Media Center

September 6, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians:
Welcome back for another exciting school year! 

My name is Ms. Maria Castano, the School Library Media Specialist at School Two. This school year will be my 5th year teaching at School Two and my thirteenth year teaching as a School Library Media Specialist.

At School Two, our new addition was completed and the media center was perfected! We have so many different new book titles, in which we received over the summer from Follett. The media center layout has been altered. We received another set of beautiful glass doors to allow access to the main lobby and entrance that serves as a new pathway to the new addition. We also received 30 desktop computers to add to our 30 Chromebooks and 25 iPads technology collection. I believe it is essential to teach and expose students to as many different forms of technology and platforms to enhance their life skills and their love for reading.

Within the next several weeks, students will check out books on a regular basis. Your child (ren) will only have one homework assignment, which will be on a weekly basis, is to REMEMBER TO RETURN THEIR LIBRARY BOOKS!  It is very important that students return their library books habitually so other students at School Two can read them. For grades 2-6, we will use Google Classroom to view classroom assignments and upcoming events. Parents please feel free to ask your child what they are learning in the media center during that week or month, so they can show you their Google Classroom accounts.

Please feel free to contact me for any concerns/questions at or call me at my phone extension at X2605. Please understand I might not be able to check my voicemail during the day, however you can always email me for a quicker response.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my welcome letter and the opportunity to teach your child (ren)! I am truly looking forward to a fun-filled learning experience in the media center. 


Ms. Maria Castano

Media Specialist

School Two

METS GAME - Sunday, May 22, 2017
Image result for METS

I would like to give a special THANKS to Mrs. Tsgranis, PTA President and the PTA Members for organizing School 2 and their families to attend a METS Game at Citi Field on Sunday, May 22nd. It truly was a great experience to share with my family as well as my students! I would definitely recommend to attend again! 

Winter 2016
Our media center received about $5,000.00 worth of new books for the students. Our students cannot wait to get their hands on the new books. I would like to give specials thanks to School 2's Library Club 6th Grade Helpers: Kyle Lee, Christina Lee, Elijah Byoun, Jasmine Yalowitz, Adam Kothari, Chamonix Han, Mustofa Kamal. They are such a huge asset with the daily functions of the media center. They assist Ms. Castano with reorganizing and reshelving the library books and creating a meaningful school club.Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work!
Follett Lightbox Interactive E-Books
Welcome Back - School Year 2016-2017
September 2016

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Welcome back for another successful school year! This will be my 5th year teaching at School Two and my twelfth year teaching.

I believe students will be able to maximize their learning experiences if certain needs are met. Students should be given the opportunity to express their feelings/concerns associated with prior knowledge. Educators who are nurturing and sensitive help students feel more comfortable in the classroom. Students that feel a sense of love are more willing to excel at education. In my classroom, students are able to independently utilize the media center while browsing the book collection for an interesting book, using the computers for leisure/research, and quiet time for reading. 

The students will be able to checkout books on a weekly basis, listen/watch a story (print/e-book), and create computer projects on a monthly basis. All of the students’ work will be saved to their “H’ Drive at school. Students will also resume to work on their online programs such as and to enhance their keyboarding skills and math skills. Throughout the day, students will be actively engaged performing various activities in the media center.

Again, I am so excited to share my knowledge and experiences at School Two for another school year. Feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns at


Maria Castano
Media Specialist
School Two

How To Access Follett Shelf LightBox E-Books


1. Go to

2. Click on “Students

3. Click on “Destiny

4. Select “Elementary School 2

5. Click on “Catalog

6. Choose Material Type: “Electronic Book

7. Click “Keyword

8. Choose your title and click “Open

9. username: mcastano

password: s2media

10. Click “Log In”

11. Click “Ok

12. Click on “Open Lightbox

*We have a total of 61 titles as of June 1, 2016, which is intended for Grades PreK to Grade 2. Feel free to use the e-books with all of the different grade levels.

February News - Library Club
Ms. Castano started a Library Club at School Two where students will learn all the facets of a school library media center. The following sixth grade students were pre-selected based on good grades standing and behavior. Great Job, Library Helpers! Keep It Up!

Bliss Lee
Ran Wei
Gil Whang
Alana Schwartz

Lucas Zhang
Omar Perez
Anusha Grover

Austin Yalowitz
Vincent Barilla
Ashna Jain
Sophie Rasol

January 2016
Happy New Year Everyone!

It feels great to be back at School #2. 
The students are practicing their keyboarding skills on We also are getting back into the routine of checking out books on a weekly basis. Students in grades 2-6 changed their passwords to a more secure code. Please do not share your personal information with others. Keep personal information private. At School #2, we learned about internet safety and stranger danger. We also discovered and discussed possible real-life experiences that happened as a result of misusing the internet/social media apps. We unveiled some possible appropriate solution to cyberbullying. Next month, we will begin to practice for the PARCC Assessments.
Summer Reading with OverDrive
Dear Parent/Guardian,

School Two is gearing up for summer break. While summer presents an opportunity to relax and enjoy the sunshine, we want our students to continue to find ways to learn while away from the classroom. 

