• Kindergarten Read Aloud

    Children are like sponges, they’ll pick up all sorts of things in their environment. Elementary school age students love to see the adults in their lives take time out of their day to involve them. Role models who set a positive example to follow are a critical part of childhood development, and children will often take words and behaviors directly from the adults around them. If mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, then that makes kindergarteners the compliment kings.

    So when the principal of Lakeview Elementary School came down to Mrs. Jennifer Borst’s kindergarten class to read to the students, the entire class was listening. Principals have a lot of different responsibilities and classes to attend to, so when Principal Jen Pontillo came into this particular kindergarten classroom in person, the students were certainly surprised.

    She immediately captured their attention when she announced that she was going to read them a story called, “It’s Hard to Be Five.” In an instant, the energetic kindergarteners were hypnotized; seating quickly on the carpet they began to listen intently.

    “It’s Hard to Be Five” discusses the many trials and tribulations of being a 5-year-old, such as starting school and having to listen to adults. The magic of the lesson was evident each time she turned the book to show the class; all the students sat up to try and read the text on the page. They were all so interested in reading, you would have thought that you were in a room full of book worms!

    The visit concluded with a conversation concerning the many ups and downs of being a 5-year-old. At the request of a student named Jojo, the conversation shifted to the exceedingly important topic of hedgehogs and what exactly they look like. When Mrs. Jennifer Borst put up an image of the prickly animal on the screen, there was a marked division among the class about the nuanced differences between hedgehogs and porcupines.

    Today was a good day in kindergarten.

    September 13th, 2022

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  • Farm Animals Visit Lakeview

    Some teachers introduce their students to fish or amphibians to teach them science, but Arielle Goldstein, a special education teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac, brought a bunch of mini farm animals from her home to teach her students about animal care.  

    “I grew up working at Muscoot Farm in Somers,” said Goldstein. “I think it is so great to expose kids to animals that they would not normally see.”

    A year ago, Goldstein and her fiance, Dan Honovich, who is a veterinarian, bought a farm in Patterson and started stocking it with dwarf goats, mini donkeys, mini cows and micro cows. They now have a collection of 30 animals at their farm, Ridge Ranch. 

    On a recent sunny morning the couple brought a few of the small farm animals to Lakeview for all of the second graders to see. 

    Samantha, 8, led a mini donkey named Caz on leash as a group of her classmates gathered round. Though only second graders, the children towered over Caz, who only stood as tall as their waists. 

    “My uncle’s dog is bigger than this donkey,” Samantha said. “She’s so small.” 

    Caz, who likes having her cheeks scratched, didn’t mind the children fussing over her. One boy, Sammy, played with the donkey’s mane and shaped it into a mohawk, but the animal didn’t seem to notice.

    “They are very gentle creatures,” Honovich said. “They are great with children.” 

    Goldstein hopes to make the farm animal visit an annual event.

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  • Teacher Appreciation Week

    Teachers throughout the Mahopac school district were celebrated by parents, students, PTOs, the Mahopac Teachers Association and administrators during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2 to May 6, 2022.

    "As teachers, it makes us feel appreciated to be recognized in such an incredible way," said Danielle Romano, a special education teacher at Lakeview. "Although we are given praise every day, a whole week of being spoiled really makes it special."

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  • One School, One Book and Lots of Fun

    Second grader Iker Contreras couldn’t get enough of “The Lemonade War,” the book that every child at Lakeview Elementary School – from kindergarten through fifth grade – read as part of Lakeview’s One School, One Book event.

    Iker discussed the book with his classmates, his family and anyone who wanted to talk about how the characters teamed up to work together toward a goal, even when they didn’t really like one another.

    But the part that Iker liked the most, came after the entire school finished the book, which was written by Jaqueline Davies. The best part, he said, was “The Challenge,” in which Lakeview Principal Jennifer Pontillo and several teachers had a Lemonade War of their own.

    “It was very crazy,” Iker, 7, said. “It was a race and the torture was when Mrs. Pontillo got bonked over the head with a barrel full of lemonade. That was so funny.”

    All of the elementary schools in the Mahopac Central School District have been running similar one book schoolwide reading events for several years now, though each school calls it by a slightly different name and not every school has such a dramatic finish. The PTOs in each school buy the books for the entire school.

    The program was a big hit right from the start. Then, during the pandemic, “One School, One Book” went high-tech. Teachers, teacher aides and school staff took turns recording chapters of the book to be placed on a website that the children could access at home. High school students read chapters in Spanish so Lakeview’s English language learners and their families could participate as well. The reading schedule was placed on the website, with chapters assigned to each day. Children and their families were asked not to jump ahead.

    Patricia Huestis, Instructional Educational Technology Specialist for K-5 schools, set up the websites.

    “During the pandemic, we needed a way to do read-alouds for the kids, so we decided to record teachers reading each chapter,” Huestis said. “It worked really well, and we decided to keep doing it. We Screencastify the book cover and the kids can just sit, listen and concentrate on the voice that’s reading.”

    Leigh Galione, Lakeview’s building coordinator and the district’s ENL Chair said sharing one book schoolwide brings the students, teachers, staff families together.

    “Our One School, One Book initiative brings our entire school community together,” Galione said. “Parents & guardians can carve out time at night to read to their younger children. Siblings read to each other. Some teachers do chapter read-alouds.“

    The reading took place during the month of March, and when every student finished the book, the “OSOB Challenge” was revealed.

    The challenge “Jen Pontillo vs. Paws and Friends,” pitted the principal against the school’s special area teachers in a race that involved balancing lemons on spoons, squeezing lemon juice into containers and carrying marshmallows on chopsticks – not to mention a lot of hooting and hollering from the students and teachers who lined up along the route to cheer.

    At the end of the race, Pontillo was doused, NFL style, with a cooler-full of lemonade.

    “Connecting to each other through common literature is a wonderful, unifying experience,” Galione said. “To have that shared experience culminate in an event that the entire school can witness and participate in was the icing on the cake!”

    The challenge sparked such interest in reading that Iker is now reading the second book in the series, "The Lemonade Crime."

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  • 100th Day of School Celebrations

    Lakeview Elementary School kindergartners aged about 95 years in a single day when they dressed up as 100-year-olds to celebrate the 100th day of school on March 1. 

    The children in the school’s five kindergarten classes started the day by donning gray wigs and bowties and marching through the school. Then they spent much of the day working on activities that involved the number 100. 

    “This is fun, but it’s all about learning,” said kindergarten teacher Robin Clark. “The activities include reading, writing, math, and more.” 

    The students found 100 words in a classroom, made necklaces out of 100 Fruit Loops, and saw how far 100 steps would take them. 

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  • Lakeview Elementary Students Help Make-A-Wish

    Do you Believe in Wishes? Students at Lakeview Elementary School do! For the past several years, they have participated in the Macy’s Believe campaign in support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    “The Believe Campaign was once again a big success as students at Lakeview raised $637 for their friends at Make~A~Wish of the Hudson Valley,” said Denise Hembury, who teaches third grade at Lakeview. “They spent time giving back to others during the holidays and should be proud of their efforts and accomplishments.”

    At Lakeview, it’s an annual tradition to support the Believe Campaign each November/December. Students take letter writing to a whole new level to help raise money for children with life-threatening illnesses.

    For every heartfelt letter written to either Santa (letting him know they believe in the power of a wish) or Macy’s (thanking the company for hosting such a wonderful campaign), Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish (up to $1,000,000).

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