The Ulysses S. Grant Foundation

An educational partnership between Yale and New Haven since 1953

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Summer 2014 Electives

Please read about the wonderful electives that our teacher team will be leading this summer.

Monday/Wednesday Electives

Wilderness Survival, Ms. Landon and Mr. Shibayama

Are you eager to explore the great outdoors? In this class, you’ll learn to build shelter, tie knots, start a fire, and stay safe in the wilderness. No matter your experience or comfort level outside of the city, this class will make you feel at home in nature. You’ll make great friends and earn merit badges along the way. Let’s go on an adventure!

To Infinity and Beyond: A Journey through the Universe, Mr. Conlon and Ms. Swong

Ever wished you could sail on the methane lakes of Titan or fall into the black hole at the center of the galaxy? If you’ve been feeling bored here on Earth, join us for this class, which travels from planets to stars to galaxies to the outer reaches of the cosmos. We’ll follow the footsteps of Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein as we tackle the mysteries of the Universe through outdoor activities, games, and a planetarium visit. Students will end with a project on the topic of their choice, whether it’s the fusion of stars, alien life, or anything in between.

Epic: Adventures in Greek Mythology, Ms. Morris

Do you like learning about heroes? About epic battles and journeys to distant lands? In this elective we will learn about some of the most ancient and spectacular heroes that ever lived by exploring the fantastic stories of Greek mythology and epic. Are you ready for a journey to Ancient Greece? If you are, this elective is for you!

Arab Alif, Ms. Korewa

In this class, students will learn a new alphabet, new sounds, and new words. With a focus on reading and basic conversation skills, we will play games, listen to songs, and interact— in Arabic! We will also explore the cultures of Arabic-speaking countries—from couscous to the call to prayer and calligraphy.

How to be Funny: An Introduction to Long-form Improv Comedy, Mr. Buckley

Have you ever been stuck in a conversation where you were at a loss for words?  Do you ever find yourself daydreaming, or talking to yourself in weird accents?  Do you love to make people laugh?  If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then long form improv, the art of making things up, is perfect for you.  In this class we will examining long form improv comedy from both an academic and hands-on perspective.  We will spend time in the classroom studying the history of improv, humor theory (what makes a joke funny), how improv relates to community and how improv can be an empowering tool in our everyday lives.  We will also spend time on the stage starting with the basics of long form improv and moving on to learn how to develop hilarious and meaningful scenes.  Absolutely zero formal experience with improv is necessary, all you need is a willingness to try something new, be goofy, and have fun.

Mock Trial, Mr. Ritchin

What would it be like to serve as a witness, juror, or lawyer? In this class, students will have the opportunity to examine witnesses, design a justice system, and act out a criminal trial from opening statement to verdict. By creating their own courtroom, students will gain a deeper understanding of the American justice system and the power of persuasion.

Tuesday/Thursday Electives

Art Detectives: Investigating Impressionism, Ms. Korewa and Ms. Morris

In this elective, we will be art detectives—using clues we find in paintings to uncover the stories they hold. As part of our detective work, we will get to know the revolutionary group of artists known as the “impressionists.” How and why did these artists paint the way they did? In order to find out, we will take a virtual trip to 19th century Paris to investigate what their every day world looked, felt, and sounded like.  We will also spend time in the Yale Art Gallery training our eyes to decode the paintings and surrounding ourselves with the vibrant colors of impressionism.

Elm City Prose Pros: Creative Writing in New Haven, Mr. Buckley and Mr. Ritchin

Have you ever wondered what the person next to you on the bus is thinking about? Or what New Haven looks like through the eyes of the visitors on a guided tour? This class will aim to answer these questions and more by examining the basic principles of creative writing with a special focus on the city of New Haven and its people. The class will include a trip to the Yale Art Gallery, creative pieces based in New Haven’s public spaces, and personalized feedback on each student’s writing. Ultimately, we hope to help young students become prose pros.

Nerds Play Ball: An Introduction to Sports Analytics, Mr. Shibayama

Why do some teams win consistently? How do you know how good a player will be in the future? In fact, how do you know how good a player has already been? What is Moneyball? We will consider these types of questions in this course through the lenses of various professional sports. By the course’s end, students will be able to debate and research sports through quantifiable terms.

It’s Not Easy Being Green: Environmental Science and Awareness, Ms. Landon

“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” –Native American Proverb. Get ready to go green! In this class, we will explore mankind’s lasting impact on the environment and what we can do about. Through their own discoveries and experiments, students will examine how human populations are drastically altering natural processes. As protectors of the planet, students will investigate the best ways to minimize their impact on the environment as individuals and as a community.

From Fantasia to Star Wars: The Magic of Film Music, Ms. Swong

Why is the opening fanfare of Star Wars one of the most memorable melodies of all time? What makes the screeching violins in the shower scene in Psycho sound so scary? Why do we view Aragorn as a hero in Lord of the Rings? In this elective, we will explore how music makes movies come to life. Students will learn how composers use rhythm, melody, tempo, instruments’ unique sounds, structure, and other basic principles of music to tell a story. By the end of the summer, students will be able to recognize and express the ways that music creates emotions, advances the plot, and shapes our understandings of characters.

News of World (NOW), Mr. Conlon

This class will explore current events, happening NOW, in America and around the globe. Based primarily on student requests, the curriculum will cover a different NOW event each class, from the World Cup to the Middle East, to Russia, to Connecticut. Through debates, games, and other activities, we’ll work to understand everything going on NOW in our world!

Update: Summer 2014 Program Dates

Due to snow days, the program dates for this summer will now be Monday June 30th-Friday August 1st.

Passing the Torch

This is a bittersweet moment: our last post on the U.S. Grant blog. With the end of 2013, our tenure as Directors is coming to a close. We would like to thank the entire U.S. Grant community for all your help in shaping the program over the past year. This is an incredible program, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to lead it. U.S. Grant is truly one-of-a-kind.

We are also excited for the year ahead! We are handing the position over to two fabulous members of this past summer’s teacher team, Kyra Morris and Thomas Veitch. We look forward to hearing about all the wonderful moments of U.S. Grant 2014.

Speaking of which, keep a lookout for next year’s student application, which will be posted sometime in the next month.

Eric and Lucy

Eric and Lucy

Happy holidays to everyone!

Signing off,

Lucy Arthur-Paratley and Eric Fishman

U.S. Grant Co-Directors 2013

Reunion!

This past Sunday, U.S. Grant students were reunited once again on Old Campus. The air was full of joyful shouts of recognition as many students saw each other for the first time since the beginning of August. We played wonderful games of Capture the Flag and soccer, taking advantage of the crisp fall day, and other students chatted inside while enjoying snacks and watching Planet Earth. We could not have been more excited to see everyone again. Best of luck with the rest of the school year!

Save the Date: U.S. Grant Reunion!

Dear U.S. Grant Summer 2013 Students and Families,

We hope this post finds you all well and enjoying a wonderful school year and a beautiful fall!
This is a reminder that this year’s US Grant Student/Teacher Reunion will take place on Sunday, November 3rd from 1:30-3:30pm on Yale’s Old Campus, right outside of Dwight Hall (where we met every day during the summer). This is a great chance for students and teachers to get together and catch up after our months apart, and we hope you will all be able to come and spend time together for as much of the reunion as possible.
We will be outside playing games and enjoying each other’s company, so bring a coat. That being said, we also have a room reserved in Linsly-Chittinden (next door to Dwight Hall) so the reunion will happen no matter the weather!
Please be in touch by email if you have any questions — we look forward to seeing many of your faces very soon!
Best,
Eric Fishman and Lucy Arthur-Paratley

A bittersweet farewell

Students celebrate at Lighthouse!

Last Friday, students went to Lighthouse Point for a barbecue to celebrate the final day of the program. We sat in our pavilion to munch on some burgers, and then the crew quickly scattered to the various “stations.” Some played a game of two-hand-touch football on the grass, others got soaked in the splash pad, and still others sunbathed on the beach. Before we headed back to campus, we all gathered together for one last round of “Shoutouts.” Students recognized their peers and teachers for the wonderful things that had happened during the day, accompanied by all the usual motions: “Skittles,” “Dynamite,” “Utz,” “The Wave” …

Playing touch football

The Co-Directors and 9th Grade Teachers said a brief word about the 9th grade, and those “graduates” were called up one-by-one to receive their U.S. Grant Diplomas.

We headed back to Dwight Hall for one last “Students United” cheer, and then students were dismissed for the summer!

From all of us here at the teacher team, we would like to extend an enormous THANK YOU to the students and parents of U.S. Grant this year.

