Tag Archives: Tuscan School

Meeting Our Goal…Again!


It is amazing when you are able to work in a place where you can help to do good things for others while teaching empathy at the same time. For nine years I have been running a food drive at our school. We challenge every class to collect 100 items by the 100th Day of School. We have over 25 classes in our school, so if each class reaches the goal, we are able to donate close to 3000 items to local food pantries. Once again, our amazing school community did it! Thanks to them and our many volunteers, children, teachers and parents, we loaded over 200 bags into 8 cars and delivered it all to two local food pantries.

I love when students come to me and tell me it is one of the things they look forward to every year. No matter their age, from the Kindergarteners to the fifth graders, I love to see their enthusiasm when they see the bags of food piling up outside of my classroom. They can see the impact of how much good can be done when everyone pitches in.They are learning such an important lesson and so many people will benefit because of it.



School Fair

thanks to volunteers

Today was the Tuscan School Fair.  This fair has been going on for as long as I can remember.  I have fond memories of being out on the blacktop behind the school as a little girl and a student there myself.  That was nearly forty years ago and it is still an annual tradition for our school.

The event is a fundraiser for the school and is completely run and organized by the PTA.  The amount of time and effort that the parent volunteers put into this day exceeds expectations.  Many of the fifth graders also helped out and teachers give their time as well.  Today I sold tickets for a few hours.  It is the least I could do considering all The PTA does for the students and teachers of our school.  I enjoyed the job I was assigned to!  I got to greet students and parents on this perfect Spring day.  It was a great day to be outside.  With predictions of rain earlier in the week, I was worried that we might be stuck inside for the fair.  That has happened in the past but this year, we were graced with a beautiful day and it seemed that everyone had a great time.

Thank you Tuscan PTA.  We appreciate all you do for our amazing school.


Project ACES

project aces

In 1989, Project ACES began in Montville, New Jersey.  The acronym stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously.  According to Wikipeida, it is often called, “the world’s largest exercise class.”  This project was initiated by Physical Education Teacher Len Saunders.  The goal was to get one school in every state to exercise at the same time on a specific day in May, to help motivate his own classes to exercise and to emphasize the value of Physical Education in school.  It started out as a small initiative but now, Project ACES is a world-wide event.


Each May, on a designated date and time, millions of school children all over the globe will exercise simultaneously in a symbolic gesture of fitness and unity to show the world that they do not fit into that negative stereotype of being “physically unfit”. This non-competitive program has proven to be educational, motivational, and fun. When Len Saunders created Project ACES back in 1989, he had no idea that it would reach the magnitude and success of today. The program has been praised by Presidents of the United States; such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan. The program has also received praise from Governors, Senators, and celebrities from sports and show business. Starting its 26th year, Project ACES has reached millions of children, parents and teachers all over the world, including participants from over 50 countries.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and today was Global Project Aces!  At ten o’clock all around the world, participating schools joined together for between 15-45 minutes to do some sort of physical activity.  Unfortunately, due to the time conflicting with New Jersey state testing, we could not go out at that time.  Instead, we all went out at two o’clock and participated with students in the Pacific Time Zone 🙂  Over 600 students, along with the faculty, administrators, staff and parents gathered on the black top.  Our fabulous Physical Educators, Ted Panayoutou and Noelle Sullivan were there to lead us in a non-competitive, fun half-hour filled with great music, dancing and exercising.  Student ambassadors were chosen to lead as well.

The weather was perfect.  The sun was shining.  It was a perfect Spring afternoon.  The laughter could be heard from all around.  Once again, Tuscan School came together in a big way and showed just how great of a community it is!




This evening, Drew was supposed to have baseball practice and I was supposed to be taking a dance class.  The weather canceled the practice and my injured hip kept me from dancing.  Nothing serious, just getting old I think.  I was running my C25K program and was so proud of myself getting through the solid five minute run yesterday when all of a sudden I felt something in my hip.  I decided to give it a few days rest before running and classes to give it time to feel better.  I am sure it is just from exerting it too much.  Not being a runner, perhaps I just landed wrong or twisted something.  Whatever it is, I am sure a few days of doing nothing will be good for it.  As Dave said, “It sucks getting old doesn’t it?”

