Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Artist of the Month: Faith Ringgold


Tar Beach Quilt created by author Faith Ringgold.

Artist, Faith Ringgold
During the months of January and February, students will study the artwork of Faith Ringgold who began her artistic career more than 35 years ago as a painte!. Today, she is best known for her painted story quilts -- art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling. She has exhibited in major museums in the USA, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She is in the permanent collection of many museums including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art. Her first book, Tar Beach was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, among numerous other honors. She has written and illustrated eleven children's books. She has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards and seventeen honorary doctorates, one of which is from her alma mater The City College of New York.

Faith Ringgold is married to Burdette Ringgold and has two daughters, Michele and Barbara Wallace; and three granddaughters, Faith, Theodora and Martha. She is a professor of art at the University of California in San Diego, California.  For more information about Faith Ringgold, click here! To see a video of the author discussing her artwork, click here!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Guitar Program - 2015

Instructor Ayodele Maakheru works with students in the PS4 Guitar Program.
 "We're once again off to a successful start", said Mr. Cantu.  For the sixth year in a row, Midori & Friends has funded our guitar program.  This year, twenty-five students receive guitar lessons from a vivacious instructor named Ayodele Maakheru.  Mr. Maakheru is a musician, composer, performer and teacher.  Not only does he have more than thirty years of experience playing in Broadway orchestras and touring bands, he has recorded two CD's of original music!  Click here to read more about this talented musician!

Students in the guitar program have already learned how to play "Happy Birthday To You" and will be learning how to play "Amazing Grace" in the next few weeks.  They are not just learning how to play musical notes, but are learning how to play chords!  "This year, we have many students who are English Language Learners and we even have two third graders", said Mr. Cantu, Guitar Program Coordinator and ESL Teacher.  "We've also added journals to our lessons so students can write about what they've learned".  The Guitar Program meets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Congratulations to the girls and boys of the PS4 Guitar Program!  We look forward to seeing your first performance in March!

3rd grade musicians Britney M. and Amadou F.

5th Grade musicians

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year! (VIDEO)

Before beginning a well-deserved vacation, 4th and 5th grade students at PS4M enjoyed a New Year's assembly!  With the help of music teacher Mr. Means and classroom teacher Ms. Barnosky, students in class 402 began the assembly with the "12 Days of Christmas".  Fifth grade student Yensy A. provided the slideshow to accompany Social Studies Project Coordinator Ms. Thomas and her student reporters who educated the audience on the various ways cultures around the world celebrate the New Year! 

After an "I Gotta Feelin'" dance presentation from class 520 (under the direction of Physical Education Teacher and Coach, Ms. McArdle), the countdown to the new year began.  "A resolution is a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice beginning on New Year's Day", said Social Studies Teacher Mr. Harrris.  "Before the new year begins, make a list of 5 resolutions that you will try to accomplish...no sugary drinks for me".

From the PS4M/The Duke Ellington School Family to yours, happy new year!  Take a look at the videos below to see our countdown to 2015.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the students, teachers, administrators and staff of PS4M/The Duke Ellington School, happy holidays to all.  Take a look at the slide show below to see some highlights from our many holiday celebrations.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Writing Celebrations at PS4M

How does PS4 acknowledge the achievements of our young writers?  With a celebration, of course!  Take a look at the slide show below to see the photos from 1st and 3rd grade writing celebrations!


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fifty Nifty United States (VIDEO)

Do you know the names of all 50 states in America?  Under the direction of Mr. Means, PS4 Music Teacher, many students in 2nd grade now know all 50 states because of a song called Fifty Nifty United States!  Two students from Ms. Hodge's class performed the song for the entire school during morning announcements with Ms. White, our principal!  They were also asked to perform for parents during a Pre-K workshop! 

Congratulations to Amanda A. and Eva H. from class 202!  Click here to read the lyrics of the song and take a look at the video below to see their performance!  Special thanks to Mr. Means for his expertise in recording and editing!


Fifty Nifty United States from PS4M on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5th Grade Art Club Decorates MJM Tree

Students from the 5th Grade Art Club decorate tree at the Morris-Jumel Mansion.

Instead of the usual holiday decorating style that makes the Morris-Jumel Mansion beautiful and festive, the staff is trying something new entitled “Community Holidays” at MJM. Each of the rooms in the house that George Washington once lived in has a tree in it and the director of this historical house wanted a group of boys and girls from PS4 to decorate one of those trees!

The tree, decorated by the 5th Grade Art Club, is located in the dining room of the mansion!  Four traditions are represented; Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and Three Kings Day.  Students made the garland, ornaments and even the one-of-a-kind Three Kings tree topper to represent the traditions that are celebrated by students at PS4.   

To see the six trees decorated by artists, neighborhood organizations, theater groups and students of PS4, visit the Morris-Jumel Mansion...it's FREE!  Click here to find out more information about the mansion and see the photo/video collage below for highlights of the 5th Grade Art Club's tree decorating event.  Special thanks to Ms. Danielle (MJM Program Director) and especially Carol Ward, Director of MJM, for making sure there's always a place in the mansion for our students.


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