Monday, December 28, 2009

Keep Skills Sharp During Winter Break

Help your child stay at the top of his learning game during the holiday vacation — no flashcards involved!  By Kristen Finello  from Scholastic website.
Winter break means a well-deserved reprieve from homework and daily obligations. "Just as we adults cherish our vacation days, students need a break from their routines to recharge," says elementary school expert Lawrence L. Smith, Ph.D., acting associate dean for the teachers college at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Still, before you know it, the holidays will be over and it will be back to the bus stop. To prepare for a smooth re-entry and a successful second semester, don't let school skills like reading, writing, and math slide completely during winter vacation. "We want kids to read, do some writing and some math," says Smith. But not to worry: "All of these can be done in fun ways from shopping to cooking to playing games." Try these family-friendly activities:
Read for pleasure. Whether your child is in the mood for holiday stories like The Night Before Christmas or the newest installment from his favorite series, winter break provides the perfect opportunity to stash schoolbooks and read for fun. Encourage relatives to give books as holiday gifts or gather in front of the fire (big kids too!) to take turns reading from classic tales. After reading, ask questions such as, "What was your favorite part? What part didn't you like?" Smith suggests.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Update from "LINKS" (P.S./I.S. 217 The Roosevelt Island School Newsletter)

"Class K003 at The Roosevelt Island School is wrapping up their personal narrative/small moments unit. The students have been adding details and emotions to their stories.  Look for their latest published stories on the class bulletin board.

In reading, K003 students have been working on retells and talking about characters in their books. In math, students have been playing many addition games and working on their doubles facts as well as combinations of 10.  They are looking forward to sharing these games with their parents in January (more information to come!)

In Social Studies, students have been discussing holidays and traditions.  Thank you to all the parents that have volunteered their time to come in and share their family traditions with the class.  December has been a very busy month.  K003 saw the Nutcracker at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and made gingerbread houses in the classroom.  Thank you again to all the parents for their continuous help and support.  Have a wonderful holiday and see you in 2010!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Day of School at The Roosevelt Island School G&T Class!

Can you believe the first half of the school year is already over?  It's very impressive how much children at the G&T class at The Roosevelt Island School learned during these months.  At the same time Ms.C. did a wonderful job keeping her little students interested in studying: they love coming to her class every day.  Looking forward to another great year of learning in 2010!

Please respond to the Foreign Language Program survey, which was distributed via backpacks, as soon as possible, if you haven't done so yet.  Your input is vital to get the program started as early as the beginning of 2010!  Please take time to provide the PTA with information, so that our children would have another exciting after-school enrichment activity - learning second, and for some even third, language next year!

Thank you for amazing worksheets that you've submitted for our Winter Recess Homework Packet!  What a talented group of parents we have in this class!  No wonder that you came up with so many creative activities to entertain our children during the Winter Recess.

Thank you, again, for your continued contributions to our class, and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Winter Holidays Around the World" Social Studies Workshop at The Roosevelt Island School G&T Class: Russian New Year

Students at K003 G&T class at The Roosevelt Island School had fun while learning about Russian New Year (Novyj God) on Tuesday, December 22nd.  Perfect timing for talking about snow, frost, and Siberia, given recent snowstorm here in the NYC!  Children learned about Grandpa Frost (Dedushka Moroz) and his granddaughter Snegourochka (Snow maiden), listened to Sviridov's "Snowstorm" musical illustrations, and even made snowflakes and snow bunnies costumes!

Here is one of the videos children watched in class during the Russian New Year presentation:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Library Update

Sylvia Vilabrera / Librarian "We listen to stories based on the theme of the month.  K003 sometimes spots an interesting book on display and I will usually honor their request".

December's theme of the month was "The snow".  So kids got to read plenty of books on this topic.

Students of the Month

December students of the month in K003 G&T class at The Roosevelt Island School are Anja and Maya. Congratulations!

The Principal and teachers handed out the certificates to the students at the auditorium.  Lower grades did a great job at singing the school song which they've performed at the Winter Concert before - "P.S. 217 is the place to be!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Week's Highlights at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented

- Monday, December 21th @9:35 am - Student of the Month Assembly: Anja and Maya will receive the awards this month.
- Tuesday, December 22nd @10:15 am - Winter holidays presentations - Novyj God (Russian New Year): Yuriy (Sophia's dad) will come to class to talk about this Russian holiday.
- Tuesday, December 22nd:  Last day to submit your worksheets for our Winter Recess Homework Packet.
- Wednesday, December 23rd - Mystery Reader: Alexis (Max's mom) will read to the students, and do a craft with them!
- Thursday, December 24th-Friday, January 1st - Winter Recess: NO SCHOOLl!  The school will reopen on Monday, January 4th.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mystery Reader Update

A wonderful update from Talia, Xavier's mom, who was the Mystery Reader in the G&T K003 class at The Roosevelt Island School on Friday, December 19th. 

"Dear Parents,

On Friday, I was the "mystery reader" of the week. I brought Baby Bernardo with me. He is almost 7 months old. The children were very excited to have him in the class, and he seems to have loved being in the class too. A lot of the children present that day seem to have a younger sibling, and they wanted to tell me all about him/her!

Because Xavier (Palma) loves dinosaurs as well as eating, I read "Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe" by Brian Moses, illustrated by Garry Parsons, and "How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?" by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague. Both are humorous and rhymed. The children were very attentive.

Here is a review of each book:
"Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe": PreSchool-Grade 3–A bouncy, boisterous, colorfully illustrated story. Several prehistoric beasts are sitting down to enjoy their snacks at the Dinosaur Cafe when along comes Tyrannosaurus, who is not satisfied with gobbling and gulping up menus–he wants meat! Iguanadon sneaks away to phone Terry Triceratops for help. With cacophonous commotion, Terry and the other dinosaurs knock down, jump on, and tickle the bully until he leaves. Afterward, the victorious friends regale each other with battle tales. The picture-book crowd will delight in the tumult and turmoil included here. Pair this title with Bernard Mosts ABC T-Rex (Harcourt, 2000) and Tony Mittons Dinosaurumpus! (Scholastic, 2003) for an energetic, spirited storytime.–Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA
"How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?": PreSchool-Grade 2–Another addition to the humorous series that began with How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? (Scholastic, 2000). In the first part of the book, dinosaurs burp, belch, and display all kinds of other inappropriate behaviors during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Spinosaurus doesn't eat all his food...[he spits] out his broccoli partially chewed. Quetzalcoatlus fusses, fidgets, and squirms in his chair in a restaurant, while Amargasaurus flips his spaghetti high into the air. But, is this the way that dinosaurs should act? Of course not. So, a very genteel Cryolophosaurus says please and thank you while sitting very still, Lambeosaurus tries everything at least once, and Spinosaurus never drops anything onto the floor. In the last image, a very proper Cryolophosaurus–with pinky in the air–daintily eats his pancakes. The book is great fun, and sure to be popular with dinosaur lovers. Hidden in the illustration on each page is the proper name of the reptile portrayed therein. Teague's gouache-and-ink illustrations contain just the right amount of detail and whimsy, and they are large enough for storytime sharing. Children not yet old enough to read will still enjoy looking at the pictures by themselves.–Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Recess Homework Package

Only four days until the Winter Recess, much-anticipated family time!  But two weeks is a very long time for kindergarteners, so lets help each other keep our children in the learning mindset!  Please remember about worksheets for our Winter Recess Homework Package.  Submit them by Tuesday, December 22nd the latest, so that we have time to make copies and distribute them!

Hopefully we all will get to enjoy the snow this weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making Gingerbread Houses at The Roosevelt Island School G&T Class

We had so many parents helping with making gingerbread houses at K003 Gifted and Talented Class in The Roosevelt Island School on December 17th!  Thank you for coming and sharing these fun moments with the children.

Both students and parents enjoyed the process of constructing and decorating the gingerbread houses tremendously.  Ms.C. was a pro - so prepared and organized!  The building process was fun, very messy, and a lot of the "raw materials" were eaten - icing and M&Ms were particularly popular among our little constructors.  What a great way to raise the holiday spirit!

You can find more pictures in our unlisted photo-blog. Email to request an invitation to view this album if you haven't received one yet.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Foreign Language Program Discussion at The Roosevelt Island School PTA Meeting

At the PTA Meeting in P.S./I.S. 217 on Thursday, December 17th, we discussed again foreign language program for the lower grades at The Roosevelt Island School.   Parents are extremely interested in starting this enrichment activity in January 2010 - next month.  They expressed their thoughts to the PTA board, speaking specifically about various language preferences.  While Spanish was noted as the language currently taught in the upper grades of P.S./I.S. 217, the school has a long history of teaching French, and many teaching materials are still available to support this program.  Overall, parents at the PTA meeting stated that they do not have a strong preference for a particular language, as long as foreign language program is available for their children as soon as possible.

The proposed foreign language classes will begin early next year (January-February 2010) as an after-school program for grades from Kindergarten to K3, and our choices of languages currently include Spanish and French.  The PTA President is currently in the process of negotiating budgeting and scheduling issues with the school administration.  The PTA will survey the parent body to get a better idea of how we, the parents, want this program to proceed, and will share the final decision sometime before the end of the year.

It was great to see some of you at the meeting, your presence and active participation in the PTA is very valuable!

December Birthday Lunch with the Principal

Now all students in The Roosevelt Island School G&T class turned five. Our class has two students born in December - congratulations to Renee and Zara! Kids from all grades received congratulations from the school Principal, sang "Happy Birthday" song, and enjoyed pizza, cake and juice at the cafeteria.

If you have not received an invitation to view pictures from the school celebration in our photo-blog, please email to request one!

REMINDER: Next month birthday lunch is on Wednesday, January 27th @1:30 pm. If you want help with setting up for the event, please come earlier @1:15 pm.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Redecorating the Hallway at The Roosevelt Island School

School Leadership Team and the PTA are currently working on updating, renovating, and redecorating The Roosevelt Island School entrance and hallways.  You can already see new boards and art on the walls.  The school building itself is so beautiful, it provides the perfect environment to showcase the amazing work of the students at P.S./I.S. 217.  The main floor hallway has bold and spacious architectural design that has dramatic visual impact similar to some Museum of Modern Art exhibits.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Winter Holidays Around the World" Social Studies Workshop at The Roosevelt Island School G&T Class

Students at K003 G&T class at The Roosevelt Island School loved hearing about Hanukkah and Ethiopian New Year (Enqutatash) this week. We are fortunate to have families from so many different backgrounds in the class! The main point of the "Winter Holidays Around the World" Social Studies workshop is not only to introduce children to cultural diversity, but also to bring parents to class and show kids how serious we are about their education. As those parents who have already volunteered know, your child is so proud of seeing you in THEIR class!

During this winter season children will also learn about Russian New Year, Chinese New Year, and Three Kings Day. If you haven't scheduled your visit to class yet, please contact Ms. C. to do so. Thank you for your continued contributions to our class! It benefits so much from increased parental involvement -- a very important part of all successful G&T programs!

And here's one of the videos that we watched in class during the Ethiopian New Year presentation. Children loved dressing up in traditional Ethiopian clothing, playing drums, and dancing to this music!

