Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 1st: Awesome Day at City Sem

Today, we started out with Nature in the City, which focused on the systems at Inwood Park. All of us had written short paragraphs about these systems, so we had a great in class discussion about them. We learned about the different types of relationships between organisms, including symbiotic, parasitic, competitive and mutualistic. We also listened to a great Green Guide presentation from the Starz Group, covering everything from the status of green taxis to LEED certified buildings.
We then had Morning Coffee, which is always great. Our collection of mugs is growing and we even restocked on coffees and teas! We definitely need to establish a better water refilling system though...
We then had our second Apple Core, in which we jumped right into a discussion starting with Forever. Mr. Drybala gave us a look at different ways of portraying New York City. In Forever, we picked out select quotes that illustrated geographic locations (such as the Collect and the Battery) and experiences of the early New Yorkers. We then put away our books and took a look at two poems, one of which was by Walt Whitman. The poems discussed traveling across the water and described many of the things we wrote about while at the Brooklyn Bridge. We compared our own thoughts to those of Whitman and decided on what we felt would be the most effective way to depict our perspective. We then listened to New York, I Love You, by LCD Soundsystem. This gave us a look at New York that seemed to contradict those that are presented in Forever. In Forever, New York is looked at for its potential while in New York, I Love You, New York is seen for what it once was. Both interpretations both express a deep connection with the city, but in completely different ways.
Then we got iPads! I look forward to seeing how we can use them in the field because I think they will enable us to record our experiences in ways we cannot with our placebooks.
Following this, we were presented with what would soon become our first Big Apple assignment: New York from our perspective. We watched presentations from all of the teachers that really showed all of their unique takes on the city. Senora Furfey told us about her Irish background and her love of Mexican culture. Mr. Meyers showed us a Woody Allen clip and Fantasia 2000. Ms. Banks played us Late Night with David Letterman and told stories about how she used to camp out to see it. Mr. Christiansen played us some Duke Ellington's Sounds from a Harlem Air shaft and we watched New York New York. Mr. Waldman then showed us a slideshow of his favorite parks and told us a few of us favorite stories about them. He even brought in pictures from when he was a ranger.
Great Picture By Lena!

Despite being very hungry, we all went up to the Clubhouse for Solidarity with the City. We started by defining what Solidarity meant, why the course was named that as opposed to Service with the City, and tied it all back to the Tuck article that we had read earlier. This lead to an incredible conversation, ranging from what kind of service we will be doing to what it means to be part of a community.
Then we had lunch, math or free and headed back to the clubhouse for Writing in the City. Our conversation of Forever followed the path that it has been taking the past few classes. Many people really enjoy the book, but frequently get frustrated by the mysticism or the seemingly 1-Dimensionality of the story. We still had an interesting conversation about what it is like to be stuck at 17 and what kind of relationships this allows you to have. There were a lot of disagreements regarding the roles and actions of certain characters, but I'm sure we all look forward to seeing how the story plays out.
Great day with City Sem!

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