McClelland students celebrate learning with weather, insect projects

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An ant farm in a second grade classroom that was observed by students as part of a unit on insects. The ant farm was also on display during a Celebration of Learning on April 10. (Courtesy Rochester School District)

ROCHESTER -- The McClelland Elementary School celebrated learning in March and April with several activities aimed at promoting personalized learning opportunities.

"Celebrating student learning benefits mental health, relationships and self-concept," said Principal Principal Maegan Jerr. "This year the children at McClelland were able to share their accomplishments and celebrate their work in a variety of ways with the Rochester community."

McClelland students celebrated Read Across America in March with daily sessions of Drop Everything and Read (DEAR). The school also hosted several guest readers, including New Hampshire's First Lady Valerie Sununu. Students raised $4,904 in a read-a-thon.

Students set a goal for reading and by meeting that goal earned a chance to duct-tape Principal Jerr to a wall. Read Across America festivities also included a school-wide assembly during which students sang "R.E.A.D." to the tune of "Y.M.C.A.," all while wearing sunglasses.

"The enthusiasm generated by these events created forward momentum that continued to inspire children to pick up a book and read long after the event was over," said Jerr.

On April 10, McClelland opened its doors to students, families, staff, and other stakeholders to have a shared celebration of student achievement and learning. Each classroom in the school highlighted student work materials, curriculum-based games, writing and art.

Among the works displayed were student artwork, science journals, and a live ant farm in one classroom.

"I loved hearing about my daughter learning about insects," said a parent of a Grade 2 student. "Having the ant farm in her classroom and being able to observe the changes of the ant farm was very exciting."

"I loved hearing my youngest learn about Native Americans this year," said the parent of a Kindergarten student. "She had at least one new fact each day."

Throughout April, students in Grades 3 and 5 participated in NHSAS testing, which is an important part of each student's core educational program.

NHSAS testing provides students an opportunity to showcase what they have learned, and evaluation of student performance on the tests helps to shape the course of future instruction in the classroom.

"The results provide teachers and parents with important information about where students are on their path toward academic success," said Jerr.

Students could earn tickets they could use toward incentives such as a staff-versus-students basketball game, lunch with school administrators, and extra recess.

"The students at McClelland work incredibly hard and it's important that we continue to celebrate them as a community," said Jerr.

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