English Language Arts
Summer ELA and Math Workshop
The Long Beach School District hosted a workshop about summer learning on June 30. Dr. Cheriese Pemberton, director of mathematics, and Joshua Anisansel, director of English language arts, met with more than 80 parents, many of whom were accompanied by their children, to discuss the importance of summer learning and to provide families with resources to support academic growth during the summer months.
Earlier in June, parents of students in grades 2-5 who demonstrated the need for more support over the summer were selected by their teachers and invited to this targeted workshop.
Students received support materials in English language arts and/or mathematics. Parents were provided with background information on the importance of summer learning, research on how students may regress in their learning over the summer without appropriate intervention and practical strategies to support their children in their summer learning.
Parents who were invited but were unable to attend may visit the security desk at the front entrance of the Long Beach Middle School from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to pick up materials.
Click here to view the Presentation
Middle School Receives Literacy Grant
Long Beach Middle School received a "First Book" literacy grant from the New York State United Teachers. Through the grant, which was given to teachers in districts hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, the school received 300 books for its literacy classes and Title I program. In the grant proposal, teacher Dale Greenstein explained how her entire library collection for her literacy class was wiped out by flooding.
“I compiled this collection of books from various sources over the course of my teaching career,” said Ms. Greenstein. “After the storm, my students were limited to reading articles I was able to gather from the Internet and various books acquired from donations.”
“Your suggestion was chosen for its novelty in instilling in our children and families a love for reading and lifelong learning,” said Paul Webster, director of community outreach for NYSUT.
Lindell Author’s Day
First-graders at Lindell School displayed their reading and writing skills during their annual Author’s Day celebration. First-grade teachers Joanna Clancy, Patty Lugo and Heather Puckhaber presided over the festivities.
Students were asked to write a story based on personal experience. To better understand the genre, they read a variety of mentor texts in the memoir genre, including “Shortcut” by Donald Crews, “The Relatives Came” by Cynthia Rylant and “The Baby Sister” by Tomie DiPaola. To pen their own memoirs, students began with a rough draft and made several rounds of revisions to arrive at their final draft, adding illustrations to every page. Each memoir included a dedication page and a short “about the author” biography.
The memoirs were then presented to classmates, parents and family members during the Author’s Day event. The students read their memoirs seated in a special author’s chair, where they spoke into a microphone to tell their stories. Students recounted memorable life experiences, such as a trip to Denny’s, an uncle’s wedding, a sleepover party, a camping trip, an Easter celebration and a trip to see a baseball game.
“The celebration of Author’s Day is the culminating activity for the reading and writing process for the year,” said Principal Karen Sauter. “Sitting in the author’s chair, the children take great pride in themselves and their written work.”
Spring Parent Academy
The district hosted its second Elementary Parent Academy of the school year on May 12. Parents of students in grades K-5 attended a series of workshops dealing with the Common Core Learning Standards. Dr. Kenneth Graham, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, presented some facts to give parents a deeper understanding of the Common Core.
“The Common Core is not a curriculum or pedagogy or an assessment for students or teachers,” explained Dr. Graham. “The Common Core is simply a set of standards that define what students should know and be able to do at every level of instruction.”
After the introductory session, parents were invited to attend any of 18 workshop sessions dealing with reading strategies for different grade levels, close reading, guided reading and mini-lessons, book clubs, Read 180, informative writing, mathematical concepts, arrays, fractions, shifts in Common Core math, math tool kits, language skills, FLES, and empathy development. Each session was geared to specific grade levels to give parents tangible tools that they can use to help reinforce the classroom lessons.
Entering the Reading Workshop
In elementary schools around the district, teachers
are making use of the Reading Workshop model to help students meet the
Common Core Learning Standards in reading. One feature of the Reading
Workshop is the use of mini strategy lessons to help students master
specific skills. In a recent mini-lesson in a first-grade classroom at
Lido School, students learned how to analyze character traits. After
reading the book “Big Al” as a group with their teacher, students used a
graphic organizer to find text evidence to help them identify the
traits exhibited by Big Al, the main character in the story. Next,
students were asked to identify the character traits of the main
characters in stories they were reading at their own independent reading
levels. After writing the title of the book and the name of the main
character, students were asked to draw a picture of their character, and
pick out identifying traits, such as kind, mean, smart or silly. For
each trait, the students were asked to point to evidence from the text
that supported their opinions about each character’s traits.
