Month: September 2016


Clase de Español

Our Spanish program introduces and immerses students in the basics of the language and culture. The learning objectives include familiarizing students with basic vocabulary plus oral and written use of such terms. Students will also learn about other cultures to better understand Spanish-speaking people. Read More


K-5 Science – Week Ending Sept. 29, 2016

From sniffing and tasting chives and mint to touching birch bark and barnacles, Kindergarteners explored their five senses this week. 

First graders explored animal similarities by working in partners to come up with as many categories as they could to sort animal pictures. Some categories included animals that fly, animals of the sea, animals that live in trees, and animals with names beginning with S.

 Little did they know, but second graders observed three types of volcanic rock (they don’t know that yet!), focusing instead on rock properties, including texture, shape, color, and weight. They practiced making large, labelled and colored observational drawings of these rocks as well.

 From the width of their noses to the length of their feet, students in third grade are measuring everything the metric way! We are currently focusing on measuring length, width, distance, and height. Students also got a brief history of the English system of measurement (our current system) and the metric system. Pull out your handy meter tape and take a metric walk with your child around the house and neighborhood to practice, practice, practice.

 Fourth-graders are digging deep into soil. Through hands-on investigations they are coming to understand that soil is a combination of organic materials, inorganic materials, air, and water. Students all donned their soil scientist lab coats to testing samples of soil from my very own backyard, discovering for me through their testing that my soil is low on nitrogen. (I’ll be amending my soil very soon! Thanks kids!)

 Students in fifth grade are studying the nature and process of science. Now versed in the scientific method, they understand how useful it is in defining a problem and framing a testable hypothesis, but they also learned that science doesn’t always have to follow a linear, rigid process. Rather, the process of science is exciting, complex, creative, and unpredictable.

 Fifth-graders are also writing a simple lab report based on a pendulum investigation during which groups tested different variables to find out what variable increases the number of swings a pendulum makes in 15 seconds. Reports are due October 7, 2016.




Math Parent Workshops for K-3 Families

Rachel Michael and I are excited to be working together as a coaching team in Grades Kindergarten through 3!  We work with both teachers and students in classrooms to provide instructional support. It has been a pleasure to get to know our young mathematicians as we build communities that think, question, problem-solve, learn, and grow together.

As part of our role, we are hosting grade-specific workshops intended to keep families informed about math content, our philosophy, and our teaching practices. We warmly welcome you to attend these workshops! See the descriptions for each workshop below:

Grade K  Counting and Beyond


Thursday, November 3rd – Room 418


Children come to school with many ideas about numbers.  In kindergarten we build on these ideas as we explore counting strategies and develop relationships between numbers. At this workshop we will explore early number concepts that are essential to building a strong foundation for addition and subtraction. Try some hands-on activities and take games home to play with your child!

Led by Rachel Michael, K/1 Math Coach

Grade 1  Developing Addition Strategies


Thursday, November 17 – Room 418


In first grade, children are developing strategies for addition. At BSI, we encourage students to make sense of numbers and use flexible strategies. Come learn about how children develop mental computation skills by building a network of relationships between addition facts. Try some hands-on activities and take games home to play with your child!

Led by Rachel Michael, K/1 Math Coach

Grade 2 Addition and Subtraction Strategies: Thinking Flexibly


Wednesday, November 2nd- Room 418


In 2nd grade, we expect our students to have multiple strategies for addition and subtraction. So what are those strategies? In this workshop, we will explore the various addition and subtraction strategies that children use and their relationship to place value. Come learn about how the number line is a useful tool for addition/subtraction. We will also take a look at the Common Core expectations for addition and subtraction and discuss why flexible strategy use is so important!

Led by Marcy Mattera, 2/3 Math Coach


Grade 3 Multiplication and Division Strategies


Wednesday, November 16th- Room 418


In 3rd grade, multiplication and division are major focal points of the curriculum. You will be introduced to the Common Core expectations for multiplication and division. We will also look at strategies children use to approach multi-digit multiplication problems and discuss why flexible strategy use is so important!  You will learn to play games that will support your child at home.

Led by Marcy Mattera, 2/3 Math Coach

We hope to see you there!


Art Room, week of 9/28/16

Eighth grade Fine Arts Elective students have finished drawing a still life of pears, paying particular attention to the gray scale, and value ranges. They have moved on to draw shells from observation, creating a cropped image, using view finders. Others have progressed to painting a fruit still life in acrylics. We are quite busy, as we’re putting together portfolios for entrance to arts-focused high schools in mid-October.

Seventh grade Fine Arts Elective students have been studying and sketching their hands paying particular attention to value and the gray scale. They have now embarked on drawing both hands holding a ribbon, with a focus on highlights and shadows.

Regular eighth grade and seventh grade art students continue to work on their one point perspective building drawings.

Sixth grade completed their Onomatopoeia words in the style of Roy Lichtenstein, and they look great!

Fifth grade continues to work on their graphite self portraits after having looked at Albrecht Durer’s intensely detailed self portraits.

Fourth grade will finish up their cubism self portraits in oil pastel.

Third grade finished their Op art (short for optical illusion) hands.

Second grade had an exciting time painting the patterned backgrounds of their self portraits today, remembering to wash and wipe their brushes thoroughly in between colors. We’re using lots of colors, just like Vincent van Gogh did.

First grade will continue to draw their self portraits in oil pastel.

Kindergarten learned about the Russian abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, and how colors and abstract painting can make you feel different emotions. We looked at several of his paintings, but pretty much everyone agreed that “Squares with Concentric Circles” (1913) made everyone feel happy! We learned that concentric means circle within a circle, sharing the same center. Students drew many concentric circles in 6 squares, making some thick and some thin. Next week we get to see how oil pastel resists watercolor in between our circles.