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Reading Champions Race to the Finish Line

Reading Champions Race to the Finish Line photo
Reaching the finish line by reading 50,000 additional minutes this month is the goal of Reinhard students, who are celebrating the annual Pick A Reading Partner event. With the impending Olympic winter games televised from South Korea in a few weeks, the theme for this year’s PARP is “We are Reading Champions,” and student reading minutes are adding up quickly, said Principal Patricia Castine.

Sponsored by the PTA, PARP is an annual event, which encourages students to read an additional 15 minutes per day with a partner of choice, making this important life skill not only a school to home connection, but fun and informative as well.

During the three-week period, students are expressing their enthusiasm for reading by wearing school colors (blue and white), jerseys representing their favorite sports teams and patriotic colors (red, white and blue) in support for the U.S. Olympic team. Bellmore Public librarian Miss Debbie will also read some of her favorite books to the students. Other scheduled events include a cultural assembly and a school carnival, in addition to various classroom activities that bolster the students’ reading. 


Saying Yes, to a Healthy Mind, Body and Heart

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By wearing red, Shore Road students and faculty showed support for development of a healthy mind, body and heart during the school’s annual Red Ribbon Week campaign, held from Dec. 11-15. 

The annual Red Ribbon campaign is the nation’s oldest and largest drug awareness campaign and one that teaches students how to develop positive, healthy habits early in life. 

Students received red ribbons to wear throughout the week and signed a pledge on slips of red construction paper that said, “I promise to say ‘Yes’ to a healthy mind, body and heart. I am responsible for my choices. I choose to respect myself and others.” These slips were then collected by members of the Random Acts of Kindness Club, under the direction of social worker and adviser Christine Davison, to make chains that were hung in the main lobby as a symbol of the students’ commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
During the week, daily announcements reminded the students to keep a clear and focused mind, eat fruits and vegetables, exercise each day and show kindness and respect to everyone around them.

A-Buzz with Spelling Talent

Winthrop Avenue students Jenna Blacker was the winner of the school’s annual fourth-grade spelling bee, with Liam Marrow placing second in the competition. 

Fourteen of the school’s talented spellers battled it out during an unprecedented 21 rounds to claim the title of top speller, with teachers Gina Foppiano, Deirdre Golden and Alexandra Grodin as the judges and Marjorie Falabella as the moderator. The competition was one of the school’s more challenging spelling bees with Jenna and Liam both misspelling the words “bargain” and “suffocate.” Liam’s misspelling of the word “improvement” was then spelled correctly by Jenna, allowing her to win the competition by spelling “ocean” correctly.  
Prior to the spelling bee, contests were held in individual classes, and the two top spellers from each classroom were invited to participate in the Dec. 8 competition. The Bellmore School District also congratulates Brenden Chiu, Jared Cohen, Katie Giannaris, Jayson Halili, Alessandra Lee, Christian Navarro, Cade Randell, Jillian Rosenkrantz, Chase Rule, Mollie Schwinger, Sophie Shiner and Aiden Weissman.  

Warm Hearts Cure Cold Hands

Warm Hearts Cure Cold Hands
An English language arts lesson quickly turned into a community service project as first-grade students in Amanda Kowalski’s, Dawn McCardell’s and Cathy Schriver’s classes at Reinhard collected new mittens and gloves for their Mitten Tree.

The teachers read Candace Christiansen’s “The Mitten Tree” about a woman named Sarah who knitted mittens for a boy she saw at the bus stop each day. Sarah noticed that the boy could not play in the snow because he had no mittens. 

After discussions about the story, the students became inspired to collect mittens and gloves for students in need. The donations were displayed on a mitten tree bulletin board in the hall and will be donated to local charities over the holidays.

Showtime at Shore Road

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It was an evening of excitement and entertainment as talented Shore Road sixth-grade students took to the stage to the delight of parents during the annual talent show on Dec. 11. 

Under the direction of music teacher Laura Laude, the night’s diverse entertainment included 20 acts with several vocalists who performed popular numbers by Sia, Adele and Miley Cyrus, as well as from movies and plays including “Descendants,” “Moana,” “Wicked” and “Zootopia.” There were also choreographed dance numbers, instrumental performances to popular and classic music, yo-yo tricks, a comedic act and basketball tricks.   

