March 18, 2018

        What a difference a pause makes. 
        Last Wednesday at exactly 10AM, 2nd grader Amelia McGinnis announced school-wide over the intercom:  "It's time to pause for peace and care.  Take good care of each other."  
        The building paused, took a deep collective breath and, in a myriad of ways, children and adults summoned the intention to bring peace to the world.
        Back in Amelia's homeroom, Mrs. Stone directed students, sitting in a circle on the gathering rug, to "see your 'happy place,' a place in the world where you feel happy, safe and peaceful.  Put your body in a peaceful pose that represents how you feel in this place."  Students quietly moved into different positions.  Some lay supine, others curled into comfortable balls, one boy spread his arms wide.  I wouldn't have been surprised by (age-appropriate) giggling, but you could hear a pin drop. 
        "Who'd like tell us about your peaceful pose and place?" Mrs. Stone asked.  
        I pictured myself as a bird in my backyard...  I'm swimming in my grandma's pool...  I'm with my cousin near the ocean...  I'm high up on a cliff where I can see everything...  I'm walking in a forest with gentle animals all around me...  I'm with my family watching a funny movie...  I'm in a secret garden...  
         The room was calm and filled with a sense of expansiveness.  Children were "being peace."  Basic neuroscience:  our nervous systems respond not only to external circumstances, but also to whatever we imagine, real or not.  The fight-flight-or-freeze stress response can be triggered by our own thoughts, as can the "relaxation response."  Without using this term, Mrs. Stone empowered her students with a skillful way to use their minds (mindfulness) to feel more at home in the world, to extend peace to others and, as a side effect, to settle more deeply into their learning.  Click here to learn more about the relaxation response, a term and practice defined by Dr. Herbert Benson of Mass General Hospital.  Here's a video narrated by Dr. Benson that walks you through the basics of this technique.  Sometimes a pause is all it takes. 

Drop-Off Circle:  Drop Offs Only
With peace and care in mind...  We will be posting signage outside to remind all drivers that the Traffic Circle is for dropping off only.  Do not exit cars to help children get belongings from the trunk.  Do not exit cars to give your children a final hug (we're all for hugging, but please do so at home).  Do not exit your car to watch your child walk the final steps into school.  If you want to do any of the aforementioned, park your car in the lot and safely exit your car from a static spot.  Children should be the only people exiting cars in the drop-off circle -- and stepping straight up onto the sidewalk.  We've had several very close calls these past two weeks:  both drivers and children have put themselves at risk of being hit and hurt.  Please honor our obligations as members of the Ray community to look out of each others' safety.  Take pride in "being peace" and practicing care, our Character Trait of the Month.  Thank you, all!

Math Celebration
Nearly 200 mathematicians, kids and grown-ups both, played with numbers on Wednesday evening at our annual Family Math Night.  Hands-on games and flexible thinking were everywhere evident, along with artistic flair as children created tessellations based on the art of MC Escher.  The Candy Jar, a perennial favorite, was stuffed with 352 pieces of candy.  The first place estimate of 350 was placed by Vihaan Madhavan's dad from Mrs. Whaley's class.  Ben Hourdequin from Ms. Sexton's class came in second with an estimated 349.  These two classes split the candy evenly.  2nd grader Paco Souther placed third with an estimation of 345.  No candy, but lots of cheers, Paco! Our sincere gratitude to all of the teachers and parents who lent a hand to make Math Night a grand success.  If you'd like to continue playing with math at home, you can find Paper Clip Products, Prime Time, Fraction Track and other games by clicking here. (Thanks to Bob Stone for this game library.)  You might also enjoy this 12 minute video for teachers and parents in which Jo Boaler, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, discusses the importance of "Number Talks" and developing number sense in students ages 5-25.  2nd grade teachers originally showed this video to parents at our Fall Open House.

Community Forum on Bullying: 3/26 at 6:30PM

On Monday, March 26th, Superintendent Jay Badams plans to host a community forum on bullying at 6:30PM in the HHS Library. He plans to give a brief presentation about state laws, SAU policies and procedures, parent and student resources, and some of the promising approaches to bullying prevention.  Dr. Badams is also hoping to use the occasion to get better acquainted with our school community.

Haven Helper Update
Way to go, Grade 5!  On Friday we delivered 204 pounds of cereal to the Haven, a demonstration of extraordinary care for others, our Character Trait of the Month of March.  Congratulations to Mr. Clifford's class, winner of the trophy provided by our Haven Helper friend, Sean.

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!

May 2: Students Only at K-1 Sing-Along

On Wednesday, May 2, our morning sing-along is for K-1 students only.  This is Kindergarten Registration day, so we are aiming to diminish parking and hallway traffic for our visiting families.  

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

Make A Plate!  Tuesday, March 20
Join us in the Music Room 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.  Preregistration is preferred, but not required. 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!

Community Events/Interests

Youth-in-Action hosts an all you can eat Pancake Breakfast Saturday March 24 from 8:30 - 10:30 at the RWB Community Center, 48 Lebanon Street, Hanover$5 per person or $20 per family.   Blueberry, plain, chocolate chip pancakes, and gluten-free pancakes will be served with real maple syrup!  Coffee and juice. Your attendance supports Youth-in-Action's service work in our communities.

Ray School Calendar