Archive for the ‘Enrichment’ Category

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Eighth grader Ariana Foxx examines a seedling during her gardening elective. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Kristine Funke
Cougar News Blog

     There is a new enrichment class for eighth graders. The class is gardening, and the students are growing produce on campus.
     Carol Dolle, a teacher and counselor, hopes to inspire students about the fun of gardening. She wants to share her hobby with students.
     “I want my student to learn the basics of gardening and have a sense of accomplishment when they harvest their veggies,” said Dolle.
     The class is going to plant vegetables and maybe edible flowers. The idea is for the produce to be something that can be eaten. Dolle also wants students to see how much better things taste when it is fresh from a garden.
     One problem they could face is that the quarter is in winter. However, they plan on planting produce that grows well in the cold weather.
     “Some of the very best time for gardening in desert climates is the winter,” said Dolle. “The days are still relatively warm and the nights usually stay above freezing so many varieties thrive in those conditions.”
     Some students have had experience with gardening before, and Mrs. Dolle enjoyed vegetable gardening before she became a teacher.
     “When I was little, I lived on a farm for about 6 years,” said eighth grader Laila Brady. “My mother’s and (my) favorite thing to do was garden. We would go outside in our big      The class plans on doing a particular type of gardening that involves straw bales, which students may have seen in the courtyard. They also plan on building raised beds to garden, and students will be keeping track of progress.
     “We also might need to fence them in case the rabbits find us,” said Dolle.

Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

Isabella Vasquez, 7, and Emely Zepeda, 7, tape their bridge together. (Photo by Carissa LaFrance)

By Bronte Pappas
Cougar News Blog

     Building bridges is the step to creating good relationships. Only this time, it’s literal. Cactus Canyon now offers a new enrichment class, where students build bridges.
     In this study skills class, students will be building real model bridges, but also learn about civil engineering. Students research different types of bridges and construct one using popsicle sticks with the goal of building one that can withstand 100 pounds.
     “I am excited to see the creative solutions that students will come up with for everyday problems,” said science teacher Diana Kidde. “Students will also have to explain their design and process. I am excited to see the different designs and which ones will support the most weight.”
     Students will be learning about engineering design. This is the engineering design process that will guide the students. It will help them solve problems, and it will help them make improvements to their designs.
     Many of them are excited for the experience because they are looking forward to making something with their hands.
     “I am excited and the reason is because we get to construct something small but if made big it can hold a lot,” said eighth grader Krysta Espinoza.
     In the future this will help students who one day might want to take up a career in engineering.
     Not only will students be building bridges, but they will also be constructing a spaghetti tower. They will even be making an egg engineering project which will be a ton of fun. The spaghetti tower is a tower made of uncooked spaghetti noodles, and the egg engineering project is where the students must create a safe incubation for an egg. It will have to be safe enough for the egg not to break.

By Savannah Barr
Cougar News Blog

     A new art class is drawing in new students from around the Cactus Canyon campus for the fourth quarter of the school year.
     Ms. Reesor, an art teacher, has begun a new fifth hour Study Skills class for seventh graders that are looking to expand their drawing skills.
     “They will be learning basic drawing skills like how to shade with a pencil and creating the value scale,” says Ms. Reesor.
     They’ll then move on to a still life, which is a set up of random objects for them to draw. Students in the class will also learn how to draw with a grid system.
     Ms. Reesor’s regular art classes cover a variety of topics in art, but she wanted to offer an enrichment class that goes in-depth on one skill.
     “Our art classes go over everything from drawing, painting, ceramics, and mixed media, but I thought (I should) start an enrichment class only focusing on drawing,” Ms. Reesor said.
     The goal in this art class is for students to have skills that they can put to use in the future. Once they master realistic shading for shapes, they’ll move on to drawing from life, meaning they’ll draw real-life, real-scale objects. Students might use these skills either when they’re casually drawing in class, or will take it to a whole new level, creating art for a living.
     “I look forward to becoming a better artist and being able to draw a face completely,” says Alondra Urias.

