Week of March 8, 2021

Dear Families,

Sorry... I forgot to post on Monday! ; )

I want to highlight current work happening in classrooms because it illustrates how students and teachers create curriculum that is responsive to the classroom community’s needs and interests, the events in our world and is rooted in social justice.

  • Students learned about change-makers like Martin Luther King Jr., Georgia Gilmore, Rosa Parks, Fred Hampton, and Wangari Maathai in a kindergarten and first-grade classroom. The class then thought about how they could be change-makers in our community and decided to make ‘The Little Free Food Pantry.’  Families in the neighborhood can take what they need and leave what they can.  Mara, one of their teachers, built the pantry with her woodworking teacher, and the class organized donations.  I have attached pictures of the pantry, which is in the 3rd Street Garden, and the posters students made to advertise in the school and neighborhood. 

  • Students read biographies about people who have shared their passions and light in the world in a second and third-grade class. The students were especially captivated by the story of Arab architect Zaha Hadid, who designed buildings inspired by the natural world and faced sexism and racism in having her buildings built despite winning multiple competitions. The class decided to design and build a city of their own (on a small scale).  Last week, an architect came to present various buildings inspired by different purposes. In the end, the teachers chose food (this is another class study this year) as the theme, and the students have been designing buildings inspired by food.  This coming week, TNS parent David Stadler will come to speak to them about building our designs!

  • A fourth and fifth-grade class is beginning the read-aloud, How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle.  It is a Choctaw story about a boy’s experience on the Trail of Tears, which they have been studying in Social Studies.  As a part of this study, the class has a virtual field trip scheduled with the National Museum of the American Indian. Museum educators will speak to the class about the Native American experience during the Removal Act of 1830 time period. 

TNS offers a progressive education model that values student intellectual and emotional development and encourages students to take active roles in their learning.  This rich environment would not be possible if not for our teachers and our school’s commitment to providing authentic and meaningful learning experiences for children.  And it is not possible when teachers have to balance the demands of preparing students for the State tests.  At most public schools, test prep forms a significant part of the class curriculum, especially at this time of year.  Students learn how to fill out bubble sheets; teachers focus closely on materials covered in the tests; and there is little time for open, explorative, authentic learning.  Here are some essential links to help you make your decision about opt-in out of the NY State tests this year:

Warm Regards,

Dyanthe

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