Friday, March 27, 2015

Thank you to all for another successful Book Fair!

Our 2015 Scholastic "Book Fair Under the Sea" has concluded!  Thank you to all the families who came out on Family Night for your support, and to all the students and staff members who visited the fair and made purchases during the week.

Mrs. Eley thought it was one of the best fairs ever, as Scholastic sent some wonderful merchandise this year!!

There were 372 "fish eggs" (chocolate eggs) in the Family Night Guessing Contest Jar!
Congratulations to Adam C. of Mrs. Graeff's class for being the closest guesser and winning the chocolate for his class and $10 Book Fair gift certificate

A special thank you to volunteers N. Platt, J. Chinn, C. Reilly, Maha A., C. Durham, S. Dickson, D. Whalen, D. Kaur, N. Cohen, J. Halfpenny, O. Rapko, S. Hammond, Edward, J. Hammond, Mrs. Maccri, D. Storicks, R. Trivedi, K. Graham, J. Snider, K. Fleming, B. Christy, S. Smyth, N. Simone, and P. Quattrochi!

About 30-40% of the proceeds from the fair go to our library program and to fund our annual author visit.

This year we are pleased to welcome 13-year-old author Kyle Dixon on Thursday, April 16!  Many thanks to the PTO for covering his speaking fee!  Mrs. Eley will use the Book Fair profits to purchase a copy Kyle Dixon's book for each student to keep!  Kyle will be individually autographing each student's book on April 16 when he comes.

Congratulations to Mrs. Zimmerli's first grade students!

Parents and staff members were invited to celebrate with Mrs. Zimmerli's first grade students today upon the completion of three wonderful projects (See below).  All guests were welcomed with a color program, festive decorations, and treated to "hors d'oeuvres" served by the students, who walked each guest to his/her seat.

The animal report voice thread project is a variation on a research project done jointly with the help of Mrs. Eley and Mrs. Zimmerli in years past.  During library class, students were given time to publish their "All About" books.

Congratulations to Mrs. Zimmerli and her students for their hard work!

All About Animal Reports (Voicethread):

Math True or False Quiz:

"All About" Nonfiction Book Example by Kevin C. - SKY ZONE (PDF)

"All About" Nonfiction Book Example by Alexa V. - BASKETBALL (PDF)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2nd grade practices typing with Typing Agent

This year, special area teachers at Hillside School are teaching extra "enrichment" time in their subject area.  Each class gets 9 additional "enrichment" lessons in addition to their regular special time at Art, Library, Music, and PE.    I have been glad to have the extra time to try some new technology lessons with the students, covering some of the new NJ Technology Standards that were adopted in October 2014.

In 4th grade, we have been enjoying trying Course 2 of and as we write lines of code, we are learning vocabulary like algorithm, input, output, programming language, loop, coding, device.  What I most love about using to teach coding is the HABITS OF MIND (executive function) that it promotes.  "Try it, make a mistake, try again."  I do not have to stand at the front of the room spoon-feeding information and students move at their own pace.  Read more on that here.

In 3rd grade, we have enjoyed moving through the online course teaching digital citizenship, online safety, and copyright using

In 2nd grade, I borrowed an idea from Kevin Jarrett's K4 STEM LAB blog and had them login to a FREE trial of the paid online typing service  (This is a sister site of Typing Pal, which is what Kevin Jarrett uses with his students.)

Students enjoyed working through the lessons and activities, IMPROVED their keyboarding skills, and I as a teacher like having the ability to track and monitor their progress over time.  (The site records it all.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

2nd Grade World Cities Research reports

          In library with Mrs. Eley, 2nd grade students completed a world city research project, answering the question, “What would make others want to visit my chosen city?”

      After researching facts about their city (specifically choosing facts that would make others “jealous” that they are missing out on), students wrote a postcard home to their families as if they were touring through their city.

      We used Google Presentations to create our postcards.

      We used to research our cities.      Enjoy some examples below!  Mrs. Maccri's second grade projects will be on display in A hallway during the month of April.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Read Across America Day 2015

Even though school opened 2 hours late due to inclement weather, Hillside held its Read Across America Day celebration today, in honor of what would have been Dr. Seuss's 111th birthday. There are several traditions that I always look forward to every year.

- Mrs. Christy, PTO mom, organized "Dr. Seuss hat" sales ahead of time so as many students as possible arrive at school in their hats. Kindergarten students also 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.

Mrs. Mellin's 2nd grade class won the "highest percentage of participation" award this year, earning Mrs. Mellin $50 to spend at the book fair from March 23-27!

- I and the teachers organize guest parent readers to visit their classrooms.  Many thanks to all our special guests 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:

**The Tortoise and the Hare (adapted by Mrs. Eley from "The Cheetah and the Sloth" by J. M. Martin)
**The Frog Prince Continued (Mrs.Winkel's Class) - Scripts adapted by Mrs. Eley
**Bubba the Cowboy Prince (Mrs. Golick's Class) - Script Adapted by Mrs. Eley
**The Boy Who Cried Lunch Monitor (Ms. Winkel's class) -  Script by Judy Freeman, adapted from the book

Happy Dr. Seuss Day, everyone!