This past Friday, our kindergarten and first grade students met for the last time with their enrichment clusters for this school year. During the 2011-2012 school year, Laurel Mountain had a total of 50 different enrichment clusters in grade kindergarten through fifth grade. That means that EVERY SINGLE one of our students, participated in an enrichment cluster of their choice where they had an opportunity to explore an area of interest. Our students had a chance during the school day to increase their knowledge in a topic that they are passionate about. We are creating life long learners.
Below are the summaries from the kindergarten and first grade enrichment clusters. Make sure to come to our Enrichment Cluster Showcase on Thursday, May 3. Our first graders will be touring from 88:45 am and our kindergartners will be touring from 9:15-9:45 am.
Continuing to develop the whole child...
Vets and Pets: Our honorary veterinarians of Laurel Mountain had a “grrrreat” time during the Vets and Pets cluster! We learned about becoming a veterinarian from Dr. Cassens, a real vet. She shared with us about what vets do, how to become a vet and what types of animals vets care for.
We also had the opportunity to practice some vet skills with our own furry friends. Using stuffed dogs and cats we practiced giving vaccinations to keep our pets healthy. We also practiced wrapping hurt legs, checking heart rates, looking in ears and taking temperatures.
The Vets also had a visit from Lumpi, a therapy dog. Lumpi’s owner taught us about service and therapy animals. We learned how to greet a dog we don’t know. We even practiced teaching dog tricks to each other.
During our three weeks we meet some other fun pets too. We were able to interact and care for Dr. Cassen’s pet skink, our class guinea pig Sebastian and Mrs. Hall’s dog Rosie! Using an interactive chart we graphed everyone's favorite pet and recreated our own graph using paw stamps. Can you guess which animal had the most votes? It was "doggone" close.
Finally we built upon what we learned by creating a pet care book. We researched different types of pets on the computer and in books. We included pictures and information about dogs, cats, rabbits and fish. These hands-on experiences tickled the vets’ interest in pets. We gained new knowledge about careers with animals, service dogs and training pets. It was a “purr-fect” cluster.
Out of This World!: During week one, we explored and discovered all kinds of interesting things about space. We went through four stations with books, games, toys and puzzles to get ourselves into the outer atmosphere!
The second week we constructed rockets and used the air from our lungs to "blast" them out into space. Then we made wooded gliders and a foam space shuttle to test our flying skills!
Our final week we made a rocket using a film canister to hold our fuel. We used water and Alka-Seltzer to power the engine and blast our rockets into the sky! We took extra fuel home to blast off our rockets over the weekend!
Our cluster was truly "out of this world"!
Origami Cluster: In the “Origami Cluster” we learned the basic steps of folding paper to create fun items including 3-D animals, boxes, fortune tellers, boats and a pinwheel. We learned the importance of precise folds, sharp creases and following directions carefully. We practiced problem-solving skills as we checked our folds and corrected mistakes. A great website for step-by-step animated origami directions is http://en.origami-club.com/ and the fortune-teller directions can be found at http://pbskids.org/arthur. We are excited to share our origami creations with others!
Clay Creations: The enrichment cluster started with a video of the coil method of making a pot. The children then used modeling clay to make coil pots. During the second meeting the children learned the method of pinch pots. Then, they made their own. During these two meetings there was much socializing and we also learned about each other’s favorite music. Mrs. Jackson put on Taylor Swift for us to listen to. On the last cluster day, we made baker’s clay and brought it home. Mrs. Jackson hopes the food coloring came off our hands by the weekend! The recipe for the baker’s clay is below. J
· Ingredients: 4 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 ¾ cups warm water
· Knead for 5 -10 minutes. Model objects. Bake at 300 degrees for 1-3 hours, or air dry for several days.
Dino Hunters: Kindergarten and first grade students had a DINOmite time in the “Dino Hunters” enrichment cluster over the past three weeks. Students explored and shared their knowledge of dinosaurs. They dug for "fossils" to reconstruct a model and even searched LME's very own preserve to find fossils of plants and animals that were in this area over 100 million years ago!
The Creative Card Making: The “Creative Card Making” enrichment cluster enjoyed creating original greeting cards. We learned several card making techniques such as: stamping, die cuts, layering, “pop out” cards, yarn embellishments, punches and MORE! Our enrichment cluster made many cards for friends and family. On the last day, we made a card making kit. Now we are prepared to make a new card for any upcoming occasion!
Lion Cub Book Club: The Lion Cub Book Club had a very busy three weeks! Each week, we explored the works of a different author including Steven Kellogg, Kevin Henkes, and Margaret & H.A. Rey.
After reading a selected story, we enjoyed a group discussion. During these, we made connections and shared our thoughts.
We also had a crafts activity each time, writing notes and cards and designing hats. We look forward to sharing these with you at the showcase.
Everyone had a great time and enjoyed sharing our love of reading!
Music Cluster: Classical music was playing as the students walked in, to remind them what it sounded like so they could hear the difference between the 2 different styles of music and connect from last week's lesson on Classical Studies.
