January 2014 Happenings

Searingtown School

Welcome to the January Happenings!


This month during Reader’s Workshop, the kindergarten classes continued to use their “Super Powers” just like super heroes to read their books both independently and with their partners. With the help of their teachers and Mrs. Bowie, our reading specialist, the children learned strategies to use while reading their leveled books.

At the end of each Columbia University Teachers College unit, each class celebrates the hard work they have done. One class celebrated by decorating masks and crowns and became “Super Heroes” who now know how and when to use their “super powers” while reading.

This month, we also took a field trip to the Shelter Rock Public Library. At the library, Ms. Ellen, one of the librarians, read five wonderful stories, both fiction and nonfiction, to the children. Afterwards, the children who did not already have library cards were issued their very first library cards! Now all of the children can practice their “Super Powers” at home with the books they borrow from the library.

Grade 1

The month of January brought a New Year filled with many new learning experiences and fun activities. The first graders at Searingtown have continued learning about nonfiction writing, focusing on the many conventions that are important in nonfiction, such as a table of contents, a glossary, an index, bold words, diagrams, captions, comparisons, and photographs. We even had the chance to write our own nonfiction information books during our Writing Workshop time! We also started exploring our “Collections” and writing opinion based articles and being judges of our collections. Next month we will start writing “Reviews” to persuade our readers. We are so busy in Writing Workshop.

In Reading Workshop we started discussing and analyzing our fiction characters. We stop to think and jot about what our characters say, how they act and how they feel.

The first graders learned about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how he helped make our country a better place to live in. We also celebrated many birthdays and Super Me star first grade students!

The month of January has kept us very hard at work with so many new things to learn. We are looking forward to the exciting activities and learning experiences that are yet to come this year!

Grade 2

Not even the Polar Vortex or snow could stop Searingtown’s Second Graders from having a sensational January from beginning to end! Mathematically speaking, the students explored place value, learned how to add two digit numbers with and without regrouping, and continued solving multi-step word problems. Taking the NWEA Math Test in the computer lab was challenging. Memorizing our addition/subtraction facts and taking one-minute tests each day using the Mastering Math Facts program has improved our computation skills. Our Writing and Reading Workshops have focused onPoetry and Shoring Up on Foundational Skills: Reading Harder, Vocabulary-Rich Books with Accuracy, Fluency and Meaning. Our daily word study Fundationslessons continue to be enlightening. Learning the r-controlled syllable type and using our spelling options really helped us read, write, and mark ar, or, er, ir, and urwords correctly.

Going on a class trip to the Cradle of Aviation and the Firefighters Museumwas educational and informative. The students learned how instrumental Long Islanders have been in the development and growth of the aviation industry. Sharing our family treasures enhanced our Social Studies unit that celebrates our heritages, cultures, and traditions. Studying the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through poetry and biographies inspired us to follow our own dreams. Mrs. Finkelstein, our social worker, has been teaching the Too Good for Drugs Program to all the second graders in the Herricks School District. Some of the concepts that the students have learned and discussed are: goal setting, decision-making; to stop and think about consequences, how to handle frustration, how to give good compliments, how to choose a friend and be a friend, peer pressure, and a message about medicine.

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger was the January Character Education book selection for SearReads. Our “No Name Calling Week” culminated in an assembly that celebrated kindness. The students pledged that bullying and calling other students hurtful names is wrong. The bake sale for the Philippines, which was sponsored by the Human Relations and Global Awareness Clubs and the Searingtown PTA, was a huge success. Ms. Jan Smythe encouraged the students to make Valentine’s Day cards and donate needed items for the hospitalized veterans at the Northport VA Medical Center. To top it all off, shopping at the fabulous PTA Book Fair Fiesta was the perfect way to end the first month of 2014!

Grade 3

Snowmen, snow angels and snow days – oh my! Along with the snow and cold temperatures the third graders have been busy solidifying their multiplication facts and using them for division. The classes have taken off to study different parts of the world, and we are thoroughly immersed in nonfiction reading and writing. The children have been working very hard, and we have all enjoyed another productive month which appears to have flown by!

In keeping with our school wide Kindness Campaign, today and everyday we are looking for ways to be extra kind to others as well as acknowledging ways others are kind to us. We are also working on remembering that feelings are everywhere, so we always have to be mindful of our actions and words.

Kindness and smiles are contagious…we intend to pass it on!

Grade 4

Even though the New Year started off with a couple of snow storms, our 4th Graders went to the Long Island Science Museum and learned a variety of animal facts. Some brave students were able to get very up close to our furry and scaly friends.

In Social Studies we are learning about famous explorers - the routes the explorers took to find the New World, why they wanted to find new trading routes and how it changed the world.

Our 4th grade mathematicians finished up their exploration of Multiplication, finding various ways to show how one can reach an answer. In Reading we are finishing up Historical Nonfiction, and will be starting Historical Fiction.

Grade 5

History Comes Alive in 5th Grade!

The fifth grade class had the opportunity this month to go to the IMAX to view, “Lewis and Clark: Great Journey West.” It was the dawn of a nation - a time before the American West became known as the frontier, and little was known about what lay within. Two captains, courageous in spirit and unyielding in their dedication to their mission, led 31 people, including the one woman and her infant son, to the Pacific Ocean and back. The children experienced the danger and beauty of the unknown West as it unfolded before the eyes on the huge screen!

Another great simulation the fifth grade was able to experience this month was “Wagon’s West.” We hopped on our bus to The Long Island Museum of American Art History and Carriages in Stony Brook. Once there we were able to go back in to the mid 1800’s to take the journey from St. Joseph, Missouri to the Oregon Territory by covered wagon. We decided what supplies we would take and how to pack our wagons most effectively. We learned about the blacksmith and saw his shop; we viewed different carriages and peddlers’ carts and learned what a necessity was and what was not! A good time was had by all and it fit beautifully into our social studies curriculum on Westward Expansion.

