Dear Sprague Community, We are at the end of September and it is our first full week of school. Students seemed really settled in their classrooms. Teachers have spent a good deal of time in classrooms establishing a safe, caring, and nurturing environment in each classroom. We feel this is essential to set the tone for learning throughout the year. Students need to feel welcomed, valued, and part of our school community in order to take a chance on learning new things. As adults, we sometimes underestimate how difficult it can be for a child to raise his or her hand with an answer they are not certain of. Yet, as adults we also know that mistakes can generate new understandings. Just as Carol Dweck would promote the idea of a growth mindset and the power of “yet,” we also must be careful to provide an environment where students know what to expect, know the routines, and feel comfortable so they can make mistakes without feeling embarrassed. During the month of September, teachers focus on routine procedures such as: what to do at cleanup time, how to take out and put away classroom materials, how and when to line up, how to signal that you want to talk in the classroom, what to do when someone else is talking, what to do when you come in late, what to do if you need to use the bathroom, and much, much more. They model these routines, teach about active listening, and remind students of school and classroom rules. Here are the Sprague School Rules as a reminder:

  • Use your HEART.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Take care of Sprague.
  • Bring your “A” game and do your best!

They are general in nature, but we discuss what it looks like and sounds like when we follow school rules. When we are proactive about expectations, students can focus on their learning. At Sprague, we are careful to pay attention to both academic and social emotional learning. Skills in both areas are essential to success in school and in life. You may hear your child talk about Open Circle as a time when specific skills and problem solving strategies are discussed. Oh Baby~ Sometimes I am lucky enough to be the one to share really happy news! This is one of those times. Some of you may know that Learning Center teacher Kati Okoshi and ISS teacher Tara Mahoney are each expecting babies this fall—in October and December respectively. This has been hard to hide if you have seen them lately!  But, that’s not all! Art teacher Jen Stabnick is also expecting a baby in January. I am sure you all join me in wishing these teachers and their families all the best as their families grow! Global Child I am attaching the Global Child flyer for grades 3-5 that was sent home in hard copy a few weeks ago. If you are interested in registering your child, please follow the instructions on the flyer. Spanish instruction for grades K-2 will begin on December 1st in school. Students in grades K-2 will receive Spanish instruction three times per week for 25 minutes each time. global child SPRAGUE-2.pdf  Many thanks to those who have sent in hand sanitizer and wipes to clean little hands after recess and before lunch. We are finding that we are going through many wipes and worry about the environmental impact of such a practice. That said, the PTO is planning to purchase additional hand sanitizer stations with “green certified” hand sanitizer. For parents who prefer that children not use the sanitizer, we suggest packing a wet cloth in a container or zippered container to stay moist. We thank you for your patience and support as we iron out the kinks in the practices needed to have recess before lunch. We do think it is worth it! Summer Reading Celebration Last Friday, grades 1-5 came together to celebrate student’s commitment to reading during the summer months. Each student received a bookmark. There were raffles and a special visit from “Paperback Pete,” who is Captain Book’s mate. Students met “Paperback Pete” last year on the last day of school. Pete reminded them that reading is really fun and it is important to keep reading to keep your skills sharp. He also brought a short video message from Captain Book who was busy reading many pirate books onboard the vessel “Redbird” this summer. Captain Book is getting ready for a fall voyage and couldn’t make it in person. Many thanks to Ellen Mandel and Christina Cooney for organizing this celebration! Parking lot reminders: Please remember to park in a marked space only. Parking by the islands in our lot blocks the flow of traffic. As the weather gets cooler (or rainier), the number of cars increases. This means that we need space for cars to line up for drop off and pick up in carline. We recommend carline as the most efficient and safe way to drop off and pick up. Please remember to pull as far forward as you can in carline to make room for those behind you.  Dates to remember: October 6: Trudy Ludwig parent night at WMS from 6:30-8:00 p.m. October 7: Trudy Ludwig visit to Sprague students October 8: Walk to School Day October 12: No school—Columbus Day October 15: Fall Festival at Sprague from 5-7 PM includes Chili Cook Off, Live Band, Cider and Donuts, plus Scarecrow making October 27-29: Scholastic Book Fair October 30: Halloween Parade @ 9:00 a.m. (see Ms. Stabnick’s costume challenge–2015 The Sprague Halloween Challenge Info-2.doc  T u e s d a y, O c t o b e r   6 ,  2 0 1 5   6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Wellesley Middle School Auditorium Attention Bates, Hunnewell, and Sprague Parents:   You are invited to a special evening presentation with children’s advocate and bestselling author Trudy Ludwig   Understanding Our Kids’ Online & Offline Social World:  Friendships, Cliques & Power Plays   Intentional exclusion, gossip, the silent treatment, teasing, and the spreading of rumors are often dismissed as normal rites of passage, but research shows these behaviors are a form of emotional bullying and they are as harmful as physical bullying—with long-term negative effects. Learn more about relational aggression (the use of relationships to manipulate and hurt others) including the latest research findings, the nature of boys’ and girls’ friendships, cyberbullying, as well as tips, tools, and resources to help you empower your children in their social world.   Trudy Ludwig’s work and presentations have received high praise from leading experts, educators, and organizations. Her acclaimed books, My Secret Bully, Just Kidding, Sorry, Trouble Talk®, Too Perfect, Confessions of a Former Bully, Better Than You, The Invisible Boy, and Gifts from the Enemy focus on helping children thrive in their social world. An award-winning writer and an engaging speaker, Trudy has been featured on numerous U.S. media outlets including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” PBS’s “Keeping Kids Healthy,” Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Reading Rainbow, the National Crime Prevention Council’s Circle of Respect Program, and served as an expert panel member on Sesame Street Workshop’s video series addressing bullying. This presentation is for adults only and is applicable for parents with children in kindergarten – high school.   For more information, visit Trudy’s website,, or contact your school office.   Our special thanks to the Bates, Hunnewell, and Sprague PTO for sponsoring this special evening parent event. Wellesley Books will be there with many of Trudy’s titles for parents who wish to purchase them.   Here are photos from Grade 5 Leadership Retreat on September 18th: gr. 5 leadership retreat 1.JPG  gr. 5 leadership retreat 2.JPG           

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Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–September 29, 2015
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