Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter

Fair Haven Public Schools

May 2020 - Volume 2, Issue 9

Dear Fair Haven Families,

It truly seems like time is flying by! I feel like it was just a few days ago that I was sharing the April Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter with you.

This month's issue is chock full of students doing amazing work! While the virtual learning environment cannot take the place of in person instruction, our teachers and our students are doing great things. Everyone is learning something new, whether it be a new technology tool for our staff or new content for our students (and parents too). This month is overflowing with news to share! We are also sharing a district spotlight feature on teachers working hard and taking part in Professional Learning Book Clubs. It is important to feature our life-long learners, as they set a fantastic example for our students. Enjoy!


Cheryl Romano

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Twitter: @FHCurriculum

"May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive." – Fennel Hudson

Students Working From Home

Mrs. Mattison's class invited Maya Presser's grandfather to their Zoom meeting to talk about his father's experiences with the Holocaust. This experience coincided with the students reading Number the Stars, a book about how the Danish Resistance smuggled almost their entire Jewish population to Sweden. If you would like to be part of this wonderful experience, it has been recorded. Check it out!

Holocaust Guest Speaker

Kieran Broderick, a 2nd grade student, has been hard at work on his art. In his video, he shares his Cubist portrait and talks about how his drawing came about. Check it out!

Cubist Portrait

Appsmash in middle school Spanish classes...when students use multiple technologies in the classroom apps to complete tasks and create projects, we call it an Appsmash. In Mrs. Whisten's classes, students are using Pear Deck in Google Meet!
In Ms. Bufano's 5th grade class, students have "Share Day" during their Friday morning meetings. This is not for the faint of heart or more specifically those of us (yes, me included) who have ophidiophobia, or the fear of snakes. This brave student shared his pet snake with the class. I am glad this was a virtual "Share Day"!
For Dr. LaBrocca's 1st grade art classes, students learned about the artist Vincent van Gogh and two of his most famous paintings. Students were able to watch a video and see if they could follow van Gogh's brushstrokes, and then paint or draw a beautiful sky! Sean McDonald, from Ms. Rosen's class, shared photos of his sidewalk drawing of Starry Night. It's titled Sunshine.
Students in Mrs. Sustick's Media class have been hard at work! They completed different challenges involving inventions and arcade games based on Caine's Arcade. Caine’s Arcade is a short film about a 9 year old boy’s cardboard arcade, and his dream of having customers. Tens-of-thousands of customers visited Caine’s Arcade to play, and kids around the world began making their own cardboard arcades.

Check out some of these students inventions and videos!

Caine's Arcade Video 1

Caine's Arcade Video 2

Mrs. Carpenter's 7th grade students have been studying the systems of the human body. They were assigned a project where they could choose from 5 different tasks. Some students videotaped themselves making a Public Service Announcement as to why people should not start smoking or quit smoking. Other students chose to make working models of the respiratory system.

Check out a student video project!

Video of a model of the respiratory system by Gracyn Austin

Students in Mrs. Gennusa's first grade class celebrate their writing through Flipgrid! Students wrote amazing reports about plants and animals and shared them with each other through a Flipgrid video. It is amazing how much you can learn about poison dart frogs, deer, squid, snakes, name it...Mrs. Gennusa's class had it covered!
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Engineers Teaching Algebra

Students in Ms. Mancino's Advanced Algebra class had the opportunity to go on a virtual field trip. They invited me along for the ride and I have to say it was a 45 minute block of time that kept me on my toes!

This real world experience was brought to our 8th grade students and led by engineer, Mark Love. He would typically come in and join classes, which also include Mr. O'Hare's 8th grade math classes too! In this session, Mr. Love shared with students some interesting facts about traffic patterns and roadway construction, as it relates to intersections. But what does this have to do with algebra? After working through specific details about intersections, students began to understand how traffic patterns are formed using numbers (constants) and diagrams. Even I was called upon to answer questions, which was a little nerve-wracking as it has been about 30 years since my last algebra class. Mr. Love then showed students how to translate the information they used to determine timing of traffic lights into variables, which is the algebra behind it all. Essentially, based on the patterns that can occur safely, students had to determine the least amount of "critical" load, allowing for drivers to have the most amount of time in each traffic light cycle. With the algorithm Mr. Love shared, the work we did as a class could be replicated using a computer in a fraction of the time, determining far more traffic patterns than we solved in our session.

Did you ever think you would use algebra past middle school? Engineers certainly do!

Student Voice

Character Hall of Fame

As we complete our various units of study, we like to celebrate the work students have accomplished, highlighting what they learned throughout the study and what they have done well. Students are proud of the work they put into their writing, which in a classroom setting was easy to share with peers for feedback. Ms. Homyak had to get creative in this virtual learning environment, celebrating her classes work using a site called Padlet. Student work was posted on this site and students could comment on each piece. Below, please find some of the beautiful character portraits students in Ms. Homyak's 5th grade class wrote in reference to a book they just read, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, and the wonderful feedback they received.

Annemarie by Aly Megaw

In the book Number The Stars by Lois Lowry the main character, Annemarie, is a little girl who lived during World War ll. Annemarie has a friend that is Jewish, so Annemarie and her family let Ellen stay with them until it was safe enough for her to go back to her parents. During WWII the German soldiers captured Jewish people. Throughout the whole book Annemarie is a brave, loyal, and supportive character, But out of all of those traits the one that really stands out is how she is very brave.

Throughout the whole story Anne Marie shows incredible bravery. For example, on page 16 she said “ I was racing my friend” to the german soldiers. She said this when no else answered and were too afraid too. When she answered them they were questioning her a lot and making her feel nervous, but still the whole time she was strong. In addition, on page 60 she showed that she was fearless again. When the German soldiers came into their apartment, Ellen could not get her Star of David necklace off, so “ She grabbed the little gold chain and yanked it with all of her strength”. This was all just before the German soldiers came into the room. When she yanked off the chain she had to be brave because if that did not work then Ellen would be taken away and maybe the Johansens would be taken too. Another example is 120, she has to go into the woods by herself to deliver this packet that is very important . The packet is for her best friend to get to Sweden and be safe. When she goes into the woods she gets stopped by soldiers with huge mean dogs who were growling at her. The soldiers kept taking stuff out of her basket that she was going to deliver to Uncle Henrik. As they were removing food from the basket she yelled “Don’t” at the soldiers. These are just a few examples of her being brave.

In many parts of this text Annemarie shows that she is a very reliable person. The first she shows that she is reliable is page 120, when she finds a packet on the floor that Mr. Rosen dropped when he tripped over a loose board. When she found it on the floor her mother could not deliver the packet because she hurt her ankle. Annemarie delivered the packet to Uncle Henrik herself. By getting the packet to her uncle it meant Ellen was able to go to Sweden and be safe. Another way that she is trustworthy is when the Johansens let Ellen stay with them. They had to pretend that Ellen’s name was Lise and that she was Annemarie’s sister. Lise was Annemarie's older sister who had passed away. When the soldiers asked who Ellen was Annemarie answered “My name is Annemarie and her name is Lise''. When the soldiers asked her she could have said Ellen but her parents were relying on her to tell the soldiers that she was Lise. When she said this it tricked the soldiers into really thinking that Ellen was her sister.

Throughout the whole story Annemarie shows that she is respectful. My first example is when the soldiers were questioning her she politely answered back, “ I was racing my friend”. When she answered kindly they were a little less mean. In addition she also is never mean and is always thoughtful. For example her little sister got a pair of boots that don’t look the best yet Annemarie said that they looked nice. When she gave a compliment that her sister's boots were nice , her sister felt happy.

Overall Annemarie is a very brave, reliable, and respectful character throughout the whole story. Even in this time of struggle and fear she is always an amazing character. A lot of people could learn a lot from her. They could learn how to put themselves in other people's shoes. I believe that people could learn not just from Annemarie, but they could learn from other characters in Number the Stars too.

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Annemarie by Cristian Santos

Can you imagine what it would be like to be young during the time of war watching your friends get nearly captured by soldiers? Number The Stars is an amazing book written by Lois Lowry. Lowry bases the book on the German war and the life of the fictional character Annemarie Johansen. As she fights through the war she stays calm, polite, and reliable.

Annemarie stays calm during the war and everything that is happening. Page 129 of Number The Stars shows she remains calm throughout what is happening. Annemarie willed herself, with all her being, to behave as Kirsti would. "Good morning," she said carefully to the soldiers. This shows she is calm because she is calmly saying good morning to the frightening soldiers. On page 129 it shows twice that Annemarie shows she can remain calm during the war. Annemarie held out her basket, with the thick loaf of bread visible. "My Uncle Henrik forgot his lunch, and I'm taking it to him. He's a fisherman". This shows she is calm because Annemarie is calmly telling the soldiers what she's doing.

Throughout the war Annemarie shows politeness as well. On page 129 it shows that she stays polite throughout the war. "Good morning," she said carefully to the soldiers. This shows calmness and politeness because she is being polite to the soldiers. The second place it shows she is polite is on page 129. Annemarie gave an exasperated sigh. "Could I go now, please?". This shows politeness because she is nicely asking if she could leave.

Annemarie shows that she is reliable while dealing with a war going on. On page 120 Annemarie is being reliable. Mama spoke quickly, her voice tense. "Annemarie, go into the house and get the small basket on the table. Quickly, quickly. Put an apple into it, and some cheese. Put this packet underneath; do you understand? Hurry”. Here she is being relied on by her mother. On page 17 She also shows she can be reliable in different situations. "And who is this?" he asked, looking to Annemarie's side. Kirsti had appeared there suddenly, scowling at everyone. Here she is being relied on to tell the truth.

In my opinion Annemarie’s three traits of calmness, politeness, and reliability help Annemarie make it through the war. Because she was able to show these traits, she successfully made it through the war with everyone that was close to her except for Peter. After reading Number The Stars one can notice that anybody can make it through tough situations if you show calmness, politeness, and reliability.

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Annemarie by LLoyd Bush

In the book, Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry, the protagonist, Annemarie Is a ten -year-old brave, caring, and concerned about others, kid in Denmark facing tough times. Meanwhile in Denmark The German soldiers are everywhere trying to execute all the Jews, and Annemaire’s best friend Ellen, is a Jew. I'm going to tell you why I think Annemarie's most dominant character traits are brave, caring, and concerned.

The first time Annemarie shows bravery is when she isn’t telling her friend about her great-aunt Birte because she is focused on saving them. On page 99 it says,“To be brave came more easily if you knew nothing. She swallowed my great aunt Birte.” This is showing that Annemarie is trying to show braveness by not telling her friend about her aunt, because something bad could happen. Annemarie is brave when she stands tall when she's talking to the soldiers because at any moment they can say that you're coming with us. Another time where Annemarie shows bravery is on page 129 when it says, “What are you doing here… my Uncle forgot his lunch and I'm taking it to him. He’s a fisherman.” This is when Annemarie is talking to the German soldiers which could lead to trouble, but she had to stand tall.

In this paragraph I will be telling you why I think one of Annemarie’s most dominant character traits is caring. One reason why I think Annemarie is caring is because on page 16 it says, “I was racing with my friend.” She says this because They ask Ellen why they were running and she wasn’t answering.So Annemarie didn’t want Ellen to get in trouble so she said because they have races every Friday. Which is true.Another time when Annemarie shows that she cares for others is when Peter is leaving to help Jews cross to Sweden. She wishes him the best of luck.Another reason why I think Annemarie is caring is on page 108 it says,“So I will say goodbye to you now. Annemarie went to him and gave him a hug. But we will see you again soon? She asked. This shows that she doesn’t want them to be gone for awhile and that she cares for them.

In this paragraph I will be telling you why I think concern is one of Annemarie’s most dominant character traits. Annemarie is concerned when the soldiers were looking at her and asked what her friend's name was because they might do something if she doesn’t reply quickly. On page 92 it says, “When the soldier asked, looking at Ellen that day, what's your friend's name.” She must certainly be concerned for Ellen because if they found out that Ellen was Jewish they would take her away. Annemarie is concerned when she was lying to her friend about her great-aunt Birte. On page 93 it says, “So now I, too, am lying, she thought, and to my very best friend.” She is only doing this to keep her friend safe.This shows that you should only lie to keep someone safe.

Overall Anne Marie had a tough two years in the war. But still an unforgettable character.The three traits I used for Annemarie are brave, caring, and concerned show that she had to stay focused on what was happening in Copenhagen and other areas . Annemarie had a tough time because her best friend moved to Sweden but will be back soon till then Annemarie will wait for her. Annemarie is an outstanding example for how you can turn someone’s life being terrible into something great. This is what authors do to their readers. They make a good book that you like and you just want to keep reading it, Because it was making you happy. That's what Annemarie helped to do for Ellen and her family.

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Poetry from the Pandemic

Students in Mrs. Duffy's and Mrs. Duymich's 8th grade literacy class put their poetry skills to the test. While most wrote Haikus, one particular student brought to light her emotions about what life is like during the pandemic. This was a very well-constructed piece that everyone can relate to, so please take a moment to enjoy this wonderful piece of writing.

Melancholy Quarantine

By Violet Longbons

It's getting boring staying inside

As if it's the Bubonic Plague all over again

I sit at my desk daydreaming about when this will be over

It makes me remember when we were at school

And all thought we’d be back in a fortnight

It's almost been two months

I think about my the remaining contents of my locker

Sitting idly in a quiet hallway

It reminds me of my friends

I look through my contacts list

And catch up with people that I haven’t seen in a while

I spin in my chair

I’ve gotten so used to my routine

It’s been nice waking up later

And wearing the same outfit two times in one week

How long will that last

Sometimes it has been hard to focus

There are so many things to think about

So many things that we’ll miss

The whole world is going through the same thing

At least I know it's not just me

Museum Artifacts

Students in Mrs Mayer's 6th grade Literacy class read an article called "The Pigeon Hero of WWI". After reading the article, they decided upon artifacts that could be included in a museum for the pigeon, Cher Ami. Students wrote an explanation for each artifact, including pictures. Students were very creative and came up with some pretty authentic writing! Take a look at some of their writing samples below.

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New Jersey “Rising to the Call”

In Mrs. O'Grady's literacy classes, students showed how they were "New Jersey Proud" in the form of an acrostic poem. Mrs. O'Grady had this to share about the assignment:

We are famous! Take a look at this profile of New Jersey “Rising to the Call” during this pandemic. It is mostly pictures, but what stood out to me was that it felt so....New Jersey!

It makes me feel proud to live here. I was born in New Jersey, lived overseas in Argentina and Venezuela, spent my summers in Uruguay, but returned here to attend Rutgers University. Even when I don’t ‘like’ New Jersey sometimes, I will always LOVE it.

Write an acrostic poem entitled New Jersey Proud inspired by your reading the article/looking at the pictures. An acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word, message or the alphabet.

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District Spotlight - Professional Learning Book Clubs

This year, teachers participated in the first two district-wide professional learning book clubs. Seventeen classroom teachers and Child Study Team members from Sickles and Knollwood, along with Cheryl Romano, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Kristen Goode, Academic Interventionist, came together to discuss two educationally relevant and practical texts and share their unique perspectives on the issues.

The Fall book club ran from November to December and focused on the text Leading for Differentiation: Growing Teachers Who Grow Kids by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Michael Murphy. Teachers met after school to talk about Fair Haven’s vision for differentiated instruction, and discuss practical ways to differentiate content, the process of learning, the products of learning, and the learning environment. During the last session, special guest Superintendent Sean McNeil, joined us to hear our recommendations for continuing the district’s commitment to differentiation in the coming school year.

The Winter book club ran from February to April and explored the topic of social and emotional learning through the text All Learning is Social and Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Dominique Smith. The book highlighted that how we teach is as instructive as what we teach and that teaching cognitive regulation, emotional processes, and social/interpersonal skills within the classroom will facilitate academic learning.

Funding for both book clubs was made possible with Title II funds. In a feedback survey, teachers were overwhelmingly positive about the experience. Comments such as “I loved the collaboration that came out of our discussions”, “I also enjoyed learning about some new teaching strategies or methods”, and “Overall, book club was a great learning experience for me” really speak to the rich and meaningful discussions that took place. Professional learning book clubs will continue with two new books next year!

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