"Take a minute with B and B! Welcome to our show. Today, we will talk about 'Jack Jack Attack' and 'Matar and the Ghostlight,' two short films from Pixar," said Jefferson Middle School sixth-graders Hunter Bogey and Braden Higbee as fellow student Sydney Robinson filmed their critique during "Critic's Corner," a class taught by Stacy Monroe. The class is offered as part of the Advanced Learning Program (ALP) in the Jamestown Public Schools. In "Critic's Corner," students study many different types of entertainment including poems, books, comic strips, artwork and movies, looking in-depth at each one and expressing their opinion, both in writing and verbally.
"Part of the reason for 'Critic's Corner' came from the new Common Core Standards. Some of our students did not do as well in writing for opinion and especially pulling facts supporting why they feel that way," said Mrs. Monroe. "'Critic's Corner' gives them additional practice while also having fun and becoming critics."
The students work in teams to create their own personas to film.
Persell sixth-graders Delaney Carnahan, Ryleigh Trask, Alivia Trask and Alivia Roehrig examine their Garmin GPS unit after school to locate their box with science identifications during an ALP class.
"We called our show, 'Tough Kritiks.' It is fun to be so creative and also use the technology," said sixth-grader Jaidyn Conyer. "We also watched real movie critics to see how they do it as a job. We have to write a rough draft of our review and then edit the final copy to be perfect. It helps me be a better writer and more confident speaking in public."
"Critics Corner" is just one of eight ALP courses offered after school to Jamestown Public Schools students in grades four to six. The students are selected based on a number of criteria including state test scores and teacher recommendations. The students participate in two different courses throughout the school year. Each ALP course is based on either math or English Language Arts state standards, along with some Common Core State Standards.
Washington Middle School sixth-graders are using their geometry and sewing skills to make quilts for the residents of Lutheran Social Services with Family and Consumer Science teacher Sheri Brandes. The students worked in teams to complete a scale drawing of their quilt in a pattern, measured fabric blocks and created shapes such as triangles for the friendship star quilt.
"We like creating the quilts for the residents. We think they will really like them especially because kids made them," said sixth-grade team members Brea Tota, Taylor Lane and Daniela Sanchez. "It's easier to learn math when you are doing something fun like this but we are also helping the community too."
Persell Middle School sixth-graders are trying the latest craze, geocaching, to reinforce science skills. Students use handheld GPS units to track down hidden treasures. The cache holds different articles that they students need to scientifically identify including leaf, insect and wildflower identifications. Students keep a journal with their findings and illustrations. The team that has the most correct identifications at the end of the session will win a special "Survivor" geocaching prize.
Other district ALP offerings include Economic 101, where fifth-graders at Jefferson create their own businesses with Gina Hess. They learn about banking and the logistics of business. Fourth-graders from Love, Ring and Bush are creating their own stories based on pictures with Jack Iacuzzo demonstrating the creative imagination of students. Fourth-graders from Lincoln, Fletcher and Rogers are writing their own performances about Native Americans based on the research they have complied with Tiffany McCallum. Persell fifth-graders are researching their family customs and where they come from with Liz Pardue. Washington fifth-graders are creating their own radio shows using GarageBand recording software with Linda Cass. The productions will include sound effects and their voiceovers.
"ALP allows our high-achieving students to learn outside the classroom about skills and interests that may not have been taught in-depth during the school day," said Denise Pusateri, ALP and math coordinator. "I hope that all the students who participate in the program will use these skills in future endeavors."