November 2019

From the Principal’s Desk ...

November is a time to give pause and think about all of which we should be grateful. On behalf of all of us at Swanson, I would like to thank you in advance for taking time to engage in the important work of supporting your child’s academic, social and emotional progress. It is so important to maintain open lines of communication throughout the school year with your child’s teacher as we work together as a team. Please continue to develop and maintain this important relationship. The staff at Swanson is committed to ensuring the success of each child and need your ongoing, positive support.

I would also like to take a moment to thank all of the parent volunteers who have been helping throughout our school, in classrooms, as guest readers, literature group leaders, room parents, library volunteers, event planners, fund raisers, or sharing expertise. It is through your support and volunteerism that we are able to continuously grow and achieve all that we do.

So many wonderful things happen each day, that there are too many to mention. You can catch a glimpse of some of these through the Auburn Facebook Page. Follow us at :

As partners in education, I will continue to share articles and research that explain ways in which you can support us at home so that our students are as successful as possible. I hope you find these of interest and helpful.

This month is LITERACY MONTH! We will be having a lot of exciting events to inspire a love of literacy. Please share your enthusiasm by making a conserted effort to turn off electronics and read as a family. Be on the lookout for OneCall Emails with more information throughout the month, pictures, videos, visitors, and up-to-date news.

Curriculum update:
Literacy through the content:

  • Instruction is focused on strategies used to deepen comprehension, increase fluency, utilize Higher Order Thinking Skills and analyzing multiple texts.
  • Embedding reading strategies in all core subjects, as well as, constant technology integration.
  • Instructional decisions are continuously based on analysis of current data and teacher observation, to both remediate skills and enrich student learning.
  • Explicit instruction to strengthen the writing process along with ‘short writes’ requiring text evidence are practiced daily.

You can help your child improve their literacy skills by reading with them nightly. Try to keep reading material in every room of the house. Discuss current events and ask them to explain their thinking. Debate “controversial” issues and ask them to argue the other person’s perspective. Practice writing skills by mailing letters or emailing family members living outside of Auburn using proper spelling and grammar. Apply the “caption setting” on the TV for an extra boost of vocabulary, word recognition, and fluency.


  • Practice utilizing reading strategies to comprehend and answer word problems.
  • Identifying key information in problems.
  • Using multiple strategies to answer multifaceted problems.
  • Daily interventions continue to be refined to meet every child’s needs.
  • Opportunities for students to work in small, flexible groups with math teachers and support staff, providing support and additional challenges to students.

*You can help your child improve mathematically by quizzing them on their facts while in the car, incorporating fractions and decimals while cooking etcetera for more complex problems, add multi-step operations to help with their fact fluency. Insist they use the strategies learned in school on nightly homework. Box and underline key information in directions, write out all mathematical processes and label every problem. When checking over their homework, have them find their own errors, rather than pointing them out. This will encourage critical reading, self-checking, accuracy and precise calculations. Use online math games and resources on our web site and in Go Math for extra practice and to challenge their mathematical skills.
***Don’t forget to solve the new Monthly Math Challenge.

Science and Social Studies:
Students love science and social studies. Please seek ways in which you can support our units of study by taking your child to enjoy local museums, concerts, and historical sites. This not only reinforces their learning but will spark your child’s creative and inquisitive mind. There are many discounted or free passes at local libraries, as well as, free family events to be found on line.

Our new Elevate Science has generated such great interest and deeper scientific thinking in our students. This research-based program is quite rigorous and provides hands-on labs consistently through each topic studied. *You can help you child by researching easy fun innovative problem solving projects using S.T.E.M. thinking. ***Stay tuned for more S.T.E.M. project fun.

Thank you again for your support !

-Dr. Lopez

From the Desk of Mrs. Pitsillides


On Thursday, October 24th, thirty-three students chose to “cash-in”40 of their blue tickets to participate in our first school-wide PBIS event of the year! A great time was had by all as students listened to The Giving Tree being read aloud and enjoyed a yummy apple and caramel snack with a choice of a few special toppings!

Throughout the month of October, we have highlighted the character education trait: Responsibility and honored our October Students of the Month on Friday, November 1st with a small celebration of those students’ accomplishments .

October– Responsibility: To be dependable in carrying out obligations and duties; to show reliability and consistency in words and conduct; to be accountable for your own actions; to be committed to active involvement in your community.

