Monday, November 17, 2014

Abbot Teachers Win Four Educational Foundation Great Idea Grants

Please join us in congratulating Alison Corey (Young 5s), Carol DeKeyzer (Kindergarten), Angela Gusfa (Occupational Therapist), and Colleen McAlinden (Reading Intervention/Title 1 Teacher) on each earning individual Great Idea Grants from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Education Foundation (AAPSEF).

Thanks to an anonymous donor, this year the Foundation was able to give out more grants and grants in larger amounts than last year. According to the AAPSEF, it gave out 40 grants in total for the 2014-2015 school year and the grants ranged in amount from $1,000 to $5,000 each.

“As a staff, we would like to express our thanks to the Ann Arbor Educational Foundation,” said Abbot Principal Pam Sica. “These funds allow us to help students with specific needs and to provide additional enrichment activities for our students.”

4 Ideas for Making Abbot More Beautiful

It may be snowing but Molly Mason, chair of the Abbot Grounds Beautification committee, never rests. She's already thinking ahead to next spring and recently proposed four possible ideas for how the committee could work for positive changes in the appearance of our school.

Which ideas appeal to you? Please consider joining the committee and helping us with this work.

1) A Green Garden
Molly went to an event put on by the Agrarian Adventure They’re a group of students, teachers and parents who are committed to the farm-to-school movement. Kids of all grades are getting involved in the creation of gardens; including tending, harvesting and providing produce from their gardens to their schools.

She is very interested in creating a greens garden at Abbot. The school has a nice sloping south-facing area right by the library—a micro climate really. "I think it would be a great place to put raised beds with small hoops," she said. "There are literally a million gardeners in this area so we would have access to tons of additional resources. I’m in touch with the coordinator of the program who is a teacher at King Elementary. I’m going to be working with her to get a plan together."

2) A Nicer Kindergarten Line-up Area

The area outside of the Kindergarten centrum where our youngest students line up in the morning could use a shielded seating/waiting area. There also is a paved area just to the left of that sidewalk that could use a plan. "I was thinking we could put fairy gardens in there or something," Molly said. "I welcome design input here and have contacted my landscape architect to come and have a look (for free) and give me some direction."

3) Weed Removal for the Back Parking Lot

The area around the back parking lot is overgrown and full of invasive species such as Buckthorn and honeysuckle. Removing this and starting over with native plants is a huge undertaking. "I’d need several parent volunteers to help at least get that project started," Molly said. "That would be a multi-stage project and we’d need some help and support making it into a curriculum-relevant undertaking where the students could learn about invasive plants, native plants and proper disposal of the waste.

4) An Art Garden

"The art room courtyard has paving stones and a large wall so somebody somewhere along the way had a few great ideas about bringing the art room outdoors as much as possible," Molly said. "The problem is that the pavers are framed by posts that are in an awkward layout and are terrible tripping hazards. There are overgrown barberry shrubs and weeds galore. There’s a great large wall that would be perfect for a mural of tiles or some other weather-resistant material. We just need a plan. It would be great to have ample seating out there in the form of picnic tables."

Miguel's Dairy Farm Visits Abbot First Graders

On November 13th, the Abbot Elementary 1st graders had a special visitor. Farmer Kari spent an hour with each class showing them photos and answering questions about life on a farm. She discussed the benefits of farm life, from growing your own food to physically working in nature.

Her presentation covered the types of animals raised on her farm, including cows, sheep, horses, pigs, ducks and chickens. She also talked about the different fruits and vegetables grown there.

The students enjoyed learning about the process of milking cows, filtering the milk for drinking, separating the cream, and making it into butter and ice cream. Kari also discussed about the process of making maple syrup and sugar.

The highlight of her visit was making butter right there in the classroom. She brought a jar of cream and passed it around the room, giving each student the opportunity to shake it. By the end of the hour, the students had made butter!

