Wednesday Wonderings at Sewanee Elementary
Thursday, February 22, 2018
The Sewanee Elementary Parent Organization (SPO) is piloting a new program called Wednesday Wonderings. This enrichment program runs on Wednesdays from 2:30–3:30 p.m. through March 7.
“We were discussing enrichment programs during a fall Sewanee Parent Organization meeting,” said Sarah Marhevksy, president of the organization. “During that time, there were sign-ups for the Lego League. Many students wanted to join, but there was a limit to the number who could participate. We wanted more students to get involved, and the planning began.”
During this six-week period, three different classes are being offered to students. Classes offered are based on the volunteer’s interest. There is Chinese language instruction for grades K–second taught by Eva Sun. Art classes are being taught by Pippa Browne and Elizabeth Core for grades two–four. Coding is taught by Matt Sparacio for students in grades four and five.
In coding class, the students begin with a web based tutorial at
. After answering any questions the students may have about the video, “the students complete a series of challenges where they either write code or modify code to demonstrate mastery of the concept presented in the video,” said Sparacio. “So far we have covered drawing shapes, adding color, and creating variables to simplify making changes in the code. Soon we will be moving to animation.”
“My ultimate goal is to peak an interest in the minds of the students,” said Sparacio. “In six one-hour sessions I can only show them a tiny amount of the coding world. The beauty of the web based program is that they can continue to learn at home without me. We started with basic Java script but there are several programming languages they can explore.”
Marhevsky said organizers did not want to start too big for the first offering of Wednesday Wonderings nor did the SPO want to take away from the annual Friday School program volunteers.
“We want to be a sustainable program,” said Marhevsky. “We live in a small community filled with talented people who have a lot to offer. Those volunteers can be matched up with students who want to learn and give the students enrichment opportunities throughout the entire school year.”
The program is free for the SES students. After school, a snack is offered and then the children go to their Wednesday Wondering class. Students in the extended after school program also have the opportunity to participate.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive and another Wednesday Wonderings session will be offered in the fall. Marhevsky said the SPO will be setting up a more formal process for interested volunteers to offer classes. Planning is also underway to include some modified class offerings for the students who have to adhere to the timing of the bus riding schedule.
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