Marking Period 1 Newsletter

Thomas G Connors Elementary School (2021-2022)

A Message from Principal Addi

Being the Principal of T.G. Connors Elementary school is a precious gift that I appreciate everyday. Regardless of any of the challenges that have presented themselves during this time period, our faculty and staff put their full hearts and efforts to create an environment conducive to the growth of the whole child. Every step of the way, our faculty have focused on the health, social emotional well being, and academic growth of every child.

It is so delightful to see the happy faces of our students as they are lining up outside during arrival. Our children are thriving. I have never been more proud of our staff, students, PTO and Connors families. Together, as a Connors Koala family, we are able to nourish the growth of every child.

As we transition into the 2nd marking period, I would like to encourage our Connors families to continue to support our effort in making every child’s learning unique to them. Our goal will always be to focus on the centrality of the child to deliver an educational experience focused on each child’s specific needs. We continue to strengthen our onsite and remote learning models through the support of our school community. I admire the ability of our parents and guardians to be flexible as it is crucial during this time. It is my promise that I will continue to partner with all of you as we strive for academic excellence with a continued emphasis on social and emotional growth.

1st Marking Period Report Cards are available to parents on Genesis. In addition, hard copies of those report cards, linkit scores and DRA levels have been mailed to parents today.

As always, if you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me as your partnership is golden.

All the best,

Principal Addi

A Message from VP Sorafine

As the Vice Principal of T.G Connors School, it is an honor to work with such a dedicated staff, supportive families, and of course our amazing students. I am so proud of the way we have collectively handled the many changes that took place during this time period to ensure that we are still able to provide our students with a rigorous and comprehensive learning experience. My holistic approach to education seeks to address the emotional, social, ethical, and academic needs of students in an integrated learning format. My emphasis is placed on positive school environments and providing whole-child support services that support academic and non-academic needs. When our students are met with a challenge we ask them to reflect on their actions and how they impact the global and local community, as well as how to learn from the community around them. I strongly believe that this approach will provide the strength and resiliency to make this year's experience a positive one. I look forward to our continued partnership.

All the Best,

Mr. Ryan Sorafine

Kindergarten Highlights


Kindergarteners have learned so much in English Language Arts this first marking period. During this marking period, students have focused on learning several letters and their sounds. So far, students can identify the letters Mm, Aa, Pp, Ss, and Pp. Students can also identify those letter sounds as well. Students loved doing letter picture sorts during centers. Students have also learned so many new sight words! Kindergarteners can recognize the following sight words: a, I, can, like, see, the, & we. Kindergarteners can read their sight words in isolation, read them in sight word readers and other stories, and use their sight words in sentences. Not only can Kindergarteners identify letters and their sight words, but they also have begun reading! Students can tap out sounds to blend them to read a word. This is such a fantastic skill the students have learned! In ELA, students have learned a few grammar skills like identifying nouns and verbs. Miss Fleischer, Ms. Rodriguez, Miss Watson, and Miss Layson are so impressed with all of the learning in marking period one. We cannot wait to see all the incredible things they do in the second marking period!
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Kindergarten has been hard at work during this marking period learning so many new math vocabulary words, practicing the daily attendance and calendar routine, and having a blast actively engaging in Math Workshop activities and games! Students focused on counting and representing quantities, sorting and classifying manipulatives such as pattern blocks, buttons, connecting cubes, and color tiles, and collecting, representing, describing, and interpreting data. Some of our favorite games have been Roll and Record, Build It and the Counting Jar! Students are learning how to connect number names, numerals, and quantities, count to develop visual images of quantities up to 10, compare and order two or more amounts and describe and measure the length of objects by direct comparison. We are very excited to see what we will learn next!

Social Studies

This first quarter in kindergarten social studies has been awesome! We started the year learning all about how to be kind in the classroom. We described what kindness would look like in school and how we can show kindness throughout the school day. We shared our ideas and made a classroom web to display all our kindness ideas! The students use kind words during centers and group work showcasing their knowledge of how to spread kindness at Connors. Next, we began learning all about Hispanic heritage! Hispanic Heritage month is from September 15th to October 15th. Students learned all about Frida kahlo, a famous Mexican painter. Students read and listened to books about Frida Kahlo’s life. Students participated in collaborative conversations about Spanish heritage and Frida Kahlo while learning new Spanish words and building Spanish vocabulary. Frida Kahlo was most famous for her self portraits. The student’s had the opportunity to color their own self portrait in colored pencils just like Frida! We also learned all about the Spanish holiday Dia De Los Muertos, also called “the day of the dead”. We watched videos, read books, and created our own sugar skull masks! In November we have off from school for election day! The classes were all so curious about what election day actually was. We watched a brain pop about election day and read the amazing book “Grace for President” by Kelly DiPucchio. The students had so many questions about the school election in the book that we decided to do a president project! Each student had the opportunity to explain and write why they would be a good president! We colored, cut, and pasted together a picture of ourselves running for school president! Veterans day is also in November! We learned what a veteran was and talked about different branches of the MIlitary. We watched an amazing Brain-pop video and got to see real life pictures of Veterans in uniform! We then followed our teacher in a directed drawing of a Veteran!

We started a brand new social studies curriculum called “Young Citizens”. The characters in our text book live in a fictional town called Maplewood. In Chapter 1 we began by recalling familiar places in Hoboken and comparing them to Maplewood! We also began talking about different ways to describe time, the different times of the day, and what we do during those times. Next, we got into in-depth conversations about our school Connors! We again compared and contrasted what we do in school compared to our fictional characters. We talked about our favorite parts of school, who works in the school, and what a good classroom citizen looks like. We made a classroom promise to always do our best to be respectful classroom citizens. We reviewed our classroom expectations and even made new rules together as a class that we thought would be beneficial at our school. We discussed proper and improper ways to solve classroom problems, and we are now experts on how to solve problems peacefully in the classroom! We are ending this marking period discussing maps! We have begun reading and building maps in class! We cannot wait to learn even more about maps in the future!

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ILP, Mini PGP, & Celebrations!

ILP/PGP: During ILP Kindergarteners are busy reading on Raz-Kids and learning on Classworks! Students have been working on specific skills that they individually need to improve on.

For PGP, Kindergarten students worked on a Me on the Map project. They learned about the planet we live on, our continent, our country, our state and the city we live in! Students illustrated each part in a flip book to show our location!

Celebrations: During the Week of Respect students Kindergarteners took a pledge of kindness and practiced ways to show respect and kindness each day!

Halloween: Students celebrated Halloween and this year we were able to have our Halloween Parade! So many parents, friends and family were able to see all of our awesome costumes as we paraded around the block (twice!).

Diwali: Students celebrated Diwali by making a Diya for “goodness and purity” and lit them to “cast out darkness with new light”!

First Grade Highlights


First graders have grown so much since the first week of school. During ELA, students have been working on phonics, reading, grammar, and writing skills every day. Students have learned short vowel spelling words by completing multiple hands-on spelling and phonics activities. We also had spelling words with double consonants. To help us remember when to double letters we now say, “Sammy Loves Friendly Zebras.” Students use sand trays to write letter/letters that make the sound that we say. This is a fun way to reinforce old and new concepts. During guided reading, we focus on reading comprehension and reading strategies daily. So far, we have focused on making and confirming predictions, key details, and main idea. Students know how to use key details to identify the characters, setting, and main events in the story. It is always fun to learn with hands-on activities when possible. Recently students learned how to use commas in a series. It was so much fun using elbow pasta as commas for practice. Students worked in groups to create sentences on anchor chart paper. Then they glued on the pasta to represent the commas. In writers’ workshop, we have completed Unit 1: Personal Narratives. Students had the opportunity to write 2-4 personal narratives that focused on a small moment. We are now starting Unit 2: Realistic Fiction books. It is amazing to see these young authors grow as writers.

Article- A- Day

Students in first grade are building on their background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina by reading an Article- A- Day. Every day we spend 10-15 minutes reading, writing, and sharing what we learned from the article that day. After reading the article, students take out their “Book of Knowledge,” and write one or two things that they learned from the non-fiction article and what they would like to remember. Students take turns sharing what they learned from the reading. So far, we have covered four different themes: Animals from different places, Animals that lived long, long ago, Birds, and Native Americans.


During the first marking period of the 2021-2022 school year, First Grade students at Connors have enjoyed learning new skills and concepts in Math through our Investigations Program. Beginning in September, students have been using "math talk" just as mathematicians do during our math workshop period. Students have been engaged in new math games in order to learn new skills and concepts such as adding and subtracting by counting on and counting back, solving word problems by showing more than one strategy and explaining how they know the answer. During the month of October, students explored two dimensional shapes in Unit 2 of Investigations. Students described and found examples of familiar shapes. They were able to make combinations of shapes to fill an outline, and create their own pattern block designs with a specified number of blocks. Looking ahead into Unit 3, students will be solving equations up to 20, and using algebraic thinking to find the missing addend. In our First Grade classes, Math Always Matters and we continue to have fun learning and working together!

Social Studies

The first marking period has been filled with exciting Social Studies lessons and activities for first grade students! During Unit 1, we focused on “The Five Themes of Geography”. In our Young Citizens curriculum we learned about location, environmental features that influence the way people live (such as access to open land for farming, etc.), and features of suburban, urban, and rural areas. We have also learned a lot about our state, New Jersey! As we have begun Unit 2, we have focused on “Elements of Culture and Civic Responsibility”. As part of our Young Citizens curriculum, we have started learning about what it means to be a good citizen as part of our community - this includes rules within our school community, and relating those to laws in the bigger community and neighborhood. One of our favorite things to do is use our dry erase maps to locate areas and environmental features!

For our Social Justice focus, students learned about gender equality. They discussed the question of whether boys and girls should like different things, or if they can like some of the same things. Students unanimously agreed that boys and girls should be free to like whatever it is that they want! We had important discussions about always being who you are, and not worrying about if it is not what is the "usual" thing to like or do.

During Social Studies, students also learned about Hispanic and Native American history. This also paved the way for our mini projects during the Mini PGP block. Students made mini books about different customs and countries for Hispanic Heritage Month, and also created their own postage stamp. For Native American Heritage Month, students have been reading Article-A-Day articles focused on Native American customs. In addition, they will be learning about and creating their own clay pots!

We are excited to continue learning lots in Social Studies as the year goes on!


During ILP students have been using Classworks on their new chrome tablets. Students also use this time to master grade level standards on IXL for ELA and math. ILP is also a great time to work on specific content areas to challenge and support students. Friends in first grade use this time to also go on Reading A-Z or work with their teacher to focus on reading comprehension and strategies.


Writers’ Workshop Celebration

Students in first grade did an amazing job throughout Unit 1: Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing in Writers’ Workshop. First graders learned the process of writing and got to share their amazing work with their classmates. Students wrote three of more personal narratives during this unit. After students published their books, we had a Writers’ Celebration! Students made their Young Author hats and read their personal narratives to their classmates

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Second Grade Highlights


Over the course of the 1st Marking Period, the 2nd grade students have learned and practiced a lot of Reading and Writing concepts. In the beginning, students were reminded of how to identify the story elements, plot, genre and main idea of text. In addition, there was a refresher on visualizing, making connections and answering questions about a text by restating and using supporting details from their reading. They practiced these skills through a variety of activities and tasks that were directly related to their weekly read-alouds and themes. Currently, students are using the aforementioned skills to apply what they know to activities and tasks independently.

With Writing, 2nd graders have exercised their hands quite a bit! Students have been introduced to fiction summaries, paragraphs, and personal narratives. Summaries have allowed the students to highlight the important events of a story and retell it in their own words using the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then, Finally format. Paragraphs have also allowed students to expand upon their thoughts and responses by using supporting details to express their reasoning. Students have SOARED in both writing activities and the teachers are impressed every day by their abilities! Most recently, 2nd graders were introduced to personal narratives, in which students think of small moments to write about from a bigger topic/event within their lives. Including details, descriptive words, sequencing words and more makes their writing even more powerful and exciting!

