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.

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

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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.

Unity Doubles the Fun with Two Events in One Day!

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

by Sheena Sullivan
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Unity hosted its annual Harvest Happening on Friday, October 30th. The morning was full of excitement as the children and teachers took part in the festive fall activities. Class parents were on hand to help with set up, games and chaperoning the groups. The fifth and sixth graders did an excellent job helping the younger students throughout the morning. Students in multi-age groups happily moved from station to station. Stations included zombie tag, push the pumpkin, pumpkin relay race, craft, wax museum, creeper and monster toss. The students enjoyed popcorn and cider at the PTO snack station.

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After the Harvest Happening, parents were invited to Bring Your Parents to Lunch Day. Students and parents ate lunch in the beautifully decorated common room. Parents took part in an authentic Unity lunchroom experience and everyone seemed to enjoy it! Thank you to all the class parents, event volunteers, parent attendees, lunchroom helpers, kitchen helpers and dishwashers for making Friday so special. Thank you to the garden and beautification club for the beautiful centerpieces.

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About the Author

Sheena Sullivan is the mother of Adam and Samer Anshasi and PTO president. She loves volunteering at Unity and helping parents connect with their children’s school. She enjoys spending time with her family and gardening.

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.

The Terminators Tackle the Lego League

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Technology

by Jeffrey Mrozak

We are excited to announce the kickoff of Unity Charter School’s first Lego League team. It is an exciting premise bringing STEM into friendly competition as students complete project and design challenges. This after school enrichment group is held on Thursday for students ages 10-14. This year’s theme for the project challenge is “trash trek”.

Our team (“The Terminators” – as chosen by the team members) must utilize the engineering design process to help design a solution to the building trash problem that our society has. Our team must work together to develop a method to help reduce the garbage problem in some form. They decide which problem they would like to research, and then must design a method to help. They also must complete a presentation of their ideas. The Terminators will also compete in a series of “robot challenges”. They will be responsible for the design, programming and building of these robots. We are looking forward to a very exciting season in the Lego League and cannot wait to work together as a team and have fun!

About the Author

Jeff is a 3/4 Learning group teacher at Unity. He currently lives in South Orange and has a Siberian Husky named Cali. He enjoys all forms of art and creating it, and also love playing and watching soccer. Jeff has a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s Degree in Education as well as a Supervisor’s Certification from Seton Hall University. He is trained in S.T.E.M (the interdisciplinary approach to science, technology , engineering and math) and loves using this approach for all subjects in the classroom. Jeff enjoys working at Unity and embarking on exciting learning adventures in our classroom!

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.