Book Buffet

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Fifth grade students in Nicole Osterhoudt’s class at Shore Road have combined their love of reading with art during the Book Buffet project.

Students were instructed to choose a book to read independently and were encouraged to take notes on various story elements as they progressed, such as theme, characterization, point of view, literary devices and plot. Instead of a traditional pen and paper book report, the students translated the information into the shape of food. Utilizing recycled or repurposed objects around their homes, the students included the various book elements in their “buffet” choice, making sure that the parts of the report were typed, neat and proofread for correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation.

Ms. Osterhoudt said, originally, the Book Buffet project was supposed to be completed among the students’ class book club groups and displayed for everyone to see. School district closings, however, made the project more individualized.
Some of the books chosen for the Book Buffet were E.B White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s “Fish in a Tree,” and Mike Lupica’s “Heat."


Students Honor Local Nurses

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No time in the nation’s history has it been more important to honor nurses, the community’s front-line workers, for National Nurse’s Week, held annually on May 6-12. In honor of the individuals who have worked tirelessly to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, second grade students in Caryn McCabe’s and Theresa Padula’s class at the C.A. Reinhard decided to spread cheer among the nurses at Plainview Hospital Northwell Health by writing letters of hope and appreciation for a job well-done.

Ms. McCabe said, “The activity connected with our study of character education and leadership and was meant to show gratitude for all those who are sacrificing for the safety of the community.”

Ms. McCabe said a friend works in the intensive care unit and has been treating COVID-19 patients and shared the students’ letters with her colleagues. “The nurses were extremely grateful and took a photo to demonstrate their appreciation for the students’ sentiments.

‘I Wonder’ how plants grow

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First grade students in David Reilly’s class at the C.A. Reinhard are wondering and figuring out how plants grow through participation in several virtual field trips to Crossroads Farm in Malverne. The virtual field trips and study of seeds, farming and crop growth are part of a science unit named “I Wonder.”

“I tell my students that scientists use this essential question when they begin to study something important,” Mr. Reilly said.

Under the direction of farmers Mary Jean McCarthy and Susan Salem and using Google Meet technology, the students questioned how a seed grows on the farm. Ms. McCarthy took the students on a tour of the farm’s greenhouse, which housed onion, cotton, melon, sunflower, pumpkin, corn and pea seeds. They also learned that the farm does not use chemicals on their plants because of the effect on humans and animals. The students were also encouraged to participate in an imaginary enactment of what it would be like to be a seed while listening to Ms. McCarthy’s information about the journey from seed to plant.

In a second field trip to the farm, Mr. Reilly’s students focused on how scientists sketch and take notes when they have “I wonders” that question how things work. After the field trip, the students were instructed to make their own sketches, depicting the elements that affect the growth of a plant.

In addition to the virtual field trips, the students were encouraged to plant their own garden, using seeds left on their doorstep by Mr. Reilly, co-teacher Theresa Padula and teaching assistant Jennifer Siano.


Solving Problems With Robots

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Even with the challenges of remote learning, teachers and students are finding ways to carry on the District’s science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics program.

At Shore Road, sixth grade students in Phinola Baeza’s class researched and identified a current problem that society faces. They were then challenged to create and construct a robot that will solve the societal problem using materials at home. Many of the students chose to create environmentally friendly robots, since the school had just celebrated Earth Day on April 22. The STEAM experts then presented their robots to the class and their teacher via Google Meet.

Some of the robots were more conceptual in nature. One student created an environmentally-friendly robot that could travel back in time to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic where it would be able to stop the disease from spreading. Other robots had a definitive job, such as a robot that cleans up trash on the beach but spits out sand as it moves along the beach. One student even created a robot that teaches and translates language to the deaf through use of sign language.


Dear Mom, I love you!

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The art of letter and card writing was an integral part of an English language art class at Winthrop Avenue School in Bellmore. Fourth grade teacher Christina Colletti’s students sharpened their letter writing skills by writing cards to their mothers for Mother’s Day.

Ms. Colletti said the class has been responding to various writing prompts, or sentence starters, to learn to write expressively. She provided a Google Slides card template, and the students were instructed to finish sentence starters by typing their message on the card’s flowers.

Some of the sentence starters included “You are special because…,” Thank you for…,” and “I love you because…” These details, Ms. Colletti said, provided a unique message so mothers knew exactly why their child loves them. After the messages were edited, the students printed the cards to share with their moms on Mother’s Day.