Happy Halloween! Weekly Update 11-04-2016
We had another great week of learning at Exploration Academy. Between Halloween, the end of the first quarter, our community meeting, and the many ongoing seminars, it seemed like there was no down time.
In the Election Seminar, students experienced what it was like to actually run for office in a simulation called “Win the White House.” Through this, they learned more about the electoral process and the importance of fundraising. We also talked about qualities of leaders and ran campaigns for our imaginary candidates: Smokey the Bear narrowly defeated Cinderella. Next week, we will be closely monitoring the elections and discussing the electoral map.
Students in the Achieve3000 Seminar are continuing to improve their reading skills. So far, four have improved enough that they are now reading at grade level. They have “graduated” from the Seminar, and the others are working diligently also to be reading at grade level — or beyond — by the end of the school year.
Students in the A Raisin in the Sun Seminar are taking parts and reading the play out loud. Concurrently, they are studying the recent spike in violence in Chicago and the extensive African-American and White-American history that informs the play. Maybe they can act out a scene at the EA Showcase in a couple weeks!
Students in the Civil Rights Movement seminar have been researching and discussing the major events and people involved in the movement. They will be watching Mississippi Burning this week and comparing the movie to actual events. In the upcoming weeks, we will be listening to the music of the movement and discussing current racial unrest.
Another great week in the computer programming seminar.
On Tuesday we had two students from the YWebCA coding bootcamp come into the seminar and work with students. We have set up a collaboration with the YWCA and they will be sending adult programming students to EA once a week for the next 4 weeks.
On Thursday students learned to define their own functions, a central concept in computer programming. With the skills we have now, students are ready to build their first computer game. Next week we will make a computer version of Rock-Paper-Scissors (actually we will
be writing the code for Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock).
Also, a big thanks to the donors who purchased a Raspberry Pi (the computer, not the food, although the advisors will also gladly accept donations of raspberry pies) and 4 copies of The Greatest Show on Earth, by Richard Dawkins. A student has already set up the Raspberry Pi computer and has coded in several interesting features. (We won’t spoil the surprise, you’ll have to come to the Showcase Nov. 17th to see for yourself.) The book club for The Greatest Show on Earth begins on December 5th.
We also have a group of students going to the Space Place next Monday. Please remind your students to turn in the permission slip if they have not yet.
Next week, students will really get to utilize their creativity. We will be working with DAMA (Dane Arts Mural Arts) to create murals about birds. These murals will be hung up in Fitchburg in the spring. All students are encouraged to participate.
Don’g forget! We are also only a few weeks away from our first Showcase of the year.
November 17th from 6:00-8:00 is the Exploration Academy Showcase. Students will be showing off their best work from the first months of the school year. All students are expected to attend this evening, and we hope all families will be able to attend. If transportation to or from the Showcase is an issue, please let us know and we will work to make arrangements!
Finally, thank you to all those parents who have volunteered to help in the classroom, participate in Site Council, have bought items off of our Amazon Wish List, or helped out in any other way with our school. You Rock!!
We hope you all have a great weekend!