2nd graders are doing a SWEET job with all they’re learning in Literacy!

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Over the course of the first marking period, 2nd graders focused on adding and subtracting single digit numbers, focused on adding numbers in any order, practiced counting by groups, and started observing and describing attributes of 2-D and 3-D shapes. 2nd graders learned various strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems through playing the Investigations games and differentiated math centers. Students are currently learning about 2-D and 3-D shapes and love being able to create 3-D models using geoblocks!

2nd graders have been working so hard and have been doing an amazing job!

Social Studies

This year we started a brand new textbook, Nystrom Young Citizens. This grade-level appropriate informational text covers the content these 2nd grade students need to master.

Students were thoroughly introduced to this new text by identifying various text features and understanding map features. Students love the comics driven by the 2nd grade students of Ms. Dos’ class. The text focuses on five characters who live in the imaginary community of Maplewood. Each of the students’ storyline is continued throughout the chapter.

We are looking forward to learning more about these characters’ lives during the 2nd quarter of this school year.


During ILP students work on individual learning goals 1:1, in small groups, or independently. Students receive instruction based on their DRA2, linkit scores, classwork/test grades, and teacher observations. Students also use this time to strengthen their typing skills.

Students used their creativity to write stories, create skits and act them out throughout the semester for our Mini PGP block. Students practiced with the play, “Lion and the Mouse” and are now working on “The Ant and the Grasshopper”. Public speaking and presentation skills were enhanced through mini performances fully created by children. This course centered around social situations that helped students solve dilemmas in a fun and productive manner.


During ILP students work on individual learning goals 1:1, in small groups, or independently. Students receive instruction based on their DRA2, linkit scores, classwork/test grades, and teacher observations. Students also use this time to strengthen their typing skills.

Students used their creativity to write stories, create skits and act them out throughout the semester for our Mini PGP block. Students practiced with the play, “Lion and the Mouse” and are now working on “The Ant and the Grasshopper”. Public speaking and presentation skills were enhanced through mini performances fully created by children. This course centered around social situations that helped students solve dilemmas in a fun and productive manner.

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Third Grade Highlights


This marking period, third graders were introduced to novel study! We began reading The Littles by John Peterson and used the novel to practice grammar skills, comprehension and Narrative writing. Our second novel, Real Stories from my time: The Underground Railroad by Bonnie Bader helped third graders review nonfiction text features and expository writing. Students crafted their first Literary Analysis Task and began to use text evidence in their Night Writes.
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The third grade has been working hard during Math to master our Multiplication facts. Students have been practicing their Multiplication and Division skills in class by learning about equal groups, fact families, and arrays. During the month of November, third graders have been reviewing the different types of graphs. They collected data by surveying their classmates on a variety of topics and then analyzed their data in order to create: Pictographs, Bar Graphs and Line Plots.

Social Studies

In the first two units of social studies, students explored New Jersey’s geography and government using our new Nystrom’s Young Citizen curriculum! Students learned geography using a variety of maps, including physical, political, and raised relief maps. Students focused on the geography of our world, then zoomed in our country and our state. Students gained a deeper understanding of the four regions of New Jersey, their characteristics, climates, and natural resources.

In our second unit of social studies, students explored the workings of our federal and state governments. Students learned about the three branches of government, specifically where they originated from, who is a part of each branch, how each branch is chosen, and the duties of each branch. Students also learned about their duties as citizens in a democratic society. We emphasized the importance of voting, educating ourselves on current issues, and advocating for change. The third graders at Connors shared some amazing ideas regarding how they can improve their local and school communities. We have some creative and inspiring young third graders!


During the first semester, students dedicated three periods a week to their own individualized learning pathways (ILP). These pathways involve progressive and rigorous standards-based programs that assist students with particular skills based upon their instructional needs.

Students also spent two periods a week exploring project based learning during mini personal growth periods (Mini PGP). This semester focused on creative construction and design. First, students explored the engineering process. Then, students began working collaboratively to design, construct, and participate in a creative engineering project using legos! Throughout this experience, students developed their creativing problem solving, tactile, and team building skills.

Celebration Pictures!

Fourth Grade Highlights


During Marking Period 1, 4th grade learners engaged in thoughtful and strategic reading of narrative literature with the core novel “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. Students explored characters that undergo changes as a result of the world around them, while celebrating their differences. Point of view, characterization, figurative language, and theme were focal points of classroom discussion and Night Writes. “Wonder” also served as a mentor text during writing instruction for both narrative and analytical pieces. Students generated realistic fiction pieces exploring the development of characters, setting, and plot, as well as crafting literary analysis essays with a variety of texts. One example for this community of writers is a piece where students compared and contrasted character traits for important characters in “Wonder.” Writer’s Workshop lessons for this assignment targeted analysis, citing text evidence, organization, and using language to clarify.

The students in 4th Grade worked hard on standards and concepts as they prepared for Start Strong. Students worked throughout the months of September and October. They ended with a culminating activity where they chose passages to read. Next, they worked on the reinforcement focus concept for each passage. Students then presented their focus concept to the other students . All of the students worked very hard on the activities and made progress towards improving test scores.


During Marking Period 1, 4th grade mathematicians engaged in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and Mathematical Practices by exploring concepts and strategies for multiplication. Students learned various representations and uses of multiplication. They used arrays to represent multiplication situations and factors of 2-digit numbers, identify prime, square, and composite numbers, and review multiplication facts. They solved multiplicative comparison problems and represented them with multiplication equations. Students explored the relationships between factors and multiples using various strategies such as skip counting and using known factors to find related factors for a given number. Building on the conceptual learning, students then learned a variety of strategies to solve multiplication problems with 2-digit numbers, developed an understanding of the meaning and structure of multiplication as well as the relationship between multiplication and division, and used that understanding to solve problems.