Monday, December 14, 2009

This Week's Highlights at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented

- Monday, December 14th @10:15 am - Winter holidays presentations - Hanukkah (The Festival of Lights): Micka (Shai's mom) will come to class to talk about this Jewish holiday.
- Tuesday, December 15th @10:15 am - Winter holidays presentations - Ethiopian New Year: Olga (Sophia's mom) will tell the children about New Year celebrations in this African culture.
- Wednesday, December 16th @1:30 pm - December "Lunch with the Principal" Birthday Celebration:
We'll be celebrating birthdays for December. All volunteers are expected to be at the Cafeteria by 1:15 pm to help set up the event.
- Thursday, December 17th @8:45 am - PTA General Meeting:
Childcare will be provided, please plan on attending.
- Thursday, December 17th @1:30 pm - Making gingerbread houses in class: Let the teacher know if you will come to help with this exciting project!

- Friday, December 18th @12:30 pm - Mystery Reader
Talia (Xavier's mom) will read to children in class.
- This week's sight words are: HAD, OUT, ONE, WOULD, DON'T - please practice these words daily with your child in addition to their assigned homework. Children will have a sight word test on Friday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Students of the Month

November students of the month in K003 class at The Roosevelt Island School are Max and Renee. Congratulations!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Small Moment" Stories

Students in class K003 of The Roosevelt Island School have started publishing their "Small Moments" stories. They learned how some big ideas for stories are "watermelon sized" and smaller ones are "seed sized". Each student came up with a watermelon idea first and then choose a seed from it. Then they followed the writing process:

Step 1: Think/Plan
Step 2: Write/Draw
Step 3: Revise/Edit
Step 4: Publish/Share

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Nutcracker Field Trip Roosevelt Island School G&T Class

For many of us winter season does not feel right without seeing The Nutcracker. It was wonderful to watch children get to know or meet again with the beloved characters from the Land of Sweets! Sugar Plum fairy, Mouse King, and of course Clara and the Nutcracker went on their magic trip once again accompanied by the amazing Tchaikovsky music. Actors from the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center did a nice job at making the story easy to follow even for kindergartners, obviously not equipped with enough patience to seat through the regular 3-hour long ballet show.

You can find more pictures in our unlisted photo-blog. Email to request an invitation to view this album if you haven't received one yet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Concert Gift Basket Raffle at The Roosevelt Island School

We had so many people enter in our Winter Concert Gift Basket Raffle at The Roosevelt Island school! Every class did a wonderful job putting together an amazing gift basket, the PTA appreciates how much effort parents invested in this process. The Winter Concert raffle is one of our most important fundraisers of the year - raising school spirit and money, - thank you for participating in it!

Ms. Beckman, the Principal, drew the winning tickets at the raffle after the Winter Concert. One of the raffle baskets went to the parents from our Gifted and Talented class! Congratulations to the parents of Xavier T. - lucky winners of the "Toys, Arts, and Crafts" basket!

A letter from Kristi T., who oversaw the Raffle:

"Dear parents,
I wanted to personally thank all of you who participated in raising funds for the Music & Arts program at our holiday concert. Whether you donated an item for a raffle basket, money for an item, bought raffle tickets, sold raffle tickets or gave a donation at the door, all of these helped to make this fundraiser a success.
Thanks to all of your efforts we were able to raise $1,077 for the Music & Arts program at our school. We are so grateful for your generosity and dedication to the school!

Thank you again.
Kristi T.
1st Vice President, PTA"

2009 Winter Concert at the Roosevelt Island School

2009 Winter Concert at The Roosevelt Island School on Wednesday, December 9th, was a great success! This year we had almost 300 of kids on our school new Auditorium stage as group and individual performers. Children from all grades practiced hard for the concert, and it was great to see so many talented students from The Roosevelt Island School perform at this fantastic event! Kindergarteners, first, and second graders gave a touching performance as a chorus.

Students from the middle school were amazing, playing like professional symphonic bands. We thank Music Director Harold Solow who put so much work into organising this wonderful Winter Concert, all the talented performers, and supportive audience who made this night so memorable!

The Concert provides critical funds to support P.S./I.S. 217 in-school music program. Thank you for your generous admittance donations!

As always, you can view more pictures in K003 unlisted photoblog. Email if you have not received your invitation to view this album.

Gingerbread Houses

On Thursday, December 17th kindergartners will be making gingerbread houses in class. The teachers will supply the paper plates, cellophane and ribbon. Please donate one or more of the following items to the class so that children have all the materials needed to make their gingerbread houses.

Let the teacher know if you will come next Thursday to help with this exciting project! The items on the list are expected by Wednesday, December 16th, please bring the ones that are highlighted in the paper copy of this note sent home via backpack.

Materials Needed:
- Graham Crackers
- Vanilla Frosting
- M&M's
- Gumdrops
- Peppermint Candies
- Miniature Candy Canes
- Miniature Marshmallows
- Any other candy for decorating the houses (NO CANDY WITH NUTS PLEASE!)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Computer Lab Update

Jeanne Powers/Computer Lab Instructor:

"We use website Starfall to work on letter sounds, word groups and reading. We have been learning about hibernation and migration on BrainPopJr. We practice our keyboarding with Type To Learn Jr."

Reading Response Game

With Reading Response a part of the weekly homework packet, we all want to make sure that after completing a book our children can recall and evaluate the information. Following board game is suggested by New York City School Volunteer Program to increase kindergartners' reading comprehension.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Public Safety Alert

According to the Public Safety report released on December 4/5 anonymous male was noticed taking pictures of the children from our school. Information from the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation website: "Investigation - Anonymous male taking photos P.S. 217 school kids. PSD /Public Safety Department/ responded, male took off in his vehicle. School Safety and NYPD Notified."

It is great to know that our school is located in the safest zip code to live in New York City. Situations like this remind us of the small community feel that Roosevelt Island is famous for. I can think of dozens schools in NYC where an incident like this would go completely unnoticed, but here, at The Roosevelt Island School, any suspicious person is quickly detected and reported to the authorities.