Thank you, Farmer Kari for teaching our children about your farm, and all of our PTO supporters for helping to sponsor her visit.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

EGGS: The Effortless Way to Raise Money for Abbot

Did you know there are programs that help make money to support Abbot and they cost you nothing? Select retailers have programs in place that allow you to designate a portion of the money you spend with them as a donation to Abbot.

You likely already shop at these stores. It’s just a matter of making sure that your shopping makes money for Abbot’s PTO, which makes our school stronger for everyone.

One of the most powerful ways you can do this is by buying Meijer gifts cards from our EGGS (Everybody Goes Grocery Shopping) committee head Chris North, an Abbot parent and teacher. When you pay for holiday gifts, groceries, gas, etc., at Meijer, with a gift card purchased through the Abbot EGGS program, you will be earning Abbot 3% of what you would have already been purchasing. Or purchase the Meijer gift cards as holiday gifts for family, friends, employees, clients, vendors, teachers or anyone else. We have Meijer gift cards in $25, $50 and $100 amounts.

However, for the 3% to go to Abbot, you must purchase them through our EGGS program. If you buy them directly from Meijer, Abbot doesn’t earn any money.

Three additional options:

Kroger Plus card linked to Abbot PTO
How to participate: Go to, select Michigan and then click on Enroll. Click “Sign up today” under the New Customer section. Follow the instructions to sign-up. You will then get an email with a link to complete your registration. Sign-in to your account and click “Edit Community Rewards Program Information.” Then enter your Plus Card Number, confirm your address and enter Abbot’s organization number, 82606. Once your card is registered, you will see “Abbot Elementary” at the bottom of your Kroger receipts when you use your Plus Card. Program requires re-­enrollment annually beginning in April. To re­-enroll, sign in, find Abbot by typing in our number, 82606, click “Select Your Organization,” and then click “Save Changes.

Busch's Rechargeable gift cards linked through MyWay program to Abbot PTO
How to participate: Obtain a free gift card from an Abbot EGGS Coordinator. Register your gift card at under your MyWay account. The card is pre-coded to Abbot. Take the card to Busch’s and tell the cashier you want to add money to it at any point during your transaction (up to $500). You may use cash, check, a debit card or a credit card to add money to the card. You then use the card to pay for your groceries. Abbot receives 5% for recharges paid for with cash, check or debit cards and 3% for recharges paid for with credit cards. 

Target Card or Target Visa Card ­ Take Charge of Education
How to participate: Visit, scroll to the bottom of the page to apply or call 1-800-316-6142. Be sure to designate Abbot Elementary School for the donation. Abbot s ID  number is 60592. If you already have a Target Card or a Target Visa and have not designated Abbot to receive the donation, visit or call 1-800-316-6142 to make sure Abbot gets a donation for your purchases.

EGGS Coordinator Chris North can help with these and set up times to purchase cards. Contact her at or 734-994-1901.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Support of Peace Neighborhood Center Furthers Our Mission

We have a lot of fun supporting our school and community. Seeing an owl in class, watching a play or musical performance, experiencing a field trip, these types of enrichment activities are all paid for by the PTO. However, we also recognize that our work can make a meaningful and lifelong impact on a child.

One area where we do this is in our long-time support of the Peace Neighborhood Center on North Maple Road. Peace helps many Abbot students and families throughout the year.

Recently, we received a letter of thanks from Peace Executive Director Bonnie Billups, Jr., that included as story about a girl who first began coming to Peace’s Alternatives for Your after-school program as a sixth grader. He wrote:

“When S. first started coming to Peace, she exhibited severe social issues that were impacting her success in school. It came to the staff members’ attention that she was fearful of interacting with others and often suffered panic attacks when forced to do so. Staff members identified the problem as a form of social anxiety disorder and worked with her teachers and mother to address the issue. S.’s inclusion in daily activities at Peace slowly began to make changes in her social behaviors. Over the course of the school year, she spent less time removed from others. She began to smile more and joke around. She is now and active participant in programs, demonstrating a better ability to advocate for herself and express her opinion to others. At school, her academics have also shown improvement as she is more engaged in her studies and with her classmates. She has not experienced a panic attack in months. S. credits her time at Peace with this change in her attitude because of the environment that made her feel safe.”

