Wednesday, February 24, 2016

BOCES and Island Trees Students Come Together by Mrs. Taffet

BOCES and Island Trees Students Come Together
by Mrs. Taffet, BOCES Teacher

Every month, students in Mrs. Taffet's class vote on a different country to study. They make foods from our chosen country, listen to their music and art, and learn other simple facts about life in other cultures. When 6th graders from Mr Esposito's class came to work with Mrs. Taffet's class this week, as they do every day during their short period, they brought their Chromebooks and helped Mrs. Taffet's students look up lots of fun facts about Spain. Other students from Ms. Longhway's class helped us color Spanish flags. They made Spanish Rice in the Home & Careers room. And next week, they will take a trip to a Spanish Restaurant to sample some authentic Spanish food. It's been really fun for the students to collaborate and learn about Spain, Russia, El Salvador and America so far this year!

Mrs. Romano's Classroom Technology

Ms. Romano Classroom Technology
By: Thomas Hennessy & Gregory Ioannides

“Technology is something I’ve had in my classroom ever since I started teaching.” Ms. Romano has been teaching for 4 years now, and started out as a computer teacher.  Her goal was to have her own classroom and have a better relation with her students. What makes Ms. Romano unique is how she incorporates fun technology into her daily lessons. One of the cool things she does is a virtual field trip. This is having a video chat with an outside source. For example, they could FaceTime with someone who works for a museum, and have that person show them around it, instead of going there themselves. Another cool thing she does is plickers, plickers is a piece of paper, which you flip to the side with the correct answer (question showed on board) and with an app she could tell how all of her kids scored. Lastly, Ms. Romano also does something called Quizizz. This is cool because the kids are able to make their own quizzes and test themselves. This is great because the kids can go at their own pace and time, without the pressure of being rushed by a time limit. The kids are able to play each other’s quizzes, and if you get them wrong, you get deducted on the leaderboard. In conclusion, Ms. Romano finds unique and interesting ways to blend technology and learning together.

An Interview with Mr. Groneman

Mr. Groneman: The One and Only
Image result for jeremy groneman

  1. How long have you been teaching? This year is my 9th year teaching.
  2. What is your favorite subject to teach? I love to teach all subjects but I personally enjoy science.
  3. About how long would you say that your nightly homework takes students? I try to give homework that can be done in 30 minutes or less. But I know that Math work can sometimes take students longer if they find it difficult.
  4. How do you find appropriate and fun learning targets for the students? I try to think about what’s most important about a lesson and what would be the most enjoyable way to learn that thing. I like to look online and find out fun ways that other teachers are teaching the same subject.
  5. Did you have a profession before teaching? Lots of  part time jobs, but no other profession.
  6. Have you EVER given out a serious detention to another pupil and meant it? If so, what would you driven yourself to do so? I’ve never given very serious detention. Usually just lunch and recess for missing assignments.
  7. If you had the opportunity to change your job, would you? If so, to what? I love my job because I get to work with children in a meaningful way. I do enjoy working outside with plants in the environment. If I had a second job, it would be something to do with that. Maybe landscape architect or an urban farmer.
  8. What drove you to become a teacher? I love to learn. I think it’s really important for people to try to understand as much as they can about the world they live in. I wanted to be part of that experience for kids. All kids are required by law to attend school. I figured if I was their teacher, they would at least have fun and enjoy learning in the process. Once they find out how awesome it is to learn new things, they will always want to do it. If they keep learning, they can accomplish whatever they want to in life.
  9. How do you think your students view you? I think my students think that I love to learn and that I’m pretty fun. I like being silly in class, it makes for a better learning environment.
  10. How do you teach your students, or what is your aim when you’re teach?  My aim is always to try to convey that learning is important and that no matter how difficult something seems at first, there are ways to make everything understandable. Effort is the most important skill that students can have. And the good news is that it’s within your control! Everyone can choose to try hard, pay attention, and refuse to give up. If they do that, they will grow as a student and as a person.  

Horoscope Column #2: Chinese Zodiac By Sheryl Lin

Horoscope Column #2: Chinese Zodiac
By Sheryl Lin

Hello again, Island Trees! This issue of the Horoscope Column is all about the Chinese Zodiac. This year, 2016, is the year of the Monkey.

So what’s the Chinese Zodiac all about? Basically, it’s a 12-year cycle based on the lunar calendar. Every year gets its own animal. This diagram might help you:
As you can see, there are twelve different animals. They’re the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal has its own personality and unique compatibility with other zodiac animals. This diagram shows you which years belong to which animal; whatever animal your birth year fits into is your Chinese zodiac animal. But watch out: since the Chinese calendar is based on the moon, it’s different from Western years! Chinese New Year is usually mid-February, so if you were born in January you’re probably the past year’s animal.

