Here in Riverside Township School District, we are very fortunate to have a #RamTasticTeam of teachers and support staff and we take every opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate their successes. 

On this page, we will continually add honors, awards, and recognitions for our #SuperRamStaff

Lesson of the Week Winner for 6/12/2023 - 6/15/2023 

Congratulations Mrs. Healy!!!

This year’s final lesson of the week is the cherry on top of a sweet year of learning.

Mrs. Healy’s fourth grade ESL group 'scooped' up some serious knowledge while creating a recipe for homemade ice cream and then enjoyed the ‘flavorful’ success of following the recipe.  

Students cumulated their learning on sequence and cause and effect by 'cone'-quering the art of ice cream making!" After working all year on their language development skills, the class integrated sequence and cause and effect into their writing and speaking skills. Then, to showcase that work, they crafted a sequence of homemade ice cream instructions and carried them out.

The lessons leading up to this activity incorporated the concept of sequence, emphasizing the importance of following a specific order of steps when making or doing something. Students discussed specifically why sequence is important in making homemade ice cream. The class explored how each step in the ice cream-making process leads to a specific outcome. The students were encouraged to think critically and predict the effects of certain actions.

Then, the class eagerly proceeded to the hands-on activity of making ice cream. Following the class-created directions, the students worked in small groups, measuring ingredients, shaking the mixture while listening to music, and collaborating through the steps. After patiently waiting for the ice cream to freeze, students were able to taste “sweet” success. Students communicated with their peers and the teacher in English throughout the lesson. They practiced giving and receiving directions, asking questions, and expressing their preferences, further developing their language skills.

"That lesson was truly 'scoop'-erb!”


 of the Week Winners for 6/5/2023 - 6/8/2023

Congratulations Ms. Kirkpatrick and Mrs. Wasco!!!

A smashing success! Congrats to Ms. Kirkpatrick and Mrs. Wasco, the dynamic duo behind our epic end-of-year compilation activity! They really served up a winner with their teamwork and dedication. Students had a ball choosing their favorite game to showcase their skills, from volleyball to basketball, kickball to football, and soccer. It was an absolute slam dunk to see how much the students learned throughout the year! If the enthusiasm for volleyball is any indication, we might just have some future MVPs ready to spike their way onto the school volleyball team.

This lesson was a real winner, combining fun, exercise, teamwork, and a shot at RTSD glory!   Let's keep the good times rolling and the skills shining; keep up the fantastic work!


Lesson of the Week Winners for 5/29/2023 - 6/2/2023 

Congratulations Mr. Goodwin and Mrs. Kimball!!!

Game On! 

This week, Mr. Goodwin and Mrs. Kimball's co-taught lesson with their middle school class of English Language Learners was a real game-changer! Que divertido!

They transformed the classroom into an interactive word wonderland by introducing the game-based learning ed-tech program, Wordwall. With some help from our teachers, the students in this Social Studies class were able to engage in personalized games to decode pivotal Civics vocabulary and unlock language skills in a multifaceted way. Students had to use definitions to unscramble key words, sort and match virtual flashcards, crack the case of vocabulary anagrams, and test their knowledge quickly. Our students became word warriors, battling their way to success, leveling up their vocabulary skills, and powering up for their upcoming exam.  

Confidence level πŸ’―.

From word wizards to language legends, our students are on their way to conquering the world, one word at a time, thanks to this engaging lesson by Mr. Goodwin and Mrs. Kimball! No newbies or glitches here…this lesson was a TKO!



Lesson of the Week Winner for 5/22/2023 - 5/25/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Lauletta!

You're Hired!!

Calling all future CEOs, innovators, and professionals! Let's give a standing ovation to Mrs. Lauletta's School to Career class as they embark on a thrilling journey to success!

In their latest adventure, these ambitious students participated in a mock interview, showcasing their passion for their chosen careers. They put their best foot forward, not only by researching their dream companies but also by dressing to impress. With nerves tingling and confidence soaring, each student faced the formidable Mrs. Lauletta, the fierce CEO of our renowned company. She fired off thought-provoking questions, testing their knowledge and determination. And boy, did they impress!

But it didn't stop there! Mrs. Lauletta's dedication to our School to Career program shone through as she scored each interview and provided invaluable feedback to our bright stars. With her guidance, our seniors are equipped with the skills and resilience needed to conquer the real world.

Let's give a round of applause to the incredible Mrs. Lauletta for earning the well-deserved "Lesson of the Week" honor! Her passion for empowering students and preparing them for their future careers shines brightly, as evident in the remarkable mock interview experience she created. Thank you, Mrs. Lauletta, for guiding our students toward success and lighting up their paths with inspiration and guidance!


 of the Week Winners for 5/15/2023 - 5/19/2023 

to Mrs. DeJoseph and Mrs. Dursi!

Learning has been at an all-time high. In fact, this lesson of the week left us wondering, “Will things ever be the same again?” because… “...It’s the final countdown!”

Kindergarteners in Mrs. DeJoseph and Mrs. Dursi's class are two weeks into their final countdown to the end of the year, but the learning is “far from over.” Students in kindergarten start the year learning their numbers and early counting, using the morning meeting to practice their numbers and count their way up to the 100th day of school, which is celebrated school-wide. Now, as Spring moves in and summer is only weeks away, Mrs. DeJoseph and Mrs. Dursi’s class is using a fun learning activity to countdown to the end. We visited her class this week on “Hat Day,” eight days into their 26-day countdown to summer, where they are honoring a letter each day. These students, who have spent the year learning their letters and sounds, are now rounding out the year, reviewing them, and celebrating each one in their alphabetic countdown to summer. On this 8th day, celebrating the letter “H,” students worked in various learning centers around the room on “H” themed activities and their daily letter page for an alphabet memory book they are creating over the last month of school to take home at the end of the year. Students were also wearing color-coded Headbands with sentences on them and were directed to find a partner with the same color headband and read each other’s sentences aloud. This social activity built on their practice to “read to others” as part of their traditional reading practices but tied into the theme and allowed for multiple combinations of sentences and friends. Some students brought their own Hats to celebrate the theme of “Wear your favorite Hat;” but just in case they did not, the teachers had prepared a paper hat template for the students to decorate and wear for the day.  