The PTO is proud to support Peace. Learn more about the organization here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Magic Carpet Theater Performance Encourages Imagination and Reading

On November 19, Michigan-based Magic Carpet Theater will bring its interactive show to Abbot. Designed to encourage children to use their imaginations so they will become better readers, this show asks children to participate through role-playing, creating sound effects and making rhythms. The performance is fast-paced with lots of humor and audience participation and includes children's literature favorites with positive messages, such as Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Dr. Seuss's The Sneetches.

Fourth and fifth graders will have special workshops in their classrooms after the show designed to promote reading and unlock the imagination, a key to the reading process. Once a student outgrows picture books, they need to be able to make pictures in their minds to comprehend what they are reading. The workshops use discussion, dramatic play and imagery to help students tap into the precious resource of their own imaginations.

A big thank you to Target for funding the all-school show. The workshops are sponsored by the Abbot PTO. Thank you PTO members.

Run-A-Thon Participants and Sponsors Raise Almost $8,000 for Abbot

The Run-A-Thon was a great success and was a lot of fun for so many Abbot families.  We had 141 registered participants this year who obtained a total of $6,973.75 in pledges (up from $6,243.56 last year). Great job! About $3,000 still needs to be collected and turned in to the office. Please do so by Monday, October 27.

We also celebrate the 28 participants who made the 100-Lap Club this year, up from 21 last year. In addition, 101 other students will be receiving a medallion or a trophy for completing the designated lap levels for their grade. Great job doing your part to support Abbot and accomplishing so many individual goals!  The Run-A-Thon Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, November 14 at 2:30 p.m. Parents attending are reminded to please sign in as visitors in the office first.

This year, the Run-A-Thon also raised $2,250 in event sponsorships from local businesses. Thank you Cardamom, Chelsea Rhone, McNamara Orthodontics, Dr. Robert Stevenson, DDS, and Taxi Cab Kids!

After expenses (tent rental, runner awards, event banner for sponsor publicity) and concessions profits the total profit for the PTO from the event was $7,944.48!  That is fantastic and provides a the largest single source of the PTO's funding for this year's activities.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Leslie Science Center Raptors Visit Abbot 3rd Graders

It’s all about survival! Three engaging raptors (a Hawk, an Barned Owl, and a Bald Eagle) visited Abbot's third graders on October 8 as a part of the Leslie Science Center's "Hunters of the Sky" program. Students saw the wild birds up close and discussed science concepts of habitats, adaptations, life cycles, conservation and the food web with a Leslie naturalist.

The live birds are used to demonstrate and model their amazing survival characteristics and techniques. Hands-on explorations of feathers, skulls and other bird parts provide a stimulating continuation of natural science concepts students have been learning in class. 
The Abbot PTO was pleased to sponsor the presentation, which challenged the students to figure out a variety of science and math questions.  See how many of the following you know and if you get stuck, ask a third grader.
  • Why do owls need to turn their heads nearly upside down and nearly all the way around?
  • How do bald eagles hold onto slippery fish?
  • What is louder, an owl wing or a vulture feather and why?
  • Why is a bald eagle called "bald"?
  • How many bones are there in an owl's neck?
  • What is an owl scat?
  • How does an owl hear so well without visible ears?
  • What can humans do with their eyes that owls can't? (Two possible answers here.)
  • If an animal active during the night is called nocturnal, what is an animal active during the day called?
All the birds used in the presentation were rescued and rehabilitated after being injured. The Barned Owl, for example, had been hit by a car and can no longer live in the wild because of his traumatic brain injury.

