March Update

Dear Families,
Your children did an excellent job on the field trip this week. They were respectful and learned a lot!
As a reminder, we have a Wingspan performance on Monday March 26th.
We have been busy preparing for the ELA test. Students are revising their extended responses to practice what it takes to get a top score. We are especially focused on making a strong plan and finding the best details to support our thinking.
Please keep an eye on your child’s planner. There are weekly writing assignments for them to practice these skills.
We are learning all about fractions in math. Khan Academy is a great resource for students to watch videos and test their knowledge.
I look forward to sharing specific updates with you about your child at the parent teacher conference next week. Have a lovely weekend!
Warmest Wishes,
Ms. C

Second Grade Update March 2018

Hi Everyone!! There is so much going on in second grade right now and we want to fill you in. It’s an exciting time of the year; not only is the spring coming (please, let it come soon!) but we are in 4 brand new units!

Reading: We have started our Series Book Club Unit. Each child, along with their club, was assigned a series to begin reading. Not only are the children excited about reading their series books, but they also have the opportunity to engage in rich book-talk around the same characters with their group. Individually, they are learning about the characters in their series and then discussing what they have found with their club. In this unit, we will be learning about author’s craft and how to verbally share our opinions about a book.

Writing: Our new writing unit is about realistic fiction. In the classroom, we are reading realistic fiction texts to use as our mentor texts. The children are creating their own characters and working to make them complex (just like real people). While writing realistic fiction pieces, their focus will be on structure by creating a gripping problem. Our goal is to write many stories about the character we created.

Math: As we wrap up our unit on multiplication and division, we are looking forward to beginning our study of graphs and line plots, as well as a more in depth study of addition and subtraction using larger numbers. We will be working on representing story problems with equations and recording strategies accurately. We will be recognizing and comparing different strategies for subtraction.  

Social Studies: We launched our unit on New Amsterdam by visiting the Museum of the City of New York.  The children are learning about life during the 1600s and are enjoying making connections with their current life in New York City.  In groups, they will begin researching various topics about daily life in the colony. The children will be working on many more fun projects about the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the coming months.

We look forward to seeing everyone at Parent Teacher Conferences!

All the best,

Robyn and Mrs. Haimeck


March Update

Dear Families,

We hope this letter finds you all well.  Things have been very busy in First Grade!

We have just wrapped up our writing unit on persuasive writing and reviews.  The children have spent the last week revising, editing and fancying up their reviews to share with you all next week.  We are all looking forward to seeing many of you at our Publishing Party this coming Monday, March 12th at 8:30.  Our next writing unit will be Realistic Fiction.  The students will be creating characters and taking them on adventures in the stories that they will be writing.  They will be working towards creating their own series of books.  They will learn how writers create a series of books and develop their characters throughout the series.  This unit ties in nicely to our last unit of study in reading that focused on studying characters and learning about character traits.  The students will use some of this information to help them as they create the characters for their stories.  This is a very fun and exciting unit!

This month our reading unit is all about the reading process!  It’s about the level of processing that our kids are doing in their reading and their mind-set when reading can feel like really hard work.  The children will be learning to be the bosses of their own reading, balancing their energies between word solving and meaning making so that their experiences with texts are well rounded, thoughtful, efficient and meaningful.  Throughout this unit we will attempt to cultivate a real curiosity about words.  The children will feel empowered with a “bag” full of strategies to self monitor, making sure their reading looks right, sounds right and make sense. Reading partners will also be working together to support the development of meaning in their books by retelling, predicting, and asking questions about their texts.  We look forward to all of these exciting conversations about the books inside and outside the classroom!

The focus of our Math unit is on observing and describing defining attributes of 2-D and 3-D shapes.  This math unit also develops ideas about equal parts of a whole, focusing specifically on partitioning and describing halves, fourths and thirds of one whole.  Students will also be working to understand that the same equal parts of a whole can be different shapes.  For example, a square could be broken in fourths using 4 triangles or 4 smaller squares!  We will also continue to work on the fluency of our doubles facts within 20 & adding and subtracting within 20 with ease.

We will be beginning our study of Architecture this month.  We will begin by working with an educator from the Friends of the Upper Eastside Historic Districts. Students will be introduced to the idea that buildings can talk, telling us their use, material, age, and purpose. We will study historic neighborhood photographs and maps.  They will learn architectural vocabulary words, perform a block survey and play detective during a walking tour. The students will then act as architects as they design their own buildings, making creative decisions about the building’s use, material and architectural elements.

