Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter

Fair Haven Public Schools

April 2023 - Volume 5, Issue 3

Dear Fair Haven Families,

Spring is in the air! With the weather getting warmer and the daylight lingering a little longer, I am feeling refreshed and energized as we move into our last marking period of the 2022-2023 school year. So much has happened this past marking period, and with March seeming like the longest month ever, teachers took full advantage of the time to accelerate learning and also focus on mindfulness.

I hope you enjoyed Spring Recess with your children and families!


Cheryl Romano

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Twitter: @FHCurriculum

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” – Henry David Thoreau

Knollwood Shows Kindness

In Mrs. Conover's and Mrs. Peck's 5th grade class, they embraced Random Acts of Kindness Day. Students participated in activities that showed ways they can be kind to themselves and ways they can be kind to others. Pictured here, you can see students taking part in an activity where they learn how getting a good night's sleep is being kind to themselves.
In this next activity, Mrs. Peck leads students in a kindness BINGO game. Kindness Bingo aims to encourage a culture of kindness in the classroom. We want to empower children by helping them to realize that the little choices they make every day can make a difference. Kindness helps everyone – the person receiving kindness, the person giving kindness…and even people who just see kindness happening around them!

Students can complete the kind acts throughout the day and mark them off and return the card to the teacher when they have completed every act.

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Celebration of Writing

Writing is hard, let's just admit it. From the mechanics to the content, and everything in between, there is a great deal of skill that goes into crafting something that can engage an audience.

I had the opportunity to visit Mrs. Bufano's 5th grade class during their writing celebration. When I walked into the room, it was complete silence. You may be asking, "How can a celebration be silent?" Every student in the room was immersed in reading their classmates informational writing pieces. As they read, they jotted specific compliments for each student, sharing explicitly what was done well, then had the opportunity to rotate through and review more writing from other classmates.

From what I was able to read, students did such an impressive job, both in writing and in providing specific, complimentary feedback. I learned about so many topics, all of which the students chose to write about. I learned about Maryland, turtles, Maui, drums, restaurants, the inner workings of Disney World, and many other topics! What I saw was students using bold words in their writing, creating glossaries and tables of contents, students using a variety of strong openings, and so much more to celebrate!

The Science of Solids

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Mrs. Albanese's 2nd grade students are studying solids in their new science kits. They observed different solids and their properties. They then made a connection with reading when they read about bridges and towers, discussing what solids would help build successful bridges and towers. Students talked about what properties certain objects have that make them ideal for different parts of a bridge or tower. The students did a great job of observing and using different materials to construct their own bridges and towers that were at least 45 cm tall and long!
Students in Mrs. Spano's 2nd grade class also explored solids as they worked cooperatively to build towers using different materials.

Shadow Shifting

Here are some pictures of Mrs. Wiemer's 5th grade class observing the sun through shadow shifting. Students measured their shadows in the same area over two days both in the AM and in the PM. In the AM, their shadows were tall and similar to what they actually looked like in size. In the PM, their shadows became shorter and thinner. The orientation of the shadows also shifted from right to left.

Read Across America

Mrs. Cannon’s kindergarten class had a great time spending time with their buddy class, Mrs. Venino’s 2nd graders! They read and decorated book covers to display their favorite books.

Having Fun with Math!

In order to make math interesting, and also involve students in the process, Mr. Rogers had 5th grade students design a game that focused on skills they are currently working on. This version of the game focused on rewriting fractions with common denominators, adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators, and adding and subtracting mixed numbers.

Students designed a board game similar to Monolopoly. Depending on the square they land on, they may have to answer a question about a targeted skill or encounter an obstacle. Not only does this help with the practice of math skills, it incorporated design thinking too!

What a great way to incorporate students into the learning process!

Arts Integration with Media Literacy

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Ms. Fitzpatrick, our Media Literacy teacher at Sickles, recently worked with Mrs. Leahey's and Mrs. Coffin's 2nd grade class. Students had a great time during their Arts Integration lesson! They used Padlet to publish their "Writing about Reading" piece for their writing celebration. Ms. Fitzpatrick taught the students how to use Padlet during Media Literacy, being sure to touch on the 21st century standards such as Digital Citizenship, Information/Media Literacy, and Technology Literacy.

Check out some pictures of their work!

5th Grade Debate

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As students in Mrs. Conover's and Mrs. Peck's 5th grade class got into their Argument and Advocacy units for literacy, they had the opportunity to debate their classmates. As you can see in the pictures, students prepared for a Social Media debate. I wonder which side will won? Regardless of the outcome, there is not doubt that this class was prepared with research and evidence to support their side of the argument!
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Debate Day!!

Two teams of students debated for social media , while one team of students was against social media. Each team argued their points, provided counterarguments, and shared their closing statements. Some students even dressed up!

More on Argument and Advocacy!

Students in Mrs. Bufano's 5th grade class also worked on their Argument and Advocacy units. They prepared for their own debates and researched topics to be able to create their own arguments in writing.
Students also worked on reading and writing about nonfiction texts focusing on text structure, main ideas, and supporting details. They took this work outside to enjoy the beautiful weather!

