Kid's Report Articles

Is your child interested in participating in the “Kid’s Report” feature in the Hillside Backpacker?

The "Kids Report" is an opportunity for Hillside students to interview a teacher, administrator, staff member, or other important figure in the Hillside Community. This project is a fun exercise for parents to work on with their children. It also teaches students about how to conduct an interview. Finally, it helps inform the entire Hillside Community about the fantastic people who make Hillside such a wonderful school.

Please contact PTO volunteer Susan Polsinelli at to get more information on how to participate in “Kids Report”. (*Kids Report assignments will be made on a first-come-first-served basis and may be edited for length or content by the administration or the PTO.)

Exclusive: An interview with Mr. Fisher, 5th Grade Teacher by Luke Z. (5th Grade)

Luke Z. Helps fellow Huskies get to know Mr. Fisher and discusses role models, hobbies, family, sports, and more...

Luke: What do you enjoy doing during your free time?

Mr. Fisher: “A lot of my time I like to spend with my daughter at the playground, and the park, and coloring with chalk.” FYI the park they go to is called Gavin Park. “When I’m not spending time with her I enjoy watching baseball/football and writing”

Luke: Could you please tell us about your family?

Mr. Fisher “I have a daughter, her name is Addison, and she just turned 2 years old. It is so great to watch her grow and change, she is awesome!”Luke: Q. Do you have a favorite sports team? or do you play any sports?Mr. Fisher: “I have two favorite sports teams, The Phillies and the Eagles. I don’t have the chance to play many sports these days, but I’m hoping to start playing basketball.“Luke: What kinds of books do you like to read? What are your favorites?Mr. Fisher: “I like to read mysteries, but not the ones that are scary. This Summer I read a lot of historical fiction books and I enjoyed those, too. My favorite series has to be the Harry Potter series.”

Luke: What made you become a teacher?

Mr. Fisher: “I’ve always worked with kids. I enjoy it, too. I really enjoy when the light bulb clicks on in their heads. My mom’s a teacher, too, so that’s sort of what also made me become a teacher, too.”

Luke: Who did you admire when you were my age?

Mr. Fisher: “I admired both of my older brothers, as well as my parents. All of them set good examples for me and I respected the decisions that they made. They were all very good role models and helped to make me into the person that I am today. I also admired Michael Jordan because of his hard-work, dedication, and desire to be the best at what he did.”

Luke: What types of music do you enjoy?

Mr. Fisher: “I enjoy all kinds of music but I’ve never really got hooked on country music. Kids might be surprised to learn I like to listen to rap music. The clean kind, though.”

Luke: If you could do anything, what would you do?

Mr. Fisher: “I would like to be a part of the Special Olympics or work with kids with disabilities.”

Exclusive: An Interview with Mrs. Rafferty by Matthew (3rd Grade)On a chilly Monday afternoon just before Thanksgiving, Matthew sat down in his former 2nd grade classroom with Mrs. Rafferty. Here is their interview:Matthew: Thank you, Mrs. Rafferty, for letting me interview you.

Mrs. Rafferty. My pleasure! I am excited!

Matthew: When you were a kid, what was your favorite subject in school?Mrs. Rafferty: My favorite subject was English because I love reading books. And you know what else I like about English? I always like learning about new and interesting words.Matthew: Other than a Chihuahua, what is your favorite animal?Mrs. Rafferty: You know I love Chihuahuas, but did you know that I got a new dog this year? I got a Great Dane from Mr. Rafferty this summer!Matthew: Whoa!Mrs. Rafferty: So now, I not only love Chihuahuas, but I love Great Danes, too!

Matthew: The Chihuahuas must like that Great Dane, too!

Mrs. Rafferty: They are surprised by him! He’s very big. He’s very, very big!

Matthew: Maybe they will take a ride on him!

Mrs. Rafferty: They probably could ride on him. In fact, I could ride on him! He weighs more than me already!

Matthew: Wow! (pause) Since Christmas & Thanksgiving are coming up, what is your favorite holiday?

