Posts filed under ‘Enrichment’
Here at Allen Brook School we have really challenging work in a room called Enrichment. Some of the challenging work is meeting for math. The math is like 5 x 8 or 56 ÷ 4 or 7 + 73.
We have one teacher. Her name is Mrs. Poirot. She is a good teacher and she is really nice. Other children and I get together in a group every Tuesday. We bring home challenging homework and sometimes extra homework.
My name is Montana. I am in first grade and I like Enrichment so next year I would love to be back.
By Lily and Jacob
We were wondering about WCS Technology. We went around the school talking to teachers and students about Technology. We asked what their favorite programs are, how they use them, how it helps them learn, and how many computers they have.
I (Lily) interviewed Ms. Baker (one of the school’s art teachers). She does Exploratory Arts Technology in the Technology lab. In this class, we go on the computer and go to the WCS website, Curriculum and then click on Art. Next, we click on Ms. Baker’s art room. A list of appropriate art websites show up. You can use any of them! I asked,” How did you find these websites?” She said, ”A lot of research on the computer.” A few websites she likes are thisissand, Jackson Pollock splatter painting, and Explore Museums.
We also do a portrait of ourselves in Adobe Photoshop. Her goals for the portrait activity are to teach us about contour lines. I asked,” What is your favorite thing to do with the kids?” She told me, “Everything! I LOVE the energy that the kids bring!” She said, ”I have a surprise… at the end of exploratory on the last week, we have an online study of Henry Moore and make soap sculptures!”
Ms. Birdsall, (Technology Integration Specialist) and I met for a interview. I asked her, “How many computers we have in the WCS tech lab?” She answered, “We have 26 computers in the lab.” I asked,” What benefits does technology give us?” She told me, “It lets us research, type, communicate, collaborate, work together, share and show our work.” She also said, “ We use these different types of technology in our school: projectors, document cameras, digital cameras, video, webcams, and more.” I asked, “What are some of the best websites?” She said, “Well there are a lot but some of the most important are the WCS website, such as using our email and Google tools, and library resources.” I asked,” How much do teachers and students use technology? Do they use it safely?” She answered, ”Teachers and students use technology all the time, and they use it very safely. Technology helps us learn, connect, share, and have fun!”
Ms.Weegar (Grade 4 Teacher in Mosaic) and I sat down and had a talk about the technology she uses in her class. I asked, ”What are some of the types of technology you use in the classroom? And what are the benefits of technology?” She said, “We use a projector, document camera, laptops, Flip cameras, camera, and computers. The benefits are that the kids can learn at their own speed, that means it helps kids differentiate! It also makes the lessons more exciting and help them collaborate.” I asked, ”What are some of the best websites you use?” She said, “We like Edublogs where we create our own blogs. With Twitter we tweet about what we learn in our class and follow other classes and famous people, and we call ourselves wcsweeones.” She told me, “Something exciting that we did was an online study of the Titanic.” I asked, “How often do you use Technology? Do you use it safely?” She answered. “We use it every day and we spend a lot of time talking about how to be safe. Technology helps learning come alive!”
In my class, (Jacob’s) we do lots of things with our Smartboard. It helps us in many ways. Last year in math we used it to show diagrams, do counting and to show our work. This year, I have a Smartboard in my classroom, but I don’t have one for math which is in another room. I have noticed it has been different.
A Smartboard is basically a big computer; it’s also like a whiteboard. Every morning in our classroom we have a sign-in on our Smartboard. We have a document camera hooked up to the Smartboard so we project our work onto the smartboard.
I interviewed a few teachers from different 3rd and 4th grade Houses about Technology. I asked my teacher, Ms. Schoolcraft, “How do Smartboards help students learn?” She said, “One way is being able to see what’s happening using photos and videos.” I asked Mr Willis some questions too. He said that his Smartboard gets used throughout the day. In math class, students use the Smartboard to show their thinking. He also said that kids can interact with the Smartboard and it helps to visualize the learning.
Ms Medved says they use their Smartboard everyday just like Mr Willis. They use their Smartboard the most for students showing their work on the board. I asked Ms. Medved, “How do Smartboards help students learn the most?” She said, “They can move things around easily and they can interact with the Smartboard.”
