Lower School Insights

Want a glimpse into our Lower School? Keep reading! Erin Trotter, our Lower School Librarian, and Joe Mills, who oversees Lower and Intermediate School curriculum and instruction, share some insights into what our youngest Brookstone Cougars have been up to lately.

Impacting the Lives of Others
by Erin Trotter

This month, we are celebrating people who have made great sacrifices to improve the lives of others. Students and teachers are delving into various biographies to learn valuable information about men, women, and children who are great motivators for people who want to achieve their own goals.

One of the public figures we studied during our library read-alouds is Bobbi Gibb. She was the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon in 1966, during a time when women were not allowed to participate.

Image result for bobbi gibb

The Girl Who Ran, written by Frances Poletti and Kristina Yee, is a biography that includes details of how Bobbi Gibb trained to run long-distance and then entered the race disguised as a man so she would not be thrown out of the race.

According to Poletti and Yee, here are some interesting facts about the Boston marathon, including huge changes that were made:

  • 1972 – Women were officially allowed to run in the Boston marathon.
  • 1975 – Boston became the first major marathon to include people who are wheelchair-bound.
  • 1984 – A women’s marathon was added to the Olympics.
Today, more than 12,000 women run the Boston Marathon every year.

If you would like to see a PBS interview with Bobbi or read about her female athlete sculpture fund, click on the following links:


Spotlight on the Thinking Strategies
by Joe Mills

With the holidays in the rearview mirror, we hit the ground running this month and several grades wrapped up their studies of the questioning strategy.  However, like schema, visualizing, and all the other thinking strategies, we never really wrap them up and tuck them away. Our focused study of a strategy is more akin to selecting a station on Sirius, turning up the volume, and singing and dancing along with a strategy’s particular melody and rhythm, then turning the volume down to the level of background music.  Each strategy is always playing along in the background, waiting for us to tune into its station when we need it.


Second grade focused on asking questions before, during, and after reading, and keeping track of their questions on sticky notes.  They also thought about which questions were answered in the text and which were not. For their lingering questions, they determined if there was a way to find the answer or if they could use the schema and clues from the text to infer an answer.  As kids naturally have many questions, their books and the walls were papered with sticky notes full of wonderings!


If you’d like to support your child’s use of the questioning strategy, here are a couple of ideas you might try at home:

  • Nonfiction books are great for encouraging questions!  Pick a book about a topic that is somewhat familiar to you and your child.  Perhaps a book about storms or animals. Before you read, talk about what you already know about the topic and what you wonder about it.  As you read look for confirmation of your prior knowledge and the answers to your questions. If you still have unanswered questions after reading, think together about how you might find the answers.  It can be as simple as asking Siri or Alexa, or you might want to find another book about the topic and read some more!
  • Question a character!  In fiction, try thinking of questions you’d like to ask a character.  Questions might be about the character’s actions, feelings, or thoughts.  Then, one of you pretends to be the character, and answers by inferring, using clues from the text and your own experiences. It’s fun!
  • Almost any book is good for this strategy, but here are a few of my favorites:
    • Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger
    • Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell
    • Verdi by Janell Cannon
    • December by Eve Bunting


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