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Celebrating Pi Day in English class?


That’s right! One of our favorite things to do in English class is make connections; and one of our favorite things to say in English class is, “Everything connects!” Even Math and English. In mathematical terms, Pi is an infinite number of digits, and Pi Day is celebrated annually on March 14, 3/14, which are the three first digits of Pi. Here at Oak Hill Academy, a New Jersey independent school, celebrating Pi Day has become a tradition. How can we celebrate Pi Day in English class? Here’s how…


  • We can celebrate by writing Pi-ku poems! Haiku is a traditional Japanese form of poetry, consisting of 3 lines that follow a syllabic pattern:


5 syllables

7 syllables

5 syllables


Pi-ku poems are a creative spin on haikus, following a pattern of syllables mapped after the digits of Pi. Each line of a “Pi-ku” poem corresponds to a digit of Pi:


3 syllables

1 syllable

4 syllables

1 syllable

5 syllables


...and the Pi-ku could really go on forever! Talk about an epic poem!


  • Another fun Pi Day activity is dissecting pie recipes. Students bring in their favorite pie recipes to share. In class, there’s a variety of English-related activities we can do with these recipes…


  • One activity is sorting out the different parts of speech, starting with verbs and nouns. If you’re feeling really ambitious, extend the search to include adjectives, adverbs, even prepositions.

  • To delve deeply into a study and exploration of verbs, students can rewrite the recipes in past and future tenses.

  • To work on sequencing and order of events, students can mix up the steps and rearrange them in the proper order.


There are plenty more language related activities, but these are a few favorites!


3/14, Pi Day, is just one of many opportunities for interdisciplinary, cross-curricular studies!


Posted by pbruckmann  On Mar 11, 2019 at 11:19 AM
  

5th Grade Reading

Mrs. Scheuer & Mrs. Tirella



TOP 5 VIRTUAL DESTINATIONS:


In Oak Hill Academy’s fifth grade reading, students travel the world without leaving the classroom!  In the best private school in New Jersey, students transport themselves to far way places via well-written, beautifully illustrated literature, novels, short stories, poetry, and news articles.  Our virtual passports stamped five countries and four continents. Our top picks include:


                                         

  #5 Ghana, Africa

In Wonders Literature Anthology “One Hen”, students found themselves in a small village in the Ashanti region.  The villagers do not have a lot to eat or very much money, but they do have a good idea.  They pool their savings, giving each family an opportunity to borrow all of the savings to buy something important.  Kojo’s big idea – One Hen to lay eggs for him and his mother to eat and eventually sell at market. Kojo’s business grows by steadily.  Kojo pays it forward by helping a neighbor, Adika realize her dream of owning a mechanical mill to turn grain to flour. Best Monmouth County Private School

 

#4  Montreal, Canada

Our Surprises! series took us back in time to the French-speaking neighborhood of

Prince Edward Street. In “A Secret for Two”, Pierre Dupin, a milkman for Provincale Milk Company and his horse, Joseph completed their route without a complaint for nearly fifteen years.  The ironic twist…neither the owner of the company nor his co-workers realized Pierre lost his eyesight many years prior.

          

                                                         #3  India to England    

Close Reading of Complex Texts provided an excerpt from The Secret Garden.  Burnett’s description of the sky, temperature, and humidity in India gave readers sharp contrast to the climate in Mary’s Yorkshire, England location.         


#2   Jiangsu, China to Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Storyworks magazine posed the question, “Would You Sail on the (New) Titanic?”  The maiden voyage of the Titanic II is set to sail in December 2018.  Ticket prices range from $600,000 to $1,200,000. The consensus of the class, we will skip the initial trip and wait to sail in the summer of 2019.                


Drum roll please….




Private School Monmouth County

     #1 Yosemite National Park

                California, USA


Wonders Literature Anthology introduced us to President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Yosemite National Park in “Camping with the President.” ThingLink, Padlet, and QR Code projects brought reading classes to Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, the Merced River, El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Grizzly Giant, and the Mariposa Grove.  Visit our class Padlets on Mrs. Scheuer’s and Mrs. Tirella’s faculty websites.


