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Title 1- Mrs. S. Stebbins



            When students are confident with their ability and self-image, feel like they are accepted for who they are, and have a sense of belonging at school, a more positive school experience can result. When all of these factors are present, perhaps they would feel more inclined to participate during class or reach out to a friend who is in need of assistance. This positive mindset could also lead to students asking for help if they do not understand something and feeling accomplished when a pre-determined goal is achieved. But how do we help establish this confidence and sense of belonging at school?

After some research, I came across a blog written by Steven Schlozman, M.D. on The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds website. Steven, “the associate director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds and a staff child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital”, makes many interesting claims revolving around this topic. He first starts off by explaining his own inability to fit in as a school-aged boy and how, after teacher intervention and parental support, he was lucky to find his best friend. “Teaching takes a village”, Steven explains, because parents and teachers need to communicate social needs in order to help students find friends. He concluded his blog with a powerful realization:

For all children, fitting in is an extremely important developmental task. It is through our social interactions that we learn to process the subtleties of human connection. To that end, a child not fitting in is, by definition, a child in trouble…parents and teachers must take action. That’s the key to breaking through the difficulties and misery of social isolation. That’s the key to helping a child grow up. (https://www.mghclaycenter.org/parenting-concerns/grade-school/helping-kids-fit-in/)

After reading and rereading this blog, I believe in what Steven was trying to emphasize; for students to flourish socially, it takes support of many people. Parents should not be afraid to ask how their child is doing socially and teachers need to feel more comfortable talking about social concerns when they arise. We are all working together to help students fit in and succeed! (https://www.mghclaycenter.org/parenting-concerns/grade-school/helping-kids-fit-in/)

            In connection, there are other ways that adults can help students fit in. Talk to them. Find out what is going on and how they are doing at school. Below are some questions that could start this dialogue.

·             -“Who did you sit with at lunch today?”

·             -“Who did you play with at recess?”

·             -“What was the best part of your day” What was the worst part?”

These questions, and more, can be found at https://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10842-get-kids-talking-about-school. Remember, these conversations do not have to be long.

As a teacher here at SCS, this is one area that the staff has been focusing a lot of attention. We hope to provide students with opportunities to problem solve, make mistakes, and learn in order to grow. We hope to recognize students for their efforts and determination, even if they have not yet shown mastery in on a skill. We hope to encourage everyone to try new things; what works for someone or what someone may like, others may find more difficult or unenjoyable. There is, however, always room for improvement. Below are a links for both parents and teachers on how to help all students fit in. Remember, when children have a sense of belonging, it sets the stage for academic achievement!

Teacher Resources:

·            - “4 Simple Strategies to Help A Shy Student”- http://www.teachhub.com/4-simple-strategies-help-shy-student

·             -“How to Make Your Students Feel Valued as Individuals:- https://theinspiredclassroom.com/2014/06/make-students-feel-valued-individuals/

·             -“Belonging at School Makes A Difference”- https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/belonging-and-connectedness/belonging-school-makes-difference

·             -“Comforting Classroom”- http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/classmgmt/comfortingclassroom_au.htm


Parent Resources:

·             -“Belonging at School Makes A Difference”- https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/mental-health-matters/belonging-and-connectedness/belonging-school-makes-difference

·             -“Get Students Talking About School”- https://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10842-get-kids-talking-about-school

·             -Empoweringparents.com- this website is full of articles on how to help your child when they feel like they don’t fit it, how to help your child read social cues, and much more. Investigate and check it out!



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Helping with Vocabulary:

Helping your child develop a strong vocabulary is important. Not only will this skill help them strengthen their reading skills, but it will also improve their speaking and writing skills. The link below gives tips on how to enrich their vocabulary at home. Some of the ideas include sight word practice (displaying words on a wall in your home), going on a word hunt (either in their favorite book, at the grocery store, etc.), and flash card practice.


