St. Bernard’s Student Faculty Basketball Game

by Ms. Nealy

Students and faculty went man to man and zone to zone on Wednesday, February 15, in a nail-biter contest, which the faculty won 73-68.  Teams were tied at the half and traded the lead several times during the game as both benches gave it their all.  The eight man faculty squad provided crucial play in the fast paced and high scoring game, which was much closer than the final numbers revealed.  The students put forth tremendous effort as every member of the team had a share of court time, and every student contributed valiantly in a well-coordinated performance.  Ultimately, however, the faculty prevailed as students were unable to capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the final two minutes.

Coach Silver hit several three pointers.  Mr. Moraitis was consistently strong inside and outside of the paint, and every member (including Messrs. Demeny, Landesman, Merrill, Rodriguez, St. Clair, and White) of the faculty team contributed heroically up and down the court.  M.V.P. Alex C. kept his smile cool and was on fire, with shots and assists.

The entire community had a fabulous afternoon of good natured competition and St. Bernard’s hallmark sportsmanship.  The teams are busy planning next year’s rematch and look forward to seeing you there.

Author Mark Goldblatt Speaks to St. B’s Boys

Mark Goldblatt, author of Twerp and Finding the Worm, visited St. Bernard’s on February 15 and spoke to Middle and Upper School boys about writing fiction.  This event was the second annual Kronengold Authors Fund talk, made possible by a fund founded by sixteen Old Boys who wanted to honor their former second grade teacher.  Ms. Kronengold was delighted to attend Mr. Goldblatt’s talk.  Eighth grader Jameson C. introduced Mr. Goldblatt and took the opportunity to publicly thank Ms. Kronengold for being a wonderful teacher to him six years ago.

Mr. Golblatt began his talk by telling a story and then used that story as an example demonstrating how to use specific details to create a vivid story.  He believes that good writing is determined by the effect of an author’s words, and that a good writer knows how to control what is in the reader’s head.

Mr. Goldblatt stressed that grammar matters.  He believes that grammar must be correct 100% of the time.  Incorrect grammar can get in the way and could potentially interrupt the reader from imagining the story.  As a writer, he wants the reader to be involved with the story itself, not grammar mistakes.

The structure of the talk then opened up to focus on questions from the boys, some provided to the author in writing before the talk and others asked in person.  Through his answers, Mr. Goldblatt explained that one of his characters is based on experiences from his life, but is much more interesting than he is.  He did not want to say exactly what was true and what was made up because he wanted the boys to continue to get lost in the story rather than fixate on what was true versus fiction.

He confessed that he wrote his first novel when he was fourteen to impress a girl he had a crush on.  He wrote one page per day for 140 days and learned that writing a novel wasn’t as difficult as he thought it would be.

Reading is also important to Mr. Goldblatt.  He believes that for every minute he writes he reads at least ten minutes.  He encouraged the boys to read material that doesn’t immediately speak to them.  A main theme of Twerp is the power of literature to change people’s lives.
We extend our thanks to Mr. Goldblatt and to the founders of the Kronengold Authors Fund.  Special thanks to Mr. Schwartz for organizing and to Ms. Kronengold for supporting these talks and for inspiring St. B’s boys to take joy in reading and writing.

Highlights from St. B’s 2017 Basketball Season

St. Bernard’s basketball teams are finishing up another strong season.  You may have noticed many more basketball games this winter, which occurred because there were seven basketball teams this year–four varsity teams and three junior varsity teams.  St. Bernard’s coaches were happy that so many boys wanted to participate this year, and they created extra teams to accommodate everyone.

The Varsity White basketball team earned four wins and sustained two losses in league games.  In the two games they lost, they were only one point behind, and one of those losses ended in overtime.  The standout player this year was Alex C., who Coach Schneidmuller describes as one of the strongest players he has ever coached at St. B’s.

All three junior varsity teams had great seasons.  The Junior Varsity White team was undefeated.  The Junior Varsity Navy team, consisting of all fifth graders, only lost one game.  In the annual basketball tournament all three junior varsity teams won their games.  In junior varsity basketball all of the team members play in every game.  This season in particular there was a general unselfishness in the way the boys played, and everyone was involved.  Coach Silver had high expectations for his teams, and the players rose to the occasion.  They played each game the way it should be played.  They played an aggressive, trapping defense.  Coach Silver was especially pleased with the offensive ball movement.  He taught the boys that it is better to give up a good shot to get a great shot, and the boys accomplished this by quickly moving the ball to create opportunities.  The talent in the Middle School is quite good, and the coaches look forward to the years ahead of working with these players.

Throughout this season the boys on all of the teams have practiced over forty times and played in an average of eight to nine games.  During practices St. Bernard’s coaches focus on teaching the fundamentals.  They work on drills that teach the boys individual skills, drills that teach the boys team strategies, and then they play scrimmages where the boys try to apply those individual and strategic skills.

While the official league games are done, the varsity basketball players still have the very important faculty/student game on February 15.  We wish them luck and congratulate all of the boys on a wonderful season!

