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Miller Place kids try weather forecasting

In Miller Place, 75 fifth-graders at Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach Elementary School have their eyes on the sky.

They learned the ins and outs of weather forecasting through a recent school unit on climate that culminated in using fictional data to make a mock prediction of the weather conditions for New Year's Eve 2010 in Times Square.

The meteorological project, "Storm-E Weather Simulation Splash," is coordinated by e-Missions, a simulated problem-solving program spearheaded by Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

"It's important for students to see the real-life applications of what they are learning," said fifth-grade teacher Kelly Volk, whose class is participating along with those of Dawn Kolenda and Denise Marisco. "Kids realize just how scientific the whole process is."

Students split into small groups to study wind, air pressure, temperature and humidity using data passed to them earlier this month in videoconferences with e-Missions. Then they analyzed weather patterns over three days to predict conditions for the fourth day, representing New Year's Eve, and later learned that those patterns were the same as for a nor'easter.

"We said the event could be held, but bring a heavy coat," said fifth-grader Andrea Vetro.

Fifth-grader Charlie Shemat said the simulation project was "a really cool way to learn."


Dinner with ESL families

Ronkonkoma Middle School hosted an English as a Second Language (ESL) dinner last month that attracted some 100 community members and featured "tasty snacks from around the world," school officials said. The aim was to give ESL families a chance to meet teachers.

Other activities included a student fashion show in which kids modeled clothing native to their countries - such as Indian saris and Japanese kimonos - and carried homemade flags depicting their countries of origin. ESL teacher Elena Kushins followed that up with a salsa dancing demonstration.

Countries represented included Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Peru and Poland.


Schoolwide recycling

Arrowhead Elementary School students are reducing their carbon footprint through a recycling project done in conjunction with New Jersey-based recycling company TerraCycle.

As part of the program, fifth-graders in Brigit DiPrimo's class have set up bins around the school to collect various items - ranging from empty Capri Sun juice bags to Chips Ahoy packages to Country Crock tubs - for TerraCycle to "up cycle." The process makes eco-friendly products like diaper bags and folders using non-recyclable waste materials.

For each item collected, TerraCycle donates 2 cents to a nonprofit of the class' choice.


Writing and persistence

Lindenhurst Middle School students recently learned about the writing profession and the importance of persistence through a visit from Marc Tyler Nobelman, an author and cartoonist who has written more than 70 children's books and had political cartoons appear in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine.

During his lecture Nobelman told students how his work was accepted at Nickelodeon Magazine after he submitted 11 samples - rather than the suggested two - and followed up every few months.

"Everyone gets rejected on a daily basis," he said. "Keep trying and don't be afraid."


Reducing gang violence

Eastern Suffolk BOCES held a gang prevention seminar last month at Suffolk County Community College's Brentwood campus in which dozens of high school educators learned the importance of reducing gang violence at the schools.

The program - sponsored by the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco - included presentations by the county's Sheriff Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program and the Suffolk County Correctional Facility's Council for Unity Program, a nonprofit that aims to reduce gang violence in local communities.

"The [Council for Unity] program offered positive change for my future," said speaker and former MS13 gang member Mario Puluc. "I needed to stop the violence, the retaliation and revenge. It's a process. It takes time and patience."


Coloring Long Island

Several hundred Long Island students were selected to appear in "Colors of Long Island: Student Expressions," a K-12 December art exhibit hosted by the Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook.

Art teachers from 109 public and private schools were invited to submit up to three pieces of student art based on their interpretation of the "Colors of Long Island" theme. Submitted artwork ranged from watercolors to sculptures to photographs, museum officials said.

Long Island Lutheran Day School at St. Paul's in East Northport led with the works of 42 students appearing in the exhibit. Commack Middle School had 22 students, and Laddie A. Decker Sound Beach School in Miller Place, 20.


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