Learning Outside the Classroom

Smith College Botanical Gardens and Art Museum

ELL I students visited Smith College on Tuesday, November 18 to tour the Botanic Gardens and Art Museum.

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Students From Brazil, China, and Thailand practiced their listening and speaking skills as they learned about plants from around the world (including plants that photosynthesize underground, are fertilized and defended by ants, and live to be thousands of years old). In the American galleries, they viewed both realistic and idealized art, depicting the bounty and splendor of the American landscape as well as the urbanization, industrialization, and modernization of that same landscape.

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The highlight of the tour came when ELL students Yasmin and Namphet recognized a Wiley painting (similar to one they had read about in ELL!) in the college’s gallery based on the artist’s typical use of color and symbol! The trip complemented the students’ current readings in art, science, and literature on the topic of nature’s cycles.

Martha Graham Dance Company

On Tuesday, November 18th Ms. Muzzy took 42 students to see the Martha Graham Dance Company perform at the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center.
For many of the students it was their first time seeing live modern dance from the United States.

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Described by The Washington Post as “one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe,” and by The New York Times as “one of the great companies of the world,” The Martha Graham Dance Company is one of the oldest and most celebrated contemporary dance companies in the world.

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The repertoire for the evening included a newly commissioned work Echo by choreographer Andonis Foniadakis, based on the myth of Narcissus. The performance also featured two classic Martha Graham works Diversion of Angels (1948) and Errand Into The Maze (1948) and more recent works set on company dancers by Larry Keigwin, Richard Move and Bulareyaung Pagarlava to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11. Overall, the concert featured masterful and virtuosic dancing.  Hands down the students favorite piece was Echo, it showcased bold, fast movement and beautiful costumes and lighting.

Visiting Concord

Emerson. Hawthorne. Thoreau. The Transcendentalists.

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On November 18, American Literature students visited Concord, Ma. to see first hand where these writers lived, wrote, and helped define America.

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The Old Manse, the ancestral home of Emerson and the honeymoon residence of Hawthorne, was the first stop: where former possessions like a grandfather clock, writing desk, wooden cradle, and garden told the personal and historical stories of these writers who were friends and neighbors.

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After a brief stop at The North Bridge, the birthplace of The American Revolution, students visited Walden Pond: where another kind of revolution advocated abolition, women’s rights, civil disobedience, and environmentalism, which helped to give rise to our modern-day democracy.

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