Follow the Water

“When I was orbiting Earth in the space shuttle, I could float over to a window and gaze down at the delicate white clouds, brilliant orange deserts, and sparkling blue water of the planet below. I could see the coral reefs in the oceans, fertile farmlands in the valleys, and twinkling city lights beneath the clouds. Even from space, it is obvious that Earth is a living planet.” — Dr. Sally Ride

Sally Ride EarthKAM is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space.  The project was initiated by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. The EarthKAM camera was first operated on the International Space Station (ISS) on Expedition 1 in 2001. Sally Ride died in 2012, and in 2013, NASA renamed the program Sally Ride EarthKAM. The Sally Ride EarthKAM camera remains a permanent payload on the ISS, supporting about four missions annually. EarthKAM’s Mission 50 took place between November 10-13, and students around the world were able to request images of specific locations on Earth.

NASA has a familiar adage: Follow The Water, for where there is water, there is life. For Mission 50, Rooftop School’s fourth graders made a list of the places where they would like to see water.

I want to see water in...

As Sally Ride noted, “The view of Earth is spectacular.”

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From November 30 to December 11, 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will brings the world together with hopes of achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The Association of Space Explorers reached out to their fellow astronauts to pass on a simple message of solidarity, hope and collaboration to combat climate change and reach our political leaders during such a crucial time.

Play and Partnership: Celebrating the 2015 International Day of Peace

Play and partnership can help us to imagine and create more peaceful world. On Monday, September 21, the students and teachers at Rooftop School will gather for a moment of peace at Morning Circle. We will fly the peace dove puppets made by third and fourth graders to mark the day with Roots and Shoots, Jane Goodall’s youth-focused organization.

“Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” — Jane Goodall, With Love (1999)

When Dr. Jane Goodall was just over one year old, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee, in honor of a baby chimpanzee born at the London Zoo. Friends warn her parents that such a gift will cause nightmares for a child. However, Jane loves the toy carries it with her everywhere. Today, Jane travels with a stuffed monkey named Mr. H, who has been touched by over 2.5 million people from around the world and visited more than 60 countries with Jane.

Understanding the power of children in the conservation movement, Jane Goodall spoke directly to youth in this 2008 video interview.

As a United Nations Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane makes it a priority each and every year to observe and celebrate the annual International Day of Peace on September 21. One of the ways that students can celebrate the day is by building a Peace Dove Puppet.

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Instructions for small and giant puppets can be found on the Roots and Shoots website.

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Dr. Goodall encourages individuals around the globe to participate in the United Nations International Day of Peace which is celebrated on September 21 each year. This year, an especially auspicious one with the UN’s celebration its 70th anniversary, will have the theme of, “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All.” Click here to learn more about Dr. Goodall’s role as a UN Messenger of Peace and how you can participate in celebrating in the annual Day of Peace.

“Wish & Chips” STEAM Challenge

Autodesk-GalleryOn Tuesday, May 12th, Rooftop students and their families have an exciting opportunity to visit the Autodesk Gallery, from 6pm-8:30pm.

Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries—including the last 19 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects—use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they’re ever built or created.

Bringing together stories of exceptional design and engineering from across the globe, the Autodesk Gallery celebrates the creative process and shows how people are using new technology to imagine, design, and create a better world.

Named a top destination by Wired magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, the gallery features more than 20 exhibits, including original works by Lego, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and more.

Rooftop students are invited to tour the Autodesk Gallery and to learn more about how STEAM learning is bringing nature and technology together with The Hummingbird Effect, thanks to a mini-grant from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds.

Try folding an origami bird or put your design & engineering skills to the test with the “Wish & Chips” STEAM Challenge. Students are invited to design and test a package to safely ship a single Pringles Potato Chip through the US Postal Service to Rooftop School. Packages must be postmarked and received by Friday, May 22, 2015 to be eligible. 

Download a pdf of the Wish & Chips STEAM Challenge.

