Spark Year 5. Session 6. Week 5.

As the session flowed, the Spark learners continued contemplating the creative arts through an exploration of sculpture and painting. In week three, the learners leaned on their understanding of the various aspects of a theatrical production by sculpting props for their “Theatre in a Box.” Week four brought about an opportunity to bring their props to life by detailing them with paint and placing them in their boxes. To round out the session, the Sparks will add the finishing touches to their production, bringing their focus to the story they will share with their fellow Explore and Discovery travelers.

During the process of forming “Theatre in a Box” groups for their productions, Spark practiced the Grace and Courtesy of inviting others to join, responding to the request, and, if needed, expressing their desire to work independently.

Continuing this session, Spark learners enhanced their reading and listening skills by teaming up with Discovery “reading buddies”. The Sparks demonstrated Grace and Courtesy by taking turns to decide who would be paired with a Discovery learner. Inspired by their peers, Spark learners also took the initiative to support each other as reading buddies.

During week five, Sparks had the opportunity to explore the wonders of space by visiting a mobile planetarium in their very own yurt. This experience has inspired Sparks to further delve into the subject, with a focus on the landforms that exist on planets within the Milky Way galaxy.

Throughout the session, Spark Play included harvesting and preparing the fruits gifted by the orchard. Learners picked, cleaned, and cut peaches before cooking them into a delicious jam. In the final week, they will celebrate their efforts alongside Explore learners, who will make and provide the oatmeal biscuits for their feast.

 

 

Spark Year 5. Session 6. Week 2.

Following their Spring Break, Sparks dove into Session 6 with welcoming energy, joyfully expressing gratitude for being back together. The learners shared reflections on their time away, practicing their Grace & Courtesy lesson of listening with their eyes and ears when another shared their experience.

Sparks delved into the world of creative arts this week, exploring a variety of new works in the studio. As part of their journey, they explored the intricacies of theatrical plays and musicals, discovering the collaborative effort that goes into such performances, learning about the cast and crew. The learners, filled with anticipation, shared their past experiences and eagerly looked forward to their upcoming field trip to the Zach Theatre for a performance of “The Story of Frog and Toad”.

Week one was a testament to the learners’ commitment to environmental stewardship. In a joint effort with Explore learners, they celebrated Earth Day by showcasing their gardening skills and planting herbs and flowers in their courtyard. This act of responsibility and care for the Earth filled them with a sense of pride and accomplishment, which will be further nurtured as they harvest the herbs later in the session.

During week two, learners continued preparing for their field trip by exploring the beloved story, paying close attention to the celebration of friendship modeled by Frog and Toad. Finally, Thursday arrived, and learners embarked on their adventure to the Zach Scott Theatre. They shared songs and laughter on the bus ride to and from, reflecting on their favorite characters, a group favorite, the Snail mail person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Friday, the Sparks showcased their creativity by designing characters and creating backgrounds for their upcoming “Theatre in a Box” project. They will present this project to the Ascent community later in the session. The learners expressed their gratitude by writing letters to the cast and crew of “The Story of Frog and Toad,” which they will mail next week.

Spark Year 5. Session 5. Week 5.

As we approached the end of the session, the Spark studio focused on preparing themselves and their space for another “Work with Me” exhibition. Parents and caretakers were welcomed into the studio, where their learners led them through a workflow—lessons on animal research, compound words, and watercolor painting were amongst some of the works the Sparks felt were in their “challenge zone,” which they proudly showed to their guests.

                   

For grace & courtesy practice, the Sparks have engaged in a new circle time discussion- “Talk about it Tuesday.” Learners can sign up to lead a discussion around something they feel needs the studio’s attention and support. Following guardrails, cleaning up works correctly, and treating materials with respect are some of the discussions that have already been had, with many Sparks eagerly bringing ideas forward, something anticipated each Tuesday moving forward.

