Fourth-graders at St. James Elementary School learned that they can turn any object into art, during a recycled art project on March 6. Local artist-in-residence Joyce Raimondo visited the school to work on a green art project with the students.
During a slideshow presentation, Raimondo spoke to the students about Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder and how they turned throwaway objects into masterpieces. Using 100 percent recycled items, the students were tasked with creating their own robots and using their imagination. Students brought in many different objects from home — ranging from empty boxes to bottle caps and button — and Raimondo also provided them with items to help inspire their creations. As students used the ordinary objects, they created robots that each had their own unique look.
Second-graders at Tackan Elementary School took a trip back to the age of dinosaurs, thanks to a presentation by paleontologist Bob Lisaius, aka “Dinoman” on March 6.
During the morning assembly, the second-grade classes came together to learn about fossils, different types of dinosaurs, why they became extinct and Lisaius’ work in the field in an effort to spark students’ interest in science.
Following the general assembly, Lisaius visited each of the individual second-grade classes for an informative hands-on session featuring relics of the past. Students touched different artifacts – some dating back millions of years – including dinosaur horns, claws, teeth and fossilized rocks.
When Ireen Westrack, principal at Mills Pond Elementary School, makes a promise to students, she keeps it. In the beginning of February, Ms. Westrack challenged the school to read 50,000 minutes during Parents As Reading Partners month.
If they met that challenge, Ms. Westrack promised to kiss a pig. Not only did the school meet her challenge, but they far exceeded the goal. On March 1, local 700-pound hog Bruce made the trip to the school and Ms. Westrack delivered on her promise in front of the whole school.
Smithtown Elementary School held two information workshops for parents of English language learners on Feb. 8 and 12 to help them better understand community resources and the support services that Smithtown Central School District provides them.
“We felt the need to get more information to parents so that their children can become actively involved in sports organizations, library programs, and for the parents, gain a better understanding of our adult education opportunities,” said Principal Janine Lavery.
The workshops were a collaborative effort led by the Smithtown Elementary School faculty, with support from the ENL department, community resources, Parent-Teacher Association and translators. Parents learned about the school-family connection and parent portal. Attendees could sign up for PTA notifications regarding events and volunteer opportunities.
The Smithtown Library issued cards to families, and the St. Patrick’s Youth programs spoke about some of their offerings. The adult education director’s presentation sparked several parents to register for English classes.
First graders at Smithtown Elementary recently had Special Person Day. Students interviewed their special person and enjoyed making a craft, reading a book and eating a snack together.
Kindergarten students at St. James Elementary School had a special visit from Joe Guida, aka “The Singing School Bus Driver” on Feb. 27. As part of the Parent-Teacher Association’s Cultural Arts program, the assembly emphasized creativity and movement mixed with plenty of learning fun.
Students sang along to original songs while Guida played the guitar. Bus safety, counting and rhyming songs kept students engaged and they even exercised as they showed off their dancing abilities.
Smithtown Elementary School’s Kindergarten classes had a special visit from Stony Brook Hospital’s nursing students. The children learned about rules before crossing the street, bike and helmet safety and the importance of hand washing. The children also enjoyed an interactive Teddy Bear Clinic to care for stuffed animals.
To kick off fundraising efforts for its upcoming Boosterthon Fun Run to benefit the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Mills Pond Elementary School held an assembly on Feb. 26. Themed “Castle Quest,” the PTA set up the entrance of the school as a castle and each student was outfitted with a crown. The fun run will take place in the gym on March 7.
The competition was fierce as Accompsett Elementary School held its annual Winter Olympics on Feb. 27 in the gymnasium at High School West.
The evening is sponsored by the school’s Parent-Teacher Association and facilitated by the physical education teachers. The teams – divided by colors – participated in different relay-style events while working on their team-building skills.
Tenth-graders at High School East participated in Challenge Day, a full-day anti-bullying workshop in February. The Challenge Day program is designed to build compassion using social-emotional techniques.
Students and adults worked together in different trust building exercises throughout the day that help both parties generate a positive change using empathy and compassion. The goal of the Challenge Day program is to build community, promote acceptance and embrace positive peer support.
St. James Elementary School kindergartners celebrated 100 days of
learning on Feb. 14 with plenty of activities that centered on the
number 100 including math lesson, art projects and writing assignments.