During the dress rehearsal, students cheered for their peers as they practiced their routines. The performers’ work paid off on opening night as parents applauded their children’s hard work and talent. 

The District congratulates the following students on their participation in the talent show: Alec Ader, Lexi Beller, Isabella Blasi, Antoinette Bonavita, Adrianna Bonilla, Sophia Bouza, Chloe Boyle, Christopher Brillantino, Charles Butler, Adrianna Califano, Julia Cerverizzo, Brooke Cohen, Olivia Dina, Megan Eisenstein, Ashley Felsberg, Ella Galjanich, Gianna Gampero, Danielle Gering, Ava Goldsmith, Anthony Hoffman, Natalia Kleczek, Emily Kranz, Taylor Lindsley, Benjamin Margulies, Kelsey Nichols, Alexandra Radinsky, Olivia Randazzo, Emma Revzin, Liliana Rogina, Gabrielle Skolnick and Elania Sylvester.

The District would also like to thank the Masters of Ceremony (Tyler Aurigema, Preston Bowman, Gabriella Broder and Dylan Kratenstein) and stage crew members (Danielle Carlino, Sean Irving, Ariana Khan, Katherine McDermott, Noelle McIntosh, Daniel Molloy and Richard Teich).  

New Toys for Infirmed Children

New Toys for Infirmed Children
Shore Road’s fifth-grade student council, facilitated by Regina Harten and Jennifer Lucchetti, held its annual toy drive for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation, an organization that donates toys to children infirmed in local hospitals during the holidays.  

The Bellmore School District congratulates the students on being leaders in their community and for taking time to make the lives of others better during the holidays.

Kindness Curbs the Winter Cold

Kindness Curbs the Winter Cold
In line with the District’s character education program, members of Reinhard’s Student Advisory Council collected and donated gently used coats for New York State Assemblyman David McDonough’s annual Coats for Kids Campaign. On Dec. 8, Assemblyman McDonough visited the students and collected the sizeable donation. He told the students that their collection of coats will help many needy individuals keep warm during the winter season.   

Musical Leaders Bring Joy to the Holidays

Musical Leaders Bring Joy to the Holidays

The joy of the holidays resonated throughout Reinhard as first-grade students impressed parents and faculty with their musical talents during the annual holiday performance on Dec. 22.

Each class paraded onto the auditorium stage, under the direction of music teacher Randi Andersen, and prefaced each song with a short, introductory poem. Equipped with construction paper candles, David Reilly’s class headed off the performance with “Hanukkah is Here.” Dawn McCardell’s singers surprised the audience with a snowball fight to the lyrics of “Snow Day,” while Angela Coogan’s class expertly performed with bells to “Santa’s Coming.” Laura Siniski’s class sang a Hanukkah medley, turning like dreidels to the delight of the audience. Cathy Schriver’s class danced with their snowflakes to the tune “Snow Music,” and Amanda Kowalski’s vocalists commenced with the popular tune “Must Be Santa.”  

Principal Patti Castine congratulated the students on their performance and on being music leaders in the Bellmore community.

Gaining Perspective on the Vietnam War

Gaining Perspective on the Vietnam War photo

After interviewing local Vietnam veterans, Shore Road students in Graceann McClenahan’s fifth-grade class not only gained perspective on the Vietnam War, but made friends in the process.

The veteran interviews took place after the class’s reading of Patti Sherlock’s historical fiction novel “Letters from Wolfie.” The novel, set in 1969 with the Vietnam War still raging, relays the sacrifice, loyalty and patriotism of dog owner Mark, who sent his German shepherd to the army to be a scout dog. During follow-up discussions of the book, the students learned about the draft, dodging and the repercussions of the war. 

As an extension of their Vietnam War learning experience, the students then interviewed local veterans and wrote reports based on the information acquired. On Dec. 8, the students gave formal presentations and invited the veterans back to the school to hear their reports.   