In addition to their hands-on social studies experiences, our fifth graders have worked hard in other curriculum areas as well. In math, they explored the division of decimals using disk models as well as the standard algorithm. Our fifth grade readers went back in time and began their investigations of the historical fiction genre. Readers are enjoying our historical fiction read aloud “A Family Apart”, in addition to participating in their own book clubs.

As February approaches fifth graders will begin to see the light!



First graders and kindergarteners learned about Martin Luther King Jr. We discussed what peace means to us. We wrote the word PEACE in our home language.

We are poets! Second grade students in the ESL program started the New Year brainstorming January words. After reading a few model poems about January and winter, they selected one of the ideas from their list and wrote their own poems. Their two stanza, ten line poems were accompanied by an original illustration. Students enjoyed sharing with their classmates. For January, students also enjoyed learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. We read "Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King" by Jean Marzoll, discussed key ideas, and identified states on the map of the United States that were significant to Dr. King. Though it was chilly outside, we were warmed by our wonderful words!

Third graders are sharpening their grammar skills. They learned the four types of sentences: statement, question, exclamation, and command. Using winter scenes as writing prompts, they created their own sentences. At the end of the week, we followed a recipe and feasted on fruit skewers. After all, steps for a recipe are written as commands!

Fourth and fifth graders have been learning about the issue of homelessness. They are getting ready to organize a food drive to help the needy on Long Island.


The Gemini 5th graders are designing insects to benefit humanity. In cooperative learning groups, students brainstormed and researched on Destiny Quest, problems humans face such as malaria, droughts, the bubonic plague, strokes, rabies, oil spills, and tuberculosis. Students then evaluated features of dozens of insects to decide which ones could best be adapted to meet the goal of helping with the problem. Using the SCAMPER method, a strategy to stimulate new ideas (substitute, combine, adapt, minify, magnify, put to other uses, eliminate, and reverse), students will strategize construction of newly designed insects from recycled materials and plaster wrap. All research findings and summary statements have been created using google docs.

The Gemini 4th graders have studied the history and use of money throughout the ages, learning about concepts such as saving, spending, debt, credit cards, loans, credit reports and electronic banking. Students have used books and multimedia resources on banking to create United Bank of Gemini manuals to investigate how banks work. Working in collaborate groups on netbooks, students are creating brochures in publisher to explain how various services in bank departments work.

Art Studio

Congratulations to the students who we honor by having their work displayed in the Community Center Art Show/ December 2013. Stop over to see them , they are still up now!!

They are:

Michelle Yan 1 Hess

Nicholas da Polito 1 Morgan

Kaylin Cheriman 1 Morin

Aiden Cho 2 Fegan

Nicoletta Karas 3 Corgan

Christopher Frangopoulos 3 Corgan

Rebecca Sapiro 3 Grogan

Joven Fong 4 Alexander

Marcus Gamboa 4 Alexander

Olivia Berg 4 Dugger

Congratulations to the top 3 classes for having the largest number of most creative and excellent journals!

First Prize............ 5th grade Ms. Fruda/ Ms. Henry

Second Prize......3rd Grade, Ms. Corgan Soriento

Third Prize, ...........5th Grade, Ms. Benzoni

These journals are excellent and very great to look at and read. The students grades 3-5 have a weekly assignment. I ask each of them to create a visual response to a

specific assignment. Then each child composes a written response or description of why he chose to respond in the way that he did. It is rewarding and energizing to see the great analogies and understandings that your children develop as they go through this process.


Speech Tip for January 2014

Winter weather provides a great opportunity for family and friends to come together for game night! During this time, there are many opportunities to share stories and work on language/communication skills. Game night is a fantastic opportunity to work on recalling details, sequencing, turn-taking, following directions and verbal humor in a fun and entertaining way. Among the many games available, we recommend the following as being particularly good for building language and listening skills (and they’re fun too!):

Secret Square (ages 4 and up)

20 Questions (both the “old fashioned way” and the board game ages 7 and up, which is somewhat different)

Headbandz Jr. (age 6 and up)

Outburst Jr. (ages 7 and up)

Guess Who (ages 6 and up)

Scattergories Jr. (ages 8-11)

Apples to Apples (kids ages 7 and up)

I Spy (the old fashioned way or the board game)

Spot it (ages 7 and up)

Bananagrams (ages 7 and up)

Taboo (for teens and up)

Cranium Cadoo (for teens and up)

You Gotta Be Kidding (7 and up)

Battleship (7 and up)

All of these games encourage adult participation and you may have to eliminate some items (especially in 20 Questions and Outburst Jr.) if they are not appropriate for your child. Games provide a structured environment for conversation which will usually elicit more language, especially from younger children. Enjoy this special time with your friend and family and keep the conversation going!


Congratulations to the 5th grade Searingtown students who had the honor of participating in this years All County Music festival. The members of the All County Band, Orchestra and Chorus were students from all over Nassau County and the culmination of this festival was a concert at CW Post Tilles Center which took place on January 19, 2014. This year participants included Selina Chiang, Alison Chou, Anna Haig, Andrew Kim, Grace Kim, Ryan Kim, Timothy Kim, Ryan Leitner, Anthony Mastronardi, Eric Ponieman, Hannah Samimi, Alyssa Samuels, Arjun Talapatra, Chiara Tan and Christina Tsai. We are very proud of their achievements.

Searingtown School Happenings - January 2014

Written by the faculty of Searingtown School. Published by Karen Kliegman, Library Media Specialist.