Lodi Enterprise: The Lodi School Board approved Nurtured in Nature, a learning initiative that encourages kindergarteners to play, be outside and just be kids at its regular meeting Sept. 11.
Kids are under greater pressure to achieve high standards, and most are so overscheduled they don’t have time to simply be children, Lodi Elementary Guidance Counselor Val Bilkey said. Bilkey introduced the unanimously-approved program to the board via PowerPoint presentation.
Research also shows that young children who engage in some form of unstructured play have better language and social skills, the ability to empathize with their peers and achieve higher levels of thinking, she said during her presentation. Being out in nature reaps many benefits of their own, she said, including reduced anxiety and improved cognition.
“We are already noticing a difference in our students when they are engaged in free play versus when they are in a classroom setting or even outside at recess,” Bilkey wrote in an email. “They communicate, problem-solve, work together and are better able to naturally self-regulate.”
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Portage Daily Register: Whoever might need a reminder of the fast-approaching school year need only go to the front entrance of Walmart Thursday evenings to see those familiar purple shirts and the big, yellow bin.
“Stuff the Bus!” the sign there says.
The Portage Lions Club’s annual school supplies drive is underway; it kicked off last week.
“I think it’s also a reminder that some families can’t afford to buy their own school supplies,” Nancy Schaper said, this while acknowledging summer has once again gone by too fast.
“If you ask for something (in Portage), somebody is willing to give it or do it,” Schaper said. “We know that with Stuff the Bus, we’re very lucky for the people we have in Portage who are willing to go out of their way to support (drives).”
Marquette County Tribune: Montello High School Choir was welcomed by the Grand Ole Opry and its patrons prior to the March 25th performance.
The Music City Performance Program has become an exciting part of the Opry experience for visiting performing student groups. This program gives students and amazing performance experience at one of the nation’s iconic music establishments. “Being able to showcase talented students from across the country is very rewarding and fosters excellence in their musical development curriculum,” said Wayne Chandler, Director of Sales, GOO Entertainment Group.
The students performed for 20 minutes prior to attending the world’s longest running radio show. In addition, they received a commemorative performance poster and recognition during the Grand Ole Opry Performance. Their visit to the Grand Ole Opry was part of a trip to Nashville, Tennessee over their spring break, during which they experienced many sights and landmarks of the Nashville area.
Juneau County Star Times: Teachers at Olson Middle School have found ways to unlock students’ creative spirit that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk.
On Monday, OMS held an open house to unveil its Makerlab, the brainchild of teachers Matt Regan, Kendal Sass, Bryon Hoehn and Jen Holberg. About a year ago, the teachers had an idea of converting an underutilized computer lab connected to the middle school’s library into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab. Through STEM, students can learn through an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
With help from the Mauston School District, teachers received an instructional leadership grant and the OMS Makerlab was born. The lab opened at the beginning of the school year. Hoehn said the lab is gaining in popularity, with sixth graders heavily involved in the creative format.
“The biggest thing is that it allows the kids to figure out concepts by themselves,” Hoehn said.
Through technology and science, students learn how to solve complex problems through experimentation. Hoehn said it teaches kids to forge ahead even when a project becomes daunting. Since the launch of the Makerlab, students have collaborated to build projects, improving communication, creativity and critical thinking skills. Educators at OMS hope the lab will increase 21st Century skills-based learning opportunities for their students.
Juneau County Star Times: Mauston High School came through in a big way for the local food pantry.
MHS held its annual food challenge to raise money and collect perishable food items for the Mauston Area Community Sharing Pantry on Tuesday. Students amassed a grand total of 7,176 pounds of food, a value of $1,195.75, in the challenge. The challenge also included games and fun activities among students.
Through a program with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Mauston competes with other schools in the area. MHS traditionally does very well in the food challenge and the trend continued this year. The Bank of Mauston also chipped in with $2,000.
