KIDS Feed

Inspired art teacher, inspired student art work

Art teacher clothesline exhibit
JS Jenks Academy for Arts and Sciences Teacher Jon Tietz is motivated to have his students produce good art. And to do that, he regularly integrates math concepts of patterns and perspective into student lessons and projects. He recently showed off eye-catching student works of art in a variety of media, some inspired by Greek classics, Alexander Calder or M.C. Escher, dramatically on display along the school's first floor corridor. Tietz has built 12 large collapsible wooden frames with horizontal wires for moveable clothesline type exhibits in the school. The frames can hold over 400 pieces, using front and back. When not in use, they are folded up and stored behind the auditorium stage. Walking down to his art room Tietz, pointed out the framed artwork along the stairway walls, part of the growing Jenks Art Gallery or "JAG," a reference to the school teams' mascot, the Jaguars.
Student clothesline art exhibit and video interview.

3d Printer for Public Middle Schoolers

Middle schoolers print 3D

A generous school parent purchased a 3D printer for James Hilburt's math classes at the J. S. Jenks Middle School in the Chestnut Hill  neighborhood of Philadelphia and Hilburt is getting the students excited about designing their own projects by printing out 3-d stackable cups, a rubik's cube-like 3d puzzle, a complete chess set and small replicas of the Disney Castle and the Eiffel Tower. To help the students understand design and construction, Hilburt is first having them build a bridge with Popsicle sticks. For the 3d printer projects, Hilburt downloads digital templates onto his computer and loads them into the printer; a rapidly moving arm lays down layer after layer of threadlike strands of melted plastic through a small nozzle head to build the creations from the ground up, taking nearly a day for the more complicated ones. Watch video here.


Grandson learns Yiddish

11 year old learns Yiddish

Your correspondent  was staying with an old Quaker friend in Maine and her 11 year old grandson came over one evening for an overnight visit.

 
The grandson had decided to learn Yiddish, the language spoken by the characters in Art Spiegelman's graphic Holocaust family memoir "Maus" after reading and becoming intrigued by the narrative. (Yiddish, an amalgam of German, Hebrew and Aramaic used  by the Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia since  before the 12th century  suffered a serious decline with the near extermination of its speakers during World War II.)
 
So I eagerly introduced the grandson to some choice Yiddish expressions I learned from my grandparents  and the next morning I wrote him a letter incorporating those words in context. I suggested he read the letter aloud to Grandmom for practice and they indulged me in letting me video them.
 
 
 

Weaving with fabric Harry Potter style

Melissa Maddonni Haims led kids in weaving the fence at the J.S Jenks School in Chestnut Hill  with colorful strips of fabric as part of the community’s annual Fall for the Arts Festival. Sections of the fence represent the colors of the Jenks School and also represent the Houses the of Hogwarts School for Wizardry. The Harry Potter festival descends on the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia the weekend of October 17th. Watch video here.


Night geocaching at Andorra Natural Area

Night geocaching

Scenes from the video featuring Wen-Young and his son Manny of Plymouth  Meeting, PA.

“That’s what we’re looking for- the waypoints”

“It’ll say the gecoache is that way but the trail goes this way or this way.”

“We won’t send you through the woods bushwhacking”

Destination- “Soggy Bottom” at the troll bridge

Garmin device accidentally restarts

Device  now says ready to navigate

On the trail to the cache

“It must be around here”

“Found it!”

What’s inside the cache which is a canteen?

Is it a toy toilet or a stamp out of ink?

No, it’s a star punch to punch our paper to prove we found it.

Another group arrives at Soggy Bottom

Excitement back at campfire

Night geocaching with Wen-Young and Manny

“How was your first geocache experience?”

----  >

“Sweet. Marshmallow- sweet, get it?”

Found 6 caches!

Credits the gps device and the help of friends.

Watch video here


Mount Airy community beats drums

Community drum circle in Mount Airy

The story, according to Ron Kravitz, goes that some years ago, Elise Rivers of Community Acupuncture of Mount Airy called him from Ashland, North Carolina 9 pm one Saturday night where she was participating in a community drum circle and said, “Ron we got 85 drummers here. We got to do this in Philadelphia.” And so she arranged for a gathering space in the shaded park-like area adjacent to the Lovett Public Library in Mount Airy.  The local drum circle is now in its third year. Along with Kravitz, Bobby Tyrone and Quint Lang, a drum teacher from Collegeville, help lead the sessions, open to novices and experienced drummers alike.

