During the week of Feb. 25, fourth-graders at Accompsett Elementary School participated in a hands-on learning experience. The food web program, sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Association’s Cultural Arts program, taught students all about the food chain using real life pond samples. Using digital microscopes and tablets, students viewed the microscopic ecosystem of a water droplet. Seeing the microscopic organisms opened up a world as the fourth-graders learned about the food chain using plankton. The students recorded their observations and worked together to identify the different organisms found in the ocean water.
Students in Steve Halem’s painting I class at High School West are learning how to use watercolors. The students are working on creating basic forms, cubes, spheres and cylinders. The artists are using different washes to control the watercolors as they practice the different forms. In this introductory course, students learn to apply elements of design in developing original paintings on various surfaces and stretched canvas in the areas of still life, abstract works, portraits, and landscapes. Students will learn color theory as applied to paint and work with acrylics, watercolors and various other media.
It was the opportunity to see their school from a different perspective as more than 20 students from throughout Accompsett Middle School became “Teachers for a Day” on Feb 28.
The initiative, which is part of a Parent-Teacher Association event, allows students to pair up with their favorite teacher or administrator and walk in their shoes for the day. The students are chosen at random and have the opportunity to choose the teacher they would like to shadow for the day.
This “day in the life” program has students creating lesson plans, delivering lessons and getting a real feel for being a teacher or administrator. Sixth-grader Dan Ryan served as Principal for the Day alongside Principal Paul McNeil, and said he loved how he toured the school with him, fielded questions from his fellow students and learned about the different aspects of being a principal. Jillian Ragan worked with social studies teacher Ms. Ortiz and said the hardest part of teaching the lesson was getting class participation.
Congratulations to the Mt. Pleasant classes that brought in the most Box
Tops: Mrs. Chester, Mr. Jackowski and Mrs. Waitz. Students had a great
morning celebrating their win by enjoying a delicious pancake breakfast,
with all the fixings, compliments of Mr. Ierano.
Mills Pond Elementary School celebrated students exceeding their Parents as Reading Partners goal by reading 55,750 minutes. Diane Lanze’s fifth-grade class read the most minutes (10,625 minutes) and had the opportunity to choose the Principal's Challenge. Mills Pond Principal Ireen Westrack had a team of highly trained hairstylists (classroom teachers) dye her hair rainbow colors in front of the whole school on March 1.
Students in Kelly Collett’s second-grade class at St. James Elementary School recently completed their study of different forms of matter. As a culminating activity, the students participated in a Project Lead the Way lesson and designed their own coolers.
Kindergartners at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School had visit from a
mischievous little leprechaun. He made a mess in their classroom,
leaving clues for students to try to catch him. They searched and
searched, but couldn’t catch him. Better luck next year!
Kindergarten students in Cris Cusati’s class at Smithtown Elementary School participated in a Project Lead the Way lesson on bones and the human body. The students learned that their hands are an important part of their body. They learned that hands have a special structure. The students found out how many bones make up the structure of their fingers. Students sorted finger bones and created a bone puzzle of their hand to learn about the structure and functions of bones.
Smithtown’s robotics team is heading to regionals. Watch some of the highlights of their build here.
During a lesson on peer pressure, drug abuse and smart decision-making, sixth-graders at Nesaquake Middle School pledged to stay drug-free and make positive decisions during their family and consumer science class. Students recited a pledge and signed oaths before hanging their signed statements outside their classroom.
In an effort to inspire passion for reading, Nesaquake Middle School has launched the Nesaquake Love Book Club this year. Spearheaded by English teacher Marissa LoSardo, the club and its members work to engage new readers who fall in love with books.
The club features a reader of the week, which could be a teacher or administrator, who records a video clip of themselves reading the first chapter of a book. The “reader of the week” chooses and shares a book in the hopes that others are inspired to read it.
“We also update a bulletin board in the cafeteria each month sharing titles that focus of certain genres,” LoSardo said. “And, we’re very excited that Nesaquake may soon have a book vending machine.”