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By Abraham Viscardi
Cougar News Blog

     Social studies teacher Sheryl Anderson is a quilter and fabric-worker in her free time and has now started a new study skills class on sewing.
     The enrichment class will last for 50 minutes per day, and will be held at the 500 building during study skill which is fifth hour. Students will be making rag quilts, which are made from materials such as denim, flannel, and fleece.
     “They will be small ones that kids can use when watching TV, playing video games, or reading their favorite book,” said Ms. Anderson.
     In this class, the students will be learning how to thread a sewing machine, fill a bobbin, and properly install it in the machine. They will also sew a straight line, measure and cut fabric accurately, and use the simple tools of fabric construction.
     “If you don’t cut off one of your fingers with the razor sharp rotary cutters, and if you don’t stab anyone (including yourself) with the sharp pins and needles, and if you manage to put together something that resembles a warm, fuzzy blanket, you pass with flying colors,” said Ms. Anderson.
     In addition to sewing, students will be learning typing during the class.
     By learning to sew at a young age, students will be able to stitch up clothes when they get ripped or lose buttons.
     “I want to know how to do life skills like this,” said Willoughby Cobb.

Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland's enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students' objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

Students in Mrs. Gail McFarland’s enrichment class make aquariums from soda bottles, soil, and seeds. The students’ objective was to create a livable habitat for a goldfish. From left are seventh graders Frank Sanches, Maya Lindstrom, and Kendra Friederich. (Photo by SeAnna Brennan)

By Michael Penge
Cougar News Blog

     Fish are generally considered to be one of the most boring pets on the planet.
     The truth is they can be very exciting, especially when students get to make their own aquarium to house the fish. That’s exactly what Mrs. McFarland’s art class has done.      They’ve created habitats for feeder fish, such as goldfish and guppies, but these fish aren’t going to be fed to anything though, they will be housed in the two-liter soda bottles used as their aquarium.
     “Our bottle biology lab is a very hands on activity that teach my students the exciting world of life science and how ecosystems work together,” said Mrs. McFarland. “We learned about things such as producers, consumers, and how all of them create the environment they live in.”
     Every student had to create their own aquarium and care for each individual feeder fish. The aquarium contained an aquatic plant, so the fish could have oxygen when the plant goes through photosynthesis, which they need to survive. The plants get the nutrients they need from insect eggs, larvae, and minerals. That provides food for the fish as well.
     The fish that were placed in the aquariums were bought at 11 cents each. Students are expected to learn how important biodiversity is in an ecosystem and how energy flows through every being in an ecosystem.
     “My students should be able to understand how a closed system could work on a hostile environment like Mars or Antarctica,” said Mrs. McFarland.
     Mrs. McFarland wants to continue special projects like these because they provide hands-on opportunities and help with problem solving skills.
     “Most of my projects revolve around analyzing and observing instead of the memorization of correct responses,” said Mrs. McFarland. “This encourages cause and effect thinking and to question events that happen during experiments.”

By Jenevieve Saidi
Cougar News Blog

     George Frost started a new study skills music class at Cactus Canyon Junior High. He created it before the second semester started after he was asked to “do something with music.”
     Mr. Frost started this enrichment class for students that are meeting the standards for grade-level math and language arts. His class will teach students about pop culture and show them how music affects the world around them.
     “I want my students to learn about themselves and how the world affects their life,” said Mr. Frost.
     He hopes the class can be student driven and can help students discover new music or hobbies. He wants the class can help students communicate on a different level. He expects the class to be fun and engage students in upper-level critical thinking.
     “The class is meant to teach about some of the aspects of pop culture, even though I am far from an expert,” said Frost.
     If students want something more than just reading and writing, Mr. Frost hopes the class will appeal to them and expand their knowledge on music and poetry.
     “I hope I discover a new artist that I have never heard of and love,” said Siu Lan Waugh, a student in the class.
     The project currently being worked on in class is a 30-day song challenge. Students are given a topic and have to find a song that relates to the topic. The projects he has planned for the future will involve TV shows and movies. He wants students in the class to learn that they all have something valuable to contribute to the world.

By Chris Munro
Cougar News Blog

     Students at CCJH recently received all-new enrichment classes as part of the Study Skills mission. A couple of these classes include Kim Grant’s PE class and Lin Andresen’s current events class.
     The Study Skills hour provides in-school re-teach opportunities for students who need more time to meet objectives. A variety of enrichment classes have been offered to those who don’t need the tutoring, such as Advertising 101, keyboarding, or forensic science. This year, several classes have been added to this roster.
     “I was asked to offer a PE class,” said Coach Grant. “I like that most of the kids want to be there and usually get into the activity.”
     In Coach Grant’s class, the kids play a variety of sports, as well as have friendly tournaments without needing to dress out. In Mr. Andresen’s class, the kids learn geography and current events as well as have discussions and conversations.
     “I have learned the different kinds of culture there is around the world and how many other countries are different and similar to ours,” said Daniel Garibay Zuniga.
     Mr. Andresen also added that, while technology is an often-used medium to teach children, books and physical text are also good ways to educate children as well.
     “Technology is a very important tool, but reading is still very important and fun,” said Mr. Andresen.

By Kenzie Surratt
Cougar News Blog

     CCJH introduced a new study skills this quarter, Greek mythology, with eighth-grade science teacher Regan Roach. Students in her class focus on major Greek gods and the stories behind them.
     The purpose of the class is to learn about major players in Greek mythology, such as Zeus and Poseidon. Students watched two movies near the beginning of the quarter, Clash of the Titans and its sequel Wrath of the Titans. They are also in the midst of reading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Mrs. Roach helps the students learn about the conflicts and resolutions in the fantasies.
     “I would expect that the students either learn more about Greek mythology or that they will learn how to help others,” said Mrs. Roach
     Many students in the class had prior knowledge in Greek mythology, or knew the basics of it. There were also some students who had studied the characters and their adventures on their own, while there’s also classmates where this is their first lessons on the topic.
     “I knew that Zeus was the main god and that there are a lot of gods,” said student Carole Altherr. “I (have) learned a lot more about the family of Zeus.”
     Mrs. Roach got the idea for the enrichment elective from a language arts teacher. Students primarily chose the class because they were interested in the subject.
     “I chose this topic because it was something that I knew very little about and felt that it would be an awesome way for us to learn together,” said Roach.

By Cassie Wallace
Cougar News Blog

     James Gibson, an eighth grade social studies teacher at Cactus Canyon has a new enrichment class, Study Skills Reading. The study skills classes are made to give students more motivation and interest in learning. The main goal of the new reading class is to draw students in and get them to read more often.
     Some students read independently, but there are other options for less motivated readers, including audiobooks and class sets for reading in groups. Mr. Gibson reads the same book as the group and offers support.
     Mr. Gibson hopes to encourage students who read a lot, as well as the ones who don’t.
     “People can be encouraged to read in a variety of ways,” said Mr. Gibson. “Encouraging people to read is essential in our age group. The hope is that the students find the time spent in class fulfilling, not just a time to talk and hangout with friends.”
     The class will go on until next quarter and,allows students to take different classes and have different experiences. Mr.Gibson expects that the students will take on knowledge of how reading is an “empowering activity,” and use it later in the future.
     “Often people allow themselves to be pulled into a novel or a short story through the power of imagination, the ‘take-away’ from reading is limitless,” said Mr.Gibson.
     Mr. Gibson’s reading class is an opportunity to read, and get extra reading points for the “Book Wars” program, which gives students prizes at a specific amount of AR points.
     AR points help teachers target and understand where the student’s reading level is, and if they need extra help or if they need to read different material.
     “I like this class, I think it gives students a little more time to focus on AR goals, which some students actually do care about,” said Kylie Cann.

By Natalie D.
Cougar News Blog

     Eighth graders at Cactus Canyon have been flying into history in a new way this semester in John Leal’s new study skills class.
     Leal’s new comic book class is a popular one with 36 students and the class is learning about the history of comic books and how they have been influenced by or influenced historical events. They are also learning about the first comic books, how comics are made, and, of course, the superheroes.
     “I expect my students to take away all the components of a comic book and be able to explain how they may influence comics,” said Mr.Leal.
     Students will continue this class until the end of the quarter with their new knowledge of comic books and favorite things from the class to share.
     “My favorite part of the class was learning about the superheroes,” said Aysaiah Aguilera.
     The students are learning about topics such as the first woman and first African-American portrayed in a comic book during times when women and African-Americans were not treated as equals to white men.
     For example, Wonder Woman was the first woman DC Comics published in 1941 when women were expected to work mostly in their homes. Marvel also featured African-American superheroes in the 1950s when Blacks were still experiencing segregation and racial injustices in the United States.
     “My favorite thing to teach has been the history of comics and how they have influenced historical events,” said Leal.
     Even though this class is only continuing till March, students say they would take this class again to learn more and bring friends along.
     “I would take this class again because I like learning about superheroes and recommend this class to a friend,” said Aguilera.