Brandt Quarterly Newsletter

Marking Period 2

The students have officially completed the first half of the school year! Let's take a look back at the 2nd Marking Period!


A message from Mr. Bartlett

The awesome happenings in:

  • Kindergarten - Fifth Grade
  • Science
  • World Languages (Mandarin/Spanish)
  • Physical Education
  • Art
  • Music

Don't forget to check out the:

  • Counselor's Corner
  • Nurse's Nook

A Message From Mr. Bartlett

Congratulations of making it through the first half of the school year! We have much to be proud of, yet we still have much to do.

Our students and staff have done a wonderful job celebrating Black History Month. From writing pieces to works of art, we've had the chance to explore this wonderful part of our cultural fabric. Congratulations to Brielle Willis and Nina Sirota for having their original writing pieces selected to be presented at the "More Than A Month" celebration that recognized the work of the New Jersey Amistad Commission.

Looking ahead to the coming weeks, please remember, the CogAT Assessment, or Test of Cognitive Abilities, will be given to all students in grades 1 -5. This is assessment is one of the steps in the process to determine if students are eligible to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program. An initial letter was distributed regarding this earlier this month, so please refer to it and be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, the wearing of masks in schools is mandatory until March 7th. After that date, the wearing of masks will be optional.

We are looking forward to a wonderful spring and third marking period, and remain at your service, always! Stay safe and have a great day.

- Mr. Bartlett


K-5 Homerooms


We are officially halfway through Kindergarten and have just had so much fun celebrating the 100th day of school! We have been very busy in Kindergarten learning so much. In ELA, we dove deeper into our letter sounds and writing. We are sounding out words and writing them out. We are writing more details in our writing pieces. We are able to identify where we hear a specific letter sound. We are also having so much fun reading to our friends and family! In Math, we are learning how to count and write to 100 by ones, fives, and tens. We also learned how to count by twos. We learned about length and how to identify objects as long and short. In Social Studies we have been learning about Winter, our neighborhood, kindness and President’s Day. Finally, we learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the second half of the school year has in store for us!

First Grade


Students continue to build on their phonic skills as they work on reading, writing, and spelling long vowel words with the magic of the “silent e.” Our First Graders continue to work on possessive nouns, alphabetical order, contractions, and plural nouns by adding -s and -es. During the writer's workshop, the students have moved from narrative writing to opinion writing for our winter months.


Students began the quarter exploring various strategies to solve addition and subtraction problems. Students have found their favorite strategy and are continuing to practice addition and subtraction fluency. Students worked on measuring and comparing lengths of objects using non standard units of measurement. They were also introduced to time to the hour on an analog and digital clock and will begin working on time to the half hour.

Social Studies

Students read lots of great books on Kindness and worked together as a grade to make a 100 Acts of Kindness poster to celebrate the 100th day of school. The First Graders identified several facts by using text evidence from the nonfiction reading passages and videos about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the 2022 Winter Olympics, and the Lunar New Year.

Big picture

Second Grade


We are in the second half of our second grade year! We started the second marking period strong into nonfiction! We first started going over all the different types of features in traditional nonfiction texts. We focused on features like captions, photographs, labels, diagrams, bold words, and glossaries. We used the different features to help us determine what we learned during our reading! As the marking period progressed, we continued to analyze different types of nonfiction texts like narrative nonfiction, expository text, and articles.

We transitioned into realistic fiction and started looking back at the main characters in the book series! We used our different learned skills to determine character traits and feelings across different books and how the main characters responded to different problems!

We’re looking forward to diving deeper into the author's purpose across different genres next marking period. We’ll also be learning all about poetry! We’ll start to become experts in all different types of poetry and analyze what the poems mean, how they make us feel, and what different visuals we think about when we read them!


In writing, 2nd graders have been working hard on maintaining and growing their writing stamina. We have moved from personal small moment narratives, to our very own how-to books. Recently, we have learned about the importance of using words as an agent for change.