Mrs. Rafferty: I actually would have to say that Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Matthew: Me, too!

Mrs. Rafferty: I like it because I love to get my 3 boys lots and lots of gifts. They get very excited, so that makes me very happy! I also like our family tradition of going to church on Christmas Eve. It is a candlelight service, and it is very pretty. I like Christmas for those two reasons.

Matthew: You know how much I like to doodle & cartoon! What are your favorite hobbies?

Mrs. Rafferty: Well, I do remember how much you like to doodle! I would have to say that my favorite hobbies are reading - I read lots and lots - and I also like to go swimming at the Y.

Matthew: Cool. I like to go swimming in my pool.

Mrs. Rafferty: It’s a good, healthy hobby!

Matthew: If you could be any character from a book, who would you be and why?

Mrs. Rafferty: Well, one of my all time favorite books from when I was young – a book that I remember was the first book I just read and read and read, and I couldn’t put it down because I just loved it so much - was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There were two sisters and two brothers, and I loved the little sister named Lucy. I would like to be Lucy because the adventures she went on in Narnia were pretty amazing!

Matthew: Do you like to cook? What is your favorite thing to have for dinner?

Mrs. Rafferty: I do like to cook. I cook dinner every night for my family. My all time favorite thing to cook and eat is Pasta Bolognese. It is an Italian meat sauce, and someone from Italy taught me how to make it! It is very popular. All my friends and all my family love it!

Matthew: Sounds yummy!

Mrs. Rafferty: It’s pretty delish!

Matthew: Where did you go to college, and what did you like best about it?

Mrs. Rafferty: I went to the University of Albany for my undergraduate degree, and I went to the College of St. Rose to get my teaching degree. I would say the thing I liked best about both colleges was when I was able to go and work outside the school and do internships, like when I did my student teaching. And I actually did an internship for my undergraduate degree at a probation department, and that was pretty interesting!

Matthew: What was your favorite subject to teach and why?

Mrs. Rafferty: That’s a hard one because it is very hard to choose. I love them all. When I taught 3rd grade, social studies was my favorite subject to teach, because you know how cool the 3rd grade curriculum is in social studies. But in 2nd grade, I would have to say that science is my favorite, with the interactions. Do you remember our interactions? Remember lighting the light bulb with the battery?

Matthew: Yeah, that was really fun! (pause) If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Mrs. Rafferty: Well, I think I would enjoy being a scientist and doing research and learning about new things. I said when I was your age that I never wanted to be a teacher because my Mom was a teacher, and I saw how hard she worked. I thought, “That job is too hard for me”! And now I am a teacher just like my Mom, and I absolutely love it, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Matthew: I think I would like to be a doctor because I am not grossed out by stuff.

Mrs. Rafferty: Then that would be good. I am not grossed out by stuff, either!

Matthew: What is your favorite vacation spot?

Mrs. Rafferty: Well, Maine has always been my favorite vacation spot until last summer when I got the chance to go to the Cayman Islands. The Caribbean is by far my favorite vacation spot, because I have never seen bluer, or warmer or prettier water in my life!

“Kid’s Report” Exclusive: Lucy (3rd Grade) interviews Mrs. Watts, 3rd Grade teacher.

Surrounded by books, Lucy got to ask Mrs. Watts about her love of reading and her passion for teaching... oh and her crazy dog!

Lucy: “What is your favorite subject to teach?”

Mrs. Watts: “I love to teach reading. I love to teach children how to choose better books for themselves. I like to expose children to all types of books so they can choose good literature for themselves and get wrapped up in books like I do.”

Lucy: “Of all the books you have ever read which one is most like your life?”

Mrs. Watts: “One of my favorite books is “Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon” by Patty Lovell. It is about a girl who is very small in stature. Growing up I was very tiny and petite. Even though I was little it didn’t stop me from doing big things. No matter how small you are you can accomplish big things. The book helped me be a big person in a little body.”