We are looking forward to seeing you all next week for Parent Teacher Conferences.  Just a reminder that Thursday, March 15th will be a half day of school, dismissal is at 11:25.  We also will be shopping the book fair next week as well.  Both classes will be shopping on Friday, March 16th.  As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, and/or delights.

All the best,

Sarah and Kristin

Kindergarten Newsletter

Reading Workshop

We wrapped up the Bigger Books, Bigger Reading Muscles unit. We learned the following:

  • We can use our letter-sound knowledge to solve unknown words.  
  • We can solve words by looking at the beginning parts of words and then moving toward the ends of words.  
  • The children were also introduced to blends and digraphs!  They learned that as books get more challenging, they will have to move from looking at just the initial consonant in a word to looking at the first two or three consonants.


We wrapped up our Writing To Teach Others unit!  The students learned how to:

  • make a list of things they need
  • add warnings, suggestions, and tips
  • put important parts in bold or all caps
  • add dedications, introductions, and conclusions

And our publishing party was a huge success!  Thank you all so much for joining the celebration 🙂



Our class is finishing up our math unit called building numbers and solving word problems.  The students are learning more about addition and subtraction. The students continue to work towards the following goals:

  • Understanding that you can count on/back to add/subtract
  • Writing equations using +, -, =
  • Fluency with addition and subtraction facts, showing work and explaining solutions
  • Interpreting and solving addition and subtraction word problems where the result is unknown


Social Studies

Students have been learning about the following:

  • Communities have unique features and special purpose buildings (i.e. library, hospital, school)
  • Communities have landmarks, monuments, and architecture
  • Communities have forms of transportation



We are wrapping up our unit on animals.  Students have learned about:

  • Life cycles
  • Habitats
  • Hibernation & Migration


Announcements & Reminders:

Homework: We will be sending home March homework this week, please make sure to check everyone’s red folders.

Field Trips: Please save the dates for APRIL 24TH and MAY 1ST! More details regarding field trips will be sent home in a couple weeks.

Book Fair: We will be going to the book fair on Thursday, March 15th (K101) and Friday, March 16th (K106).

Auction: PTA auction was rescheduled for Wednesday, March 14th

Music: Tips to Keep Your Stringed Instruments in Tune

Illustrated by Gemma Correll (

A stringed instrument is a living thing. It is crafted from organic materials, the woods, strings, and glues employed during its creation interact with the atmosphere around them.  While these materials work together, they are also responsible for the reason that stringed instruments go out of tune.

Especially, wood is material in motion. When changing temperature and/or humidity, wood shrinks and expands.  In the winter, your instrument will go out of tune more often.  The temperature difference between inside and outside is higher (especially when you have the heating on).  Moreover, the humidity in the winter is very changeable. Everywhere you go, your instrument has to adapt to the climate of your home, car and the new location.  Therefore, any severe changes in temperature or humidity will affect its tune.

Here are some tips to keep your stringed instruments in tune:

  1. Avoid changes in temperature and humidity as much as possible. Don’t leave the instrument in a cold room, that you heat up quickly when you have to be there. Take care of conditions so that it can be as stable as possible. The different hardwoods, metals, and softwoods used to craft the instrument absorb moisture in different amounts, so when the location or conditions change, re-tuning is required.
  2. Are your strings in good condition? Strings are designed to stretch, but after a while they can lose their ability to maintain integrity. In addition, strings get weaker with frequent changes in tension: they snap, go waddle in tone, or go out of tune a lot. I let the students know if any string is in poor condition or needs to be replaced.
  3. Is the room of your instrument usually too dry? Drought can cause cracks in your instrument. If the environment is too dry, keep it in a room with a humidifier. With stable humidity between 40% and 70%, you do not have to worry.

Keeping your stringed instruments in tune for longer periods of time is possible, students just need to make sure that they protect it, and replace the strings as often as needed.  The way the care for their instruments have a big impact on how well it retains its tune.

Digital Media in March

Dear families,

code 3

In March, students in grades 2-4 will participate in Computer Science lessons designed to teach students problem solving skills as well as creative expression. Each grade will use’s curriculum to learn coding skills using sequences, loops, conditionals and variables.

