Humanities Department » 11th Grade Interdisciplinary Teacher Team 2011-2012

11th Grade Interdisciplinary Teacher Team 2011-2012

Movement & Progress Student Presentation Fair
Eleventh Grade Team

Mr. L. Azzarello, Ms. A. Billy, Mr. C. Del Re, Assistant Principal, Mr. K. Diedrich, Mr. J. Gwinn, Mr. M. Schirtzer, Ms. V. Vassallo, Mr. M. Wotypka, Ms. J. Xenakis
On May 30, 2012 during club hour, the members of the 11th Grade Humanities Grade Level team, under the direction of Christian Del Re, Assistant Principal, conducted a multimedia presentation fair on the theme: Movement and Progress.  This was a culminating activity that grew out of a series of collaborative planning meetings. 11th Grade humanities teachers solicited students to present projects created previously in their respective classes. The program was divided into three twenty minute sessions. Students were given a schedule of six viewing options and asked to attend and critique three as a mandated homework assignment in social studies.  Extra credit was given to student participants.
Students from US History classes and Spanish 6 classes presented a video gallery from their Immigration projects. Gabrielle Simoes, a student in Ms. Xenakis’s class, shared the remembrances of her grandfather’s immigration from Portugal. Christian Steiler, also one of Ms. Xenakis’s students, chronicled his great grandparents’ journey from Italy to America. Kelsey Castricone, a student in Mr. Schirtzer’s class, presented a fascinating love story involving her Japanese grandmother and her GI grandfather.  Jahne Bolden, another of Mr. Schirtzer’s students, presented her family’s journey from Jamaica. Finally, Elizabeth Hobenson documented her family’s migration from the former Soviet Union. Mr. Schirtzer’s students also chronicled historical decades besides conveying individual stories. For example, students Melissa Sherman, Michelle Zeltser, Danielle Bonsignore, and Emily Feldstein presented documentaries on the 1990s. This project clearly demonstrates the power of primary documents as they make history come alive.
Ms. Vassallo’s students also developed videos about immigration.  The academic challenge of this media assignment was that the audio had to be dubbed in both English and Spanish. Brian Larson documented his grandparents’ immigration from Germany while Danielle Bonsignore narrated her family’s travels from Italy.
The spectators were visibly moved by these authentic first-hand accounts of the struggles the students’ ancestors encountered when they immigrated to the United States. Viewing immigration from the lens of movement and progress, students observed both how far we have progressed as a nation and how much further we still need to move.
Mr. Diedrich’s Advanced Placement Language and Composition classes presented a series of stimulating panel discussions and seminars debating the controversial topic: is today’s youth generation the dumbest generation ever? Arguing with annotated research and rhetorical devices both the pro and con positions were: Gretta Davidova and Maria Kordonchik, Abigail Shapiro and Dennis Dontsov, Nathaly Arias and Brenda Ubaldo, Monique Brady and Harry Khachatryan, Tara Vaughn and Caroline Guarrella, Alexandra Semenova, Victoria Slavinsky and Destina Grunin, Pamela Wishart and Kaelyn Quinn, Nicole Tesoriero and Michelle Shneyder, Polina Smuglin, Hannah Monize and Anna Kryukova and David Mesonzhnik.  In their reflective pieces, students were amazed by the video clips that they were shown that demonstrated how a large portion of the teen population could not answer basic geography and science questions. They also marveled at the opposition’s ability to refute the charge by demonstrating the mastery of new technologies and the capacity of this generation for multi-tasking.
Students from Ms. Billy’s and Mr. Johnson’s  Junior American Literature English classes, Danielle Bonsignore, Jessica Greenwood, Jennifer Sherman, and Jessica Fink-Wallach chronicled how the  theme of Movement and Progress is a recurring concept in the entire 11th grade literature curriculum. Their PowerPoints made specific and textual references to the following works: Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Black Boy, The Color Purple, and The Crucible.  These PowerPoint presentations clearly showed that the theme of Movement and Progress was an organic point of departure and not a generic concept imposed on the instructors.
The Harlem Renaissance was given its just due historically and artistically by students in Mr. Wotypka’s English 6 class. Students from his class gave live recitations of representative verses accompanied by PowerPoint presentations on influential poets like Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes. For example, students Jacob Bagwell and Sabella Kahn created a silent film to underscore the themes of identity and self-expression in Countee Cullen’s poem “Harlem Wine”. Students Pietro Dolcimascolo, Jonathan Pinhasov, Abdulla Rubaid and Alisia Tseytina did a dramatic staging and power point analysis of Langston Hughes’s poem “Mother to Son”.  Finally, student Paul Neyman played an instrumental melody that he composed for Countee Cullen’s “The Incident” while his colleagues Alan Yuen and Alex Vaynshteyn recited it and then presented a thorough PowerPoint analysis of the poem’s historical relevance.
Mr. Gwinn’s Public Speaking classes engaged in formal debate on controversial legal and political policy issues of the day.  Students Katy Araniseli, Barbara Felder and Cathy Sorokurs led a lively panel discussion on the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy. The students thoroughly explored the issue, gathering expert testimony from law enforcement advocates and civil rights opponents. This academic exercise demonstrated to its enthralled audience that if our society wants to continue to move and progress, it must exercise its right of   free speech in healthy debate. The future leaders of tomorrow need to learn to argue rationally and to substantiate their view points with verifiable data and powerful rhetoric instead of ad hominem attacks and abusive rancor. For a democracy to thrive, we must become an informed electorate and this activity is a positive step in that direction.
Mr. Azzarello’s Jazz and Concert Orchestra presented a multimedia concert about the Jazz Age and the Jim Crow South. Pianist Zoe Prawda composed a ragtime melody that she played as students viewed an I-movie created by Melissa Mapes which featured images and events from the Roaring Twenties. Vocalist Grazyna Dworan sang the evocative Billie Holiday classic “Strange Fruit” as students watched shocked images of brutalities and atrocities committed against African American during the Jim Crow Era.  
The main objective of the fair was to have students view the theme of Movement and Progress from the lens of diverse academic subjects.  Students were able to see the historical, artistic, literary, and cultural connections on this central theme; a theme that formed the big question of their junior year inquiry in humanities. It was a well-conceived, well-orchestrated and well-executed cultural fair brought to fruition by dedicated teachers working collaboratively. The projects were varied and grew out of a concentration on the Core Common State Standards. Whereas last year’s fair achieved these standards implicitly; the teachers who created this year’s fair were able to target those standards by creating projects and activities that addressed the differentiated learning styles and needs of the entire grade level. It was a most ambitious undertaking in data driven instruction, and reflects how much movement and progress teachers have made in adapting their instruction to the Common Core State Standards. As a result, gifted and passionate students were able to tap their creativity, learning styles, and aptitudes in labors of loves that expounded on a relevant topic of great magnitude.