Social Studies

During Marking Period 1, 4th Grade learners participated in a Digital Citizenship lesson in Social Studies. Students reflected on the characteristics that make someone an upstanding digital citizen. The class discussed and recognized activities of cyberbullying. They then showed ways to be an upstander by creating a digital citizenship superhero comic strip.

Students in 4th grade began the marking period with the use of Young Citizens, a new program this year. In the first unit, students learned about early American Indian cultures and civilizations. Students examined how the first people arrived in the Americas and analyzed how they used natural resources to their advantage. In addition, students studied important pre-Columbian American Indian civilizations and learned about their various contributions.


PGP- Mock Trial

During the first marking period, students participated in a semester-long Mini PGP. Mini PGP is a project-based learning instructional period and the 4th grade focus is Mock Trial. Students have been learning about and practicing law in mock scenarios that have come to life in our classrooms. Mock Trial has exposed students to the ins and outs of our judicial system while honing in on their self-confidence and public speaking skills.

ILP & Move This World

Students in the 4th grade use the Individual Learning Pathway period to work on skills and concepts. Students utilize the district program, Classworks, to work on specific skills based on student performance. Students also have the opportunity to work in small groups with their peers and teacher to hone in on concepts that need reinforcement.

The 4th grade learners also participate in Move This World activities daily. Move This World provides social emotional learning (SEL) training with the use of interactive videos, movement, and creative expression to help students, educators, and families develop emotional intelligence skills for long-term wellbeing. Move This World’s SEL programs lead to deeper self-awareness, stronger relationships, effective communication, and a culture of safety and support.

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Classroom Celebrations!

During Marking Period 1, students in 4th grade celebrated Diwali with an arts and crafts activity as they contributed to a discussion about spreading light in the community. Students discussed how they spread light by doing simple acts of kindness, standing up for what they believe in, helping others, recycling, and reaching out to a friend in need.

Students in 4th grade enjoyed Halloween celebrations and the tradition of participating in the Halloween parade.

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Ms. Gruber's 3rd & 4th Grade Highlights

This marking period in Ms. Gruber's class we got to know each other a lot! Right at the beginning of the year we set our own classroom rules and have established a routine together. One big accomplishment of ours was completing the Start Strong assessment! Throughout this marking period we worked a lot towards completing each lesson and activity for Start Strong. When we weren't doing Start Strong, we were reading our Core Novel Wonder, working on personal narratives, using a typing program, and participating in our guided reading groups. We've been learning about different vowel sounds and how to differentiate between spelling patterns through games and activities together. We've also been working a lot on our writing skills and editing our own writing pieces once complete!

Throughout this marking period we've been exploring a few different math platforms. We've been using Investigations with a combination of independent math journal work and Splashlearn games. Some of us have been learning/reviewing addition and subtraction strategies, place value, 2D/3D shapes and have all been focusing a lot on word problems. While in our small groups, we've been able to play a lot of games together and challenge each other regardless of the task.

Something we've really enjoyed learning about this marking period is New Jersey. We've gotten to explore maps, learn about important people who made contributions to the state, NJ's geography and some different features of NJ! During these past few months we've been relating the content being learned about back to our own personal lives, neighborhoods, and experiences. Most days, we sit on the floor while working together to investigate our awesome state and get to create projects collaboratively!

Some of our favorite celebrations so far have been our big Halloween party, celebrating Diwali, and getting to celebrate Chase's birthday! We've been implementing "fun friday" this marking period where every Friday we do something special during our second Math block. So far, we've gone outside for a math scavenger hunt, have done holiday related math pages, and have explored new games as a group! We can't wait for the next marking period and to keep learning/doing our best work!

Fifth Grade Highlights


For the first marking period, the 5th grade has been reading two novels. We read "Love that Dog" which is written in verse. While reading this book, students learned about and analyzed poetry elements. Students became very invested in the main character, Jack, who as the school year went on started to take pride in the poetry he wrote and emulated the poetry styles of famous poets. The 5th graders enjoyed reading about the various poetry styles and all ended up writing their own concrete poem like Jack did in the book.We also read "Esperanza Rising" as a continuation of the summer reading assignment. Students were able to learn about the Mexican revolution, the racism that Mexicans faced during this time, they also learned about how immigration works and the negative effects of repatriation, in addition to learning various reading skills such as point of view and making inferences.Students also worked on writing narratives during this first marking period.


In Math during this marking period, 5th graders learned about the properties of numbers, the order of operations, multiplication and division strategies, and how to find the volume of solids. In Math, students were able to play multiplication and division compare games with partners. They were also able to construct 3D figures using unit cubes in order to re-create figures that they viewed on the Ricoh Board. Students were also able to create packages using grid paper in order analyze how many cubes or toys would fit into each package. The real world connection was made with how Amazon packages its products.


Halloween in the 5th grade was a spooky celebration. Students were able to participate in our spooky Halloween parade. We had some creepy wolves, some football players, a grim reaper, some terrifying brides, and a ghost of a teacher. In class we had a ball. We had a mummy race where students raced each other to make a mummy (their classmate). We also had "ghost cup," where students had to throw a ping pong ghost ball into ghost cups and had to eliminate all five of their peers' cups. I think our favorite activity was the Vampire Race. Students each received vampire teeth and had to race each other to see who could eat a plate full of pudding and whip cream first, this game had all of us uncontrollably laughing.
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Science Highlights

Science with Ms. Pinkas

We are having a blast in science class!

Kindergarten: Students are learning about the engineering and design process. Students read the story Jack and the Beanstalk and discussed as a class. Then students had to create their own beanstalk that would be sufficient enough for Jack to climb up easily. They were given different materials to create their beanstalks.

Students are also learning about the pumpkin life cycle. They read books and created hats identifying each phase of the pumpkin life cycle. Kindergartners opened up a pumpkin and used many of their five senses to observe the inside of the pumpkin. It was so cool!

Grade 1: Students are learning about about light and sound. Students learned that light reflects off various objects and sound is heard from the vibrations of the ear drum. First graders learned that light reflects off the moon which lead into a class discussion about the phases of the moon. Students created each phase of the moon using oreo cookies. That was one delicious project!!!!

Science with Mr. Donovan

3rd grade students started off the year full steam ahead first covering a unit called Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions. Students explored, designed, sketched, and built both simple and compound machines that demonstrate the use of forces. They test the force of magnets and explore the interaction of the magnetic poles. Students use the skills and knowledge gained in the module to solve an open-ended, real-world problem. As students worked through this module on Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions, they engage in hands-on experiences and use a step-by-step process to solve problems.

Music Highlights


What an amazing 1st quarter we have had in music class. I have been traveling from homeroom to homeroom and the kids are having a great time learning so much about music and all the tenets that make up the art form. Soon we will be in the music room and the students will be able to play various percussion instruments and Orff instruments. Everyone is so excited!

In the kindergarten grade level, the students have been learning about all the instrument music families. From the woodwind family to the string family, the students are learning how the instruments produce sound, what they look like, their timber, and their pitch range. In the first grade, classes have been learning about all our music notes, what they look like, and their time values (duration). These music theory concepts are the building blocks for what is to come next quarter. The second grade has moved onto advanced “Music Math” and having fun doing their music addition and subtraction equations. They have also started identifying notation on the treble clef! Yes, music is based on time and how it relates to mathematical equations, as well as pitch and the kids are having a great time learning these concepts.


Third grade is in the process of learning about note placement on the treble / bass clefs and all of the note values. They have combined these two music theory concepts with great success and are getting ready to learn about notation as it relates to various instruments, because after the holiday break they are going to start playing the recorders! The fourth grade has mastered note placement on the treble clef / bass clefs and are getting ready to learn about note placement on the grand staff. Just like the third grade, every time they learn about the clefs they learn about the various instruments that use the clefs. The fifth grade has brought to the class what they learned last year about the treble and bass clefs and are moving on to learning about ledger lines. These are the notes that are placed above and below each clef. This is not an easy piece of music theory to learn, but they are quickly grasping the concept. They are beginning to understand that many instruments have various pitch ranges that require note placement on ledger lines.

Lastly, all grade levels are having a great time singing various songs with their masks on. Singing is such an important element to music education and especially during these challenging times it brings joy and happiness to their daily lives here at Thomas G. Connors Elementary School!
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Art Highlights

We built a strong foundation with the Elements of Art to guide our future artmaking. Taking inspiration from our new art friends, Piet Mondrian and Howardena Pindell, our kindergarteners and first graders collaged their way to the end of marking period one. They applied their knowledge of primary colors and types of line to create mini Mondrians. And were quick to discover all of their art looked different even when they followed the same steps! Upon their discovery, they concluded that because they are independent and capable of making their own artistic choices, all of their work will be unique! This paved the way to creating something a little more abstract. Using the skills they acquired from their mini Mondrains, our kindergarteners and first graders used color, line, and introduced shape to create big abstract works of art! They covered an entire paper and left no white behind. After viewing Pindell's artworks, some were shocked when I told them they had to cut up their artwork, and some were excited. We talked about how it made them feel to cut up something they worked hard on. Some were disappointed and afraid they would not like their art anymore and some were ready to make something new! In the end, all were pleased with their creations!

Our second and third graders are now professionals in patterns and landscapes. Learning about types of line, shape and repetition, they were introduced to patterns! They were told to create pattern banks for a special project and each student created 8-10 unique patterns. Putting the pattern banks to the side, they began to work with landscapes. They were quick to understand the foreground, middleground, and background of a landscape. Surprise was apparent when they were told to combine their patterns and landscapes! Every part of their landscape was to be filled with patterns. And did they deliver! The patterns kept coming and some were related to the parts of the landscape. They included wavy lines to look like water, or leaf shapes to exaggerate their trees and bushes.

Our fourth and fifth graders started the year off with oil pastels and shapes! They worked within limitations and had to create a composition with 12-15 overlapping circles, 3 diagonal lines, and 5 colors. Every shape in their layout had to be colored in with pastel and cannot touch another shape of the same color. Some had great success and flew through the mapping out part of their work. Others ran into bumps in the road where one color was always touching the same color! Their problem solving skills were put to work and learned the importance of planning ahead. Once their work was completed, I brought out the baby oil and Q-tips. Every student had a confused look on their face when I told them we were going to be painting with these materials. They learned a new technique called scrubbing and persevered through painting with unconventional art materials. Everyday objects can be turned to art! The baby oil helped blend the oil pastel to give off a gouache painting appearance and a great smell.

There were messes, there were spills, there were injured crayons and broken glues. Markers ran out of ink and pencils needed to be sharpened again and again. None of which stopped us from creating the most amazing works of art this first marking period!

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Physical Education Highlights


This marking period was an awesome one for our K-2 students. To begin the year we focused on spatial awareness and developing important locomotor skills for our first unit. Students participated in many different games including relay races, several tag games, and jump rope competitions in order to improve on these skills throughout the marking period. Our biggest accomplishments came in our jump roping skills, students exceeded my expectations with how receptive they were to feedback and their ability to learn the fine details so quickly. In November, we began our team games unit where students were introduced to football skills such as throwing, catching, punting, and kicking. Students have recently begun understanding concepts of offense and defense and have done an excellent job identifying skill cues so far in this unit. This was an excellent marking period for our K-2 students and I'm thrilled to keep going in PE this year!


In grades 3-5 we began the year with a Spatial Awareness unit. Students practiced more advanced locomotor skill games and focused on team jump roping. From the beginning of the unit to the end of the unit jump rope teams were able to double their scores. In November, students began our team sports unit where they started practicing football skills. Recently, we have been able to play different offensive and defensive strategy games such as eraser football and ultimate football. I was very excited to start our health and wellness unit with our 3-5 students this marking period, and their enthusiasm for health class was fantastic. Students did health activities that included food group identification and created their own balanced meals. In our culminating activity for health this marking period students created a daily meal and exercise plan for themselves to follow. I was so proud of our 3-5 graders this marking period!
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Mandarin Highlights

During the first marking period the students studied three major

units. They started with the study of the culture of the Chinese

Mid-Autumn Festival also called the Moon Festival. The students

learned the origin and custom of the festival and made a craft lantern

of two different designs. They also made a comparison between the

Chinese festival and Thanksgiving. For the second unit, students

studied a Chinese historical figure, teacher and philosopher

Confucius. His biography and sayings are read, discussed and explored.

