On Sunday, April 30th the Michael Aymar Foundation Board put together our first annual event at the Van Vleck House and Gardens in Montclair, NJ. 125 of our closest friends, family, and supporters came together for this great cause. Together we shared many stories as we enjoyed special artwork, wine, and tapas over laughter (and happy tears) reminiscing on our influencer Mr. Michael Aymar. Our board members also provided some additional insight about the MAF mission and extended a big thank you to all who came and to all who donated.
A very special thank you to our new friends at The Van Vleck House and Gardens, the amazing kitchen staff and helpers, our bartenders, the lovely music provided by the Vitral Sax Quartet, and all of the wonderful guest speakers who participated (who could forget that touching student video towards the end!) You made this event extra memorable and the Foundation is grateful to have you all as a part of our growing family.
The love was felt tremendously as you walked from room to room, sharing memories and mingling with all those who were in attendance. It simply just felt like home.
The main focus of this Foundation is to help middle school children (grades 5-8). Our Nashdo Scholarship provides relief to those middle schoolers enrolled in Catholic schools, affected by a major tragedy or loss in their life. Support is also being provided through FREE Educational Workshops and Tutoring open to all school middle schoolers at public libraries. We strive to see all middle schoolers excel by joining our future workshops/tutoring sessions and use the tools to not only break out of their comfort zones, but go home with more confidence in their studies and inspiration.
All are welcome to donate at any of the following levels:
Friends - Up to $100
Silver Angels - Up to $500
Gold Angels - Above $500
The direct link is: http://www.michaelaymarfoundation.org/donate-now.html
Mr. Aymar helped shape each of the lives that he touched in such a remarkable way, especially so with his students. May we always remember the great times and share more inspiring stories.
Please follow our journey as we continue to grow and achieve our goals via Mr. Aymar's legacy.
We are just getting started!
Blog by Lilly Santos - Student of Mr. Aymar
No Fear Shakespearehttp://nfs.sparknotes.com
No Fear Shakespeare puts Shakespeare's original text side-by-side with a modern English translation so students can enjoy the beauty of the original works as they keep up with the meaning.
Students choose from professional artwork to jumpstart their writing online. Simple tools allow them to write and publish picture books (K-grade 5), longform chapter books (grades 5-9) and poetry. Students also receive social feedback from Storybird's global community. For more information, view this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ9ycfrCR44
Students read the first part of a story and submit a draft of the next chapter online. Their peers read the submissions and vote for the winner. The winning piece becomes the next chapter and the competition continues until the story is complete. For more information, view this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgOxsKClQZA
Blog post provided by Angela Leon www.semirosas.com
The Great Teacher
One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, and with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
It’s a great honor to write a few words about teaching and about Michael Aymar.
Prior to twenty-five plus years in the psychologist’s chair and now, after retiring my practice, I have been a teacher. When I witness the legacy Michael left with his family and his many students, I recognize and understand the driving force in his work with young people.
In the words of the great psychologist, Carl Jung, “warmth is the vital element.” It is abundantly clear that Michael had humor and love that touched his students warmly and deeply. I’ve witnessed his legacy in the words of his students as they have shared his message. They have taken time out of their busy lives to volunteer at a series of events in honor of the Michael Aymar Foundation. They have shared anecdotes and facts. Most of all, they reflected Michael’s love with words of appreciation.
Teachers are sculptors. They take raw material and create works of art. The media teachers use are the curriculum and the student, but the vehicle is the teacher’s soul. As a tuned “instrument,” the teacher’s words are like beautiful music that affects the students’ vibrational field. Once moved, the student is never the same.
Michael knew this. That is clear by the fact that his students still resonate with his message. His wife Amanda and his son Peter know this, so they work tirelessly to offer his love through the Michael Aymar Foundation, so middle schoolers can continue to benefit from his legacy.
Honor the teacher. Support the sculptor who molds lives. We look forward to meeting you at an upcoming event.
Rosanne A. Bostonian, Ph.D., RMT
When I think of Mr. Aymar and how he managed to introduce middle schoolers to Shakespeare, I can’t help but feel complete awe. The Bard may be famous around the world and in every high school classroom, but his works aren’t exactly the easiest texts to read. Yet Mr. Aymar was reading sonnets to our class of 12-year-olds, and I remember that (with his guidance) we understood exactly what Shakespeare was saying.
In many school districts, including my own, Shakespeare isn’t in the curriculum until students reach high school. That’s when teachers typically assign plays like Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth for the students to read through. One of my biggest fears as a teacher is that students will hate and give up on Shakespeare when they start to struggle with the dense language of the texts. I didn’t want my students’ first taste of Shakespeare to involve frustration and desperate Google searches to figure out what Shakespeare meant.
So I tried to channel Mr. Aymar’s talent and build a middle school-appropriate Shakespeare lesson for my own students. I paired Sonnet 130 with the Bruno Mars song “Just the Way You Are” and had my sixth graders analyze the themes in each. In both pieces, the authors compare their respective love interest to various images, some more favorable than others. The Shakespearean sonnet essentially says that his significant other's “eyes are nothing like the sun” and that she “treads on the ground,” while Mars insists that his girlfriend’s “eyes make the stars look like they’re not shining” and that “her hair falls perfectly without her trying.” By the time we finish reading (and listening to) both poems, I usually have several students raising their hands to comment on what a jerk Shakespeare was And while that isn’t EXACTLY the image I want them to have of Billy S., I’m happy that they at least feel confident enough that they've fully understood it and can add their opinions to the discussion.
Below is a copy of the full lesson plan and the worksheet I gave to the students.
“Who is that man?”
My students were asking about the framed photo of Mr. Aymar that has been sitting on my desk at work for the past month. Ever curious, they’ve asked me about him several times since I first displayed the picture.
It’s hard for me to explain him to them because “He was my middle school English teacher” and “He was my favorite teacher” both sound far too casual and don’t fully express the impact Mr. Aymar had on my life. So every time they ask now, I just respond with “remember when we learned about…?” and wait until they nod with recognition.
Mr. Aymar’s lessons focused primarily on teaching proper grammar in a fun and engaging way. At my school, we teach grammar through context and don’t have a class dedicated to grammar alone. So I teach the most important skills as short mini-lessons, most of which are inspired by the strategies Mr. Aymar used when teaching us the same concepts many years ago.
A couple weeks ago, I taught my sixth graders about the role of a direct object, the noun that receives the action in a sentence. In the sentence “I ate a banana,” the word “banana” is the direct object because it is receiving the action of the word “ate.” The tricky part that some students struggle with, though, is the fact that some action verbs don’t need an object.
That’s when I introduced the idea of NASHDO. The acronym, coined by Mr. Aymar himself, stands for “not all sentences have direct objects.” Some sentences include action verbs that are intransitive and therefore don’t act upon an object. For example, the verbs in the sentences “I slept” and “I danced” don’t need an object to receive the actions.
The students looked at me blankly for a few moments after I explained this, and I thought that maybe the idea of NASHDO wasn’t going to stick with them. But then the next morning while I was passing out homeroom breakfast, one student refused it and said, “Oh, I already ate.”
“Really? What did you eat?” I asked him, wondering about his vague answer.
“Don’t worry, Ms. P,” he said with a sly grin on his face. “NASHDO. That sentence doesn’t need a direct object.”
|Michael Aymar Foundation||