Administration, Guidance, and Specials teachers’ preparations for the holidays

November/December 2019
by Ashley B., Meg A., Fred T.

Mr. Dollar
by Meg A.

These last two months the Music Department, headed by Mr. Christopher Dollar, has been busy at work with his classes. In his non-instrumental high-school classes, Music Tech and General Music, Mr. Dollar’s students have been learning about the more technical aspects of music. The Music Tech class recently finished a project on the Foley Sound Technique. The students used everyday objects such as cornstarch, woodchips, and a medicine ball, to create sound effects which they then dubbed into a clip from a Superman movie. The General Music class is studying the musical West Side Story. The class is currently focused on analyzing comic relief within musicals.

In addition to these other classes, Mr. Dollar is also preparing for the Fishers Island School Winter Concert. Both the elementary and high school students will be performing in the concert on December 17th. These last months, the elementary students in grades 2 through 6 have been working on a score of songs. The 5/6 Band (7 students, 5 of whom started playing their instruments this year) will be showcasing their instrumental abilities, including their infamous performance of “Hot Cross Buns.” As for the high school, both Chorus (28 students) and Band (34 students) have been polishing their musical pieces for the concert.

Mr. Dollar has utilized a new teaching method this year by having the band students sing through their music for a class period instead of playing their instruments when they didn’t have the performance space to play during the Drama Department’s Tech Week. This technique helps an instrumentalist visualize their music and it helps with the timing and the notes of the individual parts. Mr. Dollar says that he is, “excited for everyone to present the work that [they’ve] done to the community and [that he] look[s] forward to the next concert.”

Mr. Murray
by Meg A.

Leading up to the holidays, Mr. Murray’s students have been finishing up projects in his classes. The younger kids have been making handprint ornaments. Mr. Murray cut tracings of their handprints out of wood for them to paint and gift to their families. With the older elementary students, Mr. Murray is working on birdhouses and letting the children measure and cut the pieces, and hammer them together themselves. He has recently been giving the 5th and 6th grade class more responsibility in their projects by allowing them to do the work themselves under his supervision.

In his non-technical classes, Computer Apps and Personal Finance, Mr. Murray is also teaching his students valuable information. The Computer Applications class is learning how to create animations for games, which will culminate in a project later on. His senior students in Personal Finance are learning about credit.

In addition to his current classes, Mr. Murray is developing two new classes that will be offered in the second semester of school this spring. He will be creating a woodworking class for high school students and is working with the land trust organization to make a Land Trust Management class.

Mr. Arsenault
by Ashley B.

During the past two months Mr. Arsenault, Principal of Fishers Island School, has overseen the production of a promotional video of the school. This video captures the experience of students who commute from New London and how the ferry cares for these students. It also shows footage of live classes with each grade and interviews with various students and parents. This commercial can be found on the Fishers Island School website and on Youtube. A shortened version of the film will be shown at the Mystic Luxury Cinemas during the commercial section.

In addition to the school’s commercial, a story about Fishers Island School was recorded by NBC Connecticut. The story aired before Thanksgiving and has already been successful in informing prospective students about the school. Mr. Arsenault received over fifteen calls from prospective parents the day the story aired. The school’s open house is expected to have many students attend.

Mr. Arenault would also like to congratulate everyone who contributed to the school’s drama production of 1984 and all of the students who made the Honor Roll this past quarter.

Mrs. Gello
by Fred T.

This past November and early December, Mrs. Gello has been working hard to implement the New York State Common Core curriculum through books and interactive games. In the younger grades, games are one of the best ways to learn reading and comprehension. While reading, children are asked to find the subject of the story and question how it compares to their life.

This upcoming holiday season, 5th and 6th graders in their library class will be picking out new and exciting books, learning what Christmas means to them. To help these students, they are learning through arts and crafts. They are focusing on connecting real life experiences with books to prepare them for the real world.

Along with helping the children learn to read and comprehend, Mrs. Gello is teaching students Spanish. In Spain, children who start learning other languages at a younger age are more advanced. The 5th and 6th graders don’t have quite as much background in Spanish so they are learning at a first grade level. Starting young is better because the pathways in the brain are just being formed.

To help complete those pathways, Mrs. Gello teaches at different speeds, levels of interpretation, and comprehension levels. She says, “Everyone reaches their own goals at their own pace.”

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