Kids Brush up on Creativity at TNCS Summer Camp with the Painting Workshop!

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Elisabeth Willis, Painting Workshop and TNCS Art Instructor

Summer sessions at The New Century School continue with an exciting block of camps hosted by The Painting Workshop. Led by TNCS art teacher Elisabeth Willis, art camp gives kids the chance to learn new techniques and try out new media while tapping into and expressing their creativity. Each day, they work on one painting/project as well as get lots of free-drawing time and afternoon crafts. Their sole job is to make art, and they really give themselves over to the process.

As the artist-campers experiment with colors, patterns, and brush maneuvers to their hearts’ content, Ms. Willis moves through the classroom, responding to questions and comments. “What do yellow and orange make? What about blue and pink and white?” they might ask. “Why don’t you try it out?” is the unfailingly encouraging response. This camp emphasizes exploration and the freedom to self-express and get creative . . . and even a little messy sometimes!

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Crafting!

Despite all the “self-expression,” going on, the atmosphere is calm and productive. Spills and accidents are handled without fuss, and the kids are gently reminded to keep working until they finish. Ms. Willis is no stranger to the art classroom and brings an impressive amount of experience to her role. She has both a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art History and a Masters in Art and Teaching from Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA). She freelanced after graduating in 2011 to spend time on her art, has spent several years with The Painting Workshop, and took over as TNCS art teacher this year.

Typical Day

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Sample creature and habitat

The day starts out with free draw (and each child gets a folder to collect their drawings to bring home at week’s end). About midmorning when everyone has gotten the wiggles (and the squiggles) out, they move on to the main project of the day. Ms. Willis gives step-by-step instructions and demonstrations, and campers get to it. One day recently, for example, Ms. Willis was exploring habitats in three dimensions. she sketched out a model on the whiteboard and then demonstrated how to model a figure (e.g., animal, alien, made-up creature, person) in clay (neon hued, naturally. The next task was to build a habitat for the figure out of paper, felt, pipe cleaners, beads, etc.; their challenge was to give the structure height. Each camper met the challenge but their habitats share almost nothing else in common!

 

Hard at work, painting away

Hard at work, painting away.

Schedule

Each week features a different theme to spark kids’ imaginations and get the creative juices flowing.

Week 1 (June 20–24): Art and Nature The outside world comes alive in this camp where we are inspired by nature. From leaf rubbings and clay pressings, to plein-air painting, and sponge paintings of trees, we celebrate nature through our art!

Week 2 (June 27–July 1): Art and Science Environmental science, chemistry, geology and geography can all be accessed through art. Whether we are making casts of dinosaur bones, or combining various ingredients to make lava for a volcano or to create the best goo, the most pliable clay, or a resistant glue, science is present, and art is the result. We’ll have lots of fun projects, experiments, and fun in this week of camp!

Week 3 (July 5–July 8): Modern Art and You Join us as we explore the world of modern art. From Andy Warhol’s soup cans to Robert Rauschenberg’s constructions, Jackson Pollack’s drip paintings to Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture, we will take a look at their techniques and ideas to inspire our own. Abstract art, conceptual art, collage, sculpture, multi-media, drawing, and painting are all covered in this fun and inspiring class.

Week 4 (July 11–15): Art Around the World Let’s take a trip around the world, exploring art as we go. Stop in Australia and discover aboriginal art. Create your own ancient Greek vase. Explore the calligraphy and printmaking of Japan, the Batik textiles of Indonesia, the landscapes of France and Italy. Art and culture—around the world!

tncs-painting-workshop-summer-campWeek 5 (July 18–22): Under the Sea Water covers more than two thirds of our planet. Within it, we find amphibious life of all description and fauna and flora that exist only in the mysterious world of the sea. This camp celebrates the waters of planet Earth through painting, drawings, sculpture, and—of course—the use of water in art projects! The geology of the ocean, the uses of the ocean, the wonder of the sea—it’s a watery week of imaginative fun!

Week 6 (July 25–29): Creatures Great and Small The world of animals, insects, and birds is magical and inspiring. Join us as we use art to both represent and interpret the animal world. From basic paintings of dogs and cats, to sock monkey puppets, to animal habitats (think jungles and the sea!), we will explore the lively and mysterious world of the creatures that share our planet. Camp may include a visit from a friendly canine, or a lesson from Brittany Roger of The Drawing Zoo, who brings reptiles to drawing classes! Join us for this lively and entertaining week!

Week 7 (August 1–5): Let’s Build! Sculpture Camp This sculpture class incorporates not just clay, but also wood, paper, plaster, and more. Students learn how to build armatures, so that their creations are strong and sturdy, and how to add the finishing touches with paint. We might build something realistic—a rocket ship, a house, an animal—or it could be something abstract such as a beautiful assemblage of colors and shapes. Stretch your imagination and your skills in this fun class!

Week 8 (August 8–12): Art and Stories What are the stories we tell about our paintings? What are the paintings we create from stories? Older campers will write their own stories and poems, while younger ones can create a backdrop to stories told to them, read to them, or created out of their imagination. We will explore graphic design, illustration, painting, drawing, printmaking, and collage. There will even be a visit from a professional storyteller! Join us for a fun and creative week of words, stories, tall tales, and art!

Week 9 (August 15–19): Space Camp What do we see when we look into outer space? Stars, comets, planets, and aliens! Beautiful constellations, fascinating planet mobiles, our own spaceships—anything is possible in this fun week of space exploration!

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Cotton swab loom!

Would you like to register your child(ren) in this engaging and creative camp? Please go here.

Kids Get It Together at TNCS Lego Camp!

This week at The New Century School, elementary-age summer campers have been locked in . . . or, rather, they have been locking in LEGO® bricks at Bricks4Kids Camp! This enterprise provides hands-on, multi-sensory classes for kids to play and build with LEGOs®. While they immerse themselves in imaginative creation, they also learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fundamentals by working with models created by engineers and architects.

TNCS’s LEGO camp is run by Michele Rigatuso, who is not only the camp instructor but also a big fan.”I couldn’t be happier doing this camp,” she said. “I love hanging out with kids and teaching them, but working with LEGOs allows me to take a step back and let them learn by exploring.” She explained that the kids are learning with everything they are doing—architecture as they build, math as they count pieces and pegs for accurate placement, engineering as they introduce function to a structure.

“Technic” bricks bring even another layer of complexity. This line by LEGO allows kids to create more advanced models (such as with movable parts, motors, wheels, gears, pins, and axles) and even machines in addition manipulating the traditional interconnecting plastic LEGO bricks.

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Technic bricks.

Ms. Rigatuso was assisted by her 11-year-old son, who has been a LEGO aficionado since the age of 4. “I’ve watched his skills with math and science increase. His ability to focus has also greatly improved. You’ll see that the kids go into this world and just latch on.”

Each 3-hour camp session has a specific theme. At TNCS, these include:

  • Pocket Brick Monsters: Get ready for an adventure in the world of Pokémon®! Capture wild Pokémon® creatures and train them for battle. Improve your accuracy and power as you learn new moves and use special abilities. Tap into your inner engineer as we build Dratini, Pikachu, Poké Balls, and more. Bring your own Pokémon® trading cards if you wish to play and trade at the end of each day. Show off your skills as you battle for power in your journey through the Pokémon® universe. Do you have what it takes to become a Pokémon® Master?
  • Mining and Crafting 1: Experience the world of Minecraft with LEGO® bricks in this fun summer camp! Minecraft is a game about placing blocks to build anything you can imagine. At night, monsters come out, so make sure to build a shelter before that happens. Kids will start by crafting their shelters and some of the mobs, critters, and tools using LEGO® bricks then face new crafting key elements from the popular Minecraft game.
  • Space Adventures: Inspired by NASA and Star Wars™, our Space Adventures Camp is packed full of models that will make your imagination blast off! Each day, campers will learn about real-life space exploration and build models related to the NASA space program. In addition, the day includes LEGO Star Wars™ themed models, video games, group games, challenges and more. Bricks 4 Kidz Space Adventure camp provides the spark for imagination and creativity to take off on an adventure that’s out of this world!
  • Jurassic Brick Land: Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Put on your hiking boots and camouflage…you’re about to enter Jurassic Brick Land! Campers will build a world that comes to life with gentle Brontosaurus, ferocious Velociraptor, terrifying T. Rex, and more. We’ll learn about amazing dinosaurs that lived during the Jurassic period and other extinct, prehistoric animals that roamed the earth and swam the seas during that era and millions of years later. Show us your building skills using our specialized project kits! Come learn, build and play at Jurassic Brick Land camp!

Each session additionally is structured as a set of five stations that teams of four—Team Steve, Team Pig, Team TNT, and Team Creeper—rotate through: building models with standard bricks, building models with technic bricks, free build with standard bricks, making take-home designs with perler beads and paper folding, and iPad game time (e.g., Minecraft—see why that’s actually an added educational bonus here!).

No matter what a child’s skill level is, he or she can always find something to build and be proud of at LEGO camp!

TNCS Spanish Immersion Camp Gets Kids Hablar*!

Talking, that is—and cantar (singing) and dancing (bailar) and playing lots of fun games (disfrutar un montón de divertidos juegos)!

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Amidst a classroom fairly jumping with color, motion, and Spanish words everywhere, kids attending Spanish summer camp at The New Century School se la pasaron de maravilla (had a blast)! Their parents probably noticed a very palpable increase in the kids’ pronunciation, willingness to use the language, and confidence in speaking it.

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Camp daily schedule!

This increased skill and fluency is beyond doubt due to instructors Fabiola Sanzana, who was TNCS Elementary Lead Spanish Teacher, Grades 2–5 for the 2015–2016 school year, and Mariela Valenzuela, who was the Montessori Spanish Assistant Teacher. Sra. Sanzana says she believes strongly in interactive learning: “We talk, then we sing, then we have a physical activity. Students read for 30 minutes, then we have another physical activity!”

She does not exaggerate. As bursting with energy herself as any 6- to 10-year-old, she made sure her campers didn’t have time to feel bored or restless—let alone to realize how much español they were steadily absorbing! In addition to practice with conversation and with learning popular Spanish songs, campers played “Simón Dice,” life-sized Ludo, and “Freeze Dance,” all of which demanded that they understand commands given in Spanish.

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Freeze dance champions!

Freeze dance, in particular, got downright competitive as the game grew increasingly complex, requiring the kids to not only understand the language, but to be able to think and strategize in it! Sra. Sanzana even tested their willpower to stay with the game while having the already-out players tempt them with snacks. They hung tough even in the face of raisins and goldfish crackers!

Whether strumming her guitar or waltzing with campers, Sra. Sanzana made sure her students learned by doing, the most effective way to learn a language. Gracias el campamento de inmersión de español en TNCS!

*Immersed would like to thank former TNCS Pre-primary Spanish Immersion Lead Teacher Raquel Alvarez for translation assistance :)!

Hit the Ground Learning in Summer 2016 with TNCS-Approved Resources!

Since its inception in 2010, The New Century School has annually offered resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)

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Enoch Pratt’s Summer Reading program awards prizes to kids who fulfill a specified reading requirement and also offers the chance to “read down” your library fines!

The best way to slow the summer slide, according to the research, is to provide students with resources and educational activities. For summer 2016, TNCS’s elementary teachers compiled their own special set, curated especially for TNCS students. They also remind parents that summer is the ideal time to take trips to museums and libraries, get involved in organized activities, and making sure kids have access to books. In fact, Enoch Pratt library offers a wonderful summer reading program to incentivize kids to read, read, and read some more during summer. See Summer Reading Program for more information.

Language Arts

After TNCS students have worked very hard on their reading and comprehension all year long, to keep these skills sharp, try to read with your child each day and ask questions or talk about what you have read together. Here are suggested lists of unforgettable books, differentiated by grades*:

*The TNCS elementary team says: “Please remember, each child’s reading level develops at different rates. Some of these titles or authors may seem too easy or too difficult for your child. If your child picks a book you think may be too hard, have him/her read a full page aloud to you. If there are five or more mistakes while reading, the book is probably too difficult. If there are fewer than five errors, the book seems to be a good fit!”

(If your child is having more than a little difficulty with reading, Teresa Jacoby recommends Loyola University of Maryland Clinical Center’s summer reading programs, which can be accessed here.)

Another list comes from 4th- and 5th-grade TED-Ed Club Members, who shared the books that they’ve recently read and want to recommend to other kids their age: “TED-Ed’s Summer Reading List: 31 great books for students, chosen by students.”

TNCS students have also been introduced to multiple easy-to-access language arts websites. The students will be familiar with their log-in information, having spent time on them throughout the prior school year. These include:

Spanish

For Raz-kids in Spanish, the students will  log in to their accounts, click on the book room icon, and then select the Spanish level reader tab.

