Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kids’ Korner CD Production Club

Twelve Macdonough School students participated in their second Kids’ Korner CD Production Club with Michael Arefeh of the Coffeehouse Recording Studio. As you may remember, our first project was an updated version of the school song, “Knowledge is Power.” This second CD, Holiday Songs, features four tracks. We’ve included “Jingle Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Auld Lang Syne.” The final song on the track, “Auld Lang Syne” features several well-wishes from the students. There is also a special reading of Moore’s poem, “T’was the Night Before Christmas” where each child reads lines from the story. While walking to and from the Main Street studio, the children wassailed, delighting several people with their holiday cheer. Each child who was involved with the project received two copies of the CD, one copy for themselves and a copy for gifting this holiday season. Also, CD sales to Macdonough Staff went quite well. Hopefully these joyous carols will delight for years to come.

Holiday Concert at Macdonough

Thanks to our music teachers, Miss DeAngelis and Mr. D'Amato, for treating us to a wonderful holiday concert!

Students from kindergarten through fifth grade delighted the many parents and family members in the audience with a variety of holiday and winter favorites.

Between grade level performances, the entire school sang some classic songs including Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer (led by a group of teachers).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recess Plus Clubs: Grade 4- "Literature for Lunch":

Sixteen fourth graders are now participating in new “Literature for Lunch” book clubs. These enrichment clubs are now part of Macdonough’s Winter Session of Recess Plus and will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays for eight weeks.

On Wednesdays, the children will enjoy activities based on Astrid Lindgren’s book, Pippi Longstocking. Thursday’s students will participate in activities based on The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Activities during these clubs will include geography, sign language, fabric painting, poetry, character mapping, cooking, physical fitness, science experiments, and more.

Each child has received a brand new copy of their club’s book to keep. They have also received a special bound notebook with activities, games, and research suggestions based on the novel and club they have chosen.

Recess Plus Winter Session: Grade 3- Kids Are Authors Contest Clubs

During the Winter Session of Recess Plus, two groups of Macdonough 3rd Graders will take part in the “Scholastic Kids Are Authors Contest Clubs.”

“Kids Are Authors is an annual competition open to Grades K–8 and is designed to encourage students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to write and illustrate their own books.” (http://www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/contest/kaa_about.asp)

Our groups will meet on Mondays and Tuesdays for eight weeks. During the club, we will share many examples of picture books, including picture books that have been written and illustrated by children. We will discuss what we like and dislike about each story and its artwork. This will help us decide what type of book we would like to create. We will also discuss what type of artwork we would like to include.

Our completed works will be sent to Scholastic by March 15th, 2010.

Grand Prize winning books are published by Scholastic each year. Each Grand Prize winning team will receive 100 copies of their published book. The winning books are sold at Scholastic book fairs across the country.

Grand Prize winners and Honorable Mention winners will be notified by May 31st, 2010. Keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Cards for Heroes

Thanks to Mrs. Ehnot for coordinating the Holiday Cards for Heroes program at Macdonough School.  Our students created more than 300 holiday cards to be sent to soldiers and sailors overseas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast at Macdonough

Students and staff joined together for a pre-Thanksgiving feast in the school's gymnasium.  They were treated to a wonderful holiday meal courtesy of our cafeteria staff, complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more!

After the meal, I'm Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallinan, was read aloud to the group.  This was followed by a slide show of various things that the Macdonough students are thankful for.  This list included our school, teachers, families, friends, books, and, of course each other.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second Grade Visits their Number Kid Buddies

Second Grade NUMBER KIDS joined their buddy class in Essex on Wednesday. We visited many different math stations to practice our math skills. One of our favorite activites was the Hundreds Board Dice Game. We shared a snack and lunch with our new friends. In December we will be traveling with our new friends to Old Lyme for more Math Fun!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Macdonough Takes 1st Place at Chamber Expo!

Macdonough School was chosen to be spotlighted by the Middletown Public Schools at this year's Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Expo.  Students and staff put together a booth featuring photos, graphs, and data about the school.  A group of fifth graders challenged visitors to the Expo to participate in Macdonough School's version of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

The effort paid off in the recognition of a first place ribbon for "Best Booth" by members of the Chamber of Commerce Expo Committee.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Firefighter Al Teaches Fire Safety

Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month? Firefighter Al visited 2nd grade on Wednesday to teach us about Fire Safety. He reminded us how fires start and what to do if there is a fire in our home. We talked about practicing Fire Drills at home and how important it is to have a meeting place outside of our home. Firefighter Al will return to 2nd grade in February with all of his gear when we read "A Trip to The Firehouse."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The First Tee National School Program Comes to Macdonough School!