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Family Art Night: San Francisco Symphony AIM in the Evening with “Coastal Winds”

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ARTSED4ALL’s project “THE HUMMINGBIRD EFFECT” officially kicked off on Thursday, April 16th with a special Family Art Night performance sponsored by the San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music program. “AIM in the Evening” is a program established by the San Francisco Symphony to allow parents and the greater school community to share the educational performances that the students experience during the day. Family were invited to enjoy a musical performance by Coastal Winds, a quintet of five instruments: flute, clarinet, bassoon, French horn and harp. This 45-minute program demonstrated the idea of musical storytelling to through an original fairy tale: “The Princess of Rhyme.” Harpist Meredith Clark delighted the audience, in her role as the Princess whose voice is stolen by the evil wizard.

A light fairy tale-inspired supper, featuring Mary Poppins’ Practically Perfect Tea Sandwiches, Peter Rabbit’s Mixed Greens Salad with Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds, Geppetto’s Tortellini and Alice’s “Eat Me” Cake, was prepared by chefs Megan Wong and Patrick Wu.

After the performance, families were invited to leave poems for the Princess of Rhyme in the newly constructed Fairy Village, created by students with the support of retired Rooftop Kindergarten teacher Mary Ann Cruz. Children are invited to leave nest-building materials such as yarn and tiny twigs for the birds in the tiny fairy homes. Families were also introduced to the focal species of birds that reside in Twin Peaks: the American Crow, the American Robin, the house finch, the house sparrow, the mourning dove, the peregrine falcon and the rock pigeon.

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In Technology class with instructor Andi Wong, Rooftop’s 3rd and 4th graders have been working together to establish a bird-friendly habitat in an area known as the “Mini-Garden,” thanks to a mini-grant from “Celebrate Urban Birds,” a program of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This new outdoor lab, poetically dubbed “Mountain Eye” by 3rd grader Cameron Budetti, gives students a place of their own where they can learn how to innovate with Nature, the greatest designer of all. Students are free to discover personal interests, as they collaborate with classmates, exploring the ways that technology can be used to transform ideas into real world action.

Students held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the Waterfall Trading Company & Apple Tree Trading Company pop-up shops, student-led efforts to engage community recycling and repurposing. Families enjoyed the magical view from Raven’s Lookout, and the musical sound of conversation and laughter filled the air. The evening ended happily ever after, as the children of Rooftop School helped The Princess of Rhyme to find her voice once again.

If you see a fairy ring
In a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tiptoe as you pass;
Last night fairies frolicked there,
And they’re sleeping somewhere near.

If you see a tiny fay
Lying fast asleep,
Shut your eyes and run away,
Do not stay or peep;
And be sure you never tell,
Or you’ll break a fairy spell.

— William Shakespeare

A Poem Lovely as a Tree

The Family Tree

Visual artist FLO OY WONG loves poetry. At the age of 75, Flo set her sights on becoming a poet, and she has worked diligently to master the art of writing poetry. To quote the National Center for Creative Aging, “There is no doubt Mrs. Wong will carry out her plan to keep working as long as she is able to do so.”  A vibrant elder, Flo dives into new challenges with whole-hearted gusto.

Last November 2013, the students of Rooftop School received a very special present from Flo — their own art show. Rooftop Art’s “A Slice of Life” at the Luggage Store Annex was a companion show to Flo’s 75th birthday show, “The Whole Pie.”  As a nod to Flo’s interest in poetry, visitors were invited to stroll through the Tenderloin National Forest to read poems written by Ms. Woo’s 4th graders.

This year, as Flo celebrated her 76th birthday with family in New York, Flo revealed that she was working on a new project with her granddaughter Sasha. As a visiting artist in Sasha’s classroom, Flo used visual art to help children to see the poetry in trees. At home, Flo and Sasha worked together to make a very special tree box.

We thank Flo, Sasha and Ms. Robin Farrell’s 3rd grade class at Hillside Elementary School in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York for sharing their process, their art, and their mutual love of trees.

Seeing Trees

FLO: My tree project with Sasha started when I was home in Sunnyvale.  I took pictures of these trees when I was going on daily walks.  I sent them to Sasha after she asked to see the tree trunks I was talking about.  My husband Ed knew about my tree-sharing and he began to point out trees to me.  There was one, in particular, which inspired me to write my poem, Tree Trunk.

Fast forward to mid-October when I taught a tree-drawing lesson in her 3rd grade class.  The day before the other lesson her teacher selected, Sasha gave me input. She told me she didn’t want me to repeat what I had taught in her 2nd grade class.

