Thursday, October 27, 2016

Harvest Hoedown!

To the first annual WES...
Family Harvest Hoedown!
Co-Sponsored by WES PTO and Student Council

Friday, November 4th  

Dancing, face painting, fortune telling, pumpkin bowling, photo booth

Available for purchase: PIZZA $2.00 DESSERT $1.00

Please return the pre-order form by November 1st
Pre-order forms are going home today!

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Say Yes to Everything Healthy" and "Suffer for Success"

Erik Weihenmayer, stopped by WES this afternoon to talk to the 5th and 6th graders. Erik, a friend of Mrs. Giller's, is an athlete, adventurist and motivational speaker, as well as the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Besides having interesting stories to tell, Erik left us with some inspiring thoughts. Thank you, Erik!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

Sculpture Fest

Tomorrow the 6th graders will visit Sculpture Fest at Charlotte Davenport's home in the morning and the 5th graders will be going in the afternoon. Please dress to be outside, walking around on potentially wet grass.

Friday, September 23, 2016

6th grader's Web of Life

                                                                                                           September 23, 2016
Dear 6th Graders and Families,
            From Sept. 26th - 29th (Mon. -Thurs), the 6th graders in the Windsor Central Supervisory Union will be participating in a unique program at Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park. The program, “Web of Life” has been developed by the district’s 6th grade teachers with the goal of exploring different ecosystems and both the positive and negative impact humans have on ecosystems.
            Each morning at 8:30, Mr. T and I will walk the WES 6th graders to the park. After a brief orientation meeting, students will divide into 4 intermixed groups consisting of 6th graders from the five elementary schools. Students will stay within these groups for all four days. On each of the four days, the group will participate in one of the following activities:
·      Pond/wetlands ecosystems
·      Forest/field ecosystems
·      Photography
·      Flow of energy across ecosystems
We will be returning to WES between 2:00 and 2:15 each afternoon.
            Each 6th grade student will be given a field journal in class. Students will be using these journals to record information, ideas, and pictures, as well as to respond to a daily journaling prompt. Responding to this prompt should be completed in class or as homework each day. No doubt, these journals will be a wonderful reminder of this park experience.
Each day your child will need the following:
                        A lunch and drink                                                                        Water bottle
                        Sturdy closed shoes (no sandals) with socks        Backpack
                        Layered clothing (it’s cooler in the woods)
                        Long pants (unless otherwise stated)
                        Bug repellent (as needed)                                            Raingear (as needed)

***Picture Day is on Thursday, Sept. 29th. The 6th graders will have their pictures taken beginning before 8:05. Clothes for the picture should be worn to school and clothes for the park brought to school. There will then be time to quickly change clothes.               
In the event that your child has an appointment during school hours next week, please let me know so that I can make appropriate arrangements.
            Please also contact me if you have questions or concerns about this program.
                                                                                                            Jill Kurash


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Choice Time to Tuesdays

Choice Time has traditionally been held on Wednesday mornings, from 9:30-10:00. In the past many students have enjoyed choosing to spend their earned time in the STEM Lab. This year Ms. Gauvin is not available on Wednesdays, so we are switching Choice Time to Tuesdays, in order to provide the STEM Lab as a choice. Parents, please sign your child's Passport MONDAY nights now, instead of Tuesdays.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baking Bread

The 4th, 5th and 6th graders learned how to bake bread today. Ethan and Kali helped demonstrate how to mix, knead and even spin a pizza crust! All the students received a bag from King Arthur with recipes and ingredients. It is hoped that everyone will bake a loaf of bread over the weekend and bring it to school on Monday. The loaves will be donated to the Woodstock Food Shelf. There will be a donation box in the lobby Monday morning.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

During the first week of school, the 5th and 6th graders were engaged in completing an engineering design task. The 5th graders had to build a boat that could hold 25 pennies for 10 seconds from a list of materials that was provided. The 6th graders had the task of building a car from provided materials that would move on its own across a table.

From the engineering tasks, we moved onto some science experiments with M&Ms. Students investigated some of the physical properties including how fast the colors dissolved in water, what happened when two or more colors were dissolved at the same time and how temperature effected the rate of dissolving.

Last week, students explored their world (literally)by using different types of maps.  Atlases and globes were included in these activities. And the 6th graders began their first Roving Reporter assignment.

The 5th graders are now studying ecosystems. And the 6th graders are getting ready for their week long adventure participating in a unit called the Web of Life at the national park.

