winter snow image  has arrived! While we've seen a mild start to winter this year, I'm sure we all remember well that it can still pack a mighty punch, even when it begins late. The lack of snow on the ground has made it a bit hard to believe we are halfway through the school year. This has certainly been a very busy and enriching year so far. 
Students have been on some fantastic field trips and have had high quality programs at Alden to bring learning to life. Third graders have had visitors at Alden to deepen their understanding of the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims. They are in the midst of field trips out to Plimoth Plantation. Fourth grade has been to the Manomet Bird Sanctuary, and are looking forward to having Museum of Science presenters visit to bring electricity and energy to life. In fifth grade, we had a wonderful day at Camp Wing, are looking forward to the Bay Colony Educators' visit in March, and soon to come are the visits from the Museum of Science. Some field trips and programs are still in the development phase as well. 
We have enjoyed wonderful all-school opportunities such as the Global Read Aloud and the Hour of Code, as well as a few other team-based Skyping and PBL opportunities. Thank you for continuing to encourage your child to spend time each night on their math facts and reading.
 The K-5 Science Fair is coming up. Online registration will be open for three weeks after February vacation. Watch this page and Mrs. Whitaker's news updates for links to the science fair resource page and online registration as they become available. 
Finally, we are eagerly awaiting Grade Four and Five Celebrations of Learning and Author in Residence visits for all grades. See dates below.
Here's to longer daylight and a quick onset of spring temperatures so that we can get outside each day to enjoy the sunshine! 
Upcoming dates:
Feb 2:Grade 5 Celebration of Learning
 Feb 3:Early Release at 10:35 PD for teachers
 Feb 7: NAEP testing for selected grade 4 students
 Feb 15: Grade 5 Museum of Science visits
 Feb 16:  Grade 4 Celebration of Learning 6 pm
 Feb 20-24 School Vacation Week
 February 27 - March 11: Science Fair registration open
 March 10:    Term 2 ends and Family Bingo Night
 March 14:  Grade 4 Author in Residence
 March 24:Report Cards post to Parent Portal
 April 1:  Science Fair
 April 3: Grade 5 Author in Residence
 May 26:  Whole School Author in Residenc

Around Alden 

Alden School will be a very busy place this year! We are excited about embarking on the adventure of implementing our new math program, enVisions 2.0. Sometimes you wonder what a day in the life of an Alden student might look like. If you walked from classroom to classroom at Alden, it would look something like this:
  • First thing in the morning, you would hear different children daily leading our school in the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom system followed by Mr. E congratulating students who earned Dragon Deeds for choosing respectful and responsible actions in recent days. Don't be surprised if a child holds the door open for you, offers to carry something for you, or simply greets you with a smile and a hello because these are all behaviors recognized and appreciated here at Alden.
dragon deed

