Daniels Farm School Newsletter

From the desk of Mr. KUNSCHAFT for the

Month of May 2019

Printable Version -May 2019

→     From the  desk of MR. KUNSCHAFT  

Hello DFS Families,

Our students have gotten off to a fantastic start on the SBAC; they are focused and giving their personal best each day. We can clearly see their confidence and determination, which will also transfer to any challenge they face in the future. Our assessment environment remains low key with everyone agreeing to put forth their best effort. Thank you for ensuring our students come to school well rested and fueled for success!

Summer is definitely beginning to enter everyone’s consciousness, so what better time to talk about getting outdoors. Times have changed since I was a child, with kids spending much more time indoors than in the past. I can remember dreading washouts when we couldn’t get outside, and our parents had to threaten us to get in the house on time at night. My parents used a cowbell to summon us, which I promptly ignored for the first two calls. Wiffle Ball, swimming, bike riding and kick-the-can reigned supreme, along with appreciating nature and catching a firefly or two. Today, competition from electronics means parents may have to be a bit more strategic in getting children outdoors.

The differences aren’t just a trip down memory lane; there is more and more research coming to light that reinforces the importance of the outdoors and nature as a major part of our lives. This month’s Outside Magazine has a great article on NatureRx; this is the idea that spending time in nature has wide ranging positive effects. Blood pressure, stress-hormone levels, physical healing, immune-system function, self-esteem and mood all improve when we make getting outdoors a priority. The best part of all may be that it is free to step outside and become more active. Doctors are even prescribing a “nature Rx” to help with everything from obesity to anxiety to ADHD.

Spring and summer in the Northeast are prime times for each of us to design our own preventative nature Rx, so why not make it a family prescription? The link to the referenced article is https://www.outsideonline.com/2393660/ask-your-doctor-if-nature-right-you . Please give it a read and help your child develop great outdoor habits while the sun is shining!

Thank you for your support.

Together we make a difference!


Writing: We completed our unit of study, Persuasive Writing of All Kinds – Using Words to Make a Change. In this unit, students wrote pieces to make their classroom, their school, and their world a better place. This writing involved writing letters that were mailed, as well as, songs, speeches, and signs to be displayed. We encourage the correct usage of capitalization, spacing, punctuation, and correct spelling of their sight words.

Reading: The Kindergarteners have been introduced to all 65 sight words. They are actively using them in both reading and writing. Please continue to practice reading these words at home. Automaticity leads to fluency in reading. We continue to review reading strategies to use when students get to a word that they do not know. Our RAP groups continue to be a highlight of the day! The various groups are working on the skills of: CVC words, blends, digraphs, magic e, and reading comprehension.

Math: We are ending our story problem unit. You can practice this at home by telling a simple story such as: (There are 6 ladybugs on a leaf. 2 more land. How many ladybugs in all?) Ask your child to tell you with words and to explain their thinking. How did they get to their answer? The next unit develops ideas about counting, representing data, carrying out a data investigation, sorting and classifying, and using data to solve a problem. They will represent numerical data about their class and carry out their own data investigation by collecting responses to their own survey questions. Please continue to work on mastering addition and subtraction facts to 5.

Science: THE CHICK EGGS ARE HERE! This is a very exciting time in Kindergarten. We will be discussing what is happening, day to day, inside of the egg. We will be writing and drawing in journals to help us keep track of the embryo’s growth. Kindergarteners learn a lot of patience as we wait the 21 days of incubation. When the chicks hatch, we will begin our STEM unit (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) where the children will work together to determine which materials are best for creating a safe play area for the chicks. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new classmates!

Extra: Look for information regarding our ABC countdown which will start on Friday, May 10th ! Please also remember to send in the homework calendar every Friday so the children get credit for how hard


Fundations: In Fundations we are working on Unit 12. We are beginning to work with multisyllabic words. The students learning to read multisyllabic words and compound words using our closed syllable and vowel consonant e syllable rules. We are learning to read and spell words such as sunset, finish, public, and reptile. We will also learn how to add the suffixes –s, -ed, -ing, to multi-syllabic words. The students will be introduced to a new suffix, the suffix –es and learn the rules of when to use suffix –es. Each week we continue to grow our trick word vocabulary and spelling. Remember to practice your trick words every night.

