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Friday, May 5, 2017

"How should we strive to communicate as global citizens?"

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

In the first exchange of letters, BB&N students discussed the question: "How should we strive to communicate as global citizens?" To understand the question more deeply, the students broke it into two questions: "What is a global citizen?" and "How should we strive to communicate?"

Students reflected that being a global citizen meant respecting the people and world around you by being understanding. They thought that a global citizen has responsibilities to contribute to and participate in the well being of a community. He, she, or they must take action to improve the world and seek unity.  According to the students, a global citizen should strive to communicate with people around the world, empathize with them, and even meet them. A global citizen must listen and be in thoughtful while trying to connect to others. A global citizen must attempt to avoid bias that separates people while breaking down biases that already exist. A global citizen seeks to inform their own ignorance. A global citizen listens and seeks to apply what they learn.

Some students reflected on how they felt after receiving letters back from their pen pals:
“It made me feel good because our pen pal was so eager to learn about us and for us to learn about her. She was so careful to answer all of our questions and ask plenty too.” –Caroline
“If I had met them for the first time in person [instead of writing to them], I would hold biases because I would think we didn't have many similarities. However, after reading this letter, I realize that they're very similar to us, and there isn't a difference between us even though society often labels us as coming from different groups.” –Colin
“I thought our pen pals would be very different people with different personalities. But, after reading the first letters, my pen pal seems a lot like me, and someone I would want to be friends with.” –Tait
“After reading the first letter, I realized we enjoy the same things because many stereotypes I know reinforce our differences." –Dylan
“I thought our pen pals would be very formal and proper because I didn't know what they teach you in an Islamic school. When I received my letter, my pen pal wrote in ‘text language’ and spoke just like me. Even though we have different religions, we still can have so many other similarities" –Charlotte
"We have so many similarities with our pen pal. This is surprising because I thought he would be very different from us" –Beau

Art for Social Change Slideshow

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

Visit the Art for Social Change slideshow presented to the Middle School faculty in March 2017.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How should people strive to communicate as global citizens?

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

Sixth grade students have begun correspondence with their pen pals at Al-Noor Academy as the first step in our spring project. The students discussed in class how to write a thoughtful introductory letter in order to get to know someone and build initial bridges of communication.

To prepare, students searched Al-Noor Academy’s website to see what their community was like and learn about the school’s mission and values. They watched videos posted on the school’s home page, read about when the school was founded, and compared the two schools for similarities and differences in curriculum. Teachers then grouped the 55 sixth graders to write to their Pen Pal and engage in the collaborative writing and drafting process.

Their final letters were sent to Al-Noor, and the students are anxiously awaiting responses. Overall, students are excited and anticipating the correspondence and ultimately their meeting to create the mural together. Al-Noor students will write letters back to BB&N students initiating the conversation regarding this year’s theme: How should people strive to communicate as global citizens?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Urban Connections Grant Reflection

"I feel like receiving the Urban Grant demonstrates the school's commitment to support young people at BB&N as they grow towards the aspiration of being global citizens. In considering how to be a part of the vast and complicate world, local and personal connections are foundational to understanding what community is and how to build positive relationships. The hope is when these values are fostered throughout the student experience that young people will leave this community with the ability and desire to impact the world with positive change."

Stevie Olson
Urban Connections Grant Recipient
Grade 6 Homeroom and Social Studies Teacher

Monday, March 6, 2017

Visit to the Natural History Museum at Harvard University

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

Global Ecology program visit to the
Natural History Museum at Harvard University

At the start of a  three hour visit to the Museum, the students were given a two page challenge guidesheet titled “Wondering” around the Museum.  This was designed to have the students not only locate certain exhibits but use a science-based enquiring, curious approach and attitude.  


The students were set up in groups of four and allowed to explore for a time on their own with Drs. Baum and Zook periodically visiting/conversing with the groups at various exhibits.

Emphasis was placed on students making connections to ecology while observing and often marveling at the themes of evolution and comparative zoology. Visits to the tropical and temperate forest areas connected to previous times in the Program, wherein the importance of trees to the biosphere were prioritized.

Dr. Joe Martinez, who is a herpetologist, science educator, and curator at the Museum shared several specimens including passing around a crocodile jaw bone and a preserved specimen of a high altitude toad from central America now believed recently extinct, likely due in part to anthropogenic climate change.