5th and 6th Grade Math

The fifth and sixth graders all participated in two mini units to start the year. First the students studied and created tessellations. They looked at the work of M. C. Escher, and watched videos of teachers building tessellations. They learned that tessellation begins with a shape (like a square, equilateral triangle, or regular hexagon) that will tessellate. They cut and tape pieces of the shape to create their basic tessellating piece. Their work is on bulletin boards in the hallway and Mr. Fisher's room.

The second unit was from the web site, This website was created by Stanford University researcher Jo Boaler. She has done some groundbreaking and innovative research into how people learn math and how the brain grows. They have a "Week of Inspirational Math" on the site, which is free and open to parents, teachers and students. Each day for five days we did an interesting and engaging math activity. Here is what we did:

Day 1: Four Fours - Students must use four fours and the operations (+, -, X, /)  to make the numbers from 1 to 20. For example, 4 times four plus 4 divided by four equals 17.

Day 2: Shapes - Students looked at 30 shapes built from arrangements of circles. They identified what number each shape represented, then looked for patterns. Some of the patterns they might have found included prime numbers, odd and even numbers, and multiples.

Day 3: Paper Folding - Students had to fold a square into another square with an area one-fourth the original square, and a triangle with one-fourth the area of the original square.

Day 4: Growing Patterns - Students examined a sequence of patterns of squares that increased in size in a predictable way. They had to come up with different ways of explaining the growth.

Day 5: Pascal's Triangle - Students completed a part of Pascal's triangle and looked for patterns.

You can go on the website for more info about the week of inspirational math and many other things. You can read Jo Boaler's research, find problems, get lesson plans, etc.

From here, the fifth graders will be focusing on factors and multiples, and multiplicative reasoning. Multiplicative reasoning is the understanding of when multiplication and division are appropriate operations to use in problem solving. And also to see relationships that are multiplicative (as opposed to additive).

The sixth graders will be doing a unit called "Prime Time." They will study prime numbers, factors and multiples, including greatest common factor and least common multiple, and how to use these concepts in problem solving.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Few Notes:

Congratulations to all the 5th and 6th graders for completing the first full week of school! Here are a few notes/reminders we'd like to share:

*The fall continues to provide us with beautiful weather, which makes everyone exceptionally thirsty! Please check that your student is bringing a water bottle to school every day.

*Last Monday, all the 5th and 6th graders learned about Student Council. The short essay to express their interest to join is due Monday.  Returning 6th graders are eligible to hold an office this year, and should indicate their interest, qualifications and top three office postitions as well.

*Please remind your student about the school's cell phone rule for students: No student cell phone use on campus during, before, or after school. Student cell phones are to be stored in backpacks (at students' own risk) and turned off. 

*Mrs. Giller and Mrs. Kurash are still looking for homeroom parents.

*Each homeroom is looking for one, or two (three for the larger 6th grade class) parent chaperones for the Sculpture Fest field trip on October 4. We are scheduled to arrive at Charlotte Davenport's at 9:30 and view sculptures until 10:50. Please let your child's teacher know if you're able to help.

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Choice Passport

This afternoon the fifth and sixth graders will meet to talk about the Passport program, which begins tomorrow.  The fifth graders will learn about the management program and the sixth graders will review it. To read a full description of the program, please refer to "Choice Passport" on the right hand side of this newsletter. Our main goal with the Passport is to allow students, teachers and parents the opportunity to keep track of the week to see how well homework, expected behaviors and being prepared for class are going. Students that meet the expectations earn a "Choice Time" on Wednesdays, where they can choose from a list of options which include, choosing a 30 minute recess, or possibly helping in a primary classroom. The big change to the program this year is the required Tuesday night Parent Signature. The goal with the signature is to allow parents and students an opportunity to celebrate successes, and discuss strategies for changes, if needed. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.

Thank you for your support,

Mrs. Giller
Mrs. Kurash
Mr. Fisher

Friday, September 9, 2016


We are up and reading! Our first major unit of study in literacy is a reading unit that focuses on setting up our Workshop routines, independent reading and thinking deeply about our reading. Each class begins with a mini-lesson and follows with an "off you go" to practice. We're tracking our reading stamina in our Reading Logs and will be celebrating our accomplishments by recording completed texts in our Book Logs. Our lessons right now are focused on reading our books "knowing we're going to write about our the text, seeing more."

Our homework has been 30 minutes of reading each night, and recording number of pages read in our Reading Logs. Looking at number of pages read helps us evaluate our rate and what's affecting it: genre, level of difficulty, and environment are things we'll take into consideration. Although we're recording pages read, it's important not to confuse this with the end result. Building reading stamina is critical, but reading is not a race. Stopping to reread parts that are confusing, taking time to look up a word, or going back to reread for clarification are key to strong comprehension.

