Visual arts from across MB on display at all school exhibit

By Cathy Van Lancker, visual arts instructorCathyVanLancker

The All School Art Exhibit is a once-a-year event where the Visual Arts Department can highlight the work of students in each division. (Don’t miss the opening Friday, May 1 in the Sinclair Room at 3 p.m.!)

Moses Brown offers many opportunities for students to become involved in the visual arts through courses in an age-appropriate, sequentially structured curriculum. A wide-range of skills serving the beginner through the accomplished artist are introduced, and built upon from year to year establishing a sound foundation. Students are encouraged to pursue individual interests and expand upon their skill and talent as they move through the program exploring their creative potential. The faculty collaborates regularly with other departments on interdisciplinary projects, believing that the visual arts can enhance academic learning in all areas by helping to stimulate problem-solving skills, teach students to see more critically, celebrate diversity and increase openness by going beyond the easy solutions. Students learn to take risks and, in the process of experimentation and discovery, learn new ways to think about and see the world around them.

The Lower School Visual Art program (Nursery through Grade 5) strives to create a space IMG_4045where all children are encouraged to take risks, have fun, and express their unique visions of the world. Our goal is to have children experience a wide range of art-making methods and materials each year, including: drawing, painting, found-object and ceramic sculpture, printmaking, collage, art history studies, puppetry, scenic design, and collaborative work. As much as possible, the art curriculum integrates with the curricula from each grade level.

The Lower School Woodshop Program introduces students to a diverse set of building experiences and construction activities. The project-based curriculum is designed to develop familiarity, effectiveness and self-confidence with basic hand tool skills. Offering an active context for creative expression, organization, math application and follow-through are important aspects of woodshop classes.

The Middle School Visual Art program encourages students to explore a variety of IMG_4046essential skills and materials through fun projects in drawing, painting, printmaking, and design incorporating historical, ethnic and cultural themes. Students will apply prior learning, knowledge and skills to develop a level of competency of craftsmanship in both 2D and 3D work. They will use the elements of art and principles of design to create meaningful compositions meeting specific criteria while effectively communicating their original ideas and feelings in a personal way. Small classes meet twice a week in semester-long courses. Students are free to come to the art studio during free periods of the day to work on individual projects. (Grade 6 and Grade 8)

The Middle School Woodshop Program courses are structured around the selection, planning and construction of individual project commitments. Project design is an important aspect of the overall educational experience, presenting a student with the challenges and opportunities of integrating both aesthetic considerations and functional requirements. The goal of the program is to familiarize the student with the process of transforming an idea into a tangible object. There is a strong emphasis on developing both visual awareness and manual control while nurturing a self-confident approach to tasks, a basic competence with fundamental tool operations and a respectful use of materials. Small classes meet twice a week in semester-long courses. (Grade 6 and Grade 7)

The Upper School Visual Arts faculty believes that artistic expression can take many forms and offer classes in a variety of media, from foundation level to more advanced courses. Students are encouraged to build technical skills and creative awareness as well as develop a vocabulary to discuss and critique work. Students engage in semester long coursework that broadens creative thinking while recognizing different learning styles. Process-oriented instruction, evaluation through participation, critique and exhibition are all part of the learning environment.

Visual Art Teachers:
Anni Barnard
Kristin Street
Cathy Van Lancker

Woodshop Teacher:
Randy Street

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Recommended read from teacher Jamie German: The Sixth Extinction

By Jamie German, upper school science teacherthesixthextinction

So tell us, what are you reading?

This is a beautifully told story of terrible times, following a boy (German) and a girl (French) before and during WW 2.

The sixth mass extinction in the history of ( by humans) life on earth is being driven. Elizabeth Holbert, an outstanding writer, reports from the field, as she did in her earlier book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

About the Book Festival:

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
Book Festival/Poetry Cocktail Party
Walter Jones Library, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.mosesbrown.org/dotyreception
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

Staff book recommendation: Blood and Thunder and The Good Lord Bird

Recommended by Erik Wilker, Director, Administrative and Strategic Affairs

So tell us, what should we be reading?

ErikWilker

Erik Wilker

Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides

Hampton Sides tells beautiful stories that never suffer for the limit of being true.  In Blood and Thunder, he narrates the life and times of Kit Carson, and the reader gets to ride along into unfolding panoramas of historical rift. Under the narrative spell of this book you find yourself vastly entertained and effortlessly knowledgeable about many things: the affairs of trappers, scouts, raiders, soldiers and settlers; Spanish and American colonialism; the rise of North American horse culture; the breaking of the Navajo Nation, the failed reservation system and the Pueblo revolts (to name but a few). This is a book I want to re-read every time I recommend it to others (often).

