Monday, October 24, 2011

NEW - Book Fair Online Extension - Shop Online!

In addition to shopping the book fair at the Hillside Library, you can shop our Book Fair Online! Beginning on Nov. 29th and ending on Dec.9th, you can purchase many of the same items offered at the fair (and more) which will be shipped to your student at school for FREE after the fair closes.

Click here to visit our online book fair!

Please note that tax is applicable to online purchases.
No tax is charged on in-person purchases at the fair.

The Book Fair is Coming! December 5-9

"To the Book Fair and Beyond!" is the theme for our annual Scholastic Book Fair, which will be held in the library from December 5-9. Students may shop during their class’s library time or during lunch. Proceeds from the fair (about 30-40% of sales) go directly to support our library and our annual author visit. Flyers (with a list of some of the books available at the fair) will go home with students in late November.

Click here to visit our book fair homepage.

Mark your calendar for the Book Fair Family Night on Monday, Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m. At Family Night, students will have the opportunity to enter contests to win gift certificates for the fair. This is a great time to shop for gifts and pick up some hot new books. Hillside teachers’ “wish lists” will also be on display at the fair!

***NEW***** We now have an "online fair extension" that allows anyone to shop the book fair online! Items ship to the school for FREE on the last day of the fair (December 9th). Tax is applicable to online purchases, however.******

Click here to shop the online fair.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Mrs. Eley

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mr. Housel Gets Hillside School Rockin'!

Welcome to our new P.E. teacher Mr. Mark Housel!  Hillside students and staff had an awesome time as Mr. Housel led us in a physical fitness assembly that even included some silly games for our teachers.  We are excited to see your school spirit and looking forward to a great year!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

NEW AT THE HILLSIDE LIBRARY: Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han, Pictures by Julia Kuo

Clara Lee is a Korean American girl who lives with her family (which includes Grandpa and Mom and Dad) in a town called Bramley, and Clara Lee looks forward to the town's yearly Apple Pie Festival. Clara Lee is in the third grade, and her sister Emmeline is six.

Rarely does an early chapter book come along that makes me excited to finish it! Well written and delightful, it would be perfect for teachers looking to explore the use of SIMILE and METAPHOR with their classes, in kid-friendly language. You could see real kids coming up with these similes and metaphors, unlike some of the other texts I have seen used to teach these conventions.
Not to mention the fact that it features an Asian-American character with her family's culture woven sweetly into the story.

Great for 2nd-4th graders.

Here are some of my favorite examples of the book's fun text:

"All the kids at school call me Clara Lee and not just Clara. It just sounds better that way. Like peanut butter and jelly, like trick-or-treat, or fairy and princess, those words just go together. Just like me, Clara Lee."

"I can see through her like plastic wrap."

"It was like jumping into a cloud of fall. Leaves floated in the air like snowflakes."

"When you want the day to go by quick, it goes as slow as a ketchup drip. Whey you want it to go by slow, it's like somebody hit the Heinz right on the 57 and it happens all at once. "

"I was a stuffed pinata ready to pop!"

"I felt like Shayna had pricked me in my stomach with a needle. Suddenly I was a droopy red balloon with the air all sucked out."

"The day crawled by slower than a caterpillar up a tree."

"I felt like a candle on top of a birthday cake, burning oh-so-bright."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Keep on Reading!

Research has documented that there really is a "summer slide," a regression of reading ability experienced by many students who don't keep themselves surrounded by books over the summer.

The best way to combat "summer slide" is to keep reading - and what better way to do it than with free books from the local library!!

Check out the Mt. Laurel Library's Summer Reading program! The theme this year is "One World Many Stories." For every 5 books students read (and report to the library), they will receive a prize, and at the end of the summer, there are larger drawings for bigger prizes.

Kickoff party is Saturday June 25th from 1-3 p.m. at the Mt. Laurel Library. Registration is not required, and there will be crafts, face painting, and more.

Have a great summer!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Third Grade Famous Americans / Hillside Hall of Fame Project

Congratulations to our third grade winners of our "Hillside Hall of Fame" project!
Each third grader researched a Famous American of their choice, and created a cover letter and resume as if that person was applying for a job - a spot in the "Hillside Hall of Fame!"

Classes voted on the top 3 Americans they believed should be in the "Hillside Hall of Fame," and the winning projects are presented on the voicethread website.

Project can be viewed below or you can view it larger here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fourth Grade Farewell Video

Continuing a tradition I started last year, I asked 4th grade students to use the school FlipCams and record a "farewell" message to Hillside School and their teachers. This video will be shown at their end-of-year 4th grade assembly, where teachers and some parents gather. They were asked to say a short goodbye, using such sentence starters as "I will always remember when..." or "Thank you, _____ for...." or "In 4th grade I learned..." They could also just speak from their own heart.

