HM 246: Wednesday After-School Program at Horace Mann

Horace Mann School opens its doors to our partner agencies for student-led activities on Wednesday afternoons during the academic year. Upper Division students have initiated a wide variety of exciting and educational programs, which they offer to participants in Grades 3-8 from our partner agencies and institutions.  The activities are service-learning projects developed by the students.  Staff from both HM and our partners are present to supervise the program. HM 246: the name signifies that we’re up the block, around the corner, on 246th Street in the Bronx.  Come join us on Wednesdays! For more information, please call 718 432-4152 or email

The following programs were offered throughout the 2017-18 Academic Year. They are subject to change each year, depending on students’ interests.

Art Detectives

Art Detectives aimed to promote deeper engagement with the arts by exposing students to art history in an interactive and creative manner. Each session of Art Detectives was rooted in four main domains - context, content, composition, iconography. Throughout the sessions, students studied a wide range of artists, from Picasso to New York City-native, Kehinde Wiley. The program also offered hands-on experiences that related to the art history content, such as drawing with a single color to depict emotion and feeling. Students left the Art Detectives program with an increased attention to detail and a new critical lens.


This year, the Ceramics group practiced throwing pots on the wheel and working through the difficulties inherent in learning a new medium. Working on the wheel is a challenging process and requires students to mold clay while it is spinning at a high velocity. It requires patience, diligence, creativity, and innovative thinking. The students were encouraged to explore the clay and its properties through experimentation. Therefore, the goal was not a polished, finished product, but rather to use ceramics as a medium of creative self-expression. Additionally, the students learned about the glazing and firing process, which resulted in a wonderful collection of colorful glazed bowls. The program aimed to create an environment in which students acquired technical skill while also experiencing the catharsis and joy that comes with ceramics.


Drawing and Painting

Throughout the year, Drawing and Painting students were encouraged to use different mediums for self-expression. They sculpted a jungle scene with model magic, explored architecture using popsicle sticks, and also spent time working with more traditional drawing and painting tools. The goal was to increase students creativity by using a diverse range of materials to harness the power of their imaginations. Their final project was to create a banner to display at the HM 246 Exhibition, which displayed the students’ free reign of self-expression as well as the collaborative skills needed to create a group piece and carry out a cohesive artistic vision.



The Entrepreneurship program provides a space for students’ voices to be heard by guiding the participants through the process of creating their own business plan. The program began with students analyzing elevator pitches from Shark Tank, with the ultimate goal of empowering students to execute their own ideas. Subsequently, students reviewed the various aspects of creating a business, such as supply and demand, budgeting, and more. During the final program, participants presented their business ideas to a panel of Horace Mann faculty/student judges, exposing students to a positive environment that values the diversity of ideas and supports the development of public speaking skills. 


Fashion Design

The Fashion Design program is dedicated to helping children expand their creative horizons through arts, crafts, and design projects. Over the course of the program, the students experimented with tie dye and sewing techniques, which culminated in a handmade tie dye tote bag. During the third trimester, students used white baseball hats as a blank canvas and created illustrations using fabric markers. The goal for each project was to teach students about the value of self-expression and individuality through clothing, as well as to encourage exploration of fashion, a frequently under-appreciated form of art. 



The Journalism program's goal this year was to scaffold experiences that resulted in increased investigative skills and the ability to create a structured and concise message. The activities ranged from holding press conferences at United Classroom debates to writing letters on Valentine’s Day. Students acquired a new toolbox of skills, such as the ability to conduct formal interviews, to ask targeted questions, and to write informative news pieces. The program also explored more unconventional modes of communication, like political cartoons and photojournalism. By the end of the program, each student created journals that express their unique creative vision and interests. The journals were purposely left unfinished, which will hopefully motivate students to continue being creative, observational, and motivated through the means of journalism.


Music Production and Technology

The Music Production and Technology program allows music lovers to evolve into artists at Horace Mann’s recording studio. Each week, students analyzed pieces from various genres and uncovered the characteristics that make each song interesting, unique, and entertaining. Using these experiences as inspiration, each student ultimately created their own song, participating in all steps of the process, from lyric composition to recording. They were able to witness the complex process of music production, by seeing the transformation from a simple beat to a well-rounded and complex 3-minute song. The songs from this past year were co-produced by more experienced Horace Mann students using Pro Tools with Maschine, samples, drum machines, and recorded audio.


United Classrooms

United Classrooms aims to teach middle school students about Model United Nations, public speaking, international relations, and more though structured debate experiences. Each week, students debate a chosen, relevant topic in various debate formats. By participating in these debates, students gain experience in creating convincing, evidence-based arguments in a safe and friendly environment. 


Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

WISE is a great opportunity for young girls to become interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through a variety of engaging, hands-on activities. Each week, students work on specific projects and are encouraged to be both innovative and inventive. For example, during the HM246 Exhibition students showed their catapults and amusement park rides made out of Popsicle sticks and duct tape, paying close attention to the “effectiveness” of the catapults and the structural composition of the amusement park ride. WISE aims to increase the students’ confidence related to Science & Engineering and hopes that the students will bring this confidence back to their science classes in school.