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11/16 – UG Expeditionary Thursday

Upper grades students had a packed day of ELA and Social Studies fieldwork!


ELA 9 (Grade 9)

Students visited a variety of shared spaces (Central Park, Brooklyn Public Library, St. John the Divine, and the Islamic Cultural Center of NYC) to investigate how each space uses symbols and how people in that space interact with the symbols. They researched the symbols to gain a more in-depth understanding of what they mean. Students relied on knowledge of symbols from our poetry unit and furthering their knowledge by gaining an understanding of how symbols are used in our city. The group at the Islamic Cultural Center explored the symbols and rituals of Islam, in order to turn-key this knowledge for others at the start of the memoir, Persepolis, set during the Islamic Revolution.

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ELA 10 (Grade 10)

Students engaged in a day-long investigation into literacy as the gateway to freedom or tool used to maintain systems of oppression. Students analyzed Slave Code prohibiting enslaved African Americans from learning to read and write, read and annotated excerpts of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, analyzed Nightjohn by Charles Burnett regarding literacy and freedom and finally synthesized the role of education in perpetuating oppression. The day culminated with a fishbowl discussion. This fieldwork provided students the opportunity to better understand why society would deny education to a specific group as was the case during slavery when African Americans were denied access to literacy.

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US History (Grade 11)

Students are at the end of their “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” unit in which they studied the effects of colonization on Indian Nations, and then the process of decolonization.  On today’s fieldwork, students immersed themselves into an Indian Survival School experience at Prospect Park and experienced different traditions of the cultures that were almost lost.  Students experienced five stations: Medicinal Plant Walk, Language, Hide Tanning, Friction/ Fire, and Story Telling.  Students are learning about Decolonization and the heart of the Earth Survival School was one of the first ways that they started this process.  One highlight of today’s ET was guest Anthony Van Dunk (a chief in the Lenape nation, and BCS parent) teaching the students his nation’s language, and talking to them about the fight for land reclamation.

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ELA 12 (Grade 12)

In a three-day experience focusing on the “Great Migration”, students met with teaching artists from the New Victory Theater on Wednesday to learn about the artistic process in putting together The Migration, a dance piece interpreting the paintings of Jacob Lawrence. They also researched different paintings from Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration” series using MoMA’s interactive web site. On Thursday during the ET, students attended a performance of The Migration at the New Victory Theater. Students then shared creative responses to the paintings and theater piece. On Friday, students will debrief the experience and then incorporate what they’ve learned into a literary analysis paper on “Sonny’s Blues,” due 11/22. The Great Migration relates to our study of “Sonny’s Blues” in several ways: 1) Sonny and the narrator’s parents lived in the South, but moved to NYC as part of the migration when the father’s brother was murdered in a hate crime. Violence against blacks was a main factor for African-Americans taking part in The Great Migration northward; 2) The music that Sonny performs at the end of the story is inspired by the blues, an art form that was created in response to the suffering of African-Americans in the Southern states. Blues music made its way north as part of the Great Migration. Sonny’s bandleader is Creole, a reference to the Southern influence on Sonny’s music; and 3) As part of our study of double consciousness in “Sonny’s Blues,” we are exploring the dyad of North vs. South in the story, and how Northern and Southern societies’ views of the characters affect their view of themselves.

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