Friday, December 18, 2015

Celebrations All Around

McGovern School was buzzing with celebrations today.  

First the kindergarten super readers parade, 

And then the preschool gingerbread festival with guest singer The Snow Queen:

Oh... and it was pajama day for all!  

McGovern School CAN learn and have fun!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Celebrating Family Literacy Month

McGovern School's celebration of Family Literacy Month officially came to a close last week with the naming of one lucky winner from each grade level to receive a Barnes and Noble gift card.  We had over 200 students participating in the Literacy BINGO board activity and thinking about literacy in many different ways at home.  
The winning students from each grade level are:
Preschool: Nate Dorr
Kindergarten:  Sophie Oldmixon
Grade 1: Haasini Ragam

We hope that these family activities have started a few new literacy traditions in your home.

Kindergarten winner Sophie Oldmixon
1st grade winner Haasini Ragam

Preschool winner Nate Dorr

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November is Literacy Month

Don't forget that November is Family Literacy Month. This long weekend affords us the opportunity to work on filling in your BINGO boards as a family!  All forms need to be returned to school on or before December 4, 2015.  If you have misplaced your Literacy BINGO handout, ask your child's teacher to send home another copy.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

McGovern Teachers are Life Long Learners

Last week we hosted a staff developer from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City.  Take a peek at our staff learning from each other!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Literacy Night

On Tuesday October 27, the staff at McGovern School hosted a Family Literacy Night that filled the cafeteria and gymnasium with happy reading families!  Children rotated through four centers and enjoyed listening to a story, rhyming and writing on the iPad, rolling dice for letters and sight words, and watching a demonstration reading mini-lesson. Judging from the smiles and laughter heard in the school, the evening was a great success!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Read for the Record

This morning the students at McGovern School participated in "Read for the Record" by reading Not Norman by Kelly Bennett, during a whole school assembly.  The students were helping to break the world record for the most number of children reading the same book on the same day. "Read for the Record" is sponsored by Jumpstart a nonprofit organization focused on bringing early literacy skills to all children.

Not Norman, is a book about a boy who receives a pet goldfish and would rather have a dog or a cat or... anything other than a fish! The students were delighted as several staff members took turns reading the pages of the story.  What a great way to share good literature with our students!

To enjoy the story at home with your child go 
to: Not Norman online.

For more online stories head over to the McGovern School website and look for the Tumblebooks quick link on the left side column!

Please Note:
Family Literacy Night to be held on Tuesday October 27, 2015:
Preschool And Kindergarten Families:  5 - 5:45

Grade 1 Families: 6:15 - 7:00

McGovern School cafeteria and gymnasium.  The book fair will be open until 6pm.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Titles to Foster Kindness

In my news feed this morning I found an article from the Washington Post about Raising Kind Kids.  The article outlined five strategies parents could use to "raise moral, kind kids." The strategies and the how and why behind them are included in the article but here is a summary of the five points:
1.  Make caring for others a priority
2.  Provide ways for children to practice caring and gratitude
3.  Expand your children's circle of concern
4.  Be a strong moral role model and mentor
5.  Guide children in managing destructive feelings

As a parent I oftentimes used literature to help teach my own children about issues that might otherwise be difficult to talk about. Below is a list of a few great children's books that could be read to foster discussion about being kind, caring and compassionate children.

A Chair for My Mother by Vera Williams: A story about a girl, her mother and grandmother all saving their coins to buy a big easy chair to enjoy together.  Classic!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead:  The zookeeper gets sick and the animals all rally together to take care of him.

The Teddy Bear by David McPhail:  A little boy loses his teddy bear and shows great compassion when it is found.

The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace: Minna, A kindergarten girl is asked to draw a picture of an act of kindness to share with her class.  Minna decides to makes a quilt of all the kind things she does and shares it with her class.

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss: Horton the elephant responds to a tiny cry of help on a speck of dust.