But Kravitz, of Glenside, appears to be the force behind the drum circle. He is well known in the area for his association with or founding of a number of other grass roots music ventures: Music in the Moment, Underground at Ron's, African drum classes and more. He brings a selection from his 1000 plus collection of Bata and djembe drums, bells, and other percussion instruments for anyone to use.

About 25- 30 people participated at the first Sunday of the month July session on a steamy hot afternoon including some kids who just had happened to be passing by.

Among the other attendees were several first-timers like 12-year-old Jacob Slifker who had discovered the existence of the circle while searching online with his parents for somewhere to use his djimbe. During breaks, he got some tips  from the experienced hands on using it.

The afternoon heat and repetitive, shifting drum rhythms induced a hypnotic effect and Kravitz drew the circled drummers into chanting along and some into dancing. The circle next meets on Sunday August 4th from 1-3 pm next to the Lovett Public Library at 6945 Germantown Avenue.

Watch video here.


Offspring of the European Beech and its admirers

beech1

In October of 1999, Bill proposed to his now wife while sitting on a bench under their favorite tree at the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, a huge European beech on the upper slope. The tree was badly damaged about a year later and only the decaying snag remains. But the tree is surrounded by its offspring, a circle of tall, closely spaced trees which had taken root where the original beech's long, pendulous branches had touched the ground. On a recent fall day, the family, now consisting of a 7 and 9 year old were revisiting the special place.

Watch video interview here.


From Kickboxing to Childcare: Children of America opens in Chestnut Hill

Children of America staff with Mascot Bentley

Children of America greeters with Mascot Bentley

Watch video tour and interview here.

Assistant Director Katie McDonnell and coworker Mary Catherine of the Lansdale Children of America   “Educational Childcare and Academy” were on hand to welcome the Chestnut Hill community to the company’s newest location on Saturday June 16th at the site of the former Borders Bookshop at the top of the Hill.

According to its website, “C-O-A” has about 60 sites from the east coast west to Wisconsin and plans for another 30 locations. The Chestnut Hill center, its largest, can accommodate up to two hundred and ninety one children ranging from 6 weeks old up through third grade. WHYY Newsworks.org reports that COA is in the process of seeking accreditation to become a Pennsylvania chartered school for up to 5th grade.

The school’s proprietary curriculum, developed specifically for COA by educational psychologist Vicki Folds and expounded in her books, is based on children doing tasks set up on what look like lunch trays (“traytasking”).  The concept is to get children to manipulate things left to right and up to down, the same spatial directions they will use for reading.

Upon noting that a youngster has completed a certain age specific task, such as simultaneously pedaling and steering a tricycle, a childcare worker dates and initials the accomplishment in a checklist file for the child.

A sixteen hundred square foot but windowless playground in the basement has slides, a tree house, green artificial turf and purple rubber tiles for scrape free falls.

Children may go for rides aboard four or six-seat buggies through the hallways or, for some fresh air and a change of scene, along the building’s sidewalks. There is no outdoor playground.

Six-week olds start out in Infant Room A and after mastering sleeping in their cribs will graduate to Rooms B and C to begin sleeping on cots.

Security, which features prominently in the company’s marketing, is highlighted by its “Always Close By” system. A camera or two in every room can be monitored in the office by the director or assistant director. For $19.95 additional a month, (enrollment fees run $1600 a month) parents can view their children in real time remotely through the Internet. Mary Catherine reports that one mother at the Lansdale site will call in and have a talk with her child if she sees that her child is misbehaving.

In one classroom we visited, a menagerie of small plastic animals on a table top is ready for children to manipulate, learn their names and the sounds they make.  At COA, dogs go “Woof.” 

Walls are adorned with an illustration of the school’s mascot a dog named Bentley with a black circle around one eye who strongly resembles “Petey” from the 1920s and 30s television show “Our Gang.” Bentley is the main character in stories being written at all the COA centers and to be published and available to parents online.

There is a real life Bentley. He runs around on a beach in Florida where he lives with his owner, “Mr. Thad” [Pryor] a former world kickboxing champion and owner of the Children of America enterprise.

Prospective infant at  Children of America

Parents with infant speak with director at reception desk

 

Children of America opens in Chestnut Hill

Children of America opens Monday June 17th at the site vacated two and a half years ago by the defunct Borders Bookstore chain