We are thrilled to announce that Macdonough School has been selected to participate in the First Tee National School Program! The program provides opportunities for children to learn the game of golf through instruction during physical education classes.

Macdonough School will receive thousands of dollars in free equipment and opportunities for our students to play golf at local courses!

Special thanks to Mrs. Ehnot, our new physical education teacher, for bringing this exciting program to Macdonough School!

Chaelyn's Book Clubs

The 3rd Grade Recess Plus Clubs have started work on their “Sideways Stories from Macdonough School” character chapters. Even though the Sideways School has 30 stories and stories, and Macdonough School only has 3 stories, our book will have 16, one for each student in the two clubs.
When they arrived to book club in the computer lab, the students found a special file folder for their club. In this file folder, they found that they each had a MS Word File with a special name for their “Sideways Stories from Macdonough School” character.
These special names were created by turning the clubs’ students’ names backwards, just like Mrs. Gorf is Frog spelled backwards. For instance, the character for Miss Chaelyn is Miss Nyleahc Odrabmol.
We are using our creativity to make our imaginary characters come to life. For now, we are including physical characteristics, personality traits, and other important information about our characters. Once we have compiled enough information about our new characters, we will begin writing the chapter about the character for the final book.
Both clubs’ chapters will be put together and each child will get a copy of the final book at the end of the club, along with the 3-book Sideways Series.

In Session 4 of “Spiderwick Chronicles Literature for Lunch” Club, we completed our “Character Card Contest.” Teams were given an additional 5 minutes to cram as many facts about their character onto their cards. Team mates worked together to eliminate other team’s character facts. The teams left with the most facts on their card after the elimination round took with them tasty treats and some other special prizes. Consolation prizes of Dum Dums Lollipops were handed out to the other hard-working teams. Students now have the first two books of the series.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Macdonough School Marathon Team

Macdonough teachers and students ran the streets of Hartford on Saturday, October 10th at the ING Hartford Marathon.  Nearly twenty participants from Macdonough School were among the more than 7,000 athletes participating in the race. 

Macdonough students and teachers took part as a relay team with each person running legs ranging from one mile to six miles.  Added together, the participants from Macdonough School ran a total of more than eighty miles!

Special thanks to members of the Wesleyan University Women's Ice Hockey team for helping to escort our runners to and from the mile markers. 

Special recognition to Mr. Nelson and Miss Claffey for running the entire 13.1 mile course!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Macdonough School at the ING Run for Something Better Day

Macdonough School students took their running skills to Hartford's Bushnell Park participating in the 2009 edition of the ING Run for Something Better Day.

T-shirts, medals, smiles, and lots of fun!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

World Record at Macdonough School

Children in first grade at Macdonough School are going to break a world record by participating in the Jumpstart Read for the Record program!

Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, is an international campaign to bring children together with valued grownups in their lives to read the same book, on the same day, in communities all over the world. On October 8, 2009,  youngsters from near and far will be attempting to break the world record as nearly 700,000 readers will share Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

On this historic day, one amazing book will be read aloud in classrooms, libraries and homes from Japan, Germany and Brazil to cities and rural communities across America and at Macdonough School!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Dictionaries for our Third Graders!

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.

New Mural at Macdonough School!

A unique partnership with the Green Street Arts Center will result in the creation of a new mural at Macdonough School.

The mural will be located on a large wall by the staircase leading to the school's cafeteria.  Designed by artist Anna Gawel, the mural features the words to the school's song, "Knowledge is Power" and showcases flags from around the world.

We expect the mural to be completed by the holidays!

Macdonough School Celebrates Hartford Marathon Weekend

Macdonough School students and teachers will be participating in this weekend’s Hartford Marathon festival.

On Friday, our new physical education teacher, Mrs. Ehnot, will be bringing more than 50 students to Hartford to participate in the ING Run for Something Better Program. Macdonough students have been training at home and school to run 12 miles during the past month. They each will run their last 1.1 "Final Mile", cross over the official ING Hartford Marathon Finish Line in Hartford's Bushnell Park, receive a Finisher's Medal and then enter the "World of Fitness” area.

The World of Fitness area contains exhibits and activities which focus on promoting healthy choices for kids. Presenters include the Hartford Wolfpack, the Connecticut Science Museum, the Hartford YMCA, and more!

On Saturday, nearly two dozen teachers and students will be traveling to back to Bushnell Park to join in the running of the 2009 ING Hartford Marathon as part of the Jeff’s Running Partners program. This program encourages children in Connecticut schools and adults to complete either the 13.1 mile Hartford Half Marathon or the full 26.2 Hartford Marathon as part of a relay team.