Club members also will canvas the school and interview classmates and teachers about different topics of the week. The club broadcasts their weekly focus questions.
The club meets twice a month on Monday mornings. Check out all their happenings on Instagram at @nesaquake_book_love. On their page, the club posts reading and book loving memes and reposts novels from authors or publishing companies to share titles of interesting books.
Sixth-grade students in Michelle Labuski’s class at Great Hollow Middle School recently completed a lesson on the Persian War. They learned about the famous Battle of Marathon, which is how the 26-mile race was created and named. Students watched videos on the Persian War in race corrals to wait their turn to start the marathon. At each mile, students lifted the race bib to take notes on a different event of the Persian War on their marathon course map. At the water stops, students answered questions based on their notes. At the end of the marathon, students received a medal for their hard work.
Smithtown showed off the talent of its student body and recognized the accomplishments of students and staff during its Feb. 26 board of education meeting.
The meeting was held at Smithtown Elementary School, as the board of education is moving its meetings to different locations this school year in an effort to connect with the community. Smithtown Elementary fifth-graders showed off their performing skills with a sneak peek of a few songs from their upcoming presentation of “The Lion King” to start the meeting.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Grossane honored and recognized several teachers and a student. High School West senior Matthew Bizzaro was recognized for receiving first place in the Long Island round of the National Automotive Technology Competition. Four Smithtown teachers – David Junz, Kelly Bigliani, Glenn Rogers and Brian Cusati – were honored for being chosen as Project Lead the Way Master Teachers. Lastly, High School East math teacher Marianne Schoepflin was honored for achieving National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification.
Once a month, library media specialist Keely Schuppert hosts a Tinker Tuesday for the fifth-graders at St. James Elementary School.
The fifth-graders have a chance to participate in a variety of different hands-on, STEM-based activities that challenge them to think outside the box and use their creative minds to problem solve. The students sign up for Tinker Tuesdays, which take place during their lunch period.
So far this year, the students have done origami, and worked with pearler beads. In January, the students were tasked with making marshmallow towers using mini-marshmallows and toothpicks.
The structures taught the students about different engineering principles and ways to craft the designs to have the most stability. After the designs were complete, the students shook their structures to mimic a natural disaster to see if they could withstand the destruction. Those whose structures tumbled went back to the building stage for a redesign.
The district’s theatre art elective is unique in that it fulfills an art, music or English elective for students. During the full-year class, students learn the basics of acting and public speaking. Through improvisation and other theatrical activities, students learn how to manipulate their voices, create different characters, effectively stage/block their movements, articulate, react quickly and appropriately to a variety of situations, and learn how to become more natural and relaxed on stage. Shown here are High School West students doing improvisation.
During their physical education classes throughout the week of Feb. 11, students at Tackan Elementary School got interactive with video games courtesy of iGame4.
iGame4 fitness program uses active video games to improve endurance, flexibility, balance and overall health. The program, designed by education and fitness professionals, creates excitement using innovative and fun technology that is proven to be effective at burning calories.
Students rotated through three different gaming stations featuring National Geographic, where they were transformed into different animals; River Rush, where they have to work with a partner to get their raft down a river; and Just Dance, a dance video where they had to match the moves of the dancer on the screen. “Students are getting interactive and having fun at the same time,” said physical education teacher Jason Lambert.
Fifth-graders at St. James Elementary School were thrilled to partner with Math Honor Society students from High School East to work on their math fair projects. During the last five weeks, the Honor Society students visited the elementary students to mentor them on their math fair projects. After the fifth-graders decided on their project ideas, the high school mentors – nearly 60 of them – helped them talk through the process, build their trifold displays and work on their presentation skills. The students had a practice run showing off and explaining their work during the mentors final visit on Feb. 13. On Feb. 14, the students showed off their hard work to friends and family. The students also displayed their projects during STEAM Night at High School East in April.