Making Jewelry to Express Poetry
Taking their creativity to a new realm, students in Long Beach High School’s Talented Writers and Creative Writing classes designed pieces of jewelry inspired by their own original poetry. Students worked with local resident and jewelry industry professional Gabrielle Tomicick, who provided them with an assortment of unique beads and jewelry making supplies, and then set them to work to express themselves in this whole new dimension.
“This exercise took the Greek idea of ekphrasis — making a literary commentary on a visual work of art — and turned it upside down,” said teacher Rachell Koegel. “My students were grateful to Mrs. Tomicick for giving them the opportunity to expand the power of their words through art.”
Their finished pieces of jewelry are displayed in the art gallery in the high school lobby.
Fragments Wins Gold All-New York Award
Just weeks after receiving top awards in two national competitions, the Long Beach High School literary magazine, Fragments, earned a Gold All-New York Award in the 2013 Empire State Scholastic Press Association Competition. This marks the fourth consecutive year that the publication has earned a gold award. In addition, senior Alec Wall received an individual bronze award for his nonfiction piece “Sunk.”
Students edit and write for Fragments as part of the high school’s Talented Writers program, taught by Rachell Koegel. In addition, staff members put in countless after-school hours editing, designing and laying out the publication. Submissions are also accepted from students in a number of other writing and art classes offered at the high school. Over the years, Fragments writers, editors and artists have consistently won top awards at national and state competitions for their work.
Click here for more information
January English Regents Review Sessions
Elementary Parent Academy
On the evening of Nov. 13, more than 75 parents of students in grades K-5 attended the district’s first Elementary Parent Academy, which was held at Lindell Elementary School.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Kenneth Graham welcomed parents. He then introduced Director of ELA Joshua Anisansel and Director of Mathematics Cheriese Pemberton, who teamed up to give parents an overview of ELA and mathematics instruction in the elementary classrooms. Mr. Anisansel explained how the Fundations phonics program, benchmark reading assessments, Read 180 and Leveled Literacy Intervention are being used to help all students reach their full potential as readers and writers. Ms. Pemberton followed with a rundown of everything the district is doing to fulfill its goal to create “problem-solvers” in mathematics, using programs such as enVision Math and George Polya’s four-step problem-solving process, as well as providing special programs for both accelerated and struggling students.
After the introductory session, parents were invited to attend any of 15 workshop sessions on topics such as guided reading, benchmark assessments, leveled reading libraries, writing mini-lessons, Common Core math lessons, math fluency, problem-solving, Fundations and FLES. Each session was geared to specific grade levels to give parents the clearest picture of how to help enforce the learning going on in their child’s classroom.
ELA and Mathematics Workshop
Studies show that
parent involvement supports success in school. The district recently
provided parents with useful tools to foster that success by presenting
an English language arts and mathematics workshop for parents of
students in grades K-5.
The workshop – conducted by Joshua
Anisansel and Cheriese Pemberton, the district’s directors of ELA and
mathematics, respectively – began with an overview of the Common Core
Learning Standards. Through detailed examples, the team gave parents a
glimpse into the specific curriculum changes that have taken place as
the district adopts the new standards. They discussed what it means to
be college and career-ready and outlined all that the district is doing
to help students succeed in our global society.
In the second
part of the workshop, parents were given information to help them
interpret their children’s latest state assessment scores, which were
based for the first time on the more rigorous Common Core Standards.
They were also given useful tips to help them support their children’s
success in the classroom. The presentation ended with a lively
question-and-answer session. To view a copy of the presentation, visit
Mastering the Personal Narrative
After completing a unit of study about personal narratives, fourth-graders at Lindell School invited their parents to share the fruits of their labors. Following a multi-stage writing process that included drafting, revising, peer-review and editing, the students were proud to debut their final published works in a gallery-style viewing that allowed parents to see the evolution of their writing from starting ideas to finished projects. Parents circulated around the room, reading all of the published pieces and leaving comments about each work.
Students perfected the art of writing these compelling stories, taken from their own lives, by starting with a bold beginning, posing a question, expressing a feeling, or using action or dialogue to catch the reader’s attention. As they developed their stories, they focused on content, building a narrative that expressed a clear and focused main idea in a fresh and original manner. Many of the seeds of these original stories came from the students’ daily writer’s notebook entries. Through the multi-stage writing process, they developed the skill to turn their ideas into finished products that would hold their readers’ attention from the first sentence though the last word.
