PDS, and the middle school in particular, were fortunate to have the internationally known artist Barbara Beisinghoff spend a day on campus.
Barbara was brought to Poughkeepsie by Vassar College through their Creative Arts Across Disciplines grants program. Silke von der Emde, a German professor at Vassar and parent of recent PDS graduate Lulu Wachsmuth, thoughtfully included the school in the grant so that Barbara might spend a day with us.
The thematic learning of grade 6 fit particularly well with Barbara’s concept for a fairy tale woods. Barbara came with screens prepared with words from tales collected by the Brothers Grimm. In science, the sixth grade students spend time learning about trees. In humanities, students study the middle ages– the time period when many of the fairy tales were first told in the villages in Germany around where Barbara lives. The trees and the tales came together as students screened with cotton pulp on the trunks of the trees.
We had a splendid day for the work. The students were lively and eager.
In the afternoon, grades 7-8 alternated reading their own books with a turn at screening.
Near the end of the school day, the sixth graders returned outside to meet some Vassar College students who read some of the Grimm’s fairy tales to them. All of the tales had trees as part of the story in one way or another. The Vassar students brought laminated translations so that anyone can interpret the German words.
The fairy tale woods will stay– the pulp on the trees will gently weather away as the season changes.