Monday, September 22, 2014

46th Annual Abbot Run-a-Thon Fundraiser is Oct. 11

Each year for more than four and a half decades, Abbot students have raised funds for their school by collecting pledges for laps run. This is one of our most popular and longest running (pun intended) events, and to make new participants feel at home, we've created a small list of answers to frequently asked questions.

When is this year's Run-a-Thon?

The 2014 Run-a-Thon will be held on October 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or sine on the Abbot back field. 
What is the Run-a-Thon?

The Run-a-Thon is a fundraiser for all students, teachers, friends and family who want to collect pledges  for Abbot. Participants will earn a ribbon, trophy or medallion for making laps around the Abbot field. Parents can walk with their kids or help out as a lap counter, concession helper, or water monitor. Everyone is encouraged to do his or her part to help Abbot.

Do I have to participate?

No, but if you don’t, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun! This is a great family day for the Abbot community. The class with the highest participation percentage will earn a pizza party for their class!

Do I have to run?

No. You may walk as many laps (approximately 8 laps/mile) as you wish during the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Run-a-Thon. You may walk or jog with friends or family, but please don’t bring any pets!

How many sponsors do I need?

Collect pledges (per lap or flat amount) from as many people as you can to raise money for Abbot. You must have at least one sponsor and at least $10.00 in pledges to earn a medallion or trophy.

Do I have to stay the whole time?

No. You may start and stop anytime during the 9am-4pm Run-a-Thon. If you need to leave and come back (due to soccer, etc.) you may continue when you return. Just keep your pledge sheet and give it to the next lap counter assigned to you.

How will I know the number of laps that I have completed?

A lap counter will be assigned to you and keep track of your laps. Just make sure the lap counter sees you each time you finish a lap. Cones will be set up to show you the lap course.

Will there be food?

Yes, there will be bagels, donuts, fruit and hot and cold beverage for sale all day.  At 11 a.m. we will start selling pizza as well so your family will be able to stay at Abbot through lunch, if you wish.  Or feel free to bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy on the school grounds.

How do I keep track of my pledges?

Pledge forms will be sent home with students on Monday, September 22.  Obtain as many pledges as you can and bring your form with you to the Run-a-Thon.  Pledge money needs to be collected and turned in to the office during the two weeks following the Run-A-Thon.

What can parents do?

Many volunteers are needed to make Run-a-Thon a success, and this is one of the easiest and most fun ways to help your child's school. Volunteer shifts are as short as a half hour, although you are certainly welcome to help for a longer period if you can. Email Committee Chair Martha Hannah at to let her know what time you will be available to help. 

Where can I find more details or get questions answered?

Email Committee Chair Martha Hannah at  

Who makes the Run-a-Thon possible?

You do along with our business partners. A special thank you to our "All Star" level sponsors. They are:

Chelsea Rhone LLC

McNamara Orthodontics

Taxi Cab Kids

Election Update

The November 4 election will have two important local government items on the ballot that Abbot parents and teachers should be aware of: 
  1. The Board of Education election 
  2. The possible annexation of Whitmore Lake Public Schools
The Abbot PTO encourages you to exercise your right to vote on these issues, and there are several great local events where you can learn more about them. 

The first is on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at noon when a community forum on the possible annexation of Whitmore Lake Public Schools will be held at the Downtown Ann Arbor Public Library. Additional forumns will be held on:
  • Tuesday, Oct 21. at 6:30 p.m. in the Huron High School cafeteria 
  • Thursday, Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Pioneer High School cafeteria annex 
If you can’t attend one of these forums, visit the AAPS web site to read the FAQ’s and the latest updates. 

In addition, on Monday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m., all PTO members are invited to the PTO Council’s annual Launch Party: Election Edition at Haisley Elementary. There you can mix and mingle with AAPS administrators and stay for a Board of Education Candidate Forum. The event features a free buffet by Chartwells and music from the Community High Jazz Band.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Abbot Vision for "Lead. Care. Inspire."

The chosen theme for Ann Arbor Public Schools for the 2014-2015 school year is "Lead. Care. Inspire."

