Thursday, December 11, 2014

And the winner is...

As part of Family Literacy Month, McGovern students were given the opportunity to enjoy family literacy activities by completing the Literacy BINGO board during the month of November.  This week during lunch Mrs. Yanuskiewicz spoke to the children about the fun reading month activities and the importance of continuing to read all the time! Mrs. Yanuskiewicz told the students that all children who returned their BINGO sheets would receive a READ bracelet and those students who completed all the activities would be placed into a drawing for a Barnes and Noble gift card.  
The lucky readers are:  
Preschool: Natalie Tarkowski, Kindergarten: Kelsey Jacobs, Grade 1:Mia DiMinico

Friday, December 5, 2014

Changing Up our Reading Routines

When our three children were little, we were always looking for ways to change up our reading routines.  Reading under a blanket in the living room with a flashlight was a favorite, as was listening to stories on tape during long car rides. Our children are much older (32, 30, and 28 years old) and did not grow up with today's technology of reading on an "e-device", so these were not alternatives we could use for reading. Times have certainly changed and while I don't think these devices should be used as the only way to get your reading in, I do think e-reading on any device can provide another way to mix up our children's reading routines.  
I do believe in the old adage: Everything in moderation, especially when it comes to electronics and young children.

Here are a few websites that offer free ebooks that you can use to mix up your reading routines:

  • Tumblebooks - go to McGovern home page and click on the Tumblebook link to get free access to many wonderful books

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 24, 2014

We Are Thankful

McGovern School hosted a Friday afternoon assembly last week focused on being thankful. The session began with the singing of "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims" with our music teacher Miss Cronin and continued with the reading of the book: Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks. Mrs Yanuskiewicz led the group in thinking about being thankful and we took a quick whole school survey on the things we are thankful for such as family and friends, warm home and food, toys, books and games and school.  The results were placed in a graph and the children made observations and comments about what they noticed. 
This picture speaks volumes!

May your family enjoy the extra time to play and read together this holiday week.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Local Author and Illustrator Visit McGovern School

This week the children at McGovern School were treated to a visit by author Sue Berard-Goldberg and illustrator Ann Handy, both of Medway.  The author-illustrator team spoke to the children about their recent work: A Pumpkin for Thanksgiving.  The children listened eagerly as Sue and Ann described the story behind the idea as well as the process involved in writing a book.  Sue reminded the children that writers write best about what they know about and then told them that she KNOWS that they too are filled with lots of words to put down on paper.  What encouraging words for our youngest writers!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Family Literacy Month Fun

McGovern School students had loads of giggles as they walked into school today to see their teachers dressed as their favorite storybook characters.  The staff storybook character day is part of McGovern School's celebration of Family Literacy Month, a time aimed at boosting the excitement of literacy in the home.  Around the building teachers were dressed as the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Thing Two, Amelia Bedelia, Mo Willems three famous characters: The Pigeon (who should NOT drive the bus), and friends Elephant and Piggie, as well as the much loved Mrs. Wishy Washy. Other activities are planned for our students this special month including an author visit from Medway resident Sue Berard-Goldberg. Last month, children received a special Literacy Month BINGO board of activities for the month of November that contained many fabulous ideas to extend the learning into the home. We hope you are working together towards completing all those squares all the while enjoying a variety of literacy fun!

Friday, October 31, 2014

November is Literacy Month

November is Family Literacy Month as declared by Governor Deval Patrick. This is the eighteenth year that Massachusetts has set aside this month to focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening in the home.
Once again McGovern will be joining in the literacy celebration. Look at all we have planned:

  • Literacy BINGO - Bingo cards were sent home with all students last Friday.  See how many literacy activities you and your child can complete this month.  Any child that returns the form with all squares completed will be entered into a drawing for a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Please return the forms by December 5, 2014.
  • Family Literacy Night was held on Wednesday October 28th.  Over 100 families came out to get in the literacy spirit!  Take a look at the fun we had.

  • We will be Tweeting with a literacy tip each day for the entire month of November.  Follow @pyanuskiewi  or @MrsBaldi2  or  #mcgov to receive the hint.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How Can I Help my Reader at Home?

Time and time again parents ask their child's teacher the same question: What can I do at home to help my child? There is really one simple answer to that question and that is: 


There really is nothing more beneficial to your child's literacy development than to spend time reading to your child.  So that begs other questions such as:

What do I read to my child? or How do I read to my child?

For answers to these questions and more, head over to my blog page filled with links to resources to find the answers.  I've included book lists, reading aloud tips, pointers to setting up a home library, ways to use magnetic letters, and more.  Simply click here:  Literacy Resources

OR:  Join us on October 29th after the book fair at 6:00-6:45 pm at McGovern School for our Family Literacy Night. 

The evening will consist of several reading and writing activities for you to enjoy. We hope you can join us!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Star Citizens at McGovern

Mrs. Ward handing star certificates to McGovern students
This week McGovern School began their star citizen program with the awarding of certificates and receiving handshakes from our principal Mrs. Yanuskiewicz.  The program officially kicked off last Friday with a whole school assembly focused on good citizenship. The students generated a list of the behaviors that would constitute being a good citizen such as being nice, cooperating, helping others, being a good friend and listening to others.  To remind children that they CAN be good citizens, the children listened to the storybook: The Little Engine That Could.  Throughout the school year teachers will be looking for children that exhibit good citizen traits and handing students the red tickets. Each Friday red tickets students will receive their certificates, shake the hands of the principal and have the ticket with their name on it added to our hallway display.  
The I Can School display ~ This week's focus:  I can be nice

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday Five: Ways a Parent Can Help a Child Learn to Read

The question we educators are most often asked is: How can I help my child with reading? 
I stumbled across this great article that sums it up:


Monday, September 22, 2014

Reading on the Edge

For the first time ever, Pediatricians have been asked to remind new parents to read aloud to their children starting at birth.  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that doctors tell parents to make reading a "daily fun family activity” from infancy, stating that these early reading experiences will help shape the pre-literacy skills needed for all children to learn to read.  

Educational researchers will agree with these suggestions and suggest you continue reading aloud to your child long into their school years.  But how do you find the time for this "daily family fun activity" in an already cramped day? 

Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, suggests we "read on the edge." In other words, reading when we have a few minutes here or there. While sitting down with your child and getting lost in a book for 30 minutes to an hour is important and needed, reading in one 30 minute session isn't always possible.  How about: 5 minutes before school, another 5 minutes while waiting for the soccer game or dance class to begin, 5 minutes while the pasta is boiling and 15 minutes before bed. There's 30 minutes of reading time you gained that day!   So, get that basket of books into the car, tuck a picture book in your bag and be prepared to have a book at the ready so reading can take place at any time or place.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


This week McGovern school began their whole-school morning routines. Each day four or five students lead the entire school in reciting the pledge of allegiance over the school intercom. They practice skills such as speaking up and enunciating words. The students speak with stand with Mrs. Yanuskiewicz and state the pledge with great pride.    This year we added another routine to the morning, turning over a number on the 100's chart.  While most children need to reach on their tippy-toes to reach the number, the act of flipping the number of the day carries much importance to the children.
Routines such as these might seem trite but they do indeed carry much importance and provide structure and a sense of security.  To read more about the importance of routines, click here to read an article from Scholastic.

The first group of students to lead the McGovern School
children in the Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How was school today?

When my children were in elementary school I recall scooping them excitedly off the school bus and asking them about their day.   I wanted to hear what they did each moment: who they sat next to in math class, which book was read aloud to them, and what they discovered in science. I wanted them to relive each minute for me.  But, most often the response to my question how was your day was a lukewarm "fine."  I oftentimes felt stuck.  
This weekend I came across this article from Huffington Post that gave some great suggestions for alternatives to asking your child:  How was school today?   The article lists 25 engaging ways to ask your child about his/her day.  I believe the ideas are creative and fun and most likely will elicit a response far deeper than the ok's that I received from my children years ago.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Where Are You Reading this Summer?

A few weeks ago while on a twitter chat, I read an idea to encourage summer reading by asking the children where they want to read over the summer.  I walked into school the next day and asked several children where they would be reading over the summer and made a list on our white board in the hallway.  By the end of the day, I had created this display.  Our wonderful art teacher, Ms. Fiore, asked a few children to add the illustrations.  The children were thrilled to see their idea on display in the hall, and I believe it caused a little excitement for summer reading regardless of how close or far they were traveling this summer.

Oh and by the way... here is where I'll spend my time reading this summer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Getting Us Up and Moving

What started out as a few fun moments in the hallway for a couple of teachers this morning, ended with a great conversation about the importance of movement in our lives.  Kristine Keim, the district's School based Physical Therapist shared with us the need for movement both large and small.  
Kristine further explained that in our digital based world children are less exposed to many of the great games that we played as children that got us up and moving.  Kristine kindly shared the links to some wonderful sites that give us great ideas for this type of fun movement based activities.  We hope you try out a few this summer.

Active Summer Fun Ideas - Pinterest

Get Moving Get Active

Kristine Keim's Website filled with links to additional resources

The McGovern teachers enjoy a few moments of fun playing Giant Pick-up Sticks before the children arrive.  


Want to make your own pick up sticks?  Click here.

