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Writing Rocks—June 2018 Calendar


posted: Fri, Jun 15th, 2018

A river of kindness

Through the front lawn of Sandshore flows a river of kindness, made up of messages of hope, optimism, and inspiration on brightly painted rocks. Every student in the school contributed to the garden by writing a personalized rock message to inspire others; the final rocks were coated with polyurethane then put down by students. The rock garden with its twisting rainbow of colors serves as a visual reminder to be kind every day.

Fourth-grade teacher Lorri Vaccaro and guidance counselor Julie Kester coordinated the effort. The plan is to have students add rocks to the garden every year.

The project stems from Sandshore’s year-long focus on kindness and a presentation in September about Kindness for Christopher, a movement named for Chris D’Amico Jr. who died at the age of 10 in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong in 2015. Kindness for Christopher was started by his parents to honor their son’s boundless altruism and has spread across the country and the world. As part of the movement, rocks have been inscribed with encouraging messages and punctuated with “Kindness for Christopher.” The rocks have turned up in other states such as Alabama and Louisiana, as well as other nations such as Kuwait and Hungary. One was even found on the Great Wall of China.

The rock garden was made possible through the support of the school’s parent organization, the Sandshore Home and School Partnership, and donations from Home Depot.

First-graders enjoy Outside Day

Counting down the alphabet

First-graders are counting down the last days of the school year by celebrating a different letter each day, from A-Z.

Each letter of the alphabet is the first letter in the name of the special activity for that specific day. Some activities reinforce the curriculum such as Number Day in which students played number games. Others focus on character education such as Appreciation Day that encouraged the first-graders to give thanks to volunteers and staff members. And others are just plain fun and boosted school spirit. Students came to school in their p.j.’s on Pajamas Day, for example, and played kickball outside on Kickball Day.

“This project helped keep kids excited to come to school in the last few weeks of the year,” said teacher Devon Marques. “It made each day special and memorable.” 

One of the most popular letters was “C” which stood for Compliment Day. Teachers made compliment notes and encouraged the kids to give them to each other whenever they saw good conduct or a positive character trait.

Messages included:

“You have been a super-friend to others”

“Your creativity is incredible”

“Wow! You have had fantastic behavior on the bus”

“You are such an important part of our classroom community”

The students will celebrate “Z” on the final Friday of the school year. They’ll “Zip Up Their Backpacks” with just a half-day remaining until summer recess.

Spring cleanup

Fifth-graders helped tidy the Sandshore grounds by going on a spring cleanup. The litter cleanup project earned the school a $500 grant from the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority and the Morris Count Clean Communities program. The money will be used to purchase recycling receptacles for the school.

Wearing gloves provided by the MCCC, the students were divided into five groups which worked their way around the school property. The district’s buildings and grounds crew keep the property well-maintained so most of the litter was found along the school’s perimeter in the underbrush, deposited there by the wind. 

“The project reinforced lessons about recycling and taking care of our school and community,” said Nicole Koslower, the teacher who organized the cleanup. “The kids were so enthusiastic they didn’t want to stop.” 

The cleanup project promotes a state-wide educational campaign called “Slam Dunk the Junk” which focuses on keeping New Jersey clean and changing the behavior of litterers.

Several students also participated in an associated poster contest. If selected as a county winner, they will each receive $200 and have their artwork replicated on recycling containers in the school.

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Sandshore School
498 Sandshore Rd Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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