FI School Elementary Gets into Winter

November/December 2019
By Betsy C., Jade R., and David S.

Science, English, and Math with Ms. Burns and the 3rd/4th grade
By Betsy C.

The 3rd and 4th graders at Fishers Island School have been working together across disciplines. To learn about the specifics, I interviewed Ms. Burns, their teacher. She shared with me how every four days, the 3rd and 4th graders leave school and go for nature walks around Fishers Island. One of their popular destinations is Silver Eel Cove, as it is relatively close to the school. As the students observe the site, they learn about tides and seaweed.

Last week, they found a large piece of driftwood that they wanted to throw back into the sea. Because of its large mass, the students decided to use sticks to act as a lever to aid them in pushing the wood back to sea. Ms. Burns was impressed by their group work and decided to begin a unit about simple and compound machines. She explained that whenever she notices something that her students are interested in, she tries to incorporate it into the unit so they get more out of the lessons.

(Click any photo to see a larger version.)

In English, the 3rd and 4th graders are learning about opinion versus fact writing. Ms. Burns has her students write about topics that they are passionate about. Their current assignment is to write a paper convincing their parents to get them a Christmas gift that they want.

In math, they are learning how to tell time and how analog and digital clocks are set up. The 3rd and 4th graders have different math classes and are held accountable for different things. Sometimes the 3rd graders will sit-in on the 4th grade’s lessons, so when they are in 4th grade, they are familiar with the concept and feel confident to learn about it in more depth.

In social studies, they are learning about states versus countries. To understand this, each student picks a state and plans a mock trip there using mapquest. This helps them comprehend their relation to that state.

Ms. Burns and her class are looking forward to next week and planning holiday activities.

History, English, Math, and Science with Mrs. Eastman
By David S.

As school is now fully underway, students in the 5th and 6th grade are learning new things every day and studying a vast array of topics. Mrs. Eastman, the 5th and 6th grade teacher, has kept the students busy while incorporating new aspects of learning and fun projects.

Throughout November, the students spent time in Social Studies learning about the ancient world of Mesopotamia, while diving into sub-topics such as farming and agriculture. In addition to this, they also went over the systems of writing. Currently, students are beginning to learn about ancient Egypt.

English language arts has been filled with exciting lessons and topics. Students finished reading The Westing Game, where they focused on analyzing the literature and viewing topics such as foreshadowing and character development. Mrs. Eastman told me that she was very excited for the students to find out the development involving the main character.

When it comes to math, students are split between grades. In 5th grade, students worked on skills pertaining to multiplication, division, and decimals. In the 6th grade, students reviewed skills they need for algebra such as prime factors and the distributive property.

During the month of November, students studied biomes within the science period. Currently, in December, they are working on continental drift. Before each lesson, Mrs. Eastman sets up investigation stations which allows students to learn as much as they can about a certain topic before the begin studying it.

Mrs. Eastman noticed a lack of writing sections within the common core which sparked her interest to create a new writing program which will help students learn more about formatting for literary analysis and feel more comfortable about writing. Throughout this process, Mrs. Eastman went to many workshops to learn more about the subject so she could better help the students.

November and December with Ms. Atkin’s Festive Pre-K students

By Jade R.

Ms. Atkin, the pre-k and kindergarten teacher at Fishers Island School, started the month of November getting ready for winter. The pre-k class, Alexander, Katherine, Geovanni, and Ben, were more than ready to jump into turkey week. All four pre-k students spent the time before leaving for Thanksgiving break learning about being thankful for each other, their families, and the things they have. After Thanksgiving, the pre-k learned their five senses and the important parts of the body. Ms. Atkin said, “it is so exciting to watch and listen to their learning and growth.” The class ended the month with a mini-lesson of American Sign Language taught by FIS senior Jade.


Jumping into December, Ms. Atkin decided to start with teaching the pre-k the colors of the rainbow before Christmas. She wanted to teach them how to blend colors, so she then read them a book called Little Blue and Little Yellow. As the days get closer to the holidays, Santa Claus coming to town is the only topic the pre-k talks about. Anxious to see snow on the ground, they used wax paper and put it inside baggies to make fake snow.

Learning the parts of the body and why their bodies are amazing

The adventurous days of November and December with Mrs. Roehrig

By Jade R.

This November, Mrs. Roehrig and her student Joshua have continued conducting research on the  United States of America, focusing on Alaska. Joshua also researched state symbols and read articles to learn more about the Northern Lights. To get into some holiday spirit, they went on a field trip to Jeffery Pan’s studio to learn about glass blowing. The teachers observed the artist as Joshua was getting ready to make a glass blown fish. Joshua and his classmates then went to Get Fired Up to create their own holiday glass ornaments.

So far in the month of December, Joshua researched the state of Florida, particularly learning more about the American Crocodile and its ecosystem. He has now chosen to research Hawaii and is currently finding interesting facts about the state. Heading into the holidays, Joshua has been excited to practice his music in preparation of the winter concert. He has been practicing his role in the percussion as well as singing some of his favorite holiday songs including Jingle Bells and Feliz Navidad.

Mrs. Roehrig is looking forward to the holiday celebration which takes place the day before break. The elementary students enjoy a big breakfast together and play games before their Secret Santa gift exchange.

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