Flo suggested that the class learn how to draw trees, a spontaneous decision that met with Sasha’s approval. Flo discussed trees, focusing mainly on color of trunks.  After demonstrating how to draw a tree Flo told the 3rd graders they could draw either realistic or fantasy trees.  The criteria?  They had to fill their paper top to bottom, side to side. She introduced them to non-dominant hand drawing and requested one tree be drawn with their non-dominant hand.  Then, the students needed to create interest in the negative spaces. They also wrote tree stories.  One boy, a ballet dancer at the Met, drew a dancing tree.  A girl created one with swirling energy in the trees and the surrounding environment. The hour lesson turned the students into vibrant and energetic tree detectives.

When the class was through, Sasha conducted an exit interview with her grandmother about the lesson. Sasha’s critique: She would have cut back the drawing time so more artists could share their work with her grandmother.

FLO: What I liked so much about the lesson was this – I integrated my love of poetry and art for this eye-opening, heartwarming classroom experience. In the evening at home Sasha and I memorized Joyce Kilmer’s poem.  We recited it around the dinner table.

Sasha memorizes Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees, just as her grandmother had done when she was a young student at Lincoln School in Oakland Chinatown. Flo learned and recited Trees for a tree planting ceremony. She recalled, “We buried a time box with the tree. I wonder if our box has been uncovered. I have remembered Trees for over 60 years.” Sasha and Flo also listened to Louis Armstrong and Paul Robeson sing their musical settings of Kilmer’s poem.

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Trees drawn by Ms. Robin Farrell’s 3rd grade class at Hillside Elementary School (Art by Andreas, Andrei, Aynsley, Bianca, Bruno, Clara, Dominick, Erin, Graham, Hamilton, Joshua, Leo, Luke, Max, Mia, Michaela, Nathaniel, Paul, Salett, Sasha, Yogev & Zev)

Flo and Sasha’s TREE BOX

When Sasha and Flo find a 1930s box at the local antique store, they decided to make a box tree art project. Sasha includes Joyce Kilmer’s poem (partial) and her Paw Paw’s poem.  Flo adds some color atop of the colored pencils Sasha used to render the tree.

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Sasha includes two blue porcelain miniature birds that she has purchased from the antique store.

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Sasha makes a tree out of a paper bag fragment to add to the tree box.

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As a surprise, Flo adds a bird to the lower right front of the box, while Sasha is away at school.

When the box is finished, grandmother and granddaughter take some time to reflect on the process of making The Tree Box together.  Flo and Sasha use Flo’s iPhone to record their shared memory of three and a half weeks of bonding and intergenerational learning.

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On Sunday, April 13, The Luggage Store Annex and ArtsEd4All partnered to bring The Butterfly Effect to Sunday Streets in the Tenderloin. In support of Makeway for Monarch’s “Call for Contemplation and Action for Monarchs and Other Imperiled Pollinators” marking the 50th Anniversary of the passing of author Rachel Carson. Visitors to the stretch of Ellis Street between Hyde and Leavenworth were invited to learn more about the plight of the monarch butterfly.

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The day began on the street readings, Butterfly Poems & Stories delivered by Norma Rodriguez, Mark Heinrich, Joanie Juster, and Christine Dodds, while inside the Tenderloin National Forest, Amara Tabor Smith ladled out helping of her delicious stew with “Fresh from the Oven.”

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Butterfly-inspired art activities included bookmaking with Mary Ann Cruz with support from Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture & Design student volunteers.

“Got Milkweed?” Judy Toupin invited passersby to try their hand at planting. Milkweed plants were on display, and The Pollinator Project provided information about how to create pollinator gardens and raised awareness for the protection of butterflies, and their habitats and migratory paths.

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Young readers were invited to learn more with the Little Free Library #9859, which was filled with books about caterpillars, butterflies and other pollinators, along with a special contribution of specially selected titles donated by Chronicle Books.

“Butterfly Wings,” a special photo booth created by Rooftop School art coordinators Amy Balsbaugh and Cheryl Ball, with help from the students in Ms. Duff’s first grade class, invited passersby to transform themselves into beautiful monarch butterflies.