Now that you have heard some things about Smartboards you can see that Smartboards are a big help to us, and to teachers, too. Our school has eleven Smartboards. I think having a Smartboard and not having one is a big difference. I hope you get the chance to use a Smartboard and that you can see why Smartboards are important in our school! (Jacob)
Since these interviews, my ideas about technology have changed. My new thoughts are, “What is the newest technology that has entered the school? Who teaches the teachers how to use it? How do kids feel about using technology?” I know that I like it but what do other kids think? I hope you are as interested in technology as I am! (Lily)
Synergy students Alexa, Bridget, Chase, Mary, Myleigh and Nick participated in an Enrichment Mystery Writing Class. The emphasis was on vocabulary development and descriptive writing. Here we have the final project where each student chose an animal to describe. Art teacher, Sara Beeken, worked with these students to create a painting of each mystery animal in its habitat. The students hope you will enjoy their Photostory.
Your comments below are appreciated.
Twelve years ago, Mr. Reese was 15 years older than his son is now. If the son is now 10 years old, how old is Mr. Reese now?
This is Continental Math. It’s all about problem solving. Students working on problems that really make you think a little harder. Continental Math groups usually meet once a week with a parent volunteer. Groups practice problems and learn problem solving strategies. It is a great way to build up your math confidence and you can prove what you have learned once a month when there is a meet. A meet is like a test consisting of six challenging problems, each getting harder. You have 30 minutes to complete the questions.
You do not have to be great at math to participate in Continental Math. It is for anyone grades 2-8 at any level. It is a great way to improve your skills and learn useful math concepts that will not only help you in the monthly tests but in everyday math class and beyond. Continental Math is also extremely fun and enriching.
This year’s Continental math session has just ended, but we are always looking for new people for next year. Continental math is also competitive. The third grade winner this year was Amanda Li and second place was Jessica Klein. First place in the fourth grade was a tie between Benjamin Herskowitz and Baker Angstman and second place was Storm Rushford. In the fifth grade, first place was Ben Klein and second place was Justin Schaaf. The winner of the sixth grade was Ananth Malladi and second place was Sam Gelin. First place in the seventh grade was Will Hubbard and second place went to Zach Varricchione. The winner of the eighth grade was Kathy Joseph and second place was Alison Spasyk.
And for those who put on their thinking caps, the answer to the sample 8th grade problem above is that Mr. Reese is now 37 years old.
I was ridiculously excited. But intermixed with that excitement was a bit of nervousness. Okay, a lot of nervousness. I had only contacted these people through e-mail. I had never met them, nor had they met me. What if I did not live up to what they expected of me? What if they thought I was just a child? Or worse— what if there were other children there and I was taking this too seriously?
These were all the thoughts I had while walking into Flynn Space on Monday, the second of April. I had been invited to judge the plays for Young Playwrights, a program in which I was a participant last year.
I had contacted Cristina Weakland, the director of education, and she had come up with opportunities to help me in my 8th grade challenge, but also in my passion for writing and theatre. She then directed me to Joan Robinson, the Associate Director for School Programs. They invited me to come help judge the plays submitted by the schools around Vermont, and then to attend the Festival in May. I was awestruck by this honor.
That very same day as the judging, I had come back from a weekend trip to Boston for a final showing of Les Misérables on tour (Yes, this is what we playwrights do in our spare time) and I was so tired that all my negative thoughts ate at me. What if? What if? It was not helped by the fact that when I got there, the inside door was locked. Just in front of it was a sign that read: Young Playwrights Judging meets down here, with a nice and big arrow pointing to the stairs. The elevator would not go down. What if I had come to the wrong place? Or the wrong time? What if it was the wrong day? My father and I stood there for a few moments, awkwardly shifting in the thick silence. But soon a woman with short hair wearing a white Irish cable knit sweater went to unlock the door. I opened my mouth to speak, but she didn’t seem to notice me or my 6-foot-something father. But just as she turned the key, she also turned to me, and said welcomingly—
“Are you Madeleine Barrett?” and extended her hand as I said yes. She brought me down to the basement stage room and explained to me what would be happening. I was still a tad jumpy, but seeing that stage down there and feeling the atmosphere made me feel much more secure; and as the others filed in, I knew I was with my own ‘kind’ and I felt completely at ease. Some people as they walked in looked confused at my presence and my tiny briefcase. Some looked just plain surprised. Others rushed toward me and introduced themselves, asking about what brought me here. I met my e-mail buddies, along with seeing people I already knew. When we began, we sat and introduced ourselves. We were to state our name and what force had brought us here, or our occupation. The line slowly progressed toward me. Each person had fantastic feats under their belts— like being in medical school or producing a show professionally, and I wasn’t sure what to say to make me sound in the least bit impressive. Finally they all glanced toward me. And the words were coming out before I knew it.
“Madeleine Barrett; avid student playwright.” I said certainly. They all smiled— some seemed as if it was because I was ‘cute’, but most others looked almost proud at how well I was blending in. I was the only younger-than-adult person there. When they divided into groups of four and divvied up the plays, the real fun began. We’d go through a play, making it come to life as best we could, and then comment and rate it. Between plays, I’d glance at the treat bowl in the center of the table, which none had yet taken from. I must not give into my childish urge for sweets! I did not want to be the first to break, but I was. Oh, well.
Each play was unique. Some did need some clear editing work, but they all shined in their own light. One of the things I found was that the group much preferred the plays of the middle-school pupils than that of the high school students. We had some real fun with characters, and it is not because we’re all undiscovered stars that an agent was never lucky enough to pick up. Well, that too. But it was because each person really made their characters, and story, shine in one way or another.
I must admit, I was much impressed by the work of the students. Now, the last thing I wish to be sounding like is superior. I am most certainly not, or I at least do not think of myself as being this way. I make mistakes; have stiff dialogue in some places; and sometimes many too-dramatic-storylines, among other things. When my school selected Young Playwrights participants this Fall, I was not selected since I had already had the chance to participate last year. I felt an unbelievable sadness about this. I was jealous of those who were lucky enough to have their name plucked by fate. For a long time I was bitter. But now I know without my misfortune, I would have never have looked for another way to be involved and have this awe-inspiring experience. By reading the work of others, I gained insight into my own writing.
I grabbed my briefcase and the last bits of chocolate from the treat bowl, looking around the near-empty room. Our group was the last one there. My father came in, right on time, 7:00 pm, and waved. They greeted him as Madeleine’s father. “You can call me Bob,” he said with a wry smile, “but my name’s David.” We all laughed. “Now we know where she gets it from.” Joan said with a wink.
Some background from Williston Central School Enrichment Teacher Cris Milks:
Eleven students were selected to participate in an exciting Enrichment/Swift House collaborative project that was embedded in the Swift House Earth Systems Unit. Within the unit, students had the opportunity to learn about a variety of earth science topics including the rock cycle and water cycle. This project has been an authentic opportunity to learn how both the water cycle and rock cycle come into play in our community. Completing independent research, meeting with Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti, and participating in a service project were integral parts of the class.
By Chiara Antonioli and Hannah Bohmann
On Thursday December eighth, eleven students from Williston Central School’s Swift House took a field trip to the Allen Brook to help with the “Brook Project”. We left at eleven in the morning in our enrichment teacher and parent volunteer’s cars. When we got there we hiked down to the water to help tarp and wrap trees. Lauren Chicote, an AmeriCorp Environmental Educator from Winooski Valley Park District, was there to help us and show us what to do.
We did this because the Allen Brook might overflow onto the ground and wash away the earth. Nothing could be left after the next big storm! As storm water flows into the Allen Brook the trees will stop erosion and suck up toxic chemicals and bacteria like E. Coli. With the trees there, it will stop the overflow and poison; the Allen Brook will be saved!
First we got into groups and started to put plastic tubes around the growing trees to prevent the deer from eating them. We worked in pairs to dig small trenches, slide the tubes on, and hold them in place with bamboo poles. Once that was done, we had to put plastic mats around the base of the tree so critters (mice and other small creatures) wouldn’t eat the roots. These are held in place with metal stakes.
The trees will absorb toxins in the water so that our water is cleaner. This means that it will be less expensive to purify for drinking and household water. It costs less to purify nearly clean water then it does to purify toxic water. The trees will also hold the soil in place so when the river overflows, it won’t wash away all the soil.
We have taken the time to interview some of the people from our group. We asked two students on the trip questions about their experience and about other ways we can keep our watershed healthy.
We asked Bennet Cheer, “How can we stop runoff from happening besides planting trees?” He responded, “You can insert a rain barrel and wash your car on the lawn, not on the pavement.” Inserting a rain barrel can help catch water running off your roof. If you wash your car on pavement then all the toxins go straight into the storm drain without being cleaned by the grass and earth.
We asked Morgan Roberts: “What do you think would be a result of further erosion and poison in the Allen Brook?” She responded, “The fish and their habitats would die out. It would turn into a dump! You wouldn’t be able to wade in it. Not pleasant…” This means that all of the erosion will make the brook walls larger and wider. All of the water will get shallower and shallower and eventually it will almost be completely gone. Another thing that could happen would be all of the plants and grass would grow in it because of fertilizer washing into the brook. Fertilizer is washed off of farm land and yards during storms. It could turn into a swamp from all the toxins and bacteria pouring in from the storm drains.
We asked our Swift House teacher and service project helper, Amy Skapof, “Have you ever seen erosion in your day to day life?” Skapof replied, “Yes! Killington, on the side of the road. Also on trails after Hurricane Irene.”
We asked Karen Cutler, a parent volunteer on our trip, “How did you feel about this field trip as a great learning experience?” Cutler responded: “As a mom, I get into the habit of thinking that kids need instruction, supervision, and prodding to get real work done. What I love about projects like this is seeing how you young people can self-organize into teams and work efficiently and responsibly, pretty much on your own. Of course you need some instruction at first, to know what to do, and adult supervision is important to keep everyone safe, but you guys kicked butt out there and got everything done on time. I think you had fun doing it, too. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see you all working so cooperatively; I’ve known some of you since first grade, and you have learned so much since then. I think I had a glimpse of the future… and it looks good.”
Our community service trip was very fun and we learned so much. Wrapping and tubing trees is a great way to learn and experience science. This would be a great hands-on project to do with other small groups for school.
Morgan Roberts and Johnny Colt
During our Swift House Enrichment course we have been learning about Earth systems. In this unit we have been learning about the rock cycle and the water cycle. What we have learned about these earth systems has helped us to understand how and why storm water runoff is such a big issue in Williston.
The rock cycle is a cycle that rocks take on their life. Rocks cycle through the three different types of rock over very long periods of time. The rock types are sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous. Sedimentary rock is formed when sand, pebbles, and shells and other sediments are compressing together over many years. Metamorphic rock occurs when existing rocks change because of increased heat and pressure. Igneous rock is when magma cools and hardens, for example when lava cools.
A metamorphic rock is formed when the rock is under ground, and it starts heating and is under a lot of pressure. It starts to melt and stretch which means that it sort of looks like the rock it started out as but stretched out and melted. An example of this is gneiss.
An igneous rock is formed when the rock is far underground where it is very hot. As it reaches the surface (as a volcano) or close to the surface it starts to harden and crystallize. If it cools quickly it can be all shiny and smooth like obsidian. When igneous rocks come up to the surface and weatherize and then erosion happens and then it gets laid back down as sediment to makes sedimentary rock.
The way this works is when sedimentary rock deforms and turns into metamorphic rock. Metamorphic rock melts and crystallizes and turns into Igneous rock. Then Igneous rock weathers to the surface then erosion happens and depositions and compacts to make sedimentary rock. That’s how the rock cycle works.
The rock cycle is what makes us have rocks of different types, so if we didn’t have this system, there probably would only be sand. All and all the rock cycle is really important, that’s our way of finding diamonds, gold and other special rocks. If we didn’t have this systems all of our rocks would always stay the same and nothing would ever happen to them. Just think if we didn’t have this system?
Ananth Malladi, Baxter Bishop and Prince Yodishembo
The same water cycles again and again.
Step 1 Water starts as runoff from precipitation and drains to a lake or an ocean or another large water body.
Step 2 The water starts in a lake or a stream and evaporates to form water vapor. Water vapor also comes from plants during transpiration.
Step 3 Water condenses in the cloud. When enough water molecules build up in a cloud, it gets heavy enough to rain down. This is called precipitation. Precipitation could also be snow, hail or ice.
Step 4 When the water reaches the ground it goes into the ground. This is called infiltration. The water travels underground. When it feeds back into waterways or the ocean is called the subsurface outflow. It can also come out on the ground in springs or be stored underground in aquifers.
