Exploratories K-4

Griswold Elementary School Exploratory classes allow students to explore a variety of subjects and introduce students to the arts, their health, and technology. Exploratories are an important part of the development of healthy minds and bodies. These courses can spark passions, lifelong hobbies, and incorporate unforgettable projects throughout a student's time at GES. 

GES's Exploratory courses include:

  • Art
  • Health Education
  • Library
  • Music
  • Physical Education (Gym)
  • Technology Education

Learn more about each of these courses below!



The GES art room focuses on the elements and principles of Art.  Students work in a variety of artistic mediums (drawing, paint, clay/model magic, collage, paper mache, textile, etc.) to experiment and build background knowledge with these concepts. All lessons are aligned to the National Arts Standards and incorporate past and present artists to expose our students to different styles and inspire them to create.

Mrs. Appleton has been teaching Art at Griswold Elementary School since 2019.  Although she has a love for anything art-related, her concentration is in painting and drawing.


Health Education

Health Education at GES promotes students' self-awareness; establishing the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts or emotions contribute to mental health and wellness. Students strive to improve healthy outcomes by learning the necessary knowledge and skills for life-long healthy choices. Emphasis is also placed upon the importance of general health, preventive measures, safety, nutrition, and decision-making skills.  All Griswold Elementary School students will take Health Education in grades K-4.

Mrs. Otten-Paggioli ("Mrs. O-P") has been teaching in the Griswold Schools for nearly three decades. GMS Physical Education for 10 years, GHS Health Education for two years, and GES Health / PE for over 15 years. Mrs. O-P continues to enjoy working with her students and watching them grow throughout their elementary years.



GES library class encourages a love of reading, exploration, knowledge, and sharing between children and adults. Some areas of concentration are the different genres, award winning books, story retelling and story elements, learning to navigate our OPAC (online patron access catalog), accessing information with the use of our databases, and the use of makerspace materials. 

Ms. Beahan has been the Librarian/Media Specialist at GES since the year 2000, and really enjoys being a part of the Exploratory Team and the opportunity that provides to interact with every student and teacher.   

Visit the GES Library Media Center on Facebook.



In the GES Music classroom, we strive to nurture a lifelong love for music while providing students with a solid foundation in musical skills and knowledge. Through an inclusive and engaging curriculum, we aim to inspire creativity, teamwork, and a deep appreciation for the artistry and cultural significance of music.

Students explore the following:

  • Singing: students explore their vocal abilities through a diverse range of songs, fostering a love for melody and harmony. Emphasis is placed on pitch, tone, and expression, allowing students to develop their individual voices.
  • Percussion: the GES music classroom is equipped with a diverse array of percussion instruments. From hand drums to tambourines, students learn to play rhythms, develop a strong sense of timing, coordination and teamwork, and learn the cultural and historical significance of drumming in different musical traditions. 
  • Ukulele: students explore basic chords to more complex melodies, while gaining an understanding of string instruments. Ukulele is a versatile and accessible instrument that spans many musical genres. 
  • Recorder: students learn to read sheet music and master fingerings. The recorder bridges the gap between basic and more advanced wind instruments, laying a solid foundation for future musical pursuits.
  • Boom Whackers: these tuned percussion tubes offer a playful way for students to understand pitch and rhythm, fostering creativity and cooperation.
  • Music History: students are exposed to different musical genres, composers, and cultural influences through the years and around the world to become well-rounded musicians. 
  • Music Games: games involve rhythm, melody, and music theory to make students' learning experience enjoyable and interactive. The games reinforce musical concepts, while promoting a positive attitude toward music education and making music together. 

Mr. Kinsall has been teaching at Griswold Public Schools since 2000. Before teaching at GES, he was the band and orchestra teacher at Griswold High School for 20 years. While there, he also ran a Steel Drum band and was the Music Director of the spring musicals for 22 years.

Mr. Kinsall celebrates his love of music performance by being active in regional orchestras. He freelances in the classical, jazz, and commercial genres on both trumpet and guitar, and is a member of and performed with:

  • Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (formally the Connecticut Valley Symphony Orchestra)
  • Tim Fioravanti Jazz Orchestra
  • Waterbury Symphony Orchestra
  • Manchester Symphony Orchestra
  • West Hartford Symphony Orchestra
  • Classic Brass-Brass Band
  • Jim Stewart Big Band
  • Bob Hughes Big Band
  • Boston Pops Orchestra
  • Philadelphia Pops Orchestra


Physical Education

In the GES physical Education class, students will explore many different ways to move. During classes, student instruction will help to develop motor skills, knowledge, and lifelong learning for physical activity and fitness.

Students will understand safety and cooperation while working with others.
Physical Education is a planned sequence of skills. Students will learn how to enjoy movement in day-to-day activities, and the importance of exercise.

Mrs. Langlais started teaching at GES in 1988. She is a long time coach of GES Fun Run. 


Technology Education 

In GES technology education, students cover the use and care of equipment the grade level is using.  Students progress with keyboarding skills from basic letter/number locations to correct finger placement through the use of a variety of websites (Keyboard Zoo, Keyboard ChallengeDancemat & Typing Club). They explore Google (Classroom, Docs, Slides, and Sheets) and Microsoft (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) programs which allow them to communicate with others. Students also cover age-appropriate Internet Safety topics. A major component in the elementary technology curriculum is coding, in which they apply problem solving and persevering skills.

Mrs. Sanborn began at Griswold Elementary School in 1988 teaching a writing program. She then taught first grade for one year, followed by many years in second grade. She transitioned to the technology position in 2013 where she has enjoyed sharing her passion for technology.


Meet Our Team