Teachers who will be running include Mrs. Spaman, Mrs. Lenihan, Mrs. Raney, Miss Claffey, Mr. Nelson, Miss Weindruch, Mrs. Paul, Mrs. Brick, Miss Melzen, Mrs. Taylor, Miss Antonucci, and Mrs. Broomfield. Added together, the Macdonough teachers will be running a total of more than fifty miles

Saturday, October 3, 2009

WCNX Radio and Macdonough School

Macdonough School was selected to kick off the new school year with WCNX Radio and their School Lunch broadcasts.  Five lucky fifth graders represented our school by putting their reading skills to work - on the air!

WCNX Radio broadcast our first School Lunch Menu on Monday, September 28th - and the broadcast segment is up on their website!

To make it convenient for everyone, they will be uploading the School Lunch Menu week to week onto their website. Just choose Macdonough School from the list and click the link!  This way everyone can access the broadcast segment anytime if they missed the actual live broadcast on Monday.

Here is the link :

or simply log on to :
http://www.cnxradio.com/ and click : SCHOOL LUNCH MENU

ING Run for Something Better Program

Our new physical education teacher, Mrs. Ehnot, has brought with her a new program for fourth and fifth graders to Macdonough School.

The ING Run for Something Better Program is designed to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle in the fight against childhood obesity for elementary and middle school students.

This program encourages students to train together to complete a half marathon, covering 13.1 miles in 6 weeks. On Friday October 9, 2009, students who complete 12 miles through the school program will run their last 1.1 "Final Mile", cross over the official ING Hartford Marathon Finish Line in Hartford's Bushnell Park, receive a Finisher's Medal and then enter the "World of Fitness” area.  The World of Fitness area is where 1,200 students will participate in the activities and exhibits available to them.

Chaelyn's Book Clubs

Sideways Stories from Macdonough School

Session 3 of the “Sideways Stories from Macdonough School” Club focused on Mrs. Jewls, the teacher who replaced the mean Mrs. Gorf on the 30th story. After Mrs. Gorf was turned into an apple and eaten by Louis the yard teacher, Mrs. Jewls came to the Sideways School expecting a class full of “terribly cute” children. Only, she thought were so terribly cute that they couldn’t be children. She thought she was called to teach a class full of monkeys!
Together, we re-read Chapter 2 and created a character poster of Mrs. Jewls. We discussed her physical characteristics, personality traits, and other important information. We even compared and contrasted her to Mrs. Gorf. They were quite different from one another, but strangely had some things in common.
Then, in honor of Mrs. Jewls foolish assumption, we played one-on-one Barrel of Monkeys, a game from Milton Bradley that was created in 1965…but surprisingly had never been played by any of the children in our club!
We called the game, “Barrel of Mrs. Jewls’ Students.” The rest of our time was spent trying to show each other our monkey-chaining skills and giving names to our monkey chains based on the children that are in the story.

Spiderwick Chronicles Literature for Lunch

During the third session of the “Spiderwick Chronicles Literature for Lunch” Club, we set the scene for our first Spiderwick Challenge, the “Character Card Contest.” We first completed a Character Card for Helen Grace, mother to the Grace children. Together we compiled as many facts about this female character as possible.

Then, the children in each group paired off into teams and were armed with a pencil, their book, their notebook, and their wits. On four pieces of cardstock, were pictures of our four main characters in Book 1; Jared Grace, Simon Grace, Mallory Grace, and Thimbletack. Each team picked a card from an upside down position. Many teams cheered when they received a character they had been “wishing” to pick.

The challenge was for each team to write as many facts about their character as possible in the time allotted. They could list physical characteristics, personality traits, important information, and more. The teams worked diligently, using their books and notebooks of self-compiled information to write as many facts as possible. By the end of the session the cards were filled.

At our next meeting, we will proceed with the challenge. Teams will try to eliminate other team’s answers, much like in the Hasbro game of “Scattergories.” If a team can match a fact, the other team has to cross it out. The team left with the most facts on their card after the elimination round will be victorious.

A special prize is at stake. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

All About Matter

The 3rd graders were excited to have scientist, Ms. Smith from High Touch-High Tech, visit and teach about matter, solubility and density. Everyone had to the opportunity to make predictions, conduct experiments and analyze data.

NAACP Rewards Dinner

On Friday, September 25th, representatives of the parents and teachers of Macdonough Elementary were presented with an award from the the Middlesex County NAACP chapter in recognition of our remarkable progress. Congratulations to the entire Macdonough Community!
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Teamwork in the 3rd grade

3rd Graders are practicing their teamwork! We are lucky to have Nat Holmes from the Community Health Center spend time each week with both classes focusing on teamwork, community, and communication.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Number Kids

We are thrilled to announce that our second grade classes will be participating in an interdistrict program called Number Kids. This program partners schools from different districts to explore mathematics through literature, projects and games as well as to develop skills, conquer fears and bias and celebrate the newfound strength of diversity. Macdonough School will be paired with Essex Elementary School for the Number Kids project.