Congratulations to all of our amazing, hard-working and responsible students of the month!


We feel strongly that students should benefit from the fresh air and time to play outside. Please send students to school each day with weather appropriate outdoor attire.

Nursing Notes

We have two nurses at SWIS – Anne Elsaid RN and Erica Mahan RN, a district wide nurse.

We welcome you and will use this space for some updates about our health services here and seasonal advice about health concerns and recommendations.

For now, as we move into fall:
*Please consider getting in touch with your doctor about a flu vaccination for you and your child. Flu season is upon us and will last into spring.

*Continue checking your child, yourself and pets for ticks and discuss any unusual rashes or symptoms of illness with your child’s health practitioner.

* With sports and other after school activities up and running in addition to school schedules and homework- try to keep to a bedtime routine that is early enough for your child to get 10-11 hours of sleep per night. A well rested child listens better,
learns better, and in general is a happier child!

We include some guidance for you regarding illness and when to keep your child home from school. We know there is often a discussion about not feeling well and wanting to stay home so we hope this helps you to decide. We are seeing strep infections or strep throat with atypical symptoms- we are seeing stomachaches, sometimes with a red throat, sometimes with a low grade fever, and still with fatigue as a common symptoms.


  • Fever of 100.4° F or more within the last 24 hours, when not taking medication to reduce fever
  • If a child is unable to participate fully in school activities because of illness
  • When a child has a contagious condition or a rash with an unknown cause
  • Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours or the inability to eat normally
  • A child has a diagnosis of strep throat and has not been taking antibiotic medicine for 24 hours
  • If a child requires medication for fever or ongoing pain relief
  • If your child has a red swollen eye that itches and has a yellow drainage- call your doctor for evaluation

* Please contact the school nurse if your child has a communicable disease, such as chicken pox, measles, ringworm, impetigo or scabies. We also would like to know if your child has conjunctivitis or pink eye, head lice, or viruses such Coxsackie virus, also known as ,Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.

Please let us know when your child is staying home (we will call you if we do not hear from you, for a safety check) and with information about:

*What illness your child has
*If your child had a recent injury with acast or other equipment
*Has a diagnosed concussion
*He/she has any other substantial injury that will impact their school day

We will need MD note about the injury and the care needed in school.
THANK YOU for your help with this. We appreciate it.

As always if they are ill it is always a good idea to check in with a phone call to their doctor’s office and decide if they need to be seen by their doctor.

SWIS Support

The first two months of school are complete and our students have settled in to school routines nicely. However, one of the most important parts of a students success at school happens at home. Sleep!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, school age children (defined by ages of 6-13 years old) should be getting anywhere between 9-11 hours of sleep per night (it can be as little as 7-8 hours or as much as 12 hours depending on the child).

It can often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we want, especially with daylight savings around the corner. Sleep is a critical component to overall health, along with a good diet and exercise.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following guidelines to help your child fall asleep, stay asleep and establish good sleeping habits

  • Make sufficient sleep a family priority. Understand the importance of getting enough sleep and how sleep affects the overall health of you and your children. Remember that you are a role model to your child; set a good example. Making sleep a priority for yourself shows your children that it's part of living a healthy lifestyle—like eating right and exercising regularly.
  • Keep to a regular daily routine. The same waking time, meal times, nap time, and play times will help your child feel secure and comfortable, and help with a smooth bedtime. For young children, it helps to start early with a bedtime routine such as brush, book, bed. Make sure the sleep routines you use can be used anywhere, so you can help your child get to sleep wherever you may be.
  • Be active during the day. Make sure your kids have interesting and varied activities during the day, including physical activity and fresh air.
  • Monitor screen time. It is recommended to keep all screens—TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, and phones out of children's bedrooms, especially at night. To prevent sleep disruption, turn off all screens at least 60 minutes/1 hour before bedtime.
  • Create a sleep-supportive and safe bedroom. Your child's bedroom should be quiet, comfortable, and dark (a nightlight is acceptable for children afraid of a dark bedroom). To avoid the bad habit of needing a television turned on to fall asleep, do not put a television set in your child's bedroom. It is fine to allow security objects, such as a special blanket or stuffed animal, to be a part of the bedtime routine. Use the bedroom for quiet time and sleeping only; do not use the bedroom for time outs or as a room to send your child for punishment. The bedroom needs to be associated with positive feelings, not negative ones. In your final interaction of the evening, give a hug or a kiss, say goodnight to your child, turn off your child's bedroom light, and leave the room. The final interaction should be predictable, deliberate, brief and yet sufficiently warm and reassuring to your child. Support bedtime by keeping the rest of the house quiet and relatively dark.
  • Avoid overscheduling. In addition to homework, many children today have scheduled evening activities (i.e., sports games, lessons, appointments, etc.) that pose challenges to getting a good night's sleep. Take time to wind down and give your children the downtime that they need.
  • Learn to recognize sleep problems. The most common sleep problems in children include difficulty falling asleep, nighttime awakenings, snoring, stalling and resisting going to bed, sleep apnea, and loud or heavy breathing while sleeping.
  • Talk to your child's teacher about your child's alertness during the day. Sleep problems may manifest in the daytime, too. A child with not enough, or poor quality, sleep may have difficulty paying attention or "zoning out" in school.
  • Talk to your child's pediatrician about sleep. Discuss your child's sleep habits and problems with your pediatrician, as most sleep problems are easily treated. He or she may ask you to keep a sleep log (tracking their sleep habits over a one- two week time period) or have additional suggestions to improving your child's sleep habits.