Before the first day of school, the Abbot faculty and staff met to brainstorm what these words will mean for them and the Abbot Elementary School community.

The results show the exceptional dedication of the team leading our students' education.



  • Good modeling
  • Positivity
  • Clear focus/expectations
  • Respect
  • Lead through serving/role modeling
  • Taking the initiative
  • Staying Engaged
  • Ongoing Conversation/Communication
  • Courageous conversation -- holding each other accountable
  • Willing to make mistakes, share them and listening
  • Flexible, open minded
  • Sense of humor, respectful
  • Sacrifice individuality for the betterment of the group
  • Delegate
  • Organized
  • Confident


  • Active listening
  • Being genuine
  • Smiling
  • Body language
  • Greeting
  • Eye contact
  • Asking personal questions and making personal connections
  • Observing strengths/talents
  • Culture of comfort
  • Being available
  • Appropriate tone
  • Supporting after-school activities
  • Showing vulnerability
  • Personal positive reinforcement
  • Seeing personal interests in classroom


  • Confidence
  • Enthusiasm/excitement
  • Modeling: Language, Action and Seeing the Possibility
  • Exposure: New ideas and cultures
  • Goal setting: Building on personal best
  • Sharing
  • Emotional connection
  • Relating to others
  • Dedication/Involvement
  • Evolving
  • Kindness

PTO Members Give Abbot Fresh Look

The freshly painted front steps and newly planted front garden flowers.
Before school began this year, a crew of Abbot PTO volunteers gave up much of their Labor Day weekend to clean the school grounds, removing weeds, planting flowers and putting fresh coats of paint on the front steps, curbs and other areas of the building. 

More than 30 hours of time were donated by the team lead by Abbot Beautification Committee Chair Molly Mason. 

If you missed this opportunity to lend a hand, don't worry. Molly says that work will be continuing both inside and outside the building leading up to the annual Run-a-Thon fundraiser on October 11. Look for signups for future Beautification Committee work events going out by email and posted on our Facebook page and this blog. 

Our wildlife habitat after extensive weeding and cleaning.
We are grateful to all of our Labor Day weekend volunteers, including Martha and Tom Strait, Jeff Mason, Kiirsa P, Robin Skiba Myler, Becky Winkler, Corinne Shafer, Birgit von der Lidth, Gillian Miller and several others. 

Introducing our Newest Abbot Faculty/Staff Members

There are some new faces around the halls at Abbot this year. Principal Pam Sica asked the new faculty members to introduce themselves.

Susan Hoover: I have been teaching music in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for over 20 years.  I earned my music degree at Eastern Michigan University.  I have a wonderful husband and three great kids.  In the summer I spend my time as the musical director for Centerstage Productions drama camp and on the beach of Lake Huron!   I like reading, walking my dog, and volunteering my time monthly at a respite night for families of special needs kids.

Kristina Ruthven: I am pleased to return to Abbot this year to teach Art. I believe that all students can have creative success in the Art classroom. Every student in my Art class will have the opportunity to experiment with different mediums and learn useful techniques to further their ability to communicate through the visual arts. I have a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University, and I am a working artist. I sell my blown glass at local art fairs, and I also enjoy weaving on my hand-crafted Pendleton loom. When I am not teaching and making art, I spend as much time as I can with my family and pets. I enjoy hiking, camping and swimming in Michigan’s fabulous fresh water lakes. I also take pleasure in tending to my backyard vegetable garden.   Please visit my blog for more information.

Nelda Murphy:  I have been working as a School Social Worker for the past 18 years.  My background is in clinical social work and mental health services. I am also a certified mediator and a certified Doula.  In my spare time I like to read, spend time with my family and dogs, hold babies, and be in nature.  My motto for living a good life is: Breathe deeply, Laugh often, Dance EVERY day, Listen Actively, Do more, Need less, Be thankful, and Simply BE!

