Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter
Fair Haven Public Schools
April 2021 - Volume 3, Issue 4
This year is flying by and in a couple of short months, we will be headed out for summer break! As we head into the homestretch, I want to continue to highlight as many of the wonderful happenings in the district as possible. While my newsletters only show a small snapshot, because believe me, I can write a novel, there are so many wonderful lessons and activities to highlight each and every day. I want to continue to share my sincere gratitude for our teachers, staff, and families for supporting our schools and the education of our students in this very different school year.
Director of Curriculum & Instruction
"All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today."
Meeting Our Favorite Authors
Ms. Piotrowski's 3rd grade class had the opportunity to Zoom with one of their favorite non- fiction authors, Kevin Kurtz. Kevin Kurtz has written many books, including Living Things and Nonliving Things, Sharks and Dolphins, and Climate Change and Rising Temperatures.
Having the opportunity to meet with Kevin Kurtz and talk about nonfiction texts is tied into our 3rd grade curriculum within our non fiction reading and writing units. Students learned about Kevin and received tips on how to be good authors in their own writing.
Ms. Piotrowski's class had a blast and loved this personalized experience with a great author!
Pictured here, Mrs. Presser's students are hard at work in their first phase of building. Students begin their building process by sanding their wood first. Then, they will be planning and creating structures of their choice. I can't wait to see what Mrs. Presser's students build!
Did you know that there are many benefits to having students of all ages build with either toys, blocks, Legos, or in this case, wood? Students have the opportunity to work on their fine motor skills, placing tiny pieces. They also use gross motor skills using their arm muscles to sand the wood. Building helps students to work on their visual-spacial skills, which is important for reading readiness. Building also promotes thinking and reasoning. Students can use their imagination to build a structure, but they also have to use reasoning and problem solving to fix a structure that may not work the first time.
Students in Mrs. Presser's class are getting quite an educational workout through their building study!
Making Connections Through Musical Theater
Sixth graders in the music elective recently engaged in a musical theater lesson with their music teacher, Dr. Marino, guidance counselor, Ms. Miglin, and student teacher, Ms. Tews. This lesson explored themes in two songs from Dear Evan Hansen: "Waving Through a Window," and "You Will Be Found." Students analyzed "Waving Through a Window," looking for evidence of whether it was a musical theater "I Am" or "I Want" song, searching for meaning in the title and other key lyrics, and discussing how the main character, Evan, was feeling in the song. They talked about what Evan could do about his feelings, and how others could help, too. Students responded to questions about whether there might be students feeling this way at Knollwood School. They discussed what students could do if/when they were feeling this way, and what those around them could do. Students thought about who they could reach out to for support if they were feeling like Evan, or knew someone who was. Finally, they discovered and discussed what happened when the main character, Evan, reached out to others in the song, "You Will Be Found."
This lesson is part of sixth graders' musical theater storytelling unit, in which they study and analyze musical theater primarily through Hamilton: An American Musical. Students discover the elements of musical theater, explore how those elements help tell the story, and investigate why those who created the musical made the choices they did. They learn to sing a group version of "My Shot" from Hamilton, have opportunities to learn melodies from the musical on piano, and even make "costumes" like tricorn hats (pictured). Students take what they've learned and apply it to analyzing other musicals, like Aladdin and Wicked. The Dear Evan Hansen lesson described above is one way students can make personal connections to this art form. It's also a way for them to develop an understanding of how artists create art as a way to respond to their own experiences in the world.
It's Slime Time!
Through the Creative Curriculum, students explore content through a variety of studies, this one is linked to the grocery store. As students learn about the grocery store, they explore many topics including literacy, math, and science. Students have the opportunity to practice their writing skills by making a grocery list, work with numbers through looking at prices, and learn social emotional skills while engaging in dramatic play activities that involve shopping.
In this lesson, Ms. Robinson shares her grocery list with the students and shows them that you don't necessarily need to buy food at the grocery store. There is so much more that can be purchased there and with a few simple ingredients, a grocery trip can lead to a fun science experiment.
Students worked with Ms. Robinson to mix together several ingredients and create their own custom slime. Students observed the changes to the viscosity of the mixture as new ingredients were stirred in. What a fun way to infuse many content areas together and engage students in learning!
Sickles Pen Pals
Fables, Folktales, and March Madness
2nd Grade March Book Madness Brackets
Writing About Life Changes
March Math and Traditions
Students are also learning a lot about different traditions and holidays that they celebrate. As a fun activity, Miss Oddo's students created their own leprechauns and leprechaun traps for St. Patrick's Day.
In the last picture, students are showing how they can follow step-by-step directions based on "how to" writing pieces. I bet that breakfast turned out delicious with all of the writing details listed!