In the 2nd grade students, will finish completing their screencasts on Henry Hudson by the 2nd week of this month. After completing the videos, students will begin their computer science unit by starting course C from Students will complete coding puzzles, unplugged activities, build a flappy game and create an animated game in Play Lab. They will learn the definition of computer science, coding, algorithm, pixels and loops.


In the 3rd grade, students will use course D from to complete puzzles and activities that require basic knowledge of nested loops, events, debugging, conditionals and binary images. Students will use their knowledge and skills to create an animated game in Play Lab.

play lab      play lab 2

In the 4th grade, students will use course E from to complete activities using sequences, nested loops, variables, conditionals and functions. Students will build a star wars game and a game in Play Lab.

star wars

In the 5th grade, students will showcase the game they designed in Play Lab and Artist from Course F of The next project for the 5th graders will be to create a book review of their favorite fictional book by using google sites. A rubric and copy of the assignment will be handed out to the students by the 2nd week of March.




Physical Education in March

Dear families,

flexibilityThis month, our students will continue discussing fitness components such as flexibility and body mass composition. Students will learn or review the health benefits associated with good flexibility such as improved range of motion and prevention of injury. Students will continue to practice both dynamic and static stretches as well as deep breathing exercises.

In Kindergarten and 1st grade, students will be introduced to track and field activities such as the 2-3 minute distance runs, baton relays, hurdle events, sprints and standing long jump. Students will review vocabulary such as pace, endurance, aerobic fitness and strides. Students will have their height and weight measured for the BMI assessment.

In the 2nd and 3rd grade, students will practice advanced track skills such as the shot put, big hurdles, running long jump, sprints and 3-4 minute distance runs. Students will also play competitive track game such as catch up and centipede. Students will be introduced to the sit & reach as well as the trunk lift assessment.

In the 4th and 5th grade, students will participate in the trunk lift and sit and reach assessments. In addition, they will train and practice all track events such as the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter and 800 meter race. Students will also practice the shot put, long jump and 4 X 100 Relay. The PE lessons will help students prepare for the track meets in April at Icahn Stadium.



Art with Ms. Michelle

March 1, 2018

February was a loving month filled with beautiful warm colors and amazing ideas. Picasso said ” Art brings imagination to life”.  To enhance creativity I encourage students to stretch their imagination and experiment with multiple solutions when expressing their art. Amazing things happen when children are given more time to dream, “bluesky” and examine their work. They love to invent further ideas and practice the same concept using different mediums. This exploration generates inspiration for each other with great energy in our  studio.

Ground Hog Day!  Did he see his shadow ?

Kindergarten experimented with zigzag lines using various materials including 3-D folded paper. They explored the cultural art of Lunar New Year and created beautiful lanterns practicing     calligraphy. These are currently featured in room K-106.  Students are now working on the eclectic mosaics of NYC  artist Alma Thomas.      First grade had such a great time ravishing multi-mixed-media creating collaged cupcakes. Ripping paper and adding texture was an opportunity to discover colors, edges, feelings and much more. Now they are focused on Maz Zorn and his contemporary masking tape art. This is a wonderful experience to create abstract visuals from imagination. Adding sponge paint to the mix is a happy, messy fun day!

Second grade practiced the circular art of Vassily Kandinsky as they studied many color combinations such as neutrals, warm/cools and high contrasting shades. Understanding the mindful connection to colors was a insightful lesson. They continued this theroy with artists Josef Albers and Sonia Delauney’s circular designs.

Third grade is practicing their visual  skills with positive and negative space and how to shadow areas to add dimension and depth to their pictures. Next unit will be Sumi painting from Japan.

Fourth grade loves to use 4B drawing pencils to hatch and even cross-hatch in their sketchbooks. Students set up their own fruit still life as they learn how to focus practicing many observational drawing skills. Beautiful work indeed.

Fifth grade is working on their watercolor techniques with birch trees in the snow. These are on display outside the art room. The soft pastels solar art is now on featured in room 5-218. 

Stay tuned for our next creative exploration.

Science Blog for March 2018

-Grade 1


Last month, students had a chance to observe how changing the shape of an object can change its ability to float. They used an engineering design process in order to make and test their models of clay.

