The St. Helena Public Schools Foundation enlivened “April is Poetry Month” activities this year. A SHPSF grant brought Judy Young, author and poet, to the St. Helena Elementary School site.
Judy Young created three grade level presentations and single class workshops for every class in the school. Teachers and students learned a great deal and had a lot of fun with words.
After a grade level presentation that taught students many different types of poetry, Judy met with each class. Each class at a grade level was taught how to write a specific type of poetry: Acrostics, Limericks, Haiku, etc.
The students were all successful and proudly displayed their poetry. Teachers taught each other what they had learned from Judy and the teaching continued long after Judy's visit. Her enthusiasm, love of words, and excellent teaching techniques will stay with us far beyond her visit.
Thanks to the St. Helena Public Schools Foundation, St. Helena Elementary School was able to purchase 25 Makey Makey kits. Makey Makeys are a fun way to get students interested in programming. They are an easy-to-use invention kit that is essentially a printed circuit board that connects to the computer via a USB cable. Students connect alligator clips to anything that conducts electricity (i.e. Play-Doh, bananas, aluminum foil, coins, etc.) and Makey Makey does the rest.
The only instruction students were given was to watch a short 2 minute clip showing some of the things they could create with Makey Makey. As soon as they watched the clip they were off collaborating, testing designs, evaluating designs, and retooling them if necessary. They showed off their creations to one another as well as acted as consultants once they created something they thought others would like to try. Here are a few things students created with the Makey Makey kits: students used Play-Doh to make a game controller to play Mario Brothers & Pac-Mac, created a drum set, a human synthesizer, a piano, and a photo booth.
Granted: Makey-Makey Grant
Semester: Fall 2016
Grantee: Ashley Wright, Teacher, St. Helena Elementary School
Granted: Poetry Grant
Semester: Spring 2015
Grantee: Gwen Becker, Teacher, St. Helena Elementary School
Granted: Mission SF Solano de Sonoma
Semester: Fall 2015
Grantee: Michelle Parriott, Teacher, St. Helena Elementary School
This grant from the SHPSF provided partial funding for St. Helena’s Primary School’s 5th grade students outdoor education program in the Fall of 2016. The students used scientific knowledge learned in the classroom to discover and explore the concepts of Energy, Cycles, Change, Adaptation, Interdependence and Diversity through interactive, hands-on field study activities on the trail.
Walker Creek Ranch, a 1,700 acre property in West Marin County, is a highly diverse natural habitat that is home to a wide range of wildlife. As part of the Marin County Outdoor School and Conference Center, the ranch provides elementary school students with a learning environment that inspires and motivates them to appreciate and care for the natural world.
“My students got to experience the beauty and diversity of our local habitat and to see what they learned in the classroom come to life in the natural world around them.” M. Bass, Science Teacher, St. Helena Primary School
Granted: Walker Creek Ranch
Semester: Fall 2016
Grantee(s): Mike Bass & Michelle Parriott, Teachers, St. Helena Elementary School
The SHPSF grant was used to purchase 250 copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl in both English and Spanish for the elementary school students. Through a variety of fun and engaging activities, the objective of this book club program is to emphasize the importance of reading to parents and students of all grade levels and to stimulate personal reflection and shared discussion.
“Reading, especially at an early age, is essential for every child’s success as literacy is fundamental to all subject areas. Reading as a family not only makes for a fun activity but also inspires in children the love for lifelong learning, boundless curiosity and helps reinforce and develop essential literacy skills.” Tanya Pearson, Principal, St. Helena Elementary School
Granted: Let’s Read! Family Book Club
Semester: Fall 2016
Grantee(s): Tanya Pearson, Prinicipal, St. Helena Elementary School
The St. Helena Public Schools Foundation made it possible for the fourth grade classes of St. Helena Elementary School to step back through time and spend a day at Mission SF Solano de Sonoma. The students immersed themselves in the daily lives of the native people who worked at the mission.
They carded and spun wool, wove wicker baskets, created tallow candles, and cooked the meals for the mission’s inhabitants. Throughout the day, they discovered new skills, faced many challenges, and learned to persevere and work together for the benefit of all in the mission community.
Students learned that during the Mission period, trade ships brought items like coffee, teas, and chocolate, but that these items were scarce and expensive. They learned that they had to provide their own source of fruits and vegetables as well as protein. They discovered that not all missions raised dairy animals, so milk was not always available and given the lack of refrigeration, keeping food fresh was always a challenge.
They learned that the cultures of the Native American people and the Spanish did not always align, nor did they always clash. The students learned a great deal and created many memories that they shall keep with them for the rest of their lives.