We can’t wait to see all of the exciting activities that the rest of the alphabet, and the year, will bring to Mrs. DeJoseph and Mrs. Dursi’s class, and we look forward to seeing our students’ finished Alphabet Countdown Books when they are completed!  


Lesson of the Week Winner for 5/8/2023 - 5/11/2023
Congratulations Mrs. Keefe!

Question: What's the density of a mystery solution? 

It's a mystery, right? 

Well, no worries, our RMS students in Mrs. Keefe’s classes solved this mystery with some good old-fashioned math and ingenuity. You could say they got to
the bottom of it…that the solution was no mystery for them! 

Spoiler alert, there is no mystery as to who our lesson of the week winner is since we identified her above, just as our students identified the problem and created a hypothesis as any good Citizen Scientist would do.  

In this creative and engaging lesson, students had five mystery solutions labeled: red, clear, brown, yellow, and blue. Now, these might sound like the colors of a superhero team, but without identifying them first, our “RMS Super Heroes in Training” couldn’t save the world…at least not just yet. First, they needed to measure the density of these solutions. If you asked any student in the class, which our administration did, they could recite the formula from rote memory. 

Directed to find tools to solve the problem at hand, our Citizen Scientists identified and used a balance scale that measures the weight of objects. With this scale, they measured the weight of equal volumes of each solution to determine their respective densities.

Since we love good puns and science experiments, we can safely do both in this
lesson-of-the-week activity.. if we wear our safety goggles. With a little bit of humor, fun, science, and some puns, our students "weigh"ed in on which solution is the most dense and which is the least dense. And unbeknownst to you, saved the world by identifying the mystery solutions!

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Lesson of the Week Winner for 5/1/2023 - 5/4/2023
Congratulations Ms. Sommers!

Everyone knows that … if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.  This week, however, we also learned that if you're happy and have two sight words, and you want to build a compound word, then you take those two sight words and CLAP them together.

Ms. Sommers' reading group accomplishes a lot in a small amount of time each day. They take turns being the teacher for a day to work through the week's sight words, where they offer feedback and kind words of encouragement to their peer learning buddies. This week, after their sight word practice, they learned a new skill…building compound words. Ms. Sommers introduced the concept to the students using a fun song and video that explained how to take the first sight word in one hand, then take the other sight word in your other hand, and CLAP them together to make a new compound word. Students loved the combination of singing and clapping through the practice, learning how to make new bigger, compound words out of the sight words they are mastering.

Students explored multiple examples, including dog + house = DOGHOUSE and sun + shine = SUNSHINE. However, the yummiest of all the compound words was, of course... pop + corn = POPCORN.

The students identified so many new words during this lesson, all while acting as supporters and cheerleaders for each other, that they HAVE to be honored for their amazing work. This lesson was Fan-Tastic, Awe-Some, and definitely Note-Worthy. It was a High-Light to observe. Congratulations to Ms. Sommers and her students on this amazing Class-Work!


Lesson of the Week Winner for 4/24/2023 - 4/28/2023
Congratulations to Mr. Jacobs! 

What’s better than a great math lesson? Nothing, well, maybe a great math joke! 

What did the calculator say to the student? You can count on me! 

Just like that reliable calculator, we can always count on our teachers to deliver amazing lessons for our students, which always makes it difficult to select a lesson of the week. This week, with so many great activities to choose from, we selected Mr. Jacobs’ Algebra II lesson on logarithms as our Lesson of the Week, or should we say Mr. Jacobs’ students’ lesson!! 

When we joined Mr. Jacobs's 7th-period Algebra II class this week, we were immediately immersed in an upbeat, fast-paced class, where students were encouraged, challenged, and praised throughout. Students were introduced to logarithms, which are essentially the inverse or opposite of exponential functions.

What truly set this lesson apart, however, was that Mr. Jacobs took on the role of student and challenged his students to lead the lesson and teach him. All of the students were highly engaged in this method of learning through teaching and had so much fun helping the teacher work through the process that they did not even seem to realize they were learning. That is stealth learning at its finest! 

Congrats to Mr. Jacobs and his students for this inspiring display of natural absorption of knowledge through application, conversation, and praise. 

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Lesson of the Week Winner for 4/17/2023 - 4/21/2023
Congratulations to Mrs. Leonti! 
Our Riverside Elementary School Students would be lost without Mrs. Leonti's tech skills.  Let's map out why. This week, our elementary students' longitudinal goal was to complete an array of learning activities and projects to explore and celebrate countries and cultures around the world in preparation for their Cultural Fair on Wednesday night.  We are happy to report they reached their destination with success. Tying into the “around the world” theme, second-grade students in Mrs. Leonti’s computer class were using technology to see the world from their seats in school. Mrs. Leonti showed students how to use Google Maps and Google Earth to find locations around their town and around the world using only the coordinates given to them. Once students were able to locate an area from their coordinates, Mrs. Leonti showed them how to digitally go "sightseeing" throughout the area around that specific location, looking left and right and following the surrounding streets to see the neighborhood as if they were physically there. The class discussed how Google Earth was built and is updated, and students were able to explore several locations near, far, and all around the world. Students weren't concerned about "Venice" lesson would be over.  They were "Havanna" a good time in this highly engaging lesson that transported them to destinations they may have never known existed.   

Lesson of the Week Winner for 4/3/2023 - 4/6/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Jackamonis!

It would be an understatement to say that William Shakespeare had a way with words, just as it would be an understatement to say that the winner of this week’s lesson of the week is an amazing teacher. It is difficult to find words to explain the sheer brilliance observed in 214 this week. Perhaps the best way to try to capture it would be to borrow words from Shakespeare himself … “and though she be but little, she is fierce!” Fierce is the best way to describe the learning that takes place with Mrs. Jackamonis and her students each day. Whether they are learning academic, social, or life skills, the students and teachers in Room 214 are always “all in.” Many of us have seen Mrs. Jackamonis and her class working on learning social and job skills around the district, but going into her room, the “all in” motto is even more prevalent. 

