Unity Middle School Students Launch a News Show

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

by Veronika Dolak, Desiree White, Becky Donahue pic1

For our PBL (Project Based Learning) project, we thought of ways to improve the middle school. First, we made a survey for the middle school students and staff. The results came in and many people said that they wanted a middle school news show. We film the news on Wednesdays and Fridays. The news plays on a large tv in the middle school hallway on Mondays, Wednesdays,and Fridays. The news consist of 4 parts; upcoming events, birthdays, weather and lunch. The members of the PBL Group include Lizzie, Desiree, Venya, Shamaya, Becky, and Veronika.

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Student & Teacher Reviews

“I think it’s very entertaining and the weather portion is very helpful.”

-Brynn Johnson


“The weather is a great addition to the Unity News! very helpful.”

-Sierra Gastelu


“I am very impressed with the production of the Unity News. The show elicits excitement from all of the students each morning and I look forward to seeing future episodes!”

– Lindsey, Social Studies & Project Based Learning teacher


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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.

Students Pretend It’s 100 Years Ago on Field Trip

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

By Sarah Marcus FullSizeRender

Last week, everyone in Jeff and Julia’s 3/4 classes went to The Museum of Early Trades and Crafts. We looked around and had to guess what the building used to be, since it is 119 years old. It looked like a church because of the high ceilings and glass work on the windows, but it was actually once a library!

The classes broke out into two groups. One went down stairs and the other stayed upstairs. Since kids made their toys out of clay, feathers and wood. Julia’s class got to make marbles out of clay, as it was one of the toys that kids would make on a farm. We got to play games with marbles just like kids did more than 100 years ago. We even got to take our marbles home with us!

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After the classes switched activities. Julia’s class went downstairs. They got to pretend it was 100 years ago and we lived on a farm. We learned that children had lots of jobs before and after school and after dinner. The instructors picked volunteers to perform different chores. The chores included making breakfast (collecting eggs from chickens, milking the cows, churning butter, making bread and picking apples), gathering water, making a fire, making candles, getting wool from the sheep and cartering the wool.

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We learned about the different clothes that boys and girls wore. Girls wore long dresses and had to be careful of getting them wet and dirty in water and mud. Boys wore really high socks and short pants because it was easier to clean socks then pants. We learned that living on a farm was hard work!

We hope to go back again soon because it was so much fun!

About the Author

Sarah Marcus is in Julia’s 3/4 learning group. She has been at Unity for four years and she thinks it is a very fun school. Her favorite subjects are PLP, technology, and writing. Sarah likes to write, sketch, and play with dolls and Legos in her spare time.

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.

Washington DC Field Trip: A Student Perspective

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Education, Field Trip, Middle School, student post, Whole Child Education

by Sierra Gastelu FullSizeRender2

I just returned from a great trip to Washington DC with grades 7 and 8. This trip was educational, historical, and overall a really great way to close the year. We visited many places, learned about our country and had fun with friends and teachers. FullSizeRender3

One my favorite parts of the tour was visiting Lincoln Memorial because of the beautiful artifacts and the amazing view of Washington DC. We also went to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s Memorial and actually stood on the very steps where he told his “I Have a Dream” speech. This made me think about how things have changed over time and how important it is to make a difference in the world. I enjoyed seeing the United States Navel Academy and learn about the history of navel officers and their bravery. The campus had amazing buildings and monuments to honor these officers.

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Mixed in with lots of learning experiences were fun activities and time to hang out with friends that will soon be graduating. I loved the Ghost Tour led by a tour guide who told us legends about the geographical places in Washington DC and historical figures. On our last day we visited the Smithsonian Zoo. We ate dinner one night at the Hard Rock Café where they had great music and everybody in the restaurant was enthusiastic and interactive which made it fun. What a way to end the school year!

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About the Author

Sierra Gastelu lives in East Rutherford, NJ She has attended Unity Charter School for two years starting in sixth grade. In her spare time she likes music, plays piano, is involved in performing arts and snowboards.

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.

Toy and Book Drive a Huge Success!

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Field Trip, Middle School, student post, Sustainability, Uncategorized

By Becky Donahue, Shamaya Fable, and Brynn Johnson
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On Saturday April 18, 2015, Teresa’s Project Based Learning Class hosted a toy and book sale in the Common Room of Unity. We collected toy and book donations for a few weeks. We priced and organized the toys and books for a few days and by Friday we were ready to go! It was a very successful day and we made over $550 for middle school class trips. We would like to thank all the people who donated and the people and teachers who came to support us at the sale.

Shamaya , Desiree , Brynn , Grace picture About the Authors

Becky Donahue is in 6th grade and enjoys dancing and playing with her dogs. Shamaya Fable is in 7th grade and enjoys cheer and gymnastics. Brynn Johnson is in 6th grade and she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and playing with her dog.

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.