This Week's Highlights at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented

- Winter Concert: Wednesday, December 9th @5:30 pm
Children should arrive and get ready starting 5 pm, please remember about the dress code. Kindergarten-2nd grade performance at the annual concert starts at 5:30 pm. Suggested donation for parents at the door is $5, but you're welcome to contribute more. Enter PTA Raffle for a chance to win one of the gift baskets, tickets will be sold before the concert - $2 a ticket, or $10 for a book of 6 tickets.

- School Leadership Team Meeting: Friday, December 11th @7:30 am
The School Leadership Team puts together the school’s comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP), a document that details the school’s goals and strategies for the following year based on the current academic year’s progress. Everyone is welcome to join the meeting.

- School Trip: Friday, December 11th @10:15 am
We are seeing a winter classic - one of the all-time favourite timeless ballets and definitely the most popular ballet among children - The Nutcracker, accompanied by Tchaikovsky's famous score. The performance is complete with narration so even the youngest members of the audience can follow along.

LaGuardia Performing Arts Center website: "Clara travels with the help of music and dance and imagination. Her godfather, the mystical clock maker, Herr Drosselmeyer, is the one responsible for sending Clara on this exotic trip across time with the Nutcracker Prince. Get an injection of holiday cheer, as Clara, Old Drosselmeyer, and the Nutcracker Prince take a frolicking musical journey that happens only once a year."

All chaperones must be at school by 10:15 am, the show begins at 11:30 am. We will be getting to the show a 1/2 hour early and will be having lunch at the theatre. If you cannot provide a bag lunch for your child, let the teacher know so she can have the school provide a bag lunch.

- This weeks sight words are: NOT, JUST, OFF, I'M, BY - please practice these words daily with your child in addition to their assigned homework. Children will have a sight word test on Friday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

News From the Gym

Corey Luce/Coach: "We just finished up with scooters in Physical Education. We are about to start parachute activities which deal with team work, building upper body strength, and spacial awareness. After parachute activities we will be getting into fundamental and complex movements."

Complex physical movements, such as sports, martial arts or dancing, require a lot of practice to become automatic, because they need to be learned consciously. Children of all ages benefit from physical activity outside their school gym. Non-competitive, fun activities, individual or team sports, using outdoor toys, tend to improve Kindergatners physical learning.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Movie Night at The Roosevelt Island School

It was great to see so many children and parents at the movie night on Friday, December 4th! Kids loved the popcorn and the more relaxed discipline than in a movie theater, while the adults got a chance to socialize over wonderful snacks.

It was the first time our school hosted a movie night, but surely not the last one. We've collected enough money to cover the cost of the Public Performance Site License for the entire year! Which means all future proceeds from the movie nights will be pure profit for the PTA, and will help finance more of the great in-school programs for our kids.

Let the PTA know, if you have any movie suggestions or want to help with organizing the event or donate food for it! Your donations of time, food, money, and, of course, spirit are critical. With school budget cuts a sad reality, it is more important than ever that we continue to support our school in any way we can to provide the educational environment we want for our children.

Music Class Update

As all of us know, children spent several weeks rehearsing for the Winter Concert, hope to see you there Wednesday, December 9th @5:30 pm!

Harold Solow/Music Director:
"Students are preparing for Winter Concert. Knowing which clothes to wear, what to eat before a Concert, being on time, and singing with full voices. Most students are being very excited about the concert."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Canned Food Drive at The Roosevelt Island School

Last year, New York City public school children collected more than 225,000 pounds of food! This fall and winter promise to be especially challenging for struggling households in New York City. From Monday, December 7th through Friday, December 11th - "Kids Can Help Week" at P.S./I.S.217. Please bring non-perishable canned goods to Ms. Lauraine in the main office. Cans will be donated to City Harvest.

Most-needed foods:
- canned fruit
- canned vegetables
- peanut butter (plustic jurs)
- mac and cheese (packaged)
- hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)

Family Movie Night at The Roosevelt Island School (P.S./I.S. 217) Featuring "Up"

The PTA is inviting children from Pre-K to K-3, their parents, and siblings to the Family Movie Night TONIGHT @6:30 pm. The cost is $5 per person, snacks and drinks for kids & refreshments for adults are provided at the school cafeteria. Featured movie - Up! Most (if not all) of us have already seen it, but it's a wonderful cartoon, fun time for the kids, and an important fundraising opportunity for the school, so please try to be there!

December Holidays at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented

Throughout the month our children will be learning about December holidays around the world. Ms.C. asks parents to come and talk about different holiday traditions from their cultures.

Great opportunity to become part of our children's classroom! For those of us who were born in the US: why not come and talk about your ancestors' culture? Kids would love to learn about German, Swedish, Irish, British or any other traditions! Feel free to be creative - bring props, pictures, or do a Power Point presentations (slide shows) with photos and/or videos, think of some game or activity that would be fun for them.

Please email Ms.C. to coordinate dates and times.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Learning Leaders

Learning Leaders offers free teaching sessions for parents of elementary school children. The program is primarily intended for volunteers, who would afterwards come and help teachers at their respective schools. Even if you do not have time for volunteering, I strongly urge you to attend this program, because it provides valuable information for any parents, not just the ones who volunteer.

There are four 2.5-hour sessions held at the downtown office of Learning Leaders (2 minute walk from Fulton street subway station):
- introduction / working with children;
- helping with reading;
- helping with writing;
- helping with math.

At the end you receive a book with lots of great teaching ideas and games. Those who complete the application form and obtain 2 reference letters available for downloading from Learning Leaders website, also receive a badge that grants them access to P.S.217 during school hours and allows to volunteer if they choose to do so.

The next 4-classes session for elementary school parents is in January @10 am - 12:30 pm on:
Tuesday, Jan. 19 & Thursday, Jan.21
Tuesday, Jan. 26 & Thursday, Jan. 28

You can sign up for these classes with Ms. Lauraine (parent coordinator) at the school main office.

Winter Concert Gift Basket Raffle at The Roosevelt Island School

All proceeds go towards our school's music program!