Our next virtual itinerary will take the best school in Monmouth County to the ice cores in Antarctica, Native American Games We Play in Canada and United States, Tanzania Africa to meet doctors working for Smile Train, and to Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA in “Who Wrote the U.S. Constitution?”    
Posted by pbruckmann  On Mar 11, 2019 at 11:17 AM
  

5 Reasons to Study Latin



Although the Latin language hasn’t been a native language for nearly 1500 years, its reach is eternal.  Our government, calendar, alphabet, vocabulary, architecture, scientific, legal and medical terms derive from this Ancient Roman culture.  Studying and understanding the history of the Roman government as well as its ultimate demise teaches many lessons to students and society alike.  Clearly, administrators got the memo, as many top private schools in New Jersey offer Latin as a language. Oak Hill Academy in Lincroft is one of them, offering a comprehensive 1st level Latin program to 7th and 8th graders!


If Latin is a “dead” language, why bother enrolling?  


The reasons are endless.  Here’s are some highlights:


  1. Developing a better understanding of English grammar and mechanics.  While it remains true that no new language can be mastered until one knows the grammar of his or her own native language, this is especially true of Latin.  Word order is insignificant in Latin because the endings of nouns (i.e. cases), adjectives and verbs dictate tense, person, number and placement. Therefore, learners must have an in-depth knowledge of English grammatical nuances, including identifying parts of speech, tense, voice, person, number, case and usage.  In Latin, students can readily see the differences between a subject and a direct object, making it true that the Latin language teaches English just as much as it teaches Latin.

  2. Greater ability to understand and learn Romance Languages.  The original five romance languages -- Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian were named as such since they all originated from the Ancient Romans who spoke Latin.  While all of these languages derive from Latin, some are more similar to Latin than others. For example, Romanian has three of the five cases used in the Latin language. However, a majority of the vocabulary from each language has basic similarities to Latin, making it an easy transition for Latin language-learners to pick up a romance language.

  3. Latin is the Language of Science, Law and Medicine.  So many professional fields use Latin that its phrases are built into the vernacular:  legal terms, medical terms and scientific terms all stem from or are Latin. If learners are contemplating a career as a lawyer, legal secretary, pharmacist, doctor, scientist or veterinarian, they might want to consider taking Latin, as it would enhance their knowledge within their future professional field of study.

  4. Puzzle Solving  Those who enjoy indulging in mysteries, riddles, and puzzles of all sorts might enjoy the task of translating Latin.  As the study of Latin progresses, knowing and applying proper noun, adjective and verb endings plays a major role in language comprehension.  It is not always simple or easy to figure out the subject of a higher-level Latin sentence -- occasionally the subject is by itself -- but it is otherwise indicated at the end of a noun and/or even found within the verb.  Students must be mindful at all times as certain nouns and verbs can masquerade as belonging to a different declension or conjugation than what they first appear. Either way, solving such sentence enigmas helps keep the brain active and challenged.

5. Vocabulary Building  Until about third or fourth grade, students’ vocabulary words are predicated on the Germanic core of the English language.  After this, learners are increasingly exposed to polysyllabic Latin derivatives. For example, students understand what the verb “to walk” means, but once they learn that the Latin word ambulare means to walk, they are better able to deduce words such as ambulate (i.e. walk) or somnambulate (sleep walk).  Such examples are endless. After all, about 50-60% of English is composed of Latin words -- therefore it is a tool that can be used to master English throughout adulthood.
Posted by pbruckmann  On Mar 11, 2019 at 11:17 AM
  

Mastering Multiplication Tables

Margaret Laffin, 4th grade


2 x 2 = 4, 2 x 3 = 6, 2 x 4 = 8…..  So many of us can remember memorizing our multiplication tables.  One of the things that make Oak Hill Academy one of the best schools in Monmouth County is that we begin with the conceptual understanding of math facts, but also emphasize memorization of facts when conceptual understanding is not enough.  Some students love the challenge and quickly retain and recall the facts. Others have a hard time recalling facts under pressure or when they are presented in a different order. At these times, some parents tend to ask, why bother? We have calculators so readily available now (just pull out your phone!) and is it really worth hassle?


