Middle Schoolers Partner with Kindergarteners for a Coding Adventure!

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

by Eileen Fishter OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Kindergarten and K/1 Learning Groups (Monica and Meghan) teamed up with Marie’s 7/8 for a BeeBot coding adventure! Marie’s class was given certain BeeBot facts, such as it travels 15mm with each forward/backward command and right/left turns are 90 degrees. Using this knowledge and online graph paper, they designed a grid or maze requiring up to 40 commands for the BeeBot to navigate through.

The 7/8 Graders took their design and drew it out on a 36 in. X 48 in. cardboard and added a maze theme with illustrations. Volcanoes, pets, and sports were some of the chosen themes. The 7/8 Graders also needed to make command cards for each step the K and K/1 classes had to program. On game day, students moved from maze to maze manned by the 7/8 creators, seeing if they could successfully program the BeeBots to reach the end of the maze. The students really worked together to make this a fun learning project!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

About the Author

Ellen Fishter came to Unity Charter School as the technology teacher last March. Prior to that she taught in Clark for 4 years and before that, Livingston for 15. When not working, she enjoys watching her children play collegiate lacrosse, photography, biking, and sewing.

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 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.

The Fifth Grade Takes A Visit To The Seeing Eye

Written by Deborah Marcus. Posted in Civic Responsibility, Daily Life at Unity Charter School, Field Trip, Middle School, Uncategorized

by Christopher Imbriaco picture 1

In February, the fifth grade took a trip to The Seeing Eye. The Seeing Eye is the oldest guide dog school in the entire world! The students learned about the history of the facility. More specifically, the life story of Frank Morris and how he overcame the life obstacle of being blind in 1928 with his guide dog, Buddy. The story of Frank Morris serves as an inspiration for all by demonstrating that we can overcome life obstacles. The fifth grade learned about how the facility has trained 16,000 guide dogs that have served over 800 individuals who are blind.

picture 2

A few months ago, the entire Unity Community raised money for The Seeing Eye through fundraising event, Pennies For Puppies. The fifth grade took great honor in making the donation on the behalf of the Unity Community! Thank you for everyone who was involved especially Megan Higgins and Stephanie Litwin who led Pennies For Puppies!

About the Author

Christopher Imbriaco has been teaching fifth grade for the school year and so far his time has been extremely rewarding to say the least. He has been teaching for nearly four years with his prior teaching experience including teaching middle school math and business courses at the high school level. Prior to embarking on his teaching career, Chris worked in corporate business for over five years. Some of his interests include sports, the global economy, and any activity that involves being outside. He would like to thank everyone who has been a part of his journey at Unity and looks forward to branching out and making new connections down the road.

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.

African Wild Dogs Celebrate the Chinese New Year!

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

by Kimbelry McCurnin Nian presentation

On Wednesday, February 18th, Jaida’s mom, Leanne, came in to lead the African Wild Dogs in a Celebration of Chinese New Year! We began with a wonderful PowerPoint Slideshow full of interesting facts and pictures where we learned the customs, traditions, and legends regarding Chinese New Year! Did you know that according to legend, Chinese New Year began as a way to scare off the evil demon, Nian? Citizens of China used whatever they could to create bright lights and loud noises to frighten Nian and keep him up in the mountains and away from their villages, which is why fireworks are so popular during this holiday!

Next, we learned that it is now the Year of the Sheep, and we then spent a few moments calculating the Animals of our Birth Years:

• Jan 29, 2006 – Feb 17, 2007: Year of the Dog
• Feb 18, 2007 – Feb 6, 2008: Year of the Pig
• Feb 7, 2008 – Jan 25, 2009: Year of the Rat
kids1

After we learned about Chinese New Year traditions, we then went off to our tables to transform old scrapbook paper into beautiful lanterns to keep away evil Nian!

kids4

Finally, we shared a traditional Chinese New Year citrus snack followed by a kind gift from Jaida and Leanne of a beautiful red envelope! Red envelopes (which are sometimes filled with money) are a customary gift that is given on this Holiday. Red represents good wishes for a lucky and Happy New Year!

Thanks again to Jaida and Leanne for making this such a wonderful opportunity for cultural awareness and appreciation!

Happy Chinese New Year!

From,

The African Wild Dogs

About the Author

Kimbelry McCurnin is the lead 1/2 Grade Teacher at Unity Charter School. She graduated with high honors from Boston University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career here at Unity working alongside Jennifer Carcich as her teacher’s assistant from 2011-2012. Kimberly is thrilled to rejoin 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.

Students Celebrate the Birthday of the Trees!

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

by Kimbelry McCurnin Tu BShevat Meaning

On Wednesday, February 4th, Benjamin’s mom came in to visit our classroom and share the Jewish Holiday of Tu B’Shevat with us! We learned that Tu B’Shevat means, “The 15th of Shevat” in Hebrew, and that it is a holiday that celebrates the birthday of the trees!

Story Time

We began our cultural celebration by reading Madelyn Rosenberg’s wonderful book, “Happy Birthday, Tree! A Tu B’Shevat Story.” In the story, a little girl, Joni, is celebrating Tu B’Shevat, and she tries to think of the best gift for her favorite tree. After reading the story, the children responded to the question, “Which gift do you think is the most important one that Joni gave her tree?” Many children decided that Joni’s gift of her promise to always do her best to respect and take care of the trees was the most important one of all. The children really resonated with this story, and many commented at the end, “This is a perfect book for Unity Charter School!

Trying Food2

After reading our book, we had a delicious snack of pomegranates, olives, and grapes. Many children had never had pomegranates or olives before; so, many children were brave and gave them a try! Many decided that they did prefer these new snacks and happily enjoyed them with their classmates!

In our final activity to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, we each used an old container to plant seeds. We planted parsley and basil, and we gave our seeds the gift of water, just like Jonni. It was a wonderful cultural celebration that truly embraced the importance of our impact and effect we can have on the natural world. Thank you, Benjamin’s Mom!

Planting2 Planting3

Happy Tu B’Shevat!

The African Wild Dogs

About the Author

Kimbelry McCurnin is the lead 1/2 Grade Teacher at Unity Charter School. She graduated with high honors from Boston University with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She began her teaching career here at Unity working alongside Jennifer Carcich as her teacher’s assistant from 2011-2012. Kimberly is thrilled to rejoin 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.