Earlier in the year, school librarian Christine Posnerapplied for, and was awarded, a $5,000 grant from the DOE to bring a collection of print and multi-media resources on the American presidency to the Great Kills school.
"I felt the collection would be a great addition to our library, bringing in materials to support the Common Core standards, as well as instilling a feeling of pride and patriotism among our students," she explained.
The collection contains books and materials on the White House, the Electoral College, Air Force One, presidential speeches and biographies.
Mrs. Posner later collaborated with art teacher Lori Langsner, on a "presidential portrait" project. Each student chose and researched a president using a variety of sources from the new library collection, while Mrs. Langsner exposed the class to various types of portraits and portrait styles.
Building on their knowledge of presidents and drawing, students created a portrait of the president that they had studied. Some of the students chose to create a traditional portrait while others did a more contemporary version.
The portraits were turned into tiles to create a wall mural in the school library as a permanent visual enhancement to the new Presidency collection.
TOOK A TRIP
To enrich their learning, students made a real-world connection with the Presidency by participating in an overnight trip to Washington, D.C. The trip was organized by assistant principal Deric Borerro.
"It was an awesome experience to visit the memorials and monuments to the presidents we studied," said Nick Zangrillo.
Eighth-grader Hilary Zhang said she "learned so much about my president, Theodore Roosevelt, that I will never forget this assignment."
"It was great to leave behind this mural and show what we learned here at IS 24. I was glad that I was part of this project," commented Brielle Broccoli.
Her classmate, Carolyn Ottesen, said the Presidential mural would be a standing reminder of her years at Barnes. "We made a permanent mark on our school," she said. "Years after we're gone, it will still be there for students, teachers to admire the beauty and hard work that was put into this project."
A video was made to document the project in photos and student interviews. Mrs. Poser and Mrs. Langsner were also asked to present the project during a conference of school librarians, administrators and teachers that focused on the impact libraries can make in a school.
During the gallery dedication ceremony last week state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-South Shore) presented a proclamation to the school honoring the work that was done. Ric Hasenyager, the DOE's director of school library services commended Principal Lenny Santamaria for his "commitment to the school library and this wonderful project that started with a simple library grant."
Art students at Barnes Intermediate also had another opportunity to showcase their work during the school's Spring Arts Exhibition.
Student artwork is on display throughout the building, including the walls and doors, which "became a living canvas," Mrs. Langsner said.
Barnes Intermediate participates in the DOE's Project Boost initiative. The program provides students opportunities for cultural activities, museum trips, behind-the-scene visits and hands-on experiences in the arts.
The school maintains a partnership in the arts with the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. Barnes students work with art professionals outside of the classroom to explore, create and participate in a real-world art gallery experience.
"Our student-teaching partnership with SUNY New Paltz has established an educational college-bound study, as our students see first-hand, interact with professional, and learn about careers in the arts," Mrs. Langsner said.
Through the program, students learned how to create a school gallery in an event space. They planned the exhibition, and served as curators, tour guides, display designers, publicists, fundraisers, and graphic designers for the opening gallery reception that took place last week. The art exhibit will hang through the summer.