Enrichment & S.T.E.M

I’ve organized these groups and clubs throughout my teaching career, and wanted to show their description that I provided to staff and families. Try one at school or home!

My main focus for the groups (which is not clearly indicated in my descriptions) is to have literature be the primary resource used to introduce our enrichment activities! This allows our kids to see the vast amount of information at their fingertips and more importantly, inspire them in their discovery of topics they love. This also provides more opportunities to tap into sections of the library/bookstore that sometimes get overlooked…i:e: non-fiction math books, medieval century books, gardening books, and more. I also love getting the library kits at the public library and doing a modified version with my own kiddos at home :). Space and dinosaurs will be our next focus!

Please contact Larissa if you would like her to share one of these workshops/programs with your school, library, or small creative writing group! lasantoriello@aol.com

 Literature Inspiration a.k.a. ‘What a great book!”

Students in this group will be using a variety of literature to spark ideas for writing their own stories or opinion pieces. Literature will range from silly stories to thought provoking true stories. Students will gain exposure to a wide variety of authors, styles of writing, and unique illustrations. They will also create accompanying illustrations for their writing pieces using different mediums of art.  *Presenting at Rochester Literacy Council Writing Workshop October 22nd at French Road Elementary!          

Autumn Investigators

In this science based group, students will investigate different aspects and elements of the autumn season, including a mini pumpkin lab, note-taking using measurement and graphing, experiments and scavenger hunts involving nature, researching autumn related foods and holidays, and creating different visuals to demonstrate their understanding. Students will be enriched in their experiences with various autumn elements, and look at this particular season with newfound knowledge.

History Detectives

Have you seen these books by Anne Millard and Steve Noon? I was absolutely fascinated by this compilation of time periods, characteristics and key events in such a FUN format. IT sort of reminds me of a “Where’s Waldo” style where the more you study the picture, the more details and quirks you notice about the characters.  Seriously, these books are so fun. This particular group will focus on students pinpointing a period in history/major event, and doing research and exploration to deepen their knowledge of this time period/event. They will become familiar with the culture, traditions, lifestyle, politics, and religions. Evidence of their work will be an interactive poster/lapbook depicting different aspects of their event/time period.

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Author Studies

This group will focus on two major authors/illustrators of our generation, Kadir Nelson and Jacqueline Woodson (or other authors for younger students). We will explore their background, inspirations, other works, websites, and create a biography webpage for each of our authors. Discussion of the theme, time periods, and personal connections are a must. I like focusing on a diverse group of authors and illustrators to broaden the children’s cultural awareness…Kadir Nelson is a favorite of mine….Jeanette Winter (author of The Librarian of Basra and Malala and more) is another FANTASTIC author/illustrator who writes about some pretty powerful Middle Eastern events and gives us the opportunity to learn about and empathize for the thousands of people who are affected by war in their OWN country.

Kid Reporters

This group will focus on the upcoming election, candidate profiles, and current events relating to the election process. Students will gather pertinent information to them about the election process, using newspapers, online searching, and magazines. They will present their findings to other classes and urge them to vote for the candidate they feel strongly about.

Me on the Map!

This group will focus on students learning about their surroundings, environment, geography, and their ‘place on the map’ from small scale to large scale! Each student will design a layered step book to represent their place on the map. They will learn facts about each ‘step’ from their street, to their town/city, state, country, continent, and planet.

Wacky Weather

This group will focus on students researching ‘Natural Disasters’. This will include the scientific components to these weather systems, causes, effects, and historical impact. Evidence of their work will be a 3-D model using a variety of materials, as well as a newspaper article that will inform and warn readers of these natural disasters.

Career Builders

This group will focus on exploring our interests in various careers and fields of work. Students will take a survey to determine areas of interest, conduct research into what the career entails, secondary education, salaries, virtual tours, and programs/businesses that offer a means to pursue these careers! Evidence of work will be various projects/activities to document their findings, and a ‘Who Am I’ poster describing their job responsibilities.

Club Cafe

Students will practice using money in “real life settings”, counting and making change, using a variety of real menus from their favorite eateries and restaurants. Students will create their own favorite menu and price items accordingly. We will end our unit making a no-bake version of their items and having a ‘pretend’ sale in our group.

Multiplication Masters

Students in this group will become ‘multiplication masters’ through a series of activities and tricks to multiply faster, and understand the concept that multiplication is a faster way to add! Students will create a life-size array table, and use array manipulative to multiply numbers. They will take timed quizzes to enhance their number fluency. We will also explore a series of word problems that use multiplication and how we apply multiplication to real life.

Polygon Pirates

Students will learn the definition and traits of different polygons and find examples of polygons in their real environment. They will create polygon pictures and use tangrams to reinforce their understanding and application.

Terrariums for Kids

Students will create their own terrariums as their mini eco-systems. They will learn about the eco-system, what sustains it, components of a healthy eco-system, and apply making predictions and documenting their observations through creation of their own terrariums (ie: mini eco-systems)

Hydrologist Scientists

Students will learn about the scientific method, making hypotheses, writing notes, and conducting experiments all related to water.

Handprint ABC’s

Students will find unique and interesting nouns, verbs, or adjectives that begin with the letters of the alphabet and create an accompanying handprint for each one. OR Students will research nouns that all begin with the letters of the alphabet and create handprints to accompany each handprint. Facts about their pictures will be written underneath each picture.

Awesome Architects:

Students will use various non-fiction books about buildings, homes around the world, and construct their own diorama of their dream house/room using materials from home. Students will begin their enrichment experience constructing an architectural design using only popsicle sticks and glue. They will write an accompanying piece describing their ‘dream home’ and what purpose/amenities it has. Books will be a main source of inspiration.

Kid Reporters #2

In this Election based Enrichment group, students will gather information about the presidential candidates and note their findings into different categories (viewpoints on education, foreign affairs, etc.). We will also discuss the election and voting process for the United States. Students will use a variety of resources to find information about the election that is pertinent to them, and present their findings to the younger students, encouraging them to have a ‘class vote’ at the end of their presentation.

Fractured Fairy Tales

Students in this enrichment group will read a variety of fairy tales with a twist, compare and contrast author styles, focus on vocabulary and implementing it into writing, and then create their own fractured fairy tales (and props) using necessary story elements and writing techniques/elements aligned with Common Core Writing Standards.

Reader’s Group for older students

(Mystery Genre or Eccentrics)

Short Story Book Club (S.S. Book Club)

Students will read a variety of short stories from various genres, and use deeper thinking/questioning skills to analyze the author’s purpose, theme of the story, as well as participate in a ‘Socratic’ like seminar to engage in high level discussions with one another. Students will complete writing activities along with several short stories to document our findings and demonstrate our understanding of these vocabulary rich texts.

**I’m also trying KIWI CRATE…I’ll post about it once we receive our first box!**

KIWI CRATE…STEM activities

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