It is amazing how fast time flies. I can't believe we are about a week away from Spring Break. And I can't believe that 2nd and 3rd grade enrichment clusters are over and we have the Showcase tomorrow. What they say is true, time flies when you are having fun. Please check out the summaries below to find out what fun and learning took place during the eight weeks of our enrichment clusters.
The time flew in our drawing cluster. It was fun to see the children have time to engage in their passion for drawing. Every week, we all seemed surprised when the hour was over. Students experimented with different methods to help provide guidance to their drawings, such as online lessons and a grid method to help with proportioning their drawing. We also spent time learning to work with various shading tools such as chamois, tortillions, stumps and various eraser types. Come see their art at our Enrichment Cluster showcase. Laurel Mountain has some very talented artists! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Behind the Lens
The students of “Behind the Lens” enrichment cluster accomplished exactly what we set out to do in the beginning of our cluster. Each student created a book trailer using iMovie (with the help of our iMovie experts: Henry C, Arnov and Amoli) incorporating pictures, music and words to persuade students to check out the book. Then, with the help of Mrs. S. Richards, we generated a QR code so the students can scan the code when they are in the library to view the trailer. We are so excited to share our trailers with the students, teachers and parents of LME at our Enrichment Cluster Showcase.
Did you know that the name "Lego" is an abbreviation of the two Danish words, "leg godt", meaning "play well"? Or, that a Lego brick from 1958 would still interlock with a Lego brick today? These are just a few of the fun facts that we learned in our “Lego Lovers” enrichment cluster. With imaginations sparked, our Lego Lovers were motivated to build a Lego City together to share at the end of cluster showcase. They decided that one week they would build buildings, the next week cars, the next week boats and on from there until the city was complete. The fun of designing and building was well appreciated during the sharing time at the last 5-10 minutes of our sessions where we got to hear all about the creations that were made that day. After watching a video on "How Legos Are Made", our Lego Lovers decided that being a Lego Creator would be a pretty cool job!
The “Robotics Rock” enrichment cluster really enjoyed learning, building, and programming together. The President of the Westwood High School Robotics Team, Govind Girish, met with the students almost every week to share his knowledge and competition journey with Robotics. He also led us through building and programming Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. We learned about the history of robots and how robots help with real-life tasks, but we spent the majority of our time building and programming. Everyone programmed their robots to perform different tasks, so come see our creations at the cluster showcase on March 4th!
Over the last eight weeks, students in “Games Galore” have learned how to play many different types of games and have even created one of their own. We spent time practicing the card games Uno and Old Maid and students also learned the dice game Farkle. They had an opportunity to bring in their own games from home, teach their friends, and play a variety of board games together. During the second half of the cluster, students were given the opportunity to create their own game from scratch or inspired by another game. Many children chose to create outdoor sports-type games, while others designed their own board games. One group even made a combination dice-and-card game. Once their games were finished, students spent time testing them out and making changes when necessary. We even invented our own video games! All in all, it has been a fun and productive eight weeks in “Games Galore”!
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. Then we got to work developing a travel plan: picking where we'd like to go, booking a flight, selecting hotels, writing out an itinerary, renting a car, and choosing restaurants. We researched our destinations through print and online media. Finally, our cluster members designed a Google Slide show presentation, printed business cards, and collected our best travel plans together to share with all of you! Welcome aboard!
In our “Clay Creator” enrichment cluster, second and third graders learned about ceramic processes and techniques. Using pinch pot, coil, slab and potter's wheel techniques they created their own products with clay. Students learned how to connect clay by scoring, slipping and smoothing pieces together. While their work was drying they continued to learn more techniques. After the bisque fire, the first firing in the kiln, students glazed their work. The final glaze firing was very exciting since their products came out of the kiln bright and shiny.
The Mindbenders enjoyed exploring various logic game apps on the ipads. Each week they rushed into the cluster excited to play and work together. Several students wrote reviews of the various games played. Our favorite games were Doors and Rooms, Free Flow, and Unblock me Free. The room was filled with chatter and laughter each week!
Help Save the Animals!
The students in Portable 4 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, a trip to the Preserve, a visit from 2 snakes (this visit was planned), a visit from a floppy eared friend named Beau, the students have developed posters, puppets, and dioramas to inspire their audience to join the cause of saving the animals!
Wonderful World of Watercolors
The artists in this cluster learned many things about creating art with watercolors! We learned how using different brush strokes produce different effects. We also discovered ways to make our watercolors brighter or more muted depending on the amount of water we use. Using a black sharpie after painting the picture can produce a nice contrast and make our paintings look more professional! We learned that by using salt and alcohol, we can totally change the look and feel of our paintings. All in all, we discovered that each of us has talent and vision in our own unique way and by participating in this cluster we were able to explore more deeply our desire to become artists!
It's Maaaagic! “Hocus Pocus” enrichment cluster was a huge success! We made the necessary props of all magicians, a wand and cape. Students learned a variety of tricks! We learned how to pull a stuffed animal out of a hat. We practice several card tricks like 21. In 21, the magician reads the audiences' mind. We also mastered the coin in the bottle trick. How do you get a coin in a plastic bottle without opening the lid and dropping it in? Find a magician from the Hocus Pocus cluster to show you the trick but a magician never reveals her tricks! During our last cluster meeting, the magicians performed for all Kindergarten and First grade classes. The audiences were amazed!
We have spent the past couple of months on a cinematography quest. Students have honed their skills with flip cameras, created scenes, practiced their acting skills, and learned how to use WeVideo to edit their film clips. Many students experimented with adding special effects to their videos. We even learned some “tricks of the trade” from Mr. Roby Brown, an expert cinematographer from RRISD! All of our students have a published movie saved in their Google Drive so that they can share their work with family and friends. Our cinematographers are very excited to present their work at the showcase!
Best Cluster Ever! Our “Culinary Creators” had eight wonderful weeks of cooking all around the globe. We made guacamole and pico de gallo served on tostadas from Mexico. Our Indian dishes and dumplings from China were delicious! Sugar cookies, fruit smoothies, and grilled cheese sandwiches were great representations of traditional recipes from the U.S.A. For a breakfast dish we made French toast (learning that its history goes back farther than France). We are forever grateful to our parents that came in and shared cooking from their culture or from their country of origin. We learned the history of some of these dishes as well as measurement and cooking techniques. Designing our own aprons, chefs hats, and passport cookbooks just added to our fun! Many students have already cooked these wonderful recipes at homes for their families as an act of service.
Eight weeks ago the 18 second and third grades embarked on a journey to become “Minecraft Masters”, and boy we did! Working together, we were able to build an entire community called Metro. After deciding what to include in our community, the students worked in small groups to create buildings. Some of the places they built included a rodeo, hospital, hotel, pet store, library, airport, bank, police station, and many homes. It is amazing to see all of the details they added to each place. They thought of everything, including a safe room with an escape ladder at the hotel in case of a fire! It was inspiring to watch each “Minecraft Master” blossom as s/he explored their passion.
There were seventeen active second and third grade students in our FUN e slot. We also had five fifth graders who very capably assisting our group. We participated in many fun activities including Cup Stacking, Steal the Bacon, Connect 4 relay, Floor Hockey, Kickbasket, Asteroids and Ankle Biters and Snatch Basketball. Our “FUN” group said that their favorite activities were Steal the Bacon and Giant Cup Stacking!