“This war was not so far in the past,” said Ms. McClenahan. “Having the veterans speak to the students made the Vietnam War more relevant and will be an experience they will not likely forget.”

Natural Materials for Native Homes

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Leaves, twigs and moss were scattered on the tables at Winthrop Avenue as fourth-grade students participated in the Longhouse and Wigwam Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics Challenge. Combined with supplies provided by teachers, students were instructed to design and build either a wigwam or longhouse using STEAM principles. The project was a continuation of their studies of Native Americans, specifically the Iroquois and Algonquin peoples and the engineering principles employed in their Native American homes.  

Divided into groups, the students were instructed to first decide which Native American home to build, to plan how it should look and to draw and label the structure on paper. Using craft sticks, cardboard base, brown paper bags, tape, scissors and glue, the students combined their materials from outdoors to craft an accurate structure. 

Not only did the activity employ STEAM principles, students also honed collaboration, teamwork and decision-making skills to complete their structures.

Math as Movement

Math as Movement photo

Jumping around in the classroom is now a regular occurrence and a tool for learning math at the Reinhard.

The district recently adopted the Math & Movement program, a kinesthetic and multisensory approach to teaching math, which incorporates exercise and is designed to encourage students to practice math facts. Colorful floor mats allow students to jump and move as they solve math problems and allow for a rich variety of learning modalities (visual, auditory, motor and kinesthetic) when they practice their math facts and equations. 

Founder Suzy Koontz visited the district on Dec. 1 for development workshops with teachers and administrators, followed by a kickoff assembly with students. “The goal is to have math as a tool,” Koontz said. “The program incorporates more physical education and purposeful movement to counteract sitting and to activate the brain. Most of all, the program makes learning fun.”

During the assembly, students in grades K-2 performed jumping jacks while counting to 30, added numbers on the mats and simulated hitting a baseball while counting in threes. The program will be utilized in classrooms, as well as during physical education classes, explained Principal Patricia Castine.

A Peek into the District’s Strings Program

A Peak into the District’s Strings Program photo

Violins in hand, Reinhard second graders performed a number of tunes for parents after having completed an introductory strings program. Teacher Kelly Brandstadter explained that parents were invited to the performance to see firsthand what their children have been learning and to encourage community involvement in the Bellmore School District’s music program.

“The program is a wonderful peek into what students will learn if they choose to play a string instrument in the third grade at Winthrop Avenue School,” Ms. Brandstadter said.

During eight forty-minute sessions, the students learned the parts of the violin, the proper way to hold the instrument and to play songs from a variety of genres by plucking the strings. Furthermore, musical concepts and skills including composition, melody, harmony, pattern recognition, playing in unison, rhythm counting and the identification of pitch were also reinforced. Students also had the opportunity to learn about and try their hands with alternate string instruments such as the viola, cello and bass.

Winning Stars Warm Winter Hearts

Winning Stars Warm Winter Hearts
There was a strong feeling of gratitude and kindness at Winthrop Avenue as students participated in the Winthrop Winning Stars Warming Hearts This Winter program. 

Through the month of December, administration and faculty tracked the kind acts of students that would “warm a heart,” such as bringing in a food item for a food drive and saying a kind word to or helping a peer. Each time a kind act was recognized, students were instructed to write their action on a heart-shaped sticky note, which was then placed on the campaign’s bulletin board.   
Principal Sally Curto noted that the Winthrop Winning Stars Warming Hearts program was part of the larger district character education initiative, “Mind, Body, Heart,” which, in part, focused on being kind to others and participating in community service.

Sharing Writing to Celebrate the Season

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Part of the joy of publishing writing is sharing it with others, as seen in a buddy share activity between students in Fran Bauer’s and Christine Wuchte’s kindergarten classes at Reinhard.

The assignment was a label writing activity in which each student created a book, noting what he or she was thankful for. The students created detailed pictures to accompany their writing and labeled each artistic description (i.e., family, parents, toys).

After their books were published, the students rotated throughout the room, sharing their books with peers and making the assignment all the more special.  

