After becoming comfortable in their first classroom environment, Nursery students set out to discover what lies beyond the walls of their room. As part of their milestone project, the Nursery class conducts interviews of the teachers and staff members who comprise the All Saints Community. This special project allows the Nursery students to learn more about the members of their school community and to gain a better awareness of the people who make our school run. The students learn what an interview is and how to ask questions to gather information about their interviewees. They also learn the difference between a statement and a question.
Students brainstorm with their teachers and create a list of questions to ask the members of the All Saints Community. During the interview process, they begin with simple questions such as “What is your favorite color?” or “Do you have a pet?” They also ask each interviewee about his/her favorite book and listen to the book read aloud. After a few rounds of interviews, students begin to think of new and interesting questions to ask their interviewees, including “What is your favorite food?,” “Do you have a computer?,” What are your favorite cloud shapes?” and “What is your favorite healthy food?”
After the interviews are complete, the information from each interview is recorded on a summary sheet by the teacher and is compiled into a class book that lives in the classroom library. Finally, the students create special thank you cards for each person who visited.
For the first two weeks of February, the Pre-K classes transform their classroom into the Valentine Post Office.
To initiate this project, Pre-K students study the various roles of postal workers in the community and visit the Hoboken Post Office on Washington Street. After learning about how a real post office works, students work to convert the dramatic play center into a working post office. They build a mailbox for receiving mail to put in an area accessible to the school community and another mailbox to be kept in the classroom. The students also make mailbags out of paper bags to transport the mail on their routes throughout the building.
To inform the community about their school-wide service operation, students make and hang signs around the school building to let customers know of times when the post office is open. Students also design their own stamps, which sell for $.10 each. When the post office is open, the Pre-K students are able to utilize the various skills they have learned throughout the year to sort and label the mail and prepare it for distribution.
Over this two-week period, all of the students assume various responsibilities in the center. They serve their customers by selling stamps, sorting mail, and delivering mail. During business hours, the Pre-K classroom is a very busy place! To add even more meaning and purpose to the project, profits from the sale of stamps are donated to a charity of the students’ choice. The class discusses different charities that could benefit from the money and then votes to choose a charity. Subsequently, they visit the charity and present the money to a worker there.
This comprehensive milestone project is an important learning experience for the students in Pre-K. It allows them to engage in a deeper and more meaningful study of their unit on Community Helpers. This project also leads to the development of important math skills, including work with money (when selling stamps) and sorting (when receiving and distributing mail). The students also learn pre-reading and writing skills when reading envelopes and making posters. Finally, this project allows the students in the Pre-K classes to develop a sense of responsibility and teaches them the importance of working cooperatively with peers to get the job done.
While in Kindergarten, students have the opportunity to transform from urbanites to farmers! Throughout the year, the students study a variety of farm animals as well as the importance of farms in society.
As part of this study, the students learn about all aspects of the farm and take various field trips to support their studies. Early in the year, the class gets a close-up look at a real farm when then travel to a pumpkin patch. On this exciting field trip, students are able to see a variety of crops and animals, enjoy a hay ride and pick their own pumpkins. As the year continues, the Kindergarten students discuss the different jobs required on the farm and the role that farms play in society. The class takes a walking trip to a local grocery store that carries a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. From this experience, students gain a better understanding of where produce is sent and sold after it leaves the farm. This provides an interesting link between farm life and the urban life with which the students are familiar.
The classroom comes alive when the dramatic play area is transformed into a farm! Students are able to engage in imaginative play using plastic farm tools, farm animals, and a variety of plastic fruits and vegetables. The doll house is replaced by a barn, complete with animals and props. The students also have the opportunity to work on a live class garden and read farm-themed books throughout the year.
In advance of Farm Day, the students conduct a more detailed study of farm animals while also honing their technology skills. Each student is assigned one animal to research using the internet, books, and other resources. Once their research is complete, each student creates a poster about his or her animal. These posters are used as information boards during Farm Day.
The year-long study culminates in Farm Day, which occurs during Week of the Young Child in the spring. The Kindergarteners act as hosts for the event and have many jobs to ensure the day runs smoothly. They create and collect tickets, stamp the hands of visitors, help care for the visiting animals, create information boards, and conduct tours for their visitors. Kindergarten students are excited to share their knowledge of farm life with their teachers and peers.
The Waffle Inn, the First Grade milestone project, is a longstanding tradition at All Saints. Each year, the students transform an area of the school into a restaurant with the house specialty being - you guessed it - waffles!
Each year the class takes a trip to a restaurant in Hoboken to see how a real restaurant is run. The students see the kitchen and have an opportunity to talk to the staff about their responsibilities. The class returns to school with a lot of ideas for their own restaurant!
Prior to the restaurant opening, each student must fill out an application explaining what job he or she would like and why he or she would be successful. The “applicant” is also required to attend an interview with the restaurant managers (a.k.a. the teachers) during which they must answer challenging questions about how they would handle given situations. Finally, students create menus, advertisements, and invitations, and solicit parent volunteers to bring in necessary supplies.
On the day of the big event, hosts and hostesses greet each class as students enter the restaurant. Servers take orders and bus people help to clean and reset tables. Parent volunteers are always present to help make the waffles while the student chefs add the desired toppings. Cashiers collect Waffle Inn money and distribute a notepad and pencil to each customer as a souvenir. The First Graders enjoy serving the other classes, but their favorite part always comes at the end of the day when they are served waffles, with the works of course, by their own parents.
This project is a meaningful part of the curriculum as it reinforces lessons around money, which is introduced during First Grade. It also allows students to learn more about the jobs and businesses in the local community. Finally, the students learn the importance of working together when they realize that each job is important and that the restaurant cannot run smoothly without everyone doing their part.
In Second Grade, learning comes alive for students as they explore their country’s geography, national monuments, and historic landmarks through the collection of postcards from across the United States.
As the postcards arrive, the students excitedly locate the state on the map and hang up the card. In doing so, the students gain a better understanding of state placement. They also use a tally chart to record the number of postcards that have been collected. Throughout the project, the students also work on puzzles, play games, and read books about the United States. After December break, the students use learned skills to write letters to chambers of commerce in the states from which they have not received postcards. After each state is represented on the class map, the group compiles the data during math class and creates a bar graph.
To culminate the study, each student chooses a state to research and, using various research materials, creates a travel brochure. The students hone their technology skills when searching for data on the internet and creating a number of the brochure pages digitally. This project allows students to explore the United States in a way that is meaningful to them and to complete learning projects across the curriculum. Each year the class collects over 100 postcards and receives at least one postcard from each state!
After focusing on the United States during the second trimester, the Second Graders complete the year with a study of Hoboken and the five boroughs of New York City, incorporating a number of curriculum areas, including Social Studies, Science, and Language Arts.
Initially, the students study maps of Hoboken and New York and explore ways in which the areas are connected. In teams, students work together to create their very own maps on which they must include landmarks, a map key, and various symbols. The class also creates one large map. Through these projects, students hone their map skills and also learn the importance of teamwork!
Also during this study, students identify various types of bridges and conduct experiments during science classes to determine what makes a bridge strong. At the conclusion of the bridge study, the students work in teams to design a bridge that can withstand a simulated hurricane or earthquake. They read about the history of various bridges, most notably the Brooklyn Bridge, during Social Studies.
The entire study culminates in a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge, which occurs during the last week of school. This exciting event marks the end of an important learning unit and the end of a milestone year!
During this exciting project, Third Graders embark on a year-long learning experience about William Shakespeare culminating in the premiere of "Bard Bash: The Movie" and a Renaissance Faire. During the first trimester, students begin to learn about the different Shakespearean genres. The students then vote on which genre they would like to explore further. The students read several of Shakespeare’s plays from that genre, and vote on which of those plays they would like to perform for the Bard Bash. Their Seventh Grade buddies read the same play and provide support throughout the year with rehearsals, costume design, and set design.
During the second trimester, the Third Graders audition for their roles and begin practicing their lines for filming. The majority of the trimester is spent preparing for filming. The students work together to create props and costumes. They learn how to work with a green screen and editing software to produce their final product. Through this experience, the students learn the value of working together, accountability, and responsibility.
During the third trimester, students use their knowledge of Shakespeare and Elizabethan England to plan a Shakespearean celebration called the “Bard Bash,” similar to a Renaissance Faire. They plan various activities and entertainment following the premiere of their movie. Students and parents alike enjoy this magical trip back to the Elizabethan era.
