Have a Great Summer Everyone!

Although this has been a strange year and there is some uncertainty about the fall, I want to wish you all a restful, happy, healthy summer. I am confident that this crew is prepared for sixth grade, despite the strange remote learning period from March till June.

I encourage you all to check out the Fifth Graders’ websites on countries of the world! Follow this link:  continents/countries pages. Each continent has new entries from this spring’s research!

Take care, everyone!

Yours truly,


Mr. Stewart

Virtual Field Trips continue, and Around the World in 80 Days (so far)!

We learned a lot about aquatic macro invertebrates and dams from Kate Abbott on Tuesday! Thanks, Kate!

Thursday, students got the chance to become citizen scientists at Zooninverse! They counted fish and helped teach a computer what a fish looks like. The project is called Run Herring, Run!  Give it a try if you’d like to help!  Thank you, Meghna for sharing this work with us!


We are also about 80 days into our country research. Students have researched, taken notes, written paragraphs, and are now building websites on a country of their choosing. It’s very exciting to see their progress!

Escape from 1983!

On Thursday we split into three groups to do a digital escape room where the premise was to return from an inadvertent journey through time where we ended up stuck in 1983! Roller skates, floppy discs, wild colors, cassette tapes, boom boxes, and Rubic’s cubes! Thank goodness we escaped! All three groups were successful!

Thanks to  Amy Boyden and Deb Fritz for helping me navigate three simultaneous Google Meet sessions! Thanks to Tanya Yero for creating and sharing the challenge!

So far, six students have completed their country report paragraphs and begun building their websites! For a good model of where we are heading with this project, please visit our fifth grade Continent/Countries website!

This past week marked the end of Words Their Way Spelling for the year. Students will be focusing on writing and building their countries websites and on reading and responding to geography articles on Newsela (quiz and written response). There are also written assignments that go with the read aloud sessions.

We have moved on to a multiplication and division review on Khan Academy (and Prodigy), having wrapped up 2-D geometry. The last thing we will do in math is computation using decimals.

There are new chapters of Number the Stars to be listened to (and one more set on the way this week).  There are written responses every few chapters. I hope students are enjoying the book!

Look for information on the Sixth Grade Farewell!  As a reminder, our last day of school will be Monday June 15.

River Herring: a second virtual field trip!

Many thanks to UMass fisheries biologist Lian Guo, who shared videos and slides with us about the life cycle of river herring! They are very different form the brook trout that we raised in our classroom, not least because they spend most of their lives in the ocean after being born in local streams and rivers.

The students asked great questions and learned a lot! Thanks again to professor Allison Roy for coordinating the virtual field trips!

Next up: a virtual escape from the early 1980s…!

Virtual Field Trips!!!

A huge thank you to Allison Roy and the graduate students from the UMass biology department for agreeing to take our class on a series of virtual field trips! A special thank you to Jennifer Ryan, who agreed to go first and who knocked it out of the park with her presentation on freshwater mussels!

She shared two videos with us to set the stage and then got the fifth graders thinking really hard about adaptations over time! How could a creature with no eyes produce amazingly lifelike fish lures that wriggle and open their “mouths” ?  How can a creature with no eyes and no brain sense when a fish is nearby and start to wriggle its lure faster? What?!?

Take a look at the videos and decide for yourself!

California floater mussels



Upcoming field trips:

5th Grade Updates

I wanted to remind everyone of the invitation to have a learning conversation about your child if you wish. I have spoken with many of you on the phone and been in touch regularly with most of  you through email, but if you would like to touch base by phone again or through a virtual Meet, we can set up a time.
The main on-line platforms I am asking 5th graders to use are Khan Academy for Math, Newsela for reading and writing, and Lexia and the videotaped read aloud (with written responses) for Reading. Science we are covering through our guest speakers and Mystery Science. Social Studies is the World Geography Countries project. To see a model of our final product, follow this link. Students are continuing to read and write independently and I am enjoying the book reviews, stories, and poems that are being shared with me!  All of this information is shared in the Remote Learning document.
As the whole world relies on technology more and more for remote learning and remote work, there seem to be as many problems created as are being solved. Google Classroom has changed more than once since all this started, both for how students use the platform and how I can share and access material. This has also been true of Google Meet.
Consequently, I will be using a nickname for meetings from now on, not sharing links to parents or outside speakers. Students will log in through Meet and  type the meeting name into Join a Meeting, as they have been doing.
Bill Stewart
P.S. Here is a link to the Wave Parade that Deb made! Thank you, Deb!

Wave Parade today from 1:30-3:00!

Drive-by Wave Parade!
Today, teachers and staff of the Leverett Elementary School will drive around the town to wave to students and families!  We look forward to seeing you in person!The Board of Health and Ms. Neal are encouraging students to make lawn signs (that could stay out after the parade of course!), encouraging people to wear masks in public to stay safe.

We leave the school at 1:30 and return by 3:00. The route is about 30 miles, so our average speed will likely be about 20 mph.  Hopefully seeing the route will help your family plan when to meet us. We will have police and fire escort, so we will not be quiet as we make our way through town!

Our route is below. If we will not be passing your house directly, then please try to find your way to an intersection close by!  We look forward to seeing you Wednesday!

LES Wave Parade Route

Start at Leverett Elementary School, traveling north along Montague Rd
Right on Cave Hill Rd.
Right on Hemenway Rd
Left on Old Coke Kiln Rd
Right onto North Leverett Rd, traveling along North Leverett Rd into the Town of
Right on Locks Pond Rd (which turns into Wendell Rd) to Shutesbury Town Center
Right on Leverett Rd in Shutesbury, then down the hill back into Leverett on Shutesbury
Right at the fork at the bottom of the hill to stay on Shutesbury Rd
Bear left and turn left on Depot Rd. in the center of Leverett (at the Field Family
Depot Rd turns into Amherst Road (do not turn right on Depot after the stop sign at
Long Hill Rd)
Right on Juggler Meadow Rd
Right on Long Plain Rd (Rt 63)
Head North on Long Plain Rd (Rt 63)
Right on Montague Rd back to LES

Week ending May 1, 2020

Hi Fifth Graders, Families, and Guests,

I have streamlined the Remote Learning document a bit to make things easier for students to navigate. They should do each item from the top of the chart…

and choose three of the five subjects to do each day from the bottom tier:

There are 15 choices (Library is a complement to Reading), so three a day for 5 days will mean students will get a chance to do every activity throughout the week.

Google Classroom has more detailed descriptions of the assignments and links to the read aloud videos.



P. S. The photos below do not show mad scientists, werewolves, or other mythological creatures. Rather they show healthy fifth graders at play!


Hi Everyone,

I am linking a short video of an Earth Day visitor to my house!

I wanted to remind you all that part of your work each week should be to visit the Specialist teachers’ websites to see what they  are recommending. You might do Art and Music on Mondays and Tuesdays, PE and Technology on Wednesdays and Fridays and Library on Thursdays. Ms Rivers is building the school website so she recommends that you read something interesting during reading time, maybe from one of the links she has provided.

Pick from the Specialist Choices below.

Art: Ms. Neal

Library:  Ms. Rivers

All School resources

Music: Ms. Renauld

PE:  Coach Sadie

Technology: Mr. Mwangi

Happy Earth Day!

Welcome to the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! There are activities and options for students on the following links:

Earth Day 2020 Choice Board

Earth Week Options and Activities

We will be meeting Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 11:00-12:00 in three small groups. Keep a lookout for an email about times and meeting nicknames. There will be a notice in Google Classroom about the meetings too.

As always, the most up to date Remote Learning plan may be found here.

We just learned today that schools in Massachusetts will be closed until the fall. I miss all of you and look forward to seeing you at our morning meetings twice a week.

I have added a read aloud series of videos on Google Classroom too. You could watch one each day (perhaps while having a snack, as if we were at school!) or all at once, whichever you prefer. There are questions about the reading in the same assignment in GC. I miss reading to you live, but I guess I have become a YouTuber now(!?!).