Now, there’s a story behind the order of the Chinese zodiac. It’s known as the Great Race.

Once upon a time, the emperor of China decided to create some kind of calendar to keep track of time. He told the animals to join in on a swimming race, and that the first twelve animals would get a year of the zodiac named after them.

There’s a whole lot of trickery that these animals use in order to get in front of the others!

  • The rat and the cat ask the kind ox to hitch a ride on his back across the river, and once they get across the rat kicks the cat off. This leaves the rat as the first animal and the ox as the second.
  • The snake coils around the horse’s hoof the entire time, and once the horse makes it across the river the snake jumps out and scares the horse. The snake makes it in sixth and the horse makes it seventh.
  • A raft drifts in carrying the rooster, the monkey and the goat. The rooster was the one that found the raft, and the goat and monkey rowed the raft. The rooster was eighth, the monkey was ninth, and the goat was tenth.

That’s all for today’s edition of the Zodiac Column! Tune in next time for an exploration of Japanese ABO blood types.

An Interview with Grandmaster Y.H.Park 1988 U.S. Olympic Coach By Nicholas Isaacs

An Interview with Grandmaster Y.H.Park 1988 U.S. Olympic Coach
By Nicholas Isaacs  
I have the privilege of being taught TaeKwonDo by Grandmaster Y.H.Park at his school Y.H.Park Taekwondo Academy located at 3701 Hempstead Turnpike, in Levittown. Since it is an Olympic year, I thought it would be interesting to interview him since he was the 1988 U.S. Olympic Coach for TaeKwonDo. I know there are a lot of students who are athletes here at Island Trees and his information would be helpful and interesting to them and to others who have an interest that they pursue.
Born in Chung-Up, South Korea,Yeon Hwan Park became a 9th Degree Black Belt. He was the Collegiate National Champion, Marine Corp Champion, and 7 time winner of the Korean National Championships. He retired undefeated in 1975. He was sent by Korea to train soldiers in Lesotho in Southern Africa. Then he opened a small TaeKwonDo School in East Meadow. He was selected in 1988 to coach the 1988 Olympic Team as TaeKwonDo debuted as an Olympic sport. He was also the Pan American Gold Medalists Coach.
Y.H. Park has written over 12 martial arts books and appeared in many magazines. His biography, “TaeKwonDo, My Life and Philosophy” was published in 2009. He is the former Vice-President of the United States TaeKwonDo Union, was elected the President of the U.S. TaeKwonDo Leaders Union in 2008, and inducted into the Grandmaster’s Society Hall of Fame in 2010. His school hosts the NY Taekwondo Open Championships every October. He is also a Professor at LI University at C.W. Post.

Q: What was it like growing up in Korea?
A: At that time, Korea was a poor country, but people worked hard to build it to what it is today. As a result, I worked hard everyday to build a better future for myself.

Q: Why at an early age did you become involved in TaeKwonDo?
A: I was influenced to start TaeKwonDo by my older brother. I saw him training and I was inspired.

Q: You were Korea’s National TaeKwonDo Champion 7 times. Describe your typical day of training.
A: I did my own personal training such as jogging and interval training, then I trained with my TaeKwonDo team in the afternoon. It was a full day of intense training. Then I always finished with my school studies.

Q:What was your advantage over your opponents? What was your favorite kick?
A: My roundhouse kick, back kick, and punch were the techniques that made me successful over my opponents and naturally were my favorite kicks.
Q: You were sent to Lesotho in Southern Africa to train soldiers. What was life like there for you? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it?
A: I liked training soldiers who would become the bodyguards of the Prime Minister. I also liked training civilians there which I did after 5 pm everyday. I liked it there because they called me “Bruce Park” after Bruce Lee. I was treated like a rock star. I didn’t like the solitude there.

Q: Why did you decide to come to the United States?
A: Because the U.S. presented a great opportunity and afforded me to pursue my dream of spreading TaeKwonDo and becoming a success.

Q: Since the summer Olympics are coming up this year, can you tell us what was involved in training the Olympic TaeKwonDo team which debuted in 1988?
A: It was a proud moment for me to represent the U.S.. It involved a lot of meetings and training. We really focused on having the best character people on the team. People with good respect and manners.

Q: What did it feel like to be in front of so many people of the world viewing Taekwondo as an Olympic sport for the first time?
A: It was an exhilarating moment for me and one I will never forget. I felt great.