Writing: In writing, students are continuing to write their own series of realistic fiction books. They are learning how to write details, using dialogue, and bringing their stories to life. Students are applying the editing and revising strategies that they have learned throughout the year. By the end of this unit, your student will have completed two to three series of books about various characters that they have created. The first grade students are showing their creativity in this unit!

Reading: In Reading, we have begun a new unit called, Meeting Characters and Learning Lessons: A Study of Story Elements. We will be learning to keep track of story events by making predictions and determine the importance to retell key details in sequence. This unit is helping us learn all we can about main and secondary characters and grow ideas about how they feel, and what the character by be saying or thinking. At the end of this unit we will try to learn and discover the life lessons characters in books are teaching us. Please make sure you are reading each night and writing it on your reading log.

Math: In Math, we are beginning Unit 8 of Investigations called Two’s, Five’s and Ten’s. The children will be learning how to add and subtract two-digit numbers. We ask that you do not teach your child the algorithm. It will confuse them more if you help them at this point in their development. We will also be working in Unit 9 of Investigations called Blocks and Boxes. Students will learn the attributes of 3-D shapes. They will also learn to draw a 3-D figure. Please remember to work on Xtra Math at home. Each child is responsible for doing Xtra math twice each week at home. Math fact fluency and memorization should be starting to happen now in first grade.

Science: In Science, we will be doing our first STEM unit based on an Agricultural Engineering Story, Marianna Becomes a Butterfly. Students will learn what engineering and technology are and what engineers do. They will employ creativity and careful thinking to solve problems through hands-on learning. Students will follow the steps of the engineering design process by designing, creating, and improving solutions to an engineering problem.

Extra: Watch backpack mail for the ABC countdown to the end of the year. Fun activities coming soon!!


Fundations: We are finishing up Unit 16 and will be continuing to Unit 17. In Unit 16, we will spell words with the double vowel teams of “au” and “aw.” We will also begin Unit 17 this month! In Unit 17, we will teach the last of the six syllable types – the consonant –le syllable (found in words like gobble, bugle). Don’t forget to continue practicing trick words at home for our weekly assessments.

Writing: In Writing, the students have finished their unit on poetry writing. This month we have started working on writing realistic fiction stories. Students will learn how to use their imagination to create a character, and use details to stretch out the problem and solution in their story. We will be focusing on elaboration.

Reading: We will be moving into a new unit on Series Book Clubs. Students will work together with a partner and eventually with a book club. They will read a number of books in the same series and discuss them. They will begin by collecting as much information as they can about the main characters, such as how do they feel and behave. They will also practice making inferences about character traits. Then students will learn to study the craft techniques of the author of their series. Nightly reading is the expectation for second-grade homework. Please remember to write this down on the Daily Reading Log and return it to school each Monday.

Math: In May, second graders will be completing Unit 6 and begin to spend time working with fractions in Investigations Unit 7: Parts of a Whole, Parts of a group. Students will work with halves, thirds and fourths of a whole and of a set, recognize equivalent fractions, and identify and name fractional parts that have numerators greater than 1. Students will continue to practice efficient strategies, and should be fluent with addition and subtraction facts to 20. Please record your child’s nightly fact practice on his/her Math Fact Practice Log and return it to school each Monday. We will continue working with time and money. Second graders must be able to tell time on an analog clock to the nearest five minutes and understand the meaning of a.m. and p.m. They should know all coins and their values and be able to count groups of coins.

Science: We are continuing our study of soil, weathering, and erosion. The children are conducting experiments using soil, rocks, water, and wind. They are recording observations, drawing and labeling diagrams, and making predictions. They are learning about different soil types and how plants and animals depend on soil. Our Field Trip to Trumbull Nature and Arts Center is May 14th and 15th.

Social Studies: During the month of May, we will continue to focus on holidays and cultural events, and current events using Time For Kids.

