December 13, 2016
by Karin Hallett
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Literacy Promotion: A Virtual Author Visit

Students in Kitah Alef and Kitah Bet had the opportunity to virtually visit with children’s book author Michael J. Rosen. In preparation, they had read Chanukah Lights Everywhere, a story about a young boy and his sister counting more lights around them on each night of Hanukkah.


Listening to the story read aloud, the students had quickly picked up on the cats appearing on each page and the fact that their numbers matched the numbers of candles burning on each night. So the very first question a student asked was about the cats: “Why did you draw the cats in your book?” Mr. Rosen explained that this was the illustrator’s, Melissa Iwai, choice. The students loved the cats! Other questions during our 25-minute visit included, “How did you come up with your ideas and details for your book?” and “Do you take breaks when you are writing?” Also, “How long does it take to write a book?” This is a very nice story about Hanukkah that focuses on the traditions of the holiday.


We know that talking about books promotes literacy by bringing books to life for children. Visiting with an author lends authenticity and credibility to the reading and writing process. It is a rich experience, allowing students to discover that authors are real people and not just a name on a book cover. Hopefully, this translates into a more personal connection with books. Thank you, Mr. Rosen!

December 11, 2016
by Karin Hallett
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Thank You For Another Great Book Fair!


What do you get when two incredible volunteers take charge of our annual Scholastic Book Fair? A super successful fundraising event right before Hanukkah! Melanie Setzer and Kim Millrood thoughtfully and creatively planned the entire event and together with many parent volunteers set up, ran, and then packed up the fair. The success of this fair showed once again how important reading is to our community. Because of our families’ generosity, our sales totalled over $3,200.00. Our profit from the book fair is 50% in Scholastic books.

So thank you for helping us reach our goal of selling books and reaffirming the importance of reading. It was wonderful to see so many students and their families excited about the book fair. The Scholastic Book Fair is the way we are able to raise money for our library and help put new books in our students’ hands.

I would like to give a special thanks to Melanie and Kim, who advertised the fair, recruited volunteers, restored a well-used prize wheel, miraculously found a pirate treasure box filled with gold gelt, and spent at least two hours daily running the fair. A special thanks also to Clifford, the Big Red Dog, who visited our fair — aka Amanda Watsky, George S., and Samantha L. And a big shout-out to our parent volunteers from both the day school and the preschool:

Rachael Bunnell
Bert Ducali
Yakov Feig
Jeff Golden
Steven Gross
Renee Haire
Leora Holzer
Marissa Kempner
Whitney Kuvin
Diana Millman
Tmima Neihaus
Simon Schuster
Elena Shumilova
Emily Spector
Rachel Sullivan
Amanda Watsky
Jodi Weil

Thank you again for making our book fair a success.

September 26, 2016
by Karin Hallett
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International Dot Day 2016

For the 4th year in a row, our students in grades K-5 celebrated International Dot Day. Even the older students do not tire of listening to Peter H. Reynold’s book, The Dot, and discussing its themes: creativity and perseverance.

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Our 1st-grade students let their creative juices flow using the Doodle Buddy app.

Students in the 2nd grade played with the different paint tools in Wixie, new to several of the students, to create something special.

Our 3rd-grade students experimented with augmented reality using the Quiver app. They colored in a sheet downloaded from the app’s companion website, Quivervision, and then learned how to turn their one-dimensional drawings into 3D.

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After reading aloud the story, our discussion in 4th grade was driven by the question: How will you make your mark this year? Students app-smashed Doodle Buddy and Chatterpix to tell us their answers. This activity was adapted from Karen Arrington of the Tech Tips blog.

Finally, our 5th-grade students created emojis in Google Drawings. They were challenged to draw a large circle using the circle shape tool, design the emoji, name the emoji, and add a brief description telling the idea or emotion it expresses.

We are looking forward to celebrating creativity and perseverance again next year!

May 2, 2016
by Karin Hallett
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Digital Citizenship Requires Modern Skills: Better, Stronger, Faster, Safer

At the heart of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School library curriculum are lessons designed to strengthen modern literacy skills for accessing information, negotiating mass media, and building digital literacy. We also focus on responsibilities of using digital media by developing the concept of “digital citizenship.” Modern literacy skills and digital citizenship matter. They are a requirement for success in almost any field. Nearly every job today requires some form of technology use, from email to research. We depend on technology for communication, from announcements to organizing events to inquiring about an order status or health products. Technology has made these things easier and more efficient. But it is not about the technology–it is about using technology thoughtfully and responsibly.

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Martin J. Gottlieb Day School students are immersed in and shaped by a world dominated by technology. Various devices in our homes and pockets bring to our fingertips a world of opportunity and one fraught with thresholds that sometimes dubious–or even dangerous. But this is the new normal. As parents, we seek to protect our children yet we do know that eventually our children will have to negotiate the online world.

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Improving Fluency
Here at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School library, we socialize our students to these new media and integrate technology to extend and enhance teaching and learning. Each student has a personal blogfolio showcasing their learning across subject areas. Students use lots of different apps and websites to create new products. These efforts to integrate technology directly into our curricula as objects of learning in their own right, as well as tools for learning about other subjects, requires balance and an ethic of continuous improvement. Technology integration has engaged and motivated student learning as well as improved student fluency with the various tech tools.

To that end, we use Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum. Lessons are aligned to the ISTE, AASL, and ELA Common Core Standards and focus on Internet safety, privacy and security, online communication, cyberbullying, digital footprint and reputation, and copyright/attribution. The goals are to enable students to think critically, to behave safely, and to participate ethically and responsibly.

Improving Safety
But we are not just learning about staying safe online and the trail we leave every time we enter the digital world. Instead, we focus on empowering students to do great things online: to access the world’s information, to communicate and collaborate with other students, and to create new products and share them. Call it guided immersion into the digital world — helping students balance safety on the one hand and purpose and opportunities on the other.

Note: Common Sense Media is a not-for-profit organization committed to providing parents and teachers with timely, up-to-date advice about mobile apps, video games, movies, and reviews of other media. There are even suggestions for what to watch and talk about together as a family. Use the link below to explore more information about digital citizenship and become an ally for your teens as they navigate an ever-changing digital world.

April 11, 2016
by Karin Hallett
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Parent Resources Collection

Due to a generous donation from the Galinsky Academy PTA, our day school library was able to sow the seeds for a Parent Resources collection. To find out more about each title, please click its cover. Come and check them out!


BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

Skype Visit With Author Monica Carnesi

March 2, 2016 by Karin Hallett | 0 comments

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Today, we had a fantastic Skype visit with librarian and children’s book author Mônica Carnesi. She read aloud Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic (2012), which tells the story of a dog nicknamed Baltic, who in 2010 was found traveling on a sheet of ice down the Vistula River in Poland. Despite various attempts to save the dog, it took a research vessel to pull him from the ice. Ms. Carnesi answered lots of questions from our students about the writing process and the children were fascinated to learn that she also illustrated the story. She told us that she gets many of her ideas while riding the bus to work in Philadelphia. Her next book will be about a koala bear. We cannot wait to get our hands on it. Thank you for your time, Ms. Carnesi!

For more photos, please click here.

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