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

In this historical novel, James McBride daringly delivers a lampooning caricature of John Brown, (the abolitionist terrorist who led the Potttawatomie massacre and the raid on Harpers Ferry). Somehow this treatment gives Brown more rather than less dimension as McBride develops an intimate portrait of a man who is by turns brutal and tender, righteous and flawed. And the best news for readers is that Brown isn’t the most compelling character in the book. That distinction goes to the shifty, Huck Finn-like narrator, Henry/Henrietta/Little Onion. McBride’s strong storytelling and his tuneful celebration of dialect and dialogue complete the pleasure of this great read.

About the Book Festival:

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
Book Festival/Poetry Cocktail Party
Walter Jones Library, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.mosesbrown.org/dotyreception
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

 

Student Book Recommendation: Thrones of Glass, The Alchemist, Bel Canto

By Bella L. ‘18

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass is an intense and gripping novel about an eighteen year old girl named Celaena Sardothein, who just happens to be the best assassin in Adarlan. Follow her as she fights for her freedom in the competition to become the King’s champion, finds ancient mysteries, and learns things no mortal should be allowed to know.

ThrownofGlassFollowed by:

FollowedByThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the mysterious story of a young shepherd who crosses lands in search of his personal legend. Along his way he discovers ancient kings, bandits, love, alchemists, and wars. Will he give up on his treasure, or fight through his misfortunes and discover his dream.

TheAlchemistBel Canto by Ann Patchett tells the story of a group of elite partygoers from all over the world who are taken hostage by terrorists during a birthday party. Despite language barriers, this misfortune brings everyone in the house together, the workers, partygoers, diplomats, terrorists, wealthy, and poor together in a way that couldn’t have occurred otherwise.

BelCantoAbout the Book Festival

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

Staff book recommendation: Ready for a Brand New Beat… by Mark Kurlansky

brian platt

Brian Platt

Recommended by Brian Platt, Director of Annual Giving

So tell us, what should we be reading?

Ready for a Brand New Beat: How “Dancing in the Street” Became the Anthem for a Changing America by Mark Kurlansky

Mark Kurlansky is a masterful storyteller, lighting up every corner of his chosen subject (see Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World for another example). With this book, Kurlansky vividly details the social, historical and artistic context for the creation of this iconic Motown song, then shows the myriad ways the song was perceived and received – as a party song, as an anthem for the civil rights movement, as a moneymaking hit, and even as a danger to society.

I found surprises in every chapter. I chose it more for the author than the topic, and got ReadyForABrandNewBeattaken on a journey through the music industry (how were session musicians paid in the 60s? How did Berry Gordy choose songs and songwriters? Whatever happened to Little Richard?), the 20th century black migration (how quickly did Detroit become a majority black city? Why Detroit as a destination? What did those who relocated from the South find when they got there?), racial tensions and beyond-tensions (what kicked off the urban “race riots” of the 60s? Were they really riots, or just covered that way in the media?), and the lives of those involved in the creation of the song itself (Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, The Funk Brothers).

With the current and ongoing conversations about race and social justice, this book about just one song resonates with me because it provides an eye-opening perspective about where we’ve been as a society, where we’re going, and how art can be a vital part of the journey – whether the artists intend it or not.

About the Book Festival:

The event is coming to the Walter Jones Library on Thursday, April 30 and Friday, May 1. Started more than thirty years ago as a fall event in lower school, the Book Festival is now an all-school event for both students and parents. This year, the Parents’ Association has worked with the English department and the school librarians to merge the long-standing tradition of the book fair with the Moses Brown Poetry Initiative. Throughout the spring, upper school students have worked with both middle and lower school students to read, explore, and write poetry as a discipline that asks us to observe, decode, analyze and, ultimately, to think differently about the world around us. These months of cross-divisional work will culminate in a reading by Mark Doty, the New York Times bestselling author of nine books of poetry, and winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. This reading will be held in Alumni Hall on May 1 at 7 pm and is free and open to the public. RSVP: www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

The book fair will be open in Walter Jones from 11:00am to 4:00pm on Thursday, April 30, and from 11:00am to 6:30pm on Friday, May 1. Books will be provided by Providence bookseller Books on the Square. There will be faculty-recommended titles for parents and students in all three divisions, as well as journals designed by http://www.inspiredbyit.com. Proceeds from the Book Festival will benefit the Walter Jones Library.

Full schedule:

April 30

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Poem-In-Your-Pocket Day
School-wide, led by third grade

May 1

Book Fair
Walter Jones Library, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Tad Hills
Nursery & Pre-Primary: Pre-Primary Classroom, 8:45 – 9:15 a.m.
Kindergarten & First: Kindergarten Classroom, 9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
Second: Second-grade Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visiting Author/Illustrator – Lucinda Landon
Third: Laura Hunt’s Classroom, 8:45 – 9:45 a.m.
Fourth & Fifth: Carolyn Garth’s Classroom, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Culmination of Cross Divisional Poetry Initiative
All-day, All Divisions
Book Festival/Poetry Cocktail Party
Walter Jones Library, 5 – 6:30 p.m.
RSVP at www.mosesbrown.org/dotyreception
A Path of Light and Poetry
Walter Jones Library to Alumni Hall, 6:30 – 7 p.m.
Visiting Poet – Mark Doty
Alumni Hall, 7 – 8 p.m. www.mosesbrown.org/poetry

Earth Week 2015: MB sustainability updates

Around this time, we on the MB Sustainability Committee like to update the community on our work, which has been focused around several areas this school year:

Composting

Through our partnership with local company Compost Plant, we are collecting compostable material from some lower school classrooms, as well as a large amount of from our cafeteria, for pick-up on a weekly basis. The below video — A Day In the Life Of An Apple Core at MB — shows this process in action, with the help of a first grade student and members of our food service staff.

