March 4, 2018

What's in a story? Much-beloved Vermont storyteller Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, author of dozens of children's books, met on Friday with students in Grades 3, 4 and 5. Here's some of their exchange, interspersed with questions I asked Natalie afterwards as she autographed books in the library.

How old were you when you started writing?

As soon as I could hold a pencil!  My mother said I was born loving the animals and the books on our farm in the Northeast Kingdom.  She read to my brother Leland and me every night.  My favorites then and now are the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  She didn’t write these until her 60s when she realized her own family stories were too good to be forgotten.

What was the purpose of your visit today?

My goal always is to encourage students to find their own family stories and write these down in any form that makes sense--fiction, non-fiction, poetry. I showed students published books written by 6 and 8 year olds, stories told to them by grandparents.  Many of the stories I’ve written were not ones being handed down through my family.  I had to discover them myself.  One was an amazing Civil War story involving the steamboat Sultana, a worse ship disaster than the Titanic.  My great-great-grandfather was a survivor.  I encourage kids to talk to their grandparents and great grandparents.  Find old journals, letters and photographs.  Learn your own family stories, then start writing.

Was there anything in particular that struck you today about Ray kids?

They asked good questions and were vying to tell stories too.  I could tell they were aware and listening carefully.  For instance, students caught all the nuances when I described my book True Colors about a baby girl who in 1926 was discovered by a mailman, stuffed in a mailbox. She weighed just three pounds. The mailman put her in the warming oven of a wood cook stove and she survived. I knew this woman, she was a member of my church.

When you’re not writing, what else do you love to do?

I play the bagpipes, a much maligned instrument along with the accordion and banjo!  I also rescue animals. Right now we have 2 horses, 10 dogs and 17 cats, all rescues.


Science Night at the Montshire!  Thursday, 3/22, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The Montshire Museum of Science invites Ray School families to an evening open house to celebrate science and our partnership with the Montshire! As a member of the Museum’s School Partnership Initiative, we’re excited to have the Montshire all to ourselves for this special event. Drop in anytime between 5:30-7:30 p.m. for a chance to explore the Museum and meet members of the Montshire staff who are collaborating with our faculty. Many Ray teachers will also be on hand. Free admission to all Museum exhibits. We hope to see you there!

Hop START Collaboration: "Out-of-the-Desk Thinking"

Dartmouth's Hop START (Students Teaching in the Arts) program matches Dartmouth student volunteers with local 1st-8th grade classrooms.  Over the course of six visits, volunteers craft and deliver original arts integration activities--visual arts, song, dance, theatre--to enhance the ongoing curriculum and bring learning to creative life.  Dartmouth seniors Daniel Moder and Emily Carr just wrapped up visits in Mr. Scribner's Grade 4 class where they designed theater and drawing lessons focusing on kindness, fairness and citizenship, Ray Character Traits of the Month.  Sessions started with a group "shake out," physical activities and improvisation warm-ups to get children comfortable with acting. In the final showcase, students improvised skits to solve a daily real-world problem: sharing black top space at recess.  Mr. Scribner absolutely plans to have HopSTART back again and noted a new level of student discourse around citizenship. Can I make a difference?  Am I being fair?  How can I treat people equally? Mr. Scribner notes children carrying over questions like these into their studies and their social interactions.  

Grade 6 Enrollment

For current Ray 5th grade families: To start the enrollment process for Richmond Middle School, please complete the “Grade 6 Foreign Language and Music Request Form” located on the RMS website: Enrollment Materials. Please complete the form by Monday, March 26. Questions? Email Associate Principal Amanda Yates: amandayates@hanovernorwichschools.org

Reprise: What's in a Story?
“Write a story about yourself in six words.”  This was the challenge Karen Wilson posed to her 2nd graders last Friday.  The assignment sprang from their reading of Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan in which so much gets said--often in few words.  Here’s a sampling of students' six-word memoirs... |  I wish you were still here | My shoelaces are my worst enemy | I love her, she loves me | Being the middle child isn’t fun | I choose helping others before me | I always will be an oddball | Got two really funny little kittens | We had to sell my rabbit | My cousin is now leukemia free | When I win, I feel amazing | My cat’s purring makes me happy | Her spirit is always with me | I bring joy to my family

Antarctica Comes to Grade 3

Right before February break, Polar Researcher Zoe Courville and Physical Scientist Eli Deeb from CRREL (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory) visited the Ray School to teach two 3rd grade classes about their research in Antartica.  They brought samples of Antarctic ice, involved students in hands-on geography activities, and shared personal stories, photos and videos of travels to the polar continent.  This visit was an educational finale to the 3rd grade Antarctica unit.

Passport to Winter Fun: March 14 Deadline

The Passport to Winter Fun program is almost over! All students who complete 30 days of the Passport will receive a Polar Bear Achiever Prize and be entered into a Grand Prize Raffle, a chance to win snowshoes, ski passes, an ipod, and more. To be entered, make sure to fill in the back flap of your passport and hand it in to your Physical Education teacher by March 14th.

Make A Plate!  Tuesday, March 20

Join us in the Multi on Tuesday, March 20 from 2:45-5:15 p.m. to create an original design to be transferred into a melamine keepsake plate.  Please fill out and return your registration form (click to open and download) to your child’s classroom teacher by Friday March 9th.  Pre-registration is preferred.  If you know in advance that your child will be unable to attend Make A Plate, please contact Teal Parker at parkeraxt@gmail.com as soon as possible to discuss alternate arrangements. We want everyone to have the opportunity to participate!

Haven Helpers

Fifth graders have been Haven Helpers for the month of February.  One of our Student Leaders purchased a trophy to be awarded to the class that collects the most cereal.  The winner will be announced on Monday.  The trophy will then travel to Grade 2 for the next challenge.  Fifth graders also contemplated the meaning of Maddi’s Fridge, a story by Lois Brandt about what it’s like to live without enough food and money.  

Lost and Found
Check out the Lost and Found for lost mittens, hats, jackets and boots!  Due to the short month of February, items won't be donated until mid-week next week.

Community Events/Interests

(1) Hanover High School Music Performance:  March 6 and 7

The Hanover High School Music Department presents Dan Forrest's transcendent "Requiem for the Living" in a combined performance with the HHS Chorus, Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble and guest musicians.  March 6 and 77pm in the HHS Auditorium.  Admission by donation.  Concert length approximately 1 hour.  Appropriate for ages 7 and up.

(2) Howe Library:  Howel Classic Mini-Golf Extravaganza (for Adults)
19th Hole Party:  Saturday, March 17    7:00pm - 10:00pm.  Enjoy a unique evening out.  $60 includes 18 holes of indoor mini-golf, tasty hors d’oeuvres , selection of wines and beers, live music, fabulous door prizes 

(3) Achieving 100% Renewables: First Steps   
Do you wonder what's happened since Hanover residents voted overwhelmingly to transition to 100% renewable energy at Town Meeting last May? You are invited to a community discussion on Wednesday, March 28 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the RW Black Community Center.  Find out what first steps have taken place over the past 10 months to reduce costs, lower our energy footprint, and transition to renewables. There's momentum gathering in every sector of our community. Bring your ideas and experiences. Meet the members of the Sustainable Hanover Energy Subcommittee whose charge is to support, encourage and measure progress towards our goal to transition to 100% renewable energy.  Learn about the Community Solar zoning ordinance being prepared for voter approval at this May's Town Meeting.

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