Owl Sculptures Mirror Literature

Owl Sculptures Mirror Literature photo

Literacy and art came together as second-grade students in Eileen Consiglio’s and Marisa Demarzo’s classes at Reinhard painted colorful owl sculptures, under the direction of art teacher Michelle Block.

An English language arts unit introducing various writing techniques and genres preceded the art unit. The students read Jane Yolen’s “Owl Moon” to introduce personal narrative writing and Martin Waddell’s “Owl Babies” to demonstrate the use of quotation marks. Also read were Marjorie Weinman Sharmat’s mystery book “Nate the Great and the Owl Express,” National Geographic’s “Hoot, Hoot, Hooray!” about the rescue and caring of baby Eastern screech owls, and the nonfiction book by Gail Gibbons called “Owls” to introduce the students to nonfiction writing. 

“Creating themes is a fun way to teach children to read and write across the curriculum,” said teacher Marisa Demarzo.

After owl sculptures were created with Model Magic clay, the students used colored markers and water to paint their creations. Mrs. Block also reviewed the information learned in class, including the purpose for an owl’s large eyes, talons and whisper-quiet flying techniques. 

Board Recognition Night


Storytelling Through Cartooning

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Bellmore fourth-grade students at Winthrop Avenue School are thinking about storylines through the art form of cartooning. Under the direction of student teacher and former School of Visual Arts student David Shear, their story ideas reflect newspaper comic strips and are inspired by Calvin and Hobbs and Garfield.

“I wanted to bring my enthusiasm for cartooning to the classroom,” Mr. Shear said. “When creating a cartoon, the students must learn to be succinct, and in this case, draw out their story in just four panels.”

During the cartooning classes, the students learned first to think of a story visually. They then broke down the story into a sequence and wrote an accompanying script. Forming four panels on a sheet of paper, they then drew their corresponding pictures and accompanied each with word balloons to hold the script. Finally, the pictures within each panel were colored and the panel lines were highlighted.  

Food Drives Alleviate Community Hunger

Food Drives Alleviate Community Hunger photo
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In keeping with the district’s emphasis on leadership principles and core values, members of Shore Road School’s Random Acts of Kindness club and fifth-grade student council collaborated on a schoolwide campaign to help stock the pantries of homes around the Bellmore community this Thanksgiving holiday.
Under the direction of advisers Christine Davison and Jennifer Luccenta, respectively, the students collected nonperishable food items from Oct. 31 through Nov. 14, which will be donated to local families and the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Community Pantry. 

In addition, members of Winthrop Avenue School’s student council came together to pack boxes of food to give to local families in need this Thanksgiving. 

Let’s Be Thankful

Let’s Be Thankful photo

Throughout Reinhard, students dressed as Native Americans and pilgrims to demonstrate their thankfulness through art and song to the delight of parents and peers.

The prekindergarten students entertained parents with the program’s annual singalong and the making of a craft. After a discussion about togetherness, friendship and family, kindergarten students in Fran Bauer’s and Stacy Epstein’s classes sang holiday songs for parents, including “I’m a Little Turkey” and “The Turkey’s a Funny Bird.” Decorative placemats were also made in Ms. Bauer’s class, while students in Ms. Epstein’s class enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast, provided by parents. 

In addition, David Reilly’s first-grade students and Lauren Giordano’s kindergarten students collected in the cafeteria to celebrate Sharing Day, where the older and younger students collaborated on the making of craft turkeys and a thankful tree.

Circuit moves

Circuit moves photo

During a video conference with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Texas, Shore Road fifth-graders learned to think like scientists in order to make a robot draw. The activity fell in line with the district’s science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics curriculum with students ordered to complete three engineering tasks dealing with open, closed and off set motor circuits. The result was a robot, called a scribblebot, that moved along a sheet of paper and which scribbled colorful designs.

After a discussion about the engineering design process, students learned to make closed and open circuits using a battery, battery clip, motor and two alligator clips. During the second challenge and the addition of rubber bands and a glue stick, they engineered a motor to make a cup move. The final challenge and addition of different-sized markers resulted in the design of a scribblebot.  

Thursday, January 18, 2018