What's New @MWES...

PARCC 2018: Grades 3-5

posted Apr 23, 2018, 1:07 PM by Sandra Gassner

ELA & Math: May 8 -11 & May 14 -16

Science: May 18 & 21 (Grade 5 only)

MWES students in grades 3-5 will be taking the PARCC in May.  In our classrooms throughout the year, teachers use what we've learned about the format of this standardized test as we differentiate learning experiences and include online assessments similar to what students will see on the PARCC.

There are several elements we are working through as we look towards the upcoming standardized assessments, remaining mindful to preserve the classroom environment our students have grown accustomed to; the one in which they feel most comfortable learning! This list provides some good talking points for you and your child as they get ready to take the test. 


  1. The test is on a computer (for us, Chromebooks). For most students, this is a big YIPPEE! For others, it is not as exciting as some might predict. Keyboarding familiarity is important, as are some basic computer skills our students are honing. Every minute students spend learning digitally is a step in the right direction, and we have provided time to become familiar with the technology skills students will use on the PARCC. 
  2. This isn't your grandmother’s multiple choice. The multiple-choice questions on the PARCC test are not always asking for one answer; sometimes they are asking for more than one. Often the test asks us to choose an answer for #5, and then #6 asks us to choose the best reason to support that answer. We keep reminding students to choose the best option, even though there might be other reasonable ones. These questions make us really think. As we practice test items similar to the ones our students will see on the PARCC we discuss the answers to these questions and the reasons for choosing particular answers.
  3. What are students thinking? The PARCC assessment wants to know what students think after they are exposed to two or three selections on the same topic. They want to see how kids compare, contrast and convey their understanding. We have been doing this since the fall, and we are very impressed with how students are now diving back into the reading (close reading) to find supporting evidence when constructing answers. One of the biggest challenges our students are facing is the fact that they have to include so many parts in their written answers. With consistent feedback, modeling and encouragement, we have seen growth in our students’ ability to express opinions using evidence from their selections. Yea!!! 
  4. Basic Skills Remix: In math, students are required to apply basic skills they have acquired over the past several years. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills will be pushed to the limits as students decide how to apply them in challenging problems. We remind our students that they already possess skills necessary to succeed. They only need to commit those skills to their problem solving to make it all come together. 

  5. Families can help! If you are the lucky family member of a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader, you can provide valuable support! Make sure students are getting adequate sleep, eating healthy and staying active. Remind them every single day that effort affects everything, and that everything we do in school is important.
Yes, our young students are faced with challenging assessments and have already demonstrated success using the computer to participate in such assessments.  We know they will work hard to do their best on the PARCC, but in the end, it is the rest of our interactive, reflective learning that determines the success of our school year.

Math...at home!

posted Mar 19, 2018, 12:46 PM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated Mar 19, 2018, 12:48 PM ]

Here at MWES you will find students and teachers engaged in mathematical learning experiences which focus on developing deep understandings of mathematical concepts, proficiency with key skills, and the ability to solve complex and novel problems. 

Teachers blend direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration, tapping into the intelligence and strengths of all students by presenting material that is as linguistically, visually, and kinesthetically rich as it is mathematically powerful. 

Parents often ask, “How can we help at home?” and last fall we hosted a Family Math Night which allowed parents to take part in mathematical activities to become more familiar with what is going on in the classroom and support instruction at home. 

An article shared a few years ago, Where The Wild Fractions Are: The Power Of A Bedtime (Math) Story, by Eric Westervelt of NPR still rings true. Read on to for tips on how parents might help their child develop a love of math using a no frills math app and every day math talk. (This is an abridged version of what Westervelt shared.)

Parents who are uneasy about their own math skills often worry about how best to teach the subject to their kids. A study published in the journal, Science, suggests that at least one app works pretty well for elementary school children and math-anxious parents. A team from the University of Chicago used a demographically diverse group of first-graders and their parents — nearly 600 in all — across a wide swath of Chicago. One group got to use an app called Bedtime Math, built by a nonprofit with the same name. The no-frills app uses stories and sound effects to present kids with math problems that they can solve with their parents. The control group was given a reading app with similar stories but no math problems to solve. The results at the end of the school year?

University of Chicago psychology professor Sian L. Beilock, one of the paper’s lead authors, shared the results. Our study suggests that doing Bedtime Math with your kids can help advance their math achievement over the school year, and this might be especially important for parents who are a little bit nervous about their own math ability.

We compared kids who used the Bedtime Math app that involved reading stories and doing math problems with their parents to kids who did a very similar app that didn’t have the math content. We showed that when kids frequently used the app with their parents, those who used the math app were three months ahead in terms of math achievement relative to kids who just did the reading app.