Kindergartners in Michael Hart’s class at Mills Pond Elementary School celebrated Global Play Day on Feb. 6 with some in-class fun. After playing a game of rock, paper, scissors using hula-hoops, the students rotated to different “Minute to Win It”-type games. Some of the hands-on activity centers included making a cup tower stack, a popsicle stick house, separating beds into different cups and racing each other with a cotton ball and straw.
The district’s robotics team, the Mechanical Bulls, has partnered with Altice for the 2018-2019 competition season. Altice sponsors more than 40 robotics teams across the country and is also a sponsor of the FIRST Robotics competition. Along with the sponsorship, Altice also connects employees who work as mentors with the team. This year, Smithtown residents and Altice employees Scott Morgan and Joe Godas have been working with the team on the technical and business side of the competition. The mentors come in a few times throughout the season to help guide the team.
Students in Cindy Wood’s marketing and advertising class at High School West recently completed an analysis of the Super Bowl commercials. Students picked out the different marketing components of the commercials, spoke about their ratings and why certain commercials were rated higher than others. They also completed blind taste tests of different football game snacks.
High School East student Chris Jarosak has been named a winner in the Scholastic Art Awards. Chris, who is an AP art student in teacher Tim Needles’ class, won two awards: a silver key in digital art for his piece “Pulled Down” and an honorable mention in drawing and illustration for his piece “Mountain.” Chris is pictured here with Mr. Needles and his “Pulled Piece” art.
Accompsett Elementary School completed its Parents as Reading Partners from Jan. 28-Feb. 1. Themed “Adventures in Reading,” the school was transformed into an adventure island where students became pirates, exploring new ways to read in order to reach the buried treasure. By using their reading adventure map, they completed new adventures in reading various genres and in different forms and mediums.
Sporting their canes, walkers, shawls and glasses, elementary students throughout the district dressed as if they were 100 years old to celebrate the 100th day of school on Feb. 14.
Kindergarten and first-grade classes throughout the district centered their day’s activities around the number 100. At Dogwood Elementary School, students created hats and drew pictures of what they would look like at 100 years old. At Accompsett Elementary, reading and writing lessons focused on the number 100. Students colored in the number 100 and reflected on all they had learned during their first 100 days. Mt. Pleasant students also dressed the part on the 100 day and rotated through different centers focused on the number 100.
Mrs. Edelman's kindergarten class exchanged Valentine’s cards and celebrated the day together
Students interviewed their special person and enjoyed making a craft, reading a book and having a snack together
Smithtown Elementary School’s Kindergarten classes had a special visit from Stony Brook Hospital’s nursing students. The students learned about helmet safety and the importance of hand washing. The children enjoyed an interactive Teddy Bear Clinic to care for stuffed animals
Dr. Munk teaches dental care to the children to help them learn the
healthy habits that bring a bright smile and a bright future with simple
As a culminating activity to their unit on arctic animals and penguins, kindergartners at Mills Pond Elementary School held a Penguin Day on Jan. 25. Dressed in black and white – and wearing their custom-made penguin hats – the students rotated through different stations in the classrooms to help reinforce their lessons on the unit. They made maps to see where penguins lived and challenged their knowledge in penguin trivia. They also got involved in hands-on activities during the penguin Olympics, competing in different relay races.
As a culmination to their lessons on the Iroquois and tribes native to the New York area, fourth-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School participated in a day filled with hands-on activities by Journeys Into American Indian Territory on Feb. 4. The students began the day with a brief video presentation. The classes gathered to listen to presenters tell Native American stories, examined artifacts at a museum station and experienced life in a longhouse. They also participated in traditional Native American games, were taught how to throw spears and worked with clay.
Members of the Epic Club at St. James Elementary School are making bead
kits to raise money for Caitlin’s Smiles, a program to help children
with chronic and life-threatening illnesses by giving them hope, laughs
During a recent Project Lead the Way lesson, fifth-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School learned about computer engineering. During the module on building computer models, Mrs. Waitz's class created their own computer dodgeball tilt game.
