BASIS Independent Brooklyn all-star teacher Mr. Steve D’Amato is thrilled to be leading two popular summer programs: English and Minecraft. I recently sat down with Mr. D’Amato to learn more about his vision for these two programs and why he decided to spend his summer at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.Matthew Beller: Can you tell the BASIS Independent community why you chose to spend your summer with us?
Steve D’Amato: I decided to teach the summer program here at BASIS Independent Brooklyn because I want to give students the opportunity to brush up on their English, writing, and reading skills. Additionally, as the senior moderator of the most populous club at school, I felt that offering a Minecraft Club section was not only necessary, but also essential to ensuring some good ‘ol summertime gaming fun.
MB: What do you currently teach and how does that influence what you will do in the summer program?
SD: I currently am in my second year at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, and I teach English VII (7th Grade) and VIII (8th Grade) as well as Honors Language. With eight years of collective teaching experience here in New York City (at the college, high school, and middle school level), I want to offer new and returning students to our school the chance to engage with literary and nonfictional texts in a setting that allows them to become imaginatively immersed in both the story and the language. There is no greater reward than to read for pleasure, or to find pleasure in reading. By reading short fiction, poetry, and critical essays, my students will be able to apply the skill sets we develop in the classroom to their lives beyond the walls of our schoolhouse. Remember, all the world is a text! We merely need to become strong readers of the multiple messages that culture and society throw our way. This will ensure our success as we grow and develop into amazing citizens of this world!
MB: Why should students enroll in your English or Minecraft programs, and can you explain how your programs work and what their goals are?
SD: Students should enroll in my classes if they wish to give themselves a strong foundation for the rigorous English curriculum that governs our school year. This is by no means a remedial course, but it will, for example, certainly help prepare students greatly for the heavy emphasis on grammar that they can expect in the coming academic year of 2016-2017. Alternatively, if students desire to join the ranks of my Minecraft Club, we will engage the educational version of the game… doing just as the title of the game suggests. Students will mine and craft, creating villages, vast structures and transportation networks, and resource supply chains. Furthermore, as a long-time video-gamer, I will bring my enthusiasm for this amazing game to our summer meetings. All in all, the goal that I have for these programs is simple: I want my students to enjoy themselves and the material that they will encounter in either English or Minecraft. It’s going to be summer after all… so really the focus is on having fun while learning a great deal in the week we get to spend together.