Q: Where else in the world have you traveled?
A: TaeKwonDo has allowed me to see the world and I am thankful for that. I have traveled to over 30 countries such as all of Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe.

Q: How do you think TaeKwonDo has evolved since its Olympic debut in 1988?
A: I believe there is room for improvement for spectators to enjoy more. That is what I am trying to develop for the future.

Q: What differences if any is there between learning TaeKwonDo for competition versus using it for self-defense?
A: TaeKwonDo for competition is for sport and involves strategic thinking and execution for generating “points.” Self-defense is the art of TaeKwonDo and more direct with using different set of techniques.

Q: What would you say to someone who is considering taking up TaeKwonDo?
A: I would explain the amazing benefits that TKD can offer such as self-defense, health-defense, self-esteem, self-confidence, and harmony within oneself and others. I would explain TKD is about mind, body, spirit and helping society.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Presidential Houses by Nicholas Isaacs

Presidential Houses
By Nicholas Isaacs

This past year, I visited two presidential  homes: FDR’s house in Hyde Park, New York, and Theodore Roosevelt’s, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. It was very informational and interesting to learn about the places the presidents spent the majority of their lives in.
On May 23, my family and I toured the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential  Library, Museum, and Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. In the museum, we were taken through President F.D.R’s 4 terms in office which spanned from 1933 to 1945. Through letters, pictures, and memorabilia, we were taken into a time where a depression had affected the entire world, dictators had risen to power, and the United States was forced into a second World War. I got to see the original speech he gave at his inaugural address, with the now famous quote, “We have nothing to fear but, fear itself.”  I learned how they kept the president’s illness from the public. Also, one of the tour guides told us a funny story of how President Bill Clinton went into the display of Roosevelt’s original office with a can of Coke and how the guides were afraid that he would spill it on the rare wool rug.
Then we toured the home site that included several homes including F.D.R’s main house and a house for Eleanor. There was interesting artwork that F.D.R had collected, historical furniture pieces, and even an elevator  that was used only by F.D.R.. The tour guide told us a funny story that F.D.R’s relatives had collected a lot of Revolutionary War political cartoons insulting the British. Then, in June of 1939, the King and Queen of England toured the Hyde Park home and saw the insulting propaganda, but, it didn’t affect the meeting. During this trip, the king and queen also historically ate hot dogs for the first time. Also there, we saw the exact room where F.D.R. and Winston Churchill started the Manhattan Project, the project that would develop the first nuclear bombs. An additional treat was that we got to see a World War II encampment where I learned many interesting facts about the lives of the soldiers who served and we watched an enacted of WWII fight with tanks, jeeps and armored cars.
On July 14, we went to Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, Long Island. It had been closed for almost four years due to renovations. First we toured the new museum, which was created out of  the Old Orchard house. The museum was kind of small and gave a basic history of Teddy’s life. We were able to go through it in about an hour. There were several short films that we could watch. For kids, there was a map that you could take to get clues throughout the museum to solve a puzzle. At the end of it, I got a certificate becoming a “Junior Park Ranger.”
One of the interesting things at the museum was a ring that Teddy owned that had a lock of President Abraham Lincoln’s hair in it. I got to see the uniform that he wore when he was part of the Rough Riders, a regiment that fought in the famous Battle of San Juan Hill in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. There was lots of artifacts, pictures, and letters that showed his daily and presidential life. They even had a replica of the Nobel Peace Prize he won for stopping the Russo-Japanese War.
Next we toured the main home. We got to see the dining room, kitchen, and parlor, which had a lot of delicate furniture. Then we went into the massive living room where the president and his family spent a lot of time relaxing. We couldn’t go into the whole room and had to stand behind wooden bars on a ledge looking into the room. This room had many, many rare books, expensive vases, bearskin rugs, leather furniture, and most importantly, the heads of animals that Teddy was famously known for hunting. He was also known as a conservationist who during his presidency set aside 125 million acres of land in the U.S. for national forests. One very interesting item was an Native American drawing on a piece of hide depicting Custer’s Last Stand.
On the second floor, there were a lot of bedrooms and one of the bathrooms had a working shower, which was rare at the time. There was original wallpaper, furniture, and we even saw the room that the president spent his last moments in. The third floor had storage rooms and servants bedrooms. Finally, we drove to a cemetery and visited Teddy Roosevelt’s grave. We were shocked that it was very simple and only had an iron fence to guard it.
I enjoyed both of my visits to each of these presidents’ houses and I urge you to go see them yourself. They are easy to travel to and are inexpensive to see. And you could learn a lot. Happy Presidents’ Day!