Feel free to comment below with your experiences with these games.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Author Kate Messner visits McGovern and Burke Memorial Schools

On May 27 and May 28, 2014 the students at McGovern and Burke-Memorial Schools were treated to an assembly with author Kate Messner, thanks to a grant from the Medway Foundation for Education.  Kate shared the inspiration for her stories all the while encouraging the students to pick up their pens and draw, write and keep their eyes open to what they experience in the world around them. Kate is the author of many children's books including her picture books:  Sea Monster's First Day, Sea Monster and the Bossy Fish, and Over and Under the Snow
Thank you again to the Medway Foundation for Education for their generous funding.
McGovern School students listening to Kate Messner and thinking about how to live a "writerly life!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Reading

The McGovern School children attended a summer reading assembly in the cafeteria on Friday May 27.  Each child came to the assembly with a pencil and a book list ready to circle their choices for summer reading.  Our guest speaker was Medway Town Librarian, Mariah Manley.  Ms. Manley gave a book talk on seven great summer reading titles and encouraged the children to circle the books they want to read over their vacation.  In between the book talks, Ms. Manley led the children in song.  The children left the assembly excited to visit the library this summer to check out a title or two. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Final Community Read Aloud at McGovern School

The fourth and final read aloud event took place on Wednesday May 7th.  In previous community read alouds, the children were read to by various members of the community.  In this final read aloud, the teachers swapped classrooms with other teachers, allowing kindergarten children to be read to by a first grade teacher, and first grade children to be read to by kindergarten children.  Special thanks to the Medway Foundation for Education for funding the purchase of the book for these special days.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cantantes for Cinco de Mayo

Two "cantantes" or singers entertained the children as they entered the building yesterday, Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Food Pantry ~ A Service Learning Project

The students in Mrs. Monts's first grade classroom are participating in a service learning project, collecting food for the Medway Food Pantry.  The children began the unit with a classroom visit from food pantry volunteer Barbara Rapisarda, who explained how the food pantry works and described what is most needed for donations.
In this project, the children visit individual classrooms to share with their peers what food has been collected and remind them which items will be included in the next week's drive. The children take turns in the hallway each morning helping other students place their donations in the box and then respond with a kind "thank you!"  
While this project has the children practicing math skills such as sorting, graphing and counting money, the more important skill of helping others and being good citizens is being reinforced. They are also learning that even a first grader can make a difference in this world!   

The food drive will continue until May 16th.  See the schedule below for suggested items to donate each week.

Week of May 5:  Children's week:  peanut butter, jelly and jam, applesauce, baby food, baby formula, spaghetti sauce and juice boxes.

Week of May 12: Personal items: soap, shampoo, conditioner, diapers, wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and deodorant.

Donations of money will be accepted each week and will be used to buy perishable items.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Buddy Bench Arrives at McGovern

Thank you Mr. Mike our school custodian and Art Teacher, Noelle Fiore, for your talented ways and for making our buddy bench dream come true so quickly!

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Buddy Bench is Coming to McGovern School

The children at McGovern School met in a school wide assembly today to discuss the plan to create a buddy bench on the school playground.  What's a buddy bench you ask?  A buddy bench is a place on the playground where you can sit when you don't have anyone to play with, in the hopes that someone will come over and ask you to play.  
In our assembly today, children gave their opinion of what color the bench should be and then state the reason for that color.  The answers from the McGovern students were very thoughtful and appropriate:  rainbow colored, because a rainbow is happy and cheery, blue, because blue is the color you think of when you are sad, and red because it is the color of your heart. The children then voted on the color to paint the existing bench and overwhelming chose the rainbow color.  After choosing a color, the students listened to the story Pig is Sad by Mo Willems and then brainstormed words to say if they see someone on the buddy bench.  Now that the nice weather is upon us, the plan to create this buddy bench is coming close to being a reality.  We hope to post pictures next week!  Come back soon for updates!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Books on Display at McGovern School

Each month the McGovern School lobby displays new and exciting books for our children and our visitors to enjoy.  This month we highlight books about Pets and about "Chicks and Frogs and Everything Spring!"  We hope you will stop by to see these great titles!

For more great spring reading ideas click on the Books to Read Today shelf on the right side bar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Author Visit

The McGovern students were delighted with a visit from author / illustrator Michelle Nelson-Schmidt this afternoon.  Michelle read from many of her books including "fan" favorite:  Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster, the story of the a boy who learned to listen to his heart instead of his worries.  
Michelle also shared many of the original paintings that accompany her stories.
You can listen to Michelle read one of her original stories each Wednesday night on her website:

Thank you MEPTO for bringing Michelle to our school and to our children.