The finished video will soon be available on the Mt. Laurel Family Portal (password protected), so check back around the end of the school year (June 21)!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lisa Funari Willever visits Hillside!

Award-winning author Lisa Funari Willever visited our school today and gave a FANTASTIC presentation to all students in the auditorium.

She talked about the process of creating a book and named 4 students "author," "illustrator," "editor" and "publisher." The "publisher" got to sit back in a chair (on vacation in Hawaii) while the "editor" did all the hard work of saying "No, go back and fix it" to both the author and illustrator. (See pictures below of the "Reclining" editor. :) )

She then talked about how her brother, nicknamed "HardHead," was a kid who just wouldn't listen - he loved to have the geese chase him around while he held bread in his hands, instead of throwing the bread to the geese. Her family had lots of funny memories, including car trips around Trenton, NJ, where she grew up, where "Everybody Moos at Cows" was not just the name of one of her picture books - it's something they did as kids!

She wrapped it all up with a slideshow about her family. Kids left the auditorium clamoring to read her books! The best kind of author visit there is! Thanks Mrs. Willever!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank you PTO and students for Teacher Appreciation Week!

The teachers at Hillside School were overwhelmed this week - in a good way! Each day, we arrived at school to find some sort of special treat presented by the PTO in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. We are so blessed and grateful.

Here are the "treats" given to use each day:

Monday - Flowers on our doors with each petal containing a special "Thank you" from different students

Tuesday - a Flash Drive on our desk with a special note, along with muffins, pastries, bagels, m&ms in the teachers' room, and a served "afternoon coffee/biscott cart" for teachers

Wednesday - candles in the teacher's room to choose from, "Wear Your Teacher's Favorite Color" Day

Thursday - granola bar and water and a thank you note on our desks

Friday - Pay Day bar, "We are lucky to have you" message, lottery ticket, and a delicious CATERED LUNCHEON - yum!

PTO moms, thank you so much for all your hard work. We feel so loved and supported. A special thank you to Mrs. Weipz and Mrs. Braunstein, coordinators of the week.

4th grade "Mini-Inquiry" research projects 2011

Continuing the tradition started last year, 4th graders were asked to select a "mini-inquiry" topic of interest to them for a library research project.

In class, we went through each step of the research process, and at the end, students presented the facts they had found and organized into a six-page "mini book" in Powerpoint.

Here are some examples and photos of this year's presentations and products.

3rd Grade Readers Theater Videos Posted

If you are interested, the 3rd Grade "Read Across America Day" Readers' Theater videos are finally posted on our password-protected Mt. Laurel Family Portal!

Use your power school username and password to login to the site below.


Mrs. Christiance's First Grade Animal Reports

Mrs. Christiance and Ms. Geary's First Grade students completed animal reports in the library using PebbleGo as a resource. Here is their voicethread presentation! Enjoy and feel free to comment!

Friday, March 18, 2011

3rd Graders Reflect on their Readers' Theatre Experience

As a way for students to wrap up and reflect on their readers' theatre experience, I asked the third grade students to write a letter to an "imaginary" 3rd grade student next year. I asked them to share what advice or memories they think next year's students should know. Here are a few of the students' responses. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Okay to be Different

First graders read the book "It's Okay to be Different" by Todd Parr in library class. I love this book for its colorful, simple pictures and the discussion starters on each page. Each sentence starts with "It's okay to..." (For example, "It's okay to say no to bad things. It's okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub. It's okay to need help.")

After reading the book, I showed the first graders this example of a Vermont preschool's work. They had read the book, too, and they created their own pages in the style of the book.

Our first grade students came up with an "It's Okay" sentence that they wrote and was typed by Mrs. Eley. Then they learned how to cut out shapes to illustrate their sentence. I then displayed their work in the hallway.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mr. Sterling's Fourth Grade Inventor Interviews

In collaboration with Mr. Sterling, I paired up his fourth grade students for an African American Inventor research project. After researching basic facts about their chosen inventor's life , the students used a venn diagram to compare their inventor with their partner's inventor. They then wrote an "interview" script as if their inventors were meeting each other for the first time. They could choose any setting for the interview to take place, and create a drawing of that setting.

They then recorded their interview on We found this site to be very helpful during our research. This project was first inspired by a similar project done by Ms. Ricciardi's fourth graders at Springville School in Mt. Laurel, NJ.

See our project below, and feel free to comment!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Read Across America Day at Hillside

Whew! What a day! Hillside held its Read Across America Day celebration today, in honor of what would have been Dr. Seuss's 107th birthday. There are several traditions that I always look forward to every year.

