Daniel Webster School Newsletter

January 2018

Spelling Made Fun

In our First and Second Grade classrooms, our students are working individually and at their own pace to build spelling skills. Our engaging, new, game-based learning platform called SpellingCity empowers our learners to study independently while having fun. SpellingCity is an ideal program that helps boost student success. It is an engaging blended learning tool that boosts confidence and reading comprehension. This gamified program makes studying and learning fun as it encourages students to read, hear, sound out and write words and promotes learning and retention, not just memorization. Our students are loving SpellingCity. Ask them about it! For more information, visit http://www.spellingcity.com.

Trout In the Classroom

For the second consecutive year, our second grade students are raising trout from eggs to fingerlings. Our students regularly monitor tank water quality, learn about the ecosystem necessary for trouts, and engage in various trout studies. Our students are looking forward to releasing the fingerlings into the river later in the school year. In the interim, all grades, PreK-2nd Grade, use this trout experience to work on projects in multiple disciplines. For example, first grade students (below) add observations and notes to their trout study booklets. They observed and compared the trout fingerling growth from October to November. Like true marine biologists, they documented their scientific study with drawings and measurements. Students also read and write about trout, the ecosystem and the environment.

More Than Just Books

While students love checking out their own books to read, the media center has also become a place to explore makerspace activities. This year thus far, our students have made simple machine levers and learned to code on iPads. All students in the entire grade level are exposed to these Type I activities. Research shows that the earlier we introduce children to coding, the more comfortable they will be when they are given more complex coding challenges in middle and high school. Plus, coding can be so much fun for children. Webster School students learn code through Code.Org activities and other blended learning software. Most recently, our Weehawken Education Foundation purchased Ozobots for our Daniel Webster School Media Center. Ozobots are customizable, pocket-sized robot-like devices that reinforce coding. The children are loving their tiny, new robots!

Future Ready!

All three Weehawken schools were honored as Future Ready Schools at the annual School Boards Convention in Atlantic City. Each school had to complete a rigorous application process to demonstrate that we are indeed Future Ready. Thanks to faculty members Ms. Petruzzella, Mrs. Mezzina, Ms. Montera, Ms. Torres, Mrs. McGinley and Ms. Spezzacatena for heading up the DWS committee.

Alternative Seating and Learning by Singing

Alternative seating is being offered in many of our DWS classrooms. Research has shown that giving students the opportunity to move around and to use various types of seating supports learning. Students are also able to express some choice when selecting with type of seating they will use that day. Additionally, getting up from their chair and moving to another area has immediate benefits for students. They can use some excess energy, improve metabolism, and burn calories all of which can increase motivation and engagement. According to Edutopia, increased physical activity is linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior. Also, visitors will often hear a lot of singing going on at DWS. Teachers and students are always signing. Songs are an excellent way to remember important information or express themselves. First graders can be heard singing the “Vowel Song” and second grade students sing along to a song about the “Parts of a Story”. Flexible seating and singing are two things that make students love DWS!

Blended Learning

Our district-wide initiative to incorporate blended learning in all disciplines and grade levels is in full force. Blended learning is happening throughout Daniel Webster School. Students are working on ST Math, a game-based intuitive and adaptive math program. ST Math personalizes math learning by moving to the next concept only when students have proven to master that concept. All students in the classroom are in different parts of the game but they are all intent of moving JiJi the Penguin across the screen. ST Math is an engaging, visual, personalized and creative math program. Students at DWS use PebbleGo as a safe and appropriate search database. Designed for K-2 learners, PebbleGo is leveled for beginning readers. Students can also read along while a voice reads out loud. Students can search multiple databases in Pebble Go and teachers can feel comfortable that they will be safe and far away from the dangers of the internet. For the second consecutive year, Math teachers at DWS are using PearsonRealize, a component of our enVisions Math program. EnVisions Math is a problem-based learning platform that has been proven to emphasize students conceptual understanding of math. This program is also very personalized and adaptive which helps make math relevant for all students while still being attainable and achievable


I am very pleased to inform you that our District now has access to Zing, a digital library that you can access from anywhere. This is intensifying our efforts for students to develop reading stamina, increase reading time and making reading accessible from anywhere at anytime. Zing opens the door to a world of learning possibilities by providing your child with access to thousands of fiction and nonfiction eBooks and short digital texts. While reading, your child can access several on-demand features, including digital note taking, highlighting, bookmarks, and a dictionary tool powered by the Collins COBUILD Dictionary. Your child can access all of the content on Zing on a Apple iPad 3 and higher, a laptop, desktop, or Chromebook by going to: http://www.zingreading.com.

Daily 5

Differentiation on display during our Daily 5 rounds in our pilot classrooms. Students are given a choice of read to self, read to someone, listen to reading, work on writing or word work.


February 1- PTA Meeting- 7pm
February 16 & 19- No School- Presidents' Weekend
February 22- PTA Family Book Fair Night 6:30pm