St. Bernard’s Math Team Competes in MATHCounts Manhattan

Ten St. Bernard’s students spent most of Saturday, February 4, at the MATHCounts Manhattan competition at Stuyvesant High School.  The members of St. Bernard’s math team were selected after all of the boys in grades VI - VIII took a preliminary exam at school.  Problem solving is highlighted in this exam, and the problems are carefully crafted to encourage students to look at the same problem in new ways.  The boys who earned the highest scores represented St. Bernard’s in MATHCounts Manhattan last weekend.

The day began with four rounds of problem solving.  The “Sprint Round” included thirty short answer problems that the boys worked on independently.  Boys continued to solve problems independently during the “Target Round,” and then worked well together during the “Team Round.”  All of this took place before lunch!

After lunch the boys enjoyed an engaging talk by Professor Jim Matthews.  Then the highly-anticipated “Countdown Round” began, where the top sixteen individual participants competed before a live audience.

Dr. Johnson and Ms. Robinson are quite proud of the way the boys performed.  All of the members of our math team were strong, and they performed well as individuals and as a team.  St. Bernard’s math team earned the tenth place out of thirty-three participating schools.  While only the top five teams continue on to compete in the state competition, placing in the top ten is quite an achievement.  Dr. Johnson describes this competition as a game of inches, where often fractions of points have determined the standings.  In the individual competition, John R. placed in the top 10% and both Corwin C. and Marcus S. placed in the top 15%.

Congratulations to all of the members of St. Bernard’s math team!  Special thanks to Dr. Johnson and Ms. Robinson for helping the boys prepare and for accompanying them to the competition.

The Digital World of St. Bernard’s

by Ms. Williams, Technology Integrator

The Technology Department is working to unify St. Bernard’s traditional values with an ever-growing digital world.  Beginning in the Junior School, technology is integrated through purposeful activities that coincide with the curriculum.  St. Bernard’s boys are learning how to use technology responsibly and creatively.

The Junior School teachers have collaborated with the technology department to create opportunities to teach the boys how technology can be used to help them learn.  Inspired by the Art and Artists unit, Kindergarten boys used Google Drawings to create works of arts with lines, colors, and shapes.  While composing technology art, kindergarteners practiced fine-motor skills while learning the basics of computers.  This year kindergarten boys are also using QR codes and iPads to discover hidden letters, sounds, and pictures to reinforce letter sound and name recognition.

In first and second grade, the Smart Board is being used to display Brain Pop video clips and interactive Google Slides, to practice vowel sounds and combinations.  In addition, teachers are integrating iPads to practice math concepts using Xtra Math and Lumio apps.  Xtra Math takes a new approach to memorizing math facts and plays on the boys’ love of competition by setting up a race against the clock and teacher.  Lumio Math reinforces learned multiplication and division concepts using interactive activities.

Third and fourth graders are learning their way around a computer by studying the home row keys, Microsoft Office, and Google Apps.  Ms. Korek, St. B’s typing teacher, is hard at work helping the third grade boys to become proficient typists by creating a little healthy competition to see who can type twenty words per minute by the end of the year.  Ms. Williams is putting the boys’ newly-found typing skills to work and teaching them how to use Microsoft Office and Google Apps such as Forms, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  The fourth graders are also introduced to the basics of coding through the Scratch program.

The higher grades in Middle School are using an array of technology to enhance students’ education.  The fifth graders learned the art of researching on the internet and how to decipher between valid and invalid information.  To hone their newfound skills, the boys chose an Indian temple to research. The research is being used to design a tourist website that will advertise the temples and build a structure in Minecraft that will be displayed at the Multicultural Fair! In sixth grade St. Bernard’s teachers are taking technology to new heights by hosting interactive book clubs using Google Classroom and traveling to Korea using Skype!

Upper School students have the opportunity to choose between 3D Design and Programming in seventh grade and Computer Build, Film, and Robotics in eighth grade.  In seventh grade 3D Design, the boys learn its history and the basics of Tinkercad.  They then use technology to print a working lamp that projects unique designs.  Mr. Parsons is using Python to teach the boys computer programming.  Earlier in the year the boys programmed simple games and a map of the Electoral College while learning the basics.  The boys are currently programming a “choose your own adventure” game that tests their programming and critical thinking abilities.

St. B’s eighth grade boys built their own computers from individual components and gained an understanding of how the hardware works.  In film class they produced a commercial to promote a variety of charities.  They wrote a script, developed a storyboard, utilized a green screen, and learned how to use the Adobe Premiere editing program.  The winners of this year’s film competition were Peter J., John R., and Will M. from Mr. St. Clair’s eighth grade homeroom!
St. Bernard’s Technology Department is dedicated to integrating technology at St. Bernard’s in meaningful ways and showing the boys of all ages how to use technology to move them ahead in our increasingly digital and collaborative world.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a Technology page on the parent resource board.  This article will be the first posting.  Please log into the website to see future postings.
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