This week, students were immersed in a round table reading and discussion of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students took turns reading sections of a modified version of the story and discussed the various events that took place. After seeing the play live last week with several of our RHS Junior Class English students, Mrs. Jackamonis' class reread the end of the play and dove deeper into the 
character's actions, motives, and thoughts. Mrs. Jackamonis asked students to make connections back to prior scenes, relate their thoughts personally with those of the characters, and make connections to the play. 

Congratulations to Mrs. Jackamonis, the classroom assistants, and the students!


Lesson of the Week Winners for 3/27/2023 - 3/31/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Horton and Mr. Van Sciver!
🎢If we could turn back time🎢
Students in Mrs. Horton and Mr. Van Sciver's 7th Grade Science classes turned back time to act as scientists, historians, and archeologists in this lesson-of-the-week activity.  Students began their "groundbreaking" research by creating a timeline that spanned across the Paleozoic to Cenozoic Era and included everything from the Cambrian to the Quaternary time periods.  Students "excavated" important details through research on landforms and life form changes over the span of their era and created artistic representations of what they discovered in the correct areas on their timeline.  Students were encouraged to be creative in their artistic visions and to be sure to use plenty of complementary colors to make their presentation pop.     

Our students continue to "dig" Mrs. Horton and Mr. Van Sciver's project-based lessons and this assignment especially!  

Lesson of the Week Winner for 3/20/2023 - 3/24/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Heller!

While many of us were looking for a rainbow on St. Patrick’s Day in an effort to track down a pot of gold, some of our first graders were busy making their own magic. Mrs. Heller’s students were outside using a clear triangular prism tool to make their own rainbows.

First, the class read about light and rainbows to build an understanding of how light refracts into its components. The students were astounded by the fact that white light is actually made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light.

Then, the class went outside, equipped only with a triangular prism tool and the white light from the sun, and turned those simple components into a rainbow of brilliant colors. By the lesson's conclusion, students understood that as light flows into the prism, it does not flow directly through, but actually gets bent in the prism and comes out at a different angle in multi-color. Students then compared this bending process to that of an arched rainbow in the sky.

This was an incredible activity. We were excited to follow the rainbow to its end, or in this case, its origin, and find this “pot” of teaching and learning gold. 

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Lesson of the Week Winner for 3/13/2023 - 3/17/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Clyde!

What do you "meme" Mrs. Clyde is being recognized as the Lesson of the Week winner? 

Is it because she utilizes flexible seating?  

Is it because there is student voice and student choice in her activities?  

Could it be because students have opportunities to work collaboratively during instructional activities?  

The answer is automatically a "Yes" to all these questions.  

Students in Mrs. Clyde's 8th Grade English Language Arts class are working on a mini project using their Membean vocabulary list for the week to create pop culture "memes."  Students rearranged themselves in flexible seating around the classroom and recognized the need to find a quiet area so they could focus on accomplishing this high-interest task.  Mrs. Clyde reviewed the grading rubric with the students and set high expectations for this lesson. Each student in the class showed they desired to earn a four on each of the rubric's categories. The idea of getting a perfect score was attractive to them.  As students began to work, seldom could be heard, let alone a discouraging word, as the "meme teams" appointed one another with different parts of the assignment to do.  One such task was exporting popular images from the internet that would surely make fora global eruption of laughter, but that should be reserved for the culmination of the activity; there was too much work to do before then.


We cannot wait to see what the students come up with in the Membean Meme Activity; until then, we would like to participate in congratulating Mrs. Clyde on this awesome lesson!


<<Words in bold italics are just some of the vocabulary terms students needed to use in their memes.>>


Lesson of the Week Winner for 3/6/2023 - 3/10/2023
Congratulations to Mr. Stellwag!  




rock and roll
So come and take your time and dance πŸ’ƒwith us.  

Students in Mr. Stellwag's Honors US II class were moving and grooving, "twisting and shouting" to the sweet melodies of the rock and roll classics. This lesson took students in a "Time Warp" through the introduction of Rock & Roll in the mainstream. There may have been "Suspicious Minds" outside of Mr. Stellwag's classroom with all the fun the students were having! Students engaged in respectful discourse while Mr. Stellwag facilitated the discussion about the origins of rock and roll and how the music emerged through the time period. Students examined the controversy over the music during that time and were "Thunderstruck" by the fashion through the eras.  

Our students "Can't Help Falling in Love" with this genre and even asked to do a project on the unit! Talk about student engagement!


Lesson of the Week Winner for 2/27/2023 - 3/3/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. DePietro!  
Ready, Set, Van Gogh! 
Creativity starts here.  

Our latest highlighted lesson of the week comes from one of the teachers in our talented Visual and Performing Arts Department. 
Mrs. DePietro continually encourages her students that they are "Sm-ART" despite any doubts about their perceived artistic prowess. She is always searching for ways for students to embrace their inner Bansky or Basquiat and showcase talents they didn't know they had. This week's lesson was no different. Students were encouraged to "just roll with it" as they used painter's tape to design a graffiti-style mural representing Women's History Month. Students "stuck together" and worked collaboratively as they designed each letter of the equality mural, which can be seen outside of our High School Art Room and across from the cafeteria. 

Not all lessons are created equal, and this lesson was definitely a masterpiece. 


Lesson of the Week Winner for 2/20/2023 - 2/24/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Marker!  

Cue up the mystery theme song for this week's Riverside L.IV.E., elusively known by the alias Lesson of the Week. Our administration was on the hunt to find the true Whodunit. Would it be RES, RMS, or RHS?   Who would epitomize the academic pillars we were on the search for: 





What subject matter or grade level would it be? 

As we perused through the evidence of our selections, there was one clear suspect worthy of this accolade, and helped us solve the mystery of who won the best lesson of the week.  

