PGS Virtual Visit

Welcome to the PGS Courtyard!

Since PGS families are not able to visit in person right now, the Piney Post will visit virtually a few places around PGS! A really special spot is the PGS courtyard which is centrally located right inside the center of PGS and is securely accessed from internal doors on either side of the main hallways. Renovated with the support of PTO funds in 2015, the courtyard offers different areas for eating and learning under colorful umbrella tables, a stage for small performances, tables for science or other hands on messy projects, and a large open area that is large enough to seat the entire school! PTO volunteers also graciously help decorate pots of perennials in the courtyard to match the season - whether pumpkins in the fall or bright flowers to welcome spring.

A PGS community tradition is for the entire school to gather in the courtyard on the 1st Day of School for the annual bell ringing to ring in the new school year! This bell was brought to PGS from an original Avon elementary school building, Huckleberry Hill School. How special that one student from each grade helps Mr. G ring the bell to start the new school year with a bang! Let's hope that 2021 will allow PGS to resume these special memories and traditions!

Another fun tradition in this space has been the PGS Reading Dance Parties in September! When PGS students submit their completed Summer Reading Logs in August, they are invited to attend the dance party held during a selected recess period in September. The courtyard is filled with friends dancing and celebrating their literary accomplishments with music, decorations, and usually special guest, Piney! Piney always gets the party started at PGS!

Piney is ready and hoping to be dancing with PGS readers next September!

Teachers and staff may also use this wonderful outdoor space for reading, science, art projects, or just get some fresh air and be able to spread out to enjoy this beautiful space.

Welcome to the Pine Grove School Makerspace!

Mrs. Antonelli and Mrs. Bogoian, our amazing librarian team, are sharing what is happening in the Makerspace this year! In the Fall of 2019, the PGS PTO fundraised to provide substantial financial support to help fund the design and installation of this creative space inside the library. For those of you who haven't been able to tour the library yet due to Covid, the PGS library is a large open space located within the center of the first floor. The kindergarten and first grade classes border both sides of the library and many students pass through the open halls throughout the day. Mrs. Antonelli and team have arranged the bookcases strategically to help create a defined space for browsing books and working at the tables. This year, the classes spend the full week in whatever special they have (ex: a week in art or a week in PE).

Many of the Makerspace goals and activities had to be adjusted this year, due to the circumstances. For now, the Makerspace area is one of two designated library classroom areas. Mrs. Bogoian, our amazing new part-time librarian, teaches her classes just outside the Makerspace area, and Mrs. Antonelli teaches her classes inside the Makerspace area. Due to the need for filling the space with tables/chairs/shields, we had to temporarily relocate most of the Makerspace items. This has not been an issue due to the fact that we are unable to use/share much of the materials and manipulatives at this time (for safety purposes). They look forward to a more hands-on approach next year, but in the meantime, they have been getting creative!

For example, since December featured the worldwide Hour of Code initiative, students in grades 2-4 were able to practice coding on the Code.org website. Students in grades K-1 engaged in “whole-group” coding activities via the Smartboard and using paper coding grids. We look forward to getting back to other hands-on coding activities next year (such as robotics and littleBits circuits).

In some instances, they have been able to set aside enough manipulative kits for each student in a given grade for the week. For example, after reading Up in the Leaves, students in grade 1 used I/O blocks to design a treehouse structure given certain specifications.

Other examples of Makerspace/STEM activities have included students using Google Drawings to design a robot that would do a specific chore for them, using Tinkercad to design a prototype of a device that could be 3D printed to assist astronauts, and using block coding to write a dance algorithm.

Mrs. Antonelli shared some STEAM websites from the district recommended for at home opportunities: