F. E. Bellows Elementary School
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F.E. Bellows Students Revive ‘Life Garden’
F.E. Bellows Elementary School students and parent volunteers worked together to revive the school’s “Life Garden” on April 19, just days before Earth Day. They spent the afternoon pulling weeds, spreading mulch and preparing flower beds.
Over the next several weeks, the students will plant seeds and grow a few vegetables, which they can harvest in the summer. The collaboration to bring the garden back to life was made possible thanks to Principal Michael Scarantino, his staff and members of the PTSA.
“We are all excited about this joint endeavor and cannot thank our parents and PTSA representatives enough for their time and donations,” Scarantino said. “They generously donated items, such as gardening tools and seeds for planting, while Magnoli Landscaping donated the mulch. We’ve already begun discussions for the garden’s use in the fall.”
A Colorful Celebration for Student Creativity
Fifth-graders from F.E. Bellows Elementary School created their own masterpieces when they visited Rye Neck Middle School’s art room for “Paint Night” on March 30. The students were provided with a white canvas, acrylic paint and brushes as they followed step-by-step instructions from art teacher Dara Goodman to paint a “wish flower” with dandelions blowing in the wind.
“This opportunity gave the fifth-graders a feel for what it will be like next year in the middle school art room,” Rye Neck Middle School Principal Eric Lutinski said. “It is a very creative night, filled with fun, friends and food.”
The art department’s “Paint Night” raised money for the high school freshman class. The fundraiser is held twice a year to benefit students as they raise money for their perspective classes.
VIDEO: Makerspace Encourages Exploration
Students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School had the opportunity to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) education in the school’s Makerspace, which encourages open-ended exploration through tinkering, creativity and inquiry.
The students recently worked with MakeyMakey, Dash Robot, Keva Planks and iMovie to collaborate and solve problems. During their visits to the Makerspace, they became engineers, mathematicians and scientists. The Makerspace was piloted by a few classrooms at each grade level this school year, and it will be a flexible learning opportunity for all students during the 2017-18 school year.
For more information about the students’ experience, check out the video by students in Jessica Finney’s fourth-grade class.
Four Rye Neck UFSD Students Selected as Finalists in National Academic Competition
Four Rye Neck Union Free School District students have been chosen as finalists in the prestigious academic competition MathCON, which will be held at the University of Illinois at Chicago on April 22.
F.E Bellows Elementary School fifth-graders Nicolas Ajram and Shuya Watanabe, Rye Neck Middle School eighth-grader Ruby Liebmann and Rye Neck High School sophomore Julian Allison are among the 576 finalists. The daylong event will bring together elementary, middle and high school students who will compete for various prizes, such as mini iPads, gift cards and national prestige, through various math questions and activities.
The competition began with 49,685 applicants from 43 states who took the initial exam to qualify for MathCON. The students who finished in the 99th percentile for their respective grade levels qualified for the finals.
Of the four Rye Neck students, Ajram and Liebmann will travel to Chicago to test their math skills against other students from across the country.
A Day at the Science Museum
The entire fourth-grade class at F.E. Bellows Elementary School went on a field trip to the New York Hall of Science on April 4. The trip provided students with an opportunity to explore exhibits related to many of the concepts they learn about in their classrooms.
They toured the Mars exhibit, Mathematica exhibit, the Athletics exhibit and the Science Fiction, Science Future exhibit among others.
“One of their favorite experiences was the 3-D informational video on chipmunks,” Principal Michael Scarantino said. “They loved all of the interesting facts they didn't know about these little critters.”
Scarantino said the learning opportunity was made possible thanks to the teachers who arranged the visit and the parents who continue to support the school’s field trips.
F.E. Bellows Students Perform with Mazarte Dance Company
Students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School welcomed the Mazarte Dance Company to their school on March 22. As part of the enrichment program, they were invited to dance with the performers.
Renowned for performing and teaching audiences about traditional Mexican dance forms, Mazarte Dance Company members taught students about the rich and artistic traditions of dance and music. They will also provide them with free lessons on April 19 and 26 and May 3, 10 and 17 in the auditorium from 12 – 1 p.m. Parents are welcome to attend the classes. Sign up folders for the dance classes can be found in each classroom.
This program is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the PTSA and the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model.
In addition, students and parents are invited to participate with the Mazarte Dance Company in the 11th annual Dance Parade and Festival event on May 20. Dance Parade New York, which takes place annually in New York City, features more than 10,000 dancers who perform more than 80 styles of traditional and contemporary dance genres.
