Reflections

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar….

“I – I hardly know, Sir, just at present,” Alice replied rather shyly, “at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”

From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I came across this quote, which introduced a chapter in the book I am reading. How appropriate to discover these words as we reach the end of the school year. Right now teachers and parents are reflecting upon and celebrating the social growth and academic learning of the children, and every one of the Primary and Lower School students has matured in so many ways. When I compare photographs taken on the first day of school with those taken during the last few weeks, I am startled by the maturity of each face. Each child looks so much older! Each child acts older, knows more and experiences relationships in a different way. Each young person has changed more than several times since September! While these changes have happened over a longer time span than they did for Alice down the rabbit hole, we can all recognize the similarity. As we end the school year, welcome summer and anticipate the transitions that will be upon us, I congratulate all the children, parents, teachers and staff for the many successes great and small, seen and unseen, individual and communal. Thank you for a remarkable year long journey.

Summer reading suggestions for children: Please go to the Technology and Library blog on the Derby website for summer reading booklists.

Suggested books for parents:

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman – An excellent look at how to navigate today’s girl culture and relationships.

The Parents We Mean To Be by Richard Weissbourd – An insightful book about how adults shape the moral and emotional lives of children.

A few reminders for the children…

  • Daily reading is one of the most important activities to keep skills strong. Vary the reading with fiction and non-fiction books, poetry and children’s magazines. Read out loud and read to yourself. Ask to be read to.
  • Spend some time working in the math journal or on IXL depending on materials provided by the teachers.
  • Write! Keep a nature journal, reading log or travel scrapbook. Send letters and postcards to friends and family. Try writing a letter to the local paper!
  • Balance organized activities with explorations.
  • Play with school and neighborhood friends.
  • Be quiet sometimes and think and dream.

A few dates for the parents…

  • Monday, September 7th, Labor Day – No School
  • Tuesday, September 8th 6:30pm – New Parent Reception
  • Wednesday, September 9th 9:00am and 10:30am – Meet the Teachers.
  • School opens on Thursday, September 10th Classes begin for all students grades 1, 2 and 3.
  • Thursday, September 10th and Friday, September 11th – Staggered beginning for Primary students. One half of the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students attend on each day.
  • Monday, September 14th – Full schedule begins for all students. After School Programs and Instrumental Program begin.

Year-end reports will be posted to the Derby website the week of June 22nd. Notification will come through the DEN and you can access the report using your password.

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The times they are a’changing!

Friendly chatter and animated children are evident throughout the Primary and Lower School classrooms. The tempo signals the end of the academic year. It is certainly a time of celebration, and it is also a time of preparation. During these last school days, teachers prepare students for the transition to summer and the next grade by talking about what’s going on, recognizing the successes of each classroom community, identifying all the skills and knowledge acquired, answering questions, and providing information about the next level of school. The more we demystify the coming year, the more relaxed children will be as we finish this current one.

Move-Up Day formalizes this transition. All children have visited the classrooms they will inhabit come September. They visited with the teachers, looked around the classroom, perhaps enjoyed a simple activity and participated in a question and answer discussion. Inquiry ranged from specific questions to general wonderings. Do I have to know how to read is a common concern of the youngest students. Will I have the same teacher as my sister? Do I need a binder that zips closed? Will I have homework every night? Are we going on field trips? Can I take instrument lessons? Are we going to read chapter books? Can I be in the same classroom as my friend? It is helpful to get clear answers. It is also helpful to hear that classmates are contemplating the same sorts of things.

Here are some other ordinary activities that bring closure in a reassuring manner.

  1. Teachers send home artwork, journals, workbooks and more, all souvenirs of hard work and substantial learning. Parents! Please be sure to take time to look through all these treasures with your child and encourage their stories. Storytelling creates great memories! You will learn at least as much from these conversations as you will from the final June reports written by the teachers.
  2. Students receive their core book – part of their summer reading – and math workbooks and/or IXL directions depending on grade. Keeping skills sharp through the summer months is important preparation for the next level of school and builds intrinsic confidence.
  3. Cleaning, organizing books, sorting materials and packing up belongings may appear to be necessary tasks, but they signal the end of the year in a concrete way. As our Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children wash tables, chairs, work boxes and toys, they prepare to leave the classroom they have lived in for almost ten months.
  4. Derby Day is certainly the main event that gives closure to the year with the all-school concert performance and the procession to New North Church. When our younger students near the top of Fearing Road and look back on the parade of white and blue, you can almost hear a gasp of amazement. This is a visible snapshot of the Derby community.

The thing about endings is that they signal beginnings. As children experience the continuum of transitions, they gain life skills and learnings that are useful when more challenging or even disruptive changes land on their doorstep. Even this ebb and flow of the school year is part of the educational experience.

