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The Intermediate Class

Welcome to our classroom!

Teacher: Ms. Gabrielle Donovan

The students in our Intermediate Class are encouraged to become lifelong learners.  The curriculum is rich with real-life themes and integrated units of study that are based on questions and concerns the students have about themselves and the world around them: Who We Are; Where We Are In Time and Place; How We Express Ourselves; How The World Works; How We Organize Ourselves and Sharing the Planet.

Students work independently, as well as in pairs and groups, to create a collaborative working environment and promote effective learning. Students are encouraged to be reflective and responsible for their learning. Lessons and units of study are designed to meet New York State English Language Arts Learning Standards in reading, writing and speaking. Content areas are incorporated into the units of study and are aligned to both the NYS Social Studies and the science curriculum. Similarly, the math curriculum is aligned with the new state core curriculum requirements that include adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, conceptual understanding, and procedural fluency.  In addition, our math curriculum closely follows grade specific state standards that define what students should understand and be able to do.  Technology is incorporated into all content areas.  Laptops and iPods are provided for daily use and students are encouraged to view technology as an integral part of their learning.


Specials Schedule

Phys. Ed.
Phys. Ed.
Phys. Ed.
Music - Band rehearsal
Music - lessons

Phys. Ed.
Phys. Ed.




Teacher of Excellence

Woodhull Elementary School Intermediate Team teacher Gabrielle Donovan was recently honored in a “Teachers of Excellence” awards ceremony presented by the Office of State Senator Phil Boyle.
This was the inaugural year of the award, which was given to one nominated teacher from each of the 15 school districts within Boyle’s senatorial district. The senator emceed the program, which was held at the Bay Shore Fire Department, and bestowed the awards personally.
Ms. Donovan has been a teacher at Fire Island for 15 years, during which time she has helped develop or sustain many successful activities, programs and organizations in the school community. These include the PTA executive board, the Shared Decision Making Committee, Woodhull’s Pick a Reading Partner (PARP) program, the Fire Island Student-Elder Oral History Project, class theatrical performances and instructional innovations involving technology.




Reflections from the Past

Woodhull Elementary School students in Gabrielle Donovan's Intermediate class recently hosted and interviewed Bartley Horton, a 78-year-old lifetime resident of Fire Island. The activity was part of an ongoing oral history project, which annually pairs Woodhull sixth-graders with longtime Fire Island residents in order to bring the history of the island to life.

During the course of the interview, students learned that Mr. Horton attended the Fire Island School when it was a one-room schoolhouse and was taught by Richard Woodhull, son of Fire Island School District founder Mina Woodhull. He was born shortly before the Great Hurricane of 1938, which wrought similar devastation to Fire Island as Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and during which his mother sheltered him and his brothers in bushes on the bay side of the island.

The student-elder project is a tradition at Woodhull, began and maintained by Deborah Gerken, and will host its annual presentation at the Ocean Beach Community Center on May 7.



Educational Fair

Upon completing the schoolwide unit, "How We Express Ourselves," Woodhull Elementary School students, staff and parents participated in an educational fair designed to showcase lessons learned throughout the study.

During the event, the gymnasium was transformed into a fairground, decorated with student work and featured the Woodhull scholars draped in costumes relating to particular projects or performances. To visually and theatrically display the lessons learned, students performed the stories of John Henry, Medusa, The Little Red Hen and Julius Caesar. Adding to these were informative stations displaying holiday books and science projects completed by students.

The program concluded with a series of sporting events. To the sound of Leo Arnaud's "Bugler's Dream" performed by school band musicians, students carried an artificial torch around the gym to symbolize the Olympic Games. They then competed in several races and contests of might, including several "chariot races" where they transported groups of individuals across the gym and back.




Technological Resource Returns

After observing the workings of a 3-D printer and related software this past fall, Woodhull Elementary School students had a chance to design and print their own 3-D objects when the BOCES-owned MakerBot printer returned to the school this January.

The fifth- and sixth-graders in Gabrielle Donovan's intermediate class worked in teams using TinkerCad software to design the objects, in a project created and supervised by technology integration specialist Deborah Gerken.

Beginning with an empty 3-D plane, students used the tools of the software to create, manipulate and merge 3-D shapes in order to represent items such as a crocodile, a cannon and a pirate map. The software automatically converted the designs into instructions for the printer, which then extruded a continuous stream of molten polymer in layers in order to "print" the object in a process that can take several hours.

After examining their finished products for unexpected flaws, the students considered how they could account for the physical limitations of the printer in future designs.






From the News Desk

As part of a schoolwide interdisciplinary unit focusing on "Where We Are," students in Ms. Donovan's Intermediate class scripted and filmed a fictionalized news segment in which reporters interviewed people throughout world history on how geography affected their lives. Some students served as anchors and reporters, while other portrayed farmers from the ancient civilizations that developed around the Tigris and Euphrates, Nile, Indus, and Huang He (Yellow) rivers, as well as modern residents of northwestern Canada, Quebec, and the city of Toronto. Each interviewee discussed how factors like climate, weather, and natural resources shaped their lifestyles and the local economy, reflecting the key points of the unit. Fire Island models its schoolwide unit design after that of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program.




Student Reporters

Fifth- and sixth-grade students in Gabrielle Donovan’s class at Woodhull Elementary School are fine-tuning their literary and journalistic skills by becoming reporters for a class newsletter.

In the first issue, the students reported on topics ranging from conflict in Syria to what each class in the school was studying for the first IB unit, “Who We Are.” The finished product, which was published in October, also featured lighter elements such as a Halloween-themed word search.

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