Friday, December 23, 2011

Working Together at The Brooklyn Charter School

Art Beyond Sight recently began a collaboration with and The Brooklyn Charter School, with Mr. Pete and Ms. Marie teaching team work skills to 1st and 4th graders. Their first project was collaborative song writing. A songwriter and musician, Mr. Pete shared his song writing process. Among the things discussed were determining a theme, brainstorming ideas, tempo, the differences between a chorus and a verse. Mr. Pete explained how a chorus conveys more general ideas, whereas the song’s verses are much more specific. As the theme of our course is Hand-In-Hand, students brainstormed about what working together means to them. Ms. Marie jotted their thoughts on the board, which were then used to write the lyrics for a song. Below is one of the songs they developed. Live recording to come…


Getting something done
Can be fun
As long as we’re working in a team.
Getting something done
Can be fun
We can achieve our dreams.

Verse 1:

My friends
Help me out
Cheer me up
Make me laugh.
My friends
By my side
They’re honest to me.

Verse 2:

Is about listening
To your friends
Is about sincerity.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Morning at the Museum … NYISE Goes to the Met

About 20 students from the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE), their teachers and Art Beyond Sight staff visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday, December 20, where we explored a variety of cultures and time periods through the fashions worn. Met educators inquired about the students’ fashion choices, asking: why do you wear what you do? What’s your personal style? When do you dress up – and what does “dressing up” mean to you? Tiascheen explained that he dresses up for dates and that his outfit will vary depending on where he is going. For example, if he were going out to a restaurant, he would wear a dress shirt, but if he were going to a movie he would probably just wear a t-shirt and jeans.

On our special tour, the Met educators first introduced a costume from Africa that was made of raffia. Students explored the different ways raffia was prepared and used in clothing; they discussed the events to which the costume would have been worn and they created patterns with pieces of raffia woven on paper. Next, students went to the Egyptian gallery where they explored Sekhmet’s outfit and accessories and discussed their meaning. They then looked at a painting depicting royal life in France during the 18th century. They examined the costumes and talked about how they differed from today’s fashion. They learned that women were forbidden to wear pants for a very long time. Students went on to sketch their own outfit.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Today we sang “Feliz Navidad” with the 1st graders and their classroom teachers, Ms. Agati, Garcia and Mr. Matt and rehearsed “Jingle Bells” with them for their assembly next week. There was so much energy it was hard to keep up (especially when we sang as fast as we could)! It’s always nice to see how music can bring everyone together in the room and be a source for community in the classroom. Mr. Pete and Ms. Marie presented each class member with a holiday surprise - everybody got their own set of colored modeling clay. Each class member explained what they were going to make with their clay (answers ranged from “a T-Rex” to “cookies” and “green triangles”), and a good time was had by all!
Ms. Hertler class received "very unique lunch boxes". As they all said they were very excited and thankful for those lovely gifts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Songwriting for Style

The students at the New York Institute for Special Education and the Lavelle School for the Blind have been hard at work songwriting! These students have learned how to write songs, produce simple productions using GarageBand, and alter the sounds they've produced in just a few short weeks. Miss Shawna has set up some guidelines to songwriting, using the ideas of rhyming, brainstorming words, and creating stories to assist the students.

The theme of personal style and dressing for success is stressed, and major areas of popularity in this topic included hats, shoes, and what is that 'special something' that makes the student who they are. Personal revelation and exploration is really coming about in these students! Us folks at Art Beyond Sight are so excited to see what awesome talents these students have, as they are constantly evolving and even sometimes teaching us new things!

Young Designers

New York Institute students tried their hands at clothes designing. Drawing from class conversations about personal style and dress codes, they created their own outfit using fabrics, magazines, glitters and other materials. Chek out Esmeralda's hip dress!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dress for Success II at the Lavelle School for the Blind

That’s what I’ve got
Originality, that’s what’s hot!
Everyday we wear
something different,
Why you ask? Because
it’s true.
Some of us like to look
Some of us like to look
brand new.
My friend Shelly she
likes to match
Her mood to what she’s
wearing that day.
My friend Solange she
always has
Earrings to match her
colorful glasses.
My friend Ashley she
likes to wear sweats,
She’s always so well

Last week, Ms. Shawna recorded all the songs, and they will be soon compiled into a CD.
Following the recording, students started discussing dress codes and the dos and don’ts of mixing and matching various items to form an outfit. For instance, you should avoid wearing slacks and a shirt with two different prints/patterns; instead, select one in a solid color to be paired with a patterned piece, or another non-patterned item. Students put together some outfits using the principles discussed in class (see pictures).

