Lakeland's Latest from the Curriculum & Instruction office

Learning Today Leading TomorrowLearn the latest updates and news from the office of Curriculum and Instruction.  

 January 2020 Lakeland's Latest

February 2020 Lakeland's Latest

March 2020 Lakeland's Latest

March is Music in our Schools Month!

Getting to know features of Benchmark Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop.
Through Shared Reading in Grades K - 2, students will develop early reading strategies through rhyme, rhythm, and repetition.  Through Interactive Read Alouds, students will build and develop a sense of community, engage in meaningful discussion, and expand knowledge and vocabulary through listening and talking.  

In Writer’s Workshop, big books and mentor texts help teachers model different types of writing. Through direct instruction, students learn to identify text features, writing techniques, and use these skills in their own writing.


ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTSBuilding Better Readers and Writers in Grades K - 12
As many of you know, March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s Birthday.  The National Education Association celebrates yearly with Read Across America Day.  To plan an event, check out these 13 fun activity ideas   and tips for guest readers.

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School was visited by Story Pirates in February!   During the first visit, students were inspired to write their own stories.  After reviewing the stories authored by BF students, the Story Pirates brought to life three stories through comedy and musical sketches.  Congratulations to these second, third, and fourth grade authors.  The Story Pirates’ next port-o-call is George Washington Elementary School. I look forward to another performance from Lakeland’s own student authors!

Do you know a young writer?  The Hudson Valley Writing Project summer camps offer children and teens remarkable learning experiences at cultural and historic sites, nature preserves, and college campuses across our region.  Share this exciting opportunity with your students and parents.

The students and staff in the LCSD Music Department have been working hard to prepare for Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM), an annual celebration in March of music education across the nation. One purpose of MIOSM is to provide schools and school districts the opportunity to bring their music programs to the attention of the community and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages. Please be on the lookout for in-school performances; listen to the announcements for quotes, facts, and jokes about music; and look for posters celebrating music throughout your school.

The LCBMS Music Department will be touring all five of our elementary schools from March 2nd through March 6th. Grades 4 and 5 will watch and listen to a select group of our middle school ensembles. The groups that will be performing are the Jazz Ensemble, Honors Chorus, and Select Orchestra. Students will be able to ask questions as they begin or continue their music education in Lakeland.

At Lakeland-Copper Beech Middle School, our music students will meet Ray Blue, a professional and touring musician who has worked in the music industry for many years. Mr. Blue will work with our middle school Band classes on developing musicianship and artistry, as well as providing a glimpse into the music industry. These workshops will take place on April 2nd and 3rd. More information for Ray Blue can be found at

At Lakeland High School, our music students will be performing a “Pops” Concert on March 10th at 7PM that will feature a variety of music. The Band, Chorus, and Orchestra programs will be represented, shining a light on the tremendous work of our LHS Music program. This program will also feature the LCBMS Honors Chorus performing alongside our LHS Chorus.

At Walter Panas High School, our music students will be performing a “Small Ensemble” Concert on March 26th at 7PM that will feature small student groups performing chamber works across the Band and Orchestra programs. The Jazz Band will also be a featured group.

Students have already started signing up for classes for next school year. Please help guide your students toward the next step in their music education. According to NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants)

  • Students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assignments in 9th grade than their non-music counterparts
  • Music education improves average SAT scores
  • Cognitive and neural benefits of music experience continue throughout the lifespan, and counteract some of the negative effects of aging, such as memory and hearing difficulties in older adults
  • Children who study a musical instrument are more likely to excel in all of their studies, work better in teams, have enhanced critical thinking skills, stay in school, and pursue further education

Thank you for your continued support of Music Education in the Lakeland Central School District

Grade 3 Science
A fish fossil is found in a desert habitat. Our third graders across the district are now learning to research how to explain this event with evidence. This lesson is part of the new Science Standards that the Science 21 Grade3 Lessons are now based on. The students are actively engaged in examining organisms, habitats, and fossils.  Our elementary science curriculum is now implemented K-3 for the New York State Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS).

New York State Education Department
NYSED Science Updates:  New York State recently posted a presentation on the updates in curriculum and assessments in Science.   NYSED FALL UPDATE 2019

Middle School Science Club:
This afterschool activity is led by Mrs. Judy Toledano. The students get to explore activities outside the classroom. This month they are working on Rube Goldberg projects which show various ways to transfer energy.  They are also preparing to compete in the Tri County Science and Engineering Fair in April.

A great TV show once had children conduct an exercise that asked them to tell “(which) of these things is not like the other.”  Explaining your answer was always the fun part.

