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Friday Field Trips

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Fridays this summer are special days for the ACHIEVEability Super Readers!  After earning blue ribbons at the 2011 Reading Olympics Competition, our kids voted to continue their club and participate in the Free Library’s Summer Reading Program. Other new activities include photography, creative writing, and Friday field trips to cultural institutions.  Recent destinations include the Kimmel Center, the Wagner Free Institute of Science, and, just last week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Samyra had never been to a museum before this trip. “I liked the sunflower picture best,” Samyra Orr reported, “The one painted by Vincent Van Gogh.” Samyra had her picture taken with her favorite painting, and she drew her own version of these famous sunflowers in her observation journal.  What else did Samyra like best about the museum?  She said, “the pictures in a museum are more realistic than pictures in a book.  They look old.”

The arms and armor exhibit was also a big hit, especially with the only boy in the group, Ibarhim Idris.  “I liked the horse armor and the guns and the swords.  My favorite sword was really long.”

Also inspired by the armor exhibit, Maryam Shafeeq designed her own shield with “flowers and lots of colors.”  She liked the armor exhibit because everything was “ancient and used so long ago.”

Maryam says she wants to go the museum again and again.  She likes the museum because “it has a whole bunch of paintings. I learned that you can zoom in and zoom out. You can look at any part of the painting you want.  I loved the painting that had a bunch of naked babies.  It was a whole bunch of babies. I liked looking at the really old paintings because the artists had died and I could learn about history.”

Like her sister Maryam, Rajaa was a careful note-taker and wrote down all the names of the artists that she enjoyed. “I also liked the suit of armor that was small enough to fit my little brother because it was hard to imagine someone that small going into battle.”

Before their visit to the museum, ACHIEVEability staff worked with the students to understand cultural context and to have a better sense of their place in history. They practiced being polite in a public space and learned the social skills that are necessary for quiet appreciation of new visual experiences.

When asked about her favorite part of the trip, Ruqiyyah Idris said that running up and down the museum steps was definitely something she’ll always remember. “I’m the fastest person in my family and I love running because it’s something I can do the very best.”

All in all, everyone had a great time, and we’ll definitely be back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Thanks to the Free Library of Philadelphia for the free passes!