4th Grade Music, Next Tuesday, January 23rd

Dear 4th grade parents,

ALL 4th grade students will have gym next Monday, 1/22, due to the Winter Sing concert rehearsals.  On Tuesday, 1/23, I plan to have the Violin group, instead of the Viola/Cello group, since the Violin group will miss music for two consecutive Mondays.  Please make sure that all violin students bring the instruments and viola and cello students do NOT need to bring the instruments next Tuesday, 1/23.  

Thank you!

Ms. Kim

Sneakers for Physical Education

Dear all,

I hope you had a restful vacation. Regardless of the weather, please make sure your child either wears or brings a pair of sneakers to school for Physical Education class. If your child is not wearing sneakers to Physical Education, they will not be allowed to participate in the activities.


Mr. Goodman

Second Grade Update January 2018

Happy New Year!  2018 is off to a great start in second grade!  

We’ve just begun our new units of study, and the children are working hard and making new discoveries.

Here’s what we’re working on now…


We launched our unit on fairy tales.  The children have been enjoying this unique genre.  Our lessons will focus on identifying traits of characters, characters’ motivations, the impact the setting has on the story, playful language, and magical elements.  As the children read, they have been instructed to jot about their noticings and theories.  It is important for them to get in the habit of writing down their thoughts while reading.


To introduce opinion writing, the children will write persuasive pieces about one of their strong opinions.  We’ll discuss the structure and development of an opinion piece, and how it differs from our previous genres.  Then we’ll use everything we know about opinion writing to write about our reading.  The children will create opinion pieces based on the post-its they are writing during Reading Workshop.  


We’re wrapping up our unit in geometry by studying fractions and equivalence.  We’ll be returning to our study of addition, subtraction, and the number system.  The children will be working on developing efficient strategies for solving problems and recording their work.  Part of this work will include adding on, counting back, and working with missing addend equations using the open number line, and using our knowledge of place value to solve problems.

Social Studies:

We have started our study of the “Age of Exploration”.  Our focus will be on Henry Hudson’s life as an explorer and the events of his four voyages.  We’re very excited to announce an in-class independent project about Hudson.  Please be on the lookout for a packet that will be going home about this soon.

January Update

Dear First Grade Families,

We hope this letter finds you all well.  The students have been working very hard in First Grade.  2018 is off to a great start! We have begun new units of study in reading, writing, and math.

In Writing Workshop, the class has been focusing on persuasive writing.  In this unit we will be exploring both opinion writing and reviews.  We have been learning about what an opinion is.  We have begun with judging fairly and ranking collection of objects in our classroom.  We are beginning to discuss different types of opinions and what it means to persuade someone.  The students are working on writing focused and organized pieces that clearly state their opinion along with reasons to support it.  They will be keeping their audience in mind as they write with an eye on influencing the reader’s attitude or opinion.  Through this study each writer will learn to categorize, rank, compare, and justify opinions about a variety of things.  Writers will develop opinions with reasons and examples to support their opinions.  We will also continue to sharpen our editing skills by looking over and rereading what we have written. Some editing areas of focus are: proper formation of lower case letters, appropriate use of upper and lower case letters, consistent spacing, and making sure our writing is easy to read.

In Reading Workshop, we have begun focusing on how readers take adventures as they read.  We have been looking closely at where and when the story takes place, as well as strengthening our retelling skills.  The next bend of our unit will focus on the characters in the books that we read.  The children will be taking time to “stop and jot” as they read to identify the character’s feelings and traits.  They will be starting to think about what type of person the character is and what evidence they find in the text to support their ideas.  The children will be working on rereading to look even more closely at the text, not only noticing what characters do, but how they feel and the lessons that they may be learning.  The students will learn to organize their thoughts on post its, character maps, and Venn Diagrams to further their understanding of these characters.  We will pay particular attention to the internal and external characteristics these characters have.  In the coming weeks, you may want to ask your child to describe the characters in their books.  They should be able to tell you the inner and outer traits, as well as provide the proof from the text.  The practice of providing text evidence to support their thinking will improve their comprehension by leaps and bounds.

In Math, the classes will continue to advance our understanding of addition and subtraction through our study of the Double Decker Bus.  Throughout this unit students will gain flexibility in composing and decomposing numbers, and begin to generalize about the way in which parts are related to the whole.  The students will be given several scenarios involving a double decker bus driver and his passengers. At times the driver will know the total number of passengers on the bus, but can only see the passengers sitting on the bottom deck. By understanding the part to whole relationship, students solve for the unknown number of passengers that are sitting on the top deck.  Problems become more advanced when the amount of passengers riding the bus changes, as well as the number of passengers sitting on the bottom deck.  Students need to read each question carefully and keep track of their work from the previous question as many problems are multi step. Throughout each math problem students determine which strategy to use before they attempt to solve it.  A few strategies they know are (counting on/ counting back, using doubles/near doubles, making ten, and landmark numbers).  Through the study the students will become more comfortable with composing and decomposing numbers.

