Last Friday’s Exposition was a beautiful celebration of the incredible independent thinking and group experiences of all three middle school grades’ Explorations. There was a wonderful turnout of students, parents and family members.
The 6th grade studied the question, “Can Art Change the World?”
It was a really beautiful two weeks to be a teacher! Our students consistently exceeded our expectations and we had a great time.
We were honored to host an extraordinary group of guest artists including Madeline Schwartzmann, students from Lyons Community School, Oasa DuVerney, Nicole Goodwin, Jamie Hector, Sammy Miller, Keomi Tarver, Julia Nason and Jenner Fursh. We saw the Sebastiao Salgado show Genesis at the International Center of Photography, Zero Tolerance at PS1/MoMA, an IllStyles Production and dance performance called IMpossible IZpossible at BAM, made stop-motion animation videos at the Children’s Museum of the Arts of New York. We also learned through readings, film viewings, discussions, music classes and workshops while at MS8.
Finally, 6th graders completed two independent projects that they presented at the Exposition of final work from last week’s exploration. First, they made a creative project with an accompanying artist statement exploring one issue they seek to change in the world through the medium of their choice and second, they wrote an editorial argumentative essay responding to the essential question.
Want to see more? We have been asked by Oasa DuVerney to share student work in the SmackMellon Gallery exhibition, “Respond” recently written up in the New York Times.
The 7th grade studied the question, “Is Our Relationship to Animals Ethical?”
7th graders spent the first few days in workshops, thinking about various ways in which we relate to animals — animals as food, animals as pets, animals as test subjects, animals as entertainment, and more. They were joined by NYU’s Assistant Professor of Animal Studies Nicholas Delon and graduate Christopher Salley – visiting speakers for an amazing presentation and discussion. They watched films and visited the New York Aquarium at Coney Island, the Bronx Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History to make observations in the field to help answer the essential question. They ultimately wrote and filmed original public service announcements educating the public about an area of concern and created Prezis, interactive digital presentations responding to the question from their own perspective.
The 8th grade studied the question, “Whose Dreams Are Made in NYC?”
The 8th graders have spent the second half of the trimester learning about the history of immigration in America in both English Language Arts and Social Studies. For their exploration, they focused on contemporary experiences of immigrants to our fair borough of Brooklyn. After learning how to do “Vox Populi” – or “man on the street” – interviews with NPR Radio Reporters Chana Joffe-Walt and Zoe Chace, they went out. In Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Crown Heights, 8th graders did their own neighborhood ethnography work, studying the diverse experiences of newcomers through observation and interviews. They also went to the Tenement Museum and the Museum of the Chinese in America to ground their accounts in history. Finally, Moth founders Sheri Holman and Judy Stone taught the students how to adapt their written memoirs about their family’s immigration experiences into Moth-style stories to be read aloud and recorded on video. They also created websites for newcomers with resources and information about the neighborhoods in Brooklyn that they studied.
By Rebecca DeCola
Humanities, Learning Specialist, and Exploration Director