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Suffolk: tech twist for scavengers

Babylon Elementary School first-graders use an app and

Babylon Elementary School first-graders use an app and stylus to color in a gingerbread man, part of a recent in-school scavenger hunt that also included iPads and QR code readers. Credit: Courtesy Syntax Communication

Babylon teachers put a technological twist on their annual scavenger hunt.

More than 100 Babylon Elementary School first-graders used Apple iPads and QR code readers to complete tasks and obtain clues during the recent in-school scavenger hunt themed around Laura Murray's book "The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School."

The scavenger hunt had been technology-free before this year, school officials said.

"We wanted to bump up the project by exposing the children to different technologies," said school library media specialist Lisa Ann Lindeman, who coordinated the scavenger hunt with art teacher Pat Stork.

"Some kids have the technology at home already, but there are plenty who don't -- and we have to start making them comfortable with it," she said. "We're developing our 21st-century learners."

At each stop, groups of five students used the devices to tackle various challenges, ranging from using an app and stylus to color a gingerbread man to listening to an e-reader version of the book. They then received simple rhyming clues leading them to other locations in the school, Lindeman said.

The final stop featured the image of a gingerbread man on an interactive whiteboard, congratulating the kids.



Immigration Day

Third-graders at Miller Avenue Elementary School recently learned about the hardships immigrants faced on Ellis Island in the early 1900s.

To participate in Immigration Day, students dressed as immigrants of their own heritage and went through checkpoints in a classroom transformed to replicate the Great Hall at Ellis Island. There were mock vision screenings, neurological exams and interviews on reasons for coming to America.

"Children learn not just from textbooks, but by actual experiences," said principal Louis Parrinello. "Immigration Day is a terrific example of this."



Musical theme winners

Smithtown Central School District's Robotics Team No. 810 recently beat out 24 entries from 16 local schools to take first place in the musical theme contest of the upcoming 2013 Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, which will be held at Hofstra University on April 4-6.

The song, composed by team members Dan Pesce and Isaiah Rodriguez, will be played during competition matches, and the team will receive $1,000. The team has a mixt of students from Smithtown High School East and Smithtown High School West.

FIRST stands for: For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology.

The competition is sponsored by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island.



Flapjack fundraiser

Eastern Suffolk BOCES raised more than $1,500 at a pancake breakfast held at Applebee's in Patchogue to benefit its students competing this spring at the 2013 New York State Leadership Conference & Skills Competition in Syracuse.

The competition is hosted by SkillsUSA, a nonprofit that prepares teens for careers in trades, technical jobs and skilled services.

ESBOCES collected $10 from each patron it brought in, and students volunteered to greet, seat, serve and clean up. Automotive students provided free car service by checking tire pressure and fluids and making sure inspections were current.

"We knew it was going to be great when friends, family and ESBOCES staff arrived at 8 a.m. and many were still coming in at 9:50 a.m.," said school nurse Sue O'Neill.



King celebrations

Dozens of local schools honored the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. last month with activities designed to promote tolerance and equality.

In Oakdale, Eastern Suffolk BOCES students at Arthur Premm Learning Center created a pictorial timeline of the life of the iconic civil rights leader, participated in a "march for peace" around the school building and made a "friendship rainbow" with ingredients necessary for friendship, school officials said.

The activities kicked off the school's 31-day celebration of King and Black History Month.

In Elwood, James H. Boyd Intermediate School held a schoolwide assembly that included video clips and photos of King, along with audio clips of him addressing audiences of civil rights activists in the 1960s.

Students also read excerpts of the "I Have a Dream" speech that King delivered in 1963 in Washington, D.C., and they sang the protest anthem "We Shall Overcome."

In Babylon, Memorial Grade School students engaged in an experiment with brown and white eggs in which they cracked the shells and revealed that the eggs, while different colors on the outside, are the same on the inside.

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