Many adults in the U.S. and around the world profess to be uncomfortable or anxious about math. Oftentimes dealing with your kid around math can be a nerve-wracking experience — whether it’s homework or just talking about it. We found that doing this Bedtime Math app with kids was especially beneficial for those kids whose parents tended to be the most nervous about math. In essence, these kids grew significantly throughout the course of the year and looked like kids whose parents weren’t anxious about math by school year’s end.

It was somewhat surprising to us that such using the app as little as once a week would have such important benefits. One of the ideas is that we think that when parents get comfortable with talking with their kids about math — it doesn’t have to be complex math problems; it could be anything from shapes to even counting — they likely engage in math talk even when they’re not using the app. And we know that parents who talk more with their kids about math — whether you’re counting out the number of cookies or counting the minutes to bedtime — those kids tend to achieve at higher rates in math.

We’ve shown that, when parents interact with their kids and talk with them about math, that really impacts what kids learn. We were interested in this because it really is a no-frills app, an easy way for parents to interact with their kids, to talk with their kids about math. It’s not an app that they use by themselves. And we thought that that potentially had promise in terms of what math knowledge kids gained. To realize that math is part of everything we do, and math is not something scary or that one should be anxious about. And it’s really healthy to try to incorporate that into daily life. And often, as you said, parents think about reading bedtime stories, but there is a place for thinking also about bedtime math.

You don’t hear people walking around bragging that they’re not good at reading. But very intelligent people brag about not being good at math. And it turns out that that anxiety and social acceptability has implications for our nation’s success in math and science fields. And it’s really important that we as parents and teachers and adults try to convey to our kids that math is something that’s (a) enjoyable and (b) learned. You’re not born a math person or not; it’s something that’s acquired. And every time we talk about it and we integrate it into our daily lives, children may see the importance of it and that math is not something to be fearful of.”

To learn more about the free, “no-frills” Bedtime Math app and how you might use it at home, visit www.bedtimemath.org. Once installed, launch the app to find daily math riddles for kids aged 3-9, with different levels of math. No logins. No drilling. No scores…just an opportunity for kids to see the math in their favorite topics! You find you are soon adding bedtime math to your bedtime story routine!

Thank you, MWES-PTO...Scholastic Magazines Enrich Reading!

posted Nov 2, 2017, 7:58 AM by Sandra Gassner

Discussions about current events are common in classrooms at the Marshall W. Errickson School. In addition to using information gained from illustrations and words in a text to demonstrate an understanding of a topic, when discussing current events our students devote time to identifying how the author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points made in the text. Students also explain how their own point of view is the same or differs from that of the author.

This year we have been fortunate to have the MWES-PTO fund the purchase of several Scholastic magazine subscriptions. Students in grades, one, two, four and five enjoy Scholastic News, a weekly “newspaper” that is available in print as well as online. (You may remember it as The Weekly Reader!) The PTO also funded the purchase of Scholastic’s Storyworks & Storyworks Jr. magazines for students in grades 3-5. This print and online "magazine" serves as a text resource in a variety of genres for our students. Each issue includes an abundance of nonfiction articles in many lengths and text types, which are linked to timely science and social studies topics. Grade four is honing their math skills with a subscription to DynaMATH!. 

Thank you, MWES-PTO for these valuable resources!  

If you are interested in accessing additional sources of nonfiction text and online current events at home, this “Symbaloo” contains quick links to a number of sources of nonfiction text which support classroom instruction and help answer questions about timely topics. To see these resources and the full list of online current events databases used frequently in our school go to http://bit.ly/mwes_currentevents. As with any online resource, please preview the content before giving your child access. Current news may contain material that your young child may find disturbing or may not understand. 

At home, use your child’s natural curiosity as a guide for selecting nonfiction text. Great nonfiction gets kids asking questions! Kids also like to read about real people facing challenges that they can relate to in their own lives. Find opportunities to read about and/or discuss the qualities of people faced with situations that were not so easy to overcome. Outstanding visuals, i.e. detailed diagrams, graphs, and charts, often make the difference between a text that falls flat and one that grabs your child’s attention from the start. Photographs, in particular, can help illuminate a given topic and make the story come to life.

Taking time to focus on current events and real-world topics allows children to find out more about an area of interest and use it as a springboard to explore and understand the world around them. We hope you will take advantage of the many resources available to support your child’s interest in this area. 

Back-to-School Night ~ September 28th at 6:15!

posted Sep 28, 2017, 9:39 AM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated Sep 28, 2017, 9:40 AM ]

We are off to a great start and can’t wait to share all of the amazing things that 
are happening at Errickson with you at Back to School Night! 

