MS 447's Halloween Parade
December 7, 2017 by Lulu McDonald
A mad scientist with a pair of goggles on her forehead, Rosie the Riveter with her trademark red bandana, a mime with black gloves, and the Riddler wearing a green suit were among the many students ready for 447’s annual Halloween Parade. Students shuffled around the crowded cafeteria, tripping over elbows and untied shoelaces, waving to friends, and hurrying to fix any imperfections on their costumes. At 1:45, Ms. Rusch came over to the loudspeaker and instructed students that were dressed up to make their way to the cafeteria and students that were not dressed up to cluster around the walls of the hallways.
Starting at the cafeteria, the parade wound around through 447’s hallways and emptied into the gym, where music was played and students took the opportunity to form a conga line.
While many students appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the parade, some students said their experience had both positive and negative aspects. For Soha Burjorjee Van Pelt, a 6th grader, 447’s Halloween Parade was her first in-school Halloween parade experience. She said the parade was fun and that her favorite part was the party in the gym, but also said that it was “intimidating to be there in the halls being watched by all the grades.”
Escape The Room
January 15, 2017 by Levi Hurst
Imagine being locked in a room, trying to figure one last clue, and you look at the clock. It says 10 seconds.
Escape the Room is a exciting experience for you and your friends to have! You have to work together as a group to get out of the room in 60 minutes. Different clues, puzzles and riddles will help guide you out of the room before the time runs out.
One clue may help you find a certain combination or even a key. Then that combination or key will lead you to a lock which will help you in a different place. This can be challenging because there are so many locks which means that you have to check everything in the room.
These different keys and riddles are hidden in plain sight which makes them even more challenging to find, and obvious when you finally find them out. Something could be right in front of your face the whole time, and you don't even notice it’s there. Of course, it would be super hard if you didn’t get any help with this at all, so you get three hints to guide you through the rough patches of the game.
Some kids from MS 447's SONYC Afterschool Program took on this challenge. They successfully made it out with only 4 minutes and 28 seconds left. The people that did this were Wahaj, Kameron, Laila, Yelena, Camila, Sachin, Knox, Jayden, Mia, Haroun, Bryson and Mikae. Since they made it out of the room in time, they each got a ticket to any AMC theater!
If you do this make sure to have a great time, and Escape the Room. But remember, it’s just a game so it’s ok if you don’t make it out in time!
Sixth Grade Trips: Educational and Fun
April 25, 2017 by Mireyda Gonzalez
This year the sixth grade students will take three trips that are not related to the Exploration program. Each marking period, two classes go on one trip together, so that by the end of the year each class will have attended all three. The purpose of these trips is to deepen students’ understanding of what they are learning about in class. However, that is not the only reason for these trips. As MS 447 students know well, we are a school that strives to create a friendly environment for the students. We are going on these trips in the hopes of continuing to build a stronger community for all.
One of the trips that students attend is to Melody Lanes in Brooklyn to bowl. It creates a perfect mix of competition and fun, and everyone who has gone on the trip so far has enjoyed it. “There were lots of festive lights and at least twelve bowling lanes. It was fun!” said Annabelle O’Neill, a sixth grader.
The second trip is to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. This is a Social Studies related trip. The goal is to observe artifacts related to civilizations we study in Social Studies. Students are able to visit the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman exhibits, and they are able to share what they have learned in class. Miss Davis is enthusiastic that her students are privileged enough to get to have this experience. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said.
The final trip is to the Museum of Natural History. There, the sixth graders witness an amazing and scientific explanation of how the universe came to be by visiting the planetarium. The experience is inspiring, impressive, and interesting. This builds on a lot of what we have learned in the astronomy unit, and provides a breathtaking visual. The students walk out of the theater in awe.
These trips result in fun, as well as academic gain for the sixth graders. Some schools do not have the opportunity to go on trips like the ones MS 447 students go on. The last round of trips are at the end of May!
Making Memories at Camp Bernie
December 2, 2016 by Mireyda Gonzalez
Photo by Jaiden Cavallo
Go back to the moment when you opened the Middle School envelopes, and you realized that next year you would be graduating on to sixth grade. Now remember how you felt after your first trip at the beginning of 6th grade to the spectacular Camp Bernie. At MS 447, all students get an opportunity to take this action-packed trip to learn to work with each other in a special way.