Thanksgiving at PS 201

Students from Ms. Hertler’s gathered around a table to savor a pumpkin pie and give their thanks.
They first set the table: tablecloth, plates and silverware (fork to the left, knife and spoon to the right) and, of course, napkins. To top it off, they added a bouquet, also called a “centerpiece,” the kind of decorative table accent that students had talked about in a previous class. While Ms. Marie was preparing the pie, the group shared their Thanksgiving Day traditions with Mr. Pete, talking about people with whom they celebrate the holiday, what they eat and things they do to mark the day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back to the New York Institute for Special Education, with Style!

Students at the NYISE talked about fashion choices and their personal style. Sixth graders Giovanni, Esmeralda, Lunique, JP, Katora, and Paula said it in a song:

I look cool
I look hot
I look cute today
I look punk rock
I look comfortable
I look fresh today
I am awesome in my own way x2
Everyday x2

I like wearing my gold earrings
I like wearing my flavored lip gloss
I like my watches in different colors
I like being a fashionista
My hair clips stand out from the crowd
I like wearing darker colors

I like looking fresh all the time

I look cool
I look hot
I look cute today

I look punk rock
I look comfortable
I look fresh today
I am awesome in my own way x2
Everyday x2

Other classes are working on their songs. More to come…

School is back in session

Art Beyond Sight is back at P.S 201 in Queens with its Dress for Success and Come to the Table programs. Shalim, Maisha, Dean, and others in Ms. Agait’s class worked on zipping. Mr. Pete (ABS’s Peter Galub) wrote a new song to help them.

A zipper is like a train (a zipper is like a train)
And a train needs a track (a train needs a track)
Put one hand on the train, the other on the track
Join that train, to its track.
Ride it uptown
And don't look back

Pete Galub says: “Most New Yorkers ride the trains everyday, and so the metaphor of trains and tracks was one I thought the kids at PS 201 could related to- hence, "A Zipper is Like a Train" The musical structure follows a country/blues form in the style of someone like Johnny Cash. I tried to make it playful, catchy, and somewhat educational. The kids liked singing it and it the subject of trains and going places kept them engaged in the activity.”

Ms. Hertler’s class discussed table etiquette and practiced their dining skills. Elizabeth and Mr. Pete went to the restaurant “Chez Marie” where Rida, their waitress, taught them about correct place setting and proper table manners. Need help remembering the order of the utensils? Here’s a trick: Just follow the alphabet as you place utensils from left to right, i.e., place them in alphabetical order. F for Fork comes first, followed by K for the knife, and S for the spoon. Students also practiced using their forks and knives to cut food, starting with bananas.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tea Tasting At the Andrew Heiskell Library

McNulty’s Tea Tasting program drew a crowd at the Andrew Heiskell Library this past Tuesday, October 11. David Wong and Christopher Lee offered a sensory rich and informative experience that was enjoyed by all. They introduced us to seven teas, ranging from green and white tea to oolong and black. As each tea was introduced, participants were given an opportunity to smell and touch the tea leaves, after which each person was given a sample of the freshly brewed tea. The lighter teas were first introduced, just as light wines are introduced first at a wine tasting. David did not miss the comparison and explained that the oolong is to tea what a rose is to wine; the white and green teas, he said, are comparable to white wines and black teas to red wines. Chris and David shared their passion for tea, as well as a wealth of information about it. Some of the participants were knowledgeable about tea, too, and enjoyed talking about tea ceremonies in China and Japan.

Chris and David undeniably carry the spirit of their store nestled at 109 Christopher Street where the rich aromas of tea and coffee from around the world, sacks of coffee and chest of teas, and old scales transport you to another time and place.

Check out SENSational, a tea created by McNulty’s for Art Beyond Sight. Part of the proceeds will come directly to us. SENSational will be on McNulty’s shelves early November.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kudos to the New York Institute for Special Education’s students!

The NYISE’s Celebrating 180 years Art Show opened at the Andrew Heiskell Library last evening with a gala reception. Featuring about 80 artworks, ranging from busts of President Obama and Michael Jackson to abstract paintings and collages, the exhibit covers a multitude of media and genres displaying the wide array of artistic skills of the NYISE students. The library is located at 40 West 20th Street in Manhattan.