Enter to win one of 5 theme gift baskets:
Toys and Arts & Crafts (A)
Baking Supplies (B)
Family Game Night (C)
Gourmet Food (D)
Home Spa (E)

Price: $2.00 per ticket or a book of 6 for $10

Raffle tickets are available in the main office and will be sold after school starting this Wednesday, December 2nd at the entrance of the school. Indicate your prize choice on the ticket stub and return in with payment (check or cash). Checks can be made out to PS/IS 217 PTA. Envelopes can be dropped in the raffle box in the main office or sent to school in your child’s backpack. Please write “PTA raffle” on the envelope so that it goes to the right place.

The drawing will be held after the winter concert on Wednesday, December 9th. You do not need to be present to win so please sell to your family and friends!!!

Raffle tickets were sent home via backpack last week and additional raffle tickets can be obtained by e-mailing Please include your child’s name, class and teacher in the e-mail and we will send home the tickets via your child’s backpack.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented Classroom

Finally some pictures from the wonderful classroom of the Gifted and Talented K003 class in The Roosevelt Island School.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dress Attire for Winter Concert at The Roosevelt Island School

REMINDER: Winter Concert is next Wednesday, December 9th @5:30 pm.

According to the Music Director's note all children should wear:
- black socks
- black shoes or boots
- white shirts or sweaters
- black dress pants (or long black skirts for girls)
- a long black tie for boys

At the PTA meeting administration representatives mentioned that black dress alone (without white shirt) is also appropriate for the girls, as long as they don't wear any other colour. However, they wanted to verify this information and send the update / clarification later through the class parents. Not sure what happened here, we did not get any updates so far.

UPDATE: boys are NOT required to wear black ties, and girls are allowed to wear black dresses without white shirts.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Guest Speaker at the Roosevelt Island School PTA Meeting

At the PTA meeting at The Roosevelt Island School on November 19th, 2009 guest speaker Steve DeMeo gave presentation "Differentiated Learning, Differentiated Teaching: What It Means for Parents?" As a P.S./I.S. 217 student's parent and Associate Professor of Science Education at Hunter College holding a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Steve advises parents to:
- Follow up on homework.
- Check math/science work, and encourage seeking alternative methods of checking.
- Use "WSD" strategy for reading books: Write it out (summarize), Say it (put in other words, retell), Draw it (put in another modality).
- Work through word problems, and embedding qualitative and quantitative concepts.  Beware of memorizing algorithms without understanding the meaning of the foundational concepts.
- Involve kids in cooking - get boys in the kitchen too!  Following recipes prepares children to learning lab procedures later in their physics and chemistry classes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Lunch at The Roosevelt Island School

It was great to see so many of you at the annual Thanksgiving Lunch for the Kindergarten! The school once again satisfied our turkey cravings by organizing the Thanksgiving celebration. The corn bread and pies were delicious and we thank all of you who participated by cooking or buying and giving the food to P.S./I.S. 217 for this feast!

As always, you can view the pictures in our photo-blog. If you have not received an invitation, please email to request one!

Much-anticipated and rehearsed "Turkey Song" performance:

Monday, November 23, 2009

New York City Kindergarten Science Scope & Sequence

Below is the NYC Kindergarten Science Scope & Sequence for the second third of the school year provided by the Department of Education. Gifted and Talented acceleration will be provided in The Roosevelt Island School K003 class through curriculum compacting and differentiation of instruction to maximize learning for advanced students. As part of this module students in K003 class will complete in-class interactive activities to support inquiry-based learning.
Exploring properties
How do we observe and describe objects?
Observe and describe physical objects using all of the appropriate senses:
- Size, shape, texture, weight, color, etc.
- Determine whether objects are alike or different
Observe and describe physical properties of objects using appropriate tools:
- Hot/cold (thermometer)
- Weight (pan balance)
- Measurement (nonstandard units) including bigger/smaller, more/less, capacity of liquids
- Observations (hand lenses)
Observe, describe, and identify the properties of materials (e.g., wood, plastic, metal)
Sort or group objects according to their properties:
- Texture, color, shape, etc.
- Sink and float
Complete New York State Elementary Science Core Curriculum is available online.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Queens Botanical Garden Trip

Throughout November our children have been studying the trees. They have learned the parts of trees, what trees need to live and why trees are important to people and animals.

A school trip to the Queens Botanical Garden was a perfect way to reinforce their understanding. Children had a guided tour of the Garden, observed different types of trees, and had a seminar on parts of the trees and their role in our lives. They even surprised the instructor with their knowledge of such words as "photosynthesis" and "chlorophyll"! Kids were particularly excited to see mini-trees in the pots with familiar names - coffee, banana, avocado and to plant the tangerine seeds to hopefully grow the trees of their own.

As usually, you can view all the pictures from this trip in our photo-blog. If you have not received an invitation to view this album, please email to request it!

Please join the class as a chaperon on the next trip to see the Nutcracker on December 11th!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November Birthday Lunch with the Principal

Our class has three students born in November - congratulations to Anja, Xavier, and Sophia! Kids received congratulations from the school Principal and enjoyed pizza, cake and juice at the cafeteria.

If you have not received an invitation to view pictures from the school celebration in our photo-blog, please email to request one!

REMINDER: Next month birthday lunch is on Wednesday, December 16 @1:30 pm. If you want help with setting up for the event, please come earlier - around 1:15 pm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update from "LINKS" (P.S./I.S. 217 The Roosevelt Island School Newsletter)

Class K003 has published their first personal narrative. They are continuing to write stories from their lives and will begin to write “small moment” stories.

In reading they have learned a variety of strategies to read new words. They are now working in guided reading groups to improve their fluency and comprehension.

In math they have finished their unit on Numeration and are beginning Sorting and Patterning with many open ended activities for the students to push their critical thinking and reasoning.

