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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Free Book Friday

“Free Book Friday” is Back at Macdonough School

Thanks to the generous donations of area residents, Free Book Friday is back again this year at Macdonough School.

A few Fridays each month, every student at Macdonough School has the opportunity to select a gently used book to bring home to read. The books are theirs to keep! The Free Book Friday program is part of a school-wide initiative to promote literacy at home. .

Anyone looking to make a donation of gently used children’s books for the Free Book Friday program, can contact the school at 347-8553.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Macdonough School Honored by ConnCAN

The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN) recognized Macdonough School has one of its 2008 Success Story Schools for gains made on the 2008 Connecticut Mastery Test. The school was listed as the third most improved school in the state for performance gains by students and the fourth most improved school overall.

Representatives from ConnCAN will be visiting Macdonough School to interview people involved in the success for a short documentary on schools in Connecticut that are closing the achievement gap.

Total Pageviews