We have written multiple speeches as well as reviews to share our opinion, not only with each other, but with the world. We are looking forward to mastering our 2nd grade nonfiction skills to create our very own nonfiction books to teach others about a particular topic.

Through this unit, we are continuously trying to perfect our writing through the craft of what authors do as our mentors. We are working on grammar and phonics skills to help increase not only the volume of our writing, but also the way we approach writing and the different things we can do with our writing. As writers we are willing to take risks just to see if it’s something we like for our writing and a different way to express ourselves. We will also be helping this creative flow through the free form of poetry in April.


We started off this marking period by focusing heavily on two-digit addition and subtraction. While this is a skill that students were introduced to last year, in second grade we dive a little deeper and learn how to regroup. With a ton of practice, the students have mastered these skills and really love solving these kinds of problems as they are more challenging!

Halfway through the marking period, we started Unit 2 of Investigations, which focused on geometry. Students learned the difference between 2D and 3D shapes, familiarized themselves with the names for shapes, and discovered how to find shapes' vertices, edges, and faces. We even started learning about fractions - how to write a fraction, and how to split shapes equally on a line of symmetry.

As the marking period comes to a close, we are halfway through Investigations Unit 3. This is all about place value! Students are practicing writing a number in place value form, standard form, word form, and expanded form. We are also focusing on word problems! Specifically, word problems with a missing part. This entails using multiple strategies such as working backwards, or counting up to solve the problem, as the total is already given to us!

Students can look forward to learning all about data in Marking Period 3! They will learn how to collect data, analyze it, and even graph it. Some tools they will be using are graphs (picture, venn, bar), cube towers, and line plots. This is always a really fun and engaging unit as we will survey and gather data from other classes to use as our graphing information!

Social Studies

We started the second marking period off by talking about family traditions and how families and traditions have changed from the past to the present. We spent a lot of time talking about our own families and the traditions that we love, especially around the holidays. This led us into one of our favorite units - Holidays around the world! We spent the month of December learning about holidays all over the world and how different countries celebrate certain holidays. We loved discussing the various traditions and then comparing what we learned to our own traditions. We learned so much and saw so many similarities!

After we celebrated the new year and spoke about goals for 2022, we turned our attention back to school rules and what it means to be a good school citizen. We spoke about what the word citizen means and the various places we are citizens of. We then discussed ways to be a good citizen and specifically focused on school citizenship. We took the time to reflect about what we love about our school environment and then brainstormed ways we can improve our school environment.

As the marking period came to a close, we began to talk about how we can use our voices to change the world in a positive way. We need to be the change we want to see, so we began by talking about the positive ways we can change our attitudes, growth mindset/thinking and interactions. This led us right into Black History Month where we have been taking the time to highlight famous and powerful African Americans who used their voices to help make a positive impact on the world.

As we enter marking period three, students can look forward to learning about influential women in history. Students will also begin to dive deeper into understanding how the town and state they live in function. Students will address the questions, “How does a town grow?” and “What does it take to make a state?”

Third Grade


This quarter, students in Third Grade took a deep dive into their third grade Reading Wonders curriculum. Through a variety of books and articles, students explored several different themes including: Why is working together a good way to solve a problem? Why do people immigrate to new places? and How do people make government work?

Students also conducted their third novel study of Who was Coretta Scott King? by Gail Herman. Students were given a portrait of a smart, remarkable woman. Growing up in Alabama, Coretta Scott King graduated valedictorian from her high school before becoming one of the first African American students at Antioch College in Ohio. It was there that she became politically active, joining the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After her marriage to Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta took part in the Civil Rights Movement. Following her husband's assassination in 1968, she assumed leadership of the movement. Later in life she became an advocate for the Women's Rights Movement, LGBT rights, and she worked to end apartheid in South Africa. Through our third novel study, students will read a biographical text that will allow them to write research reports that align with the standards and expectations for third grade.


This quarter, the students have focused on understanding and extending knowledge of place value and the number system to 1,000, as well as adding and subtracting accurately and efficiently. Students have also focused on developing ideas about adding up, subtracting back, rounding, and estimating. Students have been using number lines, creating equations using order of operations and comparing categorical and numerical data. They’ve solved one- and two-step "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information from real world story problems.

Social Studies

This quarter, students used the provided resources to explore the workings of state government. Students learned that citizenship is both a privilege and a duty in a democratic society. As citizens of their state, students analyzed the importance of becoming well-informed and responsible individuals.

Students learned the powers of state government through the three branches:

  • Executive Branch

  • Legislative Branch

  • Judicial branch

The concepts of this unit help to promote civic responsibility and help to establish a life-long process of a citizen’s role in their state. Students finished the unit understanding the importance of the government’s role within their lives and how they can affect change in their own state.

Big picture
Big picture

Fourth Grade


Over the course of marking period 2, our fourth grade readers were digging deep when it came to their in-depth novel study of Who is Sonia Sotomayor by Megan Stine. Throughout this novel study, they learned about biographies as a genre and studied the life of the incredible Sonia Sotomayor. Students were responsible for analyzing this informational text to determine character traits for Sonia based on action, dialogue, and internal thoughts. In order to support these character trait decisions, students had to identify specific text evidence to support their ideas. In addition, students worked on drawing inferences about characters based on their actions throughout the novel. Students engaged in cross-curricular exploration by learning about the United States government, with a focus on the judicial branch. Students learned how Sonia Sotomayor became the third female, and the first Hispanic and Latina Supreme Court Justice. Towards the end of marking period 2, these readers launched their newest novel, Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans. Stay tuned for some out-of-this-world reading during marking period 3!

During the course of marking period 2, our fourth grade writers were busy embracing all the elements of literary analysis and research simulation writing tasks! Students were responsible for engaging in close readings of both literary and informational texts. Depending on the genre they were working with, students then had to craft 4-paragraph essays that answered specific prompts. These prompts included comparing and contrasting characters in a text, identifying central themes found between two passages, or even describing the characteristics of Great White Sharks! Writers developed a thesis that was the catalyst for their essays–finding direct and critical text evidence to support their claims.


Our fourth grade mathematicians wrapped up Units 3 and 4 of Investigations. Unit 3 focused on developing strategies for multiplying that involve breaking apart numbers in order to solve multi-step word problems using pictures, diagrams, or models. Students mastered the ability to create an area model in order to solve two-digit by two-digit multiplication problems. In addition, this unit focused on strategies to solve division problems. Students learned how to use diagrams, models, and partial quotients to solve these problems. Lastly, these mathematicians explored the different ways to interpret the remainder in the context of story problems. Unit 4 of Investigations focused on measuring and classifying shapes. Students explored what makes a polygon a polygon as well as the specific attributes of polygons. In addition, students engaged in exploration of various geometric terms, such as line, line segment, ray, and point. This led to discussion of types of angles: acute, obtuse, right, and straight - as well as the classification of triangles based on their angles. These mathematicians then used protractors to measure and sketch angles. The unit wrapped up with the exploration of mirror symmetry and identifying lines of symmetry in various polygons.

Social Studies

Throughout marking period 2, our fourth grade agents of change have been studying the many causes of the American Revolution. Students have been diving into critical historical events, such as the French and Indian War, the Proclamation of 1763, and all the various forms of taxation King George III imposed upon the colonists to pay off his debt. Students have learned that when small groups of colonists in the different colonies join together with one common cause in mind–their unity can spark a revolution of change!

Fifth Grade


During the second marking period, students engaged in various reading and writing assignments stemming from our core novels. First on the list was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. In this historical fiction novel, a young Danish girl has to show bravery and maturity as she helps her family, friends, and members of the Resistance smuggle their Jewish neighbors out of Denmark and into the safety of Sweden. Through this novel, students learned about direct and indirect characterization, reading informational texts, and making connections between fiction and real life.

The second novel study was Outcasts United by Warren St. John. In this nonfiction book, we meet a soccer team made up of African refugees who found community, safety, and acceptance by joining a group known as the Fugees. Through the reading of the novel and learning all about Coach Luma and her players, students gained an understanding of leadership, accountability, tolerance, and empathy. Students wrote essays, viewed TED Talks, and critiqued various informational pieces in addition to reading the core text.

The final novel read during this quarter has been Coraline by Neil Gaiman. We are in the midst of this entertaining story about a girl who learns valuable lessons about family and relationships through an amazing experience at her new home. Students have learned about mood, tone, and symbolism during this study. They will finish up the unit by writing their own fantasy fiction and creating art projects related to the theme and motif of Coraline.


Fifth grade mathematicians started this marking period off by completing Unit 3: Rectangles, Clocks, and Towers, where they focused on deepening and extending their understanding of fractions using area models, rotation models, and linear models. They then used these understandings to add and subtract fractions and mixed numbers with unlike denominators. Students moved onto the fourth math unit of the year, How Many People and Teams? During this unit, fifth graders focused on the operations of multiplication and division. Students refined their strategies for solving multiplication problems fluently, including using the U.S. standard algorithm. They continued using the relationship between multiplication and division to efficiently solve division problems with 4-digit dividends and 2-digit divisors.

Currently, students are excited to be in the midst of Unit 5: Temperature, Height, and Growth, where they are using coordinate graphs, ordered pairs, tables, and symbolic notation to model real world and mathematical situations. Students will continue analyzing arithmetic patterns in the tables and the shapes of the graphs to describe and compare these situations. They are looking forward to continuing this challenge next marking period before diving into concepts with decimals!


Students learned about the impact which artists, writers, and musicians of the 1920s and 30s had on American culture. They created an arts and performance review of a special piece of African American art, music, dance, or literature from the Harlem Renaissance or an original song, piece of art, or free verse poem that reflects our current time period.

Fifth graders engaged in various activities to learn about Digital Citizenship and what it means to create a healthy media balance in their lives. We also spent time participating in a variety of activities to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy. We wrote essays, created mosaic posters, analyzed notable quotations, and watched a thought-provoking film called "Our Friend, Martin." Scholars collaborated on their unit project to close out the Industrial Revolution unit by creating a newspaper that reflects the history and culture of the time period. Submissions were insightful and so creative!

Big picture
Big picture




During marking period two, our first graders focused mainly on studying light and sound. We completed units two and three in Science Dimensions and used different items to create light reflection and light refraction. To bend the light and create a rainbow, we used a flashlight and let it shine on a CD. The results were some beautiful rainbows. We then moved on to module one in PLTW, Light and Sound. The students were challenged to create something that would use both light and sound to communicate over a distance. They used flashlights, empty, metal water bottles, string, bandanas, and flashlights. Each class was broken down into small groups and they worked together to plan and build.

We are also taking part in a year long activity with Discover Dairy. We have adopted a calf. Every two weeks we receive pictures and updates to let us know how our calf, Esther, is doing. We are learning about what she eats and how she lives. We are encouraged to come up with questions to ask the farmer and send them in an email. We are looking forward to watching Esther become the newest dairy cow on the farm!

Throughout the second quarter of the semester, the students have gained an understanding of matter in regard to objects’ properties and how something can change from one state to another. They have also discovered and differentiated between what changes are reversible and what changes are not. Moving forward, the students have also gained an understanding and are continuing to learn what the parts of a plant are and specifically the form and the function of what those particular parts are. They have learned what is necessary for a plant to survive and how each part uses those survival necessities for growth and for a range of purposes. The students have been recently discussing the difference between man-made and natural objects. We have been able to differentiate between the two and make observations about what is man-made and how it was inspired by something in nature. The students will continue to learn more about plant structure and their relationship with animals, as well as specifically the role animals play in contributing to nature.

