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February 28, 2011

            It’s going to be a busy first week back from February vacation!  Tomorrow afternoon Dr. Roy and his dental hygienist will visit our classroom.  They will teach the kids about good oral hygiene and preventing cavities.  They will also perform brief exams on the children.  Letters went home before vacation for parents to sign if they do not want their child to have an exam.  If you wish your child to have the exam, you do not need to do anything. 

            On Wednesday morning, the kids will begin Junior Achievement lessons.   The lessons will be taught by Mrs. Mara Pennell.  Mrs. Pennell lives on Great Island and is currently Vice President of lending at MidCoast Federal Credit Union in Bath.  She has two nieces at HIS and a two year old son at home who will one day attend our school.  The lessons focus on the roles people play in the local economy.  Students are involved in activities about needs, wants, jobs, tools, skills, and inter-dependence.  Mrs. Pennell does a great job teaching these lessons, her enthusiasm for the subject really comes through!

            Wednesday is Dr. Suess’ birthday, and so it is Community Read Aloud day.  Alice Bean is the community member who will be reading to our group.  As well as being a substitute teacher, she is also a Maine Guide and plans to bring in a book about Maine to read to the kids.  Should be interesting.

            I want to spend just a little time talking about Spelling.  As you know, we are using the Fundations program for Spelling and phonetic reading.  At this point, we the children have worked on: all consonant sounds, short vowel sounds, and digraphs (sh, ch, th, wh, ck);  words spelled with three sounds (mop, chip, etc), including words with digraphs; words that end in double s,f,and l; words spelled with “welded sounds” (-all, -an, -am), and words with the suffix “s”.  We are currently working on words spelled using the welded sounds, - ang, -ing, -ong, -ung, -ank, -ink, -onk, -unk.   The children are making great progress with these skills.

            Another important part of the Fundations spelling program has to do with what they call “trick words”.  These are words that we have traditionally called, “sight words”. They are high frequency words often found in the children’s reading gand writing, and they are often not spelled as they sound.  Some examples are, “were”, “said”, “are”, “they”.  The children are not all learning these words as easily as the phonetically regular words.  I’d like to begin sending home lists of words for the children to work on, with hints about how to practice these.  We’ll probably start that next week.   There is also a web site, “Spelling City” that the kids can use to learn and practice these words.  They can also take a spelling test on line using this program.  I can show this to you at conference time.

            I’m sending home a 2nd trimester conference sign up sheet today.  Please sign up for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for conference dates and times and return the sheet to school.  Thank you.

            I’ll also be sending home a book order tomorrow or Wednesday.  As before, I will attach a slip telling you your child’s most recent reading level, since the scholastic book orders give reading levels for many of the books.  The book order will be due next Monday.

            The process of planning for the consolidation of HIS and WHS schools next year has begun.  Dr. Wilhelm spoke over vacation at a joint meeting of the PTOs.  We talked about what we would like to see for the new school and what we would like to see in a leader (principal).  The HIS PTO meets at 6pm this Wednesday, March 2.  Please attend if you are able, so that you can get more information about the process and offer your ideas.

There is a follow-up joint meeting of the PTOs with Dr. Wilhelm on Tuesday, March 15th at 6:30pm.  This will be at WHS. 

            This is going to be an intense but exciting process!