Our current sixth graders recently took their trip to YMCA Camp Bernie in New Jersey. There were a lot of anxious feelings and emotions at the start of the trip. Is it going to be fun? Will I make friends? What about the cabin situation? How will the food be? But once the students got off the busses and finally arrived at camp, they were all excited to find out what cabin they were going to be in and who they would be spending time with while being at Camp Bernie.
There were many positive aspects about Camp Bernie. One of the excellent things were the activities. There were many different types of activities that all included working together with each other. Valentina Lo from class 605 said, “I really liked the Tower [rock wall] in which I conquered my big fear of heights. I also liked the hike during the day, where we went to see the beautiful view that was upon us.” Additionally, some people could agree that the best activity that Camp Bernie offered was The Swing. Half of the groups were able to try it out, or alternatively they climbed the PlayPen. At first when you looked at it from the ground it wasn’t as bad as it may have been from up high. Most enjoyed it, even if they may have been a little scared at first. Many of the activities were fun, engaging and challenging.
Camp Bernie also had a unique food program where every meal they weighed the food and liquid waste. The goal at every meal was to have to lower amount of waste then at the last meal. Compost did not count as waste. Each meal students would set a goal and hope to reduce their overall food waste by making sure not to take more food than they could eat. Students had fun meeting their goals and learning about conserving food.
There were also some disadvantages about Camp Bernie. Esmerelda Xique in class 601 remarked, “I really liked everything except the food. I thought it could have been better. I also thought that the cabins weren’t fair because some cabins were bigger than the others. Other than that everything else was great.”
Most students reflect on Camp Bernie fondly, especially seventh and eighth graders. Amelia Jackson from class 701 reported, "Last year, in sixth grade, I did not know what being in Middle School was like. Going away for a few days was an eye-opening experience for me to meet new people and for me to get to know my teachers. Other than that, I did not know the purpose of the trip. Now that I am in 7th grade I can see the true meaning, and appreciate the chance I had to bond with my peers." This year’s sixth grade had the best time at Camp Bernie and can’t wait to see what future adventures MS 447 holds.
The In's and Out's of Expo
December 2, 2016 by Nora Loftus
Photo by Gavin Keller
Math and Science has one thing that no other school has: our exploration program! "As far as I know, we are the only school with an expo program," says Eli Smith, Assistant Principal (AP) at MS 447."Expo has been a part of MS 447 from the very first year it existed," he continues. This means that expo started 14 years ago in 2003. Mr. Smith started at MS 447 helped coordinate the expo program before becoming an AP three years ago.
The philosophy of the expo program provides students with a deeper and longer-lasting learning experience. Mr. Smith explains that the kids at MS 447 have the unique opportunity to participate in activities that are “interesting and really hands-on that you can't do in a single period of class." Specifically, it's about teaching students to be advocates for our community. "Scenic learning is where you have the experience of going out into the world and doing work to make a difference in something you are passionate about," Mr. Smith added.
The class time devoted to the exploration program has changed over the years. "Originally, exploration was a class that happened once a week and all the kids on the same grade had exploration at the same time," Mr. Smith noted. Back then the whole school, including the teachers, dedicated one day to exploration. The 6-day schedule that we currently use has only been a part of our school for the last 3 years.
Exploration has changed, but the goal of the program has stayed the same. Mr. Smith explains, “The reason why the exploration program exists is because we want kids to be able to spend more time solving problems and thinking about things." He adds that Expo coordinators are hoping for kids to "take something that you want to learn about, look at it really deeply and have more time to think about it/ have more time to solve a problem.
Over the years, exploration topics have changed too. One of Mr. Smith's favorites was aquatic studies where students learned how to become caring towards water. Classes were able to go on field trips to Coney Island to explore the aquarium and maintain the beach. According to Mr. Smith, "Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy did a lot of damage to the aquarium so they can't do much there."
The process in which the school decides on the topics involves all the subject teachers in all the grades. "Sometimes we start with a topic that kids need to learn about in their grade and we find a way to make a unit out of that," Mr. Smith mentioned. “Some other units come out of thinking 'Well, what is it that kids don't learn about in their grade that could be really valuable for them to know?'''
When asked to share a memorable experience during an expo field trip, Mr. Smith remembered that once, a student fell asleep on the subway and managed to miss their stop, causing lot's of stress for the teacher. "It could've very easily ended up to not be not such a pleasant thing, but at the time it ended up being okay,” reminisced Mr. Smith. “Looking back, I think they thought it was valuable to laugh a little bit more about it now.”