Kindergartners at Mills Pond Elementary School celebrated being 100 days smarter on Feb. 15. Students made necklaces with 100 beads, made a structure using 100 cups and counted to 100 in different ways.
Even during the winter months, Smithtown Elementary School physical education teacher Kurt Margraf knows how to get students to stay active. As part of his weekly before school sports program, Margraf is teaching his students about the Iditarod sled dog race. The two-week race takes place annually each March in Alaska. Fourth-graders were taught facts about the race, and necessary clothes they need to wear before trying to mimic the race by pulling one another on sleds.
Smithtown Central School District, along with FIRST Robotics Team 810, hosted a FIRST Lego League robotics competition on Jan. 21 and 22. Twenty-eight teams competed at each of the three different sessions.
The district’s three rookie FIRST Lego League teams participated in the competition. The Accompsett All Stars (Accompsett Middle School) coached by Accompsett Middle School technology teacher Mike Colletta, the Electric Brick Breakers (Great Hollow Middle School) coached by Great Hollow technology teacher Connor Kelly and Quake Robotics (Nesaquake Middle School) coached by Nesaquake Middle School technology Sean Tomasello finished in 13th, eighth and second place, respectively.
The Quake Robotics Team took first place during the alliance round and will move on to the Long Island Championships at Longwood High School on March 4.
The Smithtown Robotics Team had more than 15 students volunteering at each event and helping to run the competition. The volunteers served as judges, queuers, timekeepers, field resetters and referees.
Dogwood Elementary School came together to support its Parent-Teacher Association while having fun and staying healthy on Feb. 1 by participating in a Boosterthon Fun Run.
In an effort to raise money for the PTA’s Cultural Arts program, students garnered pledges and sponsors from family members and friends for each lap they ran. In total, Dogwood Elementary School raised more than $28,000 to benefit its PTA.
The track was set up in the gymnasium, and students completed between 30-35 laps as teachers marked off each lap completed on the back of each student’s shirt.
First-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School are learning about light by observing the sun, moon and stars. The students in Kathy Smerechniak’s class made their own sun trackers. The students recorded three sets of data throughout the day. They then laid their sun trackers down and aligned the north arrow with the compass. The students drew an arrow on their trackers in the middle of the shadow and labeled the time.
Fifth-graders at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School put Goldilocks on trial for the crimes of criminal mischief, trespassing and petty larceny on Jan. 29. More than a dozen witnesses were called to the stand to testify about what they saw happen at the home of the Three Little Bears.
Learning about the workings of the legal system, students played the part of the defense and prosecution, while the fourth-grade classes and teachers served as the jury and judge for the case.
The courtroom was filled with popular storybook characters who testified about their whereabouts on the day Goldilocks was charged with entering the Three Little Bears’ house, eating their porridge, breaking a chair, rummaging through Mama Bear’s clothes and stealing $100.
Characters such as Chicken Little, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Blind Mice and the Wise Owl – as well as Goldilocks’ parents and cousin Dreadlocks – were all called to the stand. After hearing all the testimonies, the jury deliberated on its ruling and sentencing for Goldilocks.
Fifth-graders at Dogwood Elementary recently enjoyed a special “dining” experience at the library’s bistro book tasting.
After confirming their reservation, students were seated at tables with checkered tablecloths, vases of colorful flowers, flickering candles and trays full of books. Each student was able to “taste” different books for each course: appetizer, entree and dessert. The fifth-graders recorded their thoughts about each course in their menus as Italian music filled the air.
The library at Tackan Elementary School was transformed into a French bistro for a book tasting event held on Jan. 23. Complete with red-and-white checked tablecloths, flowers and candlelight, the fifth-graders sampled different chapter books during their library periods.
After checking in with the hostess and finding their seating reservation, students tasted different books by reading the title, inside jacket and blurb and writing about if they would like to read it and why.
The book tasting gave the students a chance to preview new books outside of their comfort zone, hopefully sparking an interest in a new title or author. Students tasted three different books – an appetizer, entrée and dessert – at the bistro before deciding if they wanted to check something new out of the library.
Students in Melissa Taylor’s fourth-grade class and Joanne Ciappa’s third
grade class used the Next Generation Science Standards to create rocks
as seen in the Olympic event of curling.
The Board of Education honored three High School East students and one High School West student who were recently named Regeneron Scholars in the 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest high school competition in the math and sciences during their meeting on Jan. 23.
