Ahh spring…Temperatures in the 70s on Monday, Red Sox home opener at Fenway and no snow in sight, all is right with world. As always there is so much going on at school, both in your children’s classroom and throughout the building. Friday morning meetings have been fun and instructive with read alouds and a performance from our school band. Our bandleader and music teacher, Mrs. Verret presented both the challenge and the supports for our school band to play the complicated piece, Captain America. As with most of our teaching staff, Mrs. Verret has incorporated what we have learned over the course of the last three schools years about applying a growth mindset approach to teaching and learning in which students’ efforts are praised and strategies are shared and practiced when the learning becomes hard so students are motivated students to learn more. In this particular case, Mrs. Verret presented the music as an opportunity for the students to learn and play a difficult piece usually reserved for middle and high school bands. In addition to practicing often (students agreed to add another morning of practice each week), band members shared the strategies on how to learn this piece of music by:

  • playing pieces of music slowly and carefully
  • breaking down complicated sections into manageable chunks
  • listening to the piece of music and following your part
  • stepping away for a few minutes if you get frustrated

Well, all these strategies and a few more helped the band members to get “smarter” and play Captain American flawlessly. I thank Mrs. Verret and husband, Robin, who played the trumpet to round out the band. As those in attendance last Friday can verify, the band sounded great. I have attached a music file so you can hear the band for yourself. Of course the week before April vacation brings out the talent in our fourth and fifth graders through our annual talent show. The acts varied from the silly – a dating game skit to the sublime, a fifth grader playing Golliwogg’s Cake Walk by Claude Debussy on the piano to everything in between. Oh and three fourth graders did a Mr. Colannino “bobble head” dance, which can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ryn1qfwjNk&feature=youtu.be A big thank you to staff members Alyssa Holtzman, Kelly O’Sullivan, Lisa Rodger and Kim Conrad for organizing the talent show from beginning auditions to the final curtain on Wednesday evening! We’re getting closer to our pack and move out date so millions of dollars of renovations can be made at Fiske while we’re on summer break. Hundreds of orange packing crates have arrived and staff will begin packing them at the end of next month. It’s important to understand that most staff will be packing up a great deal (but not all) of their classes at the end of May. The reason for this is to prepare for our June 19 deadline to move out – each classroom has to be entirely cleared of everything. And everything means books, furniture, supplies, computers, etc. Fiske staff and I know learning will still be ongoing regardless of how the classrooms may look. I will hold a Friday morning meeting with students to describe the moving process to them as well. If you have the time, I will be hosting a principal’s coffee tomorrow morning, Friday, April 17 from 8:30-9:30 in the Fiske library to primarily discuss packing, moving and renovations. I hope you enjoy your April vacation! Sincerely, Anthony J. Colannino

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