Photo Diary-Another Day at Brooklyn Free School

So I spent a day at Brooklyn Free School. Essentially, I was asked to teach a class in the afternoon on Adobe InDesign, a program used for most of the designed layout you see in printed material everywhere. I used the opportunity to document some of the current happenings in the school. Key among them are the “intensives.” These consist of 4 specific classes that the students have agreed to attend daily for the past 3 weeks and which will terminate at the end of this week leading into winter recess.

Given that I had my camera with me, I used the occasion to document life at the school as it is. There has been a lot of development since the days BFS occupied 2 floors of an old church in Park Slope. We now reside in 4 floors of a sprawling brownstone in Clinton Hill. And it seems we are slowly out growing our space. There isn’t a place in the school without activity.

Oren and Noah start their day in the library communing on some game situation or other. There is a “no-screens” rule in effect during the morning hours. These two were circumventing the rule. Later in the morning, Noah taught a class in Animation to some of the boys from the lower school.

Jessica's house.

Ken's House

I got a peak in the art room at some of the current projects. Noah seemed impressed with them, so I had to have a look myself. Jessica. who is one of our newer students having come in from Brooklyn Friends, is a very shy and extremely intelligent young lady. She also shared with me her box of hand made earrings and pendants, all of which she made herself. I was impressed by the quality and commitment she shows to detail. Notice the scale accuracy of the furniture in her house.

Ken’s house shows a talent for architectural detail, and whimsical design.

The Intensives

These classes consist of four selections: Job Readiness, Casino Games, United Nations and Geography. The classes seem designed to allow the students to absorb a great deal of information in core subjects such as Math, History or Social Studies.

Alan Berger teaches “Job Readiness” The students had to come in dressed for an interview. The class was spent going through mock interviews.

Each student was at work either creating their own map of the United States, or going over the agricultural, economic and religions makeup of various regions.

 They spent the first weeks learning some of the rules that govern Casino games. Understanding the math involved in betting and then creating their own versions of the games. Noah created a hybrid of Craps and Roulette which inolves a complicated betting scheme. I need to copyright it ASAP.

In United Nations, each student represented one member country and would have to give a presentation about that country to the other panel members.

There were other activities during this whole process.

Nico practices for the upcoming talent show. The band was rocking out all day.

The Flash considers a wardrobe alternative.

Blu casts her spell.

Some dramatic play in the Gym with Sarah Mercogliano.

I felt it important to share this in order to give our community an idea as to how learning is going on in this school at an intensive and non-coercive level. The atmosphere has become much more focused. Students are being engaged at every level.


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