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posted: Mon, Mar 16th, 2015

Hanging out with The Cat In The Hat

The Cat In The Hat was recently hanging out in Brittany Dungan’s first grade classroom. In honor of Read Across America Day, a national reading celebration that takes place annually on Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Ms. Dungan hosted a Google Hangout. A Google Hangout is simply a video chat combined with instant messaging capabilities. 

This Hangout featured principal Kevin Moore who appeared as The Cat In The Hat, complete with the character’s tall red and white striped hat and signature red bowtie. He read several Dr. Seuss books to the kids including “Oh, The Thinks You Can Think” and “Green Eggs And Ham.”

The Cat In The Hat was assisted by Thing #1 (Ms. Dungan) and Thing #2 (first grade teacher Deb Ryder), his two friends from the book that bears his name.

The event was simulcast to about 30 classrooms in the school, district, and beyond. 

With the prevalence of digital video cameras and high-speed networking in schools, Google Hangouts are being used more and more in education. They can bring virtual experiences to the classroom such as a presentation at the Bronx Zoo or a discussion at NASA without having students leave their schools. 

“My kids thought it was great because they could see Kevin live as well as projected on the SmartBoard,” said Ms. Dungan. “It really gave them the full experience. As they move through the grades and progress, they will see more and more of this type of learning. I want them to be used to it.” 

Sarah Diczok, the district’s educational technology specialist, coordinated the technical setup. Ms. Diczok, who began work in Mount Olive at the start of this school year, has already made remarkable contributions to the way instructional technology is used in the classroom. 

Mr. Moore’s makeup was done by Dawn Mireski, special education teacher at MOHS.

You can see the Hangout at: https://plus.google.com/events/cv38q7k8cchtu2vg4e30p2n3qhc

Kids helping kids

Top fundraiser Teagan Mendel

CMS students recently participated in Read For Ronald and raised nearly $8,000 for the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, an organization that supports the families of seriously ill children.  

Read For Ronald is an annual fundraising drive sponsored by the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. The drive not only supports the Ronald McDonald House but also encourages students in participating elementary and middle schools to read.

Each volunteer raised money from family members and friends who pledged a certain dollar amount for every minute that the student read in February. Any reading counted, whether it was reading books, magazines, newspapers, or even recipes.

Ronald McDonald himself came to CMS in early January to jump start the program. Short videos were also shown that described the mission of the Ronald McDonald House and the ways it aids sick children and their families. The organization provides low-cost lodging to families who are in Philadelphia while their children are receiving medical treatment and also runs a week-long summer camp for kids with cancer and their siblings.

“The program gave students a sense of community and the experience of helping other kids,” said CMS teacher Karen Husser who coordinated the school’s involvement. “The students also indirectly helped themselves. The more you read and the better you read, the more you learn throughout life."

Teagan Mendel, a first-grader in Amy Lobban’s class, was the top CMS fundraiser. Teagan collected more than $400 and will receive an autographed photo of a 76er.

Numerous other prizes will be awarded as well. All participating students will receive a 76ers copybook and pen, a Read for Ronald certificate, and a coupon for a Happy Meal from McDonald’s.

Students that raised $20 will receive a Ronald McDonald House bracelet; students that raised $50 will receive a pair of Ronald McDonald striped socks; and those that raised $100 will receive a Read For Ronald tee-shirt.

Teagan also received tickets to the 76ers’ game on March 17. About a dozen other game tickets were raffled off to participating students.


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Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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