Searingtown School

October 2013 Happenings



October was filled with learning, school spirit, and Halloween fun! Scroll down the page to read about what's been "happening" in the classrooms and special areas.


Mrs. Cheryl Finkelstein, our elementary schools social worker, with her puppet Bobby has visited all the kindergarten classes at Searingtown School. She taught a bully/violence prevention program entitled Caring Kids.

Caring Kids is a two session workshop comprised of storytelling, puppetry and sharing. The students have learned to identify feelings and respect differences. Also, they identified unkind behaviors and learned how to respond to those behaviors.

Mrs. Finkelstein had the children role play how to use their powerful voices to give them an opportunity to use the self-protective strategies that she taught them.

Bobby, the puppet, helps the children practice putting themselves in the shoes of other, which reinforces the development of empathy.

The students were totally engaged as they listened to Bobby’s stories and were eager to participate in using their powerful voices. This program gives the children a solid foundation for understanding their own behaviors and the behaviors of others.

Grade 1

The month of October brought wonderful autumn weather for the first graders to enjoy. We engaged in scientific thinking to look closely and explore solids, like our pumpkins, buttons, shells and blocks. We used descriptive property words to describe their color, shape, size and texture.

We started the month off showing what great spirit lives at Searingtown. We celebrated with a restful Pajama Day (and nobody fell asleep!); Team Uniform Day; Mismatch Day and on Thursday, we donned some crazy hats and sported some crazy hair styles. The week ended on Friday with Searingtown T-shirt Day and a Pep Rally in the large gym with cheering heard all over town!

We observed Health & Safety Week from October 7th – 11th with various drills such as: lockdown drill; lockout drill; evacuation drill and a weather/shelter drill. We had a visit from the Albertson Fire Department with the fire truck and a lesson on fire safety. We feel very safe at Searingtown after practicing these safety procedures. For the “health” part of the week, the focus was on developing habits for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Among the week’s activities, the students started each day with exercise and movement activities in the hallway led by Mr. Lavey. When the whole school was in the large gym for the practice shelter drill, Mrs. Hauck led us in breathing exercises and we saw how calm breaths can calm us and increase oxygen to help us think more clearly.

We had a fabulous trip to White Post Farm on October 18th. The children saw signs of autumn all around them at the farm. The adventure began with the children feeding the animals. The thrill and excitement was seen on their faces and heard in their laughter, as they fed goats, llamas, cows, zebras and lambs. They were so excited to board a tractor-drawn wagon for an exhilarating ride to our very own pumpkin patch. Each child searched and explored until they found their very own perfect pumpkin! A great time was had by all on our pumpkin picking Fall adventure!

The writers in first grade shared stories from their lives as they continued their work in the narrative writing unit called “Small Moments”. They learned how to plan and write a story, as well as edit and revise it for publication. The first graders had a lot to be proud of when it was time to celebrate their special piece! In Reading Workshop, the first graders showed how they are active problem solvers, as they learned more sophisticated strategies to figure out tricky words. They worked really hard to deal with bumps in the road and figure out the tricky words! The mathematicians in 1st grade continued their work with addition and subtraction equations, and to make sense of word problems and to persevere in solving them.

Grade 2

After a sensational September, Searingtown’s second graders had an outstanding October! Students and staff enthusiastically participated in School Spirit Week festivities by wearing pajamas, team uniforms, mismatched clothes, and crazy hair/hats. Everyone proudly wore Searingtown T-shirts to the phenomenal school spirit Pep Rally. Searingtown School zipper grippers were generously given to all by the fabulous PTA. The homecoming events at the Herricks High School were marvelous too. Dressing up and wearing a smile for Picture Day was special. Practicing various drills during Health and Safety Week taught us to how to stay calm and respond quickly during different emergency situations. A special visit by our brave Albertson firefighters with a brand new shiny fire rescue truck was beyond informative and exciting. Thanks to the PTA, delicious apples were given to everyone for a healthy, nutritious snack.

Writing, reading, conferencing, editing, proofreading, revising, publishing, and celebrating our Small Moments, Authors as Mentors personal narratives has kept us very busy during our Teachers College Writing Workshops. Reading nonfiction books during our small group based Reading Workshops has been so informative. The students continue to learn more sophisticated word attack strategies to figure out tricky words and how to apply Fundations skills. Retelling and comprehension skills are emphasized too. We also learned so much about the closed syllable exceptions, glued/welded sounds, bonus letters, trick words, suffixes, and basewords during our daily Fundations word study lessons.

Everything has been adding up to fun during our dailyenVisionMATH/ Math Investigations lessons and One Minute Mastering Math Facts tests. Our mathematicians have been learning addition and subtraction strategies. Problem-solving strategies, skills, and applications are incorporated in the lessons also. Taking the NWEA Mathematics tests in the computer lab was challenging too.

After reading What If Rain Boots Were Made of Paper? and discussing what materials different objects are made of, our second grade scientists astutely observed and identified the best combination of ingredients to make the stickiest glue. During our Designing Mixture lessons and experiments, the students have been recording new scientific terms on a Science/Everyday Word chart.