Recycle/Trash?

We created signage to make it crystal clear which bins are for recycling and which are for the landfill, and we distributed these through much of our campus earlier this year.

FullSizeRenderSolar Power

This year, we have been working to support the school’s efforts to bring solar power to Moses Brown. As of now, the school has applied for grant funding, asked for proposals from installation companies, and identified viable rooftop locations. In addition we have begun conversations with faculty about the ways in which we can connect solar panels on campus to meaningful student learning. While we are still awaiting grant funding and will eventually need Board approval, we are very hopeful that solar power at Moses Brown will become a reality.

Making the new Woodman Center GREEN

Our school will soon break ground for the construction of a new Community Performance Center. A great deal of work has been done to try to make the new building as sustainably constructed as possible. Some of the related components/systems being planned include:

  • The project has been designed using the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) guidelines. If certified, the project would achieve LEED Silver rating
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures
  • Day lighting systems and room occupancy sensors
  • Occupancy and CO2 monitoring that provides heating and cooling system shutdowns when spaces are not in use
  • Window shades that automatically adjust with sunlight sensor
  • High-efficiency boilers
  • Use of building materials that are both sustainable and manufactured locally (within 500 miles of the project site)
  • Low VOC emitting finishes
  • Building designed to accommodate future solar panels

The student is the teacher: David Flaxman parle français

Some of the most exciting and personal academic work at Moses Brown has emerged from the faculty cohort plan, a professional development and evaluation program. In a year of transformational study, a cohort of veteran teachers sets goals, serves as resources for one another’s evaluations and shares professional development plans at year’s end. At the heart of the program are cohort projects, each teacher’s big idea for personal research to be shared in the classroom. The benefit to students is clear: teachers continuously deepen their expertise, refine their curriculum, and bring the latest research back to the classroom to improve the learning experience.

flaxman3

Monsieur Flaxman and l’Arc de Triomphe

It’s Friday afternoon in French 1. Conversation is a mix of French and English, with encouragement from teacher Karim Sow. The sixth and seventh graders struggle to stay on-topic as the weekend approaches, but one student is all business. What is it that makes him more mature than the others? For starters, David Flaxman is 40-something. What’s he doing in French 1?

Spanish teacher David Flaxman is head of the upper school’s World Languages department. “My faculty cohort project is to explore and learn,” he explains. “Studying French, I’m putting myself in the shoes of a level 1 language student. By feeling viscerally what it’s like to be a novice language student again, I have a new appreciation for the challenges my students face in the classroom.” David joins Karim Sow’s French 1 class as often as he can, and studies independently with textbooks. “I’ll take the final in June,” he says, without a trace of panic in his voice.

“I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been talking about ‘picking up’ another language for at least two decades,” David reflects. “If the purpose of the faculty cohort program is to give an educator a small push forward to accomplish a long-delayed goal, then – mission accomplished!” he laughs. “What better professional development could there be for me? What better example could I set for my students?”

flaxman 1

Monsieur Flaxman, Hana ’16, Alex ’14, Paris

Without a doubt, this experience benefits David’s Spanish students. “Gaining a novice student’s perspective has prompted so much reflection,” he says, “on my teaching methods, my pace and demeanor in my classroom.” In the big picture, students’ enthusiasm builds on their teachers’ enthusiasm. ”Students respond to teachers who keep pushing themselves to learn, stoking that passion for their disciplines that led them to teach in the first place. A teacher who taps into his inner student is a teacher who’ll thrive in the classroom.”

Does he feel like an old dog, learning new tricks? “Learning a foreign language is HARD!” David says. “I recall my struggles to master Spanish, to hear the words, to speak with some semblance of flow and fluidity… it was stunningly frustrating. When I achieved a decent level of fluency in the real world, it felt like summiting Mt. Everest after years of missteps and failed attempts. I know I can get to the mountaintop!” He tested his new skills on a family trip to Paris, on spring break. “In Paris, I studied French each morning for two hours, then went out to try to put what I was learning into action,” he says. “I walked for miles through the streets, visiting museums, eating crepes and croissants, and taking tons of photos.  It was an amazing experience to discover the wealth of cultural sights and art in Paris, but also humbling to realize how challenging understanding and speaking French can be!”