Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decorating Holiday Ornaments at the Andrew Heiskell Library

On a cold December day, a few people gathered at the Andrew Heiskell Library to decorate holiday ornaments. Using adhesive jewels, glitters, textured paper, ribbons or else, participants created some wonderful designs. See for yourself.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Decorating and Singing at the Lavelle School!

This week, Ms. Marie and Ms. Shawna decorated, sang, and improvised with the students at the Lavelle School.
We discussed teamwork while creating garland, which became our friendship garland! Each link that the students made contributed to a larger concept - and they were all linked together, through the garland and through each other, all the while getting ready for the holiday season!
The students also acted out the words "taking turns" and "participation", learning how teamwork is associated with all of these concepts!
Even through conflict, music can bring everyone together - which is exactly what happened with some students this week. The music Juan, Teresa, Gress, and Mustafa were able to create added a sense of unity and camaraderie - they sure collaborated to make a really great rap!
These students are consistently learning how to communicate with each other through music, and they are also quite a talented group of kids. Let's see what's in store for next week!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Songs in progress at the Lavelle School for the Blind

In the span of a few weeks, Ms. Shawna and Ms. Marie have seen some significant progress with their students. All have shown tremendous enthusiasm and quickly understood that an effective team requires everyone's participation. Through collaborative song writing, the students proved they can work together and value each others’ contributions. We have seen great leadership skills, especially with Juan in group 20, who made sure all of his classmates had a chance to share their opinion.

Portraits - Seeing yourself (and others) in art by Angelica

This past Monday, combined classes from the Van Cleeve program at NYISED visited the Studio Museum in Harlem to learn about various types of portraits including self, imaginary, and environmental. Students were invited to observe and discuss these different types of portraits with Museum and AEB staff. They were able to practice using their objective and subjective observation skills and reflected back in conversation, with us and their peers, the nature of "the message" of each piece in order to comprehend what an artist might be trying to "say" with their piece.

This trip supports the social skill building aspects of our curriculum by creating a concrete experience of "understanding communication." All of us learn, and continue to be reminded that "what we say" can also be interpreted by how we say it (or don't), our body expression, tone and volume. Even a two-dimensional piece of art "speaks," although it says different things to different people. It’s these different opinions and learning to listen to them and appreciate them - even if we don't agree with them - that are the building blocks for the foundation of our current curriculum in team building and cooperation. Our hope is that all of us, students and teachers, continue to understand ourselves and each other with a "new pair of eyes" each time we see each other by looking at everything around us as if we are seeing it for the first time - just like during our museum visit - with curiosity and wonder of who "they are" and what "they are trying to say."

We are looking forward to "seeing" what portraits these students create in class together next week!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kudos to Ms. Rawson's class

Ms.Rawson's class practiced buckling their belts so that their slacks don't fall down! We also had time to practice tying. Tayjah, you learned so fast! You can now buckle your belt , and you are a few weeks away from tying your shoes. Joanthan, great job showing Delano how to tie his shoelace. Ms. Marie is so proud of the many efforts you all put into the activities. It is such a pleasure working with you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Collaborative Song writing

Our second week at the Lavelle School for the Blind was full of creativity and innovation! The students worked so well together, learning how to colloborate and communicate with each other through music. We've opened each group up with the song "Lean on Me," following a discussion of what it means to lean on other people, and what it feels like to have people lean on you. This week, we introduced songwriting. The chorus started with the words:

"Let's team up with some teamwork,
Let's team up with some teamwork!
Work on the collaboration,
Work on the combination of
You + me + you + me,
Me + you + me + you..."

And with that came more and more ideas! Group 19 came up with the following lyrics to add to the chorus:

"I am helpful, I am grateful
to have a lot of friends.
I am grateful for my family
For my culture.
I feel happy when people help me
I feel joyful when we help each other."