Participation in the Dance Parade is entirely at the discretion of individual families, and parents would need to register on the Dance Parade website at www.danceparade.org. The Rye Neck Union Free School District is not responsible for transporting or supervising participants.
Dance Parade at F.E. Bellows and Rye Neck Middle School
Students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School and Rye Neck Middle School will participate in a multicultural appreciation and enrichment program when they welcome the Mazarte Dance Company to their schools in March, April and May.
Renowned for performing and teaching audiences about traditional Mexican dance forms, Mazarte Dance Company dancers will teach students about the rich and artistic traditions of dance and music. They will perform a traditional dance at F.E. Bellows Elementary School on March 22 and then provide students with free lessons on April 19 and 26 and May 3, 10 and 17. The group will perform at Rye Neck Middle School on March 30 and teach students how to dance on April 18 and 25 and May 2, 9 and 16. Parents are welcome to attend the performances and classes.
“The purpose of bringing Dance Parade to Rye Neck is to expose students to global cultures through the art of dance,” said Co-Director of Counseling and Guidance Dr. Dr. Valerie Feit, who coordinated the visit. “Around the world, dance is an activity that brings communities together to share and pass on cultural traditions from one generation to the next. When students see dance, hear from those who actively preserve a tradition and then, try the movement themselves, multiple levels of connection and understanding are experienced.”
This program is presented collaboratively between the PTSA Cultural Arts programs and the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model.
In addition, students and parents are invited to participate with the Mazarte Dance Company in the 11th annual Dance Parade and Festival event on May 20. Dance Parade New York, which takes place annually in New York City, features thousands of dancers who perform more than 80 styles of traditional and contemporary dance genres.
For more information, contact Dr. Valerie Feit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
F.E. Bellows Students ‘Wonder’ About the Power of Kindness
F.E. Bellows Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders had a meaningful discussion with author R.J. Palacio when they welcomed her to their school during a Skype session on March 6.
The event, which was generously sponsored by the PTSA, was made possible with assistance from the school’s library media team. The students prepared for the event by reading Palacio’s book “Wonder” in their classes or independently and created posters and display boards to commemorate the visit. They interacted with the author on a big screen in the multipurpose room as she discussed her inspirations behind her book, the writing and editing process, and the power of kindness and its impact on people.
Principal Michael Scarantino will share some of his favorite precepts from the book throughout the week during morning announcements.
F.E. Bellows Elementary School Students Study Marine Life
Third- through fifth-grade students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School took on the roles of scientists as they examined marine wildlife and performed a variety of experiments during a visit from Marine Education Center naturalist Kyle Troy on Feb. 14.
Troy brought in living creatures from the Long Island Sound to educate the students about the different habitat and introduce them to basic environmental science concepts.
“The students learned about the hardiness of sea stars, horseshoe crabs, spider crabs, sea urchins, whelks and hermit crabs,” fifth-grade math and science teacher Nicole Pelosi said. “They talked about the impact from factories and industries upstream and how it affects the fish population.”
The naturalist’s visit coincided with the students’ study of water and the environmental impacts from humans. They’ve been examining the concepts during their Earth Action Team co-curricular enrichment program, which is part of the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model and F.E. Bellows’ Seekers and Solvers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) workshops.
Throughout the Earth Action Team program, the students engaged in a variety of hands-on activities. They collected and tested rainwater and samples from the school’s water fountains and sinks. They also performed experiments to demonstrate how surface tension affects the water’s ability to “stick” to itself and surfaces. In addition, they made models of boats and proposed ways to make them more environmentally friendly.
F.E. Bellows Students Craft Authentic Fictional Stories
F.E. Bellows Elementary School students, who are learning how to craft fictional stories and develop characters as part of their English language arts classes, were treated to a special visit from Jenna Gavigan, a writer and an accomplished Broadway and television actress.
During the interactive workshops, Gavigan assisted the students in creating an authentic story by developing a list of character traits, settings and plots, which required their characters to resolve a conflict or accomplish a goal. Using examples from books they’ve read on their own and in class, the students learned about the important elements of storytelling and character development as they worked together toward a common goal.
"Understanding how stories are constructed and why characters act the way they do in a story is important for students to understand as they learn to write these stories themselves,” said William McKeon, the library media specialist at the school. “Jenna used her life experiences and career accomplishments as a tool to help our students understand the importance of character development in creating a story.”
As a conclusion to the lesson, Gavigan, who graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, will provide the students with a book that contains the story they created together and ask them to illustrate it, which will further enhance their creativity and critical thinking skills.
Gavigan’s visit was generously sponsored by the PTSA.
