Week of October 7 2019

sweeping our shelter in the woods at recess
my fairy house
From the Director 
Thank you for pitching in ...............and what's with the different colored cups?

Thank you everyone who pitched in at the Parent Work Day, on a day with a Patriots game!   We painted the Arts & Crafts building (scroll down to the end to see photos), cleared the upper parking lot, cleared dead trees and brush in the woods, and built a new fence along the parking lot, a safety barrier for children.  (Thank you, Dale Anderson.)  Once again, we proved  Many hands make work light.    If you didn't get to pitch in, there is still more trim and door painting to do !  

Notice the stacks of green, yellow and red cups in some of the classroom photos.  When children are writing, or working on their own in math, they learn to self-assess.  Do I understand what I am doing?  Am I unsure?  Am I lost? What can I do to get back on track?  Depending on the answer, they will put out a green cup (I understand what I am doing) or a yellow cup (I am unsure, but working with what I know) or a red cup (I am lost and need help.)  Instead of a lot of hands in the air and voices crying out the teacher's name, it's a quiet classroom, with the teacher observing and ready to assist those with red cups. Often a yellow cup turns into a green cup, without the teacher's assistance.  This cup system teaches self assessment and independence. 

Children learn that frustration is part of the learning process. We recognize it, accept it and keep working.  It's another life lesson!


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         8:30 a.m.  All School Sing   
Tuesday        12:45 5th-6th at Harvard Forest, return to school by 3:30
Wednesday   1st-2nd at Tully Lake  meet & pick up at lake  8:45-11:45
                       Roots & Sprouts  Parent- Child Group   8:45-10:00  
Thursday        Art
Friday              2:15  K-6th hiking
Monday           NO SCHOOL Columbus Day


Updates    see the monthly calendar for more

This Fall Reading Mornings for K-6th 
Kindergarten Reading Morning Thursday Oct. 17 8:30 a.m.
1st-2nd Reading Morning          Thursday Oct. 24 8:30 a.m.

Parent Conferences at the end of the month 
See the newsletter attachment to schedule conferences.

About the $aveSum program for K-6th graders
Through Athol Savings Bank, we are setting up a savings program for K-6th students on Fridays, starting Nov. 1st. Children get bank books, make deposits, and hopefuly learn lifelong saving habits!  Info goes home attached to the newsletter.

Roots & Sprouts, Parent-Child Group on Wednesday mornings 
Parents and caretakers of children ages 0 to 4 are welcome to attend this weekly gathering from 8:45 to 10 a.m. in the preschool room. Ends Oct. 16.  It's free, drop in!  See the flyer

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.

September photos on the VS photo blog

Send this link to your friends and relatives, so they can get this enews too
Preschool mixing colors
going for a ride on the plane, thank you Gerry for stabilizing it


Last week the class experimented with mixing blue and yellow water using eye droppers and test tubes. This favorite activity incorporates all kinds of new skills.  They learn about color mixing, they develop fine motor skills to work an eye dropper and practice pouring, they explore different size containers (volume) and they learn how to get an eye dropper out of the bottom of a test tube without turning it over. They were very happily engaged when one child marveled "Hey, we are doing science without Trina!"

On Tuesday, Isaac played the piano and asked the children what the music sounded like and how it made them feel.  On Wednesday children rode their tricycles around to the front of the building where they enjoy the extra space.  On Thursday, the second group had art and Hannah read Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. Then the children painted with blue and yellow, using acorns, pine cones and pine boughs. They rolled the acorns around by tipping the trays, watching the acorns make paint trails.

On Friday in Spanish class, Josie read Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo, Que Ves Ahi? (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., and illustrated by Eric Carle. This book is a great way to teach animal names and colors in Spanish.
The class began to do leaf rubbings at the end of the week which we will continue this week. This week our story is It's Too Noisy, a Yiddish folktale.
Kindergarten fixing the tractor at Red Apple Farm
working with clay


We continue our theme of Plants this week investigating sunflowers. We are reading A Field of Sunflowers by Neil Johnson, about a farmer who decides to plant a whole field of sunflowers. We'll make detailed drawings of sunflowers.  We'll remove the seeds from sunflowers. Last week the class continued work on their Tree books. This week we are beginning ‘How To’ books. We’re practicing recording instructions page by page on topics such as ‘How to look after a cat’ and ‘How to ride a bike.’ In reading we’re practicing strategies for reading with a partner including sitting side-by-side, putting a book in the middle, and taking turns.

Last Monday we arrived to discover that our chrysalis had hatched into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. During the first hour of school it began to move its wings, getting ready for flight, so we took the aquarium outside to release it. The butterfly took to the air and we watched happily as it flew up to land on a pine tree high above us.

Last Wednesday we had a wonderful morning at Red Apple Farm. We began with a circle and sang the Apple Pickers Reel, had a hayride and hike, picked pumpkins and apples, and enjoyed fresh apple cider and donuts, not to mention plenty of apples along the way. We also saw and counted many Monarch butterflies along the way.
In science we are studying seeds and leaves. In phonics we are looking at the letter sounds ch, u, and b and beginning to sound out words made with letter sounds we know.