Extra: May is a busy month that includes many fun activities: Field Day, planning for our Annual Egg Drop., and our upcoming field trip to the Trumbull Nature Center. Students have been doing a great job on their weekly homework. Please continue to support your child as they increase their responsibility by completing their homework.


Writing: In Writing, we will continue to work using our program, the Writing Workshop from Lucy Calkins; we will begin our informational unit. Students will write about a topic of their choice. They will choose at least three subtopics and provide facts and details for each.

Reading: In Reading, we will continue to work on a variety of comprehension skills. We will review a variety of strategies and focus on making inferences and analyzing point of view and author’s purpose. We will also being a unit on character study using Lucy Calkin’s Readers’ Workshop program. Remember, third grade students should be reading a minimum of 20 minutes each day/night at home. Encourage your child to read a variety of genres. We encourage students to read nonfiction to help them with their informational writing.

Math: In Math, we will begin a unit on fractions. Students will understand parts of a whole. We will use shapes, pictures, and a number line. They will learn the vocabulary: numerator and denominator. *Please make sure your child can tell time on an analog clock.

Science: In Science, we will use part of our new curriculum and learn about traits.

Social Studies: Because third grade shares books on our social studies topics, we all cover the same information – just at different times. Topics include forests, deserts, mountains, prairies, and oceans.


Writing: Fourth graders began a new Units of Study/Writing, focusing on Informational Writing. Students will use articles from the reading unit and several websites about Ellis Island and immigration as resources to gather information and take notes on different topics related to Immigration to the U.S. Writers are acting as teachers to instruct their audience about their big and small topic. For example, a writer’s big topic may focus on Immigration to the U.S. The small topic can focus on Ellis Island, reasons immigrants came to the U.S., a day in the life of an immigrant or struggles immigrants faced. In addition to a big and small topic, writers will create an informational book with a table of contents, narrative story, text features, and glossary.

Reading: Students embark on a new reading unit called Historical Fiction Book Clubs. Students continue to strengthen their reading skills by developing ideas about characters, identifying themes, comparing and contrasting texts, and talking and writing about their reading. Yet, the texts become increasingly complex. Stories often tell of a young person struggling towards social injustice. Readers also need to be mindful of the story’s timeline and how their timeline intersects. This is an engaging unit for students as they read and share their thoughts with their book discussion groups.

Math: Students moved from a unit on multiplication and division into Unit 2-Describing the Shape of Data. This unit develops the idea about collecting, representing, describing and interpreting data. First students learn about different types of graphs and understanding the data presented. They describe the values that are typical and atypical in a data set. They also determine the range, median, mode, outliers and learn to describe and analyze the data. Then students carry out their own data investigations by developing questions that involve collecting numerical data and comparing 2 groups. They use the data to create a graph that best represents a comparison of data. Finally, they present their graph projects to their class. Our last In-district Math Assessment will be administered the last week of May.

Science: Students have moved into the final unit of study this year – Plants! In the first part of the unit, students will observe what all plants have in common, and distinguish the difference between monocot and dicot plants. All students will plant seeds in the classroom and chart the growth of the plant! Group activities in the classroom will allow students to observe/explore different types of seed and plants.

Social Studies: In the month of May, the 4th graders will continue their study of the Southeast with a focus on how geography and climate have affected farming on the Coastal Plain. They began with the economy and culture of the Southeast’s coastal plain. They are learning about the importance of agriculture and other industries in that region and how they have helped that region to grow. Finally, they will learn about how the geography affects the people who live on the Gulf coast and different islands off the Southeast coast.

Students will be visiting the State Capital in Hartford on Friday, May 17. More information to follow about that field trip.


Writing: In writing, students will be using their Social Studies research on the American Revolution to develop a piece. Students will choose an important event, summarize it, and use those facts to develop a narrative passage told from the point of view of one of the major figures in that historical occurrence.

Reading: Students are actively engaged in Unit 4: Fantasy Book Clubs. They will be examining the role of setting, multiple plotlines, and common themes found in fantasy. Each student will deepen their thoughts thinking about symbolism, allusion, and craft.

