Today at Laurel Mountain, you could FEEL that it was Friday. You could see the excitement in our student and feel anticipation in the air for our 2nd and 3rd grade Enrichment Cluster Showcase. The students were ready to share with our visitors the journey they took over the past eight weeks in their enrichment cluster. The students did a phenomenal job and I will write more about that on the next blog (along with some great pictures). Until then, I want to share the summaries from our 2nd and 3rd grade enrichment clusters. As you could see today and read below, our students are engaged, collaborating, communicating, creative and using their critical thinking skills. Just another thing to add to the list that sets LME apart.
Take One: We have spent the past couple of months on a cinematography quest. Students have honed their skills with flip cameras and the WeVideo App. While many enjoyed spending time in front of the camera, others chose to stay behind the camera. The students learned how to edit and add special effects to their videos. Through the WeVideo application everyone had the opportunity to have a movie published! Our cinematographers are very excited to present their work at the showcase.
Global Crafts Cluster: For the past several weeks, students in the “Global Crafts Cluster” explored the countries of the Netherlands, Russia and India. We learned important culture, customs and crafts particular to each country. Students created windmills to represent the Netherlands. We began our journey through Russia by making nesting dolls and our version of Faberge eggs. Our cluster was so excited about Russia that we sent a couple more weeks exploring with the help of LME parent Yulia Klueva who shared her Russian culture and made beautiful snowflakes and paper chains with the children. We completed our global journey in India where we made Rangoli designs with colored rice.
Lost in Books: The students of “Lost in Books”LOVE to read! So...each Friday we got to read in the dark snuggled up in our sleeping bags with a flashlight. We each chose a Bluebonnet book to read and then we wrote a review on that book. We included the summary of the book but not all of the book so we don’t spoil it for anyone who wants to read it, the theme, what age of student would like it and how many “books” we would give it (one book being the least favorite book we’ve read to 10 being the most favorite book we’ve read). We hope these reviews will help the students of LME make a more informed decision of which book they would like to read. We will then attach these reviews to the LME library book shelves for all students, teachers and parents to enjoy!
Sports Galore: Our “Sports Galore” enrichment cluster played advanced sports both inside and outside. We played kickbasket, football, neucomb, hockey, flickbasketball, soccer, and quidditch with the UT club team. While playing these sports the students focused on sportsmanship, leadership, strategy, encouragement, inclusion, and understanding what to do to help their team. Mrs. Schnier and Mrs. Bretsch lead the cluster. A big thank you to Mrs. Bretsch for coordinating the visit with the UT Qudditch team which was a BLAST!
The Great Minecraft Experiment: The Crafters learned a great deal about Minecraft during this cluster, not to mention the importance of communicating and working together! We figured out how to play Minecraft on a PC, including joining a server and the complicated controls. The students decided to create a town with many different types of structures, from a castle with working arrow-dispensing defenses to a bakery complete with an adjoining farm to supply its baking necessities. All structures were beautifully and thoughtfully furnished inside. Several students worked together to create a redstone-powered railway on which players and visitors can ride to get a complete tour of the town. Everyone worked seamlessly together to make the vision become a reality! We are so proud of their hard work! The enrichment cluster's activities were meticulously documented on my blog:lioncrafting.blogspot.com, check it out!
Flying Lion Travel Agency: We had a GREAT time learning to be junior travel agents in the “Flying Lion Travel Agency” enrichment cluster. First, we learned about what a travel agent does and brainstormed ideas for exciting travel destinations. Our cluster learned about all elements of planning for a trip: picking where we'd like to go, booking a flight, selecting hotels, developing an itinerary, renting a car, and choosing restaurants. We researched our destinations through print and online media. We were lucky to have LME parent Cathy Andrews of Kingdom Planners come talk to us about what she does as a professional travel agent for all things Disney. Finally, our cluster members designed business cards and collected our best travel plans together to share with all of you! Welcome aboard!
Nature's Fury: “Nature's Fury” enrichment cluster was an amazing hands-on journey through the natural disasters that children hear so much about on the news. We used the chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda (with added food coloring) to erupt volcanoes, used instant snow and rocks to develop mountain scenes that were shook into avalanches, mixed roots and rocks with soil as "rain" caused mudslides, made a tornado in a bottle while investigating centrifugal force, and created a homemade seismometer to measure our student created earthquakes. The service portion of our cluster centered around developing emergency kits to provide the Red Cross for families who have been displaced from their homes due to the forces of nature. We mapped out major natural disasters on a map and looked for connections as to why they would repeatedly occur in these areas as we worked with the earth layers and rubbing of tectonics with clay and rocks to decipher cause and effects relationships in nature.
Clay, Clay, Clay: What a blast we’ve had using our imaginations and skills to create unique works of artfrom clay. Our creations range from sculpture to potter’s wheel pots to pieces made with clay slabs, coils and pinch pot creations. Many of our pieces have been glazed and fired and are waiting to be seen by others. We have produced over 70 works of art. Not only have we been busy learning how to make different clay products, we have had a lot of fun creating and sharing with each other. We are also sharing with the community by donating several of our bowls to the Empty Bowl Project Auction, which provides financial support to the Round Rock food bank.
