reading we will soon be embarking on our first class novel, The Ugly One written by Leanne Statland Ellis. It tells the story of a young Inca girl, Micay, who lives at the base of Machu Picchu. Micay has a deep scar and is picked on by the other children in her village. One day a visitor comes and gifts her with a macaw, who transforms Micay from an outcast into a leader.

October is shaping up to he a busy month as well. Please keep the following dates in mind.

October 18: 7:00-9:00 Parent-Teacher Conferences – please schedule an appointment with your child’s teacher.
October 28th: Art’s House CafĂ© at the New Rochelle Library
October 31: Halloween Parade/ Plant the Promise-more information forthcoming

Friendly Reminders:

Early morning drop off is 8:00 a.m., not before.
If your child is not taking the bus home as usual, please send a note to the child’s teacher. For absences, please call the school prior to the school day.
All students in grades K-12 must follow and adhere to the dress code as found in the T-D Handbook which is online at www.td.edu.
Boys must wear shirts with collars. Pants should be worn above the hips. Casual, imprinted or oversize tee-shirts may not be worn by any student. No hats, caps, halters, hoods or flip-flops are to be worn during the school day. Shorts of any length, very short skirts, or any other inappropriate dress such as jeans in disrepair, sweat pants, warm-ups, crop tops, spaghetti straps, bare midriffs, bare shoulders, and body jewelry are unacceptable. The length of dresses and skirts should extend below the fingertips with the arms extended at the side.

Very truly yours,

Virginia Keating

K-8 Director
Thornton-Donovan
keatingteach@aol.com