Math: In math, students are continuing their study of geometry and measurement by finding the perimeter and area of rectangles. They will examine how changing dimensions of length and width will impact each.

Science: Students have moved into the Light Energy unit. In this unit, students are working through centers in the Lens and Mirrors portion of the unit, learning about refraction and reflection of light. They also will learn about the structure and function of the parts of the eye.

Social Studies: Students are involved in a unit on the American Revolution. They have begun with a study of the causes, and are analyzing the impact of each of these events. Students are researching and taking notes, which will be used during the Writer’s Workshop period for the final product.


This April, 87 students in grades 3-5 competed in the Noetic Learning Math Contest. Noetic Learning Math Contest is a national elementary math problem solving contest. The goal of the competition is to encourage students' interest in math, to develop their problem solving skills, and to inspire them to excel in math. It was a tough contest this year; cut scores for Honor Roll were 85% for grade 3 and 90% for grades 4 & 5! These problems are extremely challenging, so that is an extremely difficult score to achieve.

• The following students are the DFS team winners with the highest score in their grade level:

 3rd Grade Team Winner: Dylan Creutzmann

 4th Grade Team Winner: Vivian Zhong

 5th Grade Team Winner: Zeynep Erdil, Katie Murano (tie)

• The following students won the National Honor Roll title. This title is awarded to the top 10% of participating mathletes in each grade level.

 Grade 3: Dylan Creutzmann, Nathan Record, Mete Erdil, Stephanie Jiang

 Grade 4: Vivian Zhong

 Grade 5: Zeynep Erdil, Katie Murano, Taegan Badja, Dominic Proscino

• The following students received National Honorable Mention. This title is awarded to approximately the top 50% of participating mathletes.

 3rd Graders: Rudrh Qasba, Piper Khamvonga, Alexandra Yamka, Mason Natale-Svelnys, Zoe Miller, Dylan Shaw, Thomas Simon, Gaayathri Nalajala, Roman Kuczynski, Michael Capizutto, Luke Caracciolo, Anna Shkolnik

 4th Graders: Lena Echer, Connor Shiel, Ryan Rastgar Agah, CJ Slaughter, Brody McGee, Ria Beri, Henry Lazowski, Sofia Rossi, Varick Yamka, Brayden Presiozo, Emily Hall, Brendan Natlo, Askvik Ruttala, Matthew Suriani

 5th Graders: Neil Mehta, Charlotte Record, Natalie Kehley, Zachary Barron, Danny Capizzuto, Matthew Powell, Cait Welch, Miguel Lamour, Brynn Wadhams, Griffin Delmhorst, Ryan Pellicone, Graham Gilmore

• Student results will be available online by May 3, at: http://www.noetic-learning.com/mathcontest/results.jsp

Congratulations to all the winners! The contest results demonstrate our students’ great problem solving skills and math talents. They also show that our students can rise to the occasion and meet the challenge.

Congratulations also to our students in grades 2-5 who chose to participate in Noetic’s online Challenge Math program this year and have completed all 40 assignments! Anyone who has not yet finished has until May 31 to complete the problems.

→ ___ ART

Kindergarten friends completed their study on Eric Carle. They created a series of painted papers using different brushstrokes and popsicle sticks in order to create texture. We read, “The Tiny Seed” and used templates to create our own flower collage. This project focused on line, shape, space, texture, and color. Kindergarten friends are currently working on a mixed media fish project, which includes printmaking and weaving.

First grade friends created clay pinch pots; a lesson on form. When dry they were painted, mod podge was added for some shine, and students used beads and pipe cleaners to form a handle and turn them into tiny baskets.

Second grade friends learned about Van Gogh. They studied his use of brushstrokes, swirls, and spirals in “The Starry Night”, and “Wheatfield With Crows”. They used craypas and watercolor to create their own version of “Wheatfield With Crows”. Students incorporated some of the moving lines seen in “Starry Night” as well. This lesson focused on line, shape, space, texture, value, movement, and variety.