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson:  Bear hosts his friends for a party and the forest creatures teach him all about gratitude.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Citizenship Program at McGovern School

Today we introduced the Star citizenship program to the children at a whole school assembly at McGovern School, the "I Can" school.  The children listened to a reading of the story The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper and then listened as Principal Mrs. Yanuskiewicz discussed ways that students can be good citizens in school through helping their friends, being good listeners, and being kind, caring and respectful.  Certificates and handshakes from the principal will be awarded each Friday for students who receive red tickets from the adults in the school.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Instilling Lifelong Readers

In my last blog post I noted that the goal of reading workshop is to instill a love and joy for reading.  How is that done in school?  One way is through teachers sharing their love of reading: They become a role model for their students when they excitedly share a storybook with their class or talk about how they read outside of school. Parents contribute to this love of literacy when they do they same: show their love of reading in front of their children.  
Below are a few links outlining other ways to grow lifelong readers:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Reading Workshop

This year the Medway Elementary Schools will begin full implementation of the reading workshop model.  The goal of reading workshop, and any literacy instruction for that matter, is to instill a love and joy for reading, maybe not quite as extreme as this child crying each time the storytelling is over, but close!  
Reading workshop is a method of teaching that focuses on explicitly teaching students the necessary strategies to successfully comprehend text.  The model also emphasizes providing time for students to engage in authentic reading activities geared towards individual strengths and needs.  Below is the informative video that was produced last year outlining the journey towards balanced literacy and the workshop model in Medway Public Schools. We know you will be hearing more about the workshop model at the McGovern School Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 24 and at the numerous family activities planner throughout the school year.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Welcome Back to School!

For those of you who do not know me, I'm Christine Baldiga, Instructional Coach at McGovern School.  My primary role as coach is to work in collaboration with the teachers and staff to bring best practices to all things related to curriculum.
Another one of my roles as a coach is to help make connections between school learning and the home.  This connection to the greater Medway community is one I feel quite 
passionate about because I truly believe "it takes a village" to raise a child.  Thus, this blog: a place to turn to discover a variety of ways you can extend the learning into the home. My hope is you will follow my blog to receive regular updates on events and news from McGovern School.  To receive email notifications of new posts, click on "Follow by Email" on the right side of the page.

The first day of school comes an excess of "newness" - new teachers, new classmates, new schedules, new routines.  When I'm bombarded with too many new things at once, a comforting book soothes my soul. Why not try this trick with your child.  Snuggling up with an old favorite book does wonders for us all.  For suggestions look to the "bookcase " in the right hand column.  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summertime ~ Reading and Writing and more...

As I was updating my "Shelfari" book suggestions to include a few good summer reads (see right side column) I began to think about dreams of what I hope summer includes: Dreams of slow mornings, pajamas on rainy days, little to no schedules, and devouring a book in one sitting.

 I also want to make time to have fun - loads of fun.  For my family this means not only enjoying books, but also creating things together.  Our family still enjoys taking time to be creative and to re-purpose items from found junk. Working with our hands brings us together and gives us a sense of purpose. 

Are you looking for a few ideas to get your family creating together?  Here's a link to a site that will help you and your child get started. Camp Wonderopolis

And here is another great link for ways to encourage a love of reading this summer: Encourage a love of reading

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer Reading Assembly

Today we kicked off our summer reading program with a whole school assembly.  We invited Margaret Perkins and Lucy Anderson from the Medway Public Library to discuss the various programs they will be hosting this summer and to share a few new titles. The children were encouraged to read everyday no matter where they go because in order to get good at anything they have to practice everyday!
All children were sent home with their summer reading flyer which included a log to write down the titles they read during July and August.  If you misplace your flyer you can get another copy here on McGovern's summer resources page.
Happy Reading!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Reading

While the children are counting down the days to summer, many of us in education are celebrating the great gains our students have made over the last 160 or so days.  The children are truly impressing us with their ability to read and think deeply about the books they have in their hands.  So our minds turn to how can we hold on to these skills over the summer to help avoid the summer slide?

Next Friday we will be partnering with the Medway Public Library to host a whole school assembly on summer reading.  The children will hear about some exciting new books at the library and learn about various summer programs to keep them reading. Children will leave school with a summer reading log and an application to get their own library card. The Medway Library has a great collection of summer reading books for our children and we hope you can take advantage of all they have to offer, including free books available to borrow on your e-device.  If you'd like more information on how to borrow ebooks, the Library will be sponsoring an Overdrive Orientation on Monday June 1st from 6:30-8:30, where you can learn how to download e-books from the library.  They have an extensive catalog of children's books to choose from - click here for an idea of what you can borrow:  Browse Children's Fiction - Nonfiction.

