PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 2/13/17 Liberty’s Flameout?


Dear Families,

Striking art by John W. Tomac for a recent New Yorker magazine cover initiated our discussions about what is behind our American identity and iconography and how these things have been altered or given new or different meaning due to current events. It seems like everything is political these days, from the sports teams we watch to the items we buy — we’re choosing things (and rejecting things!) based on political stances. It may be divisive, but one upside is that everyone seems to be a lot more knowledgeable about U.S. government and history — which could never be bad!

In the illustration, we noticed that Lady Liberty’s copper-cast hand is recognizable, even without the rest of her. We analyzed that the flame had recently been extinguished and partially obliterated the title of the publication. We decided that although there seems to be very little light in the image, that some does remain, albeit waning, in the background. It’s a somber, arresting piece that really made us think.

So, using The New Yorker as a guide, we choose an iconic symbol of America — Apple Pie, the flag, the Constitution, the White House, etc. and a current event that has, in some way, altered that symbol for us. We designed New Yorker style covers using 4 or less colors and little to no text.We wrote separately about our ideas and process and let the cover art speak for itself. (As a side note, you may have noticed that the single copy, newsstand price for The New Yorker is now $8.99! But, print vs. digital media is another blog for another day!)

Emmanuelle and Alexis saw the crack in the Liberty Bell becoming more pronounced . . .


Maddie used the Confederate Flag to demonstrate inequality . . .


Jasper Smith depicted interference from another country . . .


Melissa saw something ominous looming over the White House . . .


Kika noticed that a slice of ‘the pie’ may not be available to everyone . . .


And Taly wondered if NYC would remain a destination for people seeking a better life . . .


We also started to wrap up our work on The Jungle. We will finish the book next week and start our culminating projects . . .



In other current events, we had a chance to compare Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz on the issue of Obamacare (A.K.A ACA), repeal, and replacement . . .


And had some fun by matching key players to the comments, Tweets,  and events surrounding them . . .


Answers: 1E, 2D, 3A, 4C, 5B

All this, and a snow day!


Ms. Sacilotto

“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.”

— Barack Obama