STREAM Supports Language Skills Development
EAST AURORA - Immaculate Conception School began a new summer assignment program this year. Gone were the summer reading lists, and instead each student was given a "Young Observer's Notebook." Their summer assignment was to write about what they did during the summer and how they spent their time. Using the letters from STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, the arts and mathematics) students were challenged to write about their summer, their travels, trips, games, sights and sounds.
On the first day of the new academic year, the notebooks were collected. Student participation was excellent. There were more than 2,000 observations about a myriad of subjects that included animals, insects, plants, geology, machinery, food and weather. Many students wondered about the same things such the colors of the flowers in their gardens, the sun coming up and the shapes in the clouds. They counted, graphed, compared and contrasted. The world of children, their habitat and their environment, were carefully examined.
"I noticed when you are quiet, patient, and looking around, you will notice loads of things you didn't see before," wrote sixth-grader Jack Moffat.
Students learned to document and communicate through journaling and they expressed their curiosity and shared it with others. Entries in the journals confirmed that students are naturally curious, willing to explore, and excited by the world around them. The framework of the Young Observer's Notebook helps educators to harness this energy and encourage students to exercise and improve their English language arts in a manner that helps teachers discover what students are wondering about.