Studio In a School– Third Grade Tempera Painting Project

Our five-weeklong Tempera Painting Project with the 3rd graders at the Studio was a richly rewarding experience/activity. The teachers also participated enthusiastically in this exploratory project.  Initially, we looked at the beautiful Victorian type houses through pictures from our Rugby Road Neighborhood. In the beginning, we learned vocabulary words such as Victorian, neighborhood and architecture, and a lot more once the project unfolded. We also looked at American painter Edward Hopper’s famous ‘House by the Railroad’ (1925). Through this painting, we learned background, middle ground and foreground.
On the first day, we drew the neighborhood houses of our choice by selecting one from 30 different house pictures. We used a pencil to do this exercise.
In the second week, like professional artists, with brown tempera paint we traced the outline using a round brush. We also understood through Hopper’s painting how artists painted a ‘foundation color’ before starting their painting. We painted a ‘yellow tint’ as a foundation color, like Hopper, by mixing yellow and white.
In the third week, we learned three different kinds of blues: turquoise, cerulean and cobalt. By mixing white paint with these blues individually we painted our beautiful background/sky. We also added yellow with these blues and created different kinds of greens to paint our foreground, trees, plants, bushes and lawns.
The fourth week focused on understanding the middle ground, the building. We mixed red, yellow and white to make the peach color to paint our buildings. Once peach was done, we added blue to it and got ‘payne’s grey’ to overlap the peach color.
The fifth week was devoted to highlighting and going back to the outline. This time we added white to our greens, blues and peach color to paint the highlight. We also used dark brown (mixture of black and red) to outline once again so that our painting is complete.
In all the five weeks we learned a lot of vocabulary words.  We had plenty of demo to look at and lot of reflection sessions to discuss the work we did.
Since we did still life paintings at the beginning of the semester using watercolor, the students had an easy transition to tempera painting methods.
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Erick from Ms. Salzman’s Class is painting the middle ground.
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 ​Wyona from Ms. Lynch’s class                            Dana from Ms. Becker’s class
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 Aayushma from Ms. Becker’s class
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                                                                                           Naba’s house (this one is diagonal from PS 139)
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 Aayushma’s house.                                                    Dana’s house

PS 139 Chess Ninjas at Grade Nationals

December 4-6th representatives of PS 139’s Chess Ninjas travelled to Orlando, Florida to compete in the Grade Nationals tournament. Eight Chess Ninjas competed in multiple rounds of chess throughout the weekend and returned to Brooklyn with impressive victories. The Third Grade team placed 8th in the nation! Grade 3 players were: Emma Adams, Ayushma Rai, Maya Emert-Wiggins, and Ellis Wong (who also brought home a trophy as the 20th place third grader in the country!). The Fifth Grade team placed 10th in the nation! Grade 5 players were: Robbie Galpern Levin, Aowyn Schneider, Sonam Sherpa, and Tashi Sherpa.

PS 139 is proud of its chess club. The Ninjas owe their success to their hard work and love for the game, to their coach, Ian West, who respects and cultivates their intelligence and abilities, and to their families who commit their energies to supporting the team and PS 139 overall.

Congratulations, Ninjas!




Preparing between rounds with Coach West


Grades 2         Grades 3

Third grade team–8th place                            Fifth grade team–1oth place

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Chess Ninjas at Grade Nationals                                                                                              With Coach West



Proud and happy Ninjas!



Rugby Road Reporter Special Issue: Studio in a School

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PS 139 Chess Ninjas–Nationals!!

PS 139 Chess Ninjas participated in nearly 20 tournaments this year–locally throughout New York City, in Saratoga Springs for the NY State Championship, and nationally in Chicago, Illinois and Nashville, Tennessee!

We are proud of their hard work and achievements. These kids learn valuable life skills in chess club and at tournaments. They learn to think and plan for several moves ahead, to view the whole board (the wider context) and smaller areas of the board (focus). They learn patience and discipline. They learn to concentrate and delay gratification. They learn about fair play, and how to recover from a loss and continue on. They learn how to work as a team. And in the words of one second grader, they learn “to think hard while having fun!”

The Ninjas are especially fortunate to be coached by Mr. Ian West, who is dedicated to helping them learn and love the game of chess, and guides them through those important lessons mentioned above. He is treasured and respected by the kids and their families.

