Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Treats for Macdonough Students

As children from Macdonough School prepared for the holidays, they were given something extra to bring home for the upcoming break. Each of the students had the opportunity to choose a gently used book as a holiday treat.

The books, donated from a variety of sources, contained both fiction and non-fiction selections. Authors included Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, E.B. White and more.

Increasing access for students to quality children's literature is among the goals of Macdonough's School Improvement Plan.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Choral Concert

Mrs. Hallie Sorensen, music teacher at Macdonough School, presented a Holiday Choral Concert on Monday, December 22nd featuring students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. A wide variety of seasonal tunes were performed for family and friends.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Donation for Macdonough Students

Children from Macdonough School received a wonderful holiday surprise as students from Xavier High School donated more than 250 books to the school. Boxes filled with fiction and non-fiction selections were delivered by members of Xavier's Ryken Service Society and the Interact Club.

The books will be used for Macdonough School's Free Book Friday program. The Free Book Friday program was designed to provide gently used quality children's literature to the boys and girls at Macdonough School.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Basketball Season at Macdonough

Each winter students in fifth grade are welcomed to represent Macdonough School as members of the school basketball team.

The Macdonough students play against each of the other elementary schools in the city. The team is being coached by third grade teacher, Miss Teresa Morello.

For information regarding the team's upcoming games, please visit the Macdonough School website at http://www.middletownschools.org/

Along with the basketball team, Macdonough School also fields a cheerleading squad comprised of fourth and fifth grade students.
The cheerleaders are coached by Miss Allison Monarca, a second grade teacher at Macdonough School.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wesleyan Book Donations

Students from Wesleyan University donated two children's books to our library. The donations were made on behalf of college students who are volunteering in the WES Reads and WES Math programs at Macdonough School.

The donated books were Tomie DePaola's Big Book of Favorite Legends and My Dog May Be a Genuis.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Asian Brush Painting

Macdonough School students were treated to a three session after school program focusing on Asian Brush Painting. Hannah Jung, an art teacher at Middletown High School, offered the program to students in third, fourth, and fifth grade.

Students completed the program on December 4th having participated in experiences using the four foundational techniques of brush painting using four different plants (Orchid, Plum Blossom, Chrysanthemum, and Bamboo).

The Asian Brush Painting program was offered as part of Middletown's Professional Improvement Grant Fund.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mobile Dental Clinic Visits Macdonough

The Health Center was transformed into a dental clinic this week as Macdonough School was visited by the Mobile Dental Clinic. Many of our students had the opportunity to see the dental hygienist for check-ups and cleanings!

If you would like your child to have access to this program, please call the school and ask for information on the Community Health Center at Macdonough School.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

PTA Book Fair

Parents and students are enjoying the PTA Book Fair this week. Each class has had the opportunity to visit the book fair to preview and purchase books. Parents have also been welcomed to visit during Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Proceeds from the book fair are used to offset costs associated with field trips at Macdonough School.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pineapples at Macdonough

Thanks to our Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grant, many of the classrooms had a pineapple treat this week. The students learned a few things about pineapples and got to taste the delicous fruit.

Each week at Macdonough School, new fruits and vegetables are delivered for the enjoyment of our students and staff.

Football Star Visits Macdonough

As the city gears up for the annual football game between Middletown High and Xavier, Macdonough School welcomed a football star to its classrooms.

University of Iowa's Amari Spievey, a resident of Middletown, was back home for the Thanksgiving holiday and made some time to visit his nieces at Macdonough.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Macdonough Basketball Team

Basketball season has started! This year's team is being coached by third grade teacher Teresa Morello. The team will face each of the other city elementary schools during the next few months and conclude the season with a game against the teachers in late February.

The first game of the season is scheduled for December 9th when the team will travel to Farm Hill School.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Macdonough In The News...

The Hartford Courant published a story on the North End Children's Laptop Project entitled "School's Computer Club A 'New Way' To Learn" Click on the links to learn more!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Firefigher Al Visits Third Grade

Third grade students at Macdonough School welcome a member of the Middletown Fire Department into their classrooms each year.

For the past few years it has been Firefighter Al. He visits the third graders once a month for about an hour to discuss fire safety and prevention.

In the spring, the third graders will be walking to the fire station on Main Street to get a tour of the house and trucks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Session After School Program: Computer Club

Miss Claffey has begun work with a motivated group of fourth grade students in the winter session of the Computer Club. Students meet once each week to work in the computer lab and to learn about the new XO laptop computers.

The Computer Club is funded in part through Macdonough's 21st Century School Program grant.