Making Connections Through Pi Day

On Pi Day, or March 14th, students in our 4th and 5th grade classes had an opportunity to work with RFH high school students on activities related to Pi (3.14). These high school students are currently in the Math National Honor Society and prepared engaging lessons to introduce what Pi means to our 4th and 5th graders. While students in these grade levels don't typically learn this concept until middle school, this was a great opportunity to gain some exposure and have fun at the same time.

The RFH high school students worked with each class and had a lesson plan for each grade level. Students in 4th grade heard the story of Sir Cumference and the First Round Table. They then competed in a game to get the first 10 digits of Pi. Our 5th graders did something a little different. They were presented with the Pi Song and worked through the first 100 digits of Pi! Students worked in groups to create a sound for each number, then when high school students read off the first 100 digits of Pi, every time student groups heard their number, they would make their sound. It was tricky at first, but classes go so into it, they kept trying to do it faster and faster!

This connection provided students not only with the opportunity to learn something new, but to also work with high school students who once attended Knollwood School. It was a fun day for all and we can't wait to have them back.

5th Grade Town Council Meeting

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Councilwoman Kristen Hoey (and mom to 5th grader Patrick) visited Mrs. Wiemer's 5th grade class to teach students all about who and what the Fair Haven Town Council does. A few key highlights were that Mayor Halpern's favorite candy is a blow pop and that for every tree someone removes in Fair Haven, a new one must be planted. The students were beyond excited to learn all about the plans for the new police station and the community center. Filled with so many ideas, the students were able to share their own suggestions and give proposals to Councilwoman Hoey about things the Town Council could improve, like new basketball courts, updated public restrooms, a football field, new hoops and rims, and even a new pond. Later that afternoon, the class was invited to listen in on theTown Hall with Mayor Halpern and the Town Council. What a wonderful community building experience these 5th graders had.

“Touche Mouche”

Our 8th grade French students have a fun way to practice vocabulary! Mrs. Amabile's classes play “Touche Mouche” — a vocabulary game where students are tagged with a fly swatter! (Gently of course!!) Check out our students in action as they review words they have learned in their current unit of study.
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Space Race

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Students in Mrs. Ganley's 3rd grade Gifted Education Program work on a variety of hands-on, self-selected activities throughout the year. In the unit they are currently studying, students created board games. Some of these games are quite elaborate. One student created a game called, "Space Race." Students start the game at the "Mothership" and roll the die to advance spaces. There are a variety of obstacles that students can encounter through the game, with the objective of getting to Earth.

This game wasn't perfect at first, this student had to revise his plan as part of the process. He reflected on the layout of the game, where he would like to include the game rules, and also how to make his board more space-like. He added in a computer screen with the rules and created a plan for the layout of the box to house his game.

Mindful Walks

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During the month of March, our schools practiced "Mindful March," but this practice isn't limited to just one month a year. At Sickles, mindfulness is built into every student's day and occurs right after lunch and recess. These practices help to put the mind and body at ease, especially after exciting times in the day. By doing a variety of activities to calm the mind and body, students then become fully present and available to learn.

In Mrs. Leahey's and Mrs. Coffin's class, students took a mindful walk after lunch. They walked quietly through the park and stopped periodically to listen for the sounds of the outdoors, experience the smells of spring, touch their surroundings, and focus in on the beauty around them. I was fortunate enough to be able to take this walk with them and felt noticeably different after doing so. I can only imagine the benefits this has for our young learners!

Kids Heart Challenge 2023

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2023 yielded another year of our students becoming heart heroes! This past month, students learned hands-only CPR, facts about strokes, benefits of moving more, and practiced being kind by participating in the Kids Heart Challenge. The school came together to play basketball against our local celebrities and staff. Together we were able to donate $4,368!!!

Thank you to all who donated and supported our events! Go Heart Healthy Knights!

3rd Grade Social Studies

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Students in Mrs. Gill's and Mrs. Walls' 3rd grade class are researching climate and landforms in the different regions of the USA in social studies!

Media and Writing Collaboration

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In Ms. Cavalluzzi's 1st grade class, students worked very hard on their opinion writing. In order to celebrate their accomplishments, Ms. Cavalluzzi collaborated with Ms. Fitzpatrick. Students created videos to share their writers' reviews. Each review came with its own QR code!

Amazing Evolution

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In Ms. Sehulster's science classes, students are studying evolution. To show how organisms adapt to their environments, the class took part in trying to make camouflage butterflies around the room. The purpose was to have students use their creativity to understand how organisms adapt to their environment to survive. Can you find the butterflies?

Innovation Lab Creations

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Students had a ton of fun, while incorporating Engineering and Design Practices, in Innovation Lab. In Ms. Torbert's 5th grade classes, students got creative with their most recent project, “Create Your Own Board Game.” In 4th grade, students engaged in a bridge-building challenge, with specific criteria and constraints.

Adding Voices and Instruments to Poetry

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To end third marking period music specials, 4th graders in Dr. Marino's classes read presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman's poem, Change Sings, illustrated by Loren Long. As described in the book jacket, the poem follows a young girl as she and other children "learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and most importantly, in themselves." Fourth graders learned a song that included voices and instruments, and performed it alongside the poem. They also reflected on what the poem meant to them. These photos show some of the pages that fourth graders enjoyed from the book.