Whittier students EXPLORE! new areas of interest

Last fall, Whittier School started EXPLORE!, a three half-day elective program that introduces students to innovative learning topics. The program was a huge success! Students loved delving into specialty coding, engineering, fitness, art, social-emotional and other topics.

Due to this success, EXPLORE! returned to Whittier this week. From May 2-5, students spent half-days discovering new interest areas that developed their academic, social, emotional and physical skills.

“New projects and experiences will also promote students to think creatively, work successfully with others, and practice different problem-solving skills,” said Principal Michael Krugman.

Whittier offered students 11 EXPLORE! classes; students could attend two of their choosing. Most classes were brand new; however, some fall favorites, like Eager Engineers and Games Galore, were kept and expanded upon.

EXPLORE! classes are taught by non-classroom teachers, including specialists, instructional coaches and parent volunteers. During EXPLORE! classes, classroom teachers held 15-minute one-on-one conferences with each student to assess their growth in reading using the Fountas & Pinnell Individual Reading System.

What do EXPLORE! classes look like?

* Puzzle Mania: Improve your logic and reasoning skills by working on all sorts of different puzzles, which may include: MadLibs, Sudoku, Math Squares, Cryptograms, Crosswords, Cryptopics, Brain Teasers, Logic Puzzles, Rebus, and more!

* Kindness is Catchy: Spread kindness by watching inspiring videos, learning about positive role models, using art to express positive messages, creating fleece blankets to donate and finish the week with a lemonade stand to make money for a cause of your choosing.

* Jewelry Making: If you like making arts and crafts, you will love jewelry making! Fun for all, you will have the opportunity to learn how to make basic bracelets, anklets, earrings, and necklaces in a fun and relaxed environment.

* Super Sleuth: Calling all detectives!!  We have a mystery that needs to be solve!  Students study the “crime scene,” then conduct crime-lab tests on the evidence, analyze the results, and try to solve the mystery.

* Chain Reaction Champs: This class will begin with exploring the chain reactions.  How long of a domino rally can you make?  Students will design and build a marble run and learn about Rube Goldberg machines, a contraption that performs a simple task.

* Adventures in Coding: Are you interested in learning more about coding? Students will participate in several unplugged and plugged coding activities. At the end of our 4 days, we will have a gallery walk where students can share what they have learned and show their coding creations with our class.

* Games Galore “Maximized”: Play group games, card games, and board games on a LARGER scale.  These are not your average size games.  As you play learn the importance of rules and playing fair. Come join us for some LARGE – MAXIMIZED – LIFE SIZE fun!

* Eager Engineers: Put your brain to the ultimate test!  Each day you will be given an engineering challenge where you will work with a team to design and create a product.  Use your thinking and creativity to meet the challenge!  Feel free to sign up for this activity even if you did in the Fall – the challenges will be different!

* Explore the Arts!: Join us as we learn about music and art, with a different focus each day.  Explore instruments in the concert band and orchestra.  You’ll get to see and hear each instrument and have a chance to play one yourself.  Then tap into your visual imagination and create cartoons using the ArtStudio app on our iPads!

* Shakespeare’s World: As Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage.” Perform and have fun doing a Readers’ Theatre workshop and your own puppet show.  Learn the skills for creating, designing, and performing “on stage”.

* Ready, Set, Go: Are you ready to get fit and have some fun?  Join us for some awesome games that will put your heart and muscles to the test.  It will take speed, strength, teamwork and a positive attitude.  Don’t forget your game face!