As a 4th grade teacher, my answer is a very firm YES.  In the 4th grade, we begin many operations and processes that rely heavily on the ability to recall and manipulate multiplication facts.  Early in the year, we teach the concepts of factors and multiples. For students who recall and retrieve their multiplication facts very quickly, these new concepts are a breeze to understand.  For students who must look up most of the facts on a multiplication chart, or count multiples on their fingers, it becomes drudgery. If it takes too long to figure out what 4 x 6 is, the thought process gets interrupted and

students forget what they were planning to do with the product.  Imagine trying to write out a 2 digit by 2 digit multiplication problem, simplify fractions, or work backward to find the length of a rectangle given the area. None of these tasks are possible when you can’t recall the mult

iplication facts.

There are things that we do to make it easier for students to master their tables.  Here at Oak Hill Academy, we begin by teaching the concrete meaning of the fact. 2 x 3 doesn’t equal 6 because someone just decided it.  It equals 6 because 2 groups of 3 apples equal 6 apples. From there, we move on to visual representations of 2 rows of 3. We tie the concrete to the facts so that students can problem solve.  


For students who need additional practice, we play multiplication games and also use real and digital flashcards.  This year, we are using an online, personalized program that has students practicing at their own pace. Between work, sports and activity commitments, families are very busy outside of school.  Try to build a little time in your day to practice the facts. Younger students start with addition and subtraction facts, middle graders practice multiplication facts. Students can quiz themselves or family members while driving between activities, while eating breakfast or before bed.  If you need ideas for choosing websites, apps or physical materials to help your child, we are here to help you!


You worked hard to find the best school in New Jersey for your child.  Now, let’s work together to help your child reach his or her full potential.  Making time for math facts practice makes learning all math concepts smoother.


Posted by pbruckmann  On Feb 15, 2019 at 11:33 AM
  

Why is Learning to Code Important?



“In fifteen years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing...and wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.”   - Mark Zuckerberg


“Everyone should learn how to code, it teaches you how to think.”    - Steve Jobs



The average computer programmer earns $60K per year as a starting salary and yes that is a nice incentive to learn to code but not the only reason! Coding teaches analytical thinking.  It is a methodical step by step approach to solving a problem. Coding requires deep thinking and this will teach a student to pay attention to details and focus. When paying attention to the details one learns how to better solve problems and create solutions. The benefits a person obtains when learning to code are critical thinking, problem solving skills, persistence, courage to try something new, math skills, processing skills and determination to name just a few. This is why every student at Oak Hill Academy is exposed to coding.

Monmouth County Private SchoolBest Monmouth County Private School

Oak Hill Academy is considered the best private school in Monmouth County, NJ because we teach our students what is relevant for today’s world. When a student learns to code they learn the language everyone is using - technology! At Oak Hill Academy all students are exposed to coding. As a school of excellence we participate in the Hour of Code with Code.org in first through eighth grades. In the lower school students code Lego robots as part of a STEM project collaboration with their science class. In the upper school more coding is done using programs like Scratch for animation programming, Game Maker for game design,  Codecademy.com to learn the basics of HTML and JavaScript and Microsoft Access for database development. Coding gives Oak Hill Academy students an advantage that they will take on to High School and beyond.


Posted by pbruckmann  On Feb 11, 2019 at 1:52 PM
  

Algebra is a language.  It is the language of mathematics.  In fact, Algebra is a simple language used to create mathematical models of real-world situations and to handle problems that we cannot solve using just arithmetic. To best understand this language, we must learn to read it and learn its own vocabulary, then translate Algebra language to English language and vice versa.  Here at Oak Hill Academy, a private school in Lincroft, New Jersey, students continue to master this language.


