Monday, October 9, 2017

Wise Owl, October 5, 2017

"Have You Seen the Owl Today?"

October 9, 2017

Some news, information, and FUN that will be helpful to know as the leaves start to fall!


UES Parents Group Meeting: Wednesday, October 11
Picture Make Up Day: Thursday, October 19
Union Playground Project Community Night: Thursday, October 26
No School (P/T Conferences): Thursday and Friday, November 2 and 3
Scholastic Book Fair! November 8, 9, and 10
Family Movie Night! Friday, November 10
Community Thanksgiving Lunch! Wednesday, November 15

Wednesday's Parents Group Meeting: An Evening with Mahesh Sharma

Please join us this Wednesday evening, October 11, in the UES cafeteria at 6:00 for an evening with nationally known math educator Mahesh Sharma! For the last two years, Dr. Sharma has worked with teachers at both UES and Main Street Middle School to discuss how children learn mathematics, why mathematical learning problems occur, and what they can do to help children learn mathematics more effectively. This summer, over 20 UES students joined teachers from Montpelier and central Vermont in a one week Summer Math Lab to test out a wide variety of learning strategies and methods together. It was a wonderful week of learning, and Union Elementary has the pleasure of having Dr. Sharma join us this week to work with our students and teachers during math time. Join us Wednesday night to hear all about it!

The pictures below are from this summer's Math Lab. If you look closely at a number of them, you'll see students playing card and board games together and with teachers. Traditional games like "Go Fish", "Connect Four", "Othello", and so many more are a perfect way to build numeracy and a "sense of numbers" with your children while also having fun together. You will hear Dr. Sharma promote the idea of spending lots of time at home on games like this, and it won't take long for you to see how your kiddos will enjoy this so much more than traditional work sheets! You'll also see students using sets of colorful blocks called "Cuisenaire Rods", and I have to say that using these this summer had me looking at my own mathematical learning in a totally different way. Dr. Sharma will go into detail on how these manipulative blocks can really enhance mathematics instruction at our meeting, but I found a nice description on their history and how they work on Wikipedia of all places. Check it out here:

Cuisenaire Rods

Some action shots from the Summer Math Lab:

The next series of pictures below are of math classes here at UES this first month of school.  Note the regular use of the Cuisenaire Rods and card/board games...

Mrs. Reed's 2nd Graders hard at work
Ms. Hickey's 4th Graders getting messy with the Cuisenaire Rods
Connect Four.  High stakes.  Strategy.  Deep thoughts.
Mrs. Pierce's 4th graders enjoying math in a different way
Othello.  "Minutes to learn.  A lifetime to master."  So true!
So, there you have it!  We really hope to have you join us Wednesday night!

Fall Festival/Kids Cup! A day later, and I'm still amazed at what a great event yesterday's Kids Cup was! Hundreds of children and families from the whole MPS community joined together on a beautiful (and unexpectedly warm and sunny) day to help raise money for the UES Parents Group. So many "Thank Yous" are in order here, but the big one needs to go to UES mom Adrienne Gil! What organization skills! Adrienne had lots of help from many of you, but without her....

We got some nice coverage of the event on Channel 3 last night. Check it out here:

WCAX Kids Cup Coverage

And some Action Shots:

Surprise Prizes!

Monster Fun!

Pumpkin decorating!

Test Your Aim!

Families and kiddos getting ready for the Fun Run!

The first wave of runners came in at under 8 minutes.  Wow!

MHS Principal Mike McRaith was shocked at the accuracy of the UES arms!
The Kitchen Crew keeping us all well fed and happy!

The start of the 5K race -- note some of the young runners up front!

For the record, the Dunk Tank is a more refreshing experience on an 80 degree day than a 55 degree day.  Also, UES kids have remarkably accurate and strong arms!  Some of the action:

Personalization at Union Elementary School Have you ever wondered what teachers and principals do on those in-service days? OK, maybe you haven't, but in case you're wondering, Friday was a very productive and enlightening day for all of us! All three MPS schools are focusing on Personalization, Proficiency, and Equity for all of our students, and we had the pleasure of being joined by author and educator Kathleen McClaskey for the day. Kathleen is the author of Making Learning Personal, and teachers throughout the district will be reading this book together over the course of the year. As a parent of two MPS students myself, I can't tell you how happy I am to know that our teachers are making personalizing my daughter's learning experiences with us a priority. This is such important work, and your children will be the beneficiaries of all of it! The days of "one size fits all" learning are over folks, and Montpelier is at the forefront of this work. This should be welcome news to all of us.

Kathleen McClaskey working with UES teachers on Friday
No Walking School Bus This Week! We will be having a Faculty Meeting on Wednesday morning with Mahesh Sharma, so there will be no Walking Wednesday School Bus this week, Wednesday, October 11. The Walking School Bus will resume as normal next week!

Box Tops! Thanks to UES mom Missy McGibney for taking on the Box Top fundraising efforts this year! Every one of those little box top cutouts makes a difference! Missy shared a letter with you last month, and I share it with you below again:

Dear UES Families,
Fall Box Top submissions are upon us.  Box Tops are located on several common household products.  They are each worth .10 and when clipped and submitted our school earns money that can be used for just about anything, including field trips, classroom supplies and special projects.  A list of participating products is located on the back of this sheet.  We have set a new fundraising goal of $2000 for the 2017-2018 school year.  That means we need to collect 20,000 Box Tops!!!  This goal is a significant increase from last year’s earnings, so I’m asking for everyone’s help.  
In addition to the regular Box Tops, we find on packages, there are also additional ways to earn money.  Please look on packages for “Bonus” Box Tops.  These look a little different, but will have a code we can send in.   Occasionally your grocery store receipt will print out a coupon with eBox Tops.  Please send those in, as well, and I can enter them online for quick and easy money.
You can submit the Box Tops by using the included submission form or simply place the clipped tops, in a Ziploc bag, and I will get them counted and sorted.  If you chose to use the included form and don’t have enough to cover the entire sheet, that’s okay.  Send the sheet in and I will get it completed!!!  Please submit all of your Box Tops, to your child’s teacher or drop them in the Box Top collection box located outside the school office, by Thursday October 19th.  
Box Tops do have expiration dates and many of those dates are quickly approaching.  Please make sure you send everything you have so we don’t lose out on any free money, for the students.
Please ask others to save their Box Tops for UES.  They are an easy way for grandparents, extended family, neighbors, friends and co-workers to help support our kids and our school.  These collections will be ongoing, so even after October 19th please continue to clip and save.  
If you have any questions please contact me at:

Thank you,

Missy McGibney

Class Pictures Many of you are aware that our school photo company, Lifetouch, has decided with our input to not produce class photos this year. First, the good news: our plan is to take high quality digital class photos of each of the 24 classrooms this fall. We will make sure that the pictures are taken on a day with all students present, which has been a problem on Picture Day in the past. These photos will then be shared with you! Picture re-take day is scheduled for next week, October 19. Once we have photos of all of our students, a composite class group picture will also be shared with families. This decision was made following concerns that too many students were missing from our class photos, and we want to make sure everyone is in the shot! Please let us know if you have any questions -- we hope to have these pictures taken before Thanksgiving.

UPP Update There was a typo in the UPPDate we sent out last week! To clarify, the UPP Community Information Night is on Thursday night, October 26 in the UES cafeteria at 6:00. Please let me know if you have any questions -- we really hope to see you there!

Hennessey's Gems "Gems" and not "Hoots"? See below!

A Hennessey Gem to...

* ...UES PE Teachers MJ Jennings and Emmanuel Riby-Williams for getting our kiddos to set personal goals for wellness! It may be hard to see here, but try to zoom in to get an idea of what our students are thinking to become healthier, more fit people this year. Their "Hopes and Dreams" are inspiring! You can also see the poster below in the hallway outside the gym.

*  ... UES teachers Samantha LaFleur and Kellie Lynch for introducing GEMS as our way to work toward school wide goals.  Students earn gems for taking care of themselves, each other, and our school.  Here is Mrs. LaFleur introducing the gems at a recent assembly with our new mascot Swoop!

*  Mrs. Mello's Kinders Lia and Jiya for adding to the big Gem Jar in the hallway outside the main office.  Look how much it's filled up in just a few short weeks!

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