Teddy bears and various beloved stuffed animals accompanied Forest Lake kindergarten students during a Teddy Bear Clinic hosted by Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Trauma Center to prevent trauma and promote safety. According to SBCH, trauma (or injury) is the leading cause of death among children under 17 years of age and can be preventable in most cases.
Forest Lake fourth graders stepped back in time during the school’s annual Colonial Day. Dressed in period clothing, the students visited a number of stations featuring activities popular in the 1700s including weaving, butter making, candle wicking, sports games and writing with quill pens. They also explored their artist talents with marble paper art, creating tin lanterns and writing hornbooks.
Forest Lake students learned about weather firsthand with a visit from News 12 meteorologist Rich Hoffman. Second graders recently finished a science unit on weather and have been studying the different types of storms and weather on Long Island.
Second grade students at Forest Lake School shared their recently acquired knowledge of coding with third grade peers while teaching them to make apps. In December, each of the second graders learned the basics of computer coding during the school’s first Hour of Code event.
Inside Forest Lake, students traded their jackets for Hawaiian shirts and their snow boots for flip-flops as they celebrated the school’s annual Beach Day. Even the snow piles and freezing temperatures outside were long forgotten as classes participated in a number of activities to celebrate the coming summer months on Long Island.
Even though Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow on Groundhog Day, administrators and teachers from the district’s three elementary schools happened to see the shadows of 32 enthusiastic high school students, who followed mentors throughout the school day.
Forest Lake fourth graders now know how to make wampum and cornhusk dolls and have tasted johnnycakes after participating in their school’s Native American Day. Teacher Michelle Anszelowicz explained that the students had learned about Native American life and the Iroquois of New York State in their social studies classes and discussed how the Pilgrims relied on the Native Americans’ knowledge to help them through the first harsh winter.
Forest Lake students engaged in a Skype session with popular children’s author Laura Murray, who wrote “The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School,” among other stories. “Students give me ideas and inspire me,” Murray said. “My ideas also come from funny and interesting things that happen in life.”
Forest Lake Elementary School students in Christine Torrellas’ class created a gift of construction paper mice with candy cane tails for the residents of the A. Holly Paterson Nursing Home in Uniondale. The class decided to give the gifts to the seniors, who may not receive visits from friends or family over the holidays. The idea was conceived after the students read about the Toys for Tots program, which prompted a discussion on how to make the residents’ holidays more festive.
Fourth and fifth grade members of the Forest Lake Student Council made personalized holiday cards for children 8 to 12 years old who reside in foster homes and who are assisted by the Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York. The activity allowed the Wantagh students to think about others and do something positive for children of the same age.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Forest Lake Community,
The book that I have chosen as this month’s book of the month is called Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein. This story is a classic “Pay it forward” type story where students learn how one simple gesture could help to make the world a better place.
“Because Amelia smiles as she skips down the street, her neighbor Mrs. Higgins smiles too, and decides to send some cookies to her grandson, Lionel….in Mexico. The cookies give Lionel an idea, and his idea inspires a student, who in turn inspires a ballet troupe…..in England. And so the good feelings travel across the world, inspiring ever more smiles, kindness, and love along the way.”
This past February, we celebrated Kindness Week at Forest Lake. The first day for this week focused on sharing a smile with as many people as you could. We learned that smiling was infectious and could be “caught” like the flu. Our goal for that day was to start a smiling epidemic and help to infect the school with smiles. The result was students filling each other’s buckets and feeling good about themselves throughout the day! This is exactly the attitude that we try to spread at Forest Lake. We teach our students how a single smile or a simple hello could help make a difference in the life of the recipient. It is small gestures like this that help to spread the positive feeling that embodies Forest Lake throughout the year. This book is a perfect reminder of how important and life changing a simple smile can be. It is my hope that after reading this story, students will continue to be encouraged to smile and say “hello” to as many people as possible. They may be surprised at how many new friends they make by doing so.
Anthony F. Ciuffo, Jr.
Anthony F. Ciuffo, Jr.