The third grade students started the 2nd marking period by working with their teams to build the compound machines that they had designed. The kids then completed a fun, hands-on chapter all about magnetic interactions. Afterwards, the students applied what they learned creating compound machines and using magnets to design a compound machine to solve the real-world problem of rescuing a tiger stuck in a moat. When the models were built, we were able to test them out with our little tigers. Then we started a new unit where the kids explored, compared, and contrasted plant and animal life cycles. Currently we are getting close to completing a unit on inherited traits and their variations. The kids have recorded their own traits and investigated different traits that help animals survive in their environment. They are currently researching different habitats and the animals that make their homes there. We’ll use this knowledge to design a fictional animal that has the traits necessary to survive in its specific habitat.
The 4th Grade students explored the systems that are essential for living things. They focused on the brain and created brain mappings. The students were able to investigate how brain related injuries such as concussions could have an affect on the other functions controlled by the brain. Through their investigation, the students were able to create Google slides to inform others on how they could prevent or protect themselves from suffering a concussion.
The 5th Grade students explored the systems of Space and developed a star map to identify constellations in the night sky during specific seasons and locations according to the Earth’s hemispheres. The students created Google slides to inform others about the Constellations and the origins of their names. The classes are now entering another PLTW task where they will apply their knowledge of Earth’s systems to explore and research how each system affects the different ecosystems and the inhabitants.

World Languages


In Mandarin class, the students began the second marking period learning the Chinese zodiac! 2022 is the Year of the Tiger! The students were very excited to find out what zodiac animals they are and how to say and write them in Mandarin. During the Lunar New Year celebration, we learned the stories and the culture about the Lunar New Year! We celebrated it by wearing the lucky color red, making traditional paper-cut and red envelopes! The students enjoyed watching the firecrackers ceremony, lion dance, and dragon dance! Next marking period, we will be learning the unit of “food” and will talk about the traditional food we eat during Lunar New Year! 新年快乐!! Wishing everyone good luck, good health, and good fortune for the Year of the Tiger!!
Big picture


The past month has been thrilling! It is a privilege to guide Brandt’s fourth and fifth grade students in their Spanish studies. Already, each class has expanded their self-confidence while commanding the language. Students have delved into the target-language through reading, speaking, and writing activities. We have focused on “cognates,” and their strategic value while comprehending written discourse. We have expressed from the first-person point of view in order to relay salutations as well as our personal likes and dislikes. We’ve restructured information gained from conversations with members of the class to develop “reporter language.” It is fascinating to observe rapid growth. We look forward to continuing our studies throughout the remainder of the year!

Physical Education

This quarter, we have been able to move back home into the gym. Students started off with using scooters in the gym for a “Light show” scooter relay. Students had to use the scooter to move forward or backwards, roll a 6-sided die, and once the die landed on a number, “turn on” or “turn off” the lights (lift up or put down a cone).

Students came back from the holiday break to some fitness fun. Students participated in a Tabata workout. Students were asked to participate at each station to the best of their ability for 60 seconds. 30 seconds of rest followed as students used this time to drink water, relax their heart rate, and move on to the next station.

All of this fun and fitness has led us to our current unit of the Joseph F. Brandt Winter Olympics. Students had a week of pretrial fun to ensure that they understood how to participate in each event. Students worked together to achieve in each event, use mathematical skills to calculate their total points, and lastly, demonstrate their great sportsmanship skills. Great job, everyone!