Pantry director Kathy Green thanked the school for its generosity. The annual challenge is an important food drive for the local pantry. Last year, the pantry provided food for 770 different families in the Mauston area. With its new renovation and expansion complete, the pantry has additional room for products.
“The kids did awesome and they always do,” Green said. “It’s a good group of kids to work with and be inspired by; we have great youth in this town. And the teachers too, because if they don’t step up and take an interest in it, the kids won’t. We have great staff here, altogether.”
Reedsburg Times-Press: There’s been a lot of talk about skilled jobs in Wisconsin, but one career remains the state’s bread and butter.
America’s Dairyland needs a talented work force just as much as any state and, like others, is doing what it can to encourage students to go into science, technology, engineering and math fields. Agriculture has been a challenging industry that has seen the disappearance of family farms over several decades.
Area schools are working to reverse that trend not only by teaching kids about agriculture but showing them that numerous kinds of jobs exist in the sector.
Todd Cherney knows it’s best to start early when introducing children to agriculture. As an agriculture teacher at Reedsburg Area High School, he partners with area farmers to teach younger students about farming. In early May, the Reedsburg FFA hosted Food for America, where FFA members taught elementary school students about dairy, beef, pigs, sheep, horses, goats, poultry, feed and equipment.
Cherney said that kind of education benefits both elementary and high school students. Older teens learn leadership and public speaking from their presentations.
It’s not so easy to find students who are familiar with farming. Cherney said 25 percent of his students once came from family farms. Today, that figure is closer to 5 percent.
Baraboo News Republic: From construction work to hairdressing, Baraboo fourth and fifth grade students had the chance to explore a variety of employment choices at the annual Career Fair on Thursday.
The event, which included 10-minute presentations from about a dozen area companies, was held on the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County campus for fourth and fifth grade students from all Baraboo elementary schools.
Tina Neuman of DL Gasser Construction outfitted her small groups of students with safety vests and assigned them responsibilities, just like on a real construction crew. “You have to get your keys, check your oil and drive your equipment,” she told the students who pretended to operate construction equipment.
Wisconsin Dells Events: The Wisconsin Dells school district’s after-school program “Odyssey of the Mind” is sending one of its teams to a world competition at Iowa State University on May 25.
Odyssey coach Rahne Forbes’ team won the honor by taking first place in its division at the state competition in Madison last week. Three other teams including two middle school and one high school team placed in their divisions at the state competition, with each team taking home a third place trophy.
Odyssey of the Mind is an international program and is open to any student in kindergarten through 12th grade. It was featured on a PBS documentary titled “Recreating America: Creativity and Learning.”
Beaver Dam Daily Citizen: Children with intellectual disabilities have a wide range of potential and abilities.
Those who will function in the world, living independently and perhaps holding a job, often need help to learn the day-to-day skills that many take for granted. Although it may seem simple to some, Jen Schramm’s students need to learn not just how to make a bed, but how to make several sizes of bed, and how to match the right-sized sheets to the right-sized bed.
Even if they may prepare food at home or make their beds, for example, performing those skills in a new situation can be daunting.
The new Waupun Area School District Transition House provides a link between home, school and independent living for students with intellectual disabilities. It is up and running thanks to a partnership between Grace Lutheran Church, Waupun Area School District, and REACH (Reaching Everyone through Actions with Community Hands) Waupun.
Portage Daily Register: Students in Molly Carlson’s advanced biology class at Pardeeville High School peered through their microscopes Wednesday visibly happier about their results compared to last week.
Using various chemicals, they tested the embryos of zebrafish — a species with a similar genome sequence to humans — and the students with their notes, beakers, pipettes and rubber gloves talked about their progress like scientists on the verge of breakthrough.
“We learned that glyphosate is not a very good chemical, and can cause very odd deformities,” senior Russell Bush said of his group’s second trial. Their first trial was “too heavy” and killed all the zebrafish, but on that day they could see how the glyphosate bent the tails of their living test subjects.