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Greetings from CS!

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GREETINGS FROM THE COMPUTER SCHOOL

 

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year, one that will help us build our Resilience - this year's school-wide theme. Over the summer we began considering how we cope with adversity, maintain our goals, support one another, and stay strong in spite of challenging circumstances. The all-community read, Just Mercy, among our other Summer Reading choices, helped us explore varying contexts in which we can recognize and strengthen our resilience. Throughout the year we will be revisiting the theme through writing prompts, activities, conversations, projects, community building, and much more.

To begin walking down the same path, we will begin the year connecting our community through our Remote Orientation days. We'll present the Computer School Community Behavior Matrix to our new 6th graders, we'll conduct summer reading discussion groups, we'll break the ice, show school spirit, and review how our classes will work. We will also schedule Listening Conferences with all parents and guardians so we can know how to best support students and families as we navigate our new learning landscape. We will plan a few more outdoor get-togethers and virtual CS events that will get us grounded as we forge ahead through the middle school universe! 

 

Learning Outside the Classroom (stay tuned for an update!)

In addition to our exciting and stimulating classroom activities, we connect with cultural institutions and the vast array of learning opportunities afforded to us by virtue of living in NYC. Our 6th and 7th graders have visited historic Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center, and New York Historical Society as part of their study of the Road to the American Revolution, and have walked through the biodiversity of the Upper West Side. Our 8th graders began the year with two exciting off-site learning opportunities--investigating Earth Science and further igniting their passion for the environment as they sailed on the Clearwater Sloop, and investigating the power of words through a writing retreat at Teachers College. 

Through our partnership with The New Victory Theater, our 6th and 7th graders will soon view a live performance of 42FT; 8th graders will see Cartography, as well as attending an Alvin Ailey performance this winter, with more to come.

 

What We’re Reading (and more to come...)
6th and 7th graders are starting off the year with units on Identity and Community: How does conflict affect individuals and community? How do writers express themes of “self” and “identity” in their work?  How do a writer’s literary choices affect a reader’s experience? A touchstone text is The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, a coming of age story written in verse. We'll also explore how our individual and collective memories shape who we are today and our future through the enigmatic, dystopian text, The Giver by Lois Lowry. Students will also create Minecraft worlds based on The Giver.

8th graders will venture into their identities, asking how we become who we are? To what extent does race, culture, and nationality influence our identities? What else influences how we define ourselves? Our touchtone text is I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib. We then dissected the concept of power, and where it lies, forming our own queries inspired by reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. We are considering how historical context, gender, status, and relationships affect one’s power.

 

Building Community
As always, each grade, as well as mixed groups of students, will engage in activities that help them feel included, supported, and connected to their classmates. Students will have opportunities to collaborate, make new friends, and feel inspired by their new experiences.  

 

All School Meetings
As the 8th graders embrace their leadership roles within and outside of the CS community, they also lead our All School Meetings (ASMs.) In doing so, they write and direct performances that foster the values and mission of CS, help us to encourage our peers, and deepen our compassion for one another and our collective cultures. ASM's afford opportunities for eighth graders to showcase their talents and their voice, to celebrate the academic and creative achievements of the community, and to keep our school spirit high. We will kick off the year with an energetic welcome that will help us adjust to a new year - and for 6th graders to a new school, followed by an ASM celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month! 

We'll continue working as a community to engage all learners, inside and outside the classroom. Thanks, as always, for sharing your children with us.

 

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