Costumes Wow Crowd At Halloween Parade
December 2, 2016 by Patrick Dicus
Photo by Ms Katz
On Monday, October 31st, MS 447 held it’s annual Halloween Parade, which took students from the sixth grade wing all the way to the gym. Many students’ costumes were quite creative. To name a few there was Bert and Ernie, the main characters from “Stranger Things” (Mikey, Dustin and Eleven), many versions of Harley Quinn, food items such as a banana and a carrot, John Lennon, and even Alice in Wonderland. Many teachers also dressed up and their costumes weren’t too shabby either.
Eighth grader Hershel Graubard, who dressed up as a green bean, commented, “This Halloween I wanted to stand out, and I knew no one would be going as a green bean so I chose it. It also was a pretty funny costume to begin with. I thought [this year’s parade] was mostly pretty good.” This is an annual event here at 447, so start getting your costumes ready for next year!
The Club Corner
December 2, 2016 by Laila Azmy and Kameron James
MS 447 is full of great clubs. If you are looking for something amazing to do at school, during your free time at lunch or after school, then look no further!
You have probably already heard of Student Council by now, and trust it me is great, but why not get an inside view of it? “MS 447 has a Student Council in order to engage students in the school community in a way that is different than academics,”says Ms. Russo, who leads Student Council along with Ms. Zaretsky. “The main goal of Student Council is to build confidence, independence and a sense of community,” continues Ms. Russo.
According to Ms. Russo, the students on the council are involved in designing and implementing original initiatives that are focused around four committees. The first committee is School Events, which organizes the school dances, spirit days and the annual Carnival. The second is the Service committee that works on initiatives like fundraising for and participating in the AIDS walk or raising money for City Harvest. Student Council also tries to promote anti bias and inclusion through the No Place For Hate committee that is supported by the Anti-Defamation League. This year that committee is also trying to focus on raising gender equality awareness and continue their Humans of 447 project that highlights our individuality. Finally the publicity committee helps spread the word about their various student designed and led initiatives. Student Council meets every Friday in the tech lab from 2:40 to 4:10. If you are interested in joining, applications can be submitted at the beginning of each school year.
Looking to develop your dance skills during lunch? Dance Club, which is for everyone who’s anyone! All are welcome and you don’t need to be in Dance Talent. 7th Graders can attend on B,C, D and E days at lunch, and 8th graders on D day at lunch. For all 6th graders, whether you’re in Dance Cycle or not, you can come anytime Dance Club is open (A & D day at lunch). You’re probably wondering who is running it, and that is Ms. Farrell, the dance teacher.
Do you have to practice piano for an upcoming recital? Do you want to learn a new song on the guitar? Well, the Music Club is the perfect place for you! Whether it’s recreational or practice, come at 5th period lunch, and rock out! The club is led by Mr. Mullins in the basement music room. Just go as far down the stairwell in the 7th grade corridor as you can, and you’ll spot it! Look for the pictures of the orchestra as you come down the stairs. Make your lunch period musical, and head down to the club!
If you are wondering what Peer Mediation is, it is a place where students can come to resolve their conflicts. Peer mediators – not teachers or other adults – are the ones who help them do it. Peer mediators are specially trained to help their fellow students work through conflicts in a positive way. There are approximately 30 peer mediators from three grades. Peer Mediation is a problem solving program, but what is Peer Mediation good for? “We all experience conflicts in our everyday lives. Peer mediation can help you solve or de-escalate a conflict before it gets out of hand and leads to something bigger. Mediations can happen between friends, classmates, acquaintances – even teachers and students. It is a way for both sides to tell their stories and work together to come up with a solution,” reports the MS 447 website.
This year our school has a few new clubs. The GSA, or Gender and Sexuality Alliance, is a safe, positive environment for all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ, who are interested in discussing issues of gender and sexuality. Not LGBTQ? No worries! All students are welcome regardless of how you identify! It is led by Ms. Chodos, and is a meeting space to allow kids to open up and learn more. There are sometimes field trips to movie screenings, art galleries, and more. Meetings are every Wednesday after office hours in room 440.
The Feminism Club needs recruits! Show pride in your gender, and come to the club! The Feminism Club, led by Sonia, an eighth grader, is a club for proud feminists. Don’t know what feminist means? It is a word used to define advocates for equal rights between genders. They also go to many social events for modern feminism like the GSA. They will meet regularly, starting in January. Sonia and her crew are still finding out where they can meet, but in the new year, look out for the Feminism Club!