Thursday, February 28, 2013

Song Writing and Improvisation at PS186X

Students have been deepening their understanding of the Standing Tall curriculum through collaborative song writing. This has involved creating lyrics that are either rapped or sung that draw from the themes of how hold ones composure in a confident way in order to make a good first impression. Students have also been able to put these social skills into action through the process of song writing by creating instrumental tracks together on Garageband. In the following excerpt each track was created by students, and reflects being inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. 

In the last couple weeks students have been encouraged to expand their ability to express themselves through collective improvisation, which has been facilitated and directed by Music Therapist Aaron Shragge. Supported by a rhythmic loop played through Garage Band the class has learned to follow cues from Aaron that vary between call and response, changes in dynamics, assigned interlocking rhythms and starts and stops. Directed improvisation has helped to developed the students ability to engage in a social activity as well as express themselves in creative format that has clear boundaries. It is also the precursor to developing material for PS186x's final presentation. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Students Learn to Speak Up at PS186X

During the last several weeks at PS186X students have been refining their abilities to express themselves and be self-aware in social situations. An exercise on voice projection helped students visualize how to throw their voice without resorting to yelling. Students were asked to come up to the front of the class one at a time and say a greeting phrase such as "Hello, How are you?" to a student at the front of the class. They then repeated the greeting only with a student in the middle of the class and then at the back of the class. Many students showed noticeable improvement in their voice projection in a very short time with coaching from both Marie Clapot and Aaron Shragge through this exercise. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Morgan Library and Museum at The Brooklyn Charter School

I once heard: “If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.” That is exactly what the educators from the Morgan Library and Museum graciously did for the students at Brooklyn Charter School. After cancelling our visit to the museum due the inclement weather and then the bus strike, the educators brought their passion and replicas to give a compelling presentation on the history of writing. Students got to explore a variety of writing tools and supports: cylinder seal, parchment paper, quill, stylus and much more. Students were captivated and asked for more. Hopefully soon....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Last Day in Queens

Today marked Art Beyond Sight's final day at IS 237 and PS 201 in Queens.  We will miss these kids very much and look forward to seeing how they progress for next year!  To celebrate our last day, all of the students made bracelets and were able to put the finishing touches to their vests.  Here are a few photos marking the end of our sessions:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our time is almost finished!

Our students at IS 237 and PS 201 have been busy ending the year with Art Beyond Sight!  Below, Samantha from IS 237 is holding up the list of all the different things that were discussed this year with Art Beyond Sight.  They truly learned a lot and taught each other a lot about themselves - from fashion to likes and dislikes!

Over at PS 201, Mrs. Fiske's class has been hard at week shaking their sillies out and moving and shaking with improved fine motor skills!  They've been decorating their vests and are getting ready to end with Art Beyond Sight.  At Mrs. Agati's class, they have been hard at work writing a song all together about their feelings - they really learned to "Recognize, Replace, and Practice"!  Here they are with Miss Shawna, all proud of their songwriting skills!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learning about the world through music

In the past few weeks, the Brooklyn Charter School 3rd graders wrote songs about another country or continent modeled on the structure of the class song “Who We Are.” They researched relevant information from where people live, what they do and like to animal and plants one can find in say Australia. Collaborating with Mr. Ricky, they choose a new beat to perform it in front of their classmates!
 “That’s how it goes”…

We’re gonna tell you
About Asia

We live in Asia
Some of us like bullet trains
Some of us love the Great Wall of China
Some of us like judo
Some of us like festivals
Some of us were born in India
Some of us were born in Indonesia
Some of us were born in Japan

That’s how it goes x4
We’re gonna tell you
About Asia

Some of us like rice
Some of us like spicy food
Some of us like dumplings
Few of us like noodles
Few of us like meat
Few of us like to the city
Few of us don’t like peanut butter
Most of us don’t like cold food
Some of us like dragons
Some of us do push ups

That’s how it goes x4
We’re gonna tell you
About Asia

Students then creating a song book!

We have the situation in hand!

Students from PS 186X have been working on navigating difficult situations while remaining polite and firm. They acted out a variety of scenes to practice: from meeting an impatient producer who is their one chance to see their rap songs making it to the world; or getting rid of a too talkative person on the subway platform; to meeting with the principal to discuss how to improve their grades… Students focused on thinking of different ways to handle each situation, developing vocabulary as well as paying attention to body language and facial expressions to communicate their point.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coming to an end

The students of IS 237 and PS 201 are reaching a close to the Art Beyond Sight curriculum!  They are surely moving right along and learning so much.

Students of IS 237 have been busy managing the art of casual and formal occasions, and how to act and dress at them.  They recalled numerous lessons from the Standing Tall program and incorporated them into this year's Dressing for Success program.  Samantha's drawing below shows how the students were able to tap into their stylish sides by creating two different outfits for different occasions:

Over at PS 201, Mrs. Agati's class has been hard at work learning how to deal with difficult situations and how to join in on conversations.  Our chatterboxes in Mrs. Agati's class always want to join in the conversation - and they are now mastering the art of 'excuse me' and making a conversation last longer by asking questions and listening.  

In Mrs. Fiske's classroom, we have been heavily working our gross and fine motor skills by practicing buttoning and zipping!  Each time the students progress, they are able to decorate their own personal vests for dressing.  They even made their own paper snowman and played piano on Miss Shawna's iPad!  Below is one students vest, and Julia picking out stickers to decorate her vest with:

We only have two sessions left together - can't wait to see what these students have in store!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Learning about self-presentation through portraiture

Following their visit to the Brooklyn Museum where they explored portraits around the world and their meaning, The Brooklyn Charter School students created their self-portrait using photography. Mr. Ricky and Ms. Marie first reviewed the components of a portrait: facial expressions and posture, clothing and accessories, background and setting, to encourage the students to make clear choices about how they want to present themselves. Working in pairs, students picked out outfits, props and poses and had their picture taken by their classmates. Students are now decorating a frame for their portrait.

Letter Writing at The Brooklyn Charter School

4th graders students started their correspondence with students from France, California and Montana. After introducing their pen pals’ places of origins through music and other cultural traits, Mr. Ricky and Ms. Marie discussed the structure of a letter using the “5 parts of a friendly letter” model (see below).  They discussed what kind of information one can share in the body of the letter and what questions could be asked. Soon to be sent…
5 parts of a friendly letter
1.      Heading, 2. Salutation, 3. Body, 4. Closing, 5. Signature

Heading include your address and the date.
Usually you leave out the address in a friendly letter


Dear____ ,

The blank part should include the name of the person
 to whom you are writing. Place a coma after the name.

Contains the information you want to include in your letter

The first word is capitalized and the last word is followed by a coma.
Your friend, Your Pen pal, Sincerely, Kind regards,

Your name goes here

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Standing Tall through collaborative Song Writing at PS186 X

In the weeks before the Christmas break students at PS 186 X have been internalizing their understanding of the Standing Tall curriculum through collaborative song writing. This has involved creating songs that draw from the themes of how to hold ones composure in a confident way in order to make a good first impression. Lead by Marie Clapot and Aaron Shragge, students began by choosing lyrics that were then rapped or sung. Below is an example of collaborative lyrics from one class. 

Saying hello
How is it going
That’s how we make an impression
That’s how we make people feel good 

Students have also been able to put these social skills into action through the process of collaborative song writing by creating instrumental tracks together on Garageband. In the following excerpt each instrumental part was created by  a student which then provided a musical background for the vocal track that was improvised by another student on the theme of Standing Tall.