As a family member or friend of a student at our school, you may wonder how education is being delivered remotely on the days that your student is not on campus. Our teachers are using many methods including videos. This is just one example! Here, Ms. Emily does a short ten minute lesson for first graders on living things as part of science.
During the very first week of the new school year, our fourth grade scientists spent time outdoors observing similarities and differences in leaves.
Teachers and students made a jump start to the new school year at The Learning Center Charter School the week of July 20, 2020.
Rising third and fourth graders at the school took advantage of the Summer Jump Start program that is designed to fill in the learning gaps and help with potential learning loss due to Covid-19.
Students countywide were directed by Governor Cooper to remain home from mid-March through the end of the last school year. The same is true for most all kindergarten through twelfth grade students nationwide. Although students were participating in remote/virtual learning during that stay-at-home period, the extended pause has experts and educators concerned about the potential impacts on student achievement.
According to the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a non-profit organization that assesses student academic progress in over 49 countries , 50 states, and 3400 districts, there are projected learning losses that are magnified by the extended absence from in person instruction that occurs in the classroom.
NWEA used data of typical summer learning loss and compared the learning loss trajectory for the additional two months of missed in person instruction. They used a national sample of over 5 million students in grades 3-8.
“It’s a statistical fact that students can suffer an academic setback during the summer months and with the extended closure due to Covid-19, we decided to put our Summer Jump Start program in place to lessen that gap,” said Stephanie Hopper, Associate Academic Director at the charter school.
The charter school carefully prepared the campus following DHHS guidelines to assure that students are learning in a safe environment. Masks and strict safety protocols are in place to protect both students and teachers during the Summer Jump Start.
“Our goal has always been and it remains so during these difficult times to provide our students a high quality, comprehensive, and engaging education,” said Hopper. “Our Summer Jump Start is ensuring we keep our students on track for a successful new school year.”
As soon as stay-at-home orders switched daily school to remote education from home, Kathleen Shook, third grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, immediately switched gears on how to continue enriching E-STEAM and PBL projects for her remote class. As a result, students embarked on an extensive project based on lost cities of the world.
A targeted E-STEAM education approach ensures students engage in science, technology, engineering and math 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.
The premise of the lost cities project came from a book the class read together about cities in history that are no longer inhabited either by means of disappearance, natural disaster, or mysterious episode. Students researched lost cities and chose ones to focus on depending on their interests. Petra, Atlantis and Great Zimbabwe were popular choices.
At the conclusion of the project, students designed and built models of their chosen lost city. Many used recycled materials while others used both technology and materials found in nature to build outside forts.
“Not being able to be in the same room with my students is challenging to be able to gauge how my students are delving into a subject,” said Shook. “However, I know from experience that PBL projects like this harness student curiosity and allow a deeper exploration and understanding of studies.”
The lost cities project included science, reading, writing and social studies components.
“What we could have learned about lost cities in one lesson on one day is nothing compared to the deeply engaged learning that we participated in during our PBL unit with lost cities as our overall theme,” said Shook.
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As part of remote learning for second graders, students have studied the life cycle of a butterfly. The studies included texts, interactive videos, reading aloud, directed drawing, and digital art. This allowed students to learn science, reading and writing standards!
Additionally, Ms. Stephanie also was able to share the process with her students via photos and video chats of the Painted Lady butterflies that she documented throughout the life cycle process.
During this remote learning environment that our students and staff have been experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, elementary science teacher, Ms. Emily, has included activities in her science lessons that get students outside exploring the outdoors.
Students were tasked with an outdoor challenge to build a fairy fort or a troll tower to welcome tiny outdoor friends. Students had a wonderful time at home interacting with the great outdoors to create beautiful dwellings.
Additionally, students were also guided on how to take tree and leaf rubbings to help properly identify trees in nature.
Sixth grade students learned about Earth structures, natural disasters and layers of the Earth recently. As a final project for the unit of study, students worked with partners and chose to make, among others things, a video, a children’s book, a 3D model, a Google slide, and a crossword puzzle in order to show understanding of the science standards. They then presented to class what they learned and what their project was about.
Seventh graders studied force and motion and as part of their studies built bridges with craft sticks and string. These awesome bridges were on display at our annual School Maker Faire in March.
As part of an ongoing exploration of science in first grade, students experimented with dyeing different types of fibers with both artificial and natural dyes.
They dyed wool fiber and cotton string and were very surprised by some of the results. They hypothisized that the Kool-Aid dye would result in brighter colors than it actual did. They also thought that the purple cabbage would result in a similar purple dye when, in fact, it did not.
All of their findings were on display in the classroom at our annual School Maker Faire in March.
You might remember a few weeks ago reading about the third grade classes making a Solar System art installation in their classroom for display during our annual School Maker Faire.
The entire classroom was turned into the Solar System. QCodes were placed among different parts so that a visitor could scan the code and learn about that particular object found in our Solar System.
There were facts and visual representations of so many interesting things found in our Solar System. The hands on activities were also enjoyed by all who visited as well. Way to go students!