After the Spring equinox, the Sparks have been exploring the ever-changing outdoors at Spark Play. Learners are taking nature walks, observing peaches starting to grow, and discussing the many possibilities (pies and ice cream are top contenders thus far). Learners are also creating bug hotels and animal rescue centers as the critters they share on their campus come up to say hello.

Spark Year 5. Session 5. Week 3

As the session continues, the Spark learners were given a wonderful opportunity to embrace the growing excitement around learning how to read. They were paired up with “reading buddies”, which is a rotating group of Discovery learners who are also working towards their own badges. At the beginning of the week, a Discovery learner presented this idea to the Sparks. The Spark learners then signed up to have a Discovery friend either read to them or assist them with their own reading. The studio was filled with excitement and creativity, sparking wonder and curiosity into the adventure that is reading.

      

The grace and courtesy practice for the week focused on conversations around citizenship, specifically kindness and self-awareness. The learners practiced reading stories, making tea, practicing yoga, and joining in collective breath work to deepen their understanding of these topics.

           

Spark Play included a variety of weather conditions, from sunny days requiring sunglasses and hats to rainy days needing raincoats and umbrellas. The Sparks built various structures based on the weather, such as ice cream shops to beat the heat and animal shelters to rescue lost “pets” stuck in the rain. Finally, the Ascent camping trip began on Friday, and learners eagerly embarked on their adventure.

Spark Year 5. Session 5. Week 1

As the session kicked off, the Sparks were excited to see changes in their space: new indoor and outdoor works, fresh tile, and their very own zen garden. Learners received lessons for new works surrounding their enrichment this session- Zoology! Some new works they enjoyed include making butterflies, sorting habitats, and creating different biome maps. To end the first week back, the Sparks watched an educational video about insects to accompany their Friday craft of creating bugs out of clothespins, which supported them in strengthening their fine motor skills like cutting, measuring, and gluing, as well as enhancing problem-solving skills used to research different bugs and their ecosystems.

                    

As part of their Grace & Courtesy practice, the Sparks continued their exploration of the concept of citizenship – what it means and how it feels. Sparks experienced books about responsibility, kindness, and honesty to support discussions around these character traits, emphasizing that being an exceptional citizen is not solely based on one’s identity but rather on the choices one makes through one’s actions. The learners have been practicing newfound language within their community to express feelings and commend their fellow travelers for being helpful citizens.

Sparks were introduced to a new “play plan” concept to guide their loose parts play. Learners spent a few minutes before starting play, using drawings and/or words to plan what they wanted to build and with what materials during their Spark Play time.  During their reflection circle, learners compared their plans to what they did at Spark Play and shared any changes that had occurred.

When Friday rolled around, their weekly dance party had the Sparks grooving into the weekend, celebrating their hard work throughout the week.

Have a great weekend!

Spark Year 5. Session 4. Week 5.

As we head towards the end of the session, the Sparks spent their week exploring citizenship- what it means, why it’s important, and who they’ve observed being kind citizens. We read “What if Everybody Did That?” by Ellen Javernick and reflected on one person’s impact on a whole community. Learners joined in discussions about citizens in their community- police officers, firefighters, and doctors were mentioned for their teamwork and helpfulness towards others. They then reflected on good citizens they knew in their day-to-day lives; parents, siblings, and friends were called out for being kind. When Friday rolled around, Spark learners had an opportunity to color worksheets highlighting citizenship and made cards for citizens in the Discovery and Explore studios that they admire.

      

During Spark Play this week, the Sparks focused on citizenship within themselves and their studio- working together to build castles, being kind and helpful by getting bandaids and ice packs for hurt friends, and rolling up their sleeves to clean up, keeping our community clean and safe. Friday’s dance party was a hit, with Discovery learners joining in, moving and grooving together into the weekend.

       

Have a great weekend!

Spark Year 5. Session 4. Week 3.