Teachers, students, parents, school board members, library staff and representatives of NYC art organizations (MoMA, HAI, etc.) were present. Dr. Bernadette Kappen, director of the NYISE, spoke on the achievements of the students and introduced Vanessa Luna and Kimberly Lora, two of the students whose artworks are on display. They both spoke about their creative process and what it means to them to be able to express themselves through the arts, fashion and writing. Elisabeth Axel, President and Founder of Art Beyond Sight (ABS), spoke about how wonderful it has been for ABS educators to work with the NYISE students and teachers on a variety of projects.

The exhibition, on view at the Andrew Heiskell Library until Tuesday, June 21st, is free and open to the public. The library is open on Monday, Wednesday , Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5.p.m and on Tuesday and Thursday noon to 7.00 p.m. Don’t miss it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

P.S 102 Brooklyn Chocolate Fest

Students had to put on their ‘thinking caps’ before they could enjoy their chocolate fondue. Ms. Nina and Marie had prepared an end-of-the-year contest to review the essentials. They questioned the students on, among other things: the food groups, various food processing methods, ways to regulate calories consumption, natural ways to preserve foods, how to navigate the supermarket, and of course on chocolate. After answering successfully, everyone savored a variety of fruit dipped in chocolate from mariebel chocolatier!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A “Dream Night Out” for Visually Impaired Teens at the New York Institute for Special Education

Art Beyond Sight Lab for Learning and the New York Institute for Special Education in New York City teamed up to offer a group of teens who are blind or visually impaired a unique opportunity to discover their inner fashionistas. In this afterschool program, held over four weeks in March and early April 2011, students discussed how their fashion choices reflect their personality, and effect their ability to “fit in” and their self-confidence; they debated the importance of first impressions and social skills appropriate for a variety of social situations. Students also wrote personal style statements based on their “Dream Night Out” with a favorite celebrity or hero.

Students met with Bloomingdales' personal shoppers to select outfits that reflect their personal style, based on their written statements. They presented their choices and their personal style statements in a showcase at an event at the Central Park Boathouse in early April.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tove Langridge Leads Art-Making Workshop

If you had any specific ideas about what you were going to paint when walking in Tove Langridge’s workshop held on April 12 at the Andrew Heiskell Library, they fell by the wayside as he guided you through his own painting process. Tove’s first motto is: Let your imagination flow. To help that happen at the event, Tove put on some jazz music, which all enjoyed as, noted one participant, “Jazz is about improvisation, you never know what comes next.”

Born in Australia, Tove lives and works in New York City. He got his B.A. in Painting and Art History from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Tove completed a residency with Michael Goldberg and was artist assistant for Peter Hristoff among other artists. In explaining his own work, Tove says that he uses very fluid mediums on built-up grounds, working with/from points of reference that penetrate the primary surface, and give dimensionality as well as fragment the form across multiple planes. Still, the planes remain intimately linked in the unified image of the whole.

Collaborating with Art Beyond Sight, Tove devised ways to bring his process to people with visual impairment. Using pushpins and eyelets to mark the points of reference and threads to create the form, participants were encouraged, step-by-step, to examine the relationships between each mark and form, as well as their intrinsic value.!/nyplheiskell

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

“Make it, don’t buy it”

"Make it, Don't buy it!"
Ramil said it all.

If you want to know what you eat, make it. Students from PS 102 in Brooklyn did a review of their semester and turned what they learned into wonderful mottos they added to their aprons. Here are a few
Matthew: ”If a third grader can’t read it, don’t eat it.”
Yuana: “Drink water with your burger.”
Tianen: “Don’t drink soda, drink water.”

Ready for the Final Event: April 15th

Students from the Van Cleeve program had their final rehearsal last Monday before their show on Friday, April 15th. They will perform their song “Random Rap” and answer questions from the audience about their creative process and team work required to put the show together.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Touch Tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Students from P.S 201 in Queens visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art. We explored a sarcophagus and learned about the process of mummification and the afterlife. We looked at the head of the goddess Hathor and discussed the symbolism of the sun in Egyptian mythology. We went on to the Temple of Dendur to explore the Sphinx of Hatshepsut and other sculptures. Hassan, Justin and Samantha had tons of wonderful questions about the different kinds of materials that were used to build them, why they were part animal and part human , about pharaohs and much more.

