By Mrs. Sandi Swerdloff, SSLI Lower School Principal


Friday, March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018
By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal

Dear Schechter Families,

Where do I begin? Sunday's STREAM Day was definitely one of the most special days of this year. Overnight, the school was turned into a science, technology, research, engineering, art and music happening. Over 300 students and parents came to see our annual Science Fair projects proudly presented by our resident third, fourth and fifth grade scientists. This year's projects were well planned, well executed, creative and scientifically detailed. Visitors were amazed at how poised and comfortable our students were as they explained their driving questions, hypotheses, experiments and conclusions. All of this would not have been possible without the guidance of their sensational science teacher, Mrs. Charlene Seidman. Mrs. Seidman has perfected the Science Fair project by giving the students scaffolded directions to ensure that the projects can be completed in a timely manner without undue stress on students and parents alike. Each grade focuses on a different branch of science on which to base their experiments. Third graders focused on Life and Social Science, the study of life, and students learned about botany, genetics, medicine and psychology. fourth graders focused on Earth Science, the study of the earth, its composition and changing aspects and the fifth-grade students focused on Physical Science, which involves any of the natural sciences dealing with inanimate matter or energy.

This project begins in January when the only requirement is for the students to think about experiments that are of interest to them. They are encouraged to phrase their questions so they read, "What would happen if..." For example, "What would happen of plants didn't get any sunlight? Or What would happen if I used different sized magnets to attract an object?" The next step is for the students to state their driving question and design their hypothesis. Students then gather their materials, test their hypotheses and record their observations. The final step for this project is for the students to record their data, draw a conclusion and create their presentation boards. When the boards are brought into school, Mrs. Seidman spends time having the students present their experiments to their classmates and fielding any questions they are asked. The culminating moment for this project is when the students present their findings and engage their audience by speaking with strong, clear, confident voices. As I walked around the hallway and listened to the students' presentation, I marveled at their maturity and proudly acknowledged the wonderful job done by Mrs. Seidman grooming the next generation of scientists, botanists, physicists and geneticists of the future.

In addition to viewing the Science Fair Projects, students and parents had a fantastic time visiting the Science Lab where Mrs. Seidman, assisted by Mrs. Goldstein, had hands-on experiments waiting to be explored. Students made Schechter Slime, Elephant Toothpaste, Blobs in a Bottle, Not Air Balloons, Tin Foil Boats, Tie-Dye Milk, and Black Magic. Students and parents delved right into their favorite activities and within minutes sounds of excitement were emanating through the hallway. As Mrs. Seidman always says, "The messier the experiment, the happier the kids". And trust me they came out of the Science Lab messy, happy and with smiles on their faces. Helping Mrs. Seidman in the Lab were science enthusiasts from our upper school: Zach M., Ethan G., Sami G., Ari S., Talia B., Shoshana B., Meira D., Leo S., and Sean S.

And now a word about the excitement that filled the gym.

Schechter students were fortunate to welcome representatives from the Town on Oyster Bay who joined us to talk about the new recycling program initiated this year. Thanks to parent, Jeff Pravato, Deputy Commissioner of Public Works in the town of Oyster Bay for bringing Town Supervisor, Joseph Saladino, Dan Pearl, Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Resources and Jamie Van Dyke, who is the head of single stream education and outreach for the Town. The students were thrilled to be part of the photos taken by the photographer and promised to do all they can to put plastic, paper and glass into the yellow town recycling bins that are in our hallways.    

At the Art and Music Center, Ms. Rikki Chaskes and Mrs. Elana Stern were on hand helping the children create Spinning Disks, Tile Trivets, Stained Glass Picture Frames and Aquarium Snow Globes, Creative Jewelry, Water Bottle Wind Spirals, Musical Shakers, Drums, Flutes and Maracas. A huge thank you to Alyssa and Paul Chaskes for their help in guiding our students construct their art and music artifacts.

At a separate center SSLI art teacher, Ms. Joy Gatto, was helping students and parents create a square to be a part of our schoolwide STREAM Day Fraction Collaborative Quilt. To create a square each participant chose triangles of varying colors and sizes and were asked to create a design using one of three levels of intricacy; beginners, intermediate and advanced. At the beginner's level, the children chose 8 large triangles; 4 in one color and 4 in another. At the intermediate level they chose 4 large triangles in one color and then 4 small triangles in a second color and 4 small triangles in a third color. At the advanced level, students chose 4 small triangles in four different colors. They arranged the triangles on an 8" square to create a design, and when they were satisfied with the results they glued the triangles down. Any students who did not have a chance to make a square on Sunday, will have an opportunity to make one during art. When all of the squares are finished we will put them together to form one large quilt which will be displayed in the front lobby.

In our Maker Space area students and parents had the opportunity to be creative constructing the largest cookie towers, building popsicle structures such as boats and bridges that would support substantial weight, three dimensional figures using marshmallows and toothpicks, building garages and making parachutes and a host of other activities. Helping the children construct their architectural designs in the Maker Space were Ben F. and Jake G.

Other activities that were on the tables for everyone to enjoy were Estimation Station, Tantalizing Tangrams, Great Geoboards, Math Power Towers, Clip Clues, House of Cards, Fraction Action, Dazzling Dominoes, Electric Company Quizzes, Book Nook, Math Board Games and Measurement Madness.

