Unity Kids Have a Passion for Spices

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

by Jen Carcich

To extend the fun and enriching experience of the Lower School classes cooking soups in class as part of the PTO’s fundraiser, Souper Game Night, students from the 1/2, 2/3 and both 3/4 classes went on a trip to become mini-chefs!

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Each learning group traveled to a commercial kitchen in Summit where a diverse set of professional chefs from Passion for Spices taught the children how to make authentic, healthy, Mexican foods. Handmade tortillas, salsa, guacamole,grilled peppers, onions and a yummy vegetable called chayote were all on the menu. Students sliced, diced, mashed, mixed and grated everything! Mango/avocado ice was created for the children and was a semi-sweet way to end our meal. Every child was engaged and encouraged to try a bit of everything. Most children loved it so much they they had second helpings of their meal. Copies of each recipe went home with the children and they are excited to cook them at home.

Some quotes from participants:

Alicia Silvestri, Chaperone: ” My favorite part of the trip was to see the kids learn how to cut vegetables, make dough and shred cheese, I believe all these new skills will help them develop a healthy self-esteem, also how almost all dared to try foods that never tasted before, like “chayote”. This field trip was a great experience!!”

Greydon Carcich, Student: “My favorite part was making the guacamole. The food was awesome!”

Alexis Smock, Student:“My favorite part was when we made the tortillas. We flattened them.”

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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.

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.

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.

Our Field Trip to Cooper Gristmill in Chester, NJ

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Education, Field Trip, student post

by Haydn Salmon
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During our trip to Cooper Grist Mill, the first thing we saw was the keystone on the mill that had the initials “N.C.” which stood for the builder’s name, Nathan Cooper, and the year the building was created, 1826. We also saw the river and talked about a couple of animals that lived in the river or went there for water.

Then, we went over to the mill and the flume. The flume is super cool and deep! It’s 29 inches deep. The Black River got its name from the iron and algae that turns the rocks on its banks black. Then, after that, we went down to look at the giant water wheel. It was really cool, especially when it turned on. It is also very fast! We saw the elevator for lifting grains.

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Next, we learned about leather and how they use it to get power from the water wheel. The leather belt is the converter belt that helps power everything in the mill. Then, we got to use the pulley to pull up a big rock that weighed 100 pounds. It was hard, but then we added three more pulleys which made it easier to pull. I just went BEAST MODE when it was my turn to pull. We also got to the lever where we tried to lift a 45 pound rock with our body weight. We could not do it. Then, we made it easier by putting the fulcrum closer to the rock.

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Finally, after many people repeatedly saying that they were hungry, we got to eat lunch and take a bathroom break before we went on the bus to go back to school. It was a great trip to help us with what we learned about simple machines in science.

About the Author

Hadyn Salmon is a second grader in Jen’s learning group. He enjoys learning about black holes and anything to do with space. He likes electronic music.

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.