Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month 2022 Graphic
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In February, we celebrate special days and observances. One of them is Black History Month. We honor our African American heroes that have contributed and made an important impact on our country. The entire second grade will be researching various African American men and women. These are some of our heroes that will be acknowledged:

  • Barack Obama, an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. 
  • Thurgood Marshall, an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African American justice.
  • Jackie Robinson,  an American professional baseball player, who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.
  • Frederick Douglass, an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman.  After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his oratory and antislavery writings. 
  • Rosa Parks, American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
  • Wilma Rudolph, an American sprinter from Tennessee, who became a world-record-holding Olympic champion and international sports icon in track and field following her successes in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. 
  • Marian Anderson, one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. She made many recordings that reflected her broad performance repertoire of everything from concert literature to lieder to opera to traditional American songs and spirituals. She became the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. 
  • Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved people, family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
  • Jesse Owens,  an American track and field athlete, and four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Games. Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his assassination in 1968.
  • Michael Jordan, an American former professional basketball player. He played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.
  • Bessie Coleman, an American civil aviator. She was the first woman of African American descent and the first of Native American descent, to hold a pilot license. She achieved her international pilot license in 1921.
  • George Washington Carver, an American agricultural scientist and inventor. He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. 
  • Booker T. Washington, an American educator, author, orator, and advisor to presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African American community.
  • Sojourner Truth, an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826.
  • Ruby Bridges, an American civil rights activist. She was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960. 
  • Benjamin Banneker, was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. Born in Maryland to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. His knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. 
  • Langston Hughes, an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Missouri. He moved to New York City as a young man, where he made his career. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry.
  • Billie Holiday, an American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years. She had an influence on jazz music and pop singing throughout the United States and Europe.

Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year Lantern Festival Tradition

Lunar New Year, Chinese Chunjie, Vietnamese Tet, Korean Solnal, Tibetan Losar, also called Spring Festival, festival typically celebrated in China and other Asian countries that begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon of the lunar calendar, 15 days later. The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, so the dates of the holiday vary slightly from year to year, beginning some time between January 21 and February 20 according to Western calendars. Approximately 10 days before the beginning of the new lunar year, houses are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bad luck that might be lingering inside, a custom called “sweeping of the grounds.” Traditionally, New Year’s eve and New Year’s day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honoring ancestors. Also on New Year’s day, family members receive red envelopes (lai see) containing small amounts of money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night colorful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) are served. The Lunar New Year is celebrated on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. All NYC public schools will be closed on that day. P.S. 222 will be celebrating Lunar New Year with various research activities.

Respect For All Week – February 14-18

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Giant Bucket Filled with
Hearts and Stars

An important activity that is celebrated throughout P.S. 222’s classrooms in February is Respect For All. This year, we will celebrate this wonderful event the week of February 14-18. In preparation for this week, our school community highlights ongoing diversity programs and curriculum-based instruction with our teachers engaging students in meaningful lessons that focus on preventing bias-based harassment, intimidation and bullying.

Your children will meet with their teachers for a schoolwide character education lesson.  During the lesson, students will read Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  The classes will discuss and roleplay a concept called “bucket filling.”

The purpose of “bucket filling” is to improve social and emotional learning.  It is based on a simple concept that we each have an invisible bucket with the purpose of holding good thoughts and feelings about ourselves. When we are happy and good to others, our buckets become full.  When we are sad or unkind to others, our buckets become empty.  Bucket fillers fill both their own and others’ buckets. Conversely, if a person is unkind or hurtful, he/she is referred to as a “bucket dipper.” Bucket dippers dip into both their own buckets and others’ buckets when they choose to be mean or hurtful to others.

When using this book as a teaching tool, children quickly understand that they can fill buckets when they do and say things that are kind, considerate, caring and respectful as well as dip into buckets and remove those good feelings if they choose to do and say things that are hurtful. This concept teaches children that actions and words affect both ourselves and others. At this time, we are encouraging, reminding and recognizing everyone’s efforts to be bucket fillers at home, at school and everywhere they go. We are asking parents to help reinforce this by discussing this further with their child and using some of the terminology (bucket fillers, bucket dippers) discussed above.

Working Hard in the Classrooms

In music class with Mr. Jason Albertson, Class 1-408 learned all about the winter solstice, which this year falls on Tuesday, December 21. The winter solstice signals the official beginning of the coldest season in the Northern Hemisphere and also marks the shortest day of the year with the longest night of the year. Gradually going forward, the days will start to slowly grow longer. Students learned the lyrics of the song First Day of Winter by John Riggio. The children enjoyed singing this lively and energizing song. During the lesson, Mr. Jason emphasized the corresponding movements for each line. Music and movement instruction has been shown to improve children’s memory, cognitive development, learning skills and expressive ability. Below is a link to a music sampler of songs for the winter. The very first song in the series is First Day of Winter. Please click on the link to listen to the song.

In theater class with Ms. Kirsten Kammermeyer, Class K-302 has been learning all about puppets. In this particular lesson, the teacher modeled how to make colorful shadow puppets of a person or favorite animal by dipping them in cooking oil. First, students created a puppet of a popular person or a favorite animal. Second, students colored their puppets using permanent markers in a wide variety of colors. Third, students made a circle around the puppets and cut around the puppets using their scissors. Fourth, students dipped the puppet in a bucket of oil and then flipped the puppet to immerse the other side. Fifth, students removed the excess oil off with their fingers and used paper towels to pat dry. After these steps, each student had a translucent puppet to display and manipulate by attaching wooden rods.

In physical education class with Ms. Hannalee Fordyce, Class 1-408 learned all about soccer. For this particular lesson, the teacher modeled how to pass and kick the ball. A chart was displayed listing specific instructions for passing and kicking and guiding the students to have fun and be safe. Students placed their non-kicking foot next to the ball before hitting the middle of the ball with the other foot. They used the inside of their foot to pass and the top of their foot to kick. While learning the new skill of playing soccer, the children enjoyed themselves immensely.

P.S. 222’s Toy Drive and First Annual Winter Solstice Stroll

On Thursday, December 16 from 3-5 pm, P.S. 222 held a toy distribution event. Over 70 families registered for this event that saw the collection of 500 toys. Ms. Kirsten Kammermeyer, Theater Teacher, and Mr. Jason Albertson, Music Teacher, coordinated this event. During the first couple of weeks in December, parents and families of alumni students donated new and/or gently used toys of all kinds: card games, board games, puzzles, sports equipment, art, jewelry and arts and crafts sets, science kits, building sets, Lego sets, action figures, toy cars, animal figures, journal sets and diaries. The event included a gift wrapping section and a hot cocoa and peppermint candy cane stand. Families who attended experienced a magical evening filled with the holiday spirit.

On Tuesday, December 21, the entire P.S. 222 school community of teachers, students, parents and staff members participated in a Winter Solstice Walk to Travers Park. It was an amazing event with over 100 families taking part. To prepare for this activity, our school librarian, Ms. Rosemary Mullen, met with each class and conducted a read aloud on the winter solstice. Ms. Mullen also guided the students in designing their very own lanterns to bring to the walk.

On the day of the walk, families and staff met outside of P.S. 222 at 4:30 pm. Hot cocoa and coffee was provided by The Queensboro Restaurant at the end of the event. We are already looking forward to our next Winter Solstice and having all families join in as we light up the longest night of the year!

Teachers, families and their children gathered for P.S. 222’s First Annual Winter Solstice Stroll