Thomas G. Connors Read All About It

2nd Marking Period Newsletter

Principal's Message

Dear Parents and Guardians,


The first half of the school year serving as Principal of T.G. Connors Elementary School has been truly remarkable. We are continuing to build a family partnership in which each and every child and family is a part our school's journey for the success of every child.


Throughout the first two marking periods, we have continued to focus on the three priorities of Connors: Parent Partnership, Centrality of the Child, and Academic Excellence. Those priorities are embedded in our district’s mission, vision and goals. I would like to circle back to those priorities and share our progress in those specific areas during the 2nd marking period.


Parent Partnership

Research shows that effective schools have high levels of parental and community involvement as those partnerships are positively correlated to success in student academic achievement, positive behavior and school attendance. I truly cherish our partnership. I want every parent to feel welcome and to feel a part of our thriving school community. Parents and families have partnered with our staff to create exciting and impactful school and community events to further strengthen the bond between Connors and our family community.


Parent partnerships emanate Connors elementary school. Our PTO is bigger than ever and it is continuing to expand with every meeting. Our PTO is such an essential part of our school community. Whether it is fundraising, celebratory events, or school enhancement ideas, parents wholeheartedly donate their time and expertise to lend a hand. There was such a sense of school spirit and community at our International Dinner Night and the success of it could only be attributed to the collaborative efforts of our parent volunteers who shared food of their heritages, and dances of their cultures. Our amazing faculty is the connecting piece between our Connor families and our students' success. We so appreciate the collaborative effort of our faculty to help make our International Dinner happen. Our kids brought lots of energy and enthusiasm for the delicious multicultural plates and exciting dances. I cannot express enough how much I sincerely care for our Connors family.


Centrality of the Child

Student voices, interests and needs shape the planning of learning experiences that are relevant to each individual child. Each of our students have different strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to celebrate and continue to develop our children’s strengths and assist our students and close the gaps where their skills might be more fragile.


At Connor Elementary School, we educate the whole child which includes Social Emotional Learning. During the 2nd marking period, we have expanded on the social emotional curriculum by introducing and utilizing Move This World across all grade levels. This Social Emotional Learning Program links the needs for movement with the development of self awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making skills.


Academic Excellence

Our students are continually immersed in academically stimulating and challenging educational programs. Our curriculum is rigorous, responsive and relevant. We are striving for each child to continuously grow academically. Teachers are closely monitoring the academic growth and achievements of each student by giving data-driven instruction.


We have also continued our school-wide focus on reading growth throughout the 2nd marking period. Teachers and faculty, as well as myself, have fostered a love of reading to mirror that love onto the students' views of reading. Studies show that children who read independently for pleasure become better readers, score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas and have greater content knowledge. I would like to share with you several initiatives that have already been underway during the 2nd marking period:

  • All classes at Connors continue our D.E.A.R program (Drop Everything And Read). During D.E.A.R time, our students read books of their interest and choice at their independent reading level. D.E.A.R time helps to foster a community of readers

  • Our Reading BEEs (buddies) program has continued throughout the 2nd marking period. Students in kindergarten and 1st grade look forward to hearing the stories their 4th and 5th grade buddies read to them, and the opportunity to show off their own reading skills to their older peers.

  • Christy Gaudio, our new reading specialist provides reading support for our second graders during ILP period using a combination of IMSE Orton Gillingham and the Leveled Literacy Intervention System by Fountas and Pinnell. Both research-based systems, will help to develop and strengthen Letter Name Knowledge, Sound Knowledge, Sight Words, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Comprehension, Vocabulary.



The rest of this newsletter is a window into Connors. I hope you enjoy viewing the happy and engaged faces of our students while they are learning.


All the best,

Juliana Addi, Principal

Dean's Message

Hello T.G Connors School Community,


It is hard to believe we are already half way through the school year. As the Dean of Students and programs, I am happy to report our holistic approach to education is really taking shape here at Connors. As you all know, our Move this World program is well underway and we have been receiving such positive feedback from our students, teachers, and parents on the immediate impact it has had on our students. In addition to Move this World, our support specialists are engaging our students in various social and emotional learning groups to assist students with emotional awareness and regulation, communication skills, and conflict resolution. I have always stated that my goal is to ensure that students are learning, happy, and safe. I would like to thank our school community for their continued support in making Connors a school that is growing in all facets of education.


As Dean of Students, I also monitor and support students and families with school attendance. Attendance in all grade levels is important, as excessive absences disrupt the continuity of the instructional process and limits the ability of students to complete the curriculum requirements successfully. I am here to support your family with any questions regarding attendance and to assist with any strategies to optimize all of our students' success.


I am looking forward to our continued collaboration and to support the amazing milestones and experiences your children will continue to have at Connors.


