By Elaine Kanas
East Williston School District
When I returned from Thanksgiving break, I found the most wonderful surprise on my desk. The fourth graders and North Side art teacher Kiki Kyrou shared some of their terrific Lighthouse watercolor drawings that they have been working on this semester. I’m looking forward to hanging them in the district office.
Earlier this week, I had the chance to visit Ms. Kyrou and ask her about the various stages of the lighthouse project. When Ms. Kyrou joined the North Side School as its new art teacher this September, one of the first things she did was to check with each grade level to learn about the topics the children would be studying so she could plan a corresponding art project. As I’ve mentioned before, we continue to work to build interdisciplinary curriculum connections for our students in all grades. This type of learning deepens students’ understanding and provides them with a multi-dimensional view of a topic.
The fourth grade studies Long Island history and geography so Ms. Kyrou chose the 18 lighthouses on Long Island as an art study for the students. Students used their knowledge of Long Island geography to locate the lighthouses on a map and then studied photographs of each one. Children selected the lighthouse they wanted to draw. They worked with special watercolor pencils and as they drew, they worked on such art skills as proportion, understanding how to fill the space on the paper, blending color and using what they see, not just what they know, to capture a realistic image.
Continuing the interdisciplinary connections, the fourth grade will now be working with Enrichment teacher Henry Kupstas. Kupstas will work with his students to take their two-dimensional lighthouse watercolor drawings and create three-dimensional lighthouse structures that will utilize electricity to light up.
Mock Trial Invitational Tournament
On Dec. 1, The Wheatley School hosted its 33rd annual SWS Mock Trial Tournament. Teams from Syosset, Glen Cove, Roslyn, Great Neck North, Kellenberg, Manhasset and Baldwin joined three Wheatley teams in the courtroom competition. As always, what an amazing day to see our Wheatley students transformed into dark-suited legal professionals and our classrooms changed into courtrooms.
A first semester SWS course, Mock Trial, is taught by Wheatley SWS teacher Pat Clarke and prepares students for this tournament. Bob Bernstein, a retired Wheatley teacher, who started this Mock Trial Tournament so many years ago and Matt Haig, Wheatley social studies teacher, are the co-advisors of Wheatley’s Mock Trial Club. The Mock Trial Club entered two teams in the tournament, this year.
Preparing for a mock trial competition takes countless hours of work and preparation. Students are presented with fact patterns and then develop either a prosecutorial or defense case, including witnesses. Students must fully understand, prepare and anticipate all possible arguments regardless of which side the team represents in the competition, in order to be most competitive. The Mock Trial program is an excellent opportunity for students to build public speaking skills, develop analytical and quick thinking skills, as well as gain deep experience in using evidence to craft arguments. Mock Trial is performance based and students not only gain experience in drafting their written argument, but learn to pay added attention to the role of rhetoric when developing themes.
Congratulations to our students who prepared many hours to compete and to the Wheatley Club Team 1 who came in first place in the tournament, competing against the Roslyn High School Team.
Wheatley Club Team 1 consisted of: Sam Avila, Michaela Balboni, Joy Bestourous, Ellie Chen, Jacob Chimerine, Caroline Crimmins, Chintan Datt, Jakob Gilbert, Lianna Golden, Abhishek Kumar, Julian Nathan, David Rosenzweig, Brooke Schwartz and Emily Wang.
Wheatley Club Team 2 consisted of : Rahul Ajmera, Maggie Caroddo, Norah Gidanian, Sofia Greenfield, Andrew Hirsch, Cecilia Jozef, Ansh Jhaveri, Brett Katz, Megan Kirschner, Vani Kumar, Punit Kaur, John Li, Karen Li, Michelle Raja, Adam Rosenzweig, Emily Yagoda and Orell Rayhan.
The SWS team consisted of: Brianna Clarfield, Josh Dinetz, Avery Tanenhaus, Kelsey Bereshemian, Mike McCleary and Lindsay Mosca.