Searingtown Happenings

February/March 2014


So much has been happening at our school. Scroll down the page and read the grade level updates as well as what's happening in our special areas!

2nd Grade Celebrates Heritage Day!

Fifth Grade

Dispersion of Light

This month the entire fifth grade continued learning about energy in the form of light. Students used a light source to perform experiments with white and colored light. Some of the major concepts that the students learned were reflection, refraction and dispersion. Students gathered information by testing and/or observing the properties of light. They used mirrors to show reflection and refraction and learned how to use a protractor to prove that these angles are always equal. We finished the unit by discovering the colored spectrum of light through a crystal prism.

Also this month the fifth grade went on a field trip to the DNA Laboratories in Cold Spring Harbor. There we had the opportunity to enhance our science/health curricula by learning about cells and building a baggie animal cell out of gelatin, beans, pasta and more. We then moved on to the computer lab where we pretended to be “forensic scientists” trying to figure out what happened to Anastasia Romanov. Anastasia Romanov was the youngest daughter of the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his wife Tsarina Alexandra. She had three older sisters, Olga, Maria and Tatiana, and a younger brother Alexei. In 1917, the Romanovs were overthrown by the Bolsheviks and their leader, Vladimir Lenin. Anastasia and her family were imprisoned in Siberia and in July of 1918, they were brutally murdered. In order to prevent those who remained loyal to the tsar from finding his remains, the bodies were buried in a secret location. In 1992 a group of scientists uncovered their remains and made some startling discoveries. Could Anastasia have survived the massacre that took the lives of her entire family? Did she escape and live out her life, never being recognized for who she truly was? Our forensic scientists had the opportunity to analyze the evidence and decide for themselves! It was creepy and fun all at the same!!

Fourth Grade

Fourth graders realized the power of hands-on learning these past two months. We all visited the Smithtown Historical Society and experienced a slice of colonial life. From making silhouettes, writing with a feather quill, to dipping candles, we learned so much that books can’t teach! Our field trips continued and included an amazing art museum trip to C.W. Post for an exhibit on tools. The students did a great job interpreting the art and reflecting on their potential as a tool. The creative energy was palpable as the students worked their essay writing muscles to write about their artistic interpretations of tools. Finally, two of the classes had the opportunity to visit the STEM lab at Hofstra University to participate in scientific experiments and work collaboratively to problem-solve- two very important 21st century skills.

Our curriculum has been jam-packed with exciting units of study. In Social Studies, fourth graders have traced the timeline of history from the earliest North American explorers to colonial times. Many of our read-aloud books have enhanced this study. This work also correlated nicely with our historical fiction unit and book clubs in Reader’s Workshop. In Mathematics, our focus was on fractions. The students have been working to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and mixed numbers. In our Writing Workshop, we have been crafting many essays- compare/contrast essays, literary essays, and persuasive essays. The fourth graders can be very convincing!

Fourth grade is looking forward to the spring and the learning opportunities that await us!

Third Grade

The months of February and March seemed to fly by! In addition to snow and frigid temperatures, the third grade enjoyed many exciting things! We had a lot of fun during Jump Rope for Heart. We learned how important it is to have a healthy heart and raised money to help support the American Heart Association. We celebrated the 100th day of school by doing 100 exercises, and we practiced diligently for our first concert. We took two trips to see plays and many of us enjoyed the PTA presentation of the movie Frozen. It has been a wonderful two months of fun.

Of course we are also working very hard on our Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies skills! We spent many busy days working on fractions, area, and measurement. We have read and analyzed many different types of texts and feel very confident heading into the April tests. In addition, classes learned about Japan and Australia, buoyancy and the properties of what makes a good “boat” in our attempts to make clay float!

A fun time was had by all, and we are looking forward to the remaining days of our year together as 3rd graders! Today and everyday, we are always working to support and encourage each other to always do our best.

Second Grade

February may have the fewest days, but Searingtown’s second graders had the most fun this month. Some of the holidays, activities, and celebrations that the children enjoyed were: Groundhog’s Day, the Chinese/Korean New Year, Valentine's Day, Presidents’ Day, Black History Month, the 100th Day of School, the PTA Bake Sale, and visiting author, Meghan McCarthy. In Math and Science, we have been busy learning how to measure objects in centimeters and meters. We used rulers and yardsticks to determine the length, width, and height of objects in inches, feet, and yards. Mastering our addition and subtraction facts by taking one-minute math tests every day and learning how to add and subtract two-digit numbers with and without regrouping has been very mathematical. Our Writing Workshop focus shifted to writing about our favorite book club reading series. Our decoding and encoding skills increased each day during our daily D syllable type vowel teams Fundations lessons. Our February SearReads selection was “Under the Same Sun” by Sharon Robinson. During our daily Social Studies lessons, the second graders learned that peace begins with each and every one of us. It starts with an understanding and respect of our families, family histories, and cultures. As students studied their own family histories and traditions they discovered that we all share the same values, hopes, and dreams. The culminating activity was an incredibly successful grade level Heritage Celebration on February 14th. The children proudly shared their Family Treasures, Heritage Dolls, and “All About Me” books, as well as, sang songs about the about the continents, oceans, places in the world, love, and peace. Afterwards the students, parents, and guests were treated to a scrumptious International Buffet. What a busy month February was!

Although March came in like a lamb, Searingtown’s second graders had a lion’s share of educational experiences, activities, and fun. Studying the “D” syllable vowel team combinations during our Fundations word study lessons and being immersed in series reading and cross-genre reading clubs has been awesome. In addition to accurately measuring the length, width, and height of various objects during our Math/Science Measurement unit, the children have been learning about volume, capacity and mass. Our knowledge of place value to 1,000 and two question problem-solving strategies increases each day, as does our ability to add and subtract two-digit numbers with and without regrouping. Studying the accomplishments of famous women in honor of Women's History Month has been inspirational. The students have been comparing and contrasting urban, suburban, and rural communities during our Social Studies lessons. “Drugs Are Dangerous” was our very important Health topic. Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazan was our SearReads book selection for March. The themes of hope and appreciation were emphasized. An incredible PTA-sponsored author’s visit by Meghan McCarthy, a special skype session with author, Dan Gutman, for World Read Aloud Day, celebrating St. Patrick's Day, welcoming the first day of spring, parent/teacher conferences, Picture Day, the International Day of Happiness, and yoga all occurred during this month too. A heartfelt thanks goes to the PTA for donating the very informative and entertaining Mad Science “Fire and Ice” assembly too. Time MARCHes on!

First Grade

It was a FANTASTIC SNOWY FEBRUARY for the FIRST GRADERS at Searingtown School. We were so busy celebrating so many exciting events (in between snow storms). This month, we learned about two very famous presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and why we celebrate their birthdays in February. We also celebrated Valentine’s Day and shared special Valentine’s Day cards with each other. Most importantly we celebrated the 100th Day of School on Thursday, February 27, 2014. We had been waiting very long for this big day by counting each of our school days. We did 100 exercises, estimated what 100 objects looks like, made 100 cheerio necklaces, and read great 100th day stories.

In Writing Workshop, we started writing our very own “reviews” of things we love. In Reading Workshop we continue to talk about the great fiction characters we love so much. We are also continuing to add to the many strategies we already have to help us figure our tricky words. In math we continue to talk about place value and counting and adding two-digit numbers.


A very special day that every kindergartener anxiously awaits is the 100th Day of School!! After a few snow days, on February 27th, we finally were able to celebrate this day. The children began the day in the gym with their PALS doing 100 exercises. The children were then ready to begin the fun center activities planned for them. In the Primary All-Purpose Room, the children participated in activities centered on the number 100. Some of the activities that the children took part in were making 100th Day crowns, weighing 100 objects, stamping 100 stamps, coloring 100 objects, building with 100 blocks or planks, and rolling dice to travel a path to 100. Thank you to all of the parent volunteers who helped make this day very special for the children.


Author visits, books, technology, research... the library was hopping during February and March! Please click on the slideshow below to see all of the amazing things that happen in our library!

After watching the show, you might want to head over to the following links to see even more:

Art Studio

Fourth grades visited Tools in Motion: at Steinberg Museum of Art at Hillwood, Long Island University. The exhibit was originally created by the Hechinger Foundation. If that name sounds familiar to you, it is because John Hechinger, a hardware store pioneer, began collecting art about tools. In our visits, the students defined “tools” as things that make our lives easier.

Stefanie Santo-donato, our amazing museum educator, led lively discussions and creative workshops that combined writing with making visual images about tools that we relate to best.

Art Club Has been humming away as the artists use their hour a week to design portable murals for the school. We decided to try making portable murals as a team effort. Students work in self defined groups. Each has one piece of large good quality watercolor paper to work on while connecting it together with their group to make a larger mural. That way they can take it home at the end of display.

Look for them on the school walls! One joint venture is already installed, but we haven’t created the label yet. Photos of the finished products will be in next month’s happenings!

Hall Art Exhibits have begun! Students in each class have a chance to earn an exhibit by showing each week that they understand the rules of the Art Studio. When they, as a group . make a team effort to :

Use self-discipline.

Create from their imagination.

Listen carefully.

Follow directions.

Transform mistakes into opportunities

…they will earn a “tally” on my room chart. When they earn 10 tallies. they earn an exhibit featuring their parents as honored guests, a guided discussion about why the exhibited art inspires them and how they got the idea to make it. Oh, and there is another special treat at the end!

2 DeMarco

1 Morin

4 Kenny

4 Taliercio

Congratulations! What an honor! Only three students from Searingtown School were selected to be featured and exhibited at the LI Art Supervisor Exhibit at Adelphi University in March!

They are:

Jonathan Chau 1 Morgan

Gabrielle Bjelos 3 Grogan/Evers

Daniel Wang 4 Taliercio/ Walsh



Students explored animals in winter and learned about how some animals migrate, hibernate or collect food for winter. In addition, students have been exploring the different holidays we observe in February. Children are always excited to hear about the groundhog's prediction and to exchange Valentine’s Day cards with loved ones. However, Presidents' Day provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about some of our country's most influential leaders as well as the important roles and responsibilities of our President.

Ms. Vanore's 4th and 5th grade students completed a Public Service Announcement for an upcoming food drive. They studied not only homelessness, but the issue of food insecurity. The students wanted to make a difference, and so Ms. Vanore contacted Long Island Cares, an organization founded by the late singer, Harry Chapin. We researched all the the organization got started, who it helps, and what they need. Posters are also hanging throughout the school. Listen for details...donations will start soon!


The 5th grade Gemini students were fortunate to have the experience of dissecting grasshoppers in class this week. Under the guidance of a biology teacher from the Science Museum of Long Island, the students used a variety of dissecting tools, and were able to visualize internal organs, and externals features of their specimens.


Congratulations to the following Searingtown School Orchestra students for being selected for and performing with the Long Island String Festival Association Orchestra. These students had to prepare four challenging pieces of music and attend after school rehearsals. We thank them for their hard work, effort and time they spent to prepare and represent our school!

Timothy Kim - Violin
Chiara Tan - Violin
Christina Tsai - Viola
Ryan Leitner - Bass

These students had to prepare four challenging pieces of music and attend after school rehearsals. We thank them for their hard work, effort and time in representing our school!

Speech & Language

Speech Tip for March

Chores: Helpful For Everyone

Elementary school children are at the ideal age to begin having responsibilities in the home. Simple chores not only benefit the family as a whole, but the child benefits as well. Chores can boost a child’s feelings of self worth, create pride in accomplishment, and provide gratification in assisting his or her family household.

Chores have the potential to foster a child’s language skills as well. Assisting a parent with cooking tasks provides experiences with both math concepts (e.g. measuring, addition, time, temperature), and language concepts (e.g. following directions, categorization, planning, vocabulary). Feeding and caring for pets, cleaning-up clutter and setting the table also include the use of language, math, reading, and critical thinking skills.

Age appropriate chores teach responsibility, work ethics, organization and time management. Not only will parents gain some extra help around the house, but your child will be learning and growing as a person and a student.

Searingtown School

Searingtown Happenings

Written by Searingtown Faculty

Published by K. Kliegman

February/March 2014 Issue