Unity Lower School Dance Off A Huge Success

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Education, Health and Nutrition, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

by Alyssa Faber and Ellen Fishter

On Thursday, March 19th the Unity students in grades K-4 gathered at Alfred Vail Elementary School in Morristown, NJ to laugh, cheer, and dance the night away for a successful fundraiser. The students in the lower school showcased their moves to popular hits of the 80’s and 90’s as a fundraiser for improvements to the playground space. After initially being snowed out, the rescheduled date was a complete sell-out and nobody left disappointed. Between a packed house and DVD sales the students raised over $1,500!

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Kimberly’s 1st and 2nd grade students kicked off the show to the sound’s of C+C Music Factory’s Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), and dance they did! With their hats and cool shades, the student’s brought great energy to the audience and started the night right!

Amy’s 3rd and 4th grade took the stage next, dancing to the theme from Ghostbusters. With the help of their noodle props and 6th grader, Jake Kymer, playing the role of “Slimer,” the audience was left laughing and cheering for the awesome performance!

Sarah hula hooping

Not to be topped, Megan’s K/1 students broke it down to MC Hammer’s classic hit, U Can’t Touch This. Their Hammertime dance had the audience cheering and laughing in the aisles!

Julia’s 3rd and 4th grade students got funky with their coordinated outfits and hand knit headbands to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s song Good Vibrations. The students showcased their hard work, and displayed impressive individual talents!

Our youngest performers in Monica’s Kindergarten class brought the Latin flair to Gloria Estefan’s Conga. Showcasing dance moves like the Cha-Cha, the Macarena, and of course the Conga, the students did an awesome job shaking and shimmying the night away!

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Closing the show with a pop of color and flair was Jen’s 2/3 class. After many weeks of hula hoop practice, the student’s showed off their talents to none other than Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). They were spinning and twirling like true professional hula-hoopers in a swath of true 80’s neon!

Not letting the students have all the fun, the teachers at Unity put together a surprise dance video and saved it until the end of the show and what a great surprise it was! It was arranged with the help of our choreographer Sam Robinson, the awesome videographer – 7th grade student Naomi Quirk, and incredible editor – 6th grade student Grace Rubenstein. The audience was singing, laughing and clapping along. You can watch the Unity Staff (and class pets!) dancing to Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk here.

The night also included a silent auction of small furniture items and accessories uniquely painted by each class. The money raised from the auction will be added to our growing Feb/March Haiti service project.

Thank you to all the students, families, staff and teachers for their time and support. Also, thanks to everyone who came out to watch our talented kids perform! It was a fun night for all!

About the Authors

Alyssa Faber is the Health and Physical Education teacher at Unity Charter School. This is her second year at Unity, having worked at various schools and lived in the Philadelphia suburbs of South Jersey for the prior five years. She attended La Salle University where she played 2nd Row on the Women’s Rubgy team and developed a passion for sports, fitness, and health. Alyssa has been a certified lifeguard for 15 years and looks forward to swimming every summer. She enjoys hiking with her dog, Marley, when the weather is nice and spending time finding ways to “Alyssafy” (™) games in an effort to try something new every day.

Ellen Fishter came to Unity Charter School as the Technology Teacher last March. Prior to that she taught in Clark for four years and before that, Livingston for 15 years. When not working, she enjoys watching her children play collegiate lacrosse, photography, biking, sewing, and enjoying time with friends and family.

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.

Middle Schoolers Partner with Kindergarteners for a Coding Adventure!

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

by Eileen Fishter OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Kindergarten and K/1 Learning Groups (Monica and Meghan) teamed up with Marie’s 7/8 for a BeeBot coding adventure! Marie’s class was given certain BeeBot facts, such as it travels 15mm with each forward/backward command and right/left turns are 90 degrees. Using this knowledge and online graph paper, they designed a grid or maze requiring up to 40 commands for the BeeBot to navigate through.

The 7/8 Graders took their design and drew it out on a 36 in. X 48 in. cardboard and added a maze theme with illustrations. Volcanoes, pets, and sports were some of the chosen themes. The 7/8 Graders also needed to make command cards for each step the K and K/1 classes had to program. On game day, students moved from maze to maze manned by the 7/8 creators, seeing if they could successfully program the BeeBots to reach the end of the maze. The students really worked together to make this a fun learning project!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

About the Author

Ellen Fishter came to Unity Charter School as the technology teacher last March. Prior to that she taught in Clark for 4 years and before that, Livingston for 15. When not working, she enjoys watching her children play collegiate lacrosse, photography, biking, and sewing.

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.

Middle School Students Embrace Community Beyond the Classroom

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Civic Responsibility, Education, Middle School, student post, Sustainability, Uncategorized, Whole Child Education

By Ben Heineman and Peter Ilias

The 6th and 8th grade Education for Sustainability classes are exploring the idea of community, specifically the history of Morristown and how Morristown (and other communities) are structured. We learned how communities create support systems to help its citizens. Our final project was to choose a small, meaningful idea that will help improve one of the following communities – our family community, our neighborhood community, our school community, or our town community.

