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


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

We Speak for The Oceans

I Speak For

I speak for the birds who eat plastic and die.

I speak for the sea turtles closing their eyes ready for peace.

I speak for the ocean which is getting more polluted every day.

I speak for the ocean life clinging on to life.

I speak for the trees which are being cut down.

I speak for the animals which are dying out.

I speak for the streams turning to plastic.

I speak for the fish breathing their last breath.

I speak for the overheating planet.

I speak for earth, the planet with only a few chances left

I speak for life.

– by Owen B., 4th Grade

Rooftop kids have been learning about the state of the world’s oceans and creating their own art to advocate for their planet and the oceans through our participation in The Blue Marble Project with the support of the project’s founder, Bay Area ocean scientist Wallace J. Nichols.

We began this ocean advocacy project after receiving our first Blue Marble from Dr. J at a 2010 presentation on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on life in the Gulf.  Since then, every Rooftop K-8 student has received their own Blue Marble. Our kids have been learning about the health of our oceans and they are all encouraged to find something that they would like to do to help. This year, Rooftop students at the Burnett Campus decided to organize a recycling program that they called, “Save the Wave.” Students began monitoring and collecting lunchtime refuse, and this effort turned trash into cash with the help of Terracycle.  In half a year, Rooftop’s “True Blue Angels” collected and kept these items out of the landfill:

  • 3,098 Drink Pouches
  • 183 Elmer’s glue
  • 107 Ink cartridges
  • 1,817 Ziploc bags

The income that the students earned from recycling went to benefit their school, and a matching donation was made to Plant-a-Fish, to sponsor a sea turtle nest in El Salvador. Thanks to Vivazul El Salvador, we were able to see photos of our newly hatched 60 olive ridley sea turtles through the internet.  Needless to say, Rooftop students are growing up learning to love sea turtles.