  • As you round the corner of the classroom wing, you would see some students engaged in Morning Meeting activities that build classroom climate and start everyone's day on a positive note. Some classes would be engaged in Calendar Math, which is a daily activity in which students look at one number in a multitude of different mathematical ways, keeping concepts and calculations fresh in their mind all year. In still other classes, you might see students logging into 30Hands on a laptop to take a spelling pre-test, check their Wired Wednesday math homework, or blog about the reading they did last night.
calendar math
  • Now that the day is in full swing, you will likely see math or ELA lessons. You will know it's a math or ELA lesson because children are working in small groups with a teacher at the teaching table or at their seats with a partner or small group. This is because the teacher has had a chance to differentiate today's lesson based on the data he or she collected from your child's work yesterday and from our universal math and literacy screening in September. Teachers have been working hard to evaluate and respond to all the new data we have to inform instruction. You will see students eagerly learning and engaged in inquiry-based math and rigorous problem solving, practicing "productive struggle". You will likely notice that all students are working with a common math vocabulary and are engaged in explaining and evaluating their thinking and problem-solving.
  • While in ELA classes, you will notice students using the language and graphic organizers of Empowering Writers: the narrative diamond and the expository and persuasive/opinion pillars. We are happy to have resources that give us common language for our writing prompts. You will also notice an increase in the use of non-fiction and the thorough way we are teaching students to use close reading strategies and provide evidence for their answers. Gone are the days of memorizing algorithms in math that we don't really understand or writing answers to comprehension questions without analyzing the text and informing answers from it.
center work
  • Some children will be in specials: art, Spanish, music, PE, or library. You will realize quickly that these classes look nothing like specials from your elementary days. In art for example, you might see the students taking a virtual field trip through a live webinar with an art museum curator, engaged in two-way conversation about how the pieces of art tie into the historical events of the time period they are studying in social studies. In PE students are learning the importance of being Fit for Life and proper nutrition. It may look like they are running around in the gym or swimming laps in the pool, but they are really working on team-building skills, understanding the physical mechanics behind a proper stroke, and the importance of proper breathing and monitoring heart rate during exercise. In Spanish, students might be engaged in conversation with a visiting dance troupe of foreign exchange students; learning about the differences in their education and culture or carrying out conversations with one another in Spanish. In music, they are having opportunities to play a variety of instruments and through technology begin to understand the elements involved in composing music. In library, they are checking out new books, learning how to use the technology to select appropriate, interesting texts, getting their passport maps checked, or building background for a classroom research project.
museum  museum 2
  • Finally, science and social studies classes are what's happening daily in still other classrooms you pass by. You will know you've passed a science class because you can hear the buzz of a class involved in hands on science or STEM explorations; they might be testing the strength or stability of their bridge, inventing a hand-pollinator for their plants, or designing suitable lighting for an ancient tomb with a series of mirrors. If the class is missing, you might check out the window to see if they are in the butterfly garden or out at the Outdoor Learning Area collecting invertebrates, leaves, or studying the water cycle or soil. If you can't find them there, check in the team areas to see if they are enjoying a visit from a community expert in beekeeping, soil analysis, entrepreneurship, electricity, engineering, simple machines, building planning, authoring, illustrating ....well you certainly get the idea by now that there is almost always a visitor here consulting with some group of students or another as they embark on Project Based Learning opportunities and get to pick the brain of or present their work to a real scientist, mathematician, writer, or historian.  A social studies class might be designing a walking tour of historical monuments in Boston or creating presentations about one of the U.S. states. Maybe you are lucky enough to be here on a day when the Plimoth Plantation Interpreters are visiting third grade or the Bay Colony Educators are with our fifth graders!
science bridge
  • Throughout the day, you will notice that there are always laptops and ipads in the hands of students. Every team of 2 teachers shares a laptop cart all day and use it continually. Our math program is an online program so your child will often be working to solve math problems and explain their reasoning online. We also enjoy a handful of iPads on each team for creative expression and collaboration. In addition, you might see a group in the computer lab on the desktop computers. Often times, you will find the students in the team area or even in the hallways in pairs with an ipad. They have moved to a quieter spot away from their class so that they can record their movie, project, record themselves reciting a poem or working out a video recorded math problem to show the class later how they solved it. They might also be using the ipads and computers to track their reading and math fluency, happy with their progress because they've been practicing at home each night and working on it sometimes in math or reading centers in class. They don't even realize they are not simply having fun with the games that improve these skills. You also might see students on a typing tutor program or having a cursive writing lesson in class.
Well, if your brain feels full just from reading this, research shows us that means that it's growing. Now you may have a clearer understanding of why they sleep so well at night!!
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photo of Ritamarie Benoit  
 Ritamarie Benoit
Curriculum Supervisor, Alden School
Alden School - 781-934-7639
The subject specific Curriculum Maps can be viewed at the
Duxbury Public Schools Curriculum Home page.
If you are having trouble accessing your child's report card on the Aspen Portal
If you know your Log in ID, but don't remember your password: On the login page, enter your user ID and then click the link "forgot my password". It will take you through the steps of changing your password. You will need to know the email address you used when signing into the portal the first time. It should be the email you would normally give the school to contact you. Once you've reset the password you can go back to the log in page and sign in. If you have never gone through the process of setting up your password for some reason, none of this will work and you will need to come to Alden School front office with your driver's license. Miriam can set you up with your password at that time. 
If you do not know your login ID, the typical pattern is your first initial, last name, no capitals, no spaces example: rbenoit
If you have the same name as someone else in the district, you may have a number after your name like 2 or 3.
If these directions do not help, you must come into the Alden front office and see Miriam Harriman with your driver's license. She cannot help you access your account if you do not have your license for security purposes. Even though she may recognize you, this is a district policy for the safety of your children.
Please do not contact the technology department for help with passwords. We are managing this at the building level.