Lucy: “My Dad and I are reading the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. The Grandpa says “Choices make Character”. What choices have you made to build character?”

Mrs. Watts: “That is a good question. I chose to show that I’m a good friend. I chose to help other teachers when they need help. I chose to make sure my students are good character builders. If they make a bad choice, I teach them in a positive way - think about your choice and how could you do better. Showing is sometimes better than telling how to have good character. Actions speak louder than words.”

Lucy: “I know you have a dog named Lucy. Has your dog ever done anything fun or crazy?”

Mrs. Watts: “Lucy has a funny little dance when she gets a new toy. She bounces like a rabbit even though she is a big dog. She likes to run around our dining room table when she is excited. She likes to eat socks and takes them out of the hamper when we are not looking no matter how hard we try to keep them away. She eats socks whole. One time she got a sock stuck in her belly and had to have emergency surgery to get it out. It was kind of scary for Mrs. Watts. But that was when she was a puppy so hopefully she has learned her lesson.”

Lucy: “When you were a kid what kind of area did you live in?”

Mrs. Watts: “I grew up in South Colonie when I was little. My house was on a street that was shaped like a circle. We played in the road because there was not a lot of traffic. I had lots of fun with my brother and friends outside.”

Lucy: “What kind of stuff do you like to do in your free time?”

Mrs. Watts: “Spend time with my family – my nieces and nephews are into sports now and we go to a lot of their soccer and basketball games. I like to go on long walks with my dog Lucy. My husband and I like to go the movies and go out to dinner. I love to be by the pool in the summer. In the winter I hibernate. I don’t like the cold at all. I stay in the house with my fireplace and snuggled up on my couch with a big book.”

Lucy: “What is your favorite vacation spot?”

Mrs. Watts: “Anywhere near a beach. I love to go somewhere warm and have my toes in the sand. Growing up we would go to Wildwood NJ every year. The entire side of my Dad’s family - 30 of us. We would all go to the exact same spot and the same hotel each year. We would go to the beach together and out to dinner together.”

Lucy: “Do you have any siblings?”

Mrs. Watts: “I have an older brother, Josh, he is two years older than me. He is married and has four kids. He was a good big brother – he was one of those protective big brothers. We didn’t get along when we were little; but now we have a very close friendship.


“Kid’s Report” Exclusive: Jack (3rd Grade) and

Will (1st Grade) interview Kindergarten teacher Miss Mathews

Kid's Report participants never know what to expect... see what happens when the teacher starts asking the questions.

“When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?”

Miss Mathews: "In high school. I actually thought I wanted to be an accountant and I tried it out with an internship program found out that it wasn't quite what I thought it'd be and decided to give teaching a try. I was placed in a kindergarten classroom and I loved it."

“How many kids do you have in your class?”

Miss Mathews: "22."

Jack: "That's more than I do. I have 20." (pause) “What do you do after school?”

Miss Mathews: "I love hiking, kayaking, or anything outdoors. I love being with my family and friends. I go to the gym and I like to do scrapbooking."

“What is your favorite subject to teach?” Miss Mathews: “Writing Workshop."

“If you could be any character in Mario Kart, who would you be?”

Miss Mathews: “Yoshi! He's fun, he's cute and he's fast."

“If you could teach a grade besides Kindergarten, what would it be?”

Miss Mathews: "I taught kindergarten through fourth grade and I loved all of them for different reasons. Maybe first or second grade but I really like Kindergarten."

“What is your favorite color?”

Miss Mathews: "Periwinkle blue"

“What is your favorite animal?”

Miss Mathews: "A dog.”

Will: "That's my favorite." (pause) “Do you play an instrument?”

Miss Mathews: “Well, I'm working on playing the guitar that your Dad let me borrow."

Will (to Jack): "Jack, I told you."

Turning the tables on the interview…Miss Mathews asked Jack and Will what they want to be when they grow up.

Will: "Probably a police officer."

Jack: "I have three jobs I want to be. A Geologist, an Archaeologist and a Chemist."

