A lot of work goes into getting the enrichment clusters ready and the students sorted into the 17 different clusters. First of all, the 17 enrichment cluster topics were based on the results of the 4th and 5th grade interest surveys that they completed in class at the beginning of the year. During class time, the 4th and 5th graders ranked their top four enrichment cluster choices. Mrs. Levitan entered their preference data into an Excel spreadsheet, which she sent to Mr. Eric Deal, one of our fantastic Laurel Mountain parents. Mr. Deal has written a computer program that sorts the children into their clusters based on preferences.
The computer program randomly assigns students to clusters, attempting to give every child their first cluster choice. When that’s not possible, the program then moves the student into his or her second choice, then third choice and finally fourth choice. This year, we will able to look at the selection history from last year. We took the time to make sure that the students who got their 3rd or 4th choice last year, received their 1st or 2nd choice this year. Also, with some of our very popular enrichment cluster topics, like sports and clay, we made sure that different students this year are participating in those enrichment clusters. Therefore, more students get a chance to explore a large area of interest.
This year, 197 students were placed in their first cluster choice. 43 students were placed in their second choice. 18 were place in their 3rd choice. Zero students were placed in their 4th choice. We are excited that all of our 4th and 5th grade students are given the chance to explore and learn in their 1st, 2nd or 3rd enrichment cluster choice.
Below, you will find the summaries from the first enrichment cluster meetings.
Fitness Fun The “Fitness Fun” enrichment cluster discussed ways to be healthy and fit. Mr. Hance explained the 10 foundations of fitness, we reviewed basic, functional movements of like squatting, lifting and pressing, and then the students did a baseline workout, which will be measured again at the end of the cluster. Our goal is to learn how to be healthy eaters, improve our overall fitness, and to have fun making it a part of our life.
Landscapes, Portraits, Still Life, Oh My! “Landscapes, Portraits, Still Life, Oh My!” enrichment cluster had a fantastic first meeting. The students created amazing works of art using paintbrushes, sponges, watercolors, and pointillism techniques. Most students designed landscapes, but a few pieces were abstract. Students left the cluster meeting brimming with ideas about their future creations and what types of materials they would like to try. Next week, we will enjoy a presentation from Mrs. Monica Araoz, a LME parent and artist.
Draw Me a Story We had Mrs. Monica Araoz, a LME parent and artist, come in to the “Draw Me a Story” enrichment cluster. She showed the students how to make their drawings look more 3-dimensional. We drew a lizard cake, a treasure box full of mashed potatoes and many other 3D pictures.
Instantaneous Experiments We were scientists today! We did three experiments. We learned that citric acid can produce bubbles and that an entire piece of flash paper will be consumed by fire in a split second. Our favorite part was making and touching the slim we made.
Monsters and Myths During our first meeting of the enrichment cluster Kurt Wheeler (Mrs. Wheeler's husband), a monster/zombie expert, came and gave a presentation on monsters, myths and legends. The children were very engaged. During the presentation, Mr. Wheeler, pretended he was ill, which Mrs. Jackson knew about this ahead of time. At the end of his presentation, he left unexpectedly to return in a werewolf mask and gloves. The kids were laughing and had a great time. The children have mixed interests with some loving monsters and some wanting to study mythology. We will see what the next step is in the enrichment cluster this week.
LME Crisis Response Team We started our cluster by discussing the definition of a crisis and brainstorming types/examples of crises. We then simulated a crisis in our community--we used props and costumes to dress as fire, police, medical, school, and media responders. Mrs. Justice read the scenario to the students for them to act out how they would respond to this situation. We even had changing circumstances as the simulation continued! Afterwards, we were able to discuss our experience of the simulation. We felt energized about our topic at the end of our first meeting, and are looking forward to learning more about crisis response in the upcoming seven meetings!
Claymation The "Claymation" enrichment cluster rolled off to a great start. We watched examples of claymation films. Some were created by professionals, like Wallace & Gromit and others were examples of student created stop-motion films. We discussed the characteristics of a claymation type film and the steps needed to complete the process. They discovered that these films are collections of multiple frames, or snapshots, combined by software to create movement. Then they used post-it notes to create flip books. They took a simple sequence and broke it down into individual scenes with movement portrayed by slightly adjusting the repetitive scenes. Some examples included: a person jumping on a trampoline, eating an apple, and throwing a ball.
Lights…Camera…Action! It’s Movie Time! Today was our first meeting and we began by seeing a few movies that former students and Mrs. Castro had made. Next, we got out the laptops and went straight to work. What’s the best way to learn how to make movies on Movie Maker? By jumping in and exploring the program. Mrs. Castro reviewed the program and showed us what we needed to do. Then we took pictures of our friends, downloaded the pictures and got right to work. Before we knew it, we were creating our own movies. We are very excited about learning to make movies on Movie Maker. Cut…that’s a rap!