In math we are practicing and sharing counting strategies. Activities include using the counting jar and playing Grab and Count and Build It. On Friday afternoon we’re looking forward to another all-school hike around the property, noticing weekly changes.
1st-2nd Curriculum Morning with parents
we are proud of our work  (notice the stack of 3 colored cups)

1st-2nd Grade 

We enjoyed sharing your children’s day with you at Curriculum Morning. Please email us if you have any additional questions.

Last week in phonics, one group worked with matching rhyming words by noticing words with the same endings while another group learned about beginning consonant clusters such as br, tr, pr, dr, and gr.   Last week in writing we began learning how to edit our stories by making sure our sentences start with capital letters and end with punctuation.

In second grade math, students are playing games to practice addition and subtraction facts. We've talked about facts that make 10 and 'plus one' facts and solved "number strings" of more than two numbers to add together. The 1st grade math group is learning new games, such as Plus 1 or 2 and Doubles Compare, that help practice addition combinations.
We went on a mapping journey last week. We walked through the school to observe the important parts inside the building in order to make a map for someone else to follow. We added a map key, or legend, and a compass. This week we begin to look at maps of Massachusetts and will locate the towns we live in.

In science we learned about herbs that were used long ago as remedies to help with stomachaches, headaches or to make teas and flavor foods. We looked through the magnifying glasses and tried to identify the herbs based on the smell. Many of the children knew basil, lavender, and mint.

This Wednesday is our canoeing field trip at Tully Lake. Children should dress in warm layers and will need a water bottle and a good snack. It is hard work paddling around the lake!
3rd-4th project planning groups
drawing animals from different geological time periods (notice the stacks of colored cups)

3rd-4th Grade

In writing we are editing our memoirs.  Last week, students had their first peer conference and shared their writing with a partner.  They took turns reading and critiquing.  They did a great job telling each other what they thought was good about the writing and made suggestions that could improve the story.  This week, the children will learn what editing marks mean, look at their pieces with an editor’s eye and make any necessary changes to improve their first drafts.  Then, they’ll rewrite their stories to create a polished piece. 

The children began creating Greek pots in art.  They looked at different designs of pots to inspire them.  Their first step was to create a pinch pot.  Next, they built their pot up by adding coils to them.  Next week they’ll add patterns and designs to them.  In science, they drew pictures of animals from different time periods and wrote down a few facts about them.  Dinosaurs were a popular choice.  They’ll add the pictures to our timeline so they get a sense of when these animals existed (and, as they found out, some still do).  

In math, third grade is exploring area and arrays on grid paper to practice multiplication facts. We also took our beginning of the year assessment to review last year's concepts.  The fourth graders wrapped up the data unit, which mostly focused on how to gather information from a line plot and using some vocabulary terms to describe the data.  We had an interesting conversation about how to determine when you can use the word ‘most’ when looking at a set of data.  This week we’ll begin working on our second multiplication and division unit. 

The children are off to a good start with working on our goal of improving our listening skills.  We’ll continue with more activities and discussions this week as we assess our individual and collective needs.

Our canoe trip is rescheduled for Wednesday, October 16th.  Think "good weather!"

5th-6th leaf study with microscopes
Friday yoga class

5th-6th Grade

This week in our theme sessions we’re beginning to learn about westward migration, using a book from the Split History series which tells the story equally from the point of view of Native Americans and of the settlers.  We’ll also use The Little House on the Prairie as a reference, both for the interactions between settlers and Indians, and for the resourcefulness of the settlers themselves.

The children shared their experiences in completing their recent homework assignment to dig a two-foot hole in the ground.  Almost everyone reported finding rocks and roots in the way, which in some cases prevented them reaching a two-foot depth.  Several students said they would have moved to Ohio in the early 19th century, where the land was much easier to farm.  Many thanks to all our parents for allowing the children to dig holes in their yard!

This homework also supported our study of the local forest landscape in our science lessons.  Following practical science lessons in the school woods, this week we’re visiting the Harvard Forest in Petersham.  The children will do research in the forest, and look at the marvelous dioramas in the Fisher Museum, which show how land use changed between 1700 and the 1930's.  The dioramas show how the land was almost completely cleared by 1820, and then reverted back to forest as people abandoned the difficult farming land for opportunities further west.

Fifth graders are solving double-digit multiplication problems.  We reviewed strategies we knew and looked at other methods that may be more efficient for certain problems.  In the 6th grade we’re using prime factorizations to find relationships between different numbers. We've just begun looking at strategies for dividing.

For the next two art lessons, the class will be making coil pots in the style of Native Americans from the Southwest.  The class watched a video of artist Maria Martinez, who demonstrated traditional Pueblo Indian coil-pot techniques, before embarking on their own pieces.
BEFORE    The Arts & Crafts building was an eyesore on the playground/campus 
AFTER   We painted it Village School colors on the Work Day, now it blends in with the campus.  We are almost done, just need to paint the doors and trim with the finish coat.
My grandpa and I built a new fence on the Work Day
This is who it's all for, heading towards the light
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
Thank you for giving to the Annual Fund 
Your Support Keeps the School Thriving
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