Enrichment Report 2017-18
A significant portion of the Wellington PTO’s funds, over $34,000, is used to enrich students’ experience during the school day by bringing special enrichment programs into school and by bringing students to extraordinary places in the Boston area for field trips. The PTO pays all presentation and field trip fees, including bus fees. This report details last year’s enrichment programs, which aligned with the science, social studies, math, English language arts, and music/art curricula and benefited students at all grade levels.
Cinderella by the Tanglewood Marionettes
All kindergarten classes were treated to a wonderful performance by the award-winning Tanglewood Marionettes as a kick-off to the curriculum unit on Fairy Tales. Puppeteers Peter and Jen captivated the audience by first showing them a few different types of puppets and then performing the traditional Cinderella story. There may have been a few "ews" when the Prince and Cinderella kissed, but it was clear the students enjoyed the show. Many had questions after including, "How did the Cinderella puppet turn from rags to a ball gown?"
Force and Motion by Acton Discovery Museum
The Acton Discovery Museum visited with each Kindergarten class and shared a program about Force and Motion. The students learned about what makes an object move, whether we can control the movement, and whether the strength of a push or pull has an effect. They also got to see what happens when objects move past each other or collide. Kindergartners made and tested prototypes, and the students got to bring home what they made to share with their families.
Field Trip to Mass Audubon’s Habitat
Exploring various habitats, students learned how different organisms live, eat, and reproduce. By visiting a meadow, a pond, and woods, students got up close with the dirt, water, grass, and the respective life cycles that these special habitats contain.
FIRST GRADE ENRICHMENT
Rainforest Reptiles Show
First graders loved this highly interactive presentation on Rainforest Replies! They learned about specific habitats, reptiles, and other animal species. Students got to see alligators, turtles, snakes, lizards and more. Some students even got to touch and hold a live animal!
Weather by Acton Discovery Museum
To kick-off their unit on weather, first graders were treated to interactive and fun experiments in a Weather Wonders presentation by Steve Lechner of The ScienceWorks. Attempting to blow a wad of paper in to a air-tight bottle; counting the seconds between a blast of wind and feeling the breeze on their head; and watching gravity in action were just some of the fun things that the first graders got to investigate. Each class left with a cup of water and the goal of seeing how long it would take to evaporate.
Bugs & Insects by Acton Discovery Museum
First grade students were treated to a fun enrichment activity with Wellington favorite, Steve Lechner of The ScienceWorks. Students learned all about bugs and insects to kick off their bug unit!
Aquatic Invertebrates by Mass Audubon’s Habitat
First grade students were treated to a lively, hands-on presentation by Mass Audubon Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary. Habitat’s educators brought dragonflies, mosquitoes and caddisflies into Wellington and helped students observe their behavior. This interactive program took place in a three-station format to enable students to examine small details of the specimens and learn about their life cycles. This enrichment activity was a fascinating complement to the first grade insect unit.
Field Trip to Puppet Showplace
First graders were thoroughly entertained by a shadow puppet show, which not only correlated to the fairy tale unit but also the sound and light science units! At the end, the puppeteer showed the students how everything works so they could make their own shadow puppets at home!
SECOND GRADE ENRICHMENT
Sled Dog Presentation by Patriot Siberian Husky Rescue of New England
The second graders enjoyed a visit from John Kenney of Patriot Siberian Husky Rescue of New
England and his Siberian Husky, Teddy. Mr. Kenney is an experienced dog musher with forty years of experience who shares his experiences with all the Belmont elementary school second graders each year. In addition to letting the children get to know and pet Teddy, Mr. Kenney demonstrates how his dog sled works. This visit enriches the second grade unit on Alaska and brings to life the grueling Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
Jambo Africa by Gail LaRocca
Second grade classes learned about the amazing and varied wildlife, landscape, customs, education, food and worklife in East Africa and to identify cultural differences and similarities. By seeing and touching authentic clothing and everyday objects from Africa, the students gained an understanding of a different way of life. Children experienced and talked about how we are all still the same on the inside even though we may appear different on the outside. Part of the funds charged by this program go to install water filters and other humanitarian projects through LifeWaterAfrica. This program was supported in part by a grant from the Belmont Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
Plants and Pollinators by Mass Audubon’s Habitat
This in-school program about plants and pollinators supplements the second grade science unit "Plant Interactions in the World". Students participated in a variety of activities to learn about plant parts and how flowers are pollinated. The young scientists dissected flowers, and identified the different parts and functions. Did you know that on top of the stamen is the pollen? Students also closely examined several pollinator specimens including various bees, butterflies, and other insects. Lastly, students matched different pollination strategies to specific plants. At the end of the program, students were "buzzing" with excitement as they shared what they had learned.
Brian Lies Writer Workshop
Our second graders were treated with a visit from celebrity author/illustrator Brian Lies! He read one of his best-selling picture books to each class. Through humor, he communicated to the children that effort is more important than talent when it comes to writing stories and drawing. We are very excited because his presentation aligned with the school’s initiative in learning about having a growth mindset! Mr. Lies' work has included the popular New York Times bestselling “bats” series: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, Bats at the Ballgame, Bats in the Band, and his most recent book, Gator Dad.
Field Trip to Mass Audubon’s Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
The fields at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick were abuzz with bees and flowers this week during the 2nd graders visit. Searching for pollinators in the meadow was the focus of the field trip, but finding a water snake slithering in the nearby marsh was the real highlight. With pollen filled blossoms in every direction, blue herons flying above and baby turtles sunning themselves on the rocks, the 2nd graders seemed awed by the way that science came alive!
