It is hard to believe that the last bell will ring soon and summer fun will commence! The EY team will continue to provide a variety of learning experiences through our blog to keep those summer minds sharp! We also wanted to pass along other opportunities available outside of our team and/or district. We hope that these resources provide a starting point for your search into further enrichment opportunities. Please note that these are suggested resources and are not endorsed or extensively researched by the Westside EY team.
TenMarks Online Math Summer Program As you know, students lose an average of 2-3 months of math comprehension
over summer break. TenMarks offers a Free Summer Program that is proven to
reverse the loss. Students that participated in the program last year not
only reversed their learning loss, they showed an 11% gain in math
This summer, TenMarks is making the Summer Math Program available to your
students for FREE! (previously $39.95/student)
Register at summer.tenmarks.com
Nebraska Association for the Gifted website list This list has various opportunities around the metro area and state. Please be sure to contact the sponsor for availability and further information. http://www.negifted.org/4995.html
Arts For All is a nonprofit arts education organization dedicated to making the arts available and affordable for all ages throughout Metro Omaha. In 2013, over 1,500 students participated in Arts For All’s quality culturally-enriched programming. http://artsforallinc.com/
Summer Kid’s Music Clinic 2015 Sponsored By The Papillion LaVista Community Theatre Contact MONIKA PETERS AT firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Camp Wonderopolis (online) Camp Wonderopolis is headed to new frontiers this year with a theme of Mission to Wonder. Camp will enable programs, families, and individuals to customize their experience to their needs while campers explore different tracks of STEM-based exploration. Along the way they will build their vocabulary, background knowledge, and literacy skills http://camp.wonderopolis.org/
Leap Ahead in Math This Summer! (online) Research shows that students who are not exposed to stimulating, educational activities over the summer months easily lose a couple of month’s worth of math skills. Instead of losing skills, sharpen skills and leap ahead in math this summer with LeapAhead!. http://www.noetic-learning.com/summermath/
Astronomy Day is a free event for all agessponsored by NASA Solar System Ambassadors, the Omaha Astronomical Society, UNO OSTEM and UNL Astronomy. You’re sure to have a “Stellar” time participating in a variety of hands-on activities and celebrating Astronomy Day at the nighttime Star Party!
Thank you to those of you who have submitted questions regarding the EY identification process. The Google form is still available and we encourage you to enter your questions so we can prepare for the upcoming parent meetings.
Don’t Forget! We’d also like to have your input regarding your child’s strengths. What you observe at home and outside of the school walls is equally as important as what goes on in school. Please visit the following link to fill out a parent survey online: http://tinyurl.com/SIGSparent
Parent Meeting Dates
Tuesday, April 21 at Oakdale (6:30 pm in the library): This meeting is intended for parents of students at Paddock Road, Oakdale, Prairie Lane, and Rockbrook
Tuesday, April 28 at Swanson (6:30 pm in the library): This meeting is intended for parents of students at Hillside, Westbrook, and Swanson
Thursday, April 30 at Sunset Hills (6:30 pm in the library): This meeting is intended for parents of students at Loveland, Sunset Hills, and Westgate
Thank you for using the Google form to submit questions about the EY identification process. We are trying to be as transparent as possible and appreciate any questions you have.
Q. Under Tier 1, what does E/I time mean?
A. E/I stands for Enrichment/Intervention time (also referred to as I/E time). It is a 43 minute block of time each day in the schedule for students in grades 3-6. The EY team has tried to capitalize on the E/I block this year by providing a variety of resources. We started the year by coming into all classrooms once every 6 days to explain our blog, Symbaloo, seminars, and various other opportunities. We have also consistently communicated with classroom teachers about possible E/I activities/projects. Check out some of the results from E/I time on our Student Showcase Wiki.
Q. When does the next testing occur to move up a Tier?
A. Students take the SAT 10 and OLSAT in 3rd and 5th grade. In the past, these two grades have been the typical time for a student to qualify for EY. That being said, we are having discussions about how we can make the ID process ongoing based on a student’s need. We are also exploring ways we can provide more enrichment opportunities for the primary grades.
Q. Is testing ever based on age instead of grade?
A. The SAGES (Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students) is scored using a normal normative sample, which is stratified on the basis of age (as well as gender, race, ethnic group membership, and geographic location).
Q. These tests are one snap-shot of my child’s ability. What if the child does not feel well the day of testing? What else is taken into consideration?
A. Instead of using a single piece of data or a specific cut-off score to determine a child’s ability, we want to paint a more complete picture of a child’s strength(s) by using various sources of data. This includes input from the parents and classroom teacher. Many times, the classroom teacher can speak to the individual scores and tell whether or not they are indicative of the child’s performance in the classroom.
