Week of Feb. 8, 2016

The 7th grade will be finishing up our unit on Magnetism and Static Electricity. Using a Van de Graaf generator we made a number of students’ hairs stand up and turned some of them into human lightning bolts. Quite a shocking experience, I would say!

The 6th grade is researching how our calendar developed from astronomical observations and will be experimenting with time-keeping devices such as sundials and water clocks.

February 10, 2016

Winter greetings to all the wonderful families at BSI! In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Black History month, we’ve been learning about Dr. Martin Luther King and The Civil Rights Movement through song.   We sang a song called “Martin Luther King was a Loving Man.” I had actually learned this song orally and couldn’t find anything about it online. A friend then shared that he knew the melody as “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.” When we gave it a listen, the 4th and 5th graders recognized it immediately! It was a great example of how people take a familiar melody and write their own lyrics to it.   This was very common years ago.

The 4th and 5th graders worked on performing this song with 2 vocal ostinatos underneath the music. One group chanted underneath the entire song and another group added “Oh yeah!” at the end of each line. In their groups, they decided who would sing which of the 3 parts, rehearsed it briefly and then performed for their peers.

We watched the music video “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. We talked about what happened during “The Civil Rights Movement” and how we felt about it. Then we sang “We Shall Overcome” in the traditional spirit of the time period. The kids thought about a hope that they have for our world. Then they shouted out verses that we all sang. “There’ll be no more war,” “No more terrorism,” and “There’ll be no more hunger” were a few.   Then we watched some amazing footage (a friend of mine found) of people actually singing “We Shall Overcome” during the “March on Washington. It was pretty powerful.

Our K-3rd graders came up with different body percussion for “Martin Luther King Was a Loving Man” and moved through general space with them. We chanted quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We learned how different things were during segregation from how things are in our communities today. And of course, we sang “We Shall Overcome.”

This past week we’ve been using drums and egg shakers to keep the rhythm of the childhood rhyme, “One, Two, Tie My Shoe.” It was set up as a question and answer where drummers started and egg shakers answered. Then they had 8 beats to walk across the room and switch instruments with their partner.  As always, we continue to work on the musical concepts of steady beat and rhythm.

Happy Chinese New Year!! Happy Presidents’ Day! We hope to sing about George and the dragon before February is over!



Fractions, Fractions, Fractions!

Today we hosted a workshop for 3rd Grade Families! In this workshop, we explored how our Grade 3 students will approach learning fractions. Families were led through a series of problems that 3rd graders will solve in their upcoming Fraction unit. Participants in this workshop explored the importance of 1/2 and its usefulness as a “landmark” for fractions. In whole number, being able to reason with landmarks, such as 10, 100, and 1,000, is important in being a flexible thinker. We applied this same methodology to our understanding of fractions. If students have a solid understanding of 1/2 and its equivalence (1/2=3/6=5/10=6/12…), they can use this understanding to:

  • order fractions
  • compare fractions
  • position fractions on a number line

If you weren’t able to make it this morning, here is a link to the presentation:

Grade 3 Parent Workshop

See the powerpoint for some fun online fraction games your child can play at home.



High School Talk with Joyce Szuflita

Dear families,


We are thinking about and talking about High School for some of our students.


We are planning to host a lecture “NYC Public High School Choice: Calm and Clear” given by Joyce Szuflita from NYC School Help on how to navigate the NYC Public High School process. For more information on what will be covered visit http://www.nycschoolhelp.com/nyc-high-school-choice/. The lecture is $20 per family and requires a pre-registration. Please pre-register by clicking here.


The lecture will be held at BSI on March 7th at 8:45 am.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Christopher Minaya pc@bsi686.org (parent coordinator).

En Español, Grados 5, 6 & 7…

Fifth, sixth and seventh graders are concluding an in depth study on things they like and don’t like to do (me gusta y no me gusta hacer). This work integrated their knowledge and use of numbers, days of the week and months of the year (números, días de la semana y meses del año).

In addition, students learned about infinitive verbs, negative statements and expressing agreement and disagreement. Continue reading En Español, Grados 5, 6 & 7…

A school grows in Brooklyn


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