Students are really enjoying our “Mystery Readers”.  Each Friday the classes are full of excitement predicting who the reader will be!

As always please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, and/or delights.

All the best,

Kristin and Sarah

Kindergarten Newsletter


Reading Workshop

Students completed the super powers reading unit! We celebrated by creating our own super power badge. Some of the new reading strategies that we learned last month were:

  • Pattern Power: When we figure out the pattern in a book, it can help us read almost every page and help us know what our book is about.
  • Echo Reading: One person reads a sentence/page and their partner reads it back (by repeating the same sentence and reading it aloud).
  • Book Talk power: Super readers don’t just read books; we talk about books too!  We can activate our book talk power by introducing our book to our partner, by telling our partners what it is about, by retelling the story in order of events, by discussing our favorite parts and by talking about how the book makes us feel.


Writing Workshop

  • We wrapped up our Writing for Readers unit and had a very successful publishing party before the break! Thank you all for coming!
  • Our next unit shifts back to informational writing. Students will be writing “How-To” books that include clear steps and procedures to teach readers to make or do something.



  • We started a new unit in math called Make a Shape, Fill a Hexagon. This geometry unit focuses on two-dimensional shapes. In this unit, students look for and identify two-dimensional shapes in their environment and create pictures using geometric shapes to depict the objects they see. They look carefully at the attributes of shapes as they describe, identify, compare, construct, and represent 2-D shapes. Students also combine shapes to make new shapes (e.g. 2 trapezoids make a hexagon).



  • We learned all about amphibians during our last art farm visit! We met Leo, a leopard frog, who has smooth and sensitive skin.  We met Humphrey, a toad, who has bumpy and dry skin. We met Sally, a tiger salamander, who has slimy, wet skin. We also played a game to learn about different frog sounds! Here are some of the things we learned:
    • The life cycle of a frog (metamorphosis)
    • All amphibians hatch from eggs
    • All tadpoles (baby frogs) eat plants and live in water
    • The back legs grow first, then the front legs grow, it breathes with gills (like fish)
    • The tail goes inside its body and then the little baby frog can jump on land.  And then it grows into a full frog.


Social Studies

  • We discussed the December holidays and had wonderful parent volunteers come in to teach us about their family traditions.
  • We finished our Star of the Day presentations! Students learned lots of new facts about their classmates, which highlights the fact that people in a community share similarities and differences.
  • We read books and talked about what it means to be TOLERANT (the willingness to accept behaviors and beliefs that are different from our own.) We have also started talking about PATIENCE and what it means (looks like/sounds like) to be patient.  

Digital Media for January

Hello all,

I hope you’re enjoying the snow day! Here’s an update on the digital media and technology curriculum for this month.

In 2nd grade, the students will finish up their google doc assignment called the “Landmarks of New York City”. In this assignment, students are required to insert an image of a NYC Landmark into a google doc and type a few facts below in complete sentences. Students have gathered information about their Landmark from World Book online.

For a project example, click on the link below.

Joseph B – Landmark of New York City (2)

In the 3rd grade, students will begin their research on Brazil by using digital resources such as world Book student and World Book kids. Once the research is complete, students will develop a digital project that demonstrates their understanding of Brazilian Culture.


In the 4th grade, students will use digital tools from the google suite to study Colonial America. The teachers will provide students with age-appropriate websites that can be used for research.

colonial america

In the 5th grade, students will learn basic concepts from Computer Science such as sequences, loops, conditionals, debugging and variables. We will use games and puzzles from Course F of Code.org to teach students these concepts. At the end of the course, students will create their own projects and share them with the class.

Science Blog for January 2018

-Grade 1

         The students are starting the investigations of the Unit 2: Properties of Matter. The essential question for this unit is: How do we describe the properties of matter?

Basically, in this unit, students expand their awareness of the properties of solids and liquids.

The first investigation represents the study of properties of solids. These properties include: color, texture, shape, hardness, ability to roll or stack, magnetic attraction, float or sink. The students will be sorting solids into groups on the basis of their properties. Also, they will be comparing objects – heavier than, lighter than, equal to (using binary symbols <, >, =) and putting objects in the serial order from the lightest to the heaviest by using a balance. Above described investigation will be an ongoing experimentation through April 2018.

During the month of January, the students will be only sorting objects into groups based on the color, texture, shape, hardness, flexibility and their ability to roll or stack. They will be comparing similarities and differences among a variety of common solids expressed by using Venn Diagrams.


