Past Spotlights

March/April 2022 – PS 1 Classroom Spotlight on Second Grade!

Our 2nd graders have had a very busy year with learning and growing with each other and our school partners.

Once again our second graders had the opportunity to work with the Center For Architecture. This year the focus was on the science and engineering behind bridges and skyscrapers. The children worked in partnerships to design a bridge together. They drew blueprints then constructed their bridges. Also, the second graders made their own skyscraper hats and costumes to celebrate what they learned about skyscrapers.

New for us this year is the Lego Bricks 4 Kids program. Each week of the program the children are presented with a three- dimensional figure. They are asked to study and think about the three-dimensional structure. Then they are challenged to follow the pictorial directions and build the structure with a partner. After they finish building their structure, they test their structure. If they are accurate in building the structure the motorized part will operate and their Lego structure will have a functioning mechanical part.

The National Dance Institute, or as we usually call it NDI, is a wonderful Art program that we have partnered with for many years. The program instills a love of the arts through dance and music. The children become more confident with each passing week. The teachers focus their work on a topic each year. This year it is the idea that we are all strong individuals but together we are stronger. We made a beautiful mosaic to represent this topic!

February 2022

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade is a year of growth, not only in academics but also social emotionally. This year comes with many student responsibilities, which fosters independence and academic advocacy. We have intentional selected programs to support our rigorous curriculum that further enhance our students’ critical thinking, identity, and creativity.

Our fourth graders are participating in a wonderful dance program with the National Dance Institute. NDI (National Dance Institute) is a non-profit arts education organization that brings children together through dance and music. We believe that every child should have access to learning in and through the arts. The students dance, sing, create artwork and have fun!

Our fourth graders are participating in Bricks for Kids in which they learn about engineering concepts and vocabulary. They are designing and building structures such as race cars, robots and carousels by applying what they have learned. First, students are introduced to the Lego models and are tasked with analyzing the building plans. Next, using specialized Lego kits, students create 3-D models of the structures in groups. For the Dual Language class, sessions are in Mandarin for another opportunity for learning language.

Fourth graders at P.S.1 visit our neighborhood library, Chatham Square Library. Our students learn the digital systems and procedures for taking out and returning books at the library. The library books are additional resources the students use to further their in-class research and studies.

January 2022

Third Grade

Third grade is a year of wonderful discovery and achievable challenges. Our third graders are full of curiosity, innovations, optimism, and new adventures. They are enthusiastic about life and new experiences which you can see from all the amazing experiences they are involved with during the school year.

Our third graders are participating in the Center for Architecture in which they learn about architectural and engineering concepts and vocabulary. They are designing and building structures such as bridges and skyscrapers applying what they have learned. First, students build a model of an arch bridge using cardboard and boxes. Next, students create 3-D models of their own bridge designs using kit materials as well as home recyclables and materials.

Third graders are also fortunate to participate in an amazing dance program – National Dance Institute. NDI (National Dance Institute) is a non-profit arts education organization that brings children together through dance and music programs. They believe that every child should have access to learning in and through the arts. The students dance, sing, create artwork and have fun!

Third Graders at P.S.1 are thankful to participate in My Own Book, a program that was created to inspire a love of reading for children by having children choose books they really want. My Own Book program builds on students’ excitement for reading by introducing them to book shopping and encouraging them to build their own personal libraries at home by giving each student $50 to spend.

Our students had the opportunity to shop for their books in person at P.S.1 with Scholastic Book Fair. They created a list of various genres, series, and authors they were interested in and chose from their lists. They were passionate about adding on to their own libraries at home with wonderful and engaging books. Thanks, Burt Freeman and My Own Book.

Class 3-1
Class 3-2

November 2021

First Grade

In November, we continued to utilize our language tools in a variety of ways.