Miss Mathews: "A Chemist. That's what you wanted to be when you were in Kindergarten."

Will: "Actually, I want to be a Chemist."

Miss Mathews: "What is your favorite color?"

Will: “Blue."

Jack: “Orange."

Miss Mathews: "Both Syracuse colors. Nice!” (pause) "What's your favorite subject in school?"

Jack: “Math."

Will: “Writing Workshop."

Miss Mathews: "If you could pick characteristics to describe the perfect teacher, what would they be?"

Will: “What's that supposed to mean?"

Jack: “Like what do you think your dream teacher would be. Like funny, nice...adjectives?"

Will: “Oh, that's hard."

Jack: “I know! Funny, nice, and advanced."

Miss Mathews: "Advanced in their thinking?"

Jack nods in agreement.


“Kid’s Report” Exclusive: Luca (2nd Grade) and

Leo (1st Grade) interview Mrs. Barry

On a beautiful day in early September Luca and Leo got their chance to interview Mrs. Barry.

Leo: “What is your favorite book to read with your 1st grade class?”

Mrs. Barry: “My favorite book to read to my first grade students in the beginning of the year is Curious George’s First Day of School.”

Leo- “I knew it!!” (Pause) “Why?”

Mrs. Barry: “I just love Curious George and I love to see his adventures when he goes to school. His first day of school was a lot of fun.”

Luca: “What is your favorite unit that you teach your 1st grade class? “

Mrs. Barry: “I think my favorite would have to be embryology.”

Luca: “That was mine too!”

Mrs. Barry: “I just love the chicks. I think it is so exciting to watch chicks emerge from an egg and see all that goes into creating life…they are so cute too.”

Leo- “What is the funniest name that a class even named a Chick?”

Mrs. Barry: “That’s hard because the kids always come up with really creative names… and one that sticks out for me was cookies and cream because he was white with black spots so the kids came up with cookies and cream.”

Leo: “What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your class at school?”

Mrs. Barry: “That’s hard for me because I really like celebrating everything. ( Pauses) I would say it’s a tie between Halloween and Valentines Day. I like dressing up and seeing all the kids dressed up. And of course I love giving and getting valentines. So it’s a tie.”

Luca: “What did you feel like getting ready to meet your very first class of kids?”

Mrs. Barry: “I was really nervous and I was really excited. I couldn’t wait to see my new friends, and I wanted to make sure I did a really good job for them so that’s why I was excited and nervous at the same time.”

Luca: “What did you do over your summer vacation?”

Mrs. Barry: “Oh, we did a lot of fun things this summer. We took Michael on a museum tour. We went to New York City and saw the Intrepid. And then we went to Washington DC…”

Luca- “So did we!!”

Leo “Yeah! We went there too!”

Mrs. Barry: “We saw the Smithsonian museums, then we went camping for a few days. And then, of course, we went to the beach. My favorite place.”

Luca: “If you could choose 1 special meal to eat, what would it be?”

Mrs. Barry: “I like so many foods so it’s a really hard question.”

Luca: “That’s what I would say too!”

Mrs. Barry: “But I really love pasta, any kind of pasta.”

Luca: “Me too.”

Mrs. Barry: “And I love steak and potatoes, so I would say that those are my favorite.”

Leo: “What is your favorite animal and why do you like it?”

Mrs. Barry: “That’s easy! I just love monkeys and I have loved them ever since I was a little girl. Just because I think that they are so cute and they remind me of people. And I always wanted to have a pet monkey but my parents wouldn’t let me have one.”

Luca: “Do you have any special hobbies?”

Mrs. Barry: “I like to sew, and make crafts, and read.”

Luca: “That’s a good one there!”

Leo: (Last question) “If you were not a school teacher what would you be? “

Mrs. Barry: “That’s really hard for me because I wasn’t always a school teacher. I used to be a bank manager, so for me, discovering that I love teaching came a little bit later and I just can’t imagine doing anything else… that, and being a mom.”