links to tags

Monday, December 3, 2018

Boston Speaker Series - Jim Comey

Boston Speaker Series
Allison Kornet, US English Teacher and Faculty Advisor to The Vanguard

This group really enjoyed James Comey at Symphony Hall on Monday night. Comey said the purpose of his speaking tour was to drive a conversation and offer a vision of what good leadership looks like. The best leaders, he said, have two trait pairs: they're kind yet tough, and they're confident yet humble. He also talked about two kinds of listeners: "the Washington listener," who lets you speak while he waits to say what he plans to, and the real listener, who understands listening involves silence plus cogitation plus open posture plus nonverbal sounds whose subtext is "You're safe, give it to me, you're safe, give it to me." He said that though he gave money to Romney and McCain, he learned on the job that Obama was the best listener he'd ever encountered... and Trump was the worst. Those were the highlights! Sam Klein Roche and Benjamin Gross-Loh, Vanguard editors who attended, shared the discussion with the editorial board, and now they plan to run an editorial about listening in the January issue. 

Boston Speaker Series - Gloria Steinem

Boston Speaker Series
Allison Kornet, US English Teacher and Faculty Advisor to The Vanguard

Claire Pingitore, Klara Kuemmerle, Sophie Collins Arroyo, and Laila Shadid accompanied me to the Boston Speakers Series at Symphony Hall to hear Gloria Steinem last night (11/19). She was an inspiration! We sat in the balcony afterward discussing what we'd heard until the ushers kicked us out.  

Some great quotes from her:
"Until Congress looks like the country, there's probably something wrong."
"If the laws are unjust, we won't obey them."
On being 84: "At my age, most people are dead!"
"Laughter is the only free emotion... you can't compel it. Never go anywhere they won't let you laugh."
"Kindness must be the single most important quality on earth."
"There's no more reason why everybody with a uterus should be a mother than everyone with vocal chords should be an opera singer."
On the topic of why white married and uneducated women voted for Trump, she quoted Harriet Tubman, who said "I could have freed thousands more if only they knew they were slaves."
"Let's remember Trump is not the president. He lost by 6 million votes. He won by the electoral college, which is a remnant of slavery."
The most progress feminism has had is in our heads and hearts, our consciousness. The least is in the economy. We on't say that equal pay for women would be the greatest possible stimulus we could ever have (which it would be).

Asked to whom she will pass her torch, she said, "I'm not giving up my torch. I'm using it to light the torch of other people. If we're looking at one torch, no wonder we don't know where the hell we're going."

Boston Speaker Series - Lisa Genova

Boston Speaker Series
Allison Kornet, US English Teacher and Faculty Advisor to The Vanguard

In the right balcony of Boston Symphony Hall, Tessa Haining ‘19, Laila Shadid ‘19, Lucy Foot ‘20, and Anna Soloshenko ‘19 await neuroscientist and novelist Lisa Genova’s talk at the first event in the Boston Speakers Series. Lucy and Anna said they left the event feeling ‘so much smarter.’ Laila included this photo in the upcoming issue of The Vanguard with a caption identifying the talk’s highlights.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

UCG Announcement, 2018-2019

We are pleased to announce the following Urban Connection Grants for academic year 2018-2019. BB&N will support seven grants this year, four new connections and three continuing programs. The new grant connections are currently being established and will be implemented throughout the school year. Each grant will connect BB&N students to groups and organizations throughout Cambridge, Boston and the Greater Boston Area.

Boston Speaker Series at Symphony Hall
Allison Kornet, US English Teacher and Faculty Advisor to The Vanguard

Up to 30 Upper School students will have the opportunity to attend part of the 2018-2019 Boston Speaker Series presented by Lesley University at Symphony Hall. This grant will mean seniors in the US Speechwriting and Public Speaking elective and upperclass writers and editors from The Vanguard can listen and learn firsthand from contemporary leaders and thinkers like James Comey, Lisa Genova, Gloria Steinem, Jeb Bush, Jon Meacham, Ian Bremmer, and Jay Leno. After presenting during the first hour of each event, speakers will respond to written questions submitted by audience members, so there is even an opportunity for direct engagement by BB&N students. Senior Speechwriting and Public Speaking students will mind how the pros deliver as closely as what they deliver, and the newspaper staff will follow up on the content of the talks with related reporting, investigation, or commentary in The Vanguard. All students participating in this grant will benefit from this unique Boston-based opportunity and experience the speaker series as an extension of their work at the Upper School.

Faith Traditions in our Community
Sasha Bergmann, MS 3D Art Teacher
Beth Brooks, MS Librarian
Stefanie Haug, MS Counselor
Youssef Talha, MS Language Teacher

Faith Traditions in our Community has piloted an exploratory, interactive workshop with the goal of introducing Middle School students to a variety of faith and religious traditions and spiritual practices. The grant recipients collaborated to bring three Abrahamic faith leaders to the BB&N middle school for a panel discussion with the 8th grade, including Rabbi Natan Margalit, Reverend Matthew Carriker and Islam educator Barbara Sahli. Following the panel discussion and over the course of a few weeks, the 8th grade students and teachers visited a synagogue, a church and a mosque and then reconvened back at school to further explore Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and to reflect upon their experiences. As a result of this grant program, students were provided with a safe, collaborative space in which to learn about religious and faith traditions and spiritual practices similar to and different from their own, to explore key tenets and ceremonies, and to examine the interconnectedness of many world religions. This grant will continue into year two and run the interfaith program with the new 8th grade class.

Gem & Mineral Exhibit
Amy Carey, MS Science Teacher
Michael Ewins, MS Science Teacher
Wendy Svatek, MS Science Teacher and Department Head
Erik Swanson, MS Science Teacher

The goal of the Gem & Mineral Exhibit grant is to establish a new connection with the Harvard Museum of Natural History to support the 8th grade chemistry curriculum. Since the MS science program has developed to include more real-world applications of chemistry, the museum will provide students with the opportunity to examine the extensive variety of minerals in person. Timed with their curriculum study, students will apply their new understanding of bonding and physical properties while exploring the museum exhibit. With participation from the entire MS science department, every 8th grade student will benefit from this new Cambridge-based connection.

NERWHA Symposium, Cities in World History
Suzy Glazer, US History & Social Sciences Department Head and Teacher

BB&N will host the annual New England Regional World History Association symposium at the BB&N Upper School on November, 3rd, 2018 sponsored by the Urban Connections Grant program. The symposium will bring world history educators from all over New England to Cambridge and BB&N for a day of workshops, round table discussion and panels about world cities. Along with being at the US campus, participants will also visit MIT as a result of collaboration between the two Cambridge-based schools. The symposium explores the role cities have played in world history in developing economies, societies, and cultures as well as establishing ties among people. The Upper School history department is committed to facilitating students’ study of the past and present to help them become informed citizens of the future in an increasingly global society. In line with this departmental goal and those of the Urban Connections Grant program, hosting this symposium will act as a way to support educator collaboration, professional development and the understanding and appreciation of BB&N's urban location.

The Latino Network
Dr. Rosario Sánchez Gómez, US Spanish Teacher and Spanish Department Coordinator

The Latino Network will connect BB&N Upper School students of Spanish with bilingual Latino organizations that work directly with Latin American immigrants in the Boston area. This grant aims to provide an opportunity for students to connect with the growing Spanish-speaking population, not only to be able to practice their linguistic and cultural skills but also to participate actively in their community. The Latino Network is currently working to establish partner organizations which will result in the creation of various projects for different Spanish courses as well as service learning opportunities available to all US students. Whether the students interview members of the community for different purposes or work hand in hand with the organization on a specific project, they will engage in a unique connection that aims to expands their course and community service work beyond their classrooms to include the local Latino communities in and around Boston.

Urban Heat Islands: Neighborhood Responses to Climate Change
Karina Baum, Director of Global Education and US Science Teacher

As part of the US Advanced Biology curriculum and BB&N’s continuous commitment to promote global education, this new grant will partner with Boston College Professors and former BB&N parents, Juliet Schor and Prasannan Parthasarathi, and BC PhD candidate Xiaorui Huang to explore the topic of climate change by studying Urban Heat Islands. An UHI is an urban area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities and the built environment. Since BB&N is an urban school, this grant will be relevant to our students and an opportunity to explore the environmental impact on BB&N’s urban surrounding. This grant will include multiple meetings with Professors Schor and Parthasarathi, both at BC and at BB&N, and field research to analyze data on UHI’s in the Boston metropolitan area with a focus on the differences between East and West Cambridge. Student learning will, above all, be positively affected and empowered by experiential outdoor learning, as the classroom is extended to the broader urban setting, and by interacting with academic experts on climate issues, as well as with local residents impacted by the “heat island” effect. This grant is an avenue for BB&N students to examine global education and environmental justice through local resources in the Boston area. Our hope is that through this curriculum, BB&N students will be inspired to take some action to address this problem in our city.

Wampanoag Presence and Impact
Simone Esteves, MS History Teacher

The goal of Wampanoag Presence and Impact is to bring indigenous peoples out of the past and into the present for the Middle School students. This program will continue into year two and connect a new group of 7th grade students to the Wampanoag tribe, including current people, culture and historical sites. Last May, a group of students visited Martha’s Vineyard for the day, a trip comprised of speakers and tours focusing primarily on the Wampanoag experience, perspective and history, and including the history and experiences of African American people on the island. The intended outcome of this program is to emphasize for students that the indigenous experience and influence, particularly in New England, has not only a long history but is still very present. Students will be enabled to make a variety of personal connections to the curriculum and bring their understanding of this history back to life.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Year of Art for Social Change

Art for Social Change
Sasha Bergmann, MS 3D Art Teacher

This year, the Art for Social Change group explored empathy, gender, privilege and gun violence through art created for the BB&N Middle School and the City of Cambridge.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Georgie Badiel Foundation

Young Children as Advocates
Dana Bentley, Beginner North Teacher
Betty Chan, Beginner North Teacher

Today B North did some thinking about our plans for our water project.  As a part of our research, we contacted the education director of the Georgie Badiel Foundation with some research questions.  These questions and the responses from the foundation will help us to frame our action choices for our project.  Our questions and the foundation’s responses are below:

  • Can we mail water to Africa?  This is a very good question and the answer is that it would cost too much money to send water to Africa. So we are trying to make it easier for the people who live there to get water themselves.
  • Can we take a field trip to Africa to dig wells?  You are very wonderful to want to go to Africa to dig wells! My own daughter, Megan, has been to Africa many times to help the people. But she went when she was much, much older than you are. I also went to Africa one Summer. BUT, I think you are still a bit young to go there. And Africa is very far away! Your families would miss you much too much.
  • How can we help you dig a well?  What we really need is money for the supplies and workers who can build the wells in Burkina Faso.  It costs a LOT to build a well. Money will help us build a well or fix a broken well so the people will have water!
  • How will we send a well since it's heavy?  This is a very good question, but I am sorry to say we cannot really mail a well. In Africa, we buy the supplies that we need to build a well and then we get people to dig the well. It is not that easy because we must make sure there is water in the ground before we dig the well.
  • How will we know how to dig a well?  When we dig a new well, we ask a scientist to help us guess a good spot to dig the well. Once she tells us where a good spot is, we start digging. That is a very good question!
  • How many wells do you need?  We need thousands of wells in Africa. We also need to fix thousands of wells that are broken. It is a bit like when your family calls a plumber and she comes to your house to fix the pipes. That is what we do.
  • How do we know where to put a well?  This is a good question, just like your friend was wondering. We ask a scientist to help us guess where a good spot is and she tells us. So far, she has been right every time!
  • How do you know that there's water under there?  Even in very dry places, if we dig down far enough we can often find water. BUT, it is not always true. So that is why we need scientists to help us guess.
  • Can we email Gie Gie and ask if we can help her?  You are very kind to ask this and I have already told her for you that you want to help.
  • How do we know where Gie Gie's house is for us to dig a well?  She's digging wells to help, but she needs water too!  Gie Gie now lives in the United States most of the time and goes home to visit and build wells. I think that she will try to send you pictures of your well this summer so that when you get back to school in September, your wonderful teachers can show you.
  • How can we help?  You already are helping so much! It helps for you to tell all your friends and families about Gie Gie and the Georgie Badiel Foundation. Most people do not know about the water problem is Africa and if you tell them, maybe they will help too! THAT would really help. And we need money to build the wells.
  • Do you need trees too?  We DO need trees! We also use the money people send us to plant moringa trees and mango trees. The trees are good for the people and are also good for the earth!
  • Can we send a tree?  Great question, but you cannot actually send a tree because the kind of trees that grow in Burkina Faso are not for sale here. BUT, we buy them in Africa and plant them.
  • Do trees help?  Trees help a LOT! They give fruit and nutrition to the people, they also help stop the earth(dirt) from blowing away and they also give nice shade for the people to sit in when it is really hot.

After reading these responses, we talked as a class about what this letter told us about our Water Project.  We wondered:

So, we have thought a lot about sending some water there.  Can we mail  the water?
Audrey: No, we can’t.  It’s too heavy and if we got a big box and send it to Africa then it would get out.  And it’s too expensive.
Shreya: They need wells!
Rosemary: And they need money.  But if you want to get money, you need to work.  Work is where the parents go when not at the house.
Charlie: Water can be really heavy.  At my pool in LA something that was fabric got in the pool and it was so heavy!  Like when you have 10 buckets of water, that’s super heavy.
Eleanor: What if they people who work there- they get water and they give everyone who lives there some and go on a little walk or they can drive a car and at home boil it so that it can be clean.  They can use something with small holes to get the things out.
Christopher: we can try to give them some money.  Like going to the bank.  They could try to see if they have enough money to buy water.
Rosemary: If you boil water and put chemicals in it, it will be clean. 
Jace: You can’t mail it because you would have to have a job.  Then we could get money and we could send it to Africa.
Rosemary: We can send materials to make a well, and let Kathy know!

Then we wondered:
Kathy says she needs help to tell Gie Gie’s story, the story of water in Burkina Faso.  
How can we help?
Nyla: Maybe some of the scientists at the science museum could help!  I can tell them maybe this weekend.
Audrey: The scientists at Cape Town could help- like Russell.
Kerem: At Africa there’s just some water.
Thomas: Trees would work to help because there’s water inside trees
Eleanor: I remember that, a long time ago, we got some money.  Dana and Betty didn’t know who we should give it to, or what we could do with it.  And maybe we could give it to Gie Gie and Kathy to dig some wells!

This letter from the Georigie Badiel Foundation is packed with information.  We will keep working and processing this research over the week, as it informs how we take action in the final stages of our project.

Temple Shalom in Newton

Religious Diversity in Greater Boston
Gustavo Carrera, US History & Social Sciences Department Head and Teacher

One student reflected.....

"The synagogue was about to begin renovation on the main worship space in order to better suit the modern needs of the people, while the Islamic center was built fairly recently but was carefully designed to blend traditional and modern elements. Both religions place importance on their religious texts. Both seemed to value reading the text in its original language, instead of or in addition to reading in English."