Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

On Friday, 12/23/2011, the Christmas Spirit could be felt throughout Pod 6d. Students were all smiles in their Christmas colors. As most families do to celebrate the holiday season, we had a holiday feast where students feasted on a variety of different chicken dishes, macaroni (students loved Alanna of 607's cheesy macaroni dish), chips, cakes, juice, and soda. The delighted students also showed off their artistic abilities by decorating their very own eatable "Christmas Tree" (made out of sugar cones, m&m's, sprinkles, and vanilla frosting).

After eating, we all went to the library where the gift unwrapping celebration commenced!
Students were individually called to receive their gifts. The only instructions were that they could not open their gifts until everyone had received their gifts. Once everyone received their gifts, we counted down to 10 and the gift-opening-madness began!

The energy in the library was so positive and uplifting--it exemplified the spirit of Christmas.

I would like to thank all who made this holiday celebration so memorable for my students and I. I can think of nothing better than to leave for the Christmas break on such a positive note.
Thank you to everyone who donated a gift to this year's Secret Santa gift drive.
Thank you Ms. Reiss for hosting us in the Library and helping with the set up and photography.
Thank you to Mr. Awumey, Mr. Rosario, Ms. Tiller, Ms. Perez, Ms. Ramirez, and Mr. Mello for being so cohesive and helping make this a special holiday for the kids. I could see the joy on all of your faces and I am sure the kids felt your holiday spirit as well!
Thank you so much Ms. Outerbridge for affording us this opportunity to celebrate the holidays together as a 339 family. My students, pod, and I all appreciate you allowing us to build and maintain our relationships with each other. This was the most memorable holiday celebration that I have been a part of to-date!

Happy Holidays from Ms B on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Koran By Heart

The students in Pod 6D are exploring issues of identity in nonfiction texts. What better way to create cognitive connections to this theme than to go see a documentary in which young kids are exploring their own identity! On Tuesday 11/01/11 , 31 selected students embarked on a journey to lower Manhattan to the Tribeca Cinema to see the documentary, "Koran By Heart."
The inquisitive students learned a lot about Muslim culture and explored issues of identity that exist across religious and cultural boundaries.

Not only were the students treated to free popcorn but they were also treated to an engaging Q&A after the movie was over. We had a great time and look forward to going again!
Special thanks to Rachel Miller and Tribeca Cinema for making this possible!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's good to be back!

I am so excited for the 2011-2012 school year! For starters, Pod 6D had a lot of success with Curriculum Night. We had a packed classroom of involved parents and guardians. I distributed progress reports, school calenders, and introduced myself and my course expectations. There was a brief Q&A afterwards. I am really happy to meet so many parents whom I hope to build collaborative relationships with as we work together with their child.

Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding. Locate and use school and public library resources, with some direction, to acquire information

I was very pleased to observe how excited the students in Pod 6D are about going to the school library. These excellent listeners were all ears as Mrs. Reiss, the librarian, demonstrated how students can find books, the procedure for borrowing books, and how to distinguish different genres. They were all smiles when it was time for them to take their photo ID picture for Mrs. Reiss' computer database. Afterwards, I had a group of students ask me if they could start taking out books tomorrow.

I am so happy to see my former 6th graders wearing their 7th grade burgundy uniform shirts. I had a wonderful time teaching and building relationships with my students last year and wish them the best of luck in their studies this year. Last year even though it rained heavily during our end-of-year trip to Lake Compounce, we still had a great time! Here are some photos from the 6th grade trip last year:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think Before You Drink! Sugar Campaign.

Every year I.S 339 holds a global learning reception referred to as "Dot-to-Dot." Dot-to-Dot allows students and teachers at 339 to work on a project centered around one central theme. This year's D2D theme is "Change."

When deciding on what project we should create with this theme in mind, it was a no-brainer. Looking around the school it is easy to see that students are consuming high amounts of sugar. Most of this sugar consumption is in the form of soft-drinks such as soda, juices, and energy drinks.

The truth is, many students at 339 do not know nor understand the detrimental effects of high sugar consumption. It was our Pod goal to inform the school about the harmful effects of sugar so that students and faculty alike will begin to think before they drink!

In order to incite diet change in students we chose to make a public service announcement warning students about the dangers of sugar. We worked with Vivianne Njoku--a Tribeca Film Institute teaching artist. Vivianne came out to 339 and gave a workshop to 10 students about filmmaking and creating public service announcements. As a result of her instruction and clever film shots, the students created a great public service announcement.