During Social Studies lessons, our “explorers” learned about Christopher Columbus’ brave explorations by studying maps and globes. Learning about how Germs Make You Sick made our Health lessons very interesting. October’s monthly Character Education “SearReads” book selection was Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. The students discussed and reflected upon the importance of doing the right thing.

Our October festivities continued with the PTA’s Fall Fair, pumpkin picking in the courtyard, and the fabulous Family Fun Night Halloween Party. This SPOOKTACULAR month ended with class Halloween parties and treats.

Grade 3

We have enjoyed another productive month in 3rd grade! The kids have been working extremely hard in all of the curriculum areas. They spent time adding, subtracting and rounding in math where we have asked them to try out many different strategies. In social studies the children learned about the 5 strands of Social Studies and specifically how they apply to the United States. Ask your children to explain the 5 strands to you. It’s important that they know these for all of the units we study in 3rd grade! We are reading and writing everyday, and the kids are focused on becoming responsible for their reading and writing lives.

We all also enjoyed many exciting non-academic events this past month! We celebrated school spirit week, wrapped up by an awesome pep rally – thank you Ms. Pasatieri and Mr. Lavy! We practiced different safety drills, had a visit from the Albertson Fire Department, and crunched on a healthy apple snack thanks to our wonderful PTA! The PTA also brought us the much loved pumpkin patch and first Fall Fair! Again, thanks to our generous PTA! Thank you for all you do for our kids! They always enjoy it all, and we are looking forward to the excitement of the winter months to come!

Grade 4

Searingtown fourth graders are "falling" into wonderful learning opportunities in October! As readers, they were digging deeper into texts like Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising; pushing their thinking and reading with minds on fire. As writers, they developed their own realistic fiction stories by creating coherent characters, problems, and resolutions to those problems. They have applied what they have learned about good literature to help polish their own craft. Fourth grade mathematicians analyzed patterns in data represented in various ways and used reasoning skills to solve problems.

Our Life Science unit kicked off with the study of our very favorite crustaceans the crayfish. Students are learning through literature exploration and observation activities. Social Studies in October concluded with the exploration of New York State. Students examined its landforms, waterways, and regions to become better familiar with the features and attributes that make our state the great place that it is.

Grade 5

Along with the changing leaves, October has brought students a level of comfort. Fully relaxed and settled into the days routines, students are engaged in the many aspects of the curriculum.

In Math, with a thorough understanding of place value we have moved into multiplication using partial products and (as many parents will be happy) the standard algorithm!

Social Studies has taken us on a journey into the past. These fifth grade researchers have taken an in depth look at the beginning of our Nation’s Government. With the help of Mrs. Kliegman, students used digital resources to research the governments that influenced our founding fathers.

Students have learned the art of revising and editing as they put their finishing touches on their personal narratives.

The fifth grade is completing their first science unit called, "Mystery Matter." Students investigated the physical and chemical properties of powders and crystals as they tried to match the properties of a powder found at the scene of a crime. Students observed interactions of these materials with a variety of chemical indicators.

And last but not least, our fifth graders went on their very first trip to Brookville to participate in an Outdoor Environmental Education Program.

Students learn best when their academic, emotional, physical and social needs are met. Outdoor and environmental education activities help students develop their SEDL (social, emotional development literacy) skills:

*Self awareness: They recognize their own emotions, values, strengths and limitations
*Self management: They are able to manage emotions and control behaviors in order to reach goals

*Social awareness: They demonstrate empathy and understanding toward others
*Relationship skills: They can form positive relationships and deal effectively with conflict
*Responsible decision making: They make ethical and constructive choices about personal and social behavior

Not only did we learn how to build a fire, survival skills and cooperation, but a good time was had by all!

The month finished with a Halloween celebration where we were visited by the Geico Pig!


Fifth grade ELLs finished a unit on nutrition with a luncheon! We prepared a salad in the morning, and students made pizza muffins with Ms. Vanore during their scheduled lunch. We enjoyed “dining” together in Room 14!

As a prelude to studying American Indians, fourth grade ELLs study the Mayflower and early Pilgrim life. Children enjoy learning about early settlement. Since we also explore timelines, we plan on fast-forwarding through the centuries for our next unit of study: The Titanic.

The third grade social studies curriculum begins with map skills, so Ms. Vanore focuses on what she is passionate about: the Polar Regions. Children love hearing about these harsh climates. We read Angela from the Arctic, a wonderful book about a girl from Alaska. Venn diagrams helped us compare our lives with the Inupiat people. We are now focusing on animal and plant life.

With the coming of the fall, second graders read The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins. Students were inspired to create their own books. As a follow-up and in honor of Columbus Day, students created an additional two books, one on Christopher Columbus and the other using irregular plural nouns. Our classroom library is growing!