2015 Girls National Chess Tournament, Chicago, Illinois

Under 8: First place–left to right: Maya Emert-Wiggins, Polly Morrow, Emma Adams, Ayushma Rai with coach Ian West



Under 10: 6th place–Vivian Gore, Aowyn Schneider, Ariana Winawer-Stein



2015 Chess Nationals, Nashville, Tennessee

 K-3 Under 800–19th place–Nevin Swanson, Bea Rush, Declan Lutton-Seignoret, Maya Emmert-Wiggins, Polly Morrow, Emma Adams (not pictured) with Coach Ian West and National Tournament Director

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 K-5 under 900 -4th place –Emmet Duprey, Brian Thevenot, Vivian Gore, Sonam Sherpa, Ariana Winawer Stein, Alexander Pierre, Ryan Reddish, Aowyn Schneider with Coach West



K-5 under 900- tied for 35th place– Aowyn Schneider, Alexander Pierre Joy, Ryan Reddish, Emmet Duprey

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 K-5 Open-18th place–standing: Tashi Sherpa, Robbie Galpern Levin, Michelle Muniz.  front row: Ellis Wong, Ayushma Rai,



                                            2015 National Team                                                                      




Research suggests that chess increases standardized math and reading scores, improves problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and enhances memory and verbal reasoning. The benefits of playing chess are not limited to the following:

  • Develops self-esteem
  • Increases concentration and focus
  • Promotes delayed gratification
  • Teaches sportsmanship
  • Fosters emotional intelligence
  • Enhances social development

In 2007, PS 139 created a full-time in-house chess program. This comprehensive program reaches the entire school population. Every child in the school receives chess instruction in their classrooms, from K through 5th grade. Our chess teacher is Ian West.

The program is structured so that Mr. West works with the upper grades (4th & 5th) in the fall, the middle grades (2nd & 3rd) in the spring, and then finishes the year with the lower grades (K & 1st) in the springtime.

PS 139 also has a rigorous after-school program, which meets three days a week, from dismissal until 5pm. The Chess Club is a competitive team training program. Most of the kids in the after-school program go on some weekends to compete in the local scholastic tournament circuit. The club participates in three big events each year: the Grade Nationals in Orlando in December, the State Championships in Saratoga Springs in February, and the National Elementary Championship in May. Players compete on all levels, usually in sections of 50 or more teams. The Chess Ninjas routinely finish in the top ten and have won first place in tournaments through the years.



How Does Your Garden Grow?

Learn about PS 139 Garden and How You Can Get Involved!

The garden committee, led by parent volunteers, organizes activities that connect kids to their natural environment. All parents and teachers interested in getting involved are welcome! Our garden can’t flourish without your help.

PS 139’s Garden – A Place for Hands on Learning

The school’s enclosed garden along Cortelyou Road has nine raised beds, a watering source, and a shed for gardening tools. It’s open to all teachers and parents who want to do garden activities with a class of kids.

Harvest Day Celebrations at PS 139 – Inspiring Kids to Eat Healthy

To inspire kids to eat healthy and learn where food comes from, we’ve brought the NYC Garden to Café Harvest Day Celebration to PS 139. Kids help with everything from harvesting the garden to creating healthy eating posters. A fun one-day event, everyone samples fresh meals in the cafeteria made from the garden’s produce.

Classroom Seed Planting – A Parent-Teacher Partnership in Learning

The garden committee acquired several grow lights for classroom seed planting. Parents can volunteer to help kids learn about the plant life cycle and do a seed-planting workshop. Easy to organize, it’s a rewarding experience for everyone!

Get Involved! The Garden Can’t Grow Without Your Help.

A teacher or parent with a child at PS 139 can get involved. No garden experience necessary. Just a desire to enrich our kids’ understanding of the natural science and encourage a healthy eating habits. Make a difference.















CookShop, the core nutrition education program of the Food Bank for New York City, hosts Cookshop Classroom at PS 139. The program uses hands-on exploration, cooking and physical activities to foster children’s enjoyment and consumption of healthy food, and their appreciation for good nutrition and living an active lifestyle. With distinct components for qualifying public elementary school and after-school settings, CookShop Classroom reached students in more than 1,800 public elementary school classrooms and after-school programs this year:

CookShop Classroom for After-School offers age-appropriate curricula for low-income students aged 6 to 12 in diverse after-school settings.

Students participating in CookShop Classroom learn where food comes from and how it grows, what goes into a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, and how to transform whole foods such as carrots, wheat, apples and lettuce into simple, tasty, affordable meals and snacks.

All CookShop Classroom teachers and instructors receive comprehensive, interactive training and support from Food Bank staff, as well as all of the curriculum materials, food, supplies and equipment needed to implement the program successfully.

For more details on CookShop in New York City and the Food Bank for NYC visit their website

CAMBA After-School

PS 139 partners with CAMBA, a non-profit agency, for After-School. CAMBA’s After-School Programs are built upon a foundation of best practices in youth development and research-based curricula. We offer youth various structured activities, including supper and socialization, homework help, cultural and enrichment activities, arts, recreation, conflict resolution, clubs, creative arts, and athletics. The goal of our programs is to engage youth in learning activities that build upon, but are different from, school-day studies. A Mentor-Teacher from the school-day staff provides continuity between after-school and school-day learning. Student programming is also built on the principle of choice. We develop an array of clubs to allow students to choose those activities that best match their areas of interest. We also engage parents through family nights, club showcases, and referrals to other needed services.

CAMBA Creative Kids @ PS 139
CAMBA Creative Kids, which began in September 2005, serves school children in PS 139. Program services are offered five days a week and include supper and socialization, homework help, cultural and enrichment activities, arts, recreation, conflict resolution and clubs. Creative Kids currently serves 220 students.