Students wrote paragraphs about their understanding and relevancy in

their family and school life. The third unit is about family. Students

learned and reviewed the vocabulary in Mandarin and discussed the

values of families and the possible ways of their contributions.

RTI Reading

All RTI Reading Sessions began with Orton Gillingham’s Three Part Drill, which is the multi-sensory review of learned phonetic concepts. The first part of the drill is the visual component where students say the sound for the letter or letters they see on the card. The second part is the auditory part where the teacher says a sound and the students must repeat the sound and draw the letter of the sound in their sand tray. The third part is the blending component, where the teacher uses a blending board and the students blend the sounds together to make nonsense and real cvc words. Lastly to continuously review vowels, students complete a vowel intensive activity where they each have five popsicle sticks (one with each vowel a,e,i,o,u). The teacher says a vowel sound and the students repeat the sound plus hold up the correct vowel popsicle stick.

On Mondays after the three part drill, students in kindergarten through fifth grade learned a new concept using Orton Gillingham’s Multi-Sensory Experience. A new concept process began with showing the students the card of the new concept, the placement of the letter in the alphabet, then saying the sound the letter makes. Students would repeat after the teacher. As a group, students brainstormed words that began with the letter they were learning for the week; for example while students were learning the letter c says /k/ students named items such as cat, caterpillar, and cookie. If needed, students would learn how to write the letter by using the letter formation page. If students were ready for dictation, students were given a one syllable word to pound and tap to identify the sounds and letters in the word. For example the dictation word after students learned the letter d was “dad”, students tapped each sound /d/ /a/ /d/ to identify the three letters in the word. To end the new concept portion of the session, students practiced the new sound in sand. The students continued to practice the learned concept throughout the week in the three part drill.

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays students learned a new Red word each day. Red words are words that are not phonetic along with some high-frequency sight words; these words differ based on each groups’ needs. Each student has a Red Word Folder and Red Word Book where they write their new words.The students wrote their new words in their RED booklet with a red crayon multiple times, arm tapped each letter, traced the word with their fingers/screens, and wrote a sentence with each word. As an extension, students created their Red words with apple letter tiles, pumpkin letter tiles, ghosts, magnet letter tiles, and play doh. On Fridays, students had a Red word practice where the teacher said the Red word learned from the week and the students must spell the word correctly on the white board or page.

During the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday sessions, guided reading was completed with every student. The guided reading portion is when the students in the session all read the same book with the teacher. During this time, the teacher introduced the book by completing a picture walk with the students and introducing some vocabulary words. Once the introduction was completed, the students read the book independently and the teacher whisper read with each student one at a time. During the whisper read, the teacher focused on the child’s fluency and helped each child improve their fluency skills based on their needs. After each student read the book independently, the students and the teacher have a book talk and respond to comprehension questions.

Kindergarten guided reading sessions had students read books from Raz Kids that focused on the new concept letter or a color. Students were exposed to the literate texts on their level to build foundational literacy skills plus build each students’ printed language concepts knowledge. First and second grade guided reading sessions had students make predictions before and during their reading by having the students look at the title and pictures before reading the words to predict what they thought was going to happen. Third, fourth and fifth grade guided reading sessions focused on the students retelling the story using a retell map or retell rope to help students remember the events in the order they occurred. This also allowed students to practice their writing skills; capitalization, punctuation and complete sentences.

During Mini PGP days (Thursdays and Fridays), students completed their grade levels Mini PGP activities, focused around literacy. Kindergarten students created a “Map Around Me’ activity where they listened to a book called, “Me on the Map” and identified where they lived. First grade students created a Spain booklet which required the students to trace words and read about Spain traditions. Second grade students read plays and acted out each part of the play for their character of choice. Third graders read books on Raz Kids and Epic about engineers and engineering projects to gear up for their Lego Challenge. Fourth grade students read the mock trial script “Humpty Dumpty vs. The King” and discussed each part of the script. Fifth grade students learned about the UN Sustainable Goals and read articles about some of the goals.

Throughout the sessions, all students practiced phonological awareness activities to build their rhyming skills and concepts of spoken words. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade who receive RTI Reading services have done an amazing job this first marking period in the small group reading

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CTY with Ms. Barsukova

On Mondays - Wednesdays during the Individualized Learning Pathway (ILP) period, students who have qualified to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) programming engage in a wide array of verbal course offerings that address their specific strengths and interests. Johns Hopkins CTY believes in researching and advancing ways to identify and nurture academically talented learners. CTY furthers research, guides educators and families and inspires students from diverse communities and backgrounds to pursue their intellectual passions and create the world of tomorrow. This week, we would like to highlight one of the CTY courses offered to our Hoboken students this fall:

Young Readers Series: Good Dogs

What can make a dog a most trusted friend? How do dogs build unbreakable bonds with their owner? What circumstances test these bonds? In this course, students will read four unforgettable novels all depicting the unique characteristics of dogs and those who care for and learn from them. Whether they know a family who is changed forever by a puppy or a dog that has saved a human life through their honed instincts, students will be gripped by emotion through these stories. This course also includes an in-depth exploration of canine intelligence through short videos about scientific investigations and the resulting research conclusions. While reading these captivating novels, students will complete assignments in which they investigate the text and draw inferences, summarize, compare and analyze all while learning to become curious, aware and reflective about these amazing animal companions.

