Dear Mr. Feld and students of John F.Kennedy High School,
Thank you for your invitation to visit and comment upon your web site "Why Is The Mona Lisa Smiling?"
I live in San Francisco, where we like to imagine that we've seen it all and know everything. Your web site humbled me. I had no idea that Leonardo Da Vinci composed music! Neither did my partner, Diane, who is a musician and knows a lot about music. So, that was an eye opener. But your web sites very pursuasive suggeston that the Mona Lisa might be Da Vinci himself postively knocked my socks off! Needless to say, such an assertion, in a town like San Francisco, has tremendous resonance and dosen't seem at all implausable. Such a view, I can assure you, would gain many supporters here in the Bay area: might even start a new movement!
Well, if that were not enough, I surfed to your "Incredible Art Department". You know that kid in "Pet Peeves" who is suffering from the "I can't draw!" syndrome...? God how I laughed at that picture!!! Well, that is me on any given day of the week, about any number of things! Also, a lot of my friends are like that too, ALL THE TIME! (Maybe I need to change my friends...what do you guys think?((See:we're also incredibly neurotic in San Francisco!)) Anyway, I read about Brett, Joni, Queeni and Henri Mattisse and...oh, God, am I really going to admit this now? O.K., I'll come clean: I sat here on a belly full of French toast and lap sang sou chong tea and I cried...NOT A LOT, O.K., guys...?!?!...just a little. What majestic examples of the human spirit! And how fine of you to acknowledge them and offer their stories as hope for others, including me!
I cruised all around the art site, fantasizing about changing my career from poet to artist (decided against it: have too much time logged into "Poe'biz").
I'm bookmarking 'Why Is The Mona Lisa Smiling" site and saving the rest for
later: like the best chocolate cake one has ever tasted, it's best eaten a
little at a time.
Maybe you can ask:"Why Is Alan Kaufman Thinking, Pondering, Laughing and Crying?" Answer: because of the extraordinary job you guys have done! Congratulations!
Alan Kaufman San Francisco Spoken Word Poet
Steve and the Students of Mr. Feld--
You have all proven yourselves so well, particularly with the limited sources you have to produce such outstanding work. You should be proud of the wonderful web work you have done! My hat is off to all of you! Just keep the commitment to educate others with the use of the web as we all will benefit. Thank you very much for your invitation. I always love seeing the fruit of student work, and in this case, a masterpiece. David LevinDear Steve:
Ooops, I neglected to tell you that I will be adding your web site to both my Art Department page and my Social Studies/History Department page. Best wishes, David Levin
Library Media Center Director
Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, IL
You're invited to visit Learning@Web.Sites! http://www.ecnet.net/users/gdlevin/home.html
Learning@Web.Sites: Training & Consulting http://www.ecnet.net/users/gdlevin/consult.html
Thank you for visiting MUVA Virtual Museum of Arts El Pais and for suggesting me the visit to your site.
I did visit it and sent you a short comment but on a more personal basis I would like to congratulate you, the team and the students.
It shows a very good use of the Web, with the right "edutainment" and "infotainment" elements for youngsters.
I also liked the postcards and the fact that they are multicultural
(a good issue of multiculturalism).
The interactive elements, plus the music, makes it very entertaining in the best sense of the word. And that is very appealing to youngsters.
I appreciate very much it has been created by young people and with old computers. Coming from my part of the word that is very important, particularly when you have to be creative with small budgets. That is a major example and your system could be inspirational to Third World Countries.
The quiz is good. The quiz has the right level for youngsters...
I cordially invite you to give me your opinions about our Virtual Museum. You can see my biographical note there, under messages from the Director. I would appreciate if you give the URL to your students and collegues. When they visit, let me know their opinion.
I enclose information about MUVA . We are still not available for ANY browser, but we are working on it. It has to be viewed with Netscape 3.0
All the best,
Director Art Historian
MUVA Virtual Museum of Arts El Paix, is devoted to Uruguayan and Latin American art.
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 22:59:03 -0700
From: "Alan Liu"
Sorry to be so slow to get to this. The site is a really excellent paradigm for the use of the Web by students. I've signed the guest book, and I'll be adding a link on myVoice of the Shuttle.
Dept. of English
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 http://humanitas.ucsb.edu
First of all, thank you very much for the wonderful replanning work you did to my Document Title page. It was a pleasant surprise for me.
The Editor in Chief 's editing is excellent!
As I told you on the phone, the enlarging of the fonts on all pages is also great. You did a colossal job! I am very grateful to you and you students for dedicating your precious time to the enhancing of the pages on my book. I am very proud of you!
Just a touch of perfection to an already "work of art".
Rina De' Firenze
Author of Mystery of the Mona Lisa
From: "Robert A. Baron"
After looking at your students' Mona Lisa site I revised my monalisiana article to take into account two items they highlighted: the morphed mona/Leonardo by Lillian Schwartz and the novel/bio by Rina de' Firienze. The result is a semi scholarly article, but you and your kids may wish to have a look anyway. Plus there are several new pictures, including a still from Andy Bergman's movie, "The Freshman."