DSCN3696.JPGDuring the month of March students will be working with magnets (Investigation 1: Solids). They will be testing 20 objects with a magnet and sort them into two groups: magnetic and non-magnetic. By doing the activity, they will learn that only objects made of certain metals are attracted to a magnet. Also, they will learn about the magnetic field of a magnet (magnetic field demonstrator will be used) and where is the magnet the strongest. They will investigate pulling power of magnets and the force of attraction and repulsion between two magnets.

The probe called “Big and Small Magnets” will be included into the study of magnets (argumentation in science). The probe is designed to reveal student’s ideas about the strength of a magnet in relation to the size of the magnet. The students will test their claim and collect evidence by using a variety of magnets of different strengths and sizes and a chain of paper clips.

After working with magnets, students will be using a balance in order to make comparisons between two objects. They will record comparisons by using binary symbols:

  • greater than/ heavier than (>)
  • less than/ lighter than (<)
  • equal to (=)

They will use some problem- solving strategies to figure out how to put six different objects in a serial order from lightest too heaviest.


-Grade 2



The students will be starting the Investigation 1: Balance. Only pre-assessment to the Unit 2 : Forces and Motion was done in February. This means that all the activities described in the last month blog will be done in March. Also, there will be discussion about symmetry, about how do we know if a shape is symmetrical.

The students will balance not only tag-board shapes but also a pencil (a wire attached to it) on its point with adding one or two clothespins as counterweights. They will balance a tongue depressor on a pencil. They will figure out where is the balance point (fulcrum).

They will do beam balance discoveries which will introduce the students to the concept that the amount of weight, position of weight and position of fulcrum affect the balance. These discoveries are the pre-requisite to the engineering- design process for building mobiles.

As a part of the study of balance, we will visit the website of the artist Michael Grab ( who is making amazing sculptures by balancing rocks.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.40.30 AM.png


-Grade 3


The students are continuing the Investigation 4: The Third Degree with the activity called “Cooling Off.” The question of the activity is: “How cold does the temperature of water get when you add ice to room-temperature water?” The students will measure the temperature of room-temperature water. They will collect data on how fast water cools with ice, and graph their results in the form of a line graph. They will learn how to make a line graph and when to make it (changes over time.)

The students will read and analyze few articles related to measuring temperature. Also, they will calculate temperature change from a positive degree to a negative degree and explain how they did it (response sheet).

During the investigation 4 students will set up experiments representing physical and chemical change of matter. They will learn what is the difference between physical and chemical change of matter. They will use the skills gained by measuring matter (mass, volume, temperature) plus pH will be introduced and measured.

Due to the individual science fair projects there will be reinforced the concept of independent variable and controlled variables through setting up an experiment related to the question: “Which freezes faster, fresh water or salt water?”


-Grade 4


Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 8.32.53 AM.png

 The students are continuing the Investigation 1: Electricity (Making Connections). They tested materials with a circuit tester (composed of a lightbulb, bulb holder/ socket, D-cell, battery and three wires). They need to finish the activity and write conclusion.

Next, they will include a switch to the simple circuit made with a lightbulb also with a motor. They will compare how is the motor circuit like the bulb circuit and how is it different. They will examine different types of switches. They will observe that a switch placed in a circuit controls the flow of electricity.

They will make schematic diagrams of a battery and bulb circuit as well as a battery, switch, and motor circuit. They will describe trouble-shooting technique, the steps necessary to use for finding out what is wrong with a circuit. They will discover through experimentation that metals that are covered with an insulating layer will not conduct electricity. They will have few probes (argumentation in science) to do related to the flow of electric current in the simple circuits.



Information for the Parents of Students Grades 3 & 4 – Individual Science Fair Projects


  • The independent variable should be included in the question of the science fair project.

For example:   How does the length of the string affect the pulling power of a magnet?

The independent variable is the length of the string.

  • The hypothesis needs to show the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable (results).
  • To learn more about the independent variable, controlled variables, and dependent variables (results) visit Science Buddies website at (Project Guide).
  • The students need to conduct a fair test that means to repeat their experiment at least three times (conduct 3 trials).

If they are working with plants, they need 9 plants (3 plants per trial).

  • All measurements need to be in the metric system-
    • Length in meters or centimeters
    • Mass in grams
    • Volume in liters or milliliters
    • Temperature in degrees Celsius


Upcoming Event: All Grades


There will be a new exhibit to see at the American Museum of Natural History entitled “Unseen Oceans.”

The exhibit will be opened to the public on Monday, March 12, 2018.

To learn more about the exhibit, visit