Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BES Warming up to our great workshops

    As fall flies by we are busy getting the new workshops set for our next session which begins on November 9. We have a lot of exciting stuff planned so be on the lookout.
    As the kids settle into their workshops their smiles get bigger and they seem to be having a great time. 
What could be better than baking with Bertha on a nice cool fall afternoon.

   Homesteading keeps you warm as you prepare for the long winter ahead, canning pickles making jelly and much more. 

   Can't beat warming up to some African drumming and dancing.

   Nothing can warm you up fast like working your brain in the scholars club. 

   Chinese club are on a roll and warming up to a new language and culture. 

   Kids are bundling up to enjoy the fall leaves and the outdoor beauty, in the  Get Outdoors workshop. Making mobiles out of found objects from outside. Sticks leaves and more. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Marshmallow Architects at LCS!

Ever since they noticed a bag of marshmallows up on one of the shelves in our closet, the kiddos have been asking to do something with them. The time came last Wednesday, when we ripped open several marshmallow bags along with quite a few boxes of toothpicks...to make marshmallow structures!

Of course, we had to eat some along on the way to keep our energy up!

It was a great activity to do as a group so we could check out each other's creations and work together to build even bigger structures. It was also an exercise in self-restraint, as the rules were only 10 marshmallows each during ASP hours! It was difficult, but everyone did their best to follow the rule.


This upcoming week, we will planning for our Halloween party on Friday the 30th. All students will have time during the school day on Friday to make masks, which they can show off at ASP when they come. We will be playing games, reading Halloween-themed books, eating brains (spaghetti) and eyeballs (grapes), and have one or two "treat" foods. We will make our own decorations and put together a spooky playlist. We've already begun getting into the spirit of Halloween with a yard-wide zombie game played and created by the kids themselves!

The masked Zombie King strategizes with his minions while the humans scatter along the playground structure, anticipating the chase! If they get caught, they will be thrown into the dungeon (tunnel) and turned into zombies themselves! That is...if they don't escape first!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Lights are On and the Kids are...at School!

The Lights are ON....

On Wednesday, October 21st we joined in with the Afterschool Alliance and opened our doors for parents and the community to come visit the ELP workshops. It was the 16th year of a nationwide movement to highlight the amazing work done by educators and community members to enhance student's lives and learning in an afterschool setting. Research has proved that students who participate in afterschool enrichment are improving their lives not only in the realm of education but at home as well. Please check out Afterschool Alliance's research page to see for yourself!

Our K-2 group is VERY busy practicing for their presentation of, "The Very Cranky Bear." We will be performing at MARS on November 11. Please drop by at 8:00 am to support the kids! We took a break today to take a walk to visit Cinnamon and her colt Buckwheat! Along the way we told stories about horses, they could be fiction or non-fiction. Each student had a turn to tell his or her story!

The science workshop is steaming ahead with their experiments. Most recently the students have experimented with static electricity and density. Students took blown up balloons and tried to pick up salt and pepper with the static electricity from the balloon. Students found it was easier to pick up pepper. Why? they asked. Carolyn led them through the reasoning behind density and static electricity!

The first session of workshops comes to an end on November 6. We start Session II on November 9 and the workshops will run through December 18. We have great workshops coming together. Check back next week for a line up of Session II!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BES's expanded learning program is in full swing

"What happens to kids after school is as important to kids as what happens to them during school." Senator Bernie Sanders, 2010 Vermont Afterschool Conference

The Expanded Learning Program at Bristol Elementary School is in full swing!  This session we are offering The "Get Outside" workshop, African Drumming and Dancing, Homesteading, Baking with Bertha, Scholars Club, and Chinese Club!  Students are enjoying the great outdoors and the beautiful fall colors.  We are happy to host such enthusiastic leaders!  Please stay tuned for session II paperwork!

Homesteading is whipping up some butter!

Baking with Bertha is the Best. 

The rhythm is going to get you in the African drumming workshop. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Making the most of fall at LCS Afterschool!

Fall might bring us drab, wet weather, but the kids at the Lincoln After School Program know how to make the most of days like these! Wednesday’s student-directed project involved building a fantastic slide fort, using the Japanese knotweed from the LCS Nature Trail, piles of fallen leaves, and many pairs of hands. The fort not only looked impressive, but it was also a nice dry spot to hang out together.


Because the fort wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone at once but was so much fun to put together and play in, students were inspired to create smaller forts on the other structures.

As awesome as the forts were, I wondered if it was a good idea to be taking so much nature from the trail. I soon learned from one of our fourth-graders that the Japanese knotweed grows very aggressively and is considered an invasive species in Vermont. This information shifted my perspective on the project, since now I know that the knotweed we took will replace itself in no time!

Another exciting project at Lincoln ASP this week involved an amazing experiment with milk, food coloring, and dishwashing soap. Students filled bowls with milk, then added drops of food coloring in their own unique patterns. Then we dipped a Q-tip into the dishwashing soap and touched it to the milk. Because the milk has a higher surface tension than the soap, it moves away from where the soap touches it, pulling the food coloring along with it and creating beautiful streams of color.

As we begin to incorporate more STEAM* projects into our program, we would love to share things we’ve done and what we’ve learned so far with the community. High quality afterschool programs are proven to accelerate student achievement by contributing to greater rates of school attendance, better behavior in the learning environment, and improvements in coursework. 

A great way for us to showcase our program is to participate in the 16th annual Lights On Afterschool event. LOA is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, an organization whose goal is to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs. We will have our LOA event on Wednesday, October 21st. You can stop by the LCS multipurpose room between 4 and 5:30 to see some highlights of what has been going on at ASP this year. We hope to see you there!

*STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I learn. Involve me and I learn." Benjamin Franklin

It's been a busy and exciting start to the school year at Robinson Elementary! On September 28th Session 1 of the Expanded Learning Program got under way. We are thrilled to have some well known enrichment leaders back as well as welcoming new faces to the fold!

Mike Gray, a favorite among ELP students, is teaching students in grades 4-6 all about Chess. We have students who are working on their skills and others who are brand new to the age old game. We have a packed workshop filled with 12 students which makes the even number perfect for practice matches!

Grace Freeman, another familiar and loved leader, is running Singing, Storytelling, and Dancing. This workshop will also run in Lincoln and Bristol and all students involved will perform at the Fine Arts Festival at Mt. Abe in the spring. Students have spent time in Starksboro's cemetery exploring their town's past. They have also been practicing square dancing!

Miriam Block is taking 3rd-6th graders through history learning about the culture of mazes and creating their own. They have visited the labyrinth at Common Ground Camp. They have created their own mazes and marble runs and are excited for what else is in store!

Robinson is also welcoming Carolyn Brown as she run the science workshop for 2nd and 3rd graders. They have excitedly built their own boats and tested them against other students' boats. Right now they are in the process of building balloon powered cars which they are over the moon about creating!

Megan Cowette, the Academic Enrichment Coordinator for Robinson Elementary is running a reading and acting workshop for kindergarten and 1st graders! They have read "The Very Cranky Bear" and are now working on creating costumes and learning their lines. They will be performing for the school at MARS on November 11.

Session 1 comes to an end on November 6th and we will start Session 2 on November 9th. We're very proud of all the hard work the students have put in to their workshops so far!