Flocabulary is a great website that offers word lists to challenge your young learner. They are meant to enrich their already growing vocabulary. There are lists for grades K-8. These words could be displayed on a wall (written on flashcards) and/or they could become words that are incorporated into everyday dialogue.


Helping with Spelling:

There are many ways that children can practice their spelling words in order to become better spellers. One way is to spell them out using Play-Doh. Tracing the letters out on a foggy mirror, in a pile of shaving cream, or up in the air could be beneficial for some students. Practice spelling words by arranging food around (raisins, carrots, peanuts, etc.) could be a fun way to incorporate homework into snack time after school. Using colored markers, pencils, crayons, and finger paints would be a fun way to practice words and allow children to be creative.

Winter Fun:

Along with homework help, there are many opportunities for fun winter fun!!

The links below will discuss different indoor and outdoor activities to help spruce up the cold winter month of January. Some of the activities include cooking, scrapbooking, desiging wrapping paper, winter hikes, building life-sized board games, movie night, building snowmen and other critters, crafts, and exercises.





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Wow, December is fast upon us and ‘tis the season for playing in the snow, drinking hot cocoa, and spending time with family and friends. It is very important that children get an opportunity to play outside during the winter months. The link below connects to a website that explains the benefits of playing outside during the winter (fresh air, sun exposure, killing germs, etc.), different exciting activities to do while outside (nature searches, tic-tac-toe, frozen bubbles, etc.), and how to stay warm by dressing appropriately.


In connection with all this fun, there are a lot of activities that can be done to help practice our math, reading, and writing skills. Below are a just a few winter-related ideas to help make your child fell more successful and to help them take charge of their learning.

·         This link will take you to a website that gives some different ideas of winter-themed books to share with your child. These are books that could either be read out loud to the children or books to help children practice their reading.


·         This link will take you to a website full of math activities and challenges. Some are geared toward the upper grades (5-8) and some are more for younger grades (K-4). These can be done as a whole family! J Some examples include making snowman glyphs, winter data collection, winter coordinate graphing, and much more!


Along with increasing our brain power, this is also the time of year to explore other holidays and connecting traditions.

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·         Christmas Around the World-see how other countries celebrate Christmas!




·         Traditions Around the World


·         Hanukkah-What is it? How is it celebrated? What are the connecting traditions?


·         Kwanza- What is it? How is it celebrated? What are the connecting traditions?


·         Multicultural Winter Holidays- What are some other holidays? How and why are they celebrated? What traditions are connected with these holidays?


Picture from: https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=rz4MWrTMNInXmwGwwpuABQ&q=winter+holiday+around+the+world&oq=winter+holiday+around+the+world&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i30k1j0i8i30k1.24142.29107.0.29223.


Fall time, especially November, is a great time of year to incorporate crafts with learning/practicing math, reading, and writing at home. Anything from cooking (which helps practice both math and reading) to thank-you cards (which helps practice reading and writing) can be a beneficial and fun activity/craft to explore. Listed below are some ideas that could be fun for you and your family. J

If you like pumpkin pie, you'll flip for these mini pie cookies. Filled with a creamy pumpkin cheesecake-like filling and topped with a little dollop of whipped cream, these would wow at Thanksgiving, friendsgiving or any fall open house or potluck!

Math, Cooking, and Following a Recipe: 
You can incorporate letter practice (for younger students), reading the recipe (for older students), and cooking (to practice math/measurement for all students).


Reading and Writing:

Love this freebie! Students write what they are thankful for each letter of the alphabet.

This could help younger students with letter/sound correspondence and recognition. This could also help older students practice critical thinking and writing skills. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AZmyFWZGEHOaxm4GhXq6R5Hy1WjPam6mpym5Wg7WFaOWGAFP4M-DGjc/

I love Thanksgiving and I feel like it gets a little over looked. I don’t normally do a lot of decor for Thanksgiving. But I do want to do a few kids crafts. I know they will love it. Here are just a few of the crafts I have found that I love. Thanksgiving Cards...Read More »

This craft could be a great center piece on a table for Thanksgiving dinner. It would allow students to be creative, think of things that are important to them, and give them a chance to practice their writing. If everyone in the house made one, it would also give students an opportunity to read what other family members are thankful for.


