During the summers of 2017 and 2018, several 3rd and 4th grade teachers participated in a weeklong workshop on “Imaginative Inquiry” (which was generously paid for by the PTA). “Imaginative Inquiry” is based on a pedagogical approach developed by Dorothy Heathcote in England. Imaginative Inquiry draws on children’s capacity and inclination to pretend and incorporates drama into the curriculum.
In both Sally and Laura and Katherine’s third grade classes, students periodically take imaginary journeys to “Asanteland” at a particular point in time to witness and learn about the culture and history. (Sally and Laura’s class travels by time machine while Katherine’s class travels by way of a magic treehouse.) In Asanteland, they see and meet different people – perhaps a chief, a merchant, or a storyteller.
One question that had been brought up by Bess, in Katherine’s class, was why they had only seen male craftspeople. In Asante culture, kente weaving, adinkra stamping, goldweight sculpting, and stool carving are all done by men. So on their last journey, they set off to find out what women do and discovered two Asante women potters – Akosua (meaning born on a Sunday) and Adowa (meaning born on a Monday).
Adowa demonstrated how to make a coil pot and Akosua explained the Asante practice of making funeral heads as a way to remember and honor those who had died. Students will see these heads for themselves at the Metropolitan Museum this week. Akosua and Adowa (played by Eiley and Libi from Jess and Carrie’s class) then answered students’ questions about the pottery-making process.
This experience hopefully gives the 3rd graders a greater appreciation for the art and cultural artifacts they will see at the museum as well as inspiration for what they might create themselves. And it gives the 4th graders an opportunity to take on the role of expert and teacher. It is a marvelous example of powerful teaching and learning: traveling to Asanteland while staying right here at BNS!
May all of you enjoy your travels and your families and your homes near and far. I hope you will be able to spend the next two weeks slowing down and appreciating your beautiful children.
See you in 2020,
Quote of the Week:
When Gabriel Gesualdi’s mom asked how Doug’s kindergarten class trip to Shore School was, Gabriel responded, “It was great! Mom, every day is like that. They’re all great days.”
Monroe, our UNICEF activist, writes:
Greetings to everyone,
The total money counted from both pick-ups was $2057.43
Please thank the students of the Brooklyn New School for their commitment and energy in helping UNICEF to continue to do its life-saving work with children throughout the world.