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George Washington Puppet Masters

George Washington Puppet Masters pic

As part of a STELLAR (Success in Technology, Enrichment, Library, Literacy, Artistry and Research) unit, first-graders at George Washington Elementary School in the district constructed gingerbread rod puppets with the help of the Center for Puppetry Arts, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

The students participated in a videoconference with the center’s distance learning puppeteer, Jeffrey Zwartjes, who discussed the history of gingerbread and explained that not all children around the world eat it. He also shared the ingredients needed to bake gingerbread.

In addition, Zwartjes compared several stories related to the classic “Gingerbread Man” tale, from “The Runaway Rice Cake” by Ying Chang Compestine and “The Musubi Man” by Sandi Takayama to “The Gingerbread Boy” by Paul Galdone, identifying the similarities and differences between each book. 

After watching a puppet show of “The Gingerbread Boy,” the first-graders followed step-by-step instructions to assemble their own gingerbread boys and girls. They fastened the torsos, bellies and legs together and taped two bendable straws to the tops and backs of their gingerbread personas to make them move around and dance.   


Winter Concert

West Hempstead Students Investigate Ancient Artifacts

Third-graders at Cornwell Avenue and George Washington elementary schools were tasked with identifying “ancient artifacts” by using their observational skills as part of the Hofstra University “Art Travelers Through Time: Literacy and History Through Art” program.

According to the university’s website, the program provides elementary school students and teachers the opportunity to connect their classroom study of “Communities Around the World” to the study of authentic cultural objects from the museum’s large and diverse collections. These artifacts, and the experience of reading them closely, engage students in the discovery and creative thinking processes, supporting the development of essential 21st century skills and reinforcing classroom learning.

Throughout the program, third-graders engage in three separate interactions with museum educators. The first interaction began in November when Hofstra University Museum educator Elisa Bruno and graduate students Danielle Giovannitti and Brittany Kahn visited both schools to educate students on what observational skills they will need when they examine artifacts in the university’s museum. 

During their visit, Bruno, Giovannitti and Kahn presented four artifacts from circa 1915 for the third-graders to determine what the artifact was and its purpose.

Using their observational skills and magnifying glasses, students were encouraged to examine the color, shape, size, hardware, mechanics and details of the artifact, including manufacturing dates stamped on the bottom and features indicating years of use. Students then recorded their findings and discussed them within their group to determine what they thought the artifact was. 

Concluding the visit, each team presented its findings to the whole class, with all four groups making enough observations about the details of the artifact to correctly determine the object’s modern-day equivalent, despite it not resembling today’s toasters very much on the surface. 
Third-graders will complete the program with a visit to the Hofstra University Museum, where they will examine artifacts, and conclude with a follow-up visit from museum educators to reinforce the program’s theme and concepts learned that further connect with the school’s curriculum.