We are so excited and hopeful for the possibilities for our super summer readers!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Screen Free Week is May 4 - May 10

Monday May 4th marks the beginning of  Screen Free Week, and according to the Screen Free website, this is a time devoted to "rediscovering the joys of life beyond the screen." Screen can mean anything from televisions to iPads, tablets and smart phones.   

The Screen Free website has loads of ideas to help you in your attempts to live without a screen for one week, such as read a 
Image result for tv screen
book, make jam, write a letter, do yard work, walk the dog... 

Click here for the list of 101 Screen-Free Activities, and have fun while you discover new ways to have fun beyond the screen!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Peek at Literacy in the Elementary Schools

The Instructional Coach from Burke Memorial School, Jackie Daley, and I presented to a group of elementary school parents at the April MEPTO meeting this week. Our presentation consisted of viewing "Our Journey Towards Balanced Literacy" video, sharing the highlights of the workshop model, and offering ways to bring the literacy learning into the home. At the end of the presentation, parents were given the opportunity to ask questions about this model and about literacy at home.  The biggest message of the night for our parents was: Keep it FUN!

The parents left the meeting with a few tips and tools to encourage creatively bringing more literacy into the home. 

If you were unable to attend the meeting, below is a link to the tip sheets we made available.

Helping Your Child Learn to Read

Ideas for Reading Together


As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Our Journey Towards Balanced LIteracy

The Medway Elementary Schools celebrated their successes in the area of balanced literacy at a recent school committee meeting.  At the request of the principals, Mrs. Yanuskiewicz and Ms. Luizzi, our technology integration specialist, Paula Johnson, was asked to work with the elementary staff to produce a video that would highlight the use of the newly adopted workshop model to teach reading and writing.  The video was recently added to the district's online Ed Express newsletter. You can see it here:  Our Journey Towards Balanced Literacy. We are very proud of the accomplishments displayed in this short presentation.

What is the workshop model?  The reading workshop model focuses on quick, interactive and engaging lessons where the teacher models a skill or strategy needed by the class. The students are then asked to practice that skill together with the teacher before being sent off to try it out in books at their own level.  The teacher then works with small groups of students with similar needs, scaffolding the learning of each student.  While the teacher assists small groups, the remainder of the children are reading just right books and working on goals chosen just for them. 

If you would like to learn more about balanced literacy and the workshop model, MEPTO is sponsoring an information session at their meeting next Wednesday evening, April 15th at 7pm at the Burke / Memorial School. Jackie Daley, Instructional Coach at Memorialand I have prepared a short and informal presentation on the nuts and bolts of the workshop model.  We hope you can join us.  If you are unable to attend, feel free to follow me on this blog or on Twitter (@MrsBaldi2) where I will continue write updates regarding this new approach, as well as send along tips and tools to extend the literacy learning into the home.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and we are celebrating in grand style at the McGovern School.  Each day a new poem will be added to the "April Showers Bring Poetry Flowers" easel located in the main hallway.  Class authored poems and published poems will grace the board throughout this special month.  You can read each day's poem through Twitter by following the  #mcgovcan hashtag or by visiting my "Tweets about McGovern" feed found on the lower right side column of this blog.

For ideas on bringing poetry into your home visit: Giggle Poetry

Friday, March 27, 2015

Night of the Arts

McGovern School hosted their annual Night of the Arts this past Tuesday with crowds filling the cafeteria, overloading the gymnasium and spilling into the hallways.  Our allied arts teachers, Physical Education teacher Brad Shoenfelt, Art teacher Noelle Fiori and Music teacher Erin Cronan put together a wonderful evening celebrating the learning of the kindergarten and first grade children. Families were seen moving to the beat, kicking balls and sharing their impressions of famous works of art.  Thanks go out to our allied arts teachers for their dedication to teaching to the whole child.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Raising Readers

NPR.ORG ran a fabulous article the other day about the difference between raising readers and raising children who love to read. (Raising Kids Who Want to Read)  Isn't that what most parents want for their children to simply love reading? The article highlights suggestions from Daniel Willingham author of Raising Kids who Read. Here are a few ideas from the article:

  • Play rhyming and sound games, read nursery rhymes and have fun with the sounds and words that appear in those rhymes
  • Model reading - be a reader yourself and let your children see you enjoy reading
  • Place kids books and magazines everywhere - in the car and even in the bathroom!

