News From Ramaz
Over the past few months, second graders have been studying New York City landmarks. Prior to studying a specific landmark, students participated in exciting field trips! They began the year by visiting both the East and Hudson Rivers, where students appreciated Manhattan's existence as an island surrounded by water and connecting bridges.
They became city planners during a trip to the Museum of the City of New York, where they learned about the detailed grid system that forms the foundation of our city landscape. They toured the Park Avenue Historic District with a guide from the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. Back in their classrooms, they engaged in mock debates about granting landmark status to a hypothetical building on the Upper East Side.
Second graders soon applied all this knowledge to their work on a timeline of the changing landscape of New York City. They learned fascinating information about the ever-changing appearance of New York City and used these facts to create timelines!
Finally, the students were ready to learn more about New York City landmarks! In groups, students read books, learned about their landmarks, and became experts along the way. In writing, the students learned about personification and practiced this style of writing. Then they used their newly gained knowledge to write a paragraph from the perspective of their landmark.
With their Science teachers, the children spent a week or two studying each landmark. They oxidized and then "cleaned" pennies to learn how patina has developed on The Statue of Liberty. In trying to break soap bars by pushing and pulling, they explored the compression and tension forces at play on the Brooklyn Bridge. Since Grand Central Terminal is known for its archways, students built arches with blocks to understand how the many pieces depend on each other to stand strong. Finally, to investigate The Empire State Building, they created model skyscrapers, experimenting with different foundations to keep their buildings from falling over.
In the Art Studio, the second graders spent several months learning about NYC architecture. From drawing pop-art portraits of the Statue of Liberty, inspired by artist Peter Max, to creating blueprints, this unit enhanced what the youngsters were learning in their classrooms. Students took this knowledge and applied it when they created their original buildings. The youngsters' beautiful structures provided the backdrop for the children's presentations to their parents.
In their classrooms, the students created beautiful booklets to display their written work, artwork, and the visual images that they discovered in Technology class. The students also found fun facts about their landmarks! Our proud New Yorkers enjoyed visiting the landmarks with their families and sharing all their new information.
On May 1st and 2nd, second graders had their parents join them for their Landmark Celebrations. The classrooms were decorated with the students' New York City artwork. Videos, created by the second grade teachers, used the children's narration and teachers' photos and videos to explain this interdisciplinary unit of instruction, which began in September! Students, wearing New York City tee shirts, shared fun facts about their landmarks with the visitors.
In Music, the youngsters in each class used rhythm, melody and form to create a landmark song to play on their Orff instruments. The children worked in landmark groups, and then as a class, to create a full ensemble piece. Adding pitched and non-pitched percussion, they created color parts for each component. They then experimented by layering each part and finally worked together to compose and play their class landmark song.
Finally, the students shared their booklets and the commercials that they had created in their technology classes (using a QR reader app) with their guests. The students created original commercials with catchy openings and closings as well as four fun facts about their landmarks. Once the scripts were written, the children did a google image search for a photo and then used the app "Chatterpix" to create the actual commercial.
We are very, very proud of our second grade New York City landmark experts!