SURFS Up Celebration

It was a "November to remember" in terms of this month's SURFS Up Celebration!

More than 100 parents and friends joined us to honor members of our learning community at the November SURFS Up Celebration. Staff from the Family Resource Center along with members of the Macdonough PTA coordinated a VIP reception prior to the assembly.

Students being recognized included members of the Scholars Academy, the Running Club, the Computer Club, and winners of the city wide Park and Recreation Art Contest.

Miss Sarah Claffey was also honored for completing the BEST Mentor Program, a three day program organized by the Connecticut State Department of Education. Miss Claffey is now certified to mentor new teachers and work with student-teachers from local universities. We are very proud of her accomplishment!

One child from each class was also recognized as the SURFS Up recipient. These are children who demonstrated Self-Responsibility, Understanding, Respect, Fairness, and Safety throughout the month. The families of these SURFS Up winners were also honored.

The next SURFS Up Celebration is just around the corner and will be held on December 5th!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SURFS Up Food Drive

Each month at Macdonough , the entire school comes together to honor the good things happening in our learning community at the SURFS Up Celebration.

Last month a new addition was incorporated into the SURFS Up Celebration - a food drive. Students and teachers were each asked to bring in one non-perishable food item. The thought was that if each person did a little, together we could do a lot. And we did! Over three hundred items were collected.

This month the cans are already rolling in as we prepare for the November SURFS Up Celebration. Thanks to all for your generosity!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nurse Parmelee Conducts Vision / Hearing Screenings

Most people know that Nurse Parmelee takes care of children when they are not feeling well. She is wonderful at that part of her job!

What some don't know is how much more she does for the children of Macdonough School. One example is the vision and hearing screenings. Nurse Parmelee does both vision and hearing screenings for every child at Macdonough School!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Macdonough School Read-a-thon

Students at Macdonough School participated in a Read-a-thon on Thursday, November 13th.

Each of the students had the chance to invite a special guest to participate. Many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were on hand to join in the fun.

Mrs. Maturo from the Family Resource Center began the festivities by reading the students a poem by Shel Silverstein. Miss Beideman and Miss Loiseau helped all of the students select "gently used" books to read with friends. More than two hundred books were donated for the read-a-thon!

The Macdonough School Read-a-thon is one of several activities included in the School - Family - Community Partnership Plan to increase children's access to literature for take home reading.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Literary Club

Members of The Literary Club, presented Macdonough School with a generous donation to promote literacy programs in the school. The donation will be used to purchase children's literature for students.

In addition to the donation, the school was presented with a copy of The Trumpet of the Swan, written by E.B. White, to add to Macdonough's read aloud collection.

Veterans Day Visitor

Students in Mrs. Lenihan's kindergarten class were treated to a special visitor in honor of Veterans Day! A sergeant from the United States Air Force came to talk with the class.

Children learned about how members of the armed forces keep our country safe. They also learned about the reason that our country honors soldiers and sailors each year on Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Macdonough School Running Club

Members of the Macdonough School Running Club attended the Freedom Run in Hartford on Saturday, November 8th. The young runners had a choice of competing in the 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile children's race which were run adjacent to the State Capitol and through Bushnell Park.

The race was run in honor of the men and women serving our country. Members of the Governor's Foot Guard began the day with a wonderful flag presentation.

The Macdonough School runners fared well winning first place in both the 1/4 mile race and the 1/2 mile race!

In addition to patriotic race t-shirts each child was awarded a race medal as he or she crossed the finish line.

Macdonough School's participation in the race was sponsored by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and 21st Century Schools Program.

The Macdonough School Running Club will be taking a winter break and resume racing on Saint Patrick's Weekend in March with the The O’Hartford 5K and Wee Mile Race.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nurturing Pathways at the Macdonough FRC

There is great new program that Laura Maturo is offering at the Macdonough School Family Resource Center.

For the past 5 weeks, Laura has been offering Nurturing Pathways for babies ( birth to pre-walking) and caregivers. The classes combine developmental activities, music, movement and bonding activities. It really is a cutting edge program and the parents/caregivers coming just love it. You can tell the children also respond positively and are very engaged because everyone is ready for a nap afterward. They give it their all! Hopefully, the Family Resource Center will be able to offer classes again for "waddlers" and preschoolers.

The Family Resource Center is a "must visit" for families with little ones. For more information, feel free to contact Laura Maturo at Macdonough (347-8553).

Bring a Special Friend to Lunch Day

The first Friday of each month, special friends are invited to Macdonough School to have lunch with our students. While many of guests are moms and dads, there are a fair share of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors.

More than 75 "special friends" came to Macdonough on November 7th to enjoy lunch making this one of the best attended programs to date.

"Bring a Special Friend to Lunch Day" is part of Macdonough's School - Family - Community Partnership plan. The goal of the plan is to provide additional opportunities to involve families in the education of their children.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bread Day at Macdonough

Occasionally the Connecticut Food Bank drops off a couple of hundred loaves of bread for Macdonough families. This is not your average peanut butter and jelly sandwich bread, it's the really good stuff! Roasted Garlic Ciabbatta Stix, Seven Grain Batard, and Cranberry Harvest Rolls to name a few.

Parents who come to pick up their children from school are treated to a couple of complimentary loaves. Just the thing to add to the evening's dinner menu.

Bread Day is coordinated by the staff of the school's Family Resource Center. It's another one of the great things about Macdonough School!

Macdonough School PTA

Members of the Macdonough School PTA conducted their November meeting on Thursday, November 6th at 3:30 p.m. in the school library. The group discussed the success of the Halloween party and made plans for another family event in late November.

If you'd like to get involved in the PTA, but can't attend a meeting, consider volunteering for a couple of hours at the PTA Book Fair during the week of December 1st through December 5th. Information will be sent home soon!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rotary Club Provides Dictionaries for 3rd Grade!

Special thanks to the Middletown Rotary Club for providing each child in third grade with a brand new dictionary.

The gift was made possible through the Dr. Wilfredo Nieves Dictionary Project.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mock Presidential Election at Macdonough

Students at Macdonough School participated in a Mock Presidential Election on Monday. Mrs. Brick coordinated voter registration for each third, fourth, and fifth grade student and conducted the actual election.

The results? Barack Obama won in a landslide!

We'll be looking forward to Election Day to see if the Macdonough student results matched the rest of the country!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Macdonough School in the News

The Middletown Press published a story on the North End Children's Laptop Project entitled "NEAT Provides Children with Free Laptops." Click on the links to learn more!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Third Graders Visit Russell Library

On Tuesday, October 28th, the third graders in Miss Morello and Mrs. Waterman's classes went to the Russell Library. The students had hoped to walk but due to the rainy day they traveled by school bus.

The amazing children's department librarians talked to students about all of the helpful and free resources at the library. All of the children who didn't already have library cards received cards and after taking a tour of the library got to roam and choose any book or magazine to check out. Others read quietly in the children's room.

The trip ended with some spooky and funny stories about Halloween. The classes jumped back on the bus and were back at school just in time for lunch! Special thanks to several parents who came along on the trip to help out as chaperones.

The librarians from the children's department were incredible! They not only taught the Macdonough students about the library and helped to check out books, but also provided entertainment.

Remember 3rd graders, your books are due before November 18th.

Halloween Fun at Macdonough!

Students and staff enjoyed some Halloween excitement at Macdonough School this week. Thanks to the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grant, each student was presented with a small pumpkin. Two hundred and fifty pumpkins delivered to the school set the stage for some seasonal learning and fun!

Teachers used the pumpkins for many creative learning activities. Students measured pumpkins, weighed pumpkins, wrote about pumpkins, read stories about pumpkins, learned how pumpkins grow, and even painted pumpkins. The children were surprised at the many different ways that pumpkins could support their learning.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Macdonough School Book Club

The Spiderwick Chronicles are coming... Posters have been popping up around school announcing the lastest edition of the fifth grade book club. The club, meeting during lunch and recess periods, is run by Mrs. Mueller from the Macdonough School Family Resource Center. First started last spring, the book club was an instant hit!

This session's book is entitled The Spiderwick Chronicles, written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. It is the story of the three Grace children --- Jared, his twin brother Simon, and his older sister Mallory --- whose life has been positively full of changes lately. They have moved to a house that looks as if it might collapse at any moment and Jared has been getting into all sorts of trouble. Time for a fresh start, you might think. The problem is that something, or someone, seems to be trying to make life very difficult for the new residents of the Spiderwick estate...

Want to learn more? Ask a fifth grader in Mrs. Mueller's book club!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mike Kachuba visits Kindergarten

Our kindergarten students welcomed former Connecticut State Troubadour Mike Kachuba to class this week. Mr. Kachuba, a renowned artist, story teller, and musician, delighted students and staff with his creative performances.

Mike Kachuba's visit to Macdonough School was sponsored in part from the Middletown Cultural Council with support from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action!

Representatives from the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) were at Macdonough School on Tuesday to interview parents, teachers, and staff members regarding the school's recent success on the Connecticut Mastery Test.

