Monday, April 20, 2015

Congratulations to our GAP students!

     Mrs. Colleen Zanger is our wonderful GAP (Gifted Achievement Program) teacher at both Hillside and Parkway Schools here in Mt. Laurel.  She is a former school library media specialist, Mt. Laurel resident, and parent of 2 boys (and former Hillside library volunteer!!).  Students in our GAP program visit Mrs. Zanger for a few hours per week to work on independent projects, critical thinking and more.  (See the full curriculum here.)  

    Mrs. Zanger had a large part in redesigning the GAP Curriculum during the summer of 2014.  Students in GAP chose a historical topic of interest to them and created a voicethread (using school purchased accounts) sharing their learning.

    In addition, tonight in the Hillside All Purpose Room was their final presentation and sharing night District GAP students stood around the perimeter of the room, next to a Chromebook open to their voicethread with headphones for easy listening.  Parents were invited to listen to voicethreads, as well as view the large posterboards the students had created with a written narrative sharing what they learned.

   Congratulations to Mrs. Zanger and all our GAP students for this achievement! Feel free to view and/or comment on the Hillside students' voicethreads using the links below.

“Telling Stories from History”
G.A.P. Night 2015

Third Grade VoiceThreads

Averie W.
The Boston Tea Party

Bria M.
The Great Depression

Ben L.
The Game of the Century

Cayden S.
The Great Wall of China

Fourth Grade VoiceThreads

Luke T.
The Cold War

Eric S.
Apollo Mission

Shirleen Z.
Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

Rhea S.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929

Arushi P.
Amelia Earhart’s Flights

Courtney C.
The Underground Railroad

Ian R.
The Chernobyl Disaster

Kyla L.
The Underground Railroad

Gerry M.
The Titanic

Saturday, April 18, 2015

First graders create collages in response to Lauren Child books

In library, first graders have been completing a Lauren Child author study.  The students LOVE her use of colorful collage.  We learned that collage is artwork created by gluing fabric, paper, photos, etc. onto a flat surface.

In class, we read her book I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, in which 4-year-old Lola is a fussy eater and does not want to eat ANYTHING until her older brother Charlie pretends they are something else (Peas are "Green drops from Greenland," Mashed Potatoes are "Cloud Fluff from Mt. Fuji," and Carrot sticks are "Orange Twiglets from Jupiter.")

Students were asked to choose a food and "re-name" it as Charlie did, and create a collage based on their original idea.

Below are some of our student examples.

Thank you, Lauren Child, for creating such wonderful, inspiring, colorful books, that our students connect to, laugh over, and enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Author Visit Kyle Dixon a wonderful success!

After hearing about his exciting visit to Countryside School, I decided to invite 13-year-old author Kyle Dixon, III to visit our students here at Hillside.

Kyle has an amazing story.  In the 4th grade in Cherry Hill public schools, Kyle could barely read and write a full sentence.  His mother quit her job and worked to help Kyle do better, and for the past 2 years he has been homeschooled.  She asked him to read more, and write in a journal.

Unbelievably, at age 12, he wrote his first chapter book, Jay Bubblebee: The Bee Who Started it All.

Kyle (and his mother Tiara White, who was full of energy and photographed everything) visited Hillside School today at 10 a.m. for an assembly in the All Purpose Room.  Our students were RAPT WITH ATTENTION the entire time and loved getting to meet the author and cheer him on as he did a "timed signing" where he signed every student's book individually!

I had read each class the book ahead of time during library class, and some classes made welcome posters for Kyle, which they held up as they cheered his name.  I used the book fair profits to purchase a copy of Kyle's book for each and every student, and they were thrilled!  Thanks to the PTO for covering the cost of the speaker fee!

Learn more at and enjoy some pictures from his visit below.