Fostering a love of reading is one of our goals at McGovern School. One way we foster that love of reading is to host school wide read aloud events where we invite community members into the school to share a book with our preschool to first grade students. McGovern School hosted their second community read aloud event of the year on March 2, 2015.  The students enjoyed hearing stories read to them by members of the Medway Fire Department, former Medway School teachers and bankers from the Charles River Bank. The readers faces show us that we certainly are modeling a love of reading to these children! 

How do you foster a love of reading in your children?  Feel free to comment with your ideas.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Family Math Night

McGovern School hosted their annual Family Math Night on Tuesday night with over 125 families in attendance at the event.  Students were seen playing card games, board games and iPad games with their moms, dads and grandparents. Judging from the smiles, fun was had by all! 


Looking for additional ideas to extend the math learning at home?  Look here for Math Resources and scroll halfway down the page.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

No more snow please - but if more comes this way...

I just heard on the news this morning that February was the snowiest month on record - EVER! Yikes!  The story went on to cite that of the 28 days in February we received snow on 20 of the days. I think everyone and their cousins are yelling UNCLE about now, but more may be on the way!  So as a last hurrah (hopefully) to snowfall for the 2014-2015 winter, how about checking out this website listing a few snow themed books?  Since we can't change the weather, we might as well embrace it?  
Take a look at this list: More Snow Titles

Bookworm bench at McGovern School is covered in snow

Saturday, February 14, 2015

PJ Read Aloud

On Tuesday evening February 10th, McGovern School hosted the second annual P.J. Read Aloud.  Once again our guest reader was Steve Aveson, NECN news anchor and husband of kindergarten teacher Karen Aveson.  The evening began with a quick presentation reminding parents of the importance of reading aloud to their children for fifteen to twenty minutes a day.  (Why read aloud?)   But Steve quickly stole the show with his magic tricks, his ability to juggle snowballs and his animated story telling. Everyone went home with happy giggles and smiles leaving us with the confidence to say that the evening was once again a huge success!  

We are only left wondering what tricks Steve will have up his sleeves when he returns to McGovern School for next year's P.J. Read Aloud!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Award winners

The news this week was filled with talk of winners, from the Superbowl winning Patriots to the winner of the most snow fall in the state, Leominster.  But a much less publicized winning news story occurred this week with the American Library Association choosing the winning books for 2015, specifically the Randolph Caldecott Awards, for the most distinguished American picture book for children.  Congratulations to these winning titles. 

Caldecott Winner:

Honor Books:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Star Citizens Update

Friday is a special day at McGovern School because we get to recognize our "Star Citizens." Star citizens are children that have been recognized by an adult in the school for displaying good citizenship behavior.  The student then receives a red coupon and comes to the lobby on Friday morning to be recognized and congratulated with a hand shake from the principal.  Red tickets are then posted to the wall for recognition.
Look at how many coupons we have distributed in the first 90 days of school!

October's Wall:

January's Wall:

We are so proud of our STAR CITIZENS!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cabin Fever?

With the cold weather settling in many of us are beginning to experience a bit of cabin fever. We crave a change of scenery but find it hard to head outside.  Here are a few ideas to mix it up  and make the most of those cold days stuck inside.

Game Nights: Host a board game night with the neighbors.  Have each family bring their favorite board game to play and let the fun begin.

Game Swap: Swap board games with your friends. Enjoy a "new" game for a while before returning.

Playing in the Kitchen:  Try baking cookies or even dinner together.  Children seem to become more adventuresome when they are involved in the preparations.  Here are a few ideas from The Food Network

Make Sock Puppets: Put those single socks to good use!  Glue pom poms, google eyes and yarn to create an instant puppet!  Once your creations are dry, enjoy putting on a puppet show using your new crafts.  

Make a Family Movie: Use those sock puppets or simply act out a story or re-enact some silly family memory.  Serve popcorn while viewing the finished product!  

Indoor picnic: Spread a blanket in the living room and serve picnic fare on paper plates.