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Classroom Curve Balls (Or the Proper Care and Feeding of Lesson Plans)

Adapt or perish. H.G. Wells was talking about evolution when he coined that, but it can as easily be applied to teaching artistry. It’s one of the things the first half of my classroom apprenticeship in 6th Grade at IS 126 in Queens has made crystal clear to me. When selecting our choices of classes, TAP trainees don’t really know anything about the class beyond the time, location, and TA artistic fields. But, of course, being that the New York City public school system is the largest system in the country and serves 1.1 million children, there are many different types of classes to accommodate the needs of many different types of children. Had I considered that, I might not have been surpri

We're All Just Winging It!

As part of the Teaching Artist Project (TAP) training, I have been assigned to an internship at PS 171 in Astoria, Queens, assisting two lead Teaching Artists (TAs) over the course of their poetry and theatre residency with 2nd and 3rd graders. I am having so much fun and it is such a fantastic learning experience! As interns we first start by observing classes for the first few weeks and, as we move forward through the residency, are slowly integrated into lessons. This leads up to the final weeks where we get to lead a full lesson on our own with the support of the two main TAs. As I sit here working on my lesson plan that is to be taught in the coming weeks, I am reflecting on how much I

Capturing New York City in an Astoria Classroom

When you think of New York City, what visual comes to mind? Towering buildings lined along a coast flanked by long, winding bridges, surely. But zoom in a little closer, will you? Hyper-focus on the city’s people. Of variant origin stories, each person their own hero in the making. Few documentation projects have accurately captured this cinematic appeal of New York, of its stories like Humans of New York. Brandon Stanton’s photography and storytelling movement is evocative of the differences that exist among New York citizens as it is conscious of our similarities. Almost like a portrait out of Mr. Stanton’s project is Ms. Sloufmann’s and Mr. Baez’s fifth grade classroom at P. S. 17, the He

What is Third Grade?

When I first signed up for the residency in Ms. Ferandino’s third grade class, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d had some limited experience teaching college students, but teaching college students and teaching third graders are two totally different things. When I first entered the classroom, I thought I had to be serious; I wasn’t used to cracking jokes or smiling as I taught art. But as I sat in the corner, taking notes as teaching artists Jessie Paddock and Rachael Schefrin skillfully controlled the energy in the room, I caught myself laughing at the silly remarks the children were making. When the teaching artist Rachael Schefrin asked the class to move like a fish, I found myself

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