Third grade friends continue to rotate through multiple projects including clay frogs formed from pinch pots, Jim Dine embossed hearts which consist of hearts embossed onto aluminum with various lines and shapes to add texture, and finally, their Henri Rousseau tiger collages. These tiger collages are a multimedia project where students created textured painted papers and are using them to create a collage that focuses on the elements of line, shape, texture, space, pattern, and color.

Fourth grade friends are rotating through multiple projects as well. Some students are finishing up their clay slab birds, a project which focuses creating a piece from a slab of clay and using the slip and score method to attach them. We added texture by pressing texture stamps into the birds. Others are finishing up their Dean Rousseau projects, which focus on drawing an elephant and using analagous colors and a series of lines and shapes to adorn them with. Finally, others are finishing their Winslow Homer projects where they painted a series of textured paper and origami boats in order to create these collages which focus on shape, line, texture, space, pattern, and color.

My fifth grade friends are finishing up their woven Ojo Dios and beginning to create clay coil pots. This lesson focuses on 3D shapes. The students learned how to create spheres, coils and spirals and were given the freedom to use a combination of them to create a unique pot.

We hope you enjoy our April creations as much as we enjoyed making them!

→ ___ MUSIC

Kindergarten: Students will dance steps to “Oats and Beans and Barley”! They will sequence the steps to the music, also a singing game with partners. They will also learn to sing and move to a song “Each of us is a Flower”, perfect for spring.

Grade 1: A classic song the “Hokey Pokey” will be featured this month. Students will learn about musical variations and of course the dance to this song. Additionally they will learn to play an instrument called the Guiro (fish) which has a scraping or tapping sound to a fun song about going fishing

Grade 2: This month student will learn about time signature and counting in measures. They will play classroom instruments and follow a score that shows which instrument will play on specific beats. Additionally musical families will be introduced, instruments of the string, woodwind, brass and percussion will be through a song “Let’s Make Some Music Today”.

Grade 3: After finishing recorder lessons, students will bet back to singing and playing classroom instruments. This month of May will focus on cumulative songs such as “Fiddle I Fee” and “The Green Grass Grew All Around”

Grade 4: After finishing up recorder lessons in early May, they will get back to singing and playing on classroom instruments especially the xylophones and barred melody instruments

Grade 5: Fifth grade students will play piano keyboards during this month of May. They will work on finding the notes of C D E F G A B C on the keys and playing simple tunes. The spring concert is scheduled for two performances: Band, String and Chorus students will perform an in-school concert on May 9, and the concerts for families will be at Madison Middle School May 13, in the evening.


Kindergarten - Fifth Grade: Golf Unit using The First Tee program. The First Tee National School Program provides elementary schools with a program designed to introduce students to golf, Core Values and Healthy Habits through Physical Education. The goal of the program is to use activity-based learning to provide students with the knowledge, understanding, support and opportunity to practice basic golf while adopting life-enhancing behaviors in physical education and also empowering them to extend these behaviors to their school, home, and community lives. All grades will learn how to hold a properly hold a golf club and execute various swinging motions (Putting, Chipping, Pitching, and Full Swings).


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month - Please cut out and use the bookmarks below!!

better hearing and speech Month bookmarks.png


The Learning Commons has had one of the busiest months of the entire school year. In the technology department, Mrs. Windsor has worked with all grade levels on coding. Kindergarten and first grade have used Code.org to learn the basics of computer coding; including coding vocabulary such as giving commands, etc. Mrs. Ferraro continued this practice in the Learning Commons during makerspace where the children worked with coding mice to give commands to get through a maze. Second grade worked on publishing poems for poetry month on Google docs and were able to add in photos to their documents to enhance their pieces. Third and fourth grades also worked on coding to go along with their geometric shapes unit in math, using Scratch.

With Mrs. Ferraro, kindergarteners are reading non-fiction books and practicing becoming expert observers of their text features in preparation for their non-fiction unit in reading and writing. First graders read about our earth in celebration of Earth Day and are moving into an interactive lesson where they will take a trip to the islands to obtain more prior knowledge for their next unit in science. Second graders read about the Plastic Project that took place in Gambia as an appreciation for Earth Day, while third graders learned different ways to help our planet each and every day. Fourth and fifth graders have worked hard to wrap up their projects that they have worked on for several weeks. All fourth grade classes were paired with kindergarten classes to host their Force and Motion Simple Machine carnival. They created these games from recycled materials after learning about simple machines in the classroom and the Learning Commons. All of the kids loved this event! Finally, our graduating fifth graders did a project for our first graders to leave their mark. Fifth graders read several books about being empathetic and went on to create their own skits and scripts to demonstrate empathy to our younger students. They are so excited to share this with the DFS community before they leave this school.

Finally- the contest is ON!! The last day of library with Mrs. Ferraro is May 31. There will be a schoolwide competition to see which grade level will get their books back first. The first grade level to be at 100% will earn a 45 minute maker space block! Let’s see which grade level can win this challenge.

FOR EVERYONE: Please help your child remember to return books to the library on their Library Day. Thank you!


Have you heard of executive functioning? These are the skills that we all use every day to accomplish just about everything. They help us plan, organize, make decisions, shift between situations or thoughts, control our emotions and impulsivity, and learn from past mistakes. Kids rely on their executive functions for everything from taking a shower to packing a backpack. Children who have poor executive functioning are more disorganized than other kids and this can impact their day both at school and at home. There are things you can do to help your child develop these skills.

• Checklists: The steps necessary for completing a task often aren’t obvious to kids with executive dysfunction, and defining them clearly ahead of time makes a task more achievable. You can make checklists for anything from getting ready for bed to completing homework.

• Set time limits: When making a checklist, many educational therapists also recommend assigning a time limit for each step, particularly if it is a bigger, longer-term project or breaking down different kinds of homework assignments to get kids used to the steps required—and how long they might take.

• Use a planner: Educational specialists also highlight the importance of using a planner. Most schools require students to use a planner, but some kids need more reminders about filling them out and how to fill them out. Your child may need you to check the planner at home and even to offer incentives for filling it out fully. This is an essential habit for kids to develop in elementary school because they will be even more important in middle and high school.

• Spell out the rationale: While a child is learning new skills, it is essential that he or she understand the rationale behind them or things like planning might feel like a waste of time.

• Establish a routine: This is particularly important for older kids, who typically struggle more to get started with their homework. Educational specialists recommend starting homework at the same time every day. Expect some resistance from older kids, who often prefer to wait until they feel like doing their work. It is important to start these routines and habits at an early age to set your child up for success.


MANDATORY PHYSICALS (Health Assessments) for 3rd Grade: In accordance with State of CT statutes, and Trumbull Board of Education (BOE) policy on Physical Health Assessment, all pupils are required to have a current Physical Health Assessment when entering Trumbull Public Schools (TPS) and Trumbull private school, and also in grades 3, 6, and 9. Letters were sent home in January and the beginning of April to remind any parent who has not yet submitted a 3rd grade physical for their student. Physicals for 3rd grade students must be performed anytime between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019. If your child has had a physical please have your child’s health care provider complete the State of CT Health Assessment Record (link below), and submit the blue form to the school nurse as soon as possible.

State of CT Health Assessment Record:


IMPORTANT: Due to poor compliance with this requirement in previous years, the Superintendent of TPS has instructed school principals to exclude from school any student who is not in compliance by June 1, 2019. Students found to be out of compliance will be excluded effective June2, 2019, and may resume membership in TPS when they have met the mandated requirement. Please be sure to make copies of your child’s health assessment for TLC, summer camps and programs, etc.


VISION REFERRALS: Vision Screenings, mandated by the State of CT and TPS policy, were performed in October of 2018. On October 29, 2018 parents of any student who required further evaluation of their vision received a letter, which included the results of the screening and a referral form to be completed by an eye care practitioner. During the first week of March a reminder letter was sent to any parent who has not yet submitted a response to this referral. If you were the recipient of this reminder letter, please respond promptly. In most cases the students who were referred are already receiving some form of treatment, so it is simply a matter of having your child’s eye care practitioner complete the form that was sent to you.

Thank you for your cooperation and prompt attention to meeting these requirements.

Happy Mother’s Day!