This week, students in Mrs. Marker’s 2nd grade class were acting like Word detectives. Specifically, they were using close reading kits, including their detective magnifying glasses, to use a variety of strategies to find the meaning of words they didn't know. As students read through their non-fiction texts, they built their skills in using context clues to develop an understanding of new words.

During the reading portions, there was flexible seating and decision-making on the student’s parts. Students could choose between using Epic online for their reading selection or choosing from their book bin.

It’s no mystery that this was some seriously great learning. 




 of the Week Winner for 2/13/2023 - 2/17/2023

Congratulations to Mr. Cesare!

Learning to love and respect your strengths is critical to building your personalized future paths. We may not all be natural public speakers or data researchers or be comfortable showcasing our outgoing personalities. What makes each of us unique is what makes us special. Biomes can be described similarly. There are five major types of biomes, all of which are characterized by their differences in vegetation, soil, climate, and wildlife. This weekin Mr. Cesare’s class, students explored, researched, and presented slides prepared on selected biomes. Not only did students honor the strengths and challenges of each biome in their presentations, but Mr. Cesare made sure to celebrate the personal strengths of the students as well. As students worked through reporting out on their content, Mr. Cesare infused positive reinforcement to each individual student noting their personal strengths and how those strengths were directly beneficial to their presentation styles and strategies. This act definitely helped build the confidence and the efficacy of his students and helped to prepare them to dive in and respond to the deep explanatory follow-up questions he asked at the conclusion of their presentations as well. Mr. Cesare and his class are commended not only for their research on biomes but also for their asset-based perspective on knowing, using, and celebrating individual strengths. 


Congratulations to Ms. Ruggieri!

With so much going on this week, it was hard to pick just one lesson to shout out, but there was no way we could SKIP this activity!

This week, in Ms. Ruggieri's class, students were drawing four, skipping, and combining like terms…. Hold up, Reverse! Reverse! Combining like terms in Uno? !? 

That may not be how we remember Uno, but in Ms. Ruggieri’s 6th Grade Math class, students played a customized game of Uno that was reflective of the content they have been learning in class- combining like terms. In this game-based learning review activity, students used the familiar game of Uno to match colors or match like terms. Classmates could sabotage their opponents with the familiar cards of Draw Four, Wild, Reverse, and Skip. Students were actively engaged and demonstrated their knowledge of the content with enthusiasm. If we asked the students, they would be sure to say this lesson was Numero Uno!


 of the Week Winner for 1/30/2023 - 2/3/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Garvin!

Great learning occurs when students move past remembering content and delve into analyzing why and how things happen. This week, Mrs. Garvin's Anatomy and Physiology class was immersed in an interactive experiment where students explored muscle movement. Rather than simply learning about a listing of different types of muscle movements, students worked in small groups to explore muscle motion in a more open-ended process. They examined the factors that contribute to how and why muscles move the way they do. Mrs. Garvin offered a hands-on experience for students to explore this concept but then pushed them to think deeper. Each time they thought they found the answer, she threw them a curve ball which forced them back to the drawing board. The class started by exploring the simple task of squeezing a tennis ball with one hand. Sounds easy enough, right? We all thought so, but not once you add the factor of putting your hand in ice-cold water before squeezing the ball. To add more excitement, Mrs. Garvin threw in some friendly class competition, with a good old staring contest. What can you learn from that? Students analyzed how many times they blink in a given time frame and tried to hypothesize what impacts blinking. Is it a voluntary or involuntary muscle movement? Multiple activities like this led students back to their lab tables to engage in deep analytical conversations as they tried to come up with answers to the many questions posed by Mrs. Garvin. This lesson brought the class together to have fun while learning, making for a thought-provoking and memorable experience.

 of the Week Winner for 1/23/2023 - 1/27/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Lawrence!

Swoooooooooosh! Picking the lesson of the week winner was a 









for our administrators!  

Mrs. Lawrence is a gamer.

      She's a baller.  

A playmaker.

       A shot caller

At the sound of the buzzer, or in this case, at the sound of the school bell, Mrs. Lawrence was MOVING & GROOVING in her basketball uniform from high school. Mrs. Lawrence started by sharing personal stories about her experiences in the sport and then came out of basketball retirement as the GOAT to show the students dribbles, passes, finger rolls, and a crossover (or two).  Students warmed up, both answering questions in their Google Classroom and doing actual basketball warmups, before Mrs. Lawrence introduced the novel the students would be beginning- "The Crossover" by Kwame Alexander.  

Over the next few weeks, students will be introduced to SLAM poetry, spoken word, and other forms of poetry through this novel, and the kinesthetic exercises that were introduced in the classroom are just as active as the words in this book.  

After hooking the students with her personal connections and her basketball moves, Mrs. Lawrence had students take turns reading the poetry in the book’s first chapter, aptly named “Warm Up.” As students read, they physically passed the ball and were encouraged to "take a shot". Students eagerly participated and were engaged throughout the entire period. Mrs. Lawrence made the learning accessible to all students by incorporating multiple modes of the novel - paper book, PDF, and audiobook, as well as by providing a figurative language cheat sheet for students to reference through the novel. 

While this lesson was only the warm-up, Mrs. Lawrence shattered the mold.  It's definitely a "W" in our books! Congratulations Mrs. Lawrence, not only for still being able to rock your basketball moves but for rocking this lesson!


 of the Week Winner for 1/16/2023 - 1/20/2023

Congratulations to Ms. Barbich!

As we start looking ahead to get ready to swing into Spring, we realize that also means getting ready to slide into state testing. Of course, while preparing for the test is necessary, it does not replace the true goal of engaging and authentic learning of content and skills. That balance can be challenging to find and maintain, but it was beautifully demonstrated in Ms. Barbich's class this week.