-Grade 2

The Scoop on Soils (cover)            The students will continue the Investigation 3: Using Rocks. The investigation was described in the science blog for December.

The Investigation 3 will be followed by the Investigation 4: Soil Observations. The students will find out through experimentation that soil contains particles of different sizes and that sand, clay and humus (organic matter) are three of the basic components in soil. They will gain an understanding of differences between soil and dirt as well as ability to describe and define different soil profiles. Phenomena such as settling, water content, and soil consistency will be also explored.

Within this investigation, the students will learn about composting with earthworms (red wigglers). They will observe and describe the structures and functions of ref wigglers.



-Grade 3

Image result for volume capacity for kids          The students started Investigation 3: Take Me to Your Liter before the holidays brake. Meantime, they will continue with the investigation. They will learn how to find the volume of an irregular object (for example: a rock) by using displacement of the water by an object.

They will try to solve a real word problem related to soda-can capacity. They will need to figure out if the amount of soda listed on the can (355 mL) represents the volume of soda in the can or the capacity of the can.

They will write a plan of testing the soda- can capacity, collect and record data, and write conclusion.

The students will also analyze few articles related to the measuring volume and capacity of different containers in the metric system.


-Grade 4

Image result for lighting bulb by using battery bulb and wire           The students will continue with the exploration of the meadow ecosystem. They will be putting together different food chains and a food web. They will discuss (argumentation in science) what happens when a link is removed from a food chain or a food web (for example: a producer is removed, or a primary, secondary consumer is removed), how this action affects the rest of the food chain or a food web, what are the consequences of the missing link.

There will be a lesson done in cooperation with the Art Farm Program. This lesson is scheduled for Wednesday, January 3rd. The animals that will be observed and discussed represent different ecosystems (dove- forest, chuckwalla- desert, chinchilla- mountains, walking stick- rain forest, box turtle- pond).

Towards the end of January, the students will start the Unit 2: Electricity and Magnetism. The essential question for this unit is: How does the use of electricity and magnetism affect our world?

The Investigation 1: Electricity introduces the students to the basic properties of electricity as they learn about electric circuits. At first, they will try to build a simple circuit by using a D- cell battery, bulb and a wire. They will discover through direct experience how many ways they can light a bulb by using only one battery, one bulb, and one wire.

Physical Education for January

Dear families,

In January, students in all grade levels will participate in a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength and endurance. These exercises will be practiced in either stations or with the entire the class. In addition, students will practice sports specific skills such as the two handed toss, basket catch, diamond catch, roll and overhand throw.

In Kindergarten and 1st grade, the students will practice tossing and catching equipment such as scarves, balloons, bean bags and gator skin balls. Students will also practice rolling and throwing balls at targets.

In the 2nd and 3rd grade, students will practice tossing, throwing, rolling and catching equipment with partners. Students will use these skills in games such as ultimate, Castle Ball, Pin Guard and Bowling. In addition, students will practice exercises such as push-ups, curl-ups, planks and leg lifts.

In the 4th grade and 5th grade, students will continue participating in their sports league program. The teams are currently practicing basketball skills such as shooting, rebounding, dribbling and passing. Students utilize these skills while playing in the games at the end of the class period. Finally, students will participate in the fitnessgram curl-up test by the 3rd week of the month.



Dear parents: 

I would like to inform you of our Winter Sing Concert which is fast approaching! The concert is on Wednesday, January 24th. Lower Lab will be presenting our Winter Sing concerts in the Auditorium: 8:30 AM for Kindergarten and 1st grade students, and 9:15 AM for 2nd and 3rd grade students.



Our students have been working hard to prepare this program for everyone to enjoy! I know the students will give their best efforts as performers. In order to heighten the experience for you as a listener, I would like to ask that both students and audience members use proper concert etiquette at all times during the concert. I encourage you all to stay for the entirety of the concert.

Thank you in advance for helping make the students’ experience the best possible. I know that you will be proud of their work and hope to see you all there! As always, if I can answer any questions regarding the program, feel free to email me. 


Ms. Kim

Happy New Year!

Dear Families,

I hope you had a restful and relaxing break. I enjoyed spending lots of time with friends and family.

In math, we are still in our multiplication and division unit. This is a good time to review the multiplication facts with your child.

In reading, students continue to enjoy their book partnerships. Partner meetings happen each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students need to read at least 30 pages per night. They need to write a reading journal entry for each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We are working on keeping the discussion going by asking each other questions.

In writing, we are beginning opinion writing. This will lead us to literary essay writing in a few weeks.

In social studies, we are beginning to learn about the colonies.

I wish you all the best for a wonderful 2018!!

Best Wishes,