This year, Mr. Christopher Ruggiero, Lakeland’s Director of Curriculum for Mathematics, has been taking this concept, and dovetailing it with our district’s Writing Across the Curriculum initiative. He has delivered professional development to teachers from Kindergarten to 12th grade using this idea, which requires knowledge beyond simple comprehension.  See if you can tap into a higher order thinking skill (according to Benjamin Bloom [1956]) in the world of mathematics.

March is Women’s History month, commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Check out the National Council for the Social Studies website for K-12 lessons. also has teaching resources.

Teachers have numerous lessons planned to coincide with this celebration.  Lessons will highlight influential women and their contributions to American society and the world.  Examples include: famous women of the Middle Ages; Enlightenment writer, Mary Wollstonecraft, and connections to the 19th Amendment; practices and the role of women in China; a book project on the Centennial of Women's Suffrage, including rallies, legislation, leaders and a connection to a theme such as social justice, liberty or civil disobedience; propaganda posters and historical clips featuring women during World War II; how World War II empowered women and led to social change; the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s; a quilt project and a Padlet project centered around leading women figures; women entrepreneurs and the impact women have on the economy

Here are some additional helpful resources-NEA    Scholastic      Women’s History Month

Social Studies Spotlight
Dr. Rosemarie Sandground’s eleventh grade US History classes wrote fictional stories about their travels during any consecutive forty year period from the years 1609 to the present.  Students shared eye witness accounts of the people they met, the places they visited, and the important events they witnessed that changed America during the time period they selected.  The travelogues required discussions on war, political issues, economic changes, encounters with historical figures, oppression or discrimination, and historical events. Click here to read an excerpt from one of the student’s travelogues. 

Mrs. Lisa Grace and Mr. Rich Harrison's seventh grade classes were fortunate to have visits from Revolutionary War reenactor (and eighth grade teacher), Pete Kruppenbacher.  Mr. Kruppenbacher visited dressed as a soldier from the Hudson Valley, and he shared various artifacts to help the students better understand the lives of soldiers in the Continental Army.  One of the highlights was his demonstration of how to load and fire a musket. Students were able to apply the information from his visit to their study of the Revolutionary War.

When working with ENL students, it is important to understand the differences in attaining and becoming proficient in social and academic English. Students may speak rather fluently with their peers, chatting and joking in the cafeteria and on the playground. And based on their social language skills, teachers may assume these students are proficient in English and wonder why they are struggling academically. 

Researchers in the field of language acquisitions have found that social language and academic language develop at significantly different rates. Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) refers to linguistic skills needed in everyday, social interactions. For instance, the language used in the playground, on the phone, or to interact socially with other people is part of BICS. The language used in these social interactions is meaningful, cognitively undemanding, and non-specialized. It takes the learner from six months to two years to develop BICS.

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) focuses on proficiency in academic language used in the classroom in the various content areas. Academic language is characterized by being abstract, context reduced, and specialized. In addition to acquiring the language, learners need to develop skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and inferring when developing academic competence. It takes learners five to seven years to develop CALP, with some learners with no prior or interrupted education taking up to 10 years.

Knowing the difference between BICS and CALP can help us understand why a seemingly proficient student may be struggling academically, as they try to acquire the vast amount of specialized academic vocabulary in various content areas. 

Now that you know this distinction, how can you help your ELLs acquire academic language to succeed in your classroom? There are several strategies teachers can use, including explicitly teaching key vocabulary, using visuals, and providing repeated exposure to new vocabulary in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students should also be encouraged to read a variety of books at their individual levels through programs like Reading A to Z, which is now available as a mobile app. For more information on ELL language acquisition and for strategies to support your ELLs, check out the website Color in Colorado. Here are a few links to get you started:

Keep an eye open for some of the exciting activities the Word Language teachers in your building have planned!
District-wide Poster Contest
International Themed Spirit Week Activities
The Amazing Race
The Pulsera Project 
Scavenger Hunts

We will post pictures of Poster winners in the April Edition of Lakeland’s Latest!

Students at Thomas Jefferson will be celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday with a combined art project created by the Kindergarten, First and Fourth Grades.  Fifth graders will begin a Pop-Art unit with some oversized chip bags and clay food.

At Lincoln Titus the whole school just finished up their Square One Art fundraiser pictures, students are excited to start on their new projects. 5th grade students in particular will be creating "selfies" self portraits in different styles of art including realism, cubism, and continuous line drawings!

The George Washington art room is busy beginning some spring projects and getting ready to show off our work at Gallery one in April.  We are learning about colors and perspective in most of our classes as well as 4th and 5th grade clay projects.  It is an exciting time in our art room!

Students in the 1st grade at BFES are designing relief prints using lines and patterns. Using cool and warm colored markers they will create 4 prints.  Inspired by Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture students will turn their prints into a warm message of love.

Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School
Ms. Rosenkampff is working with the SADD club to paint ceiling tiles for the hallway to promote anti bullying and anti drug use.

Students in Ms. Gamerota’s class were challenged to create a world behind the keyhole. They learned about different watercolor techniques, looked at different types of doors from around the world and talked about visual culture. As the project came full circle, students were to write a creative or personal story, part of writing across the curriculum, to explain to the viewer what exactly was happening as they entered the world behind their door. 

Ms. Graessle's 6th graders are creating pop art cake and pie sculptures.  While her 7th graders are working in oil pastel to create dragon eyes.  Each artist will also write a creative story about their dragon and publish it online!

High School Art
Lakeland High School Art Students will have art on exhibit at The Garrison Art Center in Garrison, NY. The Theme of the exhibit is “Express Yourself: Exploring Abstract Expressionism” The opening reception is March 7, from 3-5pm

Students in Ms. Marrone’s art class at Lakeland High School are participating in “Doodle for Google”

Gallery One
What wonderful creations from our Lakeland High School Artists at the Gallery One Art Show, congratulations.  Next month Walter Panas High School students will be featured. Walter Panas High School Gallery One Opening Reception is March 12, 5-7 pm 

Linclon-Titus - Enrichment classes for grades kindergarten through 2nd grade are in full swing at the Lincoln Titus Elementary School Library.  This unit focuses on offering robotics and coding instruction to our younger learners. Classes began by exploring different types of robots and how they are being used today.  We learned that robots can help in situations that might be too dangerous for humans and robots can also help people who are handicapped.  

Students had the opportunity to explore coding, first unplugged.  We coded a path (using a sequence of paper arrows) for our Lego robots to take to get from one point to another.  We are now using what we learned to code Dash robots. Dash robots make it fun to learn programming with a suite of apps that utilize block-based programming at different skill levels.  At its most basic, programming is problem solving. Trying to understand a goal and developing a plan for how to achieve a solution. Our younger students will get to know Dash by learning how to make the robot move and by exploring the robot’’ s lights, sounds, sensors and movements.  Older students will learn programming through the drag and drop Blockly app. We’ll break problems into a series of sequential steps, and work together to solve a variety of challenges.

Lakeland High School -    English classes getting ready to read To Kill a Mockingbird cycled through a three day station project in the Library learning about rural southern America in the 1930’s.  Students were quite startled, for example, looking at the different cuts of meat and how to cook all things from scratch using The Joy of Cooking.  It was not quite the same as the supermarkets of today.  Comparing the technology (or lack thereof) in that time period to today was surprising to students as well.

English classes also proceeded through a station project before reading The Things They Carried, a novel set during the Vietnam War.  As in all station projects they listened to music, watched video clips, interpreted photos and did some research to immerse themselves in that time.  As questions arose about what Parris Island was being referred to in the Billy Joel song, students were taken aback to find that their Librarian is actually a Vietnam Era veteran.  After all, the story was set so long ago!


Technology Education 
All Students are taking part in an authentic learning experience with a “hands on” approach. Students will be challenged to participate in tasks and solving problems through self-directed inquiry in the design.

6th Grade (Smith & Becker)
Design and Drawing for Production
Students are using/applying Computer aided drawing (CAD) programs with CNC Equipment and basic hand tools to design and build board games geared toward 1 school 1 book.

Students are designing and building customized (wooden) desk organizers using CNC Equipment and various power tools.

8th Grade (Smith)
Students were introduced to digital electronics and eventually basic residential electricity.

Electronics - Students will be demonstrating tool/material safety, designing circuits and programing of a microcontroller (Arduino board). Students will be creating a sample game geared towards the book Mr. Lemonchello’s Library. 

Residential Electricity-Students are learning the process of removing/replacing an electrical plug and the process of wiring of a wall section. The wall section is made up of a single pole light switch and receptacle (outlet)

8th Grade (Becker)
Students are in the process of designing and building a cardboard car powered by a seltzer charge. Students will be simulating a car crash by using an egg as a crash test dummy. Students need to get the fastest time and keep their egg safe. During this unit students will be introduced to Newton’s laws of motion, tool safety, car crumple zones and why they are able to save lives. Students are to race their CO2 dragster and determine the speed based on the time and distance of the race track.

Check out this article about Design Thinking and the mindsets we are looking to develop in students

Looking for a way to make videos from YouTube a more interactive learning experience?  Try Edpuzzle, a web-based interactive video and formative assessment tool that lets users crop existing online videos and add content to target specific learning objectives. Teachers can search the extensive library or upload their own videos to customize them with voice-overs, audio comments, embedded assessment questions, and additional resources.