Third-grade students in Ms. Barbich’s class started the lesson with group practice on the type of tech-enhanced problems that permeate the state testing. The class discussed the content within the math word problem, making connections to what they have been doing in class, but also examined how it is presented in a slightly different manner in the test format. After working through that warm-up problem and reviewing together, the class transitioned to their continued study of “all things data” and being able to read and interpret different kinds of graphs. Students were able to explain multiple types of graphs they had learned about over the past week as well as how they are made and what type of data they showed. After a video recap of how to create bar graphs, the students were then set into motion to collect authentic data and build their own. Students had a task sheet to survey 16 different people, including their classmates and the adults in the room, on one of three different topics, including favorite bug, favorite fruit, and favorite summer treat. The class debated how to best set up the graph, reasoning through the most sensible choices for skip counting along the vertical axis before finally agreeing on a scale of 2. Finally, with their data tallied and their gridlines and axes labeled, students set out to visually represent their real-world data in their own unique bar graph. The activity walked them through critical thinking questions about collecting, organizing, and representing data effectively, but it was so engaging that students won’t easily forget this information.

There wasn’t anything random about the incredible sampling of student learning observed in this activity. Ms. Barbich and her students clearly set the “bar” high in terms of working with data. 

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Lesson of the Week Winners for 1/9/2023 - 1/13/2023

Congratulations to 
 Mr. Barnes, Mrs. Morris, and Mrs. Smith!

Mr. Barnes, Mrs. Morris, and Mrs. Smith gathered over 20 members of their party, hitched their wagon train, and set off to explore the Oregon Trail this week. Before they left on their perilous journey, the class researched the many dangers that awaited them, including animals, disease, weapons, accidents, etc. Students were given access to their own individual graphic organizers that included weblinks to do reliable research on each of the different dangers awaiting them on the trail. After reading the information provided through each portion of their web journey, students summarized the related perils in that section of the provided chart. This class included several English Language Learners, who were preparing for the trail just the same, but their weblinks and organizers utilized Google Translate services so they could research and respond in a combination of their native language and English. Mrs. Morris, Mr. Barnes, and Mrs. Smith all circled the wagons, or in this case, the student groups, to continually check in on student progress and ask probing questions about what they learned on their journey. They asked individual students and groups to explain which part they felt was the most dangerous and why. To close the lesson, students debated the most dangerous pitfall of the Oregon Trail and then circled back to "If this is so dangerous, why are they going?" which required students to make connections to the previous lessons on the living conditions they were facing, to begin with, and the hope that California provided. While many of the students noted they would NOT take the chance, most could understand and explain why so many chose to "GO WEST!" despite the dangers. One thing we know for sure, this was a dangerously awesome lesson, filled with student research, bilingual discussions, deep thinking, and incredibly high engagement. 


 of the Week Winner for 1/2/2023 - 1/6/2023

Congratulations to Mrs. Ewan!
One of the best ways to facilitate effective teaching and learning is to utilize the 5E Model in which the teacher and students work through the five "E" stages of the learning process: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This method can be used for anything, even teaching students how to do research, as we saw when we visited Mrs. Ewan's CP English II class this week. Students were embarking on their research paper journey, which for some could be a daunting task. However, this was not the case for Mrs. Ewan's students, who were excited, engaged, and eager to get started. Their ambition was a direct result of Mrs. Ewan's presentation of the subject matter. She engaged them with current popular topics, which heightened their interest. She even encouraged them to explore and submit topics for approval, allowing for student voice and choice. As students identified possible research topics, Mrs. Ewan provided a further explanation of the next steps, which will be elaborated on as the project continues. 
She then further motivated them by connecting the timeline to school involvement, noting that if they work hard and meet the incremental deadlines, they will have it done and out of the way before Sports Night. After hearing some of the topics and debates during the opening day of their research paper journey, we cannot wait to read some of what Mrs. Ewan's scholars are going to produce. Great job, Mrs. Ewan, for getting your students Ram'd up for research!

 of the Week Winner for 12/19/2022 - 12/22/2022

Congratulations to Mrs. Bivona!

Mrs. Bivona’s first-grade students are hard at work solving the world's problems…math problems, that is! This week, Mrs. Bivona's class worked together to complete numerous addition and subtraction problems presented in real-world scenarios. Problem scenarios were displayed on the Viewsonic Board, but students also had them printed out at their desks along with a number line and other available tools to facilitate their mathematical reasoning. Students were solving mathematical word problems and breaking down the task by identifying the key vocabulary clues that determined whether addition or subtraction was needed.

As the group worked through various problems, Mrs. Bivona would sometimes use a choral response method or call on students whose hand was raised, but other times would encourage a non-volunteer to answer as well. She asked questions making connections between the current task and prior lessons, and constantly asked students to communicate their reasoning behind their choices and solutions. Regardless of the question, she would communicate with each child in their native language- English, Spanish, or Portuguese; which guaranteed that a language barrier was not part of the problem at hand for any of her students.

Congratulations to Mrs. Bivona and her assistant, Ms. Carver, for their amazing work making math word problems accessible and manageable for all of their students. It is abundantly clear that there is no word prob-llama they can't solve in Mrs. Bivona's room.


 of the Week Winner for 12/12/2022 - 12/16/2022

Congratulations to Ms. Ross!  

There is no doubt that holiday cheer has taken over Riverside Township School District, but that does not mean learning has stopped or even slowed down for our students. In fact, this week, there were so many amazing lessons that it was hard to choose just one. However, the hands-on learning taking place in 2nd grade took the prize. This week, in order to better understand and visualize how canyons can be formed by the long-term effects of water erosion, students in Ms. Ross’ 2nd-grade class modeled the process in a lab simulation activity. Students worked in pairs to first make a canyon out of a cornmeal-based material and then poured water from a drip cup to mimic the falling rain. The level of engagement was remarkable as students watched the constant flow of rain slowly but steadily, form craters and crevasses in the cornmeal canyon. Students made predictions and observations about the process, both in picture form and in writing. Ms. Ross and her educational assistant, Mrs. Entwistle, were able to keep students invested and on task by having everything organized and ready to go so that students were constantly working to drip water and observe the impact that rain has on the formation of and changing of land, over time. Ms. Ross’ little scientists are not distracted by the upcoming holiday as they are busy exploring the relationship between rainfall and land development, which is part of why this lesson has been chosen as lesson of the week!

