Searingtown Happenings

April 2013 ~ Herricks UFSD


Our Happenings has a new look!


Here's What's Happening in Kindergarten

April was an exciting month in kindergarten! On April 2nd, the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center visited our building along with some of its feathery and scaly friends. The children first learned about the different groups of animals and then were introduced to a Hissing Cockroach, a Box Turtle, a Corn Snake, a Screech
Owl, and a Red-tailed Hawk. All of these animals live at the sanctuary because they have been hurt and now need to be taken care of. The children really enjoyed learning about each one of these animals! Thank you PTA for this engaging and enriching program!

On April 9th, volunteers from the Town of North Hempstead visited our building to teach us about Earth Day. The children first shared what they already know about keeping our Earth “green” and then listened to the storyMichael Recycle, read by one of the volunteers. Then, the children illustrated their own paper bags for a local supermarket to distribute to its customers to raise awareness on how to keep our Earth clean. This was a great way to spread our messages to others!

Lastly, on April 26th, Miss Dena, from Little Lotus Yoga came to Searingtown, and the children engaged in a combination of breathing exercises and yoga positions. Miss Dena used small stuffed animals to introduce each pose. The session ended with quiet relaxation. What a calm way to end our very busy month!

First Grade

Here's What's Happening in First Grade

The month of April was a VERY busy month for the Searingtown first graders. It was filled with many fun and interesting things that kept us busy and active.

Author Stephanie Calmenson, who wrote such children’s books as Dinner at The Panda Palace, Ollie’s School Day, and May I Pet your Dog came to visit the children. She talked with us about why she decided to become a children’s book author, how she comes up with her book ideas, and her beloved dogs, which have inspired her in her writing. She also read two of her books to us ~ lucky us!

We had a special visit from the Teddy Roosevelt Sanctuary to share their “World of Reptiles” program. We were able to see and learn about animals such as snakes, turtles and a bearded dragon too!

The first graders also went on our second field trip of the year to the Long Island Children’s Museum! There we learned about bloodsucking bugs like mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. We explored how they grow, what senses they use to detect where warm animals are to bite and what attracts and repels them. At the museum we also learned about the difference between carnivores and omnivores, explored bubbles and were able to experience the ways people with various physical challenges live. We were able to explore a special house with many different adaptations made to it such as a vibrating bed alarm, flashing lights attached to a doorbell and a sign language area. They also had a special car designed for a person in a wheelchair to drive.

Ms. Dena came to teach us Little Lotus Yoga. She showed us how to relax our bodies and minds through special “Ahh- Ohh – Mmm” breathing and many different poses like crab, dog, three-legged dog, cat, and flamingo poses.

On Monday, April 22nd it was Earth Day. We celebrated by discussing all of the ways in which we can help keep the Earth clean. We had a visit from the Town of North Hempstead Councilman Thomas Dwyer. He read to the first graders and talked with them about the importance of protecting the environment. We also talked about different ways we can help the Earth as first graders. Councilman Dwyer and the Town of North Hempstead visiting team also talked to us about special bags that can be reused for shopping so that we don’t create waste by using new plastic or paper bags each time we shop. We also decorated paper shopping bags with Earth friendly reminders and tips, which were handed out on Earth Day to remind the shoppers how they can help the Earth too!

Lastly, we had a special pajama day and first grade reader, as part of a prize won at the PTA Benefit Dinner earlier this year! With all that happened this month, we are definitely revved up and ready for spring activities to continue and for the year to wind down. We are excited to see what the last two months of school have in store for us!

Grade 2

April Days

Author Stephanie Calmenson was awesome!

Poetry and fairy tales to read, write, and share.

Recycle, reuse, and reduce to save our planet.

Investigations and enVisionMATH lessons are extremely calculating.

Life cycles of plants and animals are very scientific.

Double vowel team syllables are studied during daily Fundations lessons.

Aesop’s Fables were professionally performed at the Broadhollow Theatre.

You must read The Empty Pot by Demi….we did!

Science “Fire and Ice” assembly was informative and entertaining.


Here's What's Happening in Third Grade

Perhaps you heard the cheers of joy coming from the 3rd graders recently! They were so very happy to be finished with their first taste of state testing! In addition, we are thrilled to be studying the Painted Lady Butterfly life cycle starting with raising larvae. The children carefully examine their larvae, record observations, and eagerly await the next 2 stages of the cycle.

In writing we are studying persuasive reviews, and look out parents, these kids are quite persuasive! In reading the children are excited about our mystery unit. They are proving to be excellent detectives. They excitedly collect clues and seek to nab the right suspect once they have analyzed all of their information.

Only 7 more weeks left in the 3rd grade wing. We continue to do our best to prepare our students for the transition to 4th grade. Please help us to remind them that today and everyday we all need to put our best foot forward and take pride in all we do!

Grade 4

Here's What's Happening in Fourth Grade

Fourth graders are getting really “charged up” about a different kind of testing as they explore electricity. Students have been testing objects to see if they’re conductors or insulators. They’re also constructing series and parallel circuits. You should see how their faces “light up” with each new discovery!

Fourth grade readers have embarked on journeys back in time as they join fellow book club members to read and discuss historical fiction. Immersed in different time periods, they’re “walking” in their character’s shoes, understanding the personal challenges they faced, while accumulating historical knowledge about what life was like during that time period. Students will gather their ideas they’ve grown from their reading and write literary essays. Spring is in the air and the fourth graders are growing strong!

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade Fun!

What a busy an exciting month April has been for our fifth graders. We started the month getting our fifth grade t-shirts and trying to take a group photo for the yearbook.

We can’t thank the PTA enough for bringing author, Stephanie Calmenson to Searingtown. We loved her stories, had a good laugh and left feeling inspired to write! (The teacher’s enjoyed the PTA sponsored lunch with her as well. It was yummy!) In the classroom we read several of her stories to keep the good feeling going.

Also this month the fifth grade went on a field trip to the DNA Laboratories in Cold Spring Harbor. There we had the opportunity to enhance our science/health curricula by learning about cells and building a baggie animal cell out of gelatin, beans, pasta and more. We then moved on to the computer lab where we pretended to be “forensic scientists” trying to figure out what happened to Anastasia Romanov. Anastasia Romanov was the youngest daughter of the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his wife Tsarina Alexandra. She had three older sisters, Olga, Maria and Tatiana, and a younger brother Alexei. In 1917, the Romanovs were overthrown by the Bolsheviks and their leader, Vladimir Lenin. Anastasia and her family were imprisoned in Siberia and in July of 1918, they were brutally murdered. In order to prevent those who remained loyal to the tsar from finding his remains, the bodies were buried in a secret location. In 1992 a group of scientists uncovered their remains and made some startling discoveries. Could Anastasia have survived the massacre that took the lives of her entire family? Did she escape and live out her life, never being recognized for who she truly was? Our forensic scientists had the opportunity to analyze the evidence and decide for themselves! It was creepy and fun all at the same time!

April brought to us our next science unit called Plant Responses. The fifth grade is learning how plants respond to changes in the environment. They study responses of seeds and seedlings to varying environmental conditions such as water, light, gravity and nutrients. We started by learning some really hard vocabulary, such as, thigmotropism and realized it just meant that plants like the sense of touch too!


We're 'Appy in the Library!


  • In April, the library was invaded by... iPads! Too much to write about here! From kindergarten-grade 5, students were so excited and immediately engaged in using different productivity apps to do everything from storytelling to video production! Please read all about it by clicking here!
  • Our first graders had the opportunity to read their favorite picture books on our NOOKcolors! They loved the NOOKS and we plan to follow up by checking them out to the first grade classrooms to use during 'center time'.
  • April is POETRY MONTH. Third grade are in the process of creating their own poetry incorporating technology tools. In Mrs. Nielsen's class, we had a "Google Hang-Out" with a 3rd grade class from Denton Avenue and created a real-time collaborative poem using a Google Doc. Our Poem was a 'list poem' modeled on a poem called In My Desk. Read all about it and see the amazing poem we made by clicking here.
  • Mr. Fran's class made a live, streaming poem about kindness using a web 2.0 tool called Padlet. After listening to the book, Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson (winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award), we discussed how we can show kindness to each other. Then we created our free verse poem. You can read our poem here. Mrs. Corgan/Ms. Smythe's students are still working on their poem based on Judith Viorst's famous poem, If I Were in Charge of the World. Mrs. Grogan's students are emulating Jack Prelutsky after listening to poetry from his book, Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, and creating poems about animal hybrids. They are learning to use the thesaurus to help pump up their poems.
  • On Thursday, April 18th, Searingtown second-graders participated in our annual "Searingcott" vote! For the past several weeks, the 2nd graders became expert book reviewers, learning to recognize the characteristics of award-worthy book illustrations. Our winner was Another Brother! You can read more about it by clicking here.
  • What a great time we all had with author Stephanie Camlenson!!!! Thank you PTA for providing such enriching experiences for our students! You can read the write-up by going here.
  • Fourth graders are diligently working on their Colonial research project while fifth graders are busy completing their Survivor MD projects or their Canada projects. Some of our fifth grade students submitted their work into a contest that was held by Rosen Publishing and a website called ThingLink. We will be hearing soon if any of our submissions won -- however, we need your help to earn more points! Please help us by going to the following thinglinks and 'touching' them (just press the button that says 'touch'). The more 'touches' their projects get, the more points they earn. The website will ask you to make an account in order to 'touch' a project - of course, that is totally up to you! Their thinglinks are located at:

Ruggiano's Class:

Soloway's Class:

Watch Videos Created by Our Kindergarteners!!!

Just click on the image above and the image below.

Using ThingLink to show what we know


Mr. Stevens and Ms. Somma rehearsing the Searingtown Symphony

Spring Concerts Are Coming Soon!

Wednesday, May 8th, 7:30pm

Herricks Middle School Auditorium

Fourth and Fifth Grade students are working diligently to prepare for our Spring Concerts! We hope you join us!

Band and Fifth Grade Chorus - 7:30PM - Herricks Middle School Auditorium

Orchestra, Searingtown Symphony and 4th Grade Chorus

Wednesday, May 15th, 7:30pm

Herricks Middle School Auditorium

Orchestra, Searingtown Symphony and 4th Grade Chorus on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 7:30 PM in the Herricks Middle School Auditorium.


ESL April 2013 Happenings

ESL April 2013 Happenings

Primary ESL students learned about the signs of spring. We used our 5 senses to write creative poems about spring. In addition, it was fun discovering which animals hatch from eggs. We also learned weather words related to spring. In order to improve our writing, we focused on contractions, plurals and rhyming.

Intermediate ELLs started studying figurative language. Colorful, imaginative, and picturesque, the students are learning the differences among idioms, similes, metaphors, and proverbs. They practiced writing sentences using body idioms, and they are now writing and illustrating their own original similes and metaphors. We will study proverbs next.

We use figurative language all of the time, but sometimes its true meaning is hard to understand. Figurative language doesn’t mean what it says!

Testing Information

Toward the end of every school year, the ESL Department must administer the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) to all students in the program. The 2013 NYSESLAT Parent Brochures in other languages are available on the NYSED web site:

The main web site for all NYSESLAT information is:


Speech Tip for April

It may seem like an unusual suggestion to say that your child’s language can be developed while watching TV. Most experts agree that TV and “screen time” in general should be limited to 1-2 hours per day. While this is true, if a few changes are made to how you watch TV, this everyday family activity can be transformed into a valuable, interactive learning experience.

Television provides a great opportunity for your child to see unfamiliar people, places, and things. Point out unique features of what you are watching, or when the shows are about familiar situations, highlight the similarity between your lives and what is occurring on the screen.

Television can also influence your child’s sense of right and wrong. Your child observes people relating to one another and solving problems. Through discussion of the choices the characters make, you can positively shape your child’s sense of values.

When you child is watching TV alone, you can later ask questions about what your child saw and heard. Encourage your child to remember details, retell the sequence of events, and discuss any problems the characters faced. Then ask your child to predict what might happen next.

Also, be sure to talk about what is realistic versus what is pretend or fantasy. Ask, “Is there such a thing?” or “Would this really happen?” You can also talk about what is humorous and why it is funny. When appropriate ask your child for his/her opinion about an event or character. Discuss if you agree or disagree and why.

Using these activities, TV time can become an enjoyable learning experience for you and your child to share.

Searingtown School

April 2013 Happenings

Published by K. Kliegman