AP Human Geography Students Experience the Cultural Landscape of NYC!

On 30 January, Mr. Clarke’s AP Human Geography class visited the Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side. The trip provided the class with the opportunity to experience the cultural landscape of New York City. In the heart of the Lower East Side, the synagogue provides a window into the world of Jewish immigrants over 100 years ago. Additionally, our walking tour highlighted Jewish sites as well as the changing world emerging now. We walked along Grand Street, the heart of Chinatown.

Additionally, the class took the LIRR and the subway to the city. This previewed our upcoming urban geography unit.
Thanks to Pat Clarke and Paul Chisholm for accompanying the students. Thanks as well to Pat Clarke for the write-up and the photos!

Wheatley 8th Graders Complete “Round 2” of their Real World Learning Trip to New York City!

On Friday, 25 January, our 8th-grade students enjoyed “part two” of their New York City trip.  Students in Dr. Eckers and Ms. Clarke’s classes arrived at the memorial pools of the World Trade Center before ascending 102 flights to the observation decks of One World Observatory.  On the way up, students experienced interactive walls showing the transformation of Manhattan Island from prehistoric times through today, including the Dutch and English colonial eras, Federalist Era, Industrial Revolution, New Deal, and construction of the original towers.  At the top, students viewed important historic and cultural sites of New York City, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park, Empire State Building, Broadway, City Hall, and Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Manhattan, George Washington, and Verrazzano Bridges,.  The sunny day truly enabled students to “see forever” atop the building.  We were treated to some spectacular views of New York Harbor, the Hudson and East Rivers, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and New Jersey.  Students were impressed with the aircraft flying lower than the building!  After lunch, we walked to and across the Brooklyn Bridge, learning about Roebling, suspension bridges, and the effects of linking two of the world’s great cities in the late 19th century.

Students in Mr. Haig’s and Mrs. Topping’s classes visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where they worked with educators and docents to understand what life was like in immigrant neighborhoods of New York City.  By studying artifacts and walking through the cramped living and working spaces, students could see firsthand the difficulties of “making it” in America.  Perhaps the streets weren’t all “paved with gold,” as the old anecdote goes.  Outside the tenements, our own Mr. Patrick Clarke took groups of students on walking tours of the neighborhood, pointing out famous and significant sites such as the Jarmulowsky Bank, Forward Building, Seward Park, Loew’s Theatre, historic schools, eateries, and streets that were once jam-packed with pushcarts.

All eighth-grade students recently completed units in immigration and city life at the “Turn of the Century,” focusing on the Progressive Era and the growth of New York City.  These trips were excellent opportunities for students to explore the people and places in their textbooks and classroom lessons.  Students in all classes have now taken both trips and are ready to move on to units featuring the United States as a world power.

Thank you to Dr. Eckers for the write-up of this trip! Thank you as well to Dr. Eckers and Mr. Gadamowitz for the photos below!

Italian Club Students Discover “Little Italy” in the Bronx!

When most people think of Little Italy, they often picture Lower Manhattan. On Friday afternoon, however, members of Wheatley’s Italian Club discovered that Arthur Avenue (in the Bronx) is the real Little Italy—filled with authentic edible Italian treasures!

Accompanied by Mrs. Susan Vasselman and Mr. Robert Gadamowitz, 29 Wheatley Students had the opportunity to meet various vendors, varying in novelty shops, delis, pastas shops, bread and pastry shops and an indoor food market and experience their specialties.  The students were warmly greeted by the owner of Mike’s Deli in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. He gave us a demo on the different cheeses he makes at his store and a lesson how they how they should be served.

A further appreciation for the Italian culture was had by all.  Many students cannot wait to go back with their families and show them what a great corner of the Bronx this place truly is.

[Thanks to Mrs. Vasselman for the photos and the write-up!]

Wheatley Students Make Most of their Time in Spain!

Last week, 23 students and four faculty members departed for a week in Spain. Mrs. Martinez has been kind enough to provide some wonderful updates regarding their time in Spain.

Monday, 5 November

Today we took an interesting tour of the Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, the oldest bullring in Spain. We learned about bullfighting and walked behind the scenes as well as out onto the sand where it all occurs. Since we know that it is animal torture, we tried to look at it from a cultural perspective. We learned about the techniques, the clothing, the training, the ceremony, and the profession.
Then we walked along the Guadalquivir River, crossed the bridge, and wandered around the Triana neighborhood. This is the place that the gypsies and flamenco musicians and dancers lived. We went to Mercado de Triana, a food market, and then had some time to get lunch and go to a few shops.
Triana is also where many of the intricate tiles of Spain are made. We went to a big factory store where they are made in big ovens and painted. Many of us bought souvenirs. Then we went to a gourmet food market, el Mercado de la Lonja, for a few snacks.
Dinner was at a restaurant in a lovely round plaza with a fountain. It was a good day, and we have had sunny but chilly weather in the sixties, which is just perfect for walking around all day.