Reading is such a big part of success in Algebra.  Many of us have trouble solving word problems and we have even more trouble with the Algebra word problems.  A word problem can look something like the first few lines of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem “Jabberwocky.” ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did , gyre and gimble in the wabe:  All mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths outgrabe, where the only words you know are and, the, did, in, all, and were.


But, there are some things we can learn and strategies we can use to make these word Algebra problems easier to solve.


A word problem is a story.  Read, read, and read again. Think about what your equations or word problems say.  Insert yourself into the story.

Decide what you know and what you need to find out.  



Take the word problem step by step. Don’t attack a word problem haphazardly.


Use common sense to develop a strategy.  In some cases, a verbal model model , using words, can be most helpful.  Choose variables that relate to the story. If your story talks about peas and broccoli, use p and b for the variables.  In some cases, turn the “word” problem into a “picture” problem. Draw an illustration that relates to the story.


A word or short phrase at the beginning gives you a clue about something in the problem.  Sometimes the first sentence provides the first fact or number you need to work with. The second sentence usually provides the second number or fact.  The last sentence or two often contain one of the following words or phrases: who, what, when, where, why, which, how many, how much, how long. These signal words are usually followed closely by a description of what you are supposed to provide in your answer.


Keep reading the problem as you progress through your strategy.


Show all your work in a logical manner.  Sometimes this helps you to better understand the word problem and makes it easier to pinpoint the cause of an error.


Be decisive.  Be patient. Don’t rush.  A little extra time will pay big dividends in achieving the correct solution.


Lastly, check that your answers are reasonable.


Posted by pbruckmann  On Feb 04, 2019 at 8:45 AM
  

What happens when you mix Science and Art together????

You make an incredible statement that the whole school was a part of and you learn a ton.  Who knew learning Science, reading a book and designing a circle could all be linked together?  Here at Oak Hill Academy we love to work together and collaborate learning and fun.

So here’s what we did.  Mrs. Cahalane, the lower school science teacher, taught her classes about rainbows and how they are beautiful but there is so much more to know; such as the science of the rainbow, how it forms, why it forms, what is white light, and what is the spectrum?  Students used prisms to see first hand that white light is actually made out of all 7 colors of the rainbow.  

Miss DiMaggio, the art teacher, taught about the color wheel, color theory, use of various media (acrylics, watercolor, marker, crayon, pastels), complimentary colors, primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, and color hues.

All classes read, "The Dot” by Peter Reynolds, published in 2003, which is about a little girl named Vashti who not only thinks she can’t draw, but won’t even try. Her protest is to just put one dot onto a piece of paper, that she jabbed with frustration.  With encouragement from a caring teacher, not only does she try but she ends up creating beautiful artwork out of her dots & she ends up believing in herself and encourages others to try too!

We asked everyone to “make a dot and see where it takes you” and we ended up with a beautiful rainbow of art made by our students!  

This was a fun collaborative project and we hope the students can see that two seemingly unrelated subjects (science and art) are actually related! “A rainbow is beautiful" is an art statement and "a rainbow is actually white light broken up" is a science statement. We hope the bulletin board in the commons will act as a reminder of the message in the book - don’t give up, believe in yourself, encourage others…there is a creative spirit in everyone so try, make your mark and see where it takes you .     

We were inspired from an Instagram post we saw about National Dot Day, we missed it this year but next year we will definitely be prepared and ready for the day with this special project.   We thank our wonderful private school in Lincroft New Jersey for always being supportive of our students and teachers. Together we are the best independent school!

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Posted by pbruckmann  On Jan 29, 2019 at 1:52 PM
  

It’s seven o’clock. Do you know what your child is reading?


Everyone is home. Dinner has been made and cleaned up.  It is the dreaded homework time. You ask your child, “What are you reading?” Silence. Sigh.  Then, the typical answer, “I don’t know. Nothing.” Your heart sinks, and you wonder what can I do to get my child to talk about reading.


Don’t give up!  Here at Oak Hill Academy students are reading many books at one time: independent reading book, short stories, and a novel study book. If you are lucky, one of those books you might have read in school too!