With all of those commitments out of the way, it gave us the opportunity to go to The Tuscan Fiesta at my school.  This event was organized by The PTA and our Spanish Teacher, Senor Carberry.  Since it was the first one, I wasn’t sure how the turn out would be.  Drew decided to come with me so that he could see some his former teachers and friends.  It turned out to be a big success!  So many families showed up.  Everyone brought food.  A potluck!  With the “Spanish” theme, there was mouth-watering, authentic food.  Peruvian, Mexican, Spanish…so much!  I tried empanadas, tamales, chile stew and a few other ethnic dishes.  Each one of them was delicious.

After dinner we were treated to Peruvian folk dances and flamenco guitar. It was such a treat to watch the dancers, but for me, it was just as much fun watching the kids gathered around in a huge circle watching them and clapping along to the music.  To end the evening’s festivities, there was a pinata for the kids.

The best part of it all, is that once again, it was an event that could have never been done without the help of the amazing PTA, parents, teachers and volunteers who do so much for our school.  The time and effort that they put forward in everything they do for our school is incredible and it is what gives our school such an incredible sense of community.  I am so fortunate to be able to teach in such a wonderful place 🙂 ❤

Almost Forgot!

einstein teacher

After a fun-filled day in Kindergarten, coming home to begin the task of cleaning Drew’s bedroom-  in the hopes of finding a missing library book, family dinner and continuing to clean Drew’s bedroom – which by the way is STILL not done, I got into bed exhausted.  Dave said, “so what did you write about tonight?”  I jumped out of bed yelling, “nothing!”  Thank goodness he reminded me.  It would have been the first night in 9 1/2 months that I had not written!

I had planned to write about Kindergarten today.  It was the 10th day of school.  We call that a “Bundle Day.”  Every ten days of school, we have a bundle day and we dance around the classroom singing a little chant and dancing to a conga line.   A bundle day is a fun way to teach place value.  The kids love it!!  It was also Field Day at our school.  Our field day is located at a nearby park but Kindergarten does not attend.  It is a long walk for them and after a long day of school, so early in the school year, it would probably be overwhelming for a lot of them.  Instead, all 110 Kindergarteners get to do The Kindergarten Stomp around the building.  We gather them in a long line and march through the hallways of Tuscan School singing songs, stomping our feet and clapping our hands.  Normally, we are teaching them to be silent in the halls so we don’t disturb other classes so this is quite a treat!! 

For most grownups,  Bundle Dancing and The Kindergarten Stomp might seem a bit silly, but to a five year old – it is one of the best days of Kindergarten!  The fact that they coincided together was just a plus!  It also happened to fall on Laundry Day – could this day get any better???  Laundry Day is the day where the students get to bring something in to school that begins with the letters of the week.  Having all three happen at once?!?!  Well that was just serendipity!!

Let’s Move Active Schools

take care of body

This is my 6th year teaching at Tuscan School.  It is my 16th year of teaching overall.  I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite days ever.  Tuscan has always been a very active and physical school.  The students have Phys Ed twice a week and recess everyday.  Teachers give “brain breaks”, which are moments of movement throughout the day to keep the students stimulated, focused and on task.  We do not having school buses at our school, as it is a neighborhood school so this year, a “walking school bus” was launched.  http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/  (A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults).

This week, we found out that our school was chosen to be photographed for The Let’s Move Active Schools Campaign.  It was quite exciting to be chosen.  Our town is known for it’s diversity and perhaps that is one of the reasons.  There are six elementary schools in our district and atmosphere and positive energy is apparent at all of them.  I know that they also looked at the facade of the school when choosing where to do the photos.  Tuscan School is nearly 100 years old and the Tudor style of the school adds to its charm.  I have no idea why Tuscan was chosen, I just know that it was exciting for us!

Let’s Move! Active Schools is a comprehensive program that empowers school champions – P.E. teachers, classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and parents – to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential.  http://www.letsmove.gov/active-schools  Started by First Lady, Michelle Obama the Let’s Move! Active Schools program began to help schools across the country make quality physical activity a part of every kid’s day.  After reading more about the program, I learned that, “It is an unprecedented effort to bring physical education back to America’s schools. The problem is severe — we are raising the most sedentary generation in history. Only six states require P.E. in all grades, and only one in three kids is physically active on a daily basis”.

