Read on to join us on our Summer in Pono adventures!
Come And Follow Me...
Artist Bek Millhouse showed our younger Pono friends how to sculpt figures using only aluminum foil. A group of shiny, happy people soon emerged, including a superhero complete with a fluttering cape!
Bek also met with the older children to help them with one of the last steps of their marionette making project—making clothes. The Pono puppets are almost ready for their theater debut!
Pono parent and media designer Adeet Deshmukh taught a lesson on coding to the older children. He explained the basics of the programming language Python; a program's user testing phases; and the debugging process. The children had the opportunity to practice programming logic by playing Cargo-Bot. They worked through a step-by-step process to move objects by directing a robotic arm and discovered that coding can be fun and challenging!
Whiz! Bang! Pow! A young Pono friend shared his enthusiasm for Marvel comics and taught a lesson about some of his favorite characters. He then invited the children to make superhero finger puppets and to draw comic strip panels.
Pono parent and yoga instructor Eric Stoneberg brought in different types of jasper for the children to examine and led the children in exploring movements that represented earth, water, fire, air, and space.
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...
Our younger Pono friends took binoculars with them during outdoor play to see if they could spot any birds in Marcus Garvey Park. They discovered some feathered friends and some Pono friends!
This week our younger literacy group did a word hunt for our words in the -ay, -ittle, and -ind families, to solidify their awareness of common words in those spelling families. They also spent time in their word study books doing varied activities involving short vowel sounds and other tricky sight words and enjoyed some independent reading time.
Our older group added pronouns, prepositions, and adjectives to their parts of speech list, along with their definitions and examples. This greatly helped them to finish sorting their magnetic poetry set! They also spent time broadening their understanding and increasing accurate use of various suffixes in their word study books and thoroughly enjoyed some independent reading time.
This week in math, Madelyn read Leo Lionni's book Inch by Inch to the younger children and then explained how to use rulers. The children drew lines of different lengths and practiced measuring, inch by inch.
In other math news, one group explored the concept of equivalence in a story about bunk beds and sleepovers.
A group of older children worked on reviewing, memorizing, and solving word problems related to multiplication with David and Francesca. The other group worked on the concepts of unitizing and place value while taking inventory of various Pono items and playing card games.
The older children performed two different creative movement activities with Francesca. First, Francesca asked each child to physically manipulate someone in an imaginative way (tie a friend in a knot, levitate someone, sink another). The second activity had the children building machines together, focusing on how the individual pieces of a machine combine to generate an outcome.
Madelyn and our younger Pono friends visited the children's room of our neighborhood Harlem Library. They kept cool while sharing stories together.
Kate and the young Pono amigos continued practicing Spanish food vocabulary by making flip books featuring las frutas. Some of the children chose to add other types of foods, including pollo, to their books.
Lieh and the little Pono friends made sculptures with colorful modeling clay.
Madelyn and the younger children explored the wonderful world of insects! They used magnifiers to inspect various insect specimens; studied insect photos; sang about an insect's body parts to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes;" played an insect game; and made insect costumes. Don't be surprised if you see a little Pono friend sporting wings and antennae!
Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...
On Monday morning we visited Suzanne Farkas, an acupuncturist who has an office in Midtown Manhattan. Suzanne showed us the tools of her trade, explained the benefits of acupuncture, and told us some of the history behind this practice. She also demonstrated cupping on several volunteers and let the children try her Pointer Plus, a tool used to locate pressure points that need stimulation. Before we left, Suzanne burned aromatic mugwort in a process called moxibustion that is meant to promote healing.
We spent Monday afternoon at Popular Community Bank on 125th Street in Harlem. Assistant Branch Manager, Charlene Wint, gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and explained how the bank serves our local community. Charlene and several other employees mad us feel very welcome and gave us rulers, pencils, coloring books, and crayons to remember our visit.
On Wednesday we took the 7 train to Long Island City to visit the flagship location of Coffeed, a philanthropic coffee company. Employee Sarah showed us how coffee is roasted and cold brewed and let us have a small taste. Later Coffeed founder and CEO Frank "Turtle" Raffaele explained why he started a coffee company that gives back to the community; Coffeed donates up to ten percent of its revenue to charity. We appreciate the time Turtle spent with us and our grateful for his generosity—he even treated us all to a delicious lunch!
One special feature of Coffeed's flagship location is a one-acre rooftop organic farm operated by Brooklyn Grange. Coffeed's Sarah showed us the composting area, and farm manager Liz Dowd answered our questions. We are always thrilled to find green spaces in our city, and this one was particularly impressive.
We left Coffeed feeling inspired and ready to volunteer at Harlem Grown, our neighborhood urban farm. Ciara Sidell, aka Farmer C, assigned us our tasks for the afternoon: harvesting cherry tomatoes and watering the farm's crops. After we finished our farm work, Farmer C introduced us to Harlem Grown's new flock of chickens and explained the benefits of the coop's "green roof."
This week Zoë finished writing her song "I Want to Be On Your Side" and learned some basics of vocal technique from Julietta. She worked hard and was surprised to discover how athletic and aerobic singing can be!
Our comic book team continued to hone their artwork with Bek. Their superheroes look ready to leap off the page!
Pono Says Hello...
Filmmaker and activist Jamal Joseph brought a film crew this week to start shooting a short documentary about Pono! He interviewed students, staff, and parents about what Pono means to them. Jad Joseph and Mike De Caro accompanied us on our Wednesday field trip and captured a day in the life of Pono on the go. We are honored to have such a talented team documenting our journey as NYC's only democratic, outdoor learning center.