Wallace Elementary School

Quarterly Newsletter, Marking Period 2

Making Learning Meaningful

Inside this Issue

  • Principal's Message
  • Fostering Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity
  • Fueling the Health of our Brains and Bodies
  • Fusing Hearts and Minds
  • Recommended Read
  • Upcoming Events

Principal's Message

Spring may be coming early this year, thanks Punxsutawney Phil, but our students are already in full bloom. The end of our second marking period is a crucial milestone for our students as they prepare for the second half of the school year. Our quarterly newsletter is a reminder of the many phases of growth and development our Wildcats have experienced in the last few months. We have placed the focus on Making Learning Meaningful because we understand the importance of relevant, rigorous learning. This newsletter gives examples of how Wallace Elementary school makes learning come alive. Allow me to welcome you to the next edition of our Wallace Elementary School Quarterly Newsletter.

Martin Shannon


Fostering Creativity and Intellectual Curiosity

Creativity and curiosity were two C’s Wallace brought to life during the second marking period. Students in all grade levels tapped into their inquisitive nature as they engaged in relevant and meaningful explorations of the world around them. Classrooms throughout Wallace challenged students to construct new insights, make connections, reflect on their prior assumptions, and think critically about abstract concepts. These opportunities for analysis ignited the inner scholar by providing spaces for students to ponder, wonder, and question. Together, teachers and students had the freedom to learn through individualized, creative, and fun approaches.

Creativity and Mathematical Understanding

Detecting New Strategies

Word problems can certainly be a challenge for mathematicians at all levels. Yet, with a little creativity from our fourth grade team, the skill was transformed into a mystery waiting to be solved. Fourth grade students assumed the role of a detectives as they worked collaboratively to complete two levels of training to earn their mustaches. Detectives were then given their first case...the case of the missing math books! This case was very complex and required students to use their only lead, the explicit use of the CUBES strategy, to think critically about deconstructing the clues within word problems.

Doctor Diagnosis

In fifth grade, scholars took on the role of doctors for a day, as they worked to carefully consider the symptoms (factors) to determine the diagnosis (product) their “patients”. The ER sounds in the background helped set the stage, but the latex-free gloves, masks, and caps helped everyone dress the part. During the course of this experience students utilized the standard procedure (algorithm) worked directly with colleagues to confirm using a a second opinion (strategy). Students concluded their day with a post-op reports to ensure that future doctors would learn from their work.

Encouraging Creativity Through Literacy

Graffiti Generates Thoughtful Analyses

Fourth grade students brought color and life to literacy as they responded to quotes from Sonia Sotomayor in a graffiti-inspired poster. In connection to their reading of Who is Sonia Sotomayor? by Megan Stine, fourth graders shared their reactions to the inspiring quotes without the constraints of typical linear thought patterns. Students were not only able to think critically, but articulate thoughtful analyses from multiple perspectives.
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The 'Other' Coraline

After reading the novel Coraline by Neil Gaiman fifth grade students conducted character autopsies to evaluate the complexity of character development. Scholars collaborated in small groups to analyze their character through twelve different lenses, such as heart, eyes, ears, brain, and more! Students were so inspired by this work that they began to wonder what an other world would look like if they were a character. In the style of the Netflix original show Nailed it!, students competed to build the best parallel universe and/or house with elements from the novel. The final round challenged students to develop a narrative capturing their creative efforts and persuading the judges to select their product using ethos, logos, and pathos.

Curiosity and Understanding the Sciences

Chinese New Year

Kindergarten students discovered that many cultures have traditions for celebrating a New Year. Through activities, food, and cultural legends students began learning about the Chinese New Year. They listened mythology and made masks of the “Monster Nian," beast that lives under the sea or in the mountains. The character typically means "year" or "new year". The earliest written sources that refer to the Nian as a creature date to early 20th century.

First Grade also rang in the Chinese New Year with their own Festival of Lamps. Though once used to protect flames from the weather, these lamps are often used to celebrate holidays such as Chinese New Year and the Festival of Lamps. In the words of Rumi, “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.”

Surviving in the Wild

Students in Mrs. Mazzone's class closed out the second quarter learning about what plants and animals need for survival, as well as how they are affected by their environment. Learning focused on delving deeper into the types of animal adaptations and survival skills needed in various environments. As a final project, our little learners were able to foster their creativity by writing and illustrating a book about animal habitats. Each page was a direct reflection of their inquiry and exploration of different environments around the world: from the freezing cold Arctic to the darkest parts of the sea.

Whooo's Food Chain

Third graders' dissected owl pellets during PLTW as the culmination to their animal unit. Owl pellets are the regurgitated remains of an owl’s meal, including all the bones of the animals it ate, usually small rodents. Students worked collaboratively to gently pull apart the pellet to separate the bones from the fur or feathers. Then, students grouped similar bones together to try and reconstruct the skeletons of the animals the owl ate. Since owls usually eat more than one rodent before regurgitating the remains, students used an inquiry-based approach to distinguish between the bones of different kinds of rodents based the evidence found in the pellet. Lastly, students drew conclusions about the eating habits of the owl that made their pellet.

History Lives On

We study history to learn from the experiences of others and analyze how the events from the past shape the world we live in today. Over the course of the past nine weeks our Wildcats have taken time to share important narratives from our past.

Our fourth grade students demonstrated pride and ownership of their Native American research projects. Students used their curiosity to identify key aspects of Native American tribes and share a visual narrative. Students also developed a presentation using Google Slides that was presented to their classmates. They used their research on the Trail of Tears as a platform to discuss social justice. These presentations were both entertaining and enlightening.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr. live on through the halls of Wallace Elementary School. The inspiration of his words resonated deeply with third grades, so they found a creative way to share their own dreams. Finding parallels between their dreams and that of Dr. King lead to some enlightened and engaging work.