Parents CAN help with reading progress:

*Monitor the environment your child is reading in. Are there too many distractions? Is 30 minutes too long a period of time right now? If so, break it up into two 15 minute sessions. Make sure 30 minutes of reading doesn't include breaks to get a snack...

*Discuss the book! Help deepen comprehension by asking what's happening in the book. "How does it compare to another book? What is the main character like? Does he/she remind you of anyone? How is the plot developing? Are you at an exciting part? What themes are emerging? What can someone learn by reading this book?"

*Help find "just right books!" A "just right book" is a book that your child is:
           1. Interested in reading. Look at the cover together, talk about what it's about, what book it might be like, look at the author, has he/she or you read anything else by this author? Fuss about it, work to understand the beginning together by talking about it.
          2. Have your child read the first page aloud, if there's five or more words he/she stumbles over, or isn't able to retell what happened, put it on the "save for another time" list.

*Help to make sure his/her independent reading book is travelling to home and school, each day.

*Help to check he/she has a "BUB" (Back Up Book) ready to go when he/she finishes his/her current book.

*Sign his/her Homework Planner, AFTER you've checked that the log has been completed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Welcome Back!

We trust everyone has enjoyed the beautiful summer Vermont has experienced. Our classrooms are freshly painted and we've been busy unpacking boxes and moving back into them (the rooms, not the boxes).

"Meet Your Teacher Night" is Monday, August 29,  5:30-6:30. We hope you're able to stop in to say "hi" and have a peek at your classroom.

Attached is a copy of the  "5/6 Supply List," and "Reading/Writing Log" that were handed out as a summer goal in June.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon and the wonderful school year ahead.

Mr. Fisher
Mrs. Kurash
Mrs. Giller

5/6 Supply List and Summer Log

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Shelburne Museum

The 5th and 6th graders had a wonderful day of learning at Shelburne Museum. Thank you to our parent chaperones and drivers: Eric Goldberg, Jason Tarleton, Alita Wilson, Ann Jones, Kim Lackley, Lessly Marceau, Laird Bradley,  Kelly Martelle,  and Jen Maxham, we couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Congratulations to all the 6th graders for a fabulous play!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Shelburne Museum Chaperones Needed

Dear Parents,

Our trip to Shelburne Museum is approaching! We look forward to bringing our American history studies to life at this amazing Vermont treasure. The Museum is a 90 minute drive from Woodstock. We are in need of two, to three, chaperones per homeroom class, whom are able to drive, as the bus only holds 54. If you are able to chaperone, please contact your child’s homeroom teacher. We will leave WES at 8:15 and return at 4:00 p.m. Students will need to: bring a bag lunch, snack, water bottle, wear good walking shoes, come dressed to spend the day outside. 

Thank you!

Monday, May 16, 2016

6th Grade Play!

Erin Klocek, the director of the 6th grade play, is sending out an informational email concerning performance times and costumes. Please ask Erin, or your child's homeroom teacher, any questions you may have. Thanks Erin, for all of your hard work!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Greetings from Maine!

Technology on the beach can be challenging, but I assure you having a great time at NC is easy! The weather has been perfect, NC staff exciting, food delicious and science learning stimulating. Please remember to be at the Arena at 3:30 tomorrow for pickup, thanks!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lots of Socks and No Cell Phones!

The sixth graders just returned from the Nature's Classroom informational meeting. The group is excited as the director shared a slide show that promises a week of hands on science, team building and a wonderful outdoor experience. Two of the big take-aways: you can never have enough warm socks and do not bring a cell phone for a camera. Forms are trickling in, thank you! If there are any additional questions please contact us!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fifth and Sixth grade math

The fifth and sixth graders are working on a mini unit on map coloring. They will be doing most of this at home. It will lead them to discovering a famous math theorem. I won't reveal it just yet!
In fifth grade the students are studying triangles and quadrilaterals. Soon they will be studying decimal operations.
The sixth graders are studying patterns and variables. We are focusing on independent and dependent variables, and their relationships in charts and graphs.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nature's Classroom Packets

Informational packets that include a suggested packing list, registration form and health form, were sent home today. Please go over the packet with your child and ask them to bring any questions they may have to Wednesday's informational meeting, or to their homeroom teacher. We will meet the director of NC at WUMS, Wednesday afternoon at 12:45. Please return the forms to school by next Monday, May 2. We look forward to great week in Maine with all the 6th graders in the district!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Third Quarter Report Cards and Conferences

It is hard to believe that the end of the third quarter was last Tuesday! Report cards will go home after April vacation. Although we do not schedule routine student conferences for the third quarter, we welcome them by request. Please contact your child's homeroom teacher if you would like a general conference where all three subject area teachers will attend, or you may contact just the subject area teacher you would like to confer with. Thank you!

