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Students learn by doing at summer program
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During a visit from Deputy Everett Harper and Rosie, Henry County Sheriff’s Office’s tracking dog, (from left) Eric Esquivel, Jack Alvarado-Angeles, Christopher Martin, Madison Sessor and Alexis Estrada Salgado take turns greeting Rosie before watching a demonstration of her tracking skills at Rich Acres Elementary. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Monday, June 23, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

About 420 children in Henry County Public Schools’ elementary summer school program are doing hands-on activities that help show how math and reading skills relate to real life.

Using MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) assessment data, Standards of Learning data and teacher recommendations, each elementary school staff identified students who would benefit from a three-week enrichment program structured to reinforce skills already learned and help students move from one grade level to the next, according to a news release.

Each elementary summer school program team of teachers adopted a particular theme and planned activities that would reinforce math and reading skills by demonstrating their use in everyday life.

“This includes field experiences (trips/excursions) and visitors as well as making things, doing projects, etc., so that students see the application of what they discuss or do on a ‘worksheet’ to real-life situations,” Monica Adams Hatchett, HCPS coordinator for family and community engagement, stated in an email.

The summer academy, which is free to the students, began June 9 and will end June 26. It is being held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Each school serves students based on teacher availability and students recommended for the program.

Some of the activities that have, are or will be taking place follow.

At Axton Elementary, the theme is real-life experiences. Activities include gardening, cooking, creating comics and movies, and field experiences to enhance writing and math skills. Students in grades 1-5 are participating.

At Campbell Court Elementary, the theme is Bears in the Forest for grades K-4. Teachers are using a cross-curricular adaptation of the Project WILD program, which is a program shared with HCPS by the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Students are learning about habitats and life needs and characteristics of bears, which emphasizes science, reading and math skills.

At Carver Elementary, the theme for grade 4 is using math in everyday life. Students are researching and planning excursions to Sportlanes and the Martinsville Reservoir to enhance their calculation abilities.

At Collinsville Primary, the theme for grades K-1 is ice cream. Students are using reading and math skills to do activities that allow them to buy and make ice cream.

The theme for grade 2 at Collinsville Primary is food and recipes. Students are using real recipes to follow instructions, measure, communicate with one another, and cook or make food. They also solve math problems and read stories related to the food they are discussing.

At Drewry Mason Elementary, the theme for grades 3 and 4 is dealing with being left out of a group. Students are using the themes and story elements of “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume as a springboard for research, writing and hands-on activities.

At John Redd Smith Elementary, the theme for grades 4 and 5 is tying it together with everyday activities. Activities include field experiences to Uptown Sweets and Chick-fil-A to help reinforce reading comprehension, grammar, multiplication, measurement and money skills. For example, students are reading nutrition charts and discussing posters/fliers while there.

Students will host a lemonade stand from noon to 2 p.m. June 25. Money raised will support third-grade activities during the 2014-2015 school year.

At Mt. Olivet Elementary, the theme for grades 2-4 is math and reading. Students are visiting the public library to extend reading opportunities or visiting Domino’s Pizza to apply science and math to a favorite meal and how it is made.

At Rich Acres Elementary, the theme for grades 2-5 is measurement and data analysis. Activities include visits to Blue Ridge Regional Airport, Martinsville Speedway, Virginia Museum of Natural History and Pizza Hut — and a visit from Rosie, a Henry County Sheriff’s Office tracking dog — to make students better customers and creators of products, as well as to develop student strengths in probability, statistics and measurement.

At Sanville Elementary, the theme for grades K-1 is ice cream.

Students are following directions and measuring to make ice cream. The theme for grade 2 is camping, and students are visiting Fairystone State Park to learn about camping and park life.

Also at Sanville, under the theme of animals helping people, third-graders are visiting Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy to learn how horses help people. They are reading about animals and how animals react to and interact with people. They also are reading a story about horses.

Also at Sanville, with calculating as the theme, fourth- and fifth-graders are figuring scores and calculating averages while bowling at Sportlanes.

At Stanleytown Elementary, the theme for grades 3-5 is math and reading in everyday life.

Students are visiting the library and Lowe’s Home Improvement Center to observe how reading and measurements are useful in daily life.

The elementary summer program “is not new, but the hands-on/experiential format is a new concept,” Hatchett stated.

A total of about 50 teachers and other personnel are employed in the program, according to Hatchett.


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