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STEAM Skills Beat the Trickiness of Leprechauns


Leprechauns don’t stand a chance against the STEAM skills of kindergarten students. The young inventors used science, technology, engineering, artand math skills to create leprechaun traps. Hoping the leprechauns would lead them to a pot of gold, the traps used all the things the students thought would attract the mythical creatures in Irish folklore.

Teachers and students read books about leprechauns that taught them that these little bearded men love mischief, shiny objects and rainbows. They used this knowledge to build traps from cardboard boxes that contained glitter, slides and rainbow collages. Some even had beds inside to keep the leprechauns happy once caught.

Ann MacArthur Primary School teacher Candice Pellicane said the kindergarten classes have been learning about problem-solving with academic work and real-world situations. The students have learned to plan out the solution to their problem before designing it.

“This project not only prompted them to use the problem-solving skills they have learned in kindergarten, but also required them to use higher-order thinking,” Ms. Pellicane said. “It is amazing to watch the students really communicate with their peers and for us as educators to be able to see their thinking process.”

Ms. Pellicane said that the students faced challenges when building the traps that they had planned out on paper. This required them to figure out what was wrong with their plan and how to correct the problem.

Bayville Primary School teacher Kelsey Burns had her students build the leprechaun traps using the same method of planning it out on paper first. She said that the project was a wonderful way to incorporate the STEAM curriculum into a hands-on activity. Her class worked in groups of four to create each trap, and as they presented their finished products to the rest of the class, they shared the challenges and the successes they had while doing the actual building.

“My students learned to take a step back and evaluate their plans to see what they could do better,” Ms. Burns said. “In the end, they all felt their traps would catch the leprechauns!”


Author Offers Writing Inspiration

Visiting author poses with students and teachers.
Author Joe McGee stood in front of Bayville Elementary School students and asked them to close their eyes and imagine a yellow room with a table and a red tablecloth and a cage with a fuzzy, white bunny.
“I just created an image in all of your heads,” Mr. McGee said. “That is the magic of storytelling.” He told the auditorium full of students that storytellers are like magicians. “We take words and create characters, and it’s like magic.”
Mr. McGee visited Bayville Primary and Intermediate Schools for Author’s Day, sponsored by the Bayville PTA in coordination with the schools’ librarians Paige Coppola and Stefanie Lipsey.
Ms. Lipsey said that having an author visit and talk to the children about writing encourages them to write more. “They see firsthand how writing can be fun, and they learn tricks of the trade that they can use in the classroom,” she said.
“My goal is for each of you to use your imagination,” Mr. McGee said. He went on to explain that ideas come from observing, daydreaming, being curious, reading, playing, listening and asking “What if?” He said asking questions and finding the answers helps in writing amazing stories. “Anything you want to do, you can absolutely do it,” he said.
After sharing details on how he became a writer, including that he started writing his own stories in fourth grade, Mr. McGee read his book, “Peanut Butter & Aliens.” 

Many thanks to the Bayville PTA for bringing this special guest to Bayville Elementary Schools!

100 Days of Learning

Four girls are dressed like 100-year-old ladies.

Primary school students can count to 100 by fives, tens and twenties and they proved it during assemblies celebrating the 100th day of school at Ann MacArthur and Bayville Primary Schools.

Students in kindergarten through second grade sang songs that included counting to 100, listened to a story about the 100th day of school and celebrated the number 100. The 100th student to enter the school that day, students who were present for all 100 days of school and those that correctly guessed the number of treats in a jar were all recognized. 

“While the 100th day of school may not be an official holiday, it is an opportunity to reinforce math skills through collaboration with reading, music and movement,” said Locust Valley Elementary Schools Principal Dr. Sophia Gary.

Reading Aloud Benefits All

Two students at a table reading a book
On World Read Aloud Day, celebrated on Feb. 1, some classes from Bayville Primary School and Bayville Intermediate School joined together to celebrate. Victoria Shishkoff brought her first-graders down the hill to the intermediate school and joined Marie Fonzo’s class. Lori Pace’s third-grade class partnered with Dani Schatz’s second-grade class and the four classes celebrated reading.

The students sat in pairs as the older children read books to the younger children, both groups learning and gaining from the experience. 

“The activity made my students feel very important and special,” Ms. Shishkoff said. “The older students were excited, kind and nurturing. It was a wonderful sight to see! My class couldn’t stop talking about the third-graders the rest of the day.” 

She also explained the benefits in developing a crossover and collaboration between teachers at both schools so the younger children become comfortable and familiar with the faces when it’s time to move down to the big school. 

Ms. Fonzo said the event was just as rewarding for her class. “This activity allowed third-grade students to become mentors to their younger peers. They felt a feeling of pride and accomplishment as the roots of our school community deepened.”

Students Rocking Kindness

Studens and teachers pose with rocks
Spreading kindness is commonplace at Bayville Primary School, as the students and staff are dedicated to bucket filling, a philosophy that uses a bucket as a metaphor for a person’s feelings. The students learn that kind acts fill the bucket of the recipient and the giver. Unkind acts deplete buckets.
Maggie Holz, an Individual Needs teacher, worked with one of the school’s occupational therapists, Alison Milligan, on a special project that would fill the buckets of strangers around the community. First- and second-graders in Ms. Holz’s class created kindness rocks to leave in the community for residents to find.
The students used colorful permanent markers to decorate the rocks and write uplifting messages. They brought the rocks home and were encouraged to hide them in the community for random people to discover. They learned that even though they may never know who found their rocks, they could feel good knowing they made someone smile.
Besides teaching them to be kind, the activity helped to build many skills, including eye-hand coordination, graphomotor skills, strategic planning, visual perceptual skills, problem-solving, following multistep directions and spatial organization.
“While our students are constantly reminded of how we can choose to fill each other’s buckets on a daily basis, we are teaching about how significant of an impact a random act of kindness can make on the recipient, and even people who hear about it,” Ms. Holz said.