SCHEDULE FOR THE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL            

  • Monday, June 8th
    • Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston.
    • All Primary and Lower School children bring lunch from home.
    • Dismissal begins at 1:00 – cars line up along Burditt Avenue.
    • Dismissal 1:10 for Duxbury and Boston buses.
  • Tuesday, June 9th
    • Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston.
    • All Primary and Lower School children bring lunch from home.
    • Dismissal begins at 1:00 – cars line up along Burditt Avenue.
    • Dismissal 1:10 for Duxbury and Boston buses.
    • Hingham and Duxbury bus service ends for the year.
  • Wednesday, June 10th
    • No school for Primary and Lower School students.
    • Last Chapel for grades 4-8 (See DEN and John Houghton’s blog for MS/US information).
  • Thursday, June 11th – Derby Day
    • Children arrive at 8:15.
    • All school concert 9:00am in McKelvey Gym. PreK and K students return to their classroom after they perform. LS students remain for the whole concert, and then LS students leave together as a class with the teacher and return to their classrooms to prepare for the procession. Students may not be dismissed to parents in McKelvey Gym.
    • All school procession starts at 10:30am to the New North Church. Students line up with their class and teachers along Main Street at the Upper School.
    • Parents are advised to walk up the sidewalk alongside their young student.
    • Parents meet their children in the church parking lot. Class representatives will gather unattended students and await parents. Faculty/staff and Upper School students/their parents enter the church for graduation exercises.EVENTS
      • Monday, June 8th – Pre-Kindergarten Pirate Picnic and Kindergarten Celebration Picnic. Parents invited. Please read class newsletters on the Derby website.
      • Tuesday, June 9th – Pals Ice Cream Party 12:25
      • No After School Program this week.

      DRESS FOR DERBY DAY

      • Girls wear white dresses (spaghetti straps are not permitted).
      • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and nicer shoes. Derby ties are not required, but are available at the school store. These ties are adult sized.
      • In PK and K, boys wear white shirts, white or khaki pants, dark blue jackets and nicer shoes. Ties are optional. Note that Pre-K and K boys may substitute khaki pants for white pants.
      • Please be sure that shoes are comfortable and suitable for the long walk to the New North Church in Hingham Square.
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Creativity – It’s Essential!

Dr. Robin Fogarty, teacher, author and educational consultant identifies creativity as the “premier skill of the 21st century.” Any statement or description of 21st century skills includes and often highlights creativity.

Why is creativity given top billing? Why not critical thinking or collaborating or communicating or problem solving? Because creativity pushes people to develop, practice and apply these other 21st century skills. Creativity is the feeder. It seems that creative people are able to generate new ideas and forge connections between ideas. They are flexible and look at situations and information from different perspectives. They are able to problem solve.

People become creative through practice. They have to brainstorm, experiment and play with ideas and information. In fact, they have to work at this mindset and be patient in the pursuit of a satisfying end result. The artist keeps going back to the canvas, the inventor keeps tinkering and adapting, and the scientist keeps investigating new hypotheses and exploring different possibilities. The child keeps trying new strategies and uses all the senses and environmental clues to enrich play and learning. Primary and Lower School teachers all value creativity as an entry point as well as on outcome of instruction.

As we arrive at the end of the year, I celebrate all the creative thinking evident in both the daily curriculum activities and crowning events in Primary and Lower School classrooms. Creativity is visible in the more traditional areas of studio and performing art showcased at Arts Night and Arts Morning. Creativity is also evident in the young math student who notices a different way to demonstrate her knowledge of geometry or in the young gardener who experiments with companion planting for both pollination and pest control. Consider the Invention Convention (3rd grade), the upcoming Toy Fair (1st grade) and Author’s Morning (2nd grade). Don’t overlook the imaginative storytelling of pirate dramas in Pre-Kindergarten or phonetic spelling so confidently applied by our emergent Kindergarten writers. In each of these events and activities, the seed of an idea has been seized and expanded upon and given a personal or even less standard application. This is creativity blossoming before our eyes leading our students to dynamic, purposeful learning.

A Letter from Karen Hirsch, Malawi Children’s Mission Academy

Dear Primary and Lower School Derby Families and Teachers,

Last Friday I was honored by the yoga event for Malawi Children’s Mission (MCM) led by my friend, Meg. The site of over 100 children in-sync, flowing in their matching t-shirts with MCM stickers was powerful. The children were purposeful in their practice, showing all of us this was not just about them. Having worked with the 2nd graders for most of the year, I saw firsthand their commitment to MCM. This event was the perfect culmination to all we had learned together.

Thank you for raising these children with compassionate hearts. They surely are “Change Makers.” The money raised through this event will go a long way to support the MCM Academy teachers with much needed teacher resources and supplies. 

Special thanks to Betsy Alvord for her vision and for making this program a priority in her classroom. Thank you again for your generosity. I look forward to collaborating next year. 

Zikomo,

Karen Hirsh
Malawi Children’s Mission Orphan Support

For more information on MCM:
www.malawichildrensmission.org
Facebook
You Tube

IMPORTANT DATES and INFORMATION

  • Monday, June 1st to Thursday, June 4th 3:15 dismissal
  • Monday, June 1st – Author’s morning -2nd grade 8:15 to 8:50
  • Tuesday, June 2nd – Toy Fair – 1st grade classrooms 8:30 to 9:30
  • Tuesday, June 2nd – Ice Cream Social for newly accepted students 3:30 to 4:30 hosted by Admissions
  • Friday, June 5th – 1:00 dismissal. All PS/LS children bring lunch from home.
  • Monday, June 8th and Tuesday, June 9th 1:00 dismissal. All PS/LS children bring lunch from home.
  • Tuesday, June 9th – Pals Ice Cream Party 12:25
  • Wednesday, June 10th – No school for Primary and Lower School students
  • Derby Day, June 11th – Children arrive at 8:15. All school concert 9:00am in McKelvey Gym. All school procession starts at 10:30am to the New North Church

AFTER SCHOOL AND INSTRUMENT LESSONS:

  • Instrumental Program has concluded except for an occasional make up lesson.
  • Lower School After School Program ended on May 29th, however coverage will be available as needed to Lower School families during the first week of June.
  • If parents have questions they may call the After School office directly at (781) 740-4766.
  • Thank you for your enthusiastic participation this year! From Thalia McMillion and the After School crew.

