Maple Sugaring and Math: Perfect Together

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Field Trip, Uncategorized

by Jennifer Carcich 20160112_095654 Jen’s 2/3 learning group spent an entire day at the Great Swamp Education Center in Chatham this January. The students learned how to identify maple trees and how to measure them to locate ones that were old enough to tap for sap. The children learned about the necessary night and day temperatures to have a “run” of sap in a maple tree, the exact temperature maple sap needs to be slowly cooked to to turn to syrup and about how much sap is needed to make a gallon of maple syrup.

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The students then applied all of the new found information to hands-on activities outdoors in the woods of the Great Swamp. Our adventure also included a taste test of a variety of maple syrups and maple “flavored syrup”. It was interesting to read how many ingredients are in imitation syrup! Maple sugaring is actually a simple practice and one that the children enjoyed. Similar workshops are open to the public in the winter months at the Great Swamp and would make a great family day!

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About the Author

Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator at Unity Charter School. This is her fifth year teaching at Unity Charter School. She is certified to teach both general education and special education students and has been in the teaching field since 1994. Jennifer takes pride in helping Unity Charter School and continuing to strengthen its unique and innovative approach to education and bring forth the school’s mission.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Integration of Technology, Writers Workshop and Social Studies

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Technology, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

By Jennifer Carcich
Kaden Bowie

Students in Jen’s 2/3 Learning Group were able to share their “All About Me” slide shows to younger student’s in Megan’s K/1 and Dina’s Kindergarten learning groups this week. The slide shows were part of several units of study combined by Jen and Diane, the technology teacher.

In Social Studies, the students learned about how the homes in the United States are built and compared them to the homes in Guyana through Skype sessions with children in Guyana. After this lesson, students took the information about their homes and began creating “All About Me” slide shows that explain who they are, what they like, the members in their family and where they live. Students learned how to import pictures, videos, sound and use graphics options to enhance their slide shows. This informational writing kicked of their unit on expository writing in class and helped the students improve their keyboarding abilities as well.

Students had lots to say about this unique lesson:

“I liked adding the video and that I got lead some of the lessons.”

– Bowie


“I liked how I was able to put everything that I liked into the slide how and using one video.”

– Haydn


“My favorite part of the project was that we got do it all about us.”

– Juliette


“We presented to the Kindergarteners!”

– Juliette


“We got to learn about how to do the slides.”

– Rebecca


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Now that the students have mastered Google Slides, they will be utilizing this knowledge to create slide shows as part of their personal learning plans in the second trimester. It was a winning combination all around!

About the Author

Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator at Unity Charter School. This is her fifth year teaching at Unity Charter School. She is certified to teach both general education and special education students and has been in the teaching field since 1994. Jennifer takes pride in helping Unity Charter School and continuing to strengthen its unique and innovative approach to education and bring forth the school’s mission.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Popcorn Helps Learning Group Understand the States of Matter

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Health and Nutrition, Sustainability, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

by Jennifer Carcich
Corn

Last spring, Jen’s learning group planted non-GMO popcorn in the school’s organic garden. It was a tough summer, but the harvest this fall allowed for the students to pick and dry just enough ears of corn to use for their science unit.

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The students have learned about the states of matter and how heat is the variable that makes matter change to various states. Just in time for Thanksgiving, the students were able to use their kernels to see what happens when the tiniest bit of liquid water is heated inside of the kernels. The water heats, changes to steam and explodes through the kernel’s non-permeable skin causing the kernel to “pop” open. It was an exciting and delicious way to learn about the states of mater! Yum!

About the Author

Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Sustainability Coordinator at Unity Charter School. This is her fifth year teaching at Unity Charter School. She is certified to teach both general education and special education students and has been in the teaching field since 1994. Jennifer takes pride in helping Unity Charter School and continuing to strengthen its unique and innovative approach to education and bring forth the school’s mission.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Apples and Learning at Sun High Orchards Field Trip

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Education, Field Trip, Health and Nutrition, Sustainability

By Daisy Illescas
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Last week Dina’s K class and Megan’s K/1 class had the privilege to go on a field trip to Sun High Orchards in Randolph, NJ. It was perfect fall weather with the wind blowing on a beautiful sunny day. Once we arrived at the field trip, we were greeted by Farmer Karen who was our guide. We went to four different stations in which Farmer Karen shared important information with us.

She shared how corn is actually in many products that are eaten at home and in certain products that are biodegradable. Both classes were able to participate and see how if a certain item is biodegradable it dissolves in water.

Farmer Karen then took us to another station where we discussed animals. Farmer Karen shared how certain animals help protect the farm from other animals. For example, dogs are an important animal to have on a farm because they help protect the crops. If animals such as deer and turkeys go to the farm, they can eat apples, pumpkins and even damage trees!

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Just like in our gardening science lesson, we were told by Farmer Karen how certain insects are helpful and others are harmful. We played a game of guessing which animal was helpful or harmful to the plants at the farm. We learned that caterpillar even though they are cute little insects, are actually harmful to plants because they eat the leaves. Ladybugs are very helpful insects because they eat the very harmful very harmful aphid, which prevents the aphids from damaging plants.

We also learned the importance of having bees! Bees are responsible for pollination. Farmer Karen explained to us that bees help with creating more apples on the apples trees. The bees transfer pollen from one flower to the next and once pollinated, an apple will grow. We then learned an apple rap song, “Way up high in the apple tree, two little apples smiled at me. I shook that tree as hard as I could, and down came the apples. Mmmm, they were good!”

After our fun educational tour, we were able to get apples, choose a pumpkin, and try some delicious cider! We couldn’t leave the farm without seeing some animals. We saw rabbits, chickens, ponies, and a pig.

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About the Author

Daisy Illescas is a student teacher in Megan’s K/1 learning group. She is currently finishing up her last college semester at William Paterson. She is enjoying her time at Unity, and glad to be in such a great classroom of children and cooperating teacher. She loves to watch movies as well as spend time with her nephews.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.

Learning About the Power of Water

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Education, Field Trip, Sustainability, Uncategorized

By Kimberly McCurnin

The 1/2 Learning Group’s field trip to Historic Speedwell on Wednesday, October 21st was an AMAZING kick off to group’s next unit, which is the study of Water and its Power! Upon arrival at Historic Speedwell, they began by playing some great outdoor games! The first game helped us understand how water can be a force that puts something into motion. The second helped us better understand the three states of water: solid, liquid, and gas.

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After the games, we actually saw water act as a force used to do “work” with a waterwheel! We learned that back when Alfred Vail, the owner of the property of Historic Speedwell, was alive, they did not have electricity. They used Water Power as their source of energy. They used the waterwheel to power a gristmill (used to create flour), cut wood, and to do many other things!

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We also had the opportunity to visit Vail House, which is over 100 years old, where we went on a scavenger hunt to learn more about how people lived back over a hundred years ago! Students were excited to see Historic Speedwell being sustainable by reusing the paper that was given out for our scavenger hunt. Students were able to see how people ate differently based on the seasons, where the sickly and guests slept in the house, and even how a dutch-style door was used to keep the cool air in but the animals out of the house.

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The students enjoyed a zero-waste lunch on the picnic tables on the property and even had a few minutes of outdoor play time before boarding the buses to head back to school. Our chaperones, Deb Marcus, Ankita Roelofs, and Dawn Bankston, helped to make the trip successful!

About the Author

Kimberly McCurnin is in her second year as the 1/2 Learning Group Teacher at Unity Charter School. With a degree from Boston University in Early Childhood Education, Kimberly is thrilled to be a member of this special, close-knit commUnity and honored to be part of such a talented, passionate staff. In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys attending yoga classes and taking advantage of the wonderful culture and arts that New York City has to offer.

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Unity Charter School. Unity Charter School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.