Macdonough School was one of a dozen schools in Connecticut to earn the designation of "Success Story School." These schools were ranked on ConnCAN's Top Ten Lists for improvements made on the 2008 CMT. Macdonough School was listed as the third most improved school in the state for performance gains by students and the fourth most improved school overall.

ConnCAN is producing a documentary film featuring the Success Story Schools. Several Macdonough School teachers and parents were invited to take part in videotaped interviews. The film is due out in late November and will be shown at an upcoming school-wide celebration!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Macdonough School Running Club

Members of the Macdonough School Running Club attended the 15th Annual Pumpkin Run in Higganum on Sunday, October 26th. The young runners had a choice of competing in the 1/2 mile kids run or taking on the 3.1 mile adult run. Special guest Ronald McDonald led young runners in warm-up activities prior to the start of the race.

In addition to colorful race t-shirts each child was awarded a race medal from Ronald McDonald as he or she crossed the finish line of the children's fun run. Macdonough School's participation in the race was sponsored by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and 21st Century Schools Program.

The Macdonough School Running Club, which meets on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, is coached by Mrs. Mary Raney and supported by athletes from Wesleyan University's Men's and Women's Cross Country Teams.

New Addition to the School Library

If you haven't visited the Macdonough School library this year, you might be in for a surprise. Over the summer, much work was done on renovating the library space. While some may not recognize new books, tables, chairs or other improvements, it's hard to overlook the library's centerpiece: a new aquarium!

The aquarium measures 6 feet in length and stands a bit taller than the typical kindergarten student. It contains 150 gallons of water and enough fish to keep curious students entertained.

"A library should be the focal point of the school," commented one Macdonough teacher. "The fish tank brightens the room and creates an atmosphere where our students want to be!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

PTA Halloween Party

The Macdonough School's Parent - Teacher Association hosted a night of Halloween fun for students and families on Friday, October 24th in the school gymnasium.

PTA President Marilyn Dunkley served as the chair for the event.

In addition to Halloween goodies, each child was treated to a gently used book.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Macdonough's School - Family - Community Partnership Team

Members of the School - Family - Community Partnership Team met for the first time this year at a district workshop held at Middletown's Adult Education Building.

The team learned about some of the "best practices" of other district schools and began to work on an action plan for the upcoming school year. The plan will focus on six areas of school improvement:

  • Parenting

  • Communications

  • Volunteering

  • Learning at Home

  • Decision Making

  • Collaborating with the Community

The team from Macdonough School selected to received a book entitled "Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships" in recognition of their work at the meeting from Donna Marino, Middletown Public Schools.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wesleyan University - Macdonough School Connections

Each week children at Macdonough School are visited by students from Wesleyan University. There are several initiatives which provide opportunities for college students to support elementary students.

One of the most popular programs is entitled WES Reads. This activity matches high achieving third, fourth, and fifth graders from Macdononough with Wesleyan students to form small group literature circles. The groups read classic children's books such as Stuart Little and Mr. Popper's Penguins and participate in rich discussions related to the reading. Making connections between the text and their lives, predicting future events, summarizing story lines, analyzing character traits are examples of some focus points for the literature discussions.

This semester a dozen university students are meeting with more than thirty Macdonough students on a weekly basis. The groups will participate in an end-of-semester celebration of learning in early December.

New Laptop Computers at Macdonough

A few weeks ago a bunch of new laptop computers were delivered to Macdonough School. The laptops are spillproof, dustproof and drop-proof. They weigh just three pounds and have an incredible assortment of capabilities. And they were free.

Thanks to the North End Action Team (NEAT), Macdonough School's students have access to one of the newest and hottest educational tools on the market, the XO laptop computer. It’s an effort by One Laptop Per Child to develop a low-cost, high-potential computer for educationally underserved children.

For those who may be fooled by their appearance, be assured that these computers are no toys! They have a built in video camera, word processor, calculator, PDF textbook reader, a few games, music programs, a painting application, a chat program, and yes, they can access the internet too!

Two of Macdonough's teachers have taken on the challenge of introducing the XO laptops in an after school program for the school's third, four, and fifth grade students. Sarah Claffey and Teresa Morello have been providing an overview of the laptops to get children started. Once oriented, the students have the option of taking the computers home for a few days to share new learning with their families. The laptops are also making their way into classrooms to support a variety of learning activities.

About two dozen computers have been donated to NEAT to date, although Izzi Greenberg, NEAT’s Executive Director, is actively seeking donations through the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. For more information, please contact NEAT at 346-4845.

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