Project HOME

I don’t know if I can put into words how amazing today was. As part of our culminating Need in Deed project, we visited Project HOME on 8th and Arch. The students decorated the room with heartfelt messages, banners, origami, and beautiful flowers. They also displayed cards for the residences.

After helping out with preparing materials for outreach, a resident named Ms. Donna shared her personal story experiencing homelessness with us and answered questions. We were all impacted by her truth and strength.

Then it was BINGO time! 212 played bingo with the wonderful residents. The winners gave their prizes to the residents- floss, toothpaste, shirts, and snacks.

I can’t think of a more meaningful project. The students wanted to put into practice what they learned in research- a home is not brick and mortar, but a place where people feel safe and loved. And that is what we all experienced today! Shout out to our awesome chaperones!!

Happenings in 212

Spring has SPRUNG!
Very exciting news… Ms. Swift, our amazing student teacher from West Chester University, is back for the Spring semester! We are so lucky to have her. She is an incredible educator!

We were able to use our outdoor classroom for a math lesson (the first of many lessons outside I hope!)

Martin from Project HOME came to visit our class. He helped us transform our definition of home. He also inspired our service learning project… stay tuned for details!

212 was also inspired by BRoad Street Ministry, and wants to help this organization through a mini project.
We will be collecting new/ gently used men and women’s winter hats and gloves this week. We will not be collecting children’s items.

I look forward to catching up at conferences this week.
Ms. Merlini

Happenings in 212

Watching the light bulbs go off (literally and figuratively) makes it an exciting time to be in 212!

Today the students made estimates about how many square inches cover their bodies, and in the process discovered different strategies to find the area of irregular shapes.

We also began our circuit investigation in science. Within 15 minutes, every group figured out how to light a light bulb with wires and a D cell. Tomorrow we will debrief and figure out what exactly was happening during the investigation.

Need in Deed’s board of directors came to class last week to listen to what 212 is learning about homelessness. “They could not believe the level at which your students were conversing, their knowledge of the topic, and their empathetic responses!” (From Kyra at NID.) Can’t wait to see where this project takes us!

Ask your children to share with you their historical fiction writing pieces. 212 has spent the last few months in Colonial America and their research is evident in these amazing creative writing pieces!

Have a great weekend!


I am blown away by 212’s excitement for fractions! Today I counted 10 different strategies for solving one fraction problem. 212 is doing an amazing job exhibiting their conceptual understanding through discourse. We have a class full of teachers! Today we had fun making our own fraction line.


This week we started an investigation of the force of magnetism. Students conducted a controlled experiment to gather data explaining aspects of the phenomenon of permanent magnetism. Later this week, we will discover what happens when two or more magnets interact and the force of attraction.

Check back later to access sign ups for conferences. Happy New Year!

The Great Debate

The Great Debate was a great success! 212 worked extremely hard researching social justice issues impacting our community. They created powerful presentations and studied persuasive writing techniques. After weeks of preparation, 212 could not wait to convince their peers that their issue deserved our class’s full attention for a year long study. Originally there were 8 topics the students were interested in, but by the debate there were three groups: homelessness, discrimination and climate change.

The students did an incredible job arguing. At several points, students switched sides due to powerful speeches, alarming statistics and personal testimonies. In the end, the class came to a consensus that our topic should be homelessness. They connected homelessness to discrimination by recognizing people without homes may struggle to get jobs without an address. I look forward to seeing where this project takes us! 212- thank you for your hard work, ability to compromise and kind words for each other. As always, you never cease to amaze me!

Central Library @ Logan Square

Today we visited The Culinary Literacy Center, located on the 4th floor of Parkway Central. What beautiful kitchen classroom! The students learned about different elements and how they transform what we eat. We pickled and caramelized, and learned how basic elements like salt and acid transform our food. After preparing caramelized cabbage and quickles, we enjoyed our food with some delicious hot dogs!

We also got a look into the processes behind the rare books section of the library. We learned that books are organic, what they are made of now and long ago, and how rare book collectors preserve books. We even had a chance to preserve our own books after a “flood.”

Thank you to Ms. Shaaban, Ms. Post, and Ms. Zinshtein for being wonderful hands on chaperones!

Have a great weekend!

The National Jewish History Museum, Rooms 213 and 212

Today was the perfect, sunny, Fall day to visit the National Jewish History Museum. We toured The Art of Rube Goldberg, where we learned about his iconic invention drawings and got to build our own simple machines!
We also explored other parts of the museum. We saw primary sources and original artifacts, helping us better understand the Jewish immigration experience in America.

Two quotes from the museum that hit a chord:
“Happily the government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” George Washington, 1790

“The creative process is a cycle of trial and error. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin, If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels keep cranking away. Don’t give up! Before you know it, your thoughts will gain momentum. You may switch directions or feel like you are sliding backwards. And just when inspiration seems to have kicked the bucket, an idea shines brightly. Now you’re ready to put pen to paper.” -Rube Goldberg

Here are a few photos from the trip!


We can add “dancers” to our ever growing list of descriptors.
Today we had our first dance class with Miss Lindsey, a professional dancer with the Koresh Dancing company. Koresh Kids Dance program brings arts education into our class and the 5th grade by providing free weekly dance classes, promoting creativity as a conduit for non-violence and achieving life goals.
Today we started learning the choreography to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, fitting for this time of year!

Warm up!