The Protectors of the Rain Forest: The “Protectors of the Rain Forest” spent the last two months creating majestic paintings of plants and animals from the rain forest. The students researched through books and the internet for an inspiration. They took their inspiration and sketched their vision onto paper and then transferred it onto their canvas. After spending time perfecting their drawing, they began the magic of painting these gorgeous creatures to make them come alive. When looking at each of these paintings, you will be drawn to the stunning beauty of the rain forest. These students did a magnificent job exemplifying their talent and their interest through these paintings.
Pet Palooza: “Pet Palooza” had a busy eight weeks! We had the opportunity to learn more about veterinarians, dog trainers, dog breeders, grooming dogs and working dogs. We loved learning new things from experts in their fields and getting to meet all of their furry friends! We also made dog treats, toys and pet treat and food bowls. During our last meeting we got to meet some of each other’s pets!
Crafting for the Troops: The “Crafting for the Troops” enrichment cluster accomplished many fun crafts for the soldiers that are in the Veteran's Hospital in San Antonio! We made pop-up cards to make them smile and to let them know that we are thinking about them and that we appreciate their service. We made soft, cozy blankets to help the soldiers feel more at home, hospital blankets are thin and not very fluffy! Another fun craft was painting coffee mugs. We thought a hand-painted mug would help their coffee or hot chocolate taste better! One of things we learned was that the soldiers can get very bored and that they really like working in word puzzle books. So, we decided to create book covers and on the computer, we created lots of word puzzles for them to enjoy. We had a great time working together to create our crafts and we hope that the soldiers that receive them will like them as much as we liked making everything!
Pinocchio's Pals: Over the past eight weeks, the students in “Pinocchio's Pals” have gone from beginning puppet makers to master puppeteers! They have learned to design puppets from scratch, plan out a list of materials, and create a variety of puppets. With a great deal of hard work, we were able to make finger puppets, sock puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets, and stick puppets. We even got to experiment with professionally made puppets too! Students had a blast learning how to bring the characters in their minds to life.
LME LEGOsmiths: Our “LME LEGOsmiths” completed final two builds. One was Dogbot, a mechanical replica of a dog that can open its mouth, move its eyes and wag its tail. Some of our LEGOsmiths made modifications to their Dogbot to make it act as happy as possible. The other build was a dragster that our LEGOsmiths also built a launcher for. They launched their dragsters, observed their speed, and then made modifications to increase their speed. We also prepared for the enrichment cluster showcase. Our LEGOsmiths are all sad that our eight-week adventure is over!
Help Save the Animals!: The students in Room 310 have been busy discovering ways to help save endangered animals. They have also been busy brainstorming ways they can help everyone else develop a passion to protect these animals. After much research, they have developed posters, PowerPoints, puppets, and dioramas to inspire their audience to join the cause of saving the animals!
Caring Crafters: In our “Caring Crafters” enrichment cluster we've been busy each week taking our love of crafting and using it to spread goodwill and sunshine to others. We've spent time creating gift baskets filled with homemade colorful rainbow loom bracelets, hand painted mugs, flower pens, notepads, lanyards, homemade cards and origami treasures. We will donate some of our gift baskets to the siblings of sick patients at Dell Children’s hospital. We had lots of fun together and got to spread a little joy to others in need!
Creative Coding: Students had so much fun making their game or story using Scratch! We had a couple parents come in to talk to students about their jobs that involve coding and game design. The last 6 meeting were used to create games and stories using scratch. During the meeting, student experts on Scratch helped other students solve their coding problem. It was very cool to see students helping students! At the end of the cluster, some students created a game by themselves and other students created games with a partner. All students had fun learning new things about coding!
Creation Station: The “Creation Station” enrichment cluster had a great time learning about different printing techniques. We kicked off our cluster by learning about printing as an art form and creating block or stamp prints out of Styrofoam plates, with ink or paint and paper as our medium. The next few weeks we worked on screen printing. We first made our own screens with panty hose, an embroidery hoop, and Mod Podge. This was a fun way to learn how the screen printing process works and what will or won't work when we create our real screens. Finally it was time to make our actual screens for screen printing. We first sketched our design on paper then traced the design on the screens. Next, we painted in our design using drawing fluid. Once the drawing fluid dried we were able to coat the screens with screen filler. When the screen filler was dry, we were able to wash off the drawing fluid so the ink would only pass through the image on our screen. The students were able to use their screen to print a t-shirt and a tote bag. It was a lot of fun learning about the screen printing process and all the many ways this technique could be used in our everyday lives.
Friendship Bracelet Rainbow Looming: The “Friendship Bracelet Rainbow Looming” enrichment cluster has had a blast making bracelets for people in the Armed Forces and for children at Dell Children's Hospital. Loomers spent their time engaged in learning new styles of bracelets from their friends and from watching how to videos on the computer. Several Loomers learned how to make dragons, horses and other bracelet patterns. We had a blast and are so excited to send our creations to others to cheer them up!