Check out the ACEing Autism tennis program being organized by Peace Corps Fellow, Miles Vidreiro.
Check out the ACEing Autism tennis program being organized by Peace Corps Fellow, Miles Vidreiro.
The NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) is launching its first annual Big Apple Awards: Recognizing Teacher Excellence in New York City. After an extensive nomination and application process, up to ten outstanding teachers will be awarded a monetary prize and a classroom grant this June.
Why are we nominating teachers?
The Big Apple Awards are meant to recognize some of NYC’s best teachers – teachers who are doing outstanding work every day on behalf of our students. The NYCDOE also hopes tofoster a citywide dialogue about what excellent teaching looks like and celebrate those teachers that exemplify these traits.
How do you nominate your favorite teacher?
There is an open, citywide call for nominations from Monday, February 25th – Wednesday, March 13. The NYCDOE is asking for nominations from teachers, supervisors, central and network staff, students, parents, and community members. More information on how to nominate a teacher can be found on The Big Apple Awards webpage and a flyer for distribution can be found here.
Based on the nominations received, a select group of 500 nominees will be invited to submit applications. From those applications, up to 50 finalists will be chosen for an interview and school visit. A NYC DOE Board of Judges will pick up to ten of our best teachers as our first Big Apple Awardees. We will recognize and celebrate these awardees at a year-end ceremony.
Which teachers should be nominated?
Current, full-time NYC Department of Education and charter school teachers who have demonstrated exceptional success in the following areas:
· Impact on Student Learning
· Instructional Practices
· Professional Contributions
What do the Big Apple Awards recipients receive?
A rigorous selection process will follow the citywide open nomination window and 10 Big Apple Award Recipients will receive a cash award and a classroom grant. In addition to their regular teaching responsibilities, the recipients will serve as Ambassadors to the DOE for a one year term where they will provide critical insight on internal decisions and be a resource to the larger community on what it means to be a teacher in New York City.
Please share this information with as many people as possible and make sure to nominate your favorite teachers by Wednesday, March 13th. For more information or questions about how to nominate a great teacher, please refer to The Big Apple Awards webpage.
Thank you for your continued commitment to excellent teaching in New York City!
President Obama’s Presidential Citizen Award honoree and former CNN Hero, Jorge Muñoz, found collaborators in Ms. Wilches’s second grade dual language Spanish-English students at PS 222Q FF Christopher A. Santora Early Childhood School. A school bus driver during the day, Mr. Muñoz serves hot meals to approximately 140 people each night under the 7 train. After learning about the Angel, as he is known in Queens, Ms. Wilches’s students decided to get involved. The students and their parents got together at a student’s house on a Saturday morning and prepared 108 sandwiches and baked over 250 cookies (both peanut butter AND chocolate chip), packaging them in little brown paper bags, along with a juice. The class and their parents joined Mr. Muñoz later that evening, as he makes his deliveries between 9:30 and 10:00 each night, and handed out the food to people in need.
This is just one of several ways that Ms. Wilches’s second graders have been involved in their community this year. In October, students, their families, school staff members, and community members collaborated with the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Common Cents to plant 1000 daffodil bulbs along 69th Street at the entrance of Jackson Heights.
Just a month later, the class worked with El Museo del Barrio and the artist Renzo Ortega. The collaboration included two workshops, culminating in painting a mural depicting their favorite part of the neighborhood, which can be seen at the 78th Street Plaza and adds a vibrant piece of artwork to the area. Throughout the process, students and their families worked together and video documented the process, handing out pamphlets about the project to people who passed.
These collaborations were made possible by the dedication and activism of the parents. As the students of Ms. Wilches’s class have made a lasting commitment to service and their community and we celebrate Ms. Wilches’s leadership and vision!
New York Agriculture in the Classroom works to educate students about agriculture and food and fiber production. One such way is the upcoming Agricultural Literacy Week (March 18th-22nd), during which volunteer readers bring books and activities into NYS classrooms. For more information, please visit: http://www.agclassroom.org/ny/programs/literacy.htm.
Ms. Briggs partnered with NYC Inner City Outings to lead a series of outdoor adventures with her third grade students, many of which were first time experiences for them. Together they went ice-skating, visited a wolf sanctuary, and hiked Bear Mountain and at Ward Pound Ridge Sanctuary. During the process, students reflected on their experiences, writing summaries of their treks. The trips were connected to the curriculum, as students participated in experientially based discussions about plant and animal adaptations, among other topics. To document and share what they had learned and experienced, students wrote reflections that culminated in publishing a guidebook that included locations in and outside of New York City.