Students also had opportunities to visit the rock/mineral area where the importance of stromatolites in the history of early life on earth was stressed.  The visit concluded with the students sharing their “wow” museum content moments during the visit while meeting together in the climate change-theme room of the Museum.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Visit to Boston University and Hall's Pond

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

Global Ecology program visit to Boston University to learn about their eco-sustainability efforts, actions, goals

Students were welcomed by Dr. Zook at the Boston University School of Education to start a three-hour visit focused on ways that the University is working to reduce its carbon footprint while increasing its contribution to building a healthier biosphere. Dr. Zook first presented some background on the continuing and growing environmental crises globally, focused particularly on the continued excess use of fossil fuels and plans by oil, gas, and coal companies to extract millions of tons more with very dangerous consequences. He then shared examples of what many eco-sustainability grassroots leaders are doing in countries around the world. These included the work of Nobel Prize winning Wangari Maathai from Kenya, Ruth Buendia from Peru, and Bunker Roy from the Barefoot College in India.  


This was followed by an arranged visit by senior student Ryan Peters from the Boston University Sustainability Office.  He shared what his work involves and pointed out the various projects BU is working on to reduce carbon emissions.  His participation was significant, for he is someone close to the age of the students and thus represents in part a role model for ecology/environmental thinking.

We then visited the George Sherman Student Union Dining area where the students received a tour of the as led by Dining Services Sustainability Director David Frank.  

The last leg of the experience involved taking the students on a  walk to a nearby urban green sanctuary, Hall’s Pond.  Dr. Zook shared its history as being the founding site of the Massachusetts Audubon Society more than 150 years prior and its importance today as a “pocket park,” highlighting the ecological, aesthetic, and psychological importance of nature in urban areas. The students were led into the beautiful nature area, observing some wildlife as well as the characteristic plants.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Discovering Cambridge Club

Captivating Historical Haunts
Beverly Malone, Director of Teacher Training Institute

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Discovering Cambridge Club went to two houses today.  The first was Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson House at 29 Buckingham Street. He started the “Miss Markham School” by hiring Jeanette Markham to tutor his daughter Margaret Higginson.  The school was later incorporated as The Buckingham School.  The Markham Building is still standing - on the first floor was the school and the second floor served as her home. Colonel Higginson was a dedicated abolitionist.  He risked his life to help Anthony Burns (a slave) escape from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  During the civil war, Higginson was a colonel to the first black regiment in South Carolina.  In later life he worked for women’s rights.

We then went to Emery T. Morris House at 30 Parker Street.  He worked with W.E.B. DuBois and Clement Morgan to start the Niagara Movement, which was an early civil rights organization.  He collected one of the largest antislavery libraries in New England.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The Discovering Cambridge Club had a fun trip to the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House located at 159 Brattle Street.  The group was decked out in authentic 1775 cloaks hand sewn by Beverly Malone.

This house is the second oldest house in Cambridge and was originally built in 1685. 
The Cambridge Historical Society now has its headquarters there.  They were extremely hospitable – having a reenactor tell the story of several centuries through the use of our senses.  We were able to hear, smell, see, feel and even taste what it would be like in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries through this “witness” house.  Tasting molasses and gingersnaps, smelling rum and listening to quacking ducks during the early years were highlights.  Smelling old fireplaces, used tobacco or listening to noise from wagons were not as enjoyable.


We checked out the large baking oven in the fireplace, 

found out that Judge Joseph Lee was a Loyalist (Tory) during the American Revolution and fled from the house at the beginning.  Another man by the name of Cornelius Waldo made most of his money from the slave trade and from buying and selling rum.  

Representing the 19th and 20th centuries we were able to inspect fancy wallpaper and even see an original stamp tax.  We also found out that Cambridge has manufactured over 29 different candies – including Charleston Chew, Junior Mints, Sugar Daddies, Squirrel Brand Nuts, Fig Newtons, NECCO wafers and Tootsie Rolls. Who would have known that Cambridge was a leading “Candy Land.”?  We also found out that Cambridge is also known for its inventions including the Poloroid Land camera, sewing machines, Doppler Radar, first computer game, GPS, World Wide Web, stereo speakers and even the Zip Car.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017
The Discovering Cambridge Club began exploring the rich historical area around the Lower School.  This group of grade 5 and 6 students started their investigations by scrutinizing Dr. Percy W. Bridgman’s House located on the Lower School property at 10 Buckingham Place.  Dr. Bridgman was a Harvard professor and Noble Prize winner in Physics.  He was the fifth American to be honored with this award for doing research in high pressure physics.  The group of students examined every inch of the house.  The most intriguing area was the basement in which they discovered “horsehair” plaster  (known as Lath and Plaster) and a few eight legged creatures of the order Araneae.

The Bridgman House is now home to BB&N’s Communications office, School Counselor and Teacher Training Institute on the second floor, and the After School Program on the first floor. A few spiders are nestled in the basement.