Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning is Fun at the Cook Library Center

Sometimes kids forget how fun learning can be, but when they head over to the Cook Library Center after school they are quickly reminded. The weather is getting warmer and we all know how hard it can be to buckle down on homework when the sun is shining, but the dedicated volunteers from Calvin College and Aquinas College make it easy to come in and continue learning. With the one-on-one help and attention that kids need, they are always able to complete their homework and then move on to the next step of the Cook Library Center's after school regimen.

Students who are regulars at the Cook Library Center know the regimen well: finish your homework with a tutor, read for 20 minutes, play a game, and then, if there's still time, you can play academic games on the computer. These "rules" might seem a little strict, but once kids walk in the door, they know their goals and they are ready to accomplish them! Getting help with homework and being able to use the computers provides enough encouragement and motivation for most students to complete all the steps with no problem.

Once students are on the computers, they hop onto websites like starfall.com, multiplication.com and freetypinggames.net, where kids forget that they're learning as they play. Above, Maynor practices his reading skills on starfall.com and below, another group of students shares use of the computers to practice typing and multiplication tables.

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities administers the programs of the Cook Library Center.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Session at the Cook Arts Center

Spring is here (well, sort of) and our spring session for after school classes has started up strong. Some of our extremely popular classes from winter session have continued on into the spring and students and families have continued to learn and create together. Classes like Mexican Folkloric Dance and Sewing for Children have been joined by some brand new classes like Hip-Hop, Paper Making and Painting (for both adults and children).

Last week, the paper making class got right to work in their first session and created more than 20 sheets of paper! Not bad for their first try. They're looking forward to getting creative and learning to make different types of paper consisting of all the patterns, shapes and sizes they can come up with.

All of our classes are also looking forward to our spring recital. This year, all students will have the opportunity to show off the work they've done throughout the session. Families and friends are invited to come and hear the music students perform, watch the dance routines and view the art on the walls. (More information will be available soon.) Until then, students are working hard on projects and performances and learning how to create their very best work.

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities administers the programs of the Cook Arts Center.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Break 2011

This year, the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center joined forces over spring break! Participants from both facilities got to do art activities and plenty of reading together, along with learning how to read maps and get from place to place using public transportation.

On day one of our spring break mini-camp, students ventured downtown to Central Station to view the amazing public art, learn how to read a bus schedule and get an inside peek at how security keeps the station running smoothly. We returned to the Cook Arts Center with fresh ideas after viewing the mosaics and murals, and students created inspired collages on small boxes to be used for traveling kits.

On Tuesday, with fresh knowledge about The Rapid and how it works, students from the Cook Arts Center walked to the Cook Library Center, taking notes along the way on the number of bus stops and how frequently the buses passed by. After arriving, students began work on creating their own hand-bound journals out of recycled envelopes and cardboard. Students learned how to do a simple stitch to sew the bindings of their books. The next day, students from the Cook Library Center paid a visit to the Cook Arts Center, where everyone was able to create the covers for their journals and creatively personalize them. Students made pockets and bookmarks that beautifully accented the journals they had made from scratch!

Participants also got their creative juices flowing in order to help out with our annual Día del Sol fundraiser. To help promote the event, they created as many different suns as they could out of many different mediums including wood, paper, pastels, crayons, yarn, foam, beads and paint. It was great to see how many different ways a sun could be created!

On our final day of mini-camp, students used their newly acquired knowledge of the bus system to take us downtown to the Grand Rapids Main Library and Schuler Books and Music, where we saw more public art, picked out some new books for the Cook Library Center and read, read, read! Hopefully everyone else enjoyed their spring break as much as we did!

Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities administers the programs of the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center.