Building on the United States Postcard Project from Second Grade, Third Grade students become more aware of the global community through the collection of postcards from around the world. As the postcards arrive, students locate the country on a world map and put the postcards on a bar graph that is hanging in the classroom. While anticipating the arrival of new and different postcards, students learn about the different continents during Social Studies classes.
At the completion of the postcard collection, each student chooses a country to study. Students research the country’s landmarks, holidays, religion, food, clothing and other important facts. The culmination of this project is the World Showcase. The students share their research reports, posters, and other international artifacts. Parents and students are invited to enjoy the showcase.
Fourth Graders write an autobiography in a project designed to support a healthy and effective transition from elementary school to middle school and to ensure that the learning goals as stated in our mission have been met to a level of satisfaction for moving up to middle school. Throughout this project students reflect on their lives and experiences to date. Students use their memories to write their autobiographies, which includes eight typed chapters from a variety of genres, photographs, and artwork by the students. These autobiographies are published at the end of the year.
In Fourth Grade, students participate in a specialized “Action Research Course”. During this course, students conduct a yearlong action research project based on an area of need within the City of Hoboken. As part of their research, students interview City Council members and take “man on the street” surveys on the topic they are researching. In addition, students survey all of the Fourth Grade students throughout Hoboken. After students have conducted and analyzed their research, their findings are compiled into an extensive research report which is presented to the community of Hoboken at a City Council meeting.
Fourth Grade students explore New Jersey’s place in our nation’s history through meaningful, integrated and hands-on experiences. Students begin their study of New Jersey by learning about the first New Jersey inhabitants, the Lenape Indians. Students visit Sandy Hook, NJ, and participate in an exciting, authentic simulation of the Lenape way of life. Several other exciting field trips are held throughout the year, including a visit to Flat Rock to examine the wildlife of New Jersey as well as a visit to the home and laboratory of Thomas Edison. The year culminates with a week-long experience called New Jersey Adventure week. These field trips are full of thrilling learning experiences that bring to life all of the concepts students have studied throughout the year. The students look forward with great anticipation to this end-of-year trip, working throughout the year to fund the trip through Pizza Friday Lunches and the School Store.
An exciting component of this project includes a unit on boardwalks, which is only fitting because the world’s first boardwalk was built right here in New Jersey! Throughout the first and second trimesters, students examine how boardwalks have evolved throughout history, the purpose and features of boardwalks, as well as different types of boardwalks. Students then utilize what they have learned about boardwalks to create a “boardwalk fair” for the All Saints Elementary community in May. The fair is student-run, and each student assumes various responsibilities to ensure the boardwalk is a success. Students examine profits and losses in math class to guide them when determining the price of boardwalk admission and activities; in language arts, students develop clever advertisements and jingles to encourage people to attend the boardwalk; and in art class, students execute the design and production of all necessary materials. The Boardwalk also serves as a "Thank You" to the community for their participation in the fundraisers for New Jersey Adventure Week.
Students in the Fifth Grade spend the year focusing on the Human-Animal Bond. They read a variety of books related to human-animal interactions and study the benefits of pets on human mental, physical, and social health. Throughout the year, students interview pet partners in small groups, learning about their lives and experiences with their pet. Using these interviews, students write chapbooks. In art class, they create prints of the pets for their owners. This project culminates in the Brad Ost Memorial Blessing of the Animals, where students present on their pet partners, give them their prints, and celebrate the human animal bond. This event is held in honor of an All Saints Parent who dedicated his life to helping animals. Each year's presentations have a theme. Past themes have included unusual pets, service animals, and people who help animals.
The Month of the Young Adolescent (MOTYA), is a movement promoted by the Association for Middle Level Education to recognize and set aside an entire month to promote awareness of the issues facing children ages 10 to 15.
The key messages for the celebration are:
The importance of parents being knowledgeable about young adolescents and being actively involved in their lives;
The understanding that healthy bodies plus healthy minds equal healthy young adolescents;
The realization that the education young adolescents experience during this formative period of life will, in large measure, determine the future for all citizens; and
The knowledge that every young adolescent should have the opportunity to pursue his or her dreams and aspirations, and post-secondary education should be a possibility for all.