Public service announcement encouraging people to think before they drink:

Think Before You Drink! from Ms B on Vimeo.

In Pod 6D there are many talented students who enjoy acting and being in front of a camera. I decided to put these awesome skills on display in a film about the harmful effects of sugar. The short film, The Highly Ferocious High Fructose, follows 4 sugar villains who look like ordinary people but have a secret agenda. Their sinister goal is to get the otherwise sugar-free students of 339 addicted to sugar. They plan to wreak havoc on the school by causing students to be distracted in class, hyperactive, and ultimately show physical symptoms of sugar consumption. The Highly Ferocious High Fructose personifies sugars that we consume on a daily basis--Maltose ("Mother Maltose"), Brown Sugar ("Brown Sugar Momma"), Powdered Sugar ("The Powerful Powdered Sugar Momma"), and High Fructose ("Ferocious Fructose"). The goal of this film is to show students that sugar may look sweet and innocent but it is actually harmful and can cause serious adverse effects to their well-being.

The Highly Ferocious High Fructose:

The Highly Ferocious High Fructose from Ms B on Vimeo.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New York City Relay Champions!

If you see any members of the 6th grade track team please congratulate them for a job well done!

Our 6th grade track stars raced into FIRST PLACE in the city championships on June 4th! Words cannot express how proud I am to teach some of the most athletic 6th graders in New York City.

The 6 grade boys relay team came in 1st place with a RECORD BREAKING time of 50 seconds. WOW!

Congratulations to the boys of Pod 6D for doing an exceptional job:
Nelson Santana: 1st place in the 100M race.
Pedro Ramirez: 2nd place 200M race and 2nd place in the Shot-Put.
Albis Almanzar: 2nd place in the Long Jump.

You are all amazing athletes! Keep practicing and you will continue to make everyone very proud!

If you are interested in joining the track team please contact Mr. Martin at or Mrs. Hameed at Thank you to Mr. Martin for the photos and for the wonderful job you do coaching and being a mentor to our star athletes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Proud Avid Readers!

This school year classes 608, 607, and 609 borrowed more books than any other classes in 339! While reading is not a competitors sport, it definitely feels great to know that the students in Pod 6D know the importance of reading and are utilizing the school's library on a weekly basis.

In January, Pod 6D launched its silent sustained independent reading program. During the time allotted for silent reading, students can either read a book from the class library or read a book checked out of the school's library. The students in Pod 6D enjoy the time to settle down and immerse themselves in a good book.

Because of their dedication to reading and utilizing the school library, our amazing librarian, Mrs. Reiss, honored a select group of students from Pod 6D with an ice cream party on Friday, June 10th. What better way to cool down in the heat than eating a bowl of ice cream?

The students who took out the most books and did not lose any books were awarded with ice cream and a certificate which welcomes them to the "Avid Readers Club." As their ELA teacher, I also received a certificate and a warm letter of praise (see below) from Mrs. Reiss! Thank you Mrs. Reiss!

Shout-out to the Avid Readers. The following students took out the most books, were the best behaved during silent reading, and do not owe any books to Mrs. Reiss. For their accomplishments, they were awarded a certificate. Keep reading!

  1. Sulemane (609)

  2. Bryant F (609)
  3. Justin E (609)
  4. Mark L (609)
  5. Adnasia S
  6. Mariam K (608)
  7. Amanda R (608)
  8. Terence C (took out the most books) (608)
  9. Dejone P (608)
  10. Ronald I (608)
  11. Austin A (607)
  12. Akim T (608)
  13. Kennisha P (607)
  14. Myesha W (608)
  15. Raymond L (608)
  16. Anllelina N (608)
  17. Genava S (607)
  18. Habulai S (608)
  19. Isha N (607)
  20. Prinscilla A (607)
  21. Albis A (607)
  22. Erica H (607)
  23. Dunaisha W (608)
  24. Alejandro H (607)
  25. Devinaire M (607)
  26. Keanu N (608)

From Mrs. Reiss:

June, 2011

Dear Ms. Bentley,

I am writing this email to applaud you for promoting reading and literacy among your students. All three of your classes, 607, 608, and 609 borrowed the most books from the school library during the 2010-2011 school year.

Your students demonstrate enthusiasm towards reading and enjoy selecting new books. By encouraging students to visit the library on a regular basis, you

have imparted a sense of the importance of independent reading to academic success. Congratulations and thank you for your support.

Ms. A. Reiss,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Math and Science in ELA Class?

Math in ELA class?

Pedro Ramirez of 609 found out that there are 9.5 sugar cubes in a can of Sprite soda.

What do you get when you sprinkle a little bit of math and science into an ELA class? A whole lot of learning! For the past few weeks Pod 6D students have been learning about the harmful effects of sugar so it is only right that they learn how to read labels to figure out just how much sugar they are consuming.

Figuring out the amount of sugar in a drink is valuable to understanding the high sugar consumption rate among teenagers. The materials? A calculator, a box of sugar cubes, and empty soft drink containers.

Students enjoyed working with their groups to figure out the amount of sugar they are consuming just by drinking a bottle of their favorite soft drink!

How can you figure out how much sugar is in your food and drink? Follow these simple steps!

Remember: 1 sugar cube (which is 1 teaspoon)=4 grams of sugar.

How much sugar is in the item below? Check the nutrition label to find out!

  1. Divide the sugar grams per serving by 4. Ex 5÷4=1.25
  2. Multiply the answer by the servings per container. 1.25 x 2=2.5 sugar cubes in the entire drink.

Watch a video of this engaging and informative lesson!

How much Sugar is in a can of soda? from Ms B on Vimeo.

Want to read more? Check out

Science in ELA?

So how much sugar really is in a can of soda? Two 607 scientist in training decided to do a little at home experiment (with the guidance of their parents) in which they actually extracted all of the sugar out of a can of soda.

Daryn L. and Jerome G. were so inspired by a video in which a scientist boils soda to extract the sugar inside that they went home and tried the experiment out for themselves.

They emptied the contents of 1 can of soda into a small pot. They turned up the heat on the stove and boiled the soda until all of the water in the

soda evaporated.

What was left? The sugary syrup that is added to the soda. Daryn and Jerome then poured the sugary syrup into a container and brought the sugar to school to show their classmates. As we observed the sugar we noticed that it hardens at room temperature and has a very dark tar-like color.

Thank you Jerome and Daryn for continuing the learning experience outside of the classroom!

Keanu N of 608 gives step-by-step directions on how to do the above experiment :

"Step1:Get any soda
Step2:Get a pan
Step3:Turn your stove up
Step4:Put the pan on the stove and then put the soda inside
Step5:Put the stove on high
Step6:Its gonna start getting bubbles
Step7:All the color is gonna start to fade
Step8:The color is gonna turn dark brown
Step9:The soda that you put in the pan is gonna start going in the middle of the pan
Step10:When that happens take it out and put it in a container the pan quick before it drys up"

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Tribeca Film Institute Visits 339

10 lucky Pod 6D students were selected to work with Tribeca Film Institute Teaching Artist, Vivianne Njoku, on a public service announcement. The excited students will be creating a PSA warning about the dangers of sugar. This PSA will be showcased at this year's Dot-to-Dot global learning reception.

Genava, Austin, Isha, and Princilla of class 607 and Annlelina, Vianelys, Garfield, Habulai, Mariam, and Myesha of class 608, spent 1 1/2 hours on Monday (6/6/11) being introduced to the concept of story boarding and brainstorming ideas for their own PSA on sugar. They are scheduled to meet with Vivianne on June 13th to film their final project. The students snacked on delicious pizza and drank ice cold water as they fueled their imaginations for D2D. This lovely group of intelligent students made me very proud as I watched their excitement over film making. They all are very fond of Vivianne and are looking forward to working with her again.

Vivianne A. Njoku is an artist born in Nigeria who has lived across the globe and currently resides in Bushwick, Brooklyn. She has worked with youth in various capacities, most notably with MOMIEs TLC, a non-profit youth development organization, and Girls Rock! DC, DC's first all-female rock band camp for girls. Additionally, Ms. Njoku is proud to have been an integral member of the production and instructional team for Black Aesthetic Institute's youth-made documentary WHY? THE BREAKDOWN OF ANACOSTIA. Vivianne is also the drummer for noon:30, a genre-blending art rock trio, and her current video work is projected during their live performances.
Source: Tribeca Film Institute

Thank you Vivianne for working with the students of Pod 6D!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Excited over sugar?

