PS 159 showcases art savvy

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The gymnasium at PS 159 in Bayside was transformed last week: Brick walls were blanketed with lyrical works and mini Monets for the school’s annual Celebration of Learning. Students in grades pre-K through fifth selected some of their work from the year to display for their classmates, family and guests.

“We have a great school community and this event is a great way to end the year,” said Principal Marlene Zucker. “The students take parents and guests to show them not only what they’ve done, but also to show off their friends’ work. It really gives parents the opportunity to see great work children have been doing all year.”

For two days last week, students were taken into the gymnasium — one grade at a time — during the day and had the chance to see their work alongside that of their schoolmates.

Teacher Hannah Garson, who coordinated the celebration, said that each one of the school’s 550 or so students is represented.

“The lower grades can see what the upper grades are doing and what they’ll be doing,” she said.

On May 25, the school opened its doors to parents and guests to see the students’ work represented.

Students in Angela Kirsner’s fifth-grade social studies class took part in a project called “The Life of a Slave” in which they wrote first-person narratives about being a slave.

“I realized the kids didn’t know much about slavery. The textbook has all but two paragraphs,” Kirsner said. “ I wanted them to talk in the first person — to put themselves in the role of a slave. It wound up being a very internal experience, very emotional and profound. Nothing the textbook could have done.”

Fifth-grader Megan Reid showed her mother, Eileen, her illustrated project.

“I learned a lot about slaves — stuff I actually never knew before,” Megan said. “We learned about the slave trade and the underground railroad. It was very interesting because I never heard of it.”

Megan’s mother enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with her daughter.

“It’s amazing that at this age they learned so much already,” she said. “I’m learning all over again through her.”

From his science enrichment class, fourth-grader Dylan Fromm chose to display his project entitled “The Ultimate Marble Maze of the Future,” a cardboard contraption that he rolled a marble through.

“I learned you can make a lot of things out of cardboard and tape,” he said. “I made a marble maze in third-grade but not as big.”

“We don’t get to see what he’s doing in science enrichment,” said his mother, Juany Jardinez. “We can look forward to what he’ll be doing in the fifth-grade.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 10:33 am, October 12, 2011
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