Week of November 4, 2019

our fort, team 1
our fort, team 2
From the Director 
What's the Lantern Walk about?
The Village School adapted the Lantern Walk from a European tradition, creating a bookend to May Day, as we mark the change in seasons and the growing darkness by walking with our lanterns, singing, hearing a story around the fire, eating together and dancing together.  It's particularly magical for 4-8 year olds.

In the contra dance, we change partners as part of the pattern, and dance in different lines and groups.  It's fun to greet each partner and move with them.  For grown-ups, it's like an old fashioned barn dance, a chance to experience the joy of community together.  Don't worry, the dance is called and its fairly simple........and older children would love to teach you!

Hope to see you and dance with you on Friday evening,


P.S.  Friends and relatives can get this enews weekly too.  Click here to sign them up, or send this link to them.

This week at the Village School 

Monday        All School Sing  8:30 a.m.
Tuesday        music
Wednesday   Kindergarten Theme Share 8:30 a.m.
Thursday      art
Friday          Lantern Walk and Potluck   Bring a flashlight and an Italian dish
                     5:00 preschoolers pick up lanterns, go to fire circle with parents
                             K-6th children go to classrooms
                     5:15  Children walk in a procession with lit lanterns & gather at the fire
                     6:00 potluck at main house and yoga hall
                     6:30 family contra dance


Updates    see the monthly calendar for more

Kindergarten Theme Share this Wednesday 8:30 a.m.   Children look forward to singing and sharing with you.

Lantern Walk  this Friday         visitors welcome
5:00 children gather in classrooms, preschool children pick up their lanterns and walk with their parents to the fire
5:15 procession begins
Its our quintessential Village School event, marking the change in seasons.  Children walk with their glowing homemade lanterns in the dark, we gather around the fire for a story, enjoy a huge family potluck and finish with family contradance.

Jeff Davis performs  Tuesday Nov. 12   11:00 a.m.  visitors welcome  
Jeff is an archivist and singer of early American folk songs. 

Open House  Saturday Nov. 16  10-noon     Invite friends
Everyone is invited to check out the school, meet teachers, current parents and more.  Bring the kids- art and science activities are in some of the classrooms. It's the best time to get on the preschool list for next year.

Do you order on Amazon?  Use AmazonSmile to benefit the school.     Every time you order, Amazon donates to the school.  Use this link to make sure you are always ordering on AmazonSmile.  Its the same Amazon, no extra charge, all your settings stay the same. Click here to enroll, it takes 30 seconds.   Once you are set up, click here to put the button on your browser.  

Get the lowest electricity rates and the Village School benefits too!   With Autopilot
National Grid (or whoever you have) is still your company, but your new supplier changes to the one with the lowest rate, and can change monthly if needed, to keep your rate low.   Questions?  or ready to sign up?  Call Matt at 413 834 8677  Click here for the video and more info    Get great rates on phone, cable too.  Works well for businesses too.

5th-6th making rhythms with found kitchen instruments 

October photos on the VS Photo Blog
September photos on the VS photo blog

Send this link to your friends and relatives, so they can get this enews too
preschoolers in dress-up and singing for Halloween
preschool on the rock


Last Wednesday the children put on dress-up clothes and face paint and paraded to each classroom to sing This Little Light of Mine. In each subsequent classroom they became more comfortable and sang clearer and with more enthusiasm. Everyone in the class either had a sibling or a Reading Buddy to look for in the classrooms. After the parade we read the book, Popcorn, by Frank Asch, then had popcorn and tangerines for snack. 

Last Friday the preschool joined the kindergarten class for contra dance practice. They learned how to stand in two lines facing their partners and practiced one-hand and two-hand turns. After contra dance practice, the class enjoyed roasted beets for snack. After handling the beets, the children were fascinated by the pink color left on their hands. 

This week our story is Possum's Harvest Moon by Anne Hunter.
Last week parents stopped in to help their child decorate their lanterns for the Lantern Walk. This week the children will bead a handle and continue practicing Lantern Walk songs.

This Friday is the Lantern Walk. Families can arrive at 5:00 p.m. and come to the preschool room to pick up your child's lantern. Bring a flashlight, it will be dark!  We will meet by the fire for singing and a story told by Rise. Preschool, Kindergarten and the 1st -2nd class will then go to the big house for the potluck dinner with their families. The 3rd-4th and 5th-6th will eat in the yoga hall with their families. After dinner we’ll all join in family-friendly contra dance in the auditorium.  It's a long night for preschoolers, so be ready to take them home when they have had enough.
kindergarten potato counting in math- we dug and washed these potatoes too!
kindergarten leaping frogs in yoga


We complete our theme of Plants this week reading the children’s books that they have been working on. They are all authors and we’re celebrating their writing!  Parents are invited to our Plants Theme Share this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. to hear the class sing and share their work and ideas from the last nine weeks.

Next week, our new theme is Humans. The theme is based on ourselves and activities include learning how our bodies work, sharing our feelings and thoughts, and comparing animal and human homes.
Last week in science we learned about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. We remembered the Monarch butterfly we had in the classroom, and the children had fun acting out the life stages from egg to butterfly, with each child taking turns to lead the rest of the class.

In phonics this week our letter sounds are w, y, and v. In math we’re beginning a new unit - Make a Shape, Fill a Hexagon, about 2D geometry. Activities include making shape pictures from squares, triangles, and circles, and describing 2D shapes.