Each October, Middle School students host a Leadership Summit, which includes the student presentations and round table discussions with local leaders, parents, and peers. All Saints also has social and educational activities throughout the month of October for the Middle School students, their families, and the greater community.
In preparation for the Leadership Summit, students in the Fifth Grade compose letters to their leaders and then select classmates to read these letters at the Leadership Summit. The Sixth Grade works together to create a public service announcement related to the topic to spread awareness. The Seventh Grade leads the community in advertising the event and is responsible for ensuring that all key stakeholders are invited to the summit. The Eighth Grade expands on the action research skills they learned in the Fourth Grade and produces a speech presented by a representative from the class.
Past topics for the Leadership Summit have included environmental issues, homelessnes, and the importance of healthy activities for Middle School students.
Building on the interview skills learned throughout the Elementary years and in the first year of Middle School, Sixth Grade students identify "Turtles" in their own lives and individually write chapbooks on these people. A turtle is someone who, like a sea turtle, overcomes great odds in life, showing courage and perseverance throughout. Additionally, turtles use their experiences to give back to their communities. This project begins by interviewing the "Grand Turtle" and creating a book as a class. Past Grand Turtles include an individual who recovered from an illness that causes paralysis and began a hospital-based ministry, a woman who forged the way for girls to play Little League Baseball, and an alumnus who was adopted at a young age and pays it forward by fostering and adopting animals. For their individiual turtles, students have celebrated family members and friends who have done wonderful things, including starting organizations to support cancer patients, providing food to those in need, and working to support educational development in other countries. The members of the Turtle Club are inducted at a breakfast held near the end of the school year.
Each student in the Middle School undertakes a unique project related to topics of study. Fifth and Sixth Grade students complete a variety of STEM-related tasks (designing a working pen from limited materials, creating spaghetti towers that can hold a certain object, building "hurricane-proof" homes). They then select a task at which to become an expert, delving into the science behind a successful product, and work in a small group to share this task with parents at the STEM Fair.
Students in the Seventh and Eighth Grades extend their design thinking skills through the Invention Convention. Seventh Grade students work in small groups to design models, advertisements, and working prototypes of an item that will improve their school experience. Students in Grade Eight visit Early Childhood, Elementary, and Specials classrooms to learn what types of products would improve classroom life. After conducting this market research, they individually design and create a prototype of their inventions. These are shared with parents and students at the Invention Convention.
Completed halfway through the school year, this project allows Fifth Grade students to further their study of Egyptian art, artifacts, architecture, religious beliefs and government. Students complete a multi-part project by identifying sources of information, gathering research, creating an art object, writing a 5 paragraph essay about the art object, and designing a presentation board on the art object. Students then deliver a 5 minute oral presentation on their art object in terms of its design, purpose, and their own experience in creating the object.
Some samples of the hands-on activities are:
Choose a Pharaoh. Build and design a model of his or her sarcophagus. Use artistic detail to design the sarcophagus. You may also include the mummy, a death mask, and objects inside the sarcophagus.
Build a pyramid that shows both the outside and the rooms inside. Include grave goods, a small-scale sarcophagus, passages (hallways) and other chambers.
Create a picture book to teach someone the Hieroglyphic Alphabet. Then, using the Hieroglyphic Alphabet, create an elaborate Cartouche. Dedicate it to a Pharaoh by writing his or her name in Hieroglyphics and include designs.
Create a piece of Egyptian Art. It could be a sculpture in clay or drawing. It must show the figures using the frontal style. If making a drawing, you can make your paper look like papyrus by cutting the edges to make it look older.
Build a model of the Sphinx from the art material of your choice. Make sure that it has a Pharaoh’s head and a lion’s body.
Completed two-thirds of the way through the school year, this project provides Sixth Grade students with a platform to further explore the artwork, cultural aspects, religious beliefs, social order, and government systems of the Middle Ages. To complete the project, students must select a person of significance from the Middle Ages and complete a multi-part project by identifying sources of information, gathering research, creating an object related to the selected person, writing a 5-6 paragraph essay about the person and object as well as their connection to medieval society, and designing a presentation board about the individual and object. Students also deliver an oral presentation dressed in character, complete with their object, as part of the Living History museum.