END OF YEAR BUS SCHEDULE – JUNE

  • Monday, June 1st – Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston and regular 4:00pm dismissal for Duxbury and Boston buses.
  • Tuesday, June 2nd to Thursday, June 4th – Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston. Afternoon pick-up for Duxbury and Boston buses is 3:15.
  • Friday, June 5th –Regular Friday bus schedule for all buses.
  • Monday, June 8th and Tuesday, June 9th Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston. Afternoon pick-up for Duxbury and Boston buses is 1:10.
  • June 9th is the end of Hingham and Duxbury bus service for the year.

DRESS FOR DERBY DAY

  • Girls wear white dresses (spaghetti straps are not permitted)
  • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and nicer shoes. Derby ties are not required, but are available at the school store. These ties are adult sized.
  • In PK and K, boys wear white shirts, white or khaki pants, dark blue jackets and nicer shoes. Ties are optional. Note that Pre-K and K boys may substitute khaki pants for white pants.
  • Please be sure that shoes are comfortable and suitable for the long walk to the New North Church in Hingham Square.

 

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“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Just as you do for your families, my parents and grandparents guided me through childhood and into adulthood. They set an example through many acts of kindness, generosity, gratitude, compassion and service. Often without second thought, they extended hospitality and shared their time and resources with family and folks they knew, but also with people they did not know. They believed that our humanity is expressed through the nature and quality of our relationships with others and that these connections are the measure of our success.

As I progressed through high school and college, I wanted to be like my parents and grandparents. I wanted to change the world. I have scaled down my aspirations at least for myself, but not for the children and young people I engaged with today. While watching all the Primary and Lower School children move in unison through the yoga poses in support and celebration of their new friends in Malawi, I thought, these children will make a difference. Listening to the call, Improve Both, and the response, Mind and Heart, I thought, these children will act upon the Derby motto as they grow to adulthood.

I am thrilled so many parents joined us today on the 1784 Field. Thanks to the teachers and especially thanks to Meg Yanosick for sharing her talent with all of us

Arts Morning – Please read carefully!

Friday, May 29th 8:15-9:30 is Lower School Arts Morning for Pre-Kindergarten through third grade. This is a celebration of your children’s engagement in the arts at Derby Academy. PreK and K children will view art exhibits in the Brown Art Gallery and Lewis Dining Hall and then attend the performance of poetry and music by the Lower School students. The children in grades one, two and three will then view the art exhibit and participate in a “scavenger hunt” with their parents. Just as Field Day celebrated athletics, Arts Morning highlights individual and group expression and accomplishment in performing and studio art.

To review the directions:

Parents of our Primary students who wish to attend are invited to park and go to the classroom with their child. Be sure to arrive by 8:00am. You will go as a group for a brief walk through the exhibits and then move to Larson Hall for the Lower School performance. At the end of the show, Pre-K and K children and parents will be dismissed. Children return to their classroom. Parents accompany children back to the classroom and then leave for the morning unless you have children in the Lower School. If you have children in grades 1st, 2nd or 3rd, please remain in Larson Hall and wait for dismissal directions to view the art exhibits and participate in the scavenger hunt with your older child.

Parents of Lower School students will drop their children at the curb. Please proceed to Larson Hall and be seated by 8:25. The show will begin promptly at 8:30. Your turn to view the artwork and accompany your child on a scavenger hunt follows the performance. Refreshments will be served to children and parents in the classrooms.

IMPORTANT DATES and INFORMATION

  • Monday, May 25th – No School (Memorial Day)
  • Tuesday, May 26th – Invention Convention – 3rd grade Healey Family Center for Innovation
  • Friday, May 29th – Arts Morning
  • Monday, June 1st to Thursday, June 4th 3:15 dismissal
  • Tuesday, June 2nd – Toy Fair – 1st grade classrooms
  • Tuesday, June 2nd – Ice Cream Social for newly accepted students 3:30-4:30 hosted by Admissions
  • Friday, June 5th – 1:00 dismissal
  • Monday, June 8th and Tuesday, June 9th 1:00 dismissal
  • No school for Primary and Lower School students Wednesday, June 10th
  • Derby Day, June 11th – Children arrive at 8:15. All school concert 9:00am in McKelvey Gym. All school procession starts at 10:30am to the New North Church
  • For After School information please contact Thalia McMillion

END OF YEAR BUS SCHEDULE – JUNE

  • Monday, June 1st – Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston and regular 4:00pm dismissal for Duxbury and Boston buses.
  • Tuesday, June 2nd to Thursday, June 4th – Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston. Afternoon pick-up for Duxbury and Boston buses is 3:15.
  • Friday, June 5th –Regular Friday bus schedule for all buses.
  • Monday, June 9th and Tuesday, June 10th Regular morning buses for Hingham, Duxbury and Boston. Afternoon pick-up for Duxbury and Boston buses is 1:10.
  • June 10th is the end of Hingham and Duxbury bus service for the year.

DRESS FOR DERBY DAY (More Derby Day information to follow)

  • Girls wear white dresses (spaghetti straps are not permitted)
  • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and nicer shoes. Derby ties are not required, but are available at the school store. These ties are adult sized.
  • In PK and K, boys wear white shirts, white or khaki pants, dark blue jackets and nicer shoes. Ties are optional. Note that Pre-K and K boys may substitute khaki pants for white pants.
  • Please be sure that shoes are comfortable and suitable for the long walk to the New North Church in Hingham Square.

 

 

 

 

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What’s the buzz?

The last weeks of school are exciting and sometimes nerve-racking. Final projects that keep the children busy and engaged also come with demands and deadlines. Teachers hold their students to high standards right through these last weeks. On the one hand, children anticipate summer vacations, camp experiences, and free time with family and friends. On the other hand, they wonder about what lies ahead. As they leave the familiar classroom, they face the uncertainty of “what next.” Change is in the air.

Often these mixed feelings trigger behavior that requires some strategic moves by the teachers. Expectations that have been followed for weeks suddenly need to be revisited and reinforced. Relationships that were friendly can suddenly become prickly. Problems that were easily solved become inflamed and linger, and teacher mediation is required to find a resolution so everyone can move on. This is indeed a recipe for Emotional Stew!

As the undercurrent of social buzz picks up particularly among the Lower School students, teachers know it is time to turn to the Responsive Classroom model of class meetings to help students and teachers refocus on the basic values that govern classroom life. For me it signals time to “go on the road” with a tell-show-do discussion and activity.

I began my first grade meeting with a Native American quote, one I shared with parents back in September. “Someone drew a circle to keep me out, so I drew a circle to include all of us.” As I drew a quick illustration, conversation geared up about inclusion and exclusion. I moved on and held up a fresh, smooth piece of paper and asked the children to describe it. Then I crumpled it up into a tight ball, opened it up and tried to smooth it flat. Again I asked the children to describe the paper, and I wondered aloud if the paper could be fixed and look like it did originally. Quickly the children saw the metaphor. The smooth paper represents the smooth waters of a positive friendship. The crumbled paper is your “crumbled heart,” as one student so aptly explained. Even when you smooth the paper out, it does not return to its pristine condition. After more guided discussion, each child was given a piece of paper to crumble and smooth. The last step of this exercise was to write words and phrases on the paper that could help keep upsets at bay or fix a problem. Some children drew circles to illustrate exclusion and inclusion of others.

When I met with the second graders, I followed the same script and had an equally thoughtful discussion. I asked, “What is your classroom responsibility to other children and teachers?” Here are samples of their responses.

  • You are welcome to come in.
  • Share
  • Be nice
  • Include
  • Be generous.
  • Let other people play with you, too.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Welcome everyone.
  • Be giving.
  • Be fair and kind.
  • Congenial, friendly, helpful, playful, fun, nice

Look for the light green piece of paper in your child’s work folder with awareness that this is not a toss-away but a conversation waiting to happen at home.

(Third grade children did this activity with me earlier in the semester.)

Many Thanks…

All of us at Derby send a heart-felt thanks to the Parents and the Parents Association for last Friday’s festive and delicious luncheon under the “big top.” Lunch is not typically a leisurely part of the school day for teachers and staff, so the chance to relax together was very welcome. We also thank you for the generous gift cards and will certainly enjoy a personal indulgence.

Field Day was a huge success and I especially thank Caitlyn McDonnell, the Lower School event planner extraordinaire! Make sure you read John Houghton’s blog dated May 8th, for very complete information about this Derby tradition.

A math question for parents:

What do you notice about the dates for this week?

5-10-15

5-11-15

5-12-15

5-13-15

5-14-15

Can you extend this sequence? What is this number sequence called??

Can you think of other examples of this structure? Your children can help you with the answers!

 

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Tuesday, May 19th – 2nd grade students Facetime with Malawi 7:30am in the Healey Innovation Center
  • Friday, May 22nd – Yoga for Malawi 12:15 All Primary and Lower School students. Look for the flyers in your child’s work folder or HAB.
  • Friday, May 22nd and Friday, May 29th – Instrument Program Recitals Larson Hall 2:00pm
  • Monday, May 25th – No School (Memorial Day)
  • Friday, May 29th – Arts Morning (Read the DEN! More information to follow.)

Primary and Lower School – Basic Dismissal Information for JUNE

  • Monday, June 1st – Thursday, June 4th 3:15 dismissal
  • Friday, June 5th – 1:00 dismissal
  • Monday, June 8th and Tuesday, June 9th 1:00 dismissal
  • No school for Primary and Lower School students Wednesday, June 10th
  • Derby Day, June 11th – Children arrive at 8:15. All school concert 9:00am in McKelvey Gym. All school procession starts at 10:30am to the New North Church

DRESS FOR DERBY DAY (More Derby Day information to follow)

  • Girls wear white dresses (spaghetti straps are not permitted)
  • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and nicer shoes. Derby ties are not required, but are available at the school store. These ties are adult sized.
  • In PK and K, boys wear white shirts, white or khaki pants, dark blue jackets and nicer shoes. Ties are optional. Note that Pre-K and K boys may substitute khaki pants for white pants.
  • Please be sure that shoes are comfortable and suitable for the long walk to the New North Church in Hingham Square.

 

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Field Day ~ Putting Physical Skills AND Social Skills to the Test

It strikes me that Derby holds the annual Field Day for reasons that go beyond having fun, getting outdoors and celebrating a successful year. Field Day is an active demonstration of a community built upon the principles of personal responsibilitycivility, collaboration and good sportsmanship, words that are found in Derby’s Statement of Core Values. Interpersonal relationships that have grown strong and respectful throughout the year allow our young people to graciously compete, win, lose, acknowledge contributions to team effort, congratulate achievement and encourage those whose skills are developing. The challenge of the day’s events is greater than who will run the fastest, jump higher, pull harder or be more agile. The challenge of Field Day is to appreciate and demonstrate personal responsibility, civility, collaboration and sportsmanship. These are the standards I use to measure the day’s success.

