Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Time of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all our FWS families! May you make some new memories with family and friends while enjoying some rest and relaxation!  I am most thankful for being principal of Francis Wyman School because of the delightful students, terrific teachers, super support staff, and fabulous families. It takes commitment and collaboration from every member of our school community to provide quality education for our students and I feel most fortunate to experience such a supportive community each and every day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilgrims and Native Americans - Gr 3

The Thanksgiving Spirit - Gr 3
Please don't eat turkey... "Disguised Turkeys" Gr.4 

Gr. 3 and Gr. 4 Combined Art Project

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Soldiers Visit Classrooms

Soldiers Visiting Mrs. Cook's K Class
Once again this year, students of Francis Wyman School have been very generous supporting our troops overseas. We have collected candy for the soldiers in the Middle East in the “Treats for Troops” campaign and donated items for the “Honor Our Heroes” program. The students contributed to the 1600lbs of leftover Halloween candy, wrote encouraging letters, and drew colorful pictures to raise the soldiers’ spirits.Students were delighted when the soldiers visited their classrooms in honor of Veteran's Day. They were able to learn first hand how much it meant to the soldeirs to be remembered by the students and how much they appreciate receiving the candy, cards, letters, and gifts. The Honor Our Heroes collection is still going on until November 23rd and items may be dropped off at Francis Wyman School or BHS. Examples of needed items are: At&T phone cards, chapstick, granola bars, pens, sugar-free gum, dried fruits, etc.

Francis Wyman Hosts Learning Walks for Burlington Teachers

On Monday, Francis Wyman School was proud to host an afternoon of "Learning Walks" for a team of Burlington teachers. The teachers are being trained by John Antonetti in the the Look 2 Learn program. This program provides a framework for teachers so that they can have an opportunity to visit classrooms and observe students learning right in the moment. Teachers rarely have a chance to visit classrooms, especially those of their colleagues. This approach provides an opportunity much like that of "hospital rounds". Teachers can learn from each other from this practical experience.

Learning Walk Team

The teachers visit the classrooms in teams of two or three and observe students in class. In an effort to gather the student perspective, the teachers briefly talk to one or two students about what they are learning in that particular lesson. After several classroom visits, the team of teachers meet to discuss what they observed and analyze student engagement as it relates to "Engaging Qualities". The purpose of this experience is not to evaluate teachers, but to provide teachers with an authentic experience that will allow teachers to reflect about the craft of teaching, share their knowledge and insight, and ultimately learn from each other.

Engaging Qualities include:

Personal Response

Clear/Modeled Expectations

Emotional/Intellectual Safety

Learning with Others

Sense of Audience




John Antonetti and teachers discuss observations

The Look 2 Learn team was able to visit classrooms in all grades, including specialist classes. FW teachers welcomed the teams into their classrooms which was most appreciated by the participants. Students were excited about the visitors and enjoyed talking to the teachers. Please visit the Superintendent’s blog for more information about the Learning Walks, including a brief video clip of an interview with John Antonetti regarding his perspective of the day.

Dr. Conti joins the fifth grade students as they participate in a discussion.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Accelerated Reader Program Begins at FWS

This year we are introducing students in Grades 1 - 5 to a very exciting program called the Accelerated Reader program (AR). This program allows teachers to develop individualized plans for students to choose books at their appropriate reading level and to monitor their comprehension of the texts through the quizzes provided by the program. Quizzes are available for over 125,000 titles. Books range in levels that go well beyond grade 5.

This program has been reviewed by the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring. AR is an evidence-based core and intervention program. Accelerated Reader is an RTI progress-monitoring measurement that provides data as often as daily on overall reading comprehension of the entire school, class, groups and individuals in all levels of reading.

Students are provided a list of books at their reading level. They choose a book, read the book and then complete the AR quizz to determine comprehension. The number of books students read is documented which has the positive effect of motivating students to read more. The Accelerated Reader monitors student progress and gives teachers the feedback they need to guide the students in their reading and address their individual reading needs.

Students are given time to read the books during their ELA block and Intervention/Extension blocks. Additionally, upon arriving to their classrooms in the morning, all students in the school participate in our morning reading time for their “before school work”. Books can also be read at home as part of their homework or for leisure reading.

The quizzes are accessed on-line at the school in individual classrooms, the computer lab and the library. Students are able to participate in this program which promotes reading practice and is based on the principle that "when you inspire a love of Reading, you create excitement for learning." Both students and teachers are excited to begin. Already the enthusiasm for reading books is growing!


Our Back-to School Book Fair was a great success and this was just our first in-store and on-line event. Since it was a town-wide event, we have shared the profits with the other schools by purchasing books that were submitted on their wish lists. We were also able to purchase many titles for the FW Library.Our next Book Fair Event is scheduled in December, just in time for the holidays. More details will be sent out after Thanksgiving. THANKS for all your support!