They have already become scientists this month and are studying the trees of Roosevelt Island. They have learned the parts of trees, what trees need to live and why trees are important to people and animals. This unit will continue throughout November.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Parents/Teacher Conference at P.S./I.S. 217 Gifted and Talented

As a part of the Parents/Teacher Conference this week at The Roosevelt Island School G&T class, we had a wonderful meeting with our teacher. Ms.C. have kept us updated throughout the school year, and during the conference she was able to devote each parent as much time as they needed to discuss their child's progress because our class is so small. We reviewed the report cards, and the teacher was very clear and specific about what is expected of the children in the gifted and talented program. You can see some scans of the categories the children in P.S. 217 are evaluated on at the bottom of this posting. We have also received separate report cards on how the students are doing in their "Special Areas" classes - music, arts, gym, computer lab, and library studies.

The parents I had a chance to talk to, myself included, are extremely pleased with the new Gifted and Talented program in The Roosevelt Island School. Our children learned so much during these first few months in the classroom! It's amazing to see how their writing, reading, math, and reasoning skills progressed in group of such talented peers.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Breakfast with the Principal at The Roosevelt Island School

Parents from the gifted and talented class in The Roosevelt Island School (P.S./I.S. 217) had a chance to discuss the school budged and this year's school goals during breakfast with the Principal on Friday, November 6th. The Principal emphasized once again importance of the teachers' professional development, illustrating how it has benefitted the students in our school and helped the administration to make school-wide changes. All teachers in The Roosevelt Island School have masters degrees, or currently working on obtaining one. Great to know our children have highly qualified teachers, who receive annual training from professional teaching coaches!

Ms.Beckman told us about high involvement expected of the parents, and named numerous successful projects completed jointly by the school administration and Parent-Teacher-Association. The Principal also discussed various ideas about increasing parents' role in the school life.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Students of the Month

October students of the month in K003 class at The Roosevelt Island School are Zara and Shai. Congratulations!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Spirit Week at The Roosevelt Island School

The Spirit week on October 26-30 at The Roosevelt Island School was a huge success. The students enjoyed coming to school in their pajamas, representing their favorite teams, wearing our school colors of purple and gold or a school shirt and dressing up for Halloween.

Children in the gifted and talented program especially loved Pajamas Day. They also had amazing Halloween costumes. Congratulations to the winner of the costume contest - Xavier T.!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Celebration & Fundraiser at The Roosevelt Island School

Annual Halloween Fun House/Costume Party at The Roosevelt Island School was another successful community celebration.  The PTA is grateful to the many community organizations and volunteers who partnered with P.S./I.S. 217 to make this event possible!  A special thank you to the firefighters, the Seniors, Parents and others who volunteered their time to man the event.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October Birthday Lunch with the Principal

Our class has a student born in October - congratulations to David! Kids received congratulations from the school Principal and enjoyed pizza, cake and juice at the cafeteria.

REMINDER: Next month birthday lunch is on Wednesday, November 18 @1:30 pm. If you want help with setting up for the event, please come earlier - around 1:15 pm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New York City Kindergarten Social Studies Scope & Sequence

Below is the NYC Kindergarten Social Studies Scope & Sequence for the months of November and December provided by the Department of Education.  Gifted and Talented acceleration will be provided in The Roosevelt Island School K003 class through curriculum compacting and differentiation of instruction to maximize learning for advanced students. As part of this module students in K003 class will have "Winter Holidays Around the World" Social Studies Workshops, where parents from different backgrounds will share their culture's traditions, and thus illustrate cultural diversity for the children.  To enhance children's understanding of holidays and traditions, students will also participate in class creative projects (e.g. create ginger-bread houses), and see the Nutcracker ballet.


Essential Question:  How are people unique?
Identity and Diversity:
- All people share common characteristics

- All people have needs (food, clothing, shelter) and wants (toys, games, treats)
- Needs and wants are satisfied in a variety of ways
- People are diverse
- People are unique
People can be characterized by:
- gender (boy, girl)
- physical characteristics (height,eye and hair color, age)
- ethnicity/culture (Spanish, Jewish, African-American, etc.)
- language (English, Korean, Arabic, Spanish, etc.)
- beliefs (cultural beliefs, religion)
Developing Identity:
- Culture
- Family values
- School, teachers
- Friends
- Environment
Self as Learner:
- Learning is important
- People learn in different ways
- People learn from families and teachers
- People have various talents and abilities
- People change and grow as learners
Developing Civic Awareness:
- Students help each other in many ways
- Considerate classmates are good citizens
- Being a citizen involves rights and responsibilities
- Communities/organizations identify/elect leaders

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mystery Readers

Our Mystery Readers initiative is shaping up to be a success!

This is such a great volunteering opportunity for all, if you work, stay at home, are a mom or a dad! Thank you to all our Mystery Readers for coming to class and reading to our children!

REMINDER: Fridays @12:30 pm

10/23 Steven & Marcia (Elijah's parents)
11/6 Yuriy (Sophia's dad))
11/13 Rebecca (Maya's mom)
11/20 Cari (Lilli's mom)
12/4 Micka (Shai's mom)
12/18 Talia (Xavier P's mom)
1/8 Colette (Zara's mom)
1/22 Janine (Olivia’s mom)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Harold and The Purple Crayon

Children are going to see "Harold and the Purple Crayon" at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Here's the information about this show from the LAGCC website:

"One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.” So begins Harold and the Purple Crayon, the first of seven delightful picture books by Crockett Johnson, following the zany adventures of an inventive young boy.

Enchantment Theatre’s production will take your school and family audiences on a wild ride as Harold jets to Mars (shooting stars, space ships!), joins a circus (he walks a tightrope!) and meets a king in an enchanted garden (of course, there’s a dragon). The “Harold” books have captivated families for more than fifty years, celebrating the imagination of children and the unique way they see the world.

