Feedback - 2011

Thank you to the staff at PRISM, the scientists who were on location and to the technology department at Pascack Valley High School for making this wonderful experience become a reality.  With the hardware we have in school coupled with the vision and generosity of PRISM, the videoconference regarding the Panama Canal was a resounding success.  My students were very interested, engaged and appreciative. Jim Kennedy-PVHS

Throughout this school year, Elinor Semel has visited my classroom four times.  Over the course of her visits, she has helped me to utilize information from the PRISM summer experience in my own teaching, and incorporate cross-curricular science activities for my third grade students.  Overall, it has been a wonderful learning experience for me and I highly enjoy working with Elinor.  She serves as a true mentor and continues to amaze me by how she is always able to think of a new way to teach a concept.  Furthermore, she developed a wonderful rapport with my 24 students.  Each time she came to Gregory School, the class was very excited. Elinor treated each student as an individual learner, guiding them to make conclusions and use their creativity.  Many of my students were able to shine, an opportunity that not all academic subjects allow them.  My class benefited from the science workshops by the way they provided knowledge, encouraged imagination, and fostered excitement about science.  What I found to be most remarkable was the focus and effort the students would put into each project.  For example, when one of my students was unable to construct a sturdy “house” in school, he took the materials home and completed it on his own time.  Our four visits involved the following:  Puff-Mobiles, the Digestive System, Mineral Testing, and Comparing Rocks. Erin McCarthy-West Orange,grade 3

Overall, the follow up Professional Development opportunities were a direct extension of the ideas that were presented during the PRISM Summer Institute.  In each of her visits, Karin Rupp provided a problem-based learning approach to teaching the concepts.  I will be able to implement many of the activities and problems into my curriculum.  The information and expertise that Karin shared with me was invaluable and I truly appreciated the opportunity to work with her.  Aarthi Seligman-Leonia, grade 7-8  

Thank you for this great opportunity.   I feel my summer training at PRISM and the follow lessons with Mrs. Semel  increased my level of understanding of certain topics to teach the students.   The students were very excited when announcements about Mrs. Semel upcoming visit to the classroom were made.   I am excited to teach the mini lessons Mrs. Semel taught the class this year to future classrooms. Jamillah Rawls-Orange, grade 4  

We have been so fortunate to have Ms. Rupp visit our class and share her ways of making learning math fun.  My class had looked foward to each and every one of her visits .  They have remembered her lessons  and appreciated  the time she spent with us.  I have gained so much from being part of this program and I hope to continue being part of PRISM.  Thank you for all the wonderful experiences I have been privileged to experience through this program.  Maryann Vermont-Butler, grade 5

I have enjoyed my experience with the PRISM program.  Since the workshop over the summer, I have brought back to my classroom several of the lessons I have learned and have shared them with my students.  I have found these activities very motivating to my students and hands on activities are just what our young learners need.  One of my goals this year was to incorporate writing in our science program.  This year we have science journals and my students love to illustrate and write about their activities.  The field experiences lead to lots of questioning. It was really neat to see this questioning strategy lead into other academic areas.
Many thanks for the support and opportunity to part of this learning experience.                Melanie Bailey-Ogdensburg, grade 1

In conclusion, I would like to say that I really appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the CUSP program.  The summer workshops as well as the visits by the PRISM outreach teacher really enhanced my teaching of mathematics.  My thinking has changed.  I am now confident in ways to prepare lessons through cross content.  In science, we are studying animals.  In Math, I use pictures of those animals to make pictographs with the students.  Whenever I read a Math storybook, I am sure to preview all of the vocabulary that may be challenging for my ESL students.  I then make vocabulary flashcards with the word and picture of the word.  I introduce the vocabulary words to the students before I read the book.  Those are just a few examples of how I have used what I learned through CUSP in my classroom. Samantha Schuller-Passaic, grade K

My fifth grade students participated in the Rainforest Connection videoconference with Dr. WIllis in Belize.  Our topic was Monkeys and their Adaptations.  We were in the midst of our unit on Animal Adaptations and the timing was perfect for students to learn about the specific adaptations that monkeys have for survival in their environment.  They learned that monkeys have two eyes in the front of their head for a better sense of space so that they can swing from tree to tree.  They also learned how useful their tails are as almost a fifth limb.  Students were very interested and had many questions for Dr. Willis, both about this topic and about life in the rainforest.  Students asked questions such as, “How many different species of monkeys are there in the rainforest?” and “What is your favorite animal in the rainforest?”.  This was a richly rewarding educational experience for my students and myself.  Jennifer Kim-Leonia, grade 4-5

Anna’s lesson related to pollination and the investigation of the flower.  The big idea and initial question was:  Where do seeds grow?  Students would eventually find the answer as the lesson progressed.

Actually having a live flower in front of the students gave them the opportunity to explore the inside and outside learning what each part was called and it’s function. I call the investigation a road trip to the seeds.  Discussion led into how pollen is transferred.  Anna brought bees and explained how they contribute to this process as well as other factors.  The students were very excited. She also demonstrated with an apple where the seeds are located.  They  drew and labeled the parts of the flower after exploring using magnifying glasses and microscopes. Anna left the bees which I am continuing with more investigation and journaling.  It was wonderful as usual.  Janet Kern/Butler, grade 4

Mrs. Semel did a fun lesson on classifying. We kept track of the temperature in our classroom for one week. Then when Mrs. Semel came she introduced the concept of sorting and classification by playing a fun game with them. The students were grouped by different characteristics like eye color, color of their clothes, sports they play, etc.  They even made up their own categories! Then Mrs. Semel had the students sort lego pieces. They sorted them a few different ways and then we graphed them. After we graphed them on paper the students took the final product to Technology class. While there, they graphed the results on the computer. The students absolutely loved this lesson! It was wonderful to do a lesson that incorporated both science and math. We are always encouraged to do cross-curricular lessons and this was a great way to accomplish just that! It has been a pleasure having Mrs. Semel visit our classroom. My students have learned so much and have had a wonderful time doing so! I really appreciate all that she has done with my students!  Kelly Pardus-Butler, grade 1

Anna gave me more, and I will be adding her ideas to my lessons. Anna has made a huge impact on my teaching in so many ways. The biggest would be to show the students the way science relates to everything around us, and to show that relationship in math, language arts, even social studies. I also want them to see the relationship between the different branches of science, and how it all fits together.
Thank you Anna, and everyone in PRISM.  Judith Donche-Ogdensburg, grade 3

This was our last visit from the prism team. We would like to thank you for all your direction you gave us and for answering any questions we may have for implementing reading and math.
We know that our classes benefited from your visits as we also did. Have a great summer and we hope to see you at some workshops next year! Jaine Divencenzo and Luann (Louise) Fritzky-Leonia, grade K-1

Karin did a fantastic job implementing the lessons and showing students how math is applied in our everyday lives.  The students really enjoyed working together in groups using math manipulatives to reach a solution to their problem.  I truly believe that Mr. McDermott and I learned new math strategies and techniques that can be used for years to come from Karin.  She showed us how difficult math concepts can be taught in a simplified manner and be meaningful to students.  In conclusion, I believe the work and dedication that PRISM sets forth in their math and science institute is an exceptional undertaking.  I anticipate working with Karin Rupp and the PRISM staff again in the future.  Maria Fiataruolo-Leonia grade 4