Making Healthy Choices: daily calorie count

Students from P.S 102 in Brooklyn have been discussing how many daily calories we need (1500-2000 calories per day).
We first looked at how many calories there are in the food we eat everyday. We realized that for a lunch including a soda counting 200 calories and paired up with a burger that amounts for 250 calories and a big french fries for over 500 that does not leave us that many calories to spare for breakfast and dinner. So what about substituting soda with water and maybe getting a smaller portion of french fries (300 calories)? Indeed, from 950 calories for lunch we went down to 550.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Lavelle school is ready for the 2011 Hand-In-Hand Awards ceremony

Students from the Lavelle School are two weeks away from their final performance! So they were busy rehearsing their songs and writting down their speech. Ms. Shawna reminded them a few things to keep in mind during the performance: project your voice, stand tall, listen to each other to sing in harmony and of course have FUN!

Ms. Shawna and Marie will go over the last details next week. For complete program, check our blog next week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letters from the New York Institute For Special Education to the California School for the Blind: excerpt

Dear Jack V.,

Hi, my name is Vivian from the New York Institute for Special Education. We have received your letter. I’m excited to be your pen pal. I like to listen to pop and spanish music. My favorite foods to eat are hamburger, steak and chicken. My favorite things to do is watching TV, playing baseball, bowling and talking on the phone.
Do you like to watch TV and talk on the phone? What are your favorite subjects? My favorite subject is Math and English. How about you?
I live in Queens, almost next to the White Stone Bridge. I live 3 blocks away from the park and my house is very big. How about yours?
When is your birthday? My birthday is January 27 and I was born in 1998. How about you?

I hope you write soon.
From Vivian

Visit to the Whitney Museum of American Art

For the second year in a row, in partnership with Art Beyond Sight, teens from the Youth Insights program at the Whitney Museum of American Art led a tour of the exhibition Modern Life: Edward Hopper and his time for a group of students from the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE). Along with using drama and movement, they created tactile diagrams and gave lively verbal descriptions. They offered NYISE students opportunities to weave their own stories for each painting observed. Everyone came up with insightful suggestions. In discussing Edward Hopper’s New York Interior, William suggested that “maybe the young girl in the painting had just been ditched at her wedding.” Who knows…

At the end of the tour the group gathered for more discussion and a snack. Teens from the museum explained how they got involved with the program and what they hope to achieved. Students from the NYISE shared their interest in art and recent projects they have been working on with Mr. Jason.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Teaming Up with Teamwork at Lavelle!

All of the students at the Lavelle School for the Blind are busy getting prepared for their final performance of the year on April 6th!
Students of Group 19 are busy preparing a medley of their version of the Teamwork song in different genres, while group 22 wrote their own original lyrics to the song! Group 20 wrote an original rap to the music of "Black and Yellow" revolving around theme of working together. Everyone's been doing an outstanding job of stepping up and taking leadership as well as following directions and having a great time helping each other! We look forward to April 6th!

Jannat, Beautiful Job!

The Students at PS 201 in Queens continued working on their portraits today. After posing for their classmates to take their picture, students were to make their own frame. Kudos to Jannat who did a wonderful job emphazing the theme of her picture.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2 Reasons to Eat Trail Mix

“It last longer so that we can take it on a trail.” – Matthew
“It has proteins to make us strong.” – Salman

Today, students from PS 102 made their own trail mix after looking at and, of course, tasting a variety of nuts. We also discussed the health benefits of nuts -- how they are a source of protein, which helps build our muscles – as well as how they can be kept for a long time without spoiling, and that they are a quick and nutritious snack to give us energy to go through the rest of the day. Students prepared individual bags of trail mix for themselves and a big jar of it for their teachers. To make sure they do not poison themselves – or someone who is allergic to nuts doesn’t try a handful -- students wrote a label with the ingredients: walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, cranberries and raisins and today’s date.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Report from PS 201 in Queens


Over these past two sessions, students in Ms. Emily’s class made their self-portrait: from dressing up to taking the picture to framing it. See the result.

Working with Clay

Ms. Marie and Ms. Shawna had some plans for those little hands. We got to make them flexible and strong so that we can zip our jacket, button up our shirt and tie our shoes. We first started with a song, woke up our hands by clenching our fists and wiggling our fingers, then we went to the interesting part: the clay. Leenah told us clay is very cold and hard but little by little everyone was able to tear apart pieces of clay that we rolled in our hands and flattened up. Anaiah decided to make a cat, Shalim a snowman, Maisha a pot, leenah a dog and Marques a car. Look at them!