On Mondays - Wednesdays during the Individualized Learning Pathway (ILP) period, students who have qualified to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) programming engage in a wide array of verbal course offerings that address their specific strengths and interests. Johns Hopkins CTY believes in researching and advancing ways to identify and nurture academically talented learners. CTY furthers research, guides educators and families and inspires students from diverse communities and backgrounds to pursue their intellectual passions and create the world of tomorrow. This week, we would like to highlight one of the CTY courses offered to our Hoboken students this fall:

Young Readers Series: Dragon Tales

For centuries, readers have been charmed and enchanted by stories about dragons. This course allows students to join in the fun by reading novels featuring mythical lands and secret mountain caves where fiery dragon battles set the sky ablaze. Some dragons care for their humans while others revolt against their masters, and someone must end the mayhem before it’s too late. In this course, students read three unique narratives that explore humans’ attitudes and connections with dragons, from fear to fascination and friendship. This course will teach students to dig deep to find the similarities and differences between several texts while having fun reading about these captivating mythical creatures!

On Mondays - Wednesdays during the Individualized Learning Pathway (ILP) period, students who have qualified to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) programming engage in a wide array of verbal course offerings that address their specific strengths and interests. Johns Hopkins CTY believes in researching and advancing ways to identify and nurture academically talented learners. CTY furthers research, guides educators and families and inspires students from diverse communities and backgrounds to pursue their intellectual passions and create the world of tomorrow. This week, we would like to highlight one of the CTY courses offered to our Hoboken students this fall:

Young Readers Series Quests and Challenges

In this course, students follow the young protagonists of three novels as they use their wits, courage, and brains to complete elaborate missions. Students summarize, make inferences, determine characters’ motivations, evaluate arguments, provide textual evidence to support opinions and discuss themes virtually with peers from all over the world. Students take on different points of view and use sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices while crafting their own unique tales of intrigue. Our reading and writing skills are growing as we work each day to stay one step ahead of villains and tackle heart-thumping adventures!

On Mondays - Wednesdays during the Individualized Learning Pathway (ILP) period, students who have qualified to participate in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) programming engage in a wide array of verbal course offerings that address their specific strengths and interests. Johns Hopkins CTY believes in researching and advancing ways to identify and nurture academically talented learners. CTY furthers research, guides educators and families and inspires students from diverse communities and backgrounds to pursue their intellectual passions and create the world of tomorrow. This week, we would like to highlight one of the CTY courses offered to our Hoboken students this fall:

Young Readers Series: Greek Myths Revisited

In this course, students become familiar with traditional Greek myths and examine how modern authors draw upon Greek sources to create exciting new adventures. Along the way, students will strengthen critical reading skills and craft persuasive pieces that push them to make inferences, evaluate differing arguments and learn to use credible evidence to support claims. Additionally, students will engage in crafting original creative pieces that ask them to take on different points of view and to critically examine their own writing to be inspired to produce more vivid, compelling stories. Packed with adventure and enticing academic challenges, this course is a journey into the magical and timeless world of Greek myths!

Mini PGP with Ms. Barsukova

First Grade Mini PGP

Hispanic Heritage Month

Students in the 1st Grade Enrichment Mini PGP group were very excited to create a letter to Cesar Chavez and pretend to send it to the hero of the farmworkers. We made envelopes ourselves and drew a stamp to mail it to Chavez. Students were working hard and always had a zeal to make their letters better. They always wanted to check and make corrections with their grammar and punctuations which was incredible to see. We had a great time using the information from Get Epic! book to craft our letters!

Flamenco Dancing Guest Speaker

We had Mr. Antonio, the Flamenco and ballet teacher/dancer, joined us virtually through Google Meet to talk to us about Flamenco dancing and show 1st Graders some incredible traditional dance moves that they do in Flamenco. It was a great and fun lesson!

Spain Mini Book

During the Hispanic Heritage, students have extended their understanding about Hispanic Heritage Month by exploring the country of Spain, its traditions, famous landmarks, people, and culture. Students had a great time reading, learning, and coloring the Mini Book. Students viewed the video about the country, listened to the sounds of guitar, danced Flamenco, located Spain on the map, and had fun!

Native American Month Magic Clay Bowl

Students in 1st grade Mini PGP have been studying the history of Native Americans to create a pottery bowl or dish similar to the one Native Americans used in the past during their time using the Magic Clay. Students explored different dish shapes by using the Magic Clay, finally deciding on the one to put aside to let it dry. Students had an absolute blast doing the craft!

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Second Grade Mini PGP

Play, Act the Fable using the script (Readers’ Theater)

During the 1st Marking Period, students studied the script of the fable called “Lion and the Mouse”. After reading, analyzing the story elements, and being creative with how to put together the play, students used the props to act out the fable in front of their classmates. It is an incredibly fun and creative process that students enjoyed and did their best to include all the details and nuances such as expressions, voice control, and movement.

Currently students are working on analyzing the next play/script called “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in preparation to act it out with the props and some special effects such as music, background, and props!

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Third Grade Mini PGP

Engineering Design Process

During the 1st Marking Period students have started with analyzing the Engineering Process and have recently begun a journey of exploring the LEGO (Leg Godt-play well) Kits using the Core Values and Teamwork. Students were paused with a question “If you were an Engineer, what invention would you make?"


Students in 3rd Mini PGP / Enrichment have begun the most exciting journey-> LEGOS! Students have been introduced to the Exploration Kit, took on the Team Roles/Jobs, and created the class rules to keep their teams run smoothly. They are almost ready to build and have fun working with Legos! Students did a marvelous job being creative and reasonable!

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Fourth Grade Mini PGP

Mock Trial Elements

During MiniPGP, students in 4th Grade used the Foldable to record the Roles of People in the Mock Trial. We talked about the reason and the purpose of knowing these terms since they are the key to students' understanding about the Mock Trial, Courtroom, and the Law. These activities and discussions served as the introduction to understanding what is Mock Trial, how the Mock Trial works, and what is the structure of the case that the court follows when presenting the case to the CourtRoom. Students had a great time talking, understanding, and sharing their experiences about the Court, Mock Trials, and the Roles people have in the Trial!!