Using all the elements of its signature style, which combines life-size puppets, masks, magic and music, Enchantment’s production will delight and amaze your audiences, from children starting at Harold’s age, all the way up to grandparents — anyone, in fact, whose heart is young and adventurous."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Professional Development Presentation at The Roosevelt Island School PTA Meeting

In response to some of the parents query and concerns in the previous PTA meeting regarding the budget allocated for professional development, The Roosevelt Island School selected two of its teachers to give a detailed explanation of how the professional development program has vastly improved the learning capacities of the students as well as the teachers skills in teaching.

Ms. Feldman (2nd grade teacher) presented the PTA with an overview of the work that she has done and discussed how she was happy with the development of the students in her class, a result, which she has attributed to the implementation of professional development training. Ms. Feldman showed us examples of her students' work to illustrate great improvement in reading, writing and comprehension, as well as mathematics.

Ms. Rubenstein (4th grade teacher) stated that the professional development program focuses on the Judy Davis Guidelines for the training.  The guidelines have helped in making teachers' work more innovative, exciting and challenging for all the subjects.  It provided teachers with a lot of teaching techniques to make their subjects more interesting to the students.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Update from "LINKS" (P.S./I.S. 217 The Roosevelt Island School Newsletter)

K003 class is working on establishing good reading habits. They are reading independently and with partners on a daily basis and increasing their reading stamina each day.

In writer’s workshop they are writing stories from their lives.

In Fundations they are practicing letter sounds so that they all know the sounds automatically to sound out new words and improving their handwriting.

In math the class has been focusing on daily math routines and have begun their unit on Numeration.

They are looking forward to a great year together!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Parent Meet and Greet at The Roosevelt Island School

It was great to see all parents of the children from Gifted and Talented class in The Roosevelt Island School at the "New Parent Meet and Greet" meeting! Parents from our K003 class are just as talented as their kids. They are highly educated, ambitious, very enthusiastic about their children's education, and looking to find more ways to participate in the school life. During our group meeting with the G&T class teacher we learned about Ms.C's teaching philosophy, our children's curriculum in reading and math, her approach to differentiating between kids' with different talents at the same classroom. So far, parents were very pleased with the way G&T program is developing in P.S. 217. Our children progressed tremendously since the beginning of the school year, their reading and writing skills improved so much, and their creativity is obviously encouraged in the classroom. Children love their weekly homework, and even ask for more activities that their teacher is glad to provide.

At the general PTA meeting the Principal told us that this year P.S./I.S. 217 is building upon the last years school goals which included more communication with the families, working with teachers on developing their skills of differentiated instruction so they can needs of every individual student, and to examine small learning groups within and across grade levels to further challenge the students.

Ms. Beckman told us that this year again, the teachers will be working with outside consultants who will provide the Roosevelt Island School staff with professional development. It is key for the success of any school to continue to provide on going training to staff, that they can implement in their classrooms. The Principal explained to us how Professional Development comes in the form of the consultants observing in classrooms, meeting with grade levels to plan, co-teaching lessons in classrooms, providing teachers’ feedback and focusing on the school goal of differentiated instruction. Professional developers will be using many professional texts with P.S./I.S. 217 staff to further their expertise. The Principal thanked the PTA for helping to fund professional developers in the school this year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Curriculum Night at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented Class

Reading Workshop - (Shared Reading, Independent/Partner Reading, Guided Reading, Read Aloud and Word Study) - students will learn a variety of strategies to decode new words and read books. They will also learn comprehension, fluency and stamina.

Writing Workshop - (Shared Writing, Interactive Writing and Independent Writing) - students will learn to write in a variety of genres including personal narratives, non-fiction, poetry and letter writing.

Fundations - students will review letters/sounds, hone handwriting skills and practice how to sound out and spell new words.

Math - "Everyday Math" units include: Numeration, Patterns and Sorting, Geometry, Measurement, Data, Operations and Computation, Time and Money.

Social Studies - Social Studies units include: Our School Community, Holidays/Traditions and Our Neighborhood.

Science - Science units include: Trees, Animals, Properties and the Life cycle of the Butterfly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New York City Kindergarten Science Scope & Sequence

Below is the NYC Kindergarten Science Scope & Sequence for the first third of the school year provided by the Department of Education. Gifted and Talented acceleration will be provided in The Roosevelt Island School K003 class through curriculum compacting and differentiation of instruction to maximize learning for advanced students.  As part of this module students in K003 class will visit Queens Botanical Garden to facilitate studies of ecosystems, and grow their own plants from seeds in class to support project-based learning.

Trees through the seasons
What are some changes we see in trees during the year?
Identify the basic needs of organisms to live and thrive:
- Needs of plants to live and thrive (e.g. air, water, light)
- Living things grow and change.
Observe and compare the different structures that enable each plant to live and thrive:
- Roots, leaves, stems, flowers, seeds.
Observe adaptations of plants:
- Plants respond to changes in the environment including seasonal changes such as:
   - Leaves falling in autumn and forming in springtime
   - Flowers blooming

Complete New York State Elementary Science Core Curriculum is available online.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Monthly "Lunch with the Principal" Birthday Celebration at The Roosevelt Island School

This year, the PTA is implementing a new Birthday Celebration tradition. Each month, instead of having in-class celebrations, all children whose birthdays occur within the same month will have a birthday celebration pizza lunch with the Principal. Below is the monthly calendar. Please email the PTA if you would like to volunteer to set up or clean up after any of these events. Monthly lunches are always held on Wednesdays @1:30 pm at the P.S./I.S. 217 cafeteria.

September & August birthdays: September 23rd
October birthdays: October 28th
November birthdays: November18th
December birthdays: December 16th
January birthdays: January 27th
February birthdays: February 24th
March birthdays: March 24th
April birthdays: April 21st
May birthdays: May 26th
June & July birthdays: June 16th

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SMART Goals at The Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented Program

We met our teacher, who once again highlighted some goals and methods that are applied in Gifted and Talented class at The Roosevelt Island School. Accelerated literacy, math, and science program incorporate many interactive activities. Individualized instruction provides opportunities to promote development of G&T students' higher order thinking skills, and encourage multi-disciplinary approach to learning.