- PTO moms organize "Dr. Seuss hat" sales ahead of time so as many students as possible arrive at school in their hats. Kindergarten students make their own hats - adorable!

- I encourage students to participate (and many of them do) in the Six Flags Six Hour Reading Program, which rewards students with a free ticket to Six Flags if they complete six hours of reading. I submit their information as the school coordinator.

- I and the teachers organize guest readers to visit their classrooms. Today our celebration included readers from the honor society at Lenape High School. Many thanks to Mrs. Stansbury, the NHS club advisor, and her students, for coming to read to our students!

- For the past three years, I have worked with the 3rd grade classes to prepare readers' theater skits.

The library is turned into a "performance space." Chairs and tables are cleared away and the 3rd grade classes perform each skit one at a time, the other students sit on the floor, and parents are invited and seated in the back of the library. The performances are video recorded and the videos are placed on the "What We See TV" Mt. Laurel website. The whole performance lasts no longer than an hour, and it is such a fun experience for the students. I love to see how some students really "shine" and blossom in front of an audience, even when I've never seen that part of them before. We work very hard on expression and volume, and many students make huge leaps in this area, not to mention increasing their reading fluency while doing this!

This year the skits were:
**Henry's Freedom Box (Ms. Wesolowski's class) - Script adapted from book by Mrs. Eley
**Rump and Ugla & The Frog Prince Continued (Mrs. Nelson's Class) - Scripts adapted by Mrs. Eley
**Bubba the Cowboy Prince (Mrs. Maccri's Class) - Script Adapted by Mrs. Eley
**Wayside Stories from Wayside School (Mrs. Pierce's Class) - Script by Aaron Sheperd from the book, adapted by Mrs. Eley
**The Boy Who Cried Lunch Monitor (Ms. Newhart's class) - - Script by Judy Freeman, adapted from the book

- Finally, the annual tradition of a "teacher skit" was upheld today. At 2:30 in the afternoon, the whole school gathers for an assembly in the all purpose room. The teachers perform a readers' theater as well, and today we performed "A Bad Case of Stripes" by David Shannon.

Mrs. Nelson performed the title role of Camilla Cream, and we used a projector to 'project' the various patterns onto her skin, including rainbow stripes, polka dots, checkerboard, and more. Mrs. Eley played the part of the "Old Woman" who cures Camilla's illness. The kids LOVE to see their teachers dressed up and we always get huge laughs.

Finally, the assembly was concluded with a message from our principal, Mrs. Fitzgerald, to "Keep Reading!"

Happy Dr. Seuss Day, everyone!

Saturday, February 19, 2011 and KBUG Radio: An Interview with Harry the Tarantula

This year, I purchased a subscription to for our school (Parents - email me for the login information and password). This is a wonderful site for emergent readers created by Capstone. It is a simple site with easy-to-read facts and video clips about animals and insects. The best part is that students can click on a button to hear the site "read" the information to them, and each word is highlighted along the way.

Click here to view a video demo of PebbleGo.

Our K-2 students will all be using PebbleGo this year.

K students will pair up in library and find at least 4 facts about an insect they choose. They will read these facts to their classmates and not reveal their 'mystery insect' - other classmates will have to guess what insect they chose.

1st grade students will choose an animal and complete a simple nonfiction report that will be on
Click here for an example from last year's 1st grade.

In 2nd grade, we focus on animals' place in the food chain, and we read the book "KBUG Radio: An Interview with Harry the Tarantula" by Leigh Ann Tyson.

We study food chains, use the ActivBoard to sort omnivores/herbivores/carnivores, and we even do a mini "Food Chain Play." After all this, students go to PebbleGo and choose an animal to research. They are to find facts and then record their voice acting as their animal, as if they are being interviewed on "KBUG Radio!" Students are taught to use expression when recording and to create an illustration that includes their animal's place in the food chain.

This week we will be completing our projects, and here they are!

2nd Grade "FairyTale News" Reports

Mr. Jones' and Mrs. Rosenberg's 2nd grade classes spent a few weeks on a "Fairy Tale News" project in library. After choosing and reading a familiar fairy tale with a partner, Mrs. Eley showed them how to write a "TV news report" as if they were in Fairy Tale land and their story was breaking news! They also had to create an illustration to show "viewers" what really happened.

In doing this project, students practiced retelling the important events of a story, speaking clearly and with energy, and of course learned some fairy tales along the way!

The final video can be viewed (only with a Mt. Laurel Schools login) at our "What We See TV" section of the Mt. Laurel Schools website.