I have the privilege of providing enrichment services for 19 Kindergarten and 1st grade classes at two elementary schools in a rapidly growing school district. These bright, capable students are smart and creative and need new challenges daily. The students come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and a majority of these students are English language learners. As the next generation of leaders and innovators they need to develop critical thinking skills and financial literacy skills needed to participate in the United States' Economic system. By learning and practicing both critical thinking and financial literacy skills, students are better prepared to become productive citizens as adults.
Both of my schools serve students who fall into the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum additionally, a large percentage of the students are English Language Learners. Many of these students don’t have the experiences or language development their more affluent peers enjoy. This puts these students at a disadvantage. This project will provide experiences that will foster growth in critical, creative, and financial thinking, and vocabulary development. Using quality children’s literature and hands-on lessons will provide students with opportunities to practice and grow these skills. The materials provided through this grant coupled with materials already available in the classroom will allow instruction to move from paper/pencil to hands-on learning for years to come.
Think Boxes will be created for use in enrichment classes.
A Think Box contains materials for students to sort and classify, create something new, or practice their financial literacy skills. Each box will contain an assortment of objects for the students to use to answer a variety of challenges. Each Think Box will have a different set of materials in it. One will contain twist nuts, bolts, wing nuts, and washers. Another Think Box will have an assortment of different counters in it (dinosaurs, garden critters, sea & farm animals, and motor vehicles. Other Think Boxes will contain buttons, coins, shapes cut from poster board and fun foam, tiny erasers, small found objects for art projects. Each box will come with a set of challenges on laminated cardstock specific to each box. Challenges could include, create a collage using the materials in the box, demonstrate 4 ways to make a dollar using the coins, or sort the buttons using two of the attributes Frog and Toad used. After the Think Box enrichment lesson, classroom teachers can check out the boxes for continued use.
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