At Brooklyn International High School, all of our students are recent immigrants and non-native speakers of English. Many are refugees, asylees and unaccompanied minors who did not attend school for long periods during their childhood. In order to best serve this population, our school’s model emphasizes project-based curriculum offering multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge, heterogeneous groupings of students, frequent interdisciplinary connections, regular language development tasks in all subject areas, and a focus on social development. There are now 19 schools around the country following this model.

In recent years as products such as Scratch and various user friendly microcontrolers have emerged, I have focused on incorporating creative engineering tasks into my English and History classes. The integrating of art and technology into project based learning leads to a generative, often joyous learning environment. Struggle and collaboration are rewarded. Students with vastly different skill sets and cultural backgrounds can contribute and thrive.  On this site I will discuss some of my favorite projects from my English and History classes, and share some examples of student work.

-Ben Walsh

Digital Poetry Machine: Students built a large-scale art installation that allows users to physically construct a poem, then push a red button to send their creation to Twitter.  

Digital Poetry Machine: Students built a large-scale art installation that allows users to physically construct a poem, then push a red button to send their creation to Twitter.

 

Romeo and Juliet Robots: Students created robots and animatronic stages that perform scenes from the play.

Romeo and Juliet Robots: Students created robots and animatronic stages that perform scenes from the play.

Bilingual Survivor Story Comics: Students interviewed a friend or family member about how they survived a difficult time. They then turned the interview into a bilingual comic or a short film.

Bilingual Survivor Story Comics: Students interviewed a friend or family member about how they survived a difficult time. They then turned the interview into a bilingual comic or a short film.

Films and Stop Motion Animation: A flexible tool for self expression and language development.

Films and Stop Motion Animation: A flexible tool for self expression and language development.

Scratch Animation and Games: Students begin learning how to think like a computer. Then they begin to wield computers as a medium of creativity and inquiry.  

Scratch Animation and Games: Students begin learning how to think like a computer. Then they begin to wield computers as a medium of creativity and inquiry.

 

Wearable Electronics: Students and teacher learned, experimented, failed and succeeded together.

Wearable Electronics: Students and teacher learned, experimented, failed and succeeded together.