Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Ellington Poets Perform At The Langston Hughes Festival (VIDEO)

The Ellington Poets with Principal Stevens and Mr. Cantu
To celebrate and honor the legendary American writer and poet, Langston Hughes, school children from grades K Through 6 attend and view poetry, music, and theatrical plays at the annual City College Langston Hughes Festival at Aaron Davis Hall in Harlem!  In what has become a school tradition, this is the fifth year in a row that the Ellington Poets Society has performed at this festival!

The Ellington Poets curriculum includes studying famous American Poets like Langston Hughes. This year, the poets performed original spoken word in response to reading and discussing various of Langston's finest poetic verse. The poem they wrote and performed was titled "Langston PRIDE" as an ode to practicing positivity, respect, integrity, determination and excellence as part of the PBIS/Character Education System we practice at the Duke Ellington School. "Of course they were inspired by Langston Hughes", says Ellington Poet Director and Arts Coordinator for PS4M, Mr. Cantu.  "Not only his poetic wonder... but also for the character with which he lived his life".

To read some poems by Langston Hughes, click here!  For more information about the Langston Hughes Festival, click here.  Take a look at the video below to see the Ellington Poets perform!


The Ellington Poets Perform At The Langston Hughes Festival - 2017 from PS4M on Vimeo.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Jazz & Civil Rights Show


Band leader and pianist Samora, plays for students during a Jazz and Civil Rights Show in the auditorium.

What does jazz music have to do with civil rights?  Students, teachers and parents assembled in the auditorium for the third and final assembly from the Jazz and Democracy Project.  The project helps the scholars make connections between democracy and jazz in a historical perspective. It is a music integrated curriculum that utilizes jazz as a metaphor to bring American democracy to life, enrich the study and teaching of U.S. history, government, civics and culture, and inspire youth to become active, positive contributors to their communities.

At this Jazz and Civil Rights Show, more than two hundred audience members learned about the origin of "Spirituals" and how they helped people in coping with the obstacles and struggles that came with the slavery experience. Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619.

As part of the Ellington P.R.I.D.E. Arts Series, organized by PS4's Arts Coordinator Mr. Cantu, students have been learning about the history of jazz music. When asked about how the arts help our students, Mr. Cantu said, "our students are able to make connections with everyday personal conflicts that they may have in their own lives..they find ways to cope with problems by using music or art".  To see photos from a Jazz & Democracy Show done in Novembers, click here!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Isabella and Benny Win Town Hall Contest


Benny and Isabella (front row, wearing white) pose with other contest winners at the award ceremony on May 10th.

Congratulations to Isabella R. and Benny C. from class 402!  They received an award certificate and $50 from the Town Hall for their Black History Month essays!  Six winners were selected out of hundreds of entries from all over New York City!  Their winning essays will be featured on The Town Hall website, for one year.  Click here to visit the website!

Each year, The Town Hall, a performance space, located at 123 West 43rd Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, presents a series of performances - sponsored by Con Edison - in celebration of Black History for public school children. Every school district in the five boroughs is invited to attend, and seats are filled on a first- come, first-served basis. The Black History Celebration consists of daytime performances, offered free of charge to public school classes in grades three through eight, and their teachers.  Following the concert, they hold a Black History Month Poster and Essay Contest for children who attended the performances. The contest encourages children to think critically about the performance, as well as express themselves through words and pictures.

Special thanks to Benny and Isabella's teacher, Dr. Thomas, for providing the quality teaching that helped to inspire winning essays year after year.  Congratulations!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ellington Poets Will Perform At The Apollo On June 6th


Members of the Ellington Poets Society, comprised of students from 4th and 5th grade.

The Ellington Poets Society, directed by Mr. Cantu, were selected to perform at the Manhattan Borough Performing Arts Showcase at the Apollo on June 6th!  After sending an audition video to Rachel Shapiro, Director of Arts for NYC Department of Education, the poets were selected to perform as part of the festival! Congratulations, poets!

The festival showcases the wonderfully diverse talents of our students and schools across the island of Manhattan.  NYC School Chancellor Carmen Fariña kicked off the third annual Borough Arts Festivals, on May 5th.  The series of visual and performing arts events in each borough provide platforms for nearly 2,700 students from over 460 schools to showcase their work from the school year. The borough arts festivals take place at art galleries, theaters, museums, and other cultural locations across the City, and host families and community members.

“The arts are an essential part of all students’ comprehensive education, and this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the many talents of New York City students and teachers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “The arts are not frills, instead they inspire us and reenergize us. I congratulate the talent and creativity of our students and urge community members to join in celebrating their achievements.”  To see a video of highlights from last year's festival, click here!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

PS4 Students Donate Clothes To New Immigrant Families

5th presidents and Student Government Organization Advisor, Ms. Lennon, stand with clothing donations.

Led by members of PS4's Student Government Organization, students from Pre-K to 5th grade collected more than 140 pounds of new and gently used clothes!  Those donations went to Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services; an organization that supports families who have newly immigrated to the United States.  Click here to learn more about this organization!

The Student Government Organization is advised by Ms. Lennon (Technology Teacher) and comprised of presidents and vice presidents from each 3rd, 4th and 5th grade class.  Student members voted to support new immigrants as one of their many service learning projects.  From March 20 to May 1st, members gave speeches and flyers to their classmates in an effort to collect clothes and shoes for babies, children and adults.   Congratulations to PS4's Student Government Organization for another successful service-learning project!

Donation collection bins in the lobby.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

PS4's Film Club

Mr G shows Film Club members how to use cameras.

PS4's Film Club had it's first session on March 20th!  Twenty students were hand selected because of their achievements in technology to be part of this club which meets in the computer lab, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5pm.  Led by director, writer, producer and teaching artist Roderick Giles, or "Mr. G.," students will create a narrative on the topic they chose during the first few sessions.  Members of the Film Club then began working on content before being given camera equipment, as it supports the flow process of creating a finished piece.  Currently, they are filming and editing scripted performance projects putting an emphasis on different issues that many young people face in the community such as peer pressure, identity and academic responsibility.  Their final production will be shown to the school community in June.

Film Club members learning how to use cameras.

Notes on a white board show elements of the story that club members are filming.

Special thanks to Branden Baskin from Vivid Imagination Program for bringing this innovative program to PS4!  Click here to learn more.  For more information about this program, contact Mr. Cantu.