Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Greetings and Happy Halloween!

While the official month of Bullying Prevention is coming to a close, it does not mean that we will not continue these efforts. I can not tell you how much I appreciate all of the calls, emails and even notes acknowledging the time taken to address this serious topic. I also appreciate the calls that come in when parents are unsure what is going on but notice something is different with their child. These are the type of tips that really help us to get to the bottom of a concern.

The students here really do understand how to help a friend in a situation and go out of their way to do so! They also will report a situation if they feel someone is not making a safe choice. Please feel free to suggest that your children come to see me or even write me a note if there is something that I need to address. Some students have either written or drawn pictures of their ideas for making our school the best place it can be. We would love if you would continue to encourage that!

We did spend a lot of time talking about when a situation is considered bullying and when it is time to address a specific, individual concern. We know that a bully repeats the same behavior over and over again and how important it is to share your concerns with an adult.

We are moving away from this topic (although we revisit often!) and onto being thankful and being a community helper. I love this topic because it typically sparks great conversations about ways students and families are already helping out in the community. If you have specific examples of ways your family helps others, please share so that I can mention you! This could even be events you participate in that benefit others.

First grade had a great time during the Fire and Safety presentation this week! This is always such a memorable visit!

What a great turnout for the Family Bookfair Spooktacular!! Thank you so much to all of the student and parent volunteers! There were so many well thought out events! Coloring, tattoos, games, stories, shopping and snacks! I absolutely love seeing all of the kids in costumes, that is so much fun!! Hope you all had a wonderful time, I know I did!!

Thank you so much for getting into the Halloween spirit and sending in a carved pumpkin!! We have placed them all out in front of the school. They look nice during the day but I can't wait to check them out at night!! They should stay lit through the weekend, they make me feel happy!

Some of our teachers got into the spirit too!  We were all invited to enter a pumpkin decorating contest! The kids got a great big kick out of our designs! Aren't we a creative group??

Question of the week: What are you going to be for Halloween?? 
Adeline C. "AWitch!"
Domenic F. "An Army Guy
Will G. "Olaf!"
Noah T. "An M & M, a blue one!"
Alice B. "Twilight Sparkle Equestrian Girl!"

Overall another great week at Wawaloam School! We love OUR students! 

Melissa Marino

P.S. No School Tuesday November 4, Election Day
       No School Tuesday November 11, Veteran's Day

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wawaloam Updates 10/20- 10/24

Dear Wawaloam School Community,

Do you want to know what is better than finding books to share with students? When a student finds a book they think I will like and comes into my office to read it to me- and then invites me to share it with the whole school!!

This week, I had the pleasure of hearing the story "One" by Kathryn Otoshi read to me by Madelyn R.  This book was about a group of colors that were not always made to feel nice by the color red! One day, a gray number 1 comes along and convinces the other colors that it is NOT ok to be made to feel bad by RED and then they all became numbers too. In the end, even the color RED becomes the number 7 with an ending theme that "all it takes is 1" to do the right thing :) This book celebrates differences and making your choices count.

What a great theme to share with all of the students as we continue to think about October being Bully Prevention Month.

 Madelyn R. holding the book "One" by Kathryn Otoshi

Have any of your children told you about our new benches out on the playground? Our PBIS team meets about every 6 weeks or so. We brainstorm ways to make our PBIS program stronger and stronger. We heard about a student who had the idea of a "Buddy Bench" for his school so that when children are feeling lonely or can not find a friend to play with, they can sit on these benches as a quiet code that they would like someone to play with. As a team, we decided that we like this idea and found two small benches so that we could put one on both levels of the playground. We spent time reviewing that the benches serve a purpose and that they are not to be moved around. We role played what a scenario might look like, students shared examples of when they would use the bench. Ideas like, when you can't find your friend, when your other friend is sick, when you don't like what your friends are playing etc.  The conversation went really well and the students seemed genuinely happy to have this option available. Here is a picture of the bench:

                                                                   Friendship Bench

What a great week at the book fair! We are fortunate to have such an awesome group of PTA parents who came and volunteered to help with this in our library. I appreciate Mrs. Gagner, our Reading Specialist working with the PTA to make this happen! The book selections were awesome and it is always fun to see what the children select! 