Q. Are Tier 1 services different than services provided to all students? If so, how?
A. Tier 1 services are open to all students, however, we hope to use a child’s participation in Tier 1 opportunities as a way to discuss and modify services needed. For example, a student receiving Tier 1 services might complete Math Minutes on a weekly basis. This tells us that the student has an interest in math and might benefit from some of the services we provide in Tier 2.
A Sprinkling of our Favorite Neighborhood Bookstore
Yields: 120 students receiving a message of inspiration, perseverance, and hope!
Battle of the Books took a different spin this year at Westside Community Schools. The morning started off with kids arriving and putting their book projects on display. For each book read, students chose one project to complete. There were 3-5 project choices for each book ranging from dioramas, to writing a letter to the author, to doing further research on a topic in the book.
Drew, 4th grader at Swanson said: I loved doing the Battle Of The Books activities, and reading the books! Most of the books were amazing!
Check out some of the student projects submitted!
Next, Omaha Playwright (and Westside graduate, parent and community member) Ellen Struve talked about her profession and love of reading & writing. Not only did she talk about her personal journey to becoming a playwright, but Ms. Struve also involved the students in creating their very own play! Throughout her presentation, Ellen embedded information about characters, dialogue, conflict, scene, and setting. Based on the engagement level and questions asked by kids, there will most likely be additional play writers emerging from Westside in the future!
We found 3 BOTB authors on Twitter and they graciously agreed to Skype with our students! Katherine Fitzmaurice, author of A Diamond in the Desert was up first. She emphasized all the research that went into writing the book and even showed us pictures of the real characters. She also showed students a pile of rejection letters and the numerous changes suggested by her editor. Her advice for students wanting to write a book: “You have to really like what you’re writing about. Believe in yourself and like your story!”
Our next Skype call was with Valerie Hobbs, author of Sheep. Many students chose to write Ms. Hobbs a letter for their book project and she graciously wrote letters back to all of them! Talk about making a personal connection! Several students read Sheep and fell in love with Jack, the border collie who tells the story.
Many students were excited when Ms. Hobbs shared information about the newly released sequel to Sheep. At the end of Sheep, Jack finds Luke at the Good Shepherd Home for Boys. Together, they are adopted by a couple and the sequel Wolf continues Luke and Jack’s story at their new home, a sheep ranch in Northern California. Ms. Hobbs’ writing advice for the students: “Do a whole lot of reading of the type of book you’d like to write.”
Our final Skype call was with W.H. Beck, author of Malcolm at Midnight. In addition to being an author, Ms. Beck is a school librarian. Her advice for students was, “Make sure to set aside time each day to write. You can make a list, write a short story, or just write down your random thoughts.”
We didn’t forget the competition portion of Battle of the Books. Students worked in teams to answer questions about all 20 books. They used their iPads and participated in a Kahoot! created by Mrs. Lusero. Students also took an individual test on a Google form.
At the end of the day, Marla Fries shared her love of reading by telling the students about her Little Free Library. Marla is a WCS community member, retired administrator, and volunteer at Westgate Elementary.
After the event, one student was so inspired that she wanted to build her own Little Free Library! Check out Ava’s work!
Ellen Scott from our neighborhood bookstore, The Bookworm, also shared her personal story and love of reading with the students. She presented the kids with an opportunity to be on The Bookworm’s Kid Advisory Board. We are so fortunate to have a family-owned bookstore in our Westside community!
Friday, March 13th was truly a wonderful day to celebrate many accomplishments! To all the students who participated, Thank You for all your hard word and willingness to try something new. The EY Team learned a lot throughout the process and we look forward to hearing your feedback!
If you attended Battle of the Books this year, please consider leaving a comment and letting us know your favorite part! Also, click here for a quick survey about the day.
During the week of spring break (March 30-April 2), four enrichment classes will be offered to 2nd-6th graders at Westside Community Schools. All classes will be held at Westgate Elementary at 7802 Hascall St. Click on the flier below to find class descriptions and times. Classes are limited to 20 students so sign up today!
An exciting event is happening on UNO’s campus on Saturday, April 11, 2015! Various workshops and an expo event will be held from 9:00-2:00 in celebration of the 2015 Nebraska Science Festival. Create projects at interactive stations and learn from experts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
I recently attended the Nebraska Association for the Gifted (NAG) spring conference and attended many beneficial sessions. One in particular provided a wealth of reading suggestions for students and the presenters gave me permission to share the lists. Enjoy!