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Bellmore Spelling Leaders are A-Buzz with Talent

Bellmore Spelling Leaders are A-Buzz with Talent photo
Dillon Hopp was the winner of Winthrop Avenue School’s annual fourth-grade spelling bee, with Jake Greco placing second in the competition. 

Fourteen of the school’s spelling leaders battled it out to claim the title of top speller, with teachers Carolyn Buckley, Gina Foppiano and Deirdre Golden as the judges and Marjorie Falabella as the moderator. The competitors completed 10 rounds before Dillon and Jake misspelled the words “suffocate” and “violence,” with Dillon taking the title with the correct spelling of the word “decoration.” Both Dillon and Jake received an award of a gift card.
Principal Sally Curto congratulated all of the competitors on their performance. “Just being up on stage today is a great accomplishment, and you should all be very proud of yourselves,” she said.

Prior to the spelling bee, contests were held in individual classes, and the two top spellers from each classroom were invited to participate in the Dec. 6 competition. The Bellmore School District also congratulates: Violet Benno, Emme Frimmer, Lila Goldman, Emily Greco, Sasha Karafin, Emily McDermott, Luke Padula, Lisa Rosen, Ryan Settanni, Connor Sharp, Matthew Torre and Presley Trapani.

Dance Party coding

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Fifth-graders utilized their coding skills to program individual dance parties on their Chromebooks in Jenn Desmond’s class at Shore Road.

Sam Stern, senior director of technical applications at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, introduced the tech savvy coders to a new program, Dance Party, during the world’s annual Hour of Code. He explained to students that as they grow older, technology will become of greater importance. “If you want to create something, you will use technology in some way,” he said. “It is important to start the foundations of coding today,” he told the class. 

The annual Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education week to broaden the field of computer science. This year, Computer Science Education Week is being held Dec. 3-9, and students in Bellmore are joining thousands of students across the world in strengthening their coding skills. 

Bellmore students make connections to pilgrim life

Bellmore students make connections to pilgrim life photo
Bellmore first-grade students in Natalie Sicoli’s class at the Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center made valuable connections to Native American and Pilgrim life in Plymouth, Massachusettes during a unit on the first Thanksgiving, comparing this historical celebration to modern day. 

The students first read B.G. Hennessy’s “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims” and discussed how the characters prepared for the first Thanksgiving and the long winter ahead with their Wampanoag neighbors by planting crops, hunting  and fishing. With the assistance of parent volunteers, the students also tye-dyed t-shirts using dye made from cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and turmeric. They also wrote about how they made their t-shirts during an interactive writing exercise. The unit helped the students gain a better understanding of the importance of this national holiday. 

Student-Artists Create Legacy Project

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Using clay and the soles of their shoes, Reinhard students in grades K-2 have embarked on a collaborative artistic representation of their connection to the school community. Called the “Sole” Mates Legacy Project, the students are working under the direction of visiting artist Catherine Russell to create a lighthouse-themed mosaic, that will eventually be installed on the school’s cafeteria wall later this school year. 

Ms. Russell explained to the students that lighthouses possess their own designs, much like a street sign for sailors and specific to a certain region. She also noted that the Reinhard lighthouse will have its own pattern.  

The lighthouse is symbolic of Bellmore School District’s recent designation as a Lighthouse District by FranklinCovey’s Leader in Me – the first school district in Nassau County, on Long Island and in New York State to receive this districtwide honor.  

During the first of a two-part ceramic workshop encompassing ceramic procedures and techniques, the students first rolled out the clay and then imprinted each clay square with the soles of their shoes to add a design element to the end product. Using a cookie cutter, they cut out shapes to create a lighthouse, sun and clouds, which were collected and then placed in a kiln for 10-12 hours at 1,200 degrees. The students will then paint and glaze the shapes, which will be designed and constructed into a mosaic in the shape of a lighthouse. 

Giving Thanks Through Music

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During the first concert of the year, fourth-graders gave thanks through the gift of music during a holiday performance, held in the newly-renovated Winthrop Avenue auditorium on Nov. 16.

Under the direction of music teacher Maria Martucci and Mallory Aronoff, who directed the choreography, the students performed a variety of patriotic and holiday-themed songs to thank veterans for their service and to show their gratitude for school, family and community. The theme of the concert was “being thankful,” and in addition to choral selections, students performed on their recorders. Ellen Angelico, Sofia DeLuna, Emme Frimmer, Alexis Malerba, Nicholas Papazis, Francesca Stein also performed classical pieces on piano.  

Principal Sally Curto told the parents, “ Your children have shown great dedication to make this a wonderful concert.” 

Helping Families in Need

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A table situated in the front lobby of Winthrop Avenue was overflowing with food donations as the student advisory council wrapped up its annual Thanksgiving food drive. Prior to the holiday break, SAC members sorted the items for a Thanksgiving meal into individual boxes, which will be donated to families in the Bellmore School District community this holiday season.

Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude for the Holiday Season

Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude for the Holiday Season photo
For the month of November, fourth-grade students in Alexandra Grodin’s class at Winthrop Avenue have adopted an attitude of gratitude. 

Each day, the students reflect on what they are grateful for and why and write it down in their personal Gratitude Journals. The journals are to be shared with the students’ families during their Thanksgiving meals.

“This is a really great opportunity for the students to be mindful and to take the time to reflect on what is important,” Ms. Grodin said. “They are really enjoying the activity.”

Students Celebrate Veterans Day

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Throughout the district, students recognized the sacrifices made by veterans and discussed the freedoms still maintained by the dedication of those in the armed forces. 

In addition to letter writing to local veterans, students and faculty at Shore Road contributed to the Veteran Wall, located in the fifth-grade wing. Students were instructed to research or interview a veteran and to place the information on decorated paper dog tags, which contained a photo, the veteran’s station, rank and service. The dog tags were placed alongside the district’s core values of respect, teamwork, integrity, dedication and trust. 

Fifth-grade teacher Jody Leibowitz said, “To me, this project truly highlights the core values we are learning and living by in Bellmore.”

Under the direction of Randi Andersen, the C.A. Reinhard student advisory council fundraised for the United Through Reading project, which provides service members separated from their families the opportunity to be video recorded while reading a book for their children. After reading a book with someone at home, Reinhard students wrote their name and title of their book on a star and collected a $1 donation. The stars were placed on the replica of an American flag provided by SAC students and placed in the school’s main corridor. All proceeds collected will be donated to the United Through Reading organization, and so far, hundreds of dollars have already been collected.

A Slimy Good Time

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As part of their study of matter, Winthrop Avenue fourth-grade students learned to make sticky, gooey slime and oobleck during a videoconference lesson with Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

In addition to reviewing their newly-acquired classroom knowledge of the states of matter, the student-scientists utilized their listening and lab skills in making slime and oobleck recipes with cornstarch, water and food coloring. They were instructed to utilize their senses to determine whether the substances were liquids, gases or solids. After much deliberation, they learned that slime not only constitutes a liquid and solid, but is called a non-Newtonian fluid.

The best part of the lesson, however, was being able to bring their slime and oobleck samples home.

Utilizing the Design Process to Make Pasta Rovers

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Using only pasta and glue, Winthrop Avenue fourth-grade students in Christopher Merz’s class designed pasta rovers using the same design process utilized by Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers. The goal of the project was to see whether the students’ vehicle designs could travel down a one-meter ramp, as well as an additional meter, on a smooth, flat surface.

Students first had to brainstorm their designs and sketch their concepts for a pasta rover on paper. Each team was allotted a $60 million budget and were charged for each piece of pasta utilized in the design. For example, a piece of lasagna totaled $10 million, while a piece of penne, ziti or rigatoni cost $4 million. 

After the pasta rovers were built, the students used stop watches to measure the time their vehicle was in transit and the distance traveled down the ramp. Using dimensional analysis, they converted their findings to the rate at which their rover traveled in miles per hour. 

Like true scientists and engineers, the students completed the assignment by discussing and documenting the factors which contributed to their success, as well as ways in which to improve their designs. 

Preserving and Improving Minds, Bodies and Hearts

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Shore Road students and faculty demonstrated the importance of a healthy mind, body and heart through participation in the annual Red Ribbon Week campaign, held on Oct. 22-26.

The Red Ribbon campaign is the nation’s oldest and largest drug awareness campaign and one that teaches students how to develop positive, healthy habits early in life. 

In addition to wearing red, students received red ribbons to wear throughout the week and signed a pledge on slips of red construction paper that said, “I promise to say ‘Yes’ to a healthy mind, body and heart. I am responsible for my choices. I choose to respect myself and others.” These slips were then collected by members of the Random Acts of Kindness Club, under the direction of social worker and adviser Christine Davison, to make chains that were hung in the main lobby as a symbol of the students’ commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

During the week, daily announcements reminded the students to keep a clear and focused mind, eat fruits and vegetables, exercise each day and show kindness and respect to everyone around them.

Annual Book Character Parade Supports Literacy

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Popular book personas, fairytale characters and superheroes paraded across  Reinhard’s auditorium stage to the delight of parents and faculty during the school’s annual Book Character parade, held on Oct. 31. Students briefly posed with their teachers before marching around the auditorium and to their seats, where they participated in a singalong of Halloween tunes, under the direction of music teacher Randi Andersen.

Principal Patricia Castine noted that the event ties in with the district’s literacy program and initiatives. “This is a literacy emergent time of their lives,” she said to the parents. “The best thing you can do is read to your child every night.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo was also on hand to view the impressive and creative costumes. He said the annual tradition, which has taken place for more than 20 years, “not only allows for students to display their creativity but ties in with the district’s literacy initiatives.”

