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The Lotus Effect

Managing the pandemic has forced us to reimagine our mission and reassess our priorities. While social-emotional learning (SEL) has always been a component of our work, the challenges presented by these extraordinary times have created an opportunity for us to further understand the benefits of SEL and embrace its integration in new ways. Now more than ever, we are committed to growing hearts so that we can grow minds.

Today, providing space for our students to explore their social and emotional well-being is a critical aspect of our curriculum throughout all content areas.  Our staff dedicates time within the context of the relevant New Jersey Student Learning Standards to facilitate discussions on pertinent topics such as empathy and kindness. Plus, our AVID Umbrella addresses topics including SEL, organization, cultural learning, motivation, personal management, healthy relationships, and other relevant topics. 

Here is a glimpse into one of our recent lessons conducted with our sixth-graders.

In December, all sixth-grade students participated in a project called "The Lotus Effect: A Participatory Installation for Times of Transformation" that was hosted by the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City.

Their website explains:

"Lotuses grow in muddy, murky waters, rise to the surface, and unfold. They bloom untainted by the muck and serve as a reminder, albeit a temporary one, that moments of beauty can emerge from the toughest conditions."

We thought this project was very timely given the challenges that we are all facing as a result of the pandemic.

Right before our holiday break, Ms. Pape mailed origami paper to each sixth-grade student while they were at home learning virtually.  Together, they watched a how-to video provided by the museum and then made their own origami lotus flowers.  

Students were asked to either dedicate their lotus flower to someone who helped them through a tough time or to someone whom they want to support through a tough time. In addition, all students were invited to submit their lotus flowers to be a part of the participatory installation at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Check out some of the amazing creations!