What do creative movement, lizards and computer coding all have in common? They are all Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES (BOCES 2) Project ADEPT workshops that have taken place at Kendall Elementary School this spring. The partnership between BOCES 2 and KCSD allows students at various grade levels opportunities for enrichment to explore areas of interest in-depth for one to two hours. The workshops are led by experts in various fields, and students work under the guidance of Damon Piletz, a BOCES 2 Gifted Education Resource Teacher.
Twenty students in kindergarten and first grade participated in the Creative Movement workshop on April 17. Under the guidance of Stephanie Kovac, a professional dancer, students learned how to form shapes with their bodies, and they modified their speed, height and direction of movement as they learned a choreographed routine in the ES Auditorium. Students formed teams and acted out a non-verbal scene with their bodies for their classmates to guess at. This level of activity was perfect for this wiggly age group as they spent an hour together progressing from warm up and stretching routines through cool down movements at the end of their session.
Second graders worked with Teresa Stango-Listrani, a naturalist instructor, on April 24 to study and observe the characteristics of lizards. They examined, with their eyes only, a bearded dragon, leopard gecko, toad, frog and tortoise. This helped students determine what makes lizards unique in the reptile animal group. This exposure enrichment session was aimed at all students in this grade level to spark their interest in an area of science at a young age before pulling them into a more in-depth workshop at a later grade level.
On May 14, 22 fifth and sixth grade students worked with Gabriel Schickling, a lead IT technician, to learn computer coding in the Python programming language. Python is used in companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox. Students learned logic and problem-solving skills through writing code to create a guessing number game and tell a joke. Students worked together to trouble-shoot why one person’s programming of code worked and another’s did not. Schickling showed students how coding is color-coded to indicate what kind of error was made, with the line of code being specified in the error message. Students were able to apply the math concepts of variables, integers and if/then statements to this coding exercise. Schickling talked to students about how there is a need for people in the workforce who have coding skills. He gave students a handout with access to his website so they can continue working on coding skills on their own.
After working with all of these experts and participating in a variety of hands-on activities, students may be inspired to examine these, or other topics of interest to them, further. These workshops are just another way to help plant the seed for life-long learning.
Project ADEPT (A Diversified Enrichment Program for the Talented) is a division of BOCES 2 Gifted and Talented Education.