We have added many amazing learning opportunities for our students. Here is a sample of what’s new:

• STEAM Center
• 3D Printer
• Robotics
• Green Screen Technology
• Aeroponic Gardens
• Mindfulness Training
• coLaboratory
• Flexible Seating
• And so much more

Our students have been enthusiastic about all of our new curriculum materials and now it’s your chance to enjoy them as well. We have changed the format of Back to School Night so that you will have time to engage in some new activities and materials. 
Our doors will open at 6:15. Stop into the lobby and take a peek at our new school year video that uses green screen technology and grab a copy of your Choice Menu for the evening. 

At 6:30 head to your child’s classroom teacher for the classroom level presentation. 

At 7:00, check your Choice Menu and visit some of the areas/activities listed above. You can also experience the exciting new things happening in Related Arts or talk to
representatives from the PTO, Freehold Twp Education Foundation or Foodstock, among others! 

At 7:30, teachers will hold a second classroom session for parents and many of our Choice Activities will again be open to visit.
Our hope for the evening is that you will walk away as excited about the wonderful things happening at Errickson as
our staff is! We look forward to seeing you on September 28th at 6:15.

Welcome Kindergarten Students!

posted Sep 5, 2017, 2:48 PM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated Sep 5, 2017, 2:52 PM ]

Welcome to the Errickson School!  You and your children are going to become part of a very special family this year – the Errickson Family.  We take pride in treating our school like a small community in which every member plays an important role. We are looking forward to working with your children this year and interacting with you while you volunteer in the school and attend the various events that the staff and PTO sponsor.  

Freehold Township Schools is fortunate to be able to provide a full day Kindergarten program.  The full day Kindergarten program brings about many opportunities for our students.  They have more time to have meaningful language experiences, experiment with manipulatives to discover math concepts, capitalize on their natural inquisitiveness through the project approach, and socialize with their peers.  Our Kindergarten teachers have been very busy this summer arranging their centers and organizing their classrooms to create a fun and exciting environment for your children that will meet their academic needs.  

Please join us for Kindergarten orientation on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at 9:00 AM at the Errickson School. This will be your children’s first opportunity to see their new classrooms and meet their teachers.  The orientation will help ease the anxiety children may have with the first day of school.  Please note that the orientation is for both parents and students, however the program is child-centered.  (Specific questions about curriculum and routines will be answered for parents during our annual Back to School Night on September 28, 2017.)  The program will conclude with a brief bus ride for students to become familiar with the safety rules of the bus. 

The first day of school will be Thursday, September 7, 2017. Our doors open at 8:10am and school starts at 8:20. Dismissal is 2:55pm. For students who ride the bus, a staff member will meet them on the bus and escort them to their teachers prior to the rest of the bus unloading. Hopefully, this will ease any first day jitters that students (and parents) may have. We will continue this practice for the first few days of school until we are confident that our students are secure in making the trip on their own. For students who will be dropped off by their parents, please proceed to the back of the school and pull around the circle for drop off. The mornings are very hectic in the back of the building, so please drop off as quickly as possible. If you feel that you need more time dropping your child off, there are areas to park in the back of the building, but because of the traffic flow, it may be challenging to park. We will have staff members in the cafeteria to escort your child to their classrooms so that they will feel confident once they arrive. Parent pick up is also in the back of the building during dismissal. Please park and sign your child out each day. Walkers will be met by staff members at the crossing guard station in the morning and escorted to the crossing guard in the afternoon.

As your child gets ready for kindergarten orientation, you may enjoy reading the book, "The Kissing Hand," or "Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes," or "Wheels on the Bus," before the first day of school. You may view all or portions of these books on You Tube.  We look forward to seeing you in school!

Pete the Cat
Wheels on the Bus
The Kissing Hand

New Student Orientation - Tuesday, August 29th!

posted Aug 22, 2017, 7:06 PM by Sandra Gassner

As the summer days lead up to the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, we would like to formally welcome you to the Errickson family as a new student!  Please know the number one priority at Errickson School is our students.  We strive to address the individual academic, social and emotional needs of each child while guiding them to reach their full potential.  To this end, we have scheduled a New Student Orientation program on Tuesday, August 29, 2017 at 9:00 am.  At this orientation, we look forward to establishing a positive foundation for the school year ahead. The orientation should take no more than one hour.  

The new student population includes students from grades one through five, so there will only be a brief overview of the academic program.  Afterwards, you and your child will receive a tour of the building and be able to visit the classrooms.  While the classrooms may not be completely decorated for the new school year, the tour will allow you to become acquainted with the building and help alleviate any “new school jitters.”

Again, welcome to the Errickson family, and we look forward to seeing you on the 29th!  