Chinese

To keep current on Mandarin Chinese skills, your kids can visit the following websites (they will already know their log-in information for some of these):

Math

Math skills can also be lost without regular practice. Here are websites that TNCS students can use during the summer months:

The TNCS elementary team looks forward to seeing their students back for the 2016–2017 school year, refreshed and ready to hit the ground learning!

Goodbye 2015–2016 School Year! It’s Been Great!

Well folks, another school year at The New Century School has just ended. Immersed finds this news bittersweet—grateful for all the good times, learning, friendships, and memories it gave us, but also wistful that it’s over. Sniff.

To cheer ourselves up, let’s take a look at all the special ways TNCS teachers and staff made the end of the school year one big, happy celebration. Overseeing each event with warmth and grace was Head of School Alicia Danyali.

Primary Field Day

Although the scheduled Elementary Field Day got rained out, TNCS Primary students dodged the weather a week before school let out and had a . . . “field day” in Patterson Park! Primary teachers Maria Mosby, Catherine Lawson, Lisa Reynolds, and Martellies Warren pulled out all the stops, with games, snacks, and even a special guest performance by former TNCS Primary teacher, Ms. Laz! (Read more about Ms. Lazarony’s alter ego as Planet Uptune songwriter and vocalist here!)

There were beads, balls, bubbles, balloons, badminton, and bats—and that’s just the b’s! Frisbees, kites, and even baby ducks were also on hand to make this event the perfect send-off for the 3- to 5-year old set. See for yourself in this slide show that will make you wish you were a kid again.

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All-School Picnic

Next up was the chance for parents to join their kids during the annual TNCS outdoor picnic lunch. Initially rained out, the weather cooperated beautifully on Monday, and the playground was full to capacity of happy TNCS community members. Mrs. Duprau brought along a special new guest (and future TNCS enrollee), and Mr. Warren once again got mauled by his adoring fans. (But seemed to be okay with that😉.)

Grade 5 Graduation Ceremony

The following day saw a truly momentous occasion unfolding, not to mention a huge TNCS first. The oldest cohort of TNCS students graduated out of the Elementary program. You can read on their faces the many emotions this inspired. From pensive to elated to quite somber, they are clearly aware of the significance of graduating. This event not only means that this group, whom we have watched grow and mature into fine young ladies and gentlemen over the years under the expert tutelage of Elementary teachers Dan McGonigal and Kiley Stasch, will embark on a whole new scholastic phase—Middle School—but also that TNCS itself has grown and will embark on its own Middle School journey. These are wonderful tidings . . . notwithstanding their undeniable poignancy. Such great things lie ahead.

Kindergarten/Grade 1 End-of-Year Celebration

On the penultimate day of school, another graduation ceremony of sorts transpired. What started as a low-key, in-classroom potluck brunch grew into a full-on TNCS event, courtesy of K/1st teachers Teresa Jacoby and Manuel Caceres. They even had the kids collaborate on a “quilt” of self-portraits that will grace the halls of TNCS in perpetuity.

The Kindergarteners were awarded diplomas to signal their imminent passage grade-school status.

And the first-graders passed on some pearls of wisdom to their junior counterparts to ease their transition to the Big Time.

So thanks for the memories TNCS . . . and for making school such a positive experience for students and their families. What a profound gift this is. Other than being able to share these memories, the only other thing that makes closing out the school year bearable is knowing we’ll be back for 2016–2017 to share more great times :)!

 

TNCS Upper Elementary Bond in the Great Outdoors!

Last month, The New Century School 4th- and 5th-grade students went on an overnight field trip to Echo Hill Outdoor School, in Warton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Chaperoned by teachers Kiley Stasch and Dan McGonigal, girls bunked together in a cabin, and boys bunked together in a separate cabin. “I did this trip when I was in Middle School,” said Ms. Stasch, who initiated the excursion, “and it was a fantastic bonding experience.”

Echo Hill Outdoor School’s mission is “to provide students with positive experiences in the outdoors that are exciting, interesting, and fun. Through [their] programs, students learn more about the wonders of nature, the value of history, and the diversity of individual qualities. [They] are dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for students to feel challenged and successful with the freedom to think, question, and express themselves.”