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 12:59:32 +0200 (MDT)
From: Biblioteca Leonardiana - Vinci (Fi) - Italy)
I am sending this message from the Leonardiana Library in Vinci with the Director of the Library Dr. Romano Nanni, congratulating you for the spectacular website of your JFK School, on Leonardo da Vinci, wishing you the deserved winning prize.
All the best,
Rina de' Firenze
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1998 06:26:52 -0400
From: "Barbara Schulz"
I only had time to review parts of your web pages, but they do look very impressive. I really liked the way you tied DaVinci into Science concepts. I can't wait to share it with my art teacher! It will fit perfectly into our Science unit on Man, Matter & Energy this year.
I would also like to coach a ThinkQuest Junior team this year for the first time. I was wondering if your team members would like to mentor mine. This would be a good way for yours to reinforce their skills by sharing and mine would love the interaction with High School students. We could start with emailing or chatting back and forth and then go from there.
I have to mention that we are limited to a couple computers in the classroom and one phone line that is shared with the fax in the office. So that your "15 year old machines" are very similar to ours. Your multiethnic backgrounds would also be an experience for my children as we are a mostly rural school with very little differing ethnicity.
You can view our latest project on the internet on the Kidlink Kidwriters page at:
and our web page at: http://www.jarrettsville.org/dublin/
I am off to a class this morning, but will take time to write in your guest book later this week or next week.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 22:33:57 PDT
From: Judi Weinstein" firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much for the referrals. I'm all alone in my English Department and lo and behold, a wonderful present of beauty is dropped before my eyes. Leonardo is always welcome around here and your Our Town site also gives me ideas. Congratulations on being appreciated by the powers above and may you have many more fruitful experiences to enhance the Internet explosion.
Kibbutz Nir Oz
Western Negev, ISRAEL
Subject: Leonardo and Vatican Web site
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 16:56:50 +0100
From: "vati2" email@example.com
Dear Mr. Feld, We appreciated your WEB page about Leonardo. For a link from the Vatican site you need an authorization by the Internet Office of the Holy See. You can obtain any information at this address:
Dr. Mario Farneti - Head of CTV Archive
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 10:29:06 -0400
From: Linda_Roberts@ed.gov (Linda Roberts)
CC: Julie_Kaminkow@ed.gov (Julie Kaminkow), Carole_Wacey@ed.gov (Carole Wacey), Judy_Heumann@ed.gov (Judy Heumann), Mike_Smith@ed.gov (Mike Smith), Kirk_Winters@ed.gov (Kirk Winters)
It was a delight to MC the student awards at the National Educational Computing Conference in San Diego before an audience of several thousand people. Think Quest awardees were there as well!
Thanks for the invitation to visit your web site...I've just returned from travel and will try to get to it this week. I am delighted to learn that your site is accessible to the hearing impaired and that you have built links to other sites as well. I am sending your note on to Judy Heumann, Assistant Secretary for Special Education as well.
Subject: Re: Invitation to visit our arts driven web site resource
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 1998 08:37:24 EDT
From: NEW YORK STATE ODDYSSEY OF THE MIND NYOMSDMW@aol.com
Hi ! Board approved publishing your address. No OM newsletter published until the fall. Look forward to hearing from you again. Sorry about the wait for reply but in the summer I'm not on line much.
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 10:42:27 +0200
From: "IG Porto San Giorgio" firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sending this message from the Centro Informagiovani
( Information Center for the Young) with Marcello La Sorda, and with Prof. Diana Fioretti, of the Cultural Center of Porto S. Giorgio, both thanking you for the marvellous website created by your students of the JFK School on Leonardo da Vinci's world-wide information for which we wish you a great winning prize.
Please, answer to this address. All the best,
Rina de Firenze
Author of Mystery of the Mona Lisa
Via Gentili 16
63017 Porto San Giorgio (AP)
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 13:20:07 -0500
From: Amy email@example.com
Congratulations! Your Web site, Why is Mona Lisa Smiling, may be featured in an issue of www.4kids.org. Www.4kids.org is a Universal Press Syndicate (UPS) syndicated feature published by over 150 newspapers in the US and Canada. Each issue is either printed with the comics for the Sunday edition or published in a daily issue each week and has been since May 5, 1996. Www.4kids.org also has its own Web site at http://www.4kids.org
If you would like to know more about us and our mission of providing fun, educational , and safe sites for kids to visit on the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.4kids.org/congrats. There you will find links to staff, a map to newspapers that carry our feature, and the ability to browse our back issues.
Currently, our lead time is 8 weeks prior to publication. Since one of our goals is to ensure the reliability of the URLs we publish, can you reply to this message and assure us that your site will remain at the following URL for the next three months?
Site name: Why is Mona Lisa Smiling
Once we have been assured of your site address, information about your site is scheduled to be released during the week of 9/13/98. Would you like us to send you a full size color copy of it when it comes out? Just send along your snail mail address along with your reply confirming your site will remain at the above URL.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. Christy forwarded your message to Frank who later chose to review your site. Your e-mails have been received and you no longer need to continue sending them. Thank you.