MWES Keeping Reading Skills Strong this Summer!

posted Jun 29, 2017, 1:04 PM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated Jun 29, 2017, 1:06 PM ]

The Errickson Eagles are off to a great start this summer, logging close to 7,000 minutes in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge! If your child is reading a good book remind them to log on to the challenge and record their minutes. If you need help logging on to the site please email Mrs. Gassner @sgassner@freeholdtwp.k12.nj.us

The homeroom with the most minutes will be awarded some "flexible seating" in the fall! Mrs. Pasola's grade 3 students are in the lead with Ms. Taddeo's 4th graders a very close second!
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Learning = Summer Fun!

posted Jun 21, 2017, 8:34 AM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated Jun 21, 2017, 8:42 AM ]

Summer is a time to relax and recharge, but it can also afford us time to learn something new! As in years past, we have compiled some resources towards this end. Visit our summer learning web page for ways to make learning an enjoyable part of every summer day while maintaining the gains students have made over the school year. The following tips for parents, provided by MA Literacy, will also help kids stay on track during the summer months.

Put away the mobile devices and spark stimulating conversations with your young children! You can help them improve their communication and critical thinking skills using “PB DD RA,” (Preview Before, Discuss During, Reflect After). For example, before a trip to the beach, parents can prompt kids with questions such as, “What do you think we will see/smell/feel at the beach?” During the trip or activity, parents can discuss the activity at hand with the child. After the trip, parents can talk to kids about the experience, or ask children to draw a picture or write a story about the event.
  • Get outside: Playing outside can be educational; there’s a whole world to count, spell and explain! When kids are drawing with sidewalk chalk, ask them to make certain shapes or comment on the colors they are using. Count the rings in a tree stump. Help kids learn how to spell the names of vegetables or flowers that they see growing in outdoor gardens.
  • Read, Read, Read: Perhaps the best thing parents can do is have their children spend time reading — for at least 30 minutes a day. Younger children will benefit just as much from having books read to them. Remember that children gain the most from reading when a parent asks guiding questions to check their child’s comprehension. Ask them to read a page out loud and then ask them a question based on the content of that page. Often when they only focus on decoding the words, the meaning gets lost.
  • Create math art projects: A great game for young children learning about numbers is also an art project. Children can decorate a piece of paper with small objects…beans, uncooked macaroni or pom-poms. Place the objects on the paper, no glue required yet. Take turns rolling dice to determine how many of the objects each player can remove from the paper and count them out loud. At the end of the game, children can glue down their game pieces to create a masterpiece.
  • Too hot to play outside? Head to the library! Most libraries have a summer reading program. Check the website of local libraries for hours and programs. Monmouth County Library - http://www.monmouthcountylib.org/ Libraries also have plenty of DVDs, and music to check out, and they have air conditioning!
  • Resources from Teachers: Check the school website or the website posted by your child’s teacher for resources. Teachers may also send home lists of suggestions with students.
  • Play with math online: Visit Greg Tang's math website and/or check out some of his math books at the library! You can also find a variety of math games for children on Pinterest? Just go to www.pinterest.com and search for “math activities.” Other online resources for math can be found on the school website.

Have a wonderful summer! We look forward to hearing all about your adventures in September!

End-of-Year Learning Experiences!

posted May 31, 2017, 7:56 AM by Sandra Gassner

It's hard to believe that in less than a month Errickson will send its students off for summer vacation. Before then however, we have many exciting things planned to further enrich student learning for the 2016-2017 school year. We hope you will be able to visit the school as students showcase what they know about a variety of topics. Listed below are the learning experiences currently
  • June 1st - Listen to the tunes created by our students playing the recorder!
  • June 2nd - 4th Grade Wax Museum: Famous people come alive through the voices of our fourth graders!
  • June 7th - An Evening of the Arts! 6-8pm
  • June 9th - Grade 2 Publisher's Party!
  • June 15th - 3rd Grade presents Animal Habitats!
  • June 15th - 1st Grade Reader's Retreat!
  • June 16th - Kindergarten End-of-Year Celebration!
  • June 20th - 5th Grade Moving Up Ceremony!

Kindergarten Preview!

posted May 15, 2017, 6:25 AM by Sandra Gassner   [ updated May 15, 2017, 6:37 AM ]

The staff of Marshall W. Errickson School will welcome the Class of 2030 for its "Kindergarten Preview" on Tuesday, May 16th at 9:30 am

While our newest students will be busy visiting the kindergarten classrooms and taking part in learning activities with the Kindergarten Preview team of teachers, parents will be treated to a video created by our own kindergarten students! Mrs. Areman and Mrs. Gassner joined forces with the kindergarten and related arts teams to film kindergarten students in action. This exciting video footage was skillfully edited by our building Technology Integration Coordinator, Ms. Coronado, creating an informative explanation of "A Day in the Life of a Kindergartner, by Kindergarten!" 

To support parents and students after the event is over, visit the Kindergarten Preview Website  which showcases all of the information presented during the preview! 

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