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Crowds gathered in the street to enjoy special musical performances by Rooftop’s rock bands Blade and C&R directed by Mike Rao of The Blue Bear School of Music. The street entertainment culminated with Mark Heinrich’s dramatic reading of Ray Bradbury’s science fiction classic, The Sound of Thunder,” a cautionary tale involving time travel, dinosaurs and a lone butterfly.

Blue Marbles were given in gratitude to all who pledged to use their voice to help protect the monarch butterfly for future generations. The Butterfly Effect posits that the flap of a butterfly’s wings can set great winds of change in motion, so it was only fitting that as Sunday Streets drew to a close, Lucia of Michoacán should appear on Ellis Street to share childhood memories of forests, dense with the wondrous fluttering of orange and black.

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ArtsEd4All “The Butterfly Effect” at Sunday Streets Team

Event Coordination: Darryl Smith, Luggage Store Gallery & Andi Wong, ArtsEd4All
Event Activities: Mary Ann Cruz, Judy Toupin
Photo Booth: Rooftop K-8 Art Coordinators Amy Balsbaugh & Cheryl Ball, Ms. Andrea Duff’s first grade class
Live Performance: Amara Tabor Smith “Fresh From the Oven”
Rooftop Rock Bands Blade and C&R; Mike Rao, director, Blue Bear School of Music
Readings: Chrissy Dodds, Joanie Juster, Mark Heinrich, Norma Rodriguez
Volunteer Support: Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture & Design, Rooftop K-8 alumni parents Victor Yan, Wendy Hanamura, Sheila Hall
Community Partners: The Pollinator Project, Chronicle Books

For more information and ways that you can help the monarch butterfly, please visit:

Monarch Watch:  http://monarchwatch.org/

Pollinator Partnership:  http://pollinator.org/

The Xerces Society: http://www.xerces.org/educational-resources/#online

Selecting Plants for Pollinators: http://pollinator.org/PDFs/Guides/CalifCoastalChaparralrx6FINAL.pdf

National Geographic:  How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop:  http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/140819-monarch-butterfly-way-station-vin

US Forest Service:  “Attracting Pollinators to Your Garden Using Native Plants”

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/

http://www.thebutterflysite.com/create-butterfly-garden.shtml

Our Favorite Things

We are very excited to participate in the EECapacity Project in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

This Professional Learning Community (PLC) is exploring approaches used by conservation NGOs, faith-based groups, urban community outreach organizations, zoos, community arts organizations, National Parks, and other recreation and education organizations to engage the growing Latino/Hispanic population in environmental learning experiences.

For Show and Tell, we were asked to share our favorite resource related to engaging Latino/Hispanic audiences.

Our favorite resource is a little round ball of blue glass…

Nuestro recurso favorito es una pequeña bola redonda de cristal azul …

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“The Blue Marble” is the name of this famous photograph of the Earth taken by the Apollo 17 astronauts. “La Canica Azul” es el nombre de esta famosa fotografía de la Tierra tomada por los astronautas del Apolo 17.

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The Blue Marble Project is a gratitude project that helps people of all ages and cultures share their love for the Earth.

 El Blue Marble Project es un proyecto de la gratitud que ayuda a personas de todas las edades y culturas comparten su amor por la Tierra.

We have used this small object to help children to begin seeing themselves as protectors of the planet. 

Hemos utilizar este pequeño objeto de ayudar a los niños a empezar a verse a sí mismos como protectores del planeta.

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We began playing The Blue Game with a single blue marble.

Empezamos a jugar el juego azul con una sola canica azul.

To date, we have shared thousands of Blue Marbles with people all over the world.

Hasta la fecha, hemos compartido Miles de azules Mármoles con gente de todo el mundo.

They have traveled to every continent on the planet, helping to remind us that we are all connected.

Han viajado viaja a todos los continentes del planeta, lo que ayuda a recordarnos que todos estamos conectados.

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The rules for The Blue Game are very simple, and yet, there are so many ways that people can play.

Las reglas para el juego azul son muy simples, y sin embargo, hay muchas maneras en que la gente puede jugar.

The important thing is to begin, and you will soon see how little things can make a big difference.

Lo importante es empezar, y pronto verás cómo pequeñas cosas pueden hacer una gran diferencia.

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Alejandro Juvenile rescue

Alejandro rescues a juvenile sea turtle

Alejandro's Blue Marble

Alejandro’s Blue Marble. Photo by Neil Ever Osborne.

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