During this time, Ms. Briggs’s class corresponded with Ms. Wilches’s second grade class. While Ms. Briggs’s students were going on outdoor adventures, Ms. Wilches’s class went on community walks throughout Jackson Heights. Their visits included the fire station, police station, library, and a local restaurant. They learned about their special community and created a book to share what they had learned with others. The two classes met on a beautiful day in Central Park. Together, they played, ate, went on the carousel, and learned more about their new friends and their unique adventures. This was a special experience for students from two different boroughs—the Bronx and Queens—to spend time with each other through writing, as well as in person, sharing their new experiences with one another.
Ms. Rush’s project evolved from already existing content goals, which included figurative language, non-linear structure, and genres of magical realism, and was in part inspired by Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. To begin the project, the class spent some time at the school farm, tasting various plants, discussing the flavors, textures and associations they made based on smell and taste. The discussion also included food production, preparation, and access.This experiential learning served as a foundation for gathering information about food and memories.
Interviews were then conducted with family and community members from an older generation and focused on family food culture, stories and traditions. Using their responses, students wrote several vignette quick-writes. From these quick-writes, students composed a 3-5-page creative non-fiction piece in the vignette style, capturing their families’ stories. While their full pieces were graded, each student chose an excerpt to be revised and edited in collaboration with Ms. Rush to be included in the group’s published book.
Photograph by Katie DelaVaughn (www.photoraya.com)
In celebration of the project, a potluck and book reading event was held, to which students invited their families. This was a meaningful experience for students and teachers to reflect on the importance and intersection of food, family, community and memories. This project engaged students throughout the writing process, integrating curriculum standards into meaningful hands-on learning. Perhaps most importantly, the students were proud of their book and were able to share it with the loved ones who inspired it in the first place.
New York City High School Students Stand-Up: Welcome to The Peapod Academy
Mr. Simpson’s students learned about the chemistry of alternative fuels, which culminated in conducting peer education sessions for middle school students. The students went on a field trip to the New York City Parks and Recreation Department on Randall’s Island. While there, the group went on a tour of the facilities where the city maintains their green fleet. Additionally, students were given a tour of the green roof that sits on top of the warehouse. The tour was quite impressive and extensive, giving students a context from which to continue their project back in the classroom.
In the classroom, students conducted experiments that tested the efficiency of alternative fuels. Based on what they had learned both during their trips and in their labs, the students taught middle school students about what they had learned and the group participated in a post-project pizza party, during which they received much positive feedback from the school’s administration. In addition to the chemistry concepts covered, the project helped to develop technology skills, as well as interpersonal and social skills.
UW-Madison – Pyle Center & Lowell Center, 702 & 610 Langdon St.
NYU - Metropolitan Center, 726 Broadway, Rm 503
CU - Teachers College - 525 West 120th St, Rm 144 Horace Mann
TIME: 6:30pm Central Standard Time | 7:30pm Eastern Standard Time
GO TO http://omai.wisc.edu/?page_id=10 FOR FULL DETAILS
Mr. Kelley (Peace Corps Service: Uganda 2008-2010), a United States and Government teacher at Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service, created a unit of study for his high school students while at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in the early spring.
The unit guided students through an in-depth exploration of the criminal justice system, beginning by looking at the historical roots of systems of oppression starting at the inception of slavery. Their investigation led to the mass incarceration and school-to-prison pipeline that exists today by examining Supreme Court cases, historical case studies, Constitutional Rights, as well as specific legislation. Students also engaged in discussions with scholars such as Pedro Noguera and experts from CUNY School of Law, the NYCLU, and VOCAL-NY. The unit included drawing from a wide variety of resources and engaged in an open dialogue that led to the creation of informational pieces of spoken word, rap and hip hop, as well as reflections and a final culminating paper.
To celebrate and mark the end of the unit, the class invited a community panel into their school. During this event, students performed their creative pieces, as well as engaged in scholarly discourse concerning the issues covered throughout the unit. Students were able to articulate to community members the historical precedent of systemic oppression, as well as provide a modern context as it relates to their own neighborhoods and experiences.
Photography by Katie DelaVaughn (www.photoraya.com)