Health:  Ms. Petrucci’s classes were visited by the Westchester ADA who presented on Internet Safety.  Future presentations from them include Teen Dating Violence, Teen Roadbumps and Safe Driving.  All classes are currently discussing relationships and working on activities related to creating safe and healthy boundaries in relationships. 

Ms. Lombardo’s students are working on a project which incorporates the six dimensions of wellness, social, physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, sexual and environmental. They are to come up with a product that helps others better navigate that specific area of wellness.  Students are working in groups to design this product and will present their final product to the class.  Everyone is very excited to see what creativity comes of this project! 

Ms. Barone's 8th graders have been researching mental health conditions and sharing their slide presentations in class.  7th graders have been practicing refusal skills and learning about the effects of tobacco products and vaping.  Students designed vape villains wanted posters outlining the health dangers, refusal skills and positive rewards of being smoke free. 

Ms. Bloom’s 7th grade classes have had Ms. Geider, the Student Assistance Counselor, in class each week to discuss various topics surrounding tobacco, alcohol and drugs.  Students were very intrigued to see the effect of these products on their brains.  8th graders have begun a unit on mental health conditions.  After researching an assigned condition, students will make slideshows to share with their classmates.  The Aspire students are hard at work reviewing many different aspects of hygiene.

Physical Education: At Lakeland High School they just completed their dance unit, which every student participates in.  They have now transitioned into the following units: Floor Hockey being offered in the gymnasium, Yoga and Just Dance being offered in the aerobics room and a continued focus in the fitness center on core lifts, as well as cardio with the use of the ellipticals and recumbent bikes.  The Walter Panas Physical Education classes are finishing up their volleyball unit with playoffs. The winning team from each class will compete for the title of "Best Volleyball Team in the School" at our annual after-school “Tournament of Champions.”  LCBMS Physical Education classes are very busy!  Most of the Classes in GYM A are taking part in the swimming unit, while some are in the middle of their basketball unit or working out in the fitness room.  Gym B classes are working on perfecting their volleyball skills in small sided games, that will eventually lead up to a class-wide tournament.  GW just wrapped up their circus skills unit. The students learned how to juggle and use a ton of other manipulatives in order to improve their hand-eye coordination.  Students K-5 at Lincoln Titus participated in a one week Winter Olympic Games unit.  They learned about many events such as curling, speed skating, biathlon, hockey, skiing, luge and skeleton.  The students will also be working on their volleyball skills during the month of February.  All 5th graders will also be given the opportunity to participate in the annual 5th grade vs. Faculty volleyball game, which will take place on March 3rd.  At Thomas Jefferson, they are wrapping up a successful hockey unit. Students were able to learn basic skills, vocabulary, positions and strategies when it comes to floor hockey. For grades K-2 the focus was on playing the position of goalie. For grades 3-5 they had zone floor hockey tournaments! The next unit will be bowling.  The teachers will transform the gym into "TJ Lanes" and teach their students proper technique when it comes to bowling. Students will assist one another by being pin-setters and ball retrievers. The goal is to create a friendly social environment all students can enjoy!  The PE program at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School just finished their floor hockey unit. The six goal hockey activity is a school favorite! We are looking forward to our upcoming gymnastics unit at the end of the month. The kids are really excited to take part in gymnastics!  At Benjamin Franklin Elementary School they have recently finished up their basketball unit. Students in grades 3-5 participated in various small sided games, eventually concluding the unit with 3 on 3 half court games. The students learned how to play basketball with multiple teammates. The importance of passing and moving around to get open to receive a pass was stressed to the students. All students also learned and practiced how to defend an opponent by staying between the offensive player and the basket to prevent an open or close shot.  They are now starting their badminton unit which will run for approximately three weeks. The unit begins by introducing students to the basics of the game. Students learn how to hold a badminton racket and also how to perform various hits/swings. The students will have the chance to practice these hits at several stations either independently or with a partner. This will allow students the opportunity to spend a few class periods developing the necessary skills needed to play a game of badminton. They then spend approximately two weeks in this unit playing games of badminton, during which time students will learn the rules of the game and the scoring system.

Thank You to This Month's Contributors: Mindy Albert-Bergen, Ed Becker, Rich Dashnaw, Rebecca DiSisto-Leslie, Tiffany Dyckman, Karen Gagliardi, Beverly Griffin, Kathleen Lalier, Kathy Mills-Hastings, Kate O'Connor, Kelly Rampola, Chris Ruggiero, Mike Schaper, Scott Staub, Jaime Stroffolino , Patty Viggiano, Terri Wilkowski

“If you’re going to grow, you’re going to have to do things that put you at risk.”
-Ginni Rometty