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last updated: Wed, Jun 25th, 2014

The Sandshore Travel Agency

Need help planning your summer getaway? Find a Sandshore third-grader.

The students recently completed travel brochures about the states. Each student researched a single state using print and online resources; then, using Microsoft Publisher, each student created a brochure using all that was learned. It’s a project that combined social studies, language arts, and technology all in one.

Each brochure included:

• State facts including: capital city, flag, flower, bird, motto, song, tree, population, major cities, and climate.

•Two important landforms (mountains, rivers, oceans, lakes)and the sights or recreational activities that can be found there.

•Two points of interest, fun attractions, or historical attractions that people would want to visit.

• Details about a famous person born in the state, including notable contributions

“The students really showed a high level of sophistication in completing their projects,” said teacher Darcy McHale. “For a third-grader, it’s a difficult task to read about a state and internalize the information in order to write and speak with authority about it. Then, the use of Publisher to create a brochure with photographs and illustrations took the project to another level entirely. I had such computer dynamos in my class!”

This problem-based learning project is part of a set of assignments recently developed to be used districtwide in grades K-8. The projects work toward improving the writing and research skills of students and incorporate technology into the curriculum to help students realize the technology goals in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

To learn more about these research projects, go to:


They've got the beat, they've got the beat, yeah

TUMP! tee-ta TUMP!

tump-tump-tump TUM!

Wait, that drumming sound isn't coming from the music room at all. It's coming from the gym?!

Kit Thompson, physical education teacher, is always trying new things to keep kids active and having fun. During the last week of the school year she's laying the groundwork for developing a unit on fitness drumming for 2014-2015.

Fifth-grader Kylie Logan drums on a physio ball

Fitness drumming is synchronized dancing to music while drumming on big physio balls. Depending on the agility and skill of the participants, the choreographed routine can involve spins, leaps, walks around the ball, claps, and overhead clicks with drumsticks, among other movements.

Ms. Thompson, a former drummer in her middle school band, became interested in the activity in February. She came across a “Drums Alive” fitness drumming seminar while attending the Society of Health and Physical Education’s annual convention. Inspired by the possibility of bringing the activity to her students, she applied for and received a grant from the Sandshore Home School Partnership (SHSP), the school’s parent organization. With the money, she bought the balls and inflatable tubes that are used to stabilize them. 

“Children are naturally very active, and have a special relationship and reaction to music,” Ms. Thompson said. “We use music all the time in class. Fitness drumming is a great aerobic exercise that combines rhythm and movement in a fun and unique way.” 

Ms. Thompson worked with the fifth-grade drummers in the school band to get a sense of what they could do and incorporate their input. They watched fitness drumming videos and selected the music that would be used for these introductory classes.

The lessons learned from piloting the program will be used to create a larger unit on fitness drumming for grades 2–5 for next year. Each grade level will have its own music and choreography. 

“I’m really excited about the possibilities,” said Ms. Thompson. “I know the kids will fall in love with it once they try it.”

To see fitness drumming in action, check out: 



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Sandshore School
498 Sandshore Rd Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4003 Fax: 973.691.4027

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