Kindergartener and First Grade ESL students learned about the great explorer, Christopher Columbus. They have also been learning about the Fall season. October has been filled with many exciting facts about apples and pumpkins.


Third Grade Orchestra students continue to make progress on their instruments. They have learned all about the bow. Students know the parts of the bow, how to handle it and how to use rosin. Your child has been taught a proper bow grip and how to produce a sound with the bow. Please be patient as your child learns to develop a good sound. It takes a great deal of coordination and practice to achieve a good tone. In addition to the bow, we have started to work on note reading and writing. Your child is also continuing to develop their left hand finger patterns with exercises and songs such as "Mary Had A Little Lamb" while still using pizzicato (plucking the strings). Please encourage your child to practice and come to class prepared each week. They take great pride in showing me their progress and their enthusiasm to participate in class with the confidence of being prepared.


Incredible energy abounds at 7:30 morning art club. We can be drawing in the courtyard, painting in the studio; designing special projects in clay and 3 dimensions, making scary skeletons or learning how to reconstitute clay to make future projects ! We are busy and happy creating our own projects, which are then exhibited or eventually filed for safekeeping in each child's art studio class portfolio. Please click here to see more photos.

3rd grade thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn this fall. The art museum educators were inspired by the enthusiasm and knowledge of our children. Many asked if they could visit again with their parents!! After viewing the paintings by Alex Katz, the students drew in their journals and discussed the stories they could discover in the paintings. Afterwards, they went outside to sketch in their art journals from the sculptures that are generously situated around the museum!

See more photos at the 3rd grade museum page at

5th graders connect art to science, history and math, as they dialogue with Stefanie Santo-Donato, museum educator at Hillwood Art Museum, at LIU Post College in Upper Brookville. Please click here to see more photos.


During Health and Safety Week, the Grades K and 1 students enjoyed learning about good nutrition after listening to the books, The Seven Silly Eaters, and I Will Never, Not Ever Eat a Tomato. We followed our nutrition lesson with activities that taught how important alphabetical order is in the arrangement of the library. To keep in the mood of Halloween, we read the ABC books, Jeepers Creepers and Alpha Oops: Halloween. Each student practiced locating fiction books that were written by an author with the same starting last name initial as his/herself.

Grade 2 concentrated on learning the parts of a book. They learned that a book has a "family" just like they do, by hearing the book A Book Is Just Like You. We learned new terms, such as index, copyright, publisher and book designer. We followed that lesson up with watching one of our Capstone ebooks, Carl and Carolina Uncover the Parts of a Book. To make sure that we really "got it", we played a Knights of the Round Table game to reinforce our parts of a book vocabulary!

Grades 4-5 have been very busy sharpening their research skills with Mrs. Kliegman. The 4th and 5th graders have been learning how to search for books in DestinyQuest on their reading level. In conjunction with classroom studies, students have learned how to take notes electronically using our FollettShelf ebooks!

5th graders have been researching government in the classroom. During their library research time, students have been taking advantage of our online resources, including Grolier Encyclopedia, Trueflix (nonfiction ebooks), and FollettShelf ebooks on the articles of confederation, the constitution, and branches of government.

Mrs. Kenny's students are just about ready to write their letters of recommendation to Commander Nerak in our Aliens in NY! project! The class has been working hard, researching the different regions of NYS, including geography, natural resources, climate, economy, historical attractions, and the relationship between the Native Americans and nature. They will soon make a multimedia presentation to transmit to the Commander with their recommendations concerning the best place to start an alien colony!

Of course, Halloween in the library would not be complete without some spooky books! Students enjoyed hearing a variety of Halloween-themed books, including Skeleton Hiccups, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, and Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween. We even had an "author visit" with Scaredy Squirrel's author/illustrator Melanie Watt by going to and watching an interview in which she talked about the character of Scaredy Squirrel and another favorite, Chester!

Speech and Language

Linking Language and Reading

Reading is language laden. Reading and language are interdependent. Increases in reading and reading skills boost increases in language and vice versa. Good reading skills include but are not limited to the following area of language development: vocabulary, syntax and grammar, rhymes, understanding main idea, details, inferencing and predicting outcomes. These are all language skills, too.

Some ways to support your child’s reading at home and increase language skills are:

· Read aloud daily to your child

· Notice reading and writing in your world (signs, prices, ads, etc)

· Talk about favorite books, magazines, articles or pictures.

· Talk about childhood memories and share your own favorite kid’s books and authors

· Window shop with your child (looks for words, letters, new book releases)

· Make up rhymes, tell jokes

· Play word games like Scrabble, Boggle, etc. You can even try apps such as Alphabetinis or Words With Friends

· Tell family stories. Respond to our child’s stories, especially when they don’t make sense.

· Ask questions about your child’s stories. Encourage use of details and help them clarify and correctly sequence and describe their narratives.

Your child should enjoy the attention and spending quality time with you as their language and reading skills are blossoming!

Searingtown Happenings October 2013

Written by the Searingtown School faculty, published by Karen Kliegman, School Librarian.