Back in May, upper grade students “opened” a Living History Museum to the younger grades. These older students each selected a historic figure and not only presented information about that person, but dressed like them as well. They essentially became that historical figure.
For this project, these upper grade students had to synthesize the information they learned to create an exhibit representative of their subject. In order to select pivotal events or recreate significant circumstances in an individual’s life, students had to research the person but also critically evaluate the people, places, and events surrounding them in order to develop a powerful exhibit. Deciding on a format, selecting key material for younger students to understand, and putting it all in context required active learning and encouraged creative interpretation. As they worked, students needed to understand the subject and the world in which he or she lived. Additionally, this Living History Museum introduced younger students to subjects relevant to their history studies beyond their reading ability.
Kindergarten prepared a bed to be a pollinator garden just like the middle school students did! Here they are seen weeding the plot.
In early May, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students spent two days planting pollinator gardens in their garden plots. A pollinator garden is a garden that is planted predominately with flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a wide range of pollinating insects.
The flowers include sunflowers, zinnia, dahlias, marigolds, bachelor buttons, cosmos, and four o’clocks. The students weeded, raked, planted, labeled, and watered their new plants. They look forward to seeing the seeds sprout and grow all summer long.
First graders have been working on their fairy houses in The Outdoor Learning Center busily since school started this year. This ongoing project affords rich educational opportunities for these young students.
Imaginative play, self-directed skill building, sharing spaces and cooperation, engineering and construction, are just some examples. Plus, Ms. Emily is always sure to include science as part of the exploration.
This spring these students have been learning about Earth materials. They have used the opportunity to go to the woods check on and repair their fairy houses. Students are finding granite to use as countertops and floors. They have also found interesting organisms like gobs of slime growing on sticks.
You might remember prior posts describing how Kindergarten students have been cooking “around the world.” As part of their social studies, they have invited guests to cook native foods from different parts of the world.
Most recently, a special guest made Finnish cinnamon rolls with the class. She read them a Finnish story, taught them how to say hello and good bye in Finnish, talked about the geography of Finland and answered lots of curious questions from the students.
Recently, third grade students learned about the life cycles and needs of plants. While working in the garden, students excitedly learned about a larval insect they discovered while digging.
Gardening engages students by providing a living environment to observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn. Plus, it’s really fun!
Recently, students in 4th grade hunted for four leaf clovers as they learned about variation and adaptations in science. The students love learning science in The Outdoor Learning Center (TOLC) where they explore natural processes in the woods and learn agriculture in the gardens.
Second grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, Stephanie Hopper, wrapped up a cross curricular unit on insects with her class earlier this month. Found online, Eddie the Entomologist sent the class friendly letters each day that included clues. Using the clues, the students then guessed what creature was the bug of the day.
Hopper was able to bridge the study of insects across all subjects in her class. In science, students learned about insect life cycles. Numerous books and interactive online reading texts were used by students for research and reading comprehension. Plus, the daily letters from Eddie allowed the class to review and reinforce what they had previously learned about the composition of friendly letters.
In math, students used measurement standards to compare different types of insects as well as jumping distances. Additionally, students put their STEM skills to use when tasked with designing and building their own insects.
Plus, these industrious second grade students wrote acrostic poems using descriptive words to describe insects, wrote a sequence paper on the life cycle of an insect, made terrariums with appropriate habitats for insects to live and did a drawing activity where they were guided, step-by-step to draw, label and color a realistic bumble bee and butterfly.
At the end of the all encompassing insect unit, students earned an “Entomologist Expert” badge from Eddie.
Hopper said, “These students could hardly wait each day to read the letter from Eddie and use the clues to figure out the bug of the day. Using their excitement about bugs across all of our studies engaged them thoroughly in each subject.”
In celebration of Earth Day back in April, Tony Ward of Hiawasee River Watershed Coalition (HRWC) guided the studets on a walk of Murphy’s Riverwalk and explained the difference in native and non-native species. Students also explored why it is important for plants to grow on riverbanks to prevent erosion as the kids learned that dirt is the number one polluter in our rivers. Students learned about many local trees and shrubs and how they all had different methods of spreading their seeds.
On April 6th, third graders at The Learning Center Charter School held their own Poetry Lounge. Modeled after poetry readings where an open mic is available for anyone wanting to share original or dramatic readings of poems, the class enthusiastically enjoyed the event.
Students were given the option of performing a poem that they wrote themselves or read a poem of their choosing. Topics ranged from wolves to dirt bikes, love poems, poems about video games, and concrete poems.
Third grade teacher, Kathleen Shook, introduced the Poetry Lounge idea as a way to reinforce lessons learned in language arts. However, she found ways to incorporate poetry both in math and art class. Plus, students got valuable practice in listening skills while their peers performed.
True to standard poetry reading etiquette, the class ended each performance with the classic “snapping” applause. The piece receiving the most “snaps” was probably Shel Silverstein’s self-performed version of “The Crocodile’s Toothache.”
Shook said, “Poetry is magical in that it has the power to make even the most reluctant reader become interested in reading. The sing-song beats and humorous themes turn words into games instead of work.”