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 of the Week Winner for 12/5/2022 - 12/9/2022

Congratulations to Mrs. Hunter!  

Holiday and World Cup spirit is in the air in Riverside Township School District, and keeping with that feel, Mrs. Hunter’s Geometry Honors class kicked off with a festive reflection activity where students were asked to think about and share in their journals what they wished for during the holiday season. While the prompt may not be “math-related,” it is very much in line with the "YOU COUNT" initiative in the Riverside Township School District, where we are making strong efforts to show students that their interests, opinions, and feelings matter to us. From there, Mrs. Hunter transitioned to the primary problem activity for the day, where the Geometry “speed meeting” was all the rage. Instead of finding “one’s perfect friend,” students rotated through various prospective matches in the guise of Geometry problems and were tasked with matching their answers accurately.

For the activity, the students in her Honors Geometry class were randomly divided into four groups. Each group was given a problem to solve using the Polygon Angle Sum Theorem. First, students were given a minute to solve the problem individually and then another minute to discuss and compare their answers within their group. At the end of the two minutes, students stayed, but the problems were rotated to the next table, and the process continued. After each group solved all of the problems, they had to present their most recent match to the class. Sharing responsibilities, one student from each group wrote the problem on the board, and another student presented the answer. Group mates were available to answer questions as needed. Instead of rows and columns, often associated with math and some classes in general, Mrs. Hunter’s Geometry lessons are more like square dancing, working with partners, moving around, and having fun in the process. Her creative planning makes learning fun and engaging for her students. Congratulations, Mrs. Hunter, on the lesson of the week!

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Lesson of the Week Winner for 11/28/2022 - 12/2/2022

Congratulations to Ms. Downey!
December is officially here, and with it, loads of cheer surrounding the arrival of winter, the upcoming holiday seasons, and, of course, the World Cup. This week, the first December Lesson of the Week reflected all of that cheer, and the activity observed was just as Merry and Bright as Ms. Downey's classroom. Ms. Downey began her sixth-grade reading class with a soccer-themed social-emotional learning warmup where students had to choose a particular soccer ball they resonated with at that moment. Students listened to soft-playing music in the background while they worked on providing explicit explanations for their choices. In conjunction with that activity and the cheerful theme, students also worked on a parts of speech activity. They had to correctly identify and categorize vocabulary by parts of speech to successfully produce a colorful picture upon completion. Ms. Downey plans to use these visual learning outcomes to decorate the hallways with the language arts work to go along with the math-mystery graphs that already "deck the halls."


Lesson of the Week Winner for 11/21/2022 - 11/23/2022

Congratulations to Mrs. Young!

This week especially, we are thankful for all of our teachers and the work they put in above and beyond to build incredible learning experiences for our students. One teacher, in particular, far surpassed our dreams and expectations in building an immersive learning experience for kindergartners to literally work through a thematic study on the age of European Exploration leading up to Thanksgiving. Students in Mrs. Young’s kindergarten class have been engaged in authentic stories and experiences over the course of three days aimed to get them to understand that explorers toiled through rough seas and that Native Americans lived on the land in an alternate type of housing known as a “teepee.” How did Mrs. Young make this learning memorable for five-year-olds? Well, they recreated the ocean voyage and spent a day learning in a teepee with their tribe, of course! The unit will culminate in learning about Thanksgiving, which will definitely include a shared meal with people they are thankful for, including Mrs. Young! Mrs. Young and her #KinderTribe are definitely in #FeastMode this week with their incredible learning. We can’t wait to explore more with these pedagogical pioneers.

Lesson of the Week Winner for 11/14/2022 - 11/18/2022

Congratulations to Mr. Gorelick!

"Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…" because our students are "HAPPY" to be in Mr. Gorelick's music appreciation class. That statement is true every week, but especially true this week when Mr. Gorelick's class began with a listening journal that focused on the Pharrell Williams' song "Happy." The song hooked the students immediately because it was recognizable, but what was especially interesting was that it wasn't the version they were used to. Instead, the class listened and observed as a woman played three trumpets at one time, along with many other instruments that were introduced in a variety of ways. After completing the listening activity, the class ventured into a kinesthetic music exercise where they clapped out beats and learned about musical notes. To conclude the lesson, students were introduced to their upcoming project-based learning activity, where they will focus their attention on various musical instruments and how they contribute to musical performances. The levels of excitement and engagement were definitely too high to bring down in this lesson, where the students happily clapped along because that’s what they wanna do (but also because it was part of the activity)!


Lesson of the Week Winner for 11/7/2022 - 11/9/2022

Congratulations to Mr. Postell!

Who says Math classes never get to go on field trips? 

Ok, well, they didn't actually get to go anywhere physically, but Mr. Postell did bring the field trip to the class when he hosted an in-house field trip for his AP Statistics class. Mr. Postell invited a team of representatives from Charles Schwab in Texas directly into his classroom here at Riverside High School (through a virtual meeting). Various members of the Charles Schwab team shared their personal experiences with our AP Statistics students. Specifically, they spoke about what led them into the financial field and the road they took to get there. While all of our students may not be aiming for careers in finance, the discussions demonstrated to our students that, regardless of the path they take to get there, the goal is attainable if they set their mind to it and follow through. This in-house field trip offered our students solid and authentic, real-world connections between their current class (and their learning path in general) and their individual future goals. Mr. Postell facilitated discussions with the visiting speakers and his students to strengthen these connections for all students and tied the topics back to statistics where relevant so that the students could see their classroom learning in the foundations of these careers.

Excellent teaching and learning happens when we start where the students are, rather than where we think they may be. Mr. Postell literally brought learning, and the real-world, to his classroom and his students. It was evident no one 'lost interest' in this lesson. Investment was high, and the activity will certainly yield notable returns for these students.

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Lesson of the Week Winner for 10/31/2022 - 11/4/2022

Congratulations to Mr. Ogden!

