Monday, August 22, 2011

The Electric Company!

As the end of summer gets closer and everyone starts thinking about going back to school, students at the Cook Library Center are excited and ready - they've been keeping their brains sharp throughout the summer with the Electric Company program.

The Cook Library Center was proud to offer PBSkids “The Electric Company” Summer Learning program to enthusiastic students. For six weeks, students did activities, watched video segments, played educational computer games and completed worksheets that strengthened math and literacy skills.

The Electric Company curriculum helped to fill the summer learning gap; students especially liked words and activities that explored units of measure. Throughout the summer, students learned over 60 new vocabulary words in English and in Spanish!

Six assistant teachers (ages 11‐14) also worked with Ms. Eva to develop their leadership and mentoring abilities. Assistant teachers helped daily in the classroom with things like helping students learn how to tell time by comparing analog and digital clocks, helping students spell words and more. By helping younger students learn, they themselves learned a lot about leadership, collaboration, responsibility and positive reinforcement. Below are two assistant teachers, Tascha (left) and Macirra (right), that helped with the Electric Company all summer. They learned a lot about running a class room and encouraging students: one week, Tascha (age 14) even led a whole class session!

With the help of these young assistants, many students were able to build confidence and get excited about learning. Domingo (below in blue shirt) really came out of his shell throughout the course of the program. At one point, he even asked for homework!

Students also learned how to work together. Below, Marshawn and Maynor (both age 6) work together on computer activities that reinforced that day’s lesson.

The end of the summer family day was held last week and students were proud to show off their new skills and knowledge to family members. Parents were proud of their kids for working hard all summer and, in order to celebrate, brought in a surprise cake and piñata for all to enjoy. Students also received their certificates of program completion and said their bittersweet goodbyes to the summer.

Now that the summer is winding down, Electric Company students look back and realize they learned a lot and had fun doing it, and now they also know the “electric” power of knowledge!

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Learning

As our summer continues, Cook Arts Center and Cook Library Center students continue making art and learning about the world around them.
Students have continued learning about different parts of the world during session two at the Cook Arts Center. Below, Edgar J. and Adrian V. work on their Hawaiian art projects after learning different facts about the state. Students discovered that our President was born there, learned about Hawaiian wildlife, and even talked about volcanoes.

Students have also been doing some great sculptural work. Ronny shows off some bracelets he made after doing a fun math activity and Arealis works on her Alexander Calder themed sculpture after learning about Grand Rapids' own Calder sculpture, La Grande Vitesse.

Everyone at the Cook Library Center has been just as busy. Below Ms. Nikki V., one of our amazing volunteers, leads an activity about earth science.

Kids of all ages learned about plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes and worked together to create a small "baking soda volcano" model.
Cook Library Center students have also done a lot of reading in the book club. After finishing some books, students have the chance to create different art projects with themes from the story. Below, Erik and some classmates create butterflies after reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

Last week, students from both facilities also had the chance to take a field trip to Grand Rapids Public Library's Main Branch, where Tim Gleisner from the Local History and Archives Department, gave us a very special tour of the historical archives. Students got a sneak peak into the refrigerated archives and had the chance to see documents from different parts of Grand Rapids' history, including the very first maps of Grand Rapids!

Below, Mr. Gleisner lets students smell the scent of vinegar on historic documents and photos that are kept in the refrigerator. He also brought out old news articles and real estate cards from the Grandville Avenue neighborhood, and some students got to see photos of their very own houses from back in the 60's and 70's. I've never seen students so interested in history!

After visiting the library, we traveled over to Schuler's Books & Music downtown. There, Ms. Lori Slager and other tutors from the Creative Writing Center worked with our students to create their own collaborative story. Everyone worked together and had a lot of fun writing the tale of "WW7 - Mars Revolution and the Attack of Alientastic," which is soon being published and sold in a book of stories created entirely by youth. Students competed in a Speed Scrabble competition and then enjoyed browsing for books and lunch in the park. It was a great day of fun and learning!

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