Ms. Stasch explains that of the many different kids of curricula EHOS offers, team-building was what she wanted to focus on to tie in with what they had been doing in class to strengthen their ability to work together. There’s also an adventure course with ziplining and other activities, bonfires, hikes, etc. TNCS students would have loved to stay longer and participate in some of those activities, but they managed to fit a lot in even with their short stay. Their first day started with a basic team-building activity, in which they each had to get to a platform opposite where they were standing without crossing a line drawn on the ground—the “hot lava.” Their means of conveyance was a 5-foot rope, but the rope hung over the platform, meaning that they first had to figure out how to obtain the rope. They eventually arrived at the solution of tying their shirts and jackets together in a long line and sort of lassoing the rope in their direction.

“They found this very challenging at first and were expressing negativity about their ability to see this through, but once they pulled together, it was really great to see them come up with a successful solution,” said Ms. Stasch. Each then caught the rope and swung across to the platform, which was part two of the challenge. They all had to assemble on the small square platform without falling into the “lava,” which meant catching each other and helping each other steadily dismount onto it. This got harder and harder as more students reached their goal and space inversely decreased. It’s not only a great solution, using what materials they had at hand, but it also demonstrated their collective efficacy when working as a unit. “No one fell in the lava, joked Ms. Stasch. “At this point in the exercise, they were working very well together and encouraging each other. It was a flip-flop from the beginning of the challenge when they were having difficulty working together. When they figured it all out, there was this sudden switch, which is exactly what we wanted to see with this group, and this great collaborative spirit has continued back at school.”

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Another fun exercise they did was to practice echolocation in which one blindfolded student pretended to be a bat in search of food. This was pretty much a dry version of that pinnacle of pool games, Marco Polo. “Food” in the form of the other students, formed a circle and clapped to indicate their whereabouts for the hungry bat, who had to tag his prey to be successful.

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Their next activity was a night hike, and they loved that. The teachers let their students embark on that activity with the staff alone so they could feel as far removed from school as possible and really embrace the environment they were in. They heard owls and other wildlife.

The next day started with canoeing, another activity that requires a certain degree of cooperation in order to be able to move across the water purposefully. This was their “survival day,” which also included building a fire and experimenting with what material burned best, what building technique to use (e.g. “log cabin” style versus “tent style”), and what could be done to make the fire stronger. It took TNCS students a bit longer than usual due to the long stretch of rain that bookended their trip and dampened the kindling, but under normal circumstances, Echo Hill campers would also build a shelter from wood found on the beach. Nevertheless, this was nearly unanimously voted to be the best activity. They even used the ash to decorate their faces afterward in a show of . . . tribal solidarity? Creative expression? Plain old outdoor fun? (Probably all three.)

For dining, they mingled with other non-TNCS campers and tried to meet someone new at each meal. They also minded their intake very carefully so as to prevent unnecessary food waste. “They loved the food, but took only what amount they were certain they could eat. If they were still hungry, they could get more.” At the end of each meal, plate scrapings went in a slop bucket, which was then weighed—the goal being to reduce the weight of the bucket contents. “They were constantly aware of the bucket and their desire to keep it light, which was a nice reminder of food waste.”

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“I wanted to do this trip,” said Ms. Stasch:

because I knew we’d all get to see each other in a different setting. It was a lot of fun. We all hope to do a longer trip—more than just a night—next year. The staff were amazing. They were so well trained, and every activity was so well planned out and so well structured. The students were really enthusiastic and happy that we had gone. Overall, it was a great experience, and I’d like to take them again. They reflected verbally afterward on how important collaboration is. Some students were starting to ‘check out’ out of frustration in the beginning, but when they came back and worked together, they saw that that’s when it all comes together. We had some good discussion on that theme. It was a good age to be away from home for a night. They’ve grown and matured a lot this year, and hopefully they will internalize what they learned about collaboration from Echo Hill and can take it with them in their future endeavors.

Mr. McGonigal agreed: It was really great—a cool trip. We got to see the kids outside their element from a different perspective, and we could see the kids really working together. At first there were a couple of kids who were apprehensive about joining in, but by the end of the trip, everyone was into it and having a great time.”