And if all that wasn't enough, children were clamoring around the Mad Science of Long Island table to make a cup of slime or goo. Dr. Mark Flyer brought his X-Ray machine and showed the students x-rays of the different bones in the body. He explained how to read an x-ray to determine if a bone was broken and the students were mesmerized by listening to what he had to say. Upper school students helping with these activities were Maya R. and Gillian L.

And last, but certainly not least, Albert Einstein was at our photo booth to take pictures with our students, parents and grandparents. Running the photo booth was Jenna Ostrove, Dave's daughter, who did a wonderful job capturing the happiness on everyone's faces.  

Click here for more Photo Booth Pictures

In year's past, I would photocopy additional math and science material that I wanted to send home for parents and children to enjoy. In an effort to save trees and be more ecologically aware, I created a link on our school website where I uploaded almost 200 pages of activities for children of all ages. To access these activities, click here. 

STREAM Day would not be possible without the help of some very special people and I would be remiss if I didn't publicly thank them. To Roy and John, thank you for setting up tables, blowing up pencils, beach balls and dice, schlepping materials, hanging up more signs in the gym than are on the Long Island Expressway and for cleaning up the gym and putting it back together so that our students could celebrate Havdalah Monday morning.

To our teachers, Rikki Chaskes, Joy Gatto, Rosalie Goldstein, Guila Marrache, Stacy Morris, Charlene Seidman, Adele Spickler and Elana Stern for their support on Sunday ensuring that the day was a success.

And a HUGE thank you to my partner in crime, Dave Ostrove who allows me to ask a million questions and who consistently strives to make this day bigger and better every year. This day would never happen without his technological expertise. He set up the Estimation Station with iPads to ensure that the winning results would be tabulated in a timely manner. He set up the photo booth so that the pictures were printed and delivered in record time and he is the unsung angel behind the prizes, ensuring that every child goes home happy.  

Enjoy additional photos of STREAM Day here

Click for additional photos

The second Spring Parent-Teacher Conferences were held Thursday morning and while parents were meeting with teachers in the classrooms, the children had a morning of specials. Starting at 8:15 they rotated every 40 minutes from one special to another. Ms. Chaskes was in the Art room and she had the students do a mitzvah project. "Smile in a Bag" started in 2002, by a family who wanted to teach their children about the importance of helping others. While talking about how powerful a smile can be to a child in the hospital they decided to deliver smiles through fun activity bags. They started delivering bags in July, 2002 and currently donate 75 activity bags per month to NYU Winthrop Hospital Children's Medical Center. Each bag contains 5 items and a handwritten, brightly colored message card saying, "I hope you enjoy the bag". The students took their time and thoughtfully decided on the items to put in the bags which included one book, one toy, one arts and crafts item, bubbles, and then they chose one additional toy, craft, journal or activity book. Special thanks to Ms. Chaskes and her family for generously donating all the supplies.


It is hard to believe that Passover is just a few weeks away. Please note that the date of the schoolwide-seder has been changed. We will have our model seder on TUESDAY morning, March 27th led by Rabbi Joel Levenson. The students will read the words of the Haggadah, sing all of the familiar songs, learn about special Sephardic, Moroccan and Persian customs and conclude with the singing of Chad Gadya. When the seder is over the students will have their "festive meal" which will be lunch and culminate the morning with recess. Once again, our Schechter Haggadah will be available for purchase. Each copy is $18. If you are interested, please click on this link to reserve your copies. To see a complete version of the Haggadah click here.


Last week two of our students, Sara R. And Shir L. played the piano for the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA). At the NYSSMA festivals students are given a performance evaluation that involves playing a graded solo from the NYSSMA Manual, playing scales and sight reading. They performed before an adjudicator and received a written report on their presentation. This was Sara's first time participating and the second time for Shir and they both received praising comments along with ratings of excellent and outstanding. Sara played Helicopter Ride by Nevin and Shir played Clowns by Kabelevsky. They proudly played their pieces for us during Kabbalat Shabbat and received a thunderous applause for their performance.

Click here to enjoy the performances.

Our Guest Darshan this week was Rabbi Cara Rosenthal, mom of Sara and Eli and our third grade Rabbi- in-Residence. Rabbi Rosenthal spoke about the four special Shabbatot leading up to Pesach and taught us a way to remember them. She said when she was in Rabbinical school her teacher taught her to remember these four special Shabbatot by thinking of the letter "M". The first, Shabbat Shelqalim, is about giving a sheckel (Money) towards the building of the mishkan. The second, Shabbat Zakhor, is to remember (Memory) our time as slaves in Egypt. The third, Shabbat Parah, is about the ritual of purification which involves a cow so we think of the word (Moo) to help us remember. And the fourth, Shabbat Ha-Chodesh, reminds us of the first Month we were free. Thank you, Rabbi Rosenthal, for a Memorable Kabbalat Shabbat in the Merry Month of March! For additional photos of Kabbalat Shabbat click here

Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with the joyful sounds of music.

Shabbat Shalom,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Sandi Swerdloff
Principal, Lower School
Posted in March 2018


Search by Keyword(s):
(separate multiples with a comma)

Recent Posts

3/16/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
3/9/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
3/2/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
2/16/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
2/9/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
2/2/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
1/26/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
1/19/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
1/12/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal
1/5/18 - By Sandi Swerdloff, Lower School Principal