Monthly Guide - October 2014

Show #2 – Watch Oct. 5

Consumer Bowl - For the third year in a row, Irvington High School has won the State Consumer Bowl Championship. The competition is run by the Attorney General Division of Consumer Affairs, and it is designed to educate teenagers about consumer issues that they may face in the future. Consumer Affairs informs teen-consumers about what to expect in the marketplace, what their rights are and how to successfully obtain the goods and services they require. See the Irvington team in action at the Essex County competition.

Planetarium - Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope is home to one of just a few operating planetariums located in New Jersey public schools. When the school opened 26 years ago, they included this unique educational venue where John Scala serves as the Planetarium director and educator. He mesmerizes first graders from Byram Lakes Elementary School during their field trip to the high school planetarium. Then he quickly switches his attention to an in-depth discussion about astronomy with his high school students.

Clean Communities –Each year NJ Clean Community host a beach cleanup with nearly 500 students from around the state. The students converge on Ocean City to not only clean up the beaches, but also to study the effects of natural disasters on the environment. Classroom Close-up follows teachers Maria Johnson of Gordon Parks Academy in East Orange  and Jill Baturin of Williamstown School in Gloucester and their students during a beautiful day at the beach. 

Our School Museum - Students at New Egypt Primary School learn to be curators at a school museum. Students will create exhibits containing artwork, writing, scientific materials and cultural artifacts. The purpose of the museum is to celebrate students' work in a place of honor – the school entry way and hallways. During a family fun night, the children will host the gala opening. This is project if funded through a Frederick L. Hipp Grant.

Show #3 -  Watch Oct. 12

Outdoor Classroom - As part of a cross curricular project, students from several different classes are designing and constructing an outdoor classroom at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology. The carpentry, CAD, environmental science, art, architectural design and television classes all collaborated on this project. The environmental science students wrote a grant and were awarded $10,000 from Lowes to build the outdoor classroom and native plant arboretum. The NJ Pinelands and Atlantic County Soil Conservation worked with students in the design and site analysis. The students are also tagging plants that can be scanned with an iPhone to bring up the plant type/botanical name and use.

Lego Machines - Creative teachers often use toys and gadgets to help enhance learning. At General Charles G. Hacker School in Gloucester, Silvia Cancila uses Lego to teach her fourth graders about scientific methods. The students use education-focues Lego kits to demonstrate and understand the applications of simple machines like levers, pulleys, and wheels. They make observations, conduct experiments and use results in a purposeful way. The project, which is aligned with Core Curriculum Standards, was made possible through mini grants from the Gloucester & Salem Community Advisory panel.

Parson Pre-K - A summer program at Parson Elementary has helped make preschool children ready for school in five short weeks. The children went from not knowing the basics, like colors or numbers, to kindergarten ready thanks to the initiative and dedication of educators in New Brunswick.  For parents who cannot afford preschool, this program makes all the difference to keep them on par with middle and higher income families. Parson educators want to encourage every school to have pre-school programs and mandatory kindergarten.

Ecolancers - Livingston High School is the only New Jersey high school team competing in the international Shell Eco-marathon competition. The Ecolancers are a group of Technology and Design students who have been challenged to design and develop a vehicle that would get over 1000 miles per gallon.  The team reflects the high level education New Jersey schools provide students and how the teachers of Livingston High School are preparing students for STEM-related careers. All aspects of the design and the procurement and fabrication of parts have been completed by the students. 

Show #4 - Watch Oct. 19

Earth & Space Science - The Paterson Great Falls is not only a tourist attraction; it is also a great place for students to learn first-hand how to solve real life problems.  Ahmed Salama, trigonometry teacher at the PANTHER Academy, shows students how to measure the height of the falls by using trigonometric functions and Parallax. The students then visit the planetarium to demonstrate how they use parallax to measure the distance from us to other planetary objects. The school was formerly associated with NASA; and they hope to regain their relationship once more so they can allow students more opportunities.

Eat 4 Peace  - Students at Loring-Flemming Elementary School in Gloucester Township take pride in the diversity of their school, their community, and within their own families. Students study their cultural heritage and share what they've learned by creating posters and preparing a traditional cultural dish that they then share with their classmates. The idea came from Tony Luke, local restaurateur and childhood friend of teacher Amy Goldberg. While, in Dubai, Tony learned that sharing food is a way of breaking down the stereotypes and the prejudice. And Amy brought that lesson into her classroom. For more information about the program, go to eat4peace.com

Local Historian - Mahwah High School history teacher Yvonne Beatrice is encouraging her students to act as historians of their town. The Mahwah project requires students to investigate the town by reading its history, visiting historic homes and landmarks, touring cemeteries, locating slave graves, interviewing longtime residents and attending township meetings and municipal court. The teacher was names the 2012 NJ DAR Outstanding Teacher of American History and the 2010 NJ State Preserve American History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Safer After Sandy – Hoboken’s Thomas Conner Elementary was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. The preschoolers had to move to another building, causing a strain on the parents and the school district. But thanks to hard work by the school district, the children have returned to a safe environment. The NJ Work Environment Council (WEC) and half a dozen partner organizations providw free information and training about hazards after Sandy.  The program is called Safer After Sandy. WEC is a coalition of community, environmental and union organization that for more than 25 years has helped protect NJ workers, families and communities. They deal with mold removal, and general cleanup.  The educational materials and training focus on identifying hazards and employer responsibilities to prevent hazards and well as worker rights.

Show #5 - Watch Oct. 26

Digital Learning Today – Imagine traveling the world and connecting with experts on a multitude of topics without leaving the classroom. Thanks to Google Hangout, students at Edith Ort Thomas Elementary School in Frenchtown participate in Digital Learning Day.  Google supplies the materials and resources to educators at all levels so they can navigate the shift to more robust digital learning environments to achieve higher standards for students. Learn about Digital Learning Day at: http://digitallearningday.org

Poetry Meets Percussion - Young Audiences helps schools recovering from Super Storm Sandy restore their spirits through an afterschool program called Sandy Relief Arts Education Program. Samsel Upper Elementary School students in Parlin meet once a week for 16 weeks to work with professional artists on percussions and poetry. The goal was to get children to talk about their experiences with the storm and the losses that they suffered. The program encourages and hones in on students’ original creativity, confidence and performance. The Young Audiences Arts for Learning is the nation’s largest arts in education learning network. That organization provides the artist, and an NJEA Pride grant pays for the materials for the percussions and other items.

Oyster Schooner - Burlington City High School teachers are taking their students on a tall ship for a three hour educational tour of the Delaware River. The students board the A.J. Meerwald, a 115 foot oyster schooner, which is owned and operated by the Bayshore Discovery Project, a not-for-profit educational organization. The mission is to motivate people to take care of the environment, the history, and the culture of the NJ Bayshore region through education and preservation. The trip is a cross-curricular activity that includes students from both history and science classes.

Future City - What is it like to be an engineer and build a city of the future? Just ask the students at Valley Middle School in Oakland. Last year they won the grand championship in Washington D.C. and this year they are hoping for another national title. Future City is a national competition for middle schools that fosters math, science, engineering and literacy skills. They work in teams using SimCity 4 Deluxe software, a program that requires students to incorporate details about the environment, quality of schools, budgets and everything city planners must consider. They also write a research essay, construct a tabletop model using recycled materials, write a city narrative and design a five to seven minute presentation.