The Music Corner with Mrs. Caruso & Miss Speidel

Ms. Speidel and I have had a wonderful start to the year! We are working hard and enjoy our music classes.

All grades have started out the year with a musical review and are going to be starting concert music before you know it. The 3rd Grade Concert will be on Thursday, December 5th, 4th grade will be on Tuesday, December 10th and 5th grade will perform on Thursday, December 12th. Please keep an eye out for more information regarding the concerts as we will be sending information about what/where/when/what-to- wear very shortly.

The band students are “rockin-and-rollin” their way into the year! Ms. Speidel and I are very impressed with progress students have made in such a short period of time. We would like to remind all students to bring their instruments home at the end of the day as we have noticed more and more instruments living on our shelves! Also, if your child is absent from school and will be missing band, please email Ms. Speidel to let her know about the absence.

The SWIS String Society is also having a marvelous start to the school year! We have 74 students in Beginning Strings who have just started to learn how to hold their instruments and play the “Ant” and “Elephant” song. Second and third year students are continue to play their instruments with fingers and are perfecting their bow grips. The second year SWIS String Society students are reviewing concepts from last year while the third year students are playing “Ring Christmas Bells”.

The String program at the middle school is underway! We are 20 strong and are going to be competing in a festival this year where the kids perform in front of a judge and are graded. I am beyond excited to see what the future holds.

Lots is happening here in the SWIS Music Department!
Ms. Speidel & Mrs. Caruso

Grade 3 News

It’s hard to believe that we are already into November! The third graders are very busy. After completing our Social Studies units on Maps and Massachusetts, we have begun our adventure with the Wampanoags: The First People. We are learning about a wetu (their spring & summer home), the “three sisters”, mishoons, and their way of life. Ask your child about these interesting Native Americans.

In reading, we are talking about why people emigrate to new places. Immigrants came to America with dreams of finding new opportunities and jobs to make their lives better. We will read some expository texts, as well as historical fiction stories. We have found that the students love the stories in our reading program and are enjoying the various topics and genres. Students are learning and applying many comprehension strategies such as: making, confirming and revising predictions, the theme of a story, and the author’s point of view.

Math is moving along rapidly as well. Students are, and will continue to learn many new strategies to solve multiplication problems. It is so important for your child to practice his/her math facts on a daily basis. Math will become increasingly more difficult and frustrating for your child if their math facts are not automatic. Please continue to work with your child each day. XtraMath is a great resource for this at- home practice.

In science, we are learning about electricity and magnetism. We are exploring the causes and effects of electric forces between objects, and factors that affect magnetic forces between objects.

As we move into the cooler months, please be aware of the temperature before your child leaves for school. We have outdoor recess every day unless it is raining. Students need to come to school with coat, hat, etc. depending on the weather.

It has been a great start to this new school year. We continue to see wonderful things happening in our third grade classrooms. As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, we hope that time spent with family and friends is enjoyable and relaxing.

Grade 4 News

Our fourth graders have had a great start to the new school year. They have been busy learning new routines and curriculum. In math, we began learning about place value, and over the next few weeks we will start to learn how to multiply two-digit by two-digit numbers. In order to master these concepts, it is extremely important for your child to master his or her multiplication facts. Please make sure to practice these wherever it is convenient... in the car, at the dinner table, before bed, or whatever works for your family! At this point in the school year, your child should be reading every night for 15 minutes, practicing their math facts for 15 minutes, and completing their nightly math homework.