Parents, thank you for motivating your students, for shuttling them to and from camp, for engaging your kids about their work at dinner, and for engaging with us so thoroughly in our attempts to create the best possible experience for the students. We have enormous respect for all the time you put in–and are a little jealous that you get to keep spending time with your kids.

Sunbathing on the beach!

Students, what can we say? Thank you so much for your energy and enthusiasm, for coming every day ready to learn, for teaching us new things, and for making us excited to come in every morning. You are all amazing people. We hope you had fun and learned a lot in the process. We will miss you!

Ninth graders: good luck in high school! We’re sure you’re going to rock it. And please come and visit!

Everyone else: have a great school year, and we hope to see you next summer!

And, more imminently, we hope to see you all at the mid-fall reunion (details TBD)!

Also, over the course of the next week we will be posting some videos from the final showcase, so check back in for those.

It has been a real pleasure and honor to work with you all this summer.

Signing out for now-

Lucy Arthur-Paratley, Eric Fishman, Nick Levine, Soy Lee, Thomas Veitch, Kyra Morris, Julia Calagiovanni, Rachel Tobin, and Ericka Saracho

The U.S. Grant Teacher Team 2013

 

Harry Potter Day

Hogwarts, the U.S. Grant way!

The famed wizard’s birthday did not go uncelebrated at Grant this Wednesday. Students and teachers dressed up in wonderful costumes. Harry, Hermione, Dumbledore, Professor McGonnagal, Moaning Myrtle, Hagrid, Luna Lovegood, Draco Malofy, and many more were present for the day’s festivities. During activity period, the grades faced off in a Triwizard Tournament. Students competed in a Wingardium Leviosa relay race, a wand design competition, Wizard Face-Off, Dementor Freeze Tag, and more. Draco Malfoy fans rejoice- at the end of the day, Slythernine (the 9th grade) walked away with the victory!

Mayoral Candidates at U.S. Grant

To view the fourth Parent Newsletter, click here.

From Mr. Levine:

Mayoral candidate Justin Elicker speaking with New Haven Politics earlier today.

This week in New Haven Politics we welcomed mayoral candidates Henry Fernandez (on Monday) and Toni Harp (on Wednesday). With questions they had prepared in advance–and many thought of on the spot!–students grilled the candidates on a range of issues both current and historical, from the environment to the Black Panthers, from school choice to urban renewal. Students largely disagreed with both candidates about the fairness of New Haven Public Schools’ lottery system. Between the candidates, a major disagreement arose about the state’s recent move to allow Keno gambling in certain locations. Fernandez said that it would amount to a regressive tax that would hurt the very people it was trying to help. Harp argued that it was a revenue source necessary to save crucial programs, and that Fernandez misrepresented how the law would be implemented. I look forward to learning whom the students were convinced by on this point.

Mayoral candidate Justin Elicker will come to class on Monday. On Wednesday, we will wrap up the class by discussing our impressions of the candidates and holding a vote. This vote will be part of the larger democratic process, since I have committed to vote in the actual election for whomever the students themselves choose.

Color Wars!

A sixth grader is one happy camper after the pie eating contest this past Thursday!

The battle was on this past Thursday and Friday during activity period. Four teams–Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red–faced off for one of the most prestigious prizes of the summer: the U.S. Grant Color War Championship. Students (who were randomly divided into their teams) competed in a smorgasbord of crazy, fun events. Entourage, Duck Duck Goose, Fire Brigade, Tug of War, Pie Eating, Dance-Off, Capture the Flag … the list goes on. The hallways and Old Campus reverberated with shouts as the students competed in their events and cheered for their teammates.

At the end of the two days, Blue Team walked away with a decisive victory. The prize? Having free range to throw water balloons at Mr. Levine for five minutes. His sweater was quite soaked by the end.

We had so much fun and can’t believe that next week is the last week of the program!

Radio Journalism in Action

Mr. Levine’s and Ms. C’s Radio Journalism class just finished their first full-length news stories. The class split into two groups and set out to investigate rumors that U. S. Grant’s traditional end-of-summer lake trip would not be happening (editor’s note: the lake trip has been replaced by a beach trip). First came reporting: asking anyone and everyone–students, directors, park administrators, even former U. S. Grant staff–what they knew and how they felt about the news. Students then shaped their material into stories, adding voice-over narration to provide structure. We’ll be keeping the strengths and weaknesses of the final projects in mind as we head into our next and final piece!

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