Students meet civil rights leader during activism trip

By Chris Guajardo
MCS Specialist

After meeting with New York representatives in Congress, we decided to try to meet with Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. We walked into his office and asked if we could speak with the congressman. The staffers told us that he was on the floor voting, but that we could wait until he got back and try to see him even though we didn’t have an appointment. Sure enough after he returned, he welcomed us into his office with open arms and took us out on the balcony for a beautiful photo with him.

Students were so excited to meet one of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement they studied in the sixth grade. Emma even pointed out to the congressman that they dedicated their sixth grade civil rights play in honor his leadership in the movement.

MORE INFORMATION

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8th graders enjoy their final trip to MCS Farm

By Kristen Lee Berger
7th/8th Grade History Teacher

In Emma and Altana’s fundraising letter for the activism trip they wrote that the project was the culmination of all that they had learned at MCS about social justice and activism. In many ways, there are parallels with this Farm trip – it is a shining example of how they have learned to be with one another. It’s fun to watch them in different groupings throughout the day, floating freely between different friends and different activities, enjoying each other’s company. There is of course some conflict as emotions run high, but it has been kept to a minimum as they all agree that this trip is to be fun and focused on togetherness. They have gone on hikes, played Twister, swung on the swing, and played in the stream. The mural has been steadily moving toward completion, with compromises and collaboration at the center of its production.  They are happy and enjoying their experience with the appropriate amount of nostalgia and reminiscing but also an appreciation for the present and a look toward the future.

During work times, the 8th graders have been focused and productive and they help each other memorize play lines and complete Flannery’s substantial trigonometry packet. After delicious dinners of Farm favorites such as pizza and sesame noodles, we have spent quite a bit of our evening activities time running around, playing manhunt, ghosts in the graveyard, and sardines. Last night, we had an extensive talent show, featuring Magic Brad, videos with special effects from Stefan and Mikah, and musical numbers that spanned multiple genres and levels of political correctness. For William’s talent, he fell out of a chair — it was a hit (and he was not injured!) Finally, Altana and Kai read a beautiful poem they wrote about the 8th graders that you should all insist on reading at some point.

Yesterday was Becca’s birthday and an extensively decorated cake was prepared and songs sung in her honor. The 8th graders are looking forward to today’s special activities including a walk to town, the final bonfire, and barn night but they are not wishing it to come too quickly as it will signal the end of their time at the Farm and we’re not quite ready for that yet.

Hope all is well in the city!

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Place your bids! The Big Night Out Auction is open!

Our 2012 Big Night Out! Auction is open!
Place your bids now to support MCS!

There are amazing items you can win! Prizes include tickets to the U.S. Open, vacations to Antigua and Mexico, cooking classes, a private concert in your home, Yankees, Rangers hockey tickets, and more. All proceeds go to support Manhattan Country School.

You’ll have your final chance to bid the night of BNO! on May 5th!

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Join us for Big Night Out! on May 5th

You’re invited to BIG NIGHT OUT!
to benefit MCS
 on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.
at The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

Cocktails Dinner Dancing Auction
Special MCS Video Alumni Hall of Fame
featuring Latin Jazz by Folklore Urbano

2012 “Living the Dream” Mentor Award Honorees

Michele Hatchette ’01
Director of Multicultural Affairs, Westminster School
Co-founder, Harlem Seeds

Frank Roosevelt
Teaching Faculty in Economics, Sarah Lawrence College 1977–2011
MCS Trustee 1970–2010

CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

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8th grade trip to Democracy Now!

On Thursday, March 15th, the 8th grade woke up bright and early and traveled to 25th Street and 8th Avenue in Chelsea to watch a live taping of Democracy Now! Democracy Now! is an independent radio and television news program that attempts to provide its viewers and listeners with an alternative perspective from mainstream media sources.

Our experience at Democracy Now! began with juice and pastries and a tour of the control room. We were able to meet some of the people that work behind the scenes during the broadcast, including the sound editor, the teleprompter manager, and the graphics coordinator.  While in the control room, we learned that Democracy Now! purposefully films its anchors in front of the control room so that viewers can see the many people who contribute to the show. This was just one of many ways the show highlights its group effort.