Rye Neck Teachers, Harlem Wizards to Face Off in
Fundraising Basketball Game
F.E. Bellows Elementary School students were treated to a special visit from Arnold “A-Train” Bernard, an accomplished trickster and member of the Harlem Wizards, who showed off a few dribbling skills and tricks on Jan. 10. His visit generated excitement about an upcoming basketball game between the world-famous Harlem Wizards and a team of Rye Neck teachers and administrators.
Principal Michael Scarantino announced that he and six other F.E. Bellows staff members are among the 22-member team who will take to the basketball court during the major Booster Club fundraising event on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the middle school/high school gymnasium. Scarantino said the game will be less about the score and more about the experience and money raised for the district.
During the show, the Harlem Wizards will generate laughs, deliver a choreographed trick and slam routine, and show off their slick dribbling skills while entertaining the audience. The students will also have a chance for a meet-and-greet with all of the Harlem Wizards basketball players.
For more information, visit www.ryeneck.k12.ny.us/community/booster_club
Robot Teaches F.E. Bellows Students How to Code
F.E. Bellows Elementary School students have been learning how to program a Sphero robot, which is an app-controlled ball, as part of a robotics and coding workshop. During a recent session, the students put their computer science knowledge to the test by programming the robot to move in a triangle.
“This was challenging on many levels because they had to determine the appropriate angles to program the Sphero to turn,” Principal Michael Scarantino said. “During their next session, the students will work in groups to design a maze and program their robots to follow it.”
The program is part of the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model and F.E. Bellows’ Seekers and Solvers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) workshops.
Students Use Imagination During Hour of Code
F.E. Bellows Elementary School students practiced coding in their math and science classes during the Hour of Code, an international event that is a popular feature of Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 5-11.
This introduction to coding and computer programming encouraged the students to choose from a variety of coding activities that helped nurture their creativity and problem-solving skills. Some of the exercises involved a “Star Wars”-based module called “Building a Galaxy with Code,” as well as “Wayfinding with Code” based on the animated Walt Disney movie “Moana.”
“It is important for students to become interested in computer science at an early age,” Principal Michael Scarantino said. “Through our participation in the Hour of Code, we help students understand and appreciate the need for critical thinkers, problem-solvers and engineers who will help shape the future, especially in the area of computer programming.”
Jedd, a fourth-grader in Ellie Speros’ class, said he enjoyed the coding exercises because it felt like he was playing games while learning new skills.
“Students have a great time exploring the various coding tutorials based on their favorite games, shows and movies, which only enhances their engagement and excitement,” Scarantino added.
For more information on the Hour of Code, visit www.hourofcode.com.
‘Do-It-Yourself’: Student Inventors Assemble Bicycle
Third- through fifth-grade students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School took on the roles of engineers and architects when they disassembled and reassembled a bicycle as part of a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Inventors and Makers workshop.
The students worked on the bicycle during lunch and recess and learned how the gears and other assembly parts function to make it move. The program, which is part of the district’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model and F.E. Bellows’ Seekers and Solvers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) workshops, is designed to develop the students’ architectural and technical skills and their ability to think critically and creatively.
“They used Allen keys, a mechanics tool kit, some screws, stickers and wrenches to take apart the bicycle,” Principal Michael Scarantino said. “In their next session, they will clean the parts and put it all back together again.”
As part of the Inventors and Makers workshop, the students are learning the necessary skills to design and build objects and develop basic knowledge of how to safely work with tools. Some of the skills acquired include the use and creation of blueprints, building to scale, measurement drawing and making projects from wood and other materials.
Circus Tricks Take Over F.E. Bellows School
Fourth-grade students at F.E. Bellows Elementary School worked with performers from Cirque du Jour for a week to master a variety of circus tricks. They showed off their newly acquired skills during a special circus performance for classmates, teachers and parents on Nov. 18.
During the interactive workshops, which were generously supported by the PTSA, the students learned juggling, tumbling, balancing and diabolo manipulation, and were given the opportunity to select which skill they’d like to present at the circus performance.
“Students really enjoy Circus Week at Bellows,” Principal Michael Scarantino said. “It’s a nice break from their traditional physical education lessons, but it’s still connected to the curriculum that continuously engages students in activities that are designed to enhance and strengthen their gross and fine motor skills.”
The learning experience also helped build the students’ confidence and enhance their ability to collaborate with peers. In addition, it supported their physical fitness and hand-eye coordination.
The fourth-grade circus performance was held at the middle school/high school campus gym on Nov. 18. All Daniel Warren and F.E. Bellows elementary school families were invited to attend.