My name is Victoria Frenna from the Bellport Teachers Association. I teach 8th and 9th grade Orchestra during the school year and I continue to teach music students throughout the summer. This summer at Bellport, we held a Summer Music Program. In the program, students between 5th and 9th grade worked on their primary instrument. Being that the school year ensembles are separated by grade level, this program provided students with an opportunity to learn from their older camp mates as well as lead the younger camp mates.
The mixed level Orchestra and Band learned multiple new pieces for their performance for friends and family. They even collaborated and experienced their first 'Full Orchestra' experience. Normally, Band and Orchestra students have to wait until High School till they can collaborate with each other in a piece of music. These summer musicians accepted the challenge and worked together to put on a great summer performance!
The music camp did not end there! All of the summer musicians took part in 'World Drumming' as well. In this workshop, students learned how to play the Djembe. By using three types of 'hits' (bass, tone, and slap) the students were able to participate in a traditional African Drum circle. They jammed out together as a large group of students and even improvised and composed in smaller groups. The students stepped out of their comfort zone of traditional ensemble music and experienced a new world of music.
The students were able to have fun and work hard. They improved upon their instrumental skills, learned a new instrument and even made new friends! The summer camp ends with a performance for their family and friends at Bellport High School.
The Levittown School District gives many teachers the opportunity to be involved in summer curriculum writing. This summer my colleagues and I worked together to develop a math pacing guide for all the elementary teachers to follow this coming school year. We carefully went through the New York State math standards and our new textbook series to plan out lessons for the entire school year. This will be approved by our supervisors and shared with all elementary teachers throughout our district. It will also be tweaked, if necessary, throughout the school year as we see how things go with our students.
Additionally, I collaborated with several teachers on a new project to incorporate iPads in the classroom. This project will allow students to make videos of the lessons they learn so that their peers could use the videos to relearn a difficult skill or get assistance with their homework. Students love to work with technology and this is a great way to have review material available for all our students.
Summer time is a great time for us to spend quality hours preparing new ways to be innovative in our classrooms. –Donna DiPalo, Levittown United Teachers
The summer robotics camp in the Plainedge School District enriches the learning experience for students entering grades 4 through 6. They begin the camp by learning LabView, a block programming code used in programming LEGO Mindstorm robots. Students learn to utilize various sensors such as touch, ultrasonic, color, and infrared during their program design, which enables their robot to travel autonomously from one position to another. In addition, students design, build, and program a robot with various attachments for use in a remote control mode to perform tasks such sorting different size blocks, transporting items from one location to another, and operating a composting device. The summer robotics camp provides an opportunity for students to engage in team building activities as they hone their problem-solving skills. Our students’ young minds are constantly encouraged to think outside the box, in which the only limitation is what their brain can imagine.
The Bay Shore Summer Enrichment program provides students in grades 1-6 with a hands-on learning experience in cross-curricular areas. Each day, students receive an hour of guided reading, as well as two hours of additional instruction in various subject areas depending on their grade. Certified teachers manage groups of 20 students or less to provide meaningful and fun lessons through literature, experiments, problem-solving, and exploration. Forensics, Slime/Goo/Ooze, It’s a Bug’s Life, Digital Photography, and Woodworking are just a few of the courses that are offered to our students. In each of these classes, students learn by doing and are encouraged to “try things out” until it works, thus boosting confidence as well as providing initiative and motivation for further inquiry.
Afternoon sessions at camp focus more on recreation and team sports. Two days per week, we travel to the YMCA for swimming lessons and an array of other athletic, art, and STEM activities. Over the summer, students form lasting bonds with their peers and staff members and develop an admiration for the summer program. Students are encouraged throughout the summer to build their character as well as find an inner drive that will stick with them for years to come consisting of doing their best and having fun in the process. -Michelle Stowers, Bay Shore Classroom Teachers Association
Many teachers in the Westbury School District are involved in academic summer programs provided by the school district as a way to support achievement beyond the school year. One program is for students entering Kindergarten and First Grade in September to have an opportunity to get a jump start on reading by strengthening literacy skills necessary to be a lifelong learner. In addition, students who are English Language Learners attend classes for the month of July focusing on further developing English skills throughout all subject areas. Students with Special Needs prepare for the demands of the upcoming school year by taking classes in English Language Arts and Mathematics that have been integrated into other content areas such as Science and Art.
Enrichment is offered in a Summer Dual Language program for those students interested in further developing literacy in Spanish, striving to achieve the skills necessary to be biliterate. -Christine Corbett, Westbury Teachers Association
The Farmingdale Youth Council’s Summer Music Program is a three week, half day experience that recruits fourth through twelfth-grade Farmingdale music students. It is an extension of the instrumental program offered throughout the school year that enables students to participate in band, jazz band, or string ensemble.
Participants have the ability to work with each other and their peers in an exciting way that keeps them actively engaged and helps develop their ensemble techniques. Over the 5 years I’ve been involved with the program I’ve had the opportunity to watch students grow with many students returning to work in the program as CITs or Counselors in Training.
Working with these students enables me to teach advanced ensemble techniques, encourage the development of their bodily-kinesthetic abilities, nurture the awareness of their listening abilities and further develop and enhance practice techniques.
Each year the students get to experience all of this through enjoyable repertoire hand-picked for a well-rounded and challenging program. Students and instructors get to enjoy breaking into sectionals for every student to be able to breakdown and more thoroughly learn their music. Included in our concert program are jazz standards as well as jazz “pop” music. Every year we conclude the program by performing for family, friends, and the community in a beautiful summer evening outdoor concert. -Emily Rhodes, Farmingdale Federation of Teachers
We at Westbury Public Schools offer our students numerous opportunities to enrich their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) experiences. This is done through collaborations with various universities and STEAM institutions. This year high school and middle school students conduct authentic scientific research at SUNY Old Westbury, Bucknell University and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Much of their work will carry over into the school year and lead to participation in STEAM competitions throughout the state. Our elementary students are introduced to STEAM by a blend of dedicated elementary through high school teachers. This not only affords our young students an opportunity to experience these disciplines at various levels, it also provides the teachers with a unique prospective to child development. A community service component is also at the core of our STEAM programs where high school students will hold workshops on marine ecology for the elementary students at a local beach. Not bound by the constraints of over testing, our summer STEAM programs have given the teachers the opportunity to freely share their subject area passions while still honing their students’ academic skills. -Brumsic Brandon, Westbury Teachers Association
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