As the session continues, the Spark learners braved the freezing weather and jumped back into their flow following a long weekend. In the middle of the week, the Sparks invited their family members into the studio for our second “work with me” exhibition. Lessons were given, guardrails were modeled, and the learners courageously navigated through their space with all the extra people there. On Friday, the Sparks had the opportunity to dive deeper in their study of health and nutrition by creating a fruit and vegetable collage- an idea brought to the Guides by a Spark learner! Silly faces were made, stories were created, and the learners engaged in conversations around their favorite healthy foods, and how they support their bodies.

 

 

As the cold weather persisted, learners took part in a rare indoor Spark Play, excitedly building and creating with new materials. The Sparks spent the afternoon turning their studio into a race track, flower garden, grocery store, and an animal hospital amongst other things. Later in the week as it warmed up a bit, the learners eagerly flowed back outside into the Spark Play area; running freely, solving problems, and working together.

Have a great weekend, and stay warm!!

 

Spark Year 5. Session 4. Week 1

As the session kicked off, Spark learners returned to their studio ready to jump into our new focus this session – health and nutrition! The Sparks learned all about our brains this week; starting with a video on each part of the brain, what it does, and how it supports you throughout your body. Learners expressed a deep appreciation for the cerebellum, which supports their muscles during their Spark Play. On Thursday, learners gathered around the circle for a science experiment to build a model brain out of play dough. This visual further supported an understanding of the shape, size, and function of the brain. Once Friday rolled around, fine motor skills like cutting and gluing were strengthened as learners created brain puzzles, exploring their functions and importance.

At Spark Play, learners were thrilled to be back outside with their friends, working and playing hard. In Big Parts, the Sparks built shelters, spaceships, and Ascent’s “Amy’s Ice Cream” using blocks and planks. Friday came and learners danced the week away at our annual Spark Play dance party, building drum sets and creating their choreography.

Spark Year 5. Session 3. Week 3

During the session’s conclusion, the Sparks finished their study of Marine Biology. They learned about Marine Biologists, their role, their impact on the planet, and how they help protect marine life. To further enhance their learning, a visitor from the Discovery studio shared a presentation about ocean life which sparked insightful questions. The learners asked questions such as why a Mako shark can swim so fast, whether the sunlight zone is warm, and why no sea turtles were included in the presentation.

 

Learners got curious about the anatomy of some marine life when they participated in a science experiment around how blubber helps keep different sea creatures warm. The Sparks were asked to first put their bare hands in a bowl of ice water, followed by putting a gloved hand in crisco, then ice water to observe how that thick layer of fat makes a big difference.

 

Learners continued experimenting with their materials at Spark Play by building forts, schools, dinosaurs and obstacle courses.

To mark the end of the session, the Sparks had a pajama party with popcorn and an episode of “Our Planet” about ocean life. The learners crafted holiday cards for their friends in the Discovery and Explore studios and distributed them at our campus-wide dance party!

  

Enjoy your break, and Happy Holidays! We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back in the New Year.

Spark Year 5. Session 3. Week 2

This week, the Sparks delved deeper into their Marine Biology study by exploring the vast array of life that exists beneath the ocean’s surface.

The learners had a chance to hone their debating skills by discussing the topic “Are sea turtles better than fish?” This provided an opportunity to understand different perspectives and practice healthy disagreements.

Later in the week, the Spark studio participated in a beloved science experiment “Freddy the Fish”. This story was read to bring attention to pollution and sparked a conversation about how we can preserve the planet’s safety and health. On Friday, a Spark learner volunteered to read Rainbow Fish to his friends, and the studio was invited to create their rainbow fish craft.

 

The Sparks had a series of discussions throughout the week about the upcoming canned food drive which will take place next week, from December 11 to 15. During these discussions, the learners emphasized the importance of giving back to their community and brainstormed ways in which they can support those in need. They created posters and flyers to spread the word about the food drive and took ownership of the responsibility to be leaders on their campus.

This week in Spark Play, the children were eager to participate in “milk crate training” after earning the freedom to use all of their loose parts for playtime. At the end of the week, the learners helped clean up the campus by doing a trash pickup, and celebrated their hard work with a Friday dance party.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to bring your canned foods next week!