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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Flatbush Encourages Creative Engineers through Robotics

A Yeshivah of Flatbush student reflects on her Robotics class this past semester:

Robotics is the class where experimentation is key. Throughout this past semester we built individual robots as well as worked in groups and collaborated on larger projects. We developed multiple skills through effort, trial and error, and through hands-on activities. We worked on coding through Arduino to program our robots, hooked up batteries, propellers, sensors and so much more. Ms. Chava Wernick taught us to code, use power sensors like the ultra sonic sensor and touch sensor, use breadboards, and more. Most importantly we were encouraged to become creative engineers.
~Sarah Torgueman, Class of 2016

Monday, July 6, 2015

New Tsei U’lemad: Art and Marketing of Pattern Design

This year marked the debut of a new Tsei U’lemad offered to Yeshivah of Flatbush students, the Art and Marketing of Pattern Design. Taught by certified Zentangle artist Lesley Kassin, the course promised to teach students how to master the art of Zentangle by learning how to create original designs from structured patterns. "Besides being totally fun, Zentangle can really help focus your mind, lower your stress, and build confidence." Kassin described it as a new art form, with "more focus on the process not only the result."
The course has enjoyed much popularity this year, attracting students due to two basic reasons. Some students, like Monique Zeitouny, already had experience in painting and drawing. They were interested in a class that would hone or expand their art skills. To others however, this was their first foray into the realm of the arts. Michael Abadie explained Zentangle as "an easy way to make complex patterns." Even people who had never considered themselves artistically inclined can quickly find themselves making impressive and beautiful designs. Patterns are built just one line at a time; all one needs is patience and diligence. Perhaps this is the reason why so many sophomore boys are drawn to Zentangle.
Around three new patterns are taught each class, which meets once a week. Students copy them into a journal, which they use for reference when creating projects. Students are also encouraged to come up with their own designs. As the year progressed, more complicated patterns were taught and paper was replaced with canvases, mugs, and ceramic plates. The final project, in which students have to create something they would sell in a store, ties into the marketing aspect of the class. Some work silently, deep in concentration. Others talk to each other softly, offering advice, sharing different patterns.
Ms. Kassin, who has recently been to a Zentangle seminar, says this new art form is "exploding," spreading everywhere. And it's no wonder. The methodical repetition is relaxing and addictive, even therapeutic. "Once I learned a few patterns, I couldn't stop making them in all my classes," said a sophomore. While this might not find much favor in the ears of teachers, at least it means that students’ notebooks will be adorned with something much prettier than random scribblings.

This Tsei U’lemad, besides from being fun, has had a meaningful impact on those who were a part of it. It's helped students recognize their own creativity and feel more confident in their abilities and their relationship with art. "Since this class, I started to notice that patterns are all around us and art is all around us in many forms," said a student.
"Before this class I was afraid to draw. I never thought I could make a masterpiece," wrote Aaron Kuby, whose work was displayed among others' for Evening of the Arts. "But now I feel like I could make paintings like Van Gogh." 
~Sarah Levy, Class of 2015

Tsei U’lemad is a Talmudic term which means “Go out and learn.” This program offers students a variety of independent study courses each semester that encourage students to learn beyond the classroom, promoting intellectual curiosity. Students may want to broaden their interests, seek deeper knowledge of a subject or explore new topics and ideas. These courses supplement the current curriculum while they do not replace any required courses, they are recorded on students’ transcripts and can improve the academic average.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cooking For A Cause: All in the Family

The monthly Yeshivah of Flatbush Cooking for a Cause events is not just a Chesed opportunity for our students, but for Flatbush families as well. Our last two Cooking for a Cause events featured multiple generations of cooks. Students, Robyn and Albert Dweck cooked with their mother and grandmother to make it a three generation affair. Renee Gindi and her mother prepared over twenty five pounds of breaded chicken cutlets for the Sephardic Bikkur Holim freezer. Our Cooking for a Cause events attract over fifty boys and girls in addition to multiple parents and grandparents for this fun Chesed event. 
Dweck Family Cooks For Chesed Together
Gindi Family Cooks for Chesed Together
Cooking for a Cause allows students to learn how to prepare a variety of entrees, dinners, and desserts while participating in a Chesed event. All of the food prepared in these events are sent to needy families who can then enjoy delicious homemade dinners.