By Mrs. Sandi Swerdloff, SSLI Lower School Principal


Friday, March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017
By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal

Dear Schechter Families,

'Twas the week before STREAM 
 Day with much work to be done
Preparing activities for the kids to have fun
With math and science, engineering, music and art
My creative juices were flowing, I needed to start
To gather all the supplies, the posters and more
Then the weather forecast said, a blizzard was in store.
I needed a storm like I needed a "luk ein kup"
But I was determined that the weather wouldn't mess me up.
I packed my bags Monday night and left school
Neither rain nor sleet would prevent our event from being cool.
And as it turned out, the storm was sort of a bust
But work was done at home and  STREAM 
 Day promises to be great, I trust.

There seems to be a common thread with fun activities and Schechter this year. Our Tu B' Sh'vat seder had to be moved in February because of snow and Tuesday we were off from school because of the impending storm. However, as always, we made the best of our day off to ensure that  STREAM Day was going to be a success.

This is the perfect opportunity for me to explain how STREAM Day will work so you can plan you time accordingly. All of the science fair projects will be set up in the main hallway. The students in grades three, four and five will be standing by their projects at 11:15 am ready to present to visitors. Please walk around and see as many displays as possible and ask lots of questions to our presenters. Our students put a tremendous amount of work and effort into their experiments and are really excited to share their findings with you.  As you will see, this was not a small undertaking, but they all did their best work possible, to create a project of excellence.  Their projects all began with a small seed planted by Mrs. Seidman. She explained what steps needed to be taken to work on an experiment that was interesting and informative. The first of which was to think of a driving question and turn that into a hypothesis.  Next, they had to research information about their experiment, plan on the materials needed, figure out the time it would take to get enough data to see if their hypothesis was correct and then they could begin. Throughout the months leading up to Sunday, the students and Mrs. Seidman were always discussing how their projects were progressing and now it is time to see the fruits of their labor.

After the upper grade students present their projects, everyone is invited to participate in the activities in the gym and the science lab.

The gym will have math games and challenges, art activities and a newly designed "Maker Space" where children and adults will have all the materials necessary to think out of the box to build bridges, towers, boats and rockets using straws, marshmallows, craft sticks, spaghetti, index cards, newspapers and many other every-day household items.

Some of the art activities include tile painting, making marbled paper, making foil chamsas, sun catchers and musical instruments. Mad Science of Long Island will be making slime and Dr. Mark Flyer will be on hand to teach us about radiology, x-rays and CAT scans.     

In the Science Lab, Mrs. Seidman and her "scientists in training" will be making elephant's toothpaste, slime and tie-dyed milk. In Mrs. Seidman words, "The messier, the better!"

And speaking of Mrs. Seidman, this is the perfect time to say thank you for  being the wonderful science teacher she is. Her enthusiasm for the subject is contagious and all Schechter students love going to her class doing weekly experiments and participating in global projects such as the Pringle Challenge. Every year Mrs. Seidman promises to make this day better than ever and every year she succeeds!

While I have the chance, I also want to give a HUGE shout-out to our teaching assistant, Ms. Rikki Chaskes, who has taken this day and practically adopted it as her own. This is Ms. Chaskes' first year working at our school and therefore when I mentioned the event to her she did not know what it was all about. However, that did not last long. From the moment I explained the day and told her that this year I wanted to add different art/math/science activities, she took the ball and ran with it. Almost every Monday morning she would walk into school with samples of the art projects she worked on over the weekend. She is an extremely talented teacher who has degrees in elementary education and art and gives 100 percent of herself to everything she does. She has been my right and left hand and a tremendous asset incorporating a dynamic new dimension to STREAM  Day.  Together, we sat and planned art activities, gathered supplies, culled ideas and developed a special project that every student will play a part in creating. This final project, which will be a surprise until Sunday promises to be a part of Schechter for years to come. Thank You, Ms. Chaskes, for your boundless energy, devotion and creativity and for being an outstanding addition to the Schechter School of Long Island.  

In year's past, at Family Math and Science Day, now called STREAM Day, I would make hundreds of copies of materials to be distributed to students and parents. They were booklets with interesting and challenging activities for all family members. This year, in trying to be more ecologically aware, I made the decision to upload many of the resources to our Schechter website for easy access. These math and science resources are now just a click away for you to enjoy. In order to view them, click on this link.

Please join us on STREAM Day for a few hours filled with activities across the curriculum that focus on Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, the Arts and Math.

 Click for STREAM registration information

On Thursday, the fourth grade students celebrated Colonial Day. The students came to school dressed as children in colonial times. The boys were wearing knickers and the girls wore long skirts. They brought in apples for the teachers and couldn't wait to start the day. Class parents joined Mrs. Leyden and Mrs. Morris and helped facilitate the six different stations the students were going to rotate through. At each station, there was a colonial themed activity where the children had an opportunity to create artifacts from years ago. At station one the children made hornbooks and used their calligraphy skills to write down sample phrases. At station two the students solved math problems relating to colonial times and were able to work either individually or with a partner. An ABC book was created at station three. The students chose a letter and decorated it. Then they were asked to draw a picture of something from colonial times that began with that letter and explain what it was. For example: P is for PETTICOATS. Petticoats were fluffy skirts that women wore underneath their dresses to make their dresses look more full. When all the letters were complete, a class ABC book was created.

Station four was where the students compared and contrasted life during colonial times and today. Using a Venn diagram the students wrote down similarities, differences and things that were the same. Each student had to write something that was not written down previously and that took a lot of thinking, but they thought carefully and were successful at the task.

Using graph paper at station five, the students created a sampler of their name or their initials. Working slowly and carefully, they drew authentic designs to make their cross-stitch samplers resemble ones that may have been made long ago.

As we all know, no celebration is ever complete without a little food. The fourth grade students had an opportunity to make creamy butter to spread on top of corn muffins that were provided by Mrs. Leyden. Using heavy cream and a little salt, the students took turns shaking the cream filled jar until the cream turned into the consistency of butter and a delicious time was had by all. Thank you to Mrs. Leyden and Mrs. Morris for bringing history to life and for giving their students a fun and educational experience that will last a lifetime. 

Click here for additional photos of 4th Grade's Colonial Day

Last Thursday, we welcomed our shinshinim, Maya and Neta, back from their mid-winter break. They flew home to Israel to be with their families and tell them all about their experiences in the United States and at Schechter. They both said that while it was wonderful to be home, they missed our kids and teachers and were happy to return to school. We welcomed them back with a huge banner which was signed by every student, "freilich" morning dancing to start the day and a group photo that they couldn't wait to share with their family and friends.     

This week has been very busy and full of excitement and it was such a pleasure to take a breather and welcome Shabbat with special guest Rabbi, Michael Mishkin of Temple Beth Israel in Port Washington. Rabbi Mishkin spoke about this week's Torah portion and told us about one of Moshe Rabaino's most important leadership skills. After arguing with God about saving the Jewish people, he realized that their future depended on him.  From Moshe we learn that we are responsible for each other. We should not wait for the other to help someone in need. We all need to do our part by being upstanders and by taking responsibility for fixing our world.  

I wish you all a creative and artistic week filled with the joy of coming together to share wonderful experiences with family and friends. 


Shabbat Shalom.

Sandi Swerdloff
Principal, Lower School   
Posted in March 2017


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