Your Dean,

Mr. Sorafine

Fun Fridays with Mr. Sorafine

Students look forward to Fun Fridays with Mr. Sorafine. They love being rewarded for having great school attendance, completing their homework nightly, and showing acts of kindness throughout the school day. It is also awesome to see students cheer each other on and get genuinely excited for their friends who are selected to compete. January's Fun Friday held a trivia contest for first grade. Room 206 could not have been more thrilled to win a movie and popcorn party for having the most correct answers! Congratulations to all the participants, and keep up the good work!!

"Happy" Fun Friday Video Montage with Dean Sorafine

Kindergarten Highlights

Social Studies

Kindergarten students recently learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and will continue to learn about other influential and inspirational black leaders in our history for Black History Month! Students in Ms. Schultes' class read about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream and got a chance to write their own dreams! Dreams included things such as: everyone will be kind to each other; to become a hero; to always help others; etc. They shared these dreams with the class and we discussed how important it is to make our dreams come true.

Building Lifetime Readers and Writers

Mathematicians

Kindergarten Scientists

Grade K Connors scientists explored how the sun warms the Earth. The students were able to openly discuss the positive and negative affects the sun. During the class investigation our young scientists were able to identify the role of a solar engineer, and how their job plays an important role in harvesting the sun’s energy to create electricity.
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First Grade Highlights

Mathematicians At Work

Mrs. Sheridan's awesome mathmeticians in Room 205 were eager to begin their new unit in Math Investigations. We are learning all about Combinations to 10 by using numeral cards to add up to 10. Mrs. Sheridan and Ms. Rosa love hearing about all the different strategies the students are using to solve their problems!

Readers and Writers

Reading and writing have been a huge focus in first grade! We especially love reading to and listening to great stories each Friday with our 5th grade reading buddies from Ms. Ortiz’s class. We have also incorporated daily journal writing to kick off our day. This allows us to wake our brains up, get our creative juices flowing and practice writing and grammar skills we have learned during ELA. On Fridays, students have the option to share an entry from the week with their peers. This allows us to practice our speaking and listening skills as well.

Retell Time

First grade students in Ms. Vayda's groups used visual reminders to help retell the events of a story. Here, they are using pictures from the story to help orally retell the events in order.

1st Grade Art Highlights

Our 1st grade student's artwork is on display at "The Little Local", 519 Adams St.

In the art room with Mrs. Musella, the 1st grade students were able to develop their observational drawing skills by drawing a cactus plant. We discussed the idea of line repetition when creating patterns and identifying patterns found in nature. The following 1st grade students have their artwork on display at the coffee shop The Little Local, 519 Adams St. Hoboken. @thelittlelocalhoboken


Alessia P., Domenica B., Sacha B., Nicholas P., Abigail M., Alexandra D.

Congratulations!

Second Grade Highlights

Math Games

Two of our second graders, Amy and Siri, are going to show you how to play one of the math games learned in Unit 3 of Pearson Investigations called Close to 20. The goal of this game is to practice creating equations to equal 20. Players will pick 5 cards, select 3 of the cards that they have to create a number string or equation as close to 20 as possible. They then record their score by finding the difference between 20 and their total. If they created an equation that equals 20, their score will be 0. After playing for five rounds, the player with the lowest score wins the game! Try this game at home with your family to become master mathematicians like our second graders!

Social Studies

This Marking Period, second grade focused on Hoboken’s (Local) Government. For the first week, we explored the vocabulary associated with the local government like community, mayor, law, judge and citizens. The students worked on pairing vocabulary words with definitions and then drew illustrations of each to match. For the next few weeks, we dug deeper into the local government to identify some community laws and the services that the government provides us with. Here, you can see some second graders holding the Local Government Lap Books that we worked on throughout the second Marking Period. Stop by to check them out!
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ELA

In Language Arts, second graders used their creativity to write a story with details and transition words. Students also completed center activities throughout the marking period focused on their spelling words for the week and skill for the week. In the second photo pictured, students are creating three letter blend puzzles. Throughout the marking period, students have also practiced their sight words through Jeopardy!

Mathematicians at Work

In Math, students in Room 106 worked together with a partner to create groups of shapes that share the same attributes. Students even got to use their public speaking skills to present their groups to the class!
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Third Grade Highlights

ELA

This marking period, third graders practiced identifying the main idea and details of a text. Students worked in groups to read short paragraphs and sequence the paragraph to identify the main idea and supporting details.

Mathematicians

Third graders love practicing their math skills with partners! One of the students' favorite center games was a rounding review game. Students worked with partners to create a two or three digit number and had to round to the nearest ten.

Social Studies and ILP

In January, third grade students celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by creating a timeline of the important events in his life during Social Studies. In an effort to practice using character traits and honor Dr Martin Luther King Jr, third graders described the historical leader using character traits and test evidence after reading multiple sources during the ILP period.