First Graders are on the case! We earned our Word Detective badges as we revisit reading strategy work that we already know. We are learning to figure out tricky words with determination, grit, and hard work! Like a true detective, readers are always on alert for problems and trouble, and do something to solve them. We are using what we know to try solving those tricky words. We also use SNAP WORDS (like here, come, and way), look for word endings and smaller parts in longer words to help solve unknown words. Word detectives are always looking closely at words!

Word Detectives use a magnifying glass to help us look closely at words. We can use SNAP WORDS as anchors to solving the tricky words like: bowl, glass and breakfast. We look at the pictures and use what makes sense to confirm our best guess. Word Detectives can also use a Checking Finger to do a s-l-o-w and careful check as we ask ourselves: Does it look right? Lastly, we scoop up the words into phrases to smooth out our reading. Stop by our classrooms and watch us in action!

Word detectives can break up the parts of a word that they want to read. They can break the word apart, trying it in different ways until they find a word that makes sense and sounds right. Reading Partners and Detective Rasheed reminds us to look for parts too! We are ready to take on even bigger challenges!

The First grade Dual Language classroom is full of excitement, fun, joy and creativity. Dual Language means that students will receive instruction in two languages: English and Mandarin. At PS1, the students will learn the target language (Mandarin) while learning science, Social Study, and language arts at the same time.

The students expand on their early language skills by learning to read, write and recognize Chinese Characters. They build fluency as they progress through academic material and social language throughout the year.

October 2021


In Pre-K, we start our day with a Breakfast Buffet.

Breakfast food on the table.

The children are exposed to a print rich environment. Our Breakfast Buffet is labeled with pictures and words with the food of the day. We believe that before children can begin to read, they must understand how books and print work. Here’s how labeling works: At first, your child will learn to “read” the pictures and figure out what they mean (“This frame has a picture of milk on it, so all the milk is here.”) Gradually, they will understand there’s a connection between the pictures and the written words. The next step? They will become aware that the letters on the picture represent both the object and the sounds we use to name the object—and this will begin their journey down the road to literacy.

Two pictures of students choosing breakfast foods at the table.

We are also learning to make choices and becoming independent. Giving children choices helps them feel like they have some power and control over what they do, and is a step in growing up. Everyone likes to have choices in the things they do. Making good choices is a skill that children will use for the rest of their lives.

Students are eating breakfast at the table.

At Breakfast Buffet, the children get to choose the food they want to eat. Not only are they learning to make good choices, the children are also learning to be independent by bringing their food to the table to sit with a friend to eat. Once breakfast is done, they clean up their space and transition to the next activity.

Maybe one day…you can come by and join us at our Breakfast Buffet.

Pre-K is looking forward to becoming more independent and curious about learning in the classroom. We are learning to make choices every day during our Work Time. The children will learn to choose, plan, and recall the areas they worked (played) in.

September 2021


3-K classrooms are full of inquiry, discovery, learning and joy. Teaching staff support and encourage your child to explore the classroom, learn daily classroom routines and express feelings and ideas in a safe environment. Children are active learners who develop language and knowledge of the world through positive interactions with adults and each other, and through hands-on learning and play. They have daily opportunities to build on his or her current knowledge by engaging with materials and concepts in learning centers such as blocks/construction, science/discovery, art and dramatic play.

Student painting on an easel.

Art encourages self-expression through creativity and imagination which helps children to build self-esteem, confidence and patience. Children are also able to expand their knowledge of math concepts and vocabulary by learning to recognize and identify different shapes, colors and materials.

Students and teachers gathered in a circle on the rug.

Circle time is a time for important social interactions among young children. It helps develop positive relationships between kids through engaging and fun activities.

Students dancing in the classroom.

Through partnering with ABT (American Ballet Theatre) we will be working on strengthening the children’s gross motor skills. When we continuously develop these skills, it helps a child gain strength and confidence in his/her body.

In the next few months, we will expand the focus beyond the classroom community and include the environment surrounding us. We will encourage children to observe the world around them, noting what they see in their environment. We will also encourage children to build on their observations and begin to think critically about the things around them.

June 2021


Watch this video to see our Pre-K in action!