Big picture


Over the past few weeks in Art Class we have been learning about many different artists and their styles of Art. The students loved learning about Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Van Gogh, and Roy Lichtenstein and turning their artwork into Winter themed & inspired pictures for the Winter Showcase. We moved on to practicing tangrams and creating geometric style snowflakes. They turned out so beautiful and the students worked really hard on their design, cutting, and coloring skills! We learned about Marc Chagall and his whimsical dreamlike paintings. The students were inspired by his soft colors and unrealistic images, and they illustrated their own Marc Chagall paintings. They used upside down buildings, animals flying in the sky, and used watercolor paint to give it that soft dreamlike effect.

Most recently we have been working on our Faith Ringold inspired quilt project. We read the books, Tar Beach, Underground Railroad, and We Are America, all written and illustrated by Faith Ringold. We then took these stories and images to create our own inspired images that will be made into three different quilts inspired by each of the different stories we read. I look forward to many more exciting and creative lessons and projects in the upcoming months ahead.


This marking period in music, we have been building our structure on rhythm and how we can make limitless combinations of notes to suit plenty of musical styles! We edited out rhythmic creations by changing the speed, or tempo, of the pieces. Students decided which tempos were best to study, dance, and relax to. Currently we are moving all of these concepts together with our activities on duration! Student creation has gotten more and more advanced, and we are starting to learn how to put musical notation on paper to play and perform as a class. In just a bit of time, pitch and melody will complete our composition unit where students will have a true independence of what kind of music they create! Have a musical year in 2022 Brandt Elementary!


Counselor's Corner

We have been busy celebrating kindness around Brandt and our community for the past few months. We have participated in different events that show just how amazing our students, staff, and families are.

For the holiday season, we participated in the Sgt. Peter Zanin "Peachy" Toy Drive. This endeavor was sponsored by the Hoboken Police Department and Hoboken Fire Department in memory of Sergeant Zanin. It is an honor to be a part of such a loving community that time and time again opens their hearts to support others. Sergeant Zanin was a good friend of mine, and I know he would be so proud of the way Brandt represented this cause that was so special to him. A special thanks to our police and fire departments who came to round up all of the toys and are always there to support us.

We kicked off January by taking part in The Great Kindness Challenge. Brandt School decided to partner with The Hive coffee shop as one of our kindness activities. Our students decorated Brandt labels with kind messages and The Hive attached them to their to-go cups all week to give their customers some cheer as they enjoyed their drinks. Students in all grades also participated in spreading kindness around the building by sending handwritten notes to staff. It was a great week to be a Brandt Bear! :)

The week of February 7-11 we celebrated National School Counselors Week. I was so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love from the students, staff, and families. I received so many cards and notes from students thanking me for being their school counselor. Thank you to everyone in our Brandt community for allowing me to support our students and work in a field that I truly love.

Nurse's Nook

Health Screenings

I have started off the second half of the school year with health screenings. We are about halfway done with height, weight, and blood pressure screenings for all students. Below is a breakdown of screenings that will be performed by grade according to New Jersey state recommendations:

Kindergarten: Height, weight, blood pressure, vision, hearing

1st grade: Height, weight, blood pressure, hearing

2nd grade: Height, weight, blood pressure, vision, hearing

3rd grade: Height, weight, blood pressure, hearing

4th grade: Height, weight, blood pressure, vision, scoliosis

5th grade: Height, weight, blood pressure

Health screenings are important to discover if a student may have a condition that requires a follow-up examination and treatment. This is important because even subtle health changes can affect a child’s ability to learn. For example, a child who is having difficulty seeing the board may not realize they are seeing differently from anyone else in the classroom.

If your child has an abnormal screening test, I will send home a referral letter suggesting that you take your child to the pediatrician for further evaluation. The pediatrician can examine your child to determine if intervention is needed, or in some cases, the pediatrician may find that the suspected abnormality is not serious at all.

If your child has had their yearly physical exam any time during this school year or last summer, please send in a copy of their Universal Child Health Record (link below) filled out by their doctor.

CH-14, Universal Child Health Record -

Renee Banks

School Nurse- Brandt School


Big picture