Learning About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Connors School Video Montage

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Fourth Grade Highlights

Reading Buddies with Dr. Kerry Magro

Dr. Kerry Magro read his book I Will Light It Up Blue! with our 4th and 5th graders. He also had a discussion about autism with our students. Our students were able to ask him questions and share and discuss their own experiences with autism. He prepped our students on common questions that younger children ask about autism. Then, our 4th and 5th graders read I Will Light It Up Blue! with their kindergarten and 1st grade reading buddies, and were able to teach them about Autism. Here is a Reading Buddies video montage from this week.
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ELA Snapshot

Students evaluated their own writing and conferenced with a teacher to revise and edit Literary Analysis essays, and then published their writing using Google Docs on the Chromebooks. In addition, after completing the core novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, students worked in groups to create posters about different themes in the story. Students then wrote Literary Analysis essays comparing and contrasting two of the themes. During the Scholastic Bookfair, students enjoyed looking at the different books available and writing a wish list.

Math Problem Solving

During the 4th grade Math Investigations unit on multiplying larger numbers, students created “Multiple Towers” to learn about number patterns. This helped them to develop problem solving strategies.

Geometry Focus

Ms. Neumann led Ms. Rodriguez’s students to use this Parallel vs Perpendicular chart to scaffold and support their understanding of shape sides for our Geometry unit! Then, they used this chart to help them play “Guess my Rule”.

Mini PGP

During Mini PGP, 4th grade students continued to learn about our legal system through Mock Trials. Officers from the Hoboken Police Department visited the 4th grade in support of the initiative. Students collaborated in small groups to develop and present mock trials focused on the legal implications of eScooters. After reading about and discussing the pros and cons of eScooters, students created scenarios for civil and criminal cases. The officers shared their experiences with issues and rules from the eScooter pilot program, and students had an opportunity to ask questions about the legal statutes to strengthen their cases. Our learners really enjoyed their time with the officers!
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Fifth Grade Highlights

Math Centers

Ms. Sogluizzo’s fifth graders participated in rotating math centers to apply skills learned in Math Investigation Unit 5. In the “Practice Problem Center”, students worked in their Math Investigations workbook to interpret and analyze data to respond to given questions. In the “Technology Center”, students used the chrome books to research the daily temperatures in Hoboken during the month of January. They recorded their data in a table then created a line graph. Finally, in the “Critical Thinking Center”, students worked with the teacher to complete NJSLA released sample items and score their responses using the given rubrics.

ELA Focus

After reading Chapter 4 in Coraline, students is Ms. Ortiz's class worked together to determine 3 character traits that describe Coraline. In order to support their chosen character traits, students had to find text evidence.

Social Studies

Ms.Sogluizzo’s fifth grade students researched different causes that led up to the Civil War. Next, they read a readingaz.com leveled reader, 1865: The End of the Civil War, which explained major events and battles during the Civil War. After that, students worked in cooperative groups to create timelines of these major events with explanations of each one that they presented to their peers.

Mini PGP

Students had the opportunity to participate in New Jersey’s Mock Election. Students had the opportunity to rank candidates in order of preference. Students were able to choose two important issues about daylight savings time and school starting time.

5th Grade Biologists

5th grade Connors Biologists dissected owl pellets. Our biologists are pictured classifying and collecting data on types of bones to determine what their owl ate. This is tied into our topic of food chains and the environment. From their findings they will move on to create a bar graph to show the types of collected bones from the activity.

Physical Education

At the end of our 5th grade basketball unit, Connors Elementary students partake in a 3v3 Double elimination basketball tournament.
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Windows into Connors Classrooms Video Highlights

Sensory Hallways

Sensory hallways are a great way to provide brain breaks and promote health and wellness. The Hoboken Public Education Foundation is dedicating the sensory hallway project throughout the district as a special way to honor the memory of the late Shirael Pollack, the original co-founder of the Foundation. Here is a video of one of our sensory hallways in action!

Musicians in the Making

Mr. Azzarto not only leads his young musicians in music class, but also builds an amazing school band! Whether it's in music class, or practicing for their instrumental or vocal performances on stage, Connors students are young musicians in the making!
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School Events and Happenings

Green Week

Green Camp-Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

In Green Camp, our Connors Koalas learned how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Students learned they can "Reduce" by turning of the lights when they are not in use. In addition, they can turn off the water when they are brushing their teeth and they can walk instead of drive to school.


Students learned to "Reuse" by bringing reusable bags to the supermarket as well as wear hand me down clothes. We also talked about the importance of donating clothes and explained how the earth benefits by keeping waste out of landfills. In addition, donating items is an act of Kindness and is a way to help anyone who needs it.