This summer, the OverDrive Summer Read program offers another way to keep students reading during break. Free eBooks will be available all summer long, including a/two featured title(s): The Fat Boy Chronicles by Diane Lang & Michael Buchanan and Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas. Reading Level: Grades 4 & Up.

How does it work?

To use OverDrive, students browse the website to search for titles, borrow with a Fort Lee Public Library Card, and enjoy on computers, tablets, smart phones and eReader devices.
Encourage your student to check it out today!
Boredom is not an option.

Where can I find more information? 

Ms. Castano
OverDrive is an app and website, where you can download/view e-books using a public library card that is affiliated with BCCLS (Bergen County Cooperative Library System) or another library system. Books and audiobooks are completely FREE. You can visit the website at and set-up an account as long as you have your library card from your local library. You can use any device to download/view e-books.There are a few steps you will need to complete in order to create a login account. It truly is a great resource to have in your classroom and for your personal use.
Enjoy Reading Free Books!
Summer Reading Programs/Suggested Summer Reading Lists
For the months of July and August, please visit our local public library. Fort Lee Public Library will offer different summer reading programs. Please visit the Children's Department to learn more about how to register for the summer reading programs.

For a suggested summer reading list, please click on the websites according to your child's current grade level.

Kindergarten - 2nd
3th - 5th
6th - 8th
Coding/Computer Programming
For the months of May/June, students in Grades 2-6 will partake in various online resources to learn more information on how to code and why programming is beneficial for school-aged children.

Who can participate in coding? 
Everyone can actively participate online to learn how to code with basic instructions using a combination of numbers. letters and symbols. 

What is coding?
Coding helps the user build websites, apps, and games with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. 

"The process of assigning a code to something for the purposes of classification or identification." (GOOGLE)

Why is it important to learn how to code?
It is important to follow instructions that are step-by-step. Also, coding enhances the user to stay on task.

When can you code?
You can practice coding 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Where can someone code?
There are a few free websites where people can participate in coding/computer programming. These websites do not require the user to create a login account.


To learn more about coding/computer programming, please read the article entitled, "Coding Skills Empower Us All", written by Chad Sansing which is located in the School Library Journal for May 2015. Also, read Coding for Kids for Dummies written by Camille McCue, which has 15 coding projects. 

April 2015
Students at School Two finally had the opportunity to explore different educational apps on the iPad Air and Mini devices. In the next few weeks, our students will take the 2nd round of PARCC Assessment. Students will still have book exchange with my assigned substitute, Ms. Lee. After testing, students will resume learning more apps on the iPads.
More iPads
Our media center just received 20 iPads from School Two's PTA! 
New Grading Policy for Grade 6
Dear Parents/Guardians:

Please read the letter and rubric to help clarify questions about classroom expectations. 

Thank You!

Maria Castano
Media Specialist
December 2014
In the media center, we are continuing to practice our keyboarding skills at for grades 2-6. Every class is given the opportunity to use the iPads on a weekly basis.

Kindergarten & 1st Grade: 
Read various stories from &

2nd Grade:
Practiced their keyboarding skills using and learned about the First Thanksgiving from

3rd Grade: 
Researched/created a Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation about The First Thanksgiving

4th Grade: 
Created a travel brochure using Microsoft Publisher 

5th Grade: 
Researched information about an inventor using an interactive Web Quest

6th Grade: 
Created healthy menus using Microsoft Publisher and visited various cooking websites such as & for healthy recipes

iNeed iPads Project
Hi everyone,

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed, so I just created a request for my classroom at

If you click on the link below you can read more about my project

iNeed iPads

If you chip in to help my students, you'll get awesome photos and our heartfelt thanks.

All of the information is valid and accurate!

Thanks so much,
Maria Castano

P.S. If you know anyone who may want to help my classroom, please pass this along!
November 2014
Our media center received 6 iPad Minis to help integrate different types of technology into the media program. Students in grades K-6 visited the iPad Center to read various e-books from ABC Mouse, RAZ-KIDS and IXL, where they practiced their mathematical skills that are categorized by grade level. Students in grades K-2 will exchange books every week. Students in grades 3-6 will exchange books every other week. Since our school received a 4th cart of Chromebooks, we will be using the Chromebooks in library class, as well as using the Chromebooks in the classroom.
October 2014
Dear Parents/Guardians:

If you did not have the opportunity to meet with me during Back-To-School Night, you can click on appropriate grade level (s) of your child (ren) to learn more information on how to encourage and engage children to read. 

