Students Harvest Their Spring Crops at Grow It Green Garden

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

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It was a cool, crisp fall day when Kimberly’s 1-2 Learning Group took a walking field trip to the Grow It Green Garden at the Urban Farm in Morristown. The children, accompanied by Kimberly and 4 parent chaperones, walked 2.5 miles round trip to experience the garden. When they arrived at the Grow It Green Garden, Farm Shaun gathered the children and reviewed the rules. Children listened closely and were quick to participate and share ideas and thoughts.

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Since it was fall, the children had the opportunity to taste some of the crops that Unity classes had planted this past spring. The children started by tasting leafy green vegetables, like swiss chard, collard greens and kale. One child curiously asked if the red swiss chard tasted different than the green swiss chard, so Farmer Shaun and Rachel, his assistant, let the children taste both kinds to compare. The children’s opinions were varied, but most agreed that the vegetables tasted great.

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While tasting the collard greens and kale, one student observed a bee on the ground. Farmer Shaun gently returned the bee, which had a broken wing, to a flower. He went on to explain how bees and wasps were valuable to gardens as they eat the insects on the plant leaves which help keep the leaves healthy.

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Next, the children had the opportunity to try both red and orange cherry tomatoes. While waiting by the cherry tomato vines, one child observed some ants. Farm Shaun explained to the class that ants are good for plants because they make tunnels where air and water can pass through to the roots of the plant.

While walking across the garden to the next crop, Farmer Shaun and Sarah invited the children to rub their hands against lavender bushes and to then smell the fragrance it left on them. The teacher and chaperone explained to the children how lavender oil may help calm and soothe people and may be used in baths as well as tea.

The last vegetable that the children tasted was green wax beans. Each child was able to pick a ripened bean off the vine and eat it while watching the 9 chickens play in the coop. Sarah checked for eggs but there weren’t any at the time.

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The children had a wonderful time trying new vegetables, learning about plants and insects, as well as seeing the chickens. This field trip was important in forging garden-to-table connections that make the children more likely to try new foods. Many of the children were sad to leave and look forward to returning again soon.

A big thank you goes out to Kimberly, and parents Ankita Roelofs, Pinal Patel, and John Daily for making this a successful field trip for the 1-2 Learning Group!

About the Author

Deb Marcus is a mother of two daughters at Unity. She has been a parent at the school for three years and has managed the school’s Facebook page and blog for a year. Deb is a part-time marketing consultant and enjoys exercising and spending time with her 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.

Reaping the Harvest in our Garden

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

Written by Jennifer Carcich potatos

The first meeting of the Unity Gardening and Beautification Club was held on September 4th after school. The Kymer, Lilburn, Wedderburn and Carcich families attended. The eight kids, accompanied by four moms, discovered that a bed of potatoes was ready for harvest! One of the 3/4 classes planted the potatoes last year and with care from Unity families over the summer they now will provide food for our students! We cannot wait to taste what our school chef creates with them.

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This new, year-round club is a branch of our Green Team and is open to all students at Unity Charter School and their families. This club meets every Monday after school from 3pm-3:45pm. Students and their parents/guardians work collaboratively and plan, maintain and improve upon our gardens and green areas on campus. Parents are required to participate in at least one club session per month and younger siblings are welcome to join in the fun when parents are in attendance. Children are allowed to bring a nut-free snack and water during club time.

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Come join us next Monday! We’d love to garden with you.

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.

Field Day 2015: Fun for All

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

By Alyssa Faber Field Day pic

On Friday, June 12th, the staff and students of Unity Charter School descended on Collinsville Park for the annual Field Day. Students in K-8 multi-age groups travelled around the park all morning participating in a variety of games. The Drippy Bucket Relay, Noodle Stacking, and Splash Tag provided much needed relief from the hot weather. The always popular Shoe-Fly had students competing to kick their shoe the furthest. Basketball, Four Square, and Newcomb had students using their sports skills to work together. Running bases, Dizzy Bat Races, Potato Sack Races, Hopscotch, Hula Hoops, and Parachutes were stationed around the park. Students were able to participate in a sample of Lawn Games with Bocce, Horseshoes, Ladderball, and Bean Bag Toss. Children were kept energized with popcorn and watermelon provided by the Parent’s Association. The event was enjoyed by all!

About the Author

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.

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.

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!

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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.

Valentine’s Day the Unity Way

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

by Jennifer Carcich

Valentine’s Day at Unity Charter School means a time to share kind thoughts through sustainable and unique expressions. This year the students shared a wide variety of eco-minded and crafty Valentines. From paint color cards and re-purposed calendar hearts, from hand crafted clay hearts to birdseed hearts for our feathered friends, Unity’s Valentines are one of a kind. Natures bounty let children state “You are the apple of my eye.” and “Orange you glad it’s Valentine’s Day?” along with the quick witted “Stick with me.” Enjoy looking through some of this year’s creations:

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About the Author

Jennifer Carcich is the 2/3 Grade Teacher and Lower School Team Leader at Unity Charter School. This is her fourth 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 continue 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.