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Documents- SuperRico

About the SuperRico Project

What does a Puerto Rican tree frog Superhero have to do with the World Trade Center tragedy? Ms. Nina Anastacia, a teacher at the Adolescent Day Treatment program, PS 721M, created this project for the 19 sixth and seventh-graders in her class as a way to work out the lingering fears and anxieties they experienced after September 11th, while also learning more about writing and working together.

Children are referred to PS 721M because they have behavior problems: they may be easily frustrated in their attempts at learning and have trouble working cooperatively. Through the collaboration between the New York City Board of Education and the Puerto Rican Family Institute, a family oriented health and human services agency, the mostly Latino students receive diagnoses and theraputic treatments in addition to standards-based curriculum.

The SuperRico project allowed them to build on their fascination with superheros while providing a safe place to talk about difficult things. They transformed something from their own culture — the loud tree frog native to Puerto Rico — into a way to explore different strengths and challenges. "Like all good superheroes, Super Rico can fly, or jump, into any situation to save the day. He will knowingly put himself in danger to help somebody else, just like the firefighters of Sept. 11 who entered the twin towers," explained Mellissa Figueroa, 13." (Jennifer Medina, New York Times, 6/12/08, B-8) Writing and illustrating this story also allowed the children to write their own ending, gaining a measure of control over their own difficulties and the conflicts which remain in the world.

 

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