Don't miss out on the Spooktacular Book Fair Halloween Party, this Friday night at Metcalf from 6-8 pm Come in costume! There will be a Spooky stage and fun games and trick or treating! There will be a crafts station, free refreshments and of course lots of great books for sale! 

Once again we are having a Pumpkin Parade at Wawaloam School. Bring in a carved pumpkin next week and we will display these in front of our bee statue outside. On Friday, we will place them on 102 for a lit display (LCD lights) right our on 102. Last year, this looked GREAT at night~ the more participants the better!

I surveyed 5 students this week with the following question:
What is your favorite Fall activity?
Jordan H.  "When all the leaves come down and look pretty and stuff"
Evan B. and Madelyn R. "Jumping in the leaves!"
Emily M. "Watching the leaves fall"
Tyler B. "Making a big pile of leaves!"


A message from the towns: Please bring canned goods and pasta on Election Day when you vote on November 4, 2014.

For information about what is happening at the Exeter Public Library go to

Parent Support Network is presenting a workshop for parents on Social and Emotional Learning. Any questions and for registration, please call 467-6855 

Hope you all have an outstanding weekend filled with family fun! 

Melissa Marino

P.S. On TUESDAY morning, we are having a safety demo and emergency/rescue vehicles will  be
in front of Wawaloam School. Please do not be alarmed, our Health teachers do this annually 
with Grade 1 students. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

October is Bullying Prevention Month

Dear Wawaloam Community,

I am starting out today with a reminder that the book fair is happening here next week for students during their scheduled Reading class in the Library. We have watched the PTA magic unfold all week long as the volunteers came in and set up for this loved event at school! Students can bring money to school to make a purchase at the book fair and plenty of people are here on sight to help with making good decisions. There are books, posters and other trinkets so you might want to be specific with your child about what you are allowing them to purchase. If you are planning to attend the Spooktacular Book Fair at Metcalf School on October 24 from 6-8 PM, you can also purchase books together at that time and simply have them look at the books here at school next week if you prefer. We are excited that this will take place in the library giving students plenty of time to browse and/or shop.

I also wanted to tell you again that October is Bullying Prevention Month and while we work on this ALL YEAR LONG we put particular emphasis on this important topic during this month. Earlier this week I sent home information about the CHALK IT UP AGAINST BULLYING EVENT in Wakefield scheduled for this Saturday. If you are interested in going, you have to register your artist on-line and print out your registration ticket. I am sure it will be a fun family activity if anyone is interested in attending. I am including the link to register for this event:

We talked about Bullying Prevention during the Weekly Meeting this week with Grades 1 and 2.  I read the book Lucy and the Bully by Claire Alexander. In this story a student is having some trouble with a "bully" who stomps on her art project, rips her book and breaks her pencils! She is afraid to tell her mother about this and when her mother figures out what is happening, she calls the teacher. The bully's mother walks him into school the next day and Lucy finds that the "bully" is suddenly very quiet and she starts to feel bad for him! She compliments a drawing he is working on and he feels happy. They share a laugh together and become friends.
The reason I like this story for sharing with the students is because it touches on being afraid to tell! We spent some time talking about NOT being afraid to tell and that it is NEVER acceptable to feel afraid of someone. We also talked about all of the people you could talk to and who could help you.
Finally, we drew mini-posters with the choice of a friendship theme or a "No Bullying" message. I thought I would share a few because I am very proud of our students! They have some great messages to share!!

There have been several of you inquiring about the new code entry system for our lunch program and I thought I would pass along some information that would be helpful and comforting.

First, we are hoping to start the first lunch 15 minutes earlier starting on 10/29 so that extra time is built in to the lunch schedule for the first week.  Second, we are planning to give evert teacher a class set of labels with the name of each student in the class and their ID code so that the kids can wear the code right into the cafeteria for the first week so that the code is at the fingertips of the cashier. Third, I am planning to be in there throughout the entire lunch period for the first couple of days so that one of the Teacher Assistants can help with the coded system. By starting the first lunch early, it will give us time to add minutes to the second lunch if it is needed. Our plan, on the Wawaloam end, is to be as proactive as possible. We anticipate this to be a bit slow in the beginning but these little children really do surprise us and they are pretty good at remembering codes and passwords and I suspect this will warrant the same results. 

I have also been in communication with Brett Nadeau who is the Food Service Director for the program. He is committed to making sure the change goes over as smoothly as possible. He is planning to have extra staff on hand to assist with the process. He is planning on distributing student ID's that will help with having the information at their fingertips in the lunch line.   Their lunch ID will be the same as their student ID that they were assigned when they started school, and this will be the same number that will carry them through their senior year. Brett has shared that it does allow us them to do a better job of tracking meals  compared with the pen and paper method that is currently being used.  It will take the younger kids a small amount of time to adjust to punching in numbers on a keypad, but we have seen that with most kids familiar with computers, ipads, and electronics as at much younger age than ever before it will not be as challenging for them to adjust to the new ways.

He also shared that along with the new POS system will be the ability to electronically monitor a student’s transactions and deposit money electronically into their account.  It will be done through a website, where you will be able  to create an account for your child and monitor their transactions and account balance, all for free.  For a minimal fee, you will be able to electronically deposit money into a student account and set up low balance email alerts.  He has found that parents have found this very useful in lieu of sending their younger child to school with cash or a check and making sure to find its’ way to a teacher and ultimately the Cafeteria. I have been doing this for several years with my son and it is convenient to have the opportunity to add money to his account when needed. 

Community Announcements

EWG Girl Scouts is hosting a 2nd Grade Social - to find out what Girl Scouts is all about!  Join us on Tuesday, October 21st from 6:00-7:30pm in the Wawaloam School Cafeteria. 

There are some exciting events happening at the Exeter Library and on the website you can read all about the Calendar of Events and more!

Hope you all have an enjoyable weekend, there is so much going on! The weather looks to be promising as well. Thank you for all you do as partners in the education of our students. 

Melissa Marino

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Weekly Reflection Wawaloam School

This has been a week of quiet reflection.......your children are the reason we all love to come here every day. They amaze us with their growth and amuse us with their innocence and sense of humor! 

Given the information we were exposed to this week, it is important that we search for stories of hope and encouragement. There is an inspirational quote by Maya Angelou that says,  "Be the rainbow in someone else's cloud". 

I want you to remind you that we prioritize the safety of our students but I also need to share that I observe the faculty and staff coming in here every single day  "bringing the rainbow with them" no matter what they are dealing with in their own life or even disheartened by due to disturbing news or events in the world. 

The feeling of joy and happiness permeates throughout Wawaloam School. I believe that a sense of optimism and positivity contributes to the feeling of safety and security for our students and I just wanted you to know that this is what I notice and proudly appreciate every single day when I walk throughout our building. 

Motivated by the back page of Parenting Magazine I have decided to ask 5 random students a question on occasion so that I can share these responses with you from time to time. The first question that I asked was:

"Where is your favorite place in the entire world?" 

These are the 5 student responses to that question:
Stephanie S. "Disneyland!"
Natasha P.  "My house" 
Angelina L. "Hershey Park!"
Hunter G. "Yawgoo Water Park!"
Natalie S. "Hawaii"

If you have ideas for questions that I could ask, please feel free to share your ideas! If I choose your question, I will mention you in my blog :)

PTA has asked me to forward to you the following information:

The deadline for the fall fundraiser is approaching fast - all paperwork and payments are due by Friday, October 17th.  All students who sell $100 or more or donate $40 or more will be entered for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy 3 tablet.

Forms have gone home for new student directories being compiled for each grade. The PTA will not publish home addresses, only adult email addresses and/or phone numbers for those interested in sharing. The directories will be distributed in paper form in November, by grade.

In honor of Eat Better/Eat Together Month I am sharing the following link because I love how it recognizes the importance of eating together as a family. With my husbands schedule and the busy kids schedules, it is hard to sit down for dinner together EVERY night but we make it a point to do this at least two nights a week and always on the weekends. I try to cook one of the meals the night before and we usually do take-out on Thursdays to make this manageable. Consider pasting this link in your browser and check out some of the ideas contained in the President's Challenge Newsletter:

Parent Teacher Conference Day Tomorrow  10/10/14 -We will miss all of our students at school tomorrow but I know teachers have been getting ready to meet with you for Parent Conferences if you have not done so already. 

We are very excited about all of the Box Tops coming in to school and also the returned Stop and Shop Codes for the A+ Reward Program. Thank you so much!!

You should have received an email today with an attachment telling you about the new computerized system we will be using for our lunch program starting at the end of the month. We are planning to send home a paper copy of this information as well. This will be on RED paper and will go home on Tuesday of next week so please be on the lookout. 

Enjoy the extended weekend with the Columbus Day Holiday on Monday. There are still plenty of pumpkins and apples left to pick! 

Melissa Marino

P.S. There is an article in the Standard Times this week about our new Smartboard Technology at Wawaloam School. Check it out!

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Bee Updated" - Read About Wawaloam School This Week!

Happy Friday!!

Last year at the Kindergarten Orientation I shared a poem by Robert Fulghum called:

"All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten"

I recently came across a copy of the poem and I think it is worth reviewing again, the message is simple but if we want to be successful in life, there are key elements that balanced with academics, will make a huge difference-

Share Everything. 
Play Fair.
Don't hit people. 
Put things back where you found them. 
Clean up your own mess. 
Don't take things that aren't yours. 
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. 
Wash your hands before you eat. 
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. 
Live a balanced life-
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance 
and play and work everyday some. 
Take a nap every afternoon. 
When you go out into the world, 
watch out for traffic, 
hold hands and stick together. 
Be aware of WONDER. 

(taken 10/2 in Mrs. Petrarca's class)

In addition to these important considerations, we also want to pass along some small steps that will help students feel confident and happy about school. A good night of sleep can move mountains for a young child. The recommended amount of time for sleep is between 10-12 hours! 

Also, when you encourage independence in your child, you are giving them a gift. As a mom myself, I can attest to the fact that it is indeed faster to zip the jacket and tie the shoes and pack the lunches by yourself but think about the opportunity you are giving to your child to gain the successful feeling of "I did it myself!"

If it is unrealistic to have children do this everyday, think about a plan like this:

Mondays- Make your own Bed Day
Tuesdays- Try Everything by Yourself Day 
Wednesdays- Wear the Clothes you Pick out the Night Before
Thursdays- Think About Doing Something Nice for Someone Else 
Fridays- Fun Lunch -Pack it Yourself Day (do it the night before)

If you take on any of these attempts at independence, or you implement something like this already- think about offering specific feedback for the task accomplished.  For example, instead of "Good Job" let your child know how much better they are getting at making the bed and how tidy their bedroom looks with a made bed. These small changes can instill the mindset of wanting to grow and improve each time.

I am passing along a short but great article with emphasis on the Growth Mindset for Parents with 5 small ways to encourage the Growth Mindset at home:

I had the opportunity to share the book Your Fantastic Elastic Brain by Dr. Joann Deak with Grades 1 and 2. We had a great conversation about things they want to get better at and how they can improve at anything they put their minds to. We repeated the phrase, "You can train your brain" several times. They were pretty engaged in this discussion in case you hear anything along these lines at home :)

This 1 minute link will share the concept of this great book that Mrs. Cohen so generously shared with me so that I could share with our students!

To end, we wanted to be sure you reviewed the two sided memo from The RI Department of Health regarding the Enterovirus D-68. We sent this home on paper so you could keep it nearby to review the steps for prevention as a family. It should have come home in the yellow home/school communication folder. For more information, see the RI Department of Health website:

Here at Wawaloam we are doing everything we can to encourage everyone in the building to wash hands as often as possible and we are working together to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Mrs. Larkin and I have really talked up keeping our hands clean and she has taken pictures of students (and teachers) she sees showing their Healthy Bee-Havior of handwashing! She has used these to create a bulletin board outside of her office and students check frequently to see if their picture is up there! Isn't this awesome!

Wishing you all a splendid fall weekend- I am hoping to get my pumpkins this weekend!
Melissa Marino

PS- It was great to see SO many faces at last night's PTA meeting!!