Common Core State Standards
Humanities Fair 2012

The student presentations at the Eleventh Grade Humanities Fair addressed the following Common Core State Standards:

Reading Standards for Informational Text

  1.  Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
  2. Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another t o provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  3. Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
  4. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in a text.
  5. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  6. Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).
  7. By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in grades 11 –CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing

Text Types and Purposes:

1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

  1.  Produce Clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization and style are appropriate to task, purpose and audience. 
  1. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting or trying a new approach.
  1. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

 Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

  1. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  1. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate information while avoiding plagiarism.
  1. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.

Responding to Literature:

11. Develop personal, cultural, textual and thematic connections with in and across genres as they respond to texts through written, digital and oral presentations, employing a variety of media and genres.

Writing Standards

  1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  2. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
  3. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  4. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources using advanced searches.
  5. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Speaking and Listening Standards

  1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one- on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 1e: Seek to understand other perspectives and cultures and communicate effectively with audiences or individuals from varied backgrounds.
  1. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
  1. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric
  1. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.
  2. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

Language Standards

  1. . Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 
    1. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings

Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies

  1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  3. Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence.
  4. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  5. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies

  1. Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
  2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.
  3. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
  4. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self- generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation

Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly – Student Presentation Fair
Eleventh Grade Team

