We continued discussing financial literacy and worked on budgeting as part of this unit. Students played an online game where they had to survive on a budget as they encountered different financial events like job loss, emergency medical care, and rent increases. Our visitor today was Emily, a local middle school student who has created her own website and company, Em’s Pens. As part of our financial literacy unit, Emily spoke with us about the rewards–and challenges–of running a business. She showed us how she makes pens, sells them, and then donates half her profits to local charities such as animal shelters and veteran organizations. All the students received one of Emily’s lovely pens, and you may see them around FlexSchool!
The students came back from spring break ready for school! Today we went to Rutgers University in New Brunswick and visited the Zimmerli Art Museum. We received a guided tour from a lovely docent, Marcy. Marcy showed us many American works, but the Zimmerli is world-renowned for its collection of Soviet Nonconformist art. She told us that the Dodge Collection contains more works of Soviet Nonconformist art than Russia! Who knew?
We looked at some giant metal sculptures, which we were all very tempted to touch, but could not because the oils on our fingers can actually ruin the artwork. Herbert Ferber’s sculpture appealed to multiple senses: not only could we see the sculpture, but we could hear what seemed like the ocean in the background. This sculpture was a site specific installation that had to be created before the walls were put up around it! There were some sculptures we were encouraged to touch. It’s interesting to guess what each artist’s intention was behind his or her works: should we lay down and look at the sculpture? When we move around, does the work look different? Are there elements of hope among those of despair?
We spent most of our tour time in the Russian Art sections, and we learned about much of the context for the paintings of the “social realism” genre. Stalin forbade certain elements in any work done during his reign: no abstract art, no religious depictions, no alcohol, no anti-government sentiment. These regulations gave birth to the nonconformist art movement; there was an underground community of art flourishing and these artists were painting, so to speak, a very different picture.
After our guided tour, we had some lunch and then explored on our own. Some of us saw iconic and exciting Andy Warhol works. We also saw some disturbing sculptures, which made us wonder what was the inspiration for pieces such as David Wojnarowicz’s Untitled (Lion’s Skull and Baby Doll). The students were excited to get out on a brisk spring day, and they were thoroughly engaged with the artwork. At FlexSchool, we believe that learning outside of the classroom can be just as important as learning inside.
FlexSchool faculty members flexed their physical and mental muscles
While the students were off this week for spring recess, the FlexSchool faculty and staff members were on hand. They were busy planning FlexFriday trips, FlexSchool’s first graduation, and possible FlexSchool summer offerings as well as partnerships with local colleges. They were also keeping balance with yoga (pun intended). FlexSchool’s first graduating class will walk in June, and we couldn’t be prouder! Whether continuing on to a gap year or going away to a 4-year college, our students are guided by our College Counselors along the way. We look forward to seeing all our students on Monday when they come back to school!
At FlexSchool, we focus on academics with the long-view in mind. Visit https://flexschool.net.