This week we’re completing work on our lanterns for the Lantern Walk. We’re collecting sticks in the woods to make into handles and using pipe cleaners to hang our lanterns from the sticks. Last Friday we had two contra-dance practices, one with the preschool and one with the upper grades. We practiced dances including Shady Grove, Alabama Girl, and Heel and Toe.

Our annual Lantern Walk is this Friday. Kindergarten children should meet in the classroom at 5:00, then we’ll march out holding our lanterns and singing with reading buddies, to hear a story around the fire. Next we’ll enjoy a pot luck supper followed by contra-dancing. It’s fun for the whole family.  Dress warm and in layers.
1st 2nd leaf rubbings

1st-2nd Grade 

It was wonderful to have so many of you join us for Reading Morning, and to then have the opportunity to meet with you during conferences.

Last week in reading we introduced the class to the idea of building their ‘reading toolboxes.’ The first tool we tend to use when reading a book is our eyes. We talked about using our ‘eagle eyes’ to preview a book before reading and to look for picture clues when decoding unknown words. This week we’ll add more tools to our toolkit.

In science last week we examined the leaves we had collected from our My Tree visit. Trina pressed the leaves to preserve the color and shape. We observed the leaves under the 5x magnifiers and drew our observations. Then the children made leaf rubbings and chose 3 preserved leaves that will be included in their My Tree books.

To get into the Halloween spirit we carved pumpkins in small groups. The groups did a great job of listening to each other’s ideas and sharing the tasks. On Wednesday we toured the main house at Camp Caravan, which has several floors and many rooms to explore. The highlight was visiting the spooky basement. Then we gathered in the movements hall with our reading buddies for Rise’s traditional story of The Devil’s Three Golden Hairs.

Both math groups will begin new units in geometry and measurement. First graders will be getting their first homework assignments for math, which will include pages to practice addition and subtraction skills and to find shapes at home.

Friday is the Lantern Walk. Children meet back in the classroom at 5:00 before the event begins.  Dress warm and in layers.
3rd-4th fence painters
our finished jack o' lantern

3rd-4th Grade

Last week, the children did really well thinking about the characters for their stories.  They worked on creating their minor characters and an antagonist.  Our next steps are to develop a problem, a beginning and an ending.  After that, we’ll begin writing our stories, which they can’t wait to do.  We’ll see how their ideas unfold.

The children worked well together in small groups to create Jack-O-Lanterns.  They planned their designs and took turns carving the pumpkins.  Each one is unique and creative.  They’ll be on display at the Lantern Walk.

The fourth graders are working on related problems and thinking about how they can use one problem to solve another.  We are looking at what happens when one factor doubles, one factor doubles and the other one halves and how we can use these ideas to solve problems.

This week, the students have a new assignment as part of their homework.  As part of our focus on the elements of characters and story, they now will practice writing about the books they are reading.  Children get to choose which prompt to answer and the goal is to vary the questions they choose from week to week.  This is a good opportunity to think deeply and practice writing in complete sentences.

Friday is the Lantern Walk.  The children should be in the classroom by 5:00.  After the story, they will join parents for the potluck and dancing.  They’ve practiced some of the dances and are ready to teach them to you.

On Tuesday, November 19th, we’ll go to Amherst College to visit the Natural History Museum and the Planetarium.  We’ll leave the school at 8:45 and return by 3:30. 

5th-6th designing next layer for their lanterns
moving a log to make a bench for the fire circle

5th-6th Grade

We began reading Shane last week, and the class quickly became caught up in the story.  We all enjoyed the key early scene in which the homesteader Starrett and the wandering ex-gunman Shane work together to remove a huge tree stump that has blighted the Starrett farm for years.  We discussed why the author should devote 10 percent of the whole novel to this incident, and the children saw how it showed the essential plot point of binding the two men together only a day after they had first met.  As the story unfolds we will see how the trust and mutual support established in this scene underpins the narrative.

We are mainly sharing together the book in class so that we can discuss it as we read, and so that the children don’t read ahead too far and spoil the complex ending.  The class responds to the text through discussion and specific exercises aimed at delving deeper into the main characters, and seeing how the plot is both foreshadowed and unfolded.

In our theme lessons this week we will begin learning about what it was like to travel westward in a covered wagon.  We will learn about the famous immigrant routes and how wagon trains were organized.  We will also see how wagons were built by companies such as Studebaker, John Deere and Sears, using early forms of mass production assembly lines decades before Henry Ford. 

We will also read The Stout-Hearted Seven, an account based on the lives of the Sager children, who were orphaned on the Oregon Trail, but finally made it all the way to the territory.

In art the children will complete their new style of lanterns for Friday’s Lantern Walk.  At our contradance practice last Friday, we asked the older children to help the younger ones learn the dances, and to act as role models at the Lantern Walk itself.
hiking on a carpet of leaves
up a tree
The Village School is an independent school serving children in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1-6, in north central Massachusetts, offering a unique curriculum based on challenging hands-on academics, direct contact with the natural world, and kindness.  For more information, or to set up a visit,
call our Director, Rise Richardson at 978 249 3505
or email her at
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Copyright © 2019 The Village School, All rights reserved.

Call us at 978-249-3505

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