Quick! When was the last time you took your class on a trip? If you had to think hard about that then you are not doing your job. That’s right, you are not doing right by your students if you are not educating them outside the confines of your classroom. I don’t care if you take them down the street to a local park for some writers’ inspiration, a local bakery to learn how bread is made or to a visit an elected official to learn about government.
Growing up my mother showed me that the city was full of opportunities to learn. Being dragged to museums, concerts and puppet shows as a kid gave me a deep appreciation for culture and the arts and the richness of living in a metropolis. Early on as a high school teacher, I once asked my students how many of them had been to Harlem. I received blank stares. I was annoyed that they weren’t familiar with places beyond Brooklyn. It was then that I resolved to take my teaching beyond room 405.
One of the many cultural institutions that I discovered along the way is Community Works NYC. They are a non-profit arts and education organization that helps “bridge schools and communities, enrich educational curricula and celebrate neighborhood cultures and histories.” Community Works collaborates with various artists and groups to offer a wide range of educational and arts experiences throughout the New York City. They offer live performances, exhibits, workshops and presentations. If you visit the Shows link on their website you will find all the downloadable flyers and calendars for this 2016-2017 season.
If you are looking ahead to the new year then there are many possibilities for class trips with your students including: dance featuring Force of Nature, a Black Lives Matter program, celebrating Poetry Month with Urban Word or an exploration of late artist, Jean Michel Basquiat with the Jazzreach ensemble. Certainly there are many other museums, galleries and historical sites you can add to your calendar but Community Works is great place to start and also team up with other teachers and parents to make it a real community effort.
Peace good people…
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