Great job, all of you! Sharon, even though you didn't snap your fingers you sure did contribute to the flow of the group, it was great that you enjoyed this experience!
During this experience, the students learned how to take turns, respect each other's opinions, and even think of some "combinations", as we discussed the meaning of that word! Group 22 came up with many different food combinations, giving the word a concrete meaning. Their collaboration of lyrics is as follows:

"We have to communicate,
We have to participate,
We have to appreciate,
We have to listen..."
Great job, everyone from Group 22! You all sure did a great job collaborating - especially when during the me + you part!
Ms. Marie suggested that when we sing that part of the song, that we point to ourselves when we say "me" and then tap the person that is sitting next to us when we say "you". This not only gave a concrete feel to the song, but it was also a lot of fun to do (I think Cassandra, Rosa, Joelle, Raquel, and Ashley will agree with me!).

During the last group, we were able to observe Juan and Mustafa beat box and free style with the beat-rockers, Taylor and Adam. They were both able to communicate the "dirt" they had on their shoulders, and this music and improvisation allowed them the opportunity to do so. These two are both very talented musicians and we can't wait to see them unfold as we continue to collaborate together.

This year is off to a great start!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Art of Working Together by Angelica

On a mild day in the middle of November, students at NYISE have allot to say about what it takes to "work as a team". From basketball to friendship, students shared how we can work together for the success of the entire group.

We began by warming up to the idea of working together by getting on our feet and "doing something" together - we built a human machine with each individual student stepping into the center of the circle with a sound and movement. Each student took turns adding onto the one before with a complimentary sound and movement until we were all participating as individual mechanisms of the larger machine. By beginning to work together in this playful way, the ideas of what it takes to collaborate began to form in our minds.

We separated into smaller groups for discussion, and "listening" and "participating" topped the lists of what it takes to work together. These two things are not as easy as saying them, but require diligent care and attention to when working as a team.

"A successful team requires a team effort!" and all students recognized that taking responsibilities for our actions, bother the positive and the negative ones, are essential to true collaboration. Our individual behavior in a team can come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes we are helpful, respectful, supportive and friendly. Other times we might be frustrated, annoyed, and overwhelmed. The reality is that we are all human, and the only way to get through both the good and the tougher collaborations is to keep listening with an open mind, put in your part with your best effort, and see where the combined efforts of all members involved will take all of the participants as a group.

The honesty which was present in all students regarding how hard it actually is to work together was humbling and illuminating. We all agreed that "practice" is what it takes to make sure we are ALL as successful as we can be TOGETHER.

Angelica Pinna-Perez, RDT, LMSW

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Joan tells the stories behind Lower East Side landmarks

November 9 -- Another New York Beyond Sight public program in conjunction with the Heiskell Library for the Blind featuring LES's Trinity Church, Castle Clinton, Tenement Museum and the Battery Park Promenade.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

School is in session

Two weeks of classes and so much has been done:

Kudos to Jahlel, Jonathan and Teijah who are becoming our official experts on tying shoes!

Our food adventures are continuing with Ms. Kaye's and Ms. Lofranco's classes. We've learned about the benefits of fruit; we shared recipes and decorated pumpkins.
  • Beeshernah, we enjoyed your explanation on how to grow apples!
  • Matthew, you are definitely PS 102's fastest orange peeler and an overall citrus fruit expert!
  • Kevin, great comments about the food pyramid!
  • Mithaq, so glad you like celery. Ms. Marie is bringing some next week, just for you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lavelle Students at the ADA Celebration

Art Beyond Sight and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities organized a special celebration on July 26 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the ADA. The event was hosted by Lincoln Center. NYC Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, Broadway producer Daryl Roth, our board member Cheryl Rosario were among the speakers. The event would not have been complete without a spirited performance by our students from the Lavelle School who created their own banners and wrote original lyrics for their ADA celebration song.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer in Session

During a 3-hour workshop, 60 students were tasked with creating a collage-flag that defined them as a group. The teens discussed concepts of diversity and leadership, and came up with collaborative works that encompassed their different ideas. The result is vibrant!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sculpture Workshop at the Andrew Heiskell Library

This is our last workshop before the summer break. Marie was pleased with the enthusiasm of the participants. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Heiskell Library in the Fall.

Final event at the NYISE: Marie, Jason and the students

Our year culminated in a final event that included exhibits of students' art and writing. Special thanks to Jason Laracuente and our wonderful students.