The conversations you have at home have a lasting impact on your child’s understanding and ability to exhibit these qualities. How do you define these words? How do your children explain these abstract concepts of behavior? Can your children recall situations when these qualities have been exhibited?

When I talk with children, here is how I explain these words:

  • Personal Responsibility – Being accountable for our actions and words
  • Civility – Respecting the feelings of others even when pitted against another attitude or point of view
  • Collaboration – Building partnerships and cooperating as a team for a common purpose or common good
  • Sportsmanship – Appreciating the efforts and talents of others regardless of outcome.

Whatever we do at Derby is rooted in our Statements of Mission and Core Values. This is just as true for special events and celebrations as it is for academic curriculum, sports, artistic programs, daily routines and interactions among students, teachers and parents. I invite you to reflect upon these guiding words and phrases and notice how they provide the scaffolding for Field Day.

Guidelines for Field Day

All children should dress for an active day of outdoor games. Girls and boys must wear sneakers (no sandals) and shorts or pants. Please apply sunblock at home. Don’t forget to wear your Derby Field Day tee shirt! While Middle and Upper School students may sport face paint and hair spray, these “embellishments” are strongly discouraged for the Pre-K through 3rd grade students.

Primary School students (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten) will have playground events with their own classmates and teachers. These activities introduce our youngest students to Derby’s annual Field Day with age-appropriate cooperative games.

Lower School students will rotate through stations supervised by all the Lower School teachers. Caitlyn McDonnell has organized the events for our 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders for several years. While there is an element of friendly competition, most activities require collaboration. A cooperative spirit prevails. By the time children move to the Middle School, they are assigned to intramural teams. Girls are either Toppers or Derbies and boys are either Lights or Darks. These teams compete against each other in numerous track and field events, culminating in the grand finale, the tug-of-war.

You are welcome to come by the 1784 field and watch your child. Visit the school garden to see the gorgeous glass mosaic table designed by Nancy Donovan and assembled by the Primary and Lower School students. Here is the schedule for the morning events.

  • Grade 1 – 8:30-9:30
  • Grade 3 – 9:30-10:30
  • Grade 2: 10:30-11:30

Through the generosity of the Parents Association, all the Primary and Lower School children will be treated to pizza for lunch at 11:30. If you or your child prefer, you may pack the usual Friday lunch from home. There will be two dismissal times for the Primary and Lower School students. You may pick up your child at 12:00 noon to attend the final events and Tug-of-War with you OR your child will be dismissed from the classroom at the normal Friday time of 1:00. If you pick up at noon, we must have an email or paper permission message. If you are taking another child, the friend’s parent must provide a note of permission. Once your child is dismissed to you, it is your responsibility to keep your child with you under your supervision. Children who remain in class will attend the closing events and Tug-o-War with the teachers. These children are the responsibility of the teacher and must remain together under teacher supervision. Parents who follow the 1:00 dismissal option must come to the Lower School entrance. This procedure assures us that all children are 100% accounted for and are dismissed safely.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Monday, May 11th – Friday, May 15th – Scholastic Book Fair Sadler Conference Room 7:30am – 4:30pm
  • Friday, May 15th – All School Field Day
  • Friday, May 22nd – Yoga for Malawi 12:15 All Primary and Lower School students
  • Friday, May 22nd and Friday, May 29th – Instrument Program Recitals Larson Hall 2:00pm
  • Monday, May 25th – No School (Memorial Day)
  • Friday, May 29th – Arts Morning

Primary and Lower School – Basic Dismissal Information for JUNE

  • Monday, June 1st – Thursday, June 4th 3:15 dismissal
  • Friday, June 5th – 1:00 dismissal
  • Monday, June 8th and Tuesday, June 9th 1:00 dismissal
  • No school for Primary and Lower School students Wednesday, June 10th

DRESS FOR DERBY DAY (More Derby Day information to follow)

  • Girls wear white dresses (spaghetti straps are not permitted)
  • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and nicer shoes. Derby ties are not required, but are available at the school store. These ties are adult sized.
  • In PK and K, boys wear white shirts, white or khaki pants, dark blue jackets and nicer shoes. Ties are optional. Note that Pre-K and K boys may substitute khaki pants for white pants.
  • Please be sure that shoes are comfortable and suitable for the long walk to the New North Church in Hingham Square.

 

 

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Sharing a Poem

What was special about April 30th? A number of things. The first grade went on a field trip to the Children’s Museum to kick off their final IPC unit, the Magic Toymaker. The fifth grade held International Night, a culminating event in which they present research projects about countries around the world. And April 30th opened the door to the month of May with a promise of warmth and sun. April 30th was also Poem in Your Pocket Day.

The website www.poets.org explains this capstone to Poetry Month.

Every April, on Poem in Your Pocket Day, people throughout the United States celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with them, and sharing it with others throughout the day as schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, and other venues ring loud with open readings of poems from pockets. Poem in Your Pocket Day was originally initiated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in partnership with the New York City Departments of Cultural Affairs and Education, as part of the city’s National Poetry Month celebration. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets took the initiative national, encouraging individuals around the country to join in and channel their inner bard. 