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 1998 13:56:34 -0700
From: Jennifer Roland
Subject: Cool daVinci site
Could you post this Web site under the Projects & Curriculum heading of the Teacher Resources section: /13681.
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 1998 05:59:04 -0800
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Simpson Communications)
To: Steve (by way of Wind's Eye Design, Inc)
We published the following brief in the April 20,1998 issue of both USA Ed.Net Briefs and Washington Ed.Net Briefs:
DA VINCI WEB SITE CREATED BY U.S., SWEDISH TEENS Students from Borlange, Sweden and Kennedy High School in The Bronx collaborated on the creation of this Web site. This site's interdisciplinary inquiry explores the mystery behind the smile, and features original Da Vinci music, an interactive quiz, and a dozen Da Vinci diversions. Inner city multi-ethnic students managed to create this project in a classroom containing 8088 machines and a single telephone line to the Internet. The URL is /13681. The Kennedy High School Web site, which was first placed online last December, has been selected by the Computer Learning Foundation as the Our Town representative site for New York State. The URL is http://www.edu-net.com/~jfkhs.
(Editor's note: I could tell you why the Mona Lisa is smiling because I visited this great student-created site. The answer is so amazing that I am not going to put it in this brief. Visit the site and find out for yourself. It is well worth the time.)
Thanks to Steve for this brief.
Subject: Re: Mona Lisa
Date: Fri, 07 Aug 1998 13:53:23 -0400
From: Maureen McInerney email@example.com
Organization: Newsday Inc
Congratulations on being selected the Cool Site of the Month for August. Click on the following link to go to the Cool School Site of the Month Home Page:
Online Education Coordinator
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 16:54:17 +0000
From: Donald H. Sanders firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for contacting Learning Sites--
> Thank you for your Learning Sites. It represents an incredible contribution to the web.
Thank you; we feel likewise about your site, its connections, and leads.
> Our site features the work of two distinguished women Dr. Lillian Schwartz and Rina de Firenze, author of Mystery of the Mona Lisa.
Having a Renaissance art history scholar on staff made visiting your site an interesting experience in clashing ideologies. Traditional art historical approaches to the Mona Lisa, and other "portraits" tend to analyze the work based on information contemporary to the artwork--prevailing art styles, technologies of the time, the history of portraiture, known artistic methodologies and such.
Sure, Leonardo is a fascinating figure and the Mona Lisa so well known and equally widely interpretted that the combination makes for many theories. We remain skeptical of the digital comparison in this case, as it has been shown that in many instances, portraits will tend to look like the artist in some respect.
> As head coach of a ThinkQuest team I can say that there are many interactive learning opportunities for students to discover da Vinci and listen to his music, create multilingual musical postcards in one of sixteen languages, take an online quiz or create one.
Yes, there is a wonderful breadth of information and interactive material on your site--must have been an exciting collaboration. Any more planned?
> Our site is accessible to the hearing impaired and is viewable with any browser....(snip)
A valuable addition to online educational efforts. The site could lead in any number of other directions and lends itself to associations with other period, technical, or artistic endeavors.
You have also made good use of new Web technologies, without going wild for the sake of impressing your younger visitors.
Thanks for alerting us to this resource.
Donald H. Sanders, Ph.D., President
Learning Sites, Inc.
Digitally Reconstructed Ancient Worlds for
Interactive Education and Research
151 Bridges Road
Williamstown MA 01267-2232
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 19:06:52 -0400
From: Elizabeth G. Melillo, Ph.D. email@example.com
Organization: Gloriana's Court - Web author and designer
Dear Steve, I was very happy to sign your guestbook, and I am hoping that my comments there will be a token of how impressed I was with your students, their creativity, and your obvious gifts for teaching.
It is inspiring to me that you are taking students beyond the (all too common) premise that education is merely a means to obtain credentials. (I am a doctor of humanities, formerly a musician, and know, all too well, how many people think of various creative arts as mere "hobbies.") You must have a very special gift!
I am presenting your site with two awards - my own, and that from the site my 10-year-old nephew maintains (I designed his site, but the words are all his.) Christopher's award is for sites designed by kids. My own is given only to sites with a high degree of content.
I must say that the originality of your topic is refreshing! Your site will be in my award winners' showcase within a day or so.
Warmest regards to all-
Elizabeth G. Melillo, Ph.D. - "Gloriana"
Gloriana's Court - Internet Design Services
http://www.gloriana.nu - firstname.lastname@example.org
"All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." - C.S. Lewis
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 22:11:46 -0700 (PDT)
From:Brendan Kehoe email@example.com
Hi Steve! I'll add your mail to my queue of sites to pass over & add into the pages when I make my next run thru 'em.
Thanks for the pointer!
By the way, congrats on getting the site going with computers a little older than most (of your *students*)! You're living proof that upgrading a computer. isn't necessarily a prerequisite to making good use of it. :-)B Zen Org