In similar exercises in fourth-grade classrooms throughout the district, students have been mastering the art of the personal narrative. This is just one example of the work the district is doing to prepare students to meet the Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts.
Meeting Common Core Standards
At Superintendent’s Conference Day, teachers
participated in workshops to help them ready their students to rise to
the challenge of meeting the state’s new Common Core Learning Standards.
At the elementary level, English Language Arts Director Joshua Anisansel
acquainted teachers with all of the resources and materials available
to develop lesson plans that meet the Common Core Standards. He also
showed them how to utilize meaningful assessment tools to accurately
track student progress toward meeting these standards. In math sessions,
elementary teachers worked with a staff developer, who exposed them to
innovative hands-on learning tools to help students master the complex
mathematical concepts that are part of the Common Core. Training was
also provided to elementary art, music, PE, health, speech, FLES, and
ESL teachers to help them integrate Common Core Standards into their
subject areas to support reading and writing throughout the district.
Middle school teachers received a full day of training to help them
better understand the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program.
Long Beach Middle School is currently in the authorization phase of the
multiyear application process to become an IB MYP school. In interactive
workshops sessions, teachers were introduced to the MYP philosophy of
learning and took a look inside the MYP classroom. They also examined
the MYP learning model, which fosters learning through the acquisition
and expansion of knowledge, concepts, understanding, skills and
attitudes. Teachers worked with the staff developer to review their
current curriculum and devise ways to modify lessons to reflect the MYP
principles of learning.
Five LBHS Students Win Scholastic Writing Awards
Five Long Beach High School students in the Talented Writers
program won a total of 16 northeast regional poetry awards in the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards competition
Julia Berkowitz, Emily Bromberg, Alexis Romano, Shannon Romig and Alec
Wall each won awards for all of the entries they submitted, which is a
first for the school.
Emily and Alec, who won gold key awards, both went on to be judged at
the national level of the competition. Emily won a Silver Medal in the
national competition, given only to works demonstrating high honors on
the national level. She has been invited to a ceremony in Carnegie Hall
for students who are national medalists. Alec Wall was offered a full scholarship to attend a writing conference
2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Award Winners from Long Beach High School:
• Honorable Mention Poetry Poppy
• Honorable Mention Poetry Milk and Honey
• Honorable Mention Poetry The Swan
• Honorable Mention Poetry Cyanide
• Silver Key
• Silver Key
• Gold Key
Poetry 4:37 AM
• Silver Key
• National Silver Medal
• Silver Key
for her entire writing portfolio
• Honorable Mention Poetry The Pact
• Silver Key
Poetry The Scientist
• Honorable Mention Poetry Ghost
• Silver Key
• Honorable Mention Poetry Who
• Silver Key
Poetry My Inner Treasure
Gold Key Poetry:
• You Left Us On A Thursday,
• You Are Art
• My Lip
Written by Rachell Koegel, teacher of Talented Writers and advisor to Fragments literary magazine.
Long Beach Implements Common Core Learning Standards
At the Feb. 12 Board of Education meeting,
Kenneth Graham, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction,
presented a report to the board about the district’s progress toward
implementing the Common Core Learning Standards. The Common Core
Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics, adopted by
the New York State Board of Regents in 2011, provide clear and
consistent guidelines to ensure that schools are giving students the
skills they will need to be ready for college and careers in a global
Mr. Graham began by explaining that these internationally benchmarked
standards are focused and coherent, providing guidelines for rigor and
application of instruction to align current curricula with 21st century
college and work expectations. The Common Core standards, he added, are
not entirely new. They are intended to build upon the strengths and
lessons of previous state standards.
With regard to mathematics, Mr. Graham said that under the Common Core
standards, the focus of instruction has shifted, requiring students to
build skills across grades, develop speed and accuracy, think fast to
solve problems, and be able to understand and use the skills they learn
in real-world applications.
Teachers in all K-8 classrooms are currently teaching to the Common Core
standards in mathematics. Implementation began with the rewriting of
curricula, which took place over the summer. The district has also
implemented the use of the enVision Math program, which is aligned to
Common Core standards. In addition, students in grades 3-8 who need
extra support services have been attending supplementary instruction
through the Math Academy. Teachers have been receiving ongoing
professional development, working with consultants and administrators,
in grade-level groups and at teacher meetings.
Mr. Graham went on to explain the shifts in ELA and literacy instruction
that have taken place as a result of the adoption of the Common Core
standards. Students are now expected to read as much non-fiction as
fiction texts, learning about the world through reading. They are being
asked to read more challenging material more closely and discuss and
write about what they have read using evidence drawn from the text. They
are also expected to increase their academic vocabulary.
The implementation of the Common Core standards is being carried out in
elementary classrooms throughout the district, beginning with phonics
instruction in grades pre-K-1, using Letter People in pre-K classrooms
and the Wilson FUNdations program in grades K-1. The Fountas and Pinnell
benchmark assessment program has been implemented in grades K-5 to
assess individual student progress, and all classrooms have been
equipped with leveled reading libraries. Literacy blocks have been
introduced, and all students are expected to develop a writing portfolio
to help track and assess their progress. The elementary ELA curriculum
has undergone revisions to meet the Common Core standards. Teachers
continue to receive ongoing professional development.
Mr. Graham pointed out that there have been recent gains in the
percentage of students scoring at level 3 or 4 in ELA and math
assessments, with most scores at or above the county average. With the
implementation of the Common Core standards, the district has renewed
its focus on moving more students toward mastery, with the goal of
moving the district to the top third of the county.
To view a copy of the presentation, which includes a list of resources for parents, visit the Board of Education page of www.lbeach.org
To celebrate the successful completion of a
unit of study about fairy tales and folk tales, East School
second-graders in Susan Garcia’s class donned PJs and paper crowns for
the Bedtime Ball. Students began the festivities with a Royal Award
Ceremony, revealing their picks for most evil villain, most powerful
spell, bravest character and most important theme. After decorating
colorful paper crowns, which they wore to add a regal flair to the ball,
students acted out their own fairy-tale theater renditions of “Little
Red Riding Hood,” “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “Stone Soup.” At the
end of each performance, students stopped to reflect on the morals and
themes of the three tales. Then they broke into groups to play a
fairy-tale card game, which tested their knowledge of the fairy tales
they had studied.
To prepare for the Bedtime Ball, students read a number of fairy tales,
identifying common literary elements, themes and vocabulary. They also
compared and contrasted tales from different countries. They used the
knowledge they gained to write their own fairy tales, create alternate
endings to existing fairy tales, and express their own opinions about
Scholastic Donates 38,000 Books
After Superstorm Sandy swept through Long
Beach Public Schools, administrators went to work inventorying losses.
Upon discovering that many books in school and classroom reading
libraries had been destroyed by the devastating floods, they went to
work soliciting donations to replace the lost books. Among the most
generous donors was Scholastic, who responded immediately with a
donation of 38,000 books to replace books lost in the middle school
library as well as in classroom libraries in West, Lido and East
schools. Among the donated books, supplied through Scholastic’s Book
Grants program, were Leveled Reading Libraries containing multiple
copies of the same titles.
East School Principal Sean Murray and Joshua Anisansel, director of
English language arts, made the trip to pick up the books from Hope NYC,
a Scholastic affiliate in Jamaica, Queens. The district received
further help from local resident Steven Donenfeld, the owner of Approved
Moving and Storage of Brooklyn, who donated his company’s services to
transport the books. Mr. Donenfeld is the husband of East School
secretary Gail Donenfeld, so he was especially motivated to do whatever
he could to help in the wake of the disaster.
Scholastic has pledged to donate one million books and other teaching
resources to schools and libraries in the hardest hit areas of the
tri-state region. Scholastic is working with nonprofit organization Kids
in Distressed Situations to help distribute the million books to the
schools and libraries that need them the most.
“The educators, parents and caregivers who are helping children in our
hard-hit communities throughout the region are true heroes,” said
Richard Robinson, Scholastic’s chairman, president and CEO. “All of us
at Scholastic are committed to getting these books, lesson plans and
other learning materials into the affected communities as soon as
possible in the hope that we can provide support for our young people as
they return to schools that need extra resources.”
Fragments Brings Home the Gold
Writers and editors of the Long Beach High School
literary magazine Fragments have won top honors at four major national
and state scholastic press competitions. At the national level,
Fragments earned the title of Highest Award from the National Council of
Teachers of English, making it the top ranked high school literary
magazine in New York State. This is the third consecutive year that
Fragments was designated as Nominated for Highest Award, but the first
time that the publication has earned this top honor.
Fragments also received a Gold Medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press
Association, a First Place with Special Merit Award from the American
Scholastic Press Association, plus a Gold All New York Award, as well as
a Gold Overall Award for originality, from the Empire State Scholastic
In addition, the Fragments staff also received a total of 29 awards in
the ESSPA competition, including a Gold All New York Award and a Gold
Overall Award for originality, plus a total of five gold, five silver,
ten bronze and seven honorable mention awards in individual categories
including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, specialized content,
artwork/illustration, cover design, layout, photography and use of
Individual Gold awards went to Eileen Kelly for both cover design and
layout, Alexis Romano for photography, and Sophie Torres and Lauren
Librizzi for specialized content. Silver awards were earned by Rebecca
Spodick for artwork/illustration, Grace Smith for fiction, and both
Emily Charleson and Spodick for specialized content. Bronze awards were
received by Alexa Salazar and Michelle Bello for artwork/illustration;
Scott Blumenfeld for photography; Haily Hamias and Roxette Romanes for
poetry; Kelly for use of type/image; Salazar for nonfiction; and Eric
Antorbeza, Charleson and Ambrose Plante for specialized content.
Receiving honorable mention awards were Spodick for both artwork
illustration and photography, Ethan Sukonik for artwork/illustration,
Romano for poetry, and Plante and Julia Sevilla for specialized content.
Students edit and write for Fragments as part of the high school’s
Talented Writers program, taught by Koegel. In addition, staff members
put in countless after school hours editing the publication. Submissions
are also accepted from students in a number of other writing and art
classes offered at the high school. Over the years, Fragments writers,
editors and artists have consistently won top awards at national and
state competitions for their work.
“Our students are outstanding writers who are dedicated to their craft
and take risks to create works that are not always popular,” said
Koegel. “It is wonderful for them to be applauded by writers and
teachers of English who recognize their outstanding skills.”
Lindell & Lido Team Up for Learning
Staff and students at Long Beach Public Schools have
been faced with many challenges since Hurricane Sandy devastated the
Long Beach community and left some schools temporarily out of service.
At Lindell School, which will be housing both Lindell and Lido students
through the end of the year, they have been making lemonade from lemons
by embracing the new collaborative learning opportunities that this
situation has presented. For example, several fifth-grade classrooms are
using co-teaching methods to make the most out of the limited
resources, combining forces for their Writers’ Workshops and math
instruction. During a recent Writers’ Workshop session, Lido students in
Debra Cupani’s fifth-grade class joined Edith Guzman’s fifth-graders at
Lindell School for a lesson in historical fiction writing. Students
worked in small groups with both teachers to research historical facts,
map out their story ideas, develop their characters and settings and
write convincing dialogue.
“After taking Ms. Guzman’s Writers’ Workshop in-service courses, it has
been a pleasure to be able to work with her in an actual classroom
setting,” said Cupani. “Since many of my classroom books were destroyed
by the flood, we are also happy to be able to share her books and other
supplies. This experience has shown us all that if we support each
other, we can accomplish anything, anytime, anywhere.”
“Ms. Cupani’s expertise and teaching style have been the highlight of
our shared math sessions,” added Guzman. “Our students have been
adjusting and responding positively to the integration. We are truly
becoming a family. Our new motto is ‘Say yes to lemonade!’”
First-Grade Writer’s Workshop
Long Beach first-graders are becoming experienced storytellers, using skills they are learning in the Writer’s Workshop. The Writer’s Workshop launched this year with a unit on writing personal narratives. In Donna Braunhut’s first-grade class at East School, students were asked to bring in photos and other objects that serve as reminders of special times in their lives. Using their special objects as tools, each student paired up with a buddy, sitting face to face on the floor to tell their story. Using a technique call story-stretching, they counted one detail of their stories on each finger of their hands. After recounting their stories verbally, they returned to their desks to ‘stretch out’ their stories in writing. To culminate the unit, students continued to revise and edit their writing until their stories were complete.
