Posts Tagged With: Oakwood Intermediate School

Allendale Fifth Graders Enjoy “Fine Arts Day” in Grand Rapids

Fine Arts Day, Allendale Public Schools

Fifth graders Rory MacGeorge, Dakota Riemersma, and Kaylyn Whitten share their experience on Fine Arts Day.

With fresh snow as a backdrop to their adventures, Allendale fifth graders struck out to explore Grand Rapids on their February Fine Arts Day.  Elementary art, music, Spanish, and physical education teachers partnered with classroom educators to create a well-rounded field trip that tied multiple curriculum strands together into a cohesive experience. Departing first thing in the morning, the day was packed with learning opportunities ranging from music to Mexican food!

The group made stops at:

  • The Grand Rapids Symphony
  • The Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Restaurant)
  • Rosa Parks Circle for ice skating

Students were visibly happy upon returning, chattering eagerly about their trip with the wheels still spinning wildly under mops of hair and swinging pony tails.

Allendale Public Schools, Fine Arts Day

Kaylyn shared her favorite memories of Fine Arts Day

Kaylyn Whitten beamed when she described the symphony concert, “The musicians were playing Harry Potter music! I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I couldn’t believe they were playing it the day we were there. We had learned about a lot of composers at school, but I hadn’t learned about that one!”

Dakota Riemersma agreed, “I was surprised by the enthusiasm of the people playing the music. They even stopped for a slideshow discussion and read poetry to us!”

“We had just studied Beethoven in school and it was cool to hear that music being played,” commented Rory MacGeorge.

The kids bubbled over with excitement, sharing highlights from the art museum, connecting existing projects to ones debuted at ArtPrize, and discussing new exhibits. They also shared how they were instructed to order their lunch in Spanish to native speakers!

Ice skating at Rosa Parks provided a unique opportunity for the fifth graders to accomplish something difficult. Some students, like Dakota, have been skating for years, while others had never been in ice skates at all. Regardless of skill level, spinning and circling the rink incorporated physical education, strength building, and fresh air into the day.

Teacher Gwen Luban shared her own highlight, “At our last stop for the day, one of my students said, “I am so tired.” I asked him why he was so tired. He said, “I’m just trying to take it all in.” What a great experience for many of our students. Families are busy and sometimes we forget about the arts and the impact they have in our lives.”

She went on to sum up the day perfectly:

“There is no substitution for hands-on learning such as this. Students get to touch, see, hear, smell, and feel the experience. It is unlike any understanding that might happen if they were to watch a video or listen to someone retell an experience. Many of our students have never ice skated or seen a live symphony. Some have never eaten in an authentic Mexican restaurant or ever been to an art museum. The West Michigan area has so much to offer. We are blessed to have our students be able to experience such a great trip.”

Categories: Allendale Elementary Schools, Fine Arts | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

“Operation Save the Planet” Is Making a Difference at Oakwood and Beyond!

Allendale Public Schools, Operation Save the Planet, Oakwood Intermediate SchoolEach year, dozens of concerned students at Oakwood Intermediate School join Mrs. Schroeder, Mrs. Luban, Mrs. Wallace, Karen Wit, and Dawn Fields to help save the planet, one Cheetos bag at a time!

The students involved in Operation Save the Planet focus their energies on helping their school think green by organizing recycling efforts and educating their classmates. Some of the projects that the group works on include:

  • Oakwood works in partnership with Potluck Pick-Up, who provides full recycling bin service. This allows Oakwood to recycle plastics, glass, cardboard, cans, and paper. Bins located around the school and in the staff lounge are emptied by Save the Planet kids and consolidated for pick-up.
  • Oakwood has joined the Terracycle movement that encourages people to “outsmart waste”! Terracycle uses recycled items to create new products such as bags and purses; an entire list of Terracycle products can be seen here. The items that Operation Save the Planet collects and recycles are: Capri Sun drink pouches, all Mars candy bar wrappers, all Frito Lay brand chip bags, zip lock baggies, scotch tape dispensers, used cell phones.  The school receives about 2 cents per item collected, too!
  • Students in the club have collaborated to create earth-awareness videos which are played throughout the school at various times of the year, and have also sold re-usable grocery bags in previous years.
  • On Earth Day the club sponsors a “Zero Waste Lunch” to encourage kids to more closely monitor all that is thrown away.

Allendale Public Schools, Operation Save the Planet, Oakwood Intermediate

This year, the group meets twice a month before school to better keep up with the sorting of recyclables, and despite being a smaller group than in years past, Mrs. Schroeder praises her students for their passion and dedication.

The most rewarding part of working with the students of Operation Save the Planet is to see the members become passionate about recycling and living a more green life.  They start sharing ways they have encouraged their class to recycle more and ways they have helped their families make changes around their house to be more green.

Allendale Public Schools, Oakwood Intermediate School, Operation Save the Planet

Mrs. Schroeder helps her students organize recyclables collected at Oakwood.

Mrs. Schroeder went on to share a special story that highlights the zeal with which these students pursue their work with Operation Save the Planet:

…One year, Family Fare gave our club hundreds of brown grocery bags before Earth Day.  Our members decorated the bags with Earth Day messages, reminding customers to recycle.  We gave the decorated bags back to Family Fare to use at the store on Earth Day. 

One of the girls in the club decorated several bags throughout the time we had for the project.  Each day she would take a pile home, and bring them back beautifully decorated.  After several days of this,  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to take more home.  She was insistent that every bag counted because even if it helped one person become more aware about recycling, it was worth it. 

Moments like this remind me that even small things our club can do is worth it.

Thank you to all of the teachers who guide and mentor our earth-loving 4th and 5th graders, and thank you to the students who are making a difference!

Categories: Allendale Elementary Schools | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re Invited to the Next Allendale Elementary PTO Meeting

Allendale Public Schools, Allendale Elementary PTOHave you ever tried to play on a teeter-totters alone? It’s not much fun, is it? Without a partner to balance your weight on the other side, you’re grounded. Even with the energy that comes from well-timed jumps, the fun doesn’t last long without the presence of another.

The same could be said of young children on swings. Until they learn how to pump their legs, they are left waiting for someone to push them. They are left waiting for the momentum that comes from someone standing nearby to help.

The same can be said of our schools. Yes, our buildings can operate without the momentum that comes from community support, but they probably won’t reach the heights that are possible when a team of people are invested.

Yes, our teachers can do their jobs and make a difference in the lives of children on their own, but just like a one-sided teeter-totter, things are just more difficult.

That’s why we’re invited you to get involved in your child’s school this year.

The Allendale Elementary PTO exists to increase communication between school and home while raising money to support our schools. With attention focused at K-5th grades, the PTO is responsible for planning activities such as mother/son and father/daughter outings, the annual Fitness Frenzy, and organizing the spirit wear sale. A full list of PTO events and other information can be found here.

This Thursday evening the PTO has planned a “Parent Café.” This is not a typical meeting, but is described by President Aaron Haight as being “an educational program that will offer parents education on healthy and wellness, child safety, school success and much more.”

If you’ve thought about getting involved in the PTO but have been uncertain about doing so, Aaron offers some encouragement.

“I was hesitant about the PTO… as a working mom I was worried about being “judged” by the other moms, but I was welcomed right away. This is a chance for you to have a positive influence on your children’s school – you can be involved as much or as little as you like… some parents count labels. Some parents plan events. Some parents support our events. We’ll find a place for you!”

If you’d like to give PTO a try this year, why not start by attending a meeting? We’d love to have you!

  • WHEN? Thursday, November 1
  • WHAT TIME? 6:30 pm
  • WHERE? Oakwood Cafeteria
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