TNCS Elementary Attends Healthy Harbor 2015 Report Card Release!

tncs-elementary-healthy-harborLast month, The New Century School‘s lower elementary class took a walking trip to Columbus Park to visit the pumping station for Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, where the annual “Healthy Harbor Report Card” was being released. This is the second year that STEM teacher Dan McGonigal has incorporated this special event into his curriculum. Taking care of our local waterways—how to keep them clean, why they are so critically important, and what responsibility Baltimore citizens individually should assume regarding these bodies of water—is something that is near and dear to his heart:

I really embrace problems in the environment and how we can find new solutions to old problems. I think this comes from a high-school teacher who I really connected with. He was really passionate about the some of the issues going on concerning the environment, and I liked being outside, so I sort of went along with it. But then when much of what he said was going to happen has come true, I realized we really are headed in the wrong direction with the choices we make and what’s going on in the world. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to instill the value in being stewards of our environment. We should appreciate the natural world and study how to take care of it by making better choices to lessen our impact as much as possible.

Cutting right to the chase, our waterways received another overall failing grade for 2015; however, the purpose of the Healthy Harbor Report Card Release event is really about highlighting signs of improvement, explained Mr. McGonigal. Gwynns Falls, which got the first-ever passing grade in 2014 with a D– has improved to a D, for example.

You can learn more about the Healthy Harbor initiative by reading last year’s Immersed post on the subject, including all about the truly innovative Mr. Trash Wheel. Invented by Baltimore resident John Kellett and his company Clearwater Mills, this revolutionary water wheel intercepts hundreds of tons of trash before it reaches the Inner Harbor. (Good news on that score, too, by the way—as hoped, Canton is getting its own Trash Wheel!)

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The water wheel in all its glory—Fun fact: trash picked up by Mr. Trash Wheel generates power for Maryland homes!

Basically, though, the Report Card is a tool that helps track progress toward the goal of making the Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020, a goal established by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore together with Blue Water Baltimore. You can read the 2015 Report Card here. Said Mr. McGonigal:

There were generally very poor scores along the way. As you get further away from our waters and closer to the Chesapeake Bay, scores improve. It’s really our local waterways that show major problems. The amount of fecal matter and other contaminates show us that it’s not yet a swimmable area. Yet, there is good news, and the Report Card is better than last year’s. There are a lot of people here from all over the city and state and different parts of the government that are really trying and really have some buy-in into the future of the Patapsco River, the Inner Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay. There are people working to make things better. There is a lot of passion there.

What did the 2nd/3rd-grade class take-away from this experience? “They were able to reiterate that even though things are bad, people are working to make it better. That was my main goal. I didn’t expect them to understand every word of the speeches being delivered. The overall message is that there are a lot of people watching this, and it does matter. It’s not just me telling them—this is coming from some very important people,” said Mr. McGonigal. Such stakeholders include Blue Water Baltimore Executive Director Halle Van der Gaag, Waterfront Partnership Board Chair Michael Hankin, Director of Baltimore City Public Works Rudy Chow, Maryland State Delegate Brooke Lierman, Congressman John Sarbanes, and Baltimore Councilman James Kraft, all of whom were also in attendance for the Report Card Release.

The best part for the class was touring the inside of the works, during which they began to realize how much is involved in keeping our water clean, regarding how to maintain the structures that are in place now and keep things going in the right direction. Said Mr. McGonigal, “They were enthralled by that and even got to turn on the pumping machine.”

As with last year, the field trip was a tie-in with other class themes. “Earlier in the year we studied the ecosystem and some of the major problems in the area, which led to our rain-barrel painting project—our primary ‘action project’,” said Mr. McGonigal. Other mini action projects grew out of their task of picking an environmental problem and determining how they would solve it. These ranged from measuring water usage in the home and encouraging their families to use less to examining leftover food at grocery stores and its ultimate fate to organizing pollution pick-ups at church and educating parishioners. They were also asked to incorporate math to calculate, for example, how much water was saved in a day, then a week, then a year, and on. “They learned that small changes really can add up and began to think about what we could accomplish if we all did these things,” said Mr. McGonigal. Some students even took an engineering approach to solving their problem. The culmination of these projects was in the form of Glogster digital presentations of their problems and individual solutions.

BALTIMORE_FLOATILLA-MAPAs for ongoing Healthy Harbor initiatives, don’t miss the inaugural Baltimore Floatilla, which is a 5-mile kayak paddle from Canton Waterfront Park to the harbor to rally for clean water, followed by an afterparty with food and live music back at the park in Canton. It’s happening Saturday, June 11th!