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.

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:

20150214_094630 image 4 image1 (1) image1 image2 imagejpeg_0 imagejpeg_1

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.

Students Visit Local Pond to Study the Water Cycle in Winter

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

Written by Nina Lawson, Learning Group 2

Edited by Suzanne Dell’Orto (Nina’s mom)

class pic

On Monday, December 22, Jen’s 2/3 Learning Group went on a field trip to the Burnham Park Pond in Morristown to further their study of water and the watercycle. This is our second field trip to study the water cycle this year…we have another one coming up in the Spring!

The bus trip to Burnham Park Pond was great! We learned a lot about watersheds. A watershed is a body of water that is made up of collected water from an area. We found out that household chemicals from lawns, cars, etc. can drain into the watershed and bother the fish, birds, frogs, diving beetles, and other living things that need the water to survive. You probably know all lakes, streams, and rivers have muck on the bottom, right? If chemicals get in the water cycle and into the water, it can kill all the organic matter and fish, animals and plants can’t survive!

When we got to Burnham Park Pond, Jen had us draw what we saw. We drew trees, dead bushes, nettles, a bit of the brook connected to the pond, and ducks that only came that time of year.

park trip pic 3 at the lake

Then we went in the water with Jen. We were all wearing big waterproof boots! Were told that we had to go in the water very slowly. To take another step, we had to wait till the silt faded a little, and we were careful not to go in the water higher than our boots. Jen wore waders, so she could go in really deep!

We used our homemade scope lenses (they were made from yogurt containers with the bottom cut off, and a piece of plastic wrap on the top for the lens). I noticed lots of dirt, silt, and a bubble on my scope lens. The edge of the pond was very muddy, and there were a lot of dead leaves in the water.

park trip 5 Burnham park Field  Trip

We left the water and took notes on what we saw. Nora’s mom brought hot chocolate for everyone! Finally, we got our stuff, and headed to the bus. On the way to the bus Jen told us more about the things we saw and talked about watersheds! It was a great day!

About the Author

Nina Lawson is in Jen Carcich’s 2/3 Learning Group at Unity Charter School. She loves nature and drawing, and is always excited about going on field trips. Ask her for her latest “knock-knock” joke!

Suzanne Dell’Orto is a Unity Charter School Board Member and is co-chair of the Curriculum Committee. She is also a practicing artist and graphic designer, and is a design educator at Baruch College/CUNY in New York City.

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 Students Provide Warmth For Those in Need

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

by Jennifer Carcich

To close out the 2014 calendar year, the students in Jen’s 2/3 and Chris’ grade 5 learning groups focused on the joy of giving and appreciating all that we already have. The students worked together to provide warmth for those in need. Both classes collected t-shirts and upcycled them into scarves. Students created 43 scarves that were donated to Emily’s Hats for Hope, a local organization started by a 17-year-old Morristown student.

20141223_090537 20141223_090859 20141223_090954 20141223_091042

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.

Water, water everywhere! But do you know how we keep it safe to drink?

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

by Jennifer Carcich
20141029_102400-EFFECTS 20141029_104222 20141029_104300 20141029_105226

As part of the science curriculum, Golden Tabby Tiger 2/3 class is studying the states of matter with a focus on water. To bring the unit to life and have the students look at the big picture, the children are not only learning the traditional water cycle, but how water is gets to and from our homes and all the effects that has. So far this year, the children have had free exploration in class with water using buckets, funnels, measuring cups, tubing, and siphons. They have visited a local waterway and observed water from the outside and the inside, as well as the plants and animals living in and around the waterway. They have read books about water, including The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks, watched videos about the water cycle, and even watched a video about a waste water treatment center. The children have made connections with their study of energy and how electricity is essential for potable water to reach us in our homes. Did you know that running your tap while brushing your teeth is actually burning fossil fuels? Ask one of the golden tabby tigers about it!

Once the students were brimming with information, they took a walking field trip to see where our water goes when it goes down the various residential and commercial drains in Morristown. With a tour by Ray, the Golden Tabby Tigers got firsthand experience seeing the Morristown Waste Water Plant in action. The children climbed up to see every holding tank and the various states of cleanliness the water was in. From plastic waste to bacteria, the children learned that water that looks “clean” is not necessarily potable. The trip ended with a short stroll into nature to the edge of the Whippany River where the treated water enters back into the natural water supply. Along the way the children were able to see a buck and a king fisher who call the Whippany River area home. It was a very eye opening experience for the children, teachers and chaperones, and one that will help us keep conservation in the forefront of our lives.

20141029_095635 20141029_101458 20141029_100245 20141029_102105