Early in the day, our third grade students tucked favorite poems in their pockets and shared their selections in a non-competitive poetry slam at lunch. Students lined up at the microphone to read their poems and delight the children, teachers, administrators and chefs who comprised the audience. Poetry of every sort was represented – original work, well-known, obscure, rhymed, freeform, humorous, tongue twister and classic selections. What style of poetry do you prefer – haiku, limerick, lyric, sonnet or acrostic?

I wonder if you know what an acrostic poem is. To write an acrostic poem you pick a subject and make it the title. Then you write the word vertically downward. Write a word, phrase or sentence starting with each letter.

FUN

Finding pollywogs in the brook

Under and over and among the watercress

Never wanting to go inside

Throughout the year, Derby students memorize and perform poems as part of our language arts curriculum Poetry Out Loud. On a recent trip to the assisted living residence, Allerton House, the first grade students sang and recited poetry, which particularly pleased the guests. Many remembered their own elementary school assignments to memorize poetry, including two women who were Derby alumni. They were thrilled to know that poetry still has a place in Derby’s curriculum!

 

Playground use after school…

Finally it is time to enjoy outdoor time after school. Many children will go home after the 3:10 dismissal, hop on bikes, play in the yard with a friend or head off for town sports or a lesson. If you stay on campus and take your child to the Lower School playground, please remember that parents are in charge and must watch children at all times! Be sure to step in if the play gets too vigorous, since safety depends on your watchful eyes. Equipment rules remain the same as during school hours. If any equipment is taken outside, it must be returned to the building before you head home. The only playground ball children may use is kept in the library. Any child is welcome to sign the ball out and then in again with Mrs. Fish. Children are not allowed to go into the classrooms to borrow a ball or other equipment. In addition, you are welcome to use the library or children’s table in the octagon for quiet homework. Think of these locations as study halls!

 

Looking ahead…

Tuesday, May 5th – 2nd grade trip to The Learning Project School in Boston to meet their Pencil Pals

Friday 5/8 – Family Appreciation Hoedown Party 5-8pm. Join the fun and meet Joe Perry and his family!

Monday, May 11th– Friday, May 15th – Scholastic Book fair in the Sadler Conference Room (adjacent to the large Lewis Dining Hall)

Friday, May 15th – Field Day – Be sure to read the DEN but also your child’s class page. Lower School field Day is formatted differently with grades rotating through activities on the 1784 field. Primary School children enjoy some cooperative games and outdoor fun on their own playground. More information to follow!

Friday, May 22nd and Friday, May 29th – Instrumental Program recitals 2pm Larson Hall

Monday, May 25th – Memorial Day – No School

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Are you a nature mentor?

There are three main approaches we use when planning curriculum for environmental studies.

  1. The LOVE Approach: Get outdoors and enjoy the opportunities for play, investigation and discovery! Foster appreciation of the natural world. Wonder. Use your senses to enjoy nature.
  1. The KNOW Approach: Involve children in activities that extend their knowledge of the environment.
  1. The DO Approach: In simple and concrete ways increase children’s awareness of nature by planting a garden, recording plant growth and life cycle, feeding the birds, or hunting for spiders and insects. Increase children’s awareness of environmental problems by involving them in conservation and recycling. Turn off those lights. Dispose of litter properly. Recycle plastic containers, glass bottles and jars, and newspapers. Create art projects by reusing “beautiful junque” (cardboard, milk caps, boxes, tubes, etc.).

How do you engage your child in informal environmental studies? Do you enjoy nature walks with family and friends? Keep a small backpack ready with binoculars, trowels, magnifying glasses, a clipboard or a notebook, and writing tools to record your discoveries; then set off with a sense of adventure! Take a close look at the ground. Turn over a rock or log. Sit quietly and listen. Who knows what you will discover. Once outside, our senses are called upon to provide us with information as we see, hear, touch and smell along the way. Certainly you will return with questions to ask and observations to share. Children’s feelings about nature are fundamental to successful environmental education, and getting children outdoors to experience, explore and appreciate is an essential part of fostering “earth conscious” boys and girls.

There is a whole nature movement underway spearheaded by people like Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and Alice Waters, food activist and founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project. Some of you may use her cookbooks. I have another book to pitch, How To Raise A Wild Child ~ The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature by Scott D. Sampson. His overarching plea is very simple; experience nature with your child.

Look in your child’s binder or work folder for the colored printout of the Nature Connection Pyramid. Post this as a visual reminder to “get wild.” The essential message is straightforward… get outside, play and discover! Fortunately Derby students do get outside for recess, sports and even to walk from building to building. The Sadlon School Garden and our expansive campus, which includes Broad Cove waterfront property, call students to explore nature. We are lucky to have parks, farms and protected conservation areas in easy access of our school; World’s End and Holly Hill Farm are two special destinations for some grade level field trips.

Wednesday, April 22nd was the 45tth annual celebration of Earth Day. Students honored our planet by digging and planting. May this occasion kick off a season of nature adventures great and small. I challenge all of us to be nature mentors to our collective children!

 

Diversity Book of the week:

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart

It is 1930 and Lydia Grace’s family can’t make ends meet. Although she is a young girl, she is sent to live in New York and help older relatives in their bakery. Living in the city with little financial resources, Lydia finds a way to plant a rooftop garden.