Kathy Pantolin: I have been working in the Ann Arbor Schools for fifteen years as a speech language pathologist. I most recently worked at Wines and Lakewood elementary schools and am excited to join the Abbot staff! I live in Chelsea with my husband, two girls and many animals.

Cathy Murphy: I look forward to joining the Abbot community!  This is my 12th year working as a school psychologist in AAPS. This year I will be servicing King Elementary and Clague Middle schools in addition to Abbot. I previously spent seven years as a school psychologist in the Cincinnati area.  I also have 11 years volunteer experience facilitating children's grief groups. I am spending the first few months of the school year on maternity leave with my new daughter.  I also have a three year old son.   I enjoy spending time with my extended family and friends, cooking, reading, and playing soccer.

Monday, June 9, 2014

PTO Funds Standing Desk for Students with Special Needs

How is the money we raise for the PTO spent? It is not all field trips and enrichment activities. As important as those things are to bring learning to life, the PTO also buys many vital resources needed at Abbot but not funded by the district. 

One example is the investment the PTO made this year in a standing desk for our students with special needs. Standing desks are a simple and research proven intervention for students who for various reasons have a harder time concentrating on school work. Being able to stand or sit on a stool and slide a silent foot rest back and forth enables students to release some physical energy that otherwise would interfere with focusing on school work. 

Tracie Frailey, the Resource Room teacher, reports that this simple solution is really working. Students even request to use it when they find that they are having trouble sitting still and concentrating on learning.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Cake Decorating Contest Winners Announced

Judging of the many creatively decorated cakes donated for our annual Cake Walk fundraiser took place on May 30th at the Ice Cream Social. Congratulations to the following winners on their amazing cakes and thank you to everyone for their participation and their cake donations.  We had so many cute cakes!

Kindergarten and 1st Grade:
1st Place – Sean G.
2nd Place – Meghan A.
3rd Place – Anneliese J.

2nd and 3rd Grade:
1st Place – Mason J.
2nd Place – Logan B.
3rd Place: Kee D.

4th and 5th Grade:
1st Place – Melissa B.
2nd Place – Bella P.
3rd Place – Carter M.

Ice Cream Social Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Thank you everyone who helped make our Ice Cream Social such a success. Not only did we meet our fundraising goal this year, we exceeded it by $1,000!

This is great news for our school and especially for our second graders. As you may recall, we had a special fundraising challenge for this year's ice cream social. If we beat our fundraising goal by at least $1,000, we would send an additional grade to attend a University Musical Society (UMS) performance next year. Because of the hard work of all of our volunteers, the funding of our sponsors and the generosity of all those who attended this year's event, we will now send all students in grades 3, 4 and 5, plus grade 2, to a UMS event to hear world-class music performed by renowned artists.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Special Fundraising Challenge at Abbot Ice Cream Social

The Abbot Elementary School Ice Cream Social is Friday, May 30 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  

This is one of the most popular events of the whole year as it is free and open to the public with a nominal charge for ice cream, food, games, the raffle, bounce house, and more.
The money we raise from the Ice Cream Social helps fund field trips, school beautification, special assemblies and in-school events, supplies for teachers, and donations to community organizations that help our students, like the Peace Neighborhood Center. 

This year, we are doing a special fundraising challenge. Because the field trips this year to hear concerts at the University of Michigan were such a success and exposed our students to amazingly talented artists, like word-renowned Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, we have budgeted money for all students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to go to a University Musical Society (UMS) performance next year. If we earn $1,000 above our goal for the Ice Cream Social this Friday, we will send an extra grade to a UMS performance. So please consider giving generously at this year's Ice Cream Social as it will directly impact our students in grades K-2 if we exceed our fundraising goal. 

Also this year we have a special guest. Detroit Tigers mascot PAWS will mingle and pose for pictures from 6 to 7 p.m. during the Ice Cream Social.