Tuesday, 6 November

Today we visited the Alhambra, a fort and palace built buy the last Muslims that ruled Spain. On the bus ride, we passed orange trees, olive trees, white villages with church steeples, palm trees, cactus plants, and snow capped mountains. We also saw that Spain uses renewable energy, as there were many windmills and solar panels along the way.
During our tour, we learned about the Alhambra, its architecture, how it was used over the years, the life of the sultans and the Spanish Inquisition. There are colorful tiles with patterns and calligraphy among intricate stucco, arches and marble patios with fountains. The vaulted ceilings and views through the windows were breathtaking.

Wednesday, 7 November

Today we took a cooking class. We made salmorejo, a cold tomato soup, similar to gazpacho, but creamier. The main dish was a giant vegetarian paella with snow peas, tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, garlic, peppers, and cauliflower. All of the food was fresh from the market where we took the class. It was delicious. For dessert, we made flan. The kitchens were open and modern. We had a great meal. Everyone was involved in the cooking and preparation, and it was a lot of fun. The class was in Spanish, and the kids handled it very well.
Next, we took a boat cruise down the river. There was a recorded guide in Spanish and English, which explained what we were passing, such as bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava and historical landmarks.We learned about the buildings we were passing and relaxed before heading to our flamenco dance class, which was taught in Spanish as well. We took a class on how to clap and stomp and keep the beat, as well as where flamenco came from and how to call out when the dancer is doing a great job. After the workshop, we went into the dance room and tried to bust a move.
Clearly, our students are having a wonderful experience in Spain! Thank you to Mary Martinez for the terrific and informative updates! Thanks as well to Alison Amarain for the beautiful photos below!

Students Enjoy a Busy First Few Days in Spain!

On Thursday evening, 23 Wheatley students and 4 Wheatley faculty members departed for a week in Spain. The first few days have been filled with activity!

Mrs. Martinez provided the following updates on the first two days:
We went to the Seville Cathedral (built in 1409) and saw Columbus’ tomb, where “less than a hamburger” of his remains lie. Gross, right?!? Next, we climbed to the top of the Giralda bell tower, which is very easy to go up, because it is a ramp. It was originally a minaret for a mosque.
We enjoyed the Plaza de España, ornate with beautiful blue, yellow, and white ceramic tiles. There was a Fiat car show surrounding the fountain, a man blowing giant bubbles, and a flamenco group upstairs, making the atmosphere even more fun.  We took a boat ride; some of us chose a motorboat and some rowed. Next, we found an international food market, and the kids sampled foods from all over the world, including kangaroo.
Mrs. Stein and Alison Amarain provided the following wonderful photos!

ASL Course at Wheatley!

Earlier this evening, we were excited to begin our first-ever American Sign Language (ASL) course at Wheatley! Thanks to the efforts of senior Charlotte Goldbaum and the sponsorship of the Wheatley PTO, we were able to find an experienced ASL educator, Azadeh Malekan, ready to lead participants through the fundamentals of ASL. Through this 10-week course, participants will be able to communicate using ASL at a basic level. This course is open to all community members, and we are thrilled that two dozen participants registered!

I attended the beginning of the first class and was absolutely dazzled by Ms. Malekan’s skill and ability to engage the class!

Vintage Coffeehouse 2018 Dazzles the Audience!

After months of submitting, revising, editing, and proofing, the 48th Edition of Vintage, Wheatley’s student literary magazine, was released amidst great fanfare at Friday evening’s Vintage Coffeehouse. During this wonderful event, students, faculty and family members assembled in Room 450 to hear some of the selections included in this year’s edition and to be entertained by the incredible talents of our students.

A huge “Thank You” and “Congratulations” to our Editor-in-Chief, Vani Kumar, our Junior Editors of Literature, Saman Suleman and Anne Yan, for assembling a wonderful team of editors for this year’s truly remarkable edition. Thank you as well to Rick Allen Wilson, our Faculty Advisor to Vintage.

Performers included:

  • Ally and the Suncats
  • Emma Melnikov
  • Kenton Wu
  • Alekya Bokka and Adeel Anwar
  • Michaela Balboni
  • Robert Boubour
  • Alexandra Levine
  • Spectrum (see Wheatley’s Got Talent 2018)
  • Shruti Goyal and Talia Rosen
  • Kimberly Esquillin
  • Kajal Kapoor
  • Justin Vega
  • Vani Kumar
  • Patrick Brady
  • Halli ArbitalJacoby