Language Arts Common Core Growth Binders

The 6th grade Language Arts teachers are currently working to rollout the binders with the 6th graders. The purchase has allowed for the students to keep and reflect on their work with the English/Language Arts Common Core Standards. These binders are organized by these standards within the months of the school year. As they move through the year, students will cycle through the standards three times. Specifically, each month, they will organize pieces in these binders/portfolios and then examine how they have grown as readers, writers, and thinkers. By the end of the school year, we all will clearly see how far the students have come in their understandings, applications, and syntheses of these standards. With these binders as evidence, students will truly be charting and reflecting on their individual paths towards success in Language Arts.

Virtual Summer Book Club

The Alliance for Excellence funded the organization and implementation of Virtual Summer Book Clubs for students entering grades 3 through 5.  To enrich their reading and writing over the summer, students took part in an electronic book club that required them to read a book and then communicate with other students and teachers via an online discussion.  Books, a reading schedule, and teacher feedback and instruction were provided to all students.  The books clubs helped students sustain or increase their fluency rates during the summer months, all while reading and comprehending complex literary texts independently.  Quantitative and qualitative data was use to measure the growth and success of this program.

Vernier Probeware

These materials include:

  • Vernier Lab Book (1)
  • Go!Link Interfaces (7)
  • Go!Motion Sensors (7)
  • Voltage Probe Sensors (7)
  • Go!Temp Sensors (14)
  • Light Sensor Sensors (7)
  • Dual-Range Force Sensor Sensors (7)
  • Force Plates (2)

The Probeware and Sensors are used in the following Science Labs:

  • Batteries & Voltage Lab
  • Measuring Elastic Force Lab
  • Measuring Gravitational Force Lab
  • Force of Friction Lab
  • Force Exerted by a Motor Lab
  • Work and the Motor Lab
  • Power of a Motor Lab
  • Inclined Plane Lab
  • Pulley Lab
  • Lever Lab
  • Newton’s Law of Motion Labs
  • Motion of a Mousetrap Lab
  • Motion of a Fan Car Lab
  • Roller Coaster Lab
  • Sun as an Energy Source Lab
  • And many more!

Outdoor Classroom

Outdoor Classroom Blueprint and Teacher Workshops:

Nature Explorer is a program offered by Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, which collaborates with Arbor Day Foundation.  Their mission is to inspire children, families, and educators to connect more deeply with the world around them.  The foundation provides research based design consultants, educator workshops, and hands-on resources to elementary schools with the interest of helping children connect more with nature in their daily learning.

Alliance funded the initial blueprint drawing of how the LBES Outdoor Classroom space could be designed, which included workshops for teachers on how to effectively implement and utilize the space.

Headphones for 4th Graders

Compass Learning offers students mini-lessons on needed skills personalized for each student and based on MAP scores.  The lessons are engaging and can be loud and distracting.  Since students often use the laptops while small group instruction is going on, it is nice for them to have headphones to block the sound from others in the classroom.

Digital Audio Books

Playaways provide another tool for differentiated reading instruction in our classrooms.  They can be hooked up to a desktop speaker for whole class participation, or can be used with print material for audio-supported reading  practice.

They support critical listening and reading skills for all students, and they allow struggling readers to experience a book at their interest level which may be above their independent reading level.The entire book is loaded on the durable unit, which is about half the size of a deck of cards and made of droppable plastic.  The Playaway titles align with our guided reading groups, book clubs, and genre studies throughout the school year.

Sarah's Dream: Read with Me

The goal of “Sarah’s Dream: Read With Me!” is to improve literacy and foster cross-cultural friendships between children of neighboring communities.  Watch the video below to learn about the program that was co-funded with the PTO.

Read With Me! brings students together from neighboring communities in order to share stories and a love of reading while improving literacy in Lake County, as well as creating a culture of compassion and cooperation among children from different schools. It involves mentorship, friendship, and fun, benefitting students and teachers alike. Books have been selected to reinforce these concepts. In addition, the last selection has been a non-fiction, reference-type book useful for introducing/teaching research skills. Throughout the course of the school year, the students get together three times, typically in October, December, and April. Lake Bluff Elementary School host two of those meetings; Oak Terrace and Clearview host once. This means a field trip to their buddies’ school, which is more often than not a rare chance to see the inside of another elementary school.

The hour-long session consists of: an icebreaker, usually involving an information sheet that the students filled out before their meeting (e.g. an All-About-Me postcard); a healthy snack, book-reading, and a comprehension activity. When it’s time to leave, the third graders get to keep the books they have been reading.

Read With Me impacts all involved and anyone that comes in contact with, or observes the program.

The students, first and foremost are given an opportunity they may not ordinarily experience. Not only do the students get to meet a buddy from another school in a neighboring community, but they also get to be a mentor or a mentee. Students get to help one another learn about being a kind citizen by welcoming someone into their school and hosting the buddy visit. They also share the experience of reading and discussing a book. The 3rd grade buddies are given the book but everyone leaves with new, fond memories and the anticipation of the next visit.

Teachers are impacted. Read With Me builds relationships between teachers and an opportunity for colleagues and professionals in neighboring communities to meet and see their students through a different lens as they engage in conversation with another student.

Visitors to the schools to view the program are impacted by the power of these new relationships and the value reading with a new friend can bring to children.

LBES student testimonials:

“My buddy and I both like math.”- 4th Grade Student LBES
“My partner really like the book and wants to make the nachos recipe in the book.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We both like comic books.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“Me and my partner both like Goosebumps books.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“I learned about my partner’s family. She has one sister.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“I loved and liked it. We have everything in common except our favorite book.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“It was really fun. I found out that we both play soccer.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We had a lot in common. We’ve both been on all the rides at Six Flags.” 4th Grade Student LBES
“We all like the same sport — soccer. I told them about a soccer game on my iPod.”4th Grade Student LBES
“We had a really fun time. We didn’t have a lot in common, but opposites attract!” 4th Grade Student LBES.

When asked if anyone felt like they made a new friend today, everyone raised their hand. :) 4th grade teacher. Everyone is also excited about traveling to visit their buddy’s school.

Testimonials from buddy schools

“I wish we could come here every day!” 3rd grade student Clearview

Pizza Garden

Kindergartners who planted seeds and seedlings last spring in the courtyard at LBES continued their work this fall as 1st graders.  Harvesting the vegetables and herbs came first.  Then with the help of local chef in residence, John DeRosier of Inovasi the students made their own tomato sauce and then moved on to make and serve their pizzas.

This started from part of a grant from The Alliance For Excellence and has now become a self-sustaining and repeatable project for our youngest students.