The civil case of Humpty Dumpty vs. The King

This is a fun, engaging, and interactive way for students to experience the flow of the case and apply the Mock Trial elements to fully understand the structure and concepts of the given case. Students would take on different roles throughout the case called Humpty Dumpty v. The King and act out the character's role. Students have been enjoying the process and will hopefully get ready to put one of their own!

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Fifth Grade Mini PGP

United Nations Guest Speaker Ms. Isabella Sew-Atjon

Students in 5th Grade Enrichment Class had a very exciting Friday when they were Virtually joined by a United Nations (UN) Guest Speaker, Ms. Isabella Sew-Atjon to talk to students about the organization, its mission, the system, and the 17 Sustainable Goals. Based on the Mini PGP Curriculum for 5th Grade, it is about exploring and gaining understanding about the United Nations, its mission, and its Sustainability Goals to work together to try to solve many problems to make the world a better place one step at a time. In addition, students got to ask their questions they came up with on Thursday and during the presentation for the speaker. It was an amazing experience and opportunity for the students to talk to one of the United Nations members to gain understanding about the overall mission of the United Nations!!

United Nations 17 Goals of Sustainability

During Enrichment/Mini PGP, students in Grade 5 have been working together on analyzing the articles with different Sustainable Development Goals. So far students have covered Goals 13, 14, 12, 3, and 4 and are very excited to continue learning about other curriculum goals to continue gaining knowledge about ways to help the world become a better place! Students used the skill of summarizing and sketching to make the article their own by using their own words and illustrations to analyze the Goal. They then used the skills of public speaking to present their brief summaries to the class.

First Marking Period Student of the Month


Kindergarten: Eknoor Kohli

First: Vicenzo Battaglia

Second: Jaden Jones

Third: Harper Appell

Fourth: Nathaniel Goldberg

Fifth: Avery Battles **District Student of the Month**


Kindergarten: Julia Anderson

First: Ariyanna Lopez

Second: Serena Bufano

Third: Gregory Hannah

Fourth: Nahla Lisa **District Student of the Month**

Fifth: Mia Mainor


Kindergarten: Tamar Klein

Second: Virginia Paolinio

Third: Nicholas Pickerel **District Student of the Month**

Fourth: Saniyah Gibbs

Fifth: Emir Rollings

Connors Character Challenge

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  • Ceejay Braxton
  • Emma Newman
  • Ellie Havens
  • Bella Wong
  • Romy Ron-Kushnick
  • Raymond Bright
  • Charlotte Young


  • Romy Ron-Kushnick
  • Serena Bufano
  • Mia Lopez


  • Aiden Colon
  • Janyvah Hernandez
  • Serena Bufano
  • Sydnee Margolis
  • Sophia Ren
  • Yazmeyah Wheeler
  • Alexa Aquino
  • Leo Mazurkiewicz


  • Skylee Familia
  • Jayce Fuller


  • Aria Miller
  • Emmelia Sidor
  • Savannah Gilyard
  • Leo Garcia
  • William Flood
  • Siya Patel
  • Tamar Klein
  • Dylan Broder
  • Noah Renoni


  • Stella Troutman
  • Josie Margolis
  • Mia Lopez
  • Kiran Cross
  • Sacha Billet
  • Gabriel Morris
  • Angie Galan
  • Jayla Ruggiero


Our PTO is absolutely incredible! We are so appreciative of the new teacher's room and marigold room. We are so fortunate to have such an excellent partnership. We look forward to continuing to work together as a team to keep Connors School fantastic!
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PTO Contact Information:

Connors Elementary School Directory

Connors PTO:


Facebook: Connors School PTO

Venmo: @Connors-PTO

Amazon Smile Donations:

“PTO of TG Connors Elementary School” on

Connors Swag and Spirit wear:

Connors Green Team:

Move This World for Connors’ Families:


Password: hoboken123

Swag Sale

We are having our Connors PTO SWAG sale! Please click on the google form link below or use the QR code to place your order.
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Fall Festival

The Fall Festival was absolutely incredible. It was such a wonderful opportunity to connect with our Connors families. Our Connors PTO is absolutely amazing. Everyone had a wonderful time, whether they were playing on the playground, dancing to DJ Azzarto, going on the inflatables, or creating fall themed crafts. We loved seeing so many happy faces. Check out some highlights from the Fall Festival!
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Halloween Dance

Connors School Families had a wonderful time at the Halloween Dance! Students loved dancing, wearing their costumes, and enjoyed yummy treats with their friends! Students loved the Halloween Parade, showing off their costumes and participating in all the fun events in the classrooms. Check out some highlights from the Halloween Boo Bash & Halloween Parade!

Halloween Party Music Video!

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Connors School Celebrates Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage month is from September 15th to October 15th. Students learned all about Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter. Students read and listened to books about Frida Kahlo’s life. Students learned new Spanish words and building Spanish vocabulary. Students had the opportunity to color their own self portrait in colored pencils just like Frida! We also learned all about the Hispanic holiday Dia De Los Muertos, also called “the day of the dead”. We watched videos, read books, and created our own sugar skull masks! Students made mini books about different customs and countries for Hispanic Heritage Month, and also created their own postage stamp.

Check out some of our Hispanic Heritage Videos!

Why I Love Connors in Spanish!


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Connors School Celebrates Week of Respect

The Week fo Respect was celebrated October 4-8. As a school, we #BlueUp and wore blue to celebrate world day of bullying prevention. We put bullying to bed by wearing pajamas, we chalked the walk and wrote kind messages, we were superhero bucker fillers and dressed like our favorite superhero, and we wore our Connors School Swag for respect day!
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Connors School Celebrates Diwali

Students celebrated Diwali by making a Diya for “goodness and purity” and lit them to “cast out darkness with new light”! Students also listened to stories and danced to Diwali songs to celebrate the festival of lights!
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Connors School Celebrates Native American Heritage Month!

Students studied the history of Native Americans to create a pottery bowl or dish similar to the one Native Americans used in the past during their time using the Magic Clay. Also, students read articles that taught them about the history of canoes, lacrosse, and moccasins.
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