We then talked about recycling and why it’s important to recycle correctly. David, the recycling coordinator for Hoboken, went over the rules for recycling. He taught the slogan for recycling plastics, "1,2,5 empty clean and dry". Students learned why it is important to wash and dry your recycling before putting it in the bin as well as which night to put out which recyclables. The kids then got to practice sorting and recycling themselves utilizing the recycling bins.


Thank you so much to our Connors Green Team for initiating and leading our Green Week. The students had a blast and learned so much!!

The Green Drop

The Green Drop was a huge success! Thank you so much to all of the families who donated items to the Red Cross. Thank you to all of our parents, faculty and Connors Green team who volunteered to make the Green Drop so successful.

Move This World

Dear Connors Families,


I am excited to share some updates with you regarding T.G. Connors Elementary School social emotional learning initiatives this school year. Social emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and apply the skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The initiatives we have selected will continue to contribute to a strong school culture in which all students feel safe, supported and valued.


Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.


There are five core competencies that the Move this World curriculum is based on:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision-making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.


Playworks During Recess

Social and emotional learning doesn’t stop at the classroom door. The strategies kids practice at recess stick with them. We are creating a recess environment that encourages self-management, relationship skills, and social awareness.


As part of our lunchtime structured playtime, our school social work intern, Ms. Chambers, has piloted and is implementing a program with several students utilizing the Playworks Life Skills Game Guide. This program allows for structured playtime activities which reinforce teamwork, turn taking, problem solving and fun. Students that participate have the opportunity to work together on various tasks that all involve movement and non competitive games.


Friendship Groups

We have begun an initiative with the 3rd-5th grades involving SEL groups weekly. The curriculum is based on the Sanford Harmony Social Emotional Learning Program. All of our third to fifth grade students are a part of a weekly group that focuses on various topics such as team building, conflict resolution, empathy, personal strengths, peer conflict and building positive relationships with others. Classes meet with the school counselor, school social worker, school psychologist or Dean of Students covering a different topic weekly.


This year we will be using Move This World as our foundational social emotional learning program. Move This World uses fun and engaging videos to teach core social emotional skills and will help your child develop the confidence to express their feelings authentically, manage their emotions healthily and navigate challenges successfully. I want to take a moment to explain what you can expect from Move This World.


How it works:

Your child will watch and engage with short interactive videos at the beginning and end of the

school day. Each video is tied to a core social emotional learning competency, including: self

awareness, self management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision

making skills.

What you can expect:

As the year progresses, you can expect and encourage your child to carry the skills they will

learn through Move This World at home. They might begin to ask you some questions about

how you’re feeling or how you manage stress (and they might even offer you some suggestions,

too!)

You’ll hear your child use Move This World vocabulary, such as: the 10 Emogers (emotional

management strategies), the Emotional Building Blocks (vocabulary words focused emotions) or

the Positive Pivot Scale (a framework used to respond to challenges).

You might see your child experimenting with new ways to express themselves, setting new and ambitious goals for themselves or developing new ways to problem solve.


Additional resources and opportunities will be shared throughout the year to help you reinforce social emotional learning in your homes. In the meantime, if you’d like to explore social emotional learning a little bit more, we encourage you to take a look at Move This World’s blog and resources:


Sincerely,



Juliana Addi, Principal

International Dinner Night

Our International Dinner Night was so much fun! It was so nice celebrating with all of you. It was a special night for our students to be proud of their heritage, develop the confidence to celebrate and share their heritage with others, and for everyone to see the beauty in the diverse heritages at Connors. I really want to thank all of our faculty who came together to make this event so successful. I also want to thank all of our Connors families who brought dinner to the potluck and choreographed dances. Our Connors family is truly special.

Holiday Sing-Along

Our Connors Holiday sing-along was an absolute blast. The holidays are a time of year when family, friends, and community get together and take the time to cherish one another. We were able to do that over our family sing-along. Thank you so much to Fran Azzarto, our musical director, and to Travis Brassel, our music teacher. Thank you to all of our faculty who contributed to making this event possible. Whether it was decorating the gym, helping the children practice their songs, or organizing the event, it can only be done through the team effort of our faculty. I absolutely love that everyone is a part of the success.

Connors Family Holiday Sing-Along Video Montage

Student of the Month

We are so proud of our students of the month! You are all kind, respectful, trustworthy and fair. You all know how to be a good friend. You all work very hard throughout the day to learn new things. You are role models to your peers. We are so proud to have you represent Connors!

December

Kindergarten: Janyvah H.

1st Grade: Dylan P.

2nd Grade: Jordyn M.

3rd Grade: Isabella G.

4th Grade: Samirah W.

5th Grade: Noah L. (District Student of the Month)

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January

Kindergarten: Serena B. (District Student of the Month)

1st Grade: Alessia P.

2nd Grade: Jaleah R.

3rd Grade: Jeremiah P.

4th Grade: Mia C.

5th Grade: Samantha C.

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