Education, Events, Features, TCPalm

Children’s book author, photographer David FitzSimmons to visit Vero Beach Book Center

Photo Caption: David FitzSimmons,  freelance photographer and writer, has a childbook’s series, Curious Critters. The third book,  Curious Critters Marine is shown in photograph.

When David FitzSimmons was in elementary school, his mom, a high school English teacher at the time, would take him to a children’s literature conference at Ohio State University. It was there the landscape and wildlife photographer’s love for books grew.

FitzSimmons’s dad was an outdoor educator and would often bring home such animals as snakes, turtles and lizards. His love of nature grew.Now, the 45-year-old author hopes to spread that love through his series of “Curious Critters” children’s books, which he will present at the

Now, the 45-year-old author hopes to spread that love through his series of “Curious Critters” children’s books, which he will present at the Vero Beach Book Center June 9.

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Cutler Bay Academy Senior High unveils solar powered electric car

For Miami Herald.

Students in an experimental science class at Cutler Bay Academy Senior High School have spent that past couple of months working in the school’s wood shop to construct their own solar powered electric kit car. The vehicle fully charges in a couple hours, runs for about 40 minutes and goes 25 to 30 mph.

Through a vote, it was decided that junior Gabriel Hechavarria, 17, will be racing the car in the FIA Formula E Miami ePrix race this Saturday against nine other schools, all of which received a grant from Florida Power & Light that provided schools with kit cars.

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Education, Events, Local

Young musicians from the Miami Lighthouse visit Jungle Island

For Miami Herald.

On Saturday mornings, while many teenagers are sleeping in, the 25 students from the music program at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind are learning sound production from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During the summer, the music production program meets Monday through Friday for two months.

Last Saturday, the teens put down their instruments and had a chance to visit Jungle Island for a Touch Tour to visit animals for a multi-sensory field trip.

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Booker T. Washington on the verge of unveiling state-of-the-art planetarium

For Miami Herald.

Booker T. Washington is on the verge of unveiling a newly renovated planetarium, which will be the centerpiece for the school’s new astronomy magnet program that will begin in August.

The facility is the first of its kind at a Miami-Dade school, which the school hopes will encourage more interest in its program as the deadline to register is approaching.

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Girl, 16, who claims teacher took her virginity, sues Miami-Dade School Board

For Miami Herald.

A former South Dade Senior High student is suing the Miami-Dade County School Board for not providing her with better protection from her teacher who sent her lewd texts and had sex with the minor.

The 16-year-old, who goes by the initials C.R.R., is also asking for damages from her former geometry teacher Bresnniel Jansen Mones, who the lawsuit claims sent her graphic texts and took her virginity on his desk in December 2013.

The suit asks for monetary damages and claims neglect on behalf of the School Board, which it says knew of a similar incident at the same school also involving Mones, five years ago.

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Education, Events

Museum brings art to Miami-Dade summer-camp kids

For Miami Herald.

Starting with a pile of colorful twist-ties — those flat, wired ribbons that keep your bread in the bag — two dozen Miami-Dade kids made frogs, spiders and hats.

The kids, ages 5 to 14, then attached their creations to the ceiling of a community center at Juan Pablo Duarte Park in Allapattah, creating a larger work of art.

The art-making exercise was part of the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s outreach program, “PAMM in the Neighborhood,” in which the museum traveled to more than 70 camps and community centers throughout Miami-Dade County, from North Miami Beach down to Richmond Heights. The project reached more than 8,000 budding artists.

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Education, Video

Dance movement therapy is incorporated into preschool curriculum

For South Florida News Service.

By Crystal Chew and Matias J. Ocner

At Play and Learn Preschool, 10 children gather around a blue and red foam square matt during their afternoon creative movement class. They sit with their legs “criss-cross-applesauce” and are asked how they are feeling today.

“Don’t tell me with your words, tell me with your body,” said Jennifer Puig, 30, the creative movement teacher and certified dance movement therapist at the preschool.

Jack, 5, who is one of Puig’s students, starts to jump up and down with a bright smile and a fruitful laugh.

Puig hopes her class will teach children like Jack how to have a strong connection with their own self and body.

“If there is one thing that all students should take away from this [class], it’s the importance and value of body movement communication,” said Puig.

The director and teachers at Play and Learn agree that Puig’s class has aided students socially.

“Jennifer does a great job at helping the kids develop their awareness of where they are in space, where they are related to the other kids and where they should be in order to respect other people’s spaces,” said Rosa Fernandez, director at Play and Learn Preschool.

Puig who moved to Barcelona, Spain, in 2008 to pursue studies in Dance Movement Therapy – the use of choreographed or improvised movement as a way of treating social, emotional, cognitive and physical problems – moved back to Miami in 2011 and decided to teach what she had learned.

“She helps me, the teachers and the families,” said Fernandez. “She’s always there for you and we are very lucky to have her.”