After our tour, we sat and watched the hour long broadcast. We were able to sit right outside the filming area and watch anchors Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez at work. They even let us wave hello to viewers!

After the show, Simin Farkhondeh, Democracy Now!’s education coordinator, led a discussion about what we had seen. The 8th graders were impressed with the depth of the stories, that the program provided multiple perspectives on each story, and that the anchors allowed guests and interviewees to speak for themselves, without interruption. They were also surprised that many of the stories had not been covered in other news sources that they or their parents read – for example, many 8h graders did not know that the U.S. had a hand in keeping a Yemeni reporter imprisoned because he spoke out against the American military.  We learned that part of the reason that Democracy Now! is able to cover stories that criticize U.S. policy and to provide many different perspectives about each story is that Democracy Now! is mostly funded by its viewers and does not have commercials. They see this as a way to maintain their independence.

After de-briefing with Simin, while we toured the studio (and got to sit in the anchor seats!), we ran into Amy Goodman.  She quizzed the 8th graders about current events and told stories about students like them who used an opportunity to meet President Bush to tell him that they disagreed with his policy on Iraq. This inspired our 8th graders to use their voices, a perfect message to hear only weeks before the activism lobbying trip to DC.

After we thanked Simin and Amy, we went to brunch at the Moonstruck Diner and headed back to school for electives. It was a long, but exciting, day continuing our education about media bias and about the role of the U.S. in the world.

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Save the Date! Farm Outing Day is June 16

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Manhattan Country School’s
Farm Outing Day 2012

is Saturday, June 16th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All MCS friends, families, new families, and alumni are invited
to a community picnic at our 180-acre farm in Roxbury, N.Y.,
150 miles north-northwest of NYC in the Catskill Mountains.

Come to the Farm and celebrate MCS’s 45th year!
RSVP via Facebook

Lots of fun and food to enjoy:

Pizza from our pizza oven
Local beer
Homemade lemonade, iced tea and water
Pig Roast
Salads galore
Frito Pie
Hay Jump
Tours of the farm
Frog Pond
DJ
Relay races
Enjoy our farm’s own lamb, hamburger, eggs, milk, garlic, pickles, relish, lettuce, pesto, spinach, & pork.
Food and drinks are available at a reasonable cost. 

Don’t forget to bring:

Water shoes for being in the stream
A change of clothes
Instruments
Kites
Frisbees
Balls

For an extended stay in the Catskills, visit www.margaretvillelodging.com

A chartered bus leaves from the school at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday morning. Call Lorraine Walton at (212) 348-0952 to reserve by Tuesday, June 12th. Cost: $35 per person and $120 for a family of four. Space is limited.

About the MCS Farm: The MCS Farm consists of 180 acres of meadows, pastures, woods and streams at the base of Plattekill Mountain. There is a three-story farmhouse, an attached greenhouse, an outdoor wood-burning oven, a large barn, nature lab, weather station, textiles studio, and sap house for producing maple syrup, a recreation building and a historic building, the Stone House, used for demonstrations of traditional woodstove cooking and conferences. On the farm there is livestock, including milking and beef cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens. Two large gardens provide vegetables consumed year round.

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8th graders participate in NYC History Day

From left: Kai and Rebecca pose with their award for their websites on history and Broadway.

By Kristen Lee Berger
7th/8th Grade History Teacher 

This year, 8th graders, as part of their Computer/History Seminar class participated in New York City History Day. NYC History Day is a subsidiary of National History Day, a history competition whereby:

“Students conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews, and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in the format of an original paper, website, exhibit, performance or documentary.”

For several months in Computer/History Seminar, the 8th graders been worked in pairs or small groups to create websites for New York City History Day.  Their interpretations on this year’s annual theme – Revolutions, Reactions, and Reforms — ranged from the history of graffiti art to Jacob Riis as a key reformer of the Progressive Era. On February 1st the 8th graders evaluated each other’s work and voted on the top websites in their class that were then submitted to NYC History Day competition (there is a cap of 3 entries per school).

The three websites that MCS submitted to the city-wide competition were:

The American Reaction to the Haitian Revolution (Emma, Oni, and Camrin) – 53866006.nhd.weebly.com

How the Microscope Revolutionized Biology (Stefan and Khalil) – 6593915.nhd.weebly.com (no longer available)

“No Day but Today”: Broadway and History (Kai and Rebecca) – 30522702.nhd.weebly.com

On Sunday March 11th, the official competition took place at the Museum of the City of New York. Each group of students was interviewed by teachers and historians who evaluated their websites for their historical quality, relationship to the theme, and clarity of presentation.

Rebecca and Kai’s website about Broadway and History was selected as the third place winner for their category — Junior Division Group Websites. While only the top two finishers in each category advanced to the state competition, all 8th graders who created History Day websites learned a lot about creating an argument in a visual form and working with primary sources.

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Parents’ Association Meeting tonight!

Next Parents’ Association Meeting

Tuesday, April 24th from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Child care provided!

Paul Williams, MCS Technology Instructor and IT Manager &
Joey Brenneman, Sexuality Educator
will lead us in a discussion on
“Media, Connectivity and Our Kids”

 As we encounter increasing levels of digital connectivity in our lives, it is important to keep in mind that our children have never experienced the world in any other way. Beneath their technological savvy, they still have the same issues of adolescence we have all experienced. They have the same questions, the same concerns, and the same insecurities of that age group. They still look to the adults in their lives for guidance and help. Our children need us to provide boundaries, help them keep things in perspective and to better understand the world. How can we help them manage their online identities and make good decisions about how to move through this hyper-connected world? How do we do this in a way that keeps them safe, fosters independence, and remains true to the values of our families and our community?  We will explore the ways in which media and technology have shifted the dynamics of family interactions and are changing the way our children communicate with their peers and with the rest of the world.

We hope you to see you there,
Jennifer Morgan and Liam Pleven
PA Co-Presidents

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BNO! Online Auction: April 20th – May 4th

Our 2012 Big Night Out! Auction opens for bidding this Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8 a.m.  

We’ll be adding new items to our auction for you to preview as Friday approaches. Feel free to place a Watch on your favorites so that you’ll know as soon as bidding begins!
You’ll have your final chance to bid the night of BNO! on May 5th! 

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7th graders tour greenhouse at Blenheim Hill Farm

By John McDaniel
MCS Farm Program Director 

On their spring Farm trip a few 7the grade students took a field trip to Blenheim Hill Farm located near Roxbury, NY. Blenheim Hill was created to supply fresh produce, beef, pork and eggs to Smorgas Chef, which operates three restaurants in Manhattan. While there we toured their state of the art hydroponics greenhouse. The kids learned from Alex, the greenhouse manager how their salad greens, tomatoes, kale, and Swiss chard are grown without soil. The students also had the opportunity to meet Boris, the farms’ six hundred pound boar pig.

For more information on Smorgas Chef and Blenheim Hill Farm go to www.smorgas.com and www.blenheimhillfarm.com

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Photos by John McDaniel

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6-7s return to Yorkville Common Pantry

By Laura Swindler
6-7s Head Teacher

The 6-7s were excited to return to Yorkville Common Pantry.  Many of them remembered visiting the pantry when they were in the 5-6s class.  Debbie Weiss, 8-9s Head Teacher, helps to organize visits for interested classes.  The 6-7s are in the final stages of writing grants for the money we raised through our Common Cents Penny Harvest.  Common Cents has allotted us $400 to make a difference in our neighborhood community.  On our visit we learned more about the pantry’s work to help people meet their needs.  We learned that they provide groceries for 1,300 families each week.  We were then able to help bag apples so that they were ready for pick up.  The 6-7s also dropped off some baby clothes as a donation.  Look online at www.ycp.org to see how you can volunteer or donate necessary items to this great community resource.

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Highlights: Fifth grade trip to MCS Farm

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MCS fifth graders and teachers Pinki Shah and Chris Guajardo visited our 180-acre working farm in the Catskills during the week of March 19th. View a slideshow to see students learning, growing, and playing at the MCS Farm.

Photos by John McDaniel

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Highlights: Pi Day Celebration

Students and teachers celebrated Pi Day on March 14th. The day was filled with activities, including the study of circular objects, creating art inspired by Kandinsky’s oil pastel circles, a reading of Sir Cumference: And the First Round Table, eating lots of delicious homemade pie and so much more. Here’s a photo slideshow from the annual event.

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Connect with MCS online!

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7-8s garden, read with preschoolers at Union Settlement

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By Aimee Arandia Østensen
7-8s Head Teacher

Our book drive for the Union Settlement pre-school was a huge success.  Thank you for all of your donations. We have had a relationship with Union Settlement since the fall through our use of their community garden, El Sítio Felíz.

In October and November, our work centered around composting plant litter and planting empty garden beds with a cover crop of winter rye. It was a thrill this week to return to these beds after the winter and to see our rye flourishing.  This coming week, we will go back to the garden to harvest the rye for Jeffrey, the rabbit in the 4-5s classroom and to prepare the garden beds for spring planting.

Now, our relationship with this East Harlem community center has taken on a new dimension through a reading buddy program with one preschool class. It was impressive to see our 7- and 8-year-olds taken on the role of the older mentors in a reading buddy relationship. They were caring, responsive, encouraging, and skilled readers and caregivers for our 2- and 3-year-old partners. I think that a number of our 7-8s students were surprised to see how much they have learned about books and reading since they were preschoolers.

The Union Settlement teachers were so thrilled with this new community connection that they immediately invited our children back to read with their students three more times this spring! While we are not likely to be able to schedule that many more reading buddy times, we will definitely return one more time in April for another round of book sharing.  So, if you rummage up more books that a preschooler would enjoy, please send it our way. We will reach out to other classes at MCS for this second book drive.

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Apply now to MCS Farm Camp!

Manhattan Country School’s 2011 Farm Camp
Monday, July 9 – Friday, July 27

Daily activities are divided between sustainability and recreation at the MCS Farm in Roxbury, N.Y. MCS Farm Camp is open to students in the 9-10s class through the 8th grade. Enrollment is limited to 20 students who will be selected according to their expressed interest and their participation during school farm trips. A number of spaces at Farm Camp are available to MCS students at a reduced fee, based on a family’s financial circumstances. There are a limited number of spaces during the first week of Farm Camp, from July 9 through July 15 for students who can only attend one week. Session fee: $4,200.

Click here to download the application for MCS Farm Camp.

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Activism Update: Students watch Senate in session, ride secret subway and meet with Voto Latino

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By Maiya Jackson
Upper School Director 

We are having an amazing time in Washington!

We arrived on Tuesday after a long bus ride, but instead of getting settled in our rooms, we had to rush off to make our appointment for a tour of the Capitol.  Rachel Sussman, former MCS history teacher, has a connection in Senator Max Baucus’ (D-MT) office, so his staff graciously offered to host us for a tour.  We tried our very best to make it on time, but after dropping off luggage, navigating the Metro, and passing through security, it proved impossible.  We were disappointed about missing the tour, until they offered to take us to see the Senate in session instead!  We even got to ride the secret subway underneath the Capitol, which your children will tell you all about, since it was the highlight of the day for many of them.  While we were in the Senate Chamber, we saw Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) arguing before a committee.  We also learned a little about the Capitol building and how to get a job in a Senator’s office.

After a photo shoot and a walk in the sun, we headed off to Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC institution, for dinner.  Our feast included unlimited French fries with chili and cheese sauces and then chili or half smokes or burgers.  We learned about the history of Ben’s and its connection to the African-American community.  Many students noticed familiar faces on the walls in their paintings and photographs, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and President Barack Obama.

Adam’s Inn Bed and Breakfast is quaint and quiet, and we’re trying to be quiet, too!  We end each day with some time in our cohort groups to reflect on the day’s events and then a little quiet time before bed.

On Wednesday, we started in the morning with breakfast at Adam’s Inn and then went to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) building to meet with Voto Latino.  This organization aims to increase the number of Latino voters, primarily focusing on those ages 18-35.  They use a variety of social media tools, as well as support from celebrities, to encourage people to vote.  At the beginning of their presentation, we learned interesting statistics about the growing population of Latinos in the U.S. and their potential power in the ballot box.  Then we talked about how to tell a convincing story, beginning with how an issue affects you personally, then how it affects your community, then what you are going to do to make change.  We concluded by breaking into small groups and filming short public service announcements to support the DREAM Act.  Maybe our work will be on the Voto Latino website someday! Continue reading

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Eighth graders explore their immigrant roots

This project is an exploration of our immigrant roots and their connection to our activism project this year. How is it that a country built by immigrants has such a negative sentiment towards immigrants today? Is it not the same? The search for a new life and more opportunities? How can we forget our history? The eighth grade students, under Señorita Naomi’s guidance, considered and answered these questions (and many more) and here are the results.

Thank you,
Señorita Naomi Raquel Enright
Khalil, Stefan, Bradley, Camrin, Mikah, Cara, Altana, HG, Oni, Sophie,
Cara, Becca, Emma, James, Kyle, Rebecca, William, Kai

Este proyecto es una exploración de nuestras raíces de inmigrante y su conexión a nuestro proyecto de Activismo este año. ¿Cómo es que un país construido por inmigrantes puede tener un sentimiento tan negativo hacia los inmigrantes actuales? ¿No es igual? ¿La búsqueda de una nueva vida y más oportunidades? ¿Cómo podemos olvidarnos de nuestra historia? Los estudiantes del 8° grado, bajo la dirección de la Señorita Naomi, consideraron y contestaron estas preguntas (y muchos más) y he aquí los resultados.

Gracias,
Señorita Naomi Raquel Enright
Khalil, Stefan, Bradley, Camrin, Mikah, Cara, Altana, HG, Oni, Sophie,
Cara, Becca, Emma, James, Kyle, Rebecca, William, Kai

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7th & 8th graders to lobby in Washington for DREAM Act

Manhattan Country School seventh and eighth graders are visiting Washington, DC this week (March 26-30) to lobby for the DREAM Act and participate in the American Immigration Lawyers Association National Day of Action as part of their activism project.

Each year, the seventh and eighth grades plan a weeklong engaged citizenship project in connection with their social studies curriculum. In recent years they traveled to Mississippi to work with children after Hurricane Katrina; helped renovate buildings at a camp for children with terminal illnesses; and participated in a “Teach In” in West Virginia while learning from activists who protest mountaintop removal and coal mining. Research, debate, writing, fundraising and budgeting are part of the preliminary work that makes these projects substantial learning experiences.

“Activism means fighting for your beliefs and against social injustice throughout the world. Through our Activism Project, we apply what Manhattan Country School has taught us about standing up for civil rights and environmental justice,” a student said.

These students will lobby for the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have lived in the country for more than five years and have completed two years of college or two years of military service. While the DREAM Act does not apply to all youth immigrants, passing this bill would be a major step in our fight. In addition, students will meet with representatives from Voto Latino to learn about, and participate in, grassroots activism in support of youth immigrants. Together we will show the nation that this issue cannot be ignored anymore.

Manhattan Country School teaches students to know about the world they live in and to play an active role in making it better. Students are cultivated to be agents of change, who bring passion, perspective and intellect to solve the world’s problems.

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8th graders explore career paths on Mentor Day

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On March 14th, eighth graders did what many adults do every morning — they headed off to work. Some students took the subway or walked, while others experienced a commute by car to New Jersey. Once they arrived at their destinations, it was time to learn about their chosen career from a mentor.

Mentor Day is an annual tradition at Manhattan Country School. It allows for students to spend a few hours at the workplaces of alumni and friends of the MCS community. Mentors expose students to their own professions; give a sense of what they do, share personal experiences and help the students to make informed career decisions.

This year, the following MCS alumni, parents, trustees, and friends generously shared their expertise as mentors in the following career categories:

  • Acting: Alan Altschuler, MCS Parent and Trustee
  • Psychology: Dr. Elizabeth Berger
  • Music: Ezra Gale ’85 and Marika Hughes ‘85
  • Animal Medical Care: Erika Gibson ’86
  • Midwifery: Rochelle Lipshutz
  • Filmmaking: Anastas Michos
  • Journalism: Gabe Miller ’71
  • Art: Paulo Rivera
  • Website Development: Elin Waring, MCS Parent and Trustee

The eighth graders were split into groups based on their own career interests. Here are some of their reflections on Mentor Day:

Cara E. hoped to learn how to travel by herself on Mentor Day. “I got to walk through the park!” Also, she found it really interesting that her mentor, Dr. Elizabeth Berger, is the mother-in-law of Kristen Berger, our history teacher. “It was funny because everywhere I looked there were photos of Kristen. I loved the match. She was very interesting and unexpected.”

It was a thrill for Bradley to meet Elin Waring, a web guru and former president of Open Source Matters. “Everyone should look forward to Mentor Day because it’s awesome! I learned about coding and website design. I thought it was the perfect match.”

Jamie met Paulo Rivera, a Marvel Comics-exclusive artist, and became interested in the illustrating process of comic books. “I’m interested in the arts and never thought about comic books. I learned about anatomy and how it’s applied in comic arts. Also, it was awesome to see the originals that he made.”

Mikah, William, Cara J. and Becca recorded a song and talked shop with musicians Ezra Gale and Marika Hughes. Becca said, “being a musician is really fun and can be managed if you discipline yourself.” Cara J. and William enjoyed the experience of meeting professionals in the music industry and Mikah discovered that “creating music doesn’t just pop into your mind, you need patience.”

HG and Rebecca shadowed Gabe Miller, a copy chief at Sports Illustrated, and gushed about their visit to their classmates. “He asked us about MCS, told us about what it was like when he was here, and how it made him a different person.” Rebecca added, “his job is so cool! And HG went in an elevator — up 31 floors!” HG urged upcoming eighth graders to “choose something interesting” for Mentor Day. “I had a great time!”

Budding filmmaker Stefan was excited to spend the morning with cinematographer Anastas Michos. “I visited Technicolor and Panavision, two major film companies, and finally got to study more in-depth technology,” he said.

Khalil, Camrin, Oni, Altana visited an animal hospital in New Jersey with Erika Gibson, a veterinary neurologist. “I learned how animals are treated and how humans can help them. I also learned a lot about animal surgery,” Oni said. Getting a better understanding of the various jobs at the hospital was important to Camrin. “I learned what the jobs of a neurologist, cardiologist and oncologist involve and require as well as how surgery on animals are performed. I loved going there! It was informational and educational.”

Kyle, Sophie and Kai toured two theater spaces with Alan Altschuler, who is currently starring in a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the West End Theater.

Kai realized “theater is a hard business to crack into, but it’s worthwhile. I gained a new first-person perspective and the inside secrets.” Sophie hoped to understand the “struggles of being an actor and how you work with those struggles.” Kyle saw a different side of acting. “It was more realistic. I learned it’s competitive and met someone else in acting other than my grandmother.”

In the afternoon, they all returned to MCS for a pizza party hosted by Upper School Director Maiya Jackson and Communications Coordinator Corris Little. Students also wrote letters of thanks to their mentors. When asked what advice they’d give to the upcoming 8th grade class, there were a variety of answers. “Keep an open mind. … Be open to who you get. … Cherish and keep with you the things that you learn while you’re here, especially if it relates to what kind of job you want to do in your life. … Trust your teachers when they say that mentor day is awesome!”

A very special thanks to Flannery, Maiya, Akemi, Corris, the mentors and everyone who helped make Mentor Day educational and inspiring.

To host an MCS student on Mentor Day 2013, please contact Corris Little, Communications Coordinator, at clittle@manhattancountryschool.org

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Sound Science with 6-7s and 7-8s

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By Susan Harris
Lower School Music Teacher

Stop by a Lower School music class most Mondays and Wednesdays if you want to hear and see enthusiastic singing, square dancing and percussion accompaniment.  Once a year, however, the 6-7s and 7-8s use a couple of classes to experience the origins of sound.

First we place a hand on our throats while humming, feeling the buzz; a child calls out “It’s vibrating!”  Then we stretch a rope across the seated group, from one child to another.  A third child plucks the rope, and we see and hear that quality of vibration.  “After it’s plucked, you can feel the air move around the rope. Awesome!”  There’s also a metal hair barrette, which vibrates like crazy when twanged with a finger.  I intone, “No movement, no vibration.  No vibration, no sound!”

Then the magic appears: a set of twelve tuning forks over one hundred years old, each one tuned to a different pitch in the diatonic scale.  I demonstrate how to release a clear, bell-like ringing from these solid metal forks.  “How long does the ringing last?” (count) “What happens when you place the vibrating fork on the tip of your nose?” (squeal)  “Gently touch your vibrating fork to your neighbor’s vibrating fork.  What happens?” (widen eyes)

After students are getting reliable vibes out of their tuning forks, I invite them to be sound explorers. They move around the Music Room, testing each surface – except the mirrors – like…. scientists. “What does this metal cabinet sound like when we touch our vibrating forks to it?”  They create ensembles of 3, 4 and 8 children. “Hey, over here!” The guitar case is hollow and acts as a resonator, producing a louder sound.

Excitement runs high during vibration days in Lower School music class.  You should plan a visit…next year.

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Save the Date: MCS’ Big Night Out! Saturday, May 5th

You’re invited to BIG NIGHT OUT!
to benefit MCS
 on Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.
at The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street

Cocktails Dinner Dancing Auction
Special MCS Video Alumni Hall of Fame
featuring Latin Jazz by Folklore Urbano

2012 “Living the Dream” Mentor Award Honorees

Michele Hatchette ’01
Director of Multicultural Affairs, Westminster School
Co-founder, Harlem Seeds

Frank Roosevelt
Teaching Faculty in Economics, Sarah Lawrence College 1977–2011
MCS Trustee 1970–2010

CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

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Breakfast discussion with Ilene Green on March 23

You’re invited to a breakfast discussion with Ilene Green on Friday, March 23rd at 9 a.m. in the Living Room.

What role does conflict play in social, emotional and cognitive development? Is it always a negative indicator or are there ways to understand its role or function in the context of normative psychological development? How do we help children express the full range of their emotional responses and reactions, without impinging upon the rights and freedom of others? What are the specific strategies we utilize at MCS to support children in their social or emotional growth and how do we respond when normative development gets derailed?

These are but a few of the concerns that may be interesting to address in a group setting. To that end, I will be hosting a breakfast for parents on Friday, March 23rd at 9 a.m. in the Living Room. Although this will not be a formal presentation, parents are encouraged to come with any thoughts, questions or concerns they may have. Light refreshments will be served!

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Sapping, syrup making for 7th graders at MCS Farm

By Nick Patel
Upper School Science Teacher

The seventh grade is having a blast at the farm as we near the end of our stay in Roxbury, N.Y.  It is a beautiful time of the year to be here as spring draws near.  The weather has been relatively warm during the days and just a bit cool in the evenings.  The flowers are ready to bloom and the trees are showing the first signs of budding.  In the midst of collecting the yearly sap from the maple trees, students were able to integrate their knowledge of photosynthesis learned in science with the sapping and syrup making processes taking place at the farm.

We have collected many buckets, approximately 500 gallons, full of sap since our arrival here on Monday.  The students, Tom, and I had a great time playing manhunt on our first night.  Tuesday was filled with chores, classes, activities, games, and even more fun.  Students are weaving pillows using wool yarn obtained from the sheep raised on the farm, going on hikes to experience the nature/silence/solitude the farm has to offer, and traveling to a hydroponics farm not too far from here to check out alternative and creative ways of farming and planting.  Continue reading

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You’re invited: Cultural Festival to Support Fifth Floor Activism Project

By Kyle
8th Grade

This year, the 7th and 8th grade activism project is focusing on the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is a bill that says that if you came to the U.S. before the age of fifteen and lived here for more than five years, you may become a U.S citizen if you attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.

On Saturday, March 17th, from 2-5 p.m., we will be hosting a Cultural Festival at MCS to raise money for our activism trip to Washington D.C where we will lobby for the DREAM Act bill to pass. We will be participating in the American Immigration Lawyers Association Day of Action. Please come to our Cultural Festival and support student activism at MCS! If you’re unable to attend, but would still like to support, you can give online by clicking here and designate your gift for the Fifth Floor Activism Project.

The Cultural Festival will include:

Food from around the world:

  • Sushi
  • Latkes
  • Spanakopita
  • Spaghetti and more…

Games/Activities that celebrate different cultures:

  • Translation game
  • Henna Station
  • Mask making
  • Cooking Station
  • Storytelling
  • Creating Dream Catchers and more…

Thank you!

For more information on upcoming activism events, check out the MCS Activism blog.

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MCS to celebrate National Pi Day on March 14

By Flannery Denny
Math Specialist

Pi Day is Wednesday, March 14 (a date which coincides with Albert Einstein’s birthday and the first 3 digits of pi)!  Manhattan Country School students and teachers will commemorate the day by celebrating all things circular with their reading buddy classes.  Students will look for circles in everyday objects and in children’s books, sort objects with circular cross-sections, investigate the relationship between diameter and circumference, make and test predictions about the way that cones move … and enjoy some delicious homemade pie.

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Photos from Pi Day 2011.

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You’re invited: Cultural Festival to Support Fifth Floor Activism Project

By Kyle
8th Grade

This year, the 7th and 8th grade activism project is focusing on the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act is a bill that says that if you came to the U.S. before the age of fifteen and lived here for more than five years, you may become a U.S citizen if you attend college or serve in the military for at least two years.

On Saturday, March 17th, from 2-5 p.m., we will be hosting a Cultural Festival at MCS to raise money for our activism trip to Washington D.C where we will lobby for the DREAM Act bill to pass. We will be participating in the American Immigration Lawyers Association Day of Action. Please come to our Cultural Festival and support student activism at MCS! If you’re unable to attend, but would still like to support, you can give online by clicking here and designate your gift for the Fifth Floor Activism Project.

The Cultural Festival will include:

Food from around the world:

  • Sushi
  • Latkes
  • Spanakopita
  • Spaghetti and more…

Games/Activities that celebrate different cultures:

  • Translation game
  • Henna Station
  • Mask making
  • Cooking Station
  • Storytelling
  • Creating Dream Catchers and more…

Thank you!

For more information on upcoming activism events, check out the MCS Activism blog.

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Highlights: 100th Day of School

Teachers Anna, Kendia and the 5-6s class hosted their 100th day of school celebration with much fan fare for visiting parents, staff and other classes. The classroom was adorned with creative depictions of the number 100. There were 100 homemade cookies, 100 cups strung together to make a hanging work of art, and 100 circle stickers in various objects and smiley faces. There were plenty of hands-on activities to enjoy, too. They assembled fuzzy pipe cleaners into eyeglasses in the shape of 100, turned cereal in circular shapes into edible necklaces, guessed how many beans were the jars, and more.

View a photo slideshow of the day’s events …

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Photos by Anna Sobel and Corris Little

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Join us! U.S. Science Fair this Tuesday

Nick Patel
Upper School Science Teacher

This is a very exciting time of year because it’s time for the Upper School Science Fair! Join us this Tuesday, March 6, from 12:30-2 p.m. on the fifth floor. There will be live demos, food sampling and lots of fun.

The various topics for this year’s science fair include:

  • genetics of sickle cell anemia
  • study of fear
  • physiological mechanism of stress in the body
  • method by which electricity can travel through air
  • differences between vanilla and chocolate
  • mechanism of cancer in the body
  • science of the hero engine
  • science of acid and base reactions
  • differences between natural and synthetic hair gels
  • chemistry of soap
  • science of French fries
  • apparent motion of the sun in the sky

But, wait … there’s many more interesting projects that must be seen in person. Please come by and witness the results of all the hard work students have been putting forth for the past few months. Thank you and I hope to see many of you at the science fair.

Photos from U.S. Science Fair 2011.

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6-7s class attend first-day-of-issue stamp ceremony at Schomburg

By Laura Swindler
6-7s Head Teacher

On Feb. 29th, the 6-7s were invited by Deirdre Hollman, mom of Myles (8-9s), to attend a first-day-of-issue ceremony as part of their post office studies. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture hosted the event. It was attended by many community members as well as officials from the United States Postal Service.

The ceremony was held to introduce a new stamp in the Black Heritage Forever Stamp series. The forever stamp honors a great American in publishing, John H. Johnson. The 6-7s class learned about Mr. Johnson’s life and work. He was the founder of Johnson Publishing Company, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, and many others. Johnson is the 35th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series. The Postal Service has recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Marian Anderson, Langston Hughes and more.

At one point, the 6-7s students were asked to stand and the event speaker said, “This is all for you. You are the future.” After the ceremony the 6-7s class purchased first-day-of-issue stamps and received many gifts from the postal service. They were then able to meet the speakers and get their autographs. The students were especially excited to meet with the Postmaster General of the Bronx.

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