High School East seniors Sydney Bracht, Cindy Li and Shrey Thaker and High School West senior Sarah Adamo were among those presented with certificates of recognition by the board of education.
The two winners from the Smithtown VFW Voice of Democracy Essay Contest were also presented with certificates. High School West student Nicholas Camson placed first in the competition and High School West Dean Mattshull took third place. The Voice of Democracy competition provides high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to write and record a 3-5-minute broadcast script on a patriotic theme, competing for more than $2.3 million in college scholarships and incentives. State winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., and compete for $152,000 in scholarships.
Sixth-graders in the science of technology class at Great Hollow Middle School recently designed their own roller coasters. The students have been working through the applied physics unit via the Project Lead the Way module.
Using the knowledge of potential, kinetic and dissipated energy, students worked in groups to design a roller coaster. The sixth-graders calculated the potential and kinetic energy of steel and glass marbles released from various heights along an incline. The roller coaster design challenge consisted of the success of a marble traversing the designed path while coming to a complete stop within six inches of the end of the roller coaster.
A project created at Accompsett Middle School is showing how each member of its student body is special and unique. The Humans of AMS project aligns with the district’s social-emotional learning standards and is designed to show off the diverse experiences of the student population.
To start, Accompsett students write a few paragraphs featuring little-known facts about themselves. After their picture is taken, they get a sign featuring their photo and personal information paragraph. The signs are then hung around the library, hallways and cafeteria in an effort to learn about each other.
Students also create short video segments about themselves. In addition, there’s a social media portion of the project on Instagram with its own account called Humans of AMS.
“The overall goal is to teach the students acceptance of others,” said Accompsett Middle School Principal Paul McNeil. “This is a difficult goal to measure, but it is our hope that the students will come together to respect the differences of others.” So far, 55 students have participated in the project, which will be ongoing throughout the school year.
The marble jar celebrates positive behavior and compliments. If the
class transitions well, walks in the hall nicely, works hard on a
project or receives a compliment, they get marbles on a goldfish bowl.
When the bowl is full the class celebrates with the pajama flashlight
Kindergartners at Tackan Elementary had a chance to play doctor to their stuffed animals thanks to a Teddy Bear Clinic hosted by trauma center at Stony Brook University Children’s Hospital on Jan. 17.
In an effort to help ease the fear associated with doctors and hospital, the students took care of their stuffed animals by taking their temperature, bandaging their wounds and nursing them back to health with plenty of hugs.
Kristi Ladowski, injury prevention coordinator at the hospital, spoke to the students about injury prevention and the importance of keeping safe in the car. She also demonstrated how wearing a helmet during sports and other activities can help reduce the risk of injuries.
Keeping local pets in need top of mind, the Peanut Butter Gang, a community service club at Great Hollow Middle School, recently made and collected items for rescue animals.
The club collected clean, used T-shirts, which they cut into strips, braided and knotted, to be used at dog chew toys. The club is also organizing a pet supply drive. All of the items collected, along with the dog toys, will be donated to Save-A-Pet in Port Jefferson Station. The Peanut Butter Gang is open to all grades and is facilitated by Sheila Tobin Cavooris and Elaine Froehlich.
Three High School East students and one High School West student are among the 46 Long Island seniors named Regeneron Scholars in the 2018 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest high school competition in the math and sciences. The top 300 science research students nationwide were chosen for this honor.
High School East seniors Sydney Bracht, Cindy Li and Shrey Thaker and High School West senior Sarah Adamo have been recognized for their science research projects.
Sydney’s project is “A Reverse Genetic Approach to Identify Novel Regulators of Cell Invasive Behavior.” Cindy’s research focuses on “The Role of Sts-1 and Sts-2 in ROS Response in Mononuclear Phagocytes,” while Shrey’s research was conducted on “The Role of miR-34a in Colorectal Cancer Racial Health Disparity.” Sarah’s research project is on “Acetylcholine and Nicotine Potentiate Currents in Cells Isolated from the Sea Anemone Nematostella vectensis.”
Each scholar receives a $2,000 prize, and individual schools get $2,000 for each of their recognized students. Forty finalists will be named on Jan. 23 and will compete on March 8-14 in Washington, D.C., for prizes totaling more than $1.8 million. Winners will be announced March 13 at the National Building Museum.
Click here to read more about the student projects