Part of the school philosophy at The Roosevelt Island School is setting up SMART Goals. Throughout the school year, students in K003 G&T class at P.S./I.S. 217 will also be setting "SMART" goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. Each student will be setting goals in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies to enhance their interests and facilitate project-based learning.

Many parents were concerned about differentiation in the classroom. Ms.C. told us that daily lessons will be differentiated in order to meet the needs of all G&T students based on their interest, ability, and learning styles. To celebrate the talent in all students, and maximize learning for advance learners in the G&T program, lessons will be modified by content, process and product.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New York City Kindergarten Social Studies Scope & Sequence

Below is the NYC Kindergarten Social Studies Scope & Sequence for the months of September and October provided by the Department of Education.  Gifted and Talented acceleration will be provided in The Roosevelt Island School K003 class through curriculum compacting and differentiation of instruction to maximize learning for advanced students.


Essential Question:  What is a school and what does it mean to be a good citizen of a school community?
The school and classroom community:
- Classrooms are organized for students learning
- A classroom has rules for all to follow
- Rules are important
- Children have classroom responsibilities
- Members of a classroom deserve to be heard and deserve respect
- Teachers are important to classrooms
- Teachers help students learn
- Schools are special purpose buildings
- A school community helps children learn
- Many people work in schools and have different jobs and responsibilities
- A school community helps in many ways (health, etc.)
- A school is made up of diverse people and students
- Members of the school community deserve to be heard and deserve respect
- School communities have missions, special songs, mottos
- Schools have rules for all to follow
Community geography:
- Places in the classroom can be located using directions
- Places in the school and neighborhood can be located using directions
- Schools are located in neighborhoods
- A school and community/neighborhood can be located on a map
Citizenship and Communities:
- People can be citizens of the school, neighborhood, and the United States
- Being a citizen involves right and responsibilities
- Schools, neighborhoods, cities are part of The United States
- The flag is an important symbol of the U.S.
- U.S. residents recite the Pledge of Allegiance
- U.S. residents share special songs ("The Star Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful")
- U.S. residents celebrate national holidays (Independence Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc.)
- U.S. residents have rules and laws
- The President is the leader of the U.S.
- Washington, D.C., is the capital of the U.S.

2009/2010 PTA General Meeting Schedule at The Roosevelt Island School

Thursday, September 17th @6:15 pm
Thursday, October 15th @8:45 am
Thursday, November 19th @6:15 am
Thursday, December 17th @8:45 am
Thursday, January 21st @6:15 pm
Thursday, February 11th @8:45 am
Thursday, March 11th @6:15 pm
Thursday, April 15th @8:45 am
Thursday, May 20th @6:15 pm
Thursday, June 10th @8:45 am

Please make every effort to attend; your participation is key in making this school year a success!
To contact PTA email:
Keep informed, visit PTA website

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009-2010 The Roosevelt Island School Calendar

Monday, September 28 - Yom Kippur - No School
Monday, October 12 - Columbus Day - No School
Tuesday, November 3 - Election Day - No School
Tuesday, November 10 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
Thursday, November 26-Friday, November 27- Thanksgiving Recess - No School
Monday, November 30 - School reopens
Thursday, December 24-Friday, January 1 - Winter Recess - No School
Monday, January 4 - School reopens
Monday, January 18 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School
Monday, February 15-Friday, Feb 19 - Midwinter Recess - No School
Tuesday, March 16 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
Monday, March 29-Tuesday, April 6 - Spring Recess - No School
Wednesday, April 7 - School reopens
Monday, May 31 - Memorial Day - No School
Thursday, June 10 - Chancellor’s Conference Day
Monday, June 28 - Last day for all students

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Great Expectations

For the future reference, NYC Department of Education guidelines for each grade level. Personally, I feel like we as an accelerated program should aim high. These guides outline what is expected of the student by the end of the first grade. You can check out the ones for the Kindergarten and other grades on-line at Great Expectations section or pick up your paper copy by the school main entrance.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

G&T Program Started at The Roosevelt Island School

Gifted and Talented program in The Roosevelt Island School (P.S./I.S. 217) is up to a great start! With only 14 students in the K003 class this year our children will get lots of individual attention and support. Our teacher Ms.C. is experienced, caring, well-prepared, and very enthusiastic about teaching G&T kids.

The Roosevelt Island School is an amazing facility - the building itself is beautiful, very spacious, clean, and located right next to the East river. School playground is very large compared to the schools I've toured in Manhattan, and P.S./I.S. 217 boasts new gym and state-of-the-art auditorium. Not to mention spacious computer lab, music and arts classes. The kindergarten classroom itself for the Gifted and Talented class is big, bright, and is well-equipped with learning materials for the most inquisitive and creative young minds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Welcome to the Roosevelt Island School Gifted and Talented Class Parents Blog!

Welcome parents to the Roosevelt Island School (P.S./I.S. 217) gifted and talented program blog! In case you are wondering, mysterious "RIGANDT" stands for Roosevelt Island Gifted AND Talented. I will try to keep this blog updated with the current information from our children's classroom as well as from the school PTA and administration.

If you want to submit something to this blog, please email it to, I'd be happy to post it up! The blog is a work in progress, so any suggestions or ideas for improving it are welcome!

Looking forward to working with all of you during the school year!

Olga (Sophia's mom).


All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed by Parent Bloggers do not reflect those of the P.S./I.S. 217 or any employee thereof. The Roosevelt Island School is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied here. Parent Bloggers may keep updating old posts on a regular basis and are not bound to explicitly state all corrections made.