Tips for Parents of Kindergarteners

Tips for Parents of First Grade

Tips for Parents of Second Grade

Tips for Parents of Third Grade
September 2014
I would like to welcome students, as well as faculty members back for another successful school year! My name is Maria Castano, Media Specialist at School #2 and this is my third year working at the Fort Lee Public Schools. As a school library media specialist, I teach computer skills to provide students and teachers will helpful tips to assist students in the preparation of the PARCC Assessments which will take place in March and May 2015.

I am happy to announce that School #2 received 6 Apple iPad Mini to enhance our technology skills using various/free e-books apps the Apple Store offers. We will explore built-in apps such as Photo Booth, Safari, iBooks, iPhotos, Maps, iMovie and etc. 

Throughout the summer, I attended educational workshops and read various articles in School Library Journal and TEDto enhance my teaching styles that I will implement throughout the school year. 

Please feel free to contact me for any questions/concerns via email at You can also contact me at 201.585.4630 extension #2605. Keep in mind that during the day, I will not be able to check my voicemail until 3:00 P.M.. If it is an emergency, please contact the main office. 

I am truly looking forward to a great school year!

Mrs. Castano
School Two 
Media Specialist

Practice Your Keyboarding Skills
During the summer months, please visit and do not forgot to login with your username and password that was given you in the media center. Our goal is to increase the Words Per Minute (WPM) for net speed, which is the typing speed with mistakes. Students in grades 3-6 should be typing at least 20 WPM

Have a safe and fun summer!
Mrs. Castano
Summer Reading Programs
For the first two weeks in June, Ms. Pardi from the Fort Lee Public Library will visit our Media Center to discuss the importance of reading and the summer reading program theme for elementary students, "FIZZ, BOOM, READ" and for teens, "Spark A Reaction." And for our teachers and parents there is also a reading program entitled, "Literary Elements."

Please ask your Children's Librarian about the new summer reading programs. 
Scholastic Books
Dear PTA:

The students from School Two would like to say "Thank You" for the new books from Scholastic Book Fair. During story time, the students are really excited to hear new stories. As soon as the new books are processed, the students will be able to enjoy them at home! 
Typing Web Accounts
As the students complete the practice tests, we are continuing to learn more about the required skills that need to be attained by the next grade level. Students are more than welcome to reinforce the practice tests at home during their extra time. Also, please encourage your child to continue with the keyboarding lessons at Students will need to login to their accounts to have access and record new lessons completed.  
PARCC Assessment
Dear Parents/Students:

During the months April and May, each student in Grades 2-6 will participate in a Practice Tests for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which will look very similiar to the test they will receive Spring 2015. Below you can find the directions on how to practice for the test. The purpose of practice tests is to examine the weak and strong areas the students are experiencing for ELA and Mathematics as well as technology component  to help design appropriate lessons. The students are completing the practice tests for their current and the next grade level.


1. Go to
2. Click on Practice Tests 
3. Select English Language Arts or Mathematics
4. Scroll down
5. Click on your grade level

Students will need to memorize their STUDENT ID. To login to the computers, you will need to type your STUDENT ID for username and password. Please practice your STUDENT ID so the next time you have library class, you will be able to login automatically. 

I created index cards with your name, student id and homeroom to help you memorize. Starting in March, I would like every student to login without using the index cards. 

Thank You!
Mrs. Castano 
Google Chromebooks
Dear Parents/Students:

The Fort Lee Public Schools recently purchased Google Chromebooks, which are located in the media center. School Two received three carts of Chromebooks that will be used in the library, as well as in the classrooms. The students and teachers are excited to learn how to use Google Apps for Education. Students will explore Google ChromeGoogle SearchGoogle DocsGoogle Slides, and etc.

For the last two years, our students have been using Typing Web to improve their keyboarding skills. Students in grades 3-6 received Typing Web accounts.  Once the students identify their account information: username and password (which is the same), then they are able to login at home/school or anywhere they have internet access to practice.  Typing Web will become a part of their marking period grade. Please encourage your child (ren) to visit the website to practice. 

Thank you for your cooperation!

Maria Castano
Media Specialist
School Year 2013-14
September 2013

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Welcome back for another exciting school year! I am very happy to be working with outstanding teachers at School Two. This is my second year teaching Library/Technology in the media center. Also, this is my ninth year as a Media Specialist. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and vast experiences with educational technology to my fellow colleagues and especially my students.

Over the summer, School Two received new HP desktop computers with Windows 7.  The students will be learning different educational applications that the new Windows 7 software has to offer as well as learning how to properly position our fingers and body while we are learning the basics of keyboarding. Also, we will be learning about ways to improve our research skills, whether using our Fort Lee School District’s online database subscriptions such as World Book Online and/or performing a basic search in Google. Then, we will learn how to access Destiny, which is a library automated system that students have access to 24/7 to locate specific materials in the media center.