THIRD GRADE ENRICHMENT
Field Trip to Plimoth Plantation
A November tradition! In order to learn about the history of Massachusetts from the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims, the third graders went to experience what daily life was actually like at that point in history by visiting the fully functioning villages of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Actors and Native Americans dressed in authentic garb and told students about the tools, cooking techniques, and living quarters in the settlements. They enjoyed the unique atmosphere of 17th-century Plymouth Colony and felt immersed in history.
The Owl Lady
Patricia Bade (commonly referred to as the Owl Woman, Keeper of the Spirits) visited with our third graders. Pat captivated the students with her collection of Native American artifacts, legends, songs and traditions. Pat is of Penobscot decent, and she travels around the state with animal hides, healing plants, animal jaw bones and even a screech owl that has been under her care as a result of a wing injury.
Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum
Third graders travelled back in time for a multi-sensory visit to a replica Boston Tea Party Ship. The students participated in a reenactment of the historic town meeting held just hours before the Boston Tea Party, learned about life at sea, and even took turns tossing tea into the Boston Harbor!
Guided Tour of the Freedom Trail and Swan Boats
Led by guides from the Boston Histrionic Academy, third graders took a walk into history along the iconic Freedom Trail - this tour included a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond! To cap off this amazing field trip, students and teachers enjoyed a relaxing ride on the historic Swan Boats in Boston’s Public Garden!
Our annual Cheryl Lyons Colonial Day is a third grade highlight! Teachers and parent volunteers donned colonial garb and helped the students learn more about what life was like for children in Colonial Massachusetts! Kids dipped candles, wrote with quills, punched tin, and played an assortment of colonial games!
Electromagnetism Presentation by Museum of Science
During this presentation, students explored voltage, current, resistance, and the interrelationship between magnetism and electricity. They got to see someone’s hair stand on end, created a human extension cord by sending an electric current through several people, and shot a metal ring to the ceiling of the school!
FOURTH GRADE ENRICHMENT
Energy Workshop by Techsploration
At this interactive presentation, fourth graders learned all about energy - the difference between transverse waves and longitudinal waves, how sound waves travel through the ear, how light waves travel through the eye, and how sound waves differ from electromagnetic waves.
Sound Workshop by Techsploration
As a follow-up to the Energy Workshop, fourth graders delved deeper into the power of sound and vibrations. For this hands-on workshop, they worked in teams of four to brainstorm ideas, design, and build as strong a building as they could out of straws and sticks. Then they put it to the test by shaking it to see if it would survive an earthquake. The experience of creating their own buildings brought the engineering standards to life.
Field Trip to Peabody Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History
Fourth graders visited the Peabody Museum and Harvard Museum of Natural History. In addition to exploring the Native American, Glass Flowers, and Mineral, Gems, & Meteorite exhibits, each class attending the Changing Earth presentation. Students used rocks and fossils to discover how oceans, volcanoes, plate tectonics, weathering, erosion, and mountain building have all shaped New England’s landscape.
New England Aquarium Field Experience
After a pre-visit at school, students explored New England’s animal and plant life at Wollaston Beach with New England Aquarium’s educators experts. Students learned more about the ecosystem and honed their science and literacy skills with journals, scientific tools, and processes. Students are well on their way to becoming good stewards to the environment and the living creatures in it!
Sharon Kennedy / Mill Girl Presentation
Fourth graders were treated to the extraordinary storytelling of Sharon Kennedy, also known as “The Lowell Mill Girl”. Ms. Kennedy captivated students with her story of how immigrant families lived during the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. This presentation connects wonderfully to the field trip to the Lowell Mills.
Field Trip Lowell Mills
Fourth graders toured the Boott Cotton Mill run by the National Park Service in Lowell. They heard and felt the deafening roar of the authentic mill equipment. In the Weave Room, which is filled with industrial grade looms running at top speed, students saw exactly how a working mill looked and would have felt to a worker. This is one of the largest industrial history exhibits in the nation. Students also saw pictures and discussed the history of the workers, particularly immigrants, in connection to their history curriculum.
Honey Bee Presentation by Birgit DeWeerd
Co-sponsored by the Belmont Cultural Council, Wellington PTO brought in Birgit deWeerd, local beekeeper and owner of deWeerd Bee Products, to add an extra dimension to the fourth grade science curriculum component discussing plants. Making use of visual aids, including beekeeping equipment, an empty beehive, and sample insects, Ms. DeWeerd shared information about pollen and nectar collection, honey production, social behavior, and the history of beekeeping. Her honey samples for tasting were a sweet treat!
MUSIC AND ART ENRICHMENT
Greater Worcester Opera
Second graders loved the Greater Worcester Opera’s kid-sized version of Hansel and Gretel, featuring beautiful, classic melodies and a timeless story. A select group of students even joined the professional cast in the interactive presentation.
Expert recorder player David Coffin is a third grade favorite! Vibrating air through ordinary household implements, he demonstrated how to alter the wavelengths that create sound and pitch, piquing the students curiosity! With his complete set of beautifully crafted instruments, David demonstrated period examples of music written for each particular instrument. Students learned a great deal about the history of the recorder, and instrument they have been learning to play all year long!
Handel and Haydn Society
The Handel and Haydn Society is internationally acclaimed for its performances of Baroque and Classical music. To complement the fourth grade music instruction, our students were treated to a visit by their education vocal quartet.