Parent Teacher Magazine Rowan-Salisbury Schools September 2017 - Page 9

East Rowan High Chorus – On Stage with FOREIGNER! What an exciting summer for a group of East Rowan High School students! Through a competition event, 22 ERHS Singing Mustangs were selected to take the stage on August 5th at the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, NC to perform with the hit group Foreigner. The event was to sing backup with the classic rock band Foreigner on their most famous hit "I Want To Know What Love Is." ERHS was selected by participating in a contest, ‘What Love Is,’ through a local Charlotte radio station to sing on stage with the famous group. Once the ERHS Chorus won the contest, the student chorus was narrowed to a field of 20- 24 students that included graduating seniors and other students that participated in an essay contest: ‘What it would mean to me to sing with Foreigner.’ “This was truly a once in a lifetime experience for these students,” says Dean Orbison, the ERHS Chorus Director. The ERHS students who performed with Foreigner are as follows: 1. Alex Gobble 2. McKenzie Collins 3. Haley Medina 4. Ashton Hopper 5. Alyssa Potts 6. Will Brown 7. Gabe Hinceman 8. Cole McGraw 9. Gracie Hudson 10. Logan Williams 11. Taylor Sienerth 12. Imoni Smith 13. Katelyn Thompson 14. Ethan Diaz 15. Hannah Julian 16. Hannah Mayhew 17. Grace Faller 18. Emily Avalos 19. Emily Daubenmire 20. Leah Mesimer 21. Katie Eller 22. Savannah Winters STEM Integration into Read to Achieve Students who found themselves in Rowan- Salisbury Schools’ Read to Achieve camp this summer were in for an exciting change to the program. This year, Read to Achieve added a special component to help kids not only with their literacy, but also with understanding all of the different aspects that go into reading. Regularly used throughout the school year, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) was added into the curriculum for Read to Achieve camps this summer to help promote the idea that every subject points back to literacy and employs the use of reading skills one way or another. However, Read to Achieve STEM teacher Crystal Wagoner notes that the opposite is true as well: “The science, the technology, the engineering, the math – those sort of things engage the kids in what they’re reading. It makes them care about what they’re doing.” Wagoner’s statement rings true in both practice and theory as kids in her STEM class at China Grove Elementary get excited after being told they were going to construct their own buildings after reading and learning about which type of 3-D shape can hold the most weight (the answer might surprise you – it’s a cylinder!). Students were directed to take a close look at buildings in books they were given to see what works best in architecture and base their building on what they had learned about these. The goal was simple: build the tallest structure out of all the teams, but it also had to be able to support the weight of a basketball. Given nothing more than five pieces of paper, glue, and scissors, Wagoner’s students gathered excitedly into their groups and began constructing their buildings based on what they had just learned. By the end of the class, each group had constructed their own structure that they hoped would hold up the basketball. Everyone held their breath as each building was tested for both height and durability, and although some fell in the end, Ms. Wagoner taught them an important lesson: there is never any failure, only room for improvement. While STEM has been integrated for all of the Read to Achieve camps this summer, not all of the kids are doing the same projects. At Koontz Elementary, STEM teacher for the summer Amy Betts works on story telling through Legos with her students. In order to help incorporate STEM into Read to Achieve, the school district bought educational Lego sets that work with both the physical blocks and pieces to build with and technology through certain apps on their iPads. Once Betts explained to her kids that they would be working with Legos to tell different stories, smiles beamed at one another across the room and their excitement became palpable. The kids were to be split up into two groups and each group would get a Lego set with a different theme. Group 1 got the Space Kit, while Group 2 got the Fairy Tale set. Spread out across t he floor, each group got down on hands and knees to see what pieces they had to build with and what stories they could come up with based on which characters they had and what they were building. Once each group had a story to tell, they were given iPads to work on and create their own story through an app connected to the Lego sets called StoryVisualizer. With each scene being played out, students would snap a picture on their iPads to put into StoryVisualizer and could then build their own story through the pictures and scenes they had created. Betts also got on the floor with the kids to help guide them and fully immerse them into their stories. “For me, the beauty of STEM is the hands-on piece,” said Betts, “That you can really incorporate all aspects of education.” The STEM integration has so far had an incredible effect on students in Read to Achieve who are now eager to see the connections between reading and the more mathematical and scientific subjects. Not only that, but teachers seem to be responding well to it too. Wagoner and Betts are just two of many STEM teachers for the Read to Achieve camp this summer, but their passion for the integration is so obvious that it’s clear students attending the program are going to continue being excited about understanding the new connections between literacy, science, technology, engineering, and math. Parent Teacher Magazine • Sept/Oct 2017 • 7