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posted: Fri, May 19th, 2017

Art show puts focus on student creativity

Visitors to Mountain View’s recent art show saw more than 1000 works of student artwork on display. The expansive show provided a look at the depth and breadth of the district’s art curriculum and the dedication of art teacher Laura Murdoch in helping students explore their creativity. Pieces on display represented a variety of time periods and cultures, as well as several famous artists.

Among the most popular pieces were the sunflower collages done by the second grade after learning about the work of Vincent van Gogh, and the representations of Native American weaving done by the fourth grade. 

The recreations of medieval art done by third-graders over the course of the year also attracted a great deal of attention. There were gargoyle sculptures, shields that were personalized with symbols and words important to the students, and drawings of knights, queens, and kings representing the portraits typically found from that era.

The fifth grade scored a home run with its fun project, Cake Wars. Each student created a slice of clay-made cake that was personalized with a unique theme. Like the popular show from the Food Network that inspired it, Cake Wars was a competition. First place was awarded to Lauren Jones for her ice skating themed slice; second place went to Daniella Conte for her cosmic slice featuring stars and planets; and Yadeliz Perez took third place for her jungle/pet shop cake. Students won cupcakes (real, not clay) and gift certificates to a bakery in Chester. 

Students in the gifted and talented art program showed off what were undoubtedly the most impressive pieces of the show: silk scarves dyed with marbled ink. 

While the show was over in just a couple hours, the preparation took months. Mrs. Murdoch began compiling the material and affixing the artwork to display panels in January. Preparations intensified in March and April.

A sample math problem with the wolf theme

Wolves keep kids engaged in afterschool program 

STARS, the district’s afterschool academic support program, was given a fresh, innovative structure this year that centered all activities around a single theme – wolves. The new curriculum and focus of the 16-week program kept students engaged and excited to learn. 

STARS is an acronym that stands of Students and Teachers Achieving Rigorous Standards. The program was designed for elementary students in grades 3-5 who need extra help in meeting today’s tough standards in language arts and math.

The wolf theme was incorporated into both subject areas in every imaginable way. In language arts, for example, students read literature and informational articles to compare the ways that wolves are portrayed in fiction versus their real-life behaviors and characteristics. In math, students completed word problems that incorporated wolves and wolf facts into the narratives.

“Kids of this age think wolves are fascinating,” said Tinc Road teacher Kathy Diefes, facilitator of the program. “They loved the lessons and learning about the wolves. It kept them motivated and engaged as they worked on their language arts and math."

As a culminating classroom activity that allowed them to hone their computer skills, students completed projects to show off what they had learned about wolves over the course of the program. Some students developed Powerpoint presentations while others chose to show off their creativity with novel projects such as the wolf Jeopardy game created by one group. 

As an incentive, students with high attendance were allowed to be a part of an end-of-the-program field trip to the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Colombia, New Jersey.

STARS was run at each of the four elementary schools. In total, 75 students and 10 teachers participated. Sessions were held twice per week, for an hour each.

Project ACES inspires students to exercise

The entire Mountain View student body headed outside one afternoon and danced in a giant exercise session. The event was part of Project ACES (All Children Exercising Simultaneously), the signature program of the Youth Fitness Coalition. 

Students from all over the country and even the world exercised in large groups on this day in what has been called “the world’s largest exercise class.” Held to highlight National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and National Physical Education Week, Project ACES was created 25 years ago as a way to motivate kids to exercise.

Physical education teachers Sharon Jones and Mike Schwartz coordinated the school-wide activity. During phys ed classes, the teachers taught the students a number of fun dances including the Crazy Chicken, Cha Cha Slide, Cupid Shuffle, Cotton Eye Joe, and Tony Chestnut. When the music started, the kids were ready to go. 

“This is something that students look forward to all year long,” Mr. Schwartz said. “We try to teach kids that exercise isn’t just sports and working out. It’s anything that gets your heart pumping and muscles moving.”

On ACES day, the fun lasted for about 30 minutes and took place in the parking lot opposite the school cafeteria. Mr. Schwartz led the group and student leaders at the front demonstrated the proper steps.

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Mountain View School
118 Cloverhill Drive Flanders, NJ 07836
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