Here are some helpful tips from Oak Hill Academy where we pride ourselves on effective parent/teacher relationships.  How to start a conversation about reading:

  1. Read the book with your child.

  2. Make connections with your child’s life to the characters.

  3. Point out the parts of the book you found exciting or problematic. See if your child has their own opinions about the book.

  4. Talk about the interesting words you found in the book. Then, have your child pick the words they found interesting.

  5. Compare and contrast characters.

  6. Start a family book club where everyone reads the same book.

If all else fails, use the time you have the most, driving in the car!


Posted by pbruckmann  On Jan 23, 2019 at 10:05 AM
  

How to Make Learning Sight Words Fun for Your Young Learner!


“What are sight words?”

“How can I teach my child and keep their attention?”

These are questions many parents have asked themselves. Rule number 1- keep it fun!  Here at Oak Hill Academy, one of the best private schools in New Jersey, we believe in a hands-on approach when it comes to engaging students and making them a part of their own learning.  According to D.J Kear and M.A. Gladhart, “sight words account for up to 75% of the words used in beginning children’s printed material.” Sight words will dramatically help your child read with more fluency, confidence and comprehension of the text. There are approximately 200 of them, so start with the simple ones like I, the & can.  The trick is: practice and repeat! Below are some fun ways to help your young learner become a confident reader!

                           What Are Sight Words?


  1. Sight Word Hunt: Hide sight words around your home and have your child “hunt” for them.

  2. Whack a Word: Have the letters of the alphabet written on a large piece of paper. Have the consonants highlighted in one color and vowels in another. Using a small dowel and a piece of a pool noodle, make a “hammer”. Say a word and your child has to “whack” out the letters.

  3. Sight Word Memory Game

  4. Sight Word Jump and Grab: Hang words (within reach) from a doorway and have your child have to jump and grab the word you call out!

Posted by pbruckmann  On Jan 14, 2019 at 10:05 AM
  

TWENTY YEARS A TEACHERBest Monmouth County Private School

By Kathy Alexander

Monday October 19, 1998.  

Room 10.  

10 students.

Fourth grade.

My first day as a teacher at Oak Hill Academy.   

Why did I never forget the date I started?


Twenty years a teacher at Oak Hill Academy.  It’s time to reflect upon these years – to share my feelings about being a part of the best private school in Monmouth County.

What were my first impressions? First, I must tell you that I was coming from a public school with a classroom of 22 children in the first grade. At Oak Hill Academy, I walked into room 10 and met 10 students.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

            I was supported by an administration that allowed me to be creative; twenty years ago, (ancient times!) I was allowed to bring in a video camera as a tool to teach writing.  And then there were the families of my students; they welcomed me with open arms. I actually received a bouquet of flowers at the end of my first week.

I found myself teaching students who wanted to learn, and I was able to give each student more of my time. I was able to have a homework club after school, where I could assist students who needed a little boost. And then I was given another opportunity to be creative. It was in after school activities where I was able to share my interest in moviemaking.  I saw other teachers finding interests that they could share, too. The chance for children to participate in after-school activities was a feature that made and still makes Oak Hill Academy a great school.

These first impressions proved a true picture throughout my experience at Oak Hill Academy.  As the years went by, I felt that I had found a second family. I could see it everywhere – from my classroom up through the administration. Oak Hill Academy showed me what a caring community it is.  When there was a death in my family, teachers and administration were there. When I experienced illness, they were there. A feeling of giving, caring, and respect is fostered in our school. It is a joy to spread that feeling to the students, and then see the students care about their fellow classmates.

That Oak Hill Academy provides a top-notch education is a given, but the take-away here is that, for me as a teacher, Oak Hill Academy makes it easy for me to be the best teacher that I can be.   And when I can be that teacher and be happy with what I am doing, then the students will catch that feeling and be happy as learners, too. And isn’t that just what we want for our children?

 
Posted by pbruckmann  On Jan 07, 2019 at 2:14 PM
  
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