Gardening at The Urban Farm

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

By Deb Marcus
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On Thursday, April 23rd, the Kindergarten, K/1 and 1/2 Learning Groups had a walking field trip to The Urban Farm, New Jersey’s largest school garden which is located at the Morris School District’s Lafayette Learning Center. Despite the unseasonably cool weather, the kids were enthusiastic walking to the garden and excited to see Farmer Shaun.

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Farmer Shaun met us at the entrance and invited the kids in. He quickly reviewed the rules of the farm before bringing the students over to a vegetable bed. Here, he and his assistant explained how the vegetables we were going to taste had been growing all winter while protected by coverings. They handed out pieces of kale, collard greens, and spinach for the kids to taste. Believe it or not, most of the children liked what they tasted and asked for seconds!

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After tasting the various vegetables, the children were given shovels and provided the opportunity to dig small holes and plant new vegetables that could be grown during the spring. The children loved getting their hands in the dirt. One child found a worm and desperately wanted to take it back with her!

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The last activity at The Urban Farm was checking out the chickens and new chicks. The children were amazed by how fast the little chicks were running around the pen. We tried to be quiet so as not to startle them or upset the chickens.

The field trip ended with a walk back to school. It was a wonderful time and it seems we all walked away with a new vegetable we’d consider at the dinner table!

About the Author

Deb Marcus is a parent of a second grader and kindergartener at Unity and an active member of the Communications Committee. She has been a member of the CommUnity for three years and enjoys managing the Facebook Page and Blog as well as participating in classroom events.

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 Grand Falloons Teach The Environment Through Theatre

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

By Kim Roberts

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On Wednesday, April 22nd, Unity students in grades k-4 were thrilled to welcome the Grand Falloons for an informational, theatrical performance on environmental topics, including the water cycle, ecosystems, and recycling. Led by two performers, the children were enthralled by the acts put on, as they laughed in their seats and starred attentively for the hour-long production.

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As a duo, the performers played off one another in a fun manner to demonstrate and elaborate on each topic discussed. Using their “Commensensanator” machine, the performers talked about how much garbage people use, giving insight to what it is, where it comes from, and what we do with it. Student volunteers were chosen to demonstrate an ecosystem, including the roles and functions of air, water, the earth and the sun. The water cycle was presented through a song, as volunteers rang bells. We learned that “everything comes from something,” as they spoke about plastic and where it originates. They touched on “where does trash go? Is it ever really away?” and demonstrated this with props that gave clear visuals for the audience. Lastly, they talked about recycling and the steps involved. Volunteers were called up to show the cycle, again, using props to make the experience fun, but also memorable.

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The Grand Falloons’ performance was a great addition to our Earth Week here at Unity Charter School. The students left with smiles and a greater understanding of our place in this world, what we as individuals can do to help the Earth be a healthier, cleaner place and had a positive vision for our future!

About the Author

Kim Roberts is in her second year at Unity Charter School. She currently works with Megan in the K/1 class as the teacher assistant and enjoys working at the school more everyday. Kim comes with a background in environmental studies, sustainability and art, as well as teaching experience in schools and at an environmental education center. Besides working at Unity, Kim enjoy photography, gardening and exploring the world with her 3 year old.

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.

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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.

Middle Schoolers Experience Poetry at The Lincoln Center

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

by Amanda DiBattista
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On Thursday, March 26, 2015, the Unity Charter School Middle School took a tour of Lincoln Center and saw a slam poetry performance. Mike, Amanda, Teresa, Deb (who was subbing for Karen), Sandy, Sandra, Marie and Joeleen were the chaperones. The students were given a tour of Lincoln first before seeing the performance. We toured The Metropolitan Opera house and some students even got to see them rehearse! The tour then moved to the building where the New York Symphony plays and then to the building where the New York City Ballet performs. Fun fact: the opening scene of West Side Story was filmed on the spot where Lincoln Center now sits!

The students then saw a slam poetry performance by Slam 103: Historical Remix. There were three performers who spoke about everyone from Cleopatra to Albert Einstein. The students were then challenged to make their own poetry and come up to speak. Two of our students spoke their poetry before the audience!

Overall, the students had a great time exploring Lincoln Center and learning about slam poetry! Thank you Karen for setting up this trip!!

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About the Author

Hola! My name is Amanda and I have been the Spanish teacher at Unity for 4 years! I teach all grade levels K-8 and I love how enthusiastic the students at Unity have been about learning Spanish. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, traveling and watching my favorite team, The Mets.

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.