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Fourth and Fifth grade students in Ms. Jervis's class also highlighted the narratives of Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks. Students connected most with Ruby Bridges and made similarities between her story and Greta Thornberg's. Through discussion and reflection students concluded that matter how old you are, you have the power to stand up for what you believe in.
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Speed Conversing

Fifth grade scholars engaged in conversations and formulated written responses demonstrating their understand of the novel Outcasts United by Warren St. John. Students focused on analyzing the text through the Socratic Seminar's essential question; Should all refugees be required to participate in a club or organization upon relocation to the United States? Using the concept of speed dating, students had two minutes to generate their own related critical thinking question with the peer across from them and then share their thinking. When the timer ended, they recorded their responses in written form. Then, students rotated and meet with the next peer. This inquiry strategy enabled students to take ownership of their learning, listen to many perspectives, and develop a deeper understanding.

These two C’s empowered our learners to embrace their inquisitive nature as they worked to construct their own learning opportunities across all subject areas.

Fueling the Health of our Brains and Bodies

Our Scientists are BRAINiacs

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) set the stage for fourth graders and their understanding of how the human body functions. Students engaged in a human body research project with a partner. Together they had to find out what their assigned organ's function was, a fun fact about it, what happens if the organ isn't healthy, and ways to maintain the organ's healthy. Then, after creating their organ and corresponding caption, the class compiled their work to develop a life size human body with all organs included. And of course the fun did not stop there! Students continued their study on the human body by delving deeper into the brain. The hats pictured above helped students learn about the different parts of the brain and their functions. Students then applied this knowledge to determine which part of their brain they use during art, music, math, ELA, PE, lunch, recess, and more. These learning experiences helped students to see just how many functions our bodies and brains are in charge of and the importance of giving them the fuel they need to be successful.

Food Meets Fun

Thanks to the continued interest in the Nutrition Education efforts in the Hoboken School District, the Pomptonian Wellness Fair at Wallace School. This fair was designed by our registered dietician. There was a variety of stations that the students visited while they were at the fair. Each station was designed to educate on a large variety of topics. The students moved from station to station, spending just a brief time at each hands-on display. We had a variety of food service professionals managing the different stations and every child seemed to love the experience.

Feelings Matter

Third grade students participated in the Partners in Prevention's Footprints for Life program.This is a research based initiative that teaches important life skills and social emotional competencies. Students learned how to use "I-messages," solve problems, celebrate differences, and cope with hard feelings. Through the use of puppets and storytelling they are able to practice these skills in a fun and safe environment.

Our Very Own Heroes

The Heroes and Cool Kids Student Leadership Program is a unique mentoring program where student-leaders from Hoboken High School, Heroes, mentor our fifth grade students, Cool Kids. The Heroes are chosen for their standout academic achievement, extracurricular participation, and most importantly, their character. During their visits at Wallace, they facilitate discussions with students on age-appropriate real life choices that are meaningful to our students and help all students make healthy choices that will lead to a positive future. We thank you, Hoboken High School, for your support of our future Redwings.

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Fusing Hearts and Minds

Wallace lead with our hearts and minds through our commitment to serving the Hoboken community. Here are a few of our marking period favorites!

Wallace Gives Back

Our Student Council and PTO collaborated to lead a school-wide initiative called Wallace Gives Back...and it was a HUGE Success! The 3rd, 4th and 5th grades collected boxes and boxes of nonperishable food items, while grades K-2 participated in a toiletry drive to give back to our Hoboken community. The Student Council, along with their advisors Ms. Lawrence and Mrs. Martinez, conducted a walking field trip to the Hoboken Shelter where they were able to hand over the collected items, learn about the services provided by the shelter to help those in need and wish all of the shelter's guests a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. At Wallace, we believe that giving back can be done at any age. We are very proud of our students for working so hard on this initiative and, of course, we could not do all of this without the support of our wonderful families.

PTO Sponsored Toy Drive

After spreading the word and receiving so many generous donations of toys from our parents and caregivers, the PTO was able to put smiles on the faces of many children. It never ceases to amaze me how our school family comes together to give when called to do so.

We've Got Spirit...Yes we do!

Wallace certainly started 2020 by leading with our heart and minds. The entire school participated in a 2020 Spirit Week Kickoff Celebration. From wearing mismatched clothes to wacky tacky hair and hats, all of our Wallace Wildcats showed their passion for our community and the love we have for learning.

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International Night

Our International Night last Friday was an incredibly fun event where our school community came together with the larger Hoboken community to put our unity and diversity on display simultaneously.

Thank you to all of the families that attended and brought food to share! Also, a big thank you to all of the business that donated, we were so very grateful, Bin 14 - Frankie and Ava's - Dark Side of the Moo - GFG - Dolce & Salato - Curry Up Now - Karma Kafe - Keming - Yeung II - Choc o Pain - Northern Soul - Barbes - Beyti Kebab - 10th & Willow - Rosarios!

Additionally, all of the performances were amazing! Thank you to the Wallace and Middle school students that provided such great entertainment, along with our parents, teachers, and staff that helped make it all happen! #wallacerocks

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Recommended Read

The theme of Marking Period 2 was Making Learning Meaningful and showcased the power of student-centered learning. This New York Times Best Seller, What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.This is a must-read story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.

Upcoming Events

  • February 12th Sweetheart Dance
  • February 18th is the last day help Wallace School contribute to the city wide Have a Heart for the Hoboken Shelter. We will prepare the blankets and notes on February 19th and 20th and deliver them on February 21st
  • February 24th through March 1st is our Annual Scholastic Book Fair
  • March 6th Be Great Assembly
  • March 27th join us for the Staff vs. Parent Basketball Game from 6:00-8:00 pm