Author Brian J. Heinz Visits Lido School
On Oct. 24, students at Lido School in the Long Beach School District received a special visit from award-winning children’s author Brian J. Heinz. The visit began with an assembly at which Mr. Heinz told stories about the experiences he had while researching his books. He also spoke about the process of writing and publishing a book.
At the conclusion of the assembly, Mr. Heinz conducted writing workshops for fourth- and fifth-graders, leading them in the writing of descriptive narratives. The students learned how to create an outline and build a story from it.
Books written by Mr. Heinz include “Red Fox at McCloskey Farms,” “Cheyenne Medicine Hat,” “The Alley Cat” and “Nanuk: Lord of the Ice.”
Snacks and Stories
First-grade classes at Lido School hosted a learning celebration called “Snacks and Stories.” Parents were invited to class to share literacy and math lessons with their children, finishing up with an autumn-themed craft activity. The lessons acquainted parents with the Fundations reading program that is used in first-grade classrooms. Teachers also demonstrated some of the creative math techniques that they are using to align curriculum with the new Common Core learning standards introduced by the state.
“We have found it very beneficial to invite parents into the classroom to share these learning experiences with their children,” said Principal Brenda Young. “Once parents see the techniques being used in the classroom, it makes it much easier for them to become engaged partners in their children’s education.”
East/West Writing Celebration
Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy swept through Long
Beach, Long Beach Public Schools resumed classes on Nov. 13, with the
Lindell, East School and Long Beach High School buildings fully
operational for the start of school. Not wasting any time, students and
teachers got right back to the business of learning. At East School,
East and West School students and staff joined forces to create some
unique learning opportunities for students.
On Nov.16, Susan Garcia's second-grade class at East School hosted Amy
Goldenberg's second-grade class from West School for a writing
celebration. Students from both classes shared personal narratives that
they had begun before the storm. In the days after school re-opened,
students completed their work and took the opportunity to share their
writing with an audience of their peers. Students went through all the
steps in the writing process, including drafting, revising, and editing,
before publishing and sharing their work.
Reading Rocks at East School
In a fun and educational celebration of reading, students in grades K-2 at East School grabbed their favorite stuffed animal, climbed into cozy pajamas and headed back to school with their parents to enjoy an evening PJ Party. The theme of the evening was “Nursery Rhymes Rock.” While the children cozied up to read nursery rhymes and do crafts with their teachers in the gymnasium, parents headed off to the cafeteria to attend a workshop about Common Core Learning Standards, conducted by Principal Sean Murray.
At the parent workshop, Mr. Murray explained how parents can help their children adjust to the shift in expectations brought on by the Common Core. Students are now expected to read more non-fiction texts, obtain knowledge in different disciplines through reading, challenge themselves with more complex texts, form judgments after reading texts and make arguments in writing using evidence found in texts. To help at home, parents can read more magazines and newspapers with their children and engage in discussions and questioning about the articles they read. To increase writing and vocabulary skills, they can do something as simple as writing thank you notes and shopping lists or authoring books together. Perhaps, he explained, the most important job of parents is as role models. Parents should read often with babies and children of any age, let their children see them reading and share new words to increase vocabulary.
This is just one example of the district’s ongoing commitment to engage parents as educational partners, working together with teachers and administrators to help every child reach his or her full potential.
LBMS Embraces the Common Core
A visitor to any ELA classroom at Long Beach
Middle School will witness students actively engaged in reading
activities centered around small-group discussions. These conversations
encourage students to understand the texts they are reading on a deeper
level, draw their own conclusions, clearly express their ideas and
ultimately draw parallels to their own life experiences.
One such discussion occurred in an eighth-grade ELA class taught by Dena
Hopper and Brendan Scully. The class had been working on a unit of
study that explored the big question, “What makes art powerful?” By
delving into both fiction and non-fiction works, students explored the
impact of various forms of art, such as writing, fine art, music and
dance. Students read and discussed a magazine article about artists who
had used their art to change the world. They also read a short story
about a boy who begins to regain use of his crushed hand and leg by
creating art assigned by an itinerant teacher who is a Vietnam veteran.
This story opened up a window of discussion about the power of art to
transform the lives of both the student and the teacher. After reading
and discussing an assortment of other texts, the students will be asked
to create a self-portrait that reflects their own unique perspective on
This type of student-centered learning is essential to helping students
meet the new challenges of the common core learning standards.