How many seeds are in a pumpkin?

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Bright orange pumpkins sat on desks in David Reilly’s first-grade classroom at the Charles A. Reinhard Early Childhood Center in the Bellmore School District as students used their mathematical and writing skills to perform a number of autumn-themed tasks.

After reading various fiction and nonfiction books about pumpkins, the students wrote down adjectives to describe their gourds to reflect on their size, shape and color. They also wrote down estimates on how many seeds Mr. Reilly’s  pumpkin contained, carving open the top and digging out the seeds with their hands.

Reading Rocks at Shore Road School

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A kickoff assembly with Joe Shandrowski, author of the “Huga Tuga” series, set the stage for additional reading during Shore Road School’s annual Pick A Reading Partner Program on Oct. 19. The theme of this year’s program is Reading Rocks Your Imagination, and students are encouraged to read at least 15 additional minutes each day.

PARP is a New York State PTA Program which encourages parents, staff and community to collaborate in the building of a reading partnership between home and school as well as motivate students to love reading. 

In addition to learning about Shandrowski’s writing process and participating in his pep rally for reading, students participated in a book swap and trivia question research. They wrote a poem, short story or song, which was published in a school book of writing to share in the classrooms and library. The art students created the PARP banner for the lobby, and chorus students shared music during the morning announcements.
“Reading does not end with PARP,” Principal Patrice Matthews told the students. “Reading and writing is a part of your lives.”

Firehouse visit

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Wearing handmade fire hats, kindergarten students from Reinhard walked down the block to the local firehouse, Engine 2, to discuss fire safety and prevention with former chief Thomas Stoerger and firefighter Jordan Leibner. During their field trip, they learned about how to call the fire department, the importance of knowing their address and phone number, safety in the kitchen and the importance of having an escape plan. 

“It’s all about being safe around fire and during a fire,” Stoerger told the students. “Remember, firefighters are always there to help you.”

Leibner put on his fire gear to reassure the students that firefighters are not scary and made them promise they would never hide from a fireman. The students also heard what a smoke detector sounds like and learned to change its batteries with the annual time changes. The highlight of the trip, however, was a chance to climb aboard the fire truck.

Gumdrop Bridge

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Teamwork, synergy and continuous improvement were three core values that Shore Road students in Phinola Baeza’s class needed to build a bridge out of gumdrops and toothpicks that was strong enough to hold a notebook.

In order to accomplish their goal, teams of students brainstormed and planned how to construct the bridge. During the construction, they were careful to list their successful team strategies, problems, constraints and obstacles. Upon completion of the task, the teams explained and drew how their final structure differed from the original design.

Beginning With an End in Mind

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According to the Bellmore Star Leadership Principles, students at Reinhard, Winthrop Avenue and Shore Road schools “begin with the end in mind” by planning ahead and setting goals to contribute to the district’s mission to lead and learn. 

At the start of each school year, mission statements are written by the board of education, central office administrators and principals, office staff and every department. Each classroom also synergizes to write a class mission statement, prominently displayed in the hallways and on bulletin boards throughout the schools. These mission statements are continually reviewed and updated. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Famularo explained, “The development of mission statements is an important process which helps us to set our goals and prioritize the most important things.”

Also seen throughout the buildings are bulletin boards filled with students’ individual goals. At Shore Road, the fifth-grade classes recently wrote their personal goals on cut out-colored lighthouses. The lighthouse is symbolic of the district’s recent recognition as a Lighthouse School District by Franklin Covey Education – only one of two school districts nationwide to receive this distinction and a result of the district’s consistent practice of its leadership principles and core values.   

Artwork Inspired by Rosie the Riveter

Artwork Inspired by Rosie the Riveter photo
Inspired by Rosie the Riveter, the inspirational World War II icon who represented women working in the nation’s factories and shipyards, Winthrop Avenue fourth-grade students utilized their individual interpretations of inspirational quotes, teamwork and synergy to create a piece of art.   

In order to create a positive and encouraging classroom learning environment, the students first discussed a variety of inspirational quotes and wrote about or drew what their favorite quote means to them. They also discussed and brainstormed how they can inspire and motivate each other throughout the year. 

During a collaborate art project, each student filled a piece of a stenciled Rosie the Riveter mosaic with inspirational quotes and words brainstormed during their discussion. Once glued together, the end product became an inspirational masterpiece that will remind the students of how they can work together to create synergy in their learning environment and inspire peers.

Ms. Buckley said, “We continuously reflect on the Rosie the Riveter masterpiece, which hangs in our classroom throughout the school year, when we need to persist or push ourselves to try something that seems difficult.” 
Monday, December 17, 2018