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OESJ Middle School Turns Learning into Summer Fun!

When the three OESJ Middle School teachers, Becky Jenkins, George Brown and Brenda Waterbury along with teachers’ aide, Inger Leonard, were charged with planning a four week summer school for 28 middle school students, they wanted to make it fun and educational.  What better way to do that than to structure the entire 4 weeks around the topic and activities of “Summer Fun”.

The 28 students, who are going into 6-9th grade, were recommended by their teachers to participate in this program.   Each day was structured around an opening session involving all students, regardless of grade level.  The rest of the day included lessons in science, math and reading that centered on the common opening activity.  One of the more popular days was Baseball Day.  The students began the day by throwing and hitting wiffle balls.  For their reading activity they read the poem Casey at the Bat, by Ernest Thayer, and made their own baseball cards.  In math they looked at the player’s statistics and learned how to tally batting averages. In science, they studied flight and the Magnus effect.  The students also measured the effects of spins and gravity on different size balls such as a soccer ball and a baseball.

Each day ended with getting the students back together to discuss what they learned that day.  Cracker Eating Day started with eating crackers and letting them turn to mush in their mouths to emphasize how quickly the digestion process starts.  That day ended with a video of swimmer Michael Phelps and how energy is directly related to calories.  

The students spent the last week of the program in the Home and Careers kitchen baking, learning about food and equipment safety, decorating cookies and making ice cream.  The culminating event was a picnic, a kick ball game and an ice cream taste testing to see which recipe was the most popular.

Eight students received Stewart’s ice cream cards for perfect attendance and there were no discipline issues during the entire four weeks.

When talking with the teachers about the success of their summer, it was evident that both students and teachers had fun while they were learning.  They were also very impressed with student achievement and participation.  Mr. Brown expressed that “the students were constantly on task and very focused.”  All the teachers are looking forward to seeing these students back in September.  Mrs. Jenkins said that even though she may not teach some of the students during the school year that she taught this summer, she still has a positive rapport with them and hopes they will stop in to see her.

Sebastian Arndt, Hunter Wright, Josh Montes and Inger Leonard practice their measuring skills during baking week.
Meranda Battisi, Hunter Wright and DonAnthony Keller-Murray decorate cookies.