Poetry, Performance & Pride: Teaching Black History to Elementary Students

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by Beyond Editorial Staff

During Black History Month we have the opportunity to engage our young Rocketeers in important conversations around race, civil rights, social justice, and American history. Our Rocketeers live all over the country. They come from varied backgrounds, speak different languages, and have unique experiences. It is our job to instill in our Rocketeers the knowledge, confidence, and language necessary to talk about and appreciate difference. Black History Month is an opportunity to inspire students to dream big and become the leaders, change makers, and champions they encounter in the powerful figures and accomplishments of the Black community in this country. 

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En fotos: Rocketship celebra el Mes de la Herencia Hispana

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by BEYOND Editorial Team

¡El Mes de la Herencia Hispana se inició oficialmente el 15 de Septiembre, y nuestros “Rocketeers” han estado celebrando! Aquí en Rocketship rendimos tributo a la diversidad cultural durante todo el año, pero este mes nuestros estudiantes tuvieron la oportunidad de vestirse, divertirse, y reconocer algo de la gran historia, cultura, y tradición de la diversa cultural hispana.

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Art Class Revisited: Rocketeers Envisioning Ideas, Solving Problems & Building Their Future

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by Alexis Hamilton
Enrichment Center Coordinator, Sí Se Puede Academy

What do visual artists do?  I asked this of my K-5th grade students at the beginning of last year, and in all grades they unequivocally replied, “Artists paint.” The occasional eye roll implied, “Hello? Duh?” Even five-year-olds had already tacitly accepted the cliché that creativity equals craftsmanship.

By the end of the year, this answer had changed.  While student artists at Sí Se Puede Academy still paint, they can also do so much more.  In about 25-30 hours of art class, our students practice the eight Studio Habits of Mind that working artists use and that underpin creative problem solving. They learn these eight mental habits through art experiences, but then can apply them to every facet of life and work in the 21st century. Follow along as I explain what we changed in art class, how we changed it and why we changed the perception that artists paint and paint alone.

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What Makes a School Year? Our Year in Photos

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by Nikki David
Associate Editor, BEYOND
What’s happens in 180 days of learning, growth and fun? Each school year at Rocketship is a unique and extraordinary journey from beginning to end, and we never quite grasp how much we’ve grown until we look back. So much goes into making each school year the best one yet for our Rocketeers, while still saving all the necessary, silly and bittersweet things we hope never change. Here’s a small snapshot of our 2014-2015 year in photos, from celebrating brand new schools to studying spiders at science camp, to making new friends and memories.

We sincerely hope this answers the question, “So, what exactly did we do this year?”

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Reading Rocketship Education

Summer Boredom Busters to Grow Your Brain

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by Logan Juve Janicula
Integrated Special Education Coach
Associate Editor ➟ BEYOND

With so many amazing programs offered in our communities, it’s hard to keep track of them all! That’s why we did the work for you. Research shows students risk regression during summer months, and what better way to keep that brain healthy than by finding fun ways to learn in your local area? We hand-picked our three favorite activities in each of our regions to stretch your student’s thinking this summer.

These summer activities will help you beat the heat indoors, but don’t miss our recommendations to get your family outside!
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Kick-start Summer Fun at Enrichment Summer Launch

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by Corbrae Smith
ECC, Alma Academy

There’s a reason we call it enrichment. To enrich is to improve the quality or usefulness of something by adding something to it – to make richer. At Rocketship, we strive to make Rocketeers literacy whizzes and math masters, but we also know a truly rich education doesn’t stop there. Every day we work to make Rocketeers’ academic experience better and more useful with classes like art, music and Spanish, and for the first time this year, we’re highlighting exactly how we do it. Continue reading

How to Use Social Media in a Low Tech Classroom

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by Danielle Zipkin
English Teacher, Central Queens Academy

No tech? No problem. Even if you’re teaching in a low-tech school, chances are your students know the basics of popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As an ELA teacher looking to engage struggling and reluctant readers, I have been able to use modified versions of social media in the classroom without any technology at all.
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Your Classroom Needs More Dance Parties

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by Mary Corder Meagher
GoNoodle

Perhaps it’s the Ron Clark in me that loved a good classroom dance party during my time as a teacher and TFA corps member. On a bad day, happy day, or any day really, there was something therapeutic (for my students and for me!) about blasting the Kidz Bop version of some popular rap song and busting a move. Some of my happiest memories with my students are the moments we spent dancing…on our chairs, around the cafeteria, and occasionally, past the principal’s office. Continue reading

Wild-Minded, Silly, Open-Hearted & Curious

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by Adrienne Elijah
Kindergarten STEM teacher

When I tell people I teach kindergarten, I get a variety of reactions that usually fall between “how adorable” to “bless your soul” to “the year of nose-picking, huh?” If there was one thing I could tell people that don’t have much experience with Kindergarten (including my past self), it’s that kindergarteners, especially the ones in our community, need to be given credit for being the amazing little humans they are. Continue reading

Brilliant Kidisms

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by Joanna Julin
First Grade Humanities Teacher

Papers are shuffling, pencils are dancing, brains are growing: it’s a new school year with our Rocketeers! As with every year, students find themselves learning new procedures, brushing up on our basics from last year and making the all-important decision of which book to choose first from the class library. As teachers, we’re observing each Rocketeer’s individual personality and learning how they’ll mesh together as a classroom of scholars and future college grads. Of course, this a time that can feel busy and rushed – we’re learning what kids need and teaching them the value of Kimochis. Every day, it’s the silly things that happen and bond us together as a group with laughter and joy, reminding us that while mistakes happen and days get busy, we are all committed to growing our brains. Being in a first grade classroom during this time is a precious place. Students are eager, engaged and motivated to be a part of this journey, but sometimes they’re a little distracted… Continue reading

Lead by Example: A Student’s Story

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fictional story by Kenai Dindia
2014 Rocketship Alumnus

Hello, my name is Marcus, I go to school at a place called E.A.A.P. (Education At A Price). I do have a very important story  about how I changed everything at that school. I think it’s worth reading.

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