You may not think it, but statistics can be SWEET! This week in Mr. Ogden’s Algebra class, students explored simple probability, statistics, and graphical data representations. Those topics may sound dry to some, but really it was mouth-watering. Each student received one bag of M&M’s, paper, pencils, and a ruler and calculated probabilities based on their individual M&M color distribution. Students each tallied the M&M colors in their respective bags, created a table to document the distribution, and then modeled it visually in a histogram or bar graph. With that information, students were asked to calculate various theoretical probabilities based on their data. Although the activity seems simply delicious, the learning from this one statistical experiment extends far beyond this task. The class discussed the history behind the evolution of colors in a typical bag of M&M’s, why specific colors have been discontinued or added, what the typical percent distribution is per color at the factory level, and even that there are two M&M plants (one in Tennessee and one in NJ) that have slightly different distributions from one another. The class tabulated their collective tallies using a google form to see if the larger sample yielded a distribution more true to the factory settings and explored that further on the next day. There was a lot of great learning around the district this week, but the probability that this lesson was awesome is 100%!


 of the Week Winners for 10/24/2022 - 10/28/2022

Congratulations to our PreK Staff!
"Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to." (It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown)

This year, there is no doubt that the Great Pumpkin would have been proud of our PreK team for the work they did to build a comprehensive and interactive seasonal experience for our littlest learners. In the PreK center this week, students have been learning all about pumpkins. Ms. Hansberry, Ms. Ashton, Mrs. Craig, Mrs. Portela, Ms. Smith, and their assistants have facilitated read-aloud stories about how pumpkins are grown. Our entire PreK team has been working with students to learn how pumpkins come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. PreK teachers and their classroom assistants have been leading students in pumpkin activities with letters, numbers, and sorting, as well as different pumpkin-themed crafts. On Wednesday morning, all four PreK teachers and all of their PreK assistants took turns leading their classes out to a PreK Pumpkin Patch experience coordinated by Ms. Hansberry and the team so that each student could pick their very own PreK Pumpkin. We were very fortunate and are very thankful to one of our team's family members who were able to donate the pumpkins through a local pumpkin patch of their own. After picking the perfect pumpkin and taking their personal pumpkin patch photo, students returned to the classroom, where they began decorating the pumpkins they picked from the patch. With such an incredible pumpkin-themed week, we know that the Great Pumpkin will appear, and we'll be waiting for him! It was sincerely the best! 


Lesson of the Week Winner for 10/17/2022 - 10/21/2022

Congratulations to Mrs. Ulrich!

When entering Mrs. Ulrich's classroom, you can feel her students' excitement for Math! It could be the excitement about the content they are learning, which she always finds a way to tie into student interests or the games they play to review and support the content learned in the classroom. In this particular lesson, students reviewed coordinate planes and plotted numbers in the form of the board game "Battleship."  Students made dividers between one another and then situated their ships in secret by plotting points on their graphs. The students took turns guessing the coordinates of their opponent's battleship. When the bell rang, students were disappointed to leave class and were hopeful they could continue their game the next time they were in class. Students enjoyed the learning, as did the observer. Overall, the consensus is that this lesson was "unsinkable"!  


Lesson of the Week Winner for 10/10/2022 - 10/14/2022
Congratulations to Mrs. Butler!

The Arts are alive in Riverside and in Mrs. Butler’s elementary art classroom, as students are making connections between the arts, literacy, and their individual lives. This week, Mrs. Butler worked with her students on far more than just art, examining life lessons, and morals and preparing to share that experience with the larger school community. First, Mrs. Butler read a book with her class entitled 'Rock What Ya Got' by Samantha Berger. Central to the book was the theme for students to “Be your best you and rock what you got,” which encourages students to think about, and focus on, what they are good at. After reading and discussing the story and its message, students were encouraged to make connections and choices to share the moral with the school community. Specifically, students decorated stars that would visually and symbolically communicate the “Rock What Ya Got” to others in the school. One student drew a cat to represent themselves and their mom because they feed and care for homeless cats. Another student drew symbols that were nature related in order to show their love of the outdoors. All students were free to express their strengths and interests in the activity and were even given a choice of medium between crayons, markers, or colored pencils to do so. In addition to the life lessons and creative expression demonstrated in this lesson, students practiced motor skills as they decorated and cut out the stars. This was an incredible lesson and experience for the students, and it is absolutely clear that #RiversideArtistsRockWhatYouGot.


Lesson of the Week Winners for 10/3/2022 - 10/7/2022

Congratulations to Dr. Atkinson and Mrs. Biviano!

Learning math isn’t scary, not even for our English Language Learners when they are in a supportive environment with strong teacher scaffolds. That was the case this week in Dr. Atkinson and Mrs. Biviano’s Bilingual Algebra I class. Halloween music played in the background as students entered, setting the stage for a heart-pounding lesson reviewing academic vocabulary, combining like terms, and writing mathematical expressions. There were no tricks during this lesson. Only treats were delivered by Dr. Atkinson and Mrs. Biviano, providing the instructions for students on the Viewsonic Board using Google Translate and then circulating to work with pairs to ensure understanding, offer encouragement, and provide positive feedback.

Students were divided into pairs for a short round of math vocabulary practice before then working individually on combining like terms and writing mathematical expressions using the IXL math program through google classroom. This dynamic duo definitely demonstrated differentiation through multiple means and strategies, using various methods of verbal and written communication in English, Spanish, and Portuguese; integrating visuals as universal support; providing 1:1 support and peer partnerships for scaffolding; and balancing computer-guided practice, group work, whole group instruction, and individualized interventions. It was wonderful to see everything “fall”ing into place in this unbe-“leaf”-able lesson facilitated by two of our incredible high school teachers.


Lesson of the Week Winner for 9/26/2022 - 9/30/2022
Congratulations to Ms. Charley and Ms. Starke!  

