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Riverhead PE Teacher Kicks off Cancer Awareness Campaign

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In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Aquebogue Elementary School physical education teacher Cheresa Hinckson has commenced two cancer awareness projects in conjunction with her fellow educators.

Throughout October, students across the Riverhead School District’s elementary schools are participating in a 50,000 Burpees for Cancer Awareness campaign. During their physical education classes, in-person and virtual students are being challenged to complete as many burpees as they can in a given time period, based on their age. With the help of their gym teachers, they are logging their burpees, which are then displayed on a thermometer graph at Aquebogue Elementary School. Their cumulative goal is to hit the 50,000 mark.

“The purpose is to bring awareness, through exercise, of how important it is to fight [cancer],” Hinckson said of the campaign. “Each burpee will show the strength of our students while representing those that are suffering from this disease.”

The district’s elementary students and staff are also participating in a dedication ribbon project throughout the month. Participants receive a lavender paper ribbon, representing all cancers, that they can decorate and inscribe with the names of anyone they know who has been affected by cancer. Once complete, the ribbons will be displayed in Aquebogue’s main hallway.

Stand in the Place Where You work

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With COVID-19 restrictions in place, students can no longer freely move about their classrooms. However, Jeffrey Almonaitis, a first grade teacher at Phillips Avenue Elementary School in the Riverhead School District, came up with a solution: Allow his students to stand while they work at their desks.

“The students had an entire day of desk work,” said Almonaitis. “We have to give them some leeway in the COVID-19 classroom environment.”

After making an announcement to his students that they may stand while working, nearly all decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

“It is so important for students to be able to move, because they do get tired sitting,” he said.


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To engage their kindergarten English as a New Language students in a vocabulary lesson, Phillips Avenue co-teachers Marissa Jacobs and Jen Gordon designed a bingo game around words the students are learning.

“They had so much fun shouting ‘bingo,’” said Jacobs. “We thought bingo would be a creative way to really engage our students in strengthening their vocabulary.”

In addition to the game of bingo, the students also worked on their speaking skills and were challenged to complete a sentence starting with “I have the…” out loud.

Garfield M. Langhorn Jr. Honored at Pulaski

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To pay tribute to Riverhead hero Garfield M. Langhorn Jr., Riverhead Central School District’s Pulaski Street Elementary School recently dedicated the second Friday of each October as Garfield M. Langhorn Day.

With that, the first Garfield M. Langhorn Jr. day was celebrated on Oct. 16. Throughout the day, students learned about Langhorn’s life and why he is a hero. Each class incorporated Langhorn’s story into their lessons, and during lunch periods, Principal Patrick Burke spoke to the students about Langhorn’s heroic actions and students shared their stories of family members who served their country.

The school also created a webpage in honor of Langhorn. It includes his life story and photos.

Langhorn graduated from the Riverhead School District when Pulaski Street served as the district’s high school. He was killed in action in Vietnam on Jan. 15, 1969 when he thew himself on a live grenade to save fellow wounded soldiers.

Sensing a Story

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To encourage her students to generate story ideas, fourth grade Roanoke Avenue Elementary School teacher Janine Weber recently took advantage of the outdoors and cool fall weather.

Inspired by author E.B. White, who dreamed up “Charlotte’s Web” while watching a spider spin a web, the students explored the surroundings outside their school and took notes.

“We like to take students outside so they can observe more than just inside a classroom,” said Weber. “They can see leaves changing color, hear twigs snapping as we walk, smell the fresh air and then use their observations to create a story idea.”

With observations noted, the students returned to the classroom to create a graphic organizer and start penning realistic fiction stories that incorporate details from their outdoor explorations.

“The students loved being able to take a break from their desks, get a change of scenery and come up with great ideas for their story,” said Weber.