Martha Giller (literacy)
Luke Fisher (math)
Jill Kurash (science/social studies)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fifth Grade Math

The fifth graders are finishing up a unit on multiplying and dividing fractions. This has been some of the most conceptually challenging content the students have done. Then we are going to study data and line plots for a few days, then a week or so on geometry: attributes of polygons and angle measures.
Luke Fisher

Friday, March 18, 2016

Miss Vermont

Mrs. Giiler's class visits with Miss Vermont during morning meeting yesterday. The message she shared was the importance of perseverance, (it took her nine pageant tries before she won) and education. With goals to become the state's medical examiner, she was able to apply $24,000 in earnings towards her education in forensic science. She shared her passion for STEM education and later performed a chemical experiment in an all school assembly. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SBAC Testing Schedule

Fifth and sixth grade students will begin SBAC testing this Thursday, March 17th. The SBAC tests are aligned with the Common Core State Standards and assess students in math and literacy skills. Testing will begin at 8:30 on the scheduled days and students are given 90 minutes to work. Each test will be taken in the student's homeroom and students will then most likely remain with their homeroom teacher for the duration of the morning block. Lunch, specials and the afternoon schedule should not be effected by the testing.

SBAC schedule:
Thurs. March 17th    math
Wed. March 23rd      math
Tues. March 29         literacy
Mon. April 4             literacy
Tue. April 19th         math
Wed. April 20th        math
Tues. April 26th       literacy
Wed. April 27th        literacy

Please continue to help your child get a good night's sleep, eat a hearty breakfast and encourage them to do his or her best work on these tests.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Student council in action!

This year's council is an active group! Yesterday's pep rally for our local Special Olympians is an example of the students' commitment to serving our community. Current committees are also working on sponsoring a dodge ball tournament for fifth and sixth graders, get your junk out of my backyard tournament for first and second graders, as well as ongoing collections for David's House, Spirit Month and visits to Zack's Place. 


This week we completed a theme essay and took a quiz on Jack London's "To Build a Fire."  For the next couple of weeks we'll spend some time brushing up on grammar skills and participating in a book club. Although grammar practice is covered in writing mini-lessons and individual writing, it's worthwhile to review and expose all to the basics they may not be incorporating into their pieces. Today we practiced diagramming simple sentences and will work with more complex sentences next week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fifth and Sixth grade Math

The fifth graders have been working on equivalent fractions, relative magnitude (which fraction is greater?) and fraction/decimal equivalents. We've also reviewed factors, factorization and prime factorization as this supports the fraction work. We will be studying fraction addition, subtraction and multiplication over the next two weeks.

The Sixth graders have been studying operating with fractions on a deeper level. Building models and  diagrams of fraction division has been the focus for the past few days. The students have been learning these operations by solving real life problems.
Luke Fisher

Monday, February 1, 2016

States and Capitalthon

We kicked off the 5th and 6th grade states and capitals fundraiser today. All the fifth and sixth graders attended an informational meeting, and homework is to get a parent signature on the letter that is going home this evening. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Schedule Change

It's hard to believe we have passed the halfway point of the school year! In order to avoid the same class having the same subject at the end of the day all year, as well as the same subject missing Friday's class while Winter Workshops are going on, we have switched our schedule. Mr. Fisher's class now has social studies/science with Mrs. Kurash for the last block, Mrs. Giller's class now has math with Mr. Fisher for the last block, and Mrs. Kurash's class now has literacy with Mrs. Giller at the end of the day. We started the new schedule this week, and so far so good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

WUMS Informational Meeting

Mr. Peterson, the principal of Woodstock Union Middle School, will be at WES Friday, February 5 at 8:30, to talk to the 6th graders about the transition to Middle School. Students will receive informational and scheduling packets that morning. Although this is for students, parents are welcome to attend. There will be a parent informational night at the Middle School, date to be determined.

Monday, January 11, 2016


We have started a new informational research project. In support of social studies class, students will research a topic from the United State's westward expansion period. Along with researching, students will study the strategies a historian uses in writing, and the culmination project will be writing an informational piece. Nightly homework will continue to be from personal reading books, though may occasionally have to do with the research project.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Falling Temps!

Winter temperatures have arrived! WES students go out for recess every day, unless the temperatures drop below 10 degrees. Please make sure your children come dressed for Vermont recess!