Just Dessert: The “Just Dessert” enrichment cluster had our first gathering on Friday, January 11th. We spent time sharing our favorite desserts to eat and make. Also, as all good bakers know there are special supplies needed to help make your baking experience a success. One of those items is an apron. We ended our cluster on Friday decorating our very own aprons and looking through dessert cookbooks. Next time we meet we’ll have some fun “hands on” experience making Italian cookies. Happy baking!!!
Pet Lovers Group: We had 2 special visitors for our first cluster meeting. We met Cyndi and her Great Dane, Logan, from the Austin Dog Alliance. Logan was huge and very friendly. We learned that he is a Therapy Dog and goes to the hospital to work with kids. He also loves to hear children read books! The Pet Lovers are eager to make cards for Logan next week. They also want to make dog treats for Logan and his friends! Several Pet Lovers asked if they could bring in their own pets to share with the group. Parents, be on the lookout for a sign up sheet to bring your pet to school J
LEGO Engineers: We had a wonderful first meeting as LEGO Engineers. We discussed the correct names for the LEGO pieces and practiced building and programming an alligator in order to learn and review how to use the sensor in our builds. Our experienced engineers did an excellent job of explaining and modeling proper building and programming techniques for those that have less experience with the WeDo kits. Next week, we will build and program a bird in order to learn and review how to use the tilt device. We will also discuss and make a plan for what all we want to experience for the remainder of our meetings.
LME’s Ornithologists: We are so fortunate to be ornithologists at LME. Not every school has a preserve in their backyard. In the next several weeks, we will be using the preserve as our classroom to do several field studies. Why? Well, that’s where all the birds are. Our goals will be to identify all the native birds and study their behaviors, spend lots of quiet mornings bird watching, make different types of bird feeders to place in the preserve, observe to learn which birds like which feeders and experiment with different types of seeds. We are so excited and ready to spread our wings in the cluster.
Creative Cuisine: In Creative Cuisine, we shared our individual cooking histories and goals. Then we dove right into the art of cooking by making Swedish meatballs. Student groups worked together with the measuring, chopping, mixing, and frying this recipe required, and they created a truly delicious dish!
Lions, and Tigers, and Bears...Oh My!: In “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears...Oh My!” students learned a new theatre game called "Slap Pass" using their names and different types of animals. They also experienced three separate fables and discussed the qualities of the characters in each. Finally, students played "Shape, Face, Walk, Talk," which required them to take on the posture, facial expression, walk, and sounds of different animals. Each student interpreted the animals in their own unique way while moving around the room to music.
Hey, hey, hey! It’s clay, clay, clay!: The “Clay, Clay, Clay” enrichment cluster changed its name to “Hey, hey, hey! It’s clay, clay, clay!”. Students talked about the things they wanted to make. Some students would like to donate a pot to the Round Rock Empty bowl project. We watched two reading rainbow videos about Pueblo people in New Mexico mixing clay and forming pots, and another about a Hawaiian artist that demonstrated how to throw pottery on the potter's wheel. Then students began making their first pots using the pinch pot technique. They learned they can make many different things using this technique.
Global Crafts Workshop: As an introduction, in the “Global Crafts Workshop” we learned about various aspects of the culture of the Netherlands and the importance of windmills in their culture. The Netherlands is so closely associated with windmills, that it's often the first fact people recall about the country. The Dutch built windmills for many centuries. Historically, windmills in Holland served many purposes including grinding grain for food and sawing logs for building, but draining the wetlands was most important. After this introduction, students made their own windmill craft using their new knowledge of Dutch culture.
We also discussed future culture and craft exploration and a potential authentic audience for our crafts. In the next two meetings students will explore various cultures and make an associated craft. After these introductory meetings, students will determine the future course of the cluster and decide on the places and cultures they would like to learn more about and the products they would like to create.
Life in the Ocean: During our first enrichment cluster meeting we had a great time watching videos about whales, octopus, coral reefs and some cool deep, deep ocean life! Next week we will be having a live video conference with Texas State Aquarium so we wrote down some questions we wanted to ask. We even came up with some cool ideas for our end product we will share at the Showcase in March.
Caring Crafters: The “Caring Crafters” began our enrichment cluster with an introduction into what crafting means and how crafting for a cause can be different than other artistic endeavors. We shared our past crafting experiences and brainstormed possible service outlets and products that could address a variety of needs in both our local and global communities. We started making heart-shaped sachets, sewn with felt and stuffed with rice and cinnamon, to be given to a loved one as our first craft. We look forward to spending the next several weeks “paying it forward” by combining our desire to serve others with our creative spirits.
LME Computer Institute: Our enrichment had a very successful meeting. We started things off with a discussion about how much computers are part of our daily lives. Next, we moved on to an interactive history of computers, seeing their humble beginnings and how they have changed over the years.
I mentioned that today's newest gadgets will seem like ancient history in just a few short years and to illustrate the point, I showed a video of modern kids attempting to interact with early 1980's technology like a tape deck and vintage personal computer. It was an eye-opener for many of them! We also opened some modern computers, looked inside and examined how the individual parts are assembled and work together. Finally, we predicted what computers will look like in the future and sketched out our thoughts. Topics of interest for future meetings included making games, typing / keyboard shortcuts, how to make a computer from parts, how computers work, how to fix computers, and creating web pages. We're going to be busy exploring the world of COMPUTERS!
Stop Motion Animation: In “Stop Motion Animation”, we discussed what Stop Motion Animation is. Some students shared their experiences creating this type of movie. We watched many examples of industry made movies and commercial using stop motion. Then we went to the website http://www.artechcamps.com/gallery/stop-motion-animation to watch several student made movies. Many different materials were used like LEGOs, clay, paper, and whiteboards. Cluster students already have ideas of what they want to use. We are looking forward to creating our movies.
Scratch The Surface: We welcomed the group and did a demonstration of what the Scratch program can do. After the demonstration, each student went to their own computer to try out some programming step by step with Mrs. Kaplan. After each student completed the set program, they got a chance to make one of their own. The students picked up the programming codes easily and were able to be creative to design their own animations. With some more practice, the students will be designing their own games in no time.
Magnum Opus:During our first enrichment cluster meeting, we learned about the famous painter Paul Klee. Mrs. Markle read a book titled The Cat and the Bird. We then analyzed Paul Klee’s painting titled Cat and Bird. We realized that Klee drew the bird in the middle of the cat’s forehead because the bird is literally on the cat’s mind. Klee’s palette is also calm ranging from tawny to rose with areas of bluish green. We then drew our very own version of Cat and Bird. We will add oil pastels to our drawings next cluster meeting.
Help Save the Animals!: In our first cluster the children were excited to share the animals they wanted to help save. Some were interested in all animals! In order to help them narrow down their topic we watched videos about endangered animals. As the children decided on which animal they wanted to research, they made clay figures of their animal and searched picture books to help them find out more. They also created a background drawing of their animals habitat. Next week we will take a walk through the preserve to discover the importance of protecting an animal’s habitat.
Game Masters: In the “Game Masters” enrichment cluster this Friday, we talked about the history of some of our modern board games. We played several board games, and began talking about what our cluster product might be. This week we will play some dice and card games.