Early this morning, photographers showed up to join the Walking School Buses and take pictures along the routes.  They spent the entire day at the school, going in and out of classrooms, the gymnasium, the cafeteria and on the playground.  There is always a lot of energy at Tuscan School, but today, the school spirit was even more evident!  My class was one of the classrooms that was visited and as they danced to The Razzama Tazzama song, by Peter and Ellen Allard the kids could barely contain their excitement.  One of the girls in my class told me she felt like she was a model in a photo shoot!!  A fifth grade class was doing Zumba.  Second graders were chanting their word wall words with body movement.  All of these activities are going on during most days at school, but today the excitement brought it to a different level.

My favorite part of the day was when we did a “Project ACES” on the playground.  (Project ACES is usually celebrated in May, to kick off National Fitness Month – I wrote about in another blog, that coincidentally happened to be on another fun day, my birthday,  https://aprojectforkindness.wordpress.com/tag/project-aces/ ).  The whole school was out on the playground dancing and exercising together.  Parents and teachers were joining in as photographers were weaving in and out of the groups of children snapping photos.

At the end of the day, our Physical Education teacher was beaming as she talked about the positive energy that was flowing through the school.  Our principal was radiant and said that she felt like she was “in the clouds” as she told us about the praises and compliments the photographers were giving her about the students of Tuscan School.  It is just another reason that help to validate why I love my job so much.  I have written before how fortunate I am to be able to wake up everyday and go somewhere that I love, with families, coworkers and students who make Tuscan, not just a school, but a community.  Today, just confirmed this for me even more.



Every year, Tuscan School, where I teach and where my youngest son is in 5th grade, puts on a school play.  The production is done entirely by volunteers.  Hours and hours go into the production, which runs for three days.  This year’s show, “Tuscan’s Ticket to Broadway” was fantastic.  I don’t even know where someone would begin to thank all of the people involved.  The play is a compilation of many groups of children and each group is run by volunteers.  There are also volunteers who create the art and scenery for the show.  More volunteers are involved with the backstage crew and the smooth running of each production.  During intermission, even more volunteers are on hand to sell snacks.. I don’t know how many families are involved, but I know that the show could not go on without them.  The volunteers are critical to the success of the show.

Volunteering can be something we choose to do in many different ways.  Volunteering is an activity that a person takes on for the benefit of someone else.  The Tuscan volunteers, have benefited an entire school.  Their time and effort was evident in the the performances.  These are people who freely gave their time and effort for cause that not only benefited their children but benefited other children as well.  The only thing these volunteers expect in return, is the joy of the children as they stand on stage and perform with pride.

It is important to take the time to thank these volunteers.  It will remind them of how special they are and how important they were to the well-being of your child.  There are so many ways for people to volunteer.  Think about volunteering at your child’s school.  It doesn’t have to be something that is a big undertaking.  Even small gestures can be a help.   Kindness takes many forms and volunteering is one way that you can spread kindness that could benefit many people.

Volunteering could easily become a way of life!







Food Drive


About one in six people in the United States struggles with hunger, and issues related to hunger affect people in every community.

In celebration of The 100th Day of School, Tuscan Elementary School where I teach, holds an annual food drive where we challenge each class to collect 100 items of non-perishable food by the 100th day. Our school has about 25 classes ranging from grades K-5. I believe that it is very important to show our children that we are empathetic to the needs of others. It doesn’t take much really, just offering kind word, a handshake, or opening a door for another person.  The food drive seems to bring out the best in so many! The fifth graders were so engaged and willing to help and the students passing in the hallway outside of my classroom where the food was piling up could not help but to stop and stare wondering just how much was there!

The totals came in throughout the day and by the end of the day we had collected over 2600 items!!  We were able to split those items and deliver them to two local food pantries.  This also could not have been done without the amazing school community that we have.  Moms, dads and kids helped pack up cars and drive the food over to the pantries, and then unload them all when they got there!  There were hundreds of bags and this was a huge undertaking.  I am so proud to be a part of The Tuscan School Community, both as a teacher AND as a parent!

You can help fight hunger in your local community by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, office, place of worship or school. Helping your local food bank stock up can also help your community be better prepared for emergencies, as demand on food banks often grows during a disaster or crisis.  It is amazing what can happen when we all work together.