We told the students we were going to introduce them to a new type of music called jazz. We played a piece, they closed their eyes and visualized what they thought was happening in the song.
They drew a picture of what they thought the jazz piece was about and we discussed the piece of music and how it has been used in movies and on TV.
We learned what jazz music was and the 5 instrument parts used to make up a jazz band. The students each chose an instrument and played along with the lead part to form our own classroom jazz band.
We learned about jive talk and studied the life of Duke Ellington. We then made Duke Ellington Hats. While the students were working on their Duke Ellington top hats, we also watched a short clip of Buddy Rich (one of the best jazz drummers of all time) and Animal (from the Muppets) have a drum battle. It was good for the kids to see the precision and speed and coordination that go into playing drums well.
The next week, Mr. Peacock made a guest appearance at our enrichment cluster in order to teach the students about Rock and Roll. He showed them an electric guitar, an amplifier and a distortion pedal and showed them how they all worked. Students got a chance to strum the guitar while Mr. Peacock changed the chords for them. He then showed them the kick drum and snare drum and talked about how they were made and how they worked. The students were allowed to take turns playing the kick drum and snare drum at the same time. They were encouraged to keep a steady rhythm and work together with their partner. After introducing the students to various instruments, Mr. Peacock did a presentation on The Beatles and their contribution to Rock and Roll Music.
Amazing Animals: We had an AMAZING time in our enrichment cluster. First we explored remarkable reptiles. Cleo the corn snake shared her slither as she moved on the floor, through our hands and over our heads. We learned about the hundreds of ribs in a snake. If one were to break the snake might starve as they help move its food to the stomach. We also met the bearded dragons Snap and Linder. They ran across the floor, bobbed their heads and flicked their tongues. We even saw Snap’s beard go from white to black when he saw his brother Linder. We used sculpty clay and made a replica of our favorite reptile.
Next, we explored brilliant birds. Homer, the African Grey parrot, strutted his stuff as we beat-boxed. He even perched on our arm so we could get a closer look at his bright red tail feathers and grey body. We made a treat for our outdoor feathered friends so they can have tasty seeds in our mini bird feeders.
Finally we enjoyed marvelous mammals. We learned that mammals are warm- blooded, feed their young milk and have hair on their bodies. We saw and held baby rats, a fury hamster and two guinea pigs. We noticed how the mammals were the same and different. We discovered how AMAZING animals really are!
Wild About Animals: In this enrichment cluster we learned about the many classifications animals fall under. We learned characteristics of each classification and chose a class as out "favorite." Once our favorite was chosen we then researched a few animals from that class. We chose one animal to make an artistic representation of. We listed some interesting facts about our animal of choice and then used watercolor paints and step-by-step directions to paint a realistic image of our animal of choice.
Games and Puzzles: The “Games and Puzzles” enrichment cluster had a great time getting to know each other through games. We played paddle ball, beach ball, made tangram pictures, played Simon Says, Who Am I? and lots of board games. We were practicing our skills of being on a team, taking turns and being a good sport, whether we won or lost!
Instantaneous Experiments: We have truly been Junior Scientists these past three weeks! We have created soap volcanoes with peroxide and yeast, lava lamps made from oil and Alka-Seltzer and did a lot of fun stuff with our favorite thing - dry Ice! All of these cool experiments can be done at home with ease and very little cost.
Sports Fan'atics: The “Sports Fan'atics” finished off a great three week enrichment cluster this past Thursday. During the time in our enrichment cluster the teammates played and worked on drills in soccer, volleyball and basketball. It was a lot of fun to watch everyone pick up the sports so quickly. We enjoyed watching them as much as they enjoyed playing the games. A big part of the focus for the enrichment cluster was to be a good sport, teammate and leader. The students had really great input on this and which allowed us to be successful during this enrichment cluster. Great job teammates!
Amazing Castles: In the “Amazing Castles” enrichment cluster we spent three sessions constructing, painting, and adding details to shoebox castles. The students enjoyed engineering their drawbridges to close quickly with a "rope" at another end of their castle. We also read and learned some facts about castles and their architecture.
Create a Reading Garden: The “Create a Reading Garden” enrichment cluster was a big success. Week one, we made water bottle "flowers" to plant in our new garden. Week two, we painted rocks with reading quotes or garden pictures. Week three, we made a lovely wind chime out of plastic drinking glasses. We can't wait for the garden to be finished so we can add our finishing touches. We will have a new place to read outside at school!
Snappy Snapshots: The “Snappy Snapshots” enrichment cluster began with an introduction into photography—why we take pictures, what we take pictures of, and how to take pictures. Students were able to walk around the room with framing mats to practice how they would frame a picture before we learned how to use a digital camera. Full of excitement and anticipation, we ventured to the kindergarten and 1st grade playground to take our very own pictures! During the second and third weeks, we learned how to "zoom in" on subjects and to think about the background as we took pictures. We also learned how to download the pictures onto the computer and we picked the ones that we wanted to put in our portfolios! We hope to see you at the Showcase on May 3rd!