Show #1 – Sept. 29 & Nov. 3
Rock Star Ralph – Music teachers like East Hanover Township’s Randy Raab have to please multiple, fickle audiences. Raab engages his audience through a mix of unconventional and orthodox methods. He introduces pre-kindergarten students to the mechanics of the violin before singing and dancing to a song about a cookie. Older students play a game to identify classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart and their famous works. Raab uses technology and old-fashioned showmanship to engage and excite his students about music and more.
Empowering Girls – Girls continue to find inspiration in the life of New Jersey native and suffragette Alice Paul. Clearview Regional School students learned about Paul and many other inspiring women, from pilots to pioneers, from inventors to artists. Students created art projects and performances to bring the achievements of historic women to life.
Rewind: Classroom Close-up, NJ 20th Anniversary – Styles have changed since the first broadcast of Classroom Close-up, NJ in 1994. Hair and clothes look different. New music sounds different. Schools have evolved. But one thing that has remained the same is the focus of Classroom Close-up: to highlight inspiring and innovative projects and people in New Jersey’s public schools.
A Day in the Classroom - Politicians and the public are sometimes quick to criticize schools, but just as any profession, unless you’ve walked in their shoes, you’ll never know the challenges and satisfaction of working in the public schools. Logan Township School District is giving the public a chance to see what it’s like to work a full day in the classroom. Volunteers served as teachers and paraprofessionals to experience first-hand a long, fast-paced day filled with frustration, humor and heartfelt moments.
Sandy Back to School – More than seven months after Superstorm Sandy devastated the Monmouth Beach community, closed their elementary school building, and forced them to relocate, students, teachers, and staff returned to their restored school building for the final days of an extraordinary school year.
Show #2 – Oct. 6 & Nov. 10
Sing for Change - Students at Blackwood’s Loring Flemming Elementary School are using their voices to educate people about bullying, respect, and self-esteem. More than 100 students participate in a concert in which they sing songs such as Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and a kid-friendly version of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Music teacher Erica Guillama was motivated to incorporate character education and bullying awareness into her music classes after learning that children as young as 11 years old were taking their own lives as a result of bullying.
CSI - Crime Scene Investigation is an interdisciplinary event involving students from Franklin, Kittatinny, Halsted, Frankford, Sussex Wantage, Lafayette, and Andover. Students worked with a medical examiner, a lawyer, a CSI professor, and teachers to complete blood-typing, fingerprinting, footprint analysis, crime scene sketches, and other activities to solve a murder based on real events.
Wax Museum - More than 60 students from Washington Elementary School in Hawthorne participated in a Wax Museum project designed to reinforce performance, reading, and project skills. Each student chose a famous person to research from a list that included presidents, scientists, athletes, entertainers, and more. Students then created posters, maps, and poems about the historical figures. On the day of the wax museum, each student pretended to be wax status of the person they had chosen and visitors could push a button in order to hear a memorized presentation.
Rewind: Frederick L. Hipp Grant 20th Anniversary - Over its 20-year history, the Hipp Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to public school employees. From the year-long study of cultures that culminates in a Chinese New Year celebration to high school students producing a television show demonstrating basic scientific theories in an entertaining way, each of the 301 grant projects are remarkable. And they are just a sample of the innovative ideas being developed by public school educators across the state.
Show #3 – Oct. 13 & Nov. 17
Rewind: Surgeon Story
– Five years after they were featured on Classroom Close-up, NJ, we revisit Albert Siedlecki, an eighth grade science teacher at Medford Memorial Middle School, and Dr. Lee Buono, a neurosurgeon and Mr. Siedlecki’s former student, to discuss how the episode led to them being featured on National Public Radio’s StoryCorps project and honored by the White House.
- The 7th grade students at Christa McAuliffe School, PS #28, in Jersey City are participating in Project Reservoir, a program that partners them with the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance to help revitalize, redesign, and transform a defunct and semi-abandoned reservoir. Nature has slowly reclaimed the area and it is now an area teeming with fish, wildlife, and plants. The school has joined forces with the Alliance to help transform it into a recreational and educational nature preserve and to promote awareness of it to the community.
– Students and teachers at the Marine Academy of Science and Technology learned a powerful lesson in tenacity this year. After working to win and implement a Hipp grant, Superstorm Sandy not only devastated their project, it also damaged their school and changed their lives. As the senior class celebrates their graduation, they are taking with them the lessons they’ve learned and the skills they’ve had to build in order to persevere and finish strong.
- Students from West Milford Township High School team up with students from Maple Road Elementary School on a watershed project in their community. The high school students capture fish and conduct tests as part of a unit on molecular biology while the elementary students work with the high school students to dissect fish and write their findings on the project blog. The project is funded in part through a Frederick L. Hipp grant.
Show #4 – Oct. 20 & Nov. 24
River Watershed Project
- Students at Wallkill Valley Regional High School conduct monthly testing of the Wallkill River, which runs through school property, to evaluate the health of the ecosystem. More than 90 percent of the area is watershed land, and this project helps students gain awareness of their environment while learning how to use technology to gather scientific data and working with environmental scientists whose job it is to track the health of the river. The project is funded in part through a Frederick L. Hipp grant.
Celebration of Technology & Learning
- The Celebration of Technology & Learning brings together hundreds of educators from across the state who are eager to improve their skills integrating technology into their diverse classrooms. Educators learn how to introduce engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) work into kindergarten through grade four computer classes, how to “flip” a regular education classroom so that new material is introduced to students via web videos as homework and class time is made up of project work, and how to create individualized technology supports for students with disabilities.
- Fourth graders at Samsel Upper Elementary School have a unique way of combating the test-taking blues - they participate in Math Mania, a program that exposes them to math concepts such as probability, measurement, tree diagrams, fractions, and geometry in fun and active ways. The goal of the program is to help relieve the stress of standardized testing while using kinesthetic activities to help jog students' memories on test day. While students participate in the day-long event, their parents attend a special meeting to learn how they can help their child prepare for the NJ ASK 4 examination.
Rewind: Technology Tools
– For 20 years, Classroom Close-up, NJ has documented the impact of technology on New Jersey’s public schools. In this Rewind segment, we take a look back at a time when computers in the classroom were rare, email was cutting-edge, and school libraries used card catalogs – while contrasting it with the classrooms of today.
Show #5 – Oct. 27 & Dec. 1
School Garden - Students and staff at Eugene A. Tighe Middle School find ways to use their school garden year-round. During the school year the garden is used to teach science and math concepts and students sample the food it produces through the Garden Gourmet program. Over the summer, students volunteer to work in the garden and to sell the fresh produce at a local farmers' market. Unsold produce is donated to the NJ Food Bank.
Rewind: Envirothon 20th Anniversary – For 20 years, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has conducted the Envirothon, a dynamic, hands-on statewide environmental education program for high school students. Teams of students compete in challenges related to soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology and current environmental issues. As a result, students become better-informed, active participants in natural resource management decisions and problem-solving.
Mosaic Mural - Students at Glen Rock’s Richard E. Byrd School make a permanent mark on their school with a student-driven mosaic mural commemorating their school’s namesake, Antarctic explorer Richard Byrd. Students researched Byrd and his travels before putting together individual mosaics that – placed together on the side of the school building – creates a cohesive picture of Byrd’s exploits. With matching funding from the Artists in Education grant program, students and teachers worked with New Jersey artist Kit Sailer to complete the project.For more information about the Artists-in-Education program, go to njaie.org
Bow Wow Biscuits - Autistic students in two Life Skills programs at Vernon Township High School learn how to run a business from beginning to end through the Bow Wow Biscuits program. Through the program, the students, who range in age from 16 to 21, and from higher functioning to more severely disabled, take orders, prepare the ingredients, bake dog biscuits, and either sell them to students and staff or donate them to animal charities.
Show #6 – Dec. 8 & Jan. 12
A Feast for Every Season - Students at Montclair’s Mt. Hebron Middle School are learning that communities build gardens – and gardens build communities. Thanks to a continuation grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation’s Leonard Koch Grant for Mathematics, the students have access to a free-standing greenhouse and the resources to design and build a cold frame addition to the greenhouse where cold-tolerant vegetables will be planted.
Voices of Veterans - Every year, students at North Warren Regional School District spend a day with local veterans to learn more about their experiences. The day begins with an assembly for the entire school, followed by lunch on the lawn where military equipment is displayed. Finally, veterans - escorted by students - visit classrooms to teach a lesson and share their stories.
Field of Flags - Southern Regional High School students place more than 6,600 flags to commemorate American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan for Memorial Day. The project, now in its third year, provides students – and the community – with a clear representation the Memorial Day holiday and gives them an opportunity to honor the sacrifice of those in the armed forces.
Rewind: NJ Center for Teaching & Learning - Founded by NJEA in the fall of 2006, the Center for Teaching and Learning is a not-for-profit foundation that was established to empower teacher-led school reform with the goal of dramatically improving student achievement. The Center's first major program was the Progressive Science Initiative (PSI) which has led to dramatic gains in student achievement in science. In 2011, the Center won a Gold Award in a worldwide education competition at the IMS Global Learning Impact Awards.For more information, go to njctl.org
Show #7 – Dec. 15 & Jan. 19
Cardboard Regatta - Honors engineering students at Northern Highlands Regional High School compete in the annual Cardboard Regatta Boat Race. Students must design and build boats out of cardboard and plastic that will hold two students. The students then take their boats down to the lake by the school and race each other approximately 50 meters across the lake.
Rewind: Parental Involvement – In this Rewind segment we take a look at how parental involvement programs have changed over the past 20 years. Research continues to stress the impact parental involvement has on student achievement and self-esteem.
Schools Supporting Soldiers’ Kids - For the past five years, military spouse - and Roland Rogers Middle School teacher - Terry Dougherty has run a tutoring program for the children of military families who move into the Galloway Township community. Terry began the program when she encountered the children of military families who were transferring into the school but who were not at grade level. Terry organized her colleagues at Roland Rogers Middle School and students at nearby Stockton State College to tutor students over the summer to help ensure that they are ready to learn when school starts in September.
Cooking with Culture - Students and their families celebrate their cultures through food at Florence Riverfront School's Heritage Day. Fifth-grade students work with their families to learn more about their own cultures by preparing a cultural dish that is shared with their classmates. Families come in to help serve the food and talk about their cultural heritage.
UPDATE: Project Stay Gold - Last year we featured students at Jefferson Township Middle School who started a youth movement to educate the public about the issue of modern day slavery. This year, they are targeting the Super Bowl. Not On Our Turf is a campaign to combat human trafficking as it occurs around Superbowl 48 in New Jersey. For more, go to http://www.notonourturf.com/.
Show #8 – Dec. 22 & Jan. 26
- Edcamp STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) is an “unconference,” an opportunity for educators to work together to provide free, participant-driven professional development in a conversational format. EdCamp was created by New Jersey teachers who wanted to get more out of their professional development opportunities. Each EdCamp also provides participants with an opportunity for hands-on learning.
Building Kids Program
- Students at Haleyville-Mauricetown Elementary School are building boats to apply the concepts they are learning in math, science, language arts, art, and other subjects. The students in Commercial Township are part of a self-contained special education class for third through fifth grades. Under the guidance of their teacher and through the Building Kids Program, students use power tools to build two canoes that they will launch and race on the township's Lake Audrey in June.
– Fort Lee’s School No. 1 is using music to extend concentration among general education and special education students in kindergarten through second grade. In addition, working one-on-one using dials to analyze a student’s response to various genres of music, educators are studying the impact the music has on a student’s ability to focus, which will help to improve and enhance student learning.
Rewind: Educational Support Professionals
– In this Rewind segment, we take a look at the role of Educational Support Professionals in New Jersey public schools. They make sure the buildings are clean and safe and they assist in the classroom, the hallways and the playgrounds. They drive school buses and run cafeterias and the front office. Educational Support Professionals (ESP) include maintenance workers, custodians, security guards, school secretaries, paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, and many more job titles but their goal is the same: to make schools safe, caring places in which children can learn.
Show #9 Dec. 29 Feb. 2
Milken Educator 2013
- Patrick O’Neill has one goal for his fourth-grade students at Ocean Township Elementary School in Oakhurst - to love coming to school. He uses technology to grab their attention and track their learning. O’Neill pilots new programs and his students’ assessments are showing impressive gains.
Rewind Holocaust Education
- Twenty years ago New Jersey became the first state to mandate a holocaust/genocide curriculum. Since then educators across the state have developed powerful lessons ranging from the holocaust to modern day genocide, and most recently the 911 curriculum.
Sign of Distinction
– Juliana Frankenfield teaches American Sign Language at Vineland High School. She was nominated by one of her students for a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. The organization was founded by Claes Nobel, a nephew of Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Peace Prize.
– His students at Eisenhower Middle School know him as Merced Solis, but his fans know him as World Wrestling Federation Champion Tito Santana. From a migrant worker as a child to a Spanish teacher in Roxbury, Señor Solis shares his gratitude for education.
Show #10 Jan. 5 & Feb. 9
Classroom Close-up, NJ 20th Anniversary
– Styles have changed since the first broadcast of Classroom Close-up, NJ in 1994. Hair and clothes look different. New music sounds different. Schools have evolved. But one thing that has remained the same is the focus of Classroom Close-up: to highlight inspiring and innovative projects and people in New Jersey’s public schools.
Frederick L. Hipp Grant 20th Anniversary
- Over its 20-year history, the Hipp Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to public school employees. From the year-long study of cultures that culminates in a Chinese New Year celebration to high school students producing a television show demonstrating basic scientific theories in an entertaining way, each of the 301 grant projects are remarkable. And they are just a sample of the innovative ideas being developed by public school educators across the state.
- Twenty years ago New Jersey became one of the first states to mandate a holocaust/genocide curriculum. Since then educators across the state have developed powerful lessons ranging from the holocaust to modern day genocide, and most recently the 911 curriculum.
Envirothon 20th Anniversary – For 20 years, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has conducted the Envirothon, a dynamic, hands-on statewide environmental education program for high school students. Teams of students compete in challenges related to soils, forestry, aquatics, wildlife ecology and current environmental issues. As a result, students become better-informed, active participants in natural resource management decisions and problem-solving.
Show #11 Feb. 16 & March 23
Cranbassadors - Mullica Township fifth graders learn all about New Jersey's number one cash crop. Working with researchers at Rutger's Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center, the "cranbassadors" become experts in all things cranberry. In October, they share their knowledge with visitors by leading bog tours during the Chatsworth Cranberry festival.
Butterflies and Voices - Research reveals an ancient and intimate connection between language and landscape, so the students at Glassboro High School walk into the woods to create art from nature as part of Voices from the Land project. Once the art is complete, the students use digital technology to document their work. This project originated from the Monarch Teachers Network, which shares the lesson of the migration of the monarch butterfly.
Barcode of Life – Through DNA, High Point Regional High School students can predict the future of a species and the effect that man has on the environment. Their research is published in the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) database, a feat that normally only happens to graduate students. The class is a new Hybrid-Virtual research course, where the student studies molecular biology and combines online course work with work in the lab. For more information, go to www.ibol.org.
Rewind: Celebrities - Over the years, Classroom Close-up has interviewed dozens of celebrities – ranging from actors, astronauts and musicians to politicians and athletes. They all have something in common – education. Many of them attended school in New Jersey, and for those who didn’t, they have direct ties to education in the Garden State. The list includes President Clinton, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., former Congressman Barney Frank, actor John Amos, CNN’s Soledad O'Brien, Academy-award winner Christopher McQuarrie, actor Cynthia Nixon, astronauts Garrett Reisman, Leland Melvin, Mark Polansky and Greg Linteris, Olympians Carl Lewis and Andrew Valmon, and former Philly Pops music director Peter Nero.
Show #12 Feb. 23 & March 30
Run 4 Vets - Students at Jackson's Christa McAuliffe Middle School organized a Run/Walk for Vets that brings together students, staff, parents, veterans, and community businesses to raise money for local veteran causes. Run 4 Vets is the culmination of the "Honor our Vets" service learning project. Additionally they collect supplies for Military Support Packages that are sent to soldiers overseas.
Teacher Evaluation – The hot button during the NJEA Convention this year is teacher evaluation. Districts across the state are implementing the new evaluation regulations under the TEACH NJ Act. Many districts have adopted the Danielson model for teacher evaluation. Charlotte Danielson explains an overview of the system and offers guidance on how to merge demands for accountability with professional learning. The ideal model involves collaboration between observer and staff. Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf is also on hand to address educator’s concerns about the implementation of the new regulations.
Cafe Kids - Students at Tulsa Trail Elementary School in Hopatcong learn life skills alongside math, language arts, speech, and art during their Cafe Kids course. Each child is responsible for a job at the cafe, and smoothies are one of the favorites on the menu.
Rewind: Convention - In 1853, a group of men organized the New Jersey State Teachers Association, and one year later, they held their first annual meeting. What is now known as the NJEA Convention will conduct the 159th event that has become the world’s largest educational gathering. More than 30,000 educators travel to Atlantic City for professional development. They can choose between hundreds of workshops, presentations by national education experts, a high tech hall where educators share technology tools for the classroom, and rows of vendors that have the latest and greatest in educational materials.
Show #13 March 2 & April 6
Number the Stars - Fifth-grade students at Alan B. Shepard Elementary School in Old Bridge work on a holocaust education project that incorporates character education, art, and language arts. Students read the book Number the Stars and then create paneled works of art called triptychs using historical photos to show how their lives were transformed.
Rewind: Science - Over the past two decades, New Jersey educators have found creative ways to not only teach science, but to inspire children to want to become scientist. From Marsville to the Liberty Science Center, see how teaching science has changed over the years. Classroom Close-up has featured stories on dozens of rocketry and robotics programs, in addition to lessons on Bread Science, Project Egg , archaeological digs, and dozens of science programs that bring the parents back to school. Don’t miss the mad science lab, Buehler Challenger, Culinology, Girls Rock Science and Zombie Apocalypse.
Authors & Educators - Many educators are also authors. Former Haddonfield teacher and author of "The Silver Linings Playbook," Matthew Quick joins current and retired educators to discuss balancing writing with teaching and how each inform the other.
Take a Vet to School – There is no better way to learn about Veteran’s Day than to spend time with a real veteran. The students at Toms River's Hooper Avenue Elementary School celebrate Veterans' Day by inviting veterans into their school to share their stories of service. The program begins with students and veterans participating in a flag-raising ceremony. Then the veterans - who have served in World War II, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, among other conflicts - visit classrooms to tell their stories and answer students' questions.
Show #14 March 9 & April 13
Helping Drew - Pre-K and Kindergarten students at Teaneck's Bryant Elementary School get an early anti-bullying lesson from a teacher-produced puppet show called "Helping Drew". Elementary school educator Alex Ishkanian combines his passion for the performing arts and his education background to create engaging, dramatic program for elementary-school-aged students. Watch a clip of "Helping Drew" at www.upinarms.biz.
Career Choices - Middlesex County Vocational School staff are giving eighth-grade students a sneak peak at the possibilities for their professional futures through the Career Choices program. The program brings middle school students to the vocational school for a 90-day rotation through three distinct areas: digital media technology, construction technology, and food and health technology.
Rock-n-Roll Shop Class - Mercer County Teacher of the Year Michael Friedman introduces his eighth-grade students at Albert E. Grice Middle School, Hamilton Township to the rock-n-roll side of shop class by teaching them how to make their own guitars. Friedman and his students built a "Restore the Shore" themed guitar with his students that they are currently working to get autographed by celebrities. They hope to auction it off to help raise funds for Sandy relief efforts.
Rewind: Reading - Since the day schools were first created, reading has been a staple. Over the past two decades, educators have worked hard to come up with ways to get children hooked on reading. In this Rewind, we’ll look back at just a sampling of the creative reading programs in public schools across the state. Read Across America is one of the most popular reading events that is celebrated nationally. Parental involvement is also a great way to make sure children succeed in reading. Take a look at Literature Links, Pirate Night, and Book Pals. Meet Sister Sadie, and watch children read with iPads.