Looking Back On March~



We had a busy March preparing for the ELA exam. Students enjoyed center activities, reading marathons, and learned how to annotate the text by road mapping and thinking about the type of questions that test makers might ask.



In preparation for short and extended responses on the state exam, students used acronyms such as “RADDE”, and “TAG” to help remember to include important details. Students learned how to plan and write extended responses, including “hallmark moments” that connected to their own life and the world.


Looking Forward To April~


Social Studies

Moving West…

We’re jumping into a horse covered wagon headed west!


Book Tasting

As a springboard to our month long unit on Westward expansion, students engaged in a book tasting experience, where they spent an extended period of time sampling and reflecting on eight different Westward Expansion topics. It was a terrific way to wet their appetite for the month ahead. Sounds of music from the wild west, along with dimly lit tables set the stage for students to literally devour the books and leave them hungry for more!


Westward Expansion

We have embarked on a month long study of Westward Expansion. This research work will be woven into our reading and writing units of study.


Reading & Writing


Through the lens of history… Our researchers are discovering!


In reading workshop we are learning through reading about Westward Expansion.

In writing workshop we are writing with the lens of history.


Students will look across multiple texts, examining different authors’ perspectives in order to read critically. Our “researchers” are working in groups around different sub-topics of Westward Expansion, such as The Gold Rush, The Transcontinental Railroad, The Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark, The Poney Express & more! Through reading multiple texts on their topic, students  can read across the texts to build theories and think critically.The big thing students will learn through this study is that craft choices reflect the opinions of the author. This is important learning for students both as readers and as writers.



Students began a ten week cycle of the Leadership  Debate Program.

This is an opportunity for students to work closely with a teaching artist, and deepen the skills they learned earlier this year during our argument and advocacy unit.  


Each week students will debate different topics that will be aligned with our curriculum.  They will take turns working in various capacities, engage in spirited debates, and foster fruitful conversations. We feel grateful that this program will further enhance students presentation skills in argument and advocacy, to be strong leaders in classroom and in our community!


Lower Lab Values ~ Perseverance


We recently began discussing our April value! Perseverance.

Students are in a “growth mindset” challenging themselves to tackle anything they set their mind to!


Our Lower Lab Values book of the month is “The Most Magnificent Thing,” by Ashley Spires. We watched videos about people that showed perseverance, to further enhance our rich discussions. Students will make skits about perseverance and make a class “quilt” depicting different times that they used a growth mindset and persevered!


One of our favorite quotes that we discussed was:


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts!” ~ Winston Churchill


This quote contains multiple lessons. What lessons do you think we as a society can learn from this quote?


Poem In Your Pocket Day ~ Bryant Park


New York City is hosting the annual Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration on Thursday, April 27, 2017 in honor of National Poetry Month.. To join in the excitement, students wrote Fantastic poems about honesty inspired by our program, Lower Lab Values.  Three students shared their poem during our assembly, and six others were chosen to accompany our wonderful Parent Coordinator, Gina Goodman to Bryant Park with parents as chaperones and take part in the annual Poem In Your Pocket Day.


Our Senior Trip Is On The Horizon!


Rocking Horse Ranch Overnight is scheduled for May 17-18.



We are reviewing past units and content to prepare for the Math State Test, scheduled for May 2-4.  Day 1 & 2 will be multiple choice and Day 3 will be extended response.  Students know their content, and are working to read and calculate accurately and carefully!


In addition, we are working on Geometry (quadrilaterals, triangles, shapes on the coordinate plane) and all the vocabulary that goes along with it!  



Our next unit, Food and Nutrition, will begin after the break, students will look into the science of food with a variety of hands-on experiments.  Keep an eye out for donation requests, we may need some samples from your kitchen!  


On April 24th the students will be participating in the 2017 National Science League Competition.  It is a 40 multiple choice test completed independently on a variety of topics, some learned in science over the years, some ‘fun facts’ they may have picked up along the way (you may remember this from 4th grade).  Students who score in the top 10 in the grade will be recognized at the June awards ceremony.


In my opinion, the best way to prepare is to complete National Science League tests form the past, so far they’ve completed two in their study teams.  (Study teams support one another, discuss questions, research answers, teach one another etc.. While each student will earn their own individual score, each team will also earn a team score (combined independent score of each team member).  Plot twist: Zesty’s pizza lunch for the team with the highest combined score (one winner per class). This brings ‘in it to win it’ to a whole new level!)  


I saw this book at Barnes and Noble this weekend and thought it might be a good reference guide for the competition.  If you get it, let me know your thoughts!


Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide