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Friday Formula

JPS Successfully Adds In-Person Days Back Into Schedule

Ring Elementary School third grader, Brailey Melquist, draws an illustration of her “designer” dog during Science Fridays in Kim Austin’s class.

“The mother is a schnauzer and the father is a Pomeranian. What would you name your dog?” A schnaupomer!” said Ring Elementary School third grade teacher, Kim Austin.

Mrs. Austin’s class participated in a “Science Friday” by learning more about animal habitats and how animals change over time. The “Animal Adventure” unit had been meeting each Friday on Zoom. Students looked at animals’ characteristics and designed bird feeder prototypes to attract various backyard birds. They studied changing habitats by looking at how whalebones could be found in a desert and looked for evidence to see what dinosaurs must have looked like. 

Now that Jamestown Public Schools’ elementary students have returned to in-person instruction on Fridays, Mrs. Austin has continued Science Friday in person.  This lesson discussed how animals can change over time and how selection is used to create different characteristics in animals.  After looking for similarities and differences between two dog breeds, students had to choose which puppy most likely belonged with those parents and why.  Finally, students created their own designer dog, including an illustration.  

“It is really nice to have the consistency of being in class five days a week,” said Mrs. Austin. ” My students did enjoy learning through Zoom but it can’t replace that face-to-face instruction and the discussions that we can have when we are all together.” 

Mrs. Austin’s class along with all elementary, middle and ninth graders have started coming back to school in person on Fridays. The added time in school has allowed teachers to add more back into the instructional schedule.

Bush Elementary School first grade teacher, April Shoup, added guided math to their new Friday schedules. Mrs. Shoup introduced the math routine during the weeks leading up to the first in-person Friday so students were used to rotations and stations. 

“With only having half days with each group, it’s very difficult to fit in all the curriculum and then differentiate to meet the needs of the students. Doing ‘Guided Math Friday’ helps me pinpoint those skills the students may be lacking but also keeps it exciting and engaging as a way to wrap up our busy learning week,” said Mrs. Shoup. “Getting the students back into school full time is something I am looking forward to if/when that happens. The early years of learning are so very important because it sets the foundations for the years to come. First grade growth is substantial from September to June not only in academics but also in social skills and problem solving. The more time students have learning in person from me, as their teacher, but also from each other, the more successful they will be.”

Jefferson Middle School art teacher, Lisa Corey, is happy to have more in-class instruction. She recently completed an at-home mandala project with her fifth, sixth and eighth grade students where they looked at artist, Andy Goldworthy’s Art in Nature and created their own nature-inspired mandalas at home.

They shared their creations through a Google Slide presentation. The first in-person Friday occurred at the end of the virtual project so Mrs. Corey gathered the students and they created a group mandala project outside the school.

“I love having the extra in-person days with the kids! In person learning is great because it provides students with a chance to get immediate feedback from both their peers and teacher,” said Mrs. Corey. “They are more willing to ask questions and for art they have access to more materials to use. “

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