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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Art for Social Change Field Trip

BB&N MS Guerrilla Artists Meet Public Art in Cambridge
Sasha Bergmann, MS 3D Art Teacher

Today we had a successful field trip today to Kendall Square, (Binney & 3rd to be more exact), and the Garment District with my Art for Social Change Elective.  We explored this outdoor space for our 'Cambridge' location for our current Empathy Shoe exhibit that is currently up at BB&N Middle School.  

We had a very productive conversation about how to present our idea in a non-ceiling site when our original idea was to do a chandelier of shoes, without losing integrity for our idea.  Our current plan is to make a large standing word out of shoes. We tried it out with our bodies, making the word ACCEPT.  We are curious about how to express empathy in this country's current political climate.  We have not settled on what word/s yet.  We have research to do for materials and costs and we also need to put together a proposal for the Cambridge Artist Council for this Kendall Square space which is a designate open space for Public Art.


After we finished in Kendall Square, we stopped off at the Garment District and purchased 25 pounds of shoes for our continued sculpture experience.  

It was a great time!!  If we would have had more time, I would have treated them to ice cream... next time!!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

6th Grade Pen Pals, Al-Noor Academy and BB&N

Sixth Grade Pen Pal and Mural Project
Leila Huff, Grade 6 Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher
Stevie Olson, Grade 6 Homeroom and Social Studies Teacher
Berhane Zerom, Grade 6 Homeroom and Math Teacher

As sixth grade students prepare to
begin their pen pal writing experience with Al-Noor Academy in Mansfield, MA, they decided to reach out a little earlier than usual this year after the presidential election. In Social Studies class, the students talked a lot about the negative rhetoric that drove the campaigns and they felt that it was important to reach out to their pen pals and build a connection sooner than years past in order to begin building relationships that would foster a healthy community.  Although returning students from Al-Noor Academy are familiar with the BB&N campus, our sixth graders are altogether new to this relationship and are excited to begin communicating even though our art collaboration doesn’t occur until the spring. Below is the letter sent to Al-Noor students and the pictures BB&N students saw from last year’s exchange. They are anxiously awaiting correspondence back!


Dear Al-Noor Academy Sixth Grade Students,
Greetings and salutations! We are the Buckingham Browne & Nichols 6th Grade students. There are 55 students in our grade, and we are split up into three different classes.
We are writing to you because we want to share parts of our community and learn about your community. As a grade, we are truly excited to learn about you and your school. Our Social Studies teacher Mr. Olson told us about last year’s pen pal and mural project, and we are looking forward to participating in a similar experience.
In our school, we have several subjects such as Social Studies, Language Arts, Math, Science, Arts, World Languages, Technology, and Study Hall. Sometimes during Study Hall our teachers will use the time for extra learning, such as social emotional skills and organizational strategies. We also have Community Time where we participate in assemblies or have Buddies and One World Club. Buddies is when we are paired up with younger students, and we do different projects with them. One World Club is our community service club for sixth graders. We were wondering what subjects you have at your school. Are your subjects different from ours?
A typical day at BB&N includes a lot of learning and many extracurricular activities. It is mandatory for everyone to pick a sport each season. We have three seasons of sports each year. The fall season had many sports such as soccer, field hockey, volleyball, cross country, football, and health and fitness. We are excited for the winter sports, which started yesterday. We haven't reached the spring yet--obviously--but we are super excited to. Our grade is wondering what extracurricular activities your school offers.
At BB&N we are currently learning about many interesting topics. In Social Studies, we are focusing on racial inequality relating to current events. In Language Arts, we have just finished active reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. In Math, our current unit has consisted of learning how to find the volume and surface area of a three dimensional figures. Also, in Science, we are wrapping up a unit on cell metabolism and how cells make proteins. What are some of the topics you are learning about in your different subjects?
All of the BB&N students are so excited to write letters and eventually meet you! We hope to see you soon! Write back when you can.

The BB&N Sixth Graders




Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Museum of Science, Boston

Museum of Science, Boston
Kelley Schultheis, MS Science Teacher
Gus Means, MS Math Teacher

We’ve had a busy fall with our Museum of Science Urban Connections Grant. In October, the entire 7th grade went on an epic adventure to the Museum. The focus of the trip was teamwork and homeroom bonding. In addition, we learned a little science along the way. We started the day with a high-tech scavenger hunt across the museum using iPads and an app called Klikaklu.

After the scavenger hunt, students tried their hands at the Museum’s Design Challenge Station. The challenge of the day was to design and build a claw that could pick up the most toys. There was serious competition, particularly among the math and science teachers. We capped our adventure with a lightning show in the Theater of Electricity. During the finale, our very own, Mr. Means, put his own life on the line to test the laws of physics. He climbed into the cage with the presenter as it was struck by lightning! Luckily he lived to tell the tale.

In November, we expanded our Museum and BB&N connection by hosting our first ever school-wide Family Knight. We had about 80 BB&N families, including faculty and staff families, join us for an evening of fun and science. Please visit this BB&N article to learn more about the Family Knight:

We are looking forward to our traveling program in February. The Museum will be bringing some extreme temperatures to the Big Room on 80 Sparks. Stay-tuned to hear about our next science adventure!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Visit from Jeanette Markham

Captivating Historical Haunts
Beverly Malone, Director of Teacher Training Institute

Beginner teachers Dana Bentley and Betty Chan and intern Ashley Woodbury invited Bev Malone and Rebecca Upham to "share" a small portion of BB&N's history. So, on December 5th, Bev Malone dressed as Jeanette Markham, founder of the Buckingham School. She first showed the children artifacts and pictures about the school and then traveled to 46 Belmont Street to view the BB&N timeline.

Please visit this BB&N article to learn more:  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Art for Social Change Moves into Cambridge

BB&N MS Guerrilla Artists Meet Public Art in Cambridge
Sasha Bergmann, Middle School Art Teacher
Urban Connections Grant
Fall 2016

Save the Turtles
We hope our sculpture brings awareness to our unconscious overuse of plastic and how it harms the sea animals… and humans.

Artists: Ellie Berman, Tali Beckhardt, Zoe Berman,
Naomi Wang, Claire Sun Woo Chu, Emma Worthington
(Facilitator: Ms. Bergmann)

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and ingestion or entanglement in marine debris. Marine debris is manmade waste that is directly or indirectly disposed of in oceans, rivers, and other waterways.

Additionally,  ... plastics take thousands of years to decay. As a result, fish and wildlife are becoming intoxicated. Consequently the toxins from the plastics have entered the food chain, threatening human health.
Beginning with Ideas:

We collected Plastic
from our Middle School Community:
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Building the Sea Turtle together:
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Juxtapose Life & Death by
Planting Seeds on Top of the Turtle:
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Installation of the Project:
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The Turtle is Installed under the Deck of the Arts Building at BB&N Middle School.
Our Final Project:
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Report on Global Ecology program visit to the Arnold Arboretum

Global Ecology Education: Creating a Path to Sustainability & Leadership
Karina Baum, Director of Global Education and US Science Teacher

Global Ecology Education Initiative, Boston University
Buckingham Browne & Nichols

In our continuing Global Ecology journey, students from my Advanced Biology classes met Dr. Zook at the world-renowned Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain for  a three hour field trip experience.

Given that our emerging program theme centers around the importance of key ecosystems such as forests to the current and future health of the biosphere, this experience was designed to familiarize and personalized students with trees and their relevance to the biosphere.

In an introductory walk, we pointed out key features of certain trees and highlighted global ecological concepts such as succession, biodiversity, albedo, adaptive characteristics, and evolutionary history. We engaged students through series of questions, to which they contributed their ideas and thoughts. Indeed, many questions we posed meant to foster thinking and making connections, rather than simply looking for a single word, statement, or fact.

With some tools - hand magnifying lenses, microviewers and some other resources - the students broke into smaller groups. Each team received a series of challenge questions to work on and discuss at different selected trees.  Indeed, the student groups had to locate their respective tree by using photo cards depicting different parts of the tree. This fostered immediate physical engagement, curiosity, and student collaboration. Dr. Zook and I then went around to visit the different groups, periodically posing a question or idea and helping to keep everyone focused, albeit always in a non-stressful, experiential learning mode.


Students later gave brief presentations of their tree discoveries based on the challenge questions. This was followed by a full group picnic on the grass near the magnolia trees prior to departure. Initial observations lead us to conclude that learning is greatly enhanced in instances such as this one, where students leave the classroom to directly interact with the studied theme. This seems especially true when concerning a different life form that deserves our respect, fosters ecological kinship, and demonstrates real application to our lives as humans.