Book of the month- Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag

In recognition of Pride month, our classes will be reading Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.

“In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today's world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders's stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno's evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable - and undertold - story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.”

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If you would like to buy your own copy, here is a link to Terrace Books -

https://www.communitybookstore.net/book/9780399555312

MakerSpace Update

Through the use of recyclables and repurposed materials, our students have been busy exploring everyday objects in new and inventive ways. We are wrapping up our latest study on Simple/Compound machines. Andrew and the classroom teachers have been exploring catapults. wheeled vehicles, booms and t-cranes. While kids tinker and build with unconventional and recycled materials, they’re learning about sustainability with a focus on the environment and how we can positively impact our planet.

P.S. 154’s Makerspace facilitates maker-centered learning with the aim of students bridging STEM and creative thinking both as individuals and communities. Making chairs, machines and bridges has involved learning and empathizing about their utility and beauty, finding and solving what their design and function amount to in terms of “juicy problems” as well as testing and sharing their iterations and innovations. In each maker unit, a blend of the phases of creativity and design has been charted in student-centered ways emphasizing intrinsic motivation, inquiry and collaboration.

Prospect Park Enrichment

Last week, we started a collaboration with Brooklyn Nature Days. Our first graders ventured to the Nethermead in Prospect Park to explore and investigate.  The sun was hiding and the weather was damp and chilly, but the children were all smiles as the BND crew led the group in an educational and fun filled morning. The children had an opportunity to take their current science curriculum and apply it in the field by searching and digging for plants (leaves, dandelions, and mountains of onion grass), animals (worms, grubs, and slugs) and other natural materials (rocks, sticks, and mud) while also exploring light and sound.  They ran, explored, and were eager to get their hands dirty and their minds going. They worked together, filled their buckets, shared their findings, and asked important questions.  Big thank you to Regina C. for connecting us with BND!

Chair Design Challenge

On Friday, at the second and third grade assembly we tested out the chairs that the classes created in the PS154 Makerspace. Over the past few weeks, students have designed and built chairs using cardboard, tape and fabric. They were challenged with building a piece of furniture strong enough to hold the like of Mr. Buckley and myself. The challenge was accepted and the chairs made it through unscathed! *(We will test the chair designs from the remaining grades very soon).

Science Fair

Our 2019 Science Fair was a great success! We had a wide range of project ideas that demonstrated the scope of our students’ scientific interests. Thank you to our parent volunteers and NYU post-grads for providing feedback to our student scientists.

City Worker Day

Last week, our second grade students participated in our annual “City Worker Day” event.” A variety of city professionals, from fire fighters to city planners, came to PS154 to share their experiences and to provide an opportunity for students to interview them. This event is part of the second grade social studies curriculum and is a great example of curricular integration, as it targets both ELA and social studies standards. Our students researched different New York City professions and created projects based on their research, including specific questions to ask our guests.

Our Makerspace is Open for Business!

By now, most of our classes have had an opportunity to go to the new makerspace. Andrew and Monika, of Koko Open Source, are facilitating a program that has allowed our students to jump right into the design thinking process. The first challenge, for all grades, is to design a chair using various materials.

I spoke with class 4-308 after their first session and they were very excited to tell me all about their experience. They expressed how much they enjoyed working as a team, the permission to make mistakes and then have the opportunity to figure out solutions. I asked how that process relates to their other school work and one student said, “It’s just like in math. We have to figure out the best strategy.”

The objective of our makerspace is to provide experiences that reinforce how we believe kids learn best. We want our students to develop collaborative skills in an immersive environment that encourages risk-taking, creativity and hands-on exploration. In other words, we want our students to be courageous, curious and caring.

Here are some pictures of class 1-205 designing and testing chairs-

The Case For Loving- February's Book of the Month

Our school’s Equity Team was tasked with selecting books for our students to read during Black History Month. We chose The Case for Loving to expose our students to an important story that many have never heard. Love, perseverance and an understanding of the law are powerful weapons against hate.

This month, our classes will also explore historical figures in African American culture. Our Equity team, in collaboration with our teachers, chose books that highlight aspects of history that we hope provide new insights for our students. *(Grade book list below)

The Case for Loving. By Selina Alko and Sean Qualls-

For most children these days it would come as a great shock to know that before 1967, they could not marry a person of a race different from their own. That was the year that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Loving v. Virginia.
This is the story of one brave family: Mildred Loving, Richard Perry Loving, and their three children. It is the story of how Mildred and Richard fell in love, and got married in Washington, D.C. But when they moved back to their hometown in Virginia, they were arrested (in dramatic fashion) for violating that state's laws against interracial marriage. The Lovings refused to allow their children to get the message that their parents' love was wrong and so they fought the unfair law, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court - and won!

If you would like a copy, here’s a link to Terrace Books-

https://www.communitybookstore.net/book/9780545478533

Grade Level Book Selections-

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop: Kindergarten

You Should Meet- Mae Jemison : 1st grade

The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia Bath (Amazing Scientists): 2nd grade

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History: 3rd grade

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker: 4th grade

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat: 5th grade