I believe it is of the essence to learn how to retrieve any type of information accurately and quickly in order to stay abroad of the current challenges/advantages we face, especially with the different types of social media constantly influencing our daily lives.

Mrs. Castano

Summer Reading 2013
During the summer months, it is a great time to catch up or discover new titles to read.  Whether you prefer to read stories from a printed book or an e-book, as long as you are reading, you are exploring new experiences and horizons. Do not forget to visit the Fort Lee Public Library to check out books for the months of June through August. You can also download e-books using your library cards at  Please make sure you visit the Fort Lee Public Library to apply for a library card if you have not done so already. 

While you are on vacation, make sure you take a picture of yourself reading a story from a book or any device. I would like to post these pictures, along with a short book review of that title for the month of September on my bulletin board. I am looking forward to reading all your book reccommendations! 


Mrs. Castano
Last Call For Books...
May 20, 2013
Dear Parents/Guardians:
It is that time of the school year when students are getting ready for the summer. For the month of June, students will no longer check books in and out of the media center since we will be preparing for the new school year. Depending on the day your child has library class, the last week that they will receive books will be Monday, May 20th to Friday, May 24th, 2013. Books will be due no later than Friday, May 31st, 2013. 
If your child cannot locate their library book, I will send home an overdue notice which will provide you with the title, author of the book to purchase. If books are lost throughout the school year, they should be replaced to order to replenish our book collection at School Two.
If you have any questions/concerns you can contact me at
Thank you for your cooperation!
Maria Castano
Media Specialist
School Two
Celebrate Books!

Children's Book Week
May 13-19, 2013

Sign up for a Fort Lee Public Library Card!
April 2013
Kindergarten & Grade 1
Students actively listened to various stories written by Robert Munsch through animated e-books.  They also watched various BrainPOP Junior movies pertaining to Earth Appreciation in terms of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Grade 2
Students continued to improve their keyboarding skills - two different types of programs: Type To Learn 4 (software-based). Also, they learned about non-fiction genre through various e-books. You can click on the hyperlink above to visit Typing Web and practive at home!

Grade 3
Students learned and created different types of poetry: acrostic, haiku, diamante, and limericks. We read various poems by Shel Siverstein. Students practiced their keyboarding skills.

Grade 4
Students completed their Planet Research Report with graphic organizers and resource guides (websites), which were given to the students. They created a word document using Microsoft Word with images from the internet. 

Grade 5 & 6
Students presented their Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations on their chosen President of the United States. They are begining to become familiar with BCCLS: Bergen County Cooperative Library System as well as Destiny (student-based online catalog).  
If you go to www.bccls.orgyou can search for any item at the Fort Lee Public Library and/or in BCCLS.  Remember, borrowing books from your local library is another way to REUSE materials. 

National Library Week
Celebrate National Library Week
 (April 14 - 20)
Read Across America (Dr. Seuss Day)
Thank you to all the students at School Number Two who participated in Read Across America Day!
Internet Safety - Student's Work
I would like to thank Lameen Dotse for creating an internet safety poster to represent all the different types of information we learned to stay safe on the internet.


Internet Safety Unit
 For the month of January, we have been learning about internet safety in all of the diffferent grade levels. For the primary grades, we watched short, educational movies created by BrainPOP Junior and BrainPOP entitled, Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, Digital Etiquette,  and Information Privacy.  In grades K to 3 we learned private information must stay private.   Our number one rule while using the computers is to always remember to use a computer when an adult is present so they can help you with your questions. Also, we explored the A, B, C's of Digital Safety with the two main characters Dot and I created by iSafe America. In grades 3 to 6 we performed in a role play, where certain students were playing certain characters in an online sample chat.   We discussed the different types of private information was exchanged between the different screennames. In grade 4, we created collages using images from the internet as well as writing tips to keep in mind and drawing pictures of possible scenarios.  The posters are located outside the media center.
Read Across New Jersey Reading Contest
November 12, 2012

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The school library at School Number Two will host a reading incentive program created by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) called Read Across New Jersey. This program will begin for the month of November until February 1st, 2013. The school with the most books read per student will receive a Radio Disney Appearance with a special guest at School Number Two.

Students will be required to complete a reading log to help keep track of each of the books they read. The reading log can be found on the Library Media Center homepage on the Fort Lee Public School’s website for School Number Two. The reading logs will be collected every two weeks.  Please list the titles of the books and the authors on the back of the reading logs. 

A parent’s signature is required for each the day of the week your child reads. In order to maintain the validity of the program, and accurate accountability, it is essential that parents monitor their children and the books they read.


Let’s show our school pride by reading as many books as possible! Go EAGLES!


Mrs. Maria Castano

Media Specialist

School No. 2 

Read Across New Jersey Reading Log
 Please scroll down to Files to print the Reading Log.