Fifth-graders at St. James Elementary School went head to head in a math competition on Jan. 24. The students participated in the 24 Math Challenge. The object of the competition is to be the first person to make the number 24 using all four numbers on the playing card. Competing first in small groups within their classrooms, the students participated in three 12-minute rounds. The top two players from each class then headed to the final round to proclaim a 24 Math Challenge winner.
Young authors in Robin Baker’s fourth-grade class at St. James Elementary School shared their narrative writing creations with invited guests during a literacy celebration on Jan. 24. Gathered in small groups, the students spoke about the writing process and how they developed their story ideas.
The students spoke about the different steps in the writing process, showed off their rough drafts and peer-edited work. They spoke about how they had to keep revising each draft, building the characters and their conflicts and developing the story. Each student then presented their completed narrative piece to the group, and members of the group wrote comments about what they enjoyed most about the book.
As part of their family and consumer science classes at Great Hollow Middle School, students are learning the basics of cooking. In January, the classes worked on making dinners, measuring ingredients and following directions for a chicken stir fry recipe. Students in Ms. Hall’s class were also busy practicing their cutting in and creaming techniques by making a crumb cake. The students taste tested all of their delicious creations at the end of the lesson.
As part of a Project Lead the Way lesson on animal adaptations, first
graders at Mt. Pleasant learned why animals have different outer
covering or coats, which help them to live safely in their natural
Second-graders in Kelly Collett’s class at St. James Elementary School used both their social studies and science skills to create structures as part of a Project Lead the Way lesson.
After learning about urban and rural settings, the students were tasked with building a rural and urban structure using 75 notched popsicle sticks. Project Lead the Way coach Brian Cusati led the lesson on understanding the differences between how urban and rural structures are built. Students also learned how matter can be made into different objects.
Working in small groups, the students created a vertical design that could work in an urban environment. The students then deconstructed their design and used the same material to create a rural building.
Seventh-graders in Mrs. Stebbins’s art class at Great Hollow Middle School are completing their mask relief multicultural projects. Using plaster and paint, the students researched different cultures to create masks featuring protruding objects. The masks are on display outside the school’s library.
Doing their part in and around their school community to spread kindness, members of the Character Education and Citizenship Club at Tackan Elementary School braved the cold weather to share treats with their bus drivers and crossing guards upon their arrival on Jan. 23. With notes of thanks for their hard work in keeping Tackan students safe, the club members delivered hot chocolate and donuts to these unsung heroes. The club is advised by Tackan teachers Ms. Anderson and Ms. Mrose.
First-grade students at Tackan Elementary School participated in hands-on lessons on the forces of attraction during a magnet program presented by the Long Island Center for Arts and Sciences on Jan. 16.
During the workshop, students learned about the properties of magnets, the different polarizations and why objects have magnetic attraction and their different strengths. They theorized about whether or not certain objects would be attracted to the magnet and why.
After the demonstration, the first-graders conducted their own experiments. Each student was given a bag full of objects and then had to guess which objects would be attracted to their magnet. They tested their theories by choosing which objects would stick to their magnets. They concluded the workshop by making their own whale magnets to hang on their refrigerators at home.
Eighth-graders in Kristen Dean’s art class at Great Hollow Middle School are creating three-dimensional sculptures. The abstract pieces feature designs that are inspired by aboriginal artwork.
With their gloves and masks, second-graders in Barbara Haining's class at Mills Pond are doing place value surgery.
Fourth-graders at Tackan Elementary School stepped back in time as they experienced the ways of the Native Americans during an in-house field trip offered by Journeys Into American Indian Territory on Jan. 9.
The fourth-graders recently completed their social studies curriculum on Eastern Woodlands. Presenters demonstrated how Native Americans hunted and the students were able to touch a few of the hunting instruments they used. They also learned about the different roles of members of the tribe.
Each class learned about the Native American culture, examined artifacts, and went inside a longhouse. The fourth-graders sat on animal skins and listened to Native American stories and tried their hands at a few different Native American games.