Volunteers are still needed, so please email the PTO at We are especially in need of volunteers for the raffle and donations of cakes for the Cake Walk. Cakes should be dropped off in the office prior to the event and each person who donates a cake will receive a free raffle ticket.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ice Cream Social Ticket and Wristband Presale!!

Avoid the lines at the annual Abbot Ice Cream Social. Buy your tickets and bounce house wristbands in advance!

Tickets are available for pre-sale on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, May 27-29, from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Tickets will be sold in front of the school or in the gym if the weather is bad. Cash or check payments will be accepted. We regret that we cannot accept credit cards.

Also, for the pre-sale only there is a Raffle Ticket Special. Save $4 and get 24 tickets for $20.

The Ice Cream Social is Friday May 30, 2014, from 5:30-8 p.m. We have some exciting surprises this year, including a visit from PAWS, the Detroit Tigers' mascot.

Want to help out? We are still looking for volunteers to work before, during and after the event. Volunteers are especially needed for the cake walk and games throughout the night. Please email with the time you are available and she will find you a job.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Volunteers Get Abbot Habitat Ready for Summer

After the long hard winter, there was lots of cleanup to do in the Abbot Habitat last weekend.

The Habitat is a special nature area in the shady area tucked behind our C and D Centrums (wings) of the school. It includes native plants, feeding stations for birds and squirrels, and a miniature Ann Arbor bird house village. Abbot teachers use the Habitat to help educate students about science and the natural world around them.

Tasks undertaken by our volunteers included weeding, removing dead foliage and making sure all the various plant species in the Habitat had come through the winter.

Special credit goes to David Warner for the help with the pictures and for the project he is undertaking to identify the mystery plants in the Habitat. David even has plans to create educational signage for the more notable plants!

Thank you to all the volunteers (kids and grownups) who gave the Habitat some much needed care!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Attention Abbot Helpers

Our annual PTO volunteer appreciation breakfast is Friday, May 23, 2014, from 8:10 to 8:40 a.m. in the Abbot Library.

If you've been a part of any of the following this year, please come and enjoy.
  • PTO meetings and committees
  • Field trip volunteers
  • Room parents
  • Lunch volunteers
  • Science Olympiad volunteers
  • Math lab
  • Library volunteers
  • Reading volunteers
  • Run-a-Thon volunteers
  • Enrichment volunteers (i.e., in-school special activities like Science Day)
  • Classroom volunteers
  • Computer Lab volunteers
  • Bookapalooza volunteers
And if you've not yet done anything this year, we still want you. Grab breakfast and then head outside to help out with Field Day, which starts immediately after the breakfast.

About Our Blog Background

The beautiful artworks we are using as the background for our blog were created by students in Mrs. Ruthven's art classes during the 2013-2014 school year.

Under Mrs. Ruthven's instruction, students experimented with many types of art media, from the traditional paint and crayons to more unusual materials such as paper and yarn. They drew inspiration from both the natural world around them and from the works of famous artists Mrs. Ruthven introduced them to. Just check out the Paul Cezanne-inspired fruit selection from one of the youngest artists featured on this page.

More about our Abbot art classes can be found on Mrs. Ruthven's blog.

Please note: Our blog is optimized for mobile device readers. If you are viewing this blog post on a smart phone or tablet, you may not see the background we're talking about. Click the "View web version" link at the bottom of the post to see the blog with its background artwork.

Abbot Students Win Prizes in Science Olympiad

On Saturday, May 10th, our very own Abbot All Stars competed in the 12th Annual Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad at Pioneer High School. We are proud to announce the following results from our students:
  • 2nd grade won Second Place in Feathered Friends, a timed event where teams of two compete to see how well they can identify local birds by markings and song.
  • 3rd grade and 4th grade both won Fourth Place in Map Reading, a timed event that involves answering geographical questions using a selection of maps. 
Planning for the next Science Olympiad will begin next winter. Learn more about this event and the many fun competitive options at

If you are interested in helping coach a team of students next year, please contact the PTO at