Brainstorming Via Email: I would like to host a Coffee and Conversation for Primary and Lower School Parents in May. What time works best? Just after drop off? Later in the morning once younger children are settled at preschool or with a sitter? Friday noon before pick up? What topics would most interest you? Perhaps Michael Thompson’s visit has raised questions that apply to our younger Derby students. Should we be talking about how to manage our children’s crammed schedules and our adult expectations and hopes for their futures? Another possibility is focusing on a shared Ted Talk. Please email me with time preferences and topic suggestions to help me schedule and plan.

Thank you all for your thoughtful participation in parent- teacher conversations. Communication between parents and teachers is essential for successful student learning, and we greatly appreciate your thoughtful questions and insights about your child.

 

For Your Calendar ~ Looking Ahead

Saturday 4/25 – Derby Talent Show 3pm and 6:30 pm performances

Tuesday 4/28 – Annual PA Meeting 8:15 Lewis Dining Hall followed by guest speaker: Ana Hamayoun • “Managing Today’s Social Media: Understanding How the Digital Age Affects our Children, and What We Can Do to Help”

Tuesday 4/28 – Kindergarten field trip 8:45-11:15 to South Shore Arts Center in Cohasset

Tuesday 4/28 – Parents Grade 4 Preview 7:00-8:00 pm Wakeman (Grade 4) Building

Thursday 4/30 – 1st grade field trip to The Children’s Museum in Boston

Friday 5/1 and Saturday 5/2 – Spring Yard Sale to support the Foley Prize

Friday 5/8 – Family Appreciation Hoedown Party Join the fun and meet Joe Perry and his family!

Please be sure to read more about these events in the DEN!

 

 

 

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Teaching History

Teaching history to young children is complex, not because it is hard to relate the specific facts and information, nor for lack of significant events that should be part of their knowledge bank. Teaching history is complicated by the fact that young children have an immediate sense of time. It is hard for them to comprehend the past when they live so fully in the present.

Our four, five and even a few six-year-old students might remark, “I’m going to the Aquarium yesterday,” tangling “yesterday and tomorrow,” past and future. They might announce that Mrs. Rizzotto is 49 or even 37-years-old, which is clearly impossible if they understood my relative age compared to their parents! As children develop cognitively, the abstract nature of time becomes more comprehensible. Still the vast span of then-to-now is challenging to grasp. The more removed the people and events are from their immediate experience, the more difficult it is to place happenings in a time frame and context.

When teaching history to students in the early elementary age range, it is helpful to build connections to the children’s reality. An immediate example was evident this week as our students learned about and celebrated Madam Sarah Langley Hersey Derby’s birthday. Teachers built a context for Sarah Derby’s life by playing colonial games such as pick-up sticks, marbles, hoop rolling and Blind Man’s Buff. Pre-Kindergarten children enjoyed a scavenger hunt, which led them to significant locations on the campus. They found the plaque naming the 1784 field and the office of our “Head Mistress.” Kindergartners solemnly studied the portrait of Madam Derby, which hangs in the Terry Library and each student drew her portrait. They also held a sewing party in her honor. I am sure you all know that sewing instruction is a stipulation in Sarah Derby’s will. Second graders shared their Derby Brochures with the first graders. Third graders participated in a discussion about the Derby motto guided by the following questions: What is a motto? What do the words in our motto mean? How do you follow the Derby motto? At Lower School meeting, I read a short story about Sarah Derby’s life and asked our students to compare her childhood with theirs.

Another important happening this week was the opening Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Although we were all caught up in the excitement of the present moment, there is important narrative to the game of baseball. Storytelling provides a powerful way to explore and reflect upon the history of this sport and the cultural history of our country; so this week’s diversity book recommendation is a biography set in 1934. My book choice, A Home Run for Bunny, offers a perfect opportunity to compare past and present in conversation with your children. Additionally, this book leads to important questions about values and character. Children could consider what makes a hero and what makes someone worthy of respect. You will quickly see these possibilities when you read the following summary. Borrow it from the Derby Library, your town library, or find it at your local bookstore.

A Home Run for Bunny by Richard Andersen

“In 1934 Springfield’s American Legion Post 21 sent a baseball team of talented 15-year-olds to the Eastern Regional Championships in Gastonia, North Carolina. The team had one African-American player, Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro. Segregation was in force in the South, and the Team Captain and Manager were told that Bunny couldn’t play baseball in Gastonia. So they gave the team a choice: to play without Bunny, or to pack their bags and go home in a show of support against discrimination. The team had a chance to advance to the National Finals in Chicago if they played. The vote to return home was unanimous. This inspiring story happened on Aug 23, 1934. When the train with the returning team rolled into Springfield there was a huge crowd waiting to cheer the true champs.” (NPR broadcast)

Two of our most potent strategies for teaching history to young students are connection and storytelling. In fact, they are highly effective approaches for learners of any age, because they add personal meaning to a subject that otherwise may seem distant and removed.

More about the Derby Motto:

On April 6, 1791 The Derby School opened and on the same day the trustees appointed a committee to provide a seal. That seal showed a profile of a head with a heart and the inscription “Improve Both,” which was then articulated in the school’s motto “Improve Both Mind and Soul.” This seal and the updated motto, “Improve Both Mind and Heart,” have carried our statement of purpose as well as Sarah Derby’s guiding vision for the 224 years of Derby Academy history. A biography of Madam Derby is found on the front page of the Derby website.

Go on a Derby Quest!

Can you find these Hingham landmarks?

  • Places around town bearing Sarah Derby’s name: Langley Island,Hersey Street, Derby Street
  • The church she attended – Old Ship Church
  • South Shore Country Club – The location of Dr. Hersey’s farm
  • Sarah Derby’s grave
  • Old Derby – often open to the public

Have you seen these historic exhibits and displays around our campus?

  • Portraits of Sarah Derby, Dr. Hersey, Captain Derby? (Terry Library)
  • The display case of historical objects (Reception area – main office)
  • The Derby Charter (Lewis Dining Hall)

Read about Derby Academy.

  • History of Derby Academy from 1784 to 1984 by Theodore Swan Roscoe
  • Derby Academy ~ 25 Year History from 1985 to 2010 by Jay K. Sadlon

 

Important Dates:

4/20 – No School Patriot’s Day

4/21-4/24 – No Hingham Public School buses this week due to the public school vacation

4/21Dr. Michael Thompson on campus – A parent drop-in is scheduled with Dr. Thompson 10:30-11:30 in the Healey Center for Innovation. Later in the evening he is speaking on The Pressured Child to parents and faculty from 7:00-9:00 in Larson Hall. Don’t miss this opportunity!

4/21 – 1st Grade program at Allerton House 10:30-11:15 (bus departs 10:20)

4/23 – South Shore Arts Center “Arts to Go” program comes to Derby to visit 1st grade

4/24Parent conferences – NO SCHOOL for students PreK – 3rd grade

4/25 – Derby Talent Show

4/28 – Kindergarten visits South Shore Arts Center for “Looking at Art” program

 

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Hospitality – Welcoming Friends and Family

Today our Primary and Lower School students had the opportunity to extend hospitality to a special group of visitors, their grandparents and grandfriends. Observable preparations were made in the classroom. Desks were cleaned. Displays and bulletin boards were spruced up, songs and poems were practiced, work projects were completed, and pansies – yes pansies were planted at the school doorway.

Some early morning conversations also prepared students for these much-awaited visits. I wanted the children to explore the meaning of hospitality. Here are a few of their ideas. “To show hospitality you must think of other people, speak in a friendly way and be kind. You could find out what they like to do and give them treats. You show hospitality when you invite them into your home and also your school.” These ideas match various dictionary definitions such as “treat visitors in a cordial and friendly way, cheerfully entertain guests, welcome guests in a generous and gracious manner.”

I prompted the students a little bit more, because I wanted to expand the notion of hospitality to include receptiveness and respect. When we extend genuine hospitality to others, we enter into a relationship, even if just for a few brief minutes or a few short hours. An invitation is extended to know a little more about one another and share oneself in a reciprocal way. A connection is made.

As I walked through our building this morning, I noticed all sorts of gestures and overheard kind words of hospitality. Students included visitors in writing and math games and warm conversation. Classmates introduced their grandparents and students proudly shared their daily life at Derby. Polite and courteous manners were evident. Happily, an instinctive understanding of hospitality is part of our students’ social toolbox, and in fact, is a demonstration of kindness and character.

My diversity book recommendation is a generational photo album called Our Grandparents ~ A Global Album by Maya Ajmera, Sheila Kinkade and Cynthia Pon. The photos capture the joy and affection shown by grandparents and grandchildren around the world. The author/illustrators added only the simplest text.

Our grandparents love us. They give us big hugs and hold our hands. Even when we speak softly they listen. They encourage us. Together we learn about the world around us.

For many families, Grandparents and Grandfriends Visiting Day will extend into the weekend and perhaps the following week. Here are a few suggestions for children during family time. Ask your grandparents about the games and hobbies they enjoyed as a child. Ask them to teach you to knit or play cribbage or make a paper doll chain. Do you know how their life was different from yours? Did they have a favorite book or enjoy a special pastime with friends? Maybe you could write a story together or record a short video interview or plan out a small garden. It is time to plant peas and radishes! Above all, seize the opportunity to learn about your family. Maybe your grandmother wears a special necklace or your grandfather keeps a lucky silver dollar in his wallet. Here are the makings of family stories and traditions.

Dates and Details to Remember:

4/13 – Please welcome Molly Burr! On Monday 4/13 Molly starts substituting for Catherine Gilfoy. A one-week overlap is planned before Catherine starts her maternity leave. Here is another opportunity to practice hospitality!

4/14 – 2nd grade visits South Shore Arts Center for “Looking at Art” program

4/15 – Poet and Illustrator Douglas Florian visits Prek-3

4/17 PS/LS Pajama Day, Read All Day All children and teachers are invited to roll out of bed and come to school in pajamas. While portions of the morning will be set aside for extended reading in every classroom, be sure to read your class newsletter for specific details. Plans will vary from grade to grade.

4/18Madam Sarah Langley Hersey Derby’s Birthday! Do you know the Derby motto? This could initiate some thoughtful dinner conversation.

4/20 – No School – Patriot’s Day

4/21Dr. Michael Thompson is on campus and will speak to all parents and faculty in the evening on The Pressured Child.

4/211st Grade community service program at Allerton House sponsored by the D-Team.

4/24Parent conferences NO SCHOOL for students PreK-3rd Please be sure to sign up for a conversation with your child’s teachers. Some conference times may be available earlier in the week depending on classroom schedules.

4/28 Kindergarten visits South Shore Arts Center for “Looking at Art” program

Don’t miss out on important information about Derby events! Be sure to read the DEN and open the various links to stay abreast of events, activities and programs. Your class page delivers essential information for parents.

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