ACE School Clubs

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ACE in Greenbelt Sponsors Three Local School Clubs

Two students working on a projectThree after-school clubs support students attending elementary schools that serve Greenbelt and help them keep alive what they learn in their classes. Two of the clubs, one at Springhill Lake Elementary School and the other at Magnolia Elementary School, enrich reading skills while another club at Magnolia provides hands-on activities in science. The clubs meet monthly and their activities are planned and facilitated by teachers from those schools but are open to students from any Greenbelt school.

The three clubs are coordinated and sponsored by Greenbelt Advisory Council on Education (ACE), comprised of community volunteers who share a common goal to ensure quality education and outstanding schools. Funding for ACE programs is provided by the City of Greenbelt.

Springhill Lake Reading Club

Teacher showing project examples to studentsThe Reading Club at Springhill Lake Elementary School has been offered for the past four years. Bonnie Merryman, a first grade teacher, has directed the club since it started. On a recent afternoon after classes had ended, eight students gathered to have some fun with the scheduled activities. First, everyone received a Valentine's Day Word Find puzzle. There were 18 words to find. The first three students to find the most words in the set time received awards for their efforts. Then the activities took a humorous turn to "knock knock" jokes, also related to Valentine's Day. Merryman first demonstrated how to make the jokes, then everyone worked on their own to make the funniest jokes. Grade levels of the Springhill Lake club range from third to fifth grade. "I like this mix of ages and skill levels, which is different from the one grade level I am teaching," Merryman said.

Magnolia Science Club

Student cutting paper for his projectThe Science Club at Magnolia Elementary School is now in its second year under the direction of Tanisha Wood, Special Education Chairperson, and Shari Gant, Third Grade Chairperson. At a recent meeting, 16 first and second grade students gathered to have some learning fun with the topic Secret Messages. With the materials given to them, these Super Scientists (as they call themselves) tried their best to create secret messages and pictures using a mix of baking soda and water. Then, working in groups of four, they applied three different liquids (fruit juice, lemon juice, and water) to their message. Wood directed everyone to "make observations about which liquid makes your message or picture appear best. Remember your job as Super Scientists is to observe."

Magnolia Reading Club

At a recent meeting of the Magnolia Reading Club, 14 second grade students read parts of Charlotte's Web. First, the chapters read before were reviewed, then the participants started on the theme for their meeting, Drawing Conclusions. Club leader Leslie Tapscott, Reading Specialist, directed everyone to pay attention to what they read, the details, and what they can conclude from their reading. Before the students took their turns reading aloud from the story, Tapscott advised everyone, "Be sure to listen to the reader and follow along". One question Tapscott asked was, "What do we know about Fern and Wilbur?" The writer of this article also had a chance to read from the story. While he was reading, one of the girls in the group proved she was listening when she pointed out I mispronounced a word in the story.