19 Dec

December 2014

December has been a very busy month in the Lower School! 


This edition of Lower School Notes is filled with glimpses into the daily lives of our Lower School students and faculty.  Please take some time to read each entry and to view the photo gallery!  

Holiday SingAlong
by Mary Heveran, Lower School Music Teacher


Every year on the last day before Winter Break, children in Preschool through Grade 5, along with teachers and staff, gather in our gym to have our annual Holiday SingAlong.  This time of year offers many opportunities to celebrate the season through song.  Some of the songs we sing include: Jingle Bells, Deck The Halls, Dreydel, Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Silent Night, Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bell Rock, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Kwanzaa. We look forward every year to this joyful event and wish all of our families a happy and healthy New Year!


¡Que Bueno! 
¡Extraordinaria Communicación y Colaboración! 
by Misi Collado, Lower School Spanish Teacher
Our fourth-grade students had a Skype session with fourth-grade students from the Stevens Cooperative School during Spanish class. It was a successful and positive experience for everyone.  The students were able to exchange information with one another in Spanish.

Our fourth graders introduced themselves individually and modeled the game “Naranja Dulce” while singing the song.  Mrs. Berman’s class, from Stevens, talked about their favorite places in Hoboken and sang a song for us.  The students enjoyed the experience and would like to have more opportunities to interact with Mrs. Berman’s students. 

Flor Berman is the Spanish teacher at Stevens Cooperative School.  She and I are both graduates of New Jersey City University and have facilitated workshops in language teaching and learning at state and national conferences. Mrs. Berman and I plan to continue our collaboration during the school year so that the students can have many other opportunities to get to know each other and to enhance their understanding of the Spanish language.

“The play’s the thing!”
by Sheila Sienicki, Lower School Librarian 

As a seasoned veteran of 30 plus years of teaching and even more years as an advocate and participant in theater, few things have surprised and delighted me more than working with our third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students who performed scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. 

For many it was their first time acting at all. To it they brought the dignity, humor and stage presence that a Shakespearean play commands and deserves.  They gave it their heart and soul.  Even their posture screamed, “Shakespearean Actor!”

Rarely do two teachers like Susan Abramson and I get to be a part of such a rich thespian event! “The play’s the thing!”



4th Grade Trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts
by Michael Rodenbush, Grade 4 Teacher

On Thursday, November 20th, the fourth-grade students and teachers boarded the bus for their overnight trip to Plimoth Plantation. Upon arrival, we placed our bags in our sleeping quarters and headed off into the woods behind the Visitor’s Center to  find the Wampanoag Village. After a four- hour bus ride, we were a all ready to stretch our legs and explore. 

The Wampanoag Village is filled with actor/historians who are able to “break character” and answer our questions about life in the 1600s from both a modern and period perspective.  The children brought their iPads, took many pictures and asked many questions in preparation for their research projects.  

After visiting the Wampanoag Village, we continued along a path in the woods until we came to the Pilgrim Village. The village was full of Pilgrims and was bustling with activity. The children visited many Pilgrim homes and interviewed many Pilgrims. Some of the Pilgrims were playing the role of a person from history that the children were familiar with, which the children found very exciting. Some of us got a chance to saw wood with a two-person saw, fetch firewood, and learn how to hold a musket among other chores. 


Later that evening, we had a calligraphy lesson using a quill pen and were taught several Pilgrim children’s games. We had a feast of turkey with gravy and learned how to properly add salt to one’s dish “Pilgrim style.” We ended the evening with a quiet walk through the woods to a Pilgrim house. Many children remarked on how dark it was and that you couldn’t see the stars as clearly back home. 

Upon arrival in the Pilgrim home, our eyes and ears needed a moment to adjust to the darkness and the quiet. The home was lit only by the glow of the embers from the hearth. We were able to ask our guide any questions we would like about life in the early 1600s. We learned that it was poor manners for the lady of the house to let the fire in her hearth go out. At this point, yawns were beginning to be seen and we headed back to the comfort of the Visitor’s Center and our sleeping bags.

In the morning, after breakfast, we boarded the bus for a brief ride to the Mayflower II. Peter and Melissa Davies met us at the dock, and the children were completely surprised. After many hugs, we boarded the ship. We were allowed to explore above deck and below and ask questions of the “captain” and some of his passengers. 


At this point, it was time to board the bus and head home.  It was a wonderful trip, but I think we were all ready for the weekend and the comfort of our own beds.  

December Photo Gallery

Please see the gallery below that offers snapshots of the many events that happened in the Lower School in December!

“I” Beam Signing for the Hajjar STEM Center

Opening Fall 2015!



Grade 5 Science Trip to the Museum of Natural History



Third Grade Math 

by Cecily Gottling, Lower School Math Specialist

Third graders applied their understanding of metric measures of weight by estimating, then weighing, grocery items on triple beam balance scales borrowed from the Middle School.  They added their weights together to determine the total weight of a typical bag of groceries and then donated the food items to the food bank. 

Second Grade Community Study:

Who are the people in our neighborhood?

The second graders would like to extend 
a special word of Thanks to 
The Englewood Police Department, 
Englewood Hospital,  
and our friends at Flat Rock Brook!


First Graders Showing Great Geometric Math Thinking!



Kindergarten Spanish Class

Churros and Chocolate with Señora Harrison


Lower School Chorus and Lower School Orchestra

Holiday Concerts  

Lorna Milbauer – Lower School Music Teacher/Choir Director
Kimberly McCrann – Instrumental Music Instructor



Important Blog Updates
Extra! Extra!  Read all about them too!

Please select the appropriate links on the header above to read the latest blogs from Preschool 3, Preschool 4, Kindergarten and technology!

Technology Blog: Hour of Code

Check out the technology blog to read about our kids participation in “hour of code” a worldwide initiative to teach kids to program. The blog post includes a video of President Obama speaking to the importance of kids learning to program.