Dear Sprague Community, October is Bullying Prevention Month! We are so fortunate to have author Trudy Ludwig visiting Sprague this week. Thanks to our PTO for funding her visit. As you know she will do a parent talk tonight, two presentations for our students tomorrow, and a teacher talk tomorrow! Trudy has written many children’s books on themes of inclusion and bullying. Trudy has many resources to share and will tailor her talks to the audience. She has worked with Stan Davis, author of “Schools Where Everyone Belongs.” Sprague staff members have worked with Stan and will continue to consult with him this year. Trudy’s talks will focus on identifying bullying and distinguishing it from rude or mean behavior; elements of boys’ and girls’ friendships, helping kids take responsibility for their behavior, and cyber-bullying. At Sprague, we work hard to instill our HEART values and recognize pro-social behaviors. However, we recognize that many social skills need to be taught to children. One of the hardest things for children to develop can be empathy, in many cases because they are just not there yet developmentally. It can even be hard for adults to put themselves in someone else’s shoes sometimes. Parents can help by reinforcing that no one is perfect, but we are all working on being the best we can possibly be—socially and academically. Parents can also help teach their children good friendship skills and what to do when there is a conflict. Trudy will have many more tips to share tonight. I hope many of you can come! It will be at the Wellesley Middle School Auditorium from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Wellesley Books will be there to sell Trudy’s books if you are interested in purchasing them. Financial Assistance Please see the following link for guidelines for families to apply for free or reduced price meals, services, or activities through the Wellesley Public Schools. There is information on the website about how to apply and what services could be covered with the financial assistance. All applications should be submitted in this format through our business office. If you fill out the free/reduced price lunch application, please be sure to check the information sharing boxes if you wish for your information to be used for applications to other services. If you do not think you will qualify for free/reduced price lunches, you may still apply for Wellesley financial aid. See the chart on the website for guidance. Peer Mentoring Opportunity: The Peer Mentoring program pairs selected Wellesley High School students with interested Sprague students in grades 3-5.  Once a week, high school mentors come to Sprague to help students with homework.  This is a great opportunity for your child to receive additional help with homework after school on a regular basis! For Whom: Sprague students in grades 3-5 Where and When: At Sprague every Monday from 3:05pm to 4:00pm.  This program will run from Nov. 2 – Dec. 14.  These are the scheduled dates for the program: Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23; Dec. 7, 14. Note: The program will take place in Ms. Blumenthal’s room (Room 113).  She will be supervising the students each Monday. Your child may bring a snack if they would like. If you are interested in having your child participate, please email Ms. Blumenthal ( Once she knows the exact number of high school students that will be volunteering, she will begin accepting Sprague students. It will be on a first come, first serve basis. Pick up will occur at 4:00 p.m. sharp in car line.      Read on to learn about some exciting work teachers are engaged in…. Six Teachers Walk Into a Classroom. . . What is a Math Lab? In recent weeks, two groups of teachers have come together to participate in the first of five full day Math Labs. This year, 4th grade teachers from both Sprague and Upham make up one Math Lab group and 2nd/3rd grade teachers from Sprague make up the second group.  Our math coach Heather Heon expertly facilitated these sessions. During this Math Lab session, teachers first explored a new math activity on their own, made estimates, and discussed strategies.  Next, they went through the process of collaborative planning, thinking about how best to structure the math activity to meet the needs of all students.  They thought about the mathematics involved, the range of ways that students might solve the problem and what questions to ask to extend student thinking.   Each Math Lab team then visited two classrooms, 4G and 4O at Upham, and 2KF and 2KC at Sprague.  Teachers were able to try out the lesson twice, sitting among students and listening to their thoughts, questions, and solutions while also observing each other teach. After the classroom visits there was a lot to talk about.  What ideas did we hear from students? What did they seem to understand? What was challenging or confusing? What questions emerged for us regarding content during this lesson? How does what we learned influence future lessons? The guiding assumption behind the Math Lab framework, developed by the College of Education at the University of Washington, is that in order to work on shaping teachers’ practice, teachers need to engage in the actual work of teaching. The main goal of Math Labs is to provide a structure where teachers collaborate to plan, co-teach, and debrief lessons in order to develop best practices for teaching math. math lab pic.jpg  From our school psychologist: Dear Sprague Families, Starting this month, students throughout the grade levels will be invited to join weekly “lunch bunch” groups with their peers.  These groups provide an opportunity for students across classes to get together in a small group for lunch to meet new friends and discuss a variety of topics related to establishing positive friendships.  From year to year, the topics vary depending on student participation and presenting issues.  Lunch groups are designed to reinforce social thinking and social problem solving which is taught through the Open Circle/Social Thinking curriculums in the classroom. While everyone is welcome to participate on a rotating basis, students are also invited to lunch groups based on a teacher or parent’s recommendation and sometimes by random draw.  However, this program is entirely optional and students are not required to attend. If you have any questions about lunch bunch or do not wish for your child to participate, please contact your classroom teacher by Friday October 9, 2015. Also, in the beginning of November I will starting a divorce counseling group for students in grades 3-5.  Please send me an email if you would like your child to be part of this group. Thank you all so much and I look forward to another great year supporting your child! Best regards, Scott Marder School Psychologist/Counselor 781-263-1965 Ext. 2575   From the Nurse:          I have started conducting the mandated annual hearing and vision screening at Sprague. These screenings help identify barriers that would impede a child’s ability to learn because much learning is accomplished through vision and/or hearing.    Early identification of hearing and vision difficulties can prevent problems that relate to speech and language development, social and emotional development, academic achievement, and/or permanent vision loss. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has established guidelines regarding screening procedures and referral criteria for school-age children. Vision screening checks for

  • problems in acuity (sharpness)
  • amblyopia (reduced vision in an otherwise healthy eye)
  • binocular function (one image using both eyes)
  • hyperopia (farsightedness – difficulty seeing close images)
  • myopia (nearsightedness – difficulty seeing at a distance)
  • strabismus (eyes not properly aligned) 
  • stereopsis (three-dimensional vision) grades K-3

This screening helps identify students who may have an unrecognized vision problem that could lead to the development of permanent vision loss if not detected early.          Hearing screening checks for response to tones in the frequencies most used for spoken language. A hearing impairment interferes with normal speech development; school age children with even minimal hearing loss are at risk for academic and communication difficulties. Early detection and proper medical treatment allows for a better chance of successfully correcting any hearing problems.          School screening tests are not diagnostic in nature. They are designed to identify students who need further evaluation, with the goal of early detection, diagnosis and treatment of any hearing and vision problems before they can interfere with a child’s academic success.  Each year here at Sprague the students undergo the mandated screenings. I then contact parents of those children who do not pass the screenings to refer for further evaluation by their physician.          Please call me at 781-263-1965 x 2502 if you have any questions or concerns.  Sharon   Dates to remember: October 6: Trudy Ludwig parent talk at WMS from 6:30-8:00 p.m. October 7: Trudy Ludwig presents to Sprague students October 8: Walk to School Day October 12: No school-Columbus Day October 15: Fall Festival from 5-7 p.m. Come for live music, cider and donuts, chili cook off, and scarecrow making. You must reserve a scarecrow frame to make one AND bring your own clothes for the scarecrow. J October 27-29: Scholastic Book Fair October 29: Dads and Donuts at the Book Fair from 7:15-8:15 a.m. October 30: Halloween Parade at 9:00 a.m. November 17: Picture re-take day gr. k reading.jpg  gr. 1 rug.jpg     

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Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–October 6, 2015
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