There is always something happening at Pono! Read about our field trips, visiting teachers, classes, and special events.



We found new ways to explore the city this week and enjoyed learning in our Pono space. Read on to learn more!

Come And Follow Me...

This week young Pono friend Zoë took us on a trip to India and taught a lesson about three important landmarks: the Taj Mahal; Fatehpur Sikri, a north Indian city built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar; and Mani Bhavan, Gandhi's headquarters in Mumbai and where he developed satyagraha, or nonviolent civil disobedience. Zoë also shared a special souvenir, a bag printed with a photo of her great-aunt Smita Patil; several Indian musical instruments; and a small statue of Nandi, a bull important in Indian mythology. She explained the tradition of whispering a wish into its ear, and the children all took a turn confiding in Nandi!


Open up and say "Ahhh!" Dr. A taught the younger Pono friends about the tongue. She explained papillae and taste buds and guided the children to list the five main tastes. Then they put their own taste buds to work and played a sensory guessing game. Dr. A gave the children tastes of mystery ingredients and they had to identify whether each flavor was bitter, salty, sweet, sour, or umami, and try to guess the ingredient. We didn't know science could be so tasty!


Singer and musician Ali Dineen led the older children in call and response with singing and percussion. They also engaged in movement exercises and practiced breathing. We love the energy Ali and the children bring to the Pono space!


Dr. A led an engineering lesson for the older children and together they built a structure using different-colored cards. Adding to the challenge, some colors could not be bent, while others could, and some cards were not to touch cards of another color. It reached great heights before tumbling down!


Basketball coach Idrissa Gandega introduced the children to the fundamentals of the game. They practiced dribbling, handling the ball, and passing it to a partner. The New York Knicks might want to check us out!


Ali Dineen and the younger children warmed up by singing several songs and then it was time for a Pono dance party!


Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

The Pono friends continued to hone their math skills. This week the youngest children practiced writing numbers and played games that required counting to twenty. The intermediate group completed an exercise challenging them to exchange one apple for another and to consider whether they had found all possible arrangements. Another student focused on counting by twos, fives, and tens. Some of the older children continued working on algebra and others focused on the open number line as a model for subtraction. One group also started a unit that focuses on place value, regrouping, equivalence, and how to record inventory.


The younger children were thrilled this week to discover painted lady butterflies had emerged from the chrysalises they had been studying at Pono. Madelyn, Kate, and the children brought the butterflies to the 123rd Street Block Association Community Garden, where they released them. One of the butterflies landed on Pono friend Bodi before fluttering away! After watching the butterflies take flight, the friends enjoyed exploring the garden, bird watching, and eating an al fresco autumn lunch.


This week Julietta and our youngest literacy group read the I See book they had made, featuring the words I, see, and a. They also enjoyed their first word hunt, using these same words.

Some of our older students finished making their I Want book, featuring the words want, yellow, and purple. Others delved further into their book club selection, practicing making inferences and learning new vocabulary along the way. All of the older children reviewed what a research report is and read more about how to create one. They then refined their topics and generated questions that will guide their own research in the upcoming weeks.


Madelyn taught our younger Pono friends about recycling and reusing materials. She then encouraged the children to get crafty with a variety of recyclables, and they set up a maker space in Marcus Garvey Park, where they created flying machines, telescopes, and fanciful objets d'art


¿Dónde están las palabras? Kate invited the young Pono amigos to go on a word hunt this week. The children searched for vocabulary cards that labeled different parts of the body and then practiced pronouncing the terms.


Pono parent and yoga instructor Eric Stoneberg joined the children in Marcus Garvey Park and encouraged them to find their natural stance, stay balanced, and engage in mindful meditation. 


Here We Go, Pono, Here We Go...

This week we headed to Marcus Garvey Park for a very special visit from the FDNY. We met with firefighters and EMTs who explained the important work they do, answered the children's questions, and invited them to sit in an ambulance and a fire engine. Siren, the FDNY's official life safety mascot, greeted the children and they all left with a fire hat and activity book. Thank you to Lieutenant Arlene Simmons for arranging this event!


On Wednesday we boarded the ferry to Governors Island for a visit to the New York Harbor School. We met with Robina Taliaferrow, the education outreach coordinator for the Billion Oyster Project. She explained how students from the school are working to restore one billion oysters to New York Harbor to help filter the water and contribute to the health of the estuary. Robina gave us a tour of the school and later took us to the pier, where she lowered a fish trap into the water and then let the children have a closeup look at the creatures she'd caught, before returning them to the harbor. Later we visited an oyster shell recycling station, where shells donated from NYC restaurants are used as part of the oyster repopulation program. The children also enjoyed operating a bridge simulator, which trains students for operating boats in various maritime conditions. It was a great visit, and we especially enjoyed our commute! 


Mentorship Fridays...

Dr. A returned to Pono to teach the Friday Focus chemistry class. The children studied the periodic table and found elements that have the same letters as their names. Dr. A also showed them substances that contain basic elements, as they began planning for their interactive periodic table project.


This week our songwriting team worked on lyrics with MiAmor Aguirresaenz. Some very catchy tunes can be heard in the Pono space on Fridays!

And now for an update from Julietta on the Friday comic book team: Citizens of Pono, I never imagined this was possible, but this week our Earth Savers were even more heroic. Right-handed Pono friend Roly turned up the heroism several notches by writing and drawing with this LEFT hand! Did he let broken bones stop him? He did not! He rose to the occasion aided by his bravery, flexible attitude, and loyal teammates.


Pono Says Hello...

We hosted an information session on Friday for prospective families. It's always a pleasure to welcome members of the community to Pono!