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Rivers On the Go!


What: A STEAM- and history-based in-school program

Who: Kindergarten-3rd grade classes

When: twice weekly classroom visits from January-June

Where: P.S. 47 & P.S. 49

Funders: This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, through CII grants from City Council Member Diana Ayala & City Council Member Ruben Diaz, Sr..

Goals: Students will:

  • Take pride in their own cultural roots through poetry and art

  • Examine similarities between their own culture and the culture of Native Americans who used to live in the Bronx

  • Gain skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, literacy, and public speaking

  • Understand the connection between people, art, and their environment

  • Understand that nature and water connect all cultures


Program Description: 

Rivers On the Go! Unity at P.S. 49: In the Rivers On The Go! Unity Program, children received fifteen fine art sessions with Teaching Artists Estelle Maisonett and Gabriela Galvan in drawing, painting, and sculpture to learn about the connection between people, art, and the environment. Three bi-lingual English Language Learner classes in Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade explored the idea that water and nature connect cultures all around the world. Teaching was differentiated based on student grade level. Students in Kindergarten created both 5” x 5” clay relief projects and 11” x 14” watercolor paintings highlighting their favorite thing to do with their family in nature. Their scenes included picking flowers and jumping in leaves. Children also created 6” x 6” sculptures of animal habitats made of clay and mixed-media such as sticks, moss, and jewels. For the ending celebration, Kindergarteners wrote a collaborative poem that expressed how all of their families loved and celebrated nature. The 1st and 3rd grade students program focused more on examining the similarities and differences between rain forest, river, and ocean environments. Students created clay sculptures of natural places in their home countries and paintings that documented what they see when they imagine these natural environments. All students took a field trip to Orchard Beach and completed a Museum-guided scavenger hunt of Twin Island. Guest speakers during the program included Cumbia for Kids, which used music to teach students about the diverse history of the indigenous people of Colombia. Storyteller and poet Bobby González also visited the students and shared the history of the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, known as the Taino, through interactive story-telling. The program concluded with an Ending Celebration for caregivers on May 21. At this celebration, student artwork was displayed and children shared their stories with their families and special guests.




"On behalf of our school and community, I would like to thank you for your amazing partnership! Our scholars have learned so much about their respective cultures and heritage, which has led to greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and pride! El orgullo Latino was evident in their presentations, artwork, and performances! Our teachers collaborated to share best practices and enhanced the curriculum with rich, engaging, and meaningful activities! What a wonderful experience and we look forward to next year!" - Frank Hernández , Principal, P.S. 49


"From January to May I have had the opportunity to work alongside four great visual art instructors from Bronx Children's Museum. Throughout the months we have experimented with different medias, imagination and build a connection between the arts and nature. I find that in the practice they are open to the different perspectives of how the students interpret what has been taught. The teachers focus on the student’s different senses and use their prior knowledge to build on their schema to create work. They accommodated the various learners that are in the classroom. I think that the program is a positive opportunity for the students to utilize nature as their inspiration for their own personal artwork and also open up their curiosity of the world around them." – Jessica Vega, Art Teacher, P.S. 49


"It makes me happy to think that all foods come from nature. It makes me feel like I care about nature because I like bannanas and I could not eat them without nature. I walk around flowers so I do not hurt them and I bend down to smell them!” - Keycha, 3rd grade


"Animals need habitats. They need a home so they can have water and food from nature." – Matthias C., Kindergarten



Rivers On the Go! Unity at P.S. 47: The ROG Program at P.S. 47 was offered to two first grade English Language Learner classes and included thirty fine art sessions with Teaching Artists Estelle Maisonett and Estefania Chavez. Classes focused on drawing, painting, sculpture, and film to learn about the connection between people, art, and the environment. Students created self- portraits with watercolors and poems that celebrated how their differences make them unique. Each student also created 2’x 2’ puppets of themselves using acrylic paint, raffia, newspaper, and patterned paper. Using their own clothing that carried cultural meaning such as national flags or sports memorabilia, children composed miniature versions of themselves as superheroes, teachers, singers, and police officers. After the puppets were finished, students created stories that were filmed. Inspired by images of natural environments around the world, students chose settings and began to create stories for their puppets. The environments included the bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, Orchard Beach and Bartow-Pell Mansion (inspired by Museum-led class trips), and other places that reflected the cultural make-up of our students. As they wrote and created scripts, students improved their English language skills and gained confidence in public speaking. The film, along with student artwork, was viewed by families, school staff, and special guests at the Ending Celebration on May 31.




"The program brought in opportunities for the children to connect with their culture and how it relates to nature through art, film, dance, and parental involvement.  I was so inspired by the program on a professional level that I created and implemented a poetry lesson that connected the children’s culture and nature as well.  The students learned an appreciation of nature, how to take care of it, and why we should take care of it through the field trips and experience in the museum bus.  Their looks of wonder were priceless whenever they encountered something new that they might not have otherwise experienced if it were not for the Bronx Children’s Museum.   This experience is something our students and I will always remember."  - L. Sjogren, 1st Grade Teacher at P.S. 47


"For my puppets face I cut different shapes and colors to make my eyes, nose, and lips. I like when we play Simon says to learn about the parts of eyes. My puppet has an iris, pupil, eyelid, a white dot for light, and eyebrows. You can show feelings with eyebrows on the puppet."  - Ximena C.


"I love watercolors! When you put water in the paint the color swirls all around and then you can color your picture. I made a self-portrait of myself as Rapunzel." - Ester M.


"Thank you so much for all your work. We enjoyed watching you play with the kids. These puppets look so beautiful and I can tell how close you are with all the kids. You know all their names and everyone is having so much fun. I am so happy I came."- Mother of Jason M.


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