The water lands on pavement and goes into the sewer. The water travels throughout the sewer until it is dumped out into a lake or an ocean. With the Allen Brook, water travels from that to the Winooski river, which travels to lake Champlain, which leads to the Atlantic ocean.
The rain goes straight into a body of water like a spring, river, lake or an ocean.
The cycle starts all over again.
Bennett Cheer and Jeff Goldman
According to the Town of Williston Comprehensive Plan for Watershed Health, the development of Williston has increased over the past several years. This has affecting the volume, velocity, and quality of surface runoff in the town. These changes are affecting the stability of the stream’s channel and the heath of the aquatic, wetland, and riparian communities along the stream. Impacts created by land use in these areas, along with state and federal laws, have moved Williston to make watershed management a major priority. The Allen Brook has been placed on the state list of impaired waters.
An example of how erosion and runoff brings sediment and nutrients into the water is that there has been a very large amount of dangerous blue green algae blooms in Lake Iroquois in the past two years. An example of development near waterways can be seen as Vermont technical College is facing growth and wants to build an extra parking lot to accommodate for its new students. As reported in the Williston Observer, “The school population is growing each year around 5 percent, and to accommodate that growth in the next year, we need more parking,” said Michael Burke, a senior project engineer with Kerbs & Lansing. The idea was stopped by the Williston Development Review Board (DRB) which cited associated environmental concerns.
There are several things Williston is doing to control erosion and water pollution. The first thing the town is doing is putting in rain gardens. Rain gardens treat and slow down polluted water that comes from tar surfaces and other impervious surfaces. Williston is also asking for people to put in downspouts with gutter extensions. These prevent erosion because rather than creating runoff they make it so the water goes into the ground. The third thing Williston is doing is having outreach workshops to teach people how to make and use rain barrels. These prevent erosion because the water will not turn into runoff which badly erodes the ground. They have more information about what homeowners can do to keep the watershed healthy at http://www.smartwaterways.org/.
As you my or not know, the Allen Brook is slowly eroding and being polluted. The town approved up to $114,119 in funds to help this problem. Over 43.59 acres of land is being preserved so that trees can be planted there to suck in toxins and prevent erosion of the Allen Brook. This year, 17 acres of trees were planted and over 23 acres of conservation easements were created.
On Friday, December 16th we went to the Town Planning and Zoning Office to have an interview with Planner Jessica Andreoletti. We asked her for some examples of what Williston is doing to manage stormwater. She replied that Williston is:
- Street sweeping to keep dirt out of the watershed by keeping storm drains clear.
- The town also sponsors outreach and education workshops are being held for homeowners.
- Scientists are studying the banks of the Allen Brook and other waterways to look for erosion. They are also monitoring waterways for water quality.
- Williston is putting in retention ponds in new development to keep the water from turning into runoff too quickly and causing erosion.
- Homeowners within150 feet of named waterways and 50 feet of unnamed waterways have to say that they will not build anything on their land. Homeowners may be able to build if they do mitigation to increase the waterway health in another way.
The town is also doing active restoration which is construction like cutting banks and putting in fish lunkers (habitat for fish). Some of the passive stream restoration things that are going on around the Allen Brook are that trees are being planted on the banks to hold the soil in place and take out harmful nutrients and toxins. They are also getting conservation easements so no one builds anything else around the stream. So far there has not been any evidence of the water quality getting better on the Allen Brook. Although it’s hard to predict, Andreoletti hopes that water quality will begin to improve in the next ten years.
The town of Williston keeps our watershed healthy by keeping people from building without carefully planning. If erosion is not controlled over time, rivers would erode until they ate away houses and buildings, pollution would kill all bugs and fish, and there would be algae blooms that would eliminate dissolved oxygen in the water and kill fish and bugs.
For this project, we used these sources:
1. Stormwater Projects in Williston – Stormwater – Town of Williston, Vermont (website)
2. Williston Observer Board approves Brook project By Adam White October 6, 2011 Observer staff
3.Vermont Tech wants to add a lot, DRB cites environmental issues Dec. 1 2011 By Luke Baynes Observer staff
4.Town Of Williston 2011 DRAFT Comprehensive Plan CHAPTER 11 WATERSHED HEALTH
5. December 16th Interview with Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti