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Second Graders Capture the Small Moments in Pictures

Second Graders Capture the Small Moments in Pictures

The small and special moments were recalled fondly by second graders who recently presented their personal timeline projects at Northwest Elementary School in the Amityville Union Free School District.

The assignment connected English language arts and social studies, noted teacher Nancy Davi-Ortiz. Throughout the year, students have been writing non-fiction pieces about the small moments in their lives. Children learn the importance of using details and description in their writing to create pieces that engage readers.

In social studies, students learned about the evolution of communities. As a culminating activity, they made timeline posters capturing the evolution of themselves, including pictures from different milestones in their lives such as the first day of school, holidays, family vacations and the births of younger siblings. Ms. Davi-Ortiz said the goal was for children to capture those “small moments” that have made them who they are.

A Community Reading Effort at Northwest

A Community Reading Effort at Northwest photo
A lot of reading is taking place in April by students at Northwest Elementary School. The school launched its annual Pick a Reading Partner program with an assembly on April 5 to get children excited about the literacy initiative.

The two weeks leading up to spring break features a reading competition. Students are asked to read at least 20 minutes a day at home with a parent, grandparent, older sibling or any partner of their choosing. Children are logging their minutes and reporting back to the their teachers. At the end of the program, the class on each grade level with the most combined minutes read earns a prize.

There will be many activities during the program at school. During Drop Everything and Read moments, an announcement will be made and every child and adult in the building will stop whatever they are doing and grab a book. There will be book buddy events with students from different grades partnering up to read together. Students will be encouraged to wear shirts with words and carry poems in their pockets.

PARP culminates with a read-in day, in which parents and other special guests will be invited to come to school and read with small groups of students. 

Author Shares His Story Quests at Northwest

Author Shares His Story Quests at Northwest
Author Shares His Story Quests at Northwest 2
Author Stephen R. Swinburne’s name can be found on many books in classroom libraries at Northwest Elementary School, so students were delighted when he recently visited.

Swinburne, who writes about science and nature, talked to students about the inspiration for his nonfiction books. He shared stories, photos and videos from the his excursions with scientists to gather information. Many of his books are about animals, a topic of particular interest to young readers. 

In his presentation to students, Swinburne talked to students about the writing process. He emphasized determination and perseverance, reminding children that they should never give up, even if a writing task seems difficult. 

“Our students love nonfiction books and reading about things that are real,” instructional coach Abbey Hunter said. “We hope that children learn that their ideas can grow into books and the good readers become good writers.”

Creating Skillful Musicians in Amityville

Creating Skillful Musicians in Amityville photo
Creating Skillful Musicians in Amityville photo 2
Creating Skillful Musicians in Amityville photo 3
Creating Skillful Musicians in Amityville photo 4

Before having the opportunity to join the band, chorus or orchestra in fourth-grade, students in the district are introduced to different musical concepts during their early elementary years.

March is annually designated as Music in Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Educators. Amityville has a robust, year-round music program with numerous instrumental and vocal groups at the secondary level and a consistent selection of students to highly selective regional ensembles. It begins with a strong, progressive elementary program.

At Northeast Elementary School, kindergartners learn fast and slow, loud and soft, and high and low pitch. They listen to many songs to find the steady beat and use percussion instruments to play along. Students also learn music for winter and spring concerts and for different celebrations throughout the year including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.

“I want them to leave here loving music,” said teacher Nicole Altamura, who engages students through “happy and upbeat” lessons that involve a lot of movement.

As students enter first grade at Northwest Elementary School, they continue their study of beat, speed and tempo, and learn about quarter notes, eighth notes and rests. Teacher Roxanne Tannenbaum uses the song “Carnival of the Animals” to reinforce these concepts. 

In second grade, they learn about the different instruments that comprise an orchestra. She plays them “Peter and the Wolf” to help with their instrument recognition. Third-graders learn to read music and are introduced to more intricate rhythmic patterns. Additionally, they play the recorder for the first time. 

There are grade-level music performances each winter and spring. Ms. Tannenbaum said the shows feature either a collection of songs or a short musical production. Past shows have included “Aladdin” and “Seussical,” and the second grade is preparing “Annie” as its upcoming performance.  

Ms. Tannenbaum said she wants to expose children to a wide array of music by the end of third grade so that each student can make his or her best decision on how to pursue music in the future. 

“I want them to enrich their lives through music and broaden their options,” she said. “Music brings a lot of happiness and joy.” 


From Brainstorming to Bridge-Building at Northwest

From Brainstorming to Bridge-Building at Northwest photo
From Brainstorming to Bridge-Building at Northwest photo 2
Third-graders put their heads together and came up with bridge designs for a St. Patrick’s Day activity in Dana Herz’s class at Northwest Elementary School in the Amityville Union Free School District. 

Building materials included pipe cleaners, clay and paper cup. Each student came up with his or her idea, then the young engineers in every group discussed their plans and selected a design. When the projects were complete, Ms. Herz filled the cups with gold coins to see how much each bridge could hold. She added that the sturdiest bridges had multiple pipe cleaners in an arch and anchored into clay bases, resembling a rainbow.
Monday, May 20, 2019