PS 201 at the Queens Museum of Art

Where to start? We did so much today.

Ms. Portia’s class had so much fun in an art-making workshop. They created pictures with markers, crayons and wiki sticks. Angel made a beautiful ship and lighthouse. Then, the students were in for a treat. Ms. Donnielle and Ms. Christine, two of our hosts at the museum, had them pour and spread glue all over small globes (and they could use their bare hands to do so!) that they decorated with various materials: fabrics, ribbons, wool, flowers and many others. They also had their photographs taken by Ms. Donnielle, who brought costumes and accessories for them to don. Marques decided to be batman, Destiny a rock star, and Anaiah the Statue of Liberty. We went on a walk around New York City panorama, a huge 3-D reproduction of the five boroughs built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World Fair. And finally, after two hours, we decided it was time to go back to school.

Ms. Emily’s class participated in a photography workshop. Students got to dressed up as any character they wished and, using digital cameras, shot portraits of their classmates and self-portraits, which they did by turning the camera towards themselves and extending their arms before shooting. Students discussed contrast and how to choose a good background for the subject they wanted to photograph. They then experimented by placing an object of their choice on different color papers and taking pictures of it. The group also went into the galleries to look at portraits -- photographs and statues -- which will hopefully inspired them next time they pick up a camera.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Team work in clay: how does it look?

Students from the Schermerhorn Program paired up today and were asked to think of a word that symbolizes team work to them without telling anyone else. They are now in the process of creating original works of art from clay representing their words. Here are some examples…Ms. Shawna and Ms. Marie are very curious to hear the stories and explanations behind them.

RAP song - A New Addition

Kudos to Branden, who made a wonderful addition to our RAP song. Ms. Shawna and I agree that Branden is a very good team player as he is at once supportive of his classmates and easily takes on the role of leader.

Well they talk about me here they talk about me there
But jealousy won’t let you nowhere
Remember my name let it echo through your brain
The name is Branden and I’m just not the same if you like
My style cause you like my smile
I can even rock it better than the radio “dial”
I pick up the mic at your request
You can’t spell yes without the ‘es’ cause I’m the best
And I really got the “fireness” and I am really done with NYSE you heard.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Our Rap Song Is Ready

I’m the best from the west
While you’re messing with me
Why don’t you let me be
Now be like a bee
And fly away to your hive
In the leaves surrounded by many bees
Why everyday do you want to mess with me
Don’t you all see
it’s just Who I want to be.

This is a spiritual lyrical free style.
Meanwhile, haters think my rap is fragile
So don’t be a hater
Be a player of the game
Night slayer

Why are you taking my beat man you better hop off the streets before you get beaten
I just told you man go back home and eat some spam
If you can’t hit this beat you better go back living on the streets
Just like I told you man I ain’t your boy so hope my swag cause you ain’t class learning what I am
Just tell me what you want
What you want my money man
I advised you back up as far as you can
Before I call the police man.

No goggles no problems
Surgery is a waste
Got goggles on my face
Looking goofy all over the places
Walking all over
They‘re looking at me like I am discreet
No goggles no problems x3
I wear these goggles to play some sports
They look at me like I am ugly
They hate it cause I got more skills
Then you ain’t part of the team
We ain’t trying to start beef with you.
I am just a man with goggles x3
All right peace

This is a spiritual lyrical free style.
Meanwhile, haters think my rap is fragile
So don’t be a hater
Be a player of the game
Night slayer

When we were with our friends playing here and then
We went to the moon and then came back soon
I went to my room, I saw a big balloon
Then it said that we should go out soon and then find another balloon
I would like to bake a soft sweet cake
My sister is always rude when it comes to sharing food
I love pretty girls in pink swirls
You get the best of both worlds, chill it out, take it slow then you rock out in the snow.

We are ready for rehearsal…

Trip to the Morgan Library with the New York Institute for Special Education

Students did not want to go back to school this morning. Rather, they wanted to stay at the Morgan Library, where we discovered some of its wonderful collections. It was no surprise – the library staff gave us a real treat.
Bel and Nicole, Morgan Library educators, introduced us to a variety of writing instruments and papers from different times and regions of the world. Students had no difficulty remembering where Egypt was, and what was once Mesopotamia. We first explored and compared different kinds of materials on which people wrote: from stone and clay with the cuneiform system, to papyrus, parchment and sheep skin, and to today’s familiar white paper. Bel and Nicole explained why and how people started writing. Students handled quills, wooden styli, brushes, and silk. Students even got a chance to use a trading seal.
The second part of our workshop consisted in going into the library built by Pierpont Morgan where the students got to explore the architecture of some of the rooms. Everyone had wonderful questions. We will just have to come back.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creation and Production of a Rap Song- part 2

The talent at Van Cleeve is outstanding: the students created their own rap! Zaire, Carlos, Michael, Koby, Raheem, Nelson, Isaiah, Jordan, Ravonne, Adam, Antonio, and Brice created the following lyrics:

“This is a spiritual, lyrical, freestyle, while meanwhile, haters think my rap is fragile;
So don’t be a hater, be a player of the game, night slayer."

Visit from Mariebelle Chocolatier

The Students at PS 102 were lucky this past Tuesday. They got a wonderful visit from Rodolfo who works at Mariebelle Chocolatier!
Students learned that chocolate comes from a pod that grows on a tree – it’s called a calabash and inside of it we can find…cocoa beans! Rodolfo explained to us how white, milk, and dark chocolate are made. We even got to touch some cocoa powder, a calabash and cocoa beans and eat some cocoa nibs. Then students got to taste different kinds of chocolate, from the sweetest to the bitterest. Now we are all experts at tasting and recognizing good chocolate: smell, listen, if it breaks in a snap it was baked at a good temperature! And taste it, no need to chew, let it melt in your mouth, and pair it with some hot chocolate, orange juice or white grape juice. What a treat!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kudos to Anaiah at PS 201, Queens

Students from Ms. Agati’s class are fast learners. In less than 4 weeks, they have all become skilled at zipping their jackets and buckling their belts. Today we started working on tying our shoes. All the teachers were amazed by how quickly the class learned to do the first knot. Kudos to Anaiah, who was able to do a nice bow, and then showed Destiny how to do it. And guess what? Destiny, too, can do it now. ”So easy when you know how.”

Standing Tall is Working Wonders

Justin, Araceli, Samantha, and Rita made such a good impression today. After learning how to greet and introduce themselves to strangers, they demonstrated that they feel at ease carrying on interesting conversations. Ms. Shawna’s song seems to help! Remember: look the person in the eye when shaking hands and add a smile!

The Art of Debating

Over the past few weeks, students from the Schermerhorn Program at the New York Institute for Special Education discussed the value of sharing their opinions while respecting and understanding others’ views. Students learned to better appreciate the variety of interpretations for artworks while taking a guided tour at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. They are also currently exploring the diversity of lifestyles and personalities by corresponding with students in other states (see last week post).

On Monday they held a debate at which students teamed up to defend their point of view. Students were instructed to take turns in arguing their viewpoint. While Clyde, William and Davon argued that videogames are a productive activity for young teenagers, Andrea, Vivian and Guiliana gave us reasons to believe that videogames can promote violence.

In the second group, courageous Michael faced the rest of the class and respectfully explained why the TV show “The Simpsons” is better than “Family Guy.“ Everyone on both sides showed great debating skills: they listen to each other, acknowledge other points of view, and built their arguments upon what they heard. Thanks to his skilled explanations, Michael rallied 4 other classmates to his side of the debate!

Working Together on a Rap Song

Students from the Van Cleeve Program at the New York Institute for Special Education are in the process of writing and producing their own rap song. Copies of the CD and a video clip will be shared with their fellow students and teachers.
This week students first organized themselves in smaller teams: the Talent Team was composed of Isaiah, Branden, Carlos and Jordan; the Production Team had Brice, Antonio, Zaire and Nelson. The Talent Team has already written lyrics. They still need to find a title, figure out who will sing, create a choreography and rehearse before they can combine their efforts with the Production Team, which is in charge of the recording (sound and video), the design of the stage, and the editing. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, they can share their work with everybody.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Preparing for the supermarket

While studying tactile maps of a supermarket, students discussed what products could be found in each department and made a shopping list in preparation of our trip to the supermarket in a couple of weeks. Students also discussed how to organize their shopping list: produce first,2. deli and cheese, 3. bakery, 4.meat, 5.dairy…
They also estimated how much it will cost for us to get all the ingredients for a healthy snack. Hopefully no more than $25. We’ll see if we’re right in a couple of weeks.