Each week our kindergarten students spend time rotating through a series of literacy centers. They get to participate in fun activities that help them learn letter sounds, letter combinations, site words, and phonetic patterns.
Second grade students at The Learning Center Charter School spent the month of October immersed in a STEM and PBL project all about bats.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and PBL stands for project based learning. Students at The Learning Center charter school are very familiar with each since students at the school engage in STEM and PBL education daily.
A targeted STEM education approach ensures students engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics regularly. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, complex question, problem, or challenge.
Of course the second grade students read about bats but they also expanded their studies across the curriculum. In science, students learned that bats are flying mammals that are important for our environment. In geography, they learned that bats live in warmer climates, closer to the equator and that no bats live in the continent of Antarctica. In math, they learned how to read thermometers as related to the preferred climates of bats as well as measurements of bats’ wingspans.
“Bats are a good fit for students in the month of October due to Halloween,” said second grade teacher Stephanie Hopper. “The kids are interested in spooky things and I take the opportunity to harness that curiosity and use it in every subject we study and really delve into the subject deeply.”
Hopper added that “What we could have learned about bats in one lesson on one day is nothing compared to the deeply engaged learning that we participated in during our PBL unit with bats as the overall theme,” said Hopper.
On February 5th, students in second grade celebrated Chinese New Year. Students learned about the customs and traditions of the holiday and the importance of the celebration in China. They also learned about the lunar calendar.
The students were able to read books, enjoy interactive parades and make Chinese New Year dragons and lanterns. To end the celebration, the students were able to enjoy traditional Chinese fried rice. The day was loaded with fun and learning.
On November 2nd, Second Grade took a trip to Hillcrest Apple Orchard in Ellijay, Ga. The children had an opportunity to learn how the orchard plants apple trees and harvests their crops. They also were able to taste fresh apple cider, milk a cow, enjoy a hayride, walk through a fairy tale trail, participate in water duck races, walk through a vortex, shuck corn, visit a petting zoo, and shuck fresh corn. They also visited the apple museum and learned all about the importance of honey bees, the life cycle of an apple tree and learned all about the life of Johnny Appleseed. Before leaving the children were allowed to shop in the orchards store to purchase fresh apple products.
The children had a wonderful time and learned many new things while visiting the orchard.
A special thank you to a parent volunteer that visited the Kindergarten class and helped them make applesauce. This fun seasonal activity included teaching the students about apples, the importance of eating local foods that are in season and how to read a recipe. Plus, the resulting applesauce was delicious!
In early March, students in kindergarten through second grade ventured out to Franklin, NC to see James and the Giant Peach at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.
Presented by the Overlook Theatre Company, James and the Giant Peach tells the story of James, a lonely, orphaned boy living with his two horrible and nasty aunts in a ramshackle house on the top of a high hill in the south of England. His aunts make James do all the cleaning and never let him away from the house to meet other children or make friends. But James’ luck starts to change when he meets a mysterious old man who hands him a magical gift. That gift will change his life and introduce James to some of the most unusual friends a young boy could ever have, leading to the most fantastical adventure one could only imagine! Told through the magic puppetry, eye-popping special effects and filled with lots of laughs, this classic story based on the work of Roald Dahl, will delight every dreamer of every age.
You might remember that Kindergarten students are cooking their way around the world (click here to read more.)
Their social studies continued recently and the next stop was Asia. The students learned about the Philippines and how to make spring rolls with the help of an awesome parent volunteer.
In addition to cooking and eating, the kids had the chance to ask questions and found out many facts about the continent of Asia. They were especially surprised to learn that in Philippines, if someone knocks at your door, they must be invited in and given coffee or tea. In fact, if it’s meal time it is expected that they will join you.