Mr. L. Azzarello, Ms. A. Billy, Mr. C. Del Re, Assistant Principal, Mr. K. Diedrich, Mr. J. Gwinn, Mr. M. Schirtzer, Ms. V. Vassallo, Mr. M. Wotypka, Ms. J. Xenakis
The Humanities Department, under the supervision of Assistant Principal Mr. Christian Del Re, held their second annual Assembly to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday, February 16, 2012.  The theme of the event was taken from the 11th Grade Team Interdisciplinary Theme: Movement and Progress. The speeches, recitations, instrumental and vocal compositions, dances, videos and power point presentations were selected so that the juniors in attendance could reflect upon the movement and progress we have made as a society in achieving Dr. King’s dream.
Principal Zaza began the celebration by offering his perspective on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During his inspirational talk, he told the attendees that he was recruiting them to take the torch from Dr. King and become civic leaders dedicated to the causes Dr. King championed: civil rights, world peace, and non-violence.
The theme of dream is a recurring concept in the speeches of Dr. King. One of the themes analyzed in 11th grade English is the American Dream, so it seemed only fitting that junior Niani Marz read the opening passages of Dr. King’s The American Dream speech; a speech Dr.King delivered at Drew University on February 5, 1964.
Next on the program was a musical reflection on the progress of racial uplift from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s. The Jazz Band performed two appropriate pieces that addressed the history of segregation and the civil rights movement. The first selection was Strange Fruit a provocative blues piece associated with the iconic jazz and blues singer Billie Holiday. The vocalist was Grazyna Dworan.  The second number was A Change is Gonna Come, a moving number by Sam Cooke which evoked the Civil Rights movement. The vocalist for that piece was Katharine Kleyman.
To accompany each selection, Mr. Azzarello created videos that chronicled the struggles and progress of African-Americans to win full acceptance as citizens. The images were quite startling as they depicted lynchings and other acts of violence inflicted by the Klu Klux Klan.
 The movement and progress of African-Americans began with a tragic stain on the American character, the slave trade. Students Danielle Bonsignore, Emily Feldshteyn, and William Sacerio from Mr. Schirtzer’s American History classes composed original narratives on the lives of slaves that commented on the harsh brutalities of human bondage.  Their recitations were accompanied by a powerful I-movie created by Andrew Litovsky and Nate Shmushkin.
So that this period in which America failed to live up to its ideals would never be forgotten and to appreciate fully how far the nation has come the Chorus, under the direction of Ms. Baker, sang a Negro spiritual, Every Time I Feel the Spirit; a selection that featured the style of songs the slaves devised to provide them with the strength to endure their ordeals and which gave them hope that one day freedom would come. The soloist was Briana Delacruz and the pianist was Camille Stewart. 
The next part of the program explored modern civil rights issues. One issue that has garnered much attention is the legalization of gay marriage. Students Ketevan Araniseli, Barbara Felder, Robert Lemberg, and Cathy Sorokurs, from  Mr. Gwinn’s Public Speaking and Debate class, delivered persuasive speeches on this topic and we were  privileged to hear their  accomplished orations.
Continuing with this topic, students Erin O’Hagan, Aaron Isakov and Brandon Olfir, from Mr. Del Re’s law class, created i-Movie presentations on the repealing of “The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” anti-gay discrimination military service policy and the repealing of the Defense of Marriage Act. 
Bullying is another issue that could be curbed with a reminder of Dr. King’s philosophy of non-violence. Seniors Caroline Corredor, Jessica Gomez and Stephanie Wu, from Mr. Schirtzer’s Participation in Government class, presented their brilliant video on this sensitive issue. This video has been presented to feeder schools and is developing a following on YouTube.
Dr. King knew that if we were ever to advance to a fully integrated society that education would be the force guiding that transformation. With that objective in mind, Junior Enya-Kalia Jordan read an excerpt from Dr. King’s speech “The Purpose of Education.”
To close the celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy Step Team members: Enya-Kalia Jordan, Niani Marz, Crystal Worrell, Tashauna Nestor, Mangie  Kpaka, Jessica  Foyster  created a dance tribute. Accompanying the dance were original poems composed by senior Kayla Johnson and junior Crystal Worrell.
 The Martin Luther King assembly was the culminating event of the 11th Grade Humanities Team’s fall term. It reflected interdisciplinary instruction and common planning from junior English, social studies, foreign language, art, and music teachers.  The works displayed are tangible evidence of the high caliber of instruction that exists at Leon M. Goldstein High School; instruction that reflects a realization of Common Core Standards: 
  • RL2
  • RI2, RI3, RI7, RI8, RI9,
  • W1a, W1d, W2a, W2b, W2c, W2e, W3a, W4, W5, W6, W7, W8, W9b
  • SL1b, SL1c, SL4, SL5, SL6
  • L1, L2,
  • RH1, RH2, RH3, RH7, RH8, RH9