Differentiation comes naturally in this fifth-grade inclusion class at Riverside Elementary School. Co-Teachers Ms. Charley and Ms. Starke did a great job of using differentiation techniques and strategies to teach the volume of rectangular prisms during their Math lesson this week. They switched between both whole group discussion and small group discussion while they were exploring a sample of how to dissect a prism on the Viewsonic board. This helped them better visualize and understand volume, and then also supplemented that visual display with hands-on learning using cubes as manipulatives, if needed, throughout the lesson. Ms. Charley and Ms. Starke also facilitated a mini-lesson on the process of calculating volume. The class worked through using addition and/or multiplication as a strategy to find the volume of the rectangular prism.

Throughout the lesson both teachers interacted fluidly with the whole class, sometimes one or both could be seen pulling a smaller group to clarify or scaffold the concepts, and other times the teachers assisted individuals or pairs of students. If students preferred, they were able to work alone or in small cooperative learning groups to better personalize and cement the learning. It was clear that the teachers took every opportunity to get all students to try, connect, and reflect during the lesson.

Shout out to the Ms. Charley/Ms. Starke 5th Grade Inclusion Team for this outside-of-the-box (prism) learning opportunity!!


Lesson of the Week Winner for 9/19/2022 - 9/23/2022
Congratulations to Mrs. Aubrey!  

Mrs. Aubrey’s first-grade class has the “write” stuff! This week, students began working on the early stages of writing sentences. To kick off the lesson, students started on the carpet for a brief choral reading and brainstorming warm-up activity that centered on the word family “it.” Then, after a short brain break, students returned to the carpet so that Mrs. Aubrey could model how they would use their starter sentence strips to create their own individual sentences. After modeling the sentences and the happy star rubric for the group, students returned to their tables to get writing. In order to help students excel, they were given a manipulative that helped them manage their spacing between words. Students were seated in groups, and a picture rubric was taped on each child's table so they could self-evaluate their writing progress and mastery. The rubric showed a five-star progression, with each star looking increasingly happy. Once students were done writing their sentences, they were given the opportunity to share their work with their peers. Not only were students working efficiently, but Mrs. Aubrey was also effectively using her brand new FM system to project her voice around the room effortlessly as she circulated to monitor progress and provide encouragement. Ultimately, this was a five-star lesson! 


Lesson of the Week Winner for 9/12/2022 - 9/16/2022
Congratulations to Mrs. Kubak!  

I don't think you're ready for this jelly.  Jellyfish, that is..... 

Walking into Mrs. Kubak's classroom, you immediately hear engaged intellectual chatter of students collaborating on a lab assignment. Not only that, but you also hear soothing tones in the background as the students listen to music while they work, helping to minimize any anxiety and maximize focus and productivity. On top of that harmony of sounds, you also notice a live jellyfish cam streaming on the ViewSonic Board while the students complete their work in their group lab projects.  Walking around the room, students are visibly engaged and excited to use microscopes during this winning lesson.  They were so happy they could cry, or maybe it was just the onion skins they used to practice their identifying and inquiry skills in science class.  Students stained the onion skin to bring some cell structures - including the nucleus and cell membrane/wall - into contrast, making them more clearly visible through the microscope. Not only could the students see these structures easily, but we could easily see great learning happening for the whole class. Congratulations, Mrs. Kubak, for building a soothing learning environment where students can participate in inquiry and grow scientifically.

Lesson of the Week Winner for 9/5/2022 - 9/9/2022 Congratulations to Mrs. Stroebel!
The school year has kicked off with an aura of energy and positivity. Teachers went out of their way to make students feel seen, heard, welcome, and missed. There was a buzz of excitement and teachers balanced between the need to introduce classroom processes, start exploring the content, and make time to focus on the students and what they bring to the classroom. Our teachers know that unless you learn about your students, it will be difficult for the students to learn from you. This is a big part of the district’s “You Count” initiative this year, which is constantly reinforcing to students that THEY matter as much as the content does. Student attendance, involvement, and input is critical to the success of the classroom and the district overall. Mrs. Stroebel exemplified this in one of her opening lessons where students worked to create visual displays of what makes them uniquely “them.” To facilitate the activity, Mrs. Stroebel projected a general template of expectations on the front board, but then allowed students freedom in their presentation. Students were paired up and provided paper, materials, and time to freely create their own displays of what matters to them, including who they are, who their family is, and what their interests are. Partners were able to immediately learn a lot about one new peer. At the same time, Mrs. Stroebel circulated making genuine personal connections with each student as she was able to see their individualized interests displayed in their work. It was evident in the lesson that the students COUNT to Mrs. Stroebel as individuals!

⭐All-Star Staffer⭐


The April 2022 Pole Vaulting to Positivity  WINNER is 

Riverside  Middle School Math Teacher

Tara Porreca 

Mrs. Porreca can find the good in any situation. Whether it is figuring out what worked or what could use improvement she is the go to person to make you smile, laugh and find the good in anything you are trying to do. A picture is worth a 1,00 words and when randomly asked to "pose" for a picture, she put on her silliest pose, because she exudes happiness in all situations.  A positive plus a positive equals a positive, but no matter how you add it up, Mrs. Porreca equals awesome!

The May 2022 Champion Connections is 

Riverside  Middle Teacher

Robert Van Sciver 

Coach Van Sciver can motivate anyone to do almost anything! Coach Van Sciver rejoined the 7th grade math team this year and has been a worked endlessly to motivate some of the most reluctant students to work and attempt anything. He has an amazing relationship with everyone he teaches and works with. He is always willing to listen and give motivating feedback. Coach Van Sciver not only coaches various sports, he coaches students through difficult moments by making connections which is what matters most.

The June 2022 First Place Finisher is a TIE

Riverside Elementary School Administrative Assistant, 

Laurie Cannuli 

and Child Study Team Administrative Assistant 

Anna Horta

Laurie and Anna are a friend and champion to all. They keep their pulse on the school/ department and they are always there with support and kind words for everyone. Both are always readily available to support staff, students, families and administration.  If you ever need help, either of them can point you in the right direction.  Both are caring, thorough and efficient.  They can frequently be seen translating or supporting our English learning families.  They are willing to pitch in and help in every and any situation!  Either of these amazing support professionals are just the people you'd want to help you across the finish line!