#RamTasticStaff

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 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."

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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.
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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)!

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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%!

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Lesson
 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! 

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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"!  

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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.

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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.



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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!!

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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! 

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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.
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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!