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Incoming Students Meet With Old, New Teachers At Head O' Meadow School



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Incoming Students Meet With Old, New Teachers At Head O’ Meadow School

By Larissa Lytwyn

The school year got off to an auspicious start for many students on August 30, the day before the 2004-05 academic year commenced.

At Head O’ Meadow, the majority of incoming students and their families took advantage of the school’s annual “Meet the Teacher” Day from 9 to 11 am.

“It’s very laidback, very casual,” said second grade teacher Sara Washicko. “It’s simply an opportunity for students and their parents to come in and find out where their classroom is and have the chance to meet us.”

Ms Washicko, a longtime Head O’ Meadow teacher who has been in the education field for more than 20 years, also noted how older students take the time to stop by and visit.

Ms Washicko invited her new students to answer two questions on the blackboard. “The questions give me the opportunity to get to know the students a little bit better,” she said.

One question asked what book students enjoyed reading most over the summer.

Answers included selections from the Boxcar Children and Magic Tree House series.

The second question asked students what they wanted to learn that year.

Many responses reflected a desire to acquire cursive writing skills and learn higher math.

“We have a revised math curriculum this year,” said Ms Washicko, “called Growing with Math. It’s very comprehensive, a good resource.”

Second grade teacher Karen McLeod said that in second grade, students are becoming increasingly independent.

“There is a big theme of exploration,” she said. “The students are really defining themselves as individuals.”

A new project Ms McLeod said she is excited to begin this year is a butterfly consortium.

“I actually received the butterflies as a gift,” she said. “You receive caterpillars in the mail and you raise them from there.”

She said her students would be learning about animal development through watching the caterpillars develop into butterflies. “We are also going to incorporate a nature walk,” said Ms McLeod.

One of Ms McLeod’s new students, Katie Bedell, said she was “happy” about the butterfly project. Her mother, Eliza Bedell, echoed her daughter’s sentiments. “I think it’s awesome!” she declared.

In first grade teacher Cathy Lent’s class, parent Katherine Summ said she was confident that her son, Felix, would be in good hands. “I know he’s going to be fine,” she said.

Ms Lent discussed the major transition between kindergarten and first grade. Bathrooms are no longer located in the room, but down the hall.

Lunch is no longer held in the classroom, but in the cafeteria. Children will also have the opportunity to choose their own hot lunches.

But perhaps most marked a change, Ms Lent said, is that school is “no longer half-day kindergarten,” she said. “It’s a full day [from approximately 8 am to 3 pm]. It takes a bit of an adjustment, definitely!”

To ease the transition, Ms Lent includes a midmorning recess for the youngsters in the beginning of the school year.

Nonetheless, “they are very tired by the end of the day.”

She encourages her students to “go to bed early and eat a good breakfast” to get them going each day.

“At the first grade level, the students are becoming truly responsible for their own behavior,” Ms Lent said, adding, with a smile, “especially at lunch time!”

First grade teacher Barbara Bekerle agreed that first grade “is not just a cubby away.”

“It’s a big transition,” she said. “But a joyful one!”

“I’m happy for my son, for his growth to this point,” said Laurie Gavel, whose son, Thomas, is in Ms Bekerle’s class this year.

By fourth grade, this burgeoning sense of independence is strongly developed.

“At fourth grade, the students really begin to look outward,” said fourth grade teacher Pat Aschauer. “This year, the students will be studying world geography. In science, we’ll be looking a rocks and minerals. It’s going to be a good year.”

The highlight, she said, is the class’s spring Sound Waters program.

“The students will actually have the opportunity to crew their own boat on Long Island Sound,” Ms Aschauer said. “It’s a very exciting chance for them to really show how they have grown, and what they have learned.”

In the weeks prior, students become intimately familiar with boating terminology and technique.

One of Ms Aschauer’s new students, Troy Larsen, said he was “excited” about the boat trip. “I am also looking forward to seeing all my friends again.”

He said he enjoyed Meet the Teacher day because of the opportunity it gave him to say hello to old teachers.

“I am looking forward to seeing my third grade teacher, Sue Ruddock,” he said. “It’s just going to be good to be back [at school].”

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