Some examples of individuals and their related objects are:
Completed halfway through the school year, this project provides Seventh Grade students with an opportunity to continue their exploration of the culture, religion, politics, and society of America during the Revolutionary period by conducting an investigation into the life of one of America’s founding fathers or mothers. To complete the project, students must select a founding father or mother and complete a multi-part project by identifying 5 sources of information, gathering research, creating a visual representation, and writing a 7-9 paragraph (2-3 page) research essay about the founding father’s or mother's life, impact on early American society, and impact on the world today. The essay follows the MLA format. Students then deliver an oral presentation, complete with costume, during the Living History museum.
Some samples of the founding fathers and mothers are:
Mercy Otis Warren
Some samples of the visual representations are:
A drawing or painting of the founding father or mother in the style of a specific artist or art movement
A drawing or painting an important scene from the founding father's or mother's life
A diorama depicting an important scene in the founding father’s or mother's life
A commemorative statue or bust of the founding father or mother using clay
In the Seventh Grade, students explore the needs of the community and how the community serves the people who live in it as part of their Inquiry and Action class. Students re-examine their Fourth Grade action research project and develop a further course of study on this topic as they begin to examine their surrounding community and its needs.
A three-day trip at the beginning of the year allows for returning students to bond with potential new comers and sets the stage for researching community service organizations. Students celebrate the opportunity to return to Frost Valley YMCA, gaining first hand insight into how this organization has impacted its community. This trip allows students to grasp all that organizations have to offer, as well as consider the hardships they may face, especially when it comes to financing.
Inquiry & Action Project 1: At the beginning of the year, students research and write about various community service organizations in Hoboken. From the Hoboken Homeless Shelter on Third Street to the Hoboken Historical Museum on Thirteenth Street, and the many service-oriented organizations in between, students explore a different style of writing as they learn about each organization. Students learn skills for writing advertisements, press releases, editorials, biographies, brochures, and research papers. At the end of the year, the students visit several of these organizations to contribute their time and effort and gain true perspective from all angles of each organization on the work it does.
Inquiry & Action Project 2: The Seventh Graders bring their art and talent to our community by designing and painting a mural in one of the many places that serve the community. Our first Seventh Grade class painted a mural that now hangs inside the St. Matthew’s Lunchtime Ministries hall, where lunch is served to hundreds of people each week. Students work together under the direction of the art teacher to design a mural that communicates the significance of the place where it will reside. Each student takes part in the process, and the end product is an amazing and meaningful work of art.
Completed halfway through the school year, this project allows students to further their insights into the culture, religion, politics, and society of America and the world during the 1900s up through the present day. Students evaluate the quality of a variety of primary sources in completing this project, separating fact from emotion while they explore highly sensitive, thought provoking, and emotionally charged topics. To complete the project, students must select a topic to investigate and complete a multi-part project by identifying six-to-ten primary sources of information, gathering research, creating a visual representation, writing a 12-15 paragraph (3-5 pages) research essay about the significance of the selected topic within the greater context of human rights violations, and designing a power point presentation. The essay includes a title page, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page and closely follows the MLA writing format. Students then deliver a 10-12 minute oral presentation on their topic in terms of its impact on the political, social, and cultural formation of the U.S. and the world from the early Twentieth Century through the present day.
Some samples of the topics are:
The genocide in Darfur
The persecution of the Roma
Japense internment during World War II
For the visual representation, students are asked to create a piece of artwork in the style of a particular artist or art movement. They then create an artist statement explaining their choice of artist or movement, how it relates to their chosen topic, and any symbolism used in the artwork.
Throughout the year, students in Grade 8 experience the themes of the school’s mission statement, as they relate to the greater community, the world community. With each theme (each bullet point in the statement), students complete a special project related to that theme. In their six-chapter Spiritual Autobiography, students establish a personal connection with each theme. The chapters include:
an overview of the individual and the story of his or her name
a letter to a younger child encourging personal excellence
a personal recipe for success
an expression through poetry and art of their gratitude for the beauty of the planet and their responsibility for its health
a reflection on the spirituality of a significant social leader and how it compares to their own spirituality
a collection of journal entries related to their experiences working in Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms in the school