YouTube can be a great resource for reading books you may night have access to otherwise. Below is a link to a handful of November-themed books for kids. On the video, it has a person reading the story and allows the children to see the words and follow along. Another way students can practice reading would be to pause the video on each page, allow the child to read the page, clicking play again once the page has been read. Not only does the child get to read, but then they can hear someone else read it too!

This link brings you to a playlist of the following stories:

“Fall Harvests Bring in Food”, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie”, “Give Thanks for Each Day”, “Thank You,  Thanksgiving”, “Thanksgiving for Emily Ann”, and “Five Silly Turkeys”.



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In case you missed my handout at Open House, I’ll attach it to the bottom of my page! Definitely check out the helpful homework hints. These are just a few ideas to help your child feel more successful.

There a lot of different activities that you can do at home to help your child/children strengthen their math, reading, and writing skills. Down below, I listed several activities that can be found on the pbs.org website that could be a fun addition to your daily routines.

Scrubbing Bubbles” This activity gives children the opportunity to read common house-hold item labels. It also gives them exposure to larger vocabulary words and a chance to learn what they mean.


As an extension of this activity, you could read other labels around the house during every-day chores. (While doing laundry, read the soap and dryer sheet containers. While preparing dinner, read the food boxes and cans.) The possibilities are endless!

“Family Recipe.” Using paper and crayons, this activity gives children the opportunity to draw a recipe card for a common meal (a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for example). Not only can they practice writing, but they are also learning what description is and how to use it. This also provides students with an opportunity to practice placing events in sequential order.


For older students, they could be responsible for writing the whole step out in a complete sentence. Make sure to check for capitalization and punctuation at the end of each sentence. For even older students, have them use a thesaurus in order to enhance their vocabulary. (For example, instead of writing “Next, spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread”, they could say “Next, coat” or “smear one piece of bread with peanut butter”.)

The link down below is for more ways to incorporate reading into your time at home. There are activities for reading while watching TV, riding in the car, grocery shopping, and more!


Like reading and writing, math can also be incorporated into daily activities, chores, and outings. The link below is for a game called “Grocery Store BINGO”.


To help build/enhance estimation, measuring, and graphing skills, “Pumpkin Math” a great fall activity. It can be simplified for the younger students and bumped up for the older students. For example, where a younger student may explain/predict things out loud, an older student might practice writing down explanations and predictions.


To accompany all of these activity links, I also included three additional links full of helpful tips for creating enthusiasm and a feeling of success with regards to math, reading, and writing. Any type of extra exposure and practice that students receive at home will benefit them and help strengthen these areas. The stronger students are in these areas, the more successful they will feel!

I hope you find these links useful and I hope some of these activities can become a fun part of your day with your child/children. J




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Welcome back everybody! This year is going to be full of challenges, changes, and excitement. It can be tough getting back into the swing of things at the start of a new school year. Similarly, students might find it difficult to adjust to new schedules, may be nervous about connecting with old friends, and could be anxious about meeting new people.

The PBS kids website gives a lot of great tips for getting your child/children ready for the school year! The links below will direct you to the following articles: “Back to School: Transitioning Your Family From Summer to School”, “Back-to-School Tips for Parents”, and “How to Beat the Back-to-School Blues”. These are just a few of the articles that the website offers in an attempt to make parents and students excited for the beginning of a new school year.





Establishing a homework routine at home can help students feel successful and relieve unwanted stress! The link down below is for an article titled “Two Ws and an H: Establishing a Homework Routine”. This can be a helpful resource for establishing those routines during the first few weeks of school.


I hope everyone has a great first few weeks of school and I hope that these resources are useful. I look forward to meeting with new students, reconnecting with returning students, and reaching out to parents as the school year gets underway!

Sam Stebbins,
Sep 13, 2017, 8:33 AM