Summer is nearly here! Check out our newsletters and announcements from May.
Over the past 7 weeks, we have had a lot of fun in our Spooky Space club. We decided to share one of the students' favorite activities: lightsaber construction and lightsaber fencing. To make your own lightsabers and play safely with them, follow the directions on the handouts below.
May the force be with you!
I came to Teton Literacy Center somewhat on a whim. I'd seen an announcement for the AmeriCorps internship, thought the place looked wonderful, sent in an application, and within a week or so decided to pack up and move to Jackson. Though the process of getting here sounds pretty easy breezy, the experience as a whole has been so important in uniting my past experience and shaping where I'll go from here.
As a member of the after school program team, I got to dive right in planning lessons for enrichment clubs at Jackson Elementary and lesson planning (and occasionally subbing) for Monday tutoring students. I'd tutored before, taught English, and even have some bilingual health education experience under my belt, but wrangling a group of kindergartners after school was a whole new ball game. How are you supposed to design literacy-based activities when they're still working on writing their names? Somehow we figured it out, and I developed a new appreciation for emergent literacy. Plus, getting to hang out with that always-stoked little bunch of muppets became a highlight of my week.
Perhaps the coolest part of my time here, looking back, was getting to be a part of the progress and development of tutoring students. Writing lesson plans that work on fluency and phonics is one thing, but seeing the impact of a good student-tutor relationship in action is quite another. I wholly enjoyed learning the mechanics behind getting someone up to speed in reading and writing, especially students coming to English as their second language. But what I will really take away from the tutoring program is the understanding that a student who feels respected and empowered is far more likely to learn in the long run, and that one positive relationship can be the tipping point for putting a struggling student on the path to success. With only a few more end of year assessments left to go, almost all our Monday students are up to grade level or beyond. However, what most excites me are the little sparks of inspiration I've seen between tutor pairs: like Fernando performing a poem he'd just learned, or Brayan learning sight words while playing Go Fish with his tutor every week.
Apart from tutoring and enrichment, I helped put on a series of events for TLC Family Lit families in partnership with Latino Outdoors. Part of the AmeriCorps internship requires a project that builds capacity for science literacy with a partner organization. Mostly the brainchild of Teton Science Schools graduate student Alfonso Orozco, I was excited to help make the connection between Latino Outdoors and Family Lit. With gear and logistical support from TSS, we took a stroll in Grand Teton National Park, learned about conifer and species ID at the Murie Museum, got some practice using bear spray, and raffled off some park passes for continued family fun. What a cool experience to see the families I know from TLC connect with the beautiful Jackson surroundings as I'm starting to explore them myself.
From here, I'll be teaching field education with Teton Science Schools this summer, and hoping to stick around as a volunteer tutor with TLC. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for more opportunities in education and feeling a conviction to stay in the classroom, especially with English Language Learners, in any capacity. I'm not sure that I could have asked for a better array of experiences, a work environment that's more supportive and conducive to growth, or a more enjoyable introduction to the Jackson community than I've gotten through this internship. Thanks, TLC, from the bottom of my heart, for having me these past several months! It's been a whim I'm sincerely glad I saw through.
At first, the term “summer slide” might sound quite fun. What child doesn’t love cruising down the steep, winding slides found throughout Jackson’s many playgrounds? Unfortunately, when educators utilize the phrase “summer slide,” it has a much more unfortunate meaning: it refers to summer learning loss.
But isn’t summer a time for fun and recreation, you might ask? While physical activity and outdoor recreation are important for healthy development, you don’t want your child’s brain to actually go on vacation. On average, children who don’t keep their minds active throughout the summer lose over 2 months of reading and math growth. In time, the cumulative effects of these summertime losses start adding up. By the start of 6th grade, these students will be 3 grades behind their peers in reading. Ultimately, the “summer slide” may even deter students from finishing high school or going on to college.
Fortunately, keeping your child’s brain active this summer doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! Check out our extensive list of summer activities and resources below!
Interested in making some "messy magic" with your student or child?
Check out some of the activities we've done in our "Mad Science" club this spring!
OOBLEK/SLIME MAKING: A classic that never gets old! We use 3 parts water to 1 part borax. Click here for a template you can use to help your child or student through this gooey process. (TEACHER'S TIP: Ooblek is especially fun to make if you pretend it's secretly snot!)
SPIN ART: We have featured this activity on our blog before, but the kids love it so much, we're featuring it again! Click here for a template to use with your child. Before beginning, brainstorm the materials you will need. (TEACHER'S TIP: We use watered-down tempera paint in squirt bottles to make fun tie-dye like designs, without using so much paint! We also have found that card-stock paper works best, and that cut spirals form different designs than those left uncut.)
MARBLED MILK: This activity is quick, fun, and a great way to mix science with art. (TEACHER'S TIP: Watercolor paper works best for this experiment!)
Welcome to our blog! Browse through our posts, or target your interests by clicking on one of the tags on the right-hand side of the page. Remember to comment about how you used the activities, what you thought of our tips, or things you'd like to see from us!
For a list of prizes and sponsors, click here.
Interested in learning more about TLC? Check out our impact page!
Ready to earn even more raffle tickets? Like us on Facebook and share our "Sweepstakes" post. Next, follow us on Instagram and re-gram our post!
This blog is designed to inspire literacy learning beyond the walls of TLC. Check back each week for timely content geared towards engaging families and volunteers alike.