Thursday, May 31, 2012

Welcome to Kindergarten!

With the school year nearing a close, it's hard to imagine that some people are thinking about next September already. The kids who will be starting school for the very first time next fall are thinking about it, though. Their parents are too. So when they had a chance to drop by the Perkins yesterday for a tour, many soon-to-be kindergarteners and their parents came over.

Some of them went into a kindergarten class to see what it was like.

The current students in Ms. Mangini's class were glad to welcome them. They were also happy to announce some of their favorite things about going to school and being in kindergarten.

"My favorite thing is when I write the words on the board," said one kid.

"Learning the poems we do," another chimed in.

"Going outside to play."


"I like it every day!"

When it was time for the new students to continue on their tour, Ms. Mangini suggested that her class be polite. The big kids all waved and called out, "'Bye, nice to meet you!" That's a good welcome to the Perkins.

The kindergartens-to-be moved on to the second floor of the school, which is home to the first and second grade classrooms. They peeked in and looked at all the learning going on. They also hoisted themselves up to see the view from up there.

Then they went home. After all second grade, even next year, is a pretty long time away.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Help Ms. Murphy Help Us!

Dear Parents and Friends of the Perkins,

Our second grade teacher Mrs. Murphy has entered a contest to win new technology for our school. Helping her win will help our kids win too. Please go online and vote! All you need is an active email address to enter.

Just follow these simple steps:

1) Go to

2) Find the “Choose One” box (top left side of screen)

and click on Grant Applicants and Voting from the pull-down menu

3) Type "Barbara Murphy" in the search box and then click search

4) Find the line that says, “We are all Writing Teachers!” – Barbara


5) Click “Vote Now”

6) Find the “Vote for me!” box and click on that

7) Enter the information they ask for and you’re done!

While you're at it, ask all your family members to log on and vote before June 7th!

The teacher with the most votes wins!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Goodbye Butterflies!

Just a few days after Mother's Day, the first graders in Ms. Haney's class had a mother type experience themselves. They raised young living things from babyhood until it was time to let their loved ones go out into the world.

It was time to release the Painted Lady butterflies.

The kids brought their goodbye letters to the garden in the schoolyard. They also brought their four butterflies in their mesh container. It was the only home these butterflies had ever known.

One student after another stepped up to the butterflies to say a formal farewell. Saying goodbye brings up all sorts of feelings.

Some of the kids were sort of happy to launch the butterflies into the world.

Others had more mixed feelings.

Then it was time to let them out. There was a moment when each butterfly was free to go but didn't really know it yet. Suddenly they were all off on the wind.

It's hard to let go even when you know it's the right thing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Want to Write a Memoir?

On Tuesday, all our first and second grade classes went to visit the Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, Massachusetts. These kids had been working with 7th graders from the Schechter School all year long at the Perkins School. It was time to make a return visit. We will report on this visit in our next post.

Today, however, since our last post on the Perkins Blog featured three short memoirs from Mrs. Haney's first grade class, we would like to comment on the fact that the Perkins School isn't the only one thinking about memoirs.

Here is the cover of a memoir written by Melba Pattillo Beals. She is one of the nine African-American students who were the first kids to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. She had quite a story to tell. Many people were against integrating the school. One of them even tried to throw acid in her eyes.

Below the cover of the book is a wonderful description by poet, Ted Hughes, about why it is good to write memoirs. If you want to read what he said more easily, just click on this picture.

Three kids in Ms. Haney's class tried it. Who else wants to give it try? If YOU wrote one, what stories would you want to tell?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Telling Your Own Story

What is a memoir? It is a type of autobiography, someone telling the story of his or her own life. A memoir usually tells part of someone's life story, not the whole story from the beginning to the present day.

You don't have to be famous to write a memoir. You don't have to have climbed a mountain or have fought in a war. You don't even have to be old. You have to have lived--and, have learned how to write.

The kids in Ms. Haney's first grade class have done both. Here are some of their memoirs. These kids added something to their autobiographies that even famous people, such as Michael Jordan and President Bill Clinton, have not added to their books. They drew their own illustrations!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sh-h-h...Testing In Progress

Yes, the MCAS Math Marathon is over, but the effect of a year of learning and practice will live on. This week, our third, fourth and fifth graders have taken that MCAS, the Massachusetts statewide exams for mathematics.

We have wished them luck, but we also want to pay tribute to how far they have come. So we will show you the first problem each grade had to tackle in our Math Marathon and then the last one. Look at the difference in their complexity.

Third grade's first answered question back in October:

Their last question in May:

The fourth grade's first answered question in October:

Their last answered question in May:

The fifth grade's first answered question in October:

And their last question in May:

What a difference. That's a lot of learning!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What does "Ouch" Mean?

When Perkins' author-in-residence walked by Ms. Harden's fourth grade classroom, she (me) noticed these vocabulary words on the open door.

Endurance, society, good important words for anyone to know, she thought. Then she saw the top of the sign that said, "Visitors: Please try to incorporate these words into conversation with us!" When she noticed the word, manual, she knew she had to walk right.

The Perkins' author-in-residence is always happy to talk about using words, but the word, manual, had been especially important to her lately. Even though Ms. Hardin was talking herself, Perkins' author-in-residence asked to address the class.

The Perkins' author-in-residence looked down and then raised her left arm. It was encased in a cast. "My arm is broken," she said, "even my wrist. So kids, how do you think this affects my manual dexterity?"

"Dexterity?" someone asked.

"Dexterity means the ability to move well," said Ms. Hardin.

Since the kids already knew what manual meant, they were ready to engage in the conversation.

"Looks like she doesn't have too much of it," one kid answered.

Not bad, using an old vocabulary work and learning a new one. A productive lesson.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day, Part 2

Moms should know that they aren't just appreciated one day a year on Mother's Day. The first and second graders at the Perkins made sure their moms knew by holding a Mother's Day Tea!

Signs were put up.

Tables were set with flowers and hats (crowns, actually) and tea cups--all of which, the moms could take home.

Many moms, those who could, came to enjoy their day at school. Tea was actually served at the tea, of course, although moms who were coffee drinkers had that choice. Some dads came and chipped in by helping to serve.

Delicious cookies and cakes filled each classroom.

As they were sipping and munching, moms got to listen to songs their children had prepared.

They heard poems and essays about how great they are.

Sweets, presents, love--who wouldn't like a day like this one!?!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The World in Just One Classroom

If you remember, there's a big geography project going on in (and right outside) Ms. Meadow's room. Since people from all around the world are taking an interest in us by visiting our blog, these third graders are returning the favor. They are researching the countries that have shown up on our visitors list and writing down an amazing fact about each one.

They have learned some impressive things. Here is something Raymond learned about Japan:

It's an amazing fact, but also an amazing looking creature!

Talking about spiky things, Andrea found out about a medical use for needles besides giving shots:

What does that look like? Well, check it out. In China, doctors sometimes use acupuncture instead of drugs when patients have an operation. The needles block the pain completely.

Meanwhile Molly went to the other side of the world to learn about the country of Brazil. It's a huge country, with a huge and long river called the Amazon. Here is one of the things that interested Molly the most:

And, why not? Look at this guy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gotta Love Our Teachers!

Ms. Smith

Mother's Day is coming up very soon, but moms aren't the only ones who deserve appreciation. Yesterday was Teacher Appreciation Day and parents and kids at Perkins knew just what to do.

Ms. Leverett King

What is welcome during the school day? A delicious lunch, that's one thing. How does a catered spread with ziti, chicken, and broccoli sound? Or calzones, lasagna, meatballs and sausage? Don't forget the roasted potatoes and salad.

Ms. Haney

Then there were the flowers on the table and the two cakes for dessert.

Ms. Breneus

Food is a classic way to say, "Thank you." So is saying thank you! At the end of the school day, a parent got on the loudspeaker so her voice boomed through the building. Thank you, she said, we all appreciate each and every one of you. (Not just the ones we featured in pictures here.)

Ms. Lynch

Then the school burst into applause. In the classrooms, in the halls, our kids' claps and cheers showed that this is a real holiday to be celebrated.

Ms. Correa

Monday, May 7, 2012

Every Month Should Be Poetry Month

Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson were wonderful poets. So are the kids in Ms. Leverett King's class. These first graders tackled acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses the letters in one special word to start each line of the poem. All of the lines of that poem should make sense together. That's not always so easy.

It's worth trying hard, though. Especially when that special word is your very own name. Here are some of their creations! If you can't read them easily, you can click on the picture to make it bigger.

So, as David asks, "Do you do your work?" How about trying an acrostic poem? We bet your own name could produce something beautiful.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks for the MCAS Memories!

We know that the MCAS Math Marathon--both questions and answers--have been the height of your week. But all good things must end. Now you will have to find another place to test yourself on percentages and graphing. The answers to this week's MCAS questions finish up our marathon. The kids have one more week of prep with their teachers and then math MCAS begin the week after that.

So for the last time this year, we'll say, "Here are the answers to this week's questions."

The third grade's:

The fourth grade's:

And the fifth's:


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The World in Ms. Meadow's Classroom

If you remember, there's a big geography project going on in (and right outside) Ms. Meadow's room. Since people from all around the world are taking an interest in us by visiting our blog, these third graders are returning the favor. They are researching the countries that have shown up on our visitors list and writing down an amazing fact about each one.

For example, did you know this?

You would think that fortune cookies came from China because, in the United States, we usually get them in Chinese restaurants. Well, you learn something new every day!

On the other hand, the Chinese people managed to come with some pretty delicious things to eat. This is what Cladwyne discovered:

Speaking of snow...
Most of our readers come from the United States. The kids decided that there are plenty of interesting things to learn about our country. Check this out:

How about making that into ice cream!?!