We have started our journey into our Wonders Reading Program by establishing new routines for learning vocabulary and close reading. Within our first unit we have practiced many comprehension strategies such as making predictions, sequencing, and using text evidence to answer questions about the text. Since reading and writing go hand in hand we have been answering many different prompts in response to our readings. We have also started our narrative unit in which we are learning how to organize a friendly letter.

In science, the first topic that students have explored is Earth’s Features. We have investigated weathering, erosion, and deposition as well as explored how landscapes change.

In social studies, we have completed an overview of the United States as well as a unit about Maps. In the upcoming month we begin our study of immigration.

It has been a pleasure getting to know your children and we are excited about the year to come!

-The Fourth Grade Team

News from the Art Room

Whether or not Art is part of your child’s current schedule, every student at SWIS has been given the opportunity to work on and complete a “Fire Prevention” poster at SWIS. This project is in support of our Auburn Fire Department’s “Fire Prevention Awareness” program. All posters will be sent to the Auburn Fire Department this week. Members of the fire department will select student work that effectively promotes fire safety and prevention. Those students whose work is chosen will be recognized at a special “breakfast” ceremony held at Fire Headquarters on November 18, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.! An invitation will be sent out to those students and their families soon! Stay tuned!

News from the Reading Room

During the month of October, the Reading Team has been busy planning for our annual Literacy Month celebration. We will begin our kick-off on Friday, November 1st with the theme being “Lights, Camera, READ!” Throughout the month of November, we will be asking students and families to participate in literacy activities that build excitement around reading. On Wednesday, November 20th, we will “Roll out the Red Carpet and Read” as we share strategies and good stories during our Family Literacy Night. Please keep an eye out for more information about the event. The Reading Team looks forward to celebrating reading, writing and thinking with you soon!

Math is Everywhere!

We are in full swing at Math Academy! The students enjoy coming in the morning to reinforce the math skills they are currently learning in class. All students should be practicing their math facts at home by using flashcards or the XtraMath website. Many of our teachers assign the XtraMath website to students along with their regular homework every night. Math fact fluency will help to ensure success with the upcoming lessons for the year. Thank you for your continued support!

Grade 5 News

Welcome to Fifth Grade! It was a pleasure meeting many of you on Curriculum Night. If you were unable to attend and are in need of the information that was handed out that evening, please contact your child’s teacher. We are looking forward to helping your child become a more responsible student this year as the first steps to their middle school transition. Please make sure your child has written down all of the homework assignments in his/her planner every day. In addition to the daily assignments, we ask that your child spend at least 15 minutes reading each night. It is also important to continue practicing multiplication and division facts.

Classroom happenings:
Our mathematicians are working on division of whole numbers and beginning to add and subtract with decimals. In social studies, we are learning about early exploration. Fifth grade scientists have just completed our study of physical science and the states of matter. We will be beginning our study of Earth System soon. STEM week was a huge success. Please check our social media pages for pictures of this and other events.

Other Events:
Parent conferences were scheduled for October 29, which is a half day for students. If you did not get a chance to sign up at Curriculum Night, please contact your child’s teacher.

The field trip to Old Sturbridge Village is scheduled for Friday, November 8. If you would like to attend as a chaperone, please contact your student’s teacher.

Happy fall!
The Fifth Grade Team

Welcome to Mrs. DiMeglio’s STEM Class

All About Coding – students have completed two different programs of coding with Kodables and CodeSpark Academy. Through these programs, students learned the basics of coding skills of looping, sequence, and conditions. From these skills students developed their own game or story to share with classmates. It’s been lots of fun!

Engineering Design Process - Each grade level has begun an engineering unit that will incorporate the engineering design process and building a prototype. For third grade, students are working on the Science of Flight. We have begun talking about unbalanced and balanced forces and what make an aircraft fly. For fourth grade, we started our Energy: Collisions unit. Students are investigating potential and kinetic energy and how this will apply to their model cars in order to design a safety harness. Fifth grade has begun creating their solar power inventions based on their investigation of solar power and how we can use clean energy to reduce fossil fuel emissions. Stay tuned as we further develop or prototypes and present our final products.

Mrs. DiMeglio