Ask the students in Pod 6D about the negative effects of sugar. They will be excited to tell you! While you are at it, ask them about the film that they have been working on for Dot to Dot and watch them smile with pride!

I am thoroughly impressed with the talent of Tatyana Croslen and the students/teachers in Pod 6D. They have definitely brought out their A-game when it comes to acting and taking direction.

The name of the film is, "The Highly Ferocious High Fructose." This comedic short film personifies popular sugars found in the foods that we eat--Maltose, Fructose, Powdered Sugar, and Brown Sugar. The "Sugar Villains" have waged an attack on C.I.S 339 intending to wreak havoc on the students by tempting them with sugary drinks.

Watch the exclusive trailer and ask yourself--are you protecting yourself against harmful sugars?

If you are having trouble viewing the video below, click here.

Learning about the harmful effects of high sugar consumption is definitely leaving a positive impact on students. The students in Pod 6D are already making healthy drinking choices by replacing their sugary soft drinks with water!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Achieve3000 rollout and high achievers!

Have you heard? Sabrina Hylton scored the most points during the week of 5/23 - 5/27 compared to all students at IS 339 Communication Tech School (X339) using KidBiz. Sabrina earned 50 bonus points and an achievement. In addition, Sabrina's name will be posted to the School Weekly Top Scorer scoreboard.

Have you heard? Devinaire Mccoy scored the most points during the week of 5/23 - 5/27 compared to all students at IS 339 Communication Tech School (X339) using TeenBiz. Devinaire earned 50 bonus points and an achievement. In addition, Devinaire's name will be posted to the School Weekly Top Scorer scoreboard.

The two highest achieving students for the week of 5/23- 5/27 are Devinaire of 607 and Sabrina of 608.

Devinaire even got his name and school displayed on the Achieve 3000 homepage!

Pod 6D stood out on the daily Achieve3000 scoreboard on 5/25 for the highest cumulative points earned in classes 608 and 607!

On may 26 classes 608 and 607 once again were ranked as the highest scoring classes in 339. As you can see below, they even surpassed their scores for May 25th! Talk about motivation!

The students in Pod 6D are very excited about using Achieve3000, a web-based differentiated learning program. This is our first week of using the program and already the students of Pod 6D are showing that they are serious about achieving!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Congratulations to the Track Team!

I am so proud of the track team at 339! Specifically my amazing students on Unity pod 6D. On May 18, 2011 with the coaching of Mrs. Hameed and Mr. Martin, the 339 track team brought back several trophies and medals to C.I.S 339. The 6th grade team alone won 3 trophies in their respective categories.

Both Nelson and Pedro of class 609 excelled in the shot-put --each won a medal for coming in first and second place.

Albis of 607 came in first place in the long jump and Mahamadou of 607 came in a close 2nd. Go Albis and Mahamadou! Jose of class 609 came in 2nd place in the 200 M dash. You guys did an amazing job!

Not to be out-shined by the boys of pod 6D, the girls also showed that they are excellent athletes.

Myesha of class 608 made everyone proud when she came in the 1st place in the long jump and 2nd place in the 400 M dash. Mariam followed right behind as she raced into 3rd place in the 100 M dash. These are amazing accomplishments ladies!

Below is a list of the students in Pod 6D that won a medal at the Bronx Championship and will be advancing to the City Championship on Saturday, June 4, 2011.
Albis Almanzar - 607 (3rd place in 100 M dash & 1st place in long Jump)
Jose Paniagua - 609 (2nd place in 200 M dash)
Mahamadou Sonko - 607 (2nd place in long jump)
Mariam Kebe - 608 (3rd place in 100 M dash)
Myesha Wilson - 608 (2nd place in 400 M dash & 1st place in long jump)
Nelson Santana - 609 (1st place in 100 M dash & 2nd place in shot put)
Pedro Ramirez - 609 (1st place in 200 M dash & 1st place in shot put)

The 6 grade boys relay team (Pedro, Jose P, Nelson & Kelly Hernandez [603]) came in 1st place.

If you are interested in joining the track team at C.I.S 339 please contact Mr. Martin at or Mrs. Hameed at'

Want to read up on the benefits of joining a track team? Click here!
Thank you to Mr. Martin and Mrs. Hameed for the pictures and all of your help with my students.