Student partners from each school district will meet monthly in one another’s classrooms and other exciting settings to explore and develop greater understanding of math. Integrating literature, hands-on activities, real life math, and everyday math problems will allow your child an academically intensive experience. We will open the program on October 16th with a trip to Groton Municipal Center to meet with all the students in the program. Other things planned include professional programs such as “Percussion Math,” a Domino Extravaganza, a trip to Bushy Hill Nature Center, and an end of the year party at Ocean Beach, New London where we will build sand castles with Chuck Feld, a professional sand castle artist!

Stay tuned for all the details!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant is Back!

Macdonough School was awarded a 2009-2010 grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education in conjunction with United States Department of Agriculture to continue the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides all children at Macdonough School with a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the school year. It is an effective and creative way of introducing fresh fruits and vegetables as healthy snack options.

The goal of the Macdonough School FFVP is to:

• Create healthier school environments by providing healthier food choices.

• Expand the variety of fruits and vegetables children experience.

• Increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

• Make a difference in children’s diets to impact their present and future health.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Free Book Friday at Macdonough School

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. Special thanks to Alex Hartley, a senior at Wesleyan University, for coordinating the Free Book Friday program.

September 18th - Early Release Day

About once each month, school is dismissed on Friday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. While the students get an early start on their weekend fun, teachers are at school participating in a variety of professional growth activities.

Macdonough teachers were busy on September 18th (the first of the early release days) reviewing student work and planning instructional units. Grade level teams took advantage of the opportunity to collaborate!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

After School Program - Fitness Club

More than a dozen students are enrolled in the Macdonough School Fitness Club, an after school program meeting two times each week. The Fitness Club, under the direction of Miss Jessica Atwood, provides students with the opportunity to engage in healthy activities designed to be fun and get children active.

The Fitness Club is offered as a partnership with the Wesleyan University Cross Country Team. Each week, members of the men's and women's teams come to Macdonough to lead the students in games and activities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recess Plus - Chaelyn's Book Clubs

Two groups of 4th graders are participating in the “Spiderwick-Literature for Lunch” book club. This fun-filled club is now part of Macdonough’s Recess Plus and will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays for eight weeks.

During the club, students will read and discuss books from the five-book Spiderwick Series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. They will also complete several enrichment activities based on the books, including reading, art, field guide diagramming, character mapping, cooking, creative writing, and more.

The final club will include a Jeopardy-style Spiderwick Chronicles Challenge. At the end of the club, every student will be able to keep the five hard-cover books in the special boxed set!

WES Reads is Back!

The return of the Wesleyan University students marks the return of the WES Reads program at Macdonough School.

Selected students in grades three, four, and five will be spending time this fall reading novels with university tutors. This enrichment opportunity is geared toward students reading at or above grade level.

This semester's novels are: The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, Frindle, by Andrew Clements, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville.

Last year, more than three dozen Macdonough School students participated in the WES Reads program.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Recess Plus - Chaelyn's Book Clubs

Sixteen third grade students are participating in “Sideways Stories from Macdonough School,” a Recess Plus Book Club. Two eight-student groups will meet once a week during recess and lunch to complete enrichment activities based on Louis Sachar’s Wayside School Collection.

Activities will include reading, cooking, art, creative writing, physical games and more. At the end of the eight-week club, the students will be able to keep the special three-book set with cardboard carrier, which features art by Adam McCauley.

Thanks to Chaelyn Lombardo of Kids Korner for coordinating this exciting program!

Recess Plus - Mrs. Raney's Book Clubs

Fifth grade students have a new "Recess Plus" option!

Two groups of students, one from each fifth grade class, are meeting with Mrs. Raney to read and discuss Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. The groups meet once each week during recess.

For many of the children, Mrs. Raney is a familiar face. Two years ago she was their third grade teacher!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Student-Teachers at Macdonough

We are delighted to welcome two student-teachers to Macdonough School this semester.

Miss Stephanie DiBacco is working with second grade students under the direction of Mrs. Joanne Jukins. Miss Sarah Claffey and her fourth grade class have been joined by Miss Kaitlyn Casey.

Miss DiBacco and Miss Casey are both seniors at Central Connecticut State University.

WES Reads

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

One of the most popular programs is entitled WES Reads. This activity matches high achieving second, 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 over a dozen university students are meeting with more than twenty Macdonough students on a weekly basis. The groups will participate in an end-of-semester celebration of learning in early December.

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