Is There A Doctor in the House? Today in the "Is There A Doctor in the House?" enrichment cluster, the students learned about simple first aid procedures. Each medic in training cared for a wounded patient - an apple or a tomato. They examined puncture wounds, splinters, blisters, cuts and abrasions. Then they administered fruity first aid by cleaning the wound and applying bandages, gauze or moleskin. These enthusiastic students are looking forward to learning about the medical profession and acquiring age appropriate life saving skills.
SEW? You Want to Change the World? We met in the music room and played “Recycle Jeopardy” and learned that people use way too many plastic bags. We also learned that only 5% of the bags get recycled and 95% go into the landfill, so just recycling will not solve the problem. We would like to explore making cloth bags and getting the message out to our audience that they can make their own bags very easily. We are considering email surveys, classroom presentations and advertisements on KPAW! We had a lot of ideas for 8 meetings.
Power Point Productions In the “PowerPoint Productions” enrichment cluster students viewed some power point stop-motion videos to get an idea of what is possible in this medium. We discussed our purpose and who might be the audience for our creations. Then, we got to work brainstorming ideas and putting together a story boards to guide our projects.
LME Photographer's Society The first meeting of the “LME Photographer's Society” was a big success! Everyone introduced themselves and each child shared why they were interested in photography. Using the projector and document camera, we had a brief lesson on the basics of digital photography. Mrs. Kelley, the assistant principal, asked students to begin thinking of products and services we could generate with our photos. Mrs. York, our ITS, shared some technical details of how cameras work. Then, we broke up into small groups and started taking pictures! Finally, we connected the cameras to the computers and unloaded our photos to our personal folders. It was a busy hour!
Exploring the Rocks Beneath Our Feet We have decided to create a rock, mineral and fossil display in the outdoor display cases in the preserve. Our service will come from the research we do on the pieces that are in the display cases. The information will be researched and we will share information for others to learn. The second product will be for the enrichment cluster showcase. We will create a large box display of fluorescent rocks. The students will research each of the pieces in the display and provide information for each rock.
Cartoons and Comic Strips In our enrichment cluster we had fun, fun, and . . . oh, yeah, fun! We learned that you don’t have to be much of an artist to be able to create a cartoon or comic strip. Whew! We looked at a bunch of cartoons and comic strips using the projector and we discussed our favorite ones. We analyzed what made them “work” and what the point was. We even created a cartoon character of our own. And, the highlight?—we started creating a comic strip!
You've Got Me in Stitches! The girls in the “You've Got Me in Stitches!” enrichment cluster enjoyed looking at some completed cross-stitch samples and then choosing some projects to begin working on. After brainstorming some ideas for possible service projects, the members learned how to place the hoop on the cross stitch fabric and also how to thread a needle before starting to stitch. We are all looking forward to becoming cross stitch masters!
Lionhearts Peer Mediation The Lionhearts Peer Mediation enrichment cluster is off to a great start. After playing the game "Who's Your Neighbor?" to help students get better acquainted and feel comfortable taking risks, students engaged in a lively discussion about conflict from a 4th and 5th grade perspective. This led us to the conclusion that the best solutions are "win-win", which is what the Peer Mediation process is all about. We ended our first session by watching a brief video of a role play of a Peer Mediation session and students sharing their observations, ideas and feelings about what they had been able to learn about the process so far. There was much enthusiasm about being able to get the LME Peer Mediation program off the ground. One student commented that we were going to be like the "Dr. Phil Show".
Clay, Clay, Clay Today we learned the basics of clay creations. We found out that there are different types of clay, there are many places where clay is obtained and there are some wonderful ceramic artists all over the world. We were taught how to make a clay creation that will stick together. We learned how to score and slip to make our creation stick together. Our first creation is based around a pinch pot base. It is amazing to see all the imaginative variations our cluster created. We also started our potter’s wheel rotation. Each student will get a turn to learn the potter’s wheel and to create their very own pot. We had a squishy fun time!
Cooking with Zeek “Cooking with Zeek” got off to a great start with our guest chef, Mrs. Christine Jovanovic, a LME parent. Mrs. Jovanovic’s main focus was teaching the students about flavors and how they complement each other. She had a wide variety of foods for the kids to taste and enjoy. The students helped Mrs. Jovanovic prepare the many samples she brought along. Who would have thought mango and hot chili pepper would taste so great together?
Continuing to develop the whole child....