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A Hearty Thank You to Heroes

A Hearty Thank You to Heroes photo

A Thanksgiving tradition continued at South Grove Elementary School as students and staff said thanks to local firefighters, police officers, veterans and members of the American Legion with a celebration and feast in the school kindergarten/grade 1 annex. Dressed in various costumes, students entertained their heroes by performing the “Turkey Twist” under the direction of music teacher Dr. Kathleen Conklin.  The students also performed using American Sign Language. Christina Mancuso, the school’s developmental reading specialist and lead teacher, coordinated the event. Board of Education members and central administrators were also invited to show their gratitude to these community heroes. The school also held a Thanksgiving feast in the main building for children in grades 2-5.

Literary Café

First grade Literary Café members are having a great time engaging in literacy activities. Each session students come to Mrs. Stottler’s classroom to “order” a literacy activity off of their Literary Café menu: reading fiction, reading nonfiction, creative writing, writing with a prompt, Chromebook activities, listening activities, book talk, and more! The Literary Café has been a relaxed, yet productive, way for students to interact, learn and think creatively.

Pick A Reading Partner

As part of our Pick a Reading Partner program this year, the PTA arranged for author Dan Gutman to come to South Grove for a day. On Friday, October 20th, Dan Gutman was able to come and do assemblies, read alouds, sign books, and spend time with a small group of students for lunch.

South Grove held assemblies for grades 1 & 2 and then 3, 4, & 5 during which Mr. Gutman discussed several of his popular kid series such as My Weird School, Baseball Card Adventures, Flashback Four, and The Genius Files. Mr. Gutman talked with our students about the writing process and how to get started on writing their stories. He also talked to them about it being okay to not be huge fans of reading yet, and that once they find a book that really sparks their interest the love of reading will follow. He also spent time with each Kindergarten class reading aloud from two of his Rappy the Raptor picture books. Rappy the Raptor features a young ‘rapping’ velociraptor who speaks predominantly in rhymes. Our Kindergartners were able to anticipate the upcoming rhymes to read the story along with Mr. Gutman. 

In the weeks leading up to Mr. Gutman’s visit, South Grove held a Dan Gutman poster contest and picked 12 students at random who were able to sit and have lunch with him during his visit. The students, a mix of boys and girls from across all six grades, enjoyed their lunch in the library with Mr. Gutman and asked him different questions ranging from what his favorite books are, where he gets his ideas from, and what he does when he’s not writing. At the end of his visit, Mr. Gutman was able to sign and personalize books to those students whose parents had ordered them from the PTA. Nearly 100 books were ordered and signed for South Grove students and were distributed the following week to them. 

We are so grateful that the PTA was able to get such a wonderful and well-known author to come in to speak to and inspire our students. Many students expressed their excitement leading up to Mr. Gutman’s visit and their increased interest in his stories after hearing from him.

Diwali Brown Bag

South Grove was honored to host a Brown Bag about Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. Several of our very own South Grove moms facilitated this information and crafts Brown Bag. Over 60 students in grades 2 through five opted to participate during their recess time, in lieu of their usual activities. Students briefly heard about the cultural significance of this holiday and then had an opportunity to do a craft. Students enjoyed coloring and applying glitter, while traditional Indian music played in the background. A special thank you to our wonderful parent community, and we welcome your ideas for Brown Bags to enrich all students.

South Grove’s Brown Bag Program offers a variety of optional recess-time experiences throughout the year as part of its Schoolwide Enrichment Program.  


All Hands On Deck: South Grove Celebrates Constitution Day In A Special Way

To jump start the school year in a exciting way, South Grove infused their annual celebration of Constitution Day with many enriching and engaging activities. While the focus was on second grade as part of their civics social studies unit, the entire school played a role. This year the project incorporated the talents of many special area teachers, as part of Syosset School District’s cross-cutting initiative. This initiative seeks to integrate concepts or “big ideas” across the curriculum in order to make learning more meaningful and relevant for students. Here are the highlights of our two-week Constitution Day program:

Second graders participated in a lesson by the enrichment specialist about the United States Constitution and wrote their own personal “constitution” that highlighted their values. This personal reflection was a powerful way to begin the school year. 

Music teachers pushed into the second grade classrooms during social studies to teach second graders the Preamble to the Constitution in song. Students loved this musical touch to their social studies curriculum and seeing their music teachers in this new light.

South Grove also hosted its eighth annual Preamble Challenge. Students in grades 2 - 5 were encouraged to memorize the Preamble to the United States Constitution. Over 30 students were successful reciting the Preamble from memory. 

All interested students in grades 2 through 5 had an opportunity to participate in a Brown Bag during recess to learn about the judicial system from Judge Gina Summa. Over 60 students elected to participate in this informative and interesting presentation in lieu of their usual recess activities. Students enjoyed meeting this acting judge (and parent of a fourth grader) and were fascinated by her artifacts (the gavel was their favorite!).

On September 18th the entire South Grove School came together for a special assembly. We kicked off our character education program and the 2017-2018 Student Council Class representatives and officers were formally installed with the help of the Color Guard, Student Council Advisors, Principal An, and Judge Summa. We also had an extra special guest: Grover! 

For many second graders the grand finale of this two-week initiative was when they “aged” their personal “constitutions” by rubbing them with wet tea bags. This was a fun (and messy) activity that involved many big hands to help the little hands. Teachers from the music, art, world language, and physical education department all pitched in to to ensure that all students were successful.

All hands in made for an exciting program for students. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017