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posted: Thu, Nov 20th, 2014
Third-graders Rachel Watkins, Micah Jones, and Ava Welsch at the multicultural feast, with parent volunteer Latoya Albritton

Discovering their heritages

Third-graders at Mountain View recently studied and discussed immigration from the early 19th Century through present day, and the assimilation and adoption of various traditions into American culture. In doing so, the students also had an opportunity to explore their own heritages.

The students explored the topic of immigration by reading stories and watching videos about the immigration process, and the significance and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty. Then the teachers led the students through a variety of activities designed to make the experience more personal.

The third-graders created ships to represent the journeys of their families to America, created passports to mimic those that people need to enter America, and interviewed relatives to learn historical information about their families.

“For me, the most special piece of the unit is including a student’s entire family and allowing grandparents and other relatives to share their experiences,” said Mary Fisher, third grade teacher. “So many students came in joyfully expressing how excited they were to have discussed these historical events with them. The students really learned about who they are and how their family has changed over the years. It was an eye-opening experience for them.”

The culmination of the unit was a multicultural feast. The event, coordinated by third-grade teacher Jason Brodo, was a celebration of the world through traditional regional dishes. More than two dozen international delicacies were brought in by parents and staff members and served up in the cafeteria. The Caribbean, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa were all represented.

Many students came to school that day dressed in the traditional clothing of their countries of ancestry. They also brought in posters they had made that included family information and information about their countries, and showed off various cultural artifacts as well.

Nithilan Valan, Yash Patel, and Rahul Swaninathan stand in front of the FIM Wall of Fame

Excitement in First In Math program shows no sign of slowing 

First In Math, the website that features interactive math puzzles and games, continues to energize. Three Mountain View students have each solved more than 8,000 math problems on the site. This puts Nithilan Valan, Yash Patel, and Rahul Swaninathan among the top 10 students in the state and the top 25 in the nation who have solved the most problems.

Riley Cahili has more than 5,000 problems to his credit and two other students, Robert Cahili and Dhruv Raghuraman, have each correctly answered about 4,000 math problems.

The six students have reached the level of Grand Champion on the site. Certificates of achievement embellished with their photos are posted on a bulletin board just outside the interior entrance to the main office. Another student, Aarya Chinnappa, recently reached the level of Grand Champion and should soon be receiving a certificate of achievement from First In Math.

As a school, Mountain View is ranked 2nd in the state and 11th in the nation for total problems solved. Approximately 90 percent of all students have solved at least 1,500 math problems since the program began in September.

“Students love the interactivity and the engagement,” said Dr. Frank Fischel, Mountain View principal. “We’re elated that First In Math has caught on the way it has. It harnesses the competitiveness of kids and makes them want to learn more and achieve at higher levels.”

The interactive games on the First In Math website are tailored for each grade level and ability, and support the curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. There are games that test knowledge of angles, fractions, time, probability, geometry, decimals, algebra, and more.

The website also gauges the ability of students and customizes math games to keep them thinking. Teachers use the First In Math website in class at their discretion; however, students are logging the most time on the site at home.

Mountain View topped three million problems solved on November 18.

 Math problems solved as of 11/26 @ 12:01 a.m.

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Mountain View School
118 Cloverhill Drive Flanders, NJ 07836
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