Curriculum & Instruction Newsletter

Fair Haven Public Schools

November 2022 - Volume 5, Issue 1

Dear Fair Haven Families,

I hope your school year is off to a great start! Our students and teachers have been very busy these past few months. A new school year brings so much excitement and wonder, it is my favorite time of year. Teachers are building routines, establishing relationships, and doing the important work of not only teaching, but getting to know each child in their class to support them and their learning journey throughout this school year.

Teachers have been able to engage in professional development opportunities, supporting their growth as educators. We continue to be a community of learners, setting positive models for students and looking for new techniques to use in our teaching. This is going to be an amazing year!

I wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.


Cheryl Romano

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Twitter: @FHCurriculum

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey

Peer Leaders Lead Lessons

Peer Leaders play an important role at Knollwood School. Students in 7th and 8th grade get involved in their school by working within classrooms to model behaviors of a student leader. They are involved in many school activities, under the guidance of Mrs. Sarah Miglin, and this one is new this year.

With the help of Ms. Cheryl Romano, 7th and and 8th grade Peer Leaders learned all about the Responsive Classroom, a program we utilize in grades K-5 to tap into social-emotional learning and community building. After taking part in an actual "morning meeting" that modeled the four components that our elementary students engage in every day, 7th and 8th grade students started planning out morning meetings for the classrooms they will be visiting. On a rotating cycle, Mrs. Miglin will work with the Peer Leaders to provide morning meetings several times a month in 4th and 5th grade classrooms.

Knollwood's Peer Leaders took on this responsibility and brought their creativity to the table when thinking about how to do meaningful activities with the 4th and 5th grade students. Peer Leaders planned for an opening greeting, a class share, a group activity, and they even wrote out morning messages for the classes they led.

3rd Graders Write a Newspaper

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Last spring, as I was talking with some of our then 2nd graders at recess, the idea of a school newspaper came up. Students and teachers uncovered a newspaper that was created many years ago and it was the buzz of the school that day! Moments were captured in this newspaper that brought back such nostalgia that the idea of bringing back a school newspaper started to bubble up.

Being that our 2nd graders shared this idea with me, I told them that we would be able to create our own newspaper when they were in 3rd grade. Students were so excited about this that I had many of them emailing me their ideas over the summer.

We held our first meeting in October and about 60 students attended! With that many students interested, we decided to create two teams of students to create the school newspaper. One team would work in the fall/winter and one would work in the spring/summer. We decided that publishing two newspapers in our club's inaugural year would be the best plan of action.

Currently, students are working on many articles, including exclusive interviews, student interest pieces, scientific findings, and even arts and entertainment! This paper is truly student centered, as they are making all of the choices for what goes to print.

This is the just the beginning of how The Sickles Scoop was born. Stay tuned for more information.

Halloween Theater in the Round

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Hocus Pocus was the theme for this year's Halloween theater in the round at Sickles. Mr. Mottern doesn't disappoint with his songs, script, and characters that bring the concept to life! Students knew what to say and sing on cue and everyone had a blast being part of this magical experience in McCarter Park. Mr. McNeil even made an appearance for a few "announcements." Families joined us for what turned out to be a perfect Halloween day!

8th Graders Create Cells

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As part of the cells and cell parts unit, our 8th grade students work to learn about all of the organelles in both plant and animal cells, as well as how those type of cells differ. Students walk away knowing the function of each organelle, the nutrients used within each cell, and also how materials are transported across the cell membrane.

As a culminating activity in Mr. Fritts' science class, students build models of cells. They can choose which cell they want to build, either plant or animal, then they have to label the organelles correctly and describe their function.

Check out some of the awesome cells that students built!

Knollwood's Green Team

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Mrs. Peck, one of our 5th grade teachers, and Mrs. Amabile, our French teacher, brought a group of students together to form Knollwood's Green Team. This team is following their passion of cleaning up the environment and also educating others on how to save our planet. This month, students learned about the impact of car idling. They created an information board with information about idling your car that they displayed as cars entered the Knollwood parking lot. Did you know that idling your car for 2 minutes can use up enough fuel to drive 1 mile?

7th Grade Independent Reading

The 7th grade team has really taken on our Independent Reading block as a core component of literacy, connecting the 30-minute daily block back to class in a very tangible and authentic way. During that time, literacy teachers also use the period to check in on students, review their reading, connect their reading to class instruction, and preview what's on deck, if necessary.

The primary goal of the independent reading block is to build stamina, move students through books while gathering some very real data about who they are as readers and the 7th grade team is creating resources to get there. Their work helps students to quantify their reading and set personal goals. It is so cool to be a part of in real-time!

Nature Scavenger Hunt

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As part of Gifted Education Program, Mrs. Ganley works to find engaging experiences for students that can connect them to other students from around the state. One of our associations hosts many competitions throughout the school year and for the fall, our students took part in a Nature Scavenger Hunt Challenge. As part of this challenge, students were asked to enjoy a nature walk as a class around our school grounds, explore as a team in a local park or nature trail, or forage in their own back yards. Entries for this competition will be judged on accuracy, creative methods of display, and the unique location of one or more finds.

Part of the scavenger hunt led one of our middle school students to use blueberries that she found to create a natural paint. The student created an amazing piece of art with only the natural paint she made. Check out this awesome painting of blueberries, using only blueberries as a color source!

Halloween Inferencing

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These pictures were taken during a whole group preschool speech lesson with Mrs. Whalen. Students were playing a Halloween inferencing game. They each got a mask but weren't allowed to look at it. The other students gave them clues using descriptive language (he lives in the water, they fly on a broom stick, etc.) to help the student guess what was on their mask. The students did an amazing job with this game/task!

Scientific Measurement

Mrs. Carpenter's 6th grade science classes took part in a fun lab. Students were practicing measuring using different tools. They had already practiced finding the length of everyday objects in cm and mm using a ruler and found the mass of objects in grams using a triple beam balance. In this lab, students were developing the skills they need to measure small amounts of water in mL using various graduated cylinders.

Trapping Turkeys in the Sickles Library

After listening to Turkey Trouble by Wendy Silvano in Library Media class with Ms. Fitz, students used Design Thinking and a variety of materials to plan and build turkey traps to help Farmer Jake catch the turkey.

Taking Advantage of Opportunities

This year, with the new changes to our social studies curriculum, our 3rd graders are becoming more immersed in civics. They are learning about everything from how to be a good citizen to how government functions at the local, county, and state level.

There's no better way to learn about your local government than to have a meeting with the town Mayor! Mayor Halpern visited our 3rd grade students and shared his story about becoming mayor, as well as shared the message about taking advantage of opportunities.

Students asked Mayor Halpern how he became the mayor. He shared that he took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself. He also shared the process by which a candidate is chosen as the Fair Haven mayor. While Mayor Halpern didn't have previous political experience, as part of the Fair Haven community, he felt he could make a difference. This all stems back to taking advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.

Mayor Halpern encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Even if what they are striving for doesn't work out, they can learn and grow from the experiences. He told students to be brave enough to go for it every single time because if they don't they'll never know the outcome.

Mayor Halpern then engaged students in a simulation of a council meeting that would lead up to a vote. The council members had to go out into their 3rd grade community to see what the consensus was, would they rather American flag pins or American flags? After speaking to the "community" the council was a tie! Mayor Halpern shared with the students that in the case of a tie, then the mayor makes the final vote. Our 3rd grade mayor broke the tie and voted for pins.

Students learned a lot from Mayor Halpern during their time with him. They learned about their community government and walked away with the important message of taking advantage of opportunities.