Ben and Brandon decided to make snack packs for the middle school teachers during conference time since they often meet several hours in a row without breaks.

Peter, Nick, Matthew, Shavar and Alejandro put together a once a month plan to assist Chuck with cleaning hallways, common room and middle school floors and generally tidying the middle school classrooms.

But then something happened in our community.

On January 30th, a fire broke out on Elm Street in Morristown and firefighters fought it in the freezing cold from 11 o’clock at night until approximately 10:00 in the morning. It was so cold that the trees were frozen solid with ice. Above some of the stores on Elm Street, there were apartment. And in them were families. There were three kids. Two six year old girls and one eight year old boy.

elm street fire

On February 6th, the 5th grade EFS class, watched a video about what happened on Elm Street. After that, the class came up with ideas on how to help the people in the fire. Some of the ideas were to put little pieces of paper with names of needed items on the door to the common room. Then people could take a piece of paper and get that item for the people in the fire. Some other ideas were to bring in items in which Susan (one of the EFS teachers, and parent of two Unity kids) could then donate directly. The class has decided to make backpacks full of school supplies for the three kids. Please consider donating.

About the Authors

Ben Heineman was born in Manhattan, NY, and currently lives in Maplewood. He has been attending Unity since 2nd grade. In his free time he enjoys playing, and watching sports.

Peter Ilias was born in Summit, NJ, and lived in Maplewood until he moved to Morristown. He still attends Unity,and is good with technology.

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.

African Wild Dogs Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

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

by Kimbelry McCurnin Nian presentation

On Wednesday, February 18th, Jaida’s mom, Leanne, came in to lead the African Wild Dogs in a Celebration of Chinese New Year! We began with a wonderful PowerPoint Slideshow full of interesting facts and pictures where we learned the customs, traditions, and legends regarding Chinese New Year! Did you know that according to legend, Chinese New Year began as a way to scare off the evil demon, Nian? Citizens of China used whatever they could to create bright lights and loud noises to frighten Nian and keep him up in the mountains and away from their villages, which is why fireworks are so popular during this holiday!

Next, we learned that it is now the Year of the Sheep, and we then spent a few moments calculating the Animals of our Birth Years:

• Jan 29, 2006 – Feb 17, 2007: Year of the Dog
• Feb 18, 2007 – Feb 6, 2008: Year of the Pig
• Feb 7, 2008 – Jan 25, 2009: Year of the Rat
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After we learned about Chinese New Year traditions, we then went off to our tables to transform old scrapbook paper into beautiful lanterns to keep away evil Nian!

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Finally, we shared a traditional Chinese New Year citrus snack followed by a kind gift from Jaida and Leanne of a beautiful red envelope! Red envelopes (which are sometimes filled with money) are a customary gift that is given on this Holiday. Red represents good wishes for a lucky and Happy New Year!

Thanks again to Jaida and Leanne for making this such a wonderful opportunity for cultural awareness and appreciation!

Happy Chinese New Year!

From,

The African Wild Dogs

About the Author

Kimbelry McCurnin is the lead 1/2 Grade Teacher at Unity Charter School. She graduated with high honors from Boston University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career here at Unity working alongside Jennifer Carcich as her teacher’s assistant from 2011-2012. Kimberly is thrilled to rejoin 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.

Students Celebrate the Birthday of the Trees!

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

by Kimbelry McCurnin Tu BShevat Meaning

On Wednesday, February 4th, Benjamin’s mom came in to visit our classroom and share the Jewish Holiday of Tu B’Shevat with us! We learned that Tu B’Shevat means, “The 15th of Shevat” in Hebrew, and that it is a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees!

Story Time

We began our cultural celebration by reading Madelyn Rosenberg’s wonderful book, “Happy Birthday, Tree! A Tu B’Shevat Story.” In the story, a little girl, Joni, is celebrating Tu B’Shevat, and she tries to think of the best gift for her favorite tree. After reading the story, the children responded to the question, “Which gift do you think is the most important one that Joni gave her tree?” Many children decided that Joni’s gift of her promise to always do her best to respect and take care of the trees was the most important one of all. The children really resonated with this story, and many commented at the end, “This is a perfect book for Unity Charter School!

Trying Food2

After reading our book, we had a delicious snack of pomegranates, olives, and grapes. Many children had never had pomegranates or olives before; so, many children were brave and gave them a try! Many decided that they did prefer these new snacks and happily enjoyed them with their classmates!

In our final activity to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, we each used an old container to plant seeds. We planted parsley and basil, and we gave our seeds the gift of water, just like Jonni. It was a wonderful cultural celebration that truly embraced the importance of our impact and effect we can have on the natural world. Thank you, Benjamin’s Mom!

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Happy Tu B’Shevat!

The African Wild Dogs

About the Author

Kimbelry McCurnin is the lead 1/2 Grade Teacher at Unity Charter School. She graduated with high honors from Boston University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career here at Unity working alongside Jennifer Carcich as her teacher’s assistant from 2011-2012. Kimberly is thrilled to rejoin 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.