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May 31, 2012
This week we write about the importance of adult-student collaboration and mentoring.
Please join us next Friday, June 8, at 3:30 PM when we gather to share memories of Mary Downing, BCS teacher who passed away on March 22.
All for now,
Alyce and Anna
We want our students to have many chances to do more than they think they can - more than they know is possible; to find that their learning and their actions can make the world a better place. Direct contact with adult professionals, people who are experts in the topics we study, enables our students to see how adults think, work, set goals, and accomplish what they set out to do.
This year our students have had many opportunities to collaborate with adults, not only in our 11th grade internship program, but in learning expeditions. For example, our 11th graders interviewed people who work in immigrant support organizations, our 6th graders will hear from adults who work on both sides of the goose population control issue, and our 7th graders do first hand research on the timely topic of sugar regulation. HS physics students consulted experts in the fields of play and design, and art students questioned a Department of Sanitation expert to make a video on trash and recycling. In every subject, we seek adults experts who extend and expand our curriculum. As we build our expeditions we’ll continue to ask you for help in finding the right connections. It was through this letter we found many of the people mentioned here.
Brooklyn New School is very lucky. Every once in a while, a parent comes along to teach us. This year Toshi's mom, Jacqueline Woodson (a well know children's author) has done just that. How? Jacqueline has become a most powerful mentor as the fourth grade develops its historical fiction unit in which our students create a character and write a journal as if they were that person. Who are these characters? Why they are citizens of New Amsterdam, of course. They might be an enslaved boy from West Africa, a Jewish girl recently arrived from Brazil, or a child born in Holland.
This year, a new character has come to life. Her name is Ngozi, a slave girl in New Amsterdam. In her journal entry from 1656, she writes, "Mother says that my name, Ngozi, means 'a blessing'. She tells me that it is what I am and what I will always be."
Ngozi is Jacqueline's character. Talk about mentoring. Jacqueline is modeling by doing the same journal entries that our fourth grade students are doing. She is writing alongside them. Many thanks to Jacqueline for showing us what is possible.
Parents are welcome to come to school Friday, June 8 and enjoy EcoRama, BNS's "Earth Day in June," where we share the many sustainability projects that classes take on throughout the year. This is an annual event featuring exhibits on storm water runoff, erosion, and rainwater catchment systems, to name a few. Classes who attend will sample fresh juices, make herb sachets, seed mud balls, decompose pulp trays, and create art: "Reduce Reuse Resparkle." It's all in the big yard from 9:30am to 1:30pm.
Garden to Café is also June 8 (11:30am-12:30pm) and will be a full lunch, including pizza, pasta and mixed green salad. Herbs and lettuces will be harvested from the BNS garden, planted by many students, but especially the first grade. We encourage parents to leave lunchboxes at home so their children can enjoy a freshly harvested and "home" made lunch prepared by the cafeteria staff. Parents are needed and welcome to help serve starting at 11:15.