Enrichment for the masses

One of the biggest complaints about the district is the lack of enrichment. AI enriches the IQ-elite. Our district also has targeted enrichment for those with various types of needs - it's required by law. Lack of appropriate
enrichment for the bright but not quite AI-bright has been one of the pet peeves of many a parent. Lack of enrichment for the masses is even worse!

The best enrichment I have ever seen was when C took part in a grade-wide international exchange program (no, not the kind where you get on a plane) called Friends and Flags. Our 2nd graders were teamed up with a school in Cyprus, Greece. Our kids made all sorts of things to demonstrate to the school what life was like in the US in general and Bridgewater specifically. They took pictures of the library, made brochures of various tourist places in the US (like Disney, Washington DC, Mount Rushmore), made a scrapbook of Bridgewater and our school. Our girl scout troop also contributed to the project making a "brownie vest" out of felt and including videos of the girls. The school received a similar package in return. It let kids, regardless of their educational ability, take part in a very large, unforgettable project.

Today's Invention Convention gave a similar feeling. The kids were clearly proud of what they created and accomplished. N was very proud of how popular his invention was with the other kids. Everyone crowded around him today when he was demonstrating. (Although his project is cool, it didn't hurt that it revolved around snacks). He claimed that he didn't care if he won an award or not - he just wanted the kids like it.... by the time he got home, he was disappointed that his project wasn't picked. N is rarely picked in these types of things. I hope he remembers how happy he was showing his invention to his peers. I took lots of pictures today - to remind him that it was a hit!

I'm glad to hear that 90 kids took part in the program - even if not all 90 ultimately made an invention. Sometimes it is hard to follow through with the original plan (I know from all my unfinished knitting).

I know it is a challenge for teachers to come up with these kinds of projects on their own that they can tweak for classroom use (Friends and Flags came from a classroom teacher and it was funded through a grant). I hope this inspires the school's teachers to continue on this path, even beyond the Enrichment teacher's realm (if her job hasn't been axed in the new budget - I can't remember).

And I hope my son stays inspired to create new things!

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