Brooklyn Free School Engineering Class

This video, shot by BFS advisor, Liliana Gomez, shows the process undertaken by the students in their Engineering intensive. The project was to create, in teams, a Rube Goldberg construction.

If you are not familiar with Rube Goldberg, he was a cartoonist who worked in the 1940′ and was know for his inventive gizmos.


Brooklyn Free School Student Competes For The Miss Teen New York Title

Our very own Dominique Harris is seeking sponsors for her to compete in the Miss Teen NY competition. See press release below for more info on how you can become a sponsor.


Local Young Lady Competes For The Miss Teen New York Title

Dominique Harris of Brooklyn was recently selected to participate in the 2012 Miss Teen New York pageant competition that will take place on Sunday May 20, 2012. Dominique learned of her acceptance into this year’s competition when the pageant announced their selections following interviewing in the local New York area. Dominique submitted an application and took part in an interview session that was conducted by this year’s New York Pageant Coordinator.

Dominique will be competing, for her share of thousands of dollars in prizes and specialty gifts that will be distributed to contestants. Dominique will be competing in the Miss Teen division, one of four divisions that will have young ladies ages of 7 and 19 competing in modeling routines, which include casual wear and formal wear. Most important, Dominique will display her personality and interviewing skills while interviewing with this year’s New York judging panel. Personality is the number one aspect that each contestant is judged on during all phases of competition.

If Dominique were to win the title of Miss Teen New York, she would represent New York and the surrounding communities at the National Competition that will take place in Orlando, Florida. Over $30,000.00 in prizes and awards will be presented at the National Competition while each winner enjoys this expense paid trip of five nights and six days in Orlando, Florida.

Community businesses, organizations, and private individuals will assist Dominique in participating in this year’s competition by becoming an official sponsor to her. Through sponsorship, each contestant receives all the necessary training, rehearsals, and financial support which will allow Dominique to become a very confident and well-prepared contestant in this year’s New York Pageant.

Any business, organization, or private individual who may be interested in becoming a sponsor to Dominique may contact the Miss Teen New York pageant coordinator, at 1-800-279-0976.

Holiday Diary #3- The Resurrection Will Not Be Televised

Easter. Quiet Sunday. Clean. Clean Clean the house.

Now it is Monday and all these holier than thou messages about the resurrection, Jesus, Easter are coming into our in-boxes, or on our phones. But what does Easter really represent?

For me, the resurrection is a personal one, a worldly one and one that relates to nature. On the natural level, it may refer to the return to daylight. When there is more day than night. On the personal level, it is about how I feel about my own self in relation to the greater world.

The following message came into my wife’s inbox this morning:

A Universal Rule on Decision Making… Don’t make them, S., until it’s time to make them. Unless you already know what you want, in which case, however, there is no decision to be made.

You know,  The Universe

This gave me pause for thought. What occurs to me is that people are beginning to talk about the “universe” in the same way they speak of “god.” In other words, everything gets reduced down to a small notion of what is possible. The bible ascribes attributes to the Lord that are not very pleasant human qualities. He is wrathful and unforgiving. But after he kicks the shit out of you, he still loves you and asks only that you “believe.”

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! —George Carlin

When people start attributing rules and human qualities to the universe, then we are getting into the same hot water. This “unknown” is not a Magic Eight Ball. It is something vast, mysterious, and unknowable. It will always evade my ordinary mind and emotions. That is why it is wise to meditate when facing such enormous questions. So as Mr. Universe stated: yes, it is true, there is no decision to be made, but one needs to bear witness to one’s own life, and be vigilant. To be observer as well as a participant. Treat a question as if I do not already have the answer. Because that is truth, and by relinquishing my hold on it, it becomes more available to me. Prayer is not a petition, but a way of becoming a receptacle to a higher force.

After leaving my son with his friend, I took this question with me on my long walk down 7th Avenue, and then onto the subway home. In a sense, my question was so deep, it contained a fragment of the resurrection. I felt renewed. The mystery was there, and I was part of it. And that is what it’s all about.

Northeast Association Democratic Education Conference 2012 at Longview School

BROOKLYN FREE SCHOOL is pleased to announce it is co-sponsoring this years Northeast Democratic Education Conference at Longview School from May 4 – May 6!

The primary focus of the Northeast Democratic Education Conference is to celebrate democratic education and facilitate the sharing of tools and ideas to improve democratic, self-directed learning environments. The NADEC conference aims to build a stronger and more cohesive community of democratic schools and programs across the northeast United States. This is a conference for anyone looking to be intimately involved in democratic education; including teachers, mentors, students, parents, administrators and supporters. We hope for this conference to be practical, empowering, and inspiring to all forms of democratic education.
NADEC 2012

May 4th – May 6th
Longview School
83 Main Street, Brewster, NY 10509
Student-Run Conflict Resolution

A Panel Discussion with Q & A at Longview School

The positive function of homework, memorization, and projects in free learning

Conference Speakers Include:
Mark Jacobs, Director, Longview School
Steven Cash, Mizzentop Day School
Donna Mikkelsen, Founder/Director/TeacherThe Garden Road
Mary Ann Baiyor, Tri-County Homeschoolers
Melissa Merkling, Founder, Housatonic Valley Waldorf School
For more information and to register for the conference, please click here to visit the NADEC 2012 site

Holiday Diary #2 – Spring Cleaning Phase 1

We are now immersed in the depths of dust and toys in the boys’ room. Guest coming today. Then we have to prepare the apartment for permanent vacating with a currently uncertain future. But cleaning is always good. It is the first steps to purging that we all need. Sorry I did not get before pictures.

Godzilla looks from on high to purvey his domain

And this is the help we get!

My New Page at Visionary Art

I now have a page at Visionary Art which is a private site for artists who share my proclivity for the unusual. The link is below. On it you will find two slide shows.

Prayer and Perplexity - Bruce Zeine ©2012 9" x 12" Pen & Ink
Part of a series of Esoteric Cartoons

Holiday Diary Entry #1

The thing we parents dread has come again. Holiday break. One week at home, with a growing, ravenous child eating everything in sight. To boot, he brought home two friends, brothers, who also eat everything in sight. Hide the food!!

Xol (pronounced Sol)

Cruz attempts to climb the bunk and awaken their host.

Noah in LaLa land

Actually, I am not exasperated at all. I happen to like kids. I am interested in them, and I am interested in what interests them. In my house, there are not that many limitations, other than I request that you do not invade my space, without permission.