Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 12, 2017

Nǐ hǎo Quashnet School Community,
Our visitors have arrived!  It was a very beautiful sight on Wednesday evening to see 24 curious exchange students arrive with their luggage to meet a group of welcoming host families to bring them home for the week. As you can imagine, some of the Chinese students were a little homesick and exhausted having just traveled approximately 6,781 miles, experiencing a 13 hour time difference, and having limited English. But in short time, smiles were broad and sign language took over. On Friday, all of the exchange students shadowed their Quashnet host sibling for a half a day.  Hopefully, your child was able to interact during class, at indoor recess, or in the cafe. One of the things we discovered is that our Chinese students do not like cold drinks. Milk and water are preferred hot or at room temperature.  One of the two principals shared with sixth graders that between every subject their students have a 10 minute recess break as well as a longer recess of 20 minutes.  Our sixth graders loved that idea until they heard school was in session until 4:00 PM. Interestingly enough, their school start time is the same as ours at 8:00 AM.  Working in collaborative groups is not as common in Beijing as in Quashnet. Having 40 to 60 students in a classroom, they are seated in rows with one teacher.  Our class ration of 20:1 was very surprising to the teachers and principals alike. One of the teachers on the trip is an art teacher.  She will be working with Mrs. Richards, our art teacher, on Monday (hopefully!) to teach two classes a style of Chinese painting. She brought all the materials from Beijing. Mrs. Richards will then be able to share the technique with the other classes.

Cultural exchange programs broaden the understandings of both groups.  This has been an opportunity for our students to ask questions and learn.  Some of those questions are not politically correct, but that is the beauty of childhood - it is okay! This is a learning opportunity that illustrates differences are good and do not have to be threatening or wrong. This experience also allows us to see how alike we really are! I sincerely thank all the host families for allowing all of us this opportunity. The group is planning on leaving for New York City Tuesday morning.

STEAM NIGHT - Unfortunately, STEAM Night was postponed due to the storm.  It has been RESCHEDULED for Tuesday, FEBRUARY 28th 6:00-7:30 PM - mark your calendars! Teachers have prepared many great activities for students and families.  Brandy and Matt Jackson of   Mobile Makerspace will be here with their STEM kits and robotics for sale from Edutopia.  Come bring the family and have some fun!  Students must be accompanied by an adult.

The Quashnet Unified Special Olympic Basketball Team finished their season strong today in tournament play at Tabor Academy.  Congratulations Team! Thank you Ms. Murray, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and all the other coaches and parents for their support, dedication, and hard work.

Congratulations to the All State Treble Chorus participants, Maya Brainson, Charlie Jenkins, Sarah Landry, Maria MacDonald, Mackenzie O'Sullivan, Alyssa Whalen and Taylor Wilman and Ms. Sherman for representing Quashnet School so well.  Good luck in your concert on March 11th in Boston - I know you will all be outstanding!

The week before vacation is a busy one in school.  Teachers are working on wrapping up instructional units or chapters and completing assessments before break.  With the weather forecast, lessons and assessments could be even more condensed.  Please keep in mind that Attendance Matters!  Only 5 days until vacation - make them count!

What are your vacation plans? If you are staying home, the Mashpee Public Library is a great resource in our community. Be sure to stop in over break for one of their special events or reserve museum passes for a great family outing. Check out the link for a schedule:  Mashpee Library Calendar of Events.

Service Dog Update:  We have a dilemma! Can you believe your amazing children have donated over 12,000 right choice ticket to the service dog project in just a couple weeks!  Now that is GREAT news, but the dilemma is we don't have that much money collected yet to match their donations.  We are currently close to $7,000.  Our student council along with Mrs. Emery and Mrs. Johnson are working on how to address this dilemma, and maybe you can help.  All donations are tax deductible and can be made payable directly to Heroes in Transition.  Any denomination will help! Perhaps your employer will match donations?  If you have any questions or ideas to help, please call Mrs. Emery at 508-539-1550 x4100.  Thank you for your consideration.

There will be no blog next Sunday - you will hear from me again on February 26th!

Wishing you all a productive